Friday, May 03, 2013

Georgetown University, a cover-up?


At the time I am writing this a scandal is erupting across the internet involving  prestigious Georgetown University and tied to one of their former employees, [redacted], a Georgetown grad student who says she was hired to read and process applications for admissions to the school.

She claims she had a very interesting system for screening applicants. The applications from white males were trashed, regardless of qualifications.

And now it appears that Georgetown University may be trying to cover it up.

The background of this story is pretty disturbing. [redacted], who clearly has issues with sexual and racial bigotry, decided she would not only trash the applications of white males on sight, she also decided to blog about her activities under what she assumed was anonymous conditions. Writing for a web blog called The Feminist Conservative, [redacted] laid out precisely what she was doing in very clear terms:

…I can’t tell you how many applications I saw that were just dripping with white male privelege[sic].  Any of those that I saw basically went straight to the garbage can regardless of how good their qualifactions [sic] were.  If I saw an application from a white male that basically was just good test scores, and activities like chess club or math club or what not then it shows me this person is not interested in a diverse environment.  Obviously he made no effort in integrating with minorities or to sympathize with them and is counting on male privilege to get in.  So that kind of application should get ignored.  In their place I admitted a female student.  This goes double especially for math/science majors.

Apparently the prejudicial screening criteria she employed were not limited to just white males who played chess and were interested in mathematics.  She also targeted a man of Arab descent because of his stand on Israel.

Another time this I had an application for what sounded like an arab male who wanted to study computer science.  On paper he looked good enough, decent above average scores, and such.  But I checked facebook and sure enough on his wall I came came [sic] upon a particularly hateful post about Israel supposedly not having a right to exist.  I promptly trashed the application and sent out a rejection letter.

She followed these statements with another; a bizarrely contradictory explanation for her actions. First, she says:

We can’t boil people down to numbers or statistics, or reject people based on the color of their skin.

But then she follows that statement immediately with this:

I’m happy to say that I approved nearly 90% of all female minority and 80% of all (white female applicants especially if the girls want to study math or science) while rejecting over 50% of  white males this week and hope this trend holds out.

Clearly this is a person not only warped by ideology, but who also holds deep seated prejudices that guided her unscrupulous actions. Her targets were selected by sex, race, political beliefs and perhaps even religion. Her identity was traced after she referenced the subject of her master’s thesis at Georgetown in some of her writing, including the “about” page at the Feminist Conservative.

Here are three of the main documents that led to her being identified.

About Feminist Conservative

Thesis defense is TODAY! feministconservative

My first week of work — feministconservative

It is unknown precisely how many qualified applicants were sabotaged by this woman, and it may be difficult to find out as it now appears almost certain that individuals at Georgetown, perhaps even university officials, are purging their online records of that thesis, and her identity, in order to protect the interest of the school against what will almost certainly result in a massive amount of litigation.

AVFM has obtained copies, a before and after record of Georgetown’s list of master’s theses from 2012. If you had examined their website before this scandal broke, you would have found [redacted]name on the list with a link to her thesis. You can download the previous version of the page


However now, if you go to the page you will find no trace of her name, and naturally no link to her thesis.


We have a copy of that thesis available for download.


There has been much in the news lately, particularly in Canada at the University of Toronto, about the illegal, even violent actions of feminist ideologues in the university setting. Events intended to address issues concerning men and boys have been met with virulent hostility.

It appears that [redacted] plan was even simpler. Just rid the school of males, particularly white ones, to begin with. And as we see this blow up into a full-fledged scandal and embarrassment to Georgetown University, it appears that a person or persons at the school are going to compound those problems with a cover-up.

One would assume that they will be depending on a complete denial from [redacted], who is now reportedly in [redacted].  Without any evidence tying that blog to [redacted] identity, namely the reference to her thesis, it may make it more difficult for plaintiffs to prove their case against the school.

If this proves to have university officials behind it, it would be a very, very bad move.



Unschooling has a following across the ideological spectrum. It is a range of educational philosophies and practices surrounding the primary belief that education is a greater undertaking than schooling. Unschooling places little emphasis on traditional school curriculum and encourages children to learn through their natural life experiences including play, game play, household responsibilities, personal interests and curiosity, work experience, travel, books, elective classes, family, mentors, and social interaction. Unschooling encourages exploration of activities initiated by the children themselves  -- JR, with help from Wikipedia

Over the last 12 months, I've read a total of 57 fiction books, and I'm on the premier of another 7-book series. I've also read approximately 15 non-fiction books within that same time span, and a countless number of columns, essays, and journal articles. Why am I reading so much? For starters, because I have a thirst for knowledge, which from both types of books I get more than I can retain. But more importantly, I believe that the moment we stop seeking the unknown, our lives become routine and boring. And that's neither what I want for myself, nor what I want to model for my wife and children.

Life Learning

Many prefer to refer to the unschooling lifestyle as "life learning." I personally don't care either way, but I really like the idea of life-long and life-centered learning. I taught myself to use computers at 12, when my parents bought our family's first computer. Using a computer is now my career, literally. I test software and predict the user's experience. I'm paid well enough for a simple and stressless job. Many aren't so lucky. In fact, had I not met a certain friend when I did, who knows where I'd be today. I might still be testing software, but in any event, I found a passion and stuck with it, and now I'm reaping the benefits.

I remember when the movie Jurassic Park came out. I was so excited that I got a hold of several books on dinosaurs and studied like crazy. Paleontology was one of my earliest passions, years before computers. My children really like dinosaurs now, and I can still remember quite a few names and other "fun facts."

After I got my driver's license, I, like all young men, became passionate about cars. My first car was a '93 Tracer, which I had a blast driving off-road rally-style. After that came a '95 Civic Coupe. It was already lowered, with rims, a tint, and a stereo system, so that I immediately jumped into the Honda scene. I became on expert on Hondas. Every model, trim, engine, technology, and the thousands of aftermarkets parts. I ended up crashing the '95 Civic, and then bought a '00 Civic Sedan. I've put 110k miles on it (175k total) driving it as far as Chicago (from Salt Lake). I  just can't see myself buying any other make of car, and I fully expect to pass this one on to my children.

I've written before on economics, another passion of mine. I've studied several economics books, blogs, and journals. This passion created another passion, the libertarian political philosophy, which in turn led to another passion, voluntaryism. But it hasn't stopped there. Voluntaryism forced me to confront my personal life, meaning, my family, and how I was raising my children. Thus was I led to the philosophies of peaceful parenting and radical unschooling.

Religion, too, has been a passion. I should say that this front has cooled a bit in recent years though by no means quenched. In fact, I think it's blaring up again. I've got more questions that need answering, and damned if that isn't the kind of thing to get me into trouble. My time is more valuable than it used to be, as an unschooling father of two (at the moment). I just wish I had more of it right now. So much to learn!

Final Thoughts

I hope your life has been as passion- and learning-filled as mine has been. I hope you've taken the time to study the things that you have wanted to study. My time was wasted with a lot of meaningless forgotten drivel, as I was raised by public schools, but looking back I see that I was still able find time for myself. That's when my learning was the most meaningful and unforgettable. I have no idea what I'll be studying in the coming years, but I know that quite a bit of it will be alongside my children.


