Monday, October 26, 2020



Liberal Totalitarianism Is Dominating College Campuses

American liberals once prided themselves on their fidelity to the First Amendment. Indeed, they had an expansive understanding of it. They defended unpopular speech and even the most provocative examples of “freedom of expression.”

One could question their hesitation to set limits in these areas, but there was something admirable about their principled defense of the free exchange of ideas.

This kind of liberalism, however, is in massive retreat today and is barely present on our college and university campuses. Instead, the forces of ideological correctness demand intellectual and even political conformity and seek out dissenting voices to humiliate and silence.

Two recent examples from Harvard University and Middlebury College illustrate the illiberalism that has become ascendant on many campuses and in many of our cultural institutions. The responses to these incidents, however, provide some grounds for hope.

Last week, Harvard student Joshua M. Conde, an “editorial editor” for The Harvard Crimson, wrote an op-ed demanding that two instructors be fired for offenses against the new racial norms animating the woke left.

The case of one of them, Diana J. Schaub, is best known to me. I have admired her writings and thoughtful presence in the conservative intellectual community going on 35 years now. She is also a friend.

Schaub is a political theorist who has written gracefully and profoundly on the political thought of Montesquieu, the liberal French philosopher who was an inspiration for the federalism and separation of powers championed by the authors of the Federalist Papers. Her work also includes deeply thoughtful expositions of African American political thinkers.

In a number of well-crafted essays and reviews, she has assessed the writings of Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X with the sympathy and critical respect they deserve. Schaub sees African American thought as integral to the larger American experience.

This crucial set of voices contributing to the ongoing civic reflection on what it means to be an American is far from monolithic. For example, Douglass provides a model of freedom and character “wrested and won,” in Schaub’s words, not merely received at the sufferance of a dominant white race.

Douglass embodied a self-respect that was as far from grievance as it was from subservience. He famously wrote that “if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!”

He was also opposed to excessive race-consciousness, to a false “racial pride,” and, in Schaub’s words from an essay in The Public Interest, he “had faith in the capacity of blacks and whites alike to defeat prejudice, thereby becoming indifferent to the difference of race.”

No one believed more than Douglass in the agency of free men and women, black and white, to make something of themselves in a free political order. This is a model that deserves a hearing today. Neither Douglass nor those who study him should be silenced for expressing such views.

Alas, the censorious new Jacobins castigate Douglass’ position as racist and supportive of white supremacy. Their hubris is appalling.

Schaub’s writings on race and America convey, very much in the spirit of the figures she writes about, a message of hope, responsibility, civic and moral equality, and openness to human excellence in all its forms.

In contrast, the new totalitarians offer resentment, grievance, hate, and the demonization of anyone who might have something to teach them. The difference could not be more striking. One is the path of common humanity and common citizenship, the other of perpetual enmity and denunciation.

So where does Schaub’s fault lie, according to her accuser, government major Joshua Conde? Cherry-picking passages from Schaub’s acute and sensitive analyses and offering them as though they revealed a tainted mind and soul, Conde calls her words “ignorant, and deeply concerning,” if not “outright bigoted.”

His principal “evidence” is a snippet from a splendid article, “America at Bat” from National Affairs (Winter 2010), which in passing laments the decline of black interest and participation in baseball, our once national sport.

Writing from personal as well as common experience, Schaub notes that “the experience of things baseball is a legacy from fathers to sons (and sometimes daughters).”

She then offers, in an admittedly speculative aside, her “strong hunch” that “the declining interest and involvement in baseball is a consequence of the absence of fathers in the black community,” since “80% of African-American children are raised without a father in the home.”

There is nothing intrinsically “ignorant” or racist about this documented fact, nor in bringing it into the discussion, which she does with manifest regret. If it is verboten to mention such disturbing realities, then our civic and intellectual life will suffer terribly.

Ignoring such facts and silencing those who bring them to bear in a relevant manner upon problems of common concern is the antithesis of healthy intellectual and civic life.

Fortunately, Harvard University has made no move to act upon Conde’s demand. Conde, a very young man (class of ’22), further demanded that Harvard abstain from hiring others “with similar unacceptable views.”

This is not the voice of genuine liberalism or the search for truth. It is peremptory, coercive, and committed to closing off discussions before they begin. Conde tells us that he doesn’t want to feel “uncomfortable.”

But the disinterested pursuit of truth, liberal inquiry, and civic debate itself will at times make us feel uncomfortable. That is all to the good.

This incident at Harvard is not the only recent attack on these core liberal values. At Middlebury College, over 600 students signed an “Open Letter” opposing an event sponsored by the Alexander Hamilton Forum in which two distinguished scholars, Leslie Harris and Lucas Morel, were to debate whether slavery was the core of the American founding, as the advocates of The New York Times’ 1619 Project insist.

The protesting students declared that such a question “should not be up for debate,” and Morel, himself a Hispanic of black Dominican descent, was denounced by some as a “white supremacist,” of all things.

This despite an exemplary scholarly record of defending racial justice and the principle of human equality articulated so eloquently by Abraham Lincoln and embedded in the Declaration of Independence, that “great promissory note” of which Martin Luther King spoke at the Lincoln Memorial in August 1963.

We are in dangerous times when the Great Emancipator is conflated by today’s “know-nothings” with the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Fortunately, the debate proceeded as scheduled on Oct. 1, with more than 250 students attending by Zoom (including 40 protesters).

These appalling incidents join many others of the same ilk. Together, they are portents of an illiberal future that will inexorably come if we do nothing to stop it. The results of these two recent cases suggest, however, that the new totalitarianism will abate only when it meets principled and firm resistance.

Disgusting Professorial Teachings

The ugliness that we have recently witnessed including rioting, billions of dollars of property destruction, assaults, murders and grossly stupid claims about our nation has its origins on college campuses. Two websites, College Reform and College Fix, report on the despicable teachings on college campuses across the nation. Let us look at some of it.

In response to Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson's tweeting that he supports "citizen soldiers" in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Tressie McMillan Cottom, a black professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill's School of Information and Library Science declared that "they have deputized all white people to murder us."

Jesse A. Goldberg, professor in the English department at Auburn University who teaches classes in African American literature, American literature and composition wrote a now-deleted post on Twitter, "f--- every cop. Every single one." Goldberg added, "The only ethical choice for any cop to make at this point is to refuse to do their job and quit."

Eddie Glaude Jr., a Princeton University professor and chairman of the Department of African American Studies said that when it comes to policing in America "Black people still live under the slave codes." Glaude's tweet came in response to news that Jacob Blake was handcuffed to his hospital bed after being shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Glaude added:

"Placing shackles around the feet of Jacob Blake amounted to a physical reminder that he was still, no matter the protests, a n----r in the eyes of these policemen."

New School professor Richard Wolff has called for the abolition of grades. He claims they are not only unfair to students, but also that they are a means of propping up capitalism, and as such, academia would be better off doing away with grading entirely. He went on to say: "Grading takes up much of my time that could be better spent on teaching or otherwise directly interacting with students." Administering grades to students has "little educational payoff" and "disrespects (students) as thinking people."

Wichita Falls, Texas, station KFDX-TV reported that Midwestern State University far-left philosophy professor Nathan Jun wrote on Facebook, "I want the entire world to burn until the last cop is strangled with the intestines of the last capitalist, who is strangled in turn with the intestines of the last politician."

Vanderbilt University scientist Heather Caslin Findley says that "white supremacy, racism, and prejudice" are perpetuated by the concept of "academic freedom." She added, "I hope there are a lot of circles in academia having a serious conversation on how 'academic freedom' upholds white supremacy, racism, and prejudice." Findley also addressed past violent riots, writing that she was initially opposed to the 2015 Baltimore riots and was worried for the police officers but changed her mind. She said: "I was scared for the fires, for the rioting, for the storefronts that would need to be rebuilt. That was my 'protest differently,' 'all lives matter,' and 'blue lives matter' moment. I was wrong and I was called out."

In the wake of financial problems, many colleges are crying broke and want government bailouts, but they have enough money to hire costly diversity people. For example, University of Pennsylvania pays its chief diversity officer more than $580,000 a year. University of Michigan pays it vice provost for equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer $385,000 per year. Other universities around the country pay their chief diversity officers annual salaries of $200,000 and up.

Many university professors do not buy into the gross academic deception that has become part and parcel of today's college education today. They are too busy with their own research to get involved with campus politics. Rather than being on the committees that run the university, they concede the turf to those who are willing to take the time. Often those who are willing to take the time are not necessarily the most talented people but people with a political agenda to change what has been traditional college education. But all is not lost. Taxpayers, parents and donors who foot the bill can have a significant impact if they would stop being lazy and find out what is going on at our colleges. And, if they do not like what they see, they can snap their pocketbooks shut.

In Staying Closed, Schools Ignore Low COVID-19 Rates, Needs of Families

At what would normally be the end of the first academic quarter for most K-12 schools, millions of students still have not set foot in a classroom.

Many haven’t done so since March.

Evidence continues to mount that COVID-19 affects children the least, and ad hoc school district e-learning platforms, hastily assembled in the spring, are driving families away from assigned schools.

Some of the largest school districts in the U.S. are still offering only online instruction, despite reports of losing contact with thousands of students, from Philadelphia to Houston to Los Angeles, when districts went online earlier this year.

According to reports, districts have still not been able to reach those students.

School officials have the unenviable task of balancing health and safety concerns with student learning, but those leaders should be considering the research on the spread of COVID-19 and the needs of local families and children in making reopening decisions.

