Friday, January 22, 2016

College Sets April Aside to Trash White Americans

When Black History Month was officially instituted in February 1976, President Gerald R. Ford remarked, “[W]e can seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Unfortunately, not only have progressives turned Black History Month into what black Tea Party activist Lloyd Marcus mockingly calls “Annual White America Sucks Month,” but at institutions like Portland Community College, whiteness-shaming has taken on a whole new level.

In April, PCC will observe “Whiteness History Month: Context, Consequences, and Change,” or what its website calls “a multidisciplinary, district-wide, educational project examining race and racism through an exploration of the construction of whiteness, its origins and heritage.” The description makes clear, “Whiteness History Month Project, unlike heritage months, is not a celebratory endeavor, it is an effort to change our campus climate. The Project seeks to challenge the master narrative of race and racism through an exploration of the social construction of whiteness. Challenging the master narrative of traditional curriculum is a strategy within higher education that promotes multicultural education and equity.”

Black History Month was meant to raise people up, not tear them down. Portland Community College is another example example of how leftists have turned MLK’s dream into a nightmare — through “learning” institutions, no less.


Seeing Bigots Under Every Rock

Remember when universities used to encourage freedom of academic inquiry and were seen as intellectual and social preparation for the transition into adulthood? I know; that was a long time ago — before the left infected these institutions.

Everyone knows about the leftward slant of most American universities: their monolithic biases; their bent toward politicizing their curricula; and their practice of indoctrinating students. But increasingly the results of leftist community organizing — the toxins of political correctness — are seeping into university disciplinary rules.

This deplorable trend has concerned me for years, but it is particularly disturbing when it is occurring at my alma mater, the University of Missouri.

I’m not talking about Mizzou’s recent racial controversy but reports that the university is now encouraging its students to file a report any time they witness or experience a “bias incident.” It would be one thing if they were talking about true incidents of racial or some other form of discrimination, but it appears it’s much more expansive than that.

According to the university’s online statement, a “bias incident is an act of intolerance which is committed against any person, group or property and which discriminates, stereotypes, harasses or excludes anyone based on” any of some 20 different categories, from race to religion to gender expression, and yes, even physical appearance.

Look out, social fraternities. You better make sure no one overhears your actives talking to pledges.

Does it ever bother you that liberals seem to be preoccupied with these kinds of things — as if they just sit around stewing about how they might be offended?

Do you think it helps society for academic institutions and government to shove these things in our faces all the time and invite us to feel offended at the drop of a hat? Shouldn’t we aspire to colorblindness, not look for slurs at every opportunity?

Is it good for students that institutions of higher learning proactively try to turn them into thin-skinned, paranoid wimps? Isn’t it bad enough that they offer classes largely devoted to convincing students that men hate and exploit women, whites routinely abuse blacks, the rich are evil and exploit the poor, cops are the enemy and Christians are science-averse Neanderthals — as well as other types of poisonous bilge?

I am not discounting actual incidents of racial bias where people are harmed. But I don’t think it’s healthy for our institutions to pressure students to see racial or other types of prejudice at every turn. Why pit people against each other? Why stoke people’s suspicions of each other? Won’t that lead to distrust instead of reduce it?

College students are being groomed for the workforce where they will encounter all kinds of challenges. Should our schools train them not to handle even minor perceived sleights on their own but instead hone their skills as tattletales? I suppose it’s not that surprising, considering that progressives advocate cradle-to-grave dependency in other respects.

The progressive mindset thrives on generating angst between different groups. Along those lines, Katherine Timpf has observed in National Review Online that the university is encouraging not just alleged victims of “bias” to report these incidents but also others who witness them, even if the alleged victim doesn’t feel victimized. The school might as well supply volunteer student thought policemen with uniforms to troll around campus to chill speech.

It appears that this nanny-state administration wants students to report, for example, teasing based on physical appearance. It may not be nice, but does this rise to the level of a disciplinary matter?

Indeed, “name-calling” is listed on the form as an “act of intolerance.” The instructions go so far as to say that “extreme examples of bias incidents — regardless of severity — can be reported using this form.” Regardless of severity? Wow.

There’s another problem with these speech and conduct codes. Those who promulgate and enforce them often have their own biases and generally don’t recognize certain groups as worthy of protection. Do you think, for instance, your typical university administration would consider the dissing of Christianity or conservatism actionable violations of the code?

These types of overzealous regulations trivialize actual incidents of discrimination and harm the very groups they purport to help as well as society as a whole.

Maybe the people obsessing over “intolerance” are projecting their own malcontented worldview and would be better served, and would serve others better, if they would just chill out and back off a little bit. Students aren’t as helpless or as prejudiced as progressives enjoy depicting them.


Common Core Is Bad for Ohio and Bad for You

Six years after ranking fifth in the nation, Ohio’s public education system has fallen to 23rd. The annual Quality Counts report by Education Week includes indicators such as test scores, education finance, and graduation rates to determine a score out of 100. The best state in each category receives 100, and all other states are graded relative to that state. Ohio received a score of 74.9, a C.

What is most interesting about this drastic decline is the year Ohio was ranked fifth, 2010, is the same year the state went on to adopt the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Furthermore, five of the eight states that have either rejected or not fully implemented Common Core scored above Ohio in the 2016 report. Two of those states, Minnesota and Virginia, are in the top 12. This simple fact suggests the education systems in nonconforming states outperform those who have been plagued by federal influence.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative began when the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Broad Foundation, the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and Achieve Inc. all teamed up to push for nationally uniform education standards in 2007. These groups labeled students as “human capital” rather than valued individuals, and their end goal is high test scores rather than learning. The standards use international benchmarks to determine where American students should be in the subjects of English and mathematics to compete globally. They were published in 2009, and by 2010 the federal government had gone so far as to exploit cash-strapped states by linking funding with the adoption of Common Core through the Race to the Top grant program while maintaining the claim that states’ freedom is intact.

Special interest groups – see textbook producers and standardized test developers – are strong proponents of the standards. These groups use their power and money to effectively bypass state autonomy in an effort to gain more power and money. Just this week, a video emerged with a senior Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt sales executive saying, “it’s all about the money”. Parents, teachers, and students – those most affected by the education system – oppose Common Core. In fact, a Columbus Dispatch poll found that 42% of Ohio voters do not want the standards in their state, with a mere 26% in favor of them.

Americans across the country need to join movements, like Ohio United Against Common Core, to advocate for both state autonomy and parental rights within their education systems. These groups campaign for state-level repeals of the standards. Education is a personal matter, and individuals should have the freedom to decide the details of their children’s schooling. Stop letting Washington dictate how and what our children learn. Common Core began as an application of evidence-based research into education. Well new evidence is in, and Common Core is out.


Jeb Bush calls for overhaul of nation’s education system

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush rolled out a broad education reform plan Monday that would shift power and money to states and local school districts — and away from the federal government.

The former Florida governor also wants to revamp how high school graduates and their parents finance college and other career training.

Bush released his education “blueprint” in observance of Martin Luther King Day, saying that “access to a quality education is the great civil rights challenge of our time.”

In an interview with the Associated Press, Monday, Bush said he believes King, if he were alive today, would be fighting to “close the education gap between the haves and have-nots” to lift families out of poverty.

He posted an overview of his education reform plan on the blog publishing platform

As a two-term Florida governor, Bush built a national reputation for reforming the state’s public school system. He pushed for high-stakes testing of students and the grading of schools based on their overall academic performance.

As he campaigns for the Republican nomination, Bush has repeatedly promoted his gubernatorial record in Florida as a means for billing himself as the most qualified candidate on issues relating to education and the economy. Still, he continues to lag in the polls behind other newcomer candidates like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, who are wooing voters with their anti-establishment pitches.

