Saturday, September 03, 2005


From the CSM. The conclusions I see: There are more teachers per pupil than ever but whites have still left the public schools in droves

September: It's a time for memorizing locker combinations, cracking open new textbooks, attending parent/ teacher conferences, and generally getting back into the swing of another academic year. It's also a time to step back and look at overarching educational trends, as the Associated Press recently did in compiling some notable comparisons using statistics drawn from national averages and percentages at public schools across the US. A sampling:

Student/teacher ratio
1960: 25.8 to 1
1980: 18.7 to 1
2002: 16.1 to 1

Teacher pay
1995: $36,675
2000: $41,807
2005: $47,750

Enrollment by school level
Elementary: 439
Middle: 617
High school: 760

Racial/ethnic distribution
White: 78.1%
Minority: 21.9%

White: 58.3%
Minority: 41.7%

Kindergarten enrollment (full-day)
1973: 20%
2003: 65%


The age and academic prowess of students entering teaching courses has been questioned by the authority charged with policing the profession. Queensland's Board of Teacher Registration has called for an investigation into requirements to enter teaching courses and the quality of educators produced. The concerns of the independent statutory board were raised in its submission to a federal parliamentary inquiry into teacher training throughout Australia. ...

The board said it was aware of criticisms of universities for not setting a high enough benchmark for entry to teacher courses. "We believe there is a need for research in this area, looking specifically at whether there are links between specific requirements for entry to teacher education programs and the quality of teachers prepared within those programs, both upon graduation and over time," it said. The board singled out tertiary entrance scores as one area the research needed to focus on.

In its inquiry submission, the State Government voiced similar concerns, saying minimum academic standards may be needed rather than simply filling university quotas. Additional criteria for selecting students for teaching courses should also be considered, the Government said. In March, The Courier-Mail revealed that entry levels to some teaching courses had dropped to allow in the lowest third of high school graduates. One examples was Central Queensland University's primary and secondary teaching degrees where an OP17 was required, in a band scale where an OP1 was the highest and OP25 the lowest.

The issues raised by the board are similar to those mentioned by Federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson. In February, Dr Nelson denounced some teaching schools as "quasi-sociology departments".

More here


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

Comments? Email me here. For times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here


Friday, September 02, 2005

Vouchers hit the burbs "For years, school choice seemed stalled on a freeway at the edge of town. Urban voucher programs in Cleveland and Milwaukee were successful. But only the involvement of middle-class suburbs will trigger the market revolution that reformers seek, and the suburbs presented an unassailable front. Statewide ballot measures in favor of vouchers lost big in California and Michigan in 2000. Proposals to expand education tax credits in Minnesota and Arizona died, and Ohio's permanent 'pilot' program remained strictly limited to the City of Cleveland. ... This year school choice got a jumpstart. With Ohio leading the way, reformers are finally taking choice to the suburbs. Governor Bob Taft signed a budget this summer authorizing 14,000 new school vouchers. This more than triples the size of Ohio's voucher student cadre, currently 5,675 Clevelanders in grades K-10. But numbers don't capture the importance of the Ohio legislation. The new program matters because it takes choice statewide."

Hooray for the student right : l "During the 1980s, Ronald Reagan ushered in a new era of American conservatism that few can forget. But I don't remember one thing about it. Honestly, the first president who actually meant anything to me, besides being a fact in a book, was Bill Clinton. Like most of today's college students who were born during the Reagan administration, I grew up with the liberalism of the 1990s. So it only makes sense that those liberal values and ideas are considered 'normal' for most of my generation. Indeed, there was a time when any twentysomething outside the realm of the left was considered an oddity and was ostracized for her political stance, particularly here in the Northeast. Consequently young conservatives tended to hide their opinions and go along, albeit silently, with the liberal stampede of their peers. But with the rightward political tone of the country, many young conservatives finally feel safe to come out of the closet."

Thursday, September 01, 2005


You can use the f-word in class (but only five times)

A secondary school is to allow pupils to swear at teachers - as long as they don't do so more than five times in a lesson. A running tally of how many times the f-word has been used will be kept on the board. If a class goes over the limit, they will be 'spoken' to at the end of the lesson. The astonishing policy, which the school says will improve the behaviour of pupils, was condemned by parents' groups and MPs yesterday. They warned it would backfire. Parents were advised of the plan, which comes into effect when term starts next week, in a letter from the Weavers School in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.