Yet some district leaders are doing neither.

Parents have led protests in favor of reopening schools across the country, from San Diego to Baltimore and places in between.

Furthermore, at this point in the pandemic, research demonstrates that schools have not become so-called superspreader sites—not even close.

The latest figures from Brown University researchers found a confirmed case rate among students of 0.14% in a database of nearly 1,300 schools. As explained in The Wall Street Journal this week, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention numbers show hundreds more fatal cases of the flu among school-aged children than COVID-19.

Two studies profiled on NPR recently found “no consistent relationship between in-person schooling and the spread of coronavirus.”

Yet, are these low numbers the result of keeping schools closed? Findings from international studies and the available evidence from K-12 private schools in the U.S. that are open to in-person learning suggest that’s not the case.

The Brown research includes data from private schools. In fact, the case rate for private schools operating in person is still only 0.15%—admittedly with a smaller sample size, but still an encouraging number. The case rates for staff in those schools stands at 0.4%.

Teachers unions in some areas are ignoring those facts.

In Fairfax County, Virginia, where officials are already charging families for the use of school buildings for in-person day care, the union is demanding that public schools stay closed to in-person learning until August 2021.

That announcement followed news from school officials of a phased-in reopening in the coming weeks, a plan that includes basic protocols about maintaining spacing between students and asking parents to keep a student home if he or she shows symptoms.

Despite statements by federal officials last summer about tying federal spending for schools to reopening plans, Washington will not have to withhold spending for schools to feel the effects of frustrated parents.

At the start of the school year, schools in Washington, D.C., were reporting a drop in enrollment of 13%. Houston is reporting 7% fewer students; Orlando, Florida, a decline of 5%; and in Nashville, Tennessee, schools are down nearly 5%.

Meanwhile, private school closures have slowed, and since the middle of the summer, homeschooling numbers have soared.

In Connecticut, homeschool advocates are reporting higher figures than ever before, and interest in homeschooling has “exploded,” according to Minnesota Public Radio. The Texas Homeschool Coalition reports a 400% increase in students compared with last year.

Similar news can be found around the country. Learning pods, where parents bring together small groups of children during the school day to learn, continue to spread, and with each passing day, pods become less of a fad and more of a permanent solution.

Local school leaders’ evaluations of the health evidence remain a mystery, and many officials have not met parent and student needs during the pandemic. Now, families are leaving, reminding everyone that we should make students the priority of policy solutions, not the system.

Federal and state policymakers have used the bully pulpit to implore schools to reopen, but the most effective persuasion will be the kind that assigned district schools like the least—namely, fewer students

***********************************

My other blogs: Main ones below

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

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://awesternheart.blogspot.com.au/ (THE PSYCHOLOGIST)

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)

*******************************

Liberal Totalitarianism Is Dominating College Campuses

American liberals once prided themselves on their fidelity to the First Amendment. Indeed, they had an expansive understanding of it. They defended unpopular speech and even the most provocative examples of “freedom of expression.”

One could question their hesitation to set limits in these areas, but there was something admirable about their principled defense of the free exchange of ideas.

This kind of liberalism, however, is in massive retreat today and is barely present on our college and university campuses. Instead, the forces of ideological correctness demand intellectual and even political conformity and seek out dissenting voices to humiliate and silence.

Two recent examples from Harvard University and Middlebury College illustrate the illiberalism that has become ascendant on many campuses and in many of our cultural institutions. The responses to these incidents, however, provide some grounds for hope.

Last week, Harvard student Joshua M. Conde, an “editorial editor” for The Harvard Crimson, wrote an op-ed demanding that two instructors be fired for offenses against the new racial norms animating the woke left.

The case of one of them, Diana J. Schaub, is best known to me. I have admired her writings and thoughtful presence in the conservative intellectual community going on 35 years now. She is also a friend.

Schaub is a political theorist who has written gracefully and profoundly on the political thought of Montesquieu, the liberal French philosopher who was an inspiration for the federalism and separation of powers championed by the authors of the Federalist Papers. Her work also includes deeply thoughtful expositions of African American political thinkers.

In a number of well-crafted essays and reviews, she has assessed the writings of Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X with the sympathy and critical respect they deserve. Schaub sees African American thought as integral to the larger American experience.

This crucial set of voices contributing to the ongoing civic reflection on what it means to be an American is far from monolithic. For example, Douglass provides a model of freedom and character “wrested and won,” in Schaub’s words, not merely received at the sufferance of a dominant white race.

Douglass embodied a self-respect that was as far from grievance as it was from subservience. He famously wrote that “if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!”

He was also opposed to excessive race-consciousness, to a false “racial pride,” and, in Schaub’s words from an essay in The Public Interest, he “had faith in the capacity of blacks and whites alike to defeat prejudice, thereby becoming indifferent to the difference of race.”

No one believed more than Douglass in the agency of free men and women, black and white, to make something of themselves in a free political order. This is a model that deserves a hearing today. Neither Douglass nor those who study him should be silenced for expressing such views.

Alas, the censorious new Jacobins castigate Douglass’ position as racist and supportive of white supremacy. Their hubris is appalling.

Schaub’s writings on race and America convey, very much in the spirit of the figures she writes about, a message of hope, responsibility, civic and moral equality, and openness to human excellence in all its forms.

In contrast, the new totalitarians offer resentment, grievance, hate, and the demonization of anyone who might have something to teach them. The difference could not be more striking. One is the path of common humanity and common citizenship, the other of perpetual enmity and denunciation.

So where does Schaub’s fault lie, according to her accuser, government major Joshua Conde? Cherry-picking passages from Schaub’s acute and sensitive analyses and offering them as though they revealed a tainted mind and soul, Conde calls her words “ignorant, and deeply concerning,” if not “outright bigoted.”

His principal “evidence” is a snippet from a splendid article, “America at Bat” from National Affairs (Winter 2010), which in passing laments the decline of black interest and participation in baseball, our once national sport.

Writing from personal as well as common experience, Schaub notes that “the experience of things baseball is a legacy from fathers to sons (and sometimes daughters).”

She then offers, in an admittedly speculative aside, her “strong hunch” that “the declining interest and involvement in baseball is a consequence of the absence of fathers in the black community,” since “80% of African-American children are raised without a father in the home.”

There is nothing intrinsically “ignorant” or racist about this documented fact, nor in bringing it into the discussion, which she does with manifest regret. If it is verboten to mention such disturbing realities, then our civic and intellectual life will suffer terribly.

Ignoring such facts and silencing those who bring them to bear in a relevant manner upon problems of common concern is the antithesis of healthy intellectual and civic life.

Fortunately, Harvard University has made no move to act upon Conde’s demand. Conde, a very young man (class of ’22), further demanded that Harvard abstain from hiring others “with similar unacceptable views.”

This is not the voice of genuine liberalism or the search for truth. It is peremptory, coercive, and committed to closing off discussions before they begin. Conde tells us that he doesn’t want to feel “uncomfortable.”

But the disinterested pursuit of truth, liberal inquiry, and civic debate itself will at times make us feel uncomfortable. That is all to the good.

This incident at Harvard is not the only recent attack on these core liberal values. At Middlebury College, over 600 students signed an “Open Letter” opposing an event sponsored by the Alexander Hamilton Forum in which two distinguished scholars, Leslie Harris and Lucas Morel, were to debate whether slavery was the core of the American founding, as the advocates of The New York Times’ 1619 Project insist.

The protesting students declared that such a question “should not be up for debate,” and Morel, himself a Hispanic of black Dominican descent, was denounced by some as a “white supremacist,” of all things.

This despite an exemplary scholarly record of defending racial justice and the principle of human equality articulated so eloquently by Abraham Lincoln and embedded in the Declaration of Independence, that “great promissory note” of which Martin Luther King spoke at the Lincoln Memorial in August 1963.

We are in dangerous times when the Great Emancipator is conflated by today’s “know-nothings” with the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Fortunately, the debate proceeded as scheduled on Oct. 1, with more than 250 students attending by Zoom (including 40 protesters).

These appalling incidents join many others of the same ilk. Together, they are portents of an illiberal future that will inexorably come if we do nothing to stop it. The results of these two recent cases suggest, however, that the new totalitarianism will abate only when it meets principled and firm resistance.

Disgusting Professorial Teachings

The ugliness that we have recently witnessed including rioting, billions of dollars of property destruction, assaults, murders and grossly stupid claims about our nation has its origins on college campuses. Two websites, College Reform and College Fix, report on the despicable teachings on college campuses across the nation. Let us look at some of it.

In response to Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson's tweeting that he supports "citizen soldiers" in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Tressie McMillan Cottom, a black professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill's School of Information and Library Science declared that "they have deputized all white people to murder us."

Jesse A. Goldberg, professor in the English department at Auburn University who teaches classes in African American literature, American literature and composition wrote a now-deleted post on Twitter, "f--- every cop. Every single one." Goldberg added, "The only ethical choice for any cop to make at this point is to refuse to do their job and quit."

Eddie Glaude Jr., a Princeton University professor and chairman of the Department of African American Studies said that when it comes to policing in America "Black people still live under the slave codes." Glaude's tweet came in response to news that Jacob Blake was handcuffed to his hospital bed after being shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Glaude added:

"Placing shackles around the feet of Jacob Blake amounted to a physical reminder that he was still, no matter the protests, a n----r in the eyes of these policemen."

New School professor Richard Wolff has called for the abolition of grades. He claims they are not only unfair to students, but also that they are a means of propping up capitalism, and as such, academia would be better off doing away with grading entirely. He went on to say: "Grading takes up much of my time that could be better spent on teaching or otherwise directly interacting with students." Administering grades to students has "little educational payoff" and "disrespects (students) as thinking people."

Wichita Falls, Texas, station KFDX-TV reported that Midwestern State University far-left philosophy professor Nathan Jun wrote on Facebook, "I want the entire world to burn until the last cop is strangled with the intestines of the last capitalist, who is strangled in turn with the intestines of the last politician."

Vanderbilt University scientist Heather Caslin Findley says that "white supremacy, racism, and prejudice" are perpetuated by the concept of "academic freedom." She added, "I hope there are a lot of circles in academia having a serious conversation on how 'academic freedom' upholds white supremacy, racism, and prejudice." Findley also addressed past violent riots, writing that she was initially opposed to the 2015 Baltimore riots and was worried for the police officers but changed her mind. She said: "I was scared for the fires, for the rioting, for the storefronts that would need to be rebuilt. That was my 'protest differently,' 'all lives matter,' and 'blue lives matter' moment. I was wrong and I was called out."

In the wake of financial problems, many colleges are crying broke and want government bailouts, but they have enough money to hire costly diversity people. For example, University of Pennsylvania pays its chief diversity officer more than $580,000 a year. University of Michigan pays it vice provost for equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer $385,000 per year. Other universities around the country pay their chief diversity officers annual salaries of $200,000 and up.

Many university professors do not buy into the gross academic deception that has become part and parcel of today's college education today. They are too busy with their own research to get involved with campus politics. Rather than being on the committees that run the university, they concede the turf to those who are willing to take the time. Often those who are willing to take the time are not necessarily the most talented people but people with a political agenda to change what has been traditional college education. But all is not lost. Taxpayers, parents and donors who foot the bill can have a significant impact if they would stop being lazy and find out what is going on at our colleges. And, if they do not like what they see, they can snap their pocketbooks shut.

In Staying Closed, Schools Ignore Low COVID-19 Rates, Needs of Families

At what would normally be the end of the first academic quarter for most K-12 schools, millions of students still have not set foot in a classroom.

Many haven’t done so since March.

Evidence continues to mount that COVID-19 affects children the least, and ad hoc school district e-learning platforms, hastily assembled in the spring, are driving families away from assigned schools.

Some of the largest school districts in the U.S. are still offering only online instruction, despite reports of losing contact with thousands of students, from Philadelphia to Houston to Los Angeles, when districts went online earlier this year.

According to reports, districts have still not been able to reach those students.

School officials have the unenviable task of balancing health and safety concerns with student learning, but those leaders should be considering the research on the spread of COVID-19 and the needs of local families and children in making reopening decisions.

Yet some district leaders are doing neither.

Parents have led protests in favor of reopening schools across the country, from San Diego to Baltimore and places in between.

Furthermore, at this point in the pandemic, research demonstrates that schools have not become so-called superspreader sites—not even close.

The latest figures from Brown University researchers found a confirmed case rate among students of 0.14% in a database of nearly 1,300 schools. As explained in The Wall Street Journal this week, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention numbers show hundreds more fatal cases of the flu among school-aged children than COVID-19.

Two studies profiled on NPR recently found “no consistent relationship between in-person schooling and the spread of coronavirus.”

Yet, are these low numbers the result of keeping schools closed? Findings from international studies and the available evidence from K-12 private schools in the U.S. that are open to in-person learning suggest that’s not the case.

The Brown research includes data from private schools. In fact, the case rate for private schools operating in person is still only 0.15%—admittedly with a smaller sample size, but still an encouraging number. The case rates for staff in those schools stands at 0.4%.

Teachers unions in some areas are ignoring those facts.

In Fairfax County, Virginia, where officials are already charging families for the use of school buildings for in-person day care, the union is demanding that public schools stay closed to in-person learning until August 2021.

That announcement followed news from school officials of a phased-in reopening in the coming weeks, a plan that includes basic protocols about maintaining spacing between students and asking parents to keep a student home if he or she shows symptoms.

Despite statements by federal officials last summer about tying federal spending for schools to reopening plans, Washington will not have to withhold spending for schools to feel the effects of frustrated parents.

At the start of the school year, schools in Washington, D.C., were reporting a drop in enrollment of 13%. Houston is reporting 7% fewer students; Orlando, Florida, a decline of 5%; and in Nashville, Tennessee, schools are down nearly 5%.

Meanwhile, private school closures have slowed, and since the middle of the summer, homeschooling numbers have soared.

In Connecticut, homeschool advocates are reporting higher figures than ever before, and interest in homeschooling has “exploded,” according to Minnesota Public Radio. The Texas Homeschool Coalition reports a 400% increase in students compared with last year.

Similar news can be found around the country. Learning pods, where parents bring together small groups of children during the school day to learn, continue to spread, and with each passing day, pods become less of a fad and more of a permanent solution.

Local school leaders’ evaluations of the health evidence remain a mystery, and many officials have not met parent and student needs during the pandemic. Now, families are leaving, reminding everyone that we should make students the priority of policy solutions, not the system.

Federal and state policymakers have used the bully pulpit to implore schools to reopen, but the most effective persuasion will be the kind that assigned district schools like the least—namely, fewer students

***********************************

My other blogs: Main ones below

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

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://awesternheart.blogspot.com.au/ (THE PSYCHOLOGIST)

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)

*******************************

Sunday, October 25, 2020



Sens. Cotton and Loeffler Ask AG Barr to Investigate 'Apparent Racial Segregation' on College Campuses

GOP Senators Tom Cotton (AR) and Kelly Loeffler (GA) wrote to Attorney General Bill Barr asking for a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into apparent violations of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act on college campuses.

“I write to bring your attention to an alarming trend of apparent racial segregation in schools in the United States,” Cotton and Loeffler wrote. “These cases appear to violate Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race in federally funded programs or activities. I urge the Department of Justice to investigate these and similar cases as part of our nation’s commitment to equality before the law.”

The pair of GOP Senators cited two recent incidents that raise alarms about violations of equality under the law:

“On September 8, the Center for Social Justice and Inclusion at the University of Michigan-Dearborn two virtual 'cafes,' or online discussion groups, that were segregated on the basis of race, with moderators also segregated on the basis of race...the University of Michigan appears to have created 'whites only' and 'non-whites only' events, in a manner reminiscent of the doctrine of racial segregation overturned by Brown v. Board of Education,” they tell AG Barr. “On August 7, the University of Kentucky’s Bias Incident Support Service hosted segregated training sessions for resident assistants, ‘one for RAs who identify as Black, Indigenous, Person of Color and one for RAs who identify as White.’”

Cotton and Loeffler point out that college administrators “rationalize” racial segregation activities “as a tool to further diversity.”

Did You Know? The Ignorance of College Graduates

Students are paying a higher price tag for college, but is the quality of their education also increasing, or at least staying stable? A lot of indicators suggest “no.”

During the George W. Bush administration, the Spellings Commission found evidence that “the quality of student learning at U.S. colleges and universities is inadequate and, in some cases, declining.”

In 2003, the Department of Education’s National Assessment of Adult Literacy found that only 31 percent of college graduates scored at “the proficient level” of reading. That number was 9 percentage points higher in 1992. Of the 2003 college graduates, 53 percent scored at the “intermediate level” and 14 percent scored at the “basic level.” Three percent of college students scored a “below basic” literacy level.

In 2008, 57 percent of college graduates failed a civic literacy exam put out by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. And a 2013 Gallup and Lumina Foundation poll found that only 11 percent of business leaders believed that college graduates are prepared for the workforce.

According to a 2013 study, fewer than 5 percent of college students knew the following: that Thomas Jefferson’s home is named “Monticello;” the name of the author of Brave New World; and that Madam Curie discovered radium or that Mozart wrote Don Giovanni. Additionally, compared with students in 1980, far fewer students knew that Paris is the capital of France.

Law school graduates also have poorer outcomes. According to the Bar Examiner, between 2007 and 2016, bar exam passing rates declined in most states.

The results of a 2017 Gallup survey show that only 42 percent of college alumni strongly agreed that they were challenged academically in college.

One of the most comprehensive studies on college student learning is detailed in the 2011 book Academically Adrift by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa. The authors surveyed 3,000 students on 29 campuses.

After analyzing transcripts, surveys, and scores from the standardized test called the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA), the researchers found that 45 percent of students demonstrated “no significant gains in learning” after two years of college. They also found that, compared to students from a few decades ago, today’s college students spend 50 percent less time studying.

The authors note that although students may be familiar with course-specific content and may graduate with a respectable GPA, many are nonetheless “academically adrift” because they are “failing to develop higher-order cognitive skills.”

As the findings of Academically Adrift suggest, students’ dismal learning outcomes may be connected in part to their poor study habits. Federal data show that college students don’t spend enough time studying.

In 2016, the Heritage Foundation analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Survey from 2003–2014. The analysts found that the “average full-time college student spends only 2.76 hours per day on all education-related activities”—totaling 19.3 hours spent a week.

On a weekly basis, the average full-time student spends only 10.7 hours a week on research and homework—a number that falls far below the recommended number of study hours. It is recommended that students study two to three hours per credit hour per week. Since full-time students must take at least 12 credit hours per semester, they should be studying at least 24 to 36 hours a week.

