Friday, October 17, 2014

Federally mandated and intrusive "training" at a community college

If you have been thinking all this time that federal funding of higher education doesn’t have content-control purse strings attached to it, guess what? You’ve been deluding yourself. And it’s time to wake up and smell the student programming:

“A new training at Laramie County Community College has reportedly been asking students some personal questions. In an effort to follow new federal rules, the college recently started requiring that students complete a new training, college president Joe Schaffer said at a recent Board of Trustees meeting.”

And what, you might ask, does that “training” consist of? “Drug and alcohol awareness and abuse, harassment and sexual conduct and violence… The training gives information on how to handle different situations …” Schaffer said.

But the “training – a mandated two-hour course – has some students up in arms. “Some of the topics covered and the questions have made students uncomfortable,” Schaffer said. “Some of the questions … have been about past sexual behavior or experiences.”

And just what “federal rules,” you might ask, necessitate LCCC’s delving into its students’ “sexual experiences”? Those would be the Department of Education’s Title IX regulations concerning sexual violence, along with the 1990 Clery Act, passed after Lehigh University student Jeanne Clery was raped and murdered in her dorm room in 1986.

Well, who doesn’t want to prevent campus sexual violence? That’s a laudable goal. But it’s highly questionable whether the approach taken by the feds will ever achieve it. I doubt that the next campus molester will be paying any attention to the mandates of the course. Unless someone wants to claim that respect for rights and a “sensitivity” to the needs of others has ever been at the top of a criminal’s concerns?

No, the solution to such travesties would be better security forces and stiffer prosecutions, not intrusive questions about students’ alcohol consumption or past sexual conduct, all in the name of “campus safety.”

But never mind all of that, for Mr. Schaffer continues: “It’s helpful for us to know, is this a major issue on our campus or not?”

I don’t know, Mr. Schaffer: Has anyone been raped and murdered in your campus dorms lately? But Mr. Schaffer doesn’t just stop there: “We can argue are (students) answering truthfully or not, and there is going to be some of that. But those questions are intended to get us an understanding of what students are doing.”

And that is the point where Mr. Schaffer unwittingly lets the federally mandated cat out of the bag. He reveals the real reason for this disaster of a “training” course: Not “campus safety” but to gain “an understanding of what students are doing.”

What’s next, Mr. Schaffer? Questions about political orientation? Or the financial histories of your students’ families?

If so, this wouldn’t be the first time a government that funded the educational system took such a course of action, as the Communists in the post-revolutionary Soviet Union were famous for purging university students who weren’t members of the Party or who had “bourgeoisie” parents. (So much for the “right” to an education.)

Yes, I know, Mr. Schaffer. You are only following the orders of your federal educrat masters. But I would like you to honestly tell me, if you can, that you aren’t busily realizing the fundamental precept lying at the root of this catastrophe: They who control the educational purse strings control the educational content as well.

Once that precept is implemented, Mr. Schaffer, the rest is merely a matter of time. As the federal takeover of all levels of education proceeds amok, count on it: More and more stipulations, requirements, decrees, edicts, directives, commandments, “training” courses and mandates will be passed on down from on high. And you – as college president – will eventually have to choose whether you want to be a fellow slave driver or whether you’ll resign and find honest work somewhere else.

But to be fair to you, it should be noted that you have been working with the questionnaire vendor to have some of the more offensive questions removed: “There are some questions that are very, very personal,” Schaffer said, “and from an institutional perspective, we don’t see how we would use that information in any productive way.”

Well, that’s a plus at least, Mr. Schaffer, and you deserve credit for that. But if you really want to scrap that questionnaire completely, there’s only one way you’ll be able to do it: Quit accepting the federal loot. For those dollars are the golden handcuffs by which your institutional sovereignty has disappeared.


Teachers Sue Union for Censoring Charitable Donations

Two teachers have taken Pennsylvania’s largest teachers union to court over its attempt to decide which charities may be supported by teachers as an alternative when they decline to join the union on religious grounds.

The teachers, Chris Meier from Lancaster County and Jane Ladley from Chester County, are required—as a condition of employment—either to be a member of the Pennsylvania State Education Association or pay a nonmember “fair share” fee of $435.

Last spring, PSEA accepted Meier and Ladley’s status as religious objectors. In lieu of paying membership dues, state law instructed the teachers to pay a “fair share” fee to a charity of their choice.

Pennsylvania law stipulates that religious objectors must select a “non-religious charity” that is “agreed upon” by the union, but it does not specify a procedure or deadline for reaching that agreement.

Meier, an Advanced Placement economics and history teacher, chose the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which provides free legal advice and representation to teachers like himself.

But because that foundation represented teachers in unrelated lawsuits against the PSEA, the union told Meier his charity was a “conflict of interest,” and he must choose a different organization.

Meier, a father of three who calls himself a “bona fide religious objector” to the PSEA, was not going to give up easily.

“I want the freedom of choice—to be able to donate to the charity I choose,” he said in a press release.

Ladley, who is retiring this year after teaching students with learning disabilities for 25 years, initially chose a scholarship fund for high school seniors interested in studying the Constitution. But the PSEA sent her a letter in March saying she must choose a “nonpolitical” charity instead.

“I shouldn’t have to agree with the PSEA; that’s the whole point of being a religious objector,” she told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.

Ladley next selected the Constitutional Organization of Liberty, a charity that provides educational materials on the Constitution and American history. The teachers union didn’t respond to this second choice.

The two public school teachers, who are represented by lawyer Nathan R. Bohlander of the The Fairness Center, filed a lawsuit Sept. 18. They  argue:

The PSEA cannot maintain a unilateral ‘policy’ of withholding funds and restricting religious objectors’ choice of a substitute charity simply because the charity is, in the union’s view, ‘political,’ or otherwise takes positions with which the PSEA does not agree.

In blocking the teachers’ donations to certain organizations, Bohlander told The Daily Signal, the PSEA not only was enforcing “restrictive” policies but also being hypocritical.

“When the PSEA first told Ladley she could not give to political organizations, they gave her an approved list of 12 alternative organizations they supported,” the lawyer said.

After looking into those organizations, Bohlander found that “over half spend hundreds of thousands—or millions—of dollars on direct political lobbying,” while the organization Ladley chose is “dwarfed” in comparison.

PSEA spokesman David Broderic told The Patriot-News that the union only just learned of the lawsuit and is in the process of reviewing it. Broderic emphasized that  state law lays the foundation for the union policy.

We are charged with following the law. We make every effort to accommodate charitable requests. And we’ll continue to do that.

However, Bohlander said that promoting groups that the union fundamentally agrees with while inhibiting organizations with which it disagrees is “hypocritical.”

Now, Meier and Ladley’s donations are being held indefinitely in an interest-bearing escrow account —another issue their lawsuit seeks to address.

“There’s no mechanism for resolving this—it’s taken out automatically, and it can go out indefinitely without any resolution,” Bohlander said.

The money is not being used by the teachers, it’s not being used by the union, and it’s not being used by the charity. The relative size of a small charity like the one Ladley chose would be greatly benefited by $400.

The PSEA faced an Oct. 9 deadline to respond to the complaint by Ladley and Meier.

“They are telling me which groups I have to choose,” Ladley said of the union. “It’s a wrong that needs to be righted.”

Broderic, the union’s lawyer, also told The Patriot-News that Ladley and Meier were among only eight educators with religious objections to the “fair share” fee whose designated charities were under union review.

Of the union’s 180,000 members, he said, 200 have religious objections to paying the fee and their charitable choices were approved.


UK: National Union of Students refuses to condemn ISIS due to fears it would be 'Islamophobic'

The National Union of Students has come under fire after it refused to condemn ISIS - because of fears it was 'Islamophobic'.

Students put forward a motion at the body's National Executive Council meeting calling for the condemnation of terrorist atrocities and support for the Iraqi people.

But the call was defeated after a rebellion led by Black Students Officer Malia Bouattia, who said the motion was merely a 'justification for war'.

It comes a day after military chiefs from around the globe met to discuss the battle against ISIS and despite a number of Muslim leaders in Britain having condemned the extremist group.

One student, who wished to remain anonymous, said: 'Islamophobia is a meaningless term used by irrational people when unable to rebut a rational criticism.

'Malia Bouattia should realise how lucky she is to be able to stand up and express her opinions with freedom and security. 'She would not enjoy the same freedom if she were to visit the ISIS/ISIL that she refuses to condemn, and protested her opinions.'

Another added: 'I personally would find something rather Islamophobic in Ms Bouattia's idea that condemning ISIS is also to condemn the other, approximately two billion Muslims on the planet - who don't rape minorities or murder journalists.

'They don't want ISIS to carry out such attacks in the name of their religion, and who in the West have repeatedly begged not to be associated with the activities of "Islamic" State.

'If the vast majority of Muslim students in the UK are in fact repeatedly standing up and telling you that they don't like ISIS, that these terrorists don't represent their faith, that they don't want to be associated with them in any way - then how exactly is not condemning ISIS helping to fight Islamophobia?'

The motion, proposed by Daniel Cooper, was raised at the National Union of Students' NEC meeting at Derbyshire House in London in September.

It put forward seven suggestions as to how the body could support the ongoing battle with the Islamic State.

The motion stated: 'To work with the International Students’ Campaign to support Iraqi, Syrian and other international students in the UK affected by this situation.

'To campaign in solidarity with the Iraqi people and in particular support the hard-pressed student, workers' and women's organisations against all the competing nationalist and religious-right forces.