Conservatives, including most of Bush’s GOP rivals, have blasted Bush for his support of Common Core education standards, which they view as the federal government’s effort to dictate education policies at a state and local level. Bush says he favors raising school standards.

Bush is calling for a “complete overhaul” of the nation’s education system “from one that serves bureaucracies to one that serves the needs of families and students.”

He said the current education system is “failing to prepare the next generation of children for success,” noting that only about one-third of high school graduates are prepared for college or the workplace.

If elected, Bush said he would reduce by half the size of the staff at the federal Department of Education and hand more power and money to state and local school district officials.

“We will empower states with the flexibility to improve their schools, while ensuring the federal government does not interfere in academic standards, curriculum or content,” wrote Bush. “Right now, too many regulations drown the system in compliance costs, wasting valuable resources.”


Thursday, January 21, 2016

NYC liberal encounters NYC blacks

Even after documenting a total breakdown of order and discipline, he cannot bring himself to say that what is needed is the re-establishment of high-discipline schools for difficult  pupils

IN 2008, Ed Boland, a well-off New Yorker who had spent 20 years as an executive at a non-profit, had a midlife epiphany: He should leave his white-glove world, the galas at the Waldorf and drinks at the Yale Club, and go work with the city’s neediest children.

The Battle for Room 314: My Year of Hope and Despair in a New York City High School is Boland’s memoir of his brief, harrowing tenure as a public-schoolteacher, and it’s riveting.

There’s nothing dry or academic here. It’s tragedy and farce, an economic and societal indictment of a system that seems broken beyond repair.

The book is certain to be controversial. There’s something dilettante-ish, if not cynical, about a well-off, middle-aged white man stepping ever so briefly into this maelstrom of poverty, abuse, homelessness and violence and emerging with a book deal.

What Boland has to share, however, makes his motives irrelevant.

Names and identifying details have been changed, but the school Boland calls Union Street is, according to clues and public records, the Henry Street School of International Studies on the Lower East Side.

Boland opens the book with a typical morning in freshman history class.

A teenage girl named Chantay sits on top of her desk, thong peeking out of her pants, leading a ringside gossip session. Work sheets have been distributed and ignored.

“Chantay, sit in your seat and get to work — now!” Boland says.

A calculator goes flying across the room, smashing into the blackboard. Two boys begin physically fighting over a computer. Two girls share an iPod, singing along. Another girl is immersed in a book called Thug Life 2.

Chantay is the one that aggravates Boland the most. If he can get control of her, he thinks, he can get control of the class.

“Chantay,” he says, louder, “sit down immediately, or there will be serious consequences.”

The classroom freezes. Then, as Boland writes, “she laughed and cocked her head up at the ceiling. Then she slid her hand down the outside of her jeans to her upper thigh, formed a long cylinder between her thumb and forefinger, and shook it. She looked me right in the eye and screamed, ‘SUCK MY F***IN’ D***, MISTER.’”

It was Boland’s first week.

At the time, Boland’s new school was considered a bold experiment — not a charter but an “autonomous” one, given freedom in both management and curriculum. It was endowed in part by the Gates Foundation, and the principal hired only teachers who had once lived abroad.

Boland had taught English in China. This was his favoured school — advertised as the last, best hope for kids who had fallen far behind — and he was thrilled to be hired. He went home to his then-boyfriend (now husband) and celebrated over takeout pad Thai and an expensive bottle of red wine.

“I was ready to change lives as a teacher,” he writes.  How wrong he was.

There were 30 kids in his ninth-grade class, some as old as 17. One student, Jamal, was living in a homeless shelter with his mother; most of the other students lived in public housing. There was one white kid in the whole school.

“It was as if Brown v Board of Education or desegregation had never occurred,” Boland writes.

He had rounded up his students into a semicircle and checked for forbidden items: phones, electronics, sunglasses, clothing in gang colours.

Then someone kicked in the door. And there, Boland writes, “stood one Kameron Shields in pure renegade glory, a one-man violation of every possible rule. Above the neck alone, he was flaunting four violations: He wore sunglasses and a baseball cap over a red bandanna over iPod headphones. A silver flip phone was clipped to his baggy jeans. Everything he wore was cherry red — the hallmark colour of the Bloods.

“He turned his grinning face to the ceiling and howled, ‘WASS ... UP ... N***AS?’”

Boland was outmatched. He was petrified. He ran out the clock and asked his fellow teachers who this kid was.

“Oh, yeah, he’s brutal,” one colleague said. Turned out Kameron had thrown a heavy electric sharpener at a teacher’s head the year before, but the principal — whom the teachers sarcastically called their “fearless leader” — refused to expel any student for any reason.

Two weeks in and Boland was crying in the bathroom. Kids were tossing $110 textbooks out the window. They overturned desks and stormed out of classrooms. There were seventh-grade girls with tattoos and T-shirts that read, “I’m Not Easy But We Can Negotiate.” Their self-care toggled in the extreme, from girls who gave themselves pedicures in class to kids who went days without showering.

Kameron was in a league of his own. “I was genuinely afraid of him from the minute I set eyes on him,” Boland writes. After threatening to blow up the school, Kameron was suspended for a few months, and not long after his return, a hammer and a double switchblade fell out of his pockets.

The principal gave up. Kameron was expelled.

“Oh, they getting real tough around here now,” one student said. “Three hundred strikes, you out.”

Here among the kids who couldn’t name continents or oceans, who scrawled, “Mr Boland is a f****t” on chalkboards, who listed porn among their hobbies, were a few who had a shot.

There was Nee-cole, who wore thick glasses and pigtails. She was quiet, smart, much more childlike than her peers, and Boland felt for her. He was also intrigued by a tough girl named Yvette, who showed flashes of insight and intelligence yet did all she could to hide it. “PLEASE DON’T TELL ANYONE I WROTE THIS,” she scrawled on one report.

He asked his fellow teachers about the enigma that was Yvette. “One day in class, I intercepted a note,” said a colleague, Tasneen. “It said, ‘Yvette b***s old guys for a dollar under the Manhattan Bridge.’ We punished the girl who wrote it for spreading lies.”

Soon after, the school heard from Child Protective Services. The prostitution rumour was true. Yvette was removed from her home. “She’s not doing it anymore,” Tasneen said, “but she’ll never outrun that story.”

The bookish Nee-cole was also a target, but things were tolerable — until parent-teacher night. Nee-cole’s mother showed up wheeling a suitcase down the hall, listening to Donna Summer on a Discman. She wore off-brand jeans, rainbow leg warmers, a ratty orange vest, dreads festooned with ribbons and shells, and a face tattoo of pin curls where hair should be.

Boland was flummoxed. He closed the classroom door.

She introduced herself as Charlotte and explained Nee-cole’s history: Her daughter had been enrolled in Harlem, but when her mother saw the school was on the city’s list of underperformers, she pulled Nee-cole out and homeschooled her.

“But we didn’t have a home, so I made do and taught her where I could, mostly on the subway, for the year.”

She went on to explain that she had to put Nee-cole in foster care. “I love my child beyond words and am still very involved with her life,” Charlotte said. “Her education is my priority.”

After that meeting, Nee-cole’s life at school was never the same.

“Nee-cole’s mother is a HOBO,” the other kids would say. “Did you get a look at her? Mama look like a homeless clown.”

Boland came to actively loathe most of the student body. He resented “their poverty, their ignorance, their arrogance. Everything I was hoping, at first, to change.”

His colleagues gave him pep talks, reminded him to contextualise this behaviour: These kids had no parents, or abusive, neglectful ones. Most lived in extreme poverty. School was all they had, and it was their only hope.

A lifelong liberal, Boland began to feel uncomfortable with his thinking. “We can’t just explain away someone’s horrible behaviour because they have had a tough ­upbringing,” he argued back. “It doesn’t do them — or us — any good.”