Unfortunately, colleges are reluctant to track and release information regarding how much students learn in college. Former Stanford Graduate School of Education dean Richard Shavelson said that, for many schools, student learning is “less important than having a winning football team if you want to stay alive, in the scheme of things.”

Free Speech and Liberal Education–Two Endangered Pillars of Society

Fifteen years ago, American higher education was beset with serious problems, especially rising costs, politicization of the curriculum, the mania over diversity, and falling academic standards. At that time, however, few people would have said that among its problems was the threat to freedom of speech on campus.

But one scholar who did see that freedom of speech was coming under attack was University of Wisconsin professor Donald Downs. His book Restoring Free Speech and Liberty on Campus was an alarm bell in the night. He saw that the forces of intolerance and repression were gathering strength.

Downs has now written a new book on this problem entitled Free Speech and Liberal Education: A Plea for Intellectual Diversity and Tolerance. He argues that each college and university ought to be an “intellectual polis” where people can study, teach, and research in an atmosphere of civility and respect. For most of our history, they were—but not so today. Intellectual freedom on our campuses is “embattled,” he writes.

At many institutions, we find “conspicuous displays of intellectual intolerance” by faculty and students. They have been “abetted by an ever-growing campus administrative state” staffed with people who “nourish anti-free speech thinking and activism.”

Among the many pieces of evidence Downs cites is the infamous riot at Middlebury College when political scientist Charles Murray tried to speak. A student mob forced Murray and the faculty member who was to serve as moderator, Allison Stanger, to flee, during which Stanger was injured badly enough to need hospitalization. That part of the Middlebury story is very well known. What is not well known (and equally disturbing) is the aftermath: some faculty members wrote a statement deploring the incident and supporting freedom of speech, but a majority of the faculty refused to accept it.

Another particularly troubling incident involved Northwestern University professor Laura Kipnis. She was attacked by her students for having written an essay for The Chronicle of Higher Education in which she argued that American campuses were in the grip of “sexual paranoia” and the new Title IX rules imposed by the Obama administration were unfair.

Those were reasonable positions and professor Kipnis supported her argument well. Nevertheless, she was accused by a group of her students of “harassing” them with her writing. The students were women who were so deeply invested in the idea that American campuses were so fraught with peril to females that to dissent at all was the same as “harassment.” And if that weren’t absurd enough, Northwestern’s administration sided with the students and subjected Kipnis to an investigation.

Downs laments that the culture of victimhood has become so deeply entrenched on our campuses that it is now dangerous to speak your mind. Scholars, he observes, are now afraid to publish criticism of ideas or books that might offend groups that have been conditioned to respond not with counter-arguments, but with official complaints, or worse.

Opinion surveys of students and faculty members with regard to free speech issues are also troubling. They show that support for free speech is declining among students and that about one-third of faculty members don’t think there should be any punishment for students who disrupt speakers.

One point that particularly disturbs Downs is the way the “heckler’s veto” has become a tactic that’s used by militant students against speakers who present arguments they dislike. Downs notes that the origin of the heckler’s veto was in the segregationist South; when speakers who advocated civil rights for blacks were harassed and shouted at by white opponents, law enforcement usually stepped in—but to arrest the speaker for “disturbing the peace.” Sadly, that’s how some college officials look at matters today. The problem is the outsiders who need to be suppressed for the “safety” of all.

Similarly, at many schools, officials have designated tiny “free speech zones” where students may speak their minds. Their excuse is that free speech is so troubling to some that it must be restricted, as if, Downs says, free speech were like some “contagious disease.” Of all places, colleges should be the most free from speech restrictions, but instead students and faculty members find themselves in “intellectual straitjackets.”

We have even reached the point where, in law school classes, professors have to refrain from bringing up certain topics (sexual assault, especially) because they might “trigger” sensitive students.

How did we get from robust free speech on campus to having to walk on eggshells lest some hyper-sensitive students complain that their feelings are hurt or that certain ideas make them feel unsafe?

Downs argues that much of the blame should be placed on UC-Berkeley professor Herbert Marcuse, a 1960s radical who maintained that free speech was in fact undesirable because it helped to keep what he regarded as bad ideas (such as private property, capitalism, limited government, etc.) in social dominance. What was necessary for progress, Marcuse said, was for those voices to be suppressed so that the claims of the “marginalized” groups could be heard.

It was a silly theory, but it hit the right notes with faculty and administrators who thought that their foremost task was to promote social justice. A great many of them have allied with “woke” students in trying to silence speech that questions anything about their agenda. Rather than teaching them knowledge and virtue, they pander to student passions.

One of Downs’ most telling arguments is that it takes courage to face challenging ideas. In a fair intellectual battle, you must be prepared to lose if you can’t defend your position, and if so, you need to either strengthen your case or change your mind. (A fascinating instance that our author brings to light is the way Justice Holmes changed his mind with regard to government restrictions on free speech in cases before the Supreme Court following World War I.) Too often, though, our educational leaders allow some students to “win” not through their brains, but through coercion. In that, Downs writes, they “are letting our young people down, as well as our republic.”

So, freedom of speech being “embattled,” what will help it emerge victorious? Downs points to several good tactics.

One of them is the phenomenon of independent centers on campus. They serve the crucial function of sheltering dissent from orthodoxies and widening the scope of the kind of diversity that really ought to matter—diversity of thought.

Downs observes that while you’d think a university’s lawyer would be familiar with First Amendment law, that’s often not the case.
Another tactic is for faculty members, even if greatly outnumbered, to fight against measures that would stifle free speech. Downs gives some inspiring examples. For instance, at Clemson University, a group of three faculty members fought successfully to defeat a draconian speech code that zealous, “social justice warrior” students were pushing. In another case, one of Downs’ former students single-handedly shot down a speech code at Northern Illinois University by pointing out to the university’s general counsel that when challenged in court, the code was sure to lose. Downs observes that while you’d think a university’s lawyer would be familiar with First Amendment law, that’s often not the case.

Most important of all, colleges and universities should teach their students about the importance of free speech and the need to guard it. Downs’ own course on the First Amendment at Wisconsin helped to protect free speech there. I would strongly recommend that other schools look for people (probably practicing or retired lawyers) who could teach that kind of course to their students.

That isn’t possible everywhere, but what is possible everywhere is for the administration to explain to incoming students the rules of academic discourse and the consequences for disregarding them. The University of Chicago has done that, and other schools ought to follow its lead.

And here’s one more good idea—stop force-feeding “diversity” to everyone on campus. Doing so does little or no good and emboldens the forces that want to dictate what others must believe. Downs argues that people will better learn about diversity naturally, from the “bottom-up” rather than pushing it in mandatory “training” sessions.

Free Speech and Liberal Education is a book that every educational leader should read.

What those officials have forgotten (if they ever knew it) was John Stuart Mill’s “human fallibility” argument, namely that because humans can be mistaken, it is imperative to allow all claims about truth and knowledge to be challenged. If they are true, they can only be strengthened by challenges.

Australian University to shift teacher training to postgrad diplomas

Back to the future. No more dummy teachers: Students with poor High School marks no longer admitted

The University of Technology Sydney has abruptly shelved its primary teaching degree, saying it was losing money and struggling to attract students because of government-imposed academic standards for trainee teachers.

The decision – which the university describes as a "pause" – comes as a new federal university funding scheme, beginning next year, reduces fees for education degrees to address a looming teacher shortage.

UTS' BEd (Primary) degree has been removed from the 2021 University Admissions Centre guide. Hundreds of students who listed it as a preference have been individually contacted to be told it is not available, multiple sources told the Herald.

The dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Professor Alan Davison, wrote to the school of education late last month listing the reasons behind the decision.

There was not enough interest in the degree, its ATAR was low compared with competitors, and the school of education was not generating enough high-visibility research, he wrote in an email seen by the Herald.

"There is continued impact on load [student numbers] from increasing federal and state standards requirements, [such as] those wishing to enter a teaching degree require a minimum standard of three Band 5 HSC results," the email said.

Professor Davidson’s email said UTS’s vice-chancellor and provost had asked him to take "prompt action" to pause the degree, and explore the possibility of offering a postgraduate primary education course instead.

"As you are aware, undergraduate teacher education at UTS has been a major loss maker, and that must be addressed with some urgency," he wrote.

Students studying the degree will finish it, and there will be a small first-year cohort next year of deferred and repeating students. The secondary education degree has also been cancelled with UAC, and will be offered as a masters degree.

A spokeswoman for UTS said the pause would allow a review of the course in the first half of next year, "leading to a decision on its ongoing viability," she said.

One in 10 trainee teachers fails required literacy and numeracy tests

The decision was made before the federal government’s changes to student fees passed the Senate on October 8. "The challenges facing the area predate, and are unrelated to, the recent government funding changes," the spokeswoman said.

Under those changes, student fees for education degrees will drop by almost $3000 to encourage more students to study teaching. However, the government will not match the amount of money universities will lose due to the lower fees, so teaching – like nursing and engineering – will attract less total funding per student.

Michael Thomson, the state secretary of the National Tertiary Education Union, said UTS was due to replace its existing primary teaching course with a new one in 2021. Staff had been working on that course for at least a year.

"They were quite shocked when the announcement came that they were putting it on pause," he said. "What does a pause mean? People are concerned that this decision was made a bit ad hoc."

Mr Thomson said staff found out about the change two days before voluntary separation applications closed. "If they’d had this information beforehand, it might have influenced what they did," he said.

Like many universities, UTS’s revenue from international students has been hit hard by border closures related to COVID-19.