Is Thinking Obsolete?

Thomas Sowell

While it is not possible to answer all the e-mails and letters from readers, many are thought-provoking, whether those thoughts are positive or negative.

An e-mail from one young man simply asked for the sources of some facts about gun control that were mentioned in a recent column. It is good to check out the facts -- especially if you check out the facts on both sides of an issue.

By contrast, another man simply denounced me because of what was said in that column. He did not ask for my sources but simply made contrary assertions, as if his assertions must be correct and therefore mine must be wrong.

He identified himself as a physician, and the claims that he made about guns were claims that had been made years ago in a medical journal -- and thoroughly discredited since then. He might have learned that, if we had engaged in a back and forth discussion, but it was clear from his letter that his goal was not debate but denunciation. That is often the case these days.

It is always amazing how many serious issues are not discussed seriously, but instead simply generate assertions and counter-assertions. On television talk shows, people on opposite sides often just try to shout each other down.

There is a remarkable range of ways of seeming to argue without actually producing any coherent argument.

Decades of dumbed-down education no doubt have something to do with this, but there is more to it than that. Education is not merely neglected in many of our schools today, but is replaced to a great extent by ideological indoctrination. Moreover, it is largely indoctrination based on the same set of underlying and unexamined assumptions among teachers and institutions.

If our educational institutions -- from the schools to the universities -- were as interested in a diversity of ideas as they are obsessed with racial diversity, students would at least gain experience in seeing the assumptions behind different visions and the role of logic and evidence in debating those differences.

Instead, a student can go all the way from elementary school to a Ph.D. without encountering any fundamentally different vision of the world from that of the prevailing political correctness.

Moreover, the moral perspective that goes with this prevailing ideological view is all too often that of people who see themselves as being on the side of the angels against the forces of evil -- whether the particular issue at hand is gun control, environmentalism, race or whatever.

A moral monopoly is the antithesis of a marketplace of ideas. One sign of this sense of moral monopoly among the left intelligentsia is that the institutions most under their control -- the schools, colleges and universities -- have far less freedom of speech than the rest of American society.

While advocacy of homosexuality, for example, is common on college campuses, and listening to this advocacy is often obligatory during freshman orientation, criticism of homosexuality is called "hate speech" that is subject to punishment.

While spokesmen for various racial or ethnic groups are free to vehemently denounce whites as a group for their past or present sins, real or otherwise, any white student who similarly denounces the sins or shortcomings of non-white groups can be virtually guaranteed to be punished, if not expelled.

Even students who do not advocate anything can have to pay a price if they do not go along with classroom brainwashing. The student at Florida Atlantic University who recently declined to stomp on a paper with the word "Jesus" on it, as ordered by the professor, was scheduled for punishment by the university until the story became public and provoked an outcry from outside academia.

This professor's action might be dismissed as an isolated extreme, but the university establishment's initial solid backing for him, and its coming down hard on the student, shows that the moral dry rot goes far deeper than one brainwashing professor.

The failure of our educational system goes beyond what they fail to teach. It includes what they do teach, or rather indoctrinate, and the graduates they send out into the world, incapable of seriously weighing alternatives for themselves or for American society.


Thursday, May 02, 2013

Social Psychology Fraud: Just Tell Professors What They Want To Hear

By Steve Sailer

Here's a long NYT Magazine article on Diederik Stapel, a prominent Dutch social psychologist:

"One summer night in 2011, a tall, 40-something professor named Diederik Stapel stepped out of his elegant brick house in the Dutch city of Tilburg to visit a friend around the corner. It was close to midnight, but his colleague Marcel Zeelenberg had called and texted Stapel that evening to say that he wanted to see him about an urgent matter.

... “What’s up?” Stapel asked, settling onto a couch. Two graduate students had made an accusation, Zeelenberg explained. His eyes began to fill with tears. “They suspect you have been committing research fraud.”

Stapel was an academic star in the Netherlands and abroad, the author of several well-regarded studies on human attitudes and behavior. That spring, he published a widely publicized study in Science about an experiment done at the Utrecht train station showing that a trash-filled environment tended to bring out racist tendencies in individuals. ...

On his return trip to Tilburg, Stapel stopped at the train station in Utrecht. This was the site of his study linking racism to environmental untidiness, supposedly conducted during a strike by sanitation workers. In the experiment described in the Science paper, white volunteers were invited to fill out a questionnaire in a seat among a row of six chairs; the row was empty except for the first chair, which was taken by a black occupant or a white one.

Stapel and his co-author claimed that white volunteers tended to sit farther away from the black person when the surrounding area was strewn with garbage. Now, looking around during rush hour, as people streamed on and off the platforms, Stapel could not find a location that matched the conditions described in his experiment.

“No, Diederik, this is ridiculous,” he told himself at last. “You really need to give it up.” ...

In reality, Stapel had simply made up all the data for this, his most popular study, and at least 54 others. He never carried out the studies; he just typed plausible sounding numbers into his computer.

Not surprisingly, the quasi-bogus field of "priming" attracted Stapel, where, apparently, he first started to get creative.

While there, Stapel began testing the idea that priming could affect people without their being aware of it. ... The experiment — and others like it — didn’t give Stapel the desired results, he said. He had the choice of abandoning the work or redoing the experiment. But he had already spent a lot of time on the research and was convinced his hypothesis was valid. “I said — you know what, I am going to create the data set,” he told me.

Sitting at his kitchen table in Groningen, he began typing numbers into his laptop that would give him the outcome he wanted. He knew that the effect he was looking for had to be small in order to be believable; even the most successful psychology experiments rarely yield significant results. The math had to be done in reverse order: the individual attractiveness scores that subjects gave themselves on a 0-7 scale needed to be such that Stapel would get a small but significant difference in the average scores for each of the two conditions he was comparing. He made up individual scores like 4, 5, 3, 3 for subjects who were shown the attractive face. “I tried to make it random, which of course was very hard to do,” Stapel told me.

Doing the analysis, Stapel at first ended up getting a bigger difference between the two conditions than was ideal. He went back and tweaked the numbers again. It took a few hours of trial and error, spread out over a few days, to get the data just right.

He said he felt both terrible and relieved. The results were published in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2004. “I realized — hey, we can do this,” he told me.
Stapel’s career took off. He published more than two dozen studies while at Groningen, many of them written with his doctoral students. They don’t appear to have questioned why their supervisor was running many of the experiments for them. Nor did his colleagues inquire about this unusual practice.

In 2006, Stapel moved to Tilburg, joining Zeelenberg. Students flocked to his lab, and he quickly rose in influence. In September 2010, he became dean of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences. He could have retreated from active research to focus on administration, but, he told me, he couldn’t resist the allure of fabricating new results. He had already made up the data for the Utrecht train-station study and was working on the paper that would appear in Science the following year. Colleagues sought him out to take part in new collaborations. ...