Then there was Jesús Alvarez, boyfriend of Chantay and, as Boland writes, “a perfect s***.” Jesús would stroll by Boland’s classroom and shout, “Bolan’, who you ball in’? It ain’t no chick.”

Boland called in the father, even though he was warned it would do no good. The three sat down, and Boland was surprised.

“Jesús, this is a good school,” the father said. He warned Jesús that it was either school or the street, and Jesús wasn’t tough enough for the street. “You get yourself right, get an education, and show this man some respect.”

It was the one thing that had gone well so far. “I left that meeting brimming with confidence,” Boland writes. “Involving parents was key.”

Next, he turned his attention to Valentina, a transfer student who joined his class in February. She wore tight jeans over what Boland calls “an epic derrière,” and as she walked to her seat, the kids oinked and mooed.

“Step down, all y’all n***as, or I’ll stab you in your neck,” Valentina said. “Don’t get me tight, b****es.”

Boland soon learned Valentina was what the Department of Education calls “a safety transfer” — meaning she was such a threat to her fellow students that she was pulled out of school.

Now here she was, Boland’s newest charge. He was quickly impressed with her observational skills — a bar he had set extremely low, now the victim of some inner-city form of Stockholm syndrome.

Asked to write about an ancient sculpture of two royals, Valentina wrote, “Well, isn’t it obvious that they are a couple? His hand is on her t***y. The way they sit is regal.”

It was the use of the word “regal” that blew Boland away. He pulled her aside after class. “You can’t fool me,” he told her. “I can tell from just that one sheet of paper that you have a very fine mind.”

For that, he received an official complaint of sexual harassment, filed by one Valentina. She claimed Boland said, “You are mighty fine, you turn me on, and I can tell you like fooling around.”

The entire administration knew Boland was gay, yet they still had to follow procedure. He was never to be alone with Valentina again.

By the time he invited a highly decorated Iraq War veteran to speak to class and Valentina greeted him with, “Hey, mister, give me a dollar,” Boland thoroughly despised her.

Nor could he escape the kids outside of school. One winter day, Boland was mounting his bicycle, on his way home, when he saw a gang fight break out in a parking lot. He saw Jesús in the crowd, and an older man egging the kids on. “That’s it, Nelson, show that punk-ass b**** who’s boss. Whale his ass.”

It was Jesús’ father.

Angry and humiliated, Boland relayed this latest heartbreak to a veteran teacher. “As crazy as it sounds,” the teacher said, “that father may be trying to teach his son how to survive in a hostile environment the only way he knows how.”

Boland didn’t know what to believe anymore. At the end of the school year, he quit.

Boland ends his book with familiar suggestions for reform: Invest more money, recruit better teachers, retool the unions, end poverty. But there’s no public policy for fixing a broken kid from a broken home, or turning fear into resilience, or saving kids who can’t, or won’t, be saved.

Toward the end of his tenure, Boland asks his sister Nora, a longtime teacher, for help. What is he doing wrong? What could he be doing right? Why can’t he break through to these kids, even the ones who seem to care? How can society absorb such a massive ­human toll?

“I’ve been teaching for a long time now,” Nora tells him. “And my only answer is that there are no easy answers.”


Selective government-funded British school is outgunning private schools to win places at Oxbridge

Taking pupils solely on proven ability is a huge head start for any school.  Few private schools can afford to be so selective

A sixth form college in a deprived part of east London has outdone some of the country’s top public schools by winning eight offers of places at Oxford and Cambridge.

Every one of the pupils bound for Oxbridge at the London Academy of Excellence in Stratford is from an immigrant background, with several having unemployed parents or living in council homes.

Meanwhile, only a single pupil at £30,000-a-year Scottish public school Gordonstoun, attended by Prince Charles, has received an Oxbridge offer this year according to reports.

Just five from Sherborne public school in Dorset have been accepted, along with a mere three at Bedales in Hampshire – both of which charge boarders around £33,000 a year.

The London Academy of Excellence – nicknamed the Eton of the East End – is a selective free school for pupils aged 16 to 18, which opened three years ago.

It is a few minutes from the Olympic Park built for the 2012 games, and receives as many as 2,500 applicants for 200 places.

But it seems middle-class pupils from further afield are not taking over – as is the case with some top state schools – as around half the intake is made up of locals from the London Borough of Newham, one of the most deprived areas in England.

Four-fifths of the pupils are from families in which no one has attended university, while a quarter are on free school meals.

Some 70 per cent are from ethnic minorities. Applicants must have at least five GCSE A grades, while the focus is on traditional A-level subjects rather than modern options seen as less rigorous.

Teenagers are expected to wear suits to lessons and remain in school until 5pm.

Headmaster John Weeks said ‘high aspirations’ were a key factor behind the eight Oxbridge offers this year – which are conditional on the pupils achieving their expected A-level results.

Mr Weeks, previously deputy head at the independent Brighton College, said: ‘Their parents have worked really hard in often difficult and low-paid jobs.

'They have seen what their parents have had to go through and they are very highly motivated.’

He claims the school’s secret is ‘expert teachers who love their subject and sixth-formers with the mindset to succeed’.

It is partnered with six fee-paying schools across south-east England – Eton, Brighton College, Highgate School, Caterham School, Forest School and University College School.

Free schools, introduced by the Coalition, are state-funded but not controlled by local councils. They can be set up by parents, organisations or faith groups.


University of CA Destroys Liberty to Fight Sexual Assault

The assault on due process continues in the “liberal” bastions known as higher education. The University of California recently revamped how it investigates sexual assault. The school, like many schools across the country, faces pressure from Barack Obama’s Department of Education to root out the sexual assault epidemic that is (supposedly) plaguing the modern college campus, an epidemic discovered when cobbling together some scientifically dubious studies.

Cal has instituted mandatory minimums on any male student they accuse of sexual assault and they find guilty. And what happens when said student tries to defend himself? The Washington Examiner’s Ashe Schow, who has been following the issue, writes that the University of California has policies that turn sex between two college students into a legal event that really should be monitored by two lawyers.

“The only way to prove one followed such a policy is to videotape the encounter, but now, California colleges are making such recordings a violation of school policy,” Schow explains. Found recording a personal sexual encounter as proof that everyone followed policy? That’s sexual assault.

“Men looking to attend school in California should take note,” she wrote. Meanwhile, it should be noted that this is a problem of the Left’s own making. So-called liberals were the ones advocating for free love in the ‘60s. And when they didn’t like the result, the broken relationships, the societal problems, they responded as they always do: More control, more monitoring.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Mauling MLK's Legacy

Jan. 18 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a national holiday celebrating the man who in 1963 dreamed that “my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Fifty-three years later, leftists, especially those indoctrinating our children in public schools, are making an utter mockery of that concept.

Illinois' New Trier High School is but one example. While most Americans were enjoying the federal holiday, New Trier has made the day a mandatory school day, during which they  marinate their students in a series of seminars exploring black victimhood, inherent biases against people of color, and white guilt and privilege — “to better understand how we can all work to counter the impact of systemic racism in our lives,” the school’s website states.

More than 60 workshops are a compendium of leftist talking points. Some of the session titles and descriptions are as follows:

“One Person, One Vote: Can the Voting Rights Act be Saved?” It posits that “more and more Americans have found their ability to vote restricted by new voter ID laws, limits on early voting, inadequate election day facilities, and voter disenfranchisement.”

“The Truth about Ferguson: The Investigation into the Death of Michael Brown” declares that the “death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, sparked protest and outrage regarding the treatment of people of color by law enforcement. Some demanded reform and recognition of ongoing injustices, while others came to the defense of officer Darren Wilson.” It further notes that similar events following Brown’s death “continued to go viral on social media.”

