Friday, July 07, 2017

UM paper should support free speech

The Michigan Daily recently published an editorial voicing opposition to two free speech bills pending in the Michigan Senate on the grounds that hecklers should be allowed to veto speech.

The editorial not only has a perverted understanding of First Amendment jurisprudence, but also ignores the University of Michigan’s current policy.

The Michigan Daily is wrong to suggest that our Constitution does not protect the “right to listen to a speech classified as freedom of speech.” In less confusing words, students have no right to listen to speech.

This is absurd. Public university facilities are considered limited public forums, meaning they cannot discriminate based upon viewpoint. Constitutionally, administrators must provide equal access to campus facilities for all students. They have an obligation to protect the freedom of expression of speakers sponsored by student groups in university venues. When the university allows hecklers to veto speech of only one viewpoint, they are de facto suppressing speech based on content.

In fact, the University of Michigan has a policy — Standard Practice Guide 601.1 on “Freedom of Speech and Artistic Expression” — to protect the free speech rights of speakers and the students hosting them. That policy states, when hecklers try to subvert a speech on campus, “the effect is just as surely an attack on freedom of speech or artistic expression as the deliberate suppression or prohibition of a speaker or artist by authorities.” Hecklers subverting an event, according to existing University of Michigan policy, can also be removed.

Although some sections of Standard Practice Guide 601.1 need improvement, the policy is largely sound free speech policy.

The editorial also wrongly supports the university for allowing Black Lives Matter activists — students and outsiders alike — to subvert a Michigan Political Union debate. The university should have abided by its policy and removed the protesters who prevented the event from occurring as planned. Instead, university leaders stood silently as hundreds of protesters invaded and shut down the scheduled debate. This is why there are needed improvements to Standard Practice Guide 601.1, and why the State of Michigan needs to take further action to protect speech on campuses statewide.

The Michigan Daily ends its editorial by implying that the two Senate bills uphold free speech for speakers, but not for students. Their argument suggests that speakers exist on campus against the will of the students. This could not be further from the truth. Liberal student groups host leftist speakers without interruption, but when students hosts a conservative speaker, then it is okay to veto speech.

This mentality is antithetical to free speech and the mission of the University of Michigan. This is exactly the reason why Michigan’s legislators must act to ensure free speech for all students.

Michigan universities should be forced to remove disruptors who unduly interfere with events held by student groups, regardless of speakers’ viewpoints. When the radicals break the law, they should face the consequences. It is imperative to prevent situations in Michigan, like those at the University of California, Berkeley, where campus police have issued “stand-down” orders for protests against conservative speakers and have outright denied conservative student groups access to university venues.

Young America’s Foundation is currently suing Berkeley to secure the free speech, due process, and equal protection rights of students.

The two proposed bills, sponsored by Sen. Patrick Colbeck, will help protect students’ right to free speech and expression on campus, conservative and liberal alike. As a side benefit, if enforced, the two laws just might save taxpayers thousands of dollars in attorneys fees to defend future violations of free speech on campus.


UC Berkeley Tries to Dismiss Free Speech Lawsuit

The University of California, Berkeley is trying to dismiss a free speech lawsuit filed following the cancellation of Ann Coulter’s speech at the school in April.

UC Berkeley attorneys—including Janet Napolitano, system president of the University of California, and Nicholas Dirks, chancellor of UC Berkeley—insist the claims made by Young America’s Foundation and the Berkeley College Republicans are “moot,” according to a court document obtained by Campus Reform Friday.

“The alleged restrictions were viewpoint neutral because they were not motivated by disagreement with the speaker’s viewpoint,” said the attorneys.

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The attorneys assert that the cancellation Coulter’s speech had nothing to do with the author’s political views, arguing that there were instead “constitutional ‘time, place, and, manner regulations’” which restricted her speech.

“This weak attempt by the University of California, Berkeley to brush off their egregious free speech violations is staggering but unfortunately unsurprising given their demonstrated pattern of suppressing the First Amendment rights of conservatives on campus,” said Spencer Brown, spokesman for Young America’s Foundation. “As Young America’s Foundation has done throughout the last half-century, YAF will continue to stand up for students’ rights when their own schools engage in flagrant obstruction of free expression.”

Dan Mogulof, an assistant vice chancellor at Berkeley, said in a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation that recent events at UC Berkeley have shown there is “insufficient awareness” as to the school’s speaker policies. He also acknowledged that policies currently in place “should be unified, standardized, and clarified.”

“Statements reasserting and emphasizing our existing policies and practices that make clear speaker viewpoints will not influence decisions relating to event approval or required security measures” will be added to the policy, according to Mogulof, a statement that suggests UC Berkeley administrators believe the school never did discriminate based on the political viewpoint of potential speakers.

“[UC Berkeley police] place the safety and well-being of our students as the lead priority which can, at rare times, lead the department to forego short-term arrests,” said Mogulof, denying the “stand down policy” that observers suspected the police to have.

“These decisions are made on a case-by-case basis by command staff based on their professional assessment, and suffice it to say there is nothing precluding them form effecting arrests if they believe that can be done with creating serious risk and danger for innocent bystanders and/or those who elect to engage in lawful protest.”

The assistant vice chancellor noted that while a new draft policy for campus speakers is not yet available for public consumption, the school intends to implement an interim policy by Aug. 13 before the start of the fall semester.

Berkeley has been the site of several protests and altercations between Donald Trump supporters and antifascists in 2017, including the riot that canceled conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos’ February speech, a March 4 Trump conflict, and a Patriots Day rally skirmish in April.


Australian court orders government to release funding for Malek Fahd Islamic School

A Federal Court judge has ordered the government to no longer withhold funding to one of Australia's largest Islamic schools following a disagreement over the use of the money.

The Malek Fahd Islamic School in NSW was in April notified its funding would be delayed after the government cited concerns over its governance, restructuring, and transparency.

The school has more than 2300 students and 250 teachers across several campuses and there were fears it would have to close if the money wasn't restored.

Federal Court Judge John Griffiths on Thursday said the case had "considerable urgency" about it, with term three due to begin on July 18.

He ordered the month-by-month funding be restored and back-paid to April, also acknowledging the school's "troubled history" in recent years.

Board chairman Dr John Bennett called the decision "a great relief" after a difficult time for the community.

