Wednesday, December 31, 2014

U.S. schools Don't Teach Kids to Read

A high school English teacher at Rosemount High School in Minnesota, which was called a "top-ranked school" by the Minnesota Department of Education, given the Blue Ribbon School of Excellence Award by the U.S. Department of Education and named a top school in the nation for 2014 by Newsweek Magazine, just wrote a shocking letter alerting parents and the public that her high school juniors can't read. Her letter, published by the Minnesota Star Tribune on Dec. 4, was eloquent, so I quote it verbatim.

"We are in the midst of one of the greatest literacy crises ever encountered, and we are fighting an uphill battle. Every day I experience firsthand what it means to be illiterate in a high school classroom. Average students with average abilities can fervently text away, but they cannot read."

She said some of her students just sleep away an assigned unit. Others resort to depression or aggression. She gave them a not very difficult test, but they couldn't read the test.

When she assigns her students a book to read, they often don't even try to read it. Ask them why and they say, "It's boring." She wrote that this translates into "It's too hard to read." The teacher appeals to parents and the public, saying, "I need your help."

Don't count on the shift to Common Core to teach school kids to read. Common Core will change the assigned stories and books, but it won't change the fact that elementary school kids are only taught how to memorize a few dozen "sight," mostly one-syllable, words, but not taught phonics in order to sound out the syllables and then read the bigger words in high school and college assignments.

Students are not assigned or motivated to read whole books. In the name of "close reading," they are given short so-called "informational" excerpts to read over and over in class, almost until they are memorized. You don't find the students going to the library to take out and read the classics, and students don't acquire the vocabulary necessary to do college work.

Limited reading skill means that what the students read is tightly controlled. Common Core has rewritten the history of America's founding to present James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and other Founders to fit the leftwing narrative of gender, race, class and ethnicity, and students have neither motivation nor skill to seek out the true history of the Founders.

Common Core does, however, find space for stories that many parents find morally objectionable, such as "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison.

The change from teaching school children to read by phonics and replacing phonics with the so-called "whole word" or "look-say" method was fully debunked in the landmark book "Why Johnny Can't Read" by Rudolph Flesch in 1955. Unfortunately, the truth had no impact on public schools, which stuck with the new method because it was part of "progressive" education. It was brought to Teachers College at Columbia University with a $3 million grant from John D. Rockefeller Jr., who then sent four of his five sons to be educated by Dewey's progressive ideas.

Publishers responded eagerly to the opportunity to sell new books to all elementary schools, and the "Dick and Jane" series seemed much more attractive than the widely used McGuffey readers. Reading suddenly appeared to become easy because the Whole Word method teaches the child to guess at the words from pictures, to memorize a few dozen one-syllable words that are used over and over again, and to substitute words that fit the context.

The "Dick and Jane" books were full of color pictures and only a couple of short sentences on every page. A typical page showed Dick and Jane on a seesaw. The kids could easily "read" the two sentences below: "See Dick up. See Jane down."

Nelson Rockefeller, who became governor of New York and ran three times for U.S. president, described his reading handicap in The Reading Teacher in March 1972: "I am a prime example of one who has had to struggle with the handicap of being a poor reader while serving in public office."

Rockefeller hired expensive speechwriters, but he said that many times he threw away the speech and told the audience he was just going to give his "spontaneous thoughts." He confessed that the real reason was that he could not do an adequate job of reading the speech prepared for him.

If parents want their children to be good readers, parents will have to do the teaching as I did with my six children. When the book I used was allowed to go out of print and its publisher went out of business, I wrote "First Reader" to teach phonics to my grandchildren at ages 5 or 6 (now available at and "Turbo Reader" for kids over age 8 (available at


Margaret Thatcher feared news middle school qualifications would lower school standards

She was right

Files released by the National Archives show the then prime minister believed exam results would be distorted by “biased” teachers helping teenagers with coursework
Margaret Thatcher attempted to put off the introduction of GCSEs because she feared the exams would lead to lower standards and a “can’t fail” mentality among pupils, newly released files show.

In comments which are likely to be seen by Conservatives as a further vindication of their sweeping reforms of the exams, the then prime minister said the system would allow results to be distorted by “biased” teachers helping teenagers with coursework.

Previously unseen papers show Mrs Thatcher warned six months before GCSEs replaced O-levels in 1986 that she did not “like the sound of the new exam”, and asked for its introduction to be delayed.

However she eventually concluded that to intervene would amount to a public “contradiction” of Keith Joseph, the education secretary and a close friend, and appear as if she was taking the side of teaching unions, which wanted more time to prepare for the new system. She therefore had “no option but to go ahead”, she told aides.

Her previously unknown concerns are revealed in official papers from 1986 released by the National Archive in Kew, west London.

Her fears appear to chime with the views of Conservatives about the GCSE system today - almost 30 years later.

Michael Gove, who was education secretary until the summer, is said to believe that the introduction of the exam was a “historic mistake” that has led to a dramatic fall in standards. Before stepping aside to become Chief Whip he set in train an overhaul of the curriculum which he said would address “the pernicious damage caused by grade inflation and dumbing down”.

GCSEs were eventually introduced in September 1986 with Kenneth Baker, now Lord Baker of Dorking, as education secretary, after Mr Joseph stepped down in May - weeks after his clash with Mrs Thatcher over the exams.

Mr Joseph had insisted that the new scheme was intended to better stretch teenagers, creating a tougher, “clearer and fairer” system. Under the old system, as part of which more academic teenagers took O-levels and others took CSEs, individual grades were awarded largely based on the relative performance of competing candidates.

GCSEs were intended to ensure a focus on “how much or how little pupils understand, know and can do”.

Mrs Thatcher, herself a former education secretary, raised her concerns about GCSEs with Mr Joseph in the spring of 1986. However on March 6 Mr Joseph wrote to her insisting she was “misleading herself” about the exams.

He insisted that the new system would “inject more rigour” and “use-able learning” and would be “a key instrument for improving standards”.

Mrs Thatcher marked his three-page briefing note with a series of hand-written annotations, complaining about his use of “an awful lot of high language” and questioning a number of his claims.

Mr Joseph said that under the O-level and CSE system pupils were “simply ranked in merit order, with little regard to how much or how little pupils understand, know and can do”.

But in a hand-written annotation to his letter Mrs Thatcher said: “This is not a correct judgement of the present examinations system. We were taught to think and apply 50 years ago.”

Mrs Thatcher was advised by the No 10 policy unit to postpone the new system until it was clear that it was “workable”. In one briefing note she was warned that “GCSE is an exam nobody will fail” and “does little for the lowest 30 per cent of students”. Implementing the new system in September was a “hopelessly unrealistic” prospect, an official said.

In a summary of Mrs Thatcher’s concerns, dated March 18 1986, Mark Addison, then her private secretary for home affairs, said the prime minister believed the new approach would lead to “lower standards; a shift away from the traditional approach to learning in favour of a ‘can’t fail’ mentality; assessment by the pupils’ own teachers with the consequent risk of introducing more bias.”

Mrs Thatcher had not, Mr Addison added, been impressed “by the jargon-soaked justifications” of the exam produced by Mr Joseph’s department.

She asked for implementation of the exam to be postponed for at least a year, in line with the demands of many teachers, to help ensure the syllabuses were “sufficiently rigorous” and the coursework “properly assessed”.

However in early April she acquiesced with Mr Joseph’s insistence that the Government should hold its course, agreeing with Tim Flesher, another of her private secretaries, that to back down would “look like taking the side of the unions”. “I agree - no option but to go ahead,” she said.

Asked about the disclosures, Lord Baker told the Telegraph: "She was concerned ... because she always felt that whenever you change anything in education it might be for the worse."

However, he added: "In defence of Keith I don't think she fully appreciated that the great thing about GCSEs is it did away with CSE, which was virtually valueless."

The standard of GCSEs was initially "high", Lord Baker added, saying there had been a "degeneration" in grades over time.


Australian teachers suffering under bureauracy and an old-fashioned industrial relations regime

Teachers in Australia's schools are suffering under an old-fashioned industrial relations regime and an out-dated salary structure according to new research published today by the free market think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs.

“Teachers are paid according to a ‘one size fits all’ model that pays the best and the worst teachers the same,” says John Roskam, Executive Director of the IPA.

“Promotion is based on time-served and the completion of box-ticking exercises rather than on the quality of teaching in the classroom.  For example, under existing regulations a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who wants to be a teacher must be paid the same as a 22 year-old inexperienced graduate.”

“The industrial relations regime that teachers work under means they sacrifice salary in exchange for more time off work.  For example, a teacher earning $75,000 a year has 11 weeks away from work and 17.5% holiday leave loading.  On a ‘standard year’ of 48 weeks work this equates to a salary of over $95,000 a year,” says Mr Roskam.

The report Freedom to Teach by IPA Research Fellows Vicki Stanley and Darcy Allen documents the 600 pages of regulations that stifle schools, teachers and principals.

“Teaching in Australia is managed as an industry according to systems established in the nineteenth-century.  If we are to provide young people with the best possible education we must think of teaching as a profession in which teachers are rewarded on the basis of their ability,” says John Roskam.

