Friday, February 09, 2018

High school cancels musical after white student lands lead role

The race obsession of the Left again

Social justice activists at a New York high school successfully shut down a production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” after a white student landed a lead role.

Protests of the production began when an African-American student quit Ithaca High School’s musical production due to the role of Esmeralda being given to a white classmate.

“It shows you that theater wasn’t made for you," the student told the Ithaca Journal. "And it shows you that, if you can’t get the parts that are written for you, what parts are you going to get?”

Student activists then banded together under the umbrella of Students United Ithaca and wrote a letter that included a list of demands, saying that, while the young lady cast as Esmeralda was “a stellar actor, singer, and dancer” any production would be “lucky to have,” she couldn’t be cast in this role because she is the “epitome of whiteness.”

“At best, this is cultural appropriation,” the student group wrote, alleging racial bias within the Performing Arts Program at IHS, and “at worst, it is whitewashing, a racist casting practice which has its roots in minstrelsy.”

While the student activists demanded “brown and black female students” be considered for the role, the character in question is half Roma, half French, according to the novel by Victor Hugo. SUI stressed “the book and the musical should not be conflated” because the musical is only “inspired” by Hugo’s manuscript.

The group points out that the Musical Theater International production guide lists her role as a “Romani woman” who is “an outcast racially and culturally.”

The Ithaca City School District announced it canceled the musical in an attempt to be “more inclusive and culturally responsive” in their “efforts to eliminate institutional biases.”

The high school is planning on putting on “another collaborative project” instead, adding that “this is not about any particular faculty member or ICSD employee.”

“We thank everyone for their contributions as we delve further into complex conversations,” the district said. “In addition, we ask that you please stay engaged as we continually work to create community-wide support for our students and school community.”

After the cancelation, the student group made more demands in a recent Facebook post.

“Stop the racist and openly stated policy of ‘color blind’ casting in the ICSD,” the group wrote, adding “because of institutionalized racism this results in white children being cast in roles written as white parts and also white children being cast in roles that were specifically intended for people of color.”

Members of the group told Fox News that their ultimate goal is in line with Martin Luther King, Jr.’s message of love, unity, understanding, and inclusion.

“Our endgame,” the group said, is a performing arts program with more unity, more inclusion, and musical where we can all experience the joy and bonding of inclusive performing arts following best theatrical practices.”


California takes a step back in school choice, while other states move forward

By Natalia Castro

Lucas Saunders and his parents never thought graduating high school was a possibility. Saunders struggled for years to sit still and learn in the classroom, but his entire life took a turn when he began attending an independent school in Vermont, catered to students who needed individual attention. Saunders experienced the life-changing effects of school choice and attended his state capital this week to convince the Vermont legislature to give more children this opportunity.

The school choice bug is creeping up into states across the country for a simple reason — it works.

More and more states are passing legislation to allow students and parents control over their education rather than arbitrary and disconnected state legislators.

Saunders story in the Bennington Banner highlights the success of their state voucher program. This form of school choice allows students to receive vouchers to attend schools outside their districting public school to attend to specific needs unique to the individual student.

Mississippi lawmakers advanced similar legislation this year to allocate more public money to provide students with the option to attend public school. Senate Education Committee Chairman Gray Tollison noted that this initiative would be a “drastic, disruptive change” to the states’ education system but argues that this is necessary to empower students and improve performance.

Other forms of school choice, such as education savings accounts (ESA) have also gained traction in states across the country.

As the Heartland Institute’s Teresa Mull explains, “ESAs grant parents access to the money allocated for their children’s government school education to spend on approved alternatives such as private school tuition, homeschooling textbooks, learning therapies, and tutoring.”

New Hampshire Senate Bill 193 would grant eligible families up to $3,500 per year to use of educational expenses for low income and special needs families. This comes after President Trump and Congress approved a provision in the recently passed tax bill that will give 50 million students across the U.S. a tax-free way to open an ESA for primary school or college.