"It's been very anxious, very stressful for parents, for students and staff," he said.

About 150 students are in years 11 and 12, only one term away from sitting for exams.

Part of the funding disagreement centred on whether the school was operating on a for-profit basis.

It was argued that public funds were at risk of being passed to the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils because of a current contractual obligation to pay non-commercial rent to AFIC.

Judge Griffiths rejected the submission and agreed with the school's explanation that it was "asset rich but cash poor".

Dr Bennett said many of the problems cited related to a previous board which was replaced in March last year.

Since then, it has been adjusting its governance and financial operations. AFIC no longer has representation on the board.

The school was "very, very close" to addressing the government's concerns, Dr Bennett said. "We're committed to continuing with the work. "We want to be able to focus on the education of the students."

The matter is listed for a case management hearing on August 1.


Thursday, July 06, 2017

Teachers Are Now Performing Monthly Mental Health Exams on Your Child

On paper it reads like a not-so-vague attempt to socially engineer your child’s behavior. In reality, teacher-led mental health assessments coming to a growing number of public schools are a bureaucratic nightmare. One that will no doubt further clog our nation’s public education system with increased paperwork and administrative costs while putting your child's future at serious risk.

Thanks to Dr. Aida Cerundolo's piece in The Wall Street Journal, we are beginning to understand the real-life ramifications of these dangerous educational ideas. Want the Cliffs Notes version? Head over to the excellent summation by Emmett McGroarty and Jane Robbins, detailing the ramifications of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a federal bill focused on the buzz-phrase “Social Emotional Learning” (SEL), the latest craze in public education. Schools in states that have ESSA legislation on the books can use the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA) to fulfill ESSA paperwork requirements.

...every month the teacher must answer 72 questions about each of the perhaps dozens of students in her class. She must assess whether the student “carr[ies] himself with confidence,” whatever that means for a 5-year-old, and whether he can “cope well with insults and mean comments.”

… Dr. Cerundolo’s alarm at the imposition of DESSA is shared by at least some New Hampshire teachers. One of them contacted Ann Marie Banfield, Education Liaison for Cornerstone Action in New Hampshire, to express her objections to completing the DESSA forms on her students. The teacher was especially troubled that the school neither sought parental consent nor even notified parents that their children were being screened by amateurs for mental-health issues. As the mother of public-school students, she worried that other teachers were completing this assessment on her children.

You read that right: if you live in an ESSA state, your child’s mental health will be assessed by a non-medical professional in a non-medical context. The paperwork will not be protected by HIPAA laws, which means that the school district can share a teacher’s assessment of your child’s mental health with literally anyone. Parents are not asked for permission before the DESSA is administered, nor do they have any say over where the records go once they are obtained.

The company that sells DESSA has a deep financial stake in SEL. As Ann Marie Banfield found out:

DESSA is there to rate students on their behaviors but then to offer intervention to improve their scores. Social awareness is one of the key competencies to ensure the students are aware and accepting of race and diversity. These software programs profit 3 rd party vendors when they sell the program to your school district. The [vendor] then collects non-academic data on your child, rates your child’s behaviors and attitudes, then makes more money by selling products to correct them.

In other words, your child isn’t just learning facts, he’s learning how to interpret and communicate those facts in a socially acceptable way that is sensitive to the feelings of others. Facts may not care about your feelings, but school administrators held under the Fed's thumb do. I wonder how George Orwell makes these folks feel? Perhaps like “two legs are good, but four legs are better”?


California University Hit With Lawsuit Alleging 'Hostile Anti-Jewish Environment'

San Francisco State University (SFSU) was hit by a lawsuit last week by Jewish students and community members who allege that the school foments a “pervasively hostile anti-Jewish environment.”

While colleges across the nation have seen a near exponential rise in the number of anti-Semitic incidents, the lawsuit contends that SFSU is a particularly hostile school, which started with the founding of the College of Ethnic Studies (COES) in 1968, a social justice-themed school that focuses on minority issues.

Since the founding of COES, anti-Jewish sentiment has only gotten worse, as administrators have rushed to support anti-Jewish student groups and departments, such as the General Union of Palestine Students and the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative.

The lawsuit contends that these groups have “doggedly organized their efforts to target, threaten, and intimidate Jewish students on campus and deprive them of their civil rights” and their ability to be “safe and secure” as they pursue their education at SFSU.

While the administration has been mostly silent on the issue, in 1997 the then-president of SFSU, Robert Corrigan, did note that his school fostered “the most anti-Semitic campus in the nation,” according to the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs include the former president of Hillel at SFSU, two current students, and three community members — all of whom were in attendance at a 2016 lecture given at SFSU by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

The lecture was deliberately hijacked by anti-Jewish student groups, whose members shouted down the speaker and allegedly made threats to members in the audience, yelling that Israel is an “Apartheid state” and “Long live the Intifada!”

Mayor Barkat did not finish his speech, nor did he accept a second invitation to speak at SFSU, as The Algemeiner reported.

The Lawfare Project, the nonprofit representing the plaintiffs, noted that there have been numerous other high-profile incidents of anti-Semitism on campus, dating back to 1994 when a 10-foot mural was painted on campus that portrayed yellow Stars of David intertwined with dollar signs, skulls and crossbones, and the words “African Blood.”

Other incidents show that both SFSU administrators and students have been complicit in perpetuating hostilities against Jewish students, such as in May of 2002, when Jewish students were told “Get out or we’ll kill you” by other students, and in 2009, when the SFSU administration hosted numerous events calling for the elimination of Israel.

Leftist Anti-Semitic Fliers Appear on College Campus
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 gives the plaintiffs standing in court, according to Brooke Goldstein, the director of The Lawfare Project.

"Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the underpinning of the modern American ethos of equal protection and anti-discrimination. This case isn't about Jews, it's about equal protection under the law," said Goldstein. “If we refuse to enforce anti-discrimination law for Jews, if we say Jews don't deserve equal protection, it will erode constitutional protections for everyone.”

Amanda Berman, also with The Lawfare Project, noted that Jewish students have been left with no other choice but to sue.

“Since the faculty and administration is entirely unwilling [to make campus safer for Jewish students], Jewish victims of this pervasively hostile environment have been left with no choice but to ask a federal court to compel it."

The lawsuit seeks monetary damages for the plaintiffs and injunctive relief, ultimately in hopes of improving the climate for Jewish students at SFSU.

