Friday, September 01, 2017

Out Of The Ashes of American education

Anthony Esolen, a professor at Thomas More College of the Liberal Arts in Merrimack, New Hampshire and recently of Providence College, Rhode Island, has written a stinging critique of modern education and American society in general titled Out Of The Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture -- published by Regnery Publishers, 2017.

It's a short book - 203 pages – but contains much wise social commentary and observations on everything wrong with American education, if there's any such thing. Esolen is not one to beat around the bush. If you don't agree with him it isn't because he is opaque. For instance, chapter one is titled, Giving Things Their Proper Names: The Restoration Of Truth Telling. It is divided into several sections with their own headings, one of which is Are We a World of Liars?

“In a word, yes. It is almost impossible in the modern world not to accept lies as a matter of course. We are told that a woman can make as good a soldier as a man. Except for the rare amazon, that is a lie”

In the same vein a few pages later: “Here is a quick and generally reliable rule to follow. If people have always said it, it is probably true; it is the distilled wisdom of the ages. If people have not always said it, but everybody is saying it now, it is probably a lie; it is the concentrated madness of the moment.”

Most of what he says in the book is glaringly obvious, but it is so seldom spoken or written that it becomes heroic when written or spoken audibly. When referring to teachers who have acquiesced to imparting depravity, he writes:

“It will not do merely to restrain them in this or that regard. They are not fit to teach your children the multiplication table. They are not fit to be near them at all. Every moment that your children are in their presence, they will be breathing the putrescent air from the diseased heart and spirit of the instructors, in an institution whose walls stink of it, it has lingered there so long.”

Just a few years ago, in the memory of almost everybody, a statement like,“First let us establish that there are such things as the sexes.” would have met with everybody's assent. Most people reading it would be wondering why such a thing would need to be established at all. Now such a proposition is not just questionable, it might even be “controversial” or hate speech or some kind of micro aggression.

Esolen is such a hater (maybe even a Neanderthal) that he writes:

“We are taught from the time we enter the indoctrination centers that the only differences between men and women are trivial matters of plumbing. It is not true.

When the European missionaries came to the new world to evangelize the natives, they did not find creatures of a different species. They found human beings, male and female. They did not find any tribes in which the women met in council, hunted the large animals, smoked the peace pipe, trained up their daughters in savage displays of physical courage and endurance (the “sun dance” of the Plains Indians, for example) and established elaborate hierarchies of honor. They did not find any tribes in which the men took care of small children, gathered roots and berries, made themselves up with pretty decorations to delight their women … and made “nests,” as it were, as clean and neat as possible, for the sake of the little ones, and because that is the way they liked things best.

They found men and women. That is what you will find wherever you go in the world.”

I can't disagree with any of his assessments about the shipwreck of the schools or his suggested remedies. The one thing I think is absolutely essential that isn't mentioned and is never mentioned by anybody in the reformist camp is the necessity of prohibiting government involvement of any kind in schooling or anything else having to do with forming thoughts, opinions or beliefs. No matter who is in charge, be it Aristotle, Pythagoras, Isaac Newton or Erasmus, they won't always be in charge, and the forces of coercion will always seek control. All compulsion should be eliminated. Certainly there will be parents that don't send their children to school or teach them themselves, but there always have been and always will be unfit parents. Compulsory schooling has always been about teaching children the “right” things, not about education.

This is a book that will be appreciated by anybody interested in the social, cultural, educational and intellectual collapse of society and its possible remedy.


British 'Cheating' scandal: Head teachers shift blame to exam boards

Teachers risk being placed in an “impossible position” when setting tests in the subjects they teach, Britain’s most prestigious private schools have warned amid a row with exam boards over cheating.

For the first time, leading headteachers have urged exam boards to introduce stricter safeguards after admitting some teachers are “tempted to give their pupils too much help”.

It comes after Telegraph revealed that teachers at Eton and Winchester College were suspended over allegations that they leaked exam questions ahead of upcoming papers.

It is thought that staff at top private schools may be over represented on exam boards - which devise the questions - as they are some of the leading experts in their subjects in the country.

Chris King, chairman of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) acknowledged that more teachers who also work as examiners may be swept up in the scandal.

However he said it was up to exam boards to prevent a "conflict of interest" between teachers who set exam papers and teach them.

