Friday, June 22, 2018



Australia: A new/old route to university enrolment

The ATAR is nationally-based evaluation of High School achievement.  It is a percentile score given between "less than 30" up to 99.95 (in a minimum increment of 0.05) which denotes a student's ranking relative to their peers upon completion of their secondary education. For example, an ATAR score of 99.0 means that the student performed better than 99% of their peers. 

The True Reward program admits students to Western Sydney University, a "new" university.  It considers students based on their HSC score, not their ATAR. It appears to be a less scientific evaluation of High School Performance, much like old-time reliance on unweighted exam results



Knowing he was doing his best, Shawcross felt confident he would perform well in his exams, particularly those for the subjects he was most passionate about – legal studies and history – but not entirely sure he would attain the ATAR score needed for the degree he really wanted: the Bachelor of Policing (Leadership Program) at Western Sydney University (WSU). WSU is the only university in metropolitan Sydney to offer the degree.

To give himself the best chance of fulfilling his ambitions, Shawcross applied for a place under WSU’s True Reward initiative, an early offer program that considers students on the basis of their HSC score rather than their ATAR. The program is unique in NSW and generated more than 1900 student enrolments in 2018, its inaugural year.

“The ATAR scaling process can be confusing and not always a true reflection of students’ performance in individual HSC subjects,” says Angelo Kourtis, vice president (people and advancement) at WSU.

“As a result, we believe talented and capable students are missing out on receiving an offer to the degree of their choice. At Western Sydney University we believe in the unlimited potential of every student and the importance of rewarding hard work. In our opinion, the current ATAR scaling system does not support this broadly enough.”

Kourtis says the True Reward program has been in development for a number of years. The university looked closely at its current students to determine the link between their performance at university and the related subjects in the HSC. It conducted a comprehensive analysis of students who maintain a grade point average necessary to successfully complete their degree, correlating this with subject band performance in the HSC.

“Our early offer program not only gives HSC students the chance to plan their futures early, but also considers the results that truly matter. We believe this is the first step towards a more transparent entry system that will set more young people on the path to success, and the future they have worked hard for and deserve,” Kourtis says.

Shawcross won the place he wanted on the basis of his HSC achievements: Band 6s for his strongest subjects: legal studies, ancient history, modern history and studies of religion, and Band 5s “for all the rest”.

Shawcross is now at the end of his first semester and looking forward to exploring his future career options. “I have always wanted to do something that involved the legal system,” he says. “And in policing, there are a lot of different avenues you can go down.

“I’m not exactly sure which area of policing I want to go into yet, riot squad or bomb squad or tactical response or even prosecution. The paths are all very interesting.”

SOURCE 





MS-13 gang presence at a public school: William Wirt Middle School in Prince George’s County, Maryland

For some reason, The Washington Post recently ran an article on something important: the MS-13 gang presence at a public school on the outskirts of our nation’s capital, William Wirt Middle School in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

The media’s usual approach to the diversity being inflicted on us is: Don’t report this! It’s better if no one knows.

Maybe the left has decided it’s too late to do anything about the transformation of our country into a Third World hellhole, and Trump couldn’t stop it even if he wanted to.

The Post reported that, like many schools up and down the East Coast, MS-13 has turned Wirt into a battleground. There have been near-daily gang fights, rampant drug dealing, one reported rape, gang signs on the walls, one shooting — more in nearby schools — and teachers afraid to be alone with their students.

At least two students are required to have security officers assigned to them, walking them from class to class and watching them during lunch hour, on account of MS-13 threatening to kill them.

How many different categories of immigrants require special law enforcement officers devoted to them? Thanks to mass Muslim immigration, the FBI has terrorist watch lists in ALL 50 STATES.

That’s why whenever there’s a terrorist attack, the FBI says, Oh yeah, we were watching that guy. And now we have police bodyguards for kids at schools wherever “unaccompanied minors” have been dumped by our government.

In addition to the free school lunches, transportation, housing and health care to pay for all this wonderful diversity, immigrants are also massively ratcheting up law enforcement costs.

It would be enraging enough if bad things were happening to our country and the immigrants were paying for it. But we’re paying for it. Wait — you are offering to bring gang warfare, drug cartels and terrorism? We’ll go top dollar for that! Put your wallet away! Your money’s no good here!

SOURCE




Women ahead in STEM

A new study released Monday from the American Enterprise Institute hammers liberal talking points that men dominate the various fields of STEM.

According to Mark J. Perry who analyzed college graduation rates in 2016, women earned over 57 percent of bachelor’s degrees, setting a 25.6-percent gender gap against men.

“There were 134 women graduating from college [in 2016] for every 100 men,” Perry said, citing U.S. Department of Education data.

But particularly in several STEM fields, women are even further ahead, earning around 60 percent of biology degrees.

“If you count just biology, mathematics, and physical sciences (e.g., chemistry, physics, etc.) women earn a majority (53 percent) of those of those STEM degrees,” Perry said. “It’s really only when you include engineering and computer science that men have an overall majority of STEM degrees.”

Perry noted the upward trend of women earning the majority of bachelor’s degrees in the U.S., which began in 1982: “Women now have an uninterrupted 35-year record.”

And while data is not yet available on specific fields for 2017, the DOE reports that women earned 57.3 percent of all bachelor’s degrees that year.

Other fields where women earned the majority of degrees include family and consumer sciences (88.3 percent), social services (82.5 percent), agriculture (52.4 percent).

SOURCE

Thursday, June 21, 2018



Teacher unions must be reined in

Any day now the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, a case brought against government unions for charging non-members “agency fees.” If unions are prohibited from charging those fees, the cost of members’ dues could soar—by hundreds of dollars in the case of California Teachers Association members. The result? Less money and fewer members.

A favorable ruling would be great news for non-union members, but what about the rest of us?

In his latest California Policy Center column Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher and California Teachers Empowerment Network President, shows there is still plenty of work to be done in the states no matter how SCOTUS rules.

First, absent changes to state laws, taxpayers will continue footing the bill for teachers unions dues collection, according to Sand:

As I have written before, the taxpayer is the bagman for the teachers union, whose dues are deducted by the local school district from a teacher’s monthly paycheck just as federal and state withholding taxes are. Then the school district turns the money over to the local teachers union. And we all get to pay for this service. Yup, the teachers union, a private organization, doesn’t pay a penny for the transactions.

Numerous states have restricted this practice, including Washington (1992), Idaho (1997), Wyoming (1998), Utah (2001, H.B. 179), ), Idaho (2003, Voluntary Contributions Act), Indiana (2005, Gov. Mitch Daniels’ executive order), Alabama (2010, SB 2, see here also), Wisconsin (2011, Act 10), Arizona (2011, Senate Bill 1365), North Carolina (2012, S 727), Michigan (Public Act 53 of 2012), Kansas (2013, HB 2022), Oklahoma (2015, House Bill 1749), Kentucky (January 2017, HB 1), Iowa (December 2017, HF 291), and most recently Oklahoma (May 2018, Senate Bill 690, which prohibits school districts from putting conditions on employees’ decisions to initiate or terminate any payroll deductions), and Missouri (June 2018, HB 1413). (See also here, here, here, pp. 66-67 here; and pp. 601-604 here ).

Several other states are attempting to ban school districts from acting as unions’ dues-collection agencies, including Louisiana (HB 593), Minnesota (HF 3723 and SF 3387), New Hampshire (HB 1803), New Jersey (S 1650 and A 183), Ohio (here, here, here, and here), Pennsylvania (House Bill 1174 and Senate Bill 166, see also here), Tennessee (2016, SB 151/HB 294 and 2017, HB 356/SB 404), and West Virginia (SB 335).

