Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Australia: Feminist Push to make childcare unaffordable

The Leftist IEU (Independent Education Union) have issued the call below.  Government "quality" mandates, including high staff numbers and sweeping  educational requirements for child-minders, have already pushed up the costs of child-minding to the point where most working mothers spend a large slice of their earnings on child care. The union wants a leap in pay for child minders that could push many working mothers out of the workforce altogether.  So I support the call. Young children need their mothers at home, as the research by Erica Komisar has shown

The claim that a university education is an important qualification for becoming a child minder is absurd and I would like to see the evidence for the claim.  Some education could no doubt help but why university?

The IEU lodged evidence and submissions to support its pay equity claim for early childhood teachers just before Christmas.

This is the latest step in the IEU pay equity case that has been running before the Fair Work Commission since 2013.  The Union is seeking pay rises for university qualified teachers in preschools and child care centres. 

"The claim is based on comparisons with male employees  male teachers in primary schools and male engineers.  At present, teachers in early childhood, who are almost all female, can earn tens of thousands of dollars less than teachers in schools. For example the top award rate for a teacher in a child care centre is less than $70,000 whereas a teacher in a primary school earns close to $100,000" says Carol Matthews, Assistant Secretary of the NSW/ACT Branch of the IEU.

"We are certainly not seeking rates of $156,000 as some media outlets have claimed," she added. "The top rate for a teacher in a child care centre under our claim would be just over $100,00".

The claim only affects a small proportion of the overall number of staff in services and the Union calculates the impact on costs would be relatively small.

"Parents would not necessarily bear the brunt of these increases. The sector is already funded by state and federal governments to the tune of billions of dollars.  Governments should also fund fair pay rates for university qualified teachers as they are so important to children's

The Union states the importance of university qualified teachers to improved learning and social outcomes has been known for decades and is a central plank of the federal government strategy for early childhood education and care.

Via email

Higher Ed’s Low Moment

NYT article below.  The problem is that elite campus humanities and social science programs--with their postcolonial structural identity-obsessed tumblr-grade nonsense--are dragging everything else down with them

When all was said and done, the tax overhaul that President Trump signed into law a little more than a week ago didn’t beat up on higher education to the extent that earlier drafts of the legislation did. Americans who were deducting interest on student loans will still be able to do so. The tuition waivers that many graduate students receive won’t be treated as income.

But that doesn’t change the fact that those facets of the tax code, meant to promote and reward advanced learning, were up for debate. Or that the House of Representatives initially passed a bill that would have eliminated such incentives for the acquisition of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Or that the law ultimately did create new taxes on the endowments of the richest schools.

Or this unsettling, dangerous paradox: At a time when a college degree is one of the surest harbingers of higher earnings and better economic security, college itself is regarded with skepticism by many Americans and outright contempt by no small number of them.

Its tumble from grace came into sharp focus in 2017, so the end of this year is a fitting moment to examine what happened and how to fix it. Repair is imperative, because the continued competitiveness of the American economy depends on the skills of our work force, the intellectual nimbleness of our citizens, the boldness of our scientific research and the genius of our inventions. Our colleges and universities are central to that. When they lose support, we all lose.

Just how far they’ve fallen was suggested by a Pew survey this year that sent shock waves through the world of higher education. Asked if colleges were having a positive or negative effect on America, 58 percent of Republicans and conservative-leaning independents said negative. That was up from just 37 percent two years earlier.

A Gallup poll found that only 44 percent of all Americans had a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the country’s colleges and universities, while 56 percent had only “some” or “very little.” College — once a great aspiration — was now a polarizing question mark.

That’s not so surprising, given Americans’ intensifying resentment of anything that smacks of elitism and given Republicans’ attacks on science and intellectuals. As Ron Daniels, the president of Johns Hopkins University, recently told me, “Even if we were completely unblemished in the way in which we pursued our mission, it would be hard to imagine that in Trump’s America, we wouldn’t be targets for scorn.”

Margaret Spellings, who was education secretary in the George W. Bush administration and is now president of the University of North Carolina, said that colleges are plenty blemished and that this reckoning was years in the making. Too many of them had maintained too aloof a posture.

Spellings told me that when she read the headline atop a mid-December article in Politico — “University presidents: We’ve been blindsided” — she thought, “Where have you been, girlfriend?”

My conversations with Spellings, Daniels and Hiram Chodosh, president of Claremont McKenna College, actually filled me with hope, because not one of them was baffled by the bind that colleges are in. All of them conceded some culpability. And all of them identified, and expressed a commitment to, necessary changes.

