Tuesday, June 12, 2018

De Blasio plans to destroy New York's best schools in the name of "diversity"

It's their selective admisions that make them "best"

A plan to diversify New York City’s most elite public high schools is drawing fire from the minority group that has come to dominate them in recent years: Asian-Americans.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last weekend that he wants to scrap the test that governs admission to eight specialized high schools, including Stuyvesant High School and the Bronx High School of Science, calling the test ‘‘a roadblock to justice, progress, and academic excellence.’’

Fewer than 10 percent of students who score well enough to gain admission to the schools are black or Latino, despite the fact that those two groups make up two-thirds of the city’s 1 million public school students.

‘‘It’s not fair. It’s not inclusive. It’s not open to all,’’ de Blasio said.

But such a change might mean fewer seats for Asian-American students, who now make up 62 percent of the pupils.

The proposal “causes chaos in the Asian-American community, and we’re here to reject this policy,’’ said John Chan, head of the Coalition of Asian-Americans for Civil Rights. Opponents of the proposed change accused the mayor of pitting minority groups against each other.

‘‘For many of these Asian-American families I represent, they’re mostly new American families, new immigrants who came here,’’ said Assemblyman Ron Kim, a Queens Democrat. ‘‘They’re just following the rules that were set. For the chancellor to imply they own the admissions test, I think it’s completely uncalled for. They didn’t create this system.’’

Tough entrance standards, a rigorous curriculum, and a reputation for graduating some of the world’s top scholars have made the city’s exam schools highly sought after among high-performing students.

The Bronx High School of Science alone has graduated eight future Nobel Prize winners. Stuyvesant High has had four.

In 2018, about 28,300 middle school students took the test to get into the eight specialized schools. About 5,000 were offered seats.

Asian students were the largest number of test-takers, about 8,800, and had the highest acceptance rate, with 29.7 percent of the students getting an offer, compared with 3.6 percent of the 5,730 black students who took the test and 26.2 percent of white students.

City Councilor Margaret Chin, a Bronx Science alumna and a Democrat whose district includes Manhattan’s Chinatown, wrote in a letter to de Blasio that Asian-Americans have ‘‘a unique relationship’’ with the specialized high schools.

‘‘For many families, particularly low-income immigrant families, the specialized high schools are the only pathway to a world-class education,’’ Chin asserted.

Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, who was recently appointed after serving as superintendent in Houston, hit back in TV appearances, telling Fox 5 New York, ‘‘I just don’t buy into the narrative that any one ethnic group owns admission to these schools.’’

Overhauling the specialized high school admissions process entirely would require action by the state legislature, which won’t vote on the plan until 2019 at the earliest.

As a stopgap measure, the mayor said he would expand a program to offer seats at the schools to low-income students who score just below the cutoff grade. Under the expanded version of what’s known as the Discovery program, 20 percent of specialized high school seats will be reserved for those low-income students.

Defining the plan’s beneficiaries by income skirts the legal issues that would be raised if the city tried to favor any particular ethnic group.

Some students at Stuyvesant, the school that requires the highest score on the admissions test, expressed doubts about even that modest adjustment.

Senior Jessica Sun, a Chinese-American student, said students who missed the test cutoff might struggle at a high-pressure school like Stuyvesant. ‘‘I don’t think they would do too well, since it’s very hard and you need a lot of support from your family,’’ she said.

Sun added that the specialized high school test is ‘‘very fair.’’ ‘‘You study for it. You make the cutoff. You get in,’’ she said.

The three-hour, multiple-choice test is offered to eighth-graders every fall. Many parents spend thousands of dollars on tutors to prepare their children for the exam.

The city has sought to diversify the specialized high schools by offering free test-prep classes to disadvantaged youngsters, but those efforts have not yielded measurable results.

De Blasio’s proposed overhaul would eliminate the test entirely and offer specialized high school slots to the top students at every middle school in the city.

City officials estimate that under the plan, similar to the University of Texas system, 45 percent of offers to specialized schools would go to black and Hispanic students.


Many Factors Drive the Rise in Homeschooling

The long list includes mass shootings, sexual indoctrination, and poor academic performance.  

In 2010, Patriot Post columnist Burt Prelutsky said of our underperforming public school systems, “It’s not a school system, it’s a penal colony with report cards.” At the time, it seemed humorously hyperbolic. Today, it seems depressingly understated.

Perhaps that’s why, as The Washington Times recently reported, there has been a surge in parents turning to homeschooling.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, from 1999-2012, the number of homeschooled children in the U.S. more than doubled from 850,000 to 1.8 million. That number has since risen to an estimated 2.3 million.

One thing is certain: In the wake of recent school mass murders, interest in homeschooling has skyrocketed. Louisiana alone has seen a 50% increase since 2011, and in Texas, homeschoolers now outnumber private schoolers.

The “why” is multi-faceted. Safety is near the top of the list for many parents, but it is much more than that. Many parents are fed up with poor academic results despite the vast amounts of money spent on education, and parents think they can do better.

Others cite the prevalence of drugs or a system openly hostile to Christianity. More and more parents are unwilling to continue tolerating schools undermining the values they teach at home — schools where condoms and birth control are dispensed to youth without parental permission, where alternative gender theory is treated as fact (forcing students to share bathrooms and showers with students of the opposite sex), and where the Rainbow Mafia’s agenda is pushed aggressively through sex-ed curriculum so graphic and so pornographic that it has been deemed inappropriate to read at school board meetings.

