Saturday, January 21, 2006


By Mike Adams

It probably comes as no surprise that the third university in my "colleges to avoid" series is located in North Carolina. Recently, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy published a report criticizing the UNC system for its blatant in intolerance of free expression. Of the sixteen campuses in the system, only one university - Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) - was not criticized in the report.

While students in North Carolina may want to consider attending ECSU, they would do well to avoid The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). Among other things, UNCG has an Orwellian policy that outlaws "disrespect for persons." Surely, Lucien Capone, the university attorney for UNCG, is aware that banning "disrespect" at a public university poses First Amendment problems. Nonetheless, administrators at UNCG act like "untouchables" with little fear of violating federal laws with which they disagree.

A good example of the lawlessness and arrogance of UNCG officials can be gleaned from their response to a recent protest led by students Allison Jaynes and Robert Sinnott. The protest was a peaceful, quiet, outdoor gathering of about 40 people. Located just outside the UNCG library, they didn't cause any kind of disruption. One could say that it was precisely the kind of protest that the framers of the First Amendment had in mind when they protected "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." One could also say that it was the kind of protest our brave soldiers fought to defend in the First and Second World Wars and even now in the War in Iraq

When the UNCG protestors held up signs saying "UNCG Hates Free Speech" they were protesting a "free speech zone" policy that any seventeen-year-old taking high school civics would recognize as unconstitutional. Of the 200 acres on the UNCG campus, only two small areas are designated as "free speech zones" - areas designed to accommodate the expressive activities of 15,000 students.

What happened after the protest was predictable. UNCG issued "citations for disrespect" to the students which, in effect, sent the following message: UNCG students are not allowed to freely speak if they are going to say that UNCG hates free speech. Few homeless illiterates could ever come up with such an absurd statement. Indeed, it takes a PhD to devise such logic. And such indifference to principle requires profound arrogance that could only be attained at a postmodern American university.

But I'm afraid the story only gets worse. After UNCG lawyers said that they would re-evaluate the "speech zone" policy, the university decided to go ahead with the trials of Jaynes and Sinnott. These two students who were charged with "violation of respect" - for refusing to follow the administration's order to move to a free speech zone - were never actually impolite or disrespectful. They were just standing in the wrong place when they expressed their love of free speech. They were standing in the middle of an American college campus.

But it gets even worse than that. The UNCG student attorney general told Sinnott and Jaynes that neither could take any notes out of the hearing with them or even talk about the hearing with anyone else after the fact-basically imposing a complete "gag order." In other words, they were asked to destroy any evidence of whatever constitutes - or does not constitute - "due process" at UNCG. And, in case you have forgotten, this demand to never, ever, ever say anything about what UNCG was doing to them resulted from the students' proclamation that "UNCG Hates Free Speech." But we aren't to the worst part of the story yet.

UNCG dropped the "speech zone" charges against the two students the week before the trials and, instead, substituted a new charge. The new charge was for violating a direct order by not turning over the contact information of every single person at the protest. UNCG borrowed this trick from the State of Alabama, which perfected the procedure in the 1950s. Back then, the NAACP was harassed by white racists who demanded to know the identity of all persons involved in another form of "petition(ing) the government for a redress of grievances."

Of course, the grievance back then was racial segregation. After a fifty year struggle for civil rights, the difference between racial segregationists and college administrators is barely discernable.

Fortunately, the Supreme Court intervened in 1956 to put an end to such totalitarian methods. In so doing, they gave new strength to the First Amendment and formal recognition to the concept of "freedom of association." But half a century later the meaning of this seminal case is still lost upon Counselor Capone and the administration of UNCG. This is the state of North Carolina where college administrators are untouchables and federal law is optional.

But, fortunately, all of this mess happened at a singularly inopportune time for the UNCG administration. The joint report by the FIRE and the Pope Center has been picked up by media outlets across the state. And, thanks to these two fine organizations, the UNCG administration has now caved in and dropped all charges against Allison Jaynes and Robert Sinnott. The UNCG administration did not capitulate because of a love of free speech. These cowards capitulated because they hate public humiliation more than they hate the First Amendment. And that is why I would never, under any circumstances, send my child to UNCG

Reading, writing and Jihad! Jihad! Jihad!

By Arlene Peck

I grew up in the South. We learned the `three r's... readin, `ritin and `rithmatic, and our `delicate' ears were shielded from all talk that might leave bad impressions on our youthful minds. We answered Yes sir, no Sir when a `grown-up' spoke to us. Old America, where a child chewing gum or caught running in the halls was reason enough to be sent to the office. If it was true, back then, that we were babes in the woods, today Muslims babies are being trained to become youths in ambush. Witness what they are being taught in Arab schools. Hate-filled garbage delivered unfiltered and specifically designed to warp the minds of children! We grew up going to summer camp. These people send their kids to camp also, terrorist camps, where they learn how to grow up and blow up.

Check out (Palestine Media Watch) and educate yourself about what these cultish fanatics are up to. Gawd! What else could future generations of Arab Muslim children be, other than virulently anti-infidel fanatics, whose lives will emphasize the dehumanization of Jews, Christians, and any other thing that breathes - but is not Islamic? Inhumane? Of course it is. Insane? Who can doubt it? Child abuse? Don't ask the ACLU, UN or any of our leftist agitators who remain silent as this travesty unfolds, but scream like stuck pigs when Israel protects herself from them! Women's rights? Yeah, right. They treat their farm animals better than their women.

Don't fall for thinking they have no understanding of what they do or that they are not masters of this education. For a start, they are clever enough to realize they have to begin with the very young, if they are to accomplish their goals. They also know they need to create an accepting international atmosphere, if they are not to be discarded as fringe lunatics. And we are falling right into their well thought-out plans. Are you aware that many school districts in the US, the UK and elsewhere are teaching Islam in their classrooms, polluting young minds under the guise of political correctness and multicultural sensitivity? Do you know that any mention of Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism or Buddhism is strictly off-limits? The beliefs of Islam are cultural, and so are not only protected but also actively promoted, while ours are religious and therefore cannot be taught.

However, it gets worse. Many of our public schools, which prohibit Christian students from reading the Bible or displaying the Ten Commandments, are headed toward prohibiting even mention of the word G-d. Somehow, CAIR and the ACLU have managed to see to it that students in California, and elsewhere, are indoctrinated into the wonderful culture of Islam. I wonder why isn't the ACLU now protesting this abomination?

Growing up in the very heart of the Bible belt, I have had questions, even misgivings, about the motives and purposes of those who always knew the word of the Lord when it came to merging Church and State. I remember being singled out as the only Jewish kid in the class and rebuked for not singing the Christmas 'Christ is King' songs. Yet, I never felt any discomfort about the word G-d being used in daily life.

However, that is not what is happening today. Our parents reared us to believe that there is good in all people and to respect everybody. However, that ideology has come back to bite us in the tush, in much the same way as I see it biting Spielberg, who might have begun his movie Munich with good intentions but sadly crossed over and glorified the savage Palestinians who slaughtered the Israeli athletes.

The multi-headed monster attacking our youth is not limiting itself to prohibiting G-d in the classroom either. Our schools, in their efforts to be 'politically correct' by their insistence on the words militant and freedom fighter instead of murderer, as the press regularly does, have distorted the message of education. As difficult as this may be to believe, Excelsior Elementary School in Byron, California, as part of their seventh-grade curriculum, ran a three-week course where students assumed Islamic names, recited prayers in class, memorized and recited verses from the Koran. They even had the children pretending that they were 'sharing in Ramadan' fasting by going without something for a day. Their final exam required a paper assessing Muslim culture. When researching this unbelievable event, I didn't notice whether they included beheading and rape classes for these impressionable minds. Perhaps that comes after Graduation. Or is it just a natural extension of Koranic principle? I do know that they played jihad games. This adorable and oh-so-American program had students imagining they were Islamic soldiers and Muslims on a Mecca pilgrimage. All the while chanting Allah Akbar, Arabic for God is great. I wonder by what logic the ACLU can knowingly turn a blind eye to this sort of brain-washing indoctrination, yet continue with their demands that our courthouses remove the Ten Commandments and that our children stop saying the Lord's Prayer in schools?

