Tuesday, May 21, 2024


Elite University Raked In Almost $700 Million From Qatar

Northwestern University has raked in hundreds of millions of dollars in funding from Qatar, a nation that has been harboring Hamas’ leaders since 2012, federal disclosures show.

Roughly $690 million in funds originating in Qatar has flowed into Northwestern University since 2007, according to records maintained by the Department of Education. Northwestern caved to several demands made by pro-Palestinian protestors last month, including by providing them with a pathway to make the university divest from Israeli businesses, The Daily Northwestern reported.

Northwestern’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine took credit for the agreement with the university. A group of law firms are suing National Students for Justice in Palestine, alleging that the organization is working to advance Hamas’ goals.

“Around the country, prestigious universities are succumbing to pressure from protestors who have damaged campuses, interfered with other students’ education and safety, and broadcast messages of hatred,” Open The Books CEO Adam Andrzejewski said in a press release. “Deals like the one at Northwestern seem inexplicable—that is, until you follow the money,” he continued.

Qatar constituted the largest bloc of Northwestern’s revenue from Muslim nations that support Palestinian independence, sending about $690 million to the university since 2007, records show. Since 2018, Qatar has sent millions of dollars to the Gaza strip that have been used to prop up Hamas, the terrorist organization behind the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks in Israel, according to CNN.

Qatar is also harboring Hamas’ political leadership, which it has been doing in some capacity since 2012, according to The Times of Israel.

Qatar’s funding included disbursements to provide scholarships for Qatari students to attend Northwestern, funds for a Northwestern campus in Qatar as well as other financial transfers lacking detailed descriptions, according to Open The Books.

Entities located in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates have also given money to Northwestern, according to federal records.

Northwestern received about $24 million originating in Saudi Arabia, records show. About $2.2 million of that was for scholarship grants to Saudi students, according to Open The Books.

Saudi Arabia has historically called for the establishment of a Palestinian state under its 1967 borders, including East Jerusalem as the state’s capital, according to the Associated Press.

Northwestern also took in $250,000 and $525,000 from Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, respectively. Turkey has been highly critical of Israel’s response to the Oct. 7 attacks, halting trade with the Jewish state citing humanitarian concerns, and the United Arab Emirates has similarly condemned Israel’s conduct.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also defended Hamas, calling the group a “resistance movement” and refusing to label them as terrorists, Reuters reported.

Some universities are getting funds directly from entities located in the West Bank and Gaza.

Harvard University, Brown University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania collectively took in about $10 million in funds originating in the Palestinian territories between 2017 and 2023.

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Let’s Put Suspension or Expulsion Back on the Table for Violent College Students

Colleges are considering suspensions and expulsions for students who vandalized campuses and committed violence over the last month. These consequences are entirely appropriate, and overdue. School officials in North Carolina are even reallocating more funds to campus safety.

What took so long? The answer may help prevent violent riots on campuses in the future.

MIT officials recently announced they were suspending “dozens” of students who forced their way back into the area of campus where students had set up encampments. School personnel had warned those encamped, then cleared the tents and set up fencing around the area, telling students not to re-enter. Students proceeded to break through the fences—ignoring the warnings and destroying property.

Now, school administrators have announced sanctions are coming.

Events such as these have happened at schools nationwide. The incidents at MIT, UCLA, Columbia University and elsewhere were not examples of free speech. These were violent acts showing disregard for law and campus rules. School officials should not have waited as long as they did to call law enforcement, and the rioters who were not students, faculty or college staff should face charges. But administrators should be considering suspensions and expulsions for students involved.

College personnel are partly to blame for the disruptions that universities faced over the last month. Campus riots have a long history, but in the most recent iterations of campus unrest dating back at least as far as 2015, colleges were slow to respond to students and rioters who de-platformed or shouted down professors and invited lecturers. Middlebury College in Vermont and Evergreen State College were just a few of the sites of violent shout-downs over the last decade.

Students regurgitated the Marxist slogans from critical race theory and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) as they de-platformed speakers—and in some cases, college administrators did not punish students. Predictably, surveys over the last decade have found that students are afraid to speak their minds on campus for fear of being canceled, shouted down—or worse.

Blocking someone else’s expressive rights is not a protected form of speech. Yet surveys found that some on campus approved of violence in the face of ideas with which they disagree.

In response to the shout-downs at Middlebury and the like, state lawmakers around the country—Alabama, Colorado, North Carolina, Tennessee and more—adopted provisions to reinforce the U.S. Constitution and protect free-speech rights. But with few notable exceptions, lawmakers did not include provisions that required school administrators to consider suspension or expulsion when students de-platformed a speaker or otherwise engaged in violence.

The message to students was clear: You can be disruptive with minimal or no consequences. Today, however, students have pushed the bounds even further, creating so much disturbance that some schools were forced to cancel classes and graduation ceremonies because campuses were not physically safe for anyone.

Lawmakers in North Carolina and Arizona were among the few who included disciplinary sanctions in provisions adopted after the outbreak of shout-downs between 2015 and the school closures caused by COVID-19. School officials should copy the University of North Carolina Board of Trustees’ latest decision to close its “diversity, equity and inclusion” office and reallocate spending to campus safety.

DEI offices promote censorship by supporting bias response teams, which courts have found to “chill” speech. The offices also promote racial bias in college admissions and other school functions—none of which improves school safety or the free exchange of ideas.

Had school personnel acted decisively during riots over the last 10 years, consistently suspending or expelling violent students, perhaps disrupters would have had second thoughts. State lawmakers should revisit their conduct codes and require public college administrators to involve law enforcement and consider suspension or expulsion when students destroy school property, injure others, violate free-speech protections or otherwise commit violence.

Considering suspension or expulsion to counter—and perhaps prevent—violence is not new. Yale University officials recommended these consequences in the Woodward Report issued in 1974, a seminal document protecting campus speech.

College educators must teach students the difference between free speech and violence. The former deserves protection. The latter should be met with consequences.

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Australia: Homeschooling rises across Canberra post-pandemic

Since COVID lockdowns kept students out of schools, there's been a big rise in the number who now find home the best place to study.

There's been a 50 per cent increase in the numbers not going to school for their learning.

Official figures for the "home-educated" count 465 people of school age in the category in the ACT, compared with 305 just before the virus struck, and compared with only 166 just 10 years ago.

"School is an obsolete model," Ilaria Catizone says in a break between teaching a handful of homeschooled children who've come together to learn a bit of Italian.

She concedes formal schools work for some young people but not for all. The ones who don't quite fit the mould are often the ones opting out, perhaps because of bullying. Some parents told The Canberra Times they were unhappy with "woke" education, particularly on sexual matters.

Ilaria Catizone has been been schooling Audrey, 7, and Elody, 13, for the last three years. At the communal session, Elody also helps teach the younger children Italian through a game of bingo where numbers are called in Italian and pasta rings go on the numbered squares.

These kids are meeting in a community hall for their lesson, so homeschooling doesn't always happen at home. Sometimes, it's collective in that a group get together and learn.

The parents' motives vary.

Rebecca Bonazza said her daughter Skyler, 10, was bullied in her public school in Canberra.

"Bullying was rife. When she concentrates, she hums, and a lot of kids picked on her," the mother said.

"Kids just seem to be more nasty these days, and because she's a bit different she rarely wanted to go to school."

Her mother was also unhappy about the amount of mention of sex, both in class and outside - "woke", as she put it. "A lot of things they are told are a bit much," she said.

She felt homeschooling meant "super-young children" could be protected from "things on the internet".

"You can't protect your children from that but at home you can," she said.

So the mother has bought the daughter a pile of books about a string of subjects, including science and maths.

"We learn about the world, about money. And I plan to take her out into the world, to teach her things, to galleries. We have a lot of discussions. We go to the library. We go to book stores. She has a lot of books," Ms Bonazza said.

Skyler is not yet in her teens and her mother said she may go to college in years 11 and 12 to get formal qualifications.

But for now, home (and a community hall) is the place of learning.

It should be said the number of homeschoolers remains small compared with the number of on-campus schoolers, even though the percentage rise is big.

The latest official figures for the ACT have 465 children in homeschooling compared with 82,280 students across primary schools (47,174), high schools (23,926) and colleges (11,180).

But the rise upwards since COVID is unmistakable (as is the fall for public schools: 50,556 in 2023 compared with 51,153 ACT pupils in 2021).

