Tuesday, September 21, 2021

A Family-Style US Constitution Course for Kids: ‘Parents Shouldn’t Rely on Schools to Do This’

A U.S. Constitution and government course for children that has been in the making for over two years was released Sept. 13 by homeschool curriculum company The Good and the Beautiful (TGATB).

The family-style course, titled “US Constitution and Government,” has been created as an open-and-go resource for 4th–8th graders, is suitable for parents to teach on weekends or school breaks, and its timing couldn’t be more relevant, say the curriculum developers.

“[The course] is ready at a time when the founding of our country is being undermined, socialism and communism are openly and unashamedly promoted, and freedom seems to be on the decline,” Heather Hawkins, a lead writer and researcher for the course, told The Epoch Times.

There is not only a dire need to teach our children constitutional principles, but an urgency as well … They are not taught that our natural rights come from our Creator and that individual liberties are what drive a creative, innovative, and compassionate society.

TGATB founder and owner Jenny Phillips believes it is a parent’s responsibility and privilege to teach their children “the amazing story” of the founding of the United States and wants children everywhere to understand “the principles of freedom that have guided this country and made it a light to all the world.”

“Parents shouldn’t rely on schools to do this,” she said.

“With so much misinformation being spread in our world today, we focused on creating a course based on source documents and accurate information,” said Phillips, who employed a large team of writers, expert reviewers and fact-checkers, editors, illustrators, and designers to develop the “groundbreaking” curriculum, now available as a history course set on the company’s website.

The full course set consists of a 32-lesson full-color course book—which explains the text and context of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and all 27 Amendments—short inspirational audio biographies of the Founding Fathers and Mothers, a student journal, and an adventure story, “Mystery on Constitution Island,” written just for the course.

Teaching the ‘Legacy of Freedom’

Though there are existing U.S. government courses written for high schoolers in the homeschool curriculum arena, Hawkins, of TGATB’s Curriculum Development Team, says there’s been a big hole in the market for courses aimed at the middle grades, yet a “proper understanding of the role of government” by this age group is necessary for the safeguarding of freedom and human rights.

“Children in public schools today are often not taught about the legacy of freedom that our founding documents have,” Hawkins said. “They are not taught that our natural rights come from our Creator and that individual liberties are what drive a creative, innovative, and compassionate society that can impart good all around the world.”

The course teaches children not just to know the liberties that “Nature and Nature’s God” has given them, Hawkins said, but to appreciate and to love them. “The continuation of freedom and human rights depends on our recognizing the proper relationship between us and God and between us and government,” she added.

“If people believe they receive their rights from the government, then they will look to the government for all of their needs. If people read and study the founding documents, they will very quickly realize that the prevailing view of government for much of our country’s existence was that our natural rights come from God and the government’s role is to protect those rights.”


Free College? Who Needs the Feds? Markets Will Provide

In their flurry to produce trillions of dollars of new “infrastructure” and “stimulus” for taxpayers, progressive politicians have put prominent emphasis on “free college.” Joe Biden promised free two years of community college, while Bernie Sanders and others want to provide four years tuition free. Congress is wrestling mightily with this and other entitlement issues in the coming days and weeks.

Yet behind the scenes and quietly, many of America’s leading companies are moving to provide essentially free college opportunities for millions of Americans: their employees. Wal-Mart, which has had an extremely low cost program for employees in a few majors at a small number of colleges, is expanding the number of majors and schools, and is dropping a one dollar per day charge to the employee-student.

Not to be outdone, Amazon is enthusiastically jumping onto the “free college for employees” bandwagon. Some 750,000 workers who have been employed for at least 90 days are eligible to participate in studying subjects like IT engineering or data center technology. Many other iconic American corporations have joined the movement, such as Target, Chipotle, McDonalds, Starbucks, etc.

Are American companies suddenly becoming altruistic, wanting to do something special to advance the public good? Not really. They are responding to incredibly tight labor markets. There are record numbers of vacant jobs open—far more than the number unemployed. Big firms like Wal-Mart and Amazon are desperate for dependable workers. They have been raising wages considerably and upping fringe benefits. Since many of the potential new workers are young individuals without college degrees, the offer of “free college” is enticing. Markets are working as they almost always do, reallocating resources to where society says they are needed. The invisible hand of the market is accomplishing much of what D.C. politicians are haggling about, probably quicker and more efficiently.

To be sure, working at Wal-Mart or Amazon won’t get you a free college education at a spiffy private school, studying something academically trendy but vocationally nearly useless, such as gender studies. There are three things in common with many of these company sponsored programs: they are generally on-line (remote instruction), often limited to certain majors that the company wants employees to have, and they are limited to a modest number of respectable but not superlative schools.

There is something paradoxical about all of this. The same tight labor market is leading companies to reduce educational requirements in order to widen the pool of applicants. Some major high tech companies no longer formally require degrees. A computer nerd who dropped out of college but who is a whiz at programming now can potentially get a good, high paying job at some prominent firms. Yet at the same time, other companies (and maybe even the same company) are saying “we will pay you to get a college degree.” Or, perhaps coming soon, “we will pay your tuition at a non-degree coding academy if you agree to work for us for two years after getting your coding certificate.”

The real story here: “credentials still matter.” Companies are desperate for workers, so they are forced to pay less attention to degrees, and for unskilled workers at companies like Amazon they will dangle a potential credential (college degree) in front of them in order to entice them to keep working. At the same time, however, more and more Americans are disillusioned by college—a decade of declining enrollments, exacerbated by the pandemic shows Americans are questioning the value proposition of a college degree.

Meanwhile back in Washington, D.C., Democrats may soon face a realization that they might be able to get a $1.5 trillion dollar program through Congress but not one over twice that large. What to cut out to get to the lower figure? My guess is some new entitlements (child care allowances, family leave, etc.) get pared back, but also generous “free college” provisions as well. The corporate provision of college tuition fringe benefits might provide a rationale for mainstream Democrats to give way on free tuition or, for the most progressive ones, to demand that companies be required to provide tuition benefits for full time employees. But right now, markets are working to provide that benefit anyway.


Maspeth HS diplomas ‘not worth the paper’ they’re printed on

Says The Special Commissioner of Investigation for the NYC Schools District

Maspeth High School created fake classes, awarded bogus credits, and fixed grades to push students to graduate — “even if the diploma was not worth the paper on which it was printed,” an explosive investigative report charges.

Principal Khurshid Abdul-Mutakabbir demanded that teachers pass students no matter how little they learned, says the 32-page report by the Special Commissioner of Investigation for city schools, Anastasia Coleman.

“I don’t care if a kid shows up at 7:44 and you dismiss at 7:45 — it’s your job to give that kid credit,” the principal is quoted as telling a teacher.

Abdul-Mutakabbir told the teacher he would give the lagging student a diploma “not worth the paper on which it was printed” and let him “have fun working at Taco Bell,” the report says.

The teacher “felt threatened and changed each student’s failing grade to a passing one.”

The SCI report confirms a series of Post exposes in 2019 describing a culture of cheating in which students could skip classes and do little or no work, but still pass.

Kids nicknamed the no-fail rule “the Maspeth Minimum.”

Chancellor Meisha Porter, who received the SCI report on June 4, removed Abdul-Mutakabbir from the 1,200-student school and city payroll in July pending a termination hearing set for next month.

But she left Maspeth assistant principals Stefan Singh and Jesse Pachter — the principal’s chief lieutenants — on the job.

Singh and Pachter executed the principal’s orders, informants said, and helped create classes to grant credits to students who didn’t have to show up — because the classes weren’t even held, according to the report.

Abdul-Mutakabbir, Singh and Pachter all refused to answer questions by investigators, citing a right to remain silent, SCI says.