In stark contrast, California is trying to double down on the practice. Pending legislation (Assembly Bill 1937) would “reaffirm” the duty of public employers to engage in payroll deductions when requested by employees and their unions. However, employers must get approval from the unions, not the employees, before they can take deductions or enact any administrative rules.

Sand highlights some additional salient facts taxpayers in the states should keep in mind.

Teachers unions are private, tax-exempt organizations. The National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers union, reported nearly $366 million in revenue, while the California Teachers Association reported more than $183 million. “The sickening irony here,” says Sand, “is that these unions persistently use their taxpayer-paid tax-free money to raise taxpayer taxes!”

In a post-Janus world, teachers unions could be fighting for their collectivist lives. Anticipating an unfavorable ruling, part of their fight in California is a slew of pending legislation, including a bill that would force taxpayers to subsidize union dues (AB 2577). Yet these same private organizations oppose educational choice programs, claiming they “privatize” education. A leading target of teachers unions is tax-credit scholarship programs, which allow taxpayers to claim credits against their state taxes for donations to non-profit scholarship organizations. Those credits, teachers unions argue, should instead fund government schools—or perhaps the unions themselves, if the California union subsidy bill passes.

“[W]hen it comes to a private entity making a killing from public education, the teachers unions have no peers,” Sand concludes, adding, “While fair-minded people everywhere are rooting for Mark Janus to win his case and strike a blow for employee freedom, here’s hoping the taxpayers in California and elsewhere will, at some point, get their shot at emancipation...”

SOURCE





NEA Grants for Clown College

Of all the strange things that the U.S. government spends money upon, perhaps one of the strangest is a college for clowns located in California’s 12th congressional district, which falls entirely within the city limits of San Francisco and is represented by Nancy Pelosi in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Part of the Circus Center, which provides training to people who would like to pursue careers as circus performers, the Clown Conservatory received a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2017 to help fund a “24-week program, taught by master clowns, circus artists, and circus historians”, which aimed to train “professional and professional-track performing artists in narrative clowning, character creation, circus arts, and performance. The training will help prepare artists to meet the demands of today’s international circus, film, and theater job market.”

CNSNews’ Terrence Jeffrey provides more background on what the NEA’s grant of U.S. taxpayer dollars to the Clown Conservatory buys:

The center says that the Clown Conservatory is “the United States’ only professional training program for clowns and physical comedians.”

“Clown Conservatory is a multidisciplinary training program in physical comedy, precision idiocy and eccentric acting,” says the school’s brochure.

“Our program’s directive,” it says, “is to foster the super-versatile Human Cartoon.”

The organization’s website lists classes and workshops that include “Character Morphing,” “Buffoon,” and “Precision Idiocy: Micro-Crafting Physical Comedy.”

Aside from providing this core program of training for America’s next generation of political leaders, the Clown Conservatory represents taxpayer dollars being wastefully directed to sustain something that the public really doesn’t want.

Because if it did, there would be a growing international job market for clowns fed by growing public demand, and there simply isn’t. The evidence for that can be found in the stagnant membership numbers of the World Clown Association, which has consistently counted some 2,400 people in its ranks since 2004.

Over the same period of time, the world population grew by over one billion. If the world’s population were really demanding more clowns, you would think that worldwide clown demand would have at least kept up with population growth, where we’d see that growth reflected in the clowning world’s professional associations. You know, to support all the hiring going on in “today’s international circus, film, and theater job market” for clowns.

But while the clown community has not meaningfully grown for nearly two decades, the Circus Center has proved adept at securing NEA grants, collecting $175,000 since 2000. The $10,000 that the group received from the NEA to support its Clown Conservancy training program is just the latest batch of federal taxpayer dollars that the group has received.

Referring to the $10,000 NEA grant for the Clown Conservancy, CNSNews.com asked the Circus Center: “Why should American taxpayers fund a school for clowns?”

Barry Kendall, executive director of the Circus Center, responded. “Paying taxes is a deeply patriotic act and supporting the preservation and advancement of American culture is one of the patriotic uses of those dollars,” said Kendall. “Circus Center is proud of the unique contributions that our professional clown training program makes to the cultural life of our nation, and we are delighted that Clown Conservatory was recognized through the NEA’s competitive application process.”

That’s the kind of professional training for America’s next generation of political leaders that I was talking about! Plus, it doesn’t hurt to be based in the home district of the current minority party leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, who was also once third-in-line for the U.S. Presidential succession in their former role as Speaker of the House.

After all, this kind of wasteful spending doesn’t repeatedly happen by accident!

SOURCE




Teachers Unions Have Lost Support—Including from Teachers

The National Education Association is bracing for disaster. If the Supreme Court rules, in the much-anticipated Janus case, against public-employee unions charging “agency fees” to non-members, then the NEA will be prepared with a $50 million smaller budget, a reflection of the potential loss of dues from more than 300,000 teachers. It’s a prudent move after years of taking the support of teachers for granted, according to Independent Institute Research Fellow Vicki E. Alger.

Recent polls show that teachers unions have lost support from the rank and file. “Contrary to the collectivist mythos dominating union policies and practice, teachers are not a monolithic voting bloc,” Alger writes in the Washington Times. “They don’t need or want grand pooh-bahs telling them how to vote.”

In some cases, teachers feel betrayed that unions negotiating on their behalf have sought concessions that go beyond matters of teacher compensation but deal also with political issues. Many parents have also pulled back support from teachers unions. “So come November,” Alger writes, “parents, teachers, and taxpayers in Arizona and other states will certainly remember [the recent wave of teacher strikes], but likely not the way strike organizers or union bosses presume they will.”

SOURCE 




Wednesday, June 20, 2018


Calif. School District Forbids Parents to Remove Kids From Graphic Sex Ed Class

California passed a law in 2015 known as the California Healthy Youth Act, part of which expanded and overhauled sexual education classes to include information about homosexuality, gender identity issues and abortion, and which is just now being implemented in schools across the state.

The new sex ed course is intended to help students develop “healthy attitudes” with regard to such issues as “gender (and) sexual orientation” while also informing students about the effectiveness of various contraceptives and spurring an “objective discussion” about “parenting, adoption, and abortion.”

According to LifeSite News, there are some parents who don’t want their children being exposed to everything the curriculum offers.

There’s plenty to object to.

The curriculum includes a study guide about transgender issues and a “sexual health toolkit,” which teaches young students about such things as sex toys and anal intercourse, downplays such quaint notions as “abstinence” and “virginity” and relies heavily upon left-wing organizations such as Planned Parenthood and Advocates for Youth — which are pro-homosexuality and pro-abortion — as resources.

The 2015 law recognized that “parents and guardians have the ultimate responsibility for imparting values regarding human sexuality to their children,” and as such had expressly allowed for parents and guardians to “excuse their children from participation” in the courses as a whole without any sort of penalty.

However, if parents allow their children to take the course at all, they can only keep their children from some aspects, specifically dealing with the physical organs. Otherwise, the children must be exposed to every part of it, including sex toys, anal sex and homosexuality. And parents will be in no position to object.

So, having a kid learn about sexual health means having the kids learn about homexuality and anal sex, too?

That’s the intepretation the Orange County Board of Education — more specifically Orange County Department of Education general counsel Ronald Wenkart — has reached anyway.