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My other blogs: Main ones below

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

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://awesternheart.blogspot.com.au/ (THE PSYCHOLOGIST)

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)

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Friday, October 23, 2020


Biden's Radical 'Education' Agenda

As the 2020 election hits the home stretch, one of the most glaring aspects of this campaign is the lack of public exposure the mainstream media has given to Joe Biden’s policy platform — or really anything about Biden. Indeed, Biden’s campaign strategy can be boiled down to “vote for me, I’m not Donald Trump.” And if the polls are to be believed (though caveat emptor), it appears to be working. Yet if he wins, there are likely a sizable number of Americans who will end up regretting their vote as his extreme leftist agenda is foisted upon them and their school-age children.

One example of the dire implications of a Biden presidency is the profoundly negative impact his Title IX agenda will have on schooling. Recall that during the last year of Barack Obama’s presidency, his Education Department explicitly redefined Title IX prohibitions against discrimination “on the basis of sex” to include “gender identity.” What soon resulted was the infamous transgender bathroom policy wherein a student could use either bathroom and locker-room facility based entirely on their own declared “gender identity,” irrespective of the settled science of their biology.

During last Thursday’s town hall event, Biden answered a question about how he would protect against “transgender” discrimination. Biden made it clear that he would “flat out just change the law” and eliminate President Trump’s executive order reversing Obama’s diktat, and then reimplement Obama’s extreme Title IX agenda. Thus, a Biden presidency would quickly end Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s corrective reforms by reinstating Obama’s disastrous Title IX policy, and by so doing Biden would impose the “transgender” ethic in America’s public schools.

But that’s not all. Biden would eliminate hard re-won due process rights for college students who are accused of sexual misconduct. That’s awfully hypocritical for a man who himself has been credibly accused of sexual assault. And his intent is to violate the constitutional rights of young men on American college campuses so he can generate votes among the young women on those campuses.

Biden also opposes any system for school vouchers or school choice really of any kind, thereby locking the children of poor parents into failing public schools. That especially hurts the black families who are increasingly realizing Trump is the far better choice.

In short, a Biden-Harris administration would turn back the clock on some key reforms in education, while ensuring that public schools remain mired in mediocrity. “Progress” indeed.

UK: Teaching white privilege as uncontested fact is illegal, minister says

Schools which teach pupils that “white privilege” is an uncontested fact are breaking the law, the women and equalities minister has said.

Addressing MPs during a Commons debate on Black History Month, Kemi Badenoch said the government does not want children being taught about “white privilege and their inherited racial guilt”.

“Any school which teaches these elements of political race theory as fact, or which promotes partisan political views such as defunding the police without offering a balanced treatment of opposing views, is breaking the law,” she said.

She added that schools have a statutory duty to remain politically impartial and should not openly support “the anti-capitalist Black Lives Matter group”.

Badenoch was speaking in response to Labour MP Dawn Butler, who had told the Commons that black children are made to feel inferior by what they are taught in school and history “needs to be decolonised”.

“At the moment history is taught to make one group of people feel inferior and another group of people feel superior, and this has to stop,” Butler said.

“History needs to be decolonised. You can go through [the] whole of the GCSE and not have reference to any black authors at all. You could go through history and not understand the richness of Africa and the Caribbean, you can go through history and not understand all the leaders in the black community.”

Support for moves to decolonise teaching in the UK have garnered substantial support in recent years, particularly at universities – although a Guardian investigation found only a fifth have committed to reforming their curriculum to confront the harmful legacy of colonialism.

The former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also backed the calls for decolonisation, while Labour frontbencher Abena Oppong-Asare pressed for a taskforce to look at diversifying the content taught in school.

“We want all our kids, all our children, black and white, every single corner of this country, to better understand our history so our children have a true sense of belonging within British culture,” she said.

Badenoch rejected the claims, insisting that history in schools “is not colonised”.

“We should not apologise for the fact that British children primarily study the history of these islands, and it goes without saying that the recent fad to decolonise maths, decolonise engineering, decolonise the sciences that we’ve seen across our universities to make race the defining principle of what is studied is not just misguided but actively opposed to the fundamental purpose of education,” she said.

Butler responded: “Sometimes, especially during Black History Month, it would be progress if [people] could acknowledge the systemic racism that not only existed then, but has a lasting legacy now in our structures, which doesn’t for any other group.”

Texas Longhorn Band Won't Play Saturday Because of 'Racist' School Song

Members of the University of Texas marching band, also known as the "Showband of the Southwest," can't come to a mutual agreement about playing "The Eyes of Texas."

Many believe the school song has racial undertones, and that prompted several UT athletes this summer to demand a discontinuance of the song. The athletic and PR departments have played damage control from within, but it has since leaked into other parts of the school, campus and the state.

Before getting into the background of the song and its ties, here's what's currently happening with the school's band:

The band conducted an internal survey about the song, and band director Scott Hanna told the school newspaper, The Daily Texan, that "based on (survey responses), we do not have the necessary instrumentation, so we will not participate in Saturday's game" against Baylor.

Hanna told The Texan that the band was "evenly divided" in opinions about the school song.

"Moving toward resolution takes time and sustained effort," Hanna said. "The conversations that have started are an important step toward that goal."

School officials confirmed on Wednesday that the band will not play at this week's Texas home game against Baylor, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

The song "The Eyes of Texas" was written in the early 20th century, and it's set to the famed "I've Been Working on the Railroad." The first-known performance of "The Eyes of Texas" was in the early 1900s by white singers wearing blackface at the Varsity minstrel show.

This summer, after the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, there were nationwide protests against police brutality against Blacks. In June, about 40 athletes from the University of Texas asked the school to nix the school song. They posted a letter on social media.

"On behalf of the UT student athletes, we ask to have the following issues addressed through the implementation or a plan for implementation at the start of the fall semester," the letter stated. "The recent events across the country regarding racial injustice have brought to light the systemic racism that has always been prevalent in our country as well as the racism that has historically plagued our campus."

The school song is played during the game, but mostly at the end of every game, and players typically stand on hold the "Horns Up" sign with their hands. Many players felt like they were pressured to sing the tune.

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My other blogs: Main ones below

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

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://awesternheart.blogspot.com.au/ (THE PSYCHOLOGIST)

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)

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Thursday, October 22, 2020



Ingraham: Biden alliance with teachers' unions should alarm women wary of Trump

President Trump could make gains among women by pointing out Joe Biden's support of teachers' unions who have pushed to keep schools closed to in-person instruction amid the coronavirus pandemic, Laura Ingraham suggested Tuesday.

"The Ingraham Angle" host cited a recent New York Times poll that showed Trump leading Biden among likely male voters by six percentage points, but trailing by 23 percentage points among women.

"If that poll is anywhere near accurate, the president would have a hard time closing that gap with women but he could narrow it," said Ingraham, who added that many media members and public health authorities have "frightened and misled" women across the country about the nature of COVID-19.

"They are afraid the kids will go to school and they will get sick or they will bring sickness back to their own communities and back to their own homes," she said, "when any honest adult knows virtual learning is a train wreck for almost every kid out there, especially for those who are poor.

"But Biden and his handlers don’t care about the kids," she continued. "They keep concerning themselves with what their political allies think: The teachers' union. They need to keep them happy."

Ingraham pointed out that in Fairfax County, Va., one of the richest school districts in America, the local union has pushed to keep classrooms closed until August of 2021.

"This is child abuse," she alleged. "My hope is school officials see how damaging it will be to children but my expectations are low."

"The left," Ingraham went on, "doesn’t care about the science it invokes if it conflicts with their goals ... Teachers' unions are ignoring the science to make absurd demands."

The host later warned that "with Biden in the White House, what we are seeing in Fairfax County will be happening nationwide. You won’t be able to just move across county or state lines to escape. Your child won’t see the inside of a classroom for a very long time.

"What he or she learns online about America will be left-wing propaganda courtesy of the 1619 Project," Ingraham continued. "Under President Biden this scenario might be great for Black Lives Matter and the NEA but horrendous in every other way. How can any parent, especially any mom, support this?

"I think women are naturally protective of our children. That’s just the way we are," she concluded. "For this reason alone, female voters should drop their old hang-ups about Trump. He is not the heartless or mean force in this race. He is the opposite. He wants your sons and daughters in school and learning. He wants you to be free to work for your family."

Why Even the Childless Should Want School Choice

At a rally this week, President Donald J. Trump repeated his promise to extend school choice to every child if re-elected.

I don’t have or want kids. No, I’m not going to change my mind – even as a little girl I barely liked being around other children. But while I don’t intend to raise children of my own, I think it’s imperative that families with kids receive access to educational freedom. For that reason, Trump’s promise made me excited.

In fact, I think school choice is the civil rights battle of our time and that everyone should rank it high on their list of important reforms.

I grew up with school choice, as do most middle-class to wealthy families, but it came at a price. My father, the first in his family to go to college, was working full-time as a pastor and putting himself through a PhD program throughout my early childhood. My mother, who had obtained her teaching degree in Alabama, decided to homeschool us after observing the sheer incompetence of many of her teaching peers. Both of my parents recognized the importance of a good education and its essential role in shaping future prosperity, and so they sacrificed for us.

At the time (1990), homeschooling was not even legal in all 50 states, nor was it cheap. I often think about the financial burden this choice placed on my family (we essentially paid for school twice – first in taxes and then in homeschooling costs). Because my mother had to choose between our education and outside employment, my parents lost out on years of retirement income, savings towards our college tuitions, and access to things they wanted.