Assistant headmaster Richard White said the policy was aimed at 15 and 16-year-olds in two classes which are considered troublesome. "Within each lesson the teacher will initially tolerate (although not condone) the use of the f-word (or derivatives) five times and these will be tallied on the board so all students can see the running score," he wrote in the letter "Over this number the class will be spoken to by the teacher at the end of the lesson."

Parents called the rule 'wholly irresponsible and ludicrous'. "This appears to be a misguided attempt to speak to kids on their own level," said the father of one pupil. Nick Seaton, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, said: "In these sort of situations teachers should be setting clear principles of 'do and don't'. "They should not be compromising in an apparent attempt to please the pupils. This will send out completely the wrong message. "Youngsters will play up to this and ensure they use their five goes, demeaning the authority of the teacher."

Tory MP Ann Widdecombe said the policy was based on 'Alice in Wonderland reasoning'. "What next?" she asked. "Do we allow people to speed five times or burgle five times? You don't improve something by allowing it, you improve something by discouraging it."

The 1,130-pupil school, which was criticised as 'not effective' by Ofsted inspectors last November, also plans to send 'praise postcards' to the parents of children who do not swear and who turn up on time for lessons. Headmaster Alan Large said he had received no complaints about the policy. "The reality is that the fword is part of these young adults' everyday language," he said. "As a temporary policy we are giving them a bit of leeway, but want them to think about the way they talk and how they might do better."



Australian students used to go to Britain to study but after years of Tony Blair's socialism, it is getting to be the other way around

Universities in Australia and New Zealand are to offer thousands of pounds of scholarships to British students who have failed to gain a place in clearing and wish to study abroad, The Times has learnt. Prompted by reports that up to 60,000 school-leavers may fail to gain a university place in Britain this year because of the rush to avoid 3,000 pound top-up fees, seven universities from Queensland to Canterbury have pledged financial assistance. Annual undergraduate fees usually range between 4,100 pounds and 5,400 pounds. But with a lower cost of living, academics say that it is now academically and financially worthwhile for British students to study in the southern hemisphere.

"Tuition fees are the biggest change British universities have had in years," Chris Madden, pro-Vice Chancellor of Griffith University in Queensland. "Before they were importers, but now with tuition fees, and given the exchange rates, the cost of studying here is not much more than staying at home." Griffith University, which has 30,000 students of which 7,000 are international, is offering a full scholarship for tuition fees, which is open to all except medical students.

Gemma Shaw, 21, from Ipswich has just returned from a six-month exchange in psychology at Griffith. She is about to enter her final year at Oxford Brookes and said that in spite of the cost of flights, living next to Surfers' Paradise was cheaper than Oxford and there was a far stronger sense of service to students in Queensland. She said: "I had an amazing apartment on the beach and we all paid 45 pounds a week each, compared to my tiny room in Oxford for 80 pounds." She travelled around the country over the holidays and worked as a waitress twice a week during the term to pay her way.

Last year about 1,400 British students chose to study in New Zealand and Australia. Many were attracted to courses, such as dentistry, veterinary science and physiotherapy, that are oversubscribed at home. Exchange students pay no more than they would to their own university, but those studying abroad pay a year's fees upfront in order to qualify for a place and a student visa.

Australia introduced university tuition fees in 1973, but now Macquarie University, Curtin University of Technology, Tasmania University, Newcastle University, James Cook and the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, are all offering scholarships to lure British students. Macquarie, Newcastle and Tasmania are all ranked in the Shanghai Jiao Tang top 500 of world universities.

Sarah McCulloch, 36, moved with her husband and three children to Tasmania to take a degree in education. The qualification is identical to that in England. "International students come a week before term starts, so that they can show you around, take you on day trips and to barbecues, so that no one feels left out," she said. "They make a real effort for you to get to know the Australian way of life here and it goes on all year."

The academic year in the southern hemisphere starts in February and is divided into two semesters, the first running until late June and the second from late July until November. Each scholarship is based on academic merit and applications must be made by late October. For help, students should consult the Study Options website (, a free advice service.

Applicants must be British citizens over 18, holding A levels or the International Baccalaureate. The cost of accomodation, travel and living expenses must all be met by the student. There is no loan available for international students, however, so many will have to look for support from parents, or elsewhere.