One of the organisations promoting homeschooling is holding an information session at Downer Community Hall between 4pm and 6pm on Monday.

The organiser, Ms Catizone, said she would try to answer common questions like, "What about socialisation?", "Will my children learn enough?" and "What about university?".

She said kids had opportunities to socialise despite not going to school, with a public school's wide mix of types and backgrounds.

Her daughters' education is "interest-led". Her eldest daughter was curious and learns, even about formal subjects like mathematics.

"She learns a lot of maths through shopping or cooking or helping us do our tax returns. She's renovated her room, and that involved a lot of maths like measuring," Ms Catizone said.

"If she wants to go to university, she will do more formal maths."

Ms Catizone is a vegetarian and, at home, there is an interest in "ethical behaviour" which prompted her daughter to research vegetarianism, both in terms of food but also fashion.

The teenager is interested in make-up, and that provides two fields of learning. "She's done research on ethical make-up", and the daughter has researched "make-up through the ages".

"It's very important for them to do their own research," the mother said.

She rejects the idea schooling children at home gives parents an opportunity to indoctrinate children in the parents' values.

In response to the idea, she says religious schools do the same.

Ms Catizone is a convert to homeschooling but she also concedes it doesn't suit everyone. It is obviously only for those with some money and time.

There is a class aspect.

Parents who both work fixed and long hours to just about pay the bills may not be convinced about homeschooling. For them, public schools are the only option.

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My other blogs: Main ones below

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs

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Monday, May 20, 2024


Truman Scholarships overwhelmingly awarded to progressive students for tenth year in row

Meanwhile, fewer than one in 10 are openly conservative, analysis finds

Nearly three in four recipients of this year’s prestigious, federally funded Truman Scholarship have clear ties to Democratic politicians or progressive causes, a College Fix analysis found.

Approximately 43 of the 60 students have worked for Democratic politicians, advocated for progressive causes, or identify as left-leaning — continuing an annual trend exposed in past Fix analyses.

In contrast, only five scholars have worked for Republican politicians, advocated for conservative causes, or identify as right-leaning. The College Fix determined this information based on provided biographies, LinkedIn profiles, and email inquiries.

Terry Babcock-Lumish, the executive secretary of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, told The Fix in a recent email the foundation does not consider students’ political affiliation “as a criteria for selection.”

“The Truman Foundation’s selection process is based solely on applicants’ demonstrated commitment to public service, leadership potential, and academic excellence,” she said.

Babcock-Lumish said the foundation often does not know applicants’ political affiliations and students regularly work for politicians “with whom their beliefs are not 100% aligned.”

She continued, “Our annual competition requires nominations from undergraduate institutions, so the Truman Scholars we select are reflective of the pool of candidates that we have before us. If students are not nominated or do not apply, we cannot select them. Accordingly, let me again ask The College Fix to encourage readers making commitments to careers in public service to apply.”

The Democratic politicians whom the 2024 scholarship winners have worked or interned for include Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, California Rep. Adam Schiff, Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, Hawaii Gov. Josh Green, and Michigan state Rep. Abraham Aiyash.

Awardees also have been involved with left-wing organizations, including Planned Parenthood Generation Action, College Democrats, Young Democrats, Equal Rights Advocates, and Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security, and Conflict Resolution.

Additionally, some have advocated for progressive issues such as “the safety of LGBTQ+ disabled youth,” “racial justice activism,” “pro-union policies,” “environmental justice,” and “social justice and equity,” The Fix analysis found.

A few of this year’s recipients worked for Republican politicians, including Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, Tennessee Sen. Bill Hagerty, Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, and Tennessee Rep. Diana Harshbarger.

The remaining 12 recipients did not respond to inquiries from The Fix about their political leanings, and their ideologies could not be definitively determined based on public information.

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New York City’s public school system has received billions of dollars in additional funding since 2020 — despite enrollment cratering

Per-student spending at K-12 Department of Education schools is expected to hit $39,304 in the upcoming fiscal year 2025 budget — a massive 26.3% increase, equating to $8,185 more per student since 2020, the “Did You Know” study by the Citizens Budget Commission found.

Mayor Eric Adams proposed a 10.2% increase or $2.1 billion more in city taxpayer funding for the Big Apple public school system — which would mostly offset the $2.4 billion phase-out of federal pandemic aid given to DOE.

Total DOE spending will be $269 million, or 0.7%, less than current funding levels.

But the CBC analysis said, “Between fiscal years 2020 and 2025, spending climbed steadily as enrollment fell.”

Total DOE expenditures are projected to reach $39.8 billion in fiscal year 2024, an increase of $5.2 billion, or 15.2 percent, since fiscal year 2020.

City spending rose from $19.7 billion to $20.6 billion from 2020 to 2024, while state aid increased from $12.3 billion to $14.2 billion, according to the report.

Federal funds funneled to the DOE jumped from $2.1 billion in 2020 to $4.6 billion in 2024.

Enrollment plummeted precipitously during the COVID pandemic with the DOE losing 104,374 students between fiscal years 2020 and 2023.

The city now projects an increase of 10,355 K-12 students this year and next, thanks in large part to the migrant influx.

But DOE still has 94,019 fewer students than in the pre-COVID-19 era, the CBC report noted.

During a City Council budget hearing on Wednesday, Council members made it clear they want to jack up education spending in the final negotiated budget with City Hall.

The Council is pushing to boost spending on early education pre-K and 3-K programs by $170 million more than the mayor recommended.

Education officials and the Council are awaiting a report that spells out where the demand is needed for early childhood education seats and where they are not.

Councilwoman Rita Joseph (D-Brooklyn), who chairs the education committee, expressed concern about the more than $200 million gap — the loss of federal aid that was not replaced by city and state funding — in the DOE budget.

“That’s significant,” she told Schools Chancellor David Banks, who testified at the hearing.

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Hard to Argue With Logic of 13 Judges Who Say They Won’t Hire Columbia Grads

Is it proper for federal judges to boycott hiring students who attend a particular university? Thirteen federal judges, all of whom were appointed by former President Donald Trump, have announced that they are going to do just that.

In a May 6 letter to Minouche Shafik, president of protest-rocked Columbia University, the 13 judges referred to “recent events” there and informed her that, “absent extraordinary change,” they would “not hire anyone who joins the Columbia University community whether as undergraduates or law students—beginning with the entering class of 2024.”

The recent events, of course, are the campuswide anti-Israel demonstrations that resulted in the occupation of a school building (Hamilton Hall), multiple arrests, and a smaller-than-usual commencement ceremony punctuated by ongoing protests.

Such antisemitic protests, of course, have been taking place on dozens of campuses, but things seem to have been particularly bad at Columbia.

In addition to occupying a Columbia University building and assaulting maintenance workers, protesters accosted and assaulted Jewish students, shouting “F— Israel” and “Israel is a b—-” and telling them that they would be Hamas’ “next targets” and should “Go back to Poland!” (This last was a thinly veiled reference to Auschwitz, Treblinka, Majdanek, Belzek, Sobibor, and Chelmno, the horrific extermination camps for Jews that existed in German-occupied Poland during World War II.)

Many protesters at Columbia were joined by sympathetic faculty members (hundreds, according to The Guardian), who linked arms and formed a protective wall around the anti-Israel encampments. Among these supportive faculty members was Joseph Massad, who said Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attacks in Israel, which left over 1,200 dead and 250 hostages taken, was “awesome” and a “stunning victory of the Palestinian resistance.”

The situation became so dicey that one rabbi associated with Columbia said Jewish students should go home and remain there because the school could not guarantee their safety.

Columbia Law School was not exempt from this activity. The editors of the Columbia Law Review—presumably among the best and the brightest students—said that they, like most of their classmates, were “irrevocably shaken” by what was happening on campus and demanded that the school cancel final exams and simply pass all students.

What judge could have faith in the integrity and academic rigor of any institution teaching future lawyers that this is an appropriate response to disturbing events?

As someone with a long family history at Columbia (my grandfather taught at the medical school and I went to Columbia, as did my father and my daughter), this hits close to home.

In their letter to Shafik, the 13 federal judges wrote that they had “lost confidence in Columbia as an institution of higher education” and that the school had “become an incubator of bigotry.” To restore academic freedom and reclaim a “once-distinguished reputation,” the judges stated, Columbia should do three things at a minimum:

1) See to it that students and faculty members who violated the school’s rules and disrupted campus life, including by threatening Jewish students, suffer serious consequences.