“The tax proposals, though self-defeating, emerge from an understandable and growing public frustration,” Chodosh said. “Let’s face it. Like the general society, we have an increasing divide in higher education between the haves and the have-nots. Our sticker price is high.” He added that “our policies are opaque, confusing and tend to squeeze out middle-class families who are unaware, or just above the line, of eligibility for aid. Even among the privileged, few can get in.”

Chodosh’s “our” refers to America’s most exclusive colleges, with the lowest acceptance rates, and one problem, fostered by those of us in the media as much as anyone else, is an undue obsession with those schools to the exclusion of others. Higher education encompasses community colleges, technical schools and scores of public universities without storied names. They educate exponentially more students than the Ivy League does, and our lopsided conversation about the Ivy and its ilk have deepened the divisions that Chodosh mentioned.

But then so have exclusive colleges’ recruitment and admissions practices, which overlooked students from middle-class and poor backgrounds to a point where, according to a study released this year, many of the celebrated schools, like Yale and Princeton, had more students from families in the top 1 percent of income than students from families in the bottom 60 percent.

But that study used college data through 2011; since then, many colleges have expanded their efforts at socioeconomic diversity. And college presidents are both publicly and privately voluble about their need to keep improving on that. To wit: More than 85 colleges — including Hopkins, U.N.C., Claremont McKenna and all eight Ivies — have joined the American Talent Initiative, promoted by Michael Bloomberg and unveiled at the end of 2016. These colleges have committed to increasing their percentages of students from low- and moderate-income families.

I also hear more college presidents talking with more concern about their campuses’ images as enclaves of a distinctly illiberal liberalism. Especially ugly episodes this year at Middlebury College and The Evergreen State College fed that impression and, I think, increased many presidents’ resolve to do something about it.

Daniels bluntly acknowledged “the lack of political diversity on our campuses,” saying, “Not only is this bad for our students in terms of preparing them for leadership roles in a very politically polarized country, but it has grave consequences for broader political debate in the country.” He mentioned a new facet of orientation for incoming students at Hopkins that stresses the importance of free speech, drawing on experts from across the political spectrum. Other colleges have taken similar steps.

They’re trying to explain themselves better — a simple, obvious thing that somehow fell by the wayside over recent decades. Not all Americans accept on faith the value of higher education to individual students and to society as a whole. Not all Americans understand how universities function as vital engines of many cities’ and states’ economies or as cradles of the very innovation that keeps America great.

“Higher education has enjoyed this sort of send-us-the-money, leave-us-alone luxury for a long time, and that’s just not the case anymore,” Spellings said. “We’ve got to prove what we do.” If 2017 was the year when our most celebrated colleges belatedly woke up to that, may 2018 be the year when they successfully attend to it.


University Offers ‘Problem of Whiteness’ Class, Again

The University of Wisconsin-Madison will reintroduce a class this spring that teaches students why being white is a bad thing.

The “Problem of Whiteness” course—part of the African Cultural Studies program—makes its mission to help students “understand how whiteness is socially constructed and experienced in order to help dismantle white supremacy.” The class will also investigate how white people “consciously and unconsciously perpetuate institutional racism and how this not only devastates communities of color but also perpetuates the oppression of most white folks along the lines of class and gender.”

The course aims also to teach students about what an ethical white identity entails, as well as what it means to be woke.

“Student feedback was overwhelmingly positive—students said they found it valuable to examine majority cultures and how power imbalances are created, sustained, and challenged in societies around the world,” a University of Wisconsin-Madison spokesperson wrote in an email to The College Fix.

“The problem of racism is the problem of whites being racist towards blacks,” the course’s professor, Damon Sajnani, told The College Fix in a 2016 phone interview. Sajnani is also a rapper who writes songs about the problems of whiteness.

Not everyone is happy about the course, however, including multiple state lawmakers who loudly expressed their displeasure over the university’s course offering. “I am extremely concerned that UW-Madison finds it appropriate to teach a course called, ‘The Problem of Whiteness,’ with the premise that white people are racist,” state Rep. Dave Murphy, R-Greenville, wrote in a statement after the course was first announced in 2016.

“Even more troubling, the course is taught by a self-described ‘international radical’ professor whose views are a slap in the face to the taxpayers who are expected to pay for this garbage,” Murphy continued. Despite Murphy’s and others’ objections, the university continues barreling forwarding and has no plans to retract the course for spring 2018.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison did not reply to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment in time for publication.


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