That’s because a statement in the law specifically exempts from the parents’ opt-out power “instruction, materials, presentations, or programming that discuss gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, discrimination, harassment, bullying, intimidation, relationships, or family and do not discuss human reproductive organs and their functions.”

In a memo published in full by the San Juan Capistrano Patch, Wenkart indicated that students could only be excused from the portions of the courses that dealt directly with human reproductive organs, and all other information imparted by the courses was mandatory.

Wenkart did, however, suggest that parents retained the right to “advise their children that they disagree with some or all of the information” put forward in the courses and were permitted to “express their views on these subjects to their children.” Gee, thanks for the permission.

SOURCE 






Teaching Cultural Degradation to Children

While the pro-life agenda is anathema, the LGBT agenda is an integral part of the curriculum.

In California, sex education must align itself with progressive dogma — or else.

The Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) is conducting an investigation after what Fox News Sacramento called an “anti-abortion” video was included as part of a sex-education lecture at Sutter Middle School. What the series of videos actually depicted was animations of how abortions are carried out during various stages of pregnancy. They were presented by a pro-life organization called Live Action, and narrated by Dr. Anthony Levatino, a former abortionist turned pro-life activist.

During the presentation, Levantino urges viewers to “protect the pre-born.”

SCUSD spokesman Alex Barrios insisted the videos are “completely inappropriate for the classroom” and fail to “meet the district’s approved family life and sexuality curriculum.”

What curriculum? “California state law, the California Healthy Youth Act, requires that comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention education be provided to students at least once in middle school and once in high school, starting in 7th grade,” the district’s website states. “Instruction must encourage students to communicate with parents, guardians or other trusted adults about human sexuality.”

The instruction encouraging students to communicate with parents, guardians or other trusted adults about human sexuality is a bit rich when one considers that California is a state where children under the age of 18 who want an abortion are under no legal obligation to seek their parents’ permission to get it. In fact, they don’t even have to let their parents know they are having what amounts to a surgical procedure.

One is hard-pressed to think of a single other surgical procedure a minor can have without parental consent or notification.

Unfortunately, such twisted ideological priorities should surprise no one. Few things upset leftists who champion the “right to choose” — along with the right to usurp parental guidance and authority — more than the notion that one should be making an informed choice about terminating a pregnancy. Thus, any video that shows students exactly how abortions are performed is off limits.

Why? It might have something to do with a four-minute-long video released by Levantino in 2016 that went viral. “One-third of women who said they hold ‘pro-choice’ views on abortion had a more negative view of abortion after watching even part of the video, and nearly as many called for abortion to be more strictly regulated,” reported Life Site News. More compelling? “Even more pro-choice women, 46 percent, felt the videos should be shown in high school sex education classes,” it added.

“We all know that the subject of abortion is sensitive, complex and controversial, and I personally don’t think it belongs as a topic to go into in any depth in a seventh-grade class,” said a parent of one student who viewed the video. The parent further bemoaned the fact that what the children saw “cannot be unseen.”

It would be illuminating to know what this parent and others think of that same seventh-grade curriculum including a lesson entitled “Blue is for Boys, Pink is for Girls.” It is a lesson that “engages students in a discussion surrounding gender stereotypes and their origin,” and “connections around non-heterosexual orientations.” It’s followed by a lesson called “Sexual Orientation, Behavior and Gender Identity” that discusses “different types of sexual orientation and distinguishes between orientation, behavior and identity.”

In short, while the pro-life agenda is anathema, the LGBT agenda is an integral part of the curriculum.

And these are the “older” students. California is poised to launch a sex-ed program that makes an utter mockery of the indignation surrounding anti-abortion videos. As part of the state’s “Welcoming Schools” agenda, suggested reading for students at grade levels kindergarten through fifth grade will include “I AM JAZZ: READING A CHILDREN’S BOOK TO HELP UNDERSTAND TRANSGENDER TOPICS IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL.” It will be accompanied by another publication entitled “Sexual Health Guide,” subtitled “An Adolescent Provider Toolkit.”

That toolkit describes topics such as “anal intercourse,” “phone sex,” and other “common sexual behaviors.”

During a May 29 meeting at San Diego Unified School District’s offices, dozens of parents chanting “too much, too soon,” and “protect our kids,” made it clear to school officials — for the third time in two years — they were less than enchanted with the district’s Sexual Health Education Program (SHEP). “It’s not about sex education, it’s not about biological science, it’s about promulgating and pushing a world view upon them,” one parent rightly told the board, adding that “gender confusion, gender dysphoria is what you’re trying to promote.”

District officials insisted the curriculum was in compliance with the new California Healthy Youth Act and state mandates. Dean Broyles, an attorney with the National Center for the Law and Policy, disagrees, asserting, “There are only recommended curriculum, there are no mandated curriculum under the California Healthy Youth Act because it’s too new and a framework has not even been developed yet.”

In stark contrast, the abortion videos are a bridge too far and spokesman Barrios promises the district “will address this matter with the seriousness it demands.” That would be the same district that gives children access to graphic cartoons featuring characters named “Julie Melons” and “Miles Long,” naked in bed together.

Seriously.

Jenny Thomas is the science teacher who presented the videos. It’s her job to teach students about family life and human sexuality. She has apologized for the presentation.

California public schools are hardly outliers in pushing the progressive sexual agenda. At UC Santa Barbara, a student-operated sex information website addresses a variety of topics, including “Childhood Sexuality,” and “Talking To Your Child About Sex.” The former focuses on prepubescent children and urges parents to “keep their reactions to children’s consensual sexual activity and play positive.” Even when children are “touching each others genitals” parents should remain sanguine because “children are just exploring.” The latter topic in part urges parents to teach their children that watching pornography “is a normal habit, and that they do not need to be ashamed of it,” provided it is viewed in moderation.

Enough. America needs congressional hearings on the state of public school education, and one of the primary topics that must be addressed is why, in the overwhelming majority of cases, promoting progressive dogma is the default agenda.

In California, it’s a sexual agenda epitomized by the website “CALIFORNIA MINOR CONSENT AND CONFIDENTIALITY LAWS,” which details just how extensive the usurpation of parental rights has become in the Golden State. By law, the “health care provider is not permitted to inform a parent or legal guardian without the minor’s consent” — with regard to pregnancy, abortion, STDs and rape services for minors 12 years of age and older.

What undergirds this usurpation is a lowest-common-denominator presumption that a parent or guardian might be the child’s impregnator, disease transmitter or rapist. That presumption alludes to the greater discussion of cultural degradation — which alludes to the anything-goes “morality” that constitutes an integral part of the progressive agenda that contributed mightily to that degradation.

The same progressive agenda promulgated in public schools where a pro-life video warrants an investigation. Go figure.

SOURCE 







Withdraw the Obama Administration’s ‘Dear Colleague’ Letter on School Discipline

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), which does great work, has written U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, urging her to withdraw an Obama-era “Dear Colleague” letter giving school administrators “guidance” on how to comply with federal law when it comes to school discipline.

Threatening lawsuits if the administrators didn’t comply with the “guidance,” the 2014 letter coerced many school systems into adopting illegal racial quotas in their disciplinary decision-making.

The Obama letter utilized the “disparate impact” approach to civil-rights enforcement, whereby a policy that does not discriminate on its face, in its intent, or in its application is nonetheless deemed illegal if it has “disproportionate” statistical effects among different racial and ethnic groups.