2) Ensure that in the future the university protects free speech and enforces rules of conduct in a neutral and nondiscriminatory fashion.

3) Make “[s]ignificant and dramatic change[s] in the composition of its faculty and administration” to promote viewpoint diversity.

Two of the judges who signed the letter are appellate judges, namely James Ho of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and Elizabeth Branch of the 11th Circuit. Also signing: eight District Court judges from Texas (Alan Albright, David Counts, James Hendrix, Matthew Kacsmaryk, Brantley Starr, Jeremy Kernodle, and Drew Tipton), a District Court judge from Georgia (Tilman Self), a District Court judge from North Dakota (Daniel Traynor), a judge on the Court of Federal Claims (Matthew Solomson), and a judge on the Court of International Trade (Stephen Vaden).

The federal judges noted that the anti-Israel demonstrations on the Columbia campus had made it clear “that ideological homogeneity throughout the entire institution … had destroyed its ability to train future leaders of a pluralistic and intellectually diverse country,” and that it was equally “clear that Columbia applies double standards when it comes to free speech and student misconduct.”

The judges cited abortion as an example, stating that they had “no doubt” that the response of Columbia administrators would have been “profoundly different” had religious conservatives on campus who “view abortion as a tragic genocide” engaged in an uprising.

I also have no doubt that this is true, and could cite many other examples: Protest racial preferences in admissions policies or the establishment of black-only housing on campus? Rally against biological males being allowed to compete in women’s sports? Galvanize a petition drive against being forced to refer to students by their preferred personal pronouns? Raise a ruckus over the legality and morality of same-sex marriages? Gather a crowd and give a speech claiming that the 2020 presidential election was stolen?

Not a chance! Any student group that did any of those things would be subjected to discipline for engaging in “hate speech.” But wear a mask and carry placards proclaiming, “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free” (with its implicit message that Israel must and will be eliminated)? Well, then, “It depends on the context.”

There are those, including Columbia Law grad Dan Abrams (whom I recently debated on this subject on his NewsNation show) and MSNBC columnist Jessica Levinson, who say this is a dramatic overreaction tantamount to guilt by association that punishes innocent students who didn’t participate in anti-Israel protests.

Levinson goes so far as to say that the 13 judges are engaging in extortion and blackmail of Columbia. Other commentators, such as Berkeley Law School professor Orin Kerr, say they believe that “judges as judges do not have an important role to play in our society beyond the work they do in the courtroom or in chambers … , and they shouldn’t be trying to help American society solve problems like anti-Semitism, in any kind of official capacity.”

Still others, less thoughtful or kind, have stated that the judges who vow not to hire Columbia graduates are engaging in a performative protest designed to appeal to “their chosen audience of wackjobs.”

One wonders whether these critics would respond the same way if a university or college, and especially a law school, were to foster a hostile environment, replete with threats to students by mask-wearing fellow students and faculty members, for female, black, or LGBTQ students?

Are there students who will suffer the consequences of this hiring boycott even though they had nothing to do with, and may well have disapproved of, the campus protests? Certainly. But the same could be said of any boycott.

When a group chooses to boycott a product or restaurant chain because of some corporate policy or practice, those who produce that product or work in that restaurant inevitably will suffer the consequences and may well lose their jobs, even though they had nothing to do with formulating the policy or implementing the practice that the protesting group finds objectionable. Boycotts are a blunt but often effective tool designed to bring about systemic change from the top. And change is certainly needed here.

Many of our elite universities, including Columbia, pay far less attention than they should to teaching students how to think and far more attention than they should to teaching students what to think. Overwhelmingly liberal faculty members and administrators divide the world into “oppressors” and “oppressed,” indoctrinate students in left-wing ideology, and “cancel” any contrary views in the process.

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My other blogs: Main ones below

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs

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Sunday, May 19, 2024


Survivor of Mao’s political purge getting ‘PTSD’ watching history repeat on college campuses

A survivor of Mao’s Cultural Revolution says she is experiencing post-traumatic stress witnessing history repeat itself on college campuses as “Marxist hordes” have taken over in anti-American and anti-Israel demonstrations.

In an interview with Fox News Digital, Lily Tang Williams, who is currently running as a Republican candidate for Congress in New Hampshire’s 2nd district, said she fears the country she left is coming back to haunt her again in the United States.

“I sometimes I get nervous, and I feel like I’m having a little bit of PTSD and like I can’t sleep well whenever I see the way they’re chanting, using drums and us[ing] slogans, [are] humiliating people and have a huge amount of young people…chanting ‘Death to America,’ not just ‘Death to Israel.’ I just feel like, oh my goodness the… Red Guards are in action again,” she said.

The Red Guard was a massive student-led, paramilitary social movement in China that was mobilized by Chairman Mao Zedong in 1966.

Young people were one of the most effective tools Mao exploited to fuel his revolution, Tang Williams said. Most of the young people protesting on college campuses today are “naive” and therefore ripe for manipulation by bad faith actors, she added.

“I think that a lot of students who were protesting on college campuses [are]… confused… Because that’s what Mao said, the young people’s mind is a blank piece of paper, and you can draw the most beautiful pictures,” she said, adding that she thinks they are “naive and easily manipulated… [for] revolution.”

Tang Williams was born in China’s western Sichuan province on the cusp of Mao’s deadly terror campaign – the Cultural Revolution. She experienced extremely poor living conditions, food rationing, social chaos and communist indoctrination.

She came to America in 1988 to study at a graduate school, but it took 20 years over the course of her journey in America to rid herself of all the communist propaganda.

Tang Williams drew a parallel between the Chinese revolution that was based on class and what she believes is a neo-Marxist Cultural Revolution that is based on identity groups molded together into a coalition on an oppression matrix, with Palestinians considered an oppressed group.

“It’s traditional Marxism. It’s oppressor versus oppressed. Doesn’t matter how many subcategories you put under each category,” she said. “And it’s this movement’s agenda. It’s well-funded. And students on college campuses are leading the way.”

“They’re using this international conflict, chanting… ‘from the river to the sea’ before Israel even had the chance to launch the defense and go after Hamas. So [the protesters] are the ones who first called for the… genocide of Israel when they were [protesting right after Oct. 7],” Tang Williams added.

Mao’s Great Leap Forward, an economic policy, led to the deaths of up to 45 million people. Adhering to communist ideals, the state seized control of production. Private farmland was confiscated and food distribution was placed under the purview of the government. As a result, the Chinese people died from starvation, forced labor, suicide and torture.

The Five Black Categories of oppressors included right-wingers, rich farmers, landlords, counter-revolutionaries and bad influencers. On the other side were the Red Categories, the poor, working-class, Revolutionary guards and active members of the Chinese Communist Party.

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Federal Appeals Court Rules Maryland Parents Cannot Opt Children Out of LGBTQ Lessons

Despite national attention and thousands of protesting parents, a federal court is refusing to allow parents to opt their children out of LGBTQ courses in school.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided on Wednesday that Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland does not have to allow parents to opt their children out of LGBTQ-themed lessons.

Judge G. Steven Agee, a George W. Bush appointee, claimed that the parents seeking to opt their children out of the lessons in question did not provide sufficient evidence to justify a preliminary injunction.

In March of last year, MCPS added nearly two dozen “LGBTQ+ inclusive texts” to the pre-K through eighth-grade curriculum. According to a lawsuit filed in May, parents were told that “no notice will be given” of when LGBTQ-themed lessons will be taught and that “no opt-outs [will be] tolerated because [students] must learn to be more ‘LGBTQ-Inclusive.’”

The federal lawsuit was brought by a group of Christian and Muslim parents who wished to remove their children from LGBT-themed lessons on religious grounds. More than 1,000 parents—including Catholic, Ethiopian Orthodox, evangelical, Muslim, and Jewish parents—attended a subsequent MCPS board meeting to protest the decision to rescind parental opt-outs.

Then, in August, President Joe Biden-appointed U.S. District Court Judge Deborah Boardman ruled against Maryland parents, claiming that mandatory LGBT lessons do not constitute a religious liberty infringement. She wrote that reading books about transgenderism, drag queens, and bondage fetishes to children as young as 3 “is not indoctrination” and does not “directly or indirectly” coerce children into activity “that violates their religious beliefs.”

