Monday, May 14, 2018

The Left Tries to Kick the Right Out of Med and Law School

In a move very reminiscent of past discriminatory practices,   Leftists are clearly moving to hang signs saying, "Conservatives need not apply."

Imagine your son or daughter is applying for medical school. You’ve watched as they grew up and got good grades in school. You taught them to stand up for what they believe, and you’ve worked to get them in good financial shape for getting through college and medical school.

Then their Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) score comes back and it’s low — too low for the best medical schools in the country. Oh, they might get into a second-tier school, but the best internships and residences will likely be out of reach. But one reason that score might be low is because the Association of American Medical Colleges is rigging the test. Even if students do score high on the rigged test, the AAMC is working on other ways to filter out, shall we say, “deplorable” applicants.

According to The Weekly Standard, that process has been underway for a while, largely through the efforts of the AAMC’s president, Dr. Darrell Kirch. In essence, Kirch wants to kick conservatives out of medical school. Or at least those who don’t become what Dennis Prager calls American Marranos.

The goal is simple: Doctors are among the most trusted professions in the country — and if conservatives are excluded from the profession, then the Left has (yet another) a powerful platform. We’ve already seen “public health” used as a justification for gun control. There were dissenting voices then, but what happens if the dissenting voices are screened out? Or think of this: If pro-lifers are screened out from even being admitted to medical school, then how will crisis pregnancy centers function beyond counseling?

This effort to exclude conservatives is also extending to the legal profession. The American Bar Association has proposed a rule (Model Rule 8.4g) that seems to be tailor-made for use against conservatives. Ostensibly, it prohibits harassment based on “race, sex, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or socioeconomic status.”

Now, nobody should be harassed for any of those reasons, but it all comes down to defining “harassment.” When the Left regularly accuses those who disagree with them of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and Islamophobia, among other things, it’s easy to see how this rule can be misused against any conservative would-be attorney who speaks out on a controversial issue.

But the implications reach further: If the worst aspects of college speech codes end up in the canon of legal ethics, what conservative would go into law as a profession? Rule 8.4g is a kill shot aimed at the next generation of conservative lawyers. Many states are voting down this rule for now, but it may only be a delaying action.

The sad fact of the matter is that the Left is clearly moving to hang signs saying, “Conservatives need not apply.” This is an attack that deserves the disinfectant of sunlight, but Congress and state legislatures need to act as well — to outlaw discrimination by the ABA, AAMC, AMA, and any similar group based on political affiliation and expression, and perhaps even to remove them as gatekeepers to the medical and legal professions, or both. Conservatives must act, or the Left will leave them no platforms to speak out.


Free Speech for Some, but Not for All
“I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” Few quotations are more quintessentially American than this (attributed in various forms to Voltaire, Oscar Wilde and others). You may not persuade anyone, but at least you can count on being heard.

That’s the idea, anyway. Civil society may have frayed in other areas, but right and left, surely we can agree that you have a right to speak up and not be silenced.

Unfortunately, even this bedrock principle has been weakening in recent years, and nowhere more, ironically enough, than at our nation’s universities. We may still refer to them as institutions of higher learning, but on far too many campuses, a dissenting point of view has become an endangered species.

By “dissenting,” of course, I mean dissenting from the liberal orthodoxy that prevails in much of academia. When a right-leaning speaker is coming to campus, one of two things often happens:

1) Angry students create such an uproar that college administrators cave in and force the speaker to withdraw.

2) The speaker has his or her speech disrupted by “protesters” who crash the event, interrupt loudly and repeatedly (at best) and even escalate to assault (at worst).

I put the word “protesters” in quotation marks because although the media usually calls them that, they’re wrong. Protesting has a long and hallowed history in American society. If a controversial speaker comes to a campus, and people who disagree with his message want to speak up, fine. Hoist your signs, distribute your literature, etc.

But you do it outside the event. You don’t fill the seats and scream at people, or block entrances, or even pepper-spray individuals, as has occurred on certain campuses.

Free speech is a two-way street. I would never defend anyone who treated a liberal speaker in such a deplorable way. I expect the same courtesy from the Left.

We both get a chance to speak. That’s how freedom works.