'To support Iraqis trying to bridge the Sunni-Shia divide to fight for equality and democracy, including defence of the rights of the Christian and Yazidi-Kurd minorities.

'To condemn the IS and support the Kurdish forces fighting against it, while expressing no confidence or trust in the US military intervention.

'Encourage students to boycott anyone found to be funding the IS or supplying them with goods, training, travel or soldiers.

'To make contact with Iraqi and Kurdish organisations, in Iraq and in the UK, in order to build solidarity and to support refugees. and To issue a statement on the above basis.'

But Birmingham student Malia Bouattia led a team who either abstained or voted against the proposal, leading to the motion's defeat.  She said: 'We recognise that condemnation of ISIS appears to have become a justification for war and blatant Islamaphobia.  'This rhetoric exacerbates the issue at hand and in essence is a further attack on those we aim to defend.

'The NUS Black Students' Campaign stands in support of Black communities across the globe and uncompromisingly against imperialism and Western interference which history shows all too often leads to the suffering of Black people.

'We stand in complete solidarity with the Kurdish people against the recent attacks by ISIS and join many others in condemnation of their brutal actions.

'The NUS Black Students' Campaign will be working with Kurdish students and the International Students Campaign to raise this issue within the NUS.'  She added that she will now begin work on a revised motion which will not be 'Islamophobic'.

But Daniel Cooper, who proposed the motion, said he could not see any signs of Islamophobia.

He said: 'I have looked again and again at the contents of the motion, yet I cannot track any Islamophobia or racism.

'There is a stranglehold of "identity politics" on the student movement.

'This is an issue which needs to be discussed in more depth, but essentially the idea is widespread that if a Liberation Officer opposes something, it must be bad.'

Earlier this year Muslim leaders in Britain condemned ISIS expressing their 'grave concern' at continued violence in its name.

Representatives from both the Sunni and Shia groups in the UK relayed their message that the militant group does not represent the majority of Muslims.

Shuja Shafi, of the Muslim Council of Great Britain, said at the time: 'Violence has no place in religion, violence has no religion.'

As international condemnation of the extremists continued to grow this week, US President Barack Obama met with representatives from a global coalition of 22 countries to discuss the battle against ISIS.

Representatives from Australia, Canada, Egypt, France, Iraq and Jordan were among those who attended the meeting.

In a statement, the NUS said: 'At our most recent NEC meeting, a motion on this issue was presented and voted on by all members.

'Some committee members felt that the wording of the motion being presented would unfairly demonise all Muslims rather than solely the group of people it set out to rightfully condemn.

'NUS does not support ISIS and a new motion will be taken to the next NUS National Executive Committee meeting, which will specifically condemn the politics and methods of ISIS and offer solidarity for the Kurdish people.'


Kafka Was the Rage:  At a Catholic school, a professor fighting the academic boycott of Israel is investigated on secret charges

By Doron Ben-Atar

The email arrived on the last Friday afternoon of the spring term shortly before 5:00 p.m. Anastasia Coleman, Fordham’s Director of Institutional Equity and Compliance, and its Title IX Coordinator, wanted to meet with me. “It has been alleged,” she wrote, “that you may have acted in an inappropriate way and possibly discriminated against another person at the University.”

I was stunned. My wife, kids and friends have been warning me for years that, in these prudish times, my outrageous sense of humor and intellectual irreverence (my last book is about bestiality) could get me in trouble. I imagined myself brought before an academic disciplinary tribunal from Francine Prose’s Blue Angel, where all my past transgressions would be marshaled to prove that I don’t belong in the classroom. My mind raced, recalling the many slips of the tongue I had in three decades of teaching. I perspired profusely and felt the onset of a stomach bug. What would I tell my mother?

“Did it have anything to do with a student?” I shot back anxiously, hoping to get a sense of my predicament before the director left for the weekend. I was lucky. Coleman responded immediately. “This does not involve students and is about your behavior regarding American Studies.”

What a relief. But it was also very odd. The decision of the American Studies Association to boycott Israeli universities in December 2013 had upset me. I wrote emails, circulated articles, and was pleased that my university president quickly declared his opposition to the measure. I joined a national steering committee that set out to fight the boycott and participated in the drafting of a few statements. As an American historian who delivered in 1987 his first paper at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association and served on the executive committee of Fordham’s American Studies program, I wanted Fordham’s program to sever official ties with the national organization until it rescinded the measure. Other programs have taken this courageous symbolic step, and I thought it proper for the Jesuit university of New York to take the moral stand against what most scholars of anti-Semitism consider anti-Semitic bigotry.

It was this stand that led Fordham’s Title IX officer to launch the proceedings. During an emotional meeting convened to discuss the appropriate response to the measure, I stated that should Fordham’s program fail to distance itself from the boycott, I will resign from the program and fight against it until it took a firm stand against bigotry. The program’s director, Michelle McGee, in turn filed a complaint against me with the Title IX office, charging that I threatened to destroy the program. (As if I could? And what does this have to do with Title IX?) This spurious complaint (the meeting’s minutes demonstrated that I did not make such a threat) ushered me into a bruising summer that taught me much about my colleagues, the university, and the price I must be willing to pay for taking on the rising tide of anti-Zionism on American campuses.

The following Monday, Coleman appeared in my office to conduct her investigation. Alas, she refused to explain what I was accused of specifically or how what I supposedly did amounted to a Title IX violation. Remaining vague, she hinted that others, including perhaps Fordham College’s dean, who chaired the fateful meeting, supported the complaint. Who are the others, I asked? Is there anything beyond that supposed one sentence? She would not disclose. I told Coleman that I took the complaint very seriously, but at the advice of my attorney I needed to think things through. Coleman told me she’d be in touch with my attorney, and we parted ways.

Over the next few weeks, Fordham’s general counsel, Tom DeJulio, and my attorney engaged in a few friendly conversations, in which we were led to believe that Fordham agreed I was perfectly within my First Amendment rights to oppose the boycott. We informed DeJulio that I’d be happy to meet with Coleman, even though we were still not informed what the specific charge was. I resigned from Fordham’s American Studies program because it refused to distance itself from anti-Semitic bigotry. Five other Jewish members of the program did the same. Not a single non-Jewish member resigned in solidarity.

Coleman never asked to meet me, and I assumed that the attempt to muzzle my opposition to the boycott died down. In late July, however, I received Coleman’s report in which she cleared me of the charge of religious discrimination. It was the first time that I learned what I was actually accused of doing, so I’m still not sure how opposing anti-Semitism amounts to religious discrimination. But Coleman was not satisfied to leave things at that. She went on to write that I refused to cooperate in the investigation (even though my attorney informed DeJulio weeks earlier of my willingness to meet her), and concluded that my decision to use an attorney was an indication of guilt. Coleman determined that in declaring I would quit the American Studies program should it not distance itself from anti-Semitism, I violated the university’s code of civility.

It was a sobering summer. I have had to defend my reputation against baseless, ever-evolving charges, ranging from sex discrimination to religious discrimination. I went through a Kafkaesque process in which I was never told exactly what I supposedly did wrong, nor was I ever shown anything in writing. Eventually I learned that the charge was religious discrimination born of my opposition to anti-Semitism. The implication is that anti-Semitism needs to be tolerated at Fordham, and that those who dare to fight it run afoul of university rules.

Administrators and colleagues failed to protect my First Amendment rights, and fed the assault on my character. A person utterly unqualified to understand anti-Semitism sat in judgment of a scholar who publishes on and teaches the subject. A report has been issued without letting me even defend myself. My choice to have legal representation has been cited as proof of my guilt. Most painful was realizing that my commitment to fighting anti-Semitism, so central to who I am, has been used against me in a most unethical manner not only by the member of the faculty who filed the baseless charge, but also by the office of the University Counsel.

Fordham remains my intellectual home. Some colleagues, appalled by the charge and proceedings, turned out to be actual loyal friends who supported me through the ordeal. But I also learned about another part of the university where colleagues resort to legal bullying to settle political scores; where heartfelt utterings at faculty brainstorming become evidence for politically motivated character assassinations; where those charged with protecting women against real abuses engage in a politically motivated witch-hunt; where fighting against the oldest hatred—anti-Semitism—makes one a pariah. The Jesuit University of New York should do better.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Teacher Indoctrination

Students at several Jefferson County, Colorado, high schools walked out to protest the school board's recently proposed curriculum review committee that seeks to promote patriotism, respect for authority, free enterprise, plus the positive aspects of U.S. history.

The teachers union, whose members forced two high schools to close by calling in sick, is against the implementation of performance-based pay. The union has encouraged and applauded student protests against what it's calling academic censorship.

The average parent and taxpayer has little idea of what is being taught to our youngsters. In February 2006, I wrote a column titled "Indoctrination of Our Youth," followed in March with "Youth Indoctrination Update." Both columns focused on rants that a student secretly had recorded of a geography teacher at another Colorado school — Overland High School in Aurora. The teacher was Jay Bennish. He told his students that President George W. Bush's State of the Union address sounded "a lot like the things that Adolf Hitler used to say."

He continued, "Bush is threatening the whole planet." He then asked his students, "Who is probably the single most violent nation on planet Earth?" He shouted the answer, "The United States!" During this class session, Bennish peppered his 10th-grade class with other ridiculous statements, saying the U.S. has engaged in "7,000 terrorist attacks against Cuba" and telling his students capitalism "is at odds with humanity, at odds with caring and compassion ... (and) at odds with human rights."

