Sunday, January 21, 2018

USC Professor Tells Students that ‘Israeli Zionists’ Are ‘Terrorists’

Members of the University of Southern California community are asking the school’s administration to condemn a professor that told students that “Israeli Zionists” are “terrorists.”
Professor David Kang of USC has come under fire after students leaked a PowerPoint slide from one of his International Relations courses. In the slide, Kang listed several terrorist groups. Amongst those on the list, Kang listed “Israeli Zionists.” Notably absent from the list were terror organizations such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda.

A petition circulating around the University of Southern California calling for the administration to condemn Kang for his inclusion of “Israeli Zionists” on his list of terrorist groups. The petition asks the university to “speak out against the bigotry” that Professor Kang expressed through his list.

On October 26, 2017, at the University of Southern California (USC), International Studies Professor David Kang gave a presentation to his class about terrorism where a slide called “Who are terrorists?” equated “Israeli Zionists” to the likes of the “North Korea”, “Tamil Tigers”, “IRA” & other established terrorist groups in history. No radical Islamic countries or terror organizations such as Iran, ISIS, El-Qaeda, Hezbollah or Hamas, made the list.

In a statement to Campus Reform, Kang attempted to clarify what he said in the classroom. “I was not labeling any group as terrorists, only making the point that these groups have been called terrorist organizations by others,” Kang said. “The point of the exercise was to get students to think about how and why organizations are labeled as terrorist organizations, and to foster a discussion about who does the labeling and for what purpose.”

Despite Kang’s clarification, students from the course claim that Kang did not explain his intentions when he presented the slide to the class. “His class was critical thinking based but in this case he did not make that clear when presenting the slide nor gave any explanation to the historical context as to why Zionists would be a labeled a ‘terrorist’ organization,” the student said. “There were likely many impressionable students in the class who aren’t familiar with the issue who could now associate Zionism with North Korea and Al Qaeda, etc.”

Just this week, UCLA student body president Arielle Mokhtarzadeh announced that she had been on the receiving end of anti-semitic vandalism. She reported that someone had destroyed a Mezuzah (a Jewish ornament containing one of Judaism’s central prayers) that she had placed outside of her student government office.


Betsy DeVos: Common Core is dead at U.S. Department of Education

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos gave a far-ranging speech today in Washington at an American Enterprise Institute conference, “Bush-Obama School Reform: Lessons Learned.”

She announced the death of Common Core, at least in her federal agency.

DeVos also decried the federal government’s initiatives to improve education. “We saw two presidents from different political parties and philosophies take two different approaches. Federally mandated assessments. Federal money. Federal standards. All originated in Washington, and none solved the problem. Too many of America’s students are still unprepared,” she said.

And she touched on a favorite topic, school choice.

“Choice in education is not when a student picks a different classroom in this building or that building, uses this voucher or that tax-credit scholarship. Choice in education is bigger than that. Those are just mechanisms,” she said. “It’s about freedom to learn. Freedom to learn differently. Freedom to explore. Freedom to fail, to learn from falling and to get back up and try again. It’s freedom to find the best way to learn and grow… to find the exciting and engaging combination that unlocks individual potential.”


How the Great Books Are Revolutionizing College Admissions Tests

You may remember taking the SAT or the ACT. Hours and hours of memorizing techniques and tricks, all to get that perfect score to unlock your college dreams.

These tests have monopolized the college entrance process, and in recent years—in the case of the SAT in particular—have been tied to the controversial Common Core standards.

The Classic Learning Test offers an alternative to the SAT and ACT. As opposed to these standardized tests, the Classic Learning Test measures a student’s knowledge of great works of literature and applied mathematical skills.

Of course, the struggle in offering an alternative to the SAT and ACT is having colleges and universities adopt the tests as a part of their admissions process.

But colleges are increasingly accepting the Classic Learning Test, and 86 colleges across the country now accept it as a part of their admissions process as an alternative to the SAT and ACT.

Christopher Newport University in Virginia became the most recent college to announce that it will now accept the Classic Learning Test. The president of the university, Paul Trible, said of the decision:

As a former United States senator and president of Christopher Newport in Virginia for the past 22 years, I believe that higher education must enrich minds and stir hearts and instruct and inspire students to live lives of meaning, consequence, and purpose. At Christopher Newport we call that leading lives of significance.

Christopher Newport is thrilled to see a renewed focus on the humanities and a renaissance of classical education throughout America. We recognize that [the Classic Learning Test] is playing an important role in this renewal, and therefore I am excited to announce tonight that Christopher Newport University will be the first major public university in the U.S. to adopt the [Classic Learning Test] as an admissions standard.

Christopher Newport joins a growing list of colleges and universities in accepting the Classic Learning Test, from the University of Dallas and Hillsdale College to Belmont Abbey College and Calvin College.

With school choice programs growing rapidly across the United States, students are starting to personalize their education to fit their unique needs. The college admissions process, therefore, should similarly reflect the diverse skillsets and academic strengths that students bring to the table.

The Common Core-aligned SAT and ACT have been heavily criticized for their very limiting format that too often reflects a student’s ability to learn testing tricks, rather than core knowledge.

And, as my colleague Lindsey Burke wrote in 2014 when the SAT underwent a revamp to align with Common Core, students in traditional public schools weren’t the only ones affected:

The hugely controversial Common Core initiative is at least partly responsible for the latest revamp of the SAT college entrance exam. This puts great pressure on non-Common Core states, private schools, and homeschoolers to comply with national standards to keep students from doing poorly on the new Common Core-aligned SAT. … perhaps this alignment to Common Core will further motivate universities to disregard the test altogether, or to discard it in favor of other assessment instruments.

College and university presidents, it appears, are beginning to do just that, providing an alternative to the SAT and ACT.

Incorporating an assessment like the Classic Learning Test, which measures proficiency in mathematics and the great books, into colleges’ menu of admissions criteria will be critical for the thousands of students across the country who attend classically-oriented K-12 schools.

As the Classic Learning Test chips away at the two large testing monoliths, colleges are growing increasingly confident in employing new, rigorous assessments, and students are beginning to see their options expand for demonstrating their knowledge of the great books.


No comments: