Friday, November 07, 2014

Patriarchy blamed for fake African American studies classes

Crap courses blamed on everyone but those responsible

Students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill blamed racism and heteropatriarchal capitalism for the recent academic scandal that has plagued the university.

Gathering Wednesday afternoon, members of the Real Silent Sam coalition gathered to share their response to the recently released “Investigation of Irregular Classes in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,” which found that certain classes in the former African and Afro-American Department were created simply to keep athletes grade-eligible.

"I think that, intentional or not, words have a lot of power and the language and proceedings of this investigation have shown that we don’t value athletes and we don’t value black studies."   

“In this space, we will not bend to the will of oppression! We will lift our voices to the administration and the world. We will reclaim our space in higher education. This is your space!” UNC senior Taylor Webber-Fields said to the crowd gathered on the front steps of one of the administrative buildings.

The Real Silent Sam is a coalition of UNC students, faculty, and community members who aim to “create honest dialogue” about Chapel Hill monuments and buildings, according to the group’s description.

On Wednesday, however, the coalition’s mission was more about the structure of the university as it rallied to “reveal ways in which our university participates in the ‘American’ system of white supremacist, heteropatriarchal capitalism and brings our understanding of what it means to be a Tar Heel into question,” according to the group’s Facebook page.

“The way that the media corrupted what happened in this space was informed by the way that blackness is understood here,” Omololu Babatunde, a UNC senior who spoke at the rally, told Campus Reform. “Society, which is reflected in the media, understands blackness in such a discredited way that it’s able to corrupt something that is much broader than one site.”

The Wainstein report, released last Wednesday, found that some classes in the former African and Afro-American Department (AFAM)—now the African, African American, and Diaspora Studies (AAAD) department—did not meet and only required one paper graded by an administrator. The classes were created by two individuals in the department in order to keep athletes grade-eligible, though other students reportedly enrolled as well.

Students and faculty at the event said they felt as though the former AFAM department was scapegoated because society does not value African-American studies.

“I guess what motivated me was my raw emotions when I first heard about the scandal,” Babatunde said. “I was angry…. It’s happening because our society doesn’t understand and doesn’t value black studies so much so that it can be scapegoated. I was motivated to do this because of my deep, deep gratitude to many people in the department and my deep gratitude to this space that shows the existence of black studies.”

Harmonyx, a student A Cappella group, and EROT Poetry, which are both part of the UNC Black Student Movement, performed pieces at the rally before students and faculty took to the podium to express their frustrations.

Tasia Harris, a UNC student who spoke at the rally, told Campus Reform that she came to the event not because she is majoring in the department or because she is an athlete, but rather because she hopes to encourage the university and the community to be more honest in realizing how oppression is maintained and what they can do to combat that.

“I think that, intentional or not, words have a lot of power and the language and proceedings of this investigation have shown that we don’t value athletes and we don’t value black studies,” she said.

The students said that they were outraged at the way in which the department was attacked while top administrators and coaches were not implicated in the report even though they would be the ones who have more contact with the athletes.

Approximately 200 students came and went during the entirety of the event.


District Finally Agrees To Stop Using ‘Purple Penguin’ Handouts

The superintendent had previously doubled down on using the materials

After nearly a month of defending them, Lincoln Public Schools District in Nebraska has finally agreed to stop using the infamous “purple penguin” transgender training handouts.

At Tuesday’s Lincoln Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Steve Joel conceded that the handouts were not “appropriate, purposeful” or “clear,” and that he “directed them to be removed” from the district’s schools, according to an article in the Lincoln Journal Star.

The announcement came after 16 people commented that they felt their concerns about the matter were not heard when they initially raised them at the October 14 board meeting.

Joel had initially defended the handouts, saying he was “happy” and “pleased” with them — even amid the controversy.

As reported by National Review Online earlier this month, a training document given to middle-school teachers at Lincoln Public Schools stated, “Don’t use phrases such as ‘boys and girls,’ ‘you guys,’ ‘ladies and gentlemen,’ and similarly gendered expressions to get kids’ attention,” and suggests using classroom names such as “purple penguins” instead.


Hillary Tells College Students: High School Dropouts Part of ‘Our Web of Responsibility’

Former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told students at Georgetown University on Thursday that they should believe in not only their own potential but of those who may not have a high school diploma who are part of “our web of responsibility.”

Clinton told the students that she and former President Bill Clinton always believed in “an unlimited potential out there.”

“And that’s what I want you to believe,” Clinton said. “But not just you.

“People your age, not very far from here,” Clinton said. “Maybe didn’t finish high school. Maybe are in the workforce.”

“Could not dream of being in this magnificent Gaston Hall,” Clinton said, referencing the historic college’s ornate meeting hall. “But who are part of our larger community; our web of responsibility.”

“We will do so much better if we remember that we should find a way to help everybody,” Clinton said.

Clinton spoke at the university to re-launch the International Women’s Business Leadership Council, which Clinton established in 2012 while secretary of state to focus on “economic empowerment” of women around the world.

The council is now part of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, which Clinton also created in 2011 during her tenure as Secretary of State as the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security at Georgetown University, at which time she also announced the creation of the institute.

Bill Clinton earned his undergraduate degree at Georgetown, Hillary noted during her remarks.

“You’re getting great preparation here at Georgetown – one of the premiere places for your education,” Clinton said. “But you should not have to be someone who goes to Georgetown or in our case the granddaughter of a former president who also happened to go to Georgetown.”

“To be given the tools and to have the support of your community as well as your family,” Hillary said, adding that both she and the former president had “extraordinary opportunities” in their lifetimes.

“We will do so much better if we remember that we should find a way to help everybody,” Clinton said in her remarks. “And this council is looking specifically at how we help girls and women to fulfill their own economic potential.”


Thursday, November 06, 2014

Teens Suspended For Photo With Airsoft Rifles At Home

Two high school students in Massachusetts have been suspended for 10 days after they posted a photo of themselves holding Airsoft rifles.