“Why Do I Have to Feel Guilty for Being White?” explains that discussions of race don’t “usually feel good for anyone. White people often walk away feeling guilty and thinking, ‘But I didn’t do anything!’ In this workshop, we’ll explore how white guilt can become a roadblock in our journeys toward becoming white allies.”

“Unconscious Perceptions of Race” explains how the “media you choose and the community in which you live both reflect and influence the way you look at race. Join us as we look at our automatic thinking processes, how it influences the way we look at race and consider how we might adapt those processes.”

“We Can’t Change What We Don’t Know: An Individual Exploration of Racial Bias and Cultural Competence” is an elective “guaranteed to contain spirited, respectful exploration and reflection of the typically unidentified myths held inside and how these perceptions contribute to the current culture of dominance in our lives.”

“The Zip Code Effect: How Illinois School Funding Perpetuates Oppression” aims to “explore the savage inequalities in Illinois school funding and how we can fix the system!”

“Uncovering Your Thoughts. Why do you think that?” reveals “how racial biases are subconsciously formed throughout our lives.”

“Home, Sweet Home: The Roots of Structural Racism in Housing” asks why “many African Americans been have denied the American dream of home ownership and how has the denial of that dream had long term implications for black families hoping to become solidly middle class in America?”

“Western Bias in Science” wonders if “Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Einstein… Were all of the great discoveries in science made by Greeks and Europeans?” before telling students they will explore “the impact of our western bias in the history of science…”

“What is Your Privilege?” is a session where participants “will be given an identity of a different race and will be given the hardships that encompass that race.”

“Representations of the Middle East: Stereotypes and Islamophobia” discusses “racial stereotypes of Middle Easterners in film, television, news, and current events and how these stereotypes contribute to the Islamophobic climate.” Something called the “Pyramid of Hate model” will be used to “assess the escalation of anti-Muslim rhetoric, profiling, and hate crimes.”

“Disney and the Creation of Racial Identity” will focus on Disney films “and discuss how these films influence childhood development of racial identities.”

“Yer' A White Wizard, Harry: Whitewashing in Cinema” is a discussion “about white dominance in the film industry,” that will be “taking a look at different cases where the voices of People of Color were silenced by the industry and how we can change it.”

Aside from these and other equally pernicious sessions, students are required to attend a “special presentation” by Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of the late Malcolm X. Shabazz once stated that “anyone who says ‘by any means necessary’ is a violent statement is violent themselves, because it is a comprehensive statement. … It could be political, social, [or] religious.”

Students are also be required to attend a keynote address by Isabel Wilkerson, who supports the Black Lives Matter movement, and has declared that the outcomes in “Staten Island and Ferguson and elsewhere signal, as in the time of Jim Crow, that the loss of Black life at the hands of authorities does not so much as merit further inquiry and that the caste system has only mutated with the times.”

Several parents expressed their concerns. “They are supposed to be a neutral environment. Yet they are pushing all this ‘white guilt,’ using our kids for their own agenda, twisting their minds — whether it be sexual or racial,” one wrote. Another added, “These ‘workshops’ and ‘classes’ seem likely to breed within the kids a sense of guilt and shame — as if they are at fault for the misfortune in the world and it is their responsibility to make amends. Several classes are designed to teach them to be, in essence, ‘community organizers.’”

These seminars seem to violate the policies of the New Trier Township High School District, which charges faculty members “to help our students identify arguments or preachments which are demonstrably unbalanced by bias, hate, calumny, distortion of facts, or ignorance of or indifference to the laws of evidence and the requirements of proof.” District personnel are also warned to “refrain from using school contracts and privileges to promote partisan politics, sectarian religious views, or personal agendas of any kind.”

Regardless, Dr. Linda Yonke, Superintendent of New Trier Township High School District 203, remained fully supportive of this indoctrination session, saying on New Trier’s website, “Current events show us that there is still much work to be done toward creating a world in which people are judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.”

Unfortunately, Yonke and her ilk are breeding another generation focused on just the opposite.

This is what passes for an education at a school ranked number four in the nation last year by Business Insider (BI). New Trier HS is located on Chicago’s North Shore, a very upscale community. The student body is more than 90% Asian and white, an inconvenient reality that earned it a C+ for diversity from BI that stood in stark contrast to the magazine’s A+ rating for the district’s academics and teachers.

It cannot be said often enough: Schools are the primary battleground for the nation’s soul, and for far too long, the Left has controlled them. That is why we get legions of young Americans well-versed in social justice, environmental radicalism, micro-aggressions and trigger warnings, and shamefully lacking in math, writing, history, civics and constitutional knowledge.

One suspects Martin Luther King would be embarrassed by New Trier’s utter bastardization of his legacy, courtesy of the racial arsonists, the grievance mongers and the bean-counters who fancy themselves as keepers of King’s flame. Igniters of the social unrest and racial division thoroughly rejected by King himself is more like it.


The tyranny of Safe Spaces

Illiberal students are taking their cue from an increasingly illiberal society

The academic term has barely started, and the campus-censorship debate is already blazing. Going on the coverage splashed across the national media in recent weeks, you’d have thought the Stepford Students had declared their own Caliphate. In fact, they’ve just been doing what they’ve always done – only now everyone seems to care.

At the centre of it all is Rhodes Must Fall, an Oxford student campaign that is calling for the statue of Victorian-era colonialist, Cecil Rhodes, to be removed from Oriel College – a college that was built using his ill-gotten gains. Led by Ntokozo Qwabe, a South African student who was inspired by the RMF campaign at the University of Cape Town, it is calling on the college to remove the statue and destroy it, or, maybe, put it in a museum. While Oriel has said it will consider putting up a plaque, to ‘contextualise’ the statue, Historic England has insisted the statue should stay as it is.

The RMF crew’s arguments are drenched in a mix of entitlement and victimhood, and underpinned by the notion that hearing an idea you disagree with, or seeing a statue that makes you bristle, is the equivalent to being punched in the face. ‘There’s a violence to having to walk past the statue every day on the way to your lectures. There’s a violence to having to sit with paintings of former slave holders while writing your exams – that’s really problematic’, said an RMF campaigner on Sky News.

This latest campus dust-up has had the commentariat talking and arguing for weeks. National newspapers have been reporting on Qwabe’s Facebook spats; RMF stalwarts have spoken on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme; and now Oxford bigwigs have waded in, slamming these Year Zero students for their illiberal and authoritarian ways. Oxford’s new vice-chancellor, Louise Richardson, used her installation ceremony this week to call on Oxford students to broaden their minds. Meanwhile, Oxford chancellor and former chair of the BBC Trust, Lord Patten, suggested that students should feel robust enough to come to terms with the ills of the past; he said that if they don’t want to engage with difficult ideas, then they should go and study in China.

Aside from some awkward comments about why universities should ‘never tolerate intolerance’, and should be ‘institutions where freedom of argument and debate should be unchallenged principles’, Patten hit the nail on the head. The rise of campus censorship, and the terrifying shift from political, No Platforming censorship to the new, free-floating offence-taking culture of Safe Spaces, is not just students’ union muppetry: it’s also a palpable threat to the founding principles of the academy, and, by connection, democratic society.

The idea that students should be safe from the ‘violence’ meted out by an uncomfortable idea or a colonial-era statue, that students are, in effect, too vulnerable to reckon with dodgy ideas past and present, undermines the entire purpose of academic inquiry. The modern university, springing from the truth-seeking Enlightenment tradition, simply cannot survive if certain ideas are off the table. And the sense of entitlement the Safe Space cultivates directly stunts students’ intellectual growth. That law students in the US have started to ask for the ability to exempt themselves from courses on rape, lest they become too traumatised by the subject matter, shows that wrapping students in cotton wool doesn’t just hold back the march of intellectual progress; it also disarms students from functioning in the adult, professional world, and stops them addressing the problems of the present.