More here


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

Comments? Email me here. For times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here


Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Socialized education gone mad: Despite a shortage of dentists, they actually pay people NOT to study dentistry. Worthy of Ripley

Scotland's chief dental officer said that “constructive” talks had taken place at a university after it emerged that it was offering students bursaries to defer their studies. Ray Watkins met staff at Dundee University, which was paying prospective dental school students 2,000 pounds to postpone their studies after an unprecedented number took up offers of a place on the course, leaving it oversubscribed. The offer has attracted criticism from some politicians, who say that more places should be made available at at time when there is a shortage of NHS dentists in Scotland.

Speaking after a meeting with the dental school’s dean, Professor Bill Saunders, Mr Watkins said: “Last week the Deputy Health Minister highlighted the fact that our priority is not just on getting more students through our dental schools, but on making sure that we get more dentists committed to the NHS at the end of their training. Today I have had a very constructive meeting. I shall now feedback to ministers and they will respond fully in due course. ”

The school, one of only two in Scotland, has seen a 40 per cent rise in applications this year, with the number of acceptances increasing by more than 30 per cent. The shortage of NHS dentists has seen hundreds of people queuing outside surgeries to register with new practices when they open. The Executive responded to the crisis by announcing a 150 million pound funding package for dentists over three years.

The SNP’s Richard Lochhead called for the Executive to fund extra training places. “The hundreds of thousands of Scots who are not registered with a dentist will be wanting as many new dentists trained up as soon as possible,” he said. “The chief dental officer should go back to his political masters and demand resources to plug the funding gap that will allow our dental schools to take on more students.”


Australian Secondary Teachers reject profit motive

And this is worthy of Ripley too: Teachers don't want education to be useful

The national teachers union has questioned whether schools should be teaching the skills needed to get jobs. In a submission to the national inquiry into the teaching of literacy, due to report within weeks, the Australian Education Union has questioned the value of knowledge becoming an "economic tool". The submission said teaching was now "the subject of intense debate by people who have little understanding of the process of education but great interest in the product. "(These are) people for whom the purpose of education is to enable nations and companies to profit within a knowledge society ... (though) such a purpose, in itself, is not necessarily a bad thing, within compassionate constraints," it stated.

The union argues against vocational teaching aimed solely at equipping students for the workplace, calling instead for a broad-based education. Federal president Pat Byrne said last night the submission aimed to show that "the purpose of education is not simply to prepare people for the workforce".

But federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson blasted the submission, saying "the union appears to think it is teaching students in a pre-industrial era". "It's seriously disturbing that the peak teachers' organisation in Australia can bemoan the fact it is educating young people for work," Dr Nelson said. "Of course, the moral, cultural, intellectual purpose of learning is important. But so too is preparing students for the world of work."

Ms Byrne said there was too much pressure on schools - from business, government and some parents - to produce students "who are prepared primarily for the workforce". "No one is saying that it shouldn't be the case but education serves a public good, beyond the benefit that it provides the individual. "It's not just: 'What does my child need so that my child benefits?"'

Ms Byrne came under fire earlier this week for criticising Australian voters for returning the Howard Government. In an address for a Queensland conference, Ms Byrne urged teachers to defend the "progressive" curriculum in schools and attack the rise in conservative values in education. "(The conservatives) certainly haven't won the curriculum debate, but they have made significant inroads into framing education to fit their version of the world," Ms Byrne wrote.

Her comments prompted Dr Nelson to say she was "not fit" to lead the union.

Dr Nelson announced the inquiry into literacy last May, after 26 leading academics questioned the teaching of literacy in Australia. The inquiry will study the effectiveness of both phonics and "whole learning" as learning tools.

The union's submission took a postmodernist stance on literacy, saying basic skills tests that only measure students' reading and writing ability "reinforce the one-dimensional view of literacy which is often seen in the press". The union argued against "accepting a narrow, cognitive-psychological approach to defining literacy at the expense of a broader socio-cultural definition". "Cognitive skills are a means to an end and must be situated within the broader context of the social and cultural purposes of literacy," the union said, adding that successful literacy programs "focus on the constructions of both masculinities and femininities" and that teachers must "avoid the 'competing victim' syndrome".

[Prime Minister] John Howard yesterday said more vocational training was needed to make up the skilled labour shortage. But Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations of NSW president Sharryn Brownlee warned: "There's a real danger ... that students will be told that school is only about getting a job."



For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

Comments? Email me here. For times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Proving the Critics’ Case

By KC Johnson

Inside Higher Ed recently reported on four University of Pittsburgh professors critiquing the latest survey suggesting ideological one-sidedness in the academy. According to the Pitt quartet, self-selection accounts for findings that the faculty of elite disproportionately tilts to the Left. “Many conservatives,” the Pitt professors mused, “may deliberately choose not to seek employment at top-tier research universities because they object, on philosophical grounds, to one of the fundamental tenets undergirding such institutions: the scientific method.”