In addition, three teachers in the principal’s “clique” – a favored few who followed orders and got lucrative overtime assignments — also remain.

One of them, Danny Sepulveda, a wrestling coach, was caught on video slamming a skinny young teen onto a floor mat and putting him into a headlock. Witnesses called it bullying. SCI called it “aggressive” and dangerous.

In addition, Sepulveda “likely provided answers to students while proctoring a Regents exam,” the report says.

SCI obtained messages from a teacher to Sepulveda about a girl who did little in class but scored high on the test. “Giving that many answers to her was outrageous,” the teacher texted.

Sepulveda defended helping kids pass the exams, which were required to graduate. “She was smart enough to realize what was happening and took advantage lol. No other kid in that room got that many.”

Among a raft of other wrongdoing, SCI found the school did not properly voucher drugs and weapons in what whistleblowers called a contraband cover-up.

“This is more like an organized crime ring than a school administration,” said City Councilman Robert Holden (D-Queens).

Holden first met with a group of fed-up Maspeth teachers — some who had left rather than be complicit in the corruption — in the summer of 2019. The whistleblowers turned over stacks of evidence.

But under Mayor de Blasio and ex-Chancellor Richard Carranza, the city Department of Education’s own investigation — a report it’s withholding — as well as SCI’s took two years while Abdul-Mutakabbir, Singh and Pachter continued to run the school.

Holden is outraged by the official foot-dragging. “If somebody refuses to be interviewed by an investigative body, they should be suspended immediately,” he said.

Among the SCI’s findings of academic fraud:

Maspeth enrolled students in numerous classes scheduled during “zero (before school), eighth, ninth and tenth periods — all of which were not actual class times.

Students on the rosters “did not actually attend any classes or submit any work.”

Singh set up 9th-period classes for about 20 juniors and 15 to 20 seniors in English, government and economics worth a total of four credits. The kids checked in but rarely met.

Maspeth repeatedly sought to have troubled students with attendance, behavioral or academic issues graduate early — sometimes as soon as the end of their junior year — “to get them out.”

Thomas Creighton, who spoke to investigators, told The Post he spent 11th and 12th grades drunk or stoned, rarely attended classes and did no homework his senior year. Finally, the school gave him “a few worksheets” to complete in a week. He had a pal fill them in, and received a diploma six months early.

Upset about his quick dismissal, Creighton’s parents asked to see his classwork. The school had nothing to show, but insisted he had earned a passing 65 in all classes.

“I was looking for some school authority to push back and let him know that there were consequences to his actions,” said his mother, Annmarie. “But nothing happened.”

Another student told SCI that Pachter or Sepulveda said it was too late to join a government class, and was put in a different one. A week later, the teen was told “there was no need for him to stay and he could complete his assignments at home.” The boy felt he was “probably pushed out” after being accused of selling drugs in school. He was offered an early diploma.

A girl said she was told to report to the office for one period a week to fulfill a class requirement.

Another girl said she was told “it was fine” if she didn’t come to class: “I kind of got princess treatment there.” She received “a list of assignments with little structure and no deadlines.”

In other cases, Sepulveda told colleagues that several students “cut a deal” with Singh and Pachter to come to school once a month to pick up “a packet of work.” The students were all chronically absent, yet graduated in summer 2019.

Pachter handed one staffer a list of problem students at risk of not graduating, asking to ensure they got enough credits “so they would no longer have to be dealt with.”

The DOE’s own Office of Special Investigations conducted a separate probe of Maspeth, but refused to release its report pending a termination hearing for Abdul-Mutakabbir set for next month.

“We did not hesitate to take action at Maspeth High School as soon as the SCI report was completed. Our schools must uphold the highest ethical standards, and we’re taking action against any employee found to have engaged in misconduct,” DOE spokeswoman Katie O’Hanlon said.


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)


Monday, September 20, 2021

Scandal-hit Virginia school board faces calls to ditch member for 'woke-washing' 9/11

A scandal hit Virginia school board is now facing calls to ditch a member who claimed a moment of silence to mark the anniversary of the terror attacks would cause harm to minorities who faced persecution as a result of the terror attack.

On the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks members of the Fairfax County School Board entertained a resolution for a moment of silence. It was intended to honor the first responders who risked their lives to save countless lives, as well as the the nearly 3,000 victims who died and those who were injured as a result of the terrorist attacks carried out that day.

But outspoken board member Abrar Omeish, who has previously sparked outrage for alleged anti-Semitic comments and encouraging high schoolers to remember 'jihad', voted against the resolution, saying it was not 'anti-racist' and failed to address 'state-sponsored traumas.'

'I vote against this today, because our omission of these realities causes harm. We're levitating a traumatic event without sufficient cultural competence,' she said.

'The token phrasing around 9/11 is 'Never Forget.' As a nation we remember a jarring event, no doubt, but we chose to forget, as this resolution does, the fear, the ostracization, and the collective blame felt by Arab Americans, American Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus and all brown or other individuals that have been mistaken for Muslims since that day over the past two decades.' she added.

'Why are we forgetting the experience of these families, their traumas?' Omeish asked.

She later added: 'I hope we can include these components in our broader anti-racist, [and] anti-bias work.

He speech saw a rebuke issued by fellow board member Dr Ricardy Anderson, who accused Omeish of trying to derail a motion that had previously been discussed.

And while Omeish voted against the motion, it was ultimately passed thanks to votes from all other members of the board.

It also sparked fury with a parent in attendance.

'I'd expect that no parent can speak up to this, we are restricted about how..' she said before she was interrupted by board member Stella Pekarsky who asked her to 'please sit down and stay quiet.'

Omeish's comments even led to a call from a local paper to censure and remove her from the school board.

'As Fairfax County School Board Members, you must immediately issue a public statement separating yourselves from the hateful and callous rhetoric of your colleague and hold Ms. Omeish accountable for her words and actions, once and for all,' the Fairfax County Times said in an op-ed.

On Saturday, it emerged that 16 local education groups have also signed a letter addressed to the paper calling on Omeish to quit.

Omeish, who is the sole Muslim member on the Virginia school board, is no stranger to controversy.

This summer she called on graduating high school students to remember 'jihad' at their commencement as she warned they were entering a world of, 'racism, extreme versions of individualism and capitalism, [and] white supremacy.'

In English, she told them that: 'The world sees the accolade, the diploma, the fruit of all your years yet be reminded of the detail of your struggle.'

But when she repeated the speech in Arabic, she told students to remember their 'jihad' - a word meaning both 'struggle' and, specifically, holy war waged on behalf of Islam.

Omeish, who was 24 when she won her place on the board in November 2019, making her one of Virginia's youngest elected officials, has touted various progressive initiatives at the school.

She has promoted a Black History Month assembly that ensured, she said, 'that we confront our history and answer honestly about the ills of our past.'

Others included the school's first-time recognition of Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month this year, and the school's Equity Club, which she said had become a standard in the Fairfax School District.

Fairfax itself has hit the headlines amid clashes over the teaching of critical race theory, with parents including Nomani also claiming that the school is dumbing down its curriculum in a bit to achieve equity - equality of outcomes - for student


96 Percent of Kentucky School Boards Vote to Retain Mask Mandates

The vast majority of Kentucky school boards voted in favor of maintaining masks requirements in schools, according to the Kentucky School Boards Association.

Out of the state's 171 public school districts, 165, or 96 percent, announced that mask requirements will be enforced.

Kentucky's school mask mandate expires Friday under recently-enacted legislation, which was passed earlier this month during a special legislative session.

Senate Bill 1, which became law Sept. 9, reversed the Kentucky Board of Education’s mask requirement for public schools, instead leaving the decision on mask mandates up to individual districts. The bill also bars the state from implementing mask mandates in schools until June 2023.