According to WBZ-TV, 15 year-old Tito Velez and his girlfriend Jamie Pereira posed for a picture at Velez’s home with the Airsoft rifles before the Bristol Plymouth Regional Technical School homecoming dance last Friday.

Airsoft rifles shoot plastic pellets and Velez competes with a team.

The photo was posted to Facebook and later discovered by school officials.

“I understand but I think they took this way too far,” Pereira told WBZ-TV. “Suspending us for 10 days and possible expulsion is way too much.”

“These students know what is provocative,” Superintendent Dr. Richard Gross said. “To tie that to one of our school events kind of puts it over the top which brings us into it.”


School Issues ‘No Trespass Order’ on Iraq Veteran Who Questioned Daughter’s Homework Assignment on Islam

An Iraq veteran was banned from his daughter’s high school after objecting to a required homework assignment about Islam.

Kevin Wood, father of an 11th-grader at La Plata High School in Charles County, Md., was upset to discover a teacher had asked his daughter to write a three-page essay about Islam’s Five Pillars, Mecca and Mohammed.

After Wood met  with the school’s vice principal to discuss the matter, the school banned Wood from the property late last week.

“I don’t agree with it,” Wood  said in a phone interview with Fox News. “I said you can’t study God or Christianity in school; you have atheists suing schools for saying God and the pledge, and not being able to say prayers before football games … but we can force-feed our kids Islam.”

Katie O’Malley-Simpson, spokeswoman for Charles County Public Schools, told The Daily Signal today that Wood, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq, was banned from school property because he was “threatening to cause a disruption at the school that could compromise the safety of the students and staff.”

“We don’t issue no trespassing orders lightly,” she said.

O’Malley-Simpson defended the assignment on the Islam, saying it is part of Maryland ‘s “world history curricular standards that are a requirement for all counties in the state.” She said:

The particular unit in question at La Plata High School is on the formation of Middle Eastern empires in which students learned the basic concepts of the Islamic faith and how it, along with politics, culture, economics and geography, contributed to the development of the Middle East. Other religions are introduced when they influence or impact a particular historical era or geographic region.

Tearing up, Wood’s wife said in an interview with Fox News on Tuesday that the school doesn’t understand the sensitivity of the subject.  “The people do not understand what he endured when he was over in Iraq,” she said. “[H]e lost friends, and he lost brothers and sisters to these people.”

O’Malley-Simpson said the dispute between Wood and the school is not yet resolved, and the school and Wood are in discussions that will continue into next week.


UK: Sex between 13-year-olds is NORMAL, says controversial 'traffic light tool' sent to schools to teach about relationships

So they want 13-year-olds having babies??

Sex between 13-year-olds is 'safe and healthy' behaviour, according to controversial guidance offered to schools to teach youngsters about relationships.

Family campaigners warned teachers were being urged to encourage behaviour which was against the law, while MPs said youngsters should be told that under-age sex is 'harmful' and 'dangerous'.

The 'Traffic Light Tool' produced as part of sex and relationship education lessons also suggested masturbation and 'consensual kissing' was a 'Green behaviour' for child as young as nine.

Education select committee chairman Graham Stuart warned youngsters should be told that under-age sex is 'dangerous' while Sarah Carter, of the Family Education Trust, said that sometimes what is taught in school sex and relationship lessons is against the law

Recently-published supplementary guidance on sex and relationship education (SRE) for schools included a link to the 'Traffic Light Tool' from sexual health and advice service Brook.

The tool on sexual behaviours, which is available online, is meant to help professionals assess whether children and young people's sexual behaviours are healthy or unhealthy.

It sets out green, amber and red 'behaviours' for different age groups.

Under the 13-17 age group, it lists a number of green behaviours, which are described as behaviours that reflect 'safe and healthy sexual development' displayed between children and young people of similar age and developmental ability and 'reflective of natural curiosity, experimentation, consensual activities and positive choices'.

The approved list of behaviour for 13-17-year-olds includes 'having sexual or non-sexual relationships', 'sexual activity including hugging, kissing, holding hands' and 'consenting oral and/or penetrative sex with others of the same or opposite gender who are of similar age and developmental ability'.

Sarah Carter, of the Family Education Trust, sounded the alarm about the guidance, warning that sometimes what is taught in school sex and relationship lessons is against the law.

She told the Commons education select committee, how the Brook's tool 'states that young people who are consensually sexually active from the age of 13, this is normal behaviour and development, whereas actually the law states that young person should wait until they are 16 at least, never mind if they are ready or not'.

Miss Carter added: 'That's awfully unlawful behaviour, and so quite often what's taught in SRE isn't always lawful.'

The supplementary guidance on sex and relationships education (SRE), which contained links to a number of resources that could be used by schools, including the Traffic Light Tool, was developed and published by the PSHE Association with Brook and the Sex Education Forum.

Graham Stuart, the Labour MP who chairs the education committee, warned that critics might argue that to send out messages that 13-year-olds having sex together is part of growing up and 'not to send out a message that it's wrong, that it's harmful, it's dangerous, is in fact to almost to collude with something which we know is damaging to young people'.

Joe Hayman, chief executive of the PSHE Association, said that all the resources that the PSHE Association produces are clear about teaching about the law.

'I think the only challenge with dealing with these subjects, and this is why we need really well-trained teachers, is that we've got to deal with children's realities,' he told the committee.

Mr Hayman said: 'What I was saying was that it's really, really important that a dictatorial-from-the-front lesson on what one should and shouldn't do is less likely to have an impact and I think we've got to start from where children are, their reality.

'There's no one in our community who feels we should be trying to sexualise children, or any of those kinds of things.

'What we want is children to develop healthy and safe relationships and it's really important that teachers are provided with the necessary training in order to do that.'

Questioned further about Brook's Traffic Light Tool, Mr Hayman insisted it was difficult for him to be accountable for every piece of information linked to in the PSHE Association's supplementary guidance, which has many links within it. He agreed to write to the committee about the issue.


Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Distorted Education Attack Ads Hide the Facts

Political campaigns across the country are heating up—thanks in no small part to all the hot air surrounding accusations about alleged “cuts” to education funding. As I explain in a recent USA Today column:

In North Carolina, Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan has been savaging her opponent, Republican N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis, for allegedly cutting $500 million from the state’s education budget.

In the Wisconsin governor’s race, Republican Gov. Scott Walker is being attacked by challenger Mary Burke for allegedly engineering “the largest cuts to K-12 education funding in the history of our state.” In other races, the story is the same: more money is better; cuts (usually reductions in proposed increases) are seen as bad.

The reality is, average per-pupil funding nationwide exceeds $12,000, but only about 54 percent of that amount funds what’s broadly considered instruction. The rest goes toward administration, food service, capital projects, and debt.

What’s more, spending varies widely from state to state. Per-pupil funding ranges between less than $8,000 in Utah and Idaho, yet skyrockets past $28,000 per pupil in top-spender DC.

If the rationale behind the political ad campaigns were true, students in top spending states would outperform those in cellar-dweller spending states—but that’s not the case:

Moreover, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, average NAEP reading and math performance levels among low-income students (those who qualify for the national school lunch program) are virtually identical in the top- and bottom-spending states. In both cases they’re abysmal, with just one of five low-income students proficient in reading at both the fourth- and eighth-grade levels. In math, one in four low-income fourth-graders tests proficient (at both the highest and lowest spending levels), while even fewer eighth-graders are proficient—18% in the bottom-spending states, 20% in the top-spending states.

The question voters should be asking this election season isn’t which candidates promise to spend the most on education, but which ones will direct taxpayer funds to programs that actually improve student learning.

Parental choice programs empower parents to choose their children’s schools and have the best track records at improving student outcomes, including higher academic performance and graduation rates.

What’s more, because these programs cut out the hefty government middleman, they don’t have the biggest price tag, either.


Teachers are lazy, often turn up late and can't be bothered to set homework, says 'superhead' sent into failing British school

A headteacher appointed to save a failing school has accused teachers of bullying junior staff and being lazy, late and aggressive in a damning letter written to union representatives.

Dr Rory Fox took on the role at Ryde Academy on the Isle of Wight as a 'superhead' to turn around the school's standards which were rated inadequate by Ofsted last year.

The headteacher, who has previously taught at a prison, has made headlines in the past with his commitment to enforcing strict adherence to school uniform policies.

But in a leaked letter sent to union representatives, he claimed '50 per cent of the teaching at Ryde Academy is not good enough', with some teachers lazy, late to class, bullying junior staff and refusing to set homework, The Times reported.

It stated: 'We are finding practices in classrooms that could easily lead to disciplinary action, but I am choosing not to go down that route.'

According to the letter, one teacher told Dr Fox his day finished at 2.40pm and he couldn't mark students' work because he was going sailing, while others complained about setting homework.

MailOnline has requested comment from Ryde Academy regarding the contents of the letter.

In April last year an Ofsted report revealed the school was suffering from 'serious weaknesses'.

Inspectors said they did not witness any 'outstanding lessons' and about a third were were considered 'good'.

Other problems were that younger students didn't feel confident reporting bullying and teachers were failing to act when bad language was used towards staff or when there was homophobic language, swearing or name calling between students.

However, the watchdog reported four months ago that these problems appeared to be improving with senior leaders understanding new responsibilities, and improvements in students' safety were having a positive effect.

The school has made headlines before. It was in June that Dr Fox decision to pull more than 250 girls out of lessons at Ryde Academy for not adhering to the school's dress code.

As part of the crackdown, girls - aged between 11 and 18 - whose skirts were deemed too short, were either sent home or placed in an isolated hall.

Others were also sent home to change because their trousers were ‘too tight’ and did not fit with the school’s strict new policy.

Dr Rory Fox carries with him a reputation for an uncompromising and tough stance in his management of schools, earning him the label of a 'superhead'.

Previous to recent school roles, he worked as the Head of Learning at Edmunds Hill Prison in Suffolk, a no doubt challenging role which typically involves overseeing a prisons' teaching resources and increasing prisoner education rates.

He has also worked at Basildon Academy in Essex, with both parents and teachers saying the effects of his clamp down on ill-discipline were 'remarkable'.

It was there he sent home 151 pupils for wearing trainers with Velcro, the wrong trousers, an unsuitable school bag and in one case, a gold hairband.

This policy continued at Ryde Academy when he took 250 girls out of lessons in a massive uniform crackdown.

Recent Ofsted reports appear to justify his stance - despite a slow start, within the space of a year inspectors have noted the school's improvement in areas such as student safety and learning outcomes.

And boys were also reportedly turned away after arriving at lessons with non-leather shoes.

Dr Fox defended the decision to send the pupils home and claimed several girls were under peer pressure to wear inappropriate uniform.

He said: ‘We are preparing students for the world of work so it is important that we teach students about the importance of managing their appearance and working to a dress code.

‘Dealing with uniform issues helps us to improve general attitudes of co-operation and the skills of following instructions.  ‘This helps us to improve behaviour and learning in classrooms.

‘A significant number of teachers have already commented on how much better behaviour in lessons has become, as soon as we started dealing with uniform issues.’

It was not the first time he had taken drastic measures to fix ailing dress code. In 2011, on his first day at Basildon Academy in Essex, he sent home 109 pupils for wearing incorrect uniform.


UK: Education department's 'gay rights' tweet sparks row

Education department officials have been criticised after appearing to suggest that gay rights are not “British values”.

Labour MPs have queried a tweet, issued by the Department for Education, which drew a distinction between “teaching gay rights” and reforms to the curriculum that will make it obligatory for schools to teach “British values” of respect and tolerance for gay people.