Bennish reasoned with his class, "If we have the right to fly to Bolivia or Peru and drop chemical weapons (pesticides) on top of farmers' fields because we're afraid they might be growing coca and that could be turned into cocaine and sold to us, well, then don't the Peruvians and the Iranians and the Chinese have the right to invade America and drop chemical weapons over North Carolina to destroy the tobacco plants that are killing millions and millions of people in their countries every year and causing them billions of dollars in health care costs?" This kind of anti-American teaching might help explain why some Americans have joined the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Relevant to our struggle with ISIL is this observation by Bennish, reported by columnist Todd Manzi ( "You have to understand something. When al-Qaida attacked America on Sept. 11, in their view, they're not attacking innocent people. OK? The CIA has an office in the World Trade Center. The Pentagon is a military target. The White House was a military target. Congress is a military target. ... So in the minds of al-Qaida, they are not attacking innocent people; they are attacking legitimate targets."

This kind of teacher indoctrination is by no means restricted to Colorado. Many teachers, at all grades, use their classroom for environmental, anti-war, anti-capitalist and anti-parent propaganda. Some require their students to write letters to political figures to condemn public policy the teachers don't like. Dr. Thomas Sowell's "Inside American Education" (2003) documents numerous ways teachers attack parental authority. Teachers have asked third-graders, "How many of you ever wanted to beat up your parents?" In a high-school health class, students were asked, "How many of you hate your parents?"

We can't tell whether Jefferson County teachers are giving their students the same kind of anti-American indoctrination, because if there is not recorded evidence, they will deny brainwashing. If they are brainwashing students, then it's understandable why they are against the school board's curriculum review demanding that they promote patriotism, respect for authority, free enterprise and the positive aspects of U.S. history.

Parents should become more involved with their children's education. They should look at the textbooks used and examine their children's homework. Parents should show up en masse at PTA and board of education meetings to ensure that teachers confine their lessons to reading, writing and arithmetic and leave indoctrination to parents.

The most promising tool in the fight against teacher indoctrination and classroom misconduct is the microtechnology that enables students to secretly record and expose academic misconduct by teachers.



Where’s the Beef? You Won’t Find Any on ‘Meatless Mondays’ in This School District

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Students attending Sarasota County public schools might be wondering, “Where’s the beef?” The answer won’t be found between two buns, at least not on Mondays.

Sarasota County Schools kicked off a Meatless Monday campaign last week, nixing traditional protein-packed food items for vegetarian substitutes.

The program is part of “a popular international movement … to promote abstaining from meat one day a week for personal health and for the health of the planet,” reads a statement from a school district spokesman.

The program will continue every Monday for the rest of the school year, and vegetarian dishes will be offered alongside meats on other school days.

“In Sarasota County, we strive to provide a variety of food choices and saw this as an opportunity to showcase meals with legumes and other meat-free protein sources with which they may be unfamiliar,” said Karla Dumas, the district’s food and nutrition manager.

Meatless Monday is a project of the nonprofit Monday Campaigns, an initiative associated with Johns Hopkins, Columbia and Syracuse universities. It’s taken root in other parts of the country—mostly New York City and California—and has high-profile endorsements ranging from Michelle Obama to the U.S. Humane Society to vegetarian celebrities. Even Paul McCartney has advocated meat-free Mondays to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Sarasota is the first school district in Florida to partially ban meats from school menus, according to the Meatless Monday website.

On Mondays, as many as 42,000 students eating in the county’s 52 school cafeterias will choose between hummus, vegetable subs, veggie pasta bakes, spaghetti marinara and fiesta taco salads, along with other approved items.

The initiative was brought to Sarasota County Schools by Kristie Middleton, according to Middleton is a San Francisco-based manager of corporate policy and supply chain strategy at the Humane Society of the United States, according to her LinkedIn page.

“Participating in Meatless Monday, now a popular international movement, is a simple and effective way to help animals, go green, and become healthier,” says the U.S. Humane Society, a Washington D.C.-based advocacy group.

In Texas, Agricultural Commissioner Todd Staples called the program an “activist movement” and said in an editorial last month, “restricting children’s meal choice to not include meat is irresponsible.”


London School of Economics caught in sexism row after freshers' week leaflets brand women slags, trollops and mingers and ban 'homosexual debauchery'

London School of Economics, one of the world's top universities, is investigating its men's rugby club after members branded women slags, trollops and mingers and joked about banning 'homosexual debauchery' from their initiation.

The club's leaflets prompted a storm when they were dished out at the freshers' fair for the historically liberal university, where past students included John F Kennedy and David Attenborough.

LSE's leaders and the students' union are both investigating and may take disciplinary action against the team, whose seven-page leaflet was boasting about rugby players' social lives.

Today the rugby club apologised and revealed all members will attend a diversity 'workshop'.

It comes just weeks after a survey claimed a third of female students have suffered at the hands of 'lad culture', as the National Union of Students accused universities of not doing enough to stop it.

Scattered throughout the printed leaflets were demeaning references to 'Poly' students, from supposedly inferior former Polytechnics which have since become other universities.

They also described women as 'tasty', 'beast-like' and 'mingers', suggesting they only wanted to play sport so they could go drinking with men.

Initiations, the booklets suggested, would not tolerate 'Poly activities that involve faeces, genitalia, and outright homosexual debauchery'.

Another section suggested a committee member embodied everything the club holds dear - 'debauchery, hedonism and misogyny'.

Members of the club were encouraged to bring two bottles of wine each to a Friday night social, or three if they are 'Russian'.

The leaflet also boasted about the club's 'disgraceful' boozy Christmas Club dinner as 'similar to Oxford's infamous Bullingdon Club, but we don't pay for the damage afterwards!'.

And it mentioned a drunken 2005 incident which caused £30,000 damage to King's College London as a 'shameful orgy of destruction (or a blaze of glory depending on which way you look at it)'.

The leaflets were confiscated after a backlash on Twitter, where many of those who read them were 18-year-old students in their first week away from home.

They spread the leaflet using hashtags such as #homophobia and #everydaysexism and one postgraduate student, Michelle Warbis, called for 'immediate and drastic action to set precedent and underline that this behaviour is absolutely intolerable'.

One international relations student wrote: 'Disgusted with leaflets that LSE rugby club were handing out at freshers fair. Can't believe I study with such sexist, homophobic, snobs.'

History and philosophy student Nicola Sugden added: 'It seems LSE Men's Rugby couldn't even get beyond fresher's week without being sexist, homophobic, moronic and offensive. Way to go, guys.'

LSE's officer for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students Alex Leung added: 'Some people might see it as a joke but I think the leaflet has crossed the line.  'I am disappointed with Men's Rugby team. Everyone can play sports including rugby no matter what your sexual orientation.'

The captain of LSE's women's rugby club Julia Ryland said the team was 'outraged' by the leaflet.

She said: 'The Women’s Rugby team is one of the most successful teams in the LSE Athletic’s Union both due to its achievements in the university leagues, and in encouraging what is a minority sport to flourish.  'This is evident in its increasing numbers, from 20 members in 2012, to 70 in 2014.'

She added: 'We feel massively disappointed that this incident has occurred but also feel frustrated that the LSE rugby club has been portrayed in such a light when the Women’s team has worked so hard to combat this image.'

A spokesman for the LSE students' union said it 'immediately confiscated all materials and launched an investigation'.
The leaflet is the most overt, outrageous example of rape culture, and hopefully it'll help us rectify the problem

'This investigation will be thorough,' the spokesman added. 'It will hear from both individuals that complained and the Club itself. This will allow us to determine any appropriate action.

'We are also working with the School as they have received a wide number of complaints.

'We are committed to our equal opportunities policy and safeguarding our members.'

A university spokesman added: 'LSE has received complaints that a group of students has been distributing offensive leaflets which include unacceptable misogynistic and homophobic slurs. This incident is being investigated as a matter of priority.

'The School values its culture of diversity and tolerance; and seeks to uphold the highest possible standards of openness and respect.

'Should the behaviour of any individuals or groups be found to have fallen short of those standards, disciplinary action will be taken.'

The incident has sparked the latest in a string of concerns about the pressures of 'lad culture' at British universities.

Last month a survey claimed a third of women had suffered inappropriate behaviour.

The study was commissioned by the National Union of Students, which accused university authorities of not doing enough to tackle the issue.

The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge have even introduced a lecture for first-year students explaining the difference between consensual and non-consensual sex.

Cambridge was set to include the 30-minute workshops in its freshers' week itinerary in a bid to get newcomers talking about how to prevent rape and sexual assault.

Oxford is also holding classes in 20 of its colleges - and at the end of the sessions, an official will read out a statement which describes consent as 'active and willing'.


UK: Damning report into schools at centre of Trojan Horse plot finds boys and girls are still segregated, RE pupils have to teach themselves topics other than Islam and others went on secret trip to Saudi Arabia

Five Birmingham schools declared failing by inspectors in the wake of the alleged 'Trojan Horse' takeover plot by hardline Muslims have still not improved, Ofsted has warned.

In the first update following inspections earlier this year, the watchdog's chief Sir Michael Wilshaw said that 'too much poor practice remained unchallenged during the summer term'.

Ofsted also found it has taken too much time to appoint new governors and senior leaders at these schools, meaning that 'very little action' has been taken to address the serious concerns raised.