The key to why Stapel got away with his fabrications for so long lies in his keen understanding of the sociology of his field. “I didn’t do strange stuff, I never said let’s do an experiment to show that the earth is flat,” he said. “I always checked — this may be by a cunning manipulative mind — that the experiment was reasonable, that it followed from the research that had come before, that it was just this extra step that everybody was waiting for.”

Obviously, with his famous study of white racism at the Utrecht train station, it helps to deliver lessons that the world wants to hear. The problem for honest social scientists is that large parts of reality are more or less off limits. Nobody wants to hear honest, wide-ranging truths about race these days.

For example, to this day, we constantly read denunciations of the IQ researcher Sir Cyril Burt (1883-1971), despite the murkiness of the story. Why? Because his results disputed the idea that heredity plays no role of intelligence. Similarly, the saintly Arthur Jensen was largely shoved down the memory hole so that we had to get a drive going just to get the great man obituarized when he died last year.

Yet, we see the 1960's work of Rick Heber of the Milwaukee Project enthusiastically cited in the NYT a generation after Heber went to prison for fraud.  In Nicholas D. Kristof's 4/15/2009 column in the NYT, he wrote:

"Professor Nisbett strongly advocates intensive early childhood education because of its proven ability to raise I.Q. and improve long-term outcomes. The Milwaukee Project, for example, took African-American children considered at risk for mental retardation and assigned them randomly either to a control group that received no help or to a group that enjoyed intensive day care and education from 6 months of age until they left to enter first grade.

By age 5, the children in the program averaged an I.Q. of 110, compared with 83 for children in the control group. Even years later in adolescence, those children were still 10 points ahead in I.Q."

From the Concise Encyclopedia of Special Education (latest edition 2002):

"The term Milwaukee Project is the popular title of a widely publicized program begun in the mid-1960s as one of many Great Society efforts to improve the intellectual development of low-achieving groups. It was headed by Rick Heber of the University of Wisconsin (UW), Madison, who was also director of the generously funded Waisman Institute in Madison. The Milwaukee Project was a small study with some 20 experimental subjects and 20 control subjects. It was not reported on by the investigators in any refereed scientific journals, yet its cost was some $14 million, mostly in federal funds, and its fame was international, since it claimed to have moved the IQs of its subject children from the dull-normal range of intelligence to the superior range of intelligence. ...

Enthusiasm, controversy, and scandal subsequently surrounded the history of the project. Its claimed success was hailed by famous psychologists and by the popular media. Later in the project, Heber, the principal investigator, was discharged from UW, Madison and convicted and imprisoned for large-scale abuse of federal funding for private gain. Two of his colleagues were also convicted of violations of federal laws in connection with misuse of project funds. …. However, the project received uncritical acceptance in many college textbooks in psychology and education."

Why? Because there is a market for lies.


Michael Gove is winning the hearts of British  state school heads

Teaching unions don’t want you to know, but head teachers support Michael Gove's education reforms

Michael Gove gave a seminal though little-reported speech last Thursday, his clearest statement yet of his aim for politicians to hand back the education system to the professionals, as long as they maintain the highest academic standards and prove worthy of the trust placed in them. The national curriculum he is introducing should perhaps be the last imposed from the centre; thereafter he wants schools themselves to develop a variety of high grade curricula.

Mr Gove is going way beyond anything Margaret Thatcher achieved in her 11 years of devolving power from government at the centre. No education secretary in the modern era has matched his vision of a largely autonomous education system in which individual schools, heads and teachers are given back their independence and creativity. Only by releasing dynamism in this way does he believe that British schools will be able to compete with the best in Shanghai, Singapore and Scandinavia.

As Mr Gove told his audience in Nottingham, he wants to sweep away the whole structure that has underpinned schools since the war. Schools themselves should conduct research into what produces great teaching and learning, rather than leaving such studies to universities, which he believes have offered little of practical value in terms of improving schools. Leaders should be trained within schools rather than being sent away to acquire abstract diplomas. Teachers should equally be trained within the schools themselves, rather than learning how to teach in university education departments. He wants schools to help each other to raise standards rather than rely on local authorities. All of this is to be achieved by schools becoming “teaching schools”, a system he conceived and which he sees as akin to teaching hospitals. He was in Nottingham to address the latest cohort of heads whose schools had been accepted on to the programme.

I was in the audience because Wellington College is among the first independent schools to join this programme. I was surprised and delighted by what he said, but was even more astonished by the reactions of my 150 fellow heads from the state sector in the audience. I have been used to state school heads denigrating education secretaries, above all if they are Tories. But most of the audience listened appreciatively, and the questions were supportive and enthusiastic.

Mr Gove hated the close relationship the trade union leaders had with Labour before 2010 – the union leaders even had a pass to roam anywhere in the Education Department. His principal targets in his speech were thus the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the NASUWT, which he described as “increasingly out of touch with the profession as a whole… The leadership teams of the NUT and the NASUWT have demanded their members take industrial action – a work-to-rule – for reasons that are obscure to me but seem to amount to: 'We don’t like the last 25 years of education reform, why can’t we party like it’s 1968?’” He senses that the public are becoming tired of the constant negative attitude of the unions to academies, free schools, lesson observation by teachers and curricula and exam reforms. His solution is to undercut the unions with a new body called the Royal College of Teachers, which would lead teachers as a profession just as the Bar Council and Law Society do with lawyers, and the 15 or so Royal Colleges do with different parts of the medical profession. Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, is contemptuous, believing such a body could not replace a union in fighting for the best conditions for teachers and learners.

“The best thing this Government could do for education,” one state head told me, “would be to abolish the teaching unions outright. The NUT and NASUWT are the worst.” Another said: “The trade union leaders are 100 years out of date: the world has moved on. We are now professionals and they have to reform or die.” An independent school colleague who does much work with state schools said: “The biggest reason why independent schools are so far ahead is that we have so little to do with unions at national level: their negativity and time-watching has held back the achievement of state school children.”

Heads are frightened to say this in public because of fears of reprisals by unions. “They can be very intimidating. If a union decides to target your school, you’re in trouble,” a head told me. Most of those I spoke to draw a distinction between the union leaders and the representatives on the ground, for whom they have much more time. This is certainly my experience: I have often found union representatives to be sensible and constructive. Many heads think they deserve better leaders at the top, who fight for the interests of children without the baggage of ideology, and who don’t resort to strikes. Old-style teaching unions may well be drinking in the last chance saloon unless they can modernise.

A battle royal is being fought for the heart and soul of schools. Mr Gove’s vision, which is shared by some key Labour figures, including Lord Adonis, will probably win the day. A significant number of state school heads and teachers still loathe it, but he is making headway. If Mr Gove can listen as carefully and respectfully to heads as he did last Thursday, he may well carry the day.


Australia: Antisemitic students at Uni NSW

BDS action at UNSW has turned ugly, with anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denying material appearing on a Facebook page opposing the opening of a Max Brenner chocolate shop on campus. Postings on a Facebook page promoting today's protest have attacked "Jews and Jew lovers" and said the figure of six million Jews murdered by Nazi Germany was an exaggeration.