In case you think I'm exaggerating, check out Hugh Fitzgerald commenting on, where Muslim parents are given precise guidelines on how to 'win over' teachers and principals. It even covers the optimum timing for inviting the teachers and administrators home to have a delicious meal of chicken and pita. Man, they have it down to a fine art, calculated to ensure that whatever demands they make on a school, from setting aside prayer rooms, to letting students out for such prayer, is agreed (which could never happen for other faiths). When it comes to permitting Muslims essentially to conduct propaganda-- da'wa-- freely in the schools, under one guise or another, (Sharing Ramadan Outreach, promoted by CAIR, is granted happily), they know their wishes will be quickly honored. At this rate, they'll soon offer, Trample you classmates 101

Maybe I ought to go over and teach them that this particular group are not now nor ever will be soldiers. In Beirut, June of 1982, I personally witnessed thousands of these cowards running, with hands in the air, to surrender to the Israel soldiers, before the first bullet was fired. It wouldn't matter. These are terrorists and will never qualify for the honorable name, soldier. It's their cultures preferred model, to bomb and cause indiscriminate mayhem anywhere they settle.

Unfortunately, too many of our student and even Jewish organizations seem to be unaware of the real plans behind all of the chairs for Islamic culture which are popping up at an alarming rate in our universities. Their curriculum is aimed primarily at educating university students how best to destroy Israel. It is frightening how many students belong to the International Solidarity Movement, founded by a Canadian Moslem which even sends Jewish (in name only)students to Israel on Birthright. Some are even joining Hillel.

The Muslim tentacles of influence are deeply attached to the heart of our universities. Recently, Georgetown and Harvard universities accepted twenty million dollars in 'blood money' from Prince Alwaleed Ben Talal, a member of the Saudi royal family, for a chair to promote the study of Islam and the Muslim world. A further $15 million was given to establish the first two centers for American studies in the Middle East, at universities in Beirut and Cairo to teach the Arab world about the American situation. Of course these are supposedly part of philanthropic efforts to promote interfaith understanding. In reality, they will be teaching their version of the 'situation' to these impressionable minds. I wonder? Will terrorist camps be available for the really good students? I wonder what the barometer for excellence in the Islamic world is? As yet, the world has seen nothing from them that hasn't been soaked in blood and suffering.

In a display worthy of a true sycophant, Georgetown President John J. DeGioia gushed how deeply honored he was by Prince Alwaleed's generosity. President DeGioia breathlessly informed us that their plan is to endow three faculty chairs, expand programs, and academic outreach, provide scholarships for students and expand library facilities. I find it chilling how they are now able to foment their hate-speech and shape our youths minds, under the guise of 'charity'. The Prince said, Now we can run workshops and conferences on the subject of, What is the actual relationship between the West and the Muslim world? Is Islam compatible with modernization? and a lot more!

This money is going to be used to expand the activities of the University's Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding..., in other words to anyone with half a brain that means a pro-Islam and even pro-terrorist viewpoint (along with being anti-American, anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli). Maybe they could hire Tony Kushner, who was Spielberg's mentor and writer on Munich, to decorate? Where is Rudolph W. Giuliani when we need him? The Giulliani who threw back this same Prince's tarnished money when he tried to donate ten million after 9/11. John Esposito obviously has no problem accepting the $20 million 'donation' to Georgetown; like me, do you wonder how much went in other pockets? This is not isolated either. Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers is also waiting, with eager, outstretched hands for his 'donations'.

Interestingly enough, I'm writing this on the same day that the front page of the LA Times has a headline, U.S. Faults Saudi Efforts on Terrorism. It seems someone in the Bush Administration is finally complaining how militants are pouring into Iraq from the Saudi kingdom and money is still flowing to Al Qaeda, officials say. On one hand, it's fine to accept their millions for our schools to mould impressionable minds and receive campaign funds to ease the way, but, on the other, it's not a good thing for the Saudis to give money to militants to destroy us on the battleground? I thought we had laws that dealt with funds associated with terrorism? Is this how we fight The War on Terror? If you can't beat them, join them?

These guys are fit to work as teachers?

Trust your government to protect your kids!

Convicted stalkers, heroin addicts, frauds and former prisoners have been given the green light to teach [in the Australian State of Victoria]. Documents show the Victorian Institute of Teaching has allowed nine of 12 teachers with serious criminal convictions to remain registered. The Education Department said it would employ only two [Only two? Sure that's enough?], but would not say whether they were employed, citing privacy reasons. The others can work in the private system and interstate.

Child sex offenders are automatically deregistered. Those who remain registered include these three teachers: A WOMAN convicted in 2001 of heroin possession, receiving stolen goods and obtaining property by deception. A VIT panel hearing her case found she had been addicted to heroin "but there is no indication . . . this affected her ability to carry out her professional duties".

A MALE teacher who was convicted of stalking a 16-year-old boy in 2001, behaviour a magistrate said was "creepy". The VIT panel was told he repeatedly called the boy and posed as a Cosmopolitan photographer to get the boy to meet him. But it decided his "misconduct in his private life had not been followed in his professional life".

A TEACHER who spent more than two years in jail after pleading guilty to a hit-run accident in 2000 that left a pedestrian for dead. He'd been drunk and concealed it from his school; but the VIT panel found he'd matured and developed "insight and reflection" about the crime and "would make use of his learning and that this would enhance his contribution as a teacher".

Opposition education spokesman Victor Perton said the community would be shocked to learn these teachers were allowed back in class. It raised questions about the VIT's ability to properly register teachers. "The department might know of their conviction but what about the independent, Catholic and interstate schools?" he said. Parents Victoria president Elaine Crowle said the cases make a mockery of the registration process....

A Catholic Education Office spokesman said none of the nine worked at its schools. Association for Independent Schools of Victoria head Michelle Green said teachers were employed by the schools; the association did not keep such records.

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, January 20, 2006


Nearly six out of ten GCSE students in state schools failed to earn good grades in English and mathematics last year despite an apparent record improvement in examination results, new figures show. Ministers claimed that the performance tables of GCSE and A-level results, published today, showed that schools had achieved the "biggest single improvement in standards for a decade". The proportion of students who passed five GCSE subjects at grade C or better, the Government's benchmark for success at 16, rose by by 2.6 percentage points to 56.3 per cent in 2005. But it fell by 12 points to 44.3 per cent when English and maths were included. It dropped to 42 per cent once results for independent schools were excluded.

The headline rate of improvement masked a deeper failure in boys. Only 37.8 per cent in state schools passed five good GCSEs, including English and maths, last summer, compared with 46.2 per cent of girls. Almost 97 per cent of pupils in grammar schools and 74 per cent in private schools reached this standard. Nearly 200,000 boys and 156,000 girls in state schools did not. Schools are ranked in league tables of results by the proportion of students passing five good GCSEs in any subject.

Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, has ordered changes to include English and maths from next year, amid suspicions that schools are entering students for softer subjects to disguise failure in the basics. The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) carried out a pilot study to show how the reform would have affected each school's results this year. But it refused to release the data before publication of the performance tables, saying the information would be released on its website today.

Jacqui Smith, the School Standards Minister, said that 52,000 more students gained five good passes in English, maths and three other subjects than in 1997. She acknowledged that schools had to "raise the bar even further on improvement". "That is why we are publishing these figures and incorporating them into the league tables from next year," she said. Figures released by the DfES show that the gap has widened since 1997 between the proportion of pupils passing five good GCSEs in any subject and that of pupils whose passes include English and maths, despite massive spending to raise standards of literacy and numeracy.

The proportion of school-leavers with five good GCSEs rose by 11.2 percentage points between 1997 and 2005, from 45.1 per cent to 56.3 per cent. But it went up by only 8.7 percentage points, from 35.6 per cent to 44.3 per cent, over the same period when English and maths were included.

Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, said that the figures showed that too many students were being "nudged" into easier subjects such as vocational GNVQs, equivalent to four GCSEs.

The tables also revealed that half of Tony Blair's flagship city academies were among the worst schools for GCSE results and truancy. Only 14 of 27 academies have been open long enough for 2005 results to be included. Three were in the bottom 50 schools and seven were in the worst 200. Three were in the bottom 50 for truancy. The DfES said that results had improved at all seven academies in the bottom 200.

Teachers' unions made their annual call for the abolition of "distorted" league tables. Mary Bousted, of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: "What parents want is a school where their child will be safe, happy and well-educated, but tables encourage them to rely on dubious statistics.