A number of other organizations, including the Center for Equal Opportunity, joined on WILL’s letter to Secretary DeVos, which continues the steady drumbeat on this important issue from conservative groups. Here’s hoping that she withdraws the discipline letter soon, as she correctly did with similar letters by the Obama administration regarding sexual harassment on college campuses and transgender students in school bathrooms.

Certainly, there is no lack of reasons to withdraw the letter, which created both legal and policy problems. Procedurally, it violates both the Congressional Review Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. Substantively, as the WILL letter explains, the Education Department lacks authority to use the “disparate impact” standard in enforcing Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in programs or activities that receive federal funds. In 2001, the Supreme Court ruled in Alexander v. Sandoval that Title VI bans only “disparate treatment.” In any event, the letter’s hyper-aggressive approach violates other Supreme Court and lower federal-court decisions, including a ban on racial quotas in school discipline.

As a policy matter, there is overwhelming evidence that Obama-era policies culminating in this “Dear Colleague” letter pushed schools to avoid disciplining students who needed to be disciplined. It made avoiding politically incorrect numbers more important than maintaining school safety.

The victims of this unfair and unlawful policy are most likely to be well-behaving, minority students — and their teachers — whose classrooms become disrupted and dangerous. And it doesn’t do misbehaving students any favors either, since a lack of early corrective action may only encourage even more disruptive and potentially dangerous behavior. This is what some refer to as the school-to-prison pipeline.

So, kudos to WILL. And please, Secretary DeVos, withdraw that letter immediately and instead ensure that the Education Department follows good educational policy, Title VI, and the Constitution.

SOURCE 


Tuesday, June 19, 2018


What Do Test Scores Really Mean for the Economy?

Stagnant NAEP scores spell trouble ahead for the U.S. economy

It is increasingly common to hear public statements downplaying the results of student tests. Such was the widespread reaction after the annual release of the highly reliable National Assessment of Educational Progress test scores in April, often called the "nation's report card." The 2017 average scores, which measure U.S. student performance in math and reading for a nationally representative sample of 4th and 8th graders, indicate a general stagnation compared with two years ago. And the results from two years ago were significantly below those from four years ago.

The common reaction to the NAEP results—for parents, policymakers, and school leaders—has the tone of, "Oh darn, we do need to do better." But there is no sense of urgency. Nor is there much realization that we have essentially had the same results and the same reaction for four decades. Math and reading scores of 17-year-olds, for instance, are unchanged since the 1970s.

Putting our heads in the sand is not the right answer. Test scores today say a lot about what our labor force will look like over the coming decades. Our current students' skills will dictate our economic future in the long run. Understanding the implications of higher skills—as measured by regular standardized tests—provides a way of assessing how our country as a whole will fare in the coming years.

It is well-documented that people with a better education tend to earn more over their lifetimes. But fewer people understand the overall effects of an educated society on the economy. Research I have done with my German colleague Ludger Woessmann over the past decade shows a clear link between nations' scores on international math and science tests and their economic-growth rates between 1960 and 2000. Other research also shows that growth rates are directly related to achievement improvements that result from better school policies, including external exit exams for students, higher relative teacher salaries, and more choice and competition among schools.

Even though Canada does not seem culturally or historically far removed from the United States, its schools produce systematically better outcomes. On the 2015 Program for International Student Assessment's math tests for 15-year-olds, Canada ranked 9th, while the United States ranked 39th—almost one-half standard deviation behind. Continuing "business as usual" puts us well below the average math-skill level in developed countries, leaving us faring only slightly better than countries such as Croatia and Greece—two nations with low PISA scores and struggling economies.

By historic patterns, if we were to close just half the gap between our students' PISA scores and Canada's, it would lead to long-run annual economic-growth rates that are almost 0.5 percentage points higher. That increase would raise the average U.S. gross domestic product 7 percent across the 21st century—more than enough to pay for projected fiscal problems with Medicare and Social Security benefits. Such monetary improvements would be more than 10 times larger than the economic losses from the 2008 recession.

Making headway on such improvements is feasible, and we already have a roadmap: Achievement in Massachusetts, consistently our highest-performing state, closes two-thirds of the average U.S.-Canadian performance gap. But this is just one state, and it cannot carry the entire nation. If other states realized the performance gains that the aggressive educational policies in Massachusetts have yielded over the past two decades (along with states that include Delaware, Florida, and Maryland), our nation could become internationally competitive. These states all put a relentless focus on student performance through emphasizing strong school accountability and teacher effectiveness. They also make their policies consistent across different political administrations.

To be sure, the effects of improving schools do not immediately appear, nor is there an exact recipe. It takes time for higher-achieving students to enter the labor market and make their skills known. But the delayed outcome isn't grounds for waiting to change our practices.

Improving student outcomes has proved difficult in large part because we are unwilling to take any major steps to make schools better. It appears acceptable just to put more resources into existing schools without any evidence of better academic learning. Real school expenditures per student have more than doubled since 1970—yet our graduates' achievement remains mostly flat.

When we talk about dealing with the rigidities of our current education system, people generally shrink back. Witness, for example, the reactions to teacher strikes in Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. There were no discussions of relating any salary increases to the effectiveness of teachers. Indeed, the only thing on the table was more funding for failed existing policies.

The economic costs of not paying attention to the message of stagnating schools are huge. The absence of improvement in our nation's schools not only translates into significantly lower economic outcomes for our children, but it also signals a loss of our international prestige and influence. Why risk losing our country's top leadership position in the world economy and the futures of our next generations in one fell swoop?

SOURCE






New Poll Suggests Lessons Teachers Unions Should Remember in November

 “Teachers are standing up for their students and themselves against largely red states with weak labor laws,” writes American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten in her recent USA Today editorial. “The days of passive resignation,” she says, “are over.”

Weingarten and others seem fond of characterizing the recent wave of teacher strikes as political re-awakenings. Yet preliminary findings from a pending survey suggest that teachers unions and their allies may regret their “Remember in November” mantra.

Commentators spanning the left-of-center spectrum have highlighted how union leaders were largely Johnny-and-Jane-come-latelies to teacher strikes in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona, Colorado, and most recently North Carolina (see here, here, here, here, here, and here). This is a significant misstep at a time when unions are fighting for their collectivist lives.

This summer the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule in Janus v. AFSCME, a case brought against government unions for charging non-members agency fees. If unions are prohibited from charging these fees, the cost of members’ dues could soar—by hundreds of dollars annually in the case of California Teachers Association members (see here and here). The result? Less money and fewer members.

Anticipating an unfavorable ruling, the National Education Association is reducing its two-year budget by $50 million and bracing for a membership nosedive in excess of 300,000 teachers, according to union watchdog and Education Intelligence Agency Director Mike Antonucci.

But it doesn’t take wildcat teacher pay strikes or Supreme Court cases to see just how out of step unions appear to be with rank-and-file teachers, whose average salaries are seven to eight times lower than what Weingarten or NEA President Lily Eskelsen García makes.

Preliminary results from a pending Educators for Excellence (E4E) survey of American public-school teachers indicate close to one in three unionized teachers (30 percent) believe that their unions are not essential or something they could do without (p. 1). If unionized teachers were not automatically enrolled in their unions, 60 percent say they would still be “very likely” to opt-in (p. 8). The other 40 percent aren’t so sure. As for non-unionized teachers, 61 percent say that they would opt out of paying their unions’ agency fees given a choice (p. 9).

Making teachers’ opt-out decisions easier could be the fact that just 28 percent of unionized teachers believe their unions’ policy decisions represent their perspectives “a great deal” (p. 5). A separate Education Week poll released late last year also found that just 28 percent of teachers said that their unions’ political views represented their own “a lot.”