PRO-PALESTINE student activists will protest outside a chocolate shop on the campus of a Sydney university, claiming it has links to alleged Israeli war crimes.

Tuesday's rally at noon (AEST) has been organised by Students For Justice in Palestine (SJP) UNSW, with 175 people indicating on the group's Facebook page that they will attend.

The group says the Max Brenner brand is owned by the Strauss Group, a corporation which sponsors the Golani and Givati Brigades of the Israeli Defence Force.

"These brigades have committed war crimes against Palestinians in Gaza and are involved in Israel's continual ethnic cleansing of Palestine," the page says.

"Students and staff of conscience demand that the Max Brenner be shut down! We don't want companies that endorse the Apartheid state of Israel and it's Apartheid practices."

In response to the campaign, a rival Facebook page has been set up called Defend Max Brenner at UNSW that includes a petition under the heading "Don't let them take our chocolate".

The rival pro-chocolate store group says they are students who believe Israeli businesses should not be targeted because of their national origin.

They say Max Brenner Chocolate is Australian-owned and most UNSW students support the store being on campus.

By Tuesday morning, the SJP Facebook had 387 "likes" while 335 people had "liked" the pro-Brenner page.


Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Heretical Scientists Purged from Academia

Kerry Bolton

The Stalin and Hitler regimes were both noted for their repression of scientists and intellectuals who did not toe their respective party lines.

Many Left-wing academics, centered on the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory, were sponsored to leave Germany and emigrate to the US, where they took over the social sciences and created a virtual totalitarianism of their own in American academia.[1] This has often been referred to as “cultural Marxism” but has come to be popularly termed “Political Correctness.”[2] Ironically, those who fled a totalitarian regime laid the foundations for a system that is intolerant of views that do not accord with their central dogma, namely that man is shaped by environment rather than genes and is thus infinitely malleable; therefore, all men are potentially equal.

Essentially the same position was insisted upon in the USSR, to the extent that Mendelian genetics was banned as heretical and replaced by the neo-Lamarckian doctrine of a charlatan, Trofim Lysenko, an obscure plant breeder from Odessa who almost brought Soviet agriculture to collapse by his insistence that new stains of crops could be created by environmental conditioning. Lysenko claimed that one species of wheat could be converted to another by subjecting it to external influences, a process he called “vernalization.” Thereby, winter wheat could be transformed into spring wheat by subjecting it to cold, which would shock it into germinating another variety. Those Soviet scientists who rejected Lysenko’s ideas were removed from their positions. In 1940 N. I. Vavilov, first president of the Academy of Agricultural Sciences, whose team proved that Lysenko’s notions on wheat breeding were fallacious, was arrested, and he died of a heart attack in solitary confinement in 1943. Mendelian genetics was smeared as “Nazi,” and the Seventh International Congress of Genetics, which was to be held in Moscow in 1937, was cancelled.[3]

Western Repression

Nonetheless, while the USSR eventually freed itself from the Lysenko dogma, its Western equivalent, the cultural anthropology of Franz Boas[4] et al., and the sociology of the Frankfurt School of Theodor Adorno, et al.[5] has remained dominant in Western academia. Those who challenge these dogmas are smeared and purged.

Repression of heretical scientists in the West might be more subtle (but not invariably so), such as the denial of funds if research does not accord with orthodoxy. It was the imposition of such biases in funding that prompted the formation of the Pioneer Fund in New York in 1937, “to advance the scientific study of heredity and human differences,” by providing grants to institutions for specific studies that are unable to obtain money from “‘government sources or from larger foundations.” Recipients have included H. J. Eysenck, Arthur Jensen, William Shockley, Ernest van der Haag, and J. Philippe Rushton.[6] Most or all of these scientists have been subjected to verbal and physical assaults for their research in a situation that shows that the bounds of scholarly inquiry in the West are very limited. The Pioneer Fund comments on this situation:

Some of those who strongly oppose behavior genetic and psychometric research have sometimes made bizarre and false charges against scientists who conduct these studies, subjecting them to harassment, including dismissal and threats of dismissal, stalled promotions, mob demonstrations, and threats of physical violence, even death. Some physical attacks have actually occurred. These politically motivated attacks on the Pioneer Fund and its grantees are documented in The New Know-Nothings by Morton Hunt, and Race, Intelligence and Bias in Academe by Roger Pearson.[7]

Much more HERE

Why Liberals Think Being Educated Means Being Liberal

If you’ve been reading about the so-called Common Core State Standards Initiative, you know that conservatives have already pegged this proposed national curriculum as yet another attempt to define the education of our children in terms of the doctrines of liberalism.

Conservatives are right. But they are, perhaps, wrong about liberals’ motives which are, if understood in a larger historical context, less sinister than they are made out to be (although no less wrongheaded, for all that).

I offer a seemingly liberal explanation—they can’t help it. Liberals think being educated means becoming liberal, moving from darkness to light, and so whenever they undertake education reform, it means redefining education by the lights of liberalism.

How this occurred is rather complicated, but if conservatives want to push back against liberals in regard to education, they’d better know the full story.

The story begins with the takeover of our university system—not in the 1960s but a full century before that. To make a long story short, in the early 1800s, American colleges were defined by Christianity, and in fact, most were defined denominationally. But America had no graduate schools, and therefore those desiring to move up the academic rung had to travel to Europe to earn a Ph.D.

But Europe’s universities, especially those in Germany which were by far the most prestigious, were already given over to radical Enlightenment thought that defined secular liberalism. To be educated at the highest level—and the highest level was defined by these German universities—meant to be liberal.

When these freshly minted Ph.D.’s came back, they were entirely defined, intellectually, by the assumptions and goals of liberalism. They had imbibed two centuries of European liberalism as the “latest” thought—Rousseau, Spinoza, Hegel, D. F. Strauss, Marx, Darwin, Spencer, Comte, etc. They became the first radicals at our universities who believed—firmly, deeply, and all too predictably—that “to be educated” meant “to subscribe to the most radical liberal views.” And they were ready to launch a top-down revolution of benighted American society.

Again, not in the 1960s but beginning just after the 1860s.

They weren’t taking over existing graduate programs. Rather, they became the first faculty of all of America’s newly constructed graduate programs. They were the intellectual elite. They thereby defined what it meant to be educated with almost no resistance.

The first generation of graduate professors spawned a second generation of graduate professors and a new generation of undergraduate professors. The generations continued, second to third, third to fourth, and so on.

Liberalism spread at the top as students of liberal professors became professors to the next generation of students to be liberalized. Liberal Arts thereby became the Art of Becoming Liberal.

Two further “developments” ensured that being educated meant becoming liberal. The first was the consequent takeover of public education by liberalism. Public education in America had been, for some time, rooted in local schools overseen by those intent on young minds being formed by a classical, Christian education—the so-called “Common School” movement.