Key recommendations from the report include:

·       removing restrictions limiting the maximum amount classroom teachers can be paid

·       removing restrictions limiting the number of hours teachers can teach

·       allowing schools to make incentive payments to attract teachers to hard-to-staff schools


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top British universities 'ignoring final High School grades' in race to sign up bright students

Leading universities have been accused of undermining A-levels by accepting students before they sit their final exams in a “desperate” rush to fill places.

Research by the Telegraph shows universities are preparing to make increasing numbers of “unconditional offers” to sixth-formers next year.

Top research institutions including Birmingham, Lancaster, Nottingham, Leicester, Sussex and Queen Mary, University of London, will admit students en masse in some subjects without waiting for results in August.

Numbers are expected to significantly exceed the 12,000 unconditional offers made across the UK this year, with one university alone saying it will make 10,000 in 2015.

The move coincides with a government decision to abolish all restrictions on student recruitment in England for the first time in 2015 – creating a free market in undergraduate admissions.

It has led to intense competition between universities to sign up the most talented sixth-formers before they are attracted to opposing institutions.

In most cases, admissions tutors will make places available to candidates based on past performance in GCSEs and their predicted A-level grades, meaning students will win places even if they go on to fail their summer exams.

Universities insist the move is intended to reward students with potential while taking the pressure off teenagers in the final year of the sixth-form.

But there are fears that it will lead to a dramatic dip in performance in the last few months of school as students effectively “give up” on their A-levels.

A recent study by admissions experts warned that the system may provoke an “environment of reduced effort” where students “might stop trying hard”.

It was also claimed it could lead to "loss of credibility" at top universities and the sense that academics are "desperate to fill places".

One student told researchers: “If I was given an unconditional offer I wouldn’t bother working for my A-levels”.

According to UCAS, just over 20 universities made a record 12,000 unconditional offers between them to students starting courses this autumn. It represented a dramatic four-fold rise in just 12 months.

In 2012, Birmingham became the first institution to use the practice in a coordinated way by making 1,000 offers across 12 courses. This year, unconditional offers will be made to some 3,000 students – one-in-10 of the university’s total – in more than 50 separate subjects.

This includes chemistry, economics, English, geography, history, maths, modern languages and sociology.

For the first time this year, Lancaster has introduced a co-ordinated unconditional offer scheme, promising talented students places on 18 courses. It followed a trial in two departments last year.

Other institutions adopting unconditional offers in a systematic way in 2015 include two Russell Group universities – Nottingham and Queen Mary – along with Aston, Leicester, Sussex, Leeds Beckett and Birmingham City.

Most students have to make universities their “firm choice” on UCAS application forms as a condition of accepting an offer – effectively tying them into a place up to six months before courses start.

Aston said it was piloting an unconditional offer scheme “to reward academic excellence based on past performance and predicted grades” in one or two subjects in 2015.

Leicester said its unconditional offer programme was “not a short-cut and does not mean you can sit back and ignore your A-levels”, adding: “We will only make unconditional offers to students who we are absolutely certain will work hard and achieve excellent grades.”

Sussex said it offered unconditional places in all subjects other than medicine but insisted only the brightest 10 per cent of applicants were chosen based on previous GCSE results and AS-levels.

The move towards unconditional offers has been made as the government abolishes all controls on student recruitment for English universities in 2015.

It has already led to a more intense competition between institutions, with universities offering scholarships worth up to £10,000 and lucrative inducements such as free iPads, sports club membership and cheap accommodation to attract applicants.

But the unconditional offer system has been criticised by academics.

A report from Supporting Professionalism in Admissions – a university advisory group – suggested the system could have benefits, including acting as a way to increase student numbers and taking the pressure off sixth-formers as they approach their exams.

But it also listed a series of “threats” posed by the system. This included “perceived loss of credibility and face” and the possibility that universities’ “league table position may suffer if grades lower”.

It also said it may encourage an “environment of reduced effort” in the sixth-form.

Around 75 per cent of students and teachers responding to a SPA survey admitted the system meant sixth-formers “might stop trying hard” in the final year. Almost four-in-10 said universities making large numbers of unconditional offers were “desperate to fill places”.

One teacher told researchers: “I have seen students drop out of our programme once an unconditional offer has been received as they feel that it is pointless carrying on; they have nothing to gain.”

But another said: “It would take the pressure off students during their A-level year, which might mean they’d perform better anyway.”

Prof Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, said: “There is a real danger that this will lead to the final year being wasted. If final results no longer carry the weight you thought they would it is inevitable that many students are going to coast.”

But David Willetts, the former Universities Minister, and architect of the new admissions rules, said: “It all makes for a more competitive system and it’s to be welcomed. Students have much more choice than they had the in the past.”


Calls to open a large number of selective schools in Britain

Grammar schools should be brought back en masse to ensure that they do not become the “preserve of the middle classes”, the headteacher of a leading private school has said.

Responding to news that Britain’s first new grammar in 50 years is likely to be approved next month, Andrew Halls, the headmaster of King’s College School in southwest London, said he was “indifferent” about the idea of opening a small number of grammar schools.

He said he would support the opening of a large number of grammars, alongside well-resourced secondary schools and technical colleges, fulfilling the “vision” of the 1944 Education Act.

However, he admitted that the reintroduction of the original legislation –drafted by Conservative politician Rab Butler – was “never going to happen” due to the lack of political support.

Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, looks set to approve a new grammar school in the town of Sevenoaks, officially an “annexe” of the existing Weald of Kent school nine miles away.

Mr Halls told The Daily Telegraph: “The problem with grammar schools is that they have become so rare, which means that they are now very much the preserve of the middle classes.

“If you look at the statistics, the average grammar school has fewer than three per cent of candidates on free school meals.

“They are fantastic schools and I

would not wish them gone, but if they are going to come back, they ought to come back in vast numbers, not just in privileged boroughs.

“Grammar schools only make sense if you are also looking after less academic children well – that is what the Education Act was trying to create, although it is not what it created.” Mr Halls went to Shenley Court School, a Birmingham comprehensive, recently rebuilt as Shenley Academy.

His father was the headmaster of Saltley Grammar School, now Saltley School, which was recently embroiled in the “Trojan horse” affair, a plot to spread Islamist teaching in a number of state schools in the West Midlands.

Mr Halls spoke of the “working-class community” supported by his father’s school, which now finds it difficult to access similar institutions due to competition from middle-class parents, who inflate property prices and pay for costly tutoring.

King’s College School, which charges nearly £20,000 per year, was named The Sunday Times independent school of the year, with the judges praising its dedication to music, sport, drama and community service alongside academic work.

Mr Halls approved of Nicky Morgan’s plans to invest £3.5m in extracurricular activities as a “step in the right direction”, but noted that the money “would not go very far”.

He also lauded university technical colleges, which offer a skills-based curriculum, describing them as the best way of including vocational education in the UK schools system


Australia: Queensland teaching graduates heading to UK after failing to land job locally

QUEENSLAND teaching graduates are heading to the UK in droves, with nine out of 10 failing to get a job with the state’s education department.  About 230 teaching graduates this year have been offered and accepted a permanent position with the Department of Education — despite more than 2080 applying for a job.

Almost 590 of the graduates from 2014 were offered and accepted temporary positions.

But recent reports out of England have suggested there could be a deficit of almost 30,000 teachers in 2017 with Queensland teachers rushing to fill the positions.

Mitch Jones, who recruits Australian teachers to work in the UK, said there was a rush to attract not only experienced teachers but also new graduates.  “The demand for relief teachers are also so high we can guarantee every teacher regular relief work each week,” he said.  “Some teachers also choose to work casually so they can spend more time travelling through Europe.”

The agency, Protocol Education, works with about 4000 public, religious and private schools across England, and currently sends over about 500 Australian teachers each year.

The Queensland Education Department has an active applicant pool of 13,917 seeking employment for next year, the number a combination of graduates from Queensland, interstate, overseas and general experienced teacher applicants.  More than 2080 of the applicants are straight out of university.

Teaching graduate Kristen Doherty is heading to Milton Keynes in the UK next year after studying a Bachelor of Primary Education, specialising in middle years.  “I am so excited, it’s going to be so good,” she said.  “I wanted to do a bit of exploration for me.”’

She said she was extremely nervous about the move but had studied up on the curriculum for her future Year 6 class.

Queensland Teachers Union president Kevin Bates said graduates were often lured overseas for a taste of adventure.  “Some people are finding it’s difficult to get work and not willing to move outside the southeast corner,” he said.  “The other reason is that people, particularly Gen Y, are very much into this idea you go and work overseas for a few years — it’s a rite of passage.”

Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said Queensland schools were under a strong plan.  “We are working hard to make Queensland the best place to live, work and raise a family,” Mr Langbroek said.

“There is always demand for high-achieving professionals to teach in our state schools.  “We appoint a large number of teachers each year and have a range of initiatives to attract the best teachers to our schools, including those in remote locations.”


Monday, December 29, 2014

British headteachers' chief says after-school tutoring is 'child abuse' and youngsters should be allowed to play with their friends instead of being forced to do extra learning

Sending children to tutors for up to two hours after school is 'child abuse' and they should go and play in the park instead, according to the leader of a head teacher's union.

Gail Larkin, president of the National Association of Head Teachers, said children were being forced to sit through hours of unnecessary tuition by pushy parents competing with one another.

She added that instead of two or three hours spent in more classes after school, children would benefit from joining a swimming club, taking up ballet, or playing in the park instead.