This disconnect is further reflected in low levels of teacher engagement with their unions, including advocacy-related activities. Less than one in five unionized teachers say they participated in a union-organized rally (18 percent) or took an online advocacy action (15 percent) in the past year (p. 6).

So much for unions’ claims about being the voice of teachers (see, for example, here and here), especially in political matters.

Almost half of all unionized teachers (47 percent) agree that it is just “somewhat” to “not at all important” for their unions to provide them information about political candidates, while close to two-thirds (62 percent) agree that it is only “somewhat” to “not at all important” for their unions to support/endorse political candidates (p. 4).

Contrary to the collectivist mythos dominating union policies and practice, teachers are not a monolithic voting block. They don’t need—or want—any Grand Poobahs telling them how to vote.

But apparently, some strike organizers missed the memo.

Consider Arizona, home to the country’s largest teachers’ strike in history. For all the claims about being a non-partisan coalition that simply wants higher pay for teachers, Education Week opinion contributor Lance Izumi documents the decidedly partisan underbelly of prominent strike organizers (see also here, here, here, and peruse here). Several Arizona news media outlets have also reported about the anything-but-apolitical leanings of organizers (see here, here, here, here [explicit language warning], and here).

That underbelly, together with heavy-handed attempts to silence dissent from those who don’t subscribe to a preferred ideology (here, here, and here), may be the undoing of a movement that’s hardly a unified front itself (see here, here, and here).

There’s also mounting backlash from Arizona teachers who feel betrayed about the movement’s true intent, which was supposed to be about higher teacher pay (see here, here, here, and here). Yet the same day a 20 percent teacher pay raise deal was reached by the governor and legislative leaders, strike organizers issued four additional demands and continued the strikes (see here, here, here, and here).

Those demands were defeated the following week when the budget plan came to a vote (see here and May 2-3, 2018, tweets here). The 20 percent teacher pay raise, however, was passed along highly partisan lines, with all but four Democratic lawmakers voting against it, and every Republican lawmaker except one voting in favor.

Meanwhile, many Arizona parents, who are largely supportive of higher pay for teachers and have approved billions of dollars in additional education spending, are angered that the strikes meant their children missed more than a full school week (see here, here, and here). Want to make parents even angrier? Tell them the strikes were really “for the children” (see comments).

In response, a growing number of parents may be voting with their feet this fall by taking advantage of Arizona’s expansive educational choice programs (see here, here, here, and parent comments here). These choices include public charter schools (see here, here, and here), private schools, homeschooling, online instruction, and education savings accounts—options some strike representatives have publicly opposed (see, for example, here and here).

So, come November parents, teachers, and taxpayers in Arizona and other states will certainly remember—but likely not the way strike organizers or union bosses presume they will.

SOURCE






Walter Williams: Diversity and Inclusion Harm

In conversations with most college officials, many CEOs, many politicians and race hustlers, it's not long before the magical words "diversity" and "inclusiveness" drop from their lips. Racial minorities are the intended targets of this sociological largesse, but women are included, as well. This obsession with diversity and inclusion is in the process of leading the nation to decline in a number of areas. We're told how it's doing so in science, in an article by Heather Mac Donald, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, titled "How Identity Politics Is Harming the Sciences."

Mac Donald says that identity politics has already taken over the humanities and social sciences on American campuses. Waiting in the wings for a similar takeover are the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math. In the eyes of the diversity and inclusiveness czars, the STEM fields don't have a pleasing mixture of blacks, Hispanics and women. The effort to get this "pleasing mix" is doing great damage to how science is taught and evaluated, threatening innovation and American competitiveness.

Universities and other institutions have started watering down standards and requirements in order to attract more minorities and women. Some of the arguments for doing so border on insanity. A math education professor at the University of Illinois wrote that "mathematics itself operates as Whiteness." She says that the ability to solve algebra and geometry problems perpetuates "unearned privilege" among whites. A professor at Purdue University's School of Engineering Education published an article in a peer-reviewed journal positing that academic rigor is a "dirty deed" that upholds "white male heterosexual privilege," adding that "scientific knowledge itself is gendered, raced, and colonizing."

The National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health are two federal agencies that fund university research and support postdoctoral education for physicians. Both agencies are consumed by diversity and inclusion ideology. The NSF and NIH can yank a grant when it comes up for renewal if the college has not supported a sufficient number of "underrepresented minorities." Mac Donald quotes a UCLA scientist who reports: "All across the country the big question now in STEM is: how can we promote more women and minorities by 'changing' (i.e., lowering) the requirements we had previously set for graduate level study?" Mac Donald observes, "Mathematical problem-solving is being deemphasized in favor of more qualitative group projects; the pace of undergraduate physics education is being slowed down so that no one gets left behind."

Focusing on mathematical problem-solving and academic rigor, at least for black students at the college level, is a day late and a dollar short. The 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress, aka The Nation's Report Card, reported that only 17 percent of black students tested proficient or better in reading, and just 7 percent reached at least a proficient level in math. In some predominantly black high schools, not a single black student scored proficient in math. The academic and federal STEM busybodies ought to focus on the academic destruction of black youngsters between kindergarten and 12th grade and the conferring of fraudulent high school diplomas. Black people should not allow themselves to be used at the college level to help white liberals feel better about themselves and keep their federal grant money.

Mac Donald answers the question of whether scientific progress depends on diversity. She says: "Somehow, NSF-backed scientists managed to rack up more than 200 Nobel Prizes before the agency realized that scientific progress depends on 'diversity.' Those 'un-diverse' scientists discovered the fundamental particles of matter and unlocked the genetics of viruses." She might have added that there wasn't even diversity among those white Nobel laureates. Jews constitute no more than 3 percent of the U.S. population but are 35 percent of American Nobel Prize winners. One wonders what diversity and inclusion czars might propose to promote ethnic diversity among Nobel Prize winners.

SOURCE




Monday, June 18, 2018







Hate-filled ignoramus is a professor of philosophy at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania


She seems a pretty unhappy lady.  I wonder what her problem is?  Maybe she is an incel.  Leftists do a lot of projectiong

A professor who has called Dr. Jordan B. Peterson an “incel” wrote a post Sunday saying that she “will not be silenced.”

Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania philosophy professor Wendy Lynne Lee seemed not to be aware of the existence of Peterson’s wife and kids when she called him a “misogynist incel” on Twitter. An incel, or involuntary celibate, is shorthand for a man who has trouble attracting sexual partners and often checks out of the dating scene.

“Jordan Peterson: incel misogynist. Committed white nationalist,” Lee said in a reply to Turning Point USA President Charlie Kirk, referencing a bibliography she maintains on “white nationalists,” where she has allegedly chronicled the University of Toronto professor’s “decent [sic] into rank bigotry.”

Lee deleted her tweet after The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out for comment, but not before TheDCNF took a screenshot of it.

“Jordan Peterson is, as Grant Maxwell puts it beautifully, an ‘intellectual misogynist,'” the professor explained to TheDCNF. “Maxwell shows that Peterson’s reading of Carl Jung is a gross misinterpretation for the sake of pandering to an essentialist and patriarchal worldview: ‘He evidently wants to return to unquestioned patriarchy by paradoxically claiming that “the idea that women were oppressed throughout history is an appalling theory.’ This is an insidious sleight-of-hand in which, by denying that patriarchal oppression ever existed, men can continue to ignore what many women have been saying for centuries.”