Instead, she suggested that concerned parents—who, according to the policy Boardman sanctioned, have no notice of when these lessons are being taught—discuss the lessons with their children at home after school.

On a separate note, Boardman expressed a concern that too many parents would opt their children out of LGBTQ lessons, which she claimed would “expose students who believe the books represent them and their families to social stigma and isolation” and would further “defeat [the school board’s] ‘efforts to ensure a classroom environment that is safe and conducive to learning for all students’ … ”

Finally, the judge denied any preliminary injunction, meaning that parents cannot currently opt their children out of the objectionable lessons. Boardman wrote that “a constitutional violation is not likely or imminent” and thus “the plaintiffs are not likely to suffer imminent irreparable harm.”

In comments to The Washington Stand, the Family Research Council’s senior fellow for education studies, Meg Kilgannon, warned: “It’s important to understand that this is an effort to develop curriculum to affirm diverse identities.” She noted that the LGBTQ-themed lessons are “not a separate unit (it’s not sex education),” but instead “sexual material that is meant to be incorporated in lessons as the teacher is instructing children in math, reading, science, or history.”

“That is what makes it so noxious. The incorporation of this material this way makes it impossible to remove the content or to remove children from the classes where it is taught,” Kilgannon explained

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Far-Leftist university lecturer sacked over Nazi swastika incident loses bid to get reinstated

He got off the Hilton bombing by the skin of his teeth. At his appeal, a very skeptical judge (Gleeson) just did not believe some of the evidence

The University of Sydney has won its appeal against a court ruling that found a controversial lecturer was unlawfully sacked after he showed students a slide show that superimposed a Nazi swastika on the Israeli flag.

In October 2022, Federal Court Justice Thomas Thawley ruled Dr Tim Anderson was exercising his academic freedom. He accepted the lecturer’s argument the swastika graphic was created to encourage critical analysis.

The judge said that while he considered Anderson’s comments would be offensive to many people, he did not consider the context in which the swastika was used involved “harassment, vilification or intimidation”.

But on Friday, the Federal Court overturned the decision in a two to one majority, finding Anderson’s comments did not comply with the “highest ethical, professional and legal standards” required to be protected under the intellectual freedoms enshrined in the university’s enterprise agreement.

The political economy lecturer, who was supported by the National Tertiary Education Union through the case, was sacked from the university in February 2019, a few months after he had superimposed a swastika over an Israeli flag.

Friday’s judgment said that in July 2018, Anderson posted to his Facebook account a photograph taken at a lunch in Beijing where one of the people wears a shirt with antisemitic slogans in Arabic which translate into English to: “Death to Israel”, “Curse the Jews” and “Victory to all Islam”.

The university directed him to remove the photograph, which he did not do.

In October 2018, the university moved to sack Anderson after he showed a PowerPoint presentation in a lecture about civilian deaths in Gaza that featured the Nazi swastika imposed over the flag of Israel.

It came after two other warnings in 2017 and 2018 over statements made about a News Corp journalist and his labelling of US senator John McCain as a “key al-Qaeda supporter”.

Anderson had previously told the court, in an affidavit: “While some may feel offended by Nazi-Zionist analogies, I say the inclusion of the analogy in that graphic was appropriate. The purpose of the slide was to encourage critical analysis ... No student raised any issue with the slide during the seminar.”

In his reasons, Judge Nye Perram said he accepted it may “in an appropriate case” be consistent with the standards in the university’s enterprise agreement for an academic to use a Nazi swastika.

“It was for Dr Anderson to engage in the forensic gymnastics of explaining how his at least incendiary conduct could be characterised as being consistent with the highest ethical, professional and legal standards. This he did not do,” he said.

The university submitted Anderson’s comments were “variously intemperate ad hominem attacks” and were not in pursuit of academic excellence.

Last year, the court dismissed Anderson’s claims for damages but found Anderson should be reinstated to his position, pending the outcome of the university’s appeal.

Friday’s ruling, which overturns that order, comes amid ongoing discussions about freedom of speech and antisemitism on campus. Vice chancellor Mark Scott has written to the attorney-general to seek legal advice from federal authorities on how to respond to protesters who call for an “intifada” against Israel.

“We’re pleased with this outcome, as we were confident of our actions,” a University of Sydney spokeswoman said.

“We strongly defend freedom of speech and the ability of our staff to express their expert opinion as outlined in our Charter of Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom. The principle and practice of intellectual freedom must be upheld in accordance with the highest ethical, professional and legal standards.”

The swastika incident followed years of controversial statements and activities by Anderson, including several trips to North Korea and Syria and expressions of solidarity with their dictatorial regimes.

Anderson was also convicted in 1990 over the 1978 Hilton hotel bombing in Sydney. He was acquitted the following year.

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My other blogs: Main ones below

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs

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Thursday, May 16, 2024



How Bad Was Learning Loss During the Pandemic?

We know that school closures hampered student learning during the pandemic. But just how bad was the effect? And how widespread? Those are the questions that Bastian Betthäuser and colleagues sought to answer in a paper published at the beginning of last year.

The authors carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis of learning loss over the first two-and-a-half years of the pandemic. By combing the literature, including repositories of unpublished papers, they were able to identify 61 relevant studies.

Before running the numbers, Betthäuser and colleagues manually checked each of the 61 studies for various methodological biases, such as confounding. Based on widely used criteria, they determined that 19 studies (that is, 30% of the total) had a “critical” risk of bias. Excluding these from the analysis left them with 42. And since most studies reported multiple estimates of learning loss – for different subjects and grade levels – there were a combined total of 291 estimates.

The authors also checked for publication bias, but found no evidence that the studies with smaller samples reported larger estimates.

So, what did they find? Averaging the estimates for each study and then pooling across studies, they obtained an overall effect size of d = –0.14. This means that average learning loss was about 14% of a standard deviation of students’ test scores. What does this mean in practice? Well, students typically progress by about 0.4 standard deviations per school year, which means that school closures reduced learning by the equivalent of one third of a school year (a whole term). The authors characterise this as “substantial”.

Next they looked to see whether learning loss decreased over the course of the pandemic. Were later estimates smaller than earlier ones? Their chart is shown below:

Chart from ‘A systematic review and meta-analysis of the evidence on learning during the COVID-19 pandemic’.

Here the dots correspond to individual estimates, rather than averages for each study. As you can see, there is no evidence that learning loss decreased; if anything, it increased.

However, the authors checked to see whether later estimates were significantly larger than earlier ones, and found that they weren’t. The most reasonable interpretation of the data is that learning loss arose during the first few months of the pandemic (when lockdowns were most severe), and then persisted for the next two years.

Now, it’s possible that students who suffered learning loss will eventually catch up to where they would have been in the absence of school closures. Perhaps if you extended the grey line above into 2023 and 2024, it would begin to slope upwards. Yet as the authors note:

Existing research on teacher strikes in Belgium and Argentina, shortened school years in Germany and disruptions to education during World War II suggests that learning deficits are difficult to compensate and tend to persist in the long run.

Which students were most affected? It stands to reason that those from richer families would be less affected, since their home environments were more conducive to learning, and their parents could afford to compensate by hiring private tutors. And that’s exactly what Betthäuser and colleagues found.

They coded estimates for whether they showed an increase in educational inequality by socio-economic background, a decrease in educational inequality or no change. A large majority showed an increase – indicating that poorer students suffered greater learning loss. The authors also found that learning loss was greater in poorer countries.

So school closures not only disadvantaged poor students relative to rich ones within countries, but also disadvantaged poor countries relative to rich ones. This is obviously ironic, given that many on the left championed school closures and initially denounced those who opposed them.

Betthäuser and colleagues’ study is one of the most comprehensive and careful to date, and it basically confirms what we already knew: school closures came with major costs. What’s noteworthy is that, due to data availability, their sample of studies was skewed toward richer countries. Had it included more studies from poorer countries, the overall learning loss would have been even greater.

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More Public Charter Schools Are Needed Nationwide

Parents, children, and supporters of school choice have cause to celebrate this National Charter Schools Week.

Charter schools earned the top two spots on a list of the best high schools in America, according to a recent report by U.S. News & World Report. And, of the top 100 public high schools, charter schools claimed 19 spots—10 in Arizona alone—despite accounting for only 8% of all public schools in the country.