When graduates from our liberal-dominated universities started pouring forth, they immediately targeted public schooling as the next area ripe for revolution. Liberal elites started taking over the National Education Association (which had originally been Christian) in the early 1880s, and—as you’ve guessed—started a top-down liberal revolution in our public education system. In fact, the push for nationally-controlled education that began in the early 1900s as part of Progressivism was, in large part, understood as a vehicle for the evangelization of liberal views.

Which brings us to a second “development.” It is no accident that liberal Progressives wanted the federal government to pour money into higher education. The flood of federal aid to higher education, beginning with FDR and rising dramatically with LBJ’s Higher Education Act of 1964, ensured that more and more students would go to college. As a result, the number of Americans attending college ballooned accordingly.

That seems like a good thing—until you understand that higher education was, by this time, stoutly liberal. What that endless flow of federal aid paid for, and still pays for, is the transformation of young minds under the mentorship of the liberal intellectual elite.

It really was, and is, a conspiracy. Think of the obvious: the union of enormous federal money for higher education and a liberal elite ensconced at the universities. The result is that, whatever students may happen to go into college believing, they come out liberals.

That’s why liberals truly, sincerely believe that the more education you get, the more liberal you’ll be.

That’s why liberals proudly brag about the correlation between having liberal views and having advanced degrees.

That’s why they can’t help but think that reforming education means one and only one thing—making it liberal.


Scandal of the British university students who get less than 100 hours' teaching a year

Huge differences in the face-to-face teaching time students receive at Britain's top universities have been exposed by new official figures.

Some undergraduates – paying tuition fees of £9,000 a year – get fewer than half the hours of lectures, seminars and tutorials than others studying the same subject at another university.  

Critics say the disparities mean many are getting a 'very raw deal' and accuse some universities of  failing to offer value for money.

The new figures, compiled from statistics on Government website Unistats, show that one of the widest gaps involves undergraduates studying history at York University, who spend just eight per cent of their course in lectures and seminars, with the rest in 'independent' study.

This is fewer than 100 hours a year 'contact' time with academics and works out at a cost of nearly £100 an hour.  But if they are reading the same subject at University College London, they will receive more than  triple the face-to-face teaching hours, at a rate of about £28 an hour.

In other examples, politics students at Leeds University and theology students at Sheffield spend ten per cent of their time in face-to-face teaching – about 120 hours of  lectures and tutorials a year – while their counterparts at Liverpool and Manchester enjoy double that.

At some newer universities, where the ability of the intake is more mixed and teaching takes priority over research, contact time tends to be greater.

Professor Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, said: 'Some students are getting a very raw deal.

The temptation of these universities is to free-up staff to concentrate on their own research, which tends to be more lucrative than teaching.'

Anthony Seldon, the master of leading independent school Wellington College, Berkshire, said: 'The majority of students have a tremendous time at university and are appreciative of that.

'But increasingly we hear of disappointment in the low level of demand placed on them and the lack of quality time with academics and personal attention.'

One history student in his second year at York said: 'We all left school at the same level but friends at Oxbridge and other universities are working much more intensively than us – but we pay the same fees.'

The lack of face-to-face teaching on some courses has been one of the biggest causes of complaints by  students.

'However, official figures have become available only in recent months on the website after Ministers insisted families had the right to make comparisons before choosing a course.

York University's history department said it offered one-to-one  drop-in sessions and dissertation supervision with academics that was not reflected in the statistics.

Leeds said its courses 'deliberately involve independent study alongside teaching from some of the most respected academics in the world' to allow students to 'think critically'.


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Government paranoia in Chicago: Teacher suspended after showing students garden tools

The intemperate, extreme nature of today's education establishment just keeps getting more and more absurd, as evidenced by details of a recently filed lawsuit surrounding claims that a teacher was suspended after bringing garden-variety tools to class.

Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute, a civil rights-oriented public interest legal organization, filed the suit on behalf of Doug Bartlett, a 17-year veteran teacher, after he was suspended by officials at the Washington Irving Elementary School in Chicago for bringing wrenches, pliers and screwdrivers to class as part of a "tool discussion," reports.

Those tools, according to school officials, are weapons, you see, and as such, are not permitted on campus grounds.

From the news site:

"Despite the fact that all potentially hazardous items were kept out of the students' reach, school officials at Washington Irving Elementary School informed...Bartlett, a 17-year veteran in the classroom, that his use of the tools as visual aids endangered his students. Bartlett was subsequently penalized with a four-day suspension without pay - charged with possessing, carrying, storing or using a weapon."

Again, you just can't make this stuff up.

According to his complaint, Bartlett says he "suffered humiliation, embarrassment, mental suffering, and lost wages." He is seeking "nominal compensatory damages," as well as the removal of the suspension from his employment record.

"This school district's gross overreaction to a simple teaching demonstration on basic tools such as wrenches and pliers underscores exactly what is wrong with our nation's schools," said Rutherford Institute President John Whitehead. "What makes this case stand out from the rest is that this latest victim of zero tolerance policies run amok happens to be a veteran school teacher."

As stated, none of the students had any access to the tools. When they were not being used, they were secured in a toolbox on a high shelf that was clearly out of the reach of students. Bartlett's only purpose in bringing them was to have a discussion with his students about their proper use.

Shame on him for wanting to teach kids how a screwdriver works.

"This is a suit for violation for Plaintiff's constitutional due process rights resulting from the overzealous application of political correctness," says the complaint, which also notes that two of the "tools" Bartlett brought with him were a pocket knife and box cutter - the "weapons," per the school.

On August 8, 2011, in connection with a required "tool discussion" included in his teaching curriculum, Plaintiff displayed to his second-grade students several garden-variety tools, including a box cutter, a 2.25" pocketknife, wrenches, screwdrivers, and pliers," the complain says. "The visual aids were used in an effort to facilitate student understanding and remembrance of the curriculum. As he displayed the box cutter and pocketknife, Plaintiff specifically described the proper uses of these tools. Neither of these items was made accessible to the students."

It goes onto say that a complaint against Bartlett was lodged Aug. 19. He "was charged with possessing, carrying, storing, or using a weapon; negligently supervising children; inattention to duty; violating school rules; and repeated flagrant acts."

The school's definition of a weapon is extremely broad. According to the complaint, which quoted from the Student Handbook, a weapon is described as:

"Any object that is commonly used to inflict bodily harm, and/or an object that is used or intended to be used in a manner that may inflict bodily harm, even though its normal use is not as a weapon."

Bartlett said he never had any intention of using any of his tools as weapons, nor did he think he was subject to suspension and other disciplinary action for bringing tools to his class for what turns out to be a mandatory part of school curriculum, according to the suit.

But in today's breathless, hyper-paranoid "learning environment," all we are really teaching our kids is to be afraid. Of everything.  That's the real crime.


Four in ten British students may default on their loans: Treasury fear funding system is unsustainable

Four out of ten student loans may never be repaid, amid fears that university funding is becoming unsustainable.

The Treasury is said to be concerned that the new system – which sees students borrow up to £9,000 a year for their course fees – will not recoup its costs.

Officials anticipated that 28 per cent of loans would never be repaid. It is now understood that their estimate stands at 40 per cent.