So far, no other American colleges have been successfully sued for creating a hostile climate for Jewish students.

San Francisco State University has consistently been considered one of the worst colleges for Jewish students, according to The Algemeiner, which curates an annual list of the 40 worst colleges for Jewish students.

Columbia University, Vassar College, New York University, and Rutgers University are among the many other schools where Jewish students also face threats and intimidation from peers and administrators, The Algemeiner has found.

San Francisco State University did not respond to a request for comment from PJ Media.


It’s All Over For UK Science: University Professors Afraid To Teach Controversial Subjects For Fear Of Being Sacked

Students are now so powerful that university professors are afraid to teach controversial subjects for fear of being sacked, an academic conference was told on Thursday.

Professor Dennis Hayes, a co-founder of “Academics for Academic Freedom” said that universities were now ruled by a “culture of censorious quietude” where academics were not able to discuss “anything difficult.”

Speaking at the University of Buckingham yesterday, Prof Hayes added: “There’s an interesting turn today, it’s not that people are abusive, it’s just that they don’t say anything at all in universities.

“There’s so many things that could be discussed that you dare not say. And the consequences of arguing anything difficult is potentially that you could be sacked.

“These are mainstream views, of the state, institutions and particularly universities. Gay rights, feminism, gender fluidity, fear of Islamaphobia‎, the belief that we are all unwell, identity-based politics, are not views that challenge conventional thinking in the way that every university has in its charter.

‘These are conventional thinking. You dare not say you’re against gay marriage. Just discussing any of these things can get you in serious trouble if not the sack. What exists in universities is a culture of censorious quietude.

“Try arguing ‘there are boys and girls’… or as McEnroe has found out, that there are male and female tennis players.

“Things are simply not discussed. Academics and student… they go silent. They may even take delight in people who stand up and get beaten for their views.”

Discussing his decision to found a pro-free speech group in 2006, Prof Hayes added that he wanted academics to feel “free” to discuss controversial subjects on campus.

“The cry of offence, the fear of personal emotional hurt, is now the greatest threat to academic freedom,” he continued.

His warning came as the Universities Minister Jo Johnson warned that the erosion of freedom of speech on campus jeopardised Britain’s standing as an “intellectual powerhouse”.


Wednesday, July 05, 2017

The campus war on Jews

David Horowitz

According to a recent study conducted by the "Brand Israel Group," support for Israel among Jewish college students has dropped 27% in the last 6 years. This mirrors a smaller but still significant drop in support among Americans generally, from 76% to 62%. According to Fern Oppenheim, the founder of the Brand Israel Group that conducted the survey, the source of this drop is the perceived lack of shared values between college students and the Jewish state. The same study found that 1 in 3 Jewish students reported anti-Semitic incidents on their campuses. Of these, 59% said that the incidents were related to anti-Israel attitudes. To explain this, Oppenheim blamed a political "atmosphere" on campus that divides the world into oppressor groups and victims, Israel being a symbol of the former.

"We are allowing Israel to be defined by its detractors," Oppenheim warned, which is unfortunately true. But her proposed remedy to step up efforts to brand Israel as not only a tolerant society but, in fact, the helper of victims, even of its enemies is flawed. To support her strategy, Oppenheim offers the case of Ismail Haniyeh, a leader of Hamas, the terrorist organization sworn to destroy Israel and exterminate its Jews. Oppenheim observes that Haniyeh sent his ill granddaughter to Israel to receive medical treatment because he knew "Israel is too decent to turn her away," and says: "People need to know this."

Perhaps they do. But this is clearly not the solution to the problem. If it were, Ismail Haniyeh would have left Hamas and joined Israel's supporters. Re-branding Israel alone is not the answer to a propaganda war, based on genocidal lies, whose goal is Israel's destruction. The only viable solution is to do what Jewish organizations have so far refused to do: brand the American supporters of Hamas and the campus promoters of its lies as terrorist enablers and allies.

The strategy of merely promoting Israel's good deeds, while pretending that Hamas's American supporters are merely misinformed, is failing for a simple reason: If you are accused of stealing other people's land, imprisoning them in Gaza-size ghettos, and segregating them by race, the fact that you are sending humanitarian missions to Haiti and other needy cases or providing medical care to your mortal enemies is not going to exculpate you in the eyes of people who have been seduced by Palestinian lies. In their eyes, you are still the oppressor and these good deeds are merely efforts to obscure that evil fact. That is why lesbian leftists at the "Dyke March" in Chicago banned rainbow flags with the Jewish star – even though Israel is the only country in the Middle East where a gay pride parade can be held. They see Israel's acceptance of gays as "pinkwashing" – a fig leaf provided by one victim group to cover up its crimes against another. The left even has a term for this: "intersectionality."

The only way to counter such malicious attacks is to brand the campus allies of Hamas for what they are: supporters of genocidal lies and a terrorist war to obliterate the state of Israel and kill its Jews. These American allies of Hamas terrorism include Students for Justice in Palestine, the Muslim Students Association, Jewish Voice for Peace, and assorted leftwing groups who support them.

Students for Justice in Palestine, the leader of this anti-Israel, pro-Hamas coalition was founded in 2001 by Hatem Bazian, a Fatah activist at the time. He created it as an ancillary support for the suicide bombing Second Intifada, launched in that year. The chief funder of SJP and orchestrator of its campaigns is a well-established Hamas front, American Muslims for Palestine. Hatem Bazian is the chairman of the AMP board. Since Hamas is a terrorist organization, Students for Justice in Palestine and its campus coalition are clearly instruments of its terrorist campaigns. They do not themselves plant bombs but they support the terrorists who do and spread their political propaganda, much the way the Irish political party Sinn Fein was a working partner of the terrorist Irish Republican Army.

Stigmatizing the campus supporters of terrorists would effectively neutralize the attacks on Israel. It would provide the basis for a campaign to pressure American universities to withdraw their recognition and funding from these groups. It would discredit the lies that fuel their campus campaigns and inspire the anti-Semitic attacks that have reached epidemic proportions.

The David Horowitz Freedom Center has conducted campaigns that employ this branding principle for ten years at over 100 campuses. But ours has been a lonely voice. At virtually every campus where we have organized events, our efforts have been undermined by Hillel and Students for Israel groups who smear us as "Islamophobic" and "racist," though we are neither, and who come to the defense of Students for Justice in Palestine as though they were victims and not aggressors. In other words, these Jewish groups prefer to join hands with an organization supporting a genocidal war against Jews, in condemning (in my case) a Jew who doesn't mince words in opposing our enemies. If Hillel and groups that care about Israel's survival would instead turn their guns around and brand Israel's enemies for what they are, the tide of anti-Semitic hatred on campus would begin to reverse itself, and support for the Jewish state would surely grow.

Via email

Scottish National Party drive to get more poor children into university is backfiring on 'devalued' pupils, adviser warns

Nicola Sturgeon’s drive to get more children from deprived backgrounds into university is backfiring on pupils who feel “devalued” because they are not academically inclined, her hand-picked poverty adviser has warned.

Naomi Eisenstadt said the Scottish Government’s radical proposals for widening access to university mean schools are now under pressure to get pupils from disadvantaged families into higher education.

But youngsters from poor backgrounds told her that the best teachers tend to focus on the more able students and some, who are not suited to academia, have been left with “little support and advice”.

While Ms Eisenstadt said the SNP’s free university tuition policy is a “fantastic advantage for those who go on to higher education”, she highlighted deep spending cuts to Scotland’s colleges and urged ministers to get away from the perception that “the only thing we value is the academic route.”

The warnings were made in a report titled “The Life Chances of Young People in Scotland”, which concluded that the lives of children are still “largely determined” by the social class they are born into.

The Scottish Conservatives said the SNP government must now “face up to the reality of its universal free tuition, and realise the damage it is doing to those who need help the most.”

Annie Wells, the party’s equalities spokesman, said: “Education is such a key route in getting people out of a cycle of poverty. Yet now we see that SNP policies on free tuition are actually hindering that for many.”

Ms Sturgeon has set radical targets to increase the proportion of youngsters from poor backgrounds winning a place at Scottish universities, which will set lower entry grades for those who come from deprived areas.

But Ms Eisenstadt said that disadvantaged youngsters had told her that their brightest peers get the most help from teachers “while they get little support and advice on future choices.”

She said: “Ensuring that young people from poorer backgrounds get a fair chance at university education is vitally important, but it may have had some unintended impact.

“The pressure schools are under to get more students from disadvantaged backgrounds into university has left some young people, less suited for higher academic study, feeling devalued and under pressure themselves.”

She cited an international study showing Scotland was the only country in which boys from lower income families had higher school work pressure than their more affluent peers.

While she admitted that “parity of esteem” between university and non-academic routes is “unlikely”, given graduates’ higher average salaries, she said ministers must send a “clear message” that work experience and apprenticeships have value too.

Her report highlighted that the SNP government cut college funding by 18 per cent more than inflation between 2010/11 and 2014/15, while funding for universities was cut by four per cent more than inflation.

Citing pupil’s complaints about a lack of careers advice, Ms Eisenstadt said the Scottish Government should revisit Curriculum for Excellence given it was meant to “equip them with the skills to work out for themselves” what they want to do after leaving school.

She also advised the First Minister against repeating her boast that the vast majority of school leavers go onto a “positive destination”, saying more research needs to be conducted to understand the type of courses and jobs they are filling.

Ms Sturgeon welcomed the report, saying it “provides useful challenge to the Scottish and UK Governments to do more to improve the life chances of young people from less advantaged backgrounds and to build a fairer future.”

Kezia Dugdale, the Scottish Labour leader, said: “Naomi Eisenstadt’s last report was subject to a white-wash by the Scottish Government, toning down the language on key recommendations to help alleviate poverty.

"It is vital that the SNP doesn’t repeat the same fudge and delivers on the findings of this report.”


Australia: Female doctors asked about family plans during job interviews

This is an old chestnut.  Female doctors have a much shorter working life on average than male doctors do.  But training doctors is very costly.  So to get the most out of what is spent on medical education, it makes sense to train male doctors only.  But that has produced such a shriek of anger from feminists that all medical education is now open to women.

When considering applicants for advanced medical training, however, it makes sense for the sex of the applicant to be one factor in deciding on who gets the training.  And that appears to be current practice in Australia.  But that is DISCRIMINATION so must be forbidden

Female doctors are being asked about their plans to have children during job interviews at public hospitals, in a practice the Australian Medical Association says should have "stopped yesterday".

NSW president of the AMA Professor Brad Frankum has called for tougher penalties against hospitals and training institutions in order to wipe out the practice, after he received reports of it taking place during interviews and informal talks with candidates beforehand.

He said most of the reports related to positions at public hospitals and tended to come from candidates going for specialist or advanced trainee positions across most fields of medicine

"There need to be sanctions against hospitals that do the wrong thing. "If hospitals are allowing this to happen, then those hospitals should not be allowed to employ trainees until they sort it out," he said.

"This is not information an employer needs to be privy to ahead of employing someone and nor should they be seeking it on a formal or informal basis."


Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Modern times

Furious backlash as £20,000-a-year private school says boys can wear skirts in 'gender neutral' uniform policy

A top North London private school's proposal to introduce a gender neutral uniform policy has sparked anger among alumni.

Highgate School, which charges fees of £20,000 a year for secondary school years, is set to make the change for pupils questioning their gender identity.

Under the proposal, girls' and boys' uniforms would be scrapped in favour of a mix-and-match policy.

Currently, the school uniform policy allows girls to wear the grey pleated skirt or grey trousers with their blazer and tie, but boys are not allowed to wear the skirt.

Highgate, which lets children request that staff address them by a name of the opposite gender, already welcomes one male pupil who wears dresses.

But alumni at the school - which boasts TS Eliot as a former teacher and whose ex-pupils include poet Sir John Betjeman and Reverend John Venn, the inventor of the Venn diagram - are divided on the issue.

In an email circulated among members of the Old Cholmeleian (OC) Society, which consists of around 6,000 former pupils and teachers at the school, the proposal is described as 'seriously misguided', The Sunday Telegraph reports.

'This would be both deluded and disturbing for pupils at a formative and highly impressionable age, and also damaging to the reputation of the school,' the message says.

The email urges members to sign a petition stating their opinion on the proposal, which will then be sent to the board of governors.

