Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Student's science fair project questioning the IQ of non-whites causes upoar and sparks school district investigation

The body representing American psychologists, the APA,  has accepted as proven everything that the kid below has said -- but the grip of censorship on public life has made him seem hopelessly wrong. It's a great testimony to how unpopular but true ideas will not be believed

A science fair project in California has drawn the ire of many after the project called the intelligence of non-whites into question.

The project, titled 'Race and IQ', hypothesized that non-white students do not have the same innate intelligence of their white and northeast Asian peers.

The project originated in Sacramento's CK McClatchy High School's academically rigorous Humanities and International Studies Program (HISP) - and it asked whether non-white students were up to the task of the program's demands.

The project also asserted that if the average IQ of white and northeast Asian students is higher than those of other backgrounds, than the lack of ethnic diversity in the HISP program is justified.

The controversial project was put on display at McClatchy's science fair last Monday - it remained on display until Wednesday, when the school removed it after a round of complaints. It was in plain view both parents and students.

'Race and IQ' also used source material that was over a century old and argued that South African blacks were mentally inferior to South African whites.

'I think that a lot of people, especially of color, are really hurt and upset by this,' said Chrysanthe Vidal, a senior in the HISP program to the Sacramento Bee.

Although the school hasn't identified the student behind the project because he's a minor, Vidal said he has a history of making racist comments and is of Asian descent.

The HISP program teaches students by widening their cultural horizons - but of the 508 students in the program, just 12 are African-American, as opposed to 80 Hispanic students and 104 Asian students. The rest are white.

'It's just kind of shocking to think someone could enter into that program knowing that is what we are learning about and being so closed-minded,' said one McClatchy freshman.

Sacramento Unified school district spokesman Alex Barrios said the district was aware of the controversy and is looking into the matter. Barrios said that the investigation will determine whether the idea violated any school district rules.

'No student should ever be made to feel that their race has anything to do with their ability to succeed,' Sacramento Unified school district superintendent Jorge Aguilar said.

'I want to be clear that at McClatchy High School we promote and embrace an inclusive environment and way of thinking which excludes any form of discrimination,' principal Peter Lambert said in email to parents wrote. 'Many of you have asked me what our school is doing in response to this incident.

'I want you to know we are taking this incident very seriously and we will be reviewing the incident and implementing all measures as appropriate to provide a safe and inclusive environment for all of our students.


Debt: The federal student loan program was supposed to make money. Instead it will cost tens of billions of dollars, forcing hardworking Americans to subsidize college-educated deadbeats

Thank you Obama

A report from the Department of Education notes that the net cost of the federal government's direct loan program is quickly heading into the red. This program, mind you, was supposed to be a moneymaker for the government, as students paid back federal loans with interest.

But as it turns out, borrowers have been flocking toward various loan forgiveness programs, by which the government will lose money, erasing gains from other loans. The report shows that the direct loan program went from a $25 billion surplus in 2012 to less than $5 billion by 2015.

A separate report says that this program ran a $36 billion deficit last year, up from $8.4 billion in 2016.

This is not how this federal loan program was supposed to work when President Obama launched it eight years ago.

In 2010, President Obama effectively nationalized student lending by cutting banks — which had been offering government-backed loans to students — out of the equation and having the government make the loans itself.

"By cutting out the middleman, we'll save the American taxpayers $68 billion in the coming years," Obama said when he signed this change into law. "That's real money."

As a result, federal student loan debt shot up from $154.9 billion in 2009 to $1.1 trillion by the end of 2017.

The problem is that at the same time Obama was getting the government into the lending business in a big way, he was making it easier for students to avoid paying back their loans.

One program, called "income-driven repayment," lets borrowers avoid payments if their income falls below a certain threshold, and then caps payments as a percentage of total family income. Any debt left over at the end of 25 years is forgiven.

Not surprisingly, students flocked to these and other programs that let them avoid paying back all their loans, even though the interest rates they had to pay were already subsidized.

Between 2011 and 2015, the portion of loans being repaid through these IDR plans shot up 625%, according to the report.

The direct lending program even earned the nickname "Obama Student Loan Forgiveness," and surveys of student borrowers by LendEDU found that half of them don't expect to have to pay back all their debts because the federal government would forgive them.