Mr King, who represents the leading private schools in the country, added that the issue had “concerned” headteachers “for some time”. He added that an urgent meeting had been brought forward to seek assurances from exam boards that “sufficient safeguards are in place”.

“We need to ensure that senior teachers who take on the responsibility for setting exams are not placed in an impossible position, and the very few who may be tempted to give their pupils too much help cannot do so,” he said.

“We have now requested this meeting is held more urgently than first proposed.”

Earlier this week the Daily Telegraph revealed that Winchester College had suspended its head of art history amid accusations he gave pupils "advance knowledge" on two exam papers.

Laurence Wolff, 56, son of the distinguished scientist Professor Heinz Wolff, was suspended with immediate effect after he was found to have given students “prior information on exam questions on two papers”.

It came after Eton College dismissed its head of economics, Mo Tanweer, following allegations that he had shared confidential information about an upcoming economics paper.

There is no suggestion that any other teachers or students at the two schools have been involved in wrongdoing.

The controversies have prompted fears among headteachers that other academics may be engaged in malpractice, which could cause serious reputational damage to the schools implicated and result in students affected having their marks voided.

Education experts have called for ministers to ban teachers from setting exams while teaching the same subject, which often allows them to supplement their income and bolster their CVs.

But a chief examiner at one leading exam board told The Daily Telegraph that it is “completely unfeasible” to ban teachers from taking part in the examination process.

Neil Sheldon, who has been an examiner for more than 40 years, said: “Right at the beginning it was certainly the case that the majority of those involved in setting and monitoring exam papers were university people.

"But that has dwindled to virtually nothing and now virtually everyone is teachers. Who else would do it?

“There isn’t realistically an alternative to having teachers do it but there need to be very clear checks on integrity.”

Meanwhile, the chair of the Commons education select committee called on schools to disclose the names of teachers who work for exam boards.

"The same teachers shouldn’t be involved in the same exam boards. You can't be poacher and keeper at once," he said.

"It should be utterly transparent. Exam boards and headteachers should make it clear which teachers are involved with which boards, they should just have it readily accessible on a school website. They should work together to make sure there is no cross over."

An Ofqual spokesperson said: "Trust and confidence in the exam system is paramount. We review all instances of reported malpractice each summer, and the actions the exam boards have taken. We will consider if any further action, investigation or strengthening of rules is required."


Australia: Schoolboy sex articles spark review of gay ‘health’ website

HEALTH Minister Greg Hunt has ordered an urgent review of a federally funded gay health website that has published articles about schoolboy sex with men.

The Australian reports the Health Minister was unaware of the Emen8 website, which was established with a federal government grant intended for health promotion.

It recently published an article titled “Who’s the perfect daddy for you?” which provides an analysis of the relationships that can occur between mature and younger men.

The article asks: “Does your fantasy include some condomless after-school action with your papa”, despite the site being restricted to adults.

Other articles reportedly feature tips on picking up at the gym and reviews for kinky sex toys.

Another recent article appears to be at odds with national health guidelines on safe sex. The article titled ‘Australian Opposites Attract study: condomless sex with an undetectable viral load is safe sex’ reports on recent study that found HIV-positive men with an un­detectable viral load were extremely unlikely to transmit the virus to a HIV-negative partner.

The study found no instances of HIV transmissions between more than 300 partners it tracked. It warned however that the “true transmission rate” could be higher at up to 1.56 per cent a year.
The article does not mention the warning and conclude “condomless sex with an undetectable viral load is safe”.

It also does not mention other sexually transmitted infections could be contracted through unprotected sex.

A spokesman for the Health Minister said The Australian that any associations with “underage or unsafe behaviour” was “utterly inappropriate”. “Any funding provided by the Australian government for health education should be used for health education and must be in appropriate context,” the spokesman said.

“This grant was provided in 2016 for health education. Minister Hunt was not aware of the website and has now ordered an urgent review.”

ACON Chief executive Nicolas Parkhill yesterday defended the site.  He told The Australian the organisation was confident it was in accordance with the original tender specifications.“In  rder to effectively target this at-risk population group, the tone and voice of some articles on the site need to reflect their culture, interests and behaviours; the language resonates,” he said. “The content integrates sexual health messages that are familiar to a range of gay men.”