Responding to the petition, headmaster Adam Pettitt said the decision to change uniform policy was made 'in the light of current pupils' and parents' views, societal change and clinical advice'. 

In an interview with The Sunday Times earlier this year, Mr Pettitt said that gender identity issues were mainly occurring in the sixth form, but added that he thought 'that will change over time' - so parents could start hearing primary school children ask similar questions.

Mr Pettitt also wrote a recent blog post for the school website on gender equality, explaining why he believes uniform changes are more than a 'seemingly petty' issue.

He argued: 'Here at Highgate, we are turning the focus inward – how can stereotypes be interrogated and de-bunked? – and outward – how can young people be empowered to live their gender as they would wish without fear but in freedom and with excitement?

'It might be at a seemingly petty level in schools – issues over uniform, jewellery or sports options – but it matters that in a public arena these issues are debated so that the deeper-seated, more compelling fault-lines in gender politics are explored and repaired.'

Last year, private Brighton College introduced a gender-neutral uniform policy, while Allens Croft School in Birmingham is believed to be the first state primary to opt for the change.

The schools either dropped references to girls and boys, or have altered them to say pupils can dress in the uniform in which they feel most comfortable.

Other 'gender neutral' initiatives causing debate include major public institutions, including The Barbican, introducing gender-neutral toilets.

The internationally renowned central London venue was forced to review its decision to scrap male and female toilets in favour of mixed facilities last month, after protests by visitors.

Equality groups set up by pupils in some schools are pushing for teachers to use non-gendered pronouns such as ‘they’, for all sports to be open to everyone, and for a ban on words and phrases such as ‘ladylike’ and ‘man up’.

But critics warn that a rush to introduce gender-neutral policies could encourage copycat behaviour among children, fuelled by social media.

Alan Smithers, professor of education at Buckingham University, said: ‘Schools need to help young people become comfortable with their identities, not reinforce their anxieties with measures such as gender-neutral uniforms.’

Figures show a surge in the number of youngsters – mainly girls – seeking help to change gender. More than 2,000 under-18s were referred to the Gender Identity Clinic at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in north London last year.

There were under 100 when the service began eight years ago.

Earlier this year, St Paul’s Girls’ School in west London revealed it had drawn up a gender-identity protocol to allow pupils to be known by boys’ names.


Australia: Richer people have brighter kids who behave better -- so schools where they go are more desirable -- and Leftist Canutes hate that

There is no dispute that unruly students produce undesirable schools. But the deliberate destruction of discipline in schools has made the quality of student behavior very poor in the typical  State school today. Enforcing behavior standards has become largely impossible for State schools. 

So the quality of the behaviour in a school now depends mainly on the homes where the students come from. The children of richer families tend to be brighter and better behaved.  So the best schools are now mostly in affluent suburbs. 

And the Left want to destroy that.  They have destroyed the discipline that once made all schools pretty equal so now they want to destroy the main remaining influence that creates good schools

The most sought-after public high schools and their strict catchments are creating a worsening cycle of segregation, effectively locking out poor students and giving wealthy families almost exclusive access to their "better" local schools, research reveals.

Limiting school places means children from higher socio-economic families go to popular high schools, which are in catchment areas with higher levels of income, higher proportions of Australian-born residents and higher proportions of those who identify with "no religion" on the census.

"One of the greatest challenges this country faces is the lack of equity between higher socio-economic families and lower," said Chris Presland, the president of the NSW Secondary Principals' Council. "And this [research] shows that issue transcends public and private schools but is within public schools too."

Emma Rowe, lecturer in education at Deakin University and Christopher Lubienski from the University of Illinois, published the new research in a paper titled Shopping for schools or shopping for peers: public schools and catchment area segregation in the Journal of Education Policy.

The academics examined levels of segregation in the catchments of public high schools, which they categorised as "popular" (full with waiting lists), "balanced" or "rejected" (where places are available), and looked at whether school policies contribute to segregation.

The paper found there was a "rather straightforward link between the affluence of a community and the desirability of a community's school".

"It is generally accepted that most private schools are segregated across the lines of race and income but our study showed that public high schools are also highly segregated," Dr Rowe said.

"Particular parts of the population can't access certain public high schools. The gap between the well-resourced schools and the less-resourced schools is growing, which is problematic for educational equity and access."

David Hope, the president of the Northern Sydney council of P&C associations, said: "In recent times the department have enforced boundaries much more strictly. It's better for kids to be in environments where there's a mixture of backgrounds and abilities and it's better for [cohesion]."

Dr Rowe said if a parent wanted their child to attend a popular school, they would plan for it for many years and were often prepared to move neighbourhoods for a school.

"In other countries, there is minimal difference between schools so parents send children to the nearest school. In Australia, parents perceive schools to be so different to each other that they will sell their house and relocate for what they perceive to be a better school. This behaviour is quite normalised," Dr Rowe said.

The paper suggests that schools should make at least 10 per cent of places available to students from outside the schools' immediate catchment areas.

Dr Rowe said: "As part of this, we need to implement blind selection processes for a proportion of places available in a school, rather than competitive access based on testing, academic or sporting merit".

But NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes said that children had a right to places at their local schools and that new school funding arrangements were accounting for inequality divides.

"Public school enrolments tend to reflect the socio-economic status of their local community," he said. "The move to more needs-based funding includes an equity loading for socio-economic background."

Mr Presland said Australian catchment "shopping" was driven partly by parents with "scant information" exaggerating perceived differences between schools but also Australia's school funding policy: "An unofficial motto in Finland is the best school is the closest school. In Finland they don't have private schools. No other country in the world does what we do in terms of funding private schools to the extent that we do".

The paper says Australian education policy agenda "pushes and promotes parents to avoid low-performing schools, and be active and engaged in choosing the 'best' school,"

"For these reasons, the My School website was introduced in 2010, to enable parents to make more informed, calculated and rational choices, using the best available data."

Dr Rowe said education funding policies, rather than parents' choices, were responsible for the problem.

"Government policy around schooling has positioned parents within a competitive environment, where things like the My School website actively encourage parents to compare schools and make a choice," she said.

"These policies actively encourage parents to choose the 'best' school and look for any kind of competitive advantage they can acquire for their children."