Homeschooling is incredible. I got to spend my days with my parents and siblings. I was never bullied or forced to grow up too soon. I only did school for a few hours a day, and my curriculum was customized to meet my interests. I learned how to think, instead of what to think. All of this provided me with a fantastic education, a healthy sense of self, and a lifelong love of learning.

Research shows I’m not alone in this experience. Studies are finding that homeschoolers are more tolerant than their peers, enjoy closer relationships with their families, and academically outperform public school graduates.

In the book Unschooled by Kerry McDonald, another former homeschooler describes her experiences like this:

“I felt very free and independent as an unschooled teen, and had the time and pleasure to read as many books as I could access, write novels and short stories, travel, and pursue passions such as theater, music, dancing, and gymnastics. I also engaged in assorted self-created internships throughout my teenage years."

Another account from the same book, this time by Sophie Biddle says this:

“Trusting young people is one of the most radical notions in our society, but childhood and human development are not linear paths. Really, it’s a journey.”

For many years, homeschooling was maligned by many and those of us who participated were painted as socially awkward, religious bigots, or hillbillies. Thankfully, that is changing rapidly and the practice is booming. That’s more children free to pursue their passions, learn at their own pace, and receive an education in the safety of their own home - free from the bullying and social pressures.

Now, compare that to the educational environment experienced by most kids in this country.

Nearly 90 percent of American children attend district schools, many of which are failing. It is estimated that 1 in 5 American adults are functionally illiterate. On international math tests, we rank near the bottom of industrialized countries and our high school graduation rates continue to plummet. For those who may struggle with spelling due to our failing public education system, that spells trouble.

On top of that are the added woes of COVID-19 and the impact the lockdowns are having on our school children. If their district even re-opened, and that’s a big if, kids are being forced to wear masks for hours upon hours or spend their days in front of a computer screen. This isn’t normal. It’s bad for the children, and it’s bad for their parents – many of whom are now struggling to work and teach from home with no added resources.

How long can a country remain great with an uneducated populace? It can’t. “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people,” stated Thomas Jefferson (sort of). Not only does the lack of a good education lead to poverty, increased chances of criminality, and a lower life expectancy for the individual, but in a democratic republic, it also harms society at large.

When my neighbor’s vote matters as much as my own, I find it to be of the utmost importance that they are capable of thinking through important policy positions and casting a competent vote. When my taxes pay the price for those who fall into poverty or criminality, I find it essential that we provide pathways out of these systems. When our society as a whole becomes less educated, we will all suffer the consequences.

Currently, our public schools have no impetus to improve because they have no competition. In Free to Choose, Milton and Rose Friedman explained why this is a problem:

"The difference is not between schooling and other activities but between arrangements under which the consumer is free to choose and arrangements under which the producer is in the saddle so the consumer has little to say. If the consumer is free to choose, an enterprise can grow in size only if it produces an item that the consumer prefers because of either its quality or its price."

"The situation is very different when power is in the hands of a central government. The individual citizen feels that he has, and indeed does have, little control over the distant and impersonal political authorities. The possibility of moving to another community, though it may still be present, is far more limited."

These institutions are a government monopoly that most people cannot afford to break out of. On average, public schools receive $15,000 per year, per pupil. That’s way more than most private schools charge. But very little of this makes it to the classroom or student. Instead this money largely goes to a bloated administration.

Once you understand that, you’ll understand why government-school employees and teachers’ unions work so hard to block school choice. It’s about their bottom line, not the child’s. Ironically, the average school teacher would likely also benefit from school choice and be able to command a higher salary. But they’re being lied to about this by their unions.

Imagine if instead each American family received that $15,000 in an Education Savings Account (ESA) that could be used towards private schools, homeschooling, online course, or their local public school (should they earn it). All families would have the ability to pick the schooling situation that’s best for their unique child, schools would have to compete for resources and offer better services to survive, teachers could command better pay, and families could even roll over unused funds towards higher education.

A child’s future should not be determined by their zip code—especially when this system traps people in cycles of poverty, disproportionately people of color—neither should it be determined by the value of their family’s home. School choice is about equal opportunity for all children and creating a better future for our country. You don’t need to have kids to want what’s best for our nation’s children. Demand school choice now.

White working class boys are the most deprived – and ignored – ethnic group in Britain... Telling them they enjoy white privilege is laughable

Last week I gave evidence at the Education Committee's inquiry into why poor white children do so badly at school. It's an inquiry that was long overdue.

The fact that I was there at all was something of a miracle because I am white and come from a single-parent, working-class family where money was always a problem.

Against the odds, I went to university – not Oxbridge or even a traditional Russell Group establishment, but a 'low-tariff' university, at Salford in Manchester.

So, yes, it's a problem with which I'm very familiar. The statistics would speak for themselves, were anyone to pay attention.

Because white, working-class boys from low-income homes are by far the most underprivileged children in Britain in comparison with any other major ethnic group.

According to the Department for Education, just 13 per cent of white boys entitled to free school meals (because their families are on benefits) go on to higher education.

Yet 27 per cent of similar black Caribbean boys go to university, 42 per cent of Pakistani, 51 per cent of black African and 66 per cent of Chinese boys.

It is a staggering fact that only two per cent of white, working-class children get into the most prestigious universities, yet we fall over ourselves to help other groups make it.

The only groups with worse educational outcomes than white, working-class boys are their peers from gypsy, Roma and Irish traveller backgrounds. So will we see a campaign on behalf of Britain's poor white children? I'm confident the answer is no.

These boys and girls are treated as if they are invisible by politicians and by universities, as I know all too well.

Today I am a professor, lecturing in politics at the University of Kent, yet my own upbringing still marks me out as an outsider, particularly if I dare to show support or understanding for working-class views.

Brexit is a particular case in point. There are times when I've been made to feel a pariah thanks to my support for the outcome of the referendum (although I was by no means a Brexiteer myself).

It is my opinion that the British working class had every right to stick up two fingers to the Establishment and I've not been afraid to say so.

But that's not a popular view in the rarefied world of universities, where children, especially boys, from poor backgrounds have been shoved to the margins. It is simply not fashionable to talk about white, working-class kids.

There is now a strong push among academics to promote diversity and inclusion, to unleash what some refer to as the 'untapped potential' of children from minority ethnic backgrounds.

It is understandable and laudable. As part of this, staff at universities are frequently asked to take tests to establish whether they are unconsciously biased or racist. Yet the conversation is all about multi-culturalism and almost never includes the role of class. Why?

Nobody wonders aloud why there are so few white, working-class students in higher education.

My own roots are in the terrace house on the outskirts of St Albans, Hertfordshire, where I grew up. My younger brother and I were raised by our mum after my dad left when I was about five.

My abiding childhood memory is of standing outside the school gates waiting for Mum to come tearing round the corner to collect us after she finished work in the human resources department of the local NHS trust.

Much of the job of bringing us up fell to Mum's parents. They belonged to the old-fashioned working class, solid members of the greatest generation. They looked after their neighbours, went to church and gave to charity.

Their lives were shaped by the lingering values of the Victorian period. I worshipped my grandfather, who was born into complete poverty in Brixton.

As a young man he fought in Burma with the Chindits and met my grandmother at a wartime Army concert in India.

A girl from South Wales with a prize-winning soprano voice, she was singing for the troops with Vera Lynn.

My grandfather always said that once he caught sight of her, he couldn't stop staring.

He was so besotted that, as soon as he was demobbed and returned to Britain, he jumped on a motorbike and rode to Llanelli, where he proposed at once… even before he'd gone home to see his own family.

They settled in Castle Bromwich, in the suburbs of Birmingham, where my grandfather worked in a stationery business and tended his garden.

He helped to support my mum financially but, by the time I reached the sixth form at my all-boys secondary school, I was having to work at two jobs to help pay the bills.

One of these was at a fast-food restaurant, where the manager was keen to take me on full-time.

This was the late 1990s and there was pressure on me to do a management training course – which would have meant abandoning my A-levels – so that I could start to earn proper money.

At the time, it was a tempting option, not least because it felt as though this was what was expected of me, not by my family but by society in general. I just wasn't the type that was meant to go to university, much less become an academic.

But one of my teachers, Mr Brands, who taught history and Latin, saw that I had an aptitude for study and an interest in politics – even if it was the politics of Disraeli and Gladstone, which was on the curriculum at the time.

Mr Brands inspired me, not just because of his lessons and the fact he encouraged me to complete my A-levels. I had another job at the time – as school cleaner. After the other boys went home, I stayed behind with a mop and bucket, to earn an extra few quid.

It was an unconventional arrangement but I was glad of it. And as I did my rounds of the classrooms, I started to notice that Mr Brands stayed behind, too.

He would walk around, picking up litter, and was sometimes still there at 7pm. There was an indefinable quality to the man, an old-school decency and moral fibre I admired very much.

And if he thought I should continue my studies, I felt I should listen to him.

I didn't apply to university until I had my A-level results and I picked Salford because I knew my father was living in Manchester. I thought I might get the chance to know him a little better.

My grandfather was deeply proud of my decision. His parents had nothing and now his grandson was going to university.

I will always be grateful that he lived long enough to see me get my first lectureship, at Nottingham. In his eyes, I was an 'intellectual'. The idea makes me smile but it's also touching. He did what he could to help with my living expenses but like most of the students on my course I had to work part-time to support myself throughout my degree and beyond.

I took all sorts of jobs but the most reliable was delivering pizzas. I wouldn't change that experience for the world, yet I'm constantly aware few of my colleagues went through anything similar.