The GOP-controlled legislature voted to pass the bill earlier this month before Gov. Andy Beshear (D) vetoed the aspects that prevented mask mandates. However, the veto was quickly overridden after a vote from the legislature. The part of the bill that eliminates the statewide mask mandate took effect Friday, according to the Kentucky School Board Association's website.

This comes as the governor reported 5,133 new COVID-19 cases and 45 new deaths in the state on Friday.

He also said that 24 children are in the hospital with the coronavirus.


Endless: More Universities Impose Ludicrous COVID Restrictions on Vaccinated Students

We told you a few weeks ago about a battle at Amherst College over heavy-handed, anti-science restrictions imposed on a nearly universally-vaccinated community. Among other things, the school closed dining halls and severely limited students' freedom of movement, including going into town. Mask mandates remained in place for all, regardless of vaccination status.

We noted that Duke University also decided to force vaccinated members of its community to wear masks, even at outdoor events. Duke appears to have relaxed their rules a bit, but not much, while the status quo at Amherst is unclear (the administration had pledged to start phasing out certain components of their lockdown this week).

Other institutions of higher learning are evidently getting in on the action, including a host of prestigious schools. Here's Cornell's COVID dashboard, informing students that things are going well, with cases in the 'green zone,' but they still must wear masks, even if vaccinated -- and the microscopic percentage of unvaccinated students should also mask up outdoors in some circumstances, despite overwhelming data showing outdoor transmission to be virtually nonexistent:

This Ivy League school literally calls its policy the "new normal," which is disturbing. This is not science, and it's not a reasonable or sustainable endgame. Demanding indefinite masking for fully-vaccinated young people, who were already overwhelmingly unlikely to suffer serious COVID cases or death, is lunacy. It's elite neurosis and COVID 'safety' theater run amok. Let's check in at Georgetown:

No water drinking. This is just nuts, as are school districts evidently paying money for elaborate and useless safety theater measures like this. Of course a powerful Democratic union is in on this embarrassing scheme:

The Atlantic's Derek Thompson, who has written extensively about the absurdity of institutions clinging to anti-scientific practices even after they've been exposed as pointless, snarks: "There is no question that if COVID were transmitted via cobwebs on the ceiling, this would be an amazing way to fight the virus."

Meanwhile, as New York State reinstates a universal mask requirement that includes two-year-olds (for crying out loud), a mother is alleging that she and her son were kicked off an American Airlines flight because she couldn't keep a mask on the young boy -- who is asthmatic and was struggling to breathe. He's two:

The mother of an asthmatic two-year-old has slammed the “truly evil, power-tripping” attendant who removed her family from an American Airlines flight over mask compliance. Amanda Pendarvis and her young son, Waylon, were travelling from Dallas to Colorado on Monday when the flight attendant noticed the child was having trouble keeping his mask on. “He got on the intercom and to say to the entire plane, ‘I’m sorry for the delay but we are dealing with a non-compliant traveller,” Ms Pendarvis said of the encounter. “I was not refusing a mask, nor did I even say I wouldn’t try to keep a mask on my son. We were escorted off the plane as I was holding a mask over his little face. I genuinely don’t have words.”

Absolute, anti-science, officious madness. I'll leave you with this:

She's unmasked indoors, then emerges in a 'tax the rich' dress (worn to a veritable festival of wealth, which serves as a massive tax write-off for extremely wealthy people), with her gown being held up by the masked help. Play the videos of AOC, and the masked asthmatic toddler getting booted of a flight, back to back, then ask yourself what the hell we're doing as a society


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)


Sunday, September 19, 2021

UK: SAS needs more privately educated officers amid influx of working-class recruits because public schools instil the leadership skills required, soldiers say

When your job involves abseiling out of helicopters, kicking down doors and taking out the bad guys, you might be forgiven for thinking that it doesn't really matter what school you went to.

But the SAS is getting worried that not enough posh officers are applying to command its high-stakes operations.

The elite regiment has typically been led by former public schoolboys whose privileged education is said to instil the leadership skills and poise required.

But increasingly working-class officers are applying to command the crack troops, to the chagrin of some soldiers.

'The typical SAS officer is confident, relaxed, bright and unflappable,' said one of the regiment's warrant officers.

'Many of the most successful officers have been to the top public schools, but recently we have seen a number of guys coming forward who just don't cut it. It's a shame, but they are just not posh enough.

'The bottom line is that the officers shouldn't be speaking like soldiers. We don't want officers who are shouters or know-it-alls.'

His comments might invite accusations of snobbery, but The Mail on Sunday understands that one officer recently failed the SAS selection process because it was felt he 'lacked the sophistication' to be able to brief Cabinet Ministers on operations.

Those applying to be SAS officers must brief a room of special forces soldiers on a potential mission and are challenged about their planning and leadership skills by invigilators.

Former officers of the SAS include General Mark Carleton-Smith, the head of the Army, and Major Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, a former Private Secretary to Princes William and Harry, who one source described as 'the archetypal SAS officer'.

Both were educated at Eton, while other recent commanding officers attended Winchester and Harrow.

The Ministry of Defence declined to comment on special forces recruitment, but said they sought the 'best talent from the broadest diversity of thought, skills and background'.


'Inclusion': History Teacher Hangs 'F*** the Police' Poster, Palestinian Flag in Classroom

When students at Alexander Hamilton High School in Los Angeles, California, returned to class this fall, one teacher's woke decor went beyond the typical liberal bias that's become commonplace in public schools.

Photos sent by a concerned parent to national grassroots group Parents Defending Education show one wall covered with hanging LGBTQIA+, Palestine, Transgender, and Black Lives Matter flags while an American flag can be seen tossed over a piece of furniture in the corner.

Another photo shows anti-police and anti-American posters on the wall reading "F*** THE POLICE" and "F*** AMERIKKKA. THIS IS NATIVE LAND."

The anti-police poster claims that "Policing is a violent, anti-black, settler institution that originated as slave patrols. Their primary mandate is to protect property and to militarily enforce white supremacist capitalism. They are doing their jobs as they are trained and paid to do. You can't fix what isn't broken — that's why we fight for police and prison abolition."

The other "F*** AMERIKKKA" poster is emblazoned with the terms "settler colonialism," "genocide," "slavery," "imperialism," "war on drugs," "Jim Crow," and "prison labor" surrounded by photos of Christopher Columbus.

When Parents Defending Education reached out to the Los Angeles Unified School District to seek an explanation, officials responded with a statement that is full of the usual politically-correct blather education administrators are known for:

L.A. Unified holds firm in its policy that students and adults in both schools and offices should treat all persons equally and respectfully and refrain from the willful or negligent use of slurs against any person on the basis of race, language spoken, color, sex, religion, handicap, national origin, immigration status, age, sexual orientation, or political belief.

Apparently, equal treatment and respect don't apply to students whose parents are in law enforcement.

The LAUSD's statement continues:

Across the nearly 630,000 students and about 30,000 teachers district-wide, individual teachers decorate their rooms in a variety of ways, with some decorations being directly tied to or in support of our district curriculum, while others are inclined to adorn based on their freedom of expression and individuality.

When utilizing decorations in our learning environments, all L.A. Unified teachers are expected to adhere to district policies and to be mindful of our mission to educate children in a classroom that reflects all our policies of inclusion and respectful treatment of individual rights.

Again, how "included" are students whose parents protect and serve the community? What about Jewish students who go to class and are forced to sit under a Palestinian flag?

Despite LAUSD's claim that teachers are decorating with the protection of their freedom of expression and individuality, Parents Defending Education points to legal precedent that "public employees are not insulated from employer discipline under the First Amendment when they make statements pursuant to their official duties" because "teachers speak on behalf of the school district when performing their duties in the classroom."