Ofsted said that the segregation of boys and girls at Park View Academy has not been tackled.  In one case, at Park View Academy, 'little had been done' to tackle segregation between the sexes, and encourage boys and girls to sit together in lessons and share ideas, inspectors warned.

At another school, Golden Hillock, teenagers studying for a GCSE in RE 'have to teach themselves for options other than Islam', Ofsted said, leaving students at a 'significant disadvantage'.

And at another school, Oldknow Academy in Small Heath, trustees were kept in the dark about a controversial trip to Saudi Arabia involving pupils.

Ofsted said: 'Worryingly, trustees were not aware that a visit to Saudi Arabia had taken place this year for pupils and staff, despite a similar trip last year receiving criticism from inspectors at the previous inspection due to failures in safeguarding.  'Indeed, they had been told by senior leaders that the visit had been cancelled.'

Oldknow came under fire in June after banning 'un-Islamic' tombolas and raffles at a fete and has now seen parents withdrawing their children from acts of collective worship, the new report found.

Responding to the latest report, shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt said: 'It is utterly incomprehensible that, six months after these serious concerns became public, David Cameron's Government has still not taken action, putting children at risk from radical, hardline agendas and damaging school standards. 'It is gross negligence from the Prime Minister and his Tory-led Government and they must urgently explain their inaction.'

In June, Ofsted issued a damning verdict on the running of a number of Birmingham's schools and declared five failing, placing them into special measures.

These schools were Golden Hillock School, Nansen Primary School and Park View Academy - all run by the Park View Educational Trust (PVET), as well as Oldknow Academy and Saltley School.

Four separate probes were conducted into the allegations in Birmingham, which were originally sparked by the 'Trojan Horse' letter - now widely believed to be a hoax - that referred to an alleged plot by hardline Muslims to seize control of a number of school governing boards in the city.

Following the publication of the investigations into the Trojan Horse scandal, ministers announced that in future, all schools will be required to 'actively promote' British values such as democracy, tolerance, mutual respect, the rule of law and individual liberty.

While plans have been drawn up to revamp the curriculum at each of the five schools inspected, these often lack the detail needed to ensure that action will be taken to actively promote these values and tolerance of different faiths, Ofsted said.

Inspectors conducted unannounced follow-up visits to the five schools, four of which are academies and the fifth run by the local council, during a week last month.

The findings also showed that staff at the schools had 'some optimism' that there would be changes, but they also raised concerns about equality and fairness.

Some staff said some people at their school hold jobs that they do not have the experience or qualifications for, the advice note said.

It also criticised Birmingham Council for failing to show Ofsted the plan it has drawn up in response to the findings of the investigations into the alleged Trojan Horse plot.

Sir Michael called on the Department for Education (DfE) to look at how it can take more rapid action to change the trustees and governors of an academy school when there are serious concerns about how it is being run.

In a statement issued to pupils' parents, the trustees and executive principal of the Park View Educational Trust said it had already addressed many of the issues raised by Ofsted.

'In the period of a month since the monitoring visits, the Trust's new transition plan has led to significant progress and this was highlighted by the Department for Education during their recent visits to our academies at the beginning of October,' the statement said.

'We remain realistic about the challenges ahead but are focused and determined to maintain rapid and sustained progress ahead of the next monitoring visits, which will provide a more authentic insight into the new leadership and governance arrangements.

'Students at our academies no longer face segregation in classes and several new opportunities are being welcomed.'


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Obama Is Deploying 'Gainful Employment' Regulations To Threaten For-Profit Colleges

The Obama administration claims its latest college crusade will help students. On the contrary, its “gainful employment” regulations amount to a hostile takeover attempt by government of the fastest growing higher education sector in the country that will hurt students, taxpayers, and the economy.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan acknowledges that most career colleges make a vital contribution to American global competitiveness. The few that don’t leave students with crushing debt and no degree to show for it; however, that outcome is hardly unique to the private or for-profit sector.

Rather than hold bad actors accountable, both public and for-profit alike, through existing laws, since 2010 Duncan has singled out and tried to use his department to exert more control over the for-profit career college  sector, which has swelled from 200,000 students in the late 1980s to 2 million as of 2010.

Back in 2010 the U.S. Department of Education unveiled a set of proposed gainful employment rules requiring private for-profit colleges to meet mandated loan repayment rates and debt-to-earnings levels before their students could qualify for federal student aid.

The final regulations unveiled in 2011 deemed students’ employment “gainful” only if it was in an occupation recognized by the federal government. They further mandated student repayment and debt load ratios that a federal judge struck down the following year for being “arbitrary and capricious.”

Undeterred last year the Obama administration revived its crusade against what Duncan called “predatory” career colleges with proposed mandates that are no less arbitrary or capricious than their predecessors.

Under the new proposed regulations unveiled earlier this year, for students to qualify for federal aid for-profit career colleges must prove the estimated annual loan payments of graduates do not exceed 20 percent of their discretionary earnings, or 8 percent of their total earnings, and the default rate for former students does not exceed 30 percent.

Duncan justified the move insisting that 72 percent of for-profit career colleges graduated students who earned less than high school dropouts. That claim has since been roundly dismissed. And there’s ample reason to doubt other claims by his department.

Department of Education officials estimate that 90 percent of career college students losing federal financial aid because of gainful employment regulations will find suitable alternatives. Actual figures tell a very different story.

Should the Obama administration succeed and gainful employment regulations take effect next year, more than 4 out of 10 students currently enrolled at for-profit career colleges could lose access to federal financial aid, according to research by the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities. Over the next decade as many as 7.5 million students could lose access.

And who are these students?

Most for-profit career college students are older adults, including members of the military. They are also far more likely to be from traditionally underrepresented populations, including minorities and first-generation college-goers.

These students seek out private for-profit career schools precisely because the public and non-profit sectors aren’t the right options for them, including not offering the desired degree programs or flexible schedules that help them balance family and career responsibilities.

Forcing these students into schools and programs the Obama administration (and its union allies) prefer won’t help them or taxpayers.

The net taxpayer cost of a private for-profit college student is $183 compared to more than $13,000 per public college student. If private for-profit options aren’t available, many of these students would have to transfer to public colleges at cost taxpayers nationwide an additional $1.7 billion annually. In the long-run gainful employment regulations could cost students and taxpayers even more.

As many as 23 million skilled and educated workers are needed over the next decade, and private for-profit career colleges specialize in offering degree programs in the highest-growth occupational fields.

At a time when 90 million Americans are undereducated, 12 million are unemployed, and family incomes are down, gainful employment regulations are the last thing American students, taxpayers, or our economy needs.


Obama Administration’s New Teacher Equity Plan Will Not Improve Access to Good Teachers

We can all agree that all students should have access to top-notch teachers. But the approach the Obama administration is taking is unlikely to lead to this.

Last Wednesday, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights sent 14,000 school districts a ‘Dear Colleague’ letter outlining administration guidance on resource equity—ensuring resources and good teachers are as available to underprivileged children as to others—and other education policies.

The 37-page letter, “breathtaking in its scope,” as Roger Clegg wrote at National Review Online, noting that the Obama administration will be looking at funding disparities both within school districts and between them with a focus on access to effective teachers.

Although states already are required to have teacher equity plans under No Child Left Behind, the administration’s teacher equity proposal from July requires states to revisit NCLB’s Title I requirements by April 15, 2015.

As noted in July, the administration also will incorporate new data from the Office of Civil Rights into “state profiles” to flag “states where effective teachers aren’t reaching at-risk students.” According to Education Week, the profiles could include information comparing teacher experience levels, attendance rates and qualifications at high- and low-poverty schools.

The guidance issued last week by Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon said Office for Civil Rights’ analyses will determine if school districts are intentionally or unintentionally discriminating against minority students in their allocation of resources—including effective teachers.

But to define teacher quality, Office for Civil Rights’ guidance primarily uses “teachers’ licensure and certification status, whether teachers have completed appropriate training and professional development, whether teachers are inexperienced, whether they are teaching out of their field and other indicators of disparities in access to strong teachers.” Districts that don’t measure up are urged to “proactively assess their policies.”

The problem is top-down enforcement of teacher equity requires states to report largely on input-based measures—such as teacher credentials—as proxies of teacher effectiveness. Yet research suggests that inputs-based measures, such as paper credentials, have little to no impact on teacher effectiveness.

The question of access to effective teachers, specifically for disadvantaged students, was considered in the Vergara v. California case in June. In the decision, California Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu struck down five California laws that govern the hiring and firing of teachers, laying the groundwork for school officials to potentially retain the most effective teachers and dismiss ineffective teachers.

Office for Civil Rights’ letter begins with a reference to Brown v. Board of Education, as did Treu’s decision. Treu compared Vergara to landmark cases that defined educational equality, stating, “While these cases addressed the issue of lack of equality of education based on the discrete facts raised therein, here this Court is directly faced with issues that compel it to apply these constitutional principles to the quality of the educational experience.”

According to Heritage legal fellow Elizabeth Slattery, Treu’s opinion “held that a disparity in the quality of education violates students’ right to equality because ‘grossly ineffective teachers’ have a ‘real and appreciable’ impact on the students.”

Although both Vergara and the Office for Civil Rights guidance mention Brown and recognize the importance of ensuring all students have access to quality teachers, the guidance issued by the Department of Education is unlikely to help achieve that goal.

The best way to ensure all students have access to quality teachers is not to micromanage school districts through bureaucratic teacher equity plans. Access to effective teachers and educational options can be better achieved through school choice measures that empower parents to choose schools—and teachers—to ensure the needs of their children are met.