Imagine the appropriate outrage that would have occurred had the above critique referred to feminists, minorities, or Socialists. Yet the Pitt quartet’s line of reasoning — that faculty ideological imbalance reflects the academy functioning as it should — has appeared with regularity, and has been, unintentionally, most revealing. Indeed, the very defense offered by the academic Establishment, rather than the statistical surveys themselves, has gone a long way toward proving the case of critics who say that the academy lacks sufficient intellectual diversity.

In theory, ideology should have no bearing on how a professor teaches, say, physics. Even so, should responsible administrators worry that the overwhelming partisan disparity is worthy of further inquiry? And, in theory, parents who make their money in traditionally conservative professions such as investment banking or corporate law probably do not encourage their children to enter academe. Yet, as money-making fields have always been attractive to conservatives, why has the proportion of self-professed liberals or Leftists in the academy nearly doubled in the last generation?

Had members of the academic Establishment confined themselves to such arguments (or had they ignored the partisan-breakdown studies altogether), the intellectual diversity issue would have received little attention. Instead, the last two years have seen proud, often inflammatory, defenses of the professoriate’s ideological imbalance. These arguments, which have fallen into three categories, raise grave concerns about the academy’s overall direction.

1. The cultural left is, simply, more intelligent than anyone else

As SUNY-Albany’s Ron McClamrock reasoned, “Lefties are overrepresented in academia because on average, we’re just f-ing smarter.” The first recent survey came in early 2004, when the Duke Conservative Union disclosed that Duke’s humanities departments contained 142 registered Democrats and 8 registered Republicans. Philosophy Department chairman Robert Brandon considered the results unsurprising: “If, as John Stuart Mill said, stupid people are generally conservative, then there are lots of conservatives we will never hire.”

In a slightly different vein, UCLA professor John McCumber informed The New York Times that “a successful career in academia, after all, requires willingness to be critical of yourself and to learn from experience,” qualities “antithetical to Republicanism as it has recently come to be.” In another Times article, Berkeley professor George Lakoff asserted that Leftists predominate in the academy because, “unlike conservatives, they believe in working for the public good and social justice, as well as knowledge and art for their own sake.” Again, imagine the appropriate outcry if prominent academics employed such sweeping generalizations to dismiss statistical disparities suggesting underrepresentation of women, gays, or minorities.

These arguments become even more disturbing given the remarkably broad definition of “conservative” employed in many academic quarters. Take the case of Yeshiva University’s Ellen Schrecker, recently elected to a term on the AAUP’s general council. This past spring, Schrecker denounced Columbia students who wanted to broaden instruction about the Middle East for “trying to impose orthodoxy at this university.” The issue, she lamented, amounted to “right wing propaganda.”

The leaders of the Columbia student group, who ranged from registered Republicans to backers of Ralph Nader’s 2000 presidential bid, were united only in their belief that matters relating to Israel should be treated objectively in the classroom. Probably 98 percent of the U.S. Congress and all of the nation’s governors would fit under such a definition of “right wing.”

Indeed, it seems as if the academic Establishment considers anyone who does not accept the primacy of a race/class/gender interpretation to be “conservative.” To most outside of the academy, such a definition would suggest that professors are using stereotypes to abuse the inherently subjective nature of the hiring process.

2. A left-leaning tilt in the faculty is a pedagogical necessity, because professors must expose gender, racial, and class bias while promoting peace, “diversity” and “cultural competence.”

According to Montclair State’s Grover Furr, “colleges and universities do not need a single additional ‘conservative’ .... What they do need, and would much benefit from, is more Marxists, radicals, leftists — all terms conventionally applied to those who fight against exploitation, racism, sexism, and capitalism. We can never have too many of these, just as we can never have too few ‘conservatives.’”

Furr’s remarks echoed those of Connecticut College’s Rhonda Garelick, who decried student “disgruntlement” when she used her French class to discuss her opposition to the war in Iraq and teach “‘wakeful’ political literacy.” Rashid Khalidi, meanwhile, rationalized anti-Israel instruction as necessary to undo the false impressions held by all incoming Columbia students except for “Arab-Americans, who know that the ideas spouted by the major newspapers, television stations, and politicians are completely at odds with everything they know to be true.”