During the Obama administration, “LGBT” activist Kevin Jennings was appointed “safe school czar.” Jennings, the founder of GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network), one of the largest homosexual activist organizations in America, had a mission to promote homosexuality in K-12 schools. This was done over the objections of parents, who were told they had no right to dictate curriculum content to schools. This indoctrination continues today, trampling parental rights and putting children at risk.

Bullying is another major factor in the decision to homeschool. Far from the schoolyard taunts and name-calling of past years, today many children are being assaulted and psychologically traumatized. One such heartbreaking example is that of a Maryland family. The mother found a suicide note written by her nine-year-old son that read, simply, “Kill me. I mean nothing. I have issues.” The boy was the target of relentless bullying at school; mocked, punched in the face and thrown in the mud by another student. When his parents complained to school officials, little was done.

That wasn’t all. When their 12-year-old daughter was repeatedly sexually harassed by another student, the parents again complained to school officials, but were told the offending student has rights. And when their 18-year-old son reported another student with a knife, and the student made subsequent threats against him on the bus, the school told the family they would not remove the student from the bus, and if their son was scared, he should find another way to get to school.

Part of this insanity is due to Obama’s Department of Education threatening to withhold federal funding to schools where there was a “disproportionate” level of discipline of minority students versus white students. This led to intentional underreporting of bullying, assaults and other criminal acts by minority students in order to stay out of the Obama administration’s crosshairs.

Students are also being pressured into engaging in sexual activity and drugs. And it’s not just other students who are the offenders. A recent report by the Chicago Tribune revealed more than 500 reports of sexual misconduct in the Chicago Public School system — over 100 of which involved adults sexually assaulting and enticing children. These were principals, teachers, coaches, security officers and others in positions of authority.

The report found, despite it being a criminal act to fail to report such sexual misconduct, none of the school employees who stayed silent or covered up the incidents were charged. In fact, the CPS Law Department, which has the responsibility to defend the school system in lawsuits, is also tasked with investigating the incidents and interrogating the victims; a blatant conflict of interest.

With a variety of homeschool networks, support groups, online and even hybrid-homeschooling options, the number of homeschoolers is still relatively small, but it’s increasing rapidly. That’s causing serious heartburn for many public school officials who see a growing threat to their funding.

Takisha Coats Durm, lead virtual school teacher for the Madison County (Alabama) school system, claims homeschooling parents are teaching their kids the wrong lesson. “Even though it seems we may be protecting them,” she says, “we may be sheltering them instead of teaching them to work and find a solution for the issues and not necessarily running away from them, because these things are going to happen.”

Of course, she conveniently ignores the fact that if these things — physical and sexual assault, drug use, bullying — were done in the adult world, they are crimes for which the perpetrator can be prosecuted. When they’re committed against children, often permanent damage is done. Yet in our school system, she insists they are simply tough lessons to be learned.

School shootings may have been the final straw that drove many parents to homeschool, but it’s the tip of an iceberg that has been building for years.


Lewis McLeod’s legal battle over Duke University sexual assault accusations is finally over

The terms of the settlement between the former student Lewis McLeod and the university are confidential, according to both parties

AN AUSTRALIAN student’s long battle to clear his name in a sexual assault case is finally over. But it came at a heavy toll.

Lewis Meyer McLeod has reached a settlement with an American university after a sexual misconduct claim against him spanning almost five years was dropped in February.

But the 27-year-old has revealed just how intense the lengthy struggle affected his emotional wellbeing and job prospects.

“I’ve received many job offers, and they’ve either been taken away from me upon hearing about (the case), or I’ve told them about it, and it was taken away from me,” he told The Australian. “I had built my life around building a reputation, I worked hard to build this reputation and overnight it gets completely destroyed. People who you once thought were friends are no longer friends.”

Four years ago, everything was going well for Mr McLeod. The then-23-year-old had gone from Sydney Grammar School to the elite Duke University in North Carolina, where he completed a $250,000 psychology degree.

The student was offered a lucrative position as an analyst in the New York financial district. Then — with one allegation — it all came crashing down.

Duke University banned Mr McLeod from graduating after he was accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old female student.

At the time, police didn’t press charges against him, but Duke conducted an internal investigation and decided it was “more likely than not” that sex between the pair had been non-consensual due to the girl’s alcohol intake.

The girl told campus investigators she didn’t want to have sex with him.

Days before his graduation, Duke was told he was “not entitled to that honour”.

Mr McLeod sued Duke in 2014, arguing the university had breached its contract with him by failing to follow rules of impartial treatment.

He claimed the pair had consensual sex after meeting at a popular university bar, Shooters, and heading back to his Sigma Nu fraternity house.

His lawyers said he didn’t buy her drinks and saw “no signs” that she was drunk.

What followed was over four years of legal bills, lost employment opportunities and smears.

He said every aspect of the legal battle was a long drawn-out, tough experience, noting that the reputation he’d spent a lifetime building had been shattered in the course of one night.

“I think having studied law, the whole notion of innocent until proven guilty is still one of the most important principles in society,” he told The Australian. “I think in this day and age, people are too quick to rush to judgment. As soon as they see a headline, they jump on it. They don’t read into the facts.”

He said he fully supports the #MeToo movement, but added that both the accuser and accused should be given equal opportunity to present their accounts — something he felt was lacking in the Duke case.

“Duke was no easy litigant, they made everything difficult. Every document, every motion, every legal battle was a long drawn-out, tough experience. And very expensive,” he said.

Mr McLeod is now back in Sydney and is ready to move on, with plans to pursue a career in either law or financial services.


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