Indeed, though the students at the vanguard of softly-softly censorship might pose as mini radicals, standing up for the marginalised and rattling the status quo, actually Safe Spaces suffocate politics, too. You can’t protest in a bubble. And you certainly can’t change the world from the foam-lined confines of an SU Safe Space. Safe Spaces originated in the women’s and gay-liberation movements of the 1970s. Though they were often places of physical safety – whether it be from abusive partners or violent bigots – those spaces were also zones in which non-judgemental ‘consciousness-raising’ was preferred over forthright debate. But, nevertheless, they were seen as a means to an end – a place in which ideas, resources and tactics for changing the world outside could be developed. Today, Safe Spaces are the end. Sealing yourself off from the world – creating ‘a home’ in which ‘victimised’ undergraduates can take shelter, just for a few years – is what these alleged progressives pour all of their energies into.

Beyond the campus-censorship debate itself, and the discussions of the purpose and soul of university life, lies a much more profound crisis. Student politicos’ blithe disregard for free speech – the threat and the ‘violence’ they perceive in the rough and tumble of academic and political life – is an expression of a lack of belief in moral autonomy and human resilience itself. What university life once embodied was the profound intellectual, political and moral importance of taking risks, of putting yourself out there. It was a space in which the ‘wild living intellect of man’, as Cardinal John Newman put it, could be cultivated. A Safe Space – in which everything from sexist leaflets to colonial statues are to be shunned – can only tame, or kill, that spirit.

But this crisis of autonomy is not just confined to the ermine halls of Oxford or to SU AGMs across the country. In all corners of modern life, risk-taking is discouraged and resilience is undermined. Though we might balk at the blue-haired intolerance of self-proclaimed campus leaders, they weren’t beamed down from space. They were educated in schools replete with anti-bullying campaigns, circle-time sessions and in-house counsellors. They became adolescents in a time when teenage relationships are painted as dangerous and wrought with ‘emotional abuse’. They are citizens of a country that bans hate speech and cracks down on alleged extremists. And they have been socialised into a multicultural, identity-obsessed world in which who you are, and what you feel, is so much more important than what you think.

Here’s where the tweeded chancellors now piping up about campus censorship fall short. The new flurry of student-bashing externalises the problem, painting this generation of students as a kind of generational blip. But they didn’t spring from nowhere. Not only are today’s campus-censorship critics unable to reckon with the totality of the crisis that confronts us, but they continue to dodge any responsibility for challenging it. On campus alone, the New Intolerance has been on the march for decades, beginning with the No Platform policy against racists and fascists in the 1970s. Yet now it is discussed as if it is a new phenomenon. As Patten said on the BBC: ‘Can you imagine a university where there is No Platforming? It’s an absolutely terrible idea.’ Yes, and it has been in existence for 40 years in some cases.

Not only have university leaders done nothing to challenge campus censorship over the years — they barely seemed to be aware of it. What’s worse, they wash the hands of the significant role universities continue to play in vetting speakers and sanitising campus life. On Monday, spiked launches the 2016 results of our groundbreaking Free Speech University Rankings. While, as our findings last year showed, students’ unions and campus campaigns like Rhodes Must Fall lead the way in campus censorship, universities contribute significantly to the bans and the bureaucracy that have chipped away at student freedom. Here’s hoping Monday’s results will serve as another jolt to those university leaders who would rather pin the blame on students than fess-up to the role they have played in bringing about this tyranny of safety.


Australian teacher shortage fears as student numbers soar

The number of teachers leaving the profession has increased at a time the student population is also on the rise, prompting concerns Australia could be facing a teacher shortage.
Key points:

    The population of school students is expected to increase by 26 per cent by 2022

    A recent study found between 30 and 50 per cent of teachers give up their job within the first five years

    Teachers say challenges they face include student behaviour and pressure from the curriculum

A recent report by the Australian Council for Educational Research found that somewhere between 30 and 50 per cent of teachers give up their job within their first five years in the profession.

The population of school students is expected to increase by 26 per cent by 2022 and more teachers will be needed to teach those students, or class sizes will once more need to become larger.

If the ratio of teachers to students continues to fall, Australia could face a teacher shortage, at the very time it is intending to increase its innovation agenda.

Kimberly Crawford said she chose to leave her job as a primary school teacher in Brisbane after five years.

"I was keen to stay in the education sector to a certain degree, but just really felt that I was emotionally burnt out from the demands of a classroom environment," Ms Crawford said.

"There were a large amount of additional needs, I taught children with behavioural difficulties and a wide range of special needs.

"A lot of the time it was dependent on seeking out support yourself."

Merryn McKinnon, a lecturer at the Australian National University, has researched teacher attrition rates and found the level of work teachers are expected to do has increased over time.

"You have this sort of domino effect where the work burden sort of gets passed on and on and teachers' burn out," Ms Mckinnon said.  "So ultimately we're sort of short-changing students in many ways."

The Australian Council for Educational Research report found even conservative estimates show big increases in the number of primary school-aged children in the next four years.

They estimate there will be an extra 92,000 primary school kids in New South Wales by 2020, as well as more than 100,000 both in Victoria and Queensland.

Teachers say there is a lack of support

Data from the National Teaching Workforce Dataset Data Analysis Report in June 2014 showed the ratio of teachers to students was continuing to fall.

In addition to time pressures and lack of support as described by teachers, the Teaching and Learning Senate Inquiry in 2013 found that casualisation of the workforce was having a harmful effect on the profession.

New teachers were found to be the most likely to be offered short-term contracts, so they were not always offered induction or support.

Graduates interviewed as part of that Senate inquiry said they had left teaching because they were unable able to find permanent jobs.

Kylie Sweeting, a pedagogical coach in a Queensland state school, said her role involves working with teachers who identify as needing support.

Ms Sweeting said that in the past, teachers had received funding and support to go to professional development.

"But then after research was done they found that teachers were coming back into schools and not using what they'd learnt," she said.

She said that so far her role was having more success than other training courses for teachers because she was there long term, coaching the teachers at the school.

Ms Sweeting said the two main challenges teachers have said they are faced with was student behaviour, and the pressure from the curriculum.

"There's always way too much to teach and not enough time," Ms Sweeting said.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Student accuses Oxford University of being 'institutionally racist' after Lord Patten tells protesters to go to university somewhere else if they're offended by a Cecil Rhodes statue on campus

Oxford University is 'institutionally racist' and Chancellor Lord Patten made 'scandalous' remarks when he attacked a campaign to remove a Cecil Rhodes student from the campus, one of the activists in the dispute said today.

Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh, one of the founding members of the Rhodes Must Fall campaign, said the presence of the stature on Oriel College indicated 'something deeply wrong with the way Oxford presents itself'.

The campaign wants the statue of Rhodes, one of the architects of the apartheid system in South Africa, removed from public view and instead placed in a museum in its proper context.

Lord Patten yesterday rejected this view, insisting students who cannot reconcile Oxford's historic links with Rhodes should 'think about getting their education elsewhere'.

The ex-Tory MP pointed to the thousands of scholarships funded at Oxford by Rhodes bequest to the university and highlighted the relationship between Rhodes and Nelson Mandela.

And he said creating 'bland' safe spaces at university would be 'treason', suggesting they would be similar to institutions in China. 

But Mr Mpofu-Walsh said this was not good enough, insisting debating history without taking action was not good enough.

He told the BBC Today programme: 'Quite frankly, we think it is scandalous Lord Patten thinks people who disagree with him should consider studying in another university and at the same time purporting to support a generosity of spirit and open mindedness.

'We are doing exactly what Lord Patten is suggesting a university is for. The factor seems to be we are disagreeing with Lord Patten.

'The notion Cecil Rhodes should be glorified in a 21st Century setting in 2016 is no longer tolerable and we think his legacy should be challenged.