She also took a swipe at parents, saying part of the drive for extra tuition was down to adults being unwilling to help their children with homework.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, she said: 'I have children in tears because it is the day that they go to their tutor and they don't want to go.

'Putting your child in there for two or three hours after school, I think "You poor thing". The parents think they are doing something really worthwhile. I think it's child abuse.'

'It is part of parenting to help your children with homework, even if you're not very able yourself. We are too busy absolving parents of their responsibilities instead of supporting them.'

Mrs Larkin, a former primary school headteacher in Surrey, singled out Explore Education, which has opened branches in Sainsbury's and shopping centres, for particular criticism.

She said parents taking their children straight from school and leaving them there while they went shopping were torturing the youngsters.

Private tuition has boomed in popularity in recent years as parents coach their children through tough school entrance exams.

More than half of children are being tutored privately as parents fight to get them into the best schools, a study suggested last year. Some are as young as two.

Mrs Larkin has previously criticised parents who use forward-facing push chairs for depriving their children of social contact as they went for walks.

She said children were arriving at school struggling to talk because parents were not having conversations with them because they were too busy talking on their phones instead.

She also attacked 'runny mummy' prams, designed to be pushed along by parents while they jog along behind it.

She also shot down Nick Clegg's policy of free school meals for pupils aged between four and seven, saying the idea was a 'nice soundbite', but in practice it was 'ridiculous'.


The Year the Crusade Against 'Rape Culture' Stumbled

The movement capitalized on sympathy for victims of sexual assault to promote gender warfare, misinformation, and moral panic.

The Rolling Stone account of a horrific fraternity gang rape at the University of Virginia, which many advocates saw as a possible "tipping point"—a shocking wake-up call demonstrating that even the most brutal sexual assaults on our college campuses are tacitly tolerated—has unraveled to the point where only a true believer would object to calling it a rape hoax.

But some of the blame must go to the movement that encouraged her in turning her fantasy of victimhood into activism—especially when that movement is so entrenched in its true-believer mindset that some of its adherents seem unable to accept contrary facts.

Katherine Ripley, executive editor of the UVA student newspaper, The Cavalier Daily, continued to post #IStandWithJackie tweets for days after the "Haven Monahan" story broke. Two other UVA students made a video thanking Jackie for "pulling back the curtain" on campus rape and praising her "bravery."

Meanwhile, even as the UVA saga unfolded, the "women's page" of the online magazine Slate, Double X, published an outstanding long article by liberal journalist Emily Yoffe examining the excesses of the campus rape crusade—from the use of shoddy statistics to hype an "epidemic" of sexual violence against college women to the rise of policies that trample the civil rights of accused male students.

The piece was retweeted nearly 2,500 times and received a great deal of positive attention, partly no doubt on the wave of the UVA/Rolling Stone scandal. Some of Yoffe's critique echoes arguments made earlier by a number of mostly conservative and libertarian commentators. But, apart from the extensive and careful research she brings to the table, the fact that these arguments were given a platform in one of the premier feminist media spaces is something of a breakthrough, if not a turning point.

Just days after the publication of Yoffe's article, the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics released a new study boosting her case (and based on data she briefly discussed). The special report, "Rape and Sexual Assault Victimization Among College-Age Females, 1995–2013," shows that not only are female college students less likely to experience sexual assault than non-college women 18 to 24, but the rate at which they are sexually assaulted is nowhere near the "one in five" or "one in four" statistics brandished by advocates.

The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), from which the BJS derives its data, found that approximately 6 out of 1,000 college women say they have been sexually assaulted in the past year. Over four years of college, economist Mark Perry points out, this adds up to about one in 53. Still a troubling figure, to be sure, but it does not quite bear out claims that the American campus is a war-against-women zone.

Journalists who embrace the narrative of campus anti-rape activism, such as The Huffington Post's Tyler Kingkade and's Libby Nelson, have tried to rebut claims that the new DOJ report discredits the higher advocacy numbers. Kingkade asserts that the NCVS "doesn't look at incapacitated rape," in which the perpetrator takes advantage of the victim's severe intoxication or unconsciousness. Nelson argues that because the survey focuses on crime victimization, respondents may underreport acquaintance rapes which don't fit the stereotype of the stranger with a knife jumping out of the bushes.

But neither criticism holds up. The standard question used in the NCVS to screen for sexual victimization is, "Have you been forced or coerced to engage in unwanted sexual activity by (a) someone you didn't know before, (b) a casual acquaintance? OR (c) someone you know well?" In other words, respondents are explicitly encouraged to report non-stranger sexual assaults—and, while they are not specifically asked about being assaulted while incapacitated, the wording certainly does not exclude such attacks.

Kingkade also suggests that the numbers are beside the point, since the effort to combat campus sexual assault is about people, not statistics—specifically, "about students who said they were wronged by their schools after they were raped." Of course every rape is a tragedy, on campus or off—all the more if the victim finds no redress. But if it happens to one in five women during their college years, this is not just a tragedy but a crisis that arguably justifies emergency measures—which is why proponents of sweeping new policies have repeatedly invoked these scary numbers. (Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, has now had the one-in-five figure removed from her website.) And while the stories told by students are often compelling, it is important to remember that they are personal narratives which may or may not be factual.  Only last June, Emily Renda, a UVA graduate and activist who now works at the school, included Jackie's story—under the pseudonym "Jenna"—in her testimony before a Senate committee.

Of course this is not to suggest that most such accounts are fabricated; but they are also filtered through subjective experience, memory, and personal bias. Yet, for at least three years, these stories been accorded virtually uncritical reception by the mainstream media. When I had a chance to investigate one widely publicized college case—that of Brown University students Lena Sclove and Daniel Kopin—for a feature in The Daily Beast, the facts turned out to bear little resemblance to the media narrative of a brutal rape punished with a slap on the wrist.

Now, in what may be another sign of turning tides, the accused in another high-profile case is getting his say. The New York Times has previously given ample coverage to Emma Sulkowicz, the Columbia University student famous for carrying around a mattress to protest the school's failure to expel her alleged rapist.

Now, it has allowed that man, Paul Nungesser, to tell his story—a story of being ostracized and targeted by mob justice despite being cleared of all charges in a system far less favorable to the accused than criminal courts. No one knows whether Sulkowicz or Nungesser is telling the truth; but the media have at last acknowledged that there is another side to this story.

Will 2015 see a pushback against the anti-"rape culture" movement on campus? If so, good. This is a movement that has capitalized on laudable sympathy for victims of sexual assault to promote gender warfare, misinformation and moral panic. It's time for a reassessment.


‘I Wouldn’t Eat It Either’: These Wyoming Schools Abandoned Federal School Lunch Guidelines

Seven Wyoming schools have said “no” to the federal school lunch guidelines — and the money that comes with them

According to Wyoming Public Media, seven schools have decided to forego the federal standards instituted by the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act and decide what to feed their students themselves.

The district’s business manager, Jeremy Smith, told WPM the move was necessary.

“Universally, it was, ‘We are starving. We are hungry. This isn’t enough food for us,’” said Smith. “But we couldn’t blame them, because I looked at that school lunch and said, ‘I wouldn’t eat it either.’”

School districts that abandon the federal guidelines are financially penalized for doing so. Wyoming Public Media reports that “most schools simply can’t afford to abandon the federal subsidies. In Smith’s district, it meant walking away from about $50,000.”

Despite the high cost, Smith said there were “too many complaints,” and he knew he had to make a change.  “We knew we had to make it up,” Smith told Wyoming Public Media. “We said, ‘How are we going to do it?’ Two ways: One, you can increase prices, or two, you can increase participation.”

The district did both: The number of food options increased and prices were raised. But, according to Wyoming Public Media, participation in the school lunch program went up 20 percent and “the district is making more money than it was under the program last year—even without the federal money.”

Absent the federal guidelines, the schools are now free to make their own decisions about what’s served for lunch.

Haydon Mullinax, a student at one of the affected schools, told Wyoming Public Media he is happy about the change.  “I actually enjoy it,” said Mullinax. “I wouldn’t enjoy lunch, and now every time I get into the lunchroom, I’m actually happy to get lunch.”

Dennis Decker, a food service director at one of the schools, told Wyoming Public Media that “the federal lunch standards are well intentioned,” but he’s happy he can do his “own thing.”

“A one-size-fits-all program doesn’t work everywhere,” said Decker. “And I also think that food is a little too personal to make a law. You can tell someone they can’t speed, but I don’t you can tell everybody what they have to eat every day.”

Decker told Wyoming Public Media the federal calorie guidelines were insufficient for students who are “athletes” or who “go home and work on a ranch.”

Tamra Jackson, nutrition supervisor for the Wyoming Department of Education, told Wyoming Public Media the federal standards “were set by some of the country’s best pediatricians and nutritionists.”

“We’re trying to lay a foundation for kids to make healthy choices when they get older,” said Jackson. “It amazes me that people are mad that we’re serving them healthy food.”

The Daily Signal has previously reported on the skimpy school lunches brought about by the federal standards, and students’ distaste for them. We recently reported on pictures of lunches students shared with the viral hashtag #thanksmichelleobama and our readers’ reaction to that story.


Sunday, December 28, 2014

‘Public Education’ Should Fund Any Education, Not Just Government-Run Schools

“Are you saying public education is just a funding mechanism? … Is all education now public [and parents] can just choose?” asked Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Nancy Rice during oral arguments over the constitutionality of Douglas County’s Choice Scholarship Pilot Program.