UCLA Alumni Group Is Tracking Radical Faculty

A fledgling alumni group headed by a former campus Republican leader is offering students payments of up to $100 per class to provide information on instructors who are "abusive, one-sided or off-topic" in advocating political ideologies. The year-old Bruin Alumni Assn. says its "Exposing UCLA's Radical Professors" initiative takes aim at faculty "actively proselytizing their extreme views in the classroom, whether or not the commentary is relevant to the class topic." Although the group says it is concerned about radical professors of any political stripe, it has named an initial "Dirty 30" of teachers it identifies with left-wing or liberal causes.

Some of the instructors mentioned accuse the association of conducting a witch hunt that threatens to harm the teaching atmosphere, and at least one of the group's advisory board members has resigned because he considers the bounty offers inappropriate. The university said it will warn the association that selling copies of professors' lectures would violate campus rules and raise copyright issues.

The Bruin Alumni Assn. is headed by Andrew Jones, a 24-year-old who graduated in June 2003 and was chairman of UCLA's Bruin Republicans student group. He said his organization, which is registered with the state as a nonprofit, does not charge dues and has no official members, but has raised a total of $22,000 from 100 donors. Jones said the biggest contribution to the group, $5,000, came from a foundation endowed by Arthur N. Rupe, 88, a Santa Barbara resident and former Los Angeles record producer.

Jones' group is following in the footsteps of various conservative groups that have taken steps, including monitoring professors, to counter what they regard as an overwhelming leftist tilt at elite colleges and universities around the country. He said many of these efforts, however, have done a poor job of documenting their claims. As a result, Jones said, the Bruin Alumni Assn. is offering to pay students for tapes and notes from classes. "We're just trying to get people back on a professional level of things. Having been a student myself up until 2003, and then watching what other students like myself have gone through, I'm very concerned about the level of professional teaching at UCLA," said Jones, who said he is supporting himself with a modest salary from the organization and is its only full-time employee. He said he plans to show what he considers biased material to professors and administrators and seek to have teachers present more balanced lectures or possibly face reprimand.

UCLA administrators say they are planning no immediate legal action, other than to notify Jones and to alert students that selling course materials without the consent of the instructor and Chancellor Albert Carnesale violates university policy. Patricia Jasper, a university lawyer, said UCLA would reserve the right to take legal action if any students engaged in unauthorized selling of materials.

Adrienne Lavine, chairwoman of UCLA's academic senate, agreed that the university could do little more at this point. She said she found the profiles on the alumni group's website "inflammatory" and "not a positive way to address the concerns that Mr. Jones has expressed." Still, she said, "I certainly support freedom of speech and that extends to Andrew Jones as much as it does to every faculty member on campus."

The group's recent campaign has upset a number of targeted professors and triggered the resignation last weekend of Harvard historian Stephan Thernstrom, a prominent affirmative action opponent and former UCLA professor, from the advisory board for Jones' organization. Thernstrom said he joined the alumni group's more than 20-member advisory board last year because he believed it "had a legitimate objective of combating the extraordinary politicization of the faculty on elite campuses today." Still, Thernstrom said, "I felt it was extremely unwise, one, to put out a list of targets of investigation and to agree to pay students to provide information about what was going on in the classroom of those students. That just seems to me way too intrusive. It seems to me a kind of vigilantism that I very much object to." Thernstrom said a fellow advisory board member, Jascha Kessler, an emeritus UCLA English professor, also resigned for the same reason. Kessler could not be reached for comment, but Jones confirmed that Kessler had resigned.

Jones said other members of the advisory board include Linda Chavez, former federal civil rights commissioner in the Reagan administration and head of a Virginia-based anti-affirmative action group; former Republican Rep. Jim Rogan; and current UCLA professors Matt Malkan and Thomas Schwartz.

Jones said he has lined up one student who, for $100 a class session, has agreed to provide tapes, detailed lecture notes and materials with what the group considers inappropriate opinion. He would not name the student or the professor whose class will be monitored. Jones characterized the work as non-commercial news gathering and advocacy that does not violate university policy.

On one of its websites, the Bruin Alumni Group names education professor Peter McLaren as No. 1 on its "The Dirty Thirty: Ranking the Worst of the Worst." It says "this Canadian native teaches the next generation of teachers and professors how to properly indoctrinate students." McLaren, in a telephone interview, called the alumni group's tactics "beneath contempt." "Any sober, concerned citizen would look at this and see right through it as a reactionary form of McCarthyism. Any decent American is going to see through this kind of right-wing propaganda. I just find it has no credibility," he said.

The website also lists history professor Ellen DuBois, saying she "is in every way the modern female academic: militant, impatient, accusatory, and radical - very radical." In response, DuBois said: "This is a totally abhorrent invitation to students to participate in a witch hunt . against their professors." But DuBois minimized the effect on campus, saying "it's not even clear this is much other than the ill-considered action of a handful, if that, of individuals."

The group's leading financial backer, Rupe, is a UCLA alumnus. He said his foundation donated $5,000 because "I think there's not enough balance on the campus. Some families are going into hock to send their kids there, and are not getting their money's worth." Rupe said the group's plan to pay students to record alleged bias "would be ideal if it could be done legally." Rupe's philanthropy is not centered on conservative causes. His foundation donated $500,000 to UC Santa Barbara in 1998 to endow a professorship studying the effects of the media on social behavior. Ronald E. Rice, who holds the professorship, said Rupe told him he was "really interested in the truth. He wants to bring people with different perspectives together to really argue."



Democratic senators have repeatedly questioned whether Samuel Alito is in the legal "mainstream" during the opening days of his Supreme Court confirmation hearings. To see what the "mainstream" means for the legal elites in the Democratic party, look no further than the law school "clinic." These campus law firms, faculty-supervised and student-staffed, have been engaging in left-wing litigation and advocacy for 30 years. Though law schools claim that the clinics teach students the basics of law practice while providing crucial representation to poor people, in fact they routinely neither inculcate lawyering skills nor serve the poor. They do, however, offer the legal professoriate a way to engage in political activism--almost never of a conservative cast. A survey of the clinical universe makes clear how politically one-sided law schools--and the legal ideology they inculcate--are.

In the last few years, law school clinics have put the Berkeley, Calif., school system under judicial supervision for disciplining black and Hispanic students disproportionately to their population (yes, that's Berkeley, the most racially sensitive spot on earth); sued the New York City Police Department for its conduct during the 2004 Republican National Convention; fought "gentrification" (read: economic revitalization) in urban "neighborhoods of color"; sued the Bush administration for virtually every aspect of its conduct of the war on terror; and lobbied for more restrictive "tobacco control" laws. Over their history, clinics can claim credit for making New Jersey pay for abortions for the poor; blocking job-providing industrial facilities; setting up needle exchanges for drug addicts in residential neighborhoods; and preventing New Jersey libraries from ejecting foul-smelling vagrants who are disturbing library users.

Law school clinics weren't always incubators of left-wing advocacy. But once the Ford Foundation started disbursing $12 million in 1968 to persuade law schools to make clinics part of their curriculum, the enterprise turned into a political battering ram. Clinics came to embody a radical new conception that emerged in the 1960s--the lawyer as social-change agent. Ford Foundation head McGeorge Bundy declared in 1966 that law "should be affirmatively and imaginatively used against all forms of injustice." No one can object to fighting discrimination and poverty. But no one elected a Ford-funded "poverty lawyer" to create a new entitlement scheme. If that lawyer can find a judge who shares his passion for welfare, however, the two of them will put into law a significant new distribution of rights and resources that no voter ever approved.

Today's clinical landscape is a perfect place to evaluate what happens when lawyers decide that they are chosen to save society. The law school clinics don't just take clients with obvious legal issues, such as criminal defendants or tenants facing eviction. They take social problems--unruly students in school, for example--and turn them into legal ones. Florence Roisman, a housing rights activist at the Indiana University School of Law, has inspired clinicians nationwide with her supremely self-confident call to arms: "If it offends your sense of justice, there's a cause of action."

The original rationale for many clinics disappears under their political agenda, even though schools still invoke it. Harvard, for instance, explains why law students should enroll in a clinic by emphasizing craft training: "Practical learning . . . should not be deferred until after law school graduation," the faculty declare. But what "skills of legal representation," in the faculty's words, will students in the Gender Violence, Law and Social Justice clinic pick up in researching "gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered awareness" for the Massachusetts trial courts, or in helping with the "development of a new self-defense program" to prevent acquaintance rape?