'The anaesthetisation of history that's continued at Oxford up to this point should be debated and that is exactly what we are doing.'

He added: 'No one is talking about knocking anything down. What we are calling for is the removal of the statue, something Oxford has done at many points in its history.

'We don't think debate is simply a gentlemanly discussion over tea and scones. Debate involves speaking seriously and taking action - not just talking in abstraction.'

Mr Mpofu-Walsh said Oxford University should take the opportunity to 'reappraise' how it presents itself to the world.

He continued: 'If you continue to glorify certain figures and exonerate the values they stood for then you make a mockery of the kind of debate we want to have.

'We think Oxford is institutionally racist and by that we mean it's had throughout its history significant biases against black people. We know the first black student was only accepted in 1938.

'There is something deeply wrong with the way Oxford presents itself, with the way it has biases against people and we are raising that.

'For the first time we are forcing the university to confront that problem and probably doing a better job of it than any generation before us.'

Lord Patten told the Today programme yesterday: 'To deny freedom of speech and freedom of inquiry at university would be a treason to the sort of values universities should represent.

'I don't think this issue should focus just on Cecil Rhodes, whose endowment has produced 8,000 scholarships over the years including scholarships for some of the greatest campaigners against apartheid and for civil liberties.

'Incidentally, the Rhodes Scholarships were endorsed by Nelson Mandela - he regarded Rhodes and himself as having a common cause. Nobody is talking about Mandela-Rhodes must go and I think the focus on Rhodes is unfortunate.

'But it is an example of what is happening in American campuses, in British campuses, where one of the points of a university which is not to tolerate intolerance, to engage in free inquiry and debate is being denied.

'People have to face up to facts in history they don't like and talk about them and debate them'.

Lord Patten questioned where such a proposal would end, since the entire college building which is home to the statue was built using Rhodes money.

He mocked ideological safe spaces and said it would have been 'complete madness' for him, as a Conservative student to be protected from the Marxist professor he was taught history by.

Lord Patten concluded: 'I do believe we should discuss these issues, I believe we should discuss in particular how to promote greater diversity. All that is up for discussion.

'We are giving (the campaign) the respect of living to their views even when we don't agree with them.

'If people at a university aren't prepared to demonstrate the sort of generosity of spirit which Nelson Mandela showed towards Rhodes and towards history... then maybe they should think about being educated elsewhere. 'But I hope they will embrace those issues and engage in debate.'

Oriel College has already agreed to remove a plaque of Rhodes from one of its buildings after campaigners said making ethnic minority students walk past it every day amounted to 'violence'.

Rhodes left a vast sum of money to the university, and one of the leaders of the Rhodes Must Fall campaign benefitted from a Rhodes scholarship himself.

The row over the statue is the latest in a string of attempted bans by students on campuses across the country.

Last year, students tried to stop feminist Germaine Greer from speaking at Cardiff University because her views might offend transgender people.

Historian David Starkey was removed from a promotional Cambridge University video over claims his views were 'racist'.

Students also tried to ban human rights activist Maryam Namazie from Warwick University for so-called 'Islamophobia' and Macer Gifford, who went to fight with the Kurds in Syria, from UCL.

Other bizarre bans have included 'racist' sombreros at the University of East Anglia and a 'fascist' Nietzsche society at UCL.

However, the so-called 'safe space' policies do not appear to have stopped extremist Islamist speakers appearing before university students across the country.

A Daily Mail investigation revealed last week how representatives from CAGE have toured Islamic societies at universities, making a series of inflammatory claims unchallenged.

The organisation, which called Jihadi John a 'beautiful young man', have been holding events to tell young Muslims to sabotage the Government's anti-extremism policy Prevent, claiming it is an attempt by the State to spy on them.

In September, David Cameron said universities hosted at least 70 events featuring extremist preachers in the last year, a claim some of the institutions dispute.


British children banned from bringing in birthday cake to school because their teachers are too busy to check for allergens

Primary school children have been banned from bringing in cake to celebrate their birthdays as teachers are too busy to check for allergies.

Sugary treats brought in by pupils will be sent home uneaten by Norbreck Primary Academy in Blackpool, Lancashire, because teachers don't have the time to check whether they are suitable for all youngsters to eat.

The school's head teacher Karen McCarter said she 'hates to be a killjoy' but due to 'modern society' couldn't take the risk of giving children something they might be allergic to.

Mrs McCarter said: 'As we are not able to account for the ingredients, we could unknowingly give a product to a child which they are allergic to.

'Even if we had a list of ingredients, in a busy school day it is too much to expect teachers to read it and decide who can and cannot eat the product.

'Sharing cake for a birthday is a lovely thing to do. However, all children are made to feel special when it's their birthday and the teachers ensure all birthdays are remembered and celebrated.

'Cake is something to share outside of school with family or with friends at a party.'

Mrs McCarter also said that ten of the school's approximate 610 pupils who suffered from allegies were feeling 'left out' and said it was impossible to tell if kitchens at home were hygienic, adding it also went against the school's healthy eating initiatives.

She said the decision to ban the treats from classrooms came after seeing teachers struggle to slice cakes big enough for a class of 30, as well as clean up the mess left behind.

The school said pupils bringing cakes to share with classmates had become a recent phenomenon, but was disrupting an already busy school schedule due to it becoming an increasingly popular ritual.

However parents slammed the school, saying the measures were 'over the top' despite Mrs McCarter being backed by councillors.

Nicola Mealor, who is mum to seven-year-old Tyler Wallace, said: 'It's a bit over the top. Usually I send Tyler in with a cake on his birthday but they always said it shouldn't have nuts in. I didn't know about this but it's a bit sad.'

Another parent, who didn't wish to be named, said: 'Some things you just think, "Really?"

'If children are at school on their birthday they should be able to take a cake in to share it, but then again some people see this as a good thing. 'Each to their own.'

The school had previously banned glass bottles, aluminium cans and cash, but Mrs McCarter denied being over protective of the children.

She said: 'We are not a school which makes decisions that over-protect children, we are a school which makes sensible decisions to keep children safe.

'I am certain parents would not want their children to attend a school where glass bottles and cans are on site. Children don't bring money because they don't need it.'

Mayor of Blackpool Peter Callow said: 'I'm sure there will be people in the town who will think it's over-cautious, but the teachers are the people on the front line and the decision is theirs.'

Councillor Tony Williams said: 'To be left out because you are allergic is a little bit cruel.  'I understand why the school is doing this because it's very difficult to take cake to school to share and not leave children feeling left out.  'I have never known it to be a problem anywhere else but if the school has children who are allergic then it's common sense.'

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said while there was no legal requirement for cake being brought by pupils into class to display allergen ingredients, it was 'good practice to do so'.

A spokesman for the FSA said: 'As part of their duty of care to children, schools will of course want to ensure pupils with food allergies or intolerances are kept safe.'


Can’t spell, can’t count: Bosses lash out at Australian workers’ lack of skills

WORKERS have such poor literacy and numeracy skills they can’t do simple sums, type on a computer or give clear ­directions in a worrying trend employers have revealed is cruelling their business.

The problem has been exposed by an Australian Industry Group study that found staff’s English and maths skills are so bad hardly a workplace in the country is unaffected.

The report, released today, found nine out of 10 bosses complain they have staff who can’t calculate orders, prepare work riddled with errors or give confusing directions.

AI Group chief executive Innes Willox said the results indicated a “deepening concern about the level of foundation skills in the workforce and a continuing drag on the nation’s productivity”.

He called on the Turnbull Government to tackle the problem as the need for highly educated workers became more crucial, with high-skilled occupations growing faster than low-skilled work.

It follows an international report showing 44 per cent of Australians have literacy ­proficiency below a level set as the minimum to operate effectively in the workplace and ­society.

Numeracy was worse, with 55 per cent below the proficient level, the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies found.