The case has brought forth a question that has been at the forefront of state and national debates over school choice: What is the definition of “public education,” anyway?

“It is important to distinguish between ‘schooling’ and ‘education.’ Not all schooling is education nor all education, schooling,” wrote Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman. “The proper subject of concern is education. The activities of government are mostly limited to schooling.”

School choice separates financing of education from delivery of services. Educational opportunity through school choice empowers parents with the ability to direct education funding toward a schooling option that best fits their child. Education is publicly funded, but parents can choose from a variety of delivery options.

School choice programs make sense: They operate with the conviction that every child is unique and has unique learning needs, and one-size-fits-all government-run schools have their limits and can’t always meet the needs of every student.

Although education choice is spreading rapidly–more than 300,000 children are now benefitting from private school-choice options–some states and school districts, such as Douglas County, Colo., are facing lawsuits over the constitutionality of school choice.

When the Douglas County Board of Education unanimously voted to create the Choice Scholarship Program in March 2011, it enacted the first district-level school choice program in the nation. Voucher programs are traditionally approved by state legislatures, but in Douglas County, the local district supports the funding and administration of the program. Subject to annual renewal, the program provides 500 tuition vouchers to students who are residents of Douglas County and have been enrolled in a Douglas County public school for at least one year. Eligible students can apply for the scholarships through a lottery system.

But in June 2011, the scholarships were rescinded when the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, the National ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and others filed suit, claiming the scholarship program violated the Public School Finance Act and six provisions in the Colorado constitution, including the establishment clause.

The ACLU won a preliminary injunction in district court. But in March 2013, the Colorado Court of Appeals overturned the ruling, rejecting the plaintiffs’ establishment clause claims. The appellate court applied the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Colorado Christian University v. Weaver, 534 F.3d 1245 (10th Cir. 2008) which held the First Amendment was infringed when financial aid was provided to students attending sectarian institutions but not to students attending “pervasively sectarian” institutions.

According to the decision, “In assessing facially neutral student aid laws, a court may not inquire into the extent to which religious teaching pervades a particular institution’s curriculum.” In other words, asking how “religious” a school is that receives funding is itself a form of anti-religious discrimination.

Now to the Supreme Court of Colorado

The Supreme Court of Colorado has a chance to uphold the first locally established school choice program in the country, but it also has a chance to reaffirm what the U.S. Supreme Court has already upheld: that public education is about educating students, not the physical space in which that education takes place. Above all, it’s about parents being empowered to choose options that are right for their children.

Other courts have decided this question already.

In Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002) the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Ohio’s Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program, holding that a state-sponsored voucher program is not per se unconstitutional when the program is neutral with respect to religion and the “money follows the child.” This is so even where parents themselves choose to use the voucher monies to send their children to religious schools.

And in a landmark state ruling last year, the Indiana Supreme Court upheld the state’s voucher program stating that the program did not violate the state’s prohibition against using state funds to benefit religious institutions because the primary beneficiaries of the vouchers were the families who used them.

Hundreds of families in Douglas County, Colo., have waited three years to use their scholarships because of this suit. The Colorado Supreme Court has a chance to give those families the opportunity to direct their child’s education.


The 11 Most Politically Correct Moments on College Campuses in 2014

That thing you thought you liked? It's rape culture

There are almost too many to choose from, but here are eleven of the most politically correct moments on college campuses in 2014:

1. Princeton University students launched a microaggression-reporting service.

In December, Princeton students relaunched “Tiger Microaggressions,” a service that takes other students’ reports of microaggressions and publishes them on its Facebook page. According to the operators, absolutely anything can qualify as a microaggression since “there are no objective definitions to words and phrases.”

2. College students invented a roofie-detecting nail polish — only to be told that that’s actually also rape culture.

In August, college students invented a nail polish that changes color if it comes into contact with date-rape drugs — only to incite rage from feminists who insist that anything that might help women protect themselves actually promotes rape culture by acknowledging that we live in a world where rapes happen. (FYI: We do.) Or, as feminist activist Rebecca Nagle eloquently put it: “I don’t want to f[***]ing test my drink when I’m at the bar. . . . That’s not the world I want to live in.” The fact that fear of whether or not someone could be wearing the polish might deter potential rapists from drugging women’s drinks (whether or not they themselves were actually testing their f***ing drinks or not) was not addressed.

3. Students hosted an anti-rape-culture rally only to be told that’s — yep — actually also rape culture.

In October, an Arizona State University rally against rape culture was slammed for promoting rape culture because it encouraged men to respect women — and respect for women should be “a given” and not have to be encouraged. Come on, you guys!

4. A school campaigned against “offensive” language such as “wuss,” “you guys,” and “derp” because it has an “oppressive impact on culture.”

Oops. I guess I accidentally oppressed some people with the way I ended No. 3 — at least according to the “More Than Words: Inclusive Language Campaign” launched at Macalester College this past summer. It included videos featuring student explanations and posters covering the campus walls that dispensed politically correct instructions — such as telling students to stop using words such as “crazy” or “derp” and replace them with “person with a mental health condition” or “person with a learning or cognitive disability” (even though those arguably kind of maybe sound even more offensive.)

5. Students opposed a female-to-male transgender candidate for class diversity officer because he’s a white man.

“I thought he’d do a perfectly fine job, but it just felt inappropriate to have a white man there,” the anonymous student behind the so-called “Campaign to Abstain” at the all-women’s Wellesley College said.

6. A school told its orientation officers not to use the word “freshman” because it promotes rape.

In November, Elon University instructed its orientation officers to use the term “first-year” instead of “freshman” because the term “freshman” is sexist and actually suggests that women might make good rape victims.

7. A liberal group demanded the school teach a mandatory transgender-sensitivity class to right the wrongs of colonial America.

In June, more than 700 students, professors, and faculty at the University of Minnesota ordered the school to admit it’s just a product of the evil actions of colonial Americans and must fundamentally alter its structure to make it up to marginalized communities — starting with forcing all students to take a transgender-sensitivity class.

8. A student newspaper’s editorial board wrote a whole piece about how racist bras are.

In September, the student editorial board at the University of Oklahoma wrote an article all about how bras are racist because they come in colors named “nude” and not everyone is that color when they’re nude. They also said that Band Aids were an example of white privilege.

9. The War on Tacos.

A sorority at California State University, Fullerton, got in serious trouble in September for hosting a Taco Tuesday event because some attendees wore “culturally insensitive attire” (read: sombreros and mustaches.). A similar thing happened in April at Dartmouth University, where backlash forced a fraternity to cancel a fundraiser — yes, fundraiser — for cardiac patients because one student complained that the “fiesta” theme was offensive. Although the fraternity was careful to warn students to definitely not wear sombreros to the event, they did plan to serve virgin frozen drinks, salsa, guacamole, and — gasp! — burritos, so apparently Mexican food is offensive in itself.

10. The War on Coconut Bras.

In May, the student government at the University of California, Irvine, demanded that the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity be punished because they hosted a fundraiser — yes, again, fundraiser — where students wore grass skirts and coconut bras. That’s apparently racist against Pacific Islanders. A group of students even released a statement that said stuff like “tell members of your organization to stop wearing our traditional/cultural attires, they don’t know jack s[***] about its cultural significance.”

11. Harvard University was about to stop buying water machines from the Israeli company SodaStream because they might be a microaggression.

The school’s dining services also planned to remove the labels from all of the existing machines just to make sure no student has to see one and be traumatized. But to end the year on a good note: At the request of the university president, the school is reconsidering its decision.


Traditional haircut forbidden in British school

I wear such a haircut to this day -- JR

A 13-year-old schoolboy has been told he must stay in isolation until his short back and sides haircut grows out, which could take months.

Kyle Gibbs was separated from his classmates and told he would not be allowed to socialise with his friends after teachers ruled that his traditional style flouted the school's strict hair length rules.

The Year 9 pupil at Churchdown Academy, Gloucestershire, must now work on his own in a classroom from 8am until 5pm until his hair grows to an 'acceptable length'.

His father Colin, from lmbridge, Gloucester, said the school's decision was 'madness' and insisted the young footballer's haircut is 'neat and tidy and totally unremarkable'.

'The school called and I asked what he had done wrong and when they said it was his haircut I thought they were joking,' he said.

'I was shocked. I cut his hair and he has a neat short back and sides. It is grade 0.5 at the back and longer on top, in an old fashioned style like every boy used to get at the barbers. I couldn't believe it.

'The school said he would have to stay in isolation, on his own in a classroom from 8am until 5pm until his hair grows back. It is not his hair that is doing his reading and writing for him. This is madness.

'It is not like he has a Mohican or strips shaved into the sides. I could understand that might be a distraction to other pupils in class, but his haircut is neat and tidy and totally unremarkable.'

Kyle has been told school policy states his hair can't be any shorter than a grade two.

There is no legislation relating to pupils' uniform or appearance, which is left up to school's governing bodies to decide.

But schools often impose bans on 'extreme' haircuts or colours as part of their broader uniform policy.

The Department of Education does advise that pupils who don't comply to uniform rules can be disciplined in accordance with the school’s published behaviour policy.