Yet with all their proven success, these tuition-free public schools open to all students are far too few nationwide.

Charter schools are in high demand by parents, as evidenced by consistently long waitlists. Yet of the 46 states plus Washington, D.C., with laws allowing charter schools, many states either cap the total number of charters allowed or the number that may be opened each year, or restrict the creation of charter schools to failing districts.

Legislation proposed in Mississippi this year would have expanded the state’s existing, restrictive law to increase the total number of charter schools from the current 10.

As explained by Empower Mississippi, HB 1683 would have allowed applicants to apply to start charter schools in C-rated districts, not just D- and F-rated districts, as is the case currently, without needing the approval of the local school board—which is unlikely to be granted.

The bill also would have allowed for the creation of charter schools in any district as long as they are aimed at serving students with autism or emotional or intellectual disabilities. Finally, the bill would have granted Mississippi’s colleges and universities the ability to authorize charter schools. Currently, only the Charter School Authorizer Board has that power.

Washington state has only 18 charter schools, despite passage of a law allowing them 12 years ago. In 2021, a statewide ban on new charter schools occurred. Liv Finne, director of the Center for Education at Washington Policy Center, noted that the Washington State Board of Education “finds that children who attend a charter public school receive an education that is as good or better than the one provided at most traditional public schools.”

The Washington State Board of Education made two key recommendations in conjunction with charter school authorizers: First, the board recommends that additional charter schools be granted the opportunity to open. Second, it recommends an “examination of the sufficiency of charter school funding and approaches used in other states in order to bring about equitable educational funding for Washington’s schools.” Time will tell if any ground is gained.

Missouri took a step forward last week when Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, signed legislation allowing charter schools in Boone County—which as of July 2023 had an estimated population of just under 190,000.

Previously, Missouri allowed charter schools only in Kansas City, St. Louis, and unaccredited school districts. In typical fashion, local school superintendents (seven of eight in Boone County) demanded a veto. Their self-serving focus is on maintaining a monopoly on student enrollment and the associated funding, not giving families educational options for their children.

Missouri lawmakers would be wise to extend the state’s charter school law to all districts.

It would be advantageous to the bottom line of all states to encourage more charter schools. A state funds only a portion of the per-pupil amount that it provides to a district’s public schools, and generally doesn’t cover facility costs—in part or in full—for charter schools.

Often, families who send their children to charter schools aren’t able to afford private school tuition or don’t have a parent or grandparents available during the workday to make homeschooling a feasible option. On average, more than half of students who attend a charter school qualify for free or reduced-price lunch based on household income.

As of the 2021-2022 school year, many minority students attend charter schools. In one example, in urban charter school enrollment, an average of 40.5% of students are Hispanic and an average of 32.6% are black. White students, on average, account for 17.6% and Asian students make up 4.4%.

More than 57% of charter schools are located in urban areas, enrolling more than 1.9 million students. Nearly 29% are in suburban areas, accounting for almost an additional 1 million students.

Parents know what is best for their children, and many desire an option other than a district public school assigned to them based on home address. Charter schools have proven to be a high-demand avenue that produces academic results for students.

Lawmakers would be wise to encourage, not limit, the expansion of charter public schools. If these schools aren’t effectively educating students, families can leave because their children aren’t bound to the schools.

Charter schools have incentives to serve families well and provide high-quality student learning, incentives that don’t exist in the near-monopoly held by district public schools.

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Australia: Fears ‘TeacherQuitTok’ social media trend ‘warping perception’ of profession for young teachers

This is a classic case of blame the messenger. If they want to stop teachers talking about quitting, they have to deal with the problems behind the dissatisfaction. And Leftst limits on what teachers can do to maintain order in the classroom are biggest problem. There should be high-discipline schools for unruly pupils

Australian teachers are being inundated with videos of burnt-out peers breaking down as hashtags like ‘TeacherQuitTok’ go viral on social media, prompting fears the negative reinforcement could be pushing young educators out the door.

There have been nearly 17,000 contributions to the ‘TeacherQuitTok’ tag on TikTok, racking up four million views on the single most watched video, while similar tags like ‘TeacherBurnout’ have 12,000 posts under them.

In clips with thousands of likes, young Australian ex-teachers cited the “never-ending” juggle of different needs among their 30-student classrooms, including pupils with behavioural issues, and “lack of respect” from higher-ups and the general public as reasons to quit.

“Being a teacher is really emotionally draining,” a former Brisbane teacher said.

“You’re constantly juggling and being responsible for all these different personalities and different situations, and it’s relentless, it’s never-ending.”

“The access to you 24/7 (from parents) … sometimes it’s a lot,” another added.

Other popular videos under hashtags like ‘TeacherBurnout’ and ‘HowToQuitTeaching’ are even more extreme, with teachers in the US and UK filming themselves having emotional breakdowns in the break rooms and crying in their classrooms.

University of Newcastle Associate Professor Rachel Buchanan has been researching the rise of ‘QuitTok’, which predates the more recent, niche version of the trend for teachers, and is concerned about the impact of such videos flooding educators’ social media feeds.

Although social media allows educators who are feeling “powerless and unheard” to have a voice, Professor Buchanan said, the echo-chamber effect can also “normalise quitting”, especially for young teachers lacking support and mentorship.

“On TikTok it feels inescapable that everyone’s quitting, and everyone’s burnt out … and it can warp your perception of what’s really happening,” she said.

“#TeacherQuitTok also reinforces and validates the decision to leave the profession – hearing others’ stories and joining in feels like participation in a movement or a moment.”

Sydney-based after-school care manager Teneal Broccardo knows first-hand how damaging the exposure to the constant negativity can be, citing the viral content with making her reconsider training to be a primary school teacher.

“There’s this massive trend about how stressful is, and when I was studying I found it really disheartening,” she said.

“I saw all these people working themselves to the ground and I thought, do I want to do this to myself too?”

Already having experience working with children and with classroom management alleviated her fears, the 29-year-old said, but for others she imagined “it could be the last straw”.

“TikTok is very influential. If you’re seeing more positive things instead, like teachers decorating the classroom or explaining different techniques they use, you are going to be more motivated.”

A 2022 Monash University study found only three in every 10 teachers surveyed on staying in the profession for the long-term, and their concerns are regularly reflected in ‘TeacherQuitTok’ content, lead author Dr Fiona Longmuir said.

“It’s the conditions that are making it challenging (to stay) more so than what they’re seeing on social media,” she said.

“There’s a big public discourse saying that teaching is tough, but that’s because it is tough.

“We don’t have a teacher shortage in Australia, but we do have a shortage of teachers who want to work in our classrooms.”

NSW Education Minister Prue Car said a pay rise, more permanent contracts and ban on mobile phones are among the ways the state is trying to “turn the tide on the teacher shortage”.

“Teachers do an incredibly important job in our community and they should be proud of their work. They deserve to be respected and valued,” she said.

“We are starting to see positive signs in terms of teacher vacancies, but we know there is more to do and we continue to look at ways to reduce workload and restore morale.”

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My other blogs: Main ones below

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs

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Wednesday, May 15, 2024


Teacher fired for being too rational

A teacher was fired after his video went viral on X, where he gently challenged a student's stance on whether Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is a transphobe and bigot.

"As far as I can see, there was nothing offensive in that video," Ms Marcus told Sky News host Rita Panahi.

"In fact, I would welcome him to any school here in Australia."

"We need more of those kinds of teachers helping our children and university students develop their critical thinking skills, which are so lacking these days."

“He was so careful language when he was being asked about JK Rowling he was pointing out some pretty fair points.”

Warren [Smith], who has now been fired, went viral for questioning why a student thought JK Rowling was transphobic.

In the exchange, he asked the student to articulate specific reasons and cite evidence which made the student admit their stance could use more thought.

Schools firing teachers who promote critical thinking is one of many reasons why so many students graduate unable to form cohesive arguments and acting like mindless NPCs.

Teachers like Warren can be a part of the solution if schools grow a spine

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Ex-Gov. Pataki raises $250K for charter schools as he celebrates their 25th anniversary in NY

Former Gov. George Pataki held a Manhattan gala Monday that raised $250,000 for charter schools in New York — 25 years after approving a landmark law that paved the way for them.

About 300 people attended the not-for-profit Pataki Center event at the private Union Club, a celebration that the ex-gov said hailed the academic success of New York charters.