New York University's Brennan Center Public Advocacy Clinic explicitly disavows advancing a student's lawyering knowledge: It is simply a vehicle for every type of left-wing political advocacy. The center spearheaded one of New York's most powerful welfare-rights groups, and, to make sure that the supply of left-wing agitators remains high, it also developed a "community advocacy" curriculum for high schools. Nor does another NYU clinic, this one on immigrant rights, limit itself to law matters. Students help lead protests and then rustle up media coverage for those protests--part of what the clinic calls "explor[ing] . . . ways of being a social justice lawyer." Students in Georgetown's State Policy Clinic work on "building a new economy that is inclusive, participatory and environmentally sustainable." Yale's Legislative Advocacy Clinic aims to move Connecticut toward "a more progressive agenda in taxing and spending revenue."

Plenty of litigation still does emanate from law schools, mostly aimed at substituting an unelected lawyer's judgment about the allocation of taxpayer resources for the legislature's. Yale just created an education clinic as a vehicle for suing Connecticut over its school-funding formulas. Stanford's Youth and Education Law Clinic put the East Palo Alto school district under judicial oversight for its special-education policies. Georgetown's Institute for Public Representation has been suing United Airlines for years for its decision to subject a passenger to a heightened security check after 9/11.

Ask why more clinics don't represent small-business men and you'll hear: We are "people's lawyers," representing clients who cannot afford attorneys. Oh, really? Georgetown University's Institute for Public Representation represents the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association in tobacco litigation. The idea that these charitable behemoths could not pay for lawyers is silly.

Environmentalism is hardly a grass-roots poor-people's movement, yet environmental clinics have been a law school staple since the 1970s. One famous environmental fight demonstrated just how specious is the environmental clinics' claim to be defending the poor. In 1997, Tulane's environmental law clinic got a planned plastics plant barred from a predominantly black township between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The clinic claimed that it was fighting "environmental racism," but many town residents, backed by the NAACP, had worked for years to win the Shintech company's new PVC plant for their parish. After Shintech withdrew, Louisiana's governor, furious at the loss of jobs, persuaded the state supreme court to require that Louisiana law clinics actually represent poor people: Under the new rules, students could represent community groups only if 51% of the group's members had incomes below 200% of federal poverty guidelines.

The legal elite rose up in outrage. NYU Law School's Brennan Center, the New York firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, the Association of American Law Schools, the American Association of University Professors, UC Berkeley's Center for Clinical Education and the ACLU sued the Louisiana Supreme Court for violating professors' and students' First Amendment rights. Happily, federal courts threw out their case.

That leaves one final rationale for clinics: consciousness-raising. Yale's legal-services clinic provided an especially up-close opportunity for such experiential learning. In the mid-1990s, the clinic wanted to stop a police plan to evict vagrants from the New Haven train station. Director Stephen Wizner encouraged his students to spend the night with them to experience their plight and to dissuade the police from taking action. The students did camp out in the station, and the police left the "homeless" in place.

Mr. Wizner calls such interventions "human learning." But did the students learn about the addictions, mental illness and social disaffiliation that keep these people on the street? Did they bond with the maintenance men who must clean up the feces, urine, and discarded paraphernalia left by the "homeless"? And are they confident that they know how keeping the "homeless" in public spaces affects their "clients'" motivation to seek help?

In light of the pedagogical claims made on clinical education's behalf, you would think that employers would demand to see such courses on an applicant's resume. In fact, the marketplace shrugs. Former Cornell Law School dean Roger Cranton observes: "A lot of hiring partners disparage clinical education. They think of it as a policy mishmash, not as an opportunity to learn skills." If law schools were really serious about preparing students for their legal careers, every one would have a transactional clinic for small businesses. The vast majority of lawyers advise clients on business deals--negotiating contracts, setting up corporations and partnerships, trying to avoid legal and tax liabilities, and arranging securities offerings and registrations. Struggling businesses, including those run by minority entrepreneurs, are hurting for lack of such counsel.

For schools interested in giving students hands-on training, representing the unrepresented, and providing "human learning," there is a world of clients and causes (however politically incorrect) that meet every justification offered for the current one-sided array of clinics: small landowners barred from developing their property because of zoning regulations or government eminent-domain actions, victims of crime, cops wrongly sued for false arrest, and many more. If the schools think they must provide political advocacy experience, clinics could organize inner-city residents to demand crime-free neighborhoods through, say, tougher sentencing laws. Students could help entrepreneurs lobby for less confiscatory tax policies.

The Samuel Alito hearings will demonstrate the end result of law schools' political myopia. The proponents of social justice lawyering are unlikely to acknowledge any time soon that their revolution has been a failure. At the very least, however, law schools should offer students the chance to question for themselves whether such lawyering is the best way to help society. Opening up clinics to radical perspectives on the benefits of limited government and personal responsibility would be a good place to start.



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


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Self-Discipline May Beat Smarts as Key to Success

The article below is rather unrealistic in downplaying the importance of innate ability but what it reports is nonetheless of great importance. Nobody could deny the importance of self-discipline or the grievous results of lack of it. Given my own background in educational research, however, I guess I have to note that most research on delay of gratification (including that reported below) generalizes far more widely than the evidence allows

Zoe Bellars and Brad McGann, eighth-graders at Swanson Middle School in Arlington, do their homework faithfully and practice their musical instruments regularly. In a recent delayed gratification experiment, they declined to accept a dollar bill when told they could wait a week and get two dollars. Those traits might be expected of good students, certainly no big deal. But a study by University of Pennsylvania researchers suggests that self-discipline and self-denial could be a key to saving U.S. schools. According to a recent article by Angela L. Duckworth and Martin E.P. Seligman in the journal Psychological Science, self-discipline is a better predictor of academic success than even IQ.

"Underachievement among American youth is often blamed on inadequate teachers, boring textbooks, and large class sizes," the researchers said. "We suggest another reason for students falling short of their intellectual potential: their failure to exercise self-discipline. . . . We believe that many of America's children have trouble making choices that require them to sacrifice short-term pleasure for long-term gain, and that programs that build self-discipline may be the royal road to building academic achievement."

But how, educators, parents and other social scientists want to know, do you measure self-discipline? Duckworth, a former teacher studying for a doctorate in psychology, and Seligman, a psychology professor famous for books such as "Learned Optimism," used an assortment of yardsticks, including questions for the students (including how likely they are to have trouble breaking bad habits, on a 1-to-5 scale), ratings by their teachers and parents and the $1-now-or-$2-later test, which the researchers call the Delay Choice Task.

The results: "Highly self-disciplined adolescents outperformed their more impulsive peers on every academic-performance variable, including report card grades, standardized achievement test scores, admission to a competitive high school and attendance. Self-discipline measured in the fall predicted more variance in each of these outcomes than did IQ, and unlike IQ, self-discipline predicted gains in academic performance over the school year."

The study looked at one group of 140 eighth-graders and another group of 164 eighth-graders in a socioeconomically and ethnically diverse magnet school in a Northeast city. The names of the city, the school and the students were not revealed, so this reporter attempted a very small and unscientific version of the Delay Choice Task at Swanson. Of the 10 eighth-graders approached during their lunch period, eight chose to forgo $1 right away in exchange for $2 in a week. The mothers of Zoe and Brad, who both declined the $1 offer, said they were not surprised by their children's decisions and thought the correlation of self-discipline with academic success made sense.

"I remember when Zoe was in the second grade, they had to do this poster of what they would do with $1 million," recalled her mother, Arlene Vigoda-Bellars, a former journalist. Her daughter said she would use it to go to Harvard. In preparation for that college competition, Zoe is taking intensified algebra and second-year Spanish, has a voice scholarship at a music school and plays first flute in Swanson's symphonic band.

Bertra McGann, a technical writer married to a Foreign Service officer, said that when Brad was 4, the family lived in Kenya and he was put in a class with older students. "He would come home from school and hand me the flashcards and work on his sight reading -- an extraordinary amount of self-discipline for a 4-year-old," she said. Now 13, Brad plays clarinet and basketball and earned his black belt in tae kwon do by practicing two hours a day, six days a week for two years.

Some experts expressed doubt about the Delay Choice Task. "I'd assume it was some kind of scam, take the buck and run," said Bob Schaeffer, public education director of FairTest, the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, a nonprofit group that is critical of over-reliance on testing in U.S. schools. Zoe refused to take the $2 at the end of the experiment. "I think it is rude to take money from strangers," she said. Zoe always does her homework the minute she gets home from school at 2:30 p.m. Her friends, however, are not so diligent. During a telephone interview, Zoe noted that several of her friends' "away messages" -- put up on their online instant-messaging systems to explain why they aren't responding -- said they were doing their homework. "It's Sunday night," she said. "I finished mine Friday."