The professor noted that Peterson dissuades his followers from engaging with disciplines “he sees as ‘corrupted’ by the supposed evils of feminism, postmodernism, and neo-Marxism” and identifies the Canadian author, as well as Jewish conservative figures Ben Shapiro, David Horowitz and Dave Rubin and right-wing commentator Ann Coulter as “white nationalists sources” in her bibliography.

Peterson replies:

“It’s clear that [Lee] has decided that it’s entirely acceptable to be careless with her words in relationship to me and my putative beliefs,” Peterson told TheDCNF. “Academics, whose trade-in-stock is words, should know better. She clearly believes (1) that her ill-advised statements are warranted, which they are not, and (2) that such actions, however ill-advised, are acceptable, ethically and factually.”

“It appears that she is taking her lead from articles like the recent New York Times piece that mischaracterized my views on monogamy,” the University of Toronto professor and author of “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos” continued. “It is not obvious at all where she has acquired the evidence for my existence as a ‘white nationalist source,’ since no such evidence whatsoever exists anywhere. I would counsel those who wish to bring forward such groundless accusations to be duly cautious. Such shots in the dark have a nasty habit of backfiring.”

The Bloomsburg professor previously posted on Twitter “message to the haters: The Flag Will Hang in Distress in my office window until the Trumpian fascists resign,” referring to an American flag she has hung upside down in her office window, which overlooks the school’s quad, since President Donald Trump’s election victory in November 2016.

Bloomsburg student and Marine veteran John Fromille noticed the upside down flag, as well as signs reading “Biggest s***hole in the world is Donald Trump’s racist soul” in Lee’s window in March. Fromille took a picture of the professor’s display and wrote on Facebook in a post that subsequently went viral that Lee has the right to hang the paraphernalia, but distinguished between teaching and indoctrinating students, calling this latter method a “blatant and flagrant abuse of power.”

Lee asserted that she had two meetings with Bloomsburg administrators in a June LinkedIn post entitled “I Will Not Be Silenced: The Vital Work of Free Expression in the Academy in the Education of Free Citizens.” The first unnamed official allegedly told the professor that her signs could impair the university’s recruitment efforts, urging her to adopt an “alternative form of dissent” but letting her know that he “respected [her] right to free speech.” The second administrator purportedly informed Lee that if Bloomsburg rejected the philosophy department’s request to hire a new faculty member, he would be “pissed” because it be as a result of Lee’s actions. The professor still refuses to take down the upside down flag and has also advocated flag-burning.

“There are no objective facts supporting the claim that my flag protest has resulted in a reduction of freshman enrollment,” Lee told TheDCNF. “Enrollment across PASSHE has been on the decline for several years due to reasons mostly demographic and due to lack of adequate state funding thanks to the previous Republican administration.”

Aside from the president, Lee has attached the label of “alt-right” to outlets and organizations like college watchdog Campus Reform and student organization Turning Point USA, which lists as its mission “to educate students about the importance of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government” and has minority members like Candace Owens, who serves as the group’s director of urban engagement.

SOURCE 

UPDATE: Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, who has two children, threatened Wednesday to sue a Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania professor who called him an incel and a white nationalist.

“Please immediately retract all of your defamatory statements, have them immediately removed from the internet, and issue an apology in the same forum to Mr. Peterson,” Peterson’s attorney Howard Levitt said in an email to Lee obtained by Mic. Lewitt threatened to take legal action if the professor did not comply.

“AS PER THREAT TO SUE FOR LIBEL, I HEREBY APOLOGIZE TO JORDAN PETERSON FOR REFERRING TO HIM AS AN INVOLUNTARY CELIBATE (INCEL), A MISOGYNIST, A COMMITTED WHITE NATIONALIST, AND SOMEONE WHO HAS DESCENDED INTO RANK BIGOTRY,” Lee subsequently posted to Twitter.

“That’s some apology,” Peterson noted to TheDCNF.

“I find it absurd,” Lee, who has authored “Contemporary Feminist Theory and Activism: Six Global Issues,” told Mic. “Many have actually said these things about Peterson and at much greater length. You can find similar language in several articles.”

But Levitt alleged that Lee’s stature as a professor with a Ph.D. means her claims bear more weight than do accusations made by other individuals.

SOURCE 







UK: The ugliness of the ‘dead white male’ debate

Saying that black kids can’t relate to Shakespeare is deeply reactionary

Pity the ex-students of Mary Bousted, former English teacher and currently joint head of the National Education Union. If you’d sat through her lessons when she taught in Harrow in the 1980s, you might have asked yourself why you were studying an obscure Chinese novel and not Hamlet or Julius Caesar like the kids do at the posh schools.

If what she told delegates at the Bryanston Educational Summit last week is anything to go by, she might have told you that, while she didn’t have a problem with Shakespeare, his work was ‘intensely conservative’ because he ‘wrote a lot of the time to bolster the divine right of kings’. This is why, while others might consider Shakespeare to be the greatest writer in the English language, she isn’t very keen on schools teaching him. And according to Bousted, Chinese, Indian or Afro-Caribbean pupils aren’t interested in him either – because Shakespeare is white and dead.

Upon reading ‘if you prick us do we not bleed?’ or ‘this above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not be false to any man’, what kind of person – let alone teacher – thinks, ‘but you’re only saying that because you’re white’? The answer is: a philistine.

The term philistine’s current usage was coined by Matthew Arnold in his landmark 1869 book Culture and Anarchy. In it, he argues that the point of education is to pass on the best that has been thought and said to succeeding generations. It was precisely this attitude that Bousted was targeting in her Bryanston speech. ‘If a powerful knowledge curriculum means recreating the best that has been thought by dead white men – then I’m not very interested in it’, she said.

Although the complaints about dead white males appear distinctly modern, Bousted is actually restaging a battle fought over 150 years ago – between knowledge and skills. When Arnold writes of the ‘philistines’ in the 1860s, he has in mind the new class of industrialists who thought the ‘sweetness and light’ of classical learning was outdated and was holding England back from competing on the world stage.

They wanted new, mechanistic approaches to education, which would help to grow the economy. When Bousted calls for a skills-based approach to education, as practised in countries like China, and decries England’s curriculum as ‘not fit for the world in 2018’, she echoes the Victorian philistines.

In her speech, she tried to present herself as not being against knowledge per se. She employed the edu-speak equivalent of ‘I’m not racist, some of my best friends are black’, name-dropping Pope, Dryden and Shelley as authors she has ‘no problem’ with. She said that it is important for students to know ‘some of the best that has been thought and said’, but that they should also know that putting Shakespeare on the curriculum ‘was a choice that was made and a choice made by the powerful’.

In this, she doesn’t seem to understand what the contemporary debate over the role of knowledge in the curriculum is all about. In raising the question of the ‘powerful’ when it comes to knowledge, Bousted is alluding to the work of sociologist Michael Young. In his 2007 book, Bringing Knowledge Back In, Young establishes two opposing types of knowledge: ‘powerful knowledge’ and ‘knowledge of the powerful’. For Young, the ‘knowledge of the powerful’ is exclusively owned by the elites and is the knowledge that helps to sustain their position in society.

‘Powerful knowledge’, on the other hand, is learning that can liberate students from their social, intellectual and economic constraints. It is the sink-estate kid’s knowledge of Shakespeare, he argues, that will one day enable him to beat an Etonian to a place at Oxford. Bousted ignores this distinction. Powerful knowledge is key to the kind of social mobility that Bousted is calling for. But she confuses it with white privilege and attacks it instead.