From last September, the maximum amount universities could charge for tuition was nearly trebled from £3,290 to £9,000. This leaves students with the prospect of £36,000 of debt for a four-year course, before living costs are taken into account.

And graduate salaries have fallen dramatically in recent years, impairing their ability to repay the loans when they start work.

Ministers said it was necessary to put higher education ‘on a more sustainable footing’ – but some claim they fear the loans could increase the cost to the taxpayer in the long-term.

A senior source said yesterday: ‘The Treasury are all  over this and are extremely worried about the viability  of the system. They are taking a very  long-term view but their  estimate for non-repayment  keeps going up.

‘It is not helped by the recession, which means graduate incomes are going to be lower than they hoped.’

An independent schools expert also raised fears that teachers are not giving pupils and parents enough information about the debts they could accumulate by going  to university.

Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the Independent Schools Council and a former headmaster of Harrow, said students on four-year courses would have debts of up to £80,000 on graduation, once borrowing for living costs was included.

He added: ‘If you were an adult taking on this size mortgage you would go through a rigorous process which guarantees you understand what you are taking on. That is  not happening with 17 and 18-year-olds.’

And Sir Steve Smith, vice-chancellor of Exeter University and a former president  of Universities UK, said it  was ‘inconceivable’ the Government could reopen the issue of university fees before the next election.

He said: ‘The only way you can save money is to cut student numbers going to university or alter payment terms. Either is a political no-go area before an election.’

Currently all UK and EU  students can apply for a loan, paid to their university or college, of up to £9,000 which they pay back.   They can also get a loan  for living costs of up to £5,500 – or £7,675 a year if they live  in London.

Students must pay back the loans only when they earn more than a certain amount, which is currently £16,365.

For those under the fee system who will graduate in  2015-16, the threshold will be £21,000 and they will have to pay back their loan at a rate  of 9 per cent of their earnings every year.

A Treasury spokesman said: ‘The Coalition transformed university funding to make it more sustainable, progressive and transparent.

‘According to the OECD, we have the most advanced student support system of any comparable country.’


Fired! Governors of British school that covered up poor standards: Parents fooled into believing pupils were doing well

A school's entire board of governors has been sacked after teachers were caught marking work too generously to cover up poor standards.

Parents were being fooled into thinking their children were doing well by teachers who have not had their work monitored properly for years.

Ofsted inspectors only discovered what was happening when they looked at pupils’ written work at Bradford Moor Primary School – where only 2 per cent of pupils speak English as their native language.

The school has now been placed in  special measures and the education authority dumped the entire board of governors last week.

Two years ago the Labour-controlled council praised the school as an example of successful multi-racial education. But since then the school has come under fire for falling standards.

In February, a parents’ group staged a protest over the school’s scrapping of sets in favour of mixed-ability classes.

There has also been criticism over resources being spent on interpreters for children and parents.

Most pupils at the primary school come from a Pakistani background and speak Urdu or Punjabi. Only nine out of 470 have English as their first language.

Christopher Keeler, who led the Ofsted inspection, said in his report: ‘Evidence from looking at the work in pupils’ books indicates that teachers’ assessments of what pupils can do are too generous, particularly in writing.  ‘This gives a misleading impression of standards to pupils and their parents.’

And in a withering attack on staff, the report added: ‘Some teachers lack the level of subject knowledge, experience and confidence required to teach either literacy or numeracy effectively.’

Inspectors concluded that planning and support for pupils was ‘not good enough’ and the governors had failed to ‘challenge’ the poor standards.

The report said pupils started school with ‘skills that are much less developed than usual for their age’ and standards continued to fall over the next three years.

They identified basic reading and writing as well as communication and social development as being particularly poor in the early years.  Even Year 6 pupils were well below average in maths and reading.

A new headteacher is now in place and council bosses are waiting for the go-ahead from the Department of Education to bring in a new team of governors.

Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP, said yesterday: ‘It is not surprising children who have English as a second language will struggle in English as a subject.’

He said money spent on interpreters ‘would be better spent on teaching,’ adding: ‘This is a classic example of what you get when you put political correctness before results.’

Bradford councillor Ralph Berry said: ‘We have got a school which has been through a period of change and difficulty.  'But we have a new head who has come in to address some of the long-standing issues and we are really turning things around.’


Monday, April 29, 2013

At last, it’s official: spending more doesn’t make public services better

New research suggests that cutting government down to size will leave Britain stronger and more socially cohesive

Last year, the Department for Education asked a firm of accountants to trawl its vast pupil database and find the secret of great state schools. Deloitte had access to the records of almost half a million pupils, factoring in everything from postcodes to ethnicity. It could examine the bizarre variation in spending per pupil, ranging from £4,500 in Lyme Regis to £10,000 in Salford. And the study would be useful in light of the Coalition’s policy for a “pupil premium”, offering £900 to help the poorest pupils. Or so it was assumed.

When the results came back, the conclusion was extraordinary. As one would expect, schools marked “outstanding” tended to achieve the best results. Poverty mattered, but not as much as Deloitte had expected. The biggest surprise, though, was the money: no matter how you split the figures, the amount spent didn’t seem to make the blindest bit of difference. “There is no correlation at all,” it concluded, “between the level of per-pupil funding and educational outcomes.” This was seemingly not what a cash-hungry department wanted to hear. The report was parked in an obscure part of its website, with no public comment.

The study’s conclusions are, of course, rather devastating to the Liberal Democrats’ flagship idea of pupil premiums. Pupils trapped in a sink school are unlikely to be helped by a bit of extra cash poured into a dysfunctional system. But the policy will go ahead because David Laws, the schools minister, is under orders to bring back a “win” for his party. His boss, Nick Clegg, wants applause lines in speeches boasting about the help given to poorer pupils. The Deloitte report, of course, confirms what is obvious to most parents: ethos is what matters most – and you can’t buy a good ethos. Head teachers who turn around a school are utterly priceless, in every way.

So it emerges that the whole premise of Labour’s education policy – that cash matters most – was false. A succession of Labour ministers stood behind a podium and boasted about “investing” in schools – and they did. Spending per pupil doubled. But still, Britain hurtled down the international league tables. Of the last 34 official studies into English state schools, not one looked at funding per pupil. Gordon Brown did not want to know. He had drawn a dividing line with the Tories and he wanted it hammered home: if you care, you spend. If you’re cruel, you cut. And did this actually help schools? Mr Brown didn’t seem to care that much.

The cost of all this is now hideously clear. The Labour years were an astonishing experiment in expanding the size and scope of the state. Over the past decade, the British government grew faster than any major administration, anywhere, over any other decade – apart from those preparing for war. The NHS budget more than doubled, transport and education spending almost doubled and the welfare bill rose by 50 per cent. Forget about the bankers. This was the madness that led to the worst economic overheating in Britain’s modern history and, ergo, the worst recession in living memory. The debt, which will take a generation to tackle, will be Brown’s only legacy.