Or how it’s supposed to. Unfortunately, too many students arrive on campus with a poor grasp of the U.S. Constitution, let alone good manners. Hearing an alternative view to what they’ve been spoon-fed their entire lives sends them into a complete tailspin.

They don’t listen respectfully. They attack. “The 2016-17 academic year will go down in history as the year of the shout-down,” Stanley Kurtz of the Ethics and Public Policy Center wrote in a piece for National Review that cataloged some of the more notable outrages.

The bad news is, universities aren’t helping. The good news is, some states are. In a recent article for The Daily Signal, education expert Jonathan Butcher praised Arizona lawmakers for strengthening laws that protect free speech on public college campuses.

“While the First Amendment has long limited regulations to the ‘time, place, and manner’ of speech in public forums, now schools can only exercise that authority to restrict speech if it is ‘necessary to achieve a compelling governmental interest’ and is ‘the least restrictive means’ for doing so,” he writes.

Other states, such as North Carolina and Wisconsin, have taken steps to address the speaker shout-down problem — preventing campuses from disinviting speakers, for example, and stipulating that universities explain their free-speech policies during freshmen orientation. It’s a shame that such remedial steps are necessary, but here we are.

The need for action couldn’t be plainer. Many students understand the need to protect everyone’s free speech rights, but others? Not so much. In one recent survey, 10 percent of students said it is appropriate to use violence to stop a speaker sometimes, while 37 percent said speaker shout-downs are sometimes acceptable.

That’s frightening. Until both of those numbers are at zero percent, it’s obviously we have our work cut out for us.


Number of Australians with tertiary education qualifications to plunge

Good.  It might rein in credentialism

The number of Australians with tertiary education qualifications will plummet in the next decade unless current funding arrangements are overhauled, new research has found.

A new report released by the Mitchell Institute in Victoria on Monday warns that by 2031 participation in Australia’s tertiary education sector could fall to as low as 6% of the population aged between 15 and 64, down from about 10.5% in 2016.

Driven by a combination of the government’s freeze on the demand-driven university enrolment system and a sustained period of cuts to vocational education and training (VET) funding, the report cautions Australia could be “about to enter a decade of declining participation in tertiary education”.

Written by respected tertiary education expert Peter Noonan, the report paints a stark portrait of falling enrolments, particularly driven by a marked decline in the vocational sector.

“Really if we look at the tertiary education sector as a whole – both VET and higher education together – and think ahead, then we face a significant risk of declining participation rates in post-school education on current settings, and that’s mainly because of the alarming decline in VET enrolments and participation,” he told the Guardian.

Noonan’s report warns that based on current trends VET sector enrolments would fall from 5.3% of 15 to 64-year-olds in 2016 to 1.3% by 2031. That equates to more than half-a-million fewer enrolments in the sector in a 15 year period.

“Assuming the ongoing decline in student enrolments is not reversed ... in effect, VET would become a residual sector,” the report states.

“While this scenario may seem implausible, governments will need to act quickly and decisively to arrest the continuing decline in public investment in VET and the ongoing decline in publicly funded student enrolments.”

Noonan has long been critical of current funding arrangements for the vocational sector, and has called for a complete overhaul of the way the system is run between the states and the commonwealth.

Data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research has previously shown that VET operational funding from the states and territories has fallen steadily over the past four years, from $4.3 billion in 2012 to $2.9 billion in 2016.

He says current funding arrangements allow the states to match commonwealth funding allocations by taking money from their other parts of the VET system, and thinks the federal government needs to take a stronger hold of a sector he says has been allowed to fall into crisis.

“If you were a casual observer you’d think that the education system consisted of schools and universities because all the debate has been around Gonski and the various iterations of university reforms,” he said.

“At the same time the VET sector has been in free fall and no one has either noticed or cared.”

While the decline in VET enrolments means that even on current trends the number of students enrolled in tertiary courses will continue to fall, the report states that the freeze on demand-driven funding will impact on university enrolments.

The report’s modelling predicts the cap will see the proportion of 18 to 64-year-olds enrolled at university staying at below 5% by 2031, rather than lifting to above 6% based on previous trends.

“In a period when successful mass participation in tertiary education is essential to the country’s economic and social wellbeing ... this decline would, over time, also result in a decline in qualification attainment levels in the Australian workforce,” the report found.


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