Monday, December 04, 2017

HIV-Positive School Aide Charged With Sexual Offenses Against 42 Kids -- Liberal Media Silent

Carlos Bell, a 30-year-old former school aide and track coach at two of Maryland's public schools, who is HIV-positive,  has been charged with 206 criminal counts, most of which involved the sexual abuse or exploitation of 42 children from those schools -- and including the federal crimes of producing child pornography -- but the major liberal media have not reported the story, not one word.

Bell was a teacher's assistant at the Benjamin Stoddert Middle School in Waldorf, Md., and a track coach at La Plata High School in La Plata, Md., both of which are in Charles County. He was placed under investigation by the Maryland State Police in 2016 after one parent discovered some disturbing texts on her child's cellphone from Bell and contacted the police.

The schools placed Bell on administrative leave in December 2016 and the police continued their investigation into June 2017. On June 30, Bell was arrested and charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse of a minor, second- and third-degree sex offenses, child pornography, distribution of marijuana, and other offenses. 

All of Bell's victims reportedly were boys.

As the summer progressed and police uncovered more evidence, the criminal counts rose. As of late October, Bell was charged with 206 counts. These include 22 counts of sexual abuse of a minor, 19 counts of second-degree sex offense, 7 counts of third-degree sex offense, and 97 counts of child pornography.

Bell allegedly victimized 42 juveniles, forcing them to engage in sexual acts and filming them during these acts. The victims were between the ages of 11 and 17 and the crimes occurred between May 2015 and June 2017. Twenty-eight of those kids have been identified but 14 have not been identified. Some of the crimes occurred in Bell's home but many of them took place on school premises, according to the local media that have reported on the case, WTOP and WJLA (ABC 7)., (CNN Wire),,, and posted stories online about the case, as did some other local and state media. To date, however, no national news network -- ABC, CBS, NBC -- has covered the story in its evening or morning broadcasts, based on a search of the Nexis news database.

There were at least 42 child victims and at least 10 of them were used to produce child pornography, a federal crime, but the networks are not reporting the story.   (Despite that blackout, the Daily Post in Nigeria reported on the case, as did The Herald.)

Bell is being held without bail and his trial is scheduled for Jan. 8, 2018. Charles County State's Attorney Tony Covington is seeking life in prison for Bell, according to WTOP, "if Bell is convicted on the most serious charges." 

Commenting on the case, Charles County Schools Superintendent Kimberly A. Hilll said, "These allegations are horrifying. To our parents and our community who put their faith and trust in us to safeguard our children, I apologize on behalf of Charles County Public Schools. Student safety is job one, and clearly we have our work to do to ensure that this will never happen again."


British students could soon be swapping to a better university in second and third year with ease

It is a common tale. Students miss their top choice university by one or two grades. It happens for many reasons and often does not reflect the abilities of the student in question.

But now those students are likely to be given a second chance. Plans by the United Kingdom government could see universities accepting second- and third-year undergraduates who are succeeding at rival institutions.

Higher Education Minister Jo Johnson has released the government’s vision for higher education. The system allows students to transfer from one institution to another without the loss of credits for previously completed modules.

The Guardian reported UCAS, the UK‘s higher education admissions service, said the greater “portability of qualifications” is “vital”. Last week, UCAS confirmed plans are underway to change its website to allow students to search for course vacancies in the second and third years.

With high competition already plaguing the university market, the ability to poach students from other institutions could prove to be damaging for some.

Mike Nicholson, director of student admissions at Bath University, told The Guardian the university already hears from second-year students interested in moving there. Many of them are international students and often wish to “trade up” from a lower-ranked institution.

Nicholson fears this could be detrimental for many lowly ranked universities.

He told The Guardian: “If you are an admissions officer and you work really hard to get students to come into your first year, and then you find half of them disappear to the university up the road in the second year, what do you do then? Do you try to recruit students from the university in the next town to make up your numbers?”

However, there are two sides to the argument. “This extra competition,” he added, “could act as a stimulus for universities and courses to up their game and make sure they are giving students the experience they want and have been promised.”

Over at Aston University, vice-chancellor Alec Cameron said there is a “strong ethical argument” for enabling students to switch university or course without loss of credit. He claimed that anyone against the proposal is not thinking of students’ best interests.

In Australia and the US, credit transfer is commonplace and not a special exception. Students in the UK may soon join the revolution of free movement between universities. Those who realise all too late that they embarked on the wrong course or chose the wrong university could finally be able to right their wrongs without losing everything.


Need Another Use for a Liberal Arts Education? How about Learning to Be a Citizen?

The article below makes a good case for a humanities education but under present conditions it already degenerates into Leftist theology

We’ve discussed before that Socrates, one of the greatest things to come out of Athens, hated Athenian democracy. While he had many reasons to do so, one of the primary ones was that the typical Athenian had no idea what they were discussing, and were prone to using emotion over reason when making important political decisions. They lacked both the skills for critical thinking and viewing the world outside their own perspective to be proper democratic citizens.