The reforms are a response to the Trojan Horse plot in which extremist religious doctrines were taught in state schools. Under the new rules, faith schools must teach children to be tolerant of gay relationships and transgender people.

Schools that fail to follow the rules on “actively promoting” British values of tolerance will be judged inadequate by inspectors and face closure.

Teachers who disagree with gay marriage have a right to express their views in class, Department for Education sources said, but they must show “respect” for children who are gay or have gay parents and must not discriminate against them.

The tweet was issued in response to a Sunday newspaper headline covering the policy, and read: “Nonsense to say schools 'must teach gay rights'. We want schools to teach broad curric based on British values.” It is understood officials felt the headline “sensationalised” the policy.

However, Labour said the distinction between gay rights and "British values" was wrong.

Tristram Hunt, the shadow education secretary, responded: “LGBT rights are British values. The Department for Education must back compulsory sex and relationship education, including LGBT rights.”

Andy Slaughter, the Labour MP for Hammersmith, said the department should clarify whether it regards gay rights as “British values”. Shaun Dellenty, a gay rights activist, said the tweet was "appalling".

The tweet was subsequently deleted.


Indiana candidates shift from tax cuts to schools

The 2015 session is likely to be the first of Gov. Mike Pence's tenure to be punctuated more by talk of spending on schools and education than talk of tax cuts — his bailiwick of the last two years.

The focus on school funding, topped off by an official push from Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma, is already evident in a series of contested state legislative races, with attack ads focused on the issue sprouting up in the past two weeks. It's with good reason: Internal polling from both sides, used to determine messaging, has put education and school funding at the top of concerns for voters.

Cuts to business taxes and the personal income tax are being phased in through 2021 — amid concerns about stability from state budget hawks — and have had only limited impact so far. (The biggest cut approved so far was the elimination of the state's inheritance tax, a measure sought by legislative Republicans.)

The pinch in schools with layoffs and cuts in services, meanwhile, has been felt throughout the state ever since the property tax cap overhaul in 2008 cut into local education spending and the recession cut into state spending. Elections this past May saw something shocking happen for a fairly conservative state: Voters in nine school districts approved paying more in property taxes to pay for schools.

Denny Costerison, executive director of the Indiana Association of School Business Officials and an expert on school financing, said that after then-Gov. Mitch Daniels cut $300 million in school funding in 2009, that reduced amount became the new norm for school spending.

"No one liked it, of course, but it was understood because of how bad the recession was hitting us," Costerison said.

Between 2009 and 2013, the latest year for which total education spending data are available, the total spent across the state dropped from $11.51 billion to $11.49 billion. Lawmakers and Pence restored some school funding in the most recent budget, but not enough to keep pace with the cost of inflation.

According to the most recent information from the National Center for Education Statistics — a research arm of the U.S. Department of Education — Indiana was one of the states that spent the least overall per student. Between fiscal year 2010 and fiscal year 2011, the median amount spent per student dropped sharply, from $9,045 per student to $8,642. (By comparison, Arizona spent $7,968 per student and Alaska spent $25,132 per student.)

The debate in 2015 is likely to focus more on funding for suburban and rural schools, which receive less overall per student than urban school districts that have more low-income families. Costerison said lawmakers might try to find a way to get more money for all schools and give greater increases to the state's rural and suburban schools.

However, the boundaries will be set by the same forces that have limited school funding so far: Republican leaders' requirement that $2 billion be kept in cash reserves, an amount that could trigger Daniels' automatic tax refund, and tax collections that have come in below expectations.

But before lawmakers can get to the debate over school spending, they will have to get through Tuesday's elections. Democrats and teachers unions, looking to break the Republican supermajority in the House, have been hammering away at education, in particular. Bosma, for his part, helped shore up his caucus with the promise that school funding would be a priority next year.

That's why the candidates are spending their limited campaign dollars on attack ads about education, and not tax cuts.


Tuesday, November 04, 2014

UK: Faith schools which 'indoctrinate' children against homosexuality face being closed down under new Government rules

How about schools that indoctrinate pupils IN FAVOUR OF homosexuality?

Schools found ‘indoctrinating pupils about gay people’ will face being closed down under new rules designed to promote ‘British values’, the Government confirmed today.

The Department for Education insisted it was ‘nonsense’ to suggest teachers would have to give lessons on gay rights.

But a spokesman insisted Ofsted, which has introduced the new rules the wake of the Islamist Trojan Horse plot to radicalise pupils in Birmingham, was right to ensure schools were not breeding grounds for homophobia.

A spokesman said: ‘Ofsted are rightly ensuring that schools do not indoctrinate pupils about gay people - or any other people - being inferior.

‘The same goes for schools that do things like make girls sit separately at the back of the class. Both are practices which go directly against the fundamental British values of tolerance and respect.

‘We believe schools should prepare all pupils for life in modern Britain. A broad and balanced curriculum is vital for this.’  But the spokesman said it was 'nonsense' to say children would be taught gay rights.

Labour's shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt said Mrs Morgan 'clearly does not believe that LGBT rights are British values'. He said: ‘Compulsory sex and relationship education, including LGBT rights, in all schools is common sense, not nonsense.  ‘Nicky Morgan should apologise for the offence that has been caused by claiming that it is nonsense for all schools to teach gay rights.’

It came after the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan – who said last week that she had changed her mind about gay marriage after voting against its introduction – warned schools not to ‘close minds’.

She told the Sunday Times that schools must teach ‘pupils to respect other people even if they do not agree with them’.

Mrs Morgan said: ‘I should have thought this is a principle with which the vast majority of people would agree. All schools of whatever type have a duty to protect young people and to ensure they leave school fully prepared for life in modern Britain.

‘These values — democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs — are not new. The requirement to “actively promote” them is designed to reinforce the importance this government attaches to these values.’

Schools have been warned that those that fail to follow new rules on British values will be judged inadequate and could face closure by Ofsted inspectors.