"When teachers make statements, advocate for particular points of view, and/or post specific items on walls or bulletin boards, they are acting pursuant to their official duties," PDE continues. "They do not have unfettered First Amendment rights."


Brown University Will Test Students Twice a Week for COVID-19 Regardless of Vaccination Status

This week, Ivy League school Brown University implemented mandatory twice-weekly covid testing for all undergraduate students and closed a slew of indoor facilities, like the dining hall, due to a rise in positive cases on campus. This follows the trend of colleges and universities across the country requiring students, regardless of vaccination status, to get tested and abide by strict policies to combat the spread of the virus.

In a tweet shared by the student-run newspaper, Brown Daily Herald, it stated that over 80 positive coronavirus cases on campus had been reported in the past week. As a result, the university implemented a slew of temporary restrictions for students, effective Tuesday.

Some of the short-term policies outlined in a news release include the mandatory twice-weekly testing for all students regardless of vaccination status. Previously, only unvaccinated students with exemptions faced twice weekly status. Indoor masking in on and off campus housing unless in a private, non-shared space is a requirement students must also abide by. In-person dining is halted, and social gatherings, while wearing masks, are limited to five people.

On a more specific note, Brown advises students to refrain from small group “hopping.” “Students are expected to consistently engage with the same small social group, rather than attending or ‘hopping’ among multiple small-group gatherings over the course of a day or short period of time,” the website states. “They should not go to indoor bars or restaurants.”

Additionally, Brown requires that students at outdoor social gatherings with people outside the university community wear masks. This includes university athletic events and campus tours for prospective students.

According to Brown’s COVID-19 website, “Healthy Brown,” all students, faculty, and staff are required to be fully vaccinated against the Wuhan coronavirus. The school does allow religious and medical exemptions. The Providence Journal reported that as of August, the university had a 97 percent vaccination rate among students.

“By now, we all understand that we will live with the uncertainty of the pandemic for some time to come, and we must be prepared to adjust our behaviors as public health conditions shift,” the news release reads. “The University will necessarily continue to increase and decrease Brown’s activity protocols to align our requirements for indoor and outdoor settings with expert public health and medical guidance.”


Australia: Religious schools in Victoria are banned from sacking or refusing to hire staff because they are LGBTQ

New rules will come into effect in Victoria which bans religious schools from discriminating against staff who identify as LGBTQIA+.

The schools will no longer be able to sack staff or refuse to hire someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Under current laws, 'faith-based' organisations are allowed to discriminate employees based on their sexuality, gender and marital status due to a gap in legislation.

Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes said the state government would now look to close the 'unfair, hurtful' loophole that allows schools to use religion as the basis for its decision. 'People shouldn't have to hide who they are to keep their job,' Ms Symes said in a statement.

'We're closing this unfair, hurtful gap in our laws so that Victoria's LGBTIQ+ community won't have to pretend to be someone they're not, just to do the job they love.

'These laws strike the right balance between protecting the LGBTIQ+ community from discrimination and supporting the fundamental rights of religious bodies and schools to practice their faith.'

The new legislation means teachers and staff will be protected from getting the sack from religious institutions when disclosing their sexual orientation.

Foreseeably the move has sparked heated debate amongst the religious community with Lobby group Christian Schools Australia describing the state's proposal as an 'attack on people of faith'.

The group's public policy director Mark Spencer said it would oppose the legislation that he believed could 'change the nature of Christian schools'. 'Why is the Government trying to dictate to a Christian school who it can employ or in what role?' Mr Spencer said.

'The Attorney-General can choose all her staff on the basis of their political beliefs – why can't Christian schools simply choose all their staff on their religious beliefs?'

Ms Symes told The Age under the new reforms any discrimination against potential employees would need to be 'reasonable' and an important part of the job.

'For example, a school couldn't refuse to hire a gay or transgender person because of their identity but might be able to prevent that person being a religious studies teacher because of their religious belief,' she said.


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)


Friday, September 17, 2021

Virginia Tech professor is slammed by students after 'apologizing' to them for being a white, straight female - and saying that racism is 'innate within the reality of white people'

A Virginia Tech professor is under fire after she allegedly apologized to her students for being a straight, white woman.

Dr. Crystal Duncan Lane, who taught human development and family science, is accused of using her Human Development 1134 course syllabus to push her students into addressing inherent biases and racism, according to Campus Reform.

'I am a Caucasian cisgender female and first-generation college student from Appalachia who is of Scottish, British, and Norwegian heritage,' Duncan Lane, whose Virginia Tech faculty page has been deleted, reportedly wrote.

'I am married to a cisgender male, and we are middle class. While I did not 'ask' for the many privileges in my life: I have benefitted [sic] from them and will continue to benefit from them whether I like it or not.'

Her students said Duncan Lane's commentary was not appropriate or relevant to the course.

In the Who I Am section of the syllabus, which was obtained by Campus Reform, Duncan Lane referred to her privilege as 'injustice' and apologized for the way white people have treated people of color throughout history.

She also encouraged students to take initiative to combat racism.

'I want to be better: Every day. I will transform: Every day. This work terrifies me: Every day. I invite my white students to join me on this journey. And to my students of color: I apologize for the inexcusable horrors within our shared history.'

The news outlet spoke with two of Duncan Lane's Human Development 1134 students who both expressed discomfort with the professor's verbiage.

'It is a class about disabilities, not political opinion, affiliation, nor judgment in any sort. If you are discussing disabilities, stick to your course,' student Natalie Rhodes explained.

'It hurts that someone says I was born with "innate racism" because of my skin color. [It] makes me feel like I should hide and worry about everything I say,' shared another student who spoke on the basis of anonymity.

The students' frustrations were echoed by social media users.

'Crystal Duncan Lane? Fire this weak excuse for a human. She is an abomination,' tweeted @kelley_dan.

'I am not apologizing for being born white and neither should any other white. This woman should never be in front of any student, white or black.'

'You should probably help Dr. Crystal Duncan Lane feel better about herself and fire her immediately and replace her with a person of color,' echoed @ChrisW37679955.

Twitter user @donttre78745568 wrote: 'Fire Dr. Crystal Duncan Lane! She is only helping CREATE a generation of racists!'


School Board CAUGHT Giving Pornographic Material To Students!

A mayor in Ohio has given an entire school board a shocking ultimatum – resign or face a criminal complaint, after sexual writing assignments were given to underage students.

Hudson High School’s Liberal Arts II writing class assigned shocking tasks such as: ‘Write a sex scene you wouldn’t show your mom’, ‘Describe a time you wanted to orgasm but couldn’t’, ‘Write an X-rated Disney scenario’ and write a description about ‘A room full of people who want to sleep together.’

Hudson mayor Craig Schubert addressed the incidents on Monday during a school board meeting, as angered parents cheered him on.

“It has come to my attention that your educators are distributing essentially what is child pornography in the classroom”, he said.

“I’ve spoken to a judge this evening and she’s already confirmed that. So I’m going to give you a simple choice: either choose to resign from this board of education or you will be charged”.

While it’s unclear whether the assigned tasks violates child pornography laws, an enraged Mayor Schubert left the meeting after delivering his ultimatum.

The book in question, 642 Things To Write About, contains many overly sexual tasks – especially when distributed to high school children. The writing class allegedly assigned the book in association with Hiram College for college credit.

The Plain Dealer spoke with one of the parents at Hudson High School. Former public school teacher Monica Havens deemed the material “paedophilia” after the topics were allegedly encouraged and read by adults.

“I asked my daughter if she had been reading a book with inappropriate stuff in it and she said yes”, she said. “I can’t even wrap my brain around as a teacher, I don’t care if it’s for college credit, these are minors.”