'I have been into the school to speak with the head teacher,' said Mr Gibbs.  'He said it was school policy and he was backed by the governors. Kyle doesn't feel comfortable in school and I'm not going to let the teachers dictate my son's hairstyle.'

Head teacher Christopher Belli took over at the school in September and said in a welcome address that there would be a 'relentless focus on high standards'.

The uniform policy states hair should be: 'Natural colour and words or emblems should not be shaved in hair'.

Churchdown School Academy has declined to comment.

Schools across the country have been enforcing strict uniform policies in the past few years in an attempt to raise standards.


Friday, December 26, 2014

Student Debt and Default Explode While U.S. Department of Education Fiddles

A new report from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) examined what steps it had taken from fiscal years 2011 through 2014 to improve student debt and loan repayment rates.

In a nutshell, a big fat nothing—and taxpayers will be stuck paying off tens of billions in bad loans as a result. According to the OIG:

The Department’s outstanding student loan debt portfolio more than doubled in the last 6 years, from $516 billion at the end of FY 2007 to $1.04 trillion at the end of FY 2013. Based on the most recent official cohort default rate information published by the Department, 1 in 10 borrowers who were required to begin repaying their loans in FY 2011 defaulted on their student loans within 2 years and about 1 in 7 borrowers defaulted within 3 years. (p. 1)

Here are some other troubling statistics:

As of June 30, 2014, nearly 40 million borrowers had outstanding student loans totaling about $1.1 trillion that were either held or guaranteed by the Department. (p. 4)

Based on information contained in the Department’s FY 2015 Budget Proposal, graduating seniors with student loans held an average of $29,384 in combined private [not federally subsidized] and Federal student loan debt in award year 2011-2012, 27 percent more than the average combined debt of $23,118 in award year 2007-2008. (p. 4)

Total private and Federal student loan debt is currently the second largest form of debt in the nation, behind only home mortgages. (p. 4)

Borrowers are defaulting on their Federal student loans at the highest rate since 1995. (p. 4)

We’ll recall that back in 2010 Education Secretary Arne Duncan was blasting heavily subsidized private lenders and insisting that federal “direct lending” through his department was a better plan. Nearly two years later, student debt continued to balloon. We also know that the “cohort” default rate used by ED underestimates the actual student loan default rate significantly—a fact the OIG admits in a footnote (p. 5, n. 8). Also buried in a footnote is this disturbing fact:

According to estimates contained in the Department’s FY 2015 Budget Proposal, the Federal government will not be able to recover between $0.04 — $0.13 of every loan dollar (calculated on a cash basis and excluding collection costs) that goes into default. (p. 5, n. 9)

Given that outstanding loan debt now tops $1.04 trillion, that works out to anywhere from more than $40 billion to over $135 billion each year, plus who knows how much more in unspecified collection costs.

Making matters worse (but hardly shocking as far as government bureaucracies go) the OIG found:

The Department does not have a comprehensive plan or strategy to prevent student loan defaults and thus cannot ensure that default prevention efforts conducted by various offices are coordinated and consistent. (p. 13)

[The Department] did not explicitly establish default prevention activities in the 2009 TIVAS [Title IV Additional Servicers] contracts or adequately monitor calls to delinquent borrowers. (p. 18)

The Department now has 30 days to come up with a corrective action plan. While we wait with bated breath for that one, we’ll be piling on all those billions of dollars in bad government-held student loan debt to our public debt. According to a 2012 Council on Foreign Relations report:

With a pair of new laws in 2008 and 2010 [the Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act of 2008 and the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009, or SAFRA], Congress fundamentally changed the student loan market, making the U.S. government the sole supplier of Federal student loans, rather than just the ultimate guarantor. In itself, this does not affect the government’s net debt,” noted the CFR. “This new direct lending does, however, add to the gross debt held by the public. The $1.4 trillion in direct federal student loans that will be outstanding by 2020 will amount to roughly 7.7% of gross debt. This is 6.3 percentage points higher than it would have been had the scheme not been nationalized.”

The feds nationalized student loans under the guise of eliminating the middle man to keep college costs down (it hasn’t). Just days before SAFRA passed the House, Duncan took to the press, preaching:

We’re not asking the taxpayers for one single dollar. We’re simply making the choice to stop subsidizing banks, to invest our young people back here.

SAFRA sponsor Rep. George Miller (D-CA) was similarly breathless, and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) gushed that this federal lending takeover was a cornerstone of the Obama Administration’s overall “fiscally sound,” deficit-reducing 2010 budget.

So here we are today. Technically, Duncan was right: we’re not paying one single dollar. We’re paying tens of billions of them.


Common Core: Leftist and Islamic indoctrination

The fundamental transformation of the United States is a euphemism for destroying American values and traditions fostered by an unholy alliance of America's radical left and militant Islam, in essence, to take down the country from within.

This totalitarian marriage of convenience is distinguished by the traits they share - their hatred of Western civilization and a belief that the United States is the embodiment of evil on earth. While Islamic radicals seek to purge the world of heresies and of the infidels who practice them, leftist radicals seek to purge society of the vices allegedly spawned by capitalism -- those being racism, sexism, imperialism, and greed.

Central to the success of the America-haters is "submission," either to the state or sharia, and a rejection of the belief that individuals "are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights."

That is, the core of Western Judeo-Christian ideology maintains that the individual, through the exercise of his or her reason, can discern the Divine Will and seek "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" unmediated by commissars and mullahs.

In response, America's domestic enemies promulgate notions that attack the basis of Western Judeo-Christian civilization, which emphasizes the uniqueness and sacredness of the individual. They also promote policies that weaken the ability to transmit to the next generation the values and traditions upon which the United States was built.

Anti-American, messianic political movements can only succeed when the individual believes that his or her actions are determined, not by personal destiny endowed by the Creator, but by the destiny of the community, endowed by a ruling elite.

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS), a one-size-fits-all, top-down national education system, embraced by Democrats and big government Republicans like Jeb Bush, does just that, turning schools into re-education camps for leftist and Islamic indoctrination - as most universities and colleges already are.

Under Common Core students are asked to rewrite sentences containing subliminal anti-American messages such as "The commands of government officials must be obeyed by all" and "he (the president) makes sure the laws of the country are fair" and "the wants of an individual are less important than the well-being of the nation."

Presumably, that includes blind obedience to Obama's unconstitutional executive orders, an acceptance of Marxist-style wealth redistribution and a dilution of the Bill of Rights.

Todd Starnes of Fox News reported that a high school in Farmville, North Carolina, promotes Islam and the Prophet Muhammad in a Common Core vocabulary assignment handed out to seniors in an English class.

The worksheet says: "In the following exercises, you will have the opportunity to expand your vocabulary by reading about Muhammad and the Islamic word."

One sentence reads: "The zenith of any Muslim's life is a trip to Mecca." For using the word "erratic," the lesson included this statement: "The responses to Muhammad's teachings were at first erratic. Some people responded favorably, while other resisted his claim that ‘there is no God but Allah and Muhammad his Prophet."

Another section required students to complete the following sentence:

"There are such vast numbers of people who are anxious to spread the Muslim faith that it would be impossible to give a(n)___ amount."

This is not the first controversy caused by Common Core. One assignment asked students in California to question the Holocaust. Another lesson teaches a messianic view of Barack Obama, while a third falsely claims white voters rejected Obama due to race. A Common Core lesson taught in Arkansas asked students to remove and replace two amendments from an allegedly "outdated" Bill of Rights.

Courtesy of the Obama Administration, Common Core has become both a means to remove parents and the local community from the educational process and a vehicle for leftist and Islamic indoctrination, designed not to teach children how to think, but what to think.

Consequently, unless such anti-American brainwashing is stopped, future generations may not only lose their liberty, but they may, quite literally, get their heads handed to them.


Ratbag CUNY newspaper editor Gordon Barnes calls for violent war to be waged on police


A DISTURBING editorial in a City University of New York (CUNY) grad-student newspaper calls for rioters protesting the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown to arm themselves and wage violent war with cops.

“The time for peace has passed,” says a revolutionary editorial titled In Support of Violence that was penned by editor-in-chief Gordon Barnes in the December 3 issue of The Advocate.

“The problem with the protesters’ violence in Ferguson is that it is unorganised. If the violence was to be organised, and the protesters armed — more so than the few that sparingly are — then the brunt of social pressures would not be laid onto middling proprietors [of looted small businesses], but unto those deserving the most virulent response of an enraged populace,” Barnes writes in the CUNY Grad Centre’s publication.

“The acts of looting, destruction of property and violence directed towards state representatives is not only warranted, it is necessary,” says Barnes, a doctoral student in history who once studied in Cuba.

The New York Post reports that the editorial — illustrated in the online version with the circled, capital A that symbolises anarchy — also urges rioters to emulate the Black Panthers and Malcolm X instead of Martin Luther King and other advocates of nonviolence — and hopes the unrest will morph into a revolution.

“The violence against property, that is destruction and theft, is only an unorganised form of something with the potential to be far more revolutionary and inspiring,” says Barnes, who is paid from $10,000 to $20,000 a year as a graduate assistant and who also pockets an annual stipend of $24,000 as a Presidential MAGNET fellow, according to his LinkedIn page.

The screed was posted online the same day a grand jury declined to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner’s death, which is mentioned in an online note but not in the original editorial.