Many are themselves the children of academics, or even the grandchildren of academics.

Their lives in education were written from the start: prep school, private school, ten years at Oxbridge to do a masters and PhD, then a career in elite universities.

They cannot begin to fathom what the people of Blackpool and Clacton, Hartlepool, Rotherham and Dover are thinking.

Our universities seem oblivious to the problem of raising educational standards for the white working class, despite the fact this is the biggest single social group in Britain – in fact, precisely because they are the biggest group.

These boys who underachieve so badly do not come from a minority, let alone a fashionable one. They are too unfashionable to have a hashtag.

This does not explain the shocking failure of politicians to recognise and support them. In particular, the Labour Party, which was set up to speak for the working class, seems to have turned its back.

Its narrative is now dominated by race and gender discrimination. It speaks volumes that it was a Labour MP at the Education Select Committee who linked the underachievement of these kids to their so-called 'white privilege'.

But as I explained in reply, telling working-class boys they are suffering from white privilege is nonsensical. What do we even mean by that?

If we're going to start teaching them in school that, not only must they overcome the existing economic and social barriers but that they must now start apologising for being white, that's only going to compound their problems.

They are falling through the cracks as it is.

The suggestion that these and other groups of boys are infected with 'toxic masculinity' is another modish criticism which is likely to make things worse, not better.

It is another way of suggesting they are to blame for their own plight, that they should somehow make amends simply for being who they are.

This is a very dangerous state of affairs, the more so as few in authority show any understanding.

Just 1.5 per cent of MPs have ever worked in blue-collar jobs. In fact, Labour MPs are even more likely than Tories to have gone to university. The party that was supposed to fight hardest for the workers has been taken over by middle-class professionals and careerists.

How can they relate to these children? They're from a different galaxy. Grasp that, and you begin to understand why we are not talking more about these problems.

This has been exacerbated by divisions over Brexit. Ten years ago, concerned that I met so few people like myself in higher education, I turned my research to communities in regions that had suffered a continual lack of investment for decades.

Britain's economy was increasingly centred on London and the South East and many people were either withdrawing from political engagement altogether – because they felt that, however they voted, nothing would change – or they were shifting to the marginal parties such as Ukip.

When the Brexit vote happened, I wasn't surprised. Nor was I surprised when Boris Johnson's pro-Brexit Tories won the biggest Conservative majority since 1987 at the last General Election.

The middle-classes from the big cities and university towns were comfortable talking about the rights of trans-sexuals and ethnic minorities but preferred to ignore the white working class.

So it is no surprise that academics have largely dismissed the Brexit vote as xenophobic and racist.

Today, attempting to do anything on behalf of white boys from lower income backgrounds is seen as tantamount to fostering racism.

When Professor Bryan Thwaites, the 96-year-old mathematician and philanthropist, tried last year to set up a £1million bequest to benefit poor working-class boys at his old school, Dulwich College, he was turned down. Winchester College also rejected the gift.

The very idea was treated as toxic. Yet when the grime artist Stormzy set up scholarships for poor black children, he was widely praised.

Not to put too fine a point on it, this is crackers. We seem to be talking about how every other group in society is victimised and left behind, yet when the figures show how badly young white males are being let down, we shut our eyes and ears.

We ignore them, deride them, look down on them and treat them as failures – and then we wonder why so many people in these communities are rebelling against the status quo.

After winning the Election, Boris Johnson promised he was going to 'level up' the country.

The obvious place to start is by levelling up the life prospects for these boys.

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My other blogs: Main ones below

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

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://awesternheart.blogspot.com.au/ (THE PSYCHOLOGIST)

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)

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Wednesday, October 21, 2020



Introduction To Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is an essential human skill, but it is little-taught. Once upon a time critical thinking courses were held to be essential, but they have since vanished from schoolrooms, either rolled into optional Logic courses (which are deathly boring to most students) or pushed aside simply because teachers and administrators resented students tearing through their arguments.

But for whatever reasons, critical thinking has all but disappeared from modern education. Nonetheless it remains essential, and especially for young students who need reasons to trust themselves and their opinions.

Because of this, and because the parents of young children have asked me for it, I’ll be devoting a series of posts to the fallacies of logic. An understanding of the primary fallacies, and especially how to apply them, is central to critical thinking. This material will end up as a book, but I’d very much like for you to read these installments and send them to the young people in your life. Children should be mentally and emotionally prepared to face a difficult and confusing world, and this is precisely the kind of material that will prepare them.

And so this, our first installment, will cover just a few primary points. Next week we’ll jump right into our first fallacy of logic, the either-or fallacy.

Wrong And Right

Strangely enough, it’s nearly always easier for us to prove what’s wrong than to prove what’s right. That’s what modern science does, for example; it goes about to prove ideas wrong, and if it can, the idea may be discarded. If the idea cannot be proven wrong, even after multiple, sincere efforts, we accept it as likely correct. But even so, we have no final proof of rightness, only the knowledge that we couldn’t prove it wrong.

“Probably right” is the best science can do, but it has been quite enough.

So, when we engage in critical thinking, we’re looking for reasons why an argument is wrong. If we can do that, we can disregard the argument, or at least that part of it. The danger of breaking arguments is that we take the practice too far and become critical only; enjoying the power of chopping people down and developing some very unlovely traits.

In order to avoid the dark fate of the unbalanced critic, we must remember that we’re dealing with actual people, who deserve to have their feelings considered. Damaging someone with our critiques doesn’t make us, them, or the world better. We must allow people to make mistakes and to express themselves imperfectly. The larger picture should be considered before we leap into proving things wrong.

The critical thinker, then, should also be a benevolent thinker. A knife can skillfully wielded by either a chef or by a killer, so let’s all be chefs.

The Emotional Base of Critical Thinking

A great deal of manipulation, and especially public manipulation, uses emotional vulnerabilities. For example, humans are particularly vulnerable to conformity pressures: Everyone else doing something – or believing something – leads us to feel powerful pressure to conform.

A psychologist named Solomon Asch did controlled studies of conformity pressure back in the 1950s, learning that in well-structured situations (actors all saying the same false thing), 75% of normal people would agree with an obvious lie, at least some of the time. So, you can see the power of the conformity bias, and you’ve probably felt it yourself.

Conformity pressures obviously subvert our critical thinking skills and they’re not the only emotional pressures that do so. That means that using our critical thinking abilities in real life will also require us to face and work through our emotional soft spots. (And we all have them.)

What I’ll suggest is simply that you notice the emotional pressures you feel from fallacious arguments. Skillful manipulators do their best to setup overwhelming pressures, making them hard to stand against. When you feel such things, please take a step back, then find a quiet moment to analyze what you felt. Doing that will, over time, allow you to work through the emotional tricks.

Critical thinking, then, requires a strong soul as much as it does a strong mind. In fact the two go together. And if combined with benevolence, they will serve you well all your life.

Fast Talkers

One last difficulty for critical thinking I’ll mention is the fast talker. People presenting thin or false arguments will often talk too rapidly for you to analyze their claims. That can be a problem.

Those who are skilled at manipulation will also push you to agree with them as they go, which is another emotional trick: If you nod your head and say “yes” several times, you’ll be very slow to disagree with even an openly false argument. Why? Because to do so, you’ll have to admit that you were tricked into agreeing, not only once but several times. That is, you’ll have to call yourself stupid, or at least silly, before you can use your critical thinking skills. Most people fail that challenge unless they’re prepared for it.

What I’ll recommend is this: If someone is going too fast for you to analyze their arguments, don’t try to. Rather, get a written version of the argument and go over that. And if they try to make you agree with them, just don’t. Reserve judgment, say you haven’t heard enough to understand, or whatever; but don’t be led along by things you’re unsure of.

The wave of demands to “cancel” dissenting faculty was a long time coming

Earlier this week, I noted how in recent months many faculty faced demands they be fired from their jobs in response to speech that was demonstrably protected by either the First Amendment, their institutions’ academic freedom promises, or both. But merely chronicling the many such illiberal campaigns we saw this summer is only so useful. Why did they happen? And should we be surprised that they unfolded the way they did? To that latter question I would answer no, given FIRE’s years observing the dynamics of campus protests up close and defending the rights of those on all sides of them. Here, I’ll attempt to explain why, and how.

2015’s chickens come home to roost

Even though it was summer and in-person operations at most campuses were dramatically reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked a remarkable mobilization by students to call on their institutions to improve the racial climates through various means. The last time we saw a comparable level of mobilization by students was likely in the 2015 fall semester, when students at dozens of campuses, spurred by anti-racism protests at the University of Missouri, compiled demands on their university administrations to take specific measures to combat racism and improve equity on campus. (A website that collected many of the demands is now offline, but you can scroll through this archived version of the site.)

FIRE followed the protests and paid close attention to the demands levied by students, which included several that would have violated free speech and academic freedom if they had been enacted. While the protests and demands raised issues for free expression, the period didn’t generate a long roster of faculty members faced with demands they face sanctions for their speech — at least not like we saw this summer. There were notable exceptions, though. Chief among them is the case of Nicholas and Erika Christakis at Yale University, ignited by an email Erika Christakis sent to the students of the campus residence hall where she was associate master gently critiquing the impetus behind student demands that Yale police students’ Halloween costumes. The response to Erika’s email led to a viral encounter (caught by FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff, who happened to be on campus that day), in which students berated Nicholas Christakis and demanded he apologize for his wife’s email. The Christakises resigned as house masters the next year, and Erika left teaching entirely.