Some educators said schools can teach self-discipline. Rafe Esquith, an award-winning Los Angeles teacher, often tells his low-income fifth-graders about a study that showed that hungry 4-year-olds willing to wait for two marshmallows were more successful years later than those who gobbled up one marshmallow immediately. Ryan Hill, director of the TEAM Academy Charter School in Newark, N.J., said students at his school, a Knowledge Is Power Program middle school in a low-income neighborhood, are required to stay at school until their homework is done if TV interfered with study the night before. "Over time, they learn to just do their homework before watching TV, delaying gratification, which becomes a habit of self-discipline," Hill said.

Educational psychologist Gerald W. Bracey noted the power of self-discipline in sports, citing tennis star Chris Evert, who triumphed over more talented players because she practiced more. Martha McCarthy, an education professor at Indiana University, said such habits could be taught in early grades, with methods such as "giving students time to visit with their friends if they have been attentive during a lesson."

Will there be a Self-Discipline Test, the SDT, to replace the SAT? Most experts don't think so. Clever but lazy college applicants could "pretty easily figure out what the right answers would be to appear self-disciplined," said University of Virginia psychology professor Daniel T. Willingham. Bruce Poch, vice president and dean of admissions at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., said self-discipline was good but not necessarily the only key to success. Albert Einstein, Poch said, "wasn't the most self-disciplined kid, at least according to his math grades through school."

That hasn't stopped Duckworth, who has two small daughters, from using her findings at home. Her eldest daughter, Amanda, 4, gets only one piece of saved Halloween candy each night after dinner. Asked why, Amanda says slowly and carefully, "It is de-LAY of gra-ti-fi-ca-tion."



Post lifted from Pirate Ballerina

Does CU honestly believe it has convened a "fair and balanced" investigating committee? After being caught slipping pro-Churchill ringers into the process, does CU's Standing Committee on Research Misconduct (SCRM) actually believe it has put together an impartial and informed panel?

First of all, the current composition of the Ward Churchill Investigating Committee (formed of three CU professors and two outside academics by SCRM) is sadly but unsurprisingly comprised of the same proportion of leftists as academia itself-at least one of the panel may be a Marxist; at least three are radical leftists. This hardly seems impartial.

More importantly, however-and apparently overlooked in the selection process-is the fact that with one exception, none of the five committee members knows diddly-squat (a technical term meaning zippo, nada, zilch) about Indian history or Indian law. CU's SCRM apparently decided Indian scholarship was inconsequential to one of the most important allegations: Whether Churchill bent (or simply made up) history to support his argument.

Here's the current membership of SCRM's Churchill Investigating Committee:

Missing from the qualifications of these professors is any hint of knowlege or even casual awareness of Indian history (with the aforementioned exception of Professor Clinton, whose expertise in Indian law theoretically, at least, requires a knowlege of Indian history). The allegations against Churchill are serious and require of the panelists a serious knowlege of academic plagiarism and/or Indian history to properly discharge their duty. Is it that hard to find an academic who A) has a scholarly expertise in one of the areas pertaining to the allegations against Churchill, and B) hasn't come out in a very public manner as pro-Churchill? 

It's not as though no such experts exist. We've found a solid list of academics and experts who, while some (or all) of whom may share academia's leftist tilt, at least bring to the investigation some expertise in Indian history (we'll look at plagiarism experts at a later date). In no particular order:

  • Charles Wilkinson, University of Colorado - Boulder. Professor Wilkinson has published extensively on Indian sovereignty and law.

  • Joseph McGeshick, Fort Peck Community College. Fort Peck is the tribal college for the Assiniboin tribe, who were greatly affected by the 1837 smallpox epidemic. Professor McGeshick has the added cache of being an enrolled Chippewa, and is an expert on the history of the local Plains Indians.

  • Shepard Krech, Brown University. Professor Krech is the author of a book on the ecological aspects of Indian life.

  • Elizabeth Fenn, Duke University. Professor Fenn has published an award-winning book on American Indian smallpox epidemics, as well as an award-winning article on biological warfare in American history (including deliberate smallpox infection).

  • C. Adrian Heidenreich, Professor of Native American Studies at Montana State University-Billings. Professor Heidenreich is an expert on Plains Indians history.

  • Michael K. Trimble, Ph.D. Dr. Trimble is the chief curator for the Army Corps of Engineers; he served as the lead forensic archeologist on the team that investigated the mass graves found in northern Iraq. He also happens to have written his dissertation on the Mandan smallpox epidemic of 1837.

  • Michael O'Brien, Professor of Anthropology, and Director of the Museum of Anthropology at the University of Missouri at Columbia. Professor O'Brien led the excavation of Fort Clark, the site of the 1837 smallpox outbreak among the Mandans. He also supervised the above-mentioned Michael Trimble's dissertation on the 1837 epidemic.

  • W. Raymond Wood, University of Missouri-Columbia. Professor Wood is an expert on Plains Indians.

  • Barton H. Barbour, Boise State University. Professor Barbour is the author of Fort Union and the Upper Missouri Fur Trade, in which he examines the Mandan smallpox epidemic.
Surely at least one of the above-noted experts in Indian history has some free time to examine the scholarship of Ward Churchill. With all this expertise out there (and if we can find nine experts, there must be hundreds, if not thousands), it makes one wonder what SCRM is thinking when it stacked the deck with a Mexican folklorist, a feminist lawyer, a British history expert, a death penalty opponent, and a single Indian law expert. Did they just use a dart board?

Or-since from the panel's lack of expertise it seems obvious that investigating charges of plagiarism and fabrication of Indian history are not truly the mandate of the panel-did SCRM have some other outcome in mind?


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, January 18, 2006


A growing number of parents, teachers, and local education advocacy groups are pressing the committee searching for Boston's next school superintendent to find a new chief who is not afraid to make radical changes to help black and Hispanic students do better in school.

They say they worry that the School Committee has launched its search seeking someone too similar to departing Superintendent Thomas W. Payzant. They point to the draft of the superintendent's job description, approved by the School Committee, which trumpets Payzant's accomplishments over the past decade but does not urgently call for a dynamic leader to lift the schools to greater heights.

The search, they say, should be driven by what needs to be accomplished, and they especially want a leader with a proven record of closing the achievement gap for black and Hispanic, special-education, and English as a Second Language students. They also want a superintendent who has succeeded in increasing the hiring of minority teachers and administrators, reducing the dropout rate, and building strong relationships with parents.

''A position description that leans too heavily on staying the course will run the danger of discouraging strong leaders from applying," said John Mudd, director of the Boston School Reform Project at Massachusetts Advocates for Children. ''The tone could be read to communicate a sense of complacency rather than urgency; to be searching for a caretaker to continue past innovations rather than a leader to help us face new challenges."

Boston has raised its overall scores on standardized tests over the past decade, but black and Hispanic students continue to trail their white classmates. More work needs to be done in closing that gap, Payzant has acknowledged....

Some teachers, principals, and community leaders said the next superintendent should feel at ease among minority and immigrant groups, and be able to build alliances with them, while also ensuring that administrators and teachers are trained to understand and work with students from diverse cultural backgrounds.

''The thing this person needs to have that Tom has struggled with is, at the gut level, to understand and identify with the culture of the kids," said Jacqueline Rivers, executive director of MathPower, which trains middle school math teachers and advocates for change within the school system.

Others said they are concerned about the dwindling number of black and Hispanic students in the pipeline for the city's three exam schools. More than half of the students in the fourth through sixth grades who are enrolled in accelerated classes that prepare them for the exam schools are white and Asian, even though black and Hispanic students make up more than three-fourths of Boston students. The disparity continues through high school, when black and Hispanic students are more likely to drop out.

More here


A professor from a small Southern college sent this in to Rate Your students. It shows what negligible discipline produces

"I recently experienced a sort of post-traumatic stress disorder as I looked at my roll for this semester. A student in one of my classes had the same name, GM, as a student that had driven me crazy when I used to teach high school in the same state. I was relieved this week to meet a new GM. This one actually stayed in his seat during the entire period, didn't ask for the bathroom pass every 5 minutes, and left his desk clear of vandalism.