It also ran 11 days before CUNY Professor Eric Linsker was busted on assault and other charges for attacking cops at a protest on the Brooklyn Bridge, and 17 days before two NYPD officers were assassinated by a madman in Brooklyn seeking revenge for the Garner and Brown killings.

The 1861-word, densely written and jargon-filled diatribe ultimately issues a direct call for more violence in the streets.

“What is needed now is to take the next step from indiscriminate attacks to ones directly pointed at state power as well as at the lackeys and apologists who allow it to prosper,” says Barnes, who also studied at Instituto de Filosof√≠a de Cuba and is a graduate of the Valley Forge Military Academy and Temple and Rutgers universities, his LinkedIn page says.

The paper added a disclaimer at the end of the piece, saying the views are Barnes’ only.

CUNY Grad Centre President Chase F. Robinson condemned the editorial.

“While freedom of speech must be protected, and the views expressed by the editor in chief of this student newspaper are stated as sole views, we deplore calls of any kind for violence. As Martin Luther King’s birthday approaches, we should instead recommit ourselves to nonviolence as the true path to social justice,” Robinson said.


Thursday, December 25, 2014

How to Reform No Child Left Behind

Lawmakers already are talking about reauthorizing No Child Left Behind — the George W. Bush-era education initiative. “I’d like to have the president’s signature on it before summer,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican who will assume chairmanship of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee when Congress convenes in January.

But lawmakers should be pursuing bold education reforms, not searching out weak legislative compromises that fail to limit federal overreach. Congressional conservatives should take this opportunity to rewrite No Child Left Behind in a way that empowers state and local educators, not Washington bureaucrats.

Previous proposals introduced by Alexander and Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., would have streamlined No Child Left Behind and created some nominal flexibility for states and school districts. But more substantive reforms are in order. The following four policy goals should accompany any reauthorization of NCLB:

First, policymakers should enable states to completely opt out of the programs that fall under No Child Left Behind. One such proposal is the Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success Act . Including the A-PLUS approach in a prospective reauthorization of No Child Left Behind would let states consolidate their federal education funds and use them for any lawful education purpose they deem beneficial. This would allow states to escape NCLB’s prescriptive and programmatic requirements and use funds in ways that would better meet their students’ needs.

Next, policymakers should work to reduce the number of programs that fall under No Child Left Behind. The original Elementary and Secondary Education Act — the precursor to NCLB — included five titles, 32 pages and roughly $1 billion in federal funding. By the time ESEA was reauthorized for the seventh time in 2001 as No Child Left Behind, new mandates had been imposed on states and local school districts, and the law authorized dozens upon dozens of federal education programs, a reflection of national policymakers’ tendency to create a “program for every problem.”

To pay for the dozens of competitive and formula grant programs funded under NCLB, the annual cost of the federal initiative now exceeds $25 billion. The growth in program count and spending over the decades has failed to improve educational outcomes for students and, as such, should be curtailed.

Policymakers also should eliminate burdensome federal mandates. Accountability and transparency “should be vehicles to reinvigorate the relationship of the American people with their schools rather than merely mechanisms employed by government officials to oversee and hold government schools accountable,” wrote former Deputy Education Secretary Eugene Hickok and education researcher Matthew Ladner in a 2007 analysis of NCLB.

To achieve that goal, Congress should eliminate the many federal mandates within NCLB masquerading as accountability, including Adequate Yearly Progress requirements, Highly Qualified Teacher mandates and costly “maintenance of effort” rules, which require states to keep spending high in order to receive federal funding.

Finally, and at a minimum, policymakers should include a state option for Title I funding portability. The $14.5 billion Title I program accounts for the bulk of No Child Left Behind spending. It serves one of the 1965 ESEA’s original and primary purposes by channeling additional federal funding to low-income school districts.

However, Title I funds are distributed through a convoluted funding formula which, as researcher Susan Aud has noted, includes “provisions that render the final results substantially incongruent with the original legislative intention.”

To make Title I work for the disadvantaged children it was intended to help, the program’s funding formula should be simplified, and Congress should let states make the funding “portable,” allowing it to follow a child to the school of his parents’ choice — public, private, charter or virtual.

During any prospective ESEA reauthorization, Congress should reduce program count (and associated spending), eliminate federal mandates on states and local school districts and create portability of Title I funding. Such an approach represents a first small step toward reform. Bold reforms are needed, including the opportunity for states to completely exit the 600-page regulatory behemoth that is No Child Left Behind.


Harvard students in the forefront of the cold war on Israel

Where there is no aggression, the Left invent “microaggression”

Harvard’s dining hall pulled SodaStream machines after members of the college’s Palestine Solidarity Committee and other activists deemed the product a “microaggression.”

Water dispensers purchased by a firm owned by Israeli-based SodaStream were removed by the Harvard Undergraduate Dining Services (HUDS) at the behest of its students.

“These machines can be seen as a microaggression to Palestinian students and their families and like the University doesn’t care about Palestinian human rights,” sophomore Rachel J. Sandalow-Ash, a member of the Harvard College Progressive Jewish Alliance, told the Harvard Crimson on Wednesday.

The campaign to remove the product started last fall when students emailed House masters to arrange a meeting with Harvard officials, the Crimson said.

Harvard University leadership has now launched an investigation into the dining hall’s decision.

“Harvard University’s procurement decisions should not and will not be driven by individuals’ views of highly contested matters of political controversy,” said Harvard provost Alan Garber in a statement, The Daily Caller reported Thursday. “If this policy is not currently known or understood in some parts of the University, that will be rectified now.”


Jeb Bush’s Common Core Problem

Jeb Bush has long advocated for all 50 states to adopt Common Core national standards.

Now that the former Florida governor has all but confirmed his plans to run for president in 2016, the issue threatens to overshadow his likely campaign.

Bush’s name, matched with consistently high polling numbers among potential 2016 Republican candidates, makes landing a seat in the Oval Office feasible. But in order to reach the general election—to perhaps take on Hillary Clinton—Bush must first overcome concerns about Common Core with conservative primary voters.

Bush’s longstanding support for Common Core is no secret: Over a year ago, Frederick M. Hess, an education expert at the American Enterprise Institute, predicted that if he decided to run for president, “Common Core could be his Romneycare.”

What is Common Core?

Common Core standards were created by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers, and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The goal, supported by the Obama administration, was to increase education standards in America.

Among conservatives, however, the issue one of the most controversial. Several politicians have flip-flopped on the issue, pulling their support or even abandoning the standards in their states.

The Heritage Foundation is among the organizations that have rallied against Common Core.  The crux of the argument, as laid out by Heritage’s Lindsey M. Burke and Jennifer A. Marshall, is this:

National standards are unlikely to make public schools accountable to families; rather, they are more likely to make schools responsive to Washington, D.C. Furthermore, a national accountability system would be a one-size-fits-all approach that tends toward mediocrity and standardization, undercutting the pockets of excellence that currently exists.

Many of Bush’s deep-pocketed GOP allies—so-called “establishment” Republicans like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—don’t see eye-to-eye with conservatives on the issue.

Federal incentives like Race to the Top grants and No Child Left Behind waivers for states that adopted Common Core topped off what critics call “a national takeover of education policy.”

A reform-minded governor

Bush’s backstory with Common Core standards is two-fold.

During his eight-year tenure as the Sunshine State’s governor, he led one of the most successful education reforms in the country. In fact, his efforts were so effective, education experts are still trying to analyze them to this day.

Schools and districts in Florida are now graded on a straightforward A-to-F scale where parents easily understand that it’s better to have a child in an A-rated school than one that received an F.

Parents also have access to education tax credits, private school choice for special-needs students, virtual education, charter schools and public school choice.

In addition, transparency about school performance enables parents to be well informed, holding schools accountable to parents.

Education experts often argue that no one has a greater, more genuine interest in a student’s education than their parents.

But as Burke, Heritage’s leading expert on education policy pointed out, what worked in Florida might not work on a national scale. She said:

Gov. Bush was a leader on education reform in Florida during his tenure. Florida, in fact, has stood as a model for other states. The challenge for national policymakers is to recognize that what worked well in one state might not work as well in another, and that states need flexibility to find out what works best for the unique students who reside there.

Promoting Common Core

The challenge for national policymakers is to recognize that what worked well in one state might not work as well in another. @lindseymburke

In a 2011 Wall Street Journal op-ed co-authored with former New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein, Bush praised the standards, stating:

The Common Core State Standards define what students need to know; they do not define how teachers should teach, or how students should learn. That is up to each state. And they are built on what we have learned from high-performing international competitors as well as the best practices in leading states.

Over the course of the next three years, Bush, with the Foundation for Excellence in Education, an education policy think tank that Bush founded and chairs, encouraged state legislators to adopt the standards.

For example, in early 2013, Bush and his foundation set out to remind Oklahoma state legislators of the “myths” surrounding Common Core.

He sent them an in-depth email, which can be viewed in its entirety here. In it, they wrote:

There is a lot of misinformation flying around about Common Core State Standards. Below is a roundup of recent articles, opinion pieces and posts by policy advisors, debunking Common Core myths and highlighting voices in the transition to these new standards. You’ll also find quotes from teachers weighing in on Common Core and see how state and business leaders are supporting the higher standards.

Bush’s new tone

More recently, Bush has toned down his support.  In a speech last month at the 2014 National Summit on Education Reform—just one week before Thanksgiving when he pondered a presidential run with his family—Bush argued, “The rigor of the Common Core State Standards must be the new minimum in the classrooms.”