To John Burness, Duke’s senior vice president for public affairs, such statements reflect a proper professorial role. The “creativity” in humanities and social science disciplines, he noted, addresses issues of race, class, and gender, leading to a “perfectly logical criticism of the current society” in the classroom.

At some universities, this mindset has even shaped curricular or personnel policies. Though its release generated widespread criticism and hints from administrators that it would not be adopted, a proposal to make “cultural competence” a key factor in all personnel decisions remains the working draft of the University of Oregon’s new diversity plan. Columbia recently set aside $15 million for hiring women and minorities — and white males who would “in some way promote the diversity goals of the university.” And the University of Arizona’s hiring blueprint includes requiring new faculty in some disciplines to “conduct research and contribute to the growing body of knowledge on the importance of valuing diversity.”

On the curricular front, my own institution’s provost, Roberta Matthews (who has written that “teaching is a political act") intends for the college’s new general education curriculum to produce “global citizens” — who, she commented, are those “sensitized to issues of race, class, and gender.”

Given such initiatives, it is worth remembering the traditional ideal of a university education: for faculty committed to free intellectual exchange in pursuit of the truth to expose undergraduates to the disciplines of the liberal arts canon, in the expectation that college graduates will possess the wide range of knowledge and skills necessary to function as democratic citizens.

3. A left-leaning professoriate is a structural necessity, because the liberal arts faculty must balance business school faculty and/or the general conservative political culture

University of Michigan professor Juan Cole, denouncing the “ridiculous and pernicious line” that major universities need greater intellectual diversity, complained about insufficient attention to the ideological breakdown of “Business Schools, Medical Schools, [and] Engineering schools.” UCLA’s Russell Jacoby wondered why ” conservatives seem unconcerned about the political orientation of the business professors.” Duke Law professor Erwin Chemerinsky more ambitiously claimed that “it’s hard to see this as a time of liberal dominance” given conservative control of the three branches of government.

Professional schools reflect the mindset of their professions: Socialists are about as common on business school faculty as are home-schooling advocates among education school professors. But, unlike business schools, liberal arts colleges and universities do not exist to train students for a single profession. Nor are they supposed to balance the existing political culture. If the Democrats reclaim the presidency and Congress in the 2008 elections, should the academy suddenly adopt an anti-liberal posture?

The intellectual diversity issue shows no signs of fading away. Ideological one-sidedness among the professoriate seems to be, if anything, expanding. And so, no doubt, will we see additional surveys suggesting a heavy ideological imbalance among the nation’s faculty — followed by new inflammatory statements from the academic Establishment that only reinforce the critics’ claims about bias in the personnel process.

In an ideal world, campus administrators would have rectified this problem long ago. A few have made small steps. Brown University’s president, Ruth Simmons, for instance, has expressed concern that the “chilling effect caused by the dominance of certain voices on the spectrum of moral and political thought” might negatively affect a quality education; her university’s Political Theory Project represents a model that other institutions could follow.

To my knowledge, however, no academic administration has made the creation of an intellectually and pedagogically diverse faculty its primary goal. This statement, it should be noted, applies equally as well to institutions frequently praised by conservatives, such as Hillsdale College. Such an initiative, of course, would encounter ferocious faculty resistance. But it would also, just as surely, excite parents, donors, and trustees. If successful, an institution that made intellectual diversity its hallmark would encourage imitation — if only because other colleges would face the free-market pressures of losing talented students and faculty. So, the question becomes, do we have an administration anywhere in the country willing to take up the cause?


Educational idiocy: The teachers' union has ideas inimical to education

It seems the social engineers of the Australian Education Union could not care less what happens to individual kids in their members' care. In its submission to a national inquiry into the teaching of literacy the union warns against people "who see education only as an individual, economic benefit", as if acquiring the skills to earn a living should not be the paramount goal of schooling. Parents who want schools to teach their children functional literacy and numeracy generally also want them to receive the basics of a broad liberal education that gives them the confidence to think for, and express, themselves. A good schooling does all these things. But the AEU knows better than the rest of us and says education should "fulfil a nation-building role in which the tenets of democracy are promoted". Perhaps the union means the tenets education academic Wayne Sawyer invoked in February when he suggested teachers had failed in the teaching of "critical literacy", because the Howard Government was re-elected last year.