It goes way beyond education. Other evidence of the spending myth can be seen across government. The police did worse than anyone (apart from the military) from the Brown bonanza and they were not “protected” from cuts by the Coalition. Yet crime is one of the rare success stories. Earlier this week a study found that Britain has seen a sharper drop in crime than anywhere in Europe over the past decade. Yesterday, we learnt that reported crime plunged 8 per cent last year alone. There are no comparable boasts of improvement from an NHS whose budget has been pushed to a record high. The headlines are about A&E waiting rooms jam-packed because GPs refuse to work weekends.

The Labour spending experiment has proven that Ronald Reagan was right to compare government to a baby: endless appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other. There is nothing to show for all this feeding, except a big mess. It might be forgivable if the splurge had bought, for example, a world-class transport network or the smartest welfare system in the West. Instead, we ended up with the world’s most expensive poverty. The unreformed benefit system is an example of state spending inflicting actual harm on communities, incentivising family breakdown and paving a road to dependency rather than work.

And yet the Conservatives seem curiously unwilling to break free of the failed logic. When David Cameron says he has “protected health” by ensuring the NHS is more expensive year after year, he is following the false trail set by his predecessor. The idea of “protecting” health and schools because you like health and schools has been described by the former head of the Audit Commission, Steve Bundred, as “completely insane”. When George Osborne inherits a government budget that grew by 60 per cent under Labour, and still feels unable to cut faster than 1 per cent a year, it suggests he still feels himself to be a prisoner of the old logic. Even Barack Obama is making faster progress cutting his deficit.

It is growing ever harder for Ed Balls to portray Mr Osborne as a crazed ideologue. For three years, the shadow chancellor has been making the same charge: that the Conservatives worship at the altar of austerity, and that the cuts are crushing the recovery. Yet Osborne has been borrowing massively – at least £120 billion a year. The Coalition’s deficit reduction programme has been suspended for two years, so it’s hard to accuse him of doing it too quickly. If extra debt was going to stoke a recovery, it would have done so by now. It was perhaps not intentional, but Mr Osborne has tested Mr Balls’s plan to destruction.

Slowly, Mr Balls is starting to look like the crazed ideologue. Spending money is his only solution to every given problem. Privately, both Labour and Tory MPs regard him as David Cameron’s greatest electoral weapon. His claim that more ambitious saving will choke a recovery is contradicted not just by theory but by history: a European Commission analysis of 49 fiscal consolidations in 14 countries found that they were as likely to spur growth as depress it. Just like money and exam results, there is no magic link.

But the association between spending and progress was comprehensively disproved by the last government, and this is a point that the Chancellor ought to make more often. Austerity will not be a phase of his career, but the mission that will define British politics for this decade and perhaps beyond it. In his coming Spending Review, the Chancellor will be asking Britain to settle down to several more years of lower spending, so what he had hoped would be a one-off dose of medicine will become the new norm. It will be time for him to make the moral case for a smaller state.

The adjustment is painful, but cutting government down to size is not just something to be done at the behest of the bond markets. It will leave Britain a better, stronger and more socially cohesive country. We are moving too slowly down the road to fiscal sanity, but this is better than speeding towards the abyss. The alternative that Ed Balls offers – borrowing, spending and not caring if it works – now stands exposed as the most dangerous ideology of all.


The Student Loan Bubble: A Crisis the Government Created

Privately held student loan debt surpassed 1 trillion dollars last November. More money is owed in student loans than in privately held credit card debt. This past year, bank write-offs of student loans are up almost 35% from the previous year. Almost every single market signal indicates a growing student loan bubble is on the verge of popping. Many economists agree the student situation is very similar to the 2008 housing crisis; the student loan industry is still receiving massive subsidies and false incentives by the federal government. In order to fully understand the student loan crisis we must first look at why tuition is skyrocketing, look at cultural influences swaying kids towards college and then examine alternative methods of education that might offer solutions to the problems facing higher education.

Government backed subsidies have been one of the key reasons the cost of tuition has grown faster than inflation every year since 1981. The intention of government backed loans is to lower or control the cost of tuition as well as increase access to college for millions of young Americans. It is important to note that government primarily subsidizes the students not the universities themselves. Government gives students the cheap capital they need to attend high priced colleges. Most educational spending from the federal level goes towards increasing access to low interest loans, instead of trying tackle increasing tuition costs.

Since colleges have no trouble filling seats and getting people enrolled in their university, they have no incentive to cut costs. Until the demand for college decreases, the cost of college has no indication of going down soon. This allows universities to be exorbitantly wasteful in their pending habits for no matter how much they charge, students will continue to take out massive loans to attend their schools.

If it was not for the low interest loans offered by the government, many students would not be able to afford these highly inflated tuition costs from these universities. Looking back to the 2008 housing crisis, when we began to give loans out to people who could not afford them, we saw high rates of foreclosed homes and people not being able to make their mortgage payments. The exact same principle applies with student loans, government is incentivizing people to go to schools they cannot afford by pushing loans to people that have little chance of paying them back.

New reforms in the student loan industry after the passage of Obamacare have credit risks among young adults much more common. Included in the Affordable Healthcare Act was a clause that allowed students to sign off on major loans without a co-sign from a parent or guardian. Without parents cosigning with their children on loans, it is up to the student to make the payments on time and be able to pay off their own student loan debt. This has resulted in massive amounts of extra loans being taken out under the students with increasing cases of non-payment.

Very few people saw the housing bubble coming, but countless economists and pundits are sounding the alarm about the upcoming student loan bubble bursting. Despite the poor governmental policy, there is always an underlying cultural aspect that we must challenge in regards to higher education. There is still a belief in the US that everyone must go to a four year university in order to be successful. This thought process is rooted in the same perverse belief as “everyone must own a home to live the American way of life.”

Make no mistake, the government created the housing bubble, just as it has created the student loan bubble. But we can’t ignore the fact that our culture has been pushing college beyond its limits the past 30 years. If we continue to fuel this idea that college is a mandatory right of passage, the bubble will only continue to get bigger, until it finally pops.

We lived through the perils of 2008. It is never pretty when a bubble bursts. But imagine being back in 2006 and knowing the bubble was coming. It is becoming more accepted that higher education is approaching a crossroads, and if we don’t approach this head on, we will live 2008, all over again.


Australia: Students face weekend detention and community service in crackdown on behavioural problems in Queensland schools

SATURDAY detentions and community service will be handed out to unruly children in the biggest shake-up of school discipline since the banning of the cane.

Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said the measures were part of his Government's bid to crack down on behavioural problems in Queensland state schools.

A ban on detentions of more than 20 minutes at lunchtime or 30 minutes after school will also be lifted and work is under way to fast-track the exclusion process. It can take principals up to 25 days to exclude a child.

"This is about reducing the number of exclusions by giving principals more tools to nip poor behaviour in the bud before it escalates," Mr Langbroek said of the new measures, which are expected to be in place by January.

"I reckon some are going to get a shock the first time the principal says 'well, you're in for lunch' or 'I expect you to be here on Saturday morning'."

The move is part of the Newman Government's $535 million education reforms and comes after figures released earlier this month showed Queensland schools handed out more than 64,000 suspensions and exclusions last year.