Haven proceeded to compare the assignments to that of “grooming” before claiming that the book had been on the curriculum for six years, meaning that the board had been “sleeping on the job.”

“Each and every one of you should be ashamed”, she concluded.

Hudson High School has since issued an apology after claiming they were unaware of the book’s inappropriate nature.

“There are times we need to take a step back, reflect and get better”, Principal Brian Wilch said in the meeting.

“We did not exercise our due diligence when we reviewed this resource and we overlooked several prompts that were not appropriate. We felt terrible. You can’t unsee them.”


Washington University student leader desecrates memorial to 9/11 victims

A student leader at Washington University in St. Louis on Saturday dismantled a public memorial for victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Fadel Alkilani, the vice president of finance for the school’s student union, removed nearly all of the 2,977 flags that the school’s College Republicans had placed on campus. Each flag represented an American killed by Islamic extremists on Sept. 11, 2001. Alkilani was caught stuffing flags in trash bags twice on Saturday morning. In a statement criticizing the U.S. military posted to Instagram, he claimed including American flags in the memorial was “insidious.”

“A memorial which uses US flags is especially insidious, as it does not recognize those who have fallen, but uses a symbol that was on the shoulders of those who are responsible for the deaths of 900,000 people,” Alkilani said, referring to those killed in the war on terror. Such a memorial “uses the innocent lives lost during 9/11 as a political prop upholding American hegemony.”

Sept. 11 memorials at several universities were vandalized this weekend, Campus Reform reported. The University of Virginia’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom found its 9/11 table and flag display in shambles. At Michigan State University, students crossed out a sign that said “Never Forget” and wrote “Never Israel” in its place. At Mount Holyoke College, one student wrote “there is blood on U.S. hands” underneath a chalk message memorializing those who were killed in the attacks.

Nick Rodriguez, president of the Washington University College Republicans, told the Washington Free Beacon that Alkilani has since deleted his Instagram. Rodriguez says Alkilani’s actions are equivalent to “pissing on the graves” of Americans killed during the attacks.

While Rodriguez said he can’t recall another time when conservative students were openly attacked on campus, he said those who share conservative or moderate views on social media often face backlash. The environment has, over the past several years, become “hyper-liberalized.”

As the vice president of finance, Alkilani is responsible for managing the student union’s budget, which includes funding for student clubs. Rodriguez said Alkilani’s actions demonstrate a “conflict of interest” he has in budget-related matters.

“I think his actions are ridiculous and malicious and regarding his position, that is the most gross malpractice for a leader of the student community at Wash U, and at minimum shows a conflict of interest with the budget,” Rodriguez said.

Razing the College Republicans’ memorial wasn’t the first time Alkilani expressed hostility toward the American response to the Sept. 11 attacks. In 2019, Alkilani wrote in the Washington University Political Review that Americans “united in hatred” against “those who are ‘other.'”

University officials have released two statements in response to the incident. The school’s initial statement called Alkilani’s actions “reprehensible.”

Washington University has not taken action against Alkilani as of this writing.

“The 9/11 memorial has always been a nonpartisan nonpolitical moment that has brought together unity on this campus,” Rodriguez told the Free Beacon. “He broke campus rules, violated numerous policies, stole property, and above all else, he broke what is a rule of living in America and at the very least holding some sort of remembrance to the memory of 9/11.”


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)


Thursday, September 16, 2021

Colleges Have a Guy Problem

The account below offers many reasons but overloks the sheer hostilty to males in the educational system. Feminism is bearing bitter fruit

American colleges and universities now enroll roughly six women for every four men. This is the largest female-male gender gap in the history of higher education, and it’s getting wider. Last year, U.S. colleges enrolled 1.5 million fewer students than five years ago, The Wall Street Journal recently reported. Men accounted for more than 70 percent of the decline.

For decades, American women have been told that the path to independence and empowerment flows through school. Although they are still playing catch-up in the labor force, and leadership positions such as chief executive and senator are still dominated by men, women have barnstormed into colleges. That is the very definition of progress. In poorer countries, where women are broadly subjugated or otherwise lack access to regular schooling, girls enjoy no educational advantage whatsoever.

Still, gender inequality on something as important as education presents problems, no matter what direction the inequality points in. While men are more likely to go to college than they were 10 years ago, something seems to be restraining the growth of male enrollment. In 1970, men accounted for 57 percent of college and university students. Two years later, Congress passed Title IX regulations that prohibited sex-based discrimination in any school that received federal funding. “The fact that the gender gap is even larger today, in the opposite direction, than it was when Congress determined that we needed a new law to promote equal education seems like something we should pay attention to,” says Richard Reeves, a Brookings Institution senior fellow who is writing a book about men and boys in the economy. “I’m struck by the fact that nobody seems to understand why this is happening.”

The U.S. education gender gap isn’t just a college phenomenon. Long before female students outnumber men on university campuses, they outperform boys in high school. Girls in elementary school spend more time studying than boys, are less likely to misbehave than boys, and get better grades than boys across all major subjects. “For decades, guys have been less likely to graduate from high school, less likely to enroll in college immediately, and less likely to finish college and earn a diploma,” Reeves told me. “There is a linear educational trajectory for girls and women. Boys and men tend to zigzag their way through adolescence.”

Sociologists and cultural critics have taken many dubious stabs at why the gender gap in education is growing. Some have blamed the feminist dogma of the education system and the inherently distracting presence of girls in classrooms. I don’t put much stock in those explanations.

The story I prefer begins with the economy. For much of the 20th century, men without any college education could expect to earn a middle-class salary in fields such as manufacturing and mining. In the 1970s, the share of the labor force working in these brawny industries declined. But men—especially in poor areas where college attainment is low and may even be falling—have struggled to adapt to a 21st century economy, where a high school diploma alone is often insufficient to earn a middle-class wage.

The sociologist Kathryn Edin has written that men without college degrees in deindustrialized America have been adrift for decades. They face the simultaneous shocks of lost jobs, disintegrating nuclear families, and rising deaths of despair in their communities. As 20th-century institutions have crumbled around them, these men have withdrawn from organized religion. Their marriage rates have fallen in lockstep with their church attendance. Far from the ordered progression of the mid-century American archetype—marriage, career, house and yard—men without college degrees are more likely to live what Edin and other researchers call “haphazard” lives, detached from family, faith, and work.

This male haphazardness might be reproducing itself among younger generations of men who lack stable role models to point the way to college. Single-parent households have grown significantly more common in the past half century, and 80 percent of those are headed by mothers. This is in part because men are more likely to be incarcerated; more than 90 percent of federal inmates, for example, are men. Men are also less likely to be fixtures of boys’ elementary-school experience; about 75 percent of public-school teachers are female. Suggesting that women can’t teach boys would be absurd. But the absence of male teachers might be part of a broader absence of men in low-income areas who can model the path to college for boys who are looking for direction.

This argument might sound pretty touchy-feely. But some empirical research backs it. A 2018 study of social mobility and race led by the Harvard economist Raj Chetty found that income inequality between Black and white Americans was disproportionately driven by bad outcomes for Black boys. The few neighborhoods where Black and white boys grew up to have similar adult outcomes were low-poverty areas that also had high levels of “father presence.” That is, even boys without a father at home saw significantly more upward mobility when their neighborhood had a large number of fathers present. High-poverty areas without fathers present seem to be doubly impoverished, and boys who live in these neighborhoods are less likely to achieve the milestones, such as college attendance, that lead to a middle-class salary or better.