The rising expectation that loans wouldn't have to be paid back in full also had the perverse effect of making students increasingly indifferent to college costs, thereby fueling tuition inflation.

As the Education report says, "Decision makers and others may not be aware of the growth in the participation in these IDR plans and loan forgiveness programs and the resulting additional costs."

Given the $1 trillion in loan debt on the federal books, one hopes that awareness comes soon. Otherwise, the student loan program will quickly turn into one of the most regressive taxes on the books.


Britain: How No Platform conquered the academy

Campus censorship has been on the march for decades.

The National Union of Students’ No Platform policy dates back to 1974. Its targets back then were Britain’s then sizeable far-right groups: the NUS wanted to keep such outfits off campus. But campus politics has changed a great deal in the intervening decades. Today, a far wider range of controversial speakers falls foul of SU policies. No Platform was wrong in the past, even when it was only aimed at the far right, but it is even worse now – it has become all-encompassing.

A key example of 1980s-style No Platforming was when controversial Tory MP Harvey Proctor was silenced at Coventry Polytechnic. It was November 1984, and the Miners’ Strike was dominating politics. New to the city, my roommate and I spent much of our time collecting, picketing and campaigning for the miners (the local pit at Keresley was solidly on strike). Students’ union meetings were big, raucous affairs – it was an exciting time politically.

The Thatcher government was engaged in a class war with the miners. Naive as we were, we realised that something beyond our own feelings and emotions was at stake here, and we wanted to be part of it. No one seemed worried about being offended or having their sense of identity undermined. We were pretty clear about who we were and what we wanted. As were Harvey Proctor and the Federation of Conservative Students who invited him to speak.

A few hundred of us turned up to ‘welcome’ him – that is, to prevent his event from happening. Red paint was thrown, and in the melee Proctor snuck away, in an unmarked police car, it was later claimed. At the next Labour Students meeting, opinion was split. Some regarded the prevention of the Proctor meeting as a mistake – the papers were referring to us as ‘Red Fascists’. Others saw it as a necessary show of force against reaction, even as a blow struck for the miners.

We were right to protest against Tory policy and raise our banner for the miners. But we were wrong to No Platform Proctor, and we achieved nothing by doing so. His complicity in the class war against the miners and his racist views on immigration made him a hate figure for us. Looking back, however, it seems pretty clear that our ‘success’ in preventing him from speaking was just a displacement activity from our failure to win the argument about broader political problems: the miners lost their struggle, the unions were reduced to a shadow of their former selves, and Thatcher went on to win another election. Barricading Proctor’s lecture room was easier than confronting the fact that the labour movement and the left more broadly were in serious trouble.

On campus today, in some ways as a consequence of that demise of the labour and radical left in the 1970s and 1980s, the politics of identity trumps the politics of class. (When class is raised, it tends to be treated as just another identity: some students’ unions now paternalistically provide working-class students with ‘liberation officers’ to help guard them against middle-class ‘unconscious bias’.) And consequently, No Platforming now takes a different form, too.

Its range, its censorious logic, extends far beyond the small number of extreme organisations it targeted in the past. It no longer focuses only on right-wing hate figures like Proctor. Under today’s Safe Space policies, all sorts of speakers, from the right and the left, find themselves being vetted by small cliques of student officials to see if the words they use might cause offence to ‘vulnerable’ groups on campus, or ‘promote hate’. These policies are the means through which the culture of ‘You Can’t Say That’ is formalised on campus.

Under these policies, in recent months alone, we have seen a UKIP MEP being told he must submit his speech for vetting before he could speak on campus (he refused, and was banned); a feminist who criticised some trans activists during a radio discussion having her invitation to speak at a university rescinded; and Safe Space Marshalls literally policing speech in situ at debates at a London university.

In backing the No Platforming of Proctor in 1984, we foolishly attacked freedom of speech as a universal principle; we made the freedom to speak contingent on what was being said, on who the speaker was. Safe Space culture extends that contingency and normalises the idea that if someone finds something offensive – even if he or she is finding it offensive on behalf of another – then that is reason enough to censor that thing, whether it’s a pop song, an MEP, an Islamic preacher, an Israeli academic, a pro-Palestinian activist, a trans-sceptical feminist, and so on. Entrenched over decades, this censorious culture now has a deep and insidious effect on the open and free debate that is vital to intellectual life and democracy in the academy. It must be confronted.


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