The Yale episode was seen by some as a turning point in campus activism. It also happened at a time when America was far more tuned in to the issues in play than it had previously been, with Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt’s “The Coddling of the American Mind” cover article in The Atlantic on its way to being one of the most-read articles in the magazine’s history. As Greg wrote this summer in his rundown on “cancel culture” (see also this Twitter thread), the period around 2015 was also a time when the new norms of this culture were establishing themselves on campuses, something Greg also had also previewed in his short 2014 volume “Freedom from Speech,” the writing of which was inspired in part by the marked increase in students’ demands for speech-restrictive policies.

The years after 2015 saw an increasing number of ugly, sometimes violent confrontations targeting faculty speaking or acting entirely within their rights as professors. Professor Bret Weinstein was effectively run out of The Evergreen State College for critiquing a campus “Day of Absence.” Weinstein was all but abandoned by the institution, which couldn’t guarantee his physical safety from protesters. Middlebury College professor Allison Stanger suffered a concussion when students violently disrupted an event with social scientist Charles Murray, whose talk she was moderating. Students at Sarah Lawrence College demanded it fire political science professor Sam Abrams for publishing a column on the political leanings of college administrators, and vandalized his office.

Students increasingly demand professors be investigated, if not fired, for the uncensored use of racial slurs in relevant academic contexts.

In the classroom, discussion of certain difficult issues — and the academic discussion of racial slurs in particular — has become increasingly fraught in the last couple of years, as students increasingly demand professors be investigated, if not fired, for the uncensored use of racial slurs in relevant academic contexts. Augsburg University professor Phil Adamo and New School professor Laurie Scheck were both investigated for accurately quoting from James Baldwin. Emory University law professor Paul Zwier was removed from teaching for more than a year following complaints about his using a racial slur in the context of discussing cases of racial discrimination. This summer, UCLA instructor Ajax Peris faced investigation for quoting from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” And just in the last couple of weeks Duquesne University professor Gary Shank was fired for leading a discussion about the problems posed by the use of the N-word, in which he was willing to use the term. Meanwhile, St. John’s University removed professor Richard Taylor from teaching and sanctioned him after students distorted and denounced a class thought experimentation exercise as a requirement that they mount a defense of slavery.

The undergraduates on campus in 2015 have mostly graduated and entered professional life, and judging from the upheavals seen in other institutions, the norms of “cancel culture” have come with them. But that doesn’t mean those norms fell out of fashion on campus. The last few years would suggest they’ve only woven themselves more deeply into the fabric of the campus.

Forewarned is (not) forearmed

In June 2019, Greg authored “Five ways university presidents can prove their commitment to free speech” for FIRE. If the last few months have made anything clear, it’s how many university leaders could have stood to put Greg’s advice into action at their institutions. I especially draw readers’ attention to his third point: “Defend the free speech rights of your students and faculty loudly, clearly, and early.” As Greg wrote:

In my experience, many threats to free speech on campus effectively end when campus leadership demonstrates a principled commitment to expressive rights and academic freedom publicly, loudly, and clearly at the very beginning of the controversy. Meanwhile, many censorship incidents end in ignominy when a college president fails to take a decisive stand.

The last several months, it seems, have continuously proven Greg’s point, given the mushrooming number of speech-related controversies engulfing campuses and the relative dearth of strong statements in support of free expression from campus leaders. Over and over again, university leaders hedged on — if not outright abdicated — their free expression obligations when professors were faced with illiberal demands, muddying the waters on what should be clear matters of free expression. Take some of the cases I covered in my earlier post. Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber, for instance, took nearly two weeks to make clear that Joshua Katz’s criticisms of fellow faculty and students were protected by his academic freedom rights after officials suggested they would investigate his expression. At the University of California, Los Angeles, Gordon Klein was preemptively removed from teaching and denounced by administrators for the content of an email to a student, before being quietly reinstated weeks later, long after it was clear there was no cause for investigation to begin with. And University of Central Florida President Alexander Cartwright openly solicited students to submit complaints against Charles Negy following an uproar over his protected tweets, all but ensuring a process that won’t treat him fairly.

There’s nothing to stop a university from conveying its own opposition to certain speech or viewpoints even while vigorously defending speakers’ right to voice them.

It’s important to remember, of course, that institutions have their own free expression rights, and the freedom to set and to communicate their institutional values (so long as, at least in the case of public universities, those values don’t violate the Constitution). And this moment, indeed, has presented some particularly difficult challenges for university leaders, who have been quick to convey their commitments to diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism. And, as we’ve said numerous times before, there’s nothing to stop a university from conveying its own opposition to certain speech or viewpoints even while vigorously defending speakers’ right to voice them.

That university leaders have a difficult job in these circumstances, however, doesn’t preclude us observing that too many of them are failing at it. What’s more, it’s a challenge they should have seen coming. As my colleague Adam Steinbaugh wrote of the trends accelerating FIRE’s case submissions over the summer, “where there is conflict and controversy, censorship follows.”

A leadership vacuum

The last several months have made clear another reason why it’s important for campus leaders to get out in front of speech controversies with strong statements defending the right to free expression: It may be the best tool at their disposal to confront a vexing problem. As FIRE executive director Robert Shibley wrote following the death of professor Mike Adams:

Sometimes there is no legal solution to a problem. Attempting to censor cancellation attempts on the grounds that they are harmful would be no more effective than hate speech bans have been at containing hate, and would ignore the rights of and potential damage to those who wish to freely express their vitriol. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

This is true for the bulk of the cases I’ve covered in these two posts. In most instances, those demanding professors be punished or fired for their speech weren’t doing anything their First Amendment rights didn’t protect. And no one has the right to be free from criticism or vitriol. But that doesn’t mean universities have no role to play in mitigating these conflicts. If universities are strongly on the record in favor of free expression and make clear that they won’t bow to demands for unconstitutional action, they can help cultivate a culture of free expression in which disputes can evince a better respect for the rights of others.

To look at the problem from the other direction, mob-like demands for unconstitutional action gain traction because those making the demands expect they won’t encounter meaningful resistance from those in a position to say no. Behavior that gets rewarded gets repeated.

Universities, as places that thrive on the exchange of ideas and the debating of opposing viewpoints, are ideally situated to lead the charge against the current surge in demands for censorship. By and large, they haven’t risen to the challenge. The leadership vacuum that’s left isn’t just a missed opportunity: It ensures that we’ll see more demands for punitive action against faculty, and more universities buckling under the pressure to sacrifice fundamental rights when it owes it to the community to redouble their commitment to them.

UK: Number of white male teachers falls by 20% in just ten years, sparking fears of a lack of role models

The number of white male secondary school teachers has fallen by almost 20 per cent in a decade, sparking fears over a lack of role models for working-class boys.

Education experts warn that disadvantaged white boys could fall further behind as a result of the 'worrying' trend.

Research from the Education Policy Institute (EPI) shows that the teacher workforce is becoming 'increasingly female-dominated'.

The proportion of men teaching in secondary schools has fallen every year since 2010, hitting its lowest level in 2019, when 35.5 per cent of teachers were male.

Numbers in primary schools remain low at 14.1 per cent.

The EPI analysis reveals that the number of white male teachers in secondary schools has plummeted by more than 12,800 since 2010 – a fall of 17 per cent.

The number of men from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds teaching in secondary schools has risen from 10,451 in 2010 to 13,967 last year – an increase of 34 per cent.

Joshua Fullard, senior researcher at EPI, said yesterday: 'The decline in the number of white male teachers is concerning in areas where there is a prevalence of under-performing white working-class boys.'

Professor Alan Smithers, of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, said the drop in white male teachers was 'worrying'.

He added: 'In striving for equality, the white working-class, particularly boys, are a neglected group.'

Princeton agrees to pay $1 million as back pay to women professors amid pay discrimination charges

After being involved in a review enquiry for nearly a decade following allegation of pay discrimination against women professors, the Princeton University has agreed to pay nearly $1 million as back pay to the affected individuals.

Princeton had been facing an enquiry by the US Department of Labour where it stands accused of having discriminated women professors by paying them less than their male counterparts.

While Princeton agreed to pay back pay, it said its stand remains unchanged that it was working strictly in accordance with the law. The university said its decision does not mean acceptance of guilt.

In a report, CNN said the Department of Labor's had found that between 2012 and 2014, 106 women in full professor positions at Princeton University were paid less than their male counterparts.

"Though the findings were only preliminary, the university and the office reached an early resolution this month, with the school agreeing to pay $925,000 in back pay and at least $250,000 in future salary adjustments," the report said.

Besides agreeing to foot this back pay, Princeton has also reportedly agreed to "conduct statistical analyses to determine further significant disparities against female professors, as well as pay equity training for its staff".

As per the report, the review against Princeton University began almost a decade ago.

Ben Chang, a spokesman for the university, told CNN that after pausing the review in 2016, the Department of Labour reopened it in 2017 for "unexplained reasons".

"With this agreement, Princeton has not admitted liability in the investigation and continues to assert that it complied with both the letter and the spirit of the law," Chang was quoted as saying by CNN.

He added that Princeton had contested the allegation because it was "based on a flawed statistical model" that grouped all full professors together regardless of department.

Chang reportedly said that the university agreed to the resolution so as to avoid expensive and lengthy litigation.

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My other blogs: Main ones below

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

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://awesternheart.blogspot.com.au/ (THE PSYCHOLOGIST)

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)

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