The move follows snap inspections by Ofsted at 40 schools, including those for Christian and Jewish pupils. They were launched in the wake of the Trojan Horse affair in Birmingham as part of the government’s efforts to combat extremism.

Mrs Morgan is backing Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw who will say that any school suspected of not teaching a broad and balanced curriculum, of rapidly falling standards or of not preparing children for life in modern Britain will face no-notice inspections.

For the first time the rules give inspectors the powers to downgrade schools where teachers are breaching the Equality Act, which encourages respect for lesbian, gay and transgender people as well as those of other religions and races.


Allah in the Public School Classroom

All over America, as parents go over homework with their children, it is becoming apparent that the United States public school system curriculum has been hijacked by the Pro-Muslim Common Core platform with sickening results. Children are being forced to say the shahada, and forced to learn the Five Pillars Of Islam. When Muslims force Christians to convert, they are forced to say the shahada (the Muslim declaration of faith). The Arabic writing on the black flag of jihad (also known as the al Qaeda flag or ISIS flag) is the shahada. This chant of supremacism and imperialism is being forced on American school kids.

Here is one mother’s story:

"About a month ago my daughter asked for my help with her homework.  She is in 7th grade and usually does not ask me for help. She gave me her vocabulary words for Social Studies and simply asked me to type it for her. I started typing the first few words, and then I came to Qur’an, Mosque, Alms, Caliph, Jihad, Sunnis, Shiites. I instantly became alarmed and asked to see her Social Studies book. My husband and I spent the next 3 hours reading through her book and I have to tell you that my life changed on that day.

    I kept my daughter home from school for the next two days and met with the principal. I attended my daughter’s class when she went back to school. Her assignments continued; draw detailed pictures of the 5 pillars of Islam and write a word collage of all that is good with Islam. We met with the teacher and principal together and questioned the curriculum.

We received the party line responses of “state standards” and “Common Core” for every question we had.  I was concerned with the nature of the material that was being taught in the classroom, and whether it was being presented in a truthful manner and that all aspects were told.  This was not happening.  Simply from viewing the Table of Contents one can see that Islam is the dominant religious focus throughout the book.  I was amazed upon further review of the book how they were able to slip Muslims into China, and how Spain is only referred to as Muslim Spain. 

The chapter on West African Civilization contains The Growth of Islam in West Africa.  The teacher explained to me that they had discussed Christianity in the first two chapters, but when I reviewed them personally, I found that Jesus was mentioned once as a Jewish prophet in the first chapter and the second chapter briefly discussed the division within the Christian Church.

 Chapter three is dedicated completely to Islam and the story of Muhammad, with multiple quotes from the Qur’an throughout the chapter. The book even goes on to say that “. . .Muhammad revealed the purest version of God’s truth” and that Muhammad is the final prophet of God’s truth with the most complete version of that truth. Read the rest of this story on Pamela

We strongly urge all parents to go through all of your kid’s school assignments to see how much of this is present in their lessons. And if it is, start making phone calls, start writing letters, start pushing back the creeping sharia that our government seems intent on forcing on us. Because when that window closes, there will be no going back.

America needs you, how will you respond?


Common Core Doesn't "Need Work," it Needs to be Abolished

It's just Leftist tripe

Common Core education standards have been, by all accounts, a dismal failure. Parents, teachers, children, and even unions hate them. Governors like Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee went from supporting to standards to violently opposing them after observing their effects. Half a dozen states have withdrawn from Common Core, with many others currently pursuing legislation to do so. In short, it’s the usual standard of incompetence we’ve come to expect from the Department of Education (DOE).

But don’t expect the DOE to admit defeat. As the standards begin to take effect in the American Protectorate of Guam, the Guam DOE issued a statement that the standards still need work and that “this is a marathon, not a sprint.”

Sound familiar? This is the same kind of defense government always uses when defending fundamentally broken programs. “We just need more time.” A year after the launch of ObamaCare, and five years after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, the president is still tinkering with it, and Democrats in Congress keep telling us that it just needs to be “fixed.” Given enough time and, more importantly, enough money, they assure us, they can make the program work, despite all actual evidence to the contrary.

Just as ObamaCare remains a perpetual work in progress, so do all top down government programs. They can’t work, and so when they don’t, rather than admit to a mistake, the agencies claim that they just need work, no matter how many years of development or taxpayer dollars have gone into them.

Common Core standards were developed in 2009, with implementation beginning in 2010. They’ve had five years to fix any bugs and iron out the kinks of a system they keep insisting is going to improve U.S. education (just like No Child Left Behind and Head Start were supposed to, right?) If five years isn’t enough to craft a successful program, doesn’t that tell you something about the fundamental methodology employed by the DOE?

Private companies don’t operate this way. If Apple’s latest iPhone was still hopeless broken five years in, requiring continuous patching, they would go out of business. Customers would rapidly abandon any company making such flimsy excuses for failure and would flock to more reliable competitors. But with government, there is no competitor, and therefore no accountability or incentive to perform.

This clever tactic of claiming that things “need work” means that we can never give up on a program, no matter how long in the tooth or ineffective. Fortunately, state government have started to show themselves willing to abandon Common Core standards that are clearly failing. If only they had a similar option for ObamaCare.


Atheist bullies strike again: Delaware high school coaches cave on post-game prayer

If something happens once you can dismiss it as an anomaly. If something happens twice you pay attention and examine for trends. However, when it happens repeatedly you've got more than a trend, you have a deliberate strategy and plan.

And so it is with the incessant and relentless attack of atheist groups against prayer and religious activity involving football. We've reported here about the attack levied against my own Alma Mater, the University of Tennessee - and mentioned the attack against Clemson University Coach Dabo Sweeney - and also the case brought against Georgia's Madison County High School for their donated monument which has two New Testament biblical verses inscribed. Well, the atheist bullies from FRFF are at it again!