The site was established through money from the Prevention and Service Improvements Grants Fund, which aims to tackle bloodborne viruses and STIs in priority populations.

ACON and the VAC, both majority-funded by their respective state governments, were successful in a joint application to develop resources for “gay men and men who have sex with men”, receiving $1.6m over two years.


Thursday, August 31, 2017

University of Tampa professor fired after tweeting Hurricane Harvey is 'karma' for Texas voting Republican

Don't mess with Twitter. A University of Tampa assistant sociology professor got taken to school after he suggested Hurricane Harvey is retribution for Texans who voted for the GOP in a tweet Sunday night, theTampa Bay Timesreports.

In the since-deleted post, Kenneth L. Storey stated, "I don't believe in instant karma but this kinda feels like it for Texas. Hopefully this will help them realize the GOP doesn't care about them."

Along with a barrage of acerbic messages aimed at him online, including some from those purporting to be fellow Floridians and University of Tampa students, the school itself took a strong stance against his views, firing him as of Tuesday, according to a statement posted on the University's website.

"We condemn the comments and the sentiment behind them, and understand the pain this irresponsible act has caused," university spokesman Eric Cardenas said in a statement to the Tampa Bay Times. "As Floridians, we are well aware of the destruction and suffering associated with tropical weather."

After deleting his original message, the former Orlando Weekly writer went back to Twitter to apologize Monday.

"I deeply regret a statement I posted yesterday," he tweeted. "I never meant to wish ill will upon any group. I hope all affected by Harvey recover quickly."

Ironically, Harris County, which includes the devastated city of Houston, went for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, along with the counties of Dallas, Bexar, Travis, El Paso, Hidalgo and Fort Bend. The Mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner, is also a member of the Democratic Party.


Localize, Don’t Federalize, Educational Choice

Parental choice in education has many advantages, as we see in the growing majority of states with choice programs. Yet using the federal government to expand educational choice is risky, as The Heritage Foundation’s Linsdey Burke, The Cato Institute’s Neal McCluskey, and I explain in our Washington Post editorial.

The Trump administration has made clear that it wants to support school choice. In his February address to Congress, the president called education “the civil rights issue of our time,” and he has pledged to direct $20 billion to advance choice. He also picked school choice stalwart Betsy DeVos as his education secretary.

Trump deserves credit for seeing the need to weaken a government monopoly, let parents choose the best education for their unique children and leave educators free to teach as they see fit. But there is great risk in federalizing choice: He who pays the piper calls the tune, and federal control could ultimately impose the same regulations on once-independent schools that have stifled public institutions.

Consider higher education. Today federal aid amounts to around $158 billion, up from about $16 billion in the early 1970’s, and close to three-fourths of undergraduates now receive some form of federal funding to pay for college. Think all this money comes without strings? Think again:

Attached to all that aid are volumes of regulations that have increased in scope and intrusiveness for years. There are rules eroding core legal protections for students accused of sexual misconduct and blunt measures of school quality that fail to account for even basic variables such as the composition of a school’s student body or big state subsidies. And colleges deal with a student body of adults—imagine the rules that could be instituted for children, who are not assumed to be capable of caring for themselves.

Not even tax credits for college expenses are immune from federal meddling via the accreditors the feds regulate. There’s no reason to believe K-12 tax-credit scholarships would be immune.

It is likely that a federal K-12 tax credit would start with a similar thicket of requirements for accreditation or eventually end up there. If something were to go wrong at even one or two schools accepting scholarship students, choice opponents and “accountability” hawks would likely head right to the regulatory presses.

Of course, such regulation can happen at the state level. But that is where federalism—states and Washington controlling different matters—can help. States are “laboratories of democracy.” They can try different policies, and do so without exposing everyone to possible failure. States also compete for residents and businesses, creating a much greater incentive to care about efficient and effective policy than Washington has.

If the federal government delivered choice through a new nationwide model, it would likely swamp these democratic labs and snuff out competition among differing choice policies, including vouchers, education savings accounts and other ideas of which no one has yet dreamt.

So is there anything the federal government should do to expand parental choice in education? Yes.

