Tuesday, April 17, 2018

College Student Poses With Gun for Graduation Photo, Firing Up Twitter

A student at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga used her senior photo shoot to showcase support for the Second Amendment right to bear arms, but not everyone is happy about it.

Brenna Spencer, 22, tweeted out a picture of herself lifting up a pink T-shirt slightly to reveal a handgun in her waistband. The shirt reads: “Women for Trump.”

“I wanted my graduation photos to be personal and to be about my journey,” Spencer told The Daily Signal by text Wednesday night. “So with me loving the Second Amendment and conservative politics, it’s what inspired me to take and post the photo.”

Despite the backlash she has received from the Twitterverse, Spencer told Fox News Channel she has no regrets about tweeting out the photo.

She told The Daily Signal it was a “helpful” experience despite the negative reactions. “I believe standing up for what I believe in and trying to empower women to protect themselves is helpful,” she said.

One tweet suggested that Spencer take down the picture if she ever wants to be employed.

“You realize employers will see this right? Hope you enjoy living with Mom and Dad,” tweeted Lisa Simpson, who goes by Lisa Simpson Democrat on Twitter.

Spencer works at Turning Point USA, a nonprofit focused on conservative activism on college campuses. [Disclosure: The reporter of this story is president of Turning Point USA at Michigan State University.]

Co-workers were quick to point out that her employer supports her and the photo. The founder of Turning Point USA, Charlie Kirk, applauded Spencer in a tweet for exemplifying “real feminism”:

Another employee, Alana Mastrangelo, tweeted out a similar photo with the message: “Here I am in solidarity with Brenna, also carrying in public.”

The comments on Spencer’s tweeted photo range from GIFs, brief video clips, and memes suggesting she get some counseling.

One person called Spencer an “attention grabbing” young woman, while another wrote that she broke the law by bringing her gun near a building with a no-weapons policy. The photo was taken outside the Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, which bans firearms inside.

One Twitter user, Victoria Silva, alerted police by tagging the Chattanooga Police Department.

“Per the thread, this young female is taking a photo [with] a firearm, in an area [with] a posted ‘no-weapons’ policy,” Silva tweeted. “This showboating behavior is irresponsible, reckless, and potentially dangerous. Signed, A concerned citizen.”

But Spencer told The Daily Signal that she doesn’t see the photo shoot that way. “My goal was to empower women to protect themselves, [so] yes, I think it was successful,” she said.


BOOK REVIEW: "The Case against Education. Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money"

By Bryan Caplan

Why we need to stop wasting public funds on education

Despite being immensely popular --and immensely lucrative—education is grossly overrated. In this explosive book, Bryan Caplan argues that the primary function of education is not to enhance students' skill but to certify their intelligence, work ethic, and conformity —in other words, to signal the qualities of a good employee.

Learn why students hunt for easy As and casually forget most of what they learn after the final exam, why decades of growing access to education have not resulted in better jobs for the average worker but instead in runaway credential inflation, how employers reward workers for costly schooling they rarely if ever use, and why cutting education spending is the best remedy.

Caplan draws on the latest social science to show how the labor market values grades over knowledge, and why the more education your rivals have, the more you need to impress employers. He explains why graduation is our society's top conformity signal, and why even the most useless degrees can certify employability.

He advocates two major policy responses. The first is educational austerity. Government needs to sharply cut education funding to curb this wasteful rat race. The second is more vocational education, because practical skills are more socially valuable than teaching students how to outshine their peers.

Romantic notions about education being "good for the soul" must yield to careful research and common sense—The Case against Education" points the way.

Bryan Caplan is professor of economics at George Mason University and a blogger at EconLog. He is the author of "Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent Is Less Work and More Fun than You Think" and "The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies" (Princeton). He lives in Oakton, Virginia.


Lure teachers to the small towns with extra cash and nice houses, Australian government advised

Teachers "at the top of their game" would be lured from the city to the bush with extra cash, nice houses and a guaranteed right of return under a plan to improve student results in Australia's regional schools.

A lengthy review of regional education has urged the federal government to offer more incentives for established teachers to do a stint outside the city, and to break down the stigma around the bush as a place for teachers to work.

Teachers should also be given an "absolute, rock-solid guarantee" they can return to their original school, said the report's author, education professor and former teacher John Halsey.

He pointed to models used in mining and engineering industries to lure staff to regional areas by offering "very nice housing", and flying staff and their families free-of-charge to inspect their would-be homes.

A 34-year-old teacher moving to an isolated area does not want to share a house with strangers, Professor Halsey said. And people's enthusiasm about working in rural areas was often "drained away every day after work by complaints and disappointments about the quality of housing" from family members. "It's just a fact of life," Professor Halsey told Fairfax Media. "Housing and conditions in some locations - and in some more than others - is a major issue."

The report also recommended teachers be lured with "targeted salary and conditions packages" and a guarantee they can return to their original post, not just any school.

"If you're prepared to go to Broken Hill and you've come out of the green leafies in Sydney, being told you can return to greater metropolitan Sydney is not going to cut it," Professor Halsey said.

The Turnbull government commissioned the review last year in a bid to improve lagging results for country students compared to their city counterparts. The report, presented to education ministers on Friday, also recommended making the national curriculum more relevant to regional and remote students.

"The achievements of [country] students have in the main lagged behind urban students for decades," Professor Halsey wrote. "This has to be turned around in the shortest time possible."

The report acknowledged the drawback in luring teachers to the bush temporarily was that turnover would remain high. But it was still desirable to get more teachers "at the top of their game" into regional schools.

Beginner teachers were often seen as "an important [but] over-represented" component of staff in regional schools, Professor Halsey said. "Experience does count for something and accounts in some instances for a lot," he said.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said there was "no silver bullet" to fixing inequities in regional education but he would examine the recommendations and respond


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