It appears as if the AEU is led by ideological warriors from another age. They are part of the army of activists who were trained to teach by academics in the 1960s, or their heirs, who abhor the free market, deny the core cultural values in the Western literary canon (too many dead white males) and believe teachers fail if kids leave school feeling inferior. They are the reason why Federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson has had to fight state ministers, who are always desperate not to annoy the powerful education unions, to introduce report cards that show how children compare against their peers. And why league tables that rank schools on objective performance measures are educational anathema. Perhaps this anti-competitive culture also explains why teacher education courses now attract academic low achievers, because starting teachers are not badly paid. Whatever the reason, parents should be less alarmed than terrified by the AEU attitude – that education is about acquiring the right sort of ideas as much as the skills to earn a living.


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

Comments? Email me here. For times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here


Monday, August 29, 2005

Perversity and Diversity at My Little University

By the inimitable Mike Adams

Most people don’t know it, but there is a war currently being waged within the UNC system. The administrations of each of the sixteen campuses are trying to outdo one another when it comes to funding unmitigated idiocy and perversion in the name of “diversity.” Recently, UNC-Asheville showed a porn movie to 200 students in order to take the lead. That has administrators at UNC-Wilmington fighting mad and fighting back.

In an effort to take the lead in this race (and become the most idiotic university in North Carolina), UNCW is helping to sponsor a showing of the film “Trans Generation.” In fact, the Office of Campus Diversity, the Office of the Dean of Students, and the UNCW Women’s Resource Center are all pitching in to help.

For those who don’t know, “Trans Generation” is an eight-part documentary series that charts the lives of four college students undergoing “gender transition.” It is produced by the same people who brought us the classics “Inside Deep Throat” and “Party Monster.” According to the flier, the film features “Gabbie, Lucas, Raci, and T.J.” who are “confronting the challenges of school, campus life, family… and changing their sex.” The film joins the four transitioning youths – two soon-to-be-ex-males and two soon-to-be-ex-females - as they “define who they are and take control of their gender identity.”

Although I don’t know whether to wear a dress or a suit, you can bet that I will be there on Wednesday, September 14th, at 7:30 p.m. in UNCW’s Cameron Hall Auditorium to experience this monumental event. Since it is free and open to the public, I plan to bring a lot of friends and ask a lot of questions. Some of them follow:

1. I noticed that the Women’s Resource Center is co-sponsoring this program. Is that because they are pleased that two of the students in the film wanted to have surgery in order to become women?

2. Is the Women’s Resource Center offended by the two women who wanted to become men? Will the two new men get their new hoo-hoo dillies from the two new women? How does that work, exactly?

3. When a woman has a hoo-hoo dilly surgically attached, does that not legitimize Freud’s sexist notion of penis envy? Is that something the Women’s Center really wants to touch - figuratively speaking?

4. Is it misogyny that causes a woman to have a sex-change?

5. Is it mister-ogyny that causes a man to have a sex change?

6. In the past, UNC has spent tax-dollars to address the problem of teen self-mutilation. Why is the system now spending tax dollars to encourage self-mutilation in the form of sex-changes? Are we, a) having trouble making up our minds or do we, b) enjoy going in complete circles at tax-payer expense?

7. Most people think of someone who wants to surgically remove his or her sex organs as mentally ill. How did the diversity movement arrive at the conclusion that this is not a sign of mental illness? And how did it become a cause for celebration as we “celebrate sexual diversity” with taxpayer-funded events?

8. The last time I saw a trans-gendered person at a UNCW diversity event, she (formerly he) said (when she was a he) that he was advised by his psychiatrist to move to a cabin in the mountains. The reason was that he (now a she) was so violent and dangerous that he (now she) might hurt someone. But when he became a she by cutting off his hoo-hoo dilly, she became less angry. Does the university support hoo-hoo dilly removal as a form of anger management?

9. Have you ever considered putting a fence around UNCW and hanging up a sign that says “Welcome to the North Carolina State Zoo?”

10. If your answer to number 9 was “yes,” I know some capitalists that could help you out. Together we could sell tickets and erase some of this wasteful government spending.


Unbelievable as it may sound, Australian university students have for decades been forced to join a union!

The Opposition education spokeswoman, Jenny Macklin, has defended Labor's position on voluntary student unionism, saying colleagues had been properly briefed every step of the way. Labor leader Kim Beazley recently abandoned his party's long-standing commitment to compulsory student union membership in a bid to safeguard a variety of welfare and support services on campuses. Under laws introduced into Parliament in March by the Education Minister, Brendan Nelson, university students will no longer have to join student unions and pay compulsory union fees. The changes would mean the introduction of user pays to subsidised services such as childcare, health care, food, entertainment, sporting clubs, accommodation advice, counselling and student support services.