Monday, July 03, 2017

British Student union president sparks controversy by saying she would like to 'oppress white people', everyone should read the Koran and that men and women must not be friends

All that is pretty orthodox Islam.  The only wonder is that non-Muslim English students voted for the garbage

A Muslim student union leader has claimed she would like to 'oppress white people' and has suggested there would be an Islamic takeover if more people read the Koran.

Zamzam Ibrahim, who was elected President of Salford University's Student Union in March, also suggested friendship between men and women is un-Islamic and is opposed to the government's anti-radicalisation strategy.

The Swedish-Somali student officer also described the government's Prevent strategy as 'disastrous' and 'racist'.

As well as being president of Salford's Student's Union, Ms Ibrahim is an officer with the National Union of Student's Block of 15 committee

As well as being president of Salford's Student's Union, Ms Ibrahim is an officer with the National Union of Student's Block of 15 committee

In one message she responded to a question on AskFM on what book everyone should read. She said: 'The Quaraan. We would have an Islamic takeover!'

In another message on the topic of the possibility of friendship between a man and a woman, she replied: 'I've had this debate with many friends! Maybe in some cases but Islamically it's incorrect for girls to be friends with a guy anyway!

'So I'm gonna say NO not the kind of friendship they can have with the same gender there is always boundaries.'

In one tweet from May 9, 2012 under the hashtag #ifIwasPresident, she wrote: 'I'd oppress white people just to give them a taste of what they put us through!'

Ms Ibrahim was also recently elected to the National Union of Students Block of 15 committee.

She has also completed a BSc in Business and Financial Management.

During her campaign for election with the NUS, Ms Ibrahim, who is a Muslim, claimed: 'Since Brexit referendum result, there has been a rise in hate crime by 41 per cent. NUS needs to continue the great work on combating racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, homophobic and ableist hate crime.

'If elected, I will continue to work with NUS Officers and ARAF campaigns to develop networks to support students and activists affected by Hate Crime, to fight against the disastrous racist PREVENT strategy and support international students and migrant communities.'

The student union at the college - where Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi attended - is opposed to the government's PREVENT strategy.

According to The Spectator, Ms Ibrahim has deleted a large number of messages form her social media accounts. 

According to the Student's Union: 'The government’s Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 places a statutory requirement on public bodies – including universities – to "prevent people being drawn into terrorism".

'The Prevent agenda, as part of the Government’s "anti-extremism" work has been used to create an expansive surveillance architecture to spy on the public and to police dissent, systematically targeting Black people and Muslims.'

The students claimed the government's prevent strategy was 'demonising Muslim students on campus'.

One college source told MailOnline: 'Given that as Student Union President involved working with students of all all walks of life its a bit inappropriate for someone like her to hold the role of representing students.'

MailOnline has approached the National Union of Students and Salford Unversity's Students Union to seek a comment from Ms Ibrahim.

They responded: 'NUS has a Code of Conduct for its elected officers and we take all complaints seriously.'

Ms Ibrahim's comments follow the controversy surrounding former NUS president Malia Bouattia, who failed to get re-elected earlier this year.

Ms Bouattia became subject of a Commons home affairs committee meeting after she described Birmingham University as a 'Zionist outpost'.  

In scathing findings, the committee said that she did not appear to take the issue of campus anti-Semitism 'sufficiently seriously' and showed a 'worrying disregard' for her duty to represent all students and promote balanced and respectful debate.

Ms Bouattia's statement in a co-authored 2011 blog that Birmingham 'has the largest Jsoc (Jewish Society) in the country whose leadership is dominated by Zionist activists' was condemned in the MPs' report as 'unacceptable, and even more so from a public figure such as the president of the NUS'.


Ireland: Catholic schools to stop faith-based admission

Richard Bruton plans to scrap the baptism barrier which prevents children who are not being brought up following a religion from accessing certain schools.

State-funded schools will no longer be allowed to block local children who do not subscribe to the Catholic faith.

Exceptions will be made for the country’s 191 Church of Ireland, Presbyterian, Methodist, Islamic, Quaker and Jewish schools to ensure that children of those faiths can still access places based on their religion.

The education minister said he was hoping to introduce the legislation as quickly as possible but it is unclear whether it will be in place for admissions next year.


Making high-quality career training central to American schooling

At a dinner for Silicon Valley executives in early 2011, President Barack Obama asked Apple CEO Steve Jobs what it would take to bring iPhone manufacturing back to America. “Those jobs aren’t coming back,” the typically blunt Apple cofounder told the president. Examining Jobs’s claim, the New York Times looked at Apple’s vast Chinese operations and found that workers there not only worked for less than Americans did; more of them were skilled. To oversee production and guide some 200,000 assembly-line workers, Apple, for instance, needed 8,700 industrial engineers—positions that required more than a high school diploma but less than a full college degree. While abundant in China, these kinds of employees are harder to find in the United States. “The U.S. has stopped producing people with the skills we need,” an unnamed Apple executive told the Times.

That’s a refrain that more and more American business executives are uttering these days. Even as politicians argue over how to create or keep “good jobs” in the U.S., a recent National Federation of Independent Businesses survey reported that the percentage of small businesses saying that they get no or few qualified applicants for available jobs has hit a 17-year high. Studies estimate that hundreds of thousands of positions in manufacturing firms went unfilled, even during the post-financial-crisis downturn and subsequent weak recovery, because of the lack of skilled workers. “Open manufacturing jobs are at an all-time high,” the former CEO of Siemens USA, the industrial giant, observed in December.

Much of the problem, say business leaders and employment experts, is an educational failure. Career and technical training in the U.S. hasn’t evolved to keep up with the transformation of the modern economy—with many schools even slashing funding for vocational education. Worse, parents, guidance counselors, and even politicians keep pushing students to enter four-year college programs that provide no clear paths to employment. Meantime, jobs in traditional blue-collar trades—from manufacturing to automobile repair—have grown more sophisticated and demanding. A huge gap between job seekers’ skills and employers’ needs has resulted.

The good news is that some visionary businesses, educators, and nonprofit funders are intensifying efforts to revamp and upgrade career education—twenty-first-century vocational education—in the United States. The obstacles to such efforts are many, including school officials’ reluctance to partner with industry and lingering prejudices against vocational schooling. But for the rising number of students participating in programs that tailor education to career goals—programs that emphasize work-related experience and teach to the high standards necessary for modern jobs—the payoff has been impressive. Now the challenge is to build on those successes to ignite a broader cultural change that makes high-quality career training central to American education.