Knowledge itself cannot be tainted by power. Literature and mathematics were once the possession of the most elitist, insular and privileged castes that have ever existed in human history. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t teach these subjects. The baby and the bathwater are different things. The works of Shakespeare, Milton and Chaucer are sublime and universal. To judge their value on the basis of the colour of the skin of their author – or of the reader – is deeply reactionary.

Bousted’s speech might have excited a number of the new philistines for its attack on a knowledge-based curriculum and its seemingly progressive call for greater diversity. But for me at least, it was ‘a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing’.

SOURCE 






Harvard report found Asian-Americans faced admissions penalty

Harvard University’s own internal research raised concerns about how Asian-American applicants are treated by the college’s admissions process, according to documents filed Friday in an affirmative action lawsuit against the school.

Harvard’s Office of Institutional Research completed three reports starting in 2013 that showed Asian-Americans faced a penalty in the admissions process, according to a filing by the Students for Fair Admissions, a non-profit that is suing Harvard.

Harvard’s research office found that Asian-Americans would comprise 43 percent of an admitted class if admissions officers considered only academic qualifications and should make up 26 percent of the class when extracurricular activities and personal ratings are considered. Yet at that time, Asian-Americans made up 19 percent of the share of admitted students.

Harvard’s own reports offered no conclusions or explanations about why a gap in Asian-American admissions existed. But one of the reports noted that, “Asian high achievers have lower rates of admission,” according to the court documents.

Students for Fair Admissions, which is representing a group of Asian-American students, is led by Edward Blum, who most recently backed a challenge to race-based admissions at the University of Texas that involved a white student.

Blum and the organization argue in court documents that Harvard did nothing to address the inequity discovered by its own research into Asian-American admissions.

“Instead of taking even the most minor steps to address this problem, or conducting any further investigation, Harvard killed the investigation and buried the reports,” according to the organization’s court filings.

Harvard, for its part, argues that its use of race to ensure a diverse campus is legal and fair, and its old internal reports were preliminary and incomplete. The university instead filed court documents with new research showing that Harvard does not discriminate against Asian-American applicants.

The new report, which reviewed six years of admissions data, found that being Asian-American had no material effect on gaining a seat at Harvard, according to court filing.

In fact, the admissions rate for Asian-Americans has grown by 29 percent in the past decade, Harvard officials said.

In its own court filings, Harvard argues that Blum and the Students for Fair Admissions having failed to convince the US Supreme Court to overturn the use of race in college admissions in the University of Texas case, are now trying again with Asian-Americans.

“Mr. Blum and his organization’s incomplete and misleading data analysis paint a dangerously inaccurate picture of Harvard College’s whole-person admissions process by omitting critical data and information factors, such as personal essays and teacher recommendations that directly counter his arguments,” said Anna Cowenhoven, a spokeswoman for Harvard.

The competing documents, filed Friday morning in US District Court in Boston, are the latest salvo in the ongoing lawsuit. The case is likely to go to trial this fall and could test the use of race in college admissions.

The documents also show that Harvard has considered race-neutral admissions policies in recent years, including socio-economic factors and geography, but found that neither were sufficient.

“Harvard could not achieve the diversity it seeks or the educational objectives that flow from that diversity without considering race unless it significantly compromised other essential institutional objectives, including academic excellence,” Harvard said in its court filings.

SOURCE 






Sunday, June 17, 2018



Dartmouth psychology professor in misconduct probe will retire and be barred from college events

As a retired academic psychologist, I read of this with some disquiet.  These were men who were doing pretty good work. It seems to be a case of past behaviour being judged not by the standards of its day but rather by modern standards -- which is intrinsically unjust. It is normal judicial procedure to judge behaviours by the laws that were applicable at the time the behaviour took place.

The behavior concerned seems to have been at the bottom of the range for offensiveness.  The complaints seem to be about touching rather than about undoubtedly serious allegations such as rape and violence. 

Standards about how men interact with women have undoubtedly become more puritanical but I make no criticism of that.  Given my Christian background, I am rather puritanical myself on some issues. But I do think that the punishment should fit the crime.  If men were behaving in ways that were at the time dismissed as trivial offences or not offences at all, it seems to me that that should be taken into account -- by the offences being punished much more leniently than they would be if the offences had happened recently. 

Forcing  distinguished men into retirement for what would once have been regarded as trivia seems a loss both to the individual concerned and to society at large.  It does appear that the men concerned would still have much to contribute in their respective academic fields.

I further note that none of the three professors have had the advantage of a trial in a court of law.  As Heatherton has confessed to alcohol-induced misbehavior that is moot in his case. 

What about the other two professors who have not acknowledged misbehavior?  Is a kangaroo court going to be the only proceedings against them?  That would be regrettable and a highroad to a miscarriage of justice.  One possibility that needs ruling out: Feminism is very common in universities and often seems to get to the point of man-hating.  So were the professors in this matter targeted out of spite?  Is there any basis in reality for the complaints?  Only proper proceedings with all the usual judicial protections of openness etc. could generate any confidence that justice had been done

I note finally that all three professors have been prominent in exploring biological and evolutionary approaches to an understanding of human behavior and social phenomena -- and that the political Left tend to reject such approaches.  So was the attention to them politically motivated?  Were adverse reports about them deliberately sought out? Since political correctness is hugely influential in academe, that would seem a lively possibility



One of the three Dartmouth College psychology professors at the center of a criminal probe into alleged sexual misconduct will retire immediately and be barred from attending any events sponsored by the Ivy League college.

Dartmouth College president Phil Hanlon announced in an e-mail Thursday that based on the findings of an internal investigation, the school had been prepared to revoke Todd Heatherton’s tenure and terminate his employment.

The fate of the other two professors, Paul J. Whalen and William M. Kelley, is still under review by college officials.

The three professors are well-known in the industry. Their work on brain science drew national attention and brought in millions of dollars in research funding to Dartmouth.

Whalen and Kelley have been on paid administrative leave since the beginning of the last school year. Heatherton had been on a sabbatical beginning in July 2017.

Last October, after reading about the Dartmouth investigation into allegations of misconduct by the professors, New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald launched a criminal probe. That investigation remains ongoing.

It is unclear what exactly the professors are alleged to have done.

But on Thursday, Heatherton apologized for his behavior, blaming alcohol, and said his retirement was in the best interest of his family, Dartmouth, and graduate students.

“I acknowledge that I acted unprofessionally in public at conferences while intoxicated,” Heatherton said in a statement. “I offer a humble and sincere apology to anyone affected by my actions.”

After Dartmouth launched its investigation, reports surfaced that Heatherton had groped women in 2002. In one case, a former Dartmouth professor reported that a student had come to her to complain that Heatherton had touched her breasts during a recruiting event. Dartmouth investigated the complaint at the time and found it was an accidental touch.

Separately, a psychology professor at the University of California Davis said that when she was a graduate student at a conference in 2002, Heatherton squeezed her buttocks while they were standing in a group together.

Last year, Heatherton said he could not recall touching the UC Davis professor.

Giavanna Munafo, secretary of the Dartmouth chapter of the American Association of University Professors and former director of the campus women’s center, said she is pleased the university took action against Heatherton once it found wrongdoing. The case is particularly important since Heatherton held leadership positions in his department throughout his long career at Dartmouth, she said.

“The good news is that this first decision of the internal investigation ultimately resulted in accountability,” she said.