New York City Council likely to meddle in college students' sex lives

New York City officials want to require “affirmative consent” not just for sex, but for “sexual encounters” in general, at colleges in New York City, including private colleges, reports the Wall Street Journal. Since a lot of consent is not considered “affirmative” by supporters of such requirements (see this discussion of a similar law in California), the proposed “affirmative consent” ordinance will intrude deeply into students’ private lives, while doing nothing to prevent rape.

New York City criminal-defense attorney Ron Kuby said an affirmative-consent policy will likely help protect accused students as well, by clarifying sexual boundaries. “From a criminal-defense standpoint I think it’s laudatory,” he said.“It may take the fun and spontaneity out of sex, but I don’t care. That’s for the kids to worry about.”

Kuby was a key player in the ironically-named Center for Constitutional Rights, whose founder, Bill Kunstler, an icon in the liberal New York legal community, once said that he didn’t believe in criticizing civil-liberties violations, atrocities, or gulags in communist countries like Vietnam, since that would undermine the progressive cause.

Contrary to Kuby’s misguided claim, the requirement won’t protect accused students. In fact, even if a student actually obtains “affirmative” consent to certain things, no one will believe him. The idea of a student asking for permission to do something like touch someone else’s intimate areas is so laughable that no one would believe he actually asked for it and got it (at least not anyone my age sitting on a campus disciplinary body – I practiced education law for years, and helped represent a private college, a state board of education and a local school board in litigation as well as students and faculty in other cases, in addition to working for the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights).

If you were on a campus disciplinary body, would you actually believe a man who claimed he asked his girlfriend, “may I massage your clitoris?” or “may I touch your breast?” Few young people would ask such a thing for fear of killing the mood through sheer discomfort on the part of the previously-willing person asked such an awkward question. Given that reality, an adjudicator would tend to disbelieve a young man who claimed he explicitly asked his partner (since a randy young person would have powerful reasons not to ask a partner even about sexual contact that is likely to be wanted or welcome). Thus, even innocent students who comply with an absurd “affirmative” consent requirement for sexual touching are likely to be convicted.

Applying an “affirmative consent” standard beyond sex to sexual touching and sexual interaction is especially problematic. When it comes to intimate touching (which can give rise to sexual assault allegations), as opposed to penetration (which gives rise to rape allegations), obtaining affirmative consent in advance is both less feasible, and less believable, as I have previously explained. By contrast, it is believable that someone would ask for sex itself (which, if credited, could defeat a rape allegation), as opposed to intimate touching. Conversely, imposing an “affirmative” consent requirement does absolutely nothing for rape victims (victims of forcible penetration), since a person who lies about whether he committed rape will just lie and say the victim verbally consented.

In the criminal justice system, false allegations are relatively uncommon (although far from non-existent). But false allegations are much more common on campus, as even feminist adjudicators seem to find out once they end up adjudicating cases.  Yale is very pro-complainant, requires “affirmative” consent, and suggests “verbal” consent is the preferred method of obtaining consent.

But even its staunchly feminist adjudicators find many sexual harassment allegations (over half of the allegations at Yale processed in 2013) to be “unsubstantiated,” despite broad definitions of what is prohibited.  See this link to KC Johnson’s piece at Minding the Campus criticizing Yale for what he viewed as lacking concern for due process — linking to a 2013 Yale report summarizing the pending and completed cases involving sexual harassment or rape – since Yale proceeds based even on anonymous allegations, and a simple preponderance is needed for conviction.  Campus conviction rates rose further in 2014, as colleges came under more federal pressure to expel accused people (and complainants recovered large amounts of money in legal settlements with colleges as a result), but Yale continued to record unsubstantiated allegations.

In practice, these “affirmative” consent laws discriminate against people in long-term, monogamous relationships. California’s similar “affirmative” consent law effectively discriminates against people in long-term relationships, by saying in the language of the statute that a relationship can’t even be an “indicator” of consent “by itself.”

But a relationship, and a couple’s past consensual sexual activity, can shed crucial light on whether it is plausible that the couple later willingly engaged in the same kind of activity. For example, State v. Garron (2003) reversed a sexual assault conviction because the court had excluded much of the complainant’s overall “course of conduct over a six-year period” with the accused. Evidence relevant to whether she consented included her “repeated physical contact” with him, and her past “kisses” of him and “grabbing” his “derrière.”

And even in contract law, where stricter consent requirements apply, consent or agreement can be inferred from the parties’ past relationship, such as their “course of dealing,” or “course of performance.

Verbal or “affirmative” consent is more evident in fleeting sexual relationships than in long-term monogamous relationships. People explicitly negotiate with hookers and virtual strangers, as to whom there is thus verbal, “affirmative” consent (like a hooker and a john haggling over exactly what sex to engage in for what price, since one doesn’t want sex, and the other doesn’t want to pay). Such verbal discussion is often unnecessary among people in committed relationships, among whom it doesn’t happen when it comes to intimate touching.

The new California law and the proposed New York ordinance endanger people in committed relationships that later go sour even when the sex in question was enjoyed by both partners. Some campus sexual assault allegations happen because the accused stopped dating the accuser, or cheated on her during a long-term relationship. This law affects people in long-term relationships more than people in fleeting sexual encounters.

Intimates don’t “affirmatively” consent to many things, since there’s no need. My wife and daughter don’t ask for permission before hugging me, because I am not a stranger who might mind a hug. And my wife and I don’t explicitly discuss whether to have sex, we use euphemisms that only are an “indicator” of consent based on the prior history of our relationship — something the California law discourages considering.


Financial pressures sometimes cause Australian parents in affluent suburbs to make do with government schools

If the demographics of the area are good, the school should give good results.  The quality of the pupils is a major factor in the quality of the education delivered. To make sure of a good school environment, 40% of Australian teenagers attend private schools

MIDDLE-CLASS parents are flocking to high-performing government schools for their children, forcing some prestigious private colleges to cut their fees.

Elite private schools have lost 100,000 students and $1.2 billion in revenue to cheaper, independent, Catholic and top government schools in a decade. The global financial crisis has stoked demand from professional families for fee-free state schooling in affluent inner-city suburbs, new data modelled for The Weekend Australian reveals. Some private schools, which can charge more than $20,000 a year, are now offering half-price discounts to lure more students.

Melbourne private school teacher Elizabeth Blaher bought a house close to McKinnon Secondary College so her son would be guaranteed a place in the high-performing government school. She transferred her daughter Emily from a nearby Catholic girls’ school this year — saving the family $10,000 in private school fees.

"Parents often choose a private school believing their children will receive a better education but we have some outstanding public schools in Melbourne that rival the performance of any private school," Ms Blaher said yesterday.

Emily, 16, is flourishing at her new school: the classmates "look out for each other" while the teachers "push you a little bit more".

McKinnon College principal Pitsa Binnion said the school’s focus on high academic results, inclusion and discipline was a magnet for parents. "There’s a very inclusive community at the school, with strong traditional values and high expectations," she said. "Schools can put out wonderful brochures, but it’s the results that matter."

The Hills Grammar School in Kenthurst, in Sydney’s middle-class heartland, lost one in four students during the global financial crisis, with enrolments dropping by 322 between 2008 and last year.

It charges $15,000 for kindergarten and $23,000 for Year 12. Hills Grammar principal Robert Phipps says a few parents had pulled out of the school for financial reasons, although the school also had "deliberately downsized" to retain a personal touch.

"In tough times, parents have looked around," he says. "Some parents have lost jobs, and incomes have not been rising as fast as they did before the GFC.”

Rising education costs — up 5.1 per cent last financial year, outstripping inflation — are fuelling demand for free or low-fee education. Parents are using the government’s My School website and data from national literacy and numeracy tests to compare the performance of top state schools with private colleges.

Australian Development Strat­egies chief executive John Black said professional Gen X women were driving demand for government schooling.

"Professional parents want to send their kids to the lowest-cost school where they are most likely to rub shoulders with the kids of other professionals,” he said. "Right now there is strong ­demand for selective state schools in professional suburbs close to CBDs.”

Australian Bureau of Statistics data reveals the pull towards government schooling is strongest in affluent suburbs. The government and independent school sectors each enrolled 105,000 extra students during the decade to 2011, while Catholic schools took on 52,000 more students.

In the nation’s wealthiest suburbs, government schools gained three times more additional students than independent schools. In suburbs where parents were paying the highest 14 per cent of school fees, government enrolments rose by 16,253 during the decade. Private schools in those elite suburbs enrolled 5265 extra students, while Catholic schools gained 6127 more.

Association of Heads of Independent Schools chief executive Geoff Ryan said selective government schools were "putting a lot more pressure on us to perform".

"You do notice an impact on your enrolments when you have a very high-quality selective entry school in your area," he said yesterday. "All schools put a lot more effort into marketing. Schools are always trying to make savings but 70 per cent of the costs are for teachers, so the only way you can reduce labour costs is to increase class sizes and that’s not something parents, teachers or unions are comfortable with."

A website for "last minute" private school enrolments, School Places, is offering discounts for 39 schools in Victoria, NSW and Tasmania, and is soon to launch in Queensland. The company’s chief executive, Natalie Mactier, said the discounts ranged from 10 per cent to 50 per cent for up to six years of schooling.

She said 2000 parents had registered for email alerts since the site was set up five months ago, and the website had already generated $2m in enrolment revenues with $3m more pending.