Pataki, a Republican who served three terms, recalled how he muscled the law through a resistant state legislature in 1998 by linking passage of the bill to a pay raise measure that lawmakers desperately wanted.

“It’s ultimately about the success of the children,” Pataki said during an interview with The Post on Tuesday.

Nearly 150,000 students are now enrolled in 274 publicly funded charter schools in New York City, about 15% of, or one of every six, public-school students.

“In the beginning, there was virtually no support for charter schools. What happened is what I thought would happen,” Pataki said. “The demand of parents for charter schools tells the story. I’m really proud of how charter schools have blossomed.”

Charter schools are run by educators overseen by not-for-profit entities. While publicly funded, they are exempt from many of the rules governing traditional public schools, particularly employee union contracts.

Staffers at most charter schools do not belong to unions, and many of the alternative schools have a longer school day and school year than district schools.

Results on standardized math and English exams over the years show students in charter schools typically outperform their comparable counterparts in the traditional public schools.

Pataki said New York not only passed a law, but it’s good legislation with strong accountability provisions. Low-performing charter schools are forced to close, while successful ones are given the freedom to expand or even be replicated.

Pataki honored and gave shout-outs to people who helped him pass the charter-school law and launch the new schools, including: hedge-fund honcho Steve Klinsky, who helped start the first charter school, Sisulu-Walker Academy in Harlem; Ed Cox and Randy Daniels, who co-chaired the State University of New York panel and institute that authorized the first charter schools, and backers such as the Rev. Al Cockfield and Ray Rivera.

He also acknowledged his then-communications director Zenia Mucha and Robert Bellafiore, who organized charter schools for the executive chamber, former Michigan Gov. John Engler, a charter school advocate, and top aide Rob Cole, who is chairman of the Pataki Center.

He thanked generous sponsors of the event, including John and Margo Catsimatidis, too.

Pataki said he’s still baffled by lefty progressives who fret about income inequality but oppose charter schools that educate mostly lower-income black and Latino kids and help close the academic achievement gap — and ultimately the income gap.

“The political left is a reason we have such a problem,” he said.

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Elementary student wins fight for interfaith prayer club at school:

A Washington state elementary student is celebrating success after battling her school to start an interfaith prayer club.

Laura, a fifth-grade student at Creekside Elementary, was initially told no when she sought to create a prayer group that welcomed all students.

But with the help of First Liberty Institute, a nonprofit Christian organization, Laura was victorious.

"After they said no, First Liberty sent an email to them, and finally they responded and they said that we can have our club if we found a sponsor, and we found a sponsor," Laura said on "Fox News @ Night" Monday.

Laura and her mother allegedly met with the Creekside principal in February. The principal claimed that all funding for school clubs had already been allocated back in October. However, a Pride club had allegedly launched just a week before the meetings.

First Liberty attorney Kayla Toney argued the school’s decision to deny the club was a violation of the Constitution and that school officials were engaging in religious discrimination.

Toney’s email to the school read in part: "By singling out a religious club and providing an inferior access to school resources than what it provides to other non-curricular groups, the district shows a hostility to religion that violates the free exercise clause."

Toney told anchor Trace Gallagher she’s not surprised the school ultimately allowed Laura’s prayer club to form.

"The law is very clear on this issue," Toney explained. "The First Amendment absolutely protects Laura’s ability to pray with her friends. There's a long history and tradition in this country of voluntary, student-led prayer, and the Supreme Court made that really clear."

"We're very glad that the school district decided to do the right thing here. We think it's better for everyone because Laura is able to have her club starting next week. She doesn't have to have a long, drawn out legal battle. And it's better for the school district because religious liberty brings a beautiful diversity to the school environment."

Toney said it was an honor to stand with Laura and touted her courage to fight for religious liberty in her school.

Laura expects a good turnout at her first interfaith prayer group meeting and said a number of students have already reached out with interest in joining the club.

"It was just a great lesson to learn that even an 11-year-old girl can make a big difference," Laura said.

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My other blogs: Main ones below

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs

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Tuesday, May 14, 2024


Missing on Campus: Higher Ed Seeks to Reverse Decline of Male Student Population

Hopeful young entrepreneurs in business schools routinely pitch ideas for startup companies as part of their classroom assignments. But the ones who were doing it at the University of Vermont were still in high school.

It was the inaugural Vermont Pitch Challenge, to which nearly 150 teams from 27 states and seven countries had submitted their entrepreneurial brainstorms. The final five had come to the campus to battle it out for the grand prize: a full-tuition scholarship to UVM.Their ideas included a website to help previously incarcerated applicants get jobs, a nonprofit to provide mental health support to competitive snowboarders, a medical device to prevent the recurrence of a herniated disk, a company to rent equipment to farmers in St. Croix and an invention to sustainably recharge laptops, phones and tablets.

This competition wasn’t solely about helping the planet or improving medicine, health, employment opportunities or agriculture, however.

It was part of a long-term strategy to increase the number of men at a university where women now outnumber them by nearly two to one.

Painstaking research had suggested that entrepreneurship programs could appeal to high school boys considering going to college. The findings appeared to be right: More boys than girls had entered the pitch contest. And the university hoped that some would eventually enroll.

The approach is among a fast-growing number of efforts to increase the number of men in college, which has been declining steadily.

“We thought that this idea would attract men,” said Jay Jacobs, UVM’s vice provost for enrollment management, who declared himself pleased with the results. “We thought that this idea would attract racial and ethnically diverse students. We thought that this idea would attract what I’ll call geographically diverse students, students not just from Vermont or New England.”

The university needs all of those kinds of recruits. Vermont has the nation’s third-oldest population, by median age, making it harder to find students generally. That’s even before a dramatic decline in the number of 18-year-olds about to hit the rest of the rest of the country starting next year.

“Here, we’ve already felt the impacts of the quote, unquote ‘demographic cliff,’ ” said Jacobs. “We want to make sure that we are in front of any eligible student who is able to pursue their education at the University of Vermont, or in the state of Vermont.”

That particularly includes men. The proportion of applicants to the university who are male has declined from 44 percent in 2010 to 33 percent today, an analysis of federal data shows.

“I definitely do notice that,” said Melinda Wetzel, a junior who was having coffee with a friend in the student center. “In my big lecture halls, I’d say there are more women. And I do have one small class where there is only one guy.”

It isn’t just this university that’s searching for new ways to recruit men.

The number of men enrolled in college nationwide has dropped by more than 157,000, or almost 6 percent, in just the last five years, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. The proportion of college students who are men is now a record-low 41 percent, the U.S. Department of Education says. That’s a complete reversal of the situation 50 years ago, when men outnumbered women in college by about the same extent.

Men are also 7 percentage points more likely than women to drop out, the Clearinghouse reports.

“At conferences, when we’re in rooms together, we all know that this male enrollment gap is something that we’re going to have to deal with,” said Jacobs, whose office window overlooks the university’s grand historic main quad.

The ways universities are trying to address this vary widely.

The University of Montana — whose enrollment overall has fallen from nearly 16,000 to about 10,000 in the last 10 years, and 58 percent of whose undergraduates are women — found in focus groups that many of the men it was trying to recruit were interested in the outdoors. So this spring it sent targeted emails to prospective students highlighting its hunting class, forestry program and recreational opportunities.

“Have you ever eaten fresh meat that you harvested yourself?” one of the emails asks. “Apply to UM and develop a closer bond to the landscape than ever before.” Another shows a brawny, bearded man cutting wood. “Embrace the wilderness, embrace the axe,” it says. “There are few other connections with the natural world better than swinging a sharp axe with the smell of pine in your nose.”

Admitted applicants considering whether or not to enroll are also sent bingo-style checkoff cards with images of hiking, ski and cowboy boots. Other promotional materials include images of country-and-western shows on campus.

Housing deposits from men — which is how the university measures who will be enrolling in the fall, as it doesn’t require enrollment deposits — are up since the campaign began, said Kelly Nolin, director of undergraduate admissions.

“Ultimately all students want to know, ‘Am I going to fit in? Do I belong?’ ” said Nolin.

Among prospective applicants who are increasingly asking those questions, she said, are men from religious conservative families, at a time when universities are accused of being bastions of left-wing cancel culture. “We want them to know they won’t be criticized for their beliefs.”