It's easy to whine about students, but everyday I remind myself how relatively easy I have it now. In high school, I was supposed to teach students that were reading at a 3rd grade reading level, a couple others who thought it was funny to destroy school property, and even a few with severe emotional and behavior issues that cursed me out in class. Now at the college level, I am blessed with students that are 99% just generally nice people. Yes, they can drive me crazy at times, but I am learning to appreciate the small things about my students. A student who asks if I need help carrying my stack of syllabi to class. Another who volunteer hours to charities in the area. The student that who always spoke up to ask an interesting question in class and later told me that she learned a lot in the class. An adult student who suffered from a disfiguring and painful disease, but always brought a smile and enthusiasm into the classroom. Students who came from relative poverty, and are working their way through school to make a better life for themselves.

In college, we are left with the cream of the crop, although it's easy to forget about that. The reality of education is that "no child left behind" is impossible to fulfill. If you've ever been in a public school classroom, as a teacher or a student, you probably know there are always a few that are going to be left behind. It may sound harsh, but thank goodness for that.

So I will probably never see the former GM in my college classroom. I hope he's not in jail, and I wish him success in the "real world". The classroom was just not the right place for him."


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, January 17, 2006


Australian writer Christopher Pearson comments on the American figures headlined here yesterday

What, apart from rage, is the most appropriate response to the American data and emerging evidence of similar trends in Australia? I suppose it's to acknowledge the official confirmation of what most of us have long suspected. The jig is up. Thirty-odd years of curricular experiment and faddish methods of teaching reading have demonstrated their true worth. Thirty-odd years worth of students have been increasingly denied the most powerful means of meritocratic advance, of general self-betterment and, most importantly, of access to the canon of great works which are the core of Western civilisation.

The French have a phrase to cover betrayals of this order. They call it le trahison des clercs, the treason of the clerical classes. Implicit in it is the notion of conscious delinquency, of knowing better and still behaving irresponsibly. That is the charge that the subliterate young, here as well as in America, are entitled to level at many of their teachers, lecturers and the vast armies of education bureaucrats.

The rot set in when primary school teachers abandoned conventional methods of teaching reading in favour of more fashionable trends which involved less drudgery and less tiresome assessment of outcomes. The drift away from measuring skills and relative competency covered a multitude of pedagogical failures. And how natural it was that, as measurable outcomes began to decline sharply, Australian teachers' unions should have begun to echo their American counterparts and mounted the case that the process of measurement and notions of success and failure were inherently anti-educational and elitist.

It's important to acknowledge that not all teachers deserve to be tarred with the same brush. The loopy policy of automatic promotion through primary school meant that very often problem students suddenly became the responsibility of overworked teachers with no remedial reading experience and all sorts of other responsibilities. The prevalence of remedial reading courses at university level about a decade later suggests the dimensions of the dilemma.

By the time teenagers reached the second year of senior school, it would have taken a fair amount of courage in the early '80s to buck the system and refuse to promote them just on account of reading difficulties. It might well have been viewed as a vote of no confidence in colleagues and the system as a whole, a kind of whistle-blowing. No doubt many conscientious primary and secondary teachers dedicated time out of school hours to discreet remedial reading lessons, well before their principals began to acknowledge the existence and extent of a literacy crisis. Things would also have been much worse had it not been for the efforts of countless unpaid volunteers, belatedly doing the work that primary teachers should have performed years earlier.

Primary and secondary systems once served to certify not just adequate attendance but the acquisition of prescribed levels in certain skills. As the certification process began to fail, the universities ought to have intervened more effectively to preserve the value of their own currency. Instead they have presided over its gradual debasement. There are honourable exceptions in some of the sciences and engineering. But few first degrees are as demanding now as they were 30 years ago and, despite the unprecedented rate of growth in most domains of knowledge, very few are more onerous. In the humanities and social sciences, the dumbing-down process is at its most obvious and debilitating.

The Australian education sector as a whole is inclined to put a lot of the blame on external factors such as political interference. It's certainly true that Robert Menzies' sudden expansion of universities was a benignly intended catastrophe. Had he been more of a conservative, he might have realised the truth of Kingsley Amis's line: "More means worse." Again, a fuller account of the local literacy crisis would take account of the state government policies, especially those of politically correct Labor administrations, which sanctioned and concealed declining standards. The Dawkins era of philistinism triumphant - and the collapse of the distinction between vocational training and a liberal education - no doubt helped to ensure the emergence of the worst educated and also perhaps the dimmest generation of trainee teachers in the span of a century.

However, even making allowances for all the external factors, most of the blame for the present state of the teaching profession must lie with teachers themselves, especially but by no means exclusively with those in the public sector. Had they acted more like a body of professionals, it's far more likely they would have been treated as such. Instead there has been a burgeoning vicious circle. When 40 per cent of senior secondary students in Victoria enrolled in private schools last year, they and their parents may not all have known what they were buying into but we can be reasonably confident that they knew what they had spurned.

Some calculations from the Australian Scholarships Group, an education investment fund, were released on Thursday. The cost to parents of putting a child born in 2005 through the public system to matriculation is reckoned at $110,000. The price of a three-year first degree was estimated at an average of another $140,000. Brendan Nelson, the federal Minister for Education, should be monitoring levels of literacy throughout the cycle to give parents a better idea of just what they can expect to be getting for their money.

More here


Protecting criminals and pedophiles is more important than protecting children in socialist Britain

Hundreds of blacklisted teachers, including paedophiles, are being allowed into schools so long as they avoid certain types of pupils, The Times has learnt. Headteachers are having to accept supply staff into classrooms without knowing if they are on the blacklist or have criminal records. As a picture emerges of a child protection system in chaos, the Government is preparing to strip ministers of their power to let sex offenders work with children. Police will receive a new advisory role. The practice of giving convicted paedophiles permission to work in schools with pupils of a different age or sex from those they desire was disclosed by The Times this weekend.

Yesterday a former teaching agency official who had access to List 99 confirmed that this procedure was widely known among companies providing supply teachers. Yet it appears to have come as a surprise to teachers’ leaders and parents. There are about 15,000 on the blacklist compiled at the Department for Education and Skills (DfES). Gerard Connolly, who held the names of all problem teachers on a computer in his office from 1996 to 2004, said that many had “caveats”. Most forbade teachers from working with one gender of pupil, or children above or below a particular age. Some had geographical restrictions placed upon them. A few were banned from individual schools. “You used to see them every other page or so with a restriction on,” Dr Connolly said. He estimated that between 700 and 1,000 names on the blacklist had permission to teach particular categories of pupil. “I have no way of knowing how many were working in schools but they were certainly free to do so,” he said.

Last night an Education Department spokesman said: “The list is held by the department and the criminal records bureau. We certainly don’t recognise that figure. Dr Connolly was puzzled by the Government’s delay in telling the public about the number of sex offenders who are entitled to work in classrooms. “It surprised me, people coming on television saying they don’t know,” he said. “All they have to do is count them.”

The unexpected scale of the problem added to the woes of the DfES, which has struggled to keep up with the pace of disclosures about paedophile teachers. Ruth Kelly told the Commons last Thursday: “List 99 covers those barred for life from working in schools.” On Friday her officials were still claiming that List 99 was an “absolute bar” on teaching. Then The Times reported that in 2001 Estelle Morris had allowed Keith Hudson — who was placed on the sex offenders register after compiling scrapbooks containing pictures of boys masturbating — to work in girls’ schools. A convicted molester who was fixated on boys in white underpants has permission to work with children aged 14 and over. Both are on List 99.

Officials changed their story. A spokesman said: “In 2000 we introduced regulations to make sure that barring someone convicted of sexual offences against a child was absolute.” But that explanation imploded yesterday when it emerged that in January 2005 Ms Kelly allowed William Gibson to work in schools. He had a conviction for indecently assaulting a 15-year-old female pupil. Mr Gibson’s case highlights that teacher-supply agencies are a weak link in child protection. After being removed from three schools in the North East he found a position teaching mathematics in Bournemouth.

The job came via Step Teachers, an agency aware of his conviction in 1980 for indecent assault and his imprisonment in 2000 for deception, forgery and theft. Mr Gibson has been suspended. James Newman, the agency’s director, said: “Step Teachers undertakes not to discriminate against an application on the basis of a conviction or other information. It is unfortunate that the teacher is still very much in shock over the circumstances and the way he is being treated.” The agency had provided Mr Gibson without alerting the head that he was a convicted child molester. Agencies bear responsibility for checks of criminal records and List 99 entries. Step Teachers claimed it was forbidden from telling schools about convictions. “Under the terms of the agreement with the Criminal Records Bureau, we would not be able to tell the school,” Mr Newman said. “We would have to destroy all that documentation because of data protection laws.”