The number of exclusions have jumped more than 50 per cent since 2008, from 804 to 1331 in 2012, the figures showed.

Mr Langbroek said schools would also be encouraged to partner with councils and community groups to enable problem students to undertake community service.

"It gives students a different perspective and maybe helps them to learn a bit more respect for others," he said of the community service interventions.

"The principals can decide exactly what it is they are going to do."

Teachers will be paid for the extra time they may need to spend supervising children handed a Saturday detention but Mr Langbroek said the cost would be covered within the department's existing budget.

"It's not going to be like The Breakfast Club. We don't expect there to be a lot of Saturday detentions happening around the state," he said.

Principals will also be encouraged to establish Discipline Improvement Plans or contracts of student behaviour with parents.

While the government is handing schools more power to discipline their students, Mr Langbroek said they would be audited this year and next to ensure the powers were not being abused. He also expected the number of exclusions to fall.

"We want to give the principals more tools . . . but we also need to make sure they are doing it correctly," he said.

The number of alternative learning centres for students with complex behaviour needs will also be expanded but Mr Langbroek said it was yet to be determined how many extra centres would be rolled out.

The Queensland Teachers' Union has called for more positive learning centres.

Queensland Secondary Principals' Association president Norm Fuller said earlier this month he would welcome "greater flexibility around student detention", but it is unknown if he would support Saturday detentions.

Mr Langbroek said he hoped the state's principals and teachers would embrace the changes.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Middle School Changes Policy After Student Sent to Office for Wearing `Support Our Troops' T-Shirt.on an Army Base

A Kentucky middle school has changed its dress code after a student was sent to the office for wearing a "Support Our Troops" T-shirt, a spokeswoman told TheBlaze.

That school would be Mahaffey Middle School, which is actually located on the Fort Campbell Army base.

Student Cejai Taylor told Nashville Fox affiliate WZTV she wore the T-shirt right after her dad, Sgt. James Taylor, was sent on his sixth deployment overseas. Mahaffey requires all students to wear collared shirts, but has dress-down days once a month where they can wear jeans and school-approved shirts. The "Support Our Troops" shirt was not approved, and a teacher saw Taylor wearing it and told her to go to the office.

Her mother, Cassandra Taylor, said she chose to pick her daughter up from school instead of making her change her clothes.

"I'm not going to make her change, she's standing her ground and as her mother and as a military wife I support my child," Cassandra Taylor said. "It's a military school on a military base."

Cindy Gibson, a spokeswoman for the Department of Defense education system, told TheBlaze on Wednesday that "patriotic T-shirts" will now be permitted on dress-down days.

"We've incorporated patriotic T-shirts [into the dress code]", Gibson said.
Middle School Changes Policy After Student Sent to Office for Wearing Support Our Troops T Shirt

Image source: WZTV

Gibson said the principal will be sending a letter home to parents on Thursday detailing the policy change.

Cejai Taylor told WZTV she has spoken with her father since the initial T-shirt flap.

"He says he's very proud of me for standing up for what I believe in, and he can't wait to see me," she said.


Schools should exclude children who have not had MMR jab, says leading scientist

Sounds fair.  Ignoramuses should not be allowed to endanger other people's kids

Schools should have the right to refuse access to pupils who have not had the MMR jab, a leading scientist has said.

Biologist Dr Craig Venter said that vaccinations should be made compulsory for children who wish to attend school and benefit from the NHS.

His statement comes after health officials have launched a new programme to help stem the measles outbreak in South Wales and stop it spreading more widely across the UK.

Dr Venter was the first scientist to successfully sequence the human genome as well as create a cell with an artificial genome.

'People think they're making individual decisions for themselves and their family not to get vaccinated,' Dr Venter told The Times. 'It's not just an individual choice, you're a hazard to society.'

He said that unvaccinated individuals are putting the population at risk.

The number of people infected with the virus in Swansea in now approaching 900.  The city has been left especially vulnerable to measles since the 90s, when a local newspaper campaigned against the MMR vaccine.

There are now concerns the outbreak could spread to London.

David Salisbury, director of immunisation at the Department of Health said: 'What happened and continues to happen in Swansea could happen anywhere in England.

'I worry about London. It's a fast moving group of people, with new families coming in and families moving out. It is harder to track immunisation status.  Historically there is also a legacy of poorer immunisation.'

Health officials announced today that at least a million children and teenagers are to be vaccinated against measles in an attempt to stop expected outbreaks in England.

Some will never have had a jab, while others have only had the first of two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Many of those affected are teenagers who missed out on vaccination in the late 1990s and early 2000s when parents were concerned about a link between MMR and autism that has since been discredited.

Dr Venter also warned that low vaccination rates raised the prospect of circulating infections mutating into new forms. This could lead to current vaccines no longer offering protection, and putting the entire population at risk.

'Strains that could not develop in a population that was vaccinated could mutate and affect everybody whether they have been vaccinated or not," he added.

The Department of Health said increased vaccine level were proof that Dr Venter's proposal was unnecessary, arguing that it risked alienating parents.

However Dr Venter's call for a mandatory vaccination was supported by Rino Rappuoli, global head of vaccines research at Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics.

The two scientists were speaking yesterday at a House of Commons event to raise the profile of the first approved vaccine for Meningitis B, which they have jointly developed.


Education vouchers not implemented in Britain

Regrettably, one of the most sensible, pragmatic, and consequentially sound policy ideas of our time has never made it into policy - the education voucher.

The best version would be an education voucher, distributed annually to parents for each child, to be redeemed at any school of choice. In some cases, it would cover the full cost of a year's tuition, in others, it would contribute to the cost with the parent topping up the remainder. The purpose of implementing a voucher is twofold. Firstly, it would provide an introduction of free-market practices to the sector, without being so radical as to be a complete privatisation.

It retains the element of public sector provision that would prevent an outcry - so-called "free" provision, whilst enabling the positive consequences that would speak for themselves, and remind the populace that a sector can be productive, successful and efficient without government intervention. Correctly applied across, it could pave the way for the gradual but meaningful movement towards a more economically-free society.

Secondly, the policy would reinforce the choice element of demand. The government would not be permitted to stipulate which institutions the vouchers could be used at, only which child is to be registered for education. New private schools could establish themselves as educational institutions and accept the vouchers as full payment, providing direct competition with the state alternatives. Like other private schools, they would have the ability to earn profit, and so new entrants would enter the market if they felt they could favourably compare both financially, and qualitatively, with the incumbent state comprehensives, whilst turning a profit. They undoubtedly could.

The idea of parents being allowed to choose schools due to location ("catchment area") would be replaced by a business ethos - accepting parents and children, rather than turning them away based on their postcode. It would challenge the state-dominated status-quo.

Just like with most other service areas, people choose to purchase what gives them the most for their money. Educational quality is easier to measure than most, given as "quality" is based on exam results and league tables; this information about a school's achievements is readily available from numerous sources.

There's no reason for the State to maintain an iron-grip over how our children learn. Slowly, we can move to a situation where families choose and pay for the education provision themselves. This is the first step to getting there.