In Sydney, the Jewish Masada College at St Ives is offering a 30 per cent discount over four years to Year 7 students enrolling next year. Its full fee this year was $20,492.

The My School website shows its enrolments fell from 341 in 2008 — the start of the GFC — to 299 last year.

In Hobart, St Michael’s Collegiate Anglican boarding school for girls is offering a 15 per cent discount on fees for two years.

Australian Education Union president Angelo Gavrielatos called on state governments to build more public schools in inner-city areas to meet growing demand.

"We do not have the infrastructure in the inner suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne to accommodate the parents’ choice of public schooling for their children," he said.

"Parents understand the value of public education but unfortunately (in some areas) it doesn’t exist due to the policy failure of previous governments that closed down public schools.”

Mr Black said private-school enrolments tended to rise and fall with women’s employment rates. Families often relied on the mother’s part-time job to pay school fees and statistics showed demand for private schooling fell in line with employment rates for women in the school’s catchment.

He said the GFC had destroyed full-time jobs for men in the private sector, but created public sector jobs — in health, education and the bureaucracy — for women.

"These Gen X professional mums tend to take the view of a school in terms of outcomes for money spent," he said.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Higher Education in the Hookup Culture

It’s supposedly common knowledge that out of every five women attending college, one becomes a victim of sexual assault. Yet the number is bogus, having been improperly pulled and misreported ad nauseam from a single flawed Department of Justice survey in 2007. In fact, that troubling number exists solely as campaign fodder for Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats to foment their phony war on women.

The latest salvo in this war is an effort by California’s overwhelmingly Democrat state legislature to introduce the government to college campus bedrooms. Soon, young men in the Golden State may be prosecuted thanks to a new law proponents dub the “yes means yes” law. It mandates affirmative consent be given by both parties before a tryst turns sexual, with the decision being “affirmative, unambiguous and conscious.” Under the law, signed recently by Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown, silence does not imply consent, and drunkenness by one or both parties cannot be used as a defense.

More troubling, however, is the new legal standard used. Accusers under this law need only have a preponderance of the evidence, which is a slippery slope when one considers the seriousness of the allegation. Should a male student really be expelled for not having a good explanation as to why his date changed her mind after the fact? It is said that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and collegiate men in California may well learn that lesson firsthand. Females already compose a clear majority of college students, and laws like this won’t help rectify that imbalance any time soon. And woe to the first young man who claims to have been victimized by a female (or another male) under this law.

A group called the National Coalition for Men blasted the law, stating, “It is tragically clear that this campus rape crusade bill presumes the veracity of accusers (a.k.a. ‘survivors’) and likewise presumes the guilt of accused (who are) virtually all men. This is nice for the accusers – both false accusers as well as true accusers – but what about the due process rights of the accused?”

While we’ve written about similar federal proposals, this is the first time a state has codified this kind of language. It already had been policy in California state-supported schools as well as several Ivy League institutions.

Some see a silver lining in this law, arguing it will encourage real relationships instead of quick hook-ups. (As an aside, the Centers for Disease Control estimate 110 million Americans are or have been infected with sexually transmitted diseases. The hook-up culture is, without question, largely to blame.)

But at what cost does any benefit come?

It’s worth noting the irony of the progressive push behind this law. “Get your laws off my body,” and “keep the government out of my bedroom,” have long been staples of the Democrat Party’s rabid support of abortion. Yet when it comes to the activity that creates the child to be aborted, they’re all in favor of requiring a virtual government consent form before proceeding.

Then again, quipped humorist Frank J. Fleming, “Conservatives should be happy about California; they’re just one step away from requiring a marriage license to have sex.”

Within the politically correct environment of our college campuses, higher education has become increasingly optional. Part of the reason for that is the hook-up culture. Casual sex undermines not only education, but health and future families as well. California’s misguided law isn’t the answer.


Britain's school for Jihadis: Why have six former pupils of the 'Eton of State Schools' been linked to terror?

Holland Park School, in the heart of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea — a catchment area that includes some of the wealthiest addresses in the capital — is known as ‘the Eton of comprehensives’.

Indeed, the building itself resembles a plush hotel or advertising agency with minimalist sofas and bespoke chairs for both teachers and pupils, created by one of Britain’s leading furniture designers, not to mention a sweeping glass atrium, stylish walkways, a roof terrace with panoramic views over the city and a swimming pool in the basement.

Even before the Grand Designs-style refurbishment two years ago (funded by selling part of the campus to housing developers), it was regarded as one of the top state schools in the country.

‘Outstanding’ was the verdict of a 2011 Ofsted report that praised the ‘exceptional’ leadership of inspirational and dynamic headmaster Colin Hall, who was appointed in 2001.

Currently, 96 per cent of students sitting GCSEs achieve five or more A* to C grades. Five have won places at Oxbridge in the past two academic years.

Bear this in mind when you consider the next ‘statistic’. In the same two-year period, up to six former Holland Park pupils left Britain to became Islamic jihadists in the Middle East or were linked to Islamic terrorism.

Today, following a Mail investigation, many of these individuals — the youngest is 21, the oldest 27 — can be identified. Three of them are now dead.

One appeared on a video in the summer appealing for more recruits from the UK to join Islamic State’s ‘golden era of jihad’. He is still in the Middle East, where Islamic State (IS) is engaged in a bloody and barbaric struggle to establish a caliphate, or Islamic empire, ruled by Sharia law. A second died in battle after joining up with IS in Syria. A third was killed while waging ‘holy war’ for an Al Qaeda-linked group in Syria. The fourth on our list also died in the Syrian conflict.

A fifth, a woman, was found guilty in August of fundraising for terrorism (the money was destined for IS) and is awaiting sentence; her female co-defendant, who was in the same year as her at Holland Park, was cleared of the same offence.

Until now, the ‘Holland Park link’ between these home-grown jihadists has gone unreported.

There is no evidence, it should be stressed, to suggest radicalisation took place directly inside the school, which attained academy status in 2013 and is alma mater to the likes of Hollywood actress Anjelica Huston and the late Tony Benn’s children.

Nevertheless, we now know that of the reported 24 jihadists from London who have joined IS or taken up arms with other Islamic fanatics, around a quarter of them went to the same school.

Could there be a more extraordinary — or chilling — revelation? Or, indeed, a greater betrayal of everything this country has done for them and their families?

Betrayal is, of course, a charge that could be levelled against anyone from Britain who has joined a terror group such as IS that is murdering Britons abroad in the name of Islam and actively conspiring to do the same here.

But it is especially true of those who were afforded the opportunity of going to one of the best schools in one of the most affluent boroughs.

Around 60 per cent of pupils at Holland Park School come from ‘a wide range of ethnic backgrounds’, according to Ofsted, and speak English as a second language.

Many former pupils also came from the Ladbroke Grove neighbourhood, where one of the biggest mosques in West London is situated and where many of those you are about to read about, we have learned, went to pray. Among them, 23-year-old Mohammed el-Araj.

One morning last year, he left the family flat in Blenheim Crescent, an elegant Victorian terrace in Ladbroke Grove, not far from David Cameron’s Notting Hill residence, to go to a local college where he was studying to be a mechanical engineer. At least, that is what his parents thought.

Their son never returned, however. His father, an antiques dealer of Palestinian descent, would later discover that he had never gone to college at all; nor had he ever even enrolled on a course.

The next time Mohammed’s family saw him, in fact, he was staring out from a propaganda photograph on the internet wearing a paramilitary uniform and brandishing an AK-47 assault rifle in war-torn Syria, where he was fighting President Assad’s forces alongside terrorist and extremist groups under the name ‘Abu Khalid’.  Not long afterwards, Araj was fatally wounded. He received many tributes from his ‘friends’.

Araj’s short life and brutal death made a few paragraphs in the papers at the time. Only now has it emerged that he went to Holland Park School. He flourished during his five years there, leaving in 2006.  ‘Mohammed was a lovely young man, very intelligent and humble,’ said a family friend. ‘He was always studying.’

His two younger sisters also went to Holland Park School. One was among ten GCSE dance students from the school who were chosen to perform in a production at the Royal Albert Hall a few years ago, and the other was a box office assistant for Opera Holland Park, a company which receives financial backing from the council to produce an annual season of operas in the summer holidays, staged under a temporary canopy in the eponymous local park.

The contrast between their lives and the path chosen by their brother — they were, incidentally, brought up in a non-religious household — is both striking and profoundly disturbing.

Mohammed el-Araj’s time at Holland Park School overlapped with that of two other boys, two years below him, who both lived a few streets away in the same corner of Ladbroke Grove. Their names: Mohammed Nasser and Hamzah Parvez. Nasser — unlike Parvez and Araj — was from a devout Muslim family; his mother and late father were originally from Eritrea in the Horn of Africa.

‘They only associated with other Muslims,’ said a neighbour. Even so, he and Parvez became good friends at Holland Park, a friendship which deepened after they left in 2009.

Over the past few years, Nasser, a business undergraduate at the University of Roehampton, and Parvez, who worked in a hotel in Shepherd’s Bush, became increasingly close.

What followed obeyed a familiar pattern. It is documented in an article in the Huffington Post online newspaper by journalist Tam Hussein, himself a former Holland Park pupil.

On May 15, the 21-year-old friends vanished. They had flown out from Gatwick before making their way to Turkey and crossing the border into Syria, where they joined up with IS fighters. The two, according to Hussein, were later separated and placed in different IS battalions.