Congress may have had good intentions in 1917 when it passed the Smith-Hughes National Vocational Education Act to promote vocational training in agriculture, industry, and trades. But the law, which required any student receiving trade-skill instruction with federal funds to spend at least half of his time in vocational training, tended to cut off vocational training from public school education. Career education eventually developed into something that teachers and guidance counselors encouraged students of low academic achievement to pursue.

Though the robust post–World War II American economy provided many of these students with a solid middle-income living, vocational school became stigmatized. That stigmatization only intensified as American industrial jobs, battered by global competition and automation, started to disappear during the early 1980s, making four-year college seem for many the surest route to better jobs and higher earnings. Policymakers reinforced the message with subsidized student loans and other initiatives that sought to make college readily available to all.

Unfortunately, many students wound up enrolling in four-year colleges who weren’t suited for it, and the results haven’t been pretty. These days, only 55 percent of college students graduate within six years, leaving many with no degree and dismal job prospects. Meanwhile, student-loan debt has swelled to a monstrous $1.3 trillion.

Many of the students would have been better off receiving some kind of vocational training. Both as candidate and now as president, Donald Trump has tapped into widespread blue-collar discontent with his call to overhaul free-trade agreements to keep jobs from heading overseas. The reality, though, is that plenty of good-paying jobs are already available for properly trained workers. These positions typically fall into a category known as middle-skilled, meaning that they require some postsecondary education—for instance, a certified apprenticeship or a two-year associate’s degree from a community college—but not necessarily four years of university. These jobs are found in health care, information technology, manufacturing, and construction, among other fields. According to a 2013 Brookings Institution study, more than half of all jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) do not demand four-year degrees—and they pay an average annual salary above $50,000.

Further, while high-paying STEM jobs requiring advanced degrees do cluster in a few major urban centers, plentiful middle-skilled jobs—ranging from cybersecurity specialist and web designer to robotics engineer and industrial-engineer technician—are dispersed throughout most American metropolitan areas, making them within geographical reach of most Americans.

Yet many of those jobs go unfilled. A 2011 survey by the consulting firm Deloitte and the Advanced Manufacturing Institute found that more than eight out of ten manufacturing firms reported a shortage of high-skilled workers—at a time when unemployment nationwide was above 8 percent. (By one estimate, some 1.5 million manufacturing jobs that America has added since the 2008 recession have been for workers with more than a high school education.) Even though the U.S. is graduating some 3 million high school students every year, nearly half of whom will enter the job market instead of continuing school, an estimated 1 million middle-skilled jobs in all fields remain unfilled.

    A 2011 survey found that more than eight out of ten manufacturing firms reported a shortage of high-skilled workers.

Encouragingly, policymakers have begun to offer programs to train students for such good jobs—and the early results are promising. In 2008, a task force commissioned by New York mayor Michael Bloomberg recommended overhauling and expanding the city’s career and technical training. Among the suggestions that the city adopted was a push to instill in high school technical programs “a strong academic foundation in literacy and numeracy” to prepare for today’s job market.

The city also reformed vocational schooling to include apprenticeships, intern programs, and other work-related learning, seeking to ensure that students who don’t go on to college have some kind of certification or path to further training. Based on the task-force recommendations, the city has opened 25 new career and technical schools since 2010 and added vocational training to many others. New York now runs 50 schools entirely dedicated to career education and another 75 career academies within larger general-education schools, serving some 26,000 students in all.

Some of the leadership in the modernization of vocational training is coming from employers trying to reshape career education to fit the kinds of jobs they need filled. Siemens USA, a division of the German industrial powerhouse, has been working with high schools and community colleges around America to educate students via apprenticeships, based on a model common in Europe, where typically 60 percent to 70 percent of young people enroll in on-the-job training initiatives. In Germany, according to Eric Spiegel, former CEO of Siemens USA, the company has 10,000 paid apprentices; each year, it offers jobs to 2,500 students who graduate from its program.


Sunday, July 02, 2017

Unhappy That Religious Schools Evaluate Themselves, UK Secular Group Wants ‘Non-Partisan’ Teaching

For well over a century, religious organizations in Britain have had the right to inspect and determine how well they teach matters of faith in their own schools.

Now, a British secular group is publicly questioning whether this should be done by the government instead, charging that the traditional procedure is a waste of money – and moreover does not ensure that religious education is “non-partisan.”

Using freedom of information requests, the National Secular Society has found out that the Church of England and the Catholic Education Service have been paid around $6.3 million (£4,840,750) over the last six school years to inspect schools under their care.

A much smaller fraction of this sum was also paid during this time to the Association of Muslim Schools, two different Sikh groups and the Board of Deputies, the main body of British Jews, the NSS found..

Some form of religious education is compulsory in all state schools in England and Wales, but faith-oriented schools generally have a lot more leeway in focusing it around their own religion.

Almost all religious schools in Britain are either partly or heavily subsidized by the government, and the majority of them are Christian.

While the government directly monitors how well religion is taught in non-faith schools, the right of religious organizations to undertake this task themselves in their schools has been in place since the 1840s.

According to church guidelines, schools run by the Church of England (Anglican Church) will be statutorily evaluated at least once every five years on their religion education and how they worship together.

In a practice mirrored by other religions, among other things, independent inspectors will sit in on classes, talk to students and teachers, and evaluate school records, before producing a report for the school’s governing board.

Stephen Evans, campaigns director for the NSS, said in a statement that having all schools directly inspected by the government would save enormous amounts in government grants.

“More importantly it would better ensure that religious education in faith schools is broad and balanced and not being used to promote religion or inculcate pupils into a particular faith,” he said.

Evans said that another big problem is that church schools are not delivering objective education about religion and belief.

“"We want to ensure that all pupils to have the same entitlement to high quality, non-partisan education about religion and belief,” he said.

A spokesperson for the Department for Education said Thursday it is right for the quality of faith-based religious education that teaching should be inspected by those with expertise in that particular religion.

“Faith schools are still subject to [other government] inspections which take into account whether they are actively promoting British values,” the spokesperson added.

A spokesperson for the Church of England said the denomination has 4,700 schools that are free of charge, in accordance with charitable purposes.

“Determining whether a school is operating consistently with that ethos is the legal responsibility of the Church of England” the spokesperson said. “We believe that these inspections provide excellent value for money.”