But in the same speech, he also made it a point to acknowledge the disagreement on the issue—something he has been criticized in the past for ignoring.

Even if we don’t all agree on Common Core, there are more important principles for us to agree on. We need to pull together whenever we can. It starts with a basic question: If we were designing our school system from scratch, what would it look like?

I know one thing: We wouldn’t start with more than 13,000 government-run, unionized and politicized monopolies who trap good teachers, administrators and struggling students in a system nobody can escape.

We would be insane if we recreated what we have today.  So let’s think and act like we are starting from scratch.

Whether his 2016 campaign will try to downplay his support for Common Core or remain true to his position is not yet clear, but one thing is for certain: A Bush on the 2016 presidential ticket will once again bring education to the forefront of the national debate.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Photophobia again

British school orders parents to delete Facebook video of their four-year-old daughter performing as an innkeeper in nativity play

A couple were ordered to delete a video of their child performing in a nativity play by her school because of concerns about the online safety of pupils.

Douglas Holmes said his four-year-old daughter Emmi-Rai had played the role of innkeeper in her nativity play at Ynysboeth Primary School in Abercynon.

His partner Lisa Evans filmed their daughter's performance and posted the video on Facebook.

But the next day she was asked to take it down by a teacher who appeared in the video.

Mr Holmes, 30, said 'My partner doesn't usually post videos on Facebook. But some parents couldn't go to the play because of work. A friend of ours couldn't make it and we managed to catch her daughter in our video so she posted the video.

'She wasn't offending anybody but she was asked to remove it. We have removed it just in case they decided to take any further action.

'I was very angry when she came back from the school and told me they wanted her to take it down from her personal profile. We should be allowed to share our daughter's experience with other people if we want to.'

The incident follows a number of disappointments for children who have seen nativity plays cancelled in recent years or their parents charged to watch. 

A spokesman for Rhondda Cynon Taf council said schools do not want to spoil parents' enjoyment of special occasions such as Christmas concerts, but there were occasions when the protection of children is necessary, particularly due to the widespread nature of social media.

He said at Ynysboeth Primary School some parents had specifically requested that the child's images were not shared on social media.

One group that campaigns for personal freedom called for 'common sense' to be used and urged the school to stop behaving like 'Scrooge'.

Mother-of-four Miss Evans, 33, said she felt the school's reaction had been extreme and that she did not understand it because its website has a picture of every child anyway.

She said: 'It is absolutely outrageous and has been blown out of all proportion. 'As far as I am concerned my parental rights have been taken away.

'We weren't told specifically told by the school not to put up any videos but politely asked if we could refrain from doing so - but it certainly wasn't an order. I never usually post videos - I only did it because a lot of parents had work commitments and couldn't make the play.

'One of the mum's was really grateful I'd posted it up and she thanked me because she hadn't been able to make it.'

Miss Evans said she posted the video on Monday evening and was told by teacher to remove it the next morning, when she dropped her daughter off at school.

She added: 'It was then that her teacher told me she had been made aware of the video and asked me to remove it because she was in it - for just three seconds.

'She did not mention the children or child protection - if she had of course I would have removed it immediately.'

'My Facebook settings are extremely protected and private - only my close friends can see anything I can post.

'The whole thing is totally crazy - at the end of the day the school website has a picture of every child in the school and that is open to anyone to see. I really don't know what all the fuss is about.'

A spokesman for Rhondda Cynon Taf council said schools needed the permission of all parents to allow filming or photography of their children in school.

He said: 'If just one parent or carer objects to group photography, then the head teacher does not allow it to happen.

'At Ynysboeth Primary School a significant number of parents or carers specifically requested that their children's images do not appear on social media. 'The headteacher made it clear to the audience that photography was allowed, but not for distribution on social media. 'Unfortunately a minority ignored those wishes and published them anyway.

'There are children in our schools who are protected by means of court orders and under no circumstances can the identity or location of these children be revealed. To do so could expose them to unacceptable risk.'

He said headteachers felt it was necessary to ban photography or filming of some events because they work closely with adoptive and foster carers to ensure the well-being and safeguarding of their children.

Andrew Allison, from the Freedom Association said that 'common sense' was needed. He said: 'Child protection is obviously a serious issue, however, some common sense is needed here. Sharing a video of your child in a nativity play is a natural thing a proud parent does.

'Considering there is a photograph of every pupil on the school's website, and Miss Evans' security settings on Facebook are set to private, the school should stop behaving like Scrooge and allow other parents who couldn't attend the nativity play a chance to share the experience.'

The incident in Abercynon follows a number of disappointments for children who have seen nativity plays cancelled in recent years or their parents charged to watch.

According to a Netmums survey conducted earlier this month, just two in five schools allow parents and loved ones to take photographs freely at school plays.

At one in six, cameras are banned completely, while 14 per cent of schools video the performance then charge parents for copies. And a third of schools ask parents to sign forms stating they will not share snaps on social media, the survey said.

One mother who responded to the survey online said that she agreed with photographs not being shared on social media, pointing to her own situation involving her adopted son.

She said that if his photograph was to be posted on social media his birth parents might be able to determine his location - something, she argued, that would threaten his well-being.
Without proper precautions, children can be exposing details of their lives to anyone who logs on

One school in Middlesbrough was today praised after it sent a letter to parents urging them not to post any photos taken at the school nativity on social networking sites.

The letter, sent by St Edward’s RC Primary School, said it was a 'priority' for children to be kept 'as safe as possible'. The letter stated: 'Please could you ensure that you have not placed any photographs of Foundation Stage or Key Stage Christmas performances on to any social media websites including Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.'

And the school, which was named best state school in the north-east by the 2014 Sunday Times Parent Power publication last month, has the support of parents who agree with the message, according to The Gazette.

Official guidance issued by the Information Commissioner's Office states that parents should be able to take photos of their children at events such as school plays and sports days, without fear of breaching the Data Protection Act.

In 2010, Christopher Graham, the Information Commissioner, urged parents of children appearing in plays and other school events to 'stand ready to challenge any schools or councils that say "Bah, Humbug" to a bit of festive fun'.

His comments came after one father, Lee Ingram, spoke out over being threatened with arrest when he notified a school that he wanted to take a photo of his daughter, then five, in her nativity in 2007.

However, photographs are only exempt of the Data Protection Act if they are taken for personal use - to be put in a family photo album, for example. And there is debate as to whether social media falls under this exemption.


Dubious British food in school dinners too

Frozen cheese sandwiches and a donut: Clegg confronted by angry mother over unhealthy school dinners

Children given free school meals have been served mouldy and frozen sandwiches, Nick Clegg was warned today.

The Deputy Prime Minister, who has championed the policy of free lunches for under-7s, vowed to investigate claims a school in Somerset was providing 'unhealthy' meals which left pupils hungry.

But he hit back at critics of his scheme, insisting 1.6million children – around 85 per cent - were now getting the benefits of a school lunch.

Since September all children under the age of seven in England's schools have been offered a free meal.

Mr Clegg argues that pupils who have school meals are healthier and achieve more academically.

But today he was confronted by a listener on his LBC radio phone-in who claimed schools were struggling to provide acceptable food.

The caller, Nicola, from Somerset, said her daughter's school did not have the capacity to provide hot lunches for the increased number of children entitled to free school meals. Instead they have been given a packed lunch.  'Now these packed lunches, obviously, are cold, they're sandwiches and very unhealthy donuts,' she said.

The sandwiches are either cheese, ham, or tuna. There is no capacity for requests such as no butter, or whatever, if they don't particularly like it.

'There have been occasions when… the sandwiches turned up frozen. There was another occasion when they turned up in mouldy bread.

Nicola, who refused to name the school, said: 'Most parents I know are now sending in their children with additional food, they are coming home hungry.'

The Liberal Democrat leader, who championed the free school meals policy, told her: 'It sounds totally unacceptable and you are quite right as a mum to be immensely annoyed.'  He added: 'If what you said is absolutely right, it hasn't changed at all since the beginning of term, and that they are providing such poor value and poor quality cold meals, that's completely wrong.  'It's not what is happening across the vast majority of the rest of the school system.'

He promised to look into the case and 'make sure something is done about it'.

The on-air exchange came as Mr Clegg released figures showing more than 1.6 million infant pupils are eating free school dinners.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem leader said the official figures showed that a decision to offer all five to seven-year-olds a free meal at lunchtime has had a very high take-up in its first three months.

The policy was introduced into England's 16,500 primary schools in September.  In total, 1,640,530 youngsters - around 85% of infant pupils - have a school meal at lunchtime.

'Well over a million and a half infants are enjoying a school meal at lunchtime, giving them a better start to afternoon lessons and a healthy boost for their first years in school,' Mr Clegg said.

'The other good news for families is that this saves them up to £400 per child a year on the cost of a packed lunch.

'The naysayers about this policy can eat their hats, and all the leftover sprouts.'

Earlier this year, the expense of the free meals policy sparked a coalition row, with former education secretary Michael Gove and schools minister David Laws later writing a joint article insisting they were behind the scheme.

Some head teachers initially warned that the policy would cause difficulties in schools which did not have the kitchen and dining facilities to feed all of eligible pupils during the lunch hour.