The college gender gap is happening not just in the U.S. but in a range of upper- and middle-income countries, including France, Slovenia, Mexico, and Brazil. “In almost every rich country, women earn the majority of bachelor’s degrees,” Claudia Goldin, a historian and economics professor at Harvard University, told me. As a general rule, almost every country that gives men and women equal access to education discovers, within a few decades, that women are doing better.

The international nature of the gender gap invites biological explanations, which should be neither overstated nor categorically dismissed. Prominent psychologists, including Angela Duckworth, the author of Grit, have found that, while girls and boys have similar IQ scores, girls get better grades thanks to their superior self-control and ability to delay gratification. But that just begs the question of where girls’ superior self-control really comes from. Perhaps the fact that girls’ brains mature faster than boys’ gives them an early advantage in elementary school, which shapes the culture of success throughout their education. Perhaps subtle hormonal differences, particularly in testosterone levels, affect how boys perceive the risk of ending their education.

“Historically, men have been more likely to drop out of school to work in hot economies, whether it’s in the factories of World War II or the fracking mines of the Dakotas,” Goldin said. “I don’t know for sure if testosterone’s effect on impulsiveness and risk is the key player here, but men’s higher likelihood to drop out of college for perceived short-term gains in the labor force might tell us men are more likely to do risky things.” Neither Goldin nor anybody else I spoke with suggested that biological drivers of the gender gap ruled out the importance of culture or public policy. It is safer, I think, to say that some blend of variables—including economic, cultural, and biological factors—has created a scenario in which girls and women are more firmly attached to the education pipeline than men, in the U.S. and across the developed world.

The implications of the college gender gap for individual men are troubling but uncertain. “My biggest immediate worry is that men are making the wrong decision,” Goldin said. “I worry they’ll come to severely regret their choice if they realize the best jobs require a degree they never got.” There is also the issue of dating. College grads typically marry college grads. But this trend of associative mating will hit some turbulence, at least among heterosexual people; if present trends continue, the dating pool of college grads could include two women for every guy. As women spend more time in school and their male peers dwindle as a share of the college population, further delays in marriage and childbirth may ensue. That would further reduce U.S. fertility rates, which worries some commentators, albeit not all.

The most severe implications, I suspect, will be cultural and political. The U.S. electorate is already polarized by college and gender: Women and college graduates strongly favor Democrats, while men and people without college degrees lean Republican. Those divisions seem likely to worsen if the parties’ attitudes toward each other calcify into gender stereotypes. “My biggest worry is that by the time policy makers realize that gender inequality in college is a problem, we’ll have hit a point where college will seem deeply effeminate to some men in a way that will be hard to undo,” Reeves said. “That’s why we need both parties to offer a positive vision of college and a positive vision of masculinity. If male identity is seen, by some, as being at odds with education, that’s a problem for the whole country.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that some colleges are putting their finger on the scale for male applicants, to avoid having their schools become 70 percent female. But it’s a mistake to exclusively see the female-male gender gap as a college problem. “If we wait until college to intervene, it’s too late,” says Thomas Mortenson, a senior scholar at the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education. “The pivot point is in adolescence, and the foundation is laid in the early grades.”

This gender gap is an economic story, a cultural story, a criminal-justice story, and a family-structure story that begins to unfold in elementary school. The attention-grabbing statistic that barely 40 percent of college grads are men seems to cry out for an immediate policy response. But rather than dial up male attendance one college-admissions department at a time, policy makers should think about the social forces that make the statistic inevitable.


Technology does widen the education divide. But not always in the way you expect

The pandemic has turned children away from tech, says early-years teacher Maria

I teach at a school whose intake includes children from some very privileged areas, but which also covers some very poor pockets. Up until the pandemic, screen time grew and grew for children. Parents were clearly hiding their guilt about this. I remember a parent with a babe in arms holding an iPhone in front of the child’s face to calm them down during a parent-teacher meeting.

Pre-pandemic, once you turned a smart board on in the classroom, the children would be magnetically drawn to it. If you tried to turn it off or ration it there would be lots of moans. In the early-years classes, kids were traditionally allowed 15 minutes of screen time, and some would try and steal the iPad to stretch this out. We had to think very carefully about policies around technology.

When children started returning to school after lockdown, it was clear something had changed. They had been inside a lot. Some had been forced to work in cramped conditions, sometimes with multiple children all doing home learning and parents struggling to supervise them. You could tell many had experienced real chaos. Some had struggled with limited devices, and inadequate broadband, using Google Classroom on tiny screens, for example.

Now they craved completely different things – to climb and be physical. They really fell in love with real books again. They wanted to be read to, to role play, and do drama. That’s what they’d been starved of during lockdown.

It was clear some found technology quite intimidating, having been under pressure to use it for months. This was particularly true of children from English-as-an-alternative-language families. One said, “please don’t force me to speak to someone else on Zoom.”

Even in the older years, children were constantly asking, “when can I go outside again?” Technology had lost its association with “fun” and was less compelling.

I know from friends in the independent education sector that during lockdown their children were expected to get up, put a uniform on, and sit in front of the computer all day. This has often had a negative effect and, to be fair, the results aren’t better. But because parents were paying for it, that’s what parents expected.

The fact is children have to be independent learners. While we worked hard to ensure children had the technology to access school remotely, we also worked hard to ensure that this was complemented with printouts and other material. None of our early-years children were asked to be online all day. Those who attended online lessons have progressed academically, but there are clear gaps in terms of social and personal development.

So, I think the experience shows that children really need a broad curriculum and a range of experiences to thrive. An over-reliance on technology and remote learning can widen the education divide, even within the same institution, because children do not receive the full education experience they deserve.


Teach for America faces failure

A friend of mine left the teaching profession recently.

She didn’t retire. She didn’t win the lottery or get offered more money in another career field. She left because she was burned out. She was a young teacher — and a good one — but the field wasn’t working out for her. She’s not alone.

For the past few years, even before the coronavirus pandemic, various public school and teacher organizations have warned of a teacher shortage, fed in part by people leaving the profession. In 2019, the Economic Policy Institute warned that almost 14% of teachers nationwide were leaving their schools on a yearly basis, with about half of those leaving the profession, as compared to going to another school.

In Missouri, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is worried enough about the trend to join a national public service campaign to recruit and retain teachers. “The future depends on teachers,” it says.

I grew up believing that sentiment, and still do. My dad was a teacher and a coach before he retired. He never made much money, but it was a calling, and a good one at that. Toward the end of his career, he would complain more: Parents were less supportive. School politics were harder to navigate. Maybe that’s one reason why my friend left the profession.

It’s also a reason why a nonprofit organization that has been providing teachers to several area school districts is changing its focus with a bit of a twist that at first seems disconnected from the problem. Despite the teacher shortage, New York-based Teach for America is no longer providing teachers to the St. Louis Public Schools and other districts. Instead, it will work on training school leaders, like principals, administrators and school board members.

It’s a change that to some degree comes from a place of failure. Teach for America was founded in 1990 as an education reform organization, to try to boost academic achievement of students in urban settings and reduce the learning gap between white and Black students. But the numbers haven’t budged much after 20 years of training young teachers who make a two-year commitment to come to places like St. Louis and teach in public or charter schools.

“As a whole, student achievement is not growing the way we intended it to,” says Elizabeth Bleier, the interim executive director of Teach for America in St. Louis. Bleier came to St. Louis from Chicago. She taught in the St. Louis Public Schools for a few years, and then worked at charter school KIPP in the city for a few more, before going to work at TFA.

With 600 similar alumni in St. Louis, TFA plans to help mentor those teachers and former teachers. This week it announced its latest class of Aspiring School Leaders Fellowship, in which 15 existing public school or charter educators, many of them people of color, will be trained and mentored for a year while earning a principal certification through St. Louis University.

