Monday, July 09, 2018

Texas Educators, Employees Showing Increased Interest in ‘School Marshal’ Program

A program in Texas which trains armed educators and employees has seen increasing interest since the recent deadly school shootings in Parkland, Florida, and Santa Fe, Texas.

One of the training programs, run by the Alamo Area Council of Governments Regional Law Enforcement Training Academy (AACOG) in San Antonio currently has 16 participants, the biggest group to sign up since it began in 2014.

Adjunct instructor Richard Bryan said enrollees don’t want to be helpless in deadly situations.

“From what we’ve seen, just talking to the participants, they want to do something in these type of situations. If something was to go bad, they want to be able to help.”

“Last year when we scheduled it, we actually had to cancel it because there wasn’t enough interest at the time,” Bryan said.

According to the School Marshal Program, which was approved by the Texas State Legislature in 2013, trainees must complete 80 hours of instruction that will teach them prevention strategies, law enforcement techniques, and proficiency with a handgun.

“School districts across Texas now have the option of training selected employees to be armed marshals,” the program states.

“These marshals will serve to protect students from armed intruders in accordance with HB 1009. Individuals participating in this newly designed program will be a current district employee and already possess a current concealed handgun license. This training gives school districts another option for protection of students.”

Florida Senate Bill 7026, enacted in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, came up with a program that allows its school districts to choose whether or not to participate in a school guardian program if it is offered in their county.

However, a summary of the bill states that teachers are not required to be part of the program or to carry a weapon.

“No teacher will be required to participate. In fact, the legislation provides that personnel that are strictly classroom teachers with no other responsibilities cannot participate, with specified exceptions.”

However, during an interview last month, Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent Scribner said he was not yet on board with the idea of arming teachers in the classroom.

“Trained professional officers, on our middle school, high school and moving forward our elementary campuses is what we want. Things have to be organized. Things have to be well thought out, so at this moment, I don’t think that any of us quite frankly, are prepared to implement a policy like that in the short term.”

During a hearing last month with Texas lawmakers to discuss ways to prevent future school shootings, Mike Matranga who is head of security for the Texas City school district said that hiring a police officer to patrol the school would be a better option than arming teachers and employees.

“If you’re going to designate a marshal or a guardian, why not just hire another police officer and put them in a school? They’re better trained. They’re better equipped. They have the ability to make judgments. It seems like you’re putting a Band-Aid on a hemorrhage.”

Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) spokeswoman Gretchen Grigsby said she estimated that 110 people have already signed up for the summer course.

“School safety is on a lot of people’s minds now,” Grigsby told KSAT news.


University Rejects Professor’s Statement That Men And Women Are Different

The University of Washington publicly condemned a professor’s op-ed explaining that there aren’t as many women in the field of coding as men because men and women are different and make different choices.

Computer science professor Stuart Reges wrote a June 19 essay explaining why there aren’t more women in the field of coding, alleging that it’s unlikely the percentage of women in the tech industry will surpass 20 percent because women are simply less interested in the profession than men.

“If men and women are different, then we should expect them to make different choices,” he continued in the piece. “There has been no period of time when men have been increasing while women have been decreasing.” He surmised that “Women can code, but often they don’t want to.”

The school took issue with the professor’s essay, even sending out an email rejecting the piece and its premise. “We disagree with the conclusions drawn in the article,” UW School of Science Director Hank Levy wrote in an email to the whole campus June 23, Campus Reform reported Monday

“We disagree with the assertion that gender differences and preferences explain the disparity between men and women in computer science and engineering,” spokeswoman Kristin Osborn said, according to Campus Reform. She would not confirm whether Levy had read Reges’ essay or if the research the professor cited in his piece had been reviewed before the university publicly rejected the essay.

Reges pushed back against the university’s comment, alleging that his essay “is what science should be about.” He added that “UW already decided based on ideology, not science, that they disagree with my conclusions.”

Reges noted in his essay that women generally avoid risk more than men, while men respond more aptly to economic incentives. While the number of female computer science majors rose from 15 percent in 1965 to 37 percent in 1984, according to the National Science Foundation, that number fell to under 20 percent in 2015. Reges explains this drop by positing the lower percentages reflect women’s choices rather than discriminatory behavior against women in tech.

Reges’s colleagues also lambasted the professor shortly after he published the op-ed, and the university’s Diversity Allies drafted a petition asking students how they felt about his statements after the professor’s essay came out.


Two elite colleges dropped their requirement for prospective students to submit an SAT or ACT essay score on Thursday

Princeton University and Stanford University dropped their SAT/ACT mandate for applicants, reported The Washington Post. Brown University is the sole remeaining Ivy League school to require students to submit the essay scores.

While the requirement is gone, Stanford admissions dean Richard Shaw said the school would still “strongly recommend” that 2019 candidates for admission submit ACT or SAT writing tests. The school did not respond immediately to a request to a request for more detailed comment from The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Meanwhile, Princeton now mandates that applicants submit a high school writing sample, preferably from an English or history class.

“With this policy, Princeton aims to alleviate the financial hardship placed on students, including those who have the opportunity to take the test without writing during the school day and for free,” the New Jersey school said in a Thursday statement obtained by WaPo.

Students who opt to take the essay portions of the ACT and SAT need to pay an additional fine of up to $16.50 or $17, respectively.

Almost every Ivy League school has dropped the required ACT and SAT writing sections, but they still mandate that students take the rest of the tests. The University of Chicago became the first top-10 research school to scrap the entire test as a requirement in June.

“Because Chicago has long been recognized as an admissions reform leader (e.g. Ted O’Neill and the ‘Uncommon Application’), it is now much more likely that peer national universities will follow suit,” FairTest public education director Bob Schaeffer told The Daily Caller News Foundation regarding the school’s switch. “From a broader ‘movement’ perspective, Chicago’s decision extends test-optional momentum from top-tier liberal arts colleges, where more than half no longer require ACT/SAT scores for all or many applicants, to a broader range of brand-name schools. An accelerated trickle-down effect is likely — FairTest’s internal ‘watch list’ already includes about three dozen schools that we know are considering dropping ACT/SAT scores.”


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