As reported by Fox News, "An atheist group succeeded in sidelining football coaches at a Delaware high school from post-game prayers, but the holy huddle will continue as a players-only affair, according to a report. The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter to Cape Henlopen School District Superintendent Robert Fulton earlier this month to allege a "serious constitutional violation" occurring at Cape Henlopen High School: Coaches participating in postgame prayers with players.

One photograph in a local newspaper showed head coach Bill Collick in a prayer circle with his team on Oct. 3, The News Journal reports. "He's got his hands on players and he's bowing his head and he's participating in a prayer circle with students," said Elizabeth Cavell, an FFRF staff attorney who drafted the letter to Fulton. "Our objection to that is it violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, which has been interpreted to say that public school districts and their employees cannot advance or endorse religion while acting in their official capacity."

That interpretation is severely flawed if applied to this case, as well as most of the cases FFRF has lobbied.

The school board in Madison County folded like a cheap chair and this Wisconsin group prevails once again. Is there anyone with the doggone courage to tell these folks to mind their own business?

The more success they're allowed, the more they are emboldened. Furthermore, why not simply ignore these seemingly demented individuals who possess an animus that goes beyond understanding? A coach kneeling with players in a post-game prayer does not establish any state sponsored religion.

What FFRF is strategically doing is advancing a secular humanist agenda to eradicate the Judeo-Christian faith heritage in America - and they've decided to attack sporting events, specifically football at public institutions to make their point. Their cohort in this insanity, Mikey Weinstein, at the oxymoronic Military Religious Freedom Foundation, has embarked upon the same crusade against our armed forces.

Fox says, "Cape Henlopen School District Supervisor Fulton replied to inform Cavell all district employees, including coaches, would be reminded of laws regarding separation of church and state."

And therein lies the problem. Mr. Fulton has no idea of the origin and intent of the term "separation of church and state." How many times do I have to say this? It is not a law. It is not found in the Constitution - nor in the Declaration of Independence or even in the Federalist Papers.

Separation of church and state was a concept - a principle - written in a letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury (CT) Baptist Convention articulating that America would not have an established state religion or a Head of State who was also a Head of Church - there would be a separation.

So a coach kneeling with his players during a post-game prayer circle is in keeping with the First Amendment of freedom of religion and the free exercise thereof! Instead, when people fail to know the origins of our Constitutional Republic, they are bullied by these activist groups. As a result, following their home game against Sussex Tech, the postgame prayer circle had a lineup change. As the Vikings gathered to pray after a 49-13 loss, Collick and his assistants stood nearby, but did not join the players.

"We're satisfied with that," Cavell said. "We're expecting that staff, including coaches, are not going to be participating in prayers with the students in the future."

No ma'am, Ms. Cavell, you and the FFRF are wrong. You violated the First Amendment right of those coaches and Mr. Fulton should have known better and responded as such. At no time did those coaches advocate for an established religion for the State of Delaware or the United States. However, there are some who are not happy.

Fox reports that "Fulton's response to Cavell upset some Cape Henlopen supporters who felt the superintendent backed down to a the out-of-state, atheist organization. But Cavell said the law is on the side of her group. "We've taken lawsuits in the public-school context, but I don't think we've taken a lawsuit on coach-led prayer," she said. "The law is pretty well established, so it doesn't lead to much litigation."

The law is not on Cavell's side. The only thing on FFRF's side is their belligerence and the cowardice of others. They're not allowed to restrain the free exercise of religion of an American citizen. And if Ms. Cavell believes she has the law on her side, then she should bring a lawsuit to end the opening prayer in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

Dammit folks, don't you see that these people are not on the right side but use the ignorance of so-called school leaders to impose their misguided will?

According to Fox, "Coach Collick, meanwhile, said he has prayed with players throughout his four decades in coaching, including during his entire run at Delaware State University from 1985-96. He vowed to continue to impart wisdom on his players whenever he can. "We will continue to move forward and be about respect and do the things we know that good citizens and good people need to do," he said.

But football players at Cape Henlopen High School are far from the only Delaware public-school athletes who pray before or after games. Dozens of teams in the state regularly gather for prayers and at least one coach is involved most of the time, the News Journal reports. "Before the first time we do it, I throw it out there that this is strictly voluntary," Brandywine coach Tom Wood said Friday. "You do not have to participate if it goes against your religious beliefs. I'm not pushing my religion on anybody."

It's time parents and athletes take over this situation and send a message to FFRF. I'd like to see the stands empty out and everyone who desires go down to the field and join in on post-game prayer. We need to start sending letters to the FFRF and tell them how we feel about their attack on our First Amendment rights.

I continue to find it unconscionable that these atheist groups are so offended and concerned about something they pretend does not exist. So what is their real agenda?

I'm just waiting for FFRF to bring a lawsuit or write a letter about the government paying for Muslim footbath stations in airports and on college campuses - nah, FFRF ain't got the courage to take on Muslims. So they fight against Christians because we keep cowering and allowing them to have their way. Time to fight back.


Monday, November 03, 2014

Low income British pupils to leap admission queue as ministers tear up rules forbidding selection on basis of family finance

Poor pupils will be allowed to jump the queue for places at all primary and secondary schools in England, the Government has confirmed.  Ministers have torn up admission rules that forbid selection on the basis of family finances.

This will let state schools give low income youngsters top priority in return for extra cash as part of a flagship policy by Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg.

The shake-up comes despite critics warning of ‘large numbers of children being unable to access their local school. The revised School Admissions Code will come into force in December.

It allows primaries and secondaries to give ‘admission priority’ to children eligible for the Pupil Premium – extra money to encourage them to take in more disadvantaged youngsters. At present, only free schools and academies can do this.

In addition, primaries will be able to give priority for reception places to disadvantaged youngsters who attend their nurseries.

There will be no legal requirement for schools to change their admissions criteria.

Mr Clegg’s Pupil Premium is worth £1,300 per primary school pupil and £935 for secondary school children.

More than half of England’s 163 state grammars have already indicated they plan to rewrite admissions criteria to give priority to poorer pupils.