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, January 16, 2006

Literacy of College Graduates Is on Decline

Literacy experts and educators say they are stunned by the results of a recent adult literacy assessment, which shows that the reading proficiency of college graduates has declined in the past decade, with no obvious explanation. "It's appalling -- it's really astounding," said Michael Gorman, president of the American Library Association and a librarian at California State University at Fresno. "Only 31 percent of college graduates can read a complex book and extrapolate from it. That's not saying much for the remainder."

While more Americans are graduating from college, and more than ever are applying for admission, far fewer are leaving higher education with the skills needed to comprehend routine data, such as reading a table about the relationship between blood pressure and physical activity, according to the federal study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Experts could not definitively explain the drop. "The declining impact of education on our adult population was the biggest surprise for us, and we just don't have a good explanation," said Mark S. Schneider, commissioner of education statistics. "It may be that institutions have not yet figured out how to teach a whole generation of students who learned to read on the computer and who watch more TV. It's a different kind of literacy." "What's disturbing is that the assessment is not designed to test your understanding of Proust, but to test your ability to read labels," he added.

The test measures how well adults comprehend basic instructions and tasks through reading -- such as computing costs per ounce of food items, comparing viewpoints on two editorials and reading prescription labels. Only 41 percent of graduate students tested in 2003 could be classified as "proficient" in prose -- reading and understanding information in short texts -- down 10 percentage points since 1992. Of college graduates, only 31 percent were classified as proficient -- compared with 40 percent in 1992. Schneider said the results do not separate recent graduates from those who have been out of school several years or more.

The results were based on a sample of more than 19,000 people 16 or older, who were interviewed in their homes. They were asked to read prose, do math and find facts in documents. The scores for "intermediate" reading abilities went up for college students, causing educators to question whether most college instruction is offered at the intermediate level because students face reading challenges.

Gorman said that he has been shocked by how few entering freshmen understand how to use a basic library system, or enjoy reading for pleasure. "There is a failure in the core values of education," he said. "They're told to go to college in order to get a better job -- and that's okay. But the real task is to produce educated people."

Other experts noted that the slip in scores could be attributed to most state schools not being particularly selective, accepting most high school graduates to bolster enrollment. In addition, Schneider said schools may not be taking into account a more diverse population, and the language and cultural barriers that come with shifting demographics. That would account for the dramatic drop in average prose literacy for Hispanics, which slipped by 18 percentage points, he said. "The Hispanic scores were somewhat understandable based on the changing demographics," Schneider said. "Diversity may lead to more difficulties in education."

Dolores Perin, a reading expert at Columbia University Teachers College, said that her work has indicated that the issue may start at the high school level. "There is a tremendous literacy problem among high school graduates that is not talked about," said Perin, who has been sitting in on high school classes as part of a teaching project. "It's a little bit depressing. The colleges are left holding the bag, trying to teach students who have challenges."

On average, adult literacy is virtually unchanged since 1992, with 30 million people struggling with basic reading tasks. While adults made some progress in quantitative literacy, such as the ability to calculate taxes, the study showed that from 1992 to 2003 adults made no improvement in their ability read newspapers or books, or comprehend basic forms.

One bright spot is that blacks are making significant gains in reading and math and are reaching higher levels of education. For instance, the report showed that the average rate of prose literacy, or reading, among blacks rose six percentage points since 1992. Prose and document reading scores for whites remained the same


Australia: Parents dig deep to pay for choice in education

Soaring costs are squeezing some families out of private education as fees top $12,000 a year at prestigious Brisbane schools. But enrolments are still expected to rise, with parents willing to "make significant sacrifices" to put children through their "school of choice". Even Catholic education was becoming unaffordable for some families, Federation of Parents and Friends Association of Queensland executive officer Paul Dickie said. "Increasingly poor Catholic families can't afford to attend Catholic schools," Mr Dickie said. "I know that principals do a lot to assist families, and we say that no one will be denied an education in a Catholic school because of their financial situation, but the thing is a number of them don't come because obviously they don't like coming up and saying, 'Well, I can't afford to go there.' "So the Catholic schools try to keep fees to a minimum, but because of increasing costs, fees will go up more than the consumer price index."

Fees at some Catholic schools are at the bottom of the cost ladder. The Southport School is Queensland's most expensive, charging tuition fees of $12,276 for a student in Year 11 or 12. At Brisbane Grammar School, parents will pay $12,270 to educate a child in Years 8 to 12. At the Anglican Church Grammar School at East Brisbane, "Churchie" parents will pay $11,124 for a son in Year 12. One of Brisbane's leading girls' schools, Somerville House at South Brisbane, will charge $9882 for tuition in Years 7 to 12, but this does not include levies for technology, excursions, bus travel and house expenses....

Association of Independent Schools of Queensland operations director David Robertson said enrolments were still increasing by about 4 per cent a year. Parents were willing "to do anything" to make sure their children attended their school of choice. "All of the research and data that we see keeps on coming back to the same issues," Mr Robertson said. "It's about parental choice, those parents value the partnership between the school and parents. There is a high sense that there is a very high quality of teachers in independent schools and issues like good discipline, academic outcomes - parents value all those things very highly."

Mr Dickie said demand for Catholic education also continued to increase because of their caring pastoral program, competent teachers and academic excellence, which all created "a happiness factor" that attracted mums and dads.

More here

Stupid in America: "For 'Stupid in America,' a special report ABC will air Friday, we gave identical tests to high school students in New Jersey and in Belgium. The Belgian kids cleaned the American kids' clocks. The Belgian kids called the American students 'stupid.' We didn't pick smart kids to test in Europe and dumb kids in the United States. The American students attend an above-average school in New Jersey, and New Jersey's kids have test scores that are above average for America. The American boy who got the highest score told me: 'I'm shocked, 'cause it just shows how advanced they are compared to us.' The Belgians did better because their schools are better. At age ten, American students take an international test and score well above the international average. But by age fifteen, when students from forty countries are tested, the Americans place twenty-fifth. The longer kids stay in American schools, the worse they do in international competition. They do worse than kids from countries that spend much less money on education. This should come as no surprise once you remember that public education in the USA is a government monopoly. Don't like your public school? Tough. The school is terrible? Tough. Your taxes fund that school regardless of whether it's good or bad. That's why government monopolies routinely fail their customers. Union-dominated monopolies are even worse. In New York City, it's "just about impossible" to fire a bad teacher, says schools chancellor Joel Klein." (Update: There are a lot of comments on this story 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


Sunday, January 15, 2006


The modern-day American Left does not of course have access to Stalin's psychiatric prisons as a means of dealing with dissenters but accusations of insanity do nearly as well. Never mind the fact that calling your opponent insane is completely "ad hominem" and, as such, an argument of no scholarly merit whatever. The article below deals with the Australian anthropologist (Derek Freeman) who conclusively demolished Margaret Mead's lies about the sexual permissiveness of primitive societies -- Lies which were for a long time immensely influential and eagerly seized on by Leftists.

The article summarizes a thesis put forward by Hiram Caton and if "ad hominem" arguments are of interest, I might note that in my own conversations with Prof. Caton, when he was Head of the "School of Applied Ethics" at Griffith University in Queensland, I found him to have some very odd views of his own (he thinks AIDS is a myth, for instance). He may even be right in his views but I would certainly not accept any of his judgments willy nilly. Those who live in glass houses .....

Just how far should scholars go in debunking intellectual opponents? Is persistence, to the point of ignoring one's own pursuits, a sign of mental instability? The case of Derek Freeman, the contentious Australian anthropologist who died in 2001 at the age of 84, raises both questions. For decades he relentlessly dissected and attacked the work of the noted anthropologist Margaret Mead, who died in 1978. Freeman sought to persuade his colleagues that Mead's pathbreaking work on Samoa was fundamentally misbegotten. In particular he criticized her first book, the one that made her reputation: Coming of Age in Samoa: A Psychological Study of Primitive Youth for Western Civilisation (1928). In it, Mead depicted casual sex among Samoan teenage girls to argue that adolescence is not a stressful time in all cultures....