But, as philosopher Martha Nussbaum argues, we can avoid those problems by placing a high value on an education in the humanities. A high value which today is often difficult to find.

In her book Not for Profit, Why Democracy Needs the Humanities, Nussbaum lays out the case that a job oriented education, one focused on preparing students for work, is far from enough to assure that the students will also be able to function as democratic citizens in a pluralistic, modern, and globalized, society.

While she doesn’t deny the need for technical education; she argues that a purely job oriented education, or even one which is highly focused on a narrow field of study, does not promote the development of critical thinking skills, the ability to consider differing viewpoints, an understanding of people vastly different from themselves, or strong methods for finding truth for themselves that people need as citizens.

These skills, she argues, are best found in the arts and humanities as promoted by a liberal arts education at all levels. While the United States is doing well at the university level of teaching these things, she contests that we are often unwilling or unable to do so at the grade school or high school level. If we do not assure students have access to the arts and humanities, she posits, we are likely to fall victim to demagoguery and lose the benefits of a modern democratic society.

Well, what’s wrong with our current method of teaching the humanities? Why write a whole book on this?

A major issue in modern American education she discusses is the increasing use of standardized fill in the bubble tests, and the tendency of teachers to “teach to the test”. It isn’t impossible to teach the humanities in a way that can be easily tested, the treatment of philosophy as a test subject for the A and O level exams in the United Kingdom has shown that much, but Nussbaum shows us how a multiple-choice test is unlikely to encourage any skills other than the regurgitation of information. They aren’t even that good at what they claim to do anyway.

With the national focus increasingly given to education for employment and competitiveness those parts of education which seem unlikely to lead to employment are the most simple to justify cuts to. Nussbaum laments this, and notes that at her own university advertising geared towards new students focuses nearly exclusively on those programs seen as practical and leading to employment. She dubs the combination of funding cuts and lack of attention a “crisis of massive proportions” which is still underway.

Suppose we just got rid of the humanities. Can’t we be a free people without them?

The myriad examples of tyrants attacking the arts and humanities suggests we might be wise to hold on to them. She cites, among other events, the prohibition of teaching the Korean language in public schools and the crackdown on Confucian education in general during Korea’s occupation by Imperial Japan. All a key part of the plan to reduce the Korean people to servants of Japanese imperialism, a role which had no need for a non-technical education.

Nussbaum later argues that the most cartoonish and often horrifying mistakes made by the Athenian democracy, which caused thinkers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle to reject democracy, could have been easily avoided if the population had any of the skills an education in the humanities provides.

The Funeral Oration of Pericles, an example of the Athenians being led by a populist working in their interest. Often, they were only led astray.

Is she alone in these ideas? Does anybody else argue that a democracy requires these skills?

Socrates, as depicted in The Republic, favored an intensive education for the philosopher kings he saw as the ideal rulers of his utopia. While his proposed curriculum is not the liberal arts education Americans know today, it is one that promotes the search for truth with the use of reason and logic and assures that the leaders of the city state will know not only how to lead, but how to approach the problems they may face as leaders. While he didn’t wish for the majority to lead a nation, it is clear he understood that those who do lead must have certain intellectual skills. In a democracy, these leaders are the people.

Aldous Huxley, philosopher, author of Brave New World, and noted psychonaut, made a similar observation in Brave New World, Revisited. Where he noted with terror that the world was moving towards his dystopia much faster than he had predicted and proposed education for democracy as a key tool to prevent this. He later elaborated on his proposed curriculum for a free people in his utopian work Island.

Okay, what does our situation look like now?

We presently have a better education system than the people of Athens; who ended their formal education in adolescence and denied it to women and non-citizens. Often inspired by Socrates and his pedagogy, today’s students can find a humanistic education in the American, Scottish, and (increasingly) Korean education systems dedicated to making them fully rounded individuals and citizens.

While Nussbaum warns us to be on the lookout to attacks on and financial cutbacks to the liberal arts model of education, we have reason to be optimistic as well. She mentions many excellent programs in American schools, such as Future Problem Solvers, as examples of democratic education done correctly and in a way that assures continued support. 

The study of the humanities can have many practical uses. It can even be used to find employment, no matter what the nay-sayers might tell you. More importantly, they have an intrinsic value in allowing us to fully develop as individuals. In today’s climate, they also take on the role of helping us make democracy possible. Without a proper education in the humanities, where we learn how to understand people we may never meet, how to evaluate arguments and charged rhetoric, and imagine differing scenarios from those we see every day, we may be doomed to the fate of many a failed democracy before us. 

But, if we utilize the fantastic tools we have access to, rise to the challenge of giving everyone the education they need, and emphasize all vital subject matter-even if it seems impractical, Nussbaum argues that we have much reason for optimism and the chance for the continued success of democracy all over the world.

If you would like to improve your humanities background, several Ivy League schools offer free classes you can take online. 


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