[The Trump administration] can put the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program on a permanent and expanding footing. During nearly every budget cycle over the past eight years, the Obama administration attempted to zero out funding for choice in the District, a place where the feds actually do have constitutional authority to govern education. Thousands of low-income children could finally feel assured of their places in safe, effective, chosen schools.

The administration could also propose expanding choice to military families and children attending Bureau of Indian Education schools — the latter deemed the worst-performing schools in the United States.

Those offer major opportunities to create choices where few or none exist. Along with use of the bully pulpit to promote state-level choice, they would go far to advance the cause of educational freedom and opportunity.


Three of Britain's leading independent schools caught up in an exam 'cheating' scandal

Three of Britain’s leading public schools were last night embroiled in an exam “cheating” scandal amid accusations that pupils were told about questions that would feature in test papers.

The Daily Telegraph has learned that Winchester College has suspended its head of art history amid accusations he gave pupils "advance knowledge" on two exam papers.

Laurence Wolff, 56, son of the distinguished scientist Professor Heinz Wolff, was suspended with immediate effect after he was found to have given students “prior information on exam questions on two papers”.

Last night the school confirmed that results for two exams sat by around 13 students had been nullified and grades would be estimated based on coursework and previous exams.

Charterhouse school has also confirmed that it has been investigated by the exam board amid claims that pupils were aware of upcoming questions on an exam. The school added that it had voluntarily reported its concerns to the exam board.

The exam board, Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), said last night that there was no evidence of wrongdoing by Charterhouse or any of its pupils.

It comes after Eton College dismissed its head of economics, Mo Tanweer, following allegations that he had shared confidential information about an upcoming economics paper.

Last night the Department for Education commented on the scandal for the first time and said that Ofqual, the exam regulator was now involved in the investigation.

A spokesman said: "Parents and students must be able to have faith in the exam system. Any suggestion of malpractice is concerning and should be looked into.

"Cambridge International Examinations board are dealing with the incidents ‎and have made the exam regulator Ofqual aware."

Robert Halfon, a Conservative MP and chairman of the Education select committee, said: "To have one example is bad enough but to have two in some of Britain's top private schools is more worrying.

"Questions need to be asked about whether this is more widespread and whether there is a conflict of interest over this practice."

In the Eton and Winchester cases both teachers were also working as examiners at CIE, the body which sets questions for the 'Pre U' exams - the A Level equivalents taken by independent school pupils ahead of entry to university.

Education experts last night said the dual role was a clear conflict of interest and called for ministers to close the loophole, which often allows teachers to supplement their income and bolster their CVs.

Sir Anthony Seldon, the former headmaster at Wellington College said the incidents were “deeply concerning” and called into question the way in which the exams were devised.

“There needs to be an iron wall between the setting of these exams and the way they are marked.

“There are immense pressures on schools to meet these very marginal frontiers in exams, and the system has to be water tight. People assessing and designing these papers should not under any circumstances be involved in teaching them. It’s an impossible situation.

“Even if most people behave correctly there is always a danger.”

The exam scandal began last week when it emerged that Eton pupils studying economics had their results for the paper in question nullified and instead given estimated grades based on their results on two other papers.

Teachers also had to write to universities to assure them that the boys who took the exam were in no way culpable.

It is understood that the controversy at Winchester College came to light after a female student at Downe House, another independent school, informed her teachers that boys from Winchester had been discussing the contents of the upcoming exam online.

Teachers at the school then pursued the matter with Winchester College and the exam board, resulting in the latter launching a formal investigation.

There is no suggestion that any pupils or other members of staff at any of the schools are guilty of any wrongdoing.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, a source at Winchester said: “At the end of May 2017 a girl at Downe House found out on social media that the boys at Winchester had advance knowledge of which four of the possible forty works of art on the syllabus were going to be on the pre U paper.

“By the middle of June, pupils were saying that they had been told that their scores on Paper 1 would be disregarded - strong candidates, who had prepared all forty works of art properly knew that they would now not get the highest grade that their work deserved. The boys were furious, as were many people in Common Room.”

Tim Hands, headmaster at Winchester College, said: “The College has treated this matter very seriously, and has worked closely with the examination board throughout.

"It greatly regrets what has happened. No boy was to blame for the exam irregularity, and the board used standard procedures to award final grades.