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the Government realised it must arrest our slide down inter­national comparison ­tables for mathematics and ­literacy.

“We must embrace the digital age, diversify our economy and upskill Australians to meet the jobs of the 21st century,” Senator Birmingham said. “Key to the success of this and future generations of young Australians is in having an excellent grasp of literacy and numeracy.”

He said the Government was improving teacher standards and pushing maths and science in schools.  “Mistakes are costly and business is saying too many mistakes are being made,” he said.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Most Oxford students want to keep Cecil Rhodes statue: Survey finds 54% want monument to remain despite controversial campaign to remove it

Oxford students want a statue of Cecil Rhodes to remain at Oriel College despite a controversial campaign to tear it down over claims it is 'racist'.

The majority oppose calls to remove the memorial to the 19th Century politician, who left vast sums to the university on his death.

A survey of almost 1,000 students by university newspaper Cherwell found 54 per cent want the statue to remain, compared with just 37 per cent who want it removed and 9 per cent who are unsure.

Of those studying at Oriel – traditionally known as a conservative college – only 15 per cent agreed that it should be torn down.

The poll comes after the college was accused of being 'spineless' for agreeing to hold a consultation on the future of the statue, which is more than 100 years old.

Campaigners claim that making ethnic minority students walk past the statue amounts to 'violence' because of Rhodes' role in the colonisation of Africa.

However, Oxford Chancellor Lord Patten dismissed this on Wednesday, calling on the activists to embrace a 'generosity of spirit' towards history.

One respondent to the Cherwell poll said: 'The same logic to removing the Statue of Rhodes would mean that we should demolish Auschwitz. 'How can we learn from the past whilst pretending it didn't happen?'

Another wrote: 'It is important to recognise our own past. By removing the statue, we allow the possibility for these things to happen again. We shouldn't just cover up the history that we are ashamed of.'

A third added: 'I don't see what gives us the right to rewrite history.'

The survey was conducted online through private Facebook pages run by student union representatives for each college.

A total of 967 students responded, representing around 5 per cent of the student population.

Among black and minority ethnic (BME) students, more respondents thought that Oriel should remove the statue than leave it standing.

The poll found 48 per cent wanted the statue removed, 45 per cent disagreed, and seven per cent said 'I don't' know'.

However, the majority of BME students - 51 per cent – said that the removal of Rhodes' statue would not affect their personal experience of Oxford University.

One student told the survey: 'I am a BME student who sincerely believes that this the movement to remove the statue of Mr Rhodes is fundamentally against the principles of democracy, free speech and the respect of one's history.

'I believe that the students who call for the toppling of the statue are only caring about their own egos.'

Another said: 'Of course, Oxford should not condone Rhodes' actions. But the removal of this statue says nothing and does nothing to help BME students.'

A third added: 'Bigger issues with racism at Oxford than a stupid statue.'

Rhodes Must Fall, the group behind the campaign to have the statue removed, includes a student who has himself benefitted from a Rhodes scholarship.

Cherwell's survey also found that 55 per cent of students regard the campaign as having had a very or moderately negative impact on the reputation of the University.

The movement appears to divide opinion among BME students, with 45 per cent viewing the movement favourably and 42 per cent viewing it unfavourably.

Responding to the survey, Oriel told Cherwell: 'The College will take into account all viewpoints presented in the debate about the Rhodes statue.  'All information we receive will feed into the planned listening exercise and further details of this will follow in due course.'

Yesterday, Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh, a PhD student in International Relations at the university and a leader of the campaign, said Oxford was 'institutionally racist'.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'It's had throughout its history significant biases against black people. The fact that the statue is up there is an indication that not everything is fair now.

'There's something deeply wrong with the way Oxford presents itself, with the way that it has biases against people and we are raising that.'


UK: Ramadan exam move a mistake, says Ofsted boss

Sir Michael Wilshow argues organising A-levels and GCSEs to fit with religious festivals sets a 'difficult precedent'

Exam timetables should not be arranged to accommodate fasting Muslim pupils during Ramadan, the head of Ofsted said yesterday.

Sir Michael Wilshaw argued that organising GCSE and A-level exams to fit in with religious festivals set a 'difficult precedent'.

He warned that making allowances for one religious group could mean others 'pile in' and ask for similar concessions.

His comments follow revelations that exam boards took Ramadan into account when they organised this year's summer exam timetable.

The holy month moves earlier in the calendar by about 11 days every year, and this summer there will be a significant overlap.

It is likely to coincide with the exam season for the next four years, a situation which last arose 30 years ago.

Responding to a caller on LBC Radio yesterday, Sir Michael said adopting the principle could cause logistical issues for schools if they felt obliged to follow suit.

He said: 'I don't believe that we should reorganise the examination timetable to fit in with religious festivals and celebrations. 'Once we do that, we set a very bad precedent.

'This is setting a difficult precedent, because examinations take place throughout the year, and schools set internal assessments throughout the year.

'Once we give in to one religious group then we've got to give in to the other groups who might say "we have a celebration here, a festival here, a holy day there, we want you to change it". Schools would find it hard to manage.'

The summer exams timetable has been arranged so that some exams in key subjects are held before the start of the Islamic holy month.

Where tests in subjects such as maths and English fall during Ramadan, efforts have been made to ensure they are in the morning, because fasting pupils can suffer low energy levels in the afternoon.

Ramadan, which runs from June 6 to July 5 this summer, requires Muslims to avoid food during daylight hours.

Several other religious events are already taken into consideration, including the two-day Jewish festival of Shavuot, which falls in early summer.

Children are prohibited from working and cannot sit exams during the festival, and only some niche subjects have been scheduled for that period.

Margaret Morrissey, of the pressure group Parents Outloud, said it was 'ridiculous' to take into account religious needs. She added: 'If a child had got really bad hay fever, we wouldn't alter the system. You can't keep changing laws, rules, regulations, values, systems, to pander to different cultures.'

A spokesman for the Joint Council for Qualifications, which represents exam boards, said: 'The timetable for 2016 was drafted over a year ago, is published, and won't be changing.

'Exam boards will always aim to be as fair as possible to all. 'If a small change can be made for any one group that does not impact negatively on most students, it will be considered – but these are made before the timetable is published.'


Liberal Professors Outnumber Conservative Faculty 5 to 1

Academics Explain Why This Matters

Professors in higher education have become notably more liberal during the past 25 years, according to a recent study, and academics predict that the trend isn't likely to slow any time soon.

During the past quarter-century, academia has seen a nearly 20-percent jump in the number of professors who identify as liberal. That increase has created a lopsided ideological spread in higher education, with liberal professors now outpacing their conservative counterparts by a ratio of roughly 5 to 1.

In 2014, 60 percent of professors identified as "liberal" or "far left," according to the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA, as reported by The Washington Post's "Wonkblog."  Compare that with 1990 survey data, when only 42 percent said the same.

While academia has shifted dramatically to the left, professors on the right have dropped off.

The number of professors who identified as "conservative" and "far right" during the same time span fell by nearly 6 percent, while the number of "moderate" academics dropped by 13 percentage points.

Matthew Woessner, an associate professor of political science and public policy at Penn State Harrisburg, studies political trends in higher education and advocates increased diversity of viewpoints with a group of academics who call themselves Heterodox Academy.

Woessner, who says he is a conservative Republican, said the study raises important questions on whether the liberal tilt that has persisted in higher education is becoming more pronounced, and if so, what impact that has on the  national political discourse.

Daniel Klein, a professor of economics at George Mason University, said the reported 5-to-1 ratio is "not very meaningful" because the terms "liberal" and "conservative" have become "exceedingly troubled."  Instead, Klein predicted that the imbalance between faculty who vote Democratic compared with those who vote Republican is closer to 9 to 1 or even 10 to 1.