The Government launched a consultation on the proposed changes in July, leading critics to warn of a potential ‘detrimental impact’ on some families.

The Department for Education said: ‘This change…will provide all schools who wish to use it with a practical means to support the most disadvantaged in society.’

It added: ‘Many respondents were in agreement with the principle of this change, but some expressed concerns that schools would be required to adopt it, or that it would lead to large numbers of other children being unable to access their local school.

‘As stated in the consultation document, there will be no requirement for admission authorities to include such a priority in their admission arrangements. This will be an option open to schools, who may adopt it if they wish.’

In a further change, the government is making it clear to schools that parents of summer-born children can ask for them to start reception classes at five – a year later than usual.  Education officials must consider each request and state reasons for refusal.

Professor Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, yesterday accused the government of ‘continually meddling’ with school admissions.  He said: ‘Favouring pupils from low income homes means that other pupils will miss out on their local schools.  ‘Quite why schools should be guided to prioritise poor children over, say, high ability children is not at all clear.  ‘If I were a parent with a particular school in mind who couldn’t get a place because of this, then I would be very upset indeed.’

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-School Learning Alliance, has previously warned that parents of eligible Pupil Premium children may ‘feel under pressure’ to enrol them in a school nursery early instead of a child-minder in order to gain priority for reception places.

He said he was concerned about the ‘potentially detrimental impact this could have on children and families’.

Last year’s annual report from the Office of the Schools Adjudicator said that the ‘practice of some primary schools of giving priority for admission to the reception year to children who have attended particular nursery provision has been found to be unfair to other local children’.


Student censors – the children of an academy in crisis

Academics’ abandonment of knowledge has green-lit campus censorship

The question we are being asked to answer is: what is the university for? My answer to this is simple. The university is for the unfettered pursuit of knowledge, through research and debate, and the transmission of this body of knowledge to students. It is a space in which the battle of ideas produces and renews our collective understanding.

Freedom of speech is essential to this process. As John Stuart Mill wrote: ‘It is only by the collision of adverse opinions that the remainder of the truth has any chance of being supplied.’ Free speech, then, and forthright debate, is what allows us to produce and renew knowledge before passing it on, ready to be contested by the next generation.

To start with, I’d like to focus on how I think the student’s role within this process is being undermined.

The great tragedy is that the biggest threat to students’ ability to pursue and contest knowledge today comes from students themselves. Or, at least, the unrepresentative students’ unions and campaign groups that are calling all of the shots on campus.

Today, students’ union are trampling students’ free speech and diminishing the purpose of the university in the process. It’s not difficult to find examples of this happening. In the past year alone, University College London Union (UCLU) banned a Nietzsche reading group because they deemed it fascist; the London School of Economics Students’ Union (LSESU) disbanded its own rugby club for distributing sexist flyers; and the University of Derby Students’ Union (UDSU) briefly banned all UKIP members from campus on the basis that Farage and Co posed a threat to student safety.

But perhaps it’s too easy to lay the blame solely at the feet of these hysterical students’ unions, as if Generation Y, by some bizarre twist of genetic fate, was spawned with a default, factory setting of ‘belligerent’ and ‘borderline deranged’. While I’ve nothing against bashing students – I spend a lot of my time doing it – it’s simply not the whole story. Instead, I think we need to cast our gaze back to the university itself. Because, in two distinct ways, universities and academics themselves have laid the foundations for this new culture of student censorship.

The first is seen in university administrators’ newfound obsession with student wellbeing. Students’ unions often invoke the language of safety when justifying their petty bans. But when UDSU officials said that UKIP was a threat to student safety, this didn’t mean they thought Roger Helmer would instantly head-butt a first year if he was ever given the chance. What they meant was that Helmer’s ideas posed a threat to their members’ emotional wellbeing.

This image of students as childlike and frail is writ large in the services universities offer today. It is evident in the recent explosion of counselling and wellbeing services at universities – the constant pleas for ‘stressed out’ students to seek advice and help. And this fawning approach has bled into how courses are taught – with students being given the option to opt-out of particular courses, readings or seminars that deal with tough issues, like rape or domestic violence. Students are being encouraged to think that even their course content is a potential threat to their emotional wellbeing.

The second and more crucial factor here, however, is the academy’s retreat from the pursuit of truth and knowledge. In the arts and the humanities in particular, various ideological trends have undermined the concept of knowledge itself, painting it as a potentially dangerous illusion. You can see that in the enduring influence of postmodernism, which sees all truth as subjective and constructed. While the influence of cultural studies has also worked to paint the very concept of a body of knowledge as a colonial import – a mechanism of Eurocentric control.

In essence, students’ abandonment of free speech has been green-lit by the academy’s abandonment of academic freedom. In many academic circles today, academic freedom is being tossed out in favour of what is being termed ‘academic justice’. The argument goes that academic freedom has become a cover for protecting damaging and oppressive ideas. Therefore, the logic goes, any areas of research or inquiry that compromise a pre-defined idea of social justice should be snuffed out.

This perfect storm of institutional and ideological trends has facilitated the campus culture we have today; an atmosphere in which free speech is feared and knowledge is derided, leaving the university, and students’ place within it, diminished. The student censors of today are the product of an academic sphere that is no longer able to defend its founding principles. And it’s about time academics recognised this.


Ave Maria University Wins Relief from HHS Mandate

This morning, a federal court granted injunctive relief to Ave Maria University following the University's renewed lawsuit against the HHS mandate filed in August.  In a message to the University community, President Jim Towey noted the significance of the victory.

The order from the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida is the first "enjoining the government's latest attempt to coerce religious organizations via an ‘augmented rule' that it issued last August," stated the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

President Towey said on his blog:

    I have wonderful news to share with you! Ave Maria University won in Federal Court on its motion for injunctive relief. This is a significant victory because it is the first Federal Court case since the United States Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case and the subsequent issuance of the so-called "augmented" regulations by the Obama administration.