“One teacher was suspended and has now retired from the school, and all those boys holding university offers dependent on a grade in Art History have now had those offers confirmed by their first or second choice university.”

The school has also circulated a letter to parents informing them of the investigation and its findings.

Mr Wolff was unavailable for comment, despite repeated attempts by this newspaper to contact him.

A spokesperson for Cambridge International Examinations said: "Protecting the integrity of our exams is our priority and we take very seriously our duties to ensure that all of our examinations are fair, and that all students receive an appropriate and valid grade.

“We can’t provide any detail about the investigation, as this would compromise the privacy and data of individuals, but we can assure you that our investigations are robust and thorough.

“We sympathise with the students who have been affected through no fault of their own."

Charterhouse was investigated by CIE after it passed on concerns to the exam board that pupils had been passed details of an upcoming paper via a external contact on social media.

However, Charterhouse strongly denies that any student was involved in malpractice.

A spokesman for the school said: "Charterhouse staff were made aware of concerns raised by pupils and referred the matter to Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) at the time.

“We have been assured by CIE that our pupils have not been affected. All Charterhouse pupils who sat the CIE Pre-U Economics examinations were awarded their marks for the papers in the normal way."

The disclosures have prompted concern among education experts, who warned that the incidents had exposed a  “conflict of interest” which threatened the integrity of the exam system.

Professor Alan Smithers, head of education at Buckingham University said: “I think this is the tip of the iceberg, because what you’ve got here is a situation in which these academics have had massive temptation placed in front of them.

“You would hope that people in positions of trust like this would not abuse their power. It is also a serious issue if teachers are promoting themselves not only as educators but also administrators of the exams their students sit. That seems to me to be a huge conflict of interest, both for the school and the employee.

“I think the exam board needs to review its procedures and recognise that there will be people who are open to this breach of trust. “


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

First-Grader Sent to Office for 'Misgendering' Fellow Student
A first-grader at a California charter school was sent to the principal’s office this week after she accidentally “misgendered” a classmate in what’s being called a “pronoun mishap.”

The incident occurred at Rocklin Academy, a school roiled by controversy after a kindergarten teacher led an in-class discussion on transgenderism that included a “gender reveal” for a little boy who was transitioning to a little girl.

Parents were furious because they were not informed in advance and were not given the chance to opt their five-year-olds from the classroom transgender activity. However, school leaders informed moms and dads they were not allowed to opt-out, and the state did not require them to notify parents.

The latest incident occurred during the first week of school when a first-grader came across a classmate on the playground. She called the student by his given name — apparently unaware that the boy now identified as a girl.

“This innocent little first-grader sees a classmate, calls him by the name she knew him last year and the boy reports it to a teacher,” Capitol Resource Institute’s Karen England told me. “The little girl gets in trouble on the playground and then gets called out of class to the principal’s office.”

England said the first-grader was investigated by the principal to determine whether or not she had bullied the transgender child by calling him by his original name. After about an hour it was determined the little girl made an honest mistake and she was not punished or reprimanded.

But she was terribly traumatized by the incident, England said.  “The daughter came home from school upset and crying, saying, ‘Mommy, I got in trouble at school today,’” England told me.

The little girl’s mother, who asked not to be identified, immediately contacted the school to find out what had happened.

“She was told that whenever there is a pronoun mishap with this biological boy who now claims to be a girl, the school must investigate,” England said.

Capitol Resource Institute provided me with a letter the mother wrote expressing her extreme concern over how the situation was handled.

“I stressed over and over with the principal that I am all for protecting the rights of [the transgender child], but my children have rights as well,” the parent wrote. “It makes me sad that my daughter felt like she was punished for trying to be kind to the kid.”

England said Alliance Defending Freedom, a nationally known religious liberty law firm, is currently investigating the playground incident as well as the classroom lesson on gender identity.

“Our focus is on ensuring that every student’s privacy is protected and that parental rights, including the right to be notified that before children are exposed to gender identity teaching, are respected by the school officials,” an ADF spokesman told me.

What’s happening at Rocklin Academy is an example of how schools have become indoctrination grounds for the LGBT agenda.

And the only way to stop the indoctrination is for moms and dads to take a stand. It may be unpleasant and it may be uncomfortable, but we’ve got to stand up to these activist bullies.