In August, three months after they left home, Parvez, his face covered by a black scarf, appeared in an IS video. He asks the camera: ‘What are we doing sitting in the UK? Sitting in the land which kills Muslims every day . . . it’s not the land for us. Are we content with eating Nando’s every week? Come to the land of Allah.’

Parvez, whose family comes from Pakistan, then revealed, matter-of-factly, that his schoolfriend Mohammed Nasser had been killed in fighting. Pointing to his forehead, he said his comrade in arms had died after a piece of shrapnel hit him in the head a few weeks earlier, on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan.

Nasser’s family, devastated by their loss, left the country for Mecca, the online news report said, ‘consoling themselves in pilgrimage’.

Only with hindsight did Parvez’s family begin to question the change in his behaviour in the period leading up to his carefully planned exit from the UK with Nasser.

At one point, Parvez’s mother bought him a top from Primark which had the American flag stitched on to it. He refused to wear it because, he said, it was the ‘symbol of oppression’.

Amal el-Wahabi, 27, harboured similar feelings.  The daughter of a London bus driver, she also went to Holland Park School and worked hard in class, passing GCSEs and taking part in a Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, before leaving in 2003 and studying for NVQs in health and social care.

In August, she and another Holland Park contemporary, university student Nawal Msaad, 27, both of Moroccan descent, appeared in the dock of the Old Bailey.

Miss Msaad was caught with £16,000 in euros stuffed in her underwear at Heathrow as she attempted to board a flight to Istanbul back in January. Police believed she was going to hand over the cash to Wahabi’s husband, a Muslim convert who was fighting with Islamic insurgents. The jury, however, decided that Miss Msaad was tricked into being a mule by Wahabi, who had given her the money.

Wahabi claimed, in her defence, that she thought her husband was helping an aid convoy in Syria. But extremist videos sent to her from him, then found in their flat, painted a very different picture.

One message featured the flag of IS, with the slogan: ‘Allah prefers the Mujahideen over those who remain behind.’ To which Wahabi responded: ‘Be beside you until the day you die.’ Also found on her phone were pictures of her husband posing with an AK-47 and other fighters. Wahabi was convicted of fundraising for terrorism.

There is something else you should know about Amal el-Wahabi. You might call it another coincidence.

She was living in Portobello Road, a short stroll from Mohammed el-Araj, Hamzah Parvez and Mohammed Nasser, but only a few doors away from one Nassim Terreri. The pair not only went to Holland Park School, they were in the same year.

One night in March 2012, Terreri, 25, a British Algerian, died in a hail of bullets on a Syrian mountainside fighting alongside another British Algerian from London. The Syrian government later named him on a list of ‘terrorists’ sent to the UN.

His family said he had gone to the country as a freelance journalist, and denied he was a terrorist. But reports at the time revealed how a YouTube account in Terreri’s name advertised links to videos featuring extremist preachers who advocated violence against the West, including one film by al-Shabaab, the Somali affiliate of Al Qaeda.

A Twitter account, also in Terreri’s name, contained links to videos advocating radical indoctrination and Islamist-inspired violence.

Colin Hall, the headmaster of Holland Park, said: ‘We take a very strong stance that this is a secular school and whatever you believe or might think, it stops at the school gates when you come in.

‘We’ve got a very strong line on secularity and a very strong line on zero tolerance to any kind of fundamentalism from any religion.’

Yet even under the widely praised leadership of Mr Hall, up to six pupils, that we know of, passed through his school and were later linked to Islamic terrorism. Whatever other influences they were subjected to after they left, it remains a tantalising connection.


Common Core Proponents Blame Their Victims

It has become fashionable to blame the effects of nationalizing education on anything but the national curriculum mandates and the tests that accomplish it.

Teachers unions have seized on Common Core to undermine testing mandates and teacher evaluation schemes, bemoans Stanford University economist Eric Hanushek. Bad model lessons are undercutting Common Core’s potential, exclaims Robert Pondiscio of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Common Core teacher retraining sessions teem with learning theories that research has proven ineffective, complains E. D. Hirsch, founder of the Core Knowledge Foundation. And textbook publishers have twisted Common Core into a resurgence of “fuzzy math,” asserts College Board’s Kathleen Porter-Magee.

In other words, our nation’s 50 million schoolkids enter a storm of curricular chaos this fall, but, like them, Common Core is just a hapless victim. Has Common Core really been hijacked, or has it been a rogue vessel all along?

To answer that question in education terms, consider the current furor among New York educators over whether Common Core supports phonics-based literacy or a content-lite approach known as “balanced literacy.” The two are essentially pedagogical polar opposites, yet both sides claim Common Core justifies their approach.

A look at the standards themselves, as its proponents often demand, suggests this controversy is at least partly Common Core’s fault. Its curriculum mandates are wordy, obtuse, and inaccurate. Try this representative directive, for kindergarten: “Associate the long and short sounds with the common spellings (graphemes) for the five major vowels.” After wading through the blubbery language, an astute reader will ask, “How many ways can there be to spell the five vowels? And are there any minor vowels?” There is precisely one spelling for each of the five, and only five, vowels. So what could this mandate mean?

It’s unclear, and so is the rest of Common Core, as in-depth analysis along these lines from Hillsdale College’s Terrence Moore shows in his book The Story Killers. So no wonder New York teachers, and teachers everywhere, must muddle about, prey to contradictory education theories, in the name of Common Core. The lack of curricular clarity in Common Core has spawned mass confusion. Follow the money: The Common Core beneficiaries are consultants and test developers.

Aside from such complaints, Common Core proponents suggest the curriculum makes for good political arrangements. If it undercuts mediocrity by demonstrating the flabbiness of American children’s mental muscles, or makes U.S. education more efficient and orderly, perhaps all this pain might produce some gain. Or, in the words of Common Core’s biggest financial backer, Bill Gates, “It’s ludicrous to think that multiplication in Alabama and multiplication in New York are really different.”

That’s the real essence of Common Core: a political movement, a neat and tidy scheme to streamline U.S. education through a set of rapid, enormous policy changes rather than undergo the tedious process of convincing people and their elected representatives they should assent to a new way of organizing education. To speed things along, the people who created Common Core requested back in 2008 that the federal government play “an enabling role” and “offer a range of tiered incentives” to get states to sign onto national curriculum mandates and tests.

Once President Barack Obama came into office, he obliged, and then some. Thanks to federal grants offered during the recent recession, 40 state departments of education offered to accept this complete overhaul of their schools’ curricula and tests more than five months before the actual curriculum requirements were published in June 2010 and two months before even a draft was made publicly available. Taxpayers still await the final version of these new national tests.

Given the speed, secrecy, and arm-twisting of this initiative, the resulting chaos is no surprise. Potential pitfalls and a broad base of support never emerged during public debate, because there was no public debate. What is surprising is that people still insist on blaming Common Core’s victims rather than its perpetrators.


Consider the Education Vote

In most Americans’ minds, education is tied to career preparation. And Americans are worried about jobs. So it’s no coincidence that education has risen as an election issue, although it typically resides somewhere in the middle of voters’ priorities.

This week, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul prodded potential 2016 candidates for president, asserting no candidate would win the GOP nomination if he or she supports Common Core. American Federation for Children counsel Kevin Chavous appeared on Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal to note school quality and the increase in school choice are putting in play voters who traditionally would vote for Democrats.

Single-issue items such as these may be important for 2014 or 2016, just as jobs are currently important because that’s where the pain is, but the long-term health of this country requires voters to start considering more than symptoms. A republic cannot continue long without people who can manage themselves and analyze ideas. These two qualities are exactly what business owners want in employees, and they’re exactly what citizens want from their co-governors, their fellow citizens. Yet a third of the adult populace cannot name one branch of government. One shudders to think how many voters would fail the citizenship test for legal immigrants.

Because it necessarily cultivates the next generation of people who must rule themselves and thereby rule their fellow Americans, education deserves much higher ranking on voters’ priority lists. And not just for immediate, tangible, and individual rewards. To preserve what is good about our country, people must first know what it is. Right now, many never learn that.


Monday, October 13, 2014

British Grammar (selective) schools have rediscovered IQ testing

They don't seem to know they have but that is what the innovations below seem to amount to

Rising numbers of grammar schools are using restyled 11-plus exams to prevent wealthy families getting an unfair advantage from expensive private tutors.

They are introducing tests designed to assess a wider range of abilities learnt at primary schools rather than just the skills that can be drilled through costly private tuition.

Children in areas including Buckinghamshire, Kent, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire and Shropshire are now sitting so-called ‘tutor-proof’ assessments.

This September, more than 13,000 children in Kent took a new form of the 11-plus exam, which education chiefs hope will create a more level playing field.

The 11-plus consisted of two multiple choice tests provided by GL Assessment – one assessing reasoning ability and a second concentrating on literary and numeracy.

There was also a writing test which will be used by head teacher panels in borderline cases.

Councillor Roger Gough (Cons), Cabinet member for education and health reform at Kent county council, said the format of the test had been changed to ‘lighten the burden’ on schools and pupils.

He said: ‘We are also sharpening the focus on the school curriculum by introducing an English paper alongside the maths and reasoning tests, so assessing each child’s ability in the context of what they will be learning at school, as well as their thinking skills.

‘One of the criticisms of the previous testing arrangements was that experience of the format and type of question had made it easier to coach to the test.

‘By refreshing the format and limiting information about the new Kent Test, KCC aims to make it less coachable and fairer on all pupils.’