Labor deliberately split the issues of student unionism and services in a bid to lure dissenting coalition members to vote for its amendment, which allows the collection of an amenities fee to run existing student support services. Ms Macklin today said the decision to commit the policy to the next election and beyond had been a difficult but pragmatic solution to try to secure the long term interests of students. "It's a solution we're putting forward to a very, very extreme piece of legislation," Ms Macklin told ABC television. What the Howard Government wants to do is get rid of the amenities fee, which will see the end of all of those services. We want to make sure that those services continue and that's what the amendment's about."

Ms Macklin, who was booed by some protesters at VSU rallies last week, said she thought most students understood Labor's position. "I do think that most students on our university campuses do understand why Labor is putting forward this solution," she said. "They know that if the Howard Government legislation gets through unamended, student services on our university campuses will just be decimated. There won't be the sporting facilities, there won't be the subsidised childcare, counselling services, the advocacy services, the drama facilities - all the things that students depend on at university."

But some in the Opposition are thought to be critical of the policy shift, due the unnecessarily alienation of students who would normally be expected to vote Labor. There is also confusion over whether shadow cabinet and caucus members were made aware the position on compulsory student union membership would become policy rather than a one-off tactical move.

But Ms Macklin today rejected that assertion. "What we did was take the amendment to both the shadow ministry and the caucus, it was very clear what the amendment was about," she said. This view was backed by Opposition finance spokesman Lindsay Tanner, who said he did not recall any serious dissent at the time the position was adopted. "We're happy to compromise on those matters, we're happy to ensure that there is a workable alternative here," Mr Tanner told the Ten Network.

With the Government now having the numbers in the Senate, Labor must gain the support of at least two coalition senators to see its amendment adopted. Liberal Senators Alan Eggleston and Russell Trood, in addition to Nationals Senators Barnaby Joyce and Fiona Nash, have said publicly they hold concerns over the legislation in its current form. But Dr Nelson has so far refused to budge from his position to force VSU on all Australian university campuses.



For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

Comments? Email me here. For times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here


Sunday, August 28, 2005

Educational mobility

An Economist opinion editorial from July 14th (“The Missing Rung In The Ladder”) lamented the decrease in social mobility in the United States, and suggests that the solution is for the government to pour resources and legislative reforms into improving the public school system. This, the Economist argues, is the only chance for lower-income Americans to compete with wealthy children whose parents are willing to invest in fancy college degrees. The underlying assumption is that America’s growing class separation and decreasing social mobility are due to a market failure, to be compensated for by the government. But is that really the solution?

The greatest obstacle to social mobility is the gap between income growth rates among the various economic classes. The Economist author points out that over the last several decades “the real income of the poorest fifth of American households rose by 6.4%, while that of the top fifth rose by 70% (and of the top 1% by 184%).” The higher a person’s starting capital, the faster it will grow, enabling him or her to transition into higher-investment, higher-returns segments of the economy. In addition, the costs of entering a higher-grade business grow at a rate that follows income growth in the higher classes. Thus gaps in income growth rate generate bigger gaps in income growth rate--and the more difficult it is for those near the bottom of the ladder to catch up and move into the higher classes.

But although capitalism produces the income gaps that stifle social mobility, it also creates hope for those in the lower economic stratum. Financial capital is not the only way to produce more capital. The other way is entering--or creating--new industries, where competition is still low or non-existent. The diversification of industry constantly creates opportunities even for those who cannot grow their money fast.

Let us return momentarily to the issue of education. We often hear that, if only public schools were better and less corrupt, they would increase the earning potential, and hence the social mobility, of their students. However, the more qualified students come out of public schools, the more selective colleges become. For a quick example, as more students across the nation aspire to go to college, admissions rates at all the Ivy League universities keep dropping; they are significantly lower today than they were in the 1990s, and the trend is decidedly downward. Similarly, the more people go to college, the less rare, and hence less valuable, college degrees become, and the more employers discriminate based on the schools from which job applicants get their degrees.

This means that the market value of education is a function of its exclusivity more than its quality. A stint at Harvard or Yale brings credibility and connections to powerful alumni; but most importantly, it brings distinction. Such distinction is naturally costly, both in tuition payments and in the money and time that must be invested from early on to enable a student to compete for acceptance at a top school.