Further west, the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center has gotten money from the ECMC Foundation to help community colleges enroll and retain more Black and Hispanic men and other men of color. (ECMC is also among the many funders of The Hechinger Report.)

“If, in fact, colleges and universities want to recruit and enroll and ultimately retain and graduate more men, they have to have a strategy,” said Shaun Harper, founder and executive director of the center. “It has to be based on input and insights from college men themselves.”

Instead of trying to figure out why so many men forgo college or give up on it after starting, he said, institutions should ask, “Wait a minute, what about the ones who are here and are successful?” Harper said. “What were the factors that enabled their enrollment and their ultimate degree attainment? There’s a lot that we can learn from them that we could scale and adapt to everyone else.”

He and others said they were skeptical of some efforts to enroll more men, such as doubling down on sports by adding more men’s teams in the hope that it will lure more male students, as some colleges are doing.

“They’re not all on sports teams. So that shouldn’t be the only lever that we pull,” said Harper. And even if highlighting hunting might be effective in Montana, “it feels so presumptuous about what really appeals to men. I’m just not sure that institutions understand the full range of young men’s interests, and so they tend to default to things like forestry and outdoor adventures. I’m not sure that would work in California or Maryland.”

Whatever does work, universities are under growing pressure to figure it out. Overall enrollment has declined by 16 percent in the 10 years through 2022, the most recent period for which the figures are available from the U.S. Department of Education. Another 11 to 15 percent decline is projected to begin next year.

And there are signs that the problem of attracting men is only likely to get worse.

Of high school boys in Vermont whose parents don’t have four-year degrees, for instance, only 45 percent aspire to go to college themselves, down from 58 percent in 2018, and much lower than the 68 percent of girls who do, a survey found. Even among high school students with at least one parent who has a bachelor’s degree, 87 percent of girls say they want to go to college, compared to 78 percent of boys.

The problem begins early. Girls do better in high school than boys, and are more likely to graduate. In the 37 states that report high school graduation rates by gender, 88 percent of girls finished high school on time, compared to 82 percent of boys, a 2018 study by the Brookings Institution found. Boys are more likely to think they don’t need a degree for the jobs they want, the Pew Research Center found, or go into the trades. Even if they do enroll in colleges, work opportunities lure them away. Men who dropped out of community college are more likely than women to say it was because of other work opportunities, according to a survey by the think tank New America.

That went through John Truslow’s mind when he was deciding whether or not to go to college.

“There was a point where I wasn’t thinking about college” and considered going into the trades or the military, said Truslow, who ultimately decided to major in business at UVM.

Among his male high school classmates who didn’t go to college, said Truslow, who was playing pool in the student center, some couldn’t afford it. “But most of the ones that didn’t directly go to college, it was mostly academic. They just weren’t feeling school and they wanted to do something else.”

A third of men compared to a quarter of women said they didn’t go to or finish college because they just didn’t want to, Pew found.

Richard Reeves, who studies this problem, said it may be more a result of having so successfully encouraged women to get degrees than having discouraged men.

“I think actually what’s probably happened is the opposite — that we’ve sent a really strong and positive message to girls and women. But we haven’t had similar messages for boys and men,” said Reeves, president of the American Institute for Boys and Men.

“We’ve now got to do a little bit of self-correction here and say, look, of course we want girls and women to continue to rise in the education system, but we don’t want to leave the boys and men behind.”

Reeves said that, just as male-dominated programs in engineering and business have made extra efforts to recruit women, female-dominated fields such as healthcare and education should now reach out to men.

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Oregon Middle School Lesson Plan Asks Students to Compare Trump to Hitler

A school district in Oregon, already under fire for violence previously reported on by The Lion, is again on the defensive after asking middle school students to compare Trump to Hitler in a lesson plan.

In December, parents and teachers were calling on Tigard-Tualatin School District (TTSD) Superintendent Dr. Sue Rieke-Smith to resign, citing behavioral issues that went beyond a viral fight.

The latest controversy erupted after an education watchdog posted to X a TTSD lesson plan comparing former President Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler.

A review of the Oregon law under which the lesson plan was created reveals that the intent was to promote progressive propaganda under the guise of Holocaust education.

The lesson plan asked middle school students to pick quotes from both Hitler and Trump and match them to the correct person.

“The exercise is clearly used to guide students to certain conclusions,” said Libs of TikTok.

In an interview with Libs of TikTok, TTSD Community Relations Manager Lisa Burton defended the plan, saying it illustrated how both Trump and Hitler used “propaganda” to influence public opinion against various groups.

The Libs of TikTok presentation also shows the lesson plan trying to draw comparisons between Nazi public book burning and their bans on the sale and distribution of certain books versus the current removal of overtly sexualized, age-inappropriate material that has been taking place in schools and libraries in America.

The lesson plan also compared Nazi book burnings to the current removal of overtly sexualized, age-inappropriate material from American schools and libraries.

“It all began with a book ban,” said the lesson, darkly.

The lesson also claimed “LGBTQ+ people and those who advocated for them” were among the first victims of the Holocaust.

However, the lesson omitted the fact that Hitler tolerated and even promoted some gay individuals.

For example, Ernst Röhm, head of the Nazi stormtroopers, was openly gay, and “Hitler either ignored it or said it was immaterial, depending on who he was talking to,” according to a JSTOR research article. Ultimately, Hitler had Röhm executed for treason due to political differences, not because of his sexuality.

Burton said that the TTSD lesson was part of mandatory teaching under Oregon Senate Bill 664, which requires schools to teach about the Holocaust and genocide.

However, a reading of the law suggests it was passed not to educate about the Holocaust but to promote the kind of “propaganda” that the lesson plan was supposed to critique.

The law includes a list of “teaching” tools, which critics say progressives in Oregon have armed students since passage in 2019.

Four full classes of Oregon high school graduates, now attending university, should be familiar with these lessons.

Amongst the provisions of the law, the lessons must:

“Stimulate students’ reflection on the roles and responsibilities of citizens in democratic societies to combat misinformation, indifference and discrimination through tools of resistance such as protest, reform and celebration.”
Label ”individuals and groups who belong in one or more categories, including perpetrator, collaborator, bystander, victim and rescuer.”

“Explore the various mechanisms of transitional and restorative justice that help humanity move forward in the aftermath of genocide.”
The district, when asked, seemed to understand why some might believe the lesson plan is one-sided and political.

“We could see how that would be perceived, yes,” said Burton.

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Australia: Deakin University orders pro-Palestinian campers off campus

Former Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has called on all universities to “clear the camps of hate’’ from their campuses and praised Deakin University for ordering that the encampment protest on its campus be dismantled.

The university’s deputy vice-chancellor Kerrie Parker has warned the protesters that freedom of speech “does not extend to the establishment of unauthorised camps.’’

She sought the “immediate dismantling and removal of the current encampment at Morgans Walk’’ at the Burwood campus in Melbourne.

But defiant protesters insisted they “will not be complying’’ and are organising a rally on Wednesday to “defend and support the encampment’’.

A video filmed on Monday night shows protest organiser Jasmine Duff telling a group of protesters to rally to “defend’’ the camp on Wednesday.

In her email, Professor Parker said the university was committed to freedom of speech and academic freedom.

“Your ability to undertake protest, political discourse and debate on Deakin campuses is not being infringed or curtailed,’’ she wrote.

“However, the right to freedom of speech does not extend to the establishment of unauthorised camps which pose hygiene and safety risks and restrict the access, availability and use of Deakin premises and facilities for the benefit of the Deakin community of users.’’

Mr Frydenberg praised the university’s decision and called on others to follow its lead.

“Our universities must be safe spaces for learning and education, not indoctrination,’’ Mr Frydenberg told The Australian.

“All our universities should follow Deakin’s lead, bringing an end to these encampments and taking a strong and principled stand against the anti-Semitism, violence and hate we have seen across Australia in recent months.

“This is a time for our university leaders to stand up and be counted.”

Mr Frydenberg, a prominent member of the Jewish community, last week accused university leaders of being derelict in their duties in refusing to clear away the protest encampments. He was speaking ahead of the release this month on Sky News of his documentary Never Again: the Fight Against Anti-Semitism.

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My other blogs: Main ones below

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs

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Monday, May 13, 2024



Report: 67% of Universities Mandate ‘Diversity’ Indoctrination

More than two-thirds of America’s major universities are prioritizing indoctrination in “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) ideology over real education.