In turning the focus to training principals and other school leaders, Bleier says the goal is to improve school cultures so that teacher retention eventually improves. “There is a lot of teacher and principal turnover in St. Louis,” she says. “When there is a strong school leader, teachers are happier and stay longer. We want our people to be able to go into the schools and have an influence.”


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)


Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Washington school bans students’ 9/11 tribute for being ‘racially insensitive’

Students at a Washington state high school football game were banned from wearing red, white and blue in honor of 9/11 victims because some may find it “racially insensitive.”

The students at Eastlake High School in Sammamish said they were told at the last minute they couldn’t come to Friday night’s game in the patriotic colors, according to KTTH radio station.

“They had explained that red, white and blue was going to be seen as racially insensitive and may affect people in a way that we will not understand and for that reason that we were to change our theme,” one student told the outlet.

The students had been promoting the event on social media, calling on attendees to “dress in your USA best.”

In an email sent to parents, principal Chris Bede and associate principal Darcie Breynaert blamed the move on teachers — and insisted the reasoning had been explained to students.

“Our leadership teachers made this decision and explained it to students,” Bede wrote.

“I know tomorrow is 9/11 and understand the sacrifice and values our flag represents, but I think they just did not want to unintentionally cause offense to some who see it differently,” the email continued

The school did not elaborate specifically on what offense could be caused.

“I was instantly upset, and frustrated,” one student said.

“If Eastlake is all about including everyone’s beliefs and being together as a ‘family,’ then why are we being told we can’t represent the country we live in? I have seen other [Lake Washington School District] football teams that held a flag or did some sort of memorial recognition towards 9/11, but apparently we weren’t allowed to even wear USA colors.”

Another student said they opted to not go to the game at all in the wake of the decision.

“I was fairly upset and ended up not attending the game … [It] was really kind of [confusing] as to why the topic was so controversial that we couldn’t wear that clothing,” that student said.


Virginia high school English teacher faces calls to be fired for claiming on video that telling kids to sit still is 'white supremacy'

A Virginia high school teacher has sparked outrage on social media after posting a TikTok video in which he argues that expecting students to behave, follow directions and sit quietly is 'the definition of white supremacy.'

Josh Thompson, an English teacher at Blacksburg High School in Montgomery County, specifically referred to his district's use of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), a model educators use to keep students focused and respectful in school.

It is not clear how parents or students at the school are reacting to Thompson’s video or if they’ve seen it, but many Twitter users are asking that the district address it and some have even demanded that he be fired.

In the since-deleted video, which was originally posted in May, Thompson says, ‘I stated that PBIS is white supremacy with a hug and a lot of y'all wanted to know more about that . . . so if PBIS concerns itself with positive behaviors, we have to ask ourselves, “Okay well what are those positive behaviors?” And it's things like making sure that you're following directions, and making sure that you're sitting quietly, and you are in your seat and all these things that come from white culture.’

He adds, ‘The idea of just sitting quiet and being told stuff and taking things in, in a passive stance, is not a thing that's in many cultures. So if we're positively enforcing these behaviors, we are by extension positively enforcing elements of white culture. Which therefore keeps whiteness at the center, which is the definition of white supremacy.’

Conservative author Brigitte Gabrielle shared the clip with the caption, ‘FIRE this teacher,’ and Max Lugavere, also an author, shared it with the caption, ‘This is actual racism. And condescending af to people of color.’

Blogger Ian Miles Cheong shared the video with the caption, ‘Where does he teach? Do the parents know?’ And Twitter user Jovon, a black athlete and alumnus from Florida A&M University, tweeted the clip with the caption, ‘We are at the most comfortable period in human history.’

The Montgomery County School District said that they support Thompson’s right to free speech, but asserted that his views are not their own and defended their use of PBIS.

District officials told Fox News that, "A teacher is entitled to their personal belief regarding any division program. The statements made by this teacher do not reflect our PBIS program or the behavioral expectations that we have of students in our schools."

The district added that it ‘has used PBIS in our schools for eight years. We are proud of our PBIS work. This work helps create a standard for social-emotional learning and behavior expectations in the school building.’

In another video of Thompson shared by Libs of TikTok, which yielded 23,500 views, he asserts that police brutality is ‘directly connected’ to education.

He said, ‘I want to remind educators that instances of police brutality and the murders of black and brown people by police officers is directly connected to the work that we do Because if any of those people had been white, chances are they wouldn't have been murdered. Chances are they wouldn't have been brutalized. And if you don't believe me, just take a look at all the instances of white people, especially white men, who oftentimes are brandishing weapons and who were taken into custody alive.’

He adds, ‘But much of this is wrapped up in implicit bias and we have incredible power to changes peoples’ biases when they’re young. We have to talk about these issues in school because every bit of it impacts our work. The ways in which we teach, the ways we interact with students, the practices and policies we have, the way in which they’re implemented. There’s so much. And many of us our talking about this, many of us are advocating for these changes, but not enough of us are.’

Thompson’s videos come after two teachers in California faced backlash for politicizing their classrooms earlier this month. In one case, an Orange County teacher was fired after admitting on TikTok that she hid her classroom’s American flag and told students to say the pledge to a pride flag instead. And in another, a Sacramento teacher displayed an Antifa flag and Mao Zedong flag in his classroom and suggested that students were fascist if it made them uncomfortable.


Students being told to 'deconstruct' Australian flag

The IPA's Bella D’Abrera says students being told to ‘deconstruct’ the Australian flag is part of a “wider problem in our society” where there is a minority of people who seem to “hate” Australia.

It comes as state and federal education ministers in Australia have slammed lessons put together by a third party and promoted by the NSW Education Department.

Students are asked to examine the Australian flag in part of a project to ‘deconstruct’ symbols of Australia.

"Unfortunately, these are the people who are writing the school curriculum, these are the people who are unelected bureaucrats sitting in the Department of Education in New South Wales," Ms D'Abrera told Sky News host Chris Kenny.

“It’s divisive, it’s critical race theory...it’s everything that they shouldn’t be taught.”


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)


Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Professors Accuse Trump-Era 'China Initiative' of Racially Profiling Chinese Scholars

Over 100 professors at Stanford University are calling for an end to the "China Initiative" – a Trump-era program meant to prevent espionage and technology theft from China – by claiming that it fosters a hostile environment for Chinese workers at universities.

In a letter sent to the Justice Department last week, 177 Stanford faculty members argued that the program is harming academic settings by racially profiling and unfairly targeting Chinese researchers.

The China Initiative was first launched in 2018 with the goal of combating economic espionage, trade secret theft and technology threats associated with China's government. However, the Stanford professors argued that the initiative has since "deviated significantly" from its intended purpose by terrorizing Chinese scholars simply because of their ethnic ties.

"We understand that concerns about Chinese government-sanctioned activities including intellectual property theft and economic espionage are important to address. We believe, however, that the China Initiative has deviated significantly from its claimed mission: it is harming the United States' research and technology competitiveness and it is fueling biases that, in turn, raise concerns about racial profiling," the researchers wrote.

The professors claimed that investigations from the initiative are often fueled "not by any evidence of wrongdoing, but just because of a researcher's connections with China," and Chinese researchers have subsequently been prosecuted "without solid evidence."

"Moreover, racial profiling – even when undertaken in pursuit of justice – is both inconsistent with U.S. law and with the principles underlying our society, the letter added. "These actions do not just affect the prosecuted faculty but affect the many more university researchers who are targeted, investigated, and feel threatened by inquires initiated without prior evidence of significant wrongdoing."

The professors also argued that the initiative has prevented talented Chinese scholars from coming to or engaging with U.S. researchers, and is, therefore "harming the U.S. science and technology enterprise and the future of the U.S. STEM workforce."