Lack of Leadership Has Crippled Our Universities

Our university leaders and faculty need to grow a spine. Our times demand it. We have too many learned cowards lining once-hallowed halls of learning. Fewer and fewer voices have the courage to stand and speak the truth and simply say “I disagree.”

Those who dare to do so are ignored or silenced by the “tolerant” who deem the rare voice of dissent as intolerable.

A professor at Wake Forest University admitted:

The problem is that whenever you are on the liberal left, to some degree, you don’t really see conservative ideas as even valid or worth the time and effort to allow because you have a sense that you know more and you know better. This arrogance creates an ‘ideological vacuum.’ In this vacuum, professors do not acknowledge counter-arguments on issues or challenge their own assumptions.

Vapid leadership allows this ignorance to be the norm. A vacuum will be filled by something. In today’s culture, it’s being filled by snowflake insanity, and our culture is paying a high price.

College and university presidents, board members, and faculty have let this travesty occur. Our schools are permeated with anti-Christian and nonsensical, dare I say suicidal, ideas.

Even worse, Judeo-Christian words have been stolen. Love, freedom, equality, justice, truth, and compassion are all changing before our very eyes.

Too many academic leaders stand idly by, content to drink the Kool-Aid of false compassion. We have bought the lie that confrontation and compassion are antithetical rather than complimentary. It’s nonsense.

Discipline and love are complementary, not antithetical. Our unwillingness to help students by confronting and disciplining them reveals our lack of love for them.

We don’t coddle because we care about students. We coddle because we don’t care enough to bother. We care more about our own feelings of comfort or desire to be popular than their growth and readiness for the challenges of real life.

Confrontation is not synonymous with hate. Any decent parents know if we love our kids, we’ll confront them. Failing to confront will result in them compromising body, mind, and soul.

But, today we have parents who don’t know how to rear or confront their children properly. We have professors who don’t know how to confront their students with good ideas and challenge their bad ideas.

We have college presidents who get caught like deer in the headlights when there’s a cultural conflict. They don’t want to call a spade a spade because they’re afraid of being labeled a hater.

Search online for university presidents who will take a stand for truth, and you’ll find a very short list of those willing to stand tall in the face of the snowflake rebellion.

Sadly, even evangelical Christians, who are supposed to be the ones proclaiming the truth, either stand by and do nothing or actively attack those with the courage to stand.

Their criticism simply proved my point. Their solution was to criticize me for being too critical; to confront me for being too confrontational; to write a blog about tolerance while calling my blog intolerable.

They seemed to think the best rebuttal to my public critique was to write their own public critique rebutting public critiques. They seemed only too ready to argue that comfort is more important than repentance and support is more important than challenge.

Their solution was and is to coddle and enable more—to confront and challenge less.  I hardly even need to respond. Any schoolboy can see the self-refuting nature of their argument.

While much of the secular world recognizes the lunacy of safe spaces, the church condemns those who love young people enough to speak the truth and confront them. Sad. Shameful.

As you watch the snowflake rebellion play out on campuses across the nation, ask yourself this: Have university presidents indeed become essentially irrelevant? Do you see strength or weakness in their leadership?

Do they show any evidence that they have the convictions to stand in the face of this nonsense, or does your gut tell you that they are simply more concerned with keeping their job?

Or even worse, do they seem to actually believe that giving Play-Doh, bubbles, and coloring books to a bunch of 20-year-olds who don’t like the results of an election is a good idea?


Professors bully a conservastive

[Turning Point USA operates a website called Professor Watchlist in order to "expose and document college professors who discriminate against conservative students, promote anti-American values, and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom."]

Professors at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) protested a tabling event put on by the campus Turning Point USA chapter. Things got so intense that it caused a chapter member to get campus police involved.

Kaitlyn Mullen, a campus coordinator and member of the UNL chapter of Turning Point USA was just standing alone at a recruitment table minding her own business. Soon, a small group of protesters came marching in with signs likening TPUSA–an organization that prides itself on supporting free markets and limited government–as a neo-fascist organization.

Luckily, Mullen caught glimpses of the protest on camera.  What Happened?

“A woman walked past me and screamed ‘fascist’ and I didn’t think anything of it,” Mullen told Turning Point News. “And about 20 minutes later