More than 500 children sat new-style entrance tests for Stroud High School and Marling School in Stroud, Gloucestershire, this month.

The seven grammar schools in Gloucestershire have switched to CEM 11-plus exams, provided by the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring at Durham University. No practice papers are available.

Announcing the overhaul last year, Jonathan Standen, head teacher of Gloucester’s Crypt School, said: ‘We felt there has been an awful lot of tutoring. 

‘The preparation you need for the new test is to do well at your primary school work, to read widely and do well at maths.  ‘We felt there are students out there whose mums and dads can’t afford to pay for coaching, who might be put off from taking the test in the past.’

Buckinghamshire began using the CEM test papers for the first time last year.

Other regions using the CEM 11-plus exams include Birmingham, Warwickshire, Shropshire, Walsall, Wolverhampton and parts of North London and Essex.

Professor Robert Coe, director of the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring at Durham University, said the tests include areas that are either harder to tutor to or where the extra impact of tutoring is smaller.

He said: ‘With things like reading comprehension, schools teach that. It’s in Key Stage tests and in the curriculum – the ability to read a piece of text and understand the meaning and make inferences and so on.

‘You can have a tutor helping you to do that but given schools have been teaching you to do that for six years, the extra impact of paying for a tutor is going to make less difference.

‘With vocabulary, going to school means you learn a bigger vocabulary but a tutor can’t sit down and teach you words.

‘The kind of child who’s likely to get into a grammar school probably knows 20,000 words already. How many extra words can you teach them? It’s not something you can really teach to.’

He added: ‘We are also a bit secretive about what’s in the tests and the kinds of questions.  ‘We don’t reveal, we don’t give practice papers and we don’t give a lot of detail about exactly what’s in there. They can’t endlessly practice.’

Meanwhile in May, it emerged that more than half of grammar schools are overhauling their admissions to admit more poor pupils who are eligible for Free School Meals.

A month later, former Education Secretary, Michael Gove, insisted that grammar schools have a ‘moral purpose’ to open their doors to the country’s poorest pupils.


NY Teachers Union Files Lawsuit Over Common Core ‘Gag Order’

A New York teachers union is suing the State Education Department (NYSED) over what it calls a "gag order" on educators who score or administer Common Core-based tests.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Albany Wednesday by the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) union on behalf of five tenured teachers.

It claims that the state-mandated confidentiality agreements they were required to sign are unconstitutional due to the threat of dismissal, revocation of their teaching license or criminal prosecution if they reveal test questions.

A spokesman for the NYSED, who declined to comment on the lawsuit, said that "obviously, items to be used on future tests must be kept secure," adding that the state's testing system is "among the most transparent in the country."

However, in August the department publicly released about 25 percent of the test questions under pressure from parents and state legislators.

The teacher plaintiffs agreed to "not use or discuss the content of secure test materials, including test questions and answers, in any classroom or other activities."

But the union believes that the provision violates teachers’ First Amendment right to free speech as well as the 14th Amendment's “equal protection under the law” by restricting them from talking about their concerns about specific questions on the standardized tests.

According to the lawsuit, middle school English teacher Robert Allen “became concerned about several facets of the exam” while scoring it, “including but not limited to: the length of each exam made it difficult to nearly impossible for most students to complete each of the exams within the 90 minutes allotted; some of the passages were poorly written; the tasks were well-beyond grade level; and there were inconsistencies in the scoring rubrics.”

But under the confidentiality agreement, Allen is prohibited from voicing his concerns even to colleagues, friends and family members.

The other teachers similarly claimed that the Common Core tests put lower-achieving students at “a severe disadvantage” and that their content does not align with state curriculum standards.

"If teachers believe test questions are unfair or inappropriate, they should be able to say so without fear of dismissal or losing their teaching license," union president Karen Magee said in a statement.

“Teachers must be free to protect their students and speak out when they have concerns about state tests…  Instead, they are under a 'gag order' to be silent — and that is hurting children," she said.

In 2013, New York started withholding English, math and science test questions from the public for 3rd-8th grade students after the exams were already graded, claiming it was related to costs. But it also allowed the state to reuse the same questions on future tests.

The lawsuit comes in wake of demonstrations against Common Core in August, including one where teachers picketed and occupied the steps of the state Education Department building in Albany and another protest in Brooklyn.

A petition against the Common Core regulations circulated in June in Spencerport, a suburb of Rochester where four of the five plaintiffs teach, garnered over 5,000 signatures.


Harvard Students Parade Their Academic Poison

I wouldn't be nearly so troubled by Harvard University students identifying America as a bigger threat to world peace than the Islamic State if it weren't representative of the thinking of so many students throughout the nation. But it is.

The college blog Campus Reform posted a video of short interviews it conducted of Harvard students on campus last week. The question was simple and straightforward: "What is a greater threat to world peace, ISIS or America?"

One student answered: "I think American imperialism and our protection of oil interests in the Middle East are destabilizing the region and allowing groups like ISIS to gain power. ... We are, at some level, the cause of it."

Really? After we defeated Iraq in the Gulf War, we could have taken control of Iraq's oil interests. Did we? No. How about upon our victory in the Iraq War? Did we? No. America is not imperialistic. It is the most benevolent world power that has ever existed, and these Harvard students and their professors would understand that if they had any interest in viewing history and current events objectively instead of through their hate-America lenses.

What have allowed ISIS to gain power are President Obama's unilateral cessation of our own war on terror and his abandonment of Iraq after we had spilled so much blood and spent so many resources to stabilize the region. He knows better than to blame our failure to achieve a status of forces agreement on anyone but himself. He even bragged about this in his debate with Mitt Romney, so his current deceit and obfuscation on the matter are disgraceful. It is Obama and his ilk — people with the same worldview as these Harvard students — who are the main culprits here.

Another student confidently asserted: "As a Western civilization, we're to blame for a lot of the problems that we're facing now. I don't think anyone would argue that we didn't create the problem of ISIS ourselves. ... (Middle Easterners) have a skewed view of us, just as a lot of Americans have a skewed view of them, of ISIS."

He doesn't think anyone would argue with his claim? Well, someone like me may not be "anyone" to this erudite student, but I know we didn't create the problem of ISIS, other than to the extent Obama's policies created the vacuum I just described. But I don't think that's what the student was referring to. He was implying, as so many academically indoctrinated leftists dutifully do, that our policies have caused radical Islamism itself.

These are familiar tropes of the left — that America's unfair hoarding of a disproportionate share of the world's resources and its "imperialistic" policies have caused discontentment in the Muslim world and triggered a radical reaction in some of Islam's adherents.

This is patently absurd. Radical and violent Islam is based on a religion or ideology that teaches that infidels must either submit or be brought into submission forcefully — or killed. This ideology began more than 1,000 years before our Declaration of Independence, and it is thriving today. That these students don't understand that America is not causing this phenomenon — that it's more a spiritual and ideological matter than it is political — reveals that their minds are being poisoned and closed at this august university rather than opened and trained to think independently.

How about the suggestion that we Americans have a skewed view of ISIS? I assume he is implying that if we would just understand these people better, we could pacify them, as President Obama has been preaching for the past six or seven years. If anyone's view of ISIS is skewed, it's the left's. Members of ISIS tell us who they are. They behead people who don't submit to their extremism. It's pretty simple, and it's pretty hard to skew, though the left has done a masterful job of confusing itself.

A third student cheerfully proclaimed: "The amount of spending that America has on causes of potential destruction in the world is really outlandish. We've been learning about this recently, how much America spends on defense mechanisms alone, and it's really quite astounding compared to any other country in the world, really."

I hate to intrude into this student's bubble, but she should understand that America's unparalleled defense forces are what have ensured our protection and liberty and empowered this nation to be the greatest force for good in the past century and more. It is the left's gutting of our defenses that is leading to greater instability in the world and endangering our security.

This video should be a wake-up call to American parents — at least the ones whose views aren't so anti-American as those of these students. We are looking at the next generation, which includes millions of Obamaites, who will be leading this nation into the future. It is time that responsible parents got off their clueless, apathetic duffs and started doing a better job of educating their kids and inoculating them against the infernal indoctrination that academia and our culture are serving to them in mentally lethal doses.


Horrible Leftist treachers picking on a little kid again

An Alabama mom is furious that her five-year-old daughter was forced to sign a contract saying she will not hurt herself or anyone at school after she pointed a crayon at a classmate.

The incident occurred at E.R. Dickson Elementary School in Mobile.

The mom, only identified as Rebecca, said the school asked her toddler, Elizabeth, whether she was depressed, which the little girl did not understand.

'They told me she drew something that resembled a gun,' Rebecca told WPMI-TV.  'According to them she pointed a crayon at another student and said, ''pew pew''.'

The angry mother said the school then had her daughter sign a Mobile County Public Safety Contract without her consent.

'While I was in the lobby waiting they had my 5-year-old sign a contract about suicide and homicide,' Rebecca said.  'Most of these words on here, she's never heard in her life. 'This isn't right. She's 5-years-old.'

State law in Alabama outlines that minors cannot sign a contract.

The school also recommended Elizabeth see a psychiatrist.

Rebecca is now fighting to have the incident removed from her child's record, but is also dealing with the aftermath at home.  'My child interrupted us and said, ''What is suicide mommy? Daddy what is suicide?'' Rebecca told WPMI-TV.

'As a parent that's not right.  'I'm the one should be able to talk to my child and not have someone else mention words like this in front of her at all.'