In response to criticisms, Justice Department spokesperson Wyn Hornbuckle told Reuters that the government is "dedicated to countering unlawful (Chinese) government efforts to undermine America's national security and harm our economy," he said, adding "We take seriously concerns about discrimination."

Since the China Initiative was launched, the Justice Department has published details of at least 27 cases, some of which included guilty pleas, while others have been dropped or are remain ongoing, Reuters reported. Among those include charges brought against professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University.

Last month, more than 20 Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) groups also signed a joint letter urging President Joe Biden's administration to pause the China Initiative and conduct an independent review of the program, according to Japanese- English newspaper Rafu Shimpo.

Representative Judy Chu (D-Pasadena), chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, has also condemned the China Initiative and called for the program to be dissolved.

"Instead of the normal process of beginning with a crime and searching for a suspect, the FBI has, through its China Initiative, started with racially profiled suspects and searched for a crime," Chu said in a statement, Rafu Shimpo reported.


Structural Racism? Try Public Schools

Persisting in collectivist education practices is systemic racism at its core.

Public schools have long been in a downward spiral when it comes to giving all students a good education. There are many reasons for this: lack of parental involvement, poor and dishonest teachers, and misuse of standardized tests. Perhaps the biggest indicator of this plummet is the poor performance of black children.

When playing with the different datasets of The Nation’s Report Card, the results are unmistakable. Black students consistently score lower than their white peers.

Why is that?

It’s certainly not for lack of money, which is the Left’s favorite way of trying to solve problems. The last census report states:

Of the 100 largest public school systems (based on enrollment), the six that spent the most per pupil in FY 2019 were the New York City School District in New York ($28,004), Boston City Schools in Massachusetts ($25,653), Washington Schools in the District of Columbia ($22,406), San Francisco Unified in California ($17,228), Atlanta School District in Georgia ($17,112), and Seattle Public Schools in Washington ($16,543).

The real reason may be that leftists have simply given up on trying to bolster black achievement. Instead of modeling their schools to help children achieve, they are content to sweep poor grades and test scores under the rug. If there’s no proof of malfeasance, then it can be ignored. This is a classic example of the bigotry of low expectations.

To compound matters, leftist educational policymakers and teachers unions have put roadblocks in the way of school choice, wherein funds that the government is already paying to the public school system would provide an opportunity for black students to get into schools that actually care to teach them.

Political commentator Rick Moran puts it poignantly: “There are pockets of black achievement even in the most violent, drug-ridden neighborhoods. They can be found in charter schools and private parochial schools. But instead of making it easier for black parents to send their kids to schools that will make the effort to educate them, teachers’ unions — and politicians who cater to their agenda — try to limit opportunities for back parents to take their children out of violent, failing schools.”

But the heart of the issue goes even deeper than bad policy and lack of school choice. Our education ideology is collectivist in nature. The current philosophy treats students like a number. In the public schools, that number comes with state funding attached. Here are some truths that this author can impart as a professional teacher:

No two children are alike or learn alike. Therefore, a public school system that tries to force each child into the mold of their own curricular practices is doomed for failure.

Large class sizes are detrimental to children. No matter how good and experienced the teacher is, children’s educational needs will fall through the cracks by virtue of sheer volume.

If education is not a value in the home, building the bridge to a love of learning is much more challenging — and in the upper grades, well nigh impossible.

Children should not be used as fodder for political cannons. There is such a thing as teaching bad ideas.

Teachers should be held accountable. This is achieved through the realization of common educational goals with the students at the center and not based on standardized achievement testing.

Persisting in these collectivist education practices is systemic racism at its core. All children are worthy and are gifted in their own way. They each have something to offer the world. They are not blank slates, activists, or a dollar amount.


Fact Check: NPR Claims Scientific Evidence in Favor of School Masking Is 'Conclusive.' It's Not

It's time, once again, to return to the subject of school mask mandates, which we've explored on several occasions. In the United States, the elite consensus is that requiring masks in classrooms is what The Science demands, and dissenters are anti-science and anti-child. That tribal conclusion would likely come as a surprise in the United Kingdom and across much of Europe, where data and experience have led to dramatically different policies on the subject. In a previous post, I quoted a New York Magazine deep dive into the subject, a portion of which bears repeating:

Many of America’s peer nations around the world — including the U.K., Ireland, all of Scandinavia, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Italy — have exempted kids, with varying age cutoffs, from wearing masks in classrooms. Conspicuously, there’s no evidence of more outbreaks in schools in those countries relative to schools in the U.S., where the solid majority of kids wore masks for an entire academic year and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

These countries, along with the World Health Organization, whose child-masking guidance differs substantially from the CDC’s recommendations, have explicitly recognized that the decision to mask students carries with it potential academic and social harms for children and may lack a clear benefit. To date, the highly transmissible Delta variant has not led them to change this calculus.

In that same piece, I wrote: "Not requiring students to mask up, or at least offering exceptions and opt-outs for parents, seems like an entirely reasonable public policy call for officials to make. If data were to emerge that masks are significantly effective in stopping the virus from spreading in schools, that would be one thing. We should always be open to data." A new report from NPR purports to demonstrate that such data exists and is "conclusive":

Notice the title of the piece is framed as a snarky fact check of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, whose parental opt-out policy is generally in line with Europe's approach (in fact, it's arguably more pro-school masking in some ways). But as writer A.G. Hamilton notes, the supposed evidence doesn't support the confident substance and tone of the headline. "This is selective misinformation," he writes. "CDC's own study determined that 'lower incidence in schools that required mask use among students was not statistically significant compared with schools where mask use was optional.' Europe has come to same conclusion." The difference in COVID spread between masks-required and masks-optional schools was statistically insignificant, according to a CDC study. More context:

A CDC study of Georgia schools published in May...found that COVID-19 infection was 37% less common in schools that required teachers and other staff members to wear masks, similar to the difference associated with “improved ventilation.” But the same study found that requiring students to wear masks was not associated with a statistically significant reduction in case rates.

In Florida, the CDC found that school districts without mask mandates had higher infection rates. But the researchers noted that smaller districts were less likely to require masks, and they also “had a higher proportion of students attending in-person instruction,” which likewise was “positively correlated with the student case rate.” The CDC says “most studies that have shown success in limiting transmission in schools” involved “prevention strategies” that included requiring “staff only or staff and students” to wear masks. The implication, of course, is that some schools had “success in limiting transmission” even without mask mandates or with mandates that did not apply to students.

In Florida, where many districts did not require masks, the CDC found that less than 1% of students were infected in schools during the first semester after they reopened in August 2020. During the same period, school-related COVID-19 outbreaks were likewise a minor problem in England, where students were not required to wear masks.

The NPR article asserts a powerful conclusion that simply is not justified by the actual available evidence:

Let's also recall that many of the people screaming loudest about the essential nature of student masking are the same people who wrongly fought to keep schools closed last year, harming millions of children (I'll also note that it has now been twice documented that teachers unions directly influenced CDC guidance, inserting special interest agenda items into the supposed science). One union boss was recently quoted claiming that learning loss is a myth, along with other nonsense. She's dead wrong, of course, as a growing mountain of data shows:

"How [are] we feeling about closures of 12-18 months?" Mary Katharine Ham asks, forebodingly. Meanwhile, as we approach the coming debate over child vaccination, here's former FDA chief Dr. Scott Gottlieb advising parents that the issue may not involve one-size-fits-all guidance:

Children basically do not die from COVID, which is a blessing that should impact public policy involving kids and COVID. And though the number of COVID-related hospitalizations among juveniles has clearly increased during Delta, it's not clear if the hospitalization rate also increased. And those very few kids who do end up in the hospital with or from COVID overwhelmingly survive.


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)