Iowa is also following the school choice trend with their Senate bill to allow homeschooling families to utilize online courses to expand the rigor and learning opportunities for these students. As Shane Vander Hart of the Iowa based conservative publication Caffeinated Thoughts explains, “This program was designed to help high school students that had schedule conflicts with other classes they needed. It was also designed to allow local schools to provide courses or advanced subjects that otherwise would not be available.”

School choice legislation across the country is playing an integral part in expanding opportunities and building more personalized curriculums for students who do not fit the traditional schooling model.

As the Foundation for Economic Freedom’s Corey Iacono found in a Jan. 2015 report, school choice is integral to a functioning market economy. Iacono found school choice dramatically improves academic outcomes and saves taxpayers money by eliminating waste. These programs also reduce racial segregation and benefit low-income students, as school completion rates increase by 15-20 percent while antiquated school districting laws stifle these student’s opportunities. Finally, they find that school choice does not harm public schools but improves their quality by introducing market competition.

Yet, still not every state is seeing the clear benefits of school choice legislation.

Following a tragic case in Riverside County in which two parents chained, malnourished, and clearly abused their 13 children, California legislators have decided to blame the fact that these kids were homeschooled. The “solution” to preventing this grotesque child abuse, lawmakers claim, is to force these children to attend school.

While attending school may have allowed the signs of abuse to appear to authorities sooner, there is no correlation between homeschooling and child abuse, so to remove the program following one case of clear parental abuse does a disservice to the children whom homeschooling benefits and ignores the real problem at hand.

As Jenna Ellis of the Washington Examiner reminds, “In published studies among such experts as the World Health Organization, the U.S. Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities, the American Psychological Association, the Mayo Clinic, and others, none of these sources list homeschooling as a risk factor for child abuse and neglect. In other words, there is no evidence or data to even suggest that homeschooled children are being harmed or at risk of harm at a rate higher than children in other non-homeschooled and private schooling communities.”

In fact, homeschooling has been proven to assist children achieve more and mitigate bullying, which plays an integral role in reducing symptoms of early age depression and anxiety.

By attacking homeschooling, California lawmakers are taking a step in an opposing direction than states across the country and harming the opportunities and well-being of students who need the benefits school choice can provide.

Now, Lucas Saunders has received acceptance into all five colleges he applied to and will be studying to become a mechanical engineer. This is an opportunity that would never have been possible without Vermont’s school choice initiatives. It is encouraging that states across the country are adopting similar policies, all states must give students the chances they deserve.


Australia: Melbourne mother gets shamed for including a LAMINGTON in her child's lunchbox

A Lamington is an iconic Australian treat. It is anti-Australian to ban it as well as being an arrogant know-all. A lamington consists of a small pieces of sponge cake coated with chocolate icing and sprinkled with dessicated coconut. I would like to see proof that any of those are unhealthy. There is no such proof. It is just poorly-founded and now obsolete theory.

A Melbourne mother has been slammed by a school after she packed a lamington in her child's lunchbox.

The tasty treat was returned to the mortified mother uneaten along with a note from the kindergarten, Seven News reported.

The note said the lamington 'did not comply with the school's nutrition policy'.

The mother was told never to include a lamington in her child's lunch again.

This comes a year after a South Australian mother was left mortified when her three-year-old child's preschool sent home a note about the contents of the lunchbox she had packed that morning.

She had included a piece of chocolate cake for her child to eat during the day, which she quickly learned was against school policy.

People took to social media to express their shock at the policy.

'That's bad, Australia getting too PC!! It's a bloody lamington,' one person wrote on Twitter.

'Kindergarten needs to keep their noses out of kids lunch box! If the parent gives it to their child it's none of their business!' said another.

When her child arrived home, she came with a note featuring an oversized, red frowning face image.

'Your child has chocolate slice from the red food category today,' the letter read.  'Please choose healthier options for kindy.'


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