Paul Barber, director of the Catholic Education Service, said on Wednesday that church schools deliver religious education in accordance with parent choice, and that inspecting it requires specialist training and expertise.

“The churches have a network of qualified and trained inspectors that are independent of the schools inspected and follow a rigorous inspection framework and handbook that are available publicly, as are the resulting reports,” he said.

Barber added that the costs of inspections are only partially covered by government grants, while the rest is covered by the church in question.


Education today leads to Self-Destruction

Today's students have been skillfully educated to demonstrate their ignorance with both ease and pride. If you have doubts, you should:

Listen to them discuss popular concerns (like black lives matter, capitalism, socialism, Wall Street, and politics). Observe them as they measure their self-worth with destructive acts in order to win the approval of their peers. Note the activities they enjoy and whom they idolize. And, by all means, ask their "educators" what they believe should be done about it. When you remind yourself that many of them have been shaped by our schools for twelve, sixteen, eighteen, and even more years, you will get an idea of what many educators are doing daily to innocent students in the name of "education."

But you mustn't stop there. If you really want to understand the problem, you must learn to probe deeper. Read what the average student must read in many of his classes: volumes of irrational nonsense in which clever writers adroitly lead students to their intellectual graveyards; acquaint yourself with some of the "profound" ideas voiced by popular anarchists, presented to students as precepts of "freedom" lovers. And observe the academic routine - the busy-work, the contradictory curricula content, and the historical negationism - conceived to confuse and deaden healthy minds seeking truth and sound principles to guide them.

When I was a student, I remember some of the mush that I was expected to learn in order to pass exams.  I remember a history professor who tested me on my retention of footnotes (not important concepts and facts); a psychology professor who thwarted my clear observation of human behavior with Freudian clichés; a literature professor who graded me by some subjective standard that made no real sense to me; and, most disturbingly, a philosophy professor who promised to deliver profound insights, but instead delivered a sleazy philosophy on relativity. (This is the concept, which uses superficial standards, not moral principles, as its premise.)

Because of such wide-spread teaching practices, many American students graduate from school intellectually handicapped. The degree of their handicap usually depends on the amount of years they have spent in school - especially in the liberal arts department - and how seriously they took their studies during their school years. Although they may read, write, and speak with some skill, many of them find it difficult to break free of the mental straitjacket they must wear. As a result, they find themselves incapable of thinking deeply and independently. When they are finally released to the world, the majority, sadly, are released like conditioned Pavlovian dogs who are trained to respond to popular political ideas, social fads, and more, on cue, exactly as they were instructed by their teachers and other influential adults.

The end result is the typical graduate who lives for the moment irresponsibly, guided by his conditioned reflex. The bright ones, who find conflict with what they are taught and what they perceive as true, are left with the mentally exhausting task of sorting through the mush they have learned in school for an explanation. Unfortunately, all they often discover for their effort is a lot of dead ideas that lead to nihilism. For this reason, many give up and find comfort in some form of self-destruction like drugs and alcohol.

This type of education is tragic. Students by nature are rational beings who want to take control of their lives. A student who can't often finds himself turning to others for guidance. If irresponsibly advised, such students can easily be encouraged to make decisions that will later prove regrettable.

Since we live in an age, where ignorance and sensations are esteemed, not knowledge and reason, they usually have a broad choice of self-destructive activities to choose from. I firmly believe a healthy mind dedicated to the joys of learning in a truly intellectual and mentally healthy sense is not a mind that will want to obliterate itself with cheap thrills and drugs.

What is the solution?

In an effort to understand the solution, I spent some time researching what respected educators thought good teaching ought to be. In two articles that I published in 1993 and 1994, I identified my views in Basic Education (a Council for Basic Education publication). One article was on how to teach history and the other was on how to teach literature (both are online at The general value of these two articles is that they provide a template, which teachers can use to bring lasting understanding to their subjects.

Today, as never before, the freedom, which Americans have long taken for granted, is being skillfully undermined by progressive educators (like John Dewey and his disciples). These clever thinkers who have set the standards for our teachers to follow must be identified and removed from education. Their theories have for too many years insidiously and systematically destroyed the cognitive development of our students. In my two easy-to-read novels, The Fire Within (which dramatically examines two opposing education philosophies) and Teacher of the Year, the play and the novel, (which examines with corrosive wittiness a satirical educator), I have attempted to link the problems in education to the ideas responsible.

Education is our fundamental defense against societal disintegration, which is rapidly occurring in America (best exemplified by the Berkeley riots and the Alinsky-inspired radicalism generously encouraged on our campuses). To resist this assault instigated by some leaders, we need to hire teachers capable of inspiring students to higher levels of cognition - teachers dedicated to developing minds like fortresses filled with knowledge to combat irrationality. But before this can be done, our primary goal must be to rid our schools, as soon as possible, of some of those poisonous practices and ideas so commonplace in education today and once again bring sensible balance to the presentation of ideas.


Australian Pre-schools.  A CLOSE look at the statistics is instructive

Australian preschools might have seen a rush of enrolments this week after media covered an OECD report claiming children who attend preschool for two years prior to starting school have significantly higher academic achievement at 15.

But perhaps they should have looked more closely at the OECD results. Dig deeper, and you find that in around half the countries reported, the relationship is no longer significant when socioeconomic status is taken into account. Australia is one of those countries.

And the data on which this report bases its claims are retrospective self-report data from 15-year olds-themselves about whether they went to preschool or child care, and for how long — far from rigorous research.

International report cards like this one are all too often based on spurious statistics: a report published by UNICEF last week purported to find that the quality of Mexico’s education system is in the top three in the world, despite its low performance in international assessments. These sorts of reports are given a high profile by major media outlets, and credible organisations issue media statements in support of the findings. Yet they often just muddy the policy waters.

Parents who have had the fortune to find a great preschool or child care centre will attest to the benefits of some sort of early childhood education. Schools in disadvantaged areas, in particular, know that children who have been to preschool or had good part-time child care are generally better prepared for school.

This makes sense and proper empirical research supports it — all children benefit to some extent from a good pre-school education, but the greatest benefits are to children whose home environments are not conducive to strong language and social-emotional development.

However, it does not mean a parent panic of packing three-year-olds off to preschool for fear of ruining their little lives.