    While this victory is significant the battle is far from over. Judge Moody has stayed action on our case pending a resolution of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals case in the EWTN lawsuit.


Sunday, November 02, 2014

Why trendy teaching is inefficient and harmful: Report says popular classroom techniques are not supported by research

Trendy teaching methods such as lavishing praise on pupils can be harmful to learning, says a study published today.

It warns that many ‘common practices’, such as allowing youngsters to discover key ideas by themselves, are either ‘ineffective or inefficient’.

The report from the Sutton Trust education charity outlines a range of popular techniques used in classrooms that are ‘not supported by research evidence’.

Examples include using praise ‘lavishly’, which many teachers believe is an ‘affirmative and positive’ way to encourage low achievers.

It points out that a number of studies suggest that the ‘wrong kinds of praise’ can be ‘very harmful to learning’.

Research has shown that praise which is meant to boost struggling pupils ‘actually conveys a message of the teachers’ low expectations’ of their ability’.  As a result, ‘it can actually lower rather than enhance self-confidence’, the report reveals.

The report by Professor Rob Coe and colleagues at Durham University reviewed more than 200 pieces of research.

It says another popular technique, ‘discovery learning’, where pupils find key ideas by themselves, is also ineffective.

The study says: ‘If teachers want them to learn new ideas, knowledge or methods they need to teach them directly.’

Another trendy teaching method is child-centred learning, where pupils are believed to learn best if teachers tailor lessons to their ‘preferred learning style’.

The report says: ‘A belief in the importance of learning styles seems persistent, despite the prominence of critiques of this kind of advice.’

However, the evidence is clear that ‘there are no benefits for learning from trying to present information to learners in their preferred learning style’. 

Likewise, it is untrue that pupils remember best if they are always ‘active’ in lessons, rather than sitting and listening ‘passively’.  ‘If you want students to remember something you have to get them to think about it,’ the report says.  ‘This might be achieved by being “active” or “passive”.’ 

Other examples of ineffective teaching practices are encouraging re-reading and highlighting to memorise key ideas.

Studies have shown that ‘testing yourself, trying to generate answers, and deliberately creating intervals between study to allow forgetting’ are better.

The report also found that grouping pupils by ability makes very little difference to learning, as teachers can go ‘too fast with the high ability groups and too slow with the low’.

It said that the two factors with the strongest evidence of improving students’ attainment are teachers’ content knowledge and the quality of instruction.

Professor Coe said: ‘Great teaching cannot be achieved by following a recipe, but there are some clear pointers in the research to approaches that are most likely to be effective, and to others, sometimes quite popular, that are not.

‘Teachers need to understand why, when and how a particular approach is likely to enhance students’ learning.’

Former education secretary Michael Gove warned that trendy teaching methods were ‘sidelining’ members of staff from their ‘central role in education’.

Last year, Michael Young, emeritus professor of education at the Institute of Education, University of London, claimed that many teachers have an ‘actual fear of knowledge’ and believe it is wrong to correct pupils’ mistakes.


Phony Trump University delivered ‘neither Donald Trump nor a university,’ suit claims

The Donald milks a sucker

A federal judge allowed a racketeering suit to proceed against Trump University - which plaintiffs claim delivered "neither Donald Trump nor a university." California businessman Art Cohen sued ("The Donald")Trump in October 2013, claiming the former reality TV star defrauded students of tens of millions of dollars by promising to teach his real estate investment secrets.

The suit claims Trump spent up to $6 million a year to promote Trump University by falsely representing that it was an actual university taught by professors selected by the real estate investor, reported Courthouse News.

Cohen, the lead plaintiff, said he attended a free seminar after receiving an invitation in the mail and then paid $1,495 to attend a retreat, where he bought a "Gold Elite" program for an additional $35,000.

Trump, however, did not contribute in any meaningful way to the curriculum or handpick the instructors, as promised, at three-day retreats or elite mentorship programs, the suit claims.

A judge ruled this month that Trump was personally liable for running the university bearing his name without a license. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman accused Trump of defrauding students out of $40 million.

A federal judge ruled Monday that Cohen's suit could continue as a class-action case, finding that "consumers are likely to rely on prominently marketed features of a product which they purchase."

Trump unsuccessfully argued that Cohen could have known as early as July 2009 that Trump University, which is now known as Trump Entrepreneur Initiative, was not an actual university because he was not seeking a diploma and the seminars were held in hotels.

He argued that the statute of limitations should prevent the suit from going forward, but the judge disagreed.


Muslim intolerance at UCB.  Free speech is poison to them and they know it

Muslims want to stop Bill Maher from speaking at UC Berkeley.  See below:

The students at the University of California at Berkeley represent a diverse array of students from all walks of life. Every semester a commencement speaker is given the privilege of inspiring a class of talented and capable students.

This year, UC Berkeley has chosen to invite Bill Maher to speak. Bill Maher is a blatant bigot and racist who has no respect for the values UC Berkeley students and administration stand for. In a time where climate is a priority for all on campus, we cannot invite an individual who himself perpetuates a dangerous learning environment.

Bill Maher's public statements on various religions and cultures are offensive and his dangerous rhetoric has found its way into our campus communities. Too many students are marginalized by his remarks and if the University were to bring this individual as a commencement speaker they would not be supporting these historically marginalized communities.

It is the responsibility of the University of California to protect all students and uphold a standard of civility. Sign this petition to boycott the decision to invite Bill Maher as a commencement speaker at the UC Berkeley Fall 2014 Commencement Ceremony.

Some examples of Bill Maher's hate speech:

Religions are maintained by people. People who can't get laid, because sex is the first great earthly pleasure. But if you can't get that, power is a pretty good second one. And that's what religion gives to people. Power. Power is sex for people who can't get or don't want or aren't any good at sex itself.

‘Islam is the only religion that acts like the mafia that will fucking kill you if you say the wrong thing’

 "You have to understand, you have to embrace the values of Western civilization. They're not just different, they are better."