Either way, as professors have become more liberal, they've shifted far to the left of the general public and their students, Woessner told The Daily Signal.

A Gallup poll released earlier this month found that 38 percent of Americans identify as conservative, versus 24 percent who identify as liberal.

And while the study by the Higher Education Research Institute reported that liberal students outpace conservative students by nearly 10 percent, roughly half identify as moderate. This has created a wide ideological gap between professors and students.

In 2014, college professors were roughly 30 percentage points more likely to identify as liberal than were college freshmen. Compare that to the 1990 findings, when professors were 16 percentage points more likely to label themselves as liberal than were their freshmen students. Woessner said:

    "This raises critical questions of whether students are getting a balanced education—not because there's some conspiracy to block out conservative ideas, but merely because the people who are teaching are either not familiar with or don't embrace conservative ideas".

Even when faculty attempt to present an issue in a balanced and impartial manner, he said, personal biases naturally bleed into material.

According to 2009 data from the Higher Education Research Institute, the number of students who said their political views were "liberal" or "far left" jumped 9.2 percentage points from freshman to senior year.

Carson Holloway, an associate professor of political science at the University of Nebraska Omaha, said the imbalance is most notable in the humanities and social science fields, where the battle of ideas is most important.

Holloway, who also chairs the Council of Academic Advisers at The Heritage Foundation, said the average political scientist in the U.S. is a "mainstream" liberal.

The problem with this, he said, is that a lot of "impressive" thought stemming from Europe fostered conservative ideology, but because not many in the academy represent that tradition, students get a skewed view.

"They might tend to think that conservatism is not an intellectual tradition because they don't see any professors who hold to it, so there's a distortion that emerges there," Holloway told The Daily Signal.

Woessner said the students who are harmed the most by the bias in academia are the liberal ones:

    "Conservatives benefit from having liberal ideas to expand their horizons and challenge their thinking, but ideologically liberal students get their ideas reinforced. This means they're not growing intellectually because they don't have the exposure to other ideas to make them think".

Woessner said an equal number of liberal and conservative professors isn't necessary for higher education to work well, but at least a small minority of faculty on campus should hold different views.

Conservatives who want to become involved in higher education face challenges, he said, and universities should encourage more right-leaning academics to become professors to help shrink the ideological gap.

"The goal should not be an even split, because that's probably impossible, but to create a space for enough conservative ideas that students are exposed at least nominally to these other perspectives," Woessner said.

And although a prescriptive fix to obtain greater balance won't happen on its own, Klein said, "donors, students and parents should vote with their dollars, and voters should vote with their votes against pouring taxpayer money into a leftist apparatus."


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Wheaton College Moves to Terminate Universalist Professor

Last month, Wheaton College, an evangelical institution located just outside Chicago, suspended one of its professors, Larycia Hawkins, for a remark on Facebook claiming Christians and Muslims “worship the same God.” In a Dec. 16 statement, the school wrote that Dr. Hawkins' “views … appear to be in conflict with the College’s Statement of Faith.”

Shortly thereafter, on Jan. 5, the administration announced formal proceedings to end her employment with the school. The decision caused predictable backlash. Writing in National Review, David French explains why “The Radical Left Will Never Let Christian Colleges Be Christian”:

    "Terminating a Christian professor — or any other employee of a Christian institution — for expressing beliefs out of line with the organization’s statement of faith is common and should be uncontroversial. Christian organizations have the same right to define their mission and message as any other expressive organization. Does anyone think it’s unjust that the Sierra Club won’t hire fracking advocates or that LGBT activist organizations aren’t open to Christian conservatives?

But this is Christian higher education, and the Left is taking direct aim at Christian academic freedom and institutional liberty. In 2014, it launched an ill-fated attack on Gordon College’s accreditation, and last month the LGBT Left issued a report loudly condemning Christian colleges for having the audacity to exercise their statutory and constitutional right to opt out of Title IX. So it should come as no surprise that the Left is rallying around Professor Hawkins, trying to pressure Wheaton into yielding on its statement of faith. …

    So far, the Left has merely used its powers of persuasion to try to move Wheaton from its statement of faith, but Gordon College’s recent ordeal shows that schools that don’t conform to leftist orthodoxy may soon face consequences far worse than a barrage of negative news coverage, and cases like Hawkins’s will be the pretext."


UK: Jobcentres in schools to target pupils as young as 12: Staff to enter classrooms to give advice on apprenticeships and help children gain work experience

Jobcentre staff are to set up shop in schools to target children as young as 12 to prevent them slipping into a life on the dole.

For the first time, youngsters will be targeted before they even come close to approaching school leaving age.

Staff who would normally be based inside jobcentres will go into classrooms and common rooms to give them advice on apprenticeships and help them to secure work experience.

Of young people who have left full-time education three quarters are in work, which is the highest in a decade.

But ministers want to target at an early stage children who are in danger of becoming so-called NEETs, which means they are not in employment, education or training.

They believe that an earlier a child is encouraged, the less likely they are to fall into a life on benefits.

Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, said: ‘Extending Jobcentre support into schools will have a dramatic and enormously positive impact on young people’s prospects - helping to ensure that the transition from school to their next pursuit is a smooth and positive one.

‘This scheme is fundamentally about social mobility and social justice - ensuring we give all young people the best chance to get on in life.

‘I have boundless ambition for this country’s young people, and through this scheme we will support them to achieve their full potential.’

For years, the rules stated that jobcentres were not allowed to help the unemployed until they turned 18.  Trials have taken place targeting 16 and 17-year-olds, with a view to extending it to 14 and 15 year-olds.

Ministers have now decided that the best way to break the cycle of welfare dependency is to help children almost from the moment they enter secondary school.

It is a key part of David Cameron’s pledge to end youth unemployment.

Employment Minister Priti Patel said: ‘We want every young person, regardless of their background, to be able to get on and reach their full potential.

‘That is why we are focusing on quality early years childcare, education and making sure every young person is either earning or learning – so that they get the best start in life.’

Ministers are already targeting school-leavers at the point when they first lodge a claim.

Over the first three-weeks of their claim, they are expected to spend 71 hours practicing job applications, and interview techniques, as well as hunting for work. The goal is to get them into a job within six months.

The Government hopes that its efforts to get more adults into work will also pay off, when it comes to encouraging youngsters into employment.

Following a raft of changes to the benefits system since 2010, the number of children growing up in homes in which nobody has a job has plummeted by 478,000.

The overall number of households where no one was in work fell to the lowest on record in 2015 – almost 700,000 fewer than in 2010.

Research has suggested children raised in homes where no-one works are less likely to enter employment themselves.


Nutty Professor in CA Tells Deluded Tales of Terrorism, Endangers Students

A California college professor was caught on camera telling tall tales about terrorism to his students.

A newly-released video shows a professor at the University of California, Merced (UC-Merced) teaching his students that 90 percent of terrorist attacks in America are conducted by white men who are “religiously motivated and politically conservative.”

The video, recorded in October, was released by The College Fix. It shows professor Ross Avila lecturing his “Introduction to Psychology” class on the topic of heuristics, mental shortcuts people use when trying to assess information or solve problems.

To illustrate his point, Avila said that most Americans assume Muslims are the country’s largest terror threat because they haven’t thought about the matter systematically.

“Ninety percent [of terrorist attacks in the U.S.] are from these white Caucasian men,” Avila tells the class. “I am not saying white men are evil – but that is what we should be thinking about. Usually they are people who are religiously motivated and politically conservative.”

This statement underscores the absurdity of modern liberalism, where no amount of evidence, not even evidence of a vast Islamic terror cell in California, can challenge politically correct notions about race and creed. What began as benign, impress your friends at liberal cocktail parties chatter has come to infect American foreign and intelligence policy in a way that could do irreversible damage to our nation. It needs to stop.