UCLA Prof Assigns Pro-Israel Book in Order to Trash It

The angry man himself

It seemed too good to be true: the required reading in UCLA history professor James Gelvin's fall 2014 class, History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 1881 to Present, includes a pro-Israel book, Alan Dershowitz's The Case for Israel (2004). Described by the New York Times Book Review as "[e]specially effective at pointing to the hypocrisy of many of Israel's critics," the Washington Post Book World called it a "lively, hotly argued broadside against Israel's increasingly venomous critics."

Why would a professor so openly critical of Israel assign such a work? To balance his own unfavorable views on the topic, perhaps? To spark classroom debate on complex issues?

Not quite. A source at UCLA tells Campus Watch that students are reading Dershowitz in order to locate and write about the alleged errors, a requirement that does not extend to any of the other reading material.

Would that Gelvin's students could apply such scrutiny to his own book, The Israel Palestine Conflict: One Hundred Years of War (2014), which is also required reading. Martin Sherman, formerly of the University of Southern California and the Hebrew Union College, reviewed the book for the Middle East Quarterly in 2010 and concluded that it provides:

"... an account of the Israel-Palestine conflict which is appallingly shallow, shoddy, and slanted. ... [I]t will certainly underscore the mendacious manner in which this topic is dealt with in mainstream academe"

Nor does it apply to the third assigned book, Jimmy Carter's The Blood of Abraham: Insights into the Middle East (1985), although Gelvin recommends in the course syllabus that students purchasing them from the UCLA bookstore do the following:

"Be sure to borrow or buy used copies of the Dershowitz and Carter books. I'll be damned if either of those two poseurs get a dime in royalties from my course"

Such hostility may surprise, given Carter's scathing anti-Israel polemic, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid (2006), and his many public apologias for the terrorists of Hamas. But his 1985 work describes his experience negotiating the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt, an act long despised by anti-Israel activists for its required recognition of Israel's legitimacy by the Arab world's leading state. Whatever the case, Gelvin's course syllabus grandly informs students that both Carter and Dershowitz are "poseurs."

Elsewhere in the syllabus, Gelvin employs the jargon of post-colonialism, referring repeatedly to the "Zionist Colonization of Palestine" and to "Zionism and colonialism." His online reading assignments include several anti-Israel so-called "new historians": University of California, San Diego sociology professor Gershon Shafir; University of Arkansas anthropology professor Ted Swedenburg; University of Oxford emeritus professor Avi Shlaim; and the (now repentant) Ben Gurion University history professor Benny Morris. However, he also incorporates reading material from early Zionist leaders Theodor Herzl and David Ben Gurion, and former Brandeis University president Jehuda Reinharz.

Gelvin's approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict is summed up in the syllabus's introduction, where he describes it as simply a "dispute between the two rival sets of nationalisms." By emphasizing nationalism and downplaying religion and culture, Gelvin, like many of his cohorts in Middle East studies, is able to portray both sides as morally comparable and equally at fault.

This is not the first time Gelvin's tendentiousness has been obvious to his students, some of whom described him at Bruinwalk, a website that features reviews of UCLA professors, as follows:

"Professor Gelvin is not a historian but rather an advocate of [the] Palestinian cause."

"I feel bad for people who enter his class hoping to get an unbiased and fair representation/analysis of the situation in the Middle East—all you will get is a one-sided OPINION."

"My experience of the Arab-Israeli conflict, through Gelvin's eyes, has left me feeling angry at Israel."

"I hope anyone that takes his class can tell the difference between what's fiction and reality. If you thought you learned history, you didn't; you only learned what he wanted you to know.

. . . My grade on the papers definitely went up after I started to write them [sic] pro-Arab."

In response to the emergence of academic watchdogs, he claimed in 2003 that "[w]hat really irks those guys is that I don't use my classroom for political purposes, and thus my lectures don't advance their political agenda."

In light of such evidence, however, Gelvin's attempts to portray himself as an objective scholar are unconvincing. By engaging in this blatant misuse of power, Gelvin is doing a disservice to his students and to the field of Middle East studies. It's all there in the syllabus.


Student claims he was expelled from W&L for consensual sex

A day after Rolling Stone published an article describing a brutal gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity house, a former Washington and Lee student claims he was expelled for having consensual sex with another student who eight months later regretted the encounter and claimed rape.

The former W&L student has filed a federal lawsuit claiming the private Lexington university discriminated against him because he is a male, and because it wanted to avoid the negative public scrutiny that UVa was experiencing. Moreover, the student, identified as John Doe in the lawsuit, contends W&L’s Title IX officer advocates to female students that “regret equals rape.”

“W&L has created an environment where an accused male student is fundamentally denied due process by being prosecuted through the conduct process under a presumption of guilt. Such a one-sided process deprived Plaintiff, as a male student, of educational opportunities at W&L on the basis of his sex,” John Doe claims in the lawsuit.

W&L spokesman Brian Eckert said, “We don’t feel it is appropriate to discuss the specifics of a legal proceeding, but we’re confident that we correctly follow our established university policies and procedures, as well as federal mandates. We’re committed to treating all students fairly and maintaining a safe environment on our campus.”

John Doe claims that twice, he had consensual sex with a student identified in the lawsuit as Jane Doe. The first encounter occurred in his room at the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity house where they went after an off-campus party on Feb. 8. Both had been drinking, he said.

He claims they sat on chairs in his room and talked for about an hour. He said Jane Doe then said that while she doesn’t usually have sex with a man when she first meets him, she found him very interesting. He said she moved toward him, initiated kissing, took off her clothes except for her underwear and got into bed with him. He said at no point did she say she did not want to have sex.

He claims she spent the night, that he contacted her later through Facebook and that they had sex again in early March. He said she told her friends she had a good time. But at a Pi Kappa Phi St. Patrick’s Day party a few weeks later, Jane Doe left when she saw him kissing another woman, who is now his girlfriend.

It wasn’t until July that Jane Doe told a friend that she was sexually assaulted, the lawsuit claims. Then in October, Jane Doe, as a member of a student organization against sexual assault called SPEAK, attended a presentation by W&L Title IX officer Lauren Kozak. According to the lawsuit, Kozak shared an article, “Is it possible that there is something in between consensual sex and rape … and that it happens to almost every girl out there?”
The article talks about alcohol-fueled sex in which the woman later regrets the encounter.

“Ms. Kozak introduced and discussed the article with the members of SPEAK to make her point that ‘regret equals rape,’ and went on to state her belief that this point was a new idea everyone is starting to agree with,” the lawsuit contends.

Five days after the presentation, Jane Doe reported to Kozak she was sexually assaulted but indicated she did not want to pursue a complaint, the lawsuit said.

By the end of October, Jane Doe changed her mind once she learned that both she and John Doe had been accepted into a program to study in Nepal for a semester, the lawsuit states.

John Doe claims that Kozak then led an investigation biased against him from the outset; he was ordered not to talk with anyone about it, and he was prevented from obtaining information to disprove the allegations.

He further claims that he could not present witnesses or question any of Kozak’s summaries during a Student-Faculty Hearing Board where he was charged with sexual misconduct.

“Moreover, based on Jane Doe’s own complaint, she admits that she ‘initiated making out,’ ‘took off her clothes except for her underwear and got into the bed. She took off her underwear in the bed. He also got naked. She was fine with all of that.’ Under W&L’s policies, the ‘responsibility of obtaining consent rests with the individual who initiates sexual activity,’ and, by her own account, Jane Doe admits that she initiated the sexual activity. The burden to establish ‘consent,’ or, in this case ‘lack of consent,’ should have been assigned to Jane Doe,” the lawsuit contends.

Eckert pointed to the university’s website to explain the policies, procedures and the president’s position on sexual misconduct. An interim policy was adopted over the summer and Kozak was named as the Title IX officer in order to comply with U.S. Department of Education regulations.

The policy sets out the framework for reporting and investigating complaints of sexual misconduct as well as the posting of Student-Faculty Hearing Board proceedings.

Hearing results for the fall of 2014, which includes John Doe’s case, will not be posted until the end of the term.

The Student-Faculty Hearing Board conducted two inquiries in May, both against law students. Both students were found to be in violation of sexual misconduct and unwanted sexual touching; both were suspended for one year.

In February 2013, the board expelled a student for sexual misconduct. In 2012, it held three similar hearings, finding no policy violation for two of the students. The third student was found to have harassed another student and was suspended for a term.

The university’s current policy requires dismissal when a student is found to have had sex without consent, but it allows for a range of punishments for other sexually related offenses.

John Doe said that, since Jane Doe initiated sex, she, not he, would need to obtain consent. Therefore, “W&L engaged in blatant gender bias” by relying on gender stereotypes as to whom should be responsible for sexual assault.

He also contends the timing of the publication of the Rolling Stone article, “A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVa,” influenced W&L’s decision.

The article described the story of a gang rape at a UVa fraternity house that has been mostly debunked. However, allegations that sexual assaults on campuses are not treated as the crimes that they are remains a topic of academic, political and public discussion. So, too, has the question that has been raised about procedures and the makeup of university boards adjudicating these complaints.

John Doe contends W&L’s procedures violate federal law and his due process rights.

John Doe is seeking a monetary award to compensate him for damages to his well-being, his reputation, educational opportunities and career prospects. Further, he seeks to have the expulsion reversed and his disciplinary record expunged.