However, Munafo said Dartmouth needs to respond more quickly in the future to sexual harassment complaints and be more forthcoming about the results when possible.

Munafo said she spoke to one of the people who complained about sexual misconduct in March 2017, but it was months before the university seemed to have taken any action and put the professors on administrative leave.

Dartmouth declined to comment about its findings.

Hanlon would say in his message only that the investigation was “multi-layered, rigorous, and designed to safeguard the rights of the participants — all parties were given ample opportunity to present information to the investigator, who conducted numerous in-person interviews with the parties as well as with witnesses.”

A Dartmouth faculty-elected committee is now reviewing the findings of the Kelley and Whalen investigation.

Last November, 15 Dartmouth College students, whose names were not disclosed, submitted a statement to the college newspaper alleging that the professors created a hostile academic environment.

The unnamed students reported that they felt pressure to socialize and drink with the professors to further their careers.

In retirement, Heatherton will be able to earn his pension and qualify for retiree health care coverage. However, he was not given emeritus status and will not be able to attend Dartmouth events no matter where they are held.

SOURCE 






De Blasio's War on Academic Excellence

Michelle Malkin

"I also have a dream." This rallying cry, handwritten on a simple white placard held up by an Asian-American mom at a protest this week against liberal New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to radically transform New York City's public schools, says it all. A new civil rights struggle in education has exploded — yet the national media and the usual celebrity voices for equality and justice are nowhere to be found.

While student "Dreamers" here illegally from south of the border garner bleeding-heart front-page stories and nightly news dispatches, the high-achieving sons and daughters of legal immigrants from Asia are getting shafted by far-left Democrats.

And it's all in the perverted name of "diversity."

De Blasio is hell-bent on destroying equal opportunity and merit-based admissions because the results are not equally distributed according to his social-engineering agenda. The Big Apple's famed specialized schools, such as the Bronx High School of Science, Brooklyn Technical High School and High School for Math, Science and Engineering at City College, require an academic entrance exam. It's a highly competitive process in which tens of thousands of students vie for a total of about 5,000 slots.

So what's the problem? According to the bean-counting extremists, too many Asian-Americans have aced the test and are "overrepresented." It's not enough for the social justice crowd to settle for a 20 percent minority set-aside. They want to scrap the test altogether. A bill to eliminate the exams passed the state assembly education committee last week. Though it may die this year, the toxic principles underlying the legislation have infected the left for decades.

Dullard de Blasio falsely argues that white privilege and class privilege are to blame for the lack of black and Latino student representation at the elite schools. The two groups account for 67 percent of public school students but only made up 10 percent of elite school admissions offers last year. By contrast, Asian-Americans, who make up 16 percent of public school students, received 52 percent of offers in the past year.

So are Asian-Americans classified as "white" now? And how does de Blasio get away with the lie that these best and brightest Asian-American students are economically privileged?

Fact: The city's own poverty assessment shows that Asians are the poorest demographic group, with 24.1 percent living at or below poverty — vs. 19.5 percent citywide. The New York Post reports that overall, 45 percent of students at the "elite eight" schools qualify for free lunch.

As I've observed for years, liberal race-fixers believe that "too many" Asian-American students winning school admissions on their own merits is a bad, bad thing. In our case, overcoming the supposed encumbrances of ethnicity and skin color is viewed not as a proud accomplishment but as a political liability.

This is classic crab-in-the-bucket syndrome. If you put a single crab in an uncovered bucket, it will find a way to climb up and out on its own. But if you put a dozen crabs in a bucket, eleven will fight with all their might to pull down the independent striver who attempts to escape. And so it is with the identity politics mob and the equality of outcome cult. They can't stand high achievers and freethinkers who escape their iron grip.

A sad irony of the battle over racial preferences in education is that many of the very leaders who have lobbied hardest to re-jigger the numbers on college campuses to fit a politically correct, proportional ideal are supposedly "progressive" Asian-Americans.

I personally endured attacks from many of them who labeled me and other conservative minority leaders "sellouts" for opposing government-imposed diversity policies that sabotaged color-blindness and punished academic excellence.

Now, those same quota champions are seeing those same policies blow up in their faces in New York City's high schools. "Diversity" at all costs means taking the hardest-working, top-scoring students who earned their seats on the bus — and tossing them under the wheels.

Tell me again who the real sellouts are?

SOURCE 





Identity Warriors Have Infiltrated the Sciences. Here’s the Damage They’re Doing

In conversations with most college officials, many CEOs, many politicians, and race hustlers, it’s not long before the magical words “diversity” and “inclusiveness” drop from their lips.

Racial minorities are the intended targets of this sociological largesse, but women are included, as well. This obsession with diversity and inclusion is in the process of leading the nation to decline in a number of areas. We’re told how it’s doing so in science, in an article by Heather Mac Donald, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, titled “How Identity Politics Is Harming the Sciences.”

Mac Donald says that identity politics has already taken over the humanities and social sciences on American campuses. Waiting in the wings for a similar takeover are the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and math.

In the eyes of the diversity and inclusiveness czars, the STEM fields don’t have a pleasing mixture of blacks, Hispanics, and women. The effort to get this “pleasing mix” is doing great damage to how science is taught and evaluated, threatening innovation and American competitiveness.

Universities and other institutions have started watering down standards and requirements in order to attract more minorities and women.

Some of the arguments for doing so border on insanity. A math education professor at the University of Illinois wrote that “mathematics itself operates as whiteness.” She says that the ability to solve algebra and geometry problems perpetuates “unearned privilege” among whites.

A professor at Purdue University’s School of Engineering Education published an article in a peer-reviewed journal positing that academic rigor is a “dirty deed” that upholds “white male heterosexual privilege,” adding that “scientific knowledge itself is gendered, raced, and colonizing.”

The National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health are two federal agencies that fund university research and support postdoctoral education for physicians. Both agencies are consumed by diversity and inclusion ideology.

The National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health can yank a grant when it comes up for renewal if the college has not supported a sufficient number of “underrepresented minorities.”

Mac Donald quotes a UCLA scientist who reports: “All across the country the big question now in STEM is: How can we promote more women and minorities by ‘changing’ (i.e., lowering) the requirements we had previously set for graduate level study?”

Mac Donald observes, “Mathematical problem-solving is being deemphasized in favor of more qualitative group projects; the pace of undergraduate physics education is being slowed down so that no one gets left behind.”

Focusing on mathematical problem-solving and academic rigor, at least for black students at the college level, is a day late and a dollar short. The 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress, aka the nation’s report card, reported that only 17 percent of black students tested proficient or better in reading, and just 7 percent reached at least a proficient level in math. In some predominantly black high schools, not a single black student scored proficient in math.

The academic and federal STEM busybodies ought to focus on the academic destruction of black youngsters between kindergarten and 12th grade and the conferring of fraudulent high school diplomas. Black people should not allow themselves to be used at the college level to help white liberals feel better about themselves and keep their federal grant money.

Mac Donald answers the question of whether scientific progress depends on diversity. She says: “Somehow, [National Science Foundation]-backed scientists managed to rack up more than 200 Nobel Prizes before the agency realized that scientific progress depends on ‘diversity.’ Those ‘un-diverse’ scientists discovered the fundamental particles of matter and unlocked the genetics of viruses.”

She might have added that there wasn’t even diversity among those white Nobel laureates. Jews constitute no more than 3 percent of the U.S. population but are 35 percent of American Nobel Prize winners.

One wonders what diversity and inclusion czars might propose to promote ethnic diversity among Nobel Prize winners.

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