Freeman was convinced that Mead had been duped into believing that Samoa was a sexual Shangri-La. He laid out his argument in two books: Margaret Mead and Samoa: The Making and Unmaking of an Anthropological Myth (Harvard University Press, 1983) and The Fateful Hoaxing of Margaret Mead: A Historical Analysis of Her Samoan Research (Westview Press, 1999). Freeman also participated in the making of a 1988 documentary, "Margaret Mead and Samoa", which included an interview with one of Mead's original informants, Fa'apua'a, who said, in the film's dramatic final moments, that indeed, she and her friends had fooled Mead....

Hiram Caton believes he has found compelling evidence to explain what drove Freeman. The recently retired professor of history and politics at Griffith University, in Australia, specializes in political psychology, with a particular interest in cult leaders and followers. He worked closely with Freeman from 1983 to 1993 and stayed in touch with him until his death. In "The Exalted Self: Derek Freeman's Quest for the Perfect Identity," published last year in the Canadian journal Identity, he argues that the anthropologist, who had a reputation for eccentric and antagonistic behavior, had a clinically diagnosable narcissistic-personality disorder. Freeman's urgency stemmed as much from that disorder as from his critique of Mead and cultural anthropology, Mr. Caton believes.

Not surprisingly, this starkly psychoanalytic view discomfits some scholars. Peter Hempenstall, a professor of history at the University of Canterbury, in New Zealand, is preparing a biography of Freeman with Donald F. Tuzin, a professor of anthropology at the University of California at San Diego. While he finds some of Mr. Caton's ideas "suggestive," Mr. Hempenstall says, the "presentation of Derek Freeman's personality as the result of a clearly established clinical pathology is too extreme and unconvincing."

The question of Derek Freeman's mental health and its role in his scholarly work is not new to close observers of the battle over Margaret Mead and her legacy. As Mr. Caton notes, Freeman was "shadowed by a reputation that he was a 'difficult man' who suffered from a mysterious psychological disorder." "Until his last breath," Mr. Caton says, "he denied imputations of a disorder, styled them 'defamatory,' and unequivocally affirmed his complete mental health and self-control."....

Mr. Caton says he became keenly aware of what he calls Freeman's "unusual psychology" during their extended collaboration. They conferred closely in a campaign to get social scientists to consider biological perspectives in their scholarship. During that time, Caton writes, Freeman gave him access to a large amount of his current personal correspondence and agreed to extensive interviews on his beliefs. That led Mr. Caton to ponder the complexities of the anthropologist's personality.

For instance, despite the obvious intensity of the two breakdowns, the correspondence unearthed by Mr. Caton reveals that Freeman did not suffer from long-term mental illness. No psychiatrist would suggest that Freeman was, say, schizophrenic. Rather, Mr. Caton argues, the documents suggest that Freeman's attacks on his opponents — whether real or perceived — stemmed from a narcissistic personality disorder. People with a narcissistic-personality disorder are generally arrogant, exploitative, and unempathetic, while exhibiting a grandiose sense of self-importance, observes Mr. Caton. They are preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success or brilliance, and they believe that they are "special" and can be understood only by other special people.....

Other anthropologists differ on whether Mr. Caton's use of the play and other evidence to argue that Mr. Freeman had a personality disorder is helpful, or even responsible. Paul Shankman, a Samoa specialist and professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, says the strength of Mr. Caton's analysis is his ingenuity in using such clues as Freeman's response to Mr. Williamson's play. That makes clear the dimensions of Freeman as "a deeply troubled individual," Mr. Shankman says. Moreover, he says, Mr. Caton "suggests how Freeman's psychological problems — with sex, aggression, dominance, and conflict — came to be personified in Margaret Mead."

Mr. Tuzin, of San Diego, is in the opposite camp. Mr. Caton's article, he says, "must be added to the long list of works that approach Derek Freeman ad hominem — this one with a vengeance — and prefer to dwell on his style and personality instead of the quality of his arguments."

Another former colleague of Freeman's, Michael W. Young, finds the article, and a similar one that Mr. Caton will soon publish, "compellingly argued" and "very persuasive." Both works "confirmed in a scientific manner what I knew about him intuitively," says the professor of anthropology at Australian National University, who knew Freeman and who in 2004 published a highly regarded first volume of a biography of Bronislaw Malinowski, the social-anthropology pioneer and South Pacific expert, titled Malinowski: Odyssey of an Anthropologist, 1884-1920 (Yale University Press).

And yet, Mr. Young says, "there is something about Caton's relentless dissection that is reminiscent of Freeman's own ruthless attempts to 'expose' others and demolish them. I sense an almost scary determination to lay the man bare. The overall effect, of course, is to diminish Freeman in some way — as all psychological biography tends to do — so it comes as something of a surprise when right at the end of his second paper Caton says something to the effect that he was an immensely talented man."

More here


Recent news that school children in Charlotte, North Carolina, had the highest test scores among children in big cities across the country had a special impact on me. Back in the late 1930s, I went to school in Charlotte and, while I don't know what the test scores were then, I do know that we were far behind the children going to school in New York. That became painfully clear when my family moved north and I enrolled in a school in Harlem in 1939. From being the top student in my class down in North Carolina I was suddenly the bottom student in my class in Harlem -- and struggling to try to catch up.

Decades later, my research turned up the fact that the kids I couldn't keep up with in that school back then had an average IQ of 84. Contrary to fashionable beliefs, it was not the racial segregation that made the education inferior in Charlotte, since the school in Harlem was also a black school. It was common in those days for a kid from the South to be set back a full year when he entered school in New York. The difference in educational standards was that great. I had somehow persuaded the principal to let me be an exception. It was a mistake on his part and mine. I was clearly a year behind the kids who had gone to school in Harlem.

Three years later, I had caught up and pulled ahead, and was now assigned to a class for advanced students, where the average IQ was over 120. That does not mean that IQs don't matter. It means that I had a lot of work to do to get my act together in the meantime, in order to overcome the disadvantage of an inferior education in North Carolina.

Fast forward a few more years. I am now in the Marine Corps, going through boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina. When the mental test results from my platoon were tabulated, the man in charge expressed amazement at how many high scores there were. "Where are you guys from?" he asked. "New York? Pennsylvania?" We were from New York -- and the high quality of our schools at that time was undoubtedly a factor in the high test scores we made.

No one in those days would have thought that Charlotte schools would end up turning out better educated students than the schools in New York. I don't know what has happened in Charlotte but I do know what has happened in New York.

Some years ago, when I looked at the math textbooks that my nieces in Harlem were using, I discovered that they were being taught in the 11th grade what I had been taught in the 9th grade. Even if they were the best students around, they would still be two years behind -- with their chances in life correspondingly reduced.

New York City has two kinds of high school diplomas -- its own locally recognized diploma, that is not recognized by the state or by many colleges, and the state's Regents' diploma for high school graduates who have scored above a given level on the Regents' exam. The Regents diploma is for students who are serious about going on to a good college. Only 9 percent of black students and 10 percent of Latino students receive Regents diplomas.

That a Southern city's school children would now top the list of big city test scores may be due to the fact that the South has not jumped on the bandwagon of the latest fads in education to the same extent as avant garde places like New York City, where spending per pupil is about 50 percent above the national average.

These fads now include the dogma that racial "diversity" improves education, as does emphasis on racial "identity." In reality, a recent study shows that black students who perform well in racially integrated schools are unpopular with their black classmates. They are accused of "acting white," a charge that can bring anything from ostracism to outright violence. The same is not true to the same extent among blacks attending all-black schools. Hispanic students' popularity likewise falls off sharply -- even more so than among blacks -- as their grade-point average rises.

Is it surprising that white and Asian American children do better without these self-inflicted handicaps to academic achievement? Is it surprising that New York City schools are now paying the price for avant garde educational dogmas?



I know it's absolutely dreadful to speak the truth in these matters but it is only the blacks and Hispanics who make the USA look bad comparatively. But don't take my word for it. Read what the frightfully proper Educational Testing Service says in their report on the subject:

"If we adjust the mean NALS scores for U.S. adults under age 65 to exclude all foreign-born adults as well as native-born Blacks and Hispanics, then the mean prose and quantitative scores of the remaining U.S. adults (Asian and White, native-born) would rise to 288, ranking the U.S. second highest-tied with Finland and Norway-on the prose scale and fifth highest on the quantitative scale.. The findings clearly suggest that future gains in the comparative, international literacy standing U.S. adults will require substantial improvements in the literacy proficiencies of Blacks, Hispanics, and the foreign born from all racial/ethnic groups." [ETS Report, P.23]

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