That’s the bracing conclusion of a new report finding that 67 percent of major universities across the country require students to take courses in DEI—an ideology that promotes race-based discrimination—just to graduate. But the Goldwater Institute has a solution to restore institutions of higher learning to their core educational purpose: the pursuit of truth through the creation and dissemination of knowledge.

The ideology behind DEI teaches that the world is divided into the categories of “oppressor” and “oppressed.” Accordingly, the only way to pursue justice is to practice discrimination against those deemed “oppressors.” DEI thus rejects the American ideal of equal opportunity regardless of race, color, or creed.

Speech First, the free speech advocacy group that drafted the report, found that a large majority of universities studied use general education requirements to force all students to take courses that instruct them in this discriminatory ideology. Fifty-nine percent of those universities with DEI requirements were public institutions. For example, the University of Louisville requires that at least two of a student’s courses in the general education curriculum have a “diversity” focus.

Furthermore, many universities infuse DEI ideology into the general education program’s student learning outcomes (or statements that outline the program’s goals). These universities are making it clear that they seek to promote DEI ideology to their students, not merely to teach this ideology as one idea among many.

The new revelations provide even more confirmation of how embedded DEI has become in American universities. A recent report from the Goldwater Institute reveals that all journalism students at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University must take a course on “Diversity and Civility.” Readings in this course state that seemingly innocuous statements—such as “I believe the most qualified person should get the job”—are “microaggressions,” offensive actions that make people feel unwelcome. The Cronkite School is supposed to be one of the country’s preeminent training grounds for journalists; instead it’s forcing cultural and political indoctrination down students’ throat

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Confronting the Campus Revolutionary Wannabes

Mario Torres is in the front line for the defense of civilization.

Torres is the Columbia University janitor pictured defending Hamilton Hall from invading barbarians last week. The iconic photo of him pinning a protester against the wall became an instant social media meme.

Now, the unassuming Torres wouldn’t describe himself this way. If you listen to an interview he gave to the Free Press, he goes out of his way to say he’s an average New Yorker who now is concerned for his family.

But if you really listen to what he’s saying, you instantly understand the significance of what took place that day. The contrast between the everyday American turned suddenly by circumstances into a hero and the assailant breaking the law couldn’t be more stark.

The protester he pinned is himself a poster boy—for everything reviled in America. He is 40-year-old millionaire anarchist Cody Tarlow, also known as James Carlson or Cody Carlson, a violent trust-funder with a long history of Marxist agitation, whose late parents were megadonor ad executives, and whose trophy stepmother is now dating singer John Mellencamp.

It was the day the bicoastal elite/celebrity/activist set met a Yankee fan. As Torres put it, “It just so happens that they stormed my building. And I was there.”

Torres describes the Columbia campus prior to the protests as “beautiful, always manicured.” He added, “We always felt safe.” When you think about it, Torres may not know it—though, again, he might—but he is describing the essence of civilization.

Then the protesters came to campus, he said, and everything began to feel uneasy. After they took over Hamilton Hall, he quickly realized the attackers knew what they were doing. The surveillance cameras, high in the ceiling and hard to reach, were all immediately covered. “These guys were pros,” Torres told the Free Press.

In words that perfectly describe society’s dilemma right now, Torres said, “You don’t have a plan. They have a plan, you don’t.”

The reason the barbarians have a plan is that they are organized, while Democratic law enforcement refuses to prosecute criminals, and Republicans in the House of Representatives squander what little power they have.

Just take a look at Tarlow. (Let’s call him that, as that was the name of his father, the late ad executive Dick Tarlow, famous for his work with Revlon, Ralph Lauren, Cuisinart, and Pottery Barn, according to Yahoo News.)

The Canada Free Press quotes New York City Police Department officials as saying that Tarlow is a “longtime figure in the anarchist world.”

The New York Post, quoting a source at City Hall, writes that the millionaire’s rap sheet “dates back to at least 2005, when he was charged in San Francisco for participating in the violent ‘West Coast Anti-Capitalist Mobilization and March Against the G8.’”

So we are dealing with a violent protester who is just a very rich anti-capitalist who has exhibited anti-social behavior for years but whose money, and our increasingly weak law enforcement apparatus, has allowed him to roam our streets free.

As Torres put it, “He’s worth millions, I’m not.”

Tarlow organized with others like him. Lisa Fithian, a legendary Marxist activist, was seen directing students at Hamilton Hall, telling them how to use zip ties to lock the doors. Fithian, who escaped arrest when the police showed up, is a veteran of the anti-world trade Seattle riots in 1999, the Ferguson riots, and every civil disturbance in between.

On her Facebook page, she describes herself as “trying to build the world that we want.” A 2003 New York Times article wrote of her, “You don’t go to Fithian when you want to carry a placard. You go to her when you want to make sure there are enough bolt cutters to go around.”

Torres enjoys no such advantages. He is a janitor with few resources who’s now worried about his children. A GoFundMe page has already been set up for him.

He told the Free Press of these violent activists, “I know they are funded by someone, you know they are funded by someone. People know that they are funded. We figured that out when we saw all the same colored tents, and then it came out in the news that NYU has the same color tents. Someone is funding them.”

We do know. Politico reported this week that the pro-Hamas protesters “are backed by a surprising source: Biden’s biggest donors.” That’s less of a surprise than Politico is making out. But keep your eyes on Mario Torres. His skirmish with a violent millionaire revolutionary wannabe is the stuff that stands upstream of politics.

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One University leader stands tall against anti-Semitism

Western Sydney University chancellor Jennifer Westacott has broken with fellow chancellors and explicitly condemned anti-Semitism during Gaza protests on Australian campuses.

Ms Westacott, a former Business Council of Australia chief executive, writes in The Weekend Australian that it is time for ­“collective leadership” to call out “growing division and anti-Semitism”.

Her plea comes after weeks of pro-Palestinian campus protests during which students have chanted “intifada” and “From the river to the sea” anti-Israel slogans, accusations have been made that radical and anti-Semitic outsiders have infiltrated campuses, an anti-Israel terrorist-linked group’s flag has been flown, and Nazi-style gestures have been made at student meetings.

Going further than any university leader has since the anti-Israel campus protests began, Ms Westacott said universities were champions of free speech and places of intellectual challenge “but they must never be places of fear”. “The hate speech and anti-Semitism occurring on our campuses is a direct assault on Australia’s multiculturalism and its principles,” she said.

Ms Westacott said she was speaking both as Western Sydney University chancellor – a role that makes her head of its governing body, similar to a company board chair – and in her personal ­capacity.

The university administrator and business leader says her own experiences suffering discrimination, and the way war and genocide have affected members of her family, fuelled her opposition to the anti-Semitism crisis in higher education.

“I’m doing so as part of a family that includes two people, a mother and her son, who are from an ­Islamic background, who are stateless because they faced genocide in Afghanistan, who were forced to flee, and now live as asylum-seekers,” she writes.

“They are our family, and my partner, Tess, and I love them. And I am doing so as someone who has endured sexism and ­homophobia. I do not believe we can pick and choose our moral positions.”

Ms Westacott’s condemnation of anti-Semitism comes after the University Chancellors Council decided at its plenary meeting last Thursday week not to explicitly call out anti-Semitic elements among campus protests, a resolution that went against the wishes of some chancellors. After the May 2, meeting the council issued a statement that condemned hate speech but stepped around the issue of anti-Semitism.

“Hate speech or conduct directed at any person or group of persons because of their nationality, religion or identity is completely unacceptable,” it said.

Another university chancellor told The Weekend Australian the council statement should have been stronger and explicitly condemned anti-Semitism, but this view was not ­accepted at the meeting.

In her article, Ms Westacott said the Australian values of tolerance, respect and fairness “made us the most successful multicultural country in the world”.

“I believe we cannot be silent when members of the Jewish community are targeted for the actions of a government more than 14,000 kilometres away,” she writes, saying Jews in ­Australia cannot be considered ­responsible for the Israeli government’s invasion of Gaza ­following the deadly Hamas ­attack on Israel on October 7 last year.

“It would be like persecuting the Russian diaspora for the ­actions of Vladimir Putin,” Ms Westacott writes.

“Nor can we allow any form of discrimination or intimidation against Palestinians because of the actions of Hamas.”

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My other blogs: Main ones below

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs

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