Thus the children of wealthy parents will always have an advantage in the competition for employment, correlated to the gap in income growth rates between economic classes. Free public education, which by its very nature is non-exclusive, will never bridge the gap between the poor and the increasingly rich--even assuming that inefficiency and corruption could be eliminated by a wave of the No Child Left Behind wand.

There is, however, a viable alternative to expensive education. In the same way that diversification of industry can open the door to social mobility for those with little starting capital, diversification of schools can help those who cannot afford to pay for educational prestige. But diversity in education is not merely analogous to diversity in employment options; it directly leads to it. Receiving a non-standard education can help one start a non-standard line of business, due to unique insights and experience gained.

In contrast to the public school system, with its relatively uniform educational methods and non-selective admission, private schools can expose students to a wide array of educational methods and resources. Lower-income students who attend private school will emerge better suited to seek out a unique economic niche, and thus to rise above their background.

Free public schools do not give value to education and do not allow the poor to adjust to a diverse economy; thus, even when functioning well, they cannot improve social mobility in the face of growing income gaps. At the same time, they force private schools to keep prices high by cornering the low-income student market, thus making diversity in education less available to those who need it the most. Instead of solving the problem of decreased mobility, as the Economist suggests, public education only exacerbates it.

If we are to live in a just and prosperous society where a hard-working person can carve out a better life than his or her parents, we must be freed from the yoke of the public education monopoly.


Pork Barrel Education

The biggest mistake an economist can make when analyzing U.S. public education is to presume that expenditures have anything to do with the necessary costs of educating students. Economists instinctively presume that costs are developed by cost minimizing producers weighing the productivity of various inputs and choosing an optimal mix. Total expenditures are then built from the bottom up.

In the U.S. public education system, this assumption is dead wrong. There total expenditures are allocated from the top down to mop up available revenues. How much any public school spends depends not on how much it "needs" for efficient operation but on how much it can extract from taxpayers. These revenues are then dissipated among various squabbling constituencies to feed their continuous demand for public funds.

In the topsy-turvy world of public education, the incentive is for efficient, low-cost schools to imitate the less efficient, high-cost schools by spending more. The result is that U.S. public education is greatly over-funded. Public school per-pupil costs are roughly 40 to 45 percent higher than those of private schools. When we take into account the larger number of private elementary schools and further adjust for special ed, the difference narrows to about 36 percent. Put another way, a minimum of 36 percent of public school expenditures is wasted.

These results are consistent with education in OECD countries where education costs are about 35 to 30 percent lower than those in the U.S. The greater competition between public and private schools abroad makes all schools almost as efficient as private schools in the U.S. Thus, U.S. public education wastes around $141 billion annually -- about 1.4 percent of 2000 gross domestic product, or about $501 per capita. Add in remedial education and the total comes to at least $157.6 billion annually -- about 1.58 percent of gross domestic product, or about $560 per capita.

The education establishment attributes increased costs to the onerous mandates of state legislatures and federal acts such as No Child Left Behind. To the extent that these mandates raise the cost of public education (and not all do), they simply represent some of the more visible mechanisms by which the waste is generated and dispersed among special interests.

Similarly, the requirement that public schools must admit any student is often cited as a reason for higher costs. But slower students are increasingly shoved into special education, and this program explains only about 10 percent of the cost differential between public and private education. Further, a shocking 25–30 percent of all students are drop-outs. Once dropped out, it is hard to see how non-students can impose increased costs on the public school system. If the diverse student body created by an open admissions policy really produces public school inefficiency, it is an argument for reducing the monopoly enjoyed by the public school system and allowing for smaller, more specialized schools.

Most of the waste in public education is excessive labor costs. Over the period 1980–2000, national student enrollment grew by 15.5 percent, but total school employment grew by 37.4 percent, and teachers grew by 35.2 percent. Public schools now have about one employee for every 6.5 students, and teachers make up only 40 percent of school employees. Our public schools have become vast jobs programs, reminiscent of the Depression era WPA, rather than educational institutions.

On average, individual public school teachers' pay is well above that of both their private school counterparts and those in comparable occupations. Also, public schools employ a more expensive mix of teachers and unions make it virtually impossible to fire even the most incompetent employees.

Wherever competition with or among U.S. public schools is found, the evidence shows better and cheaper public school performance. Abroad, both direct competition and the presence of surrogate competition in the form of curriculum-based external exit exams produce better, cheaper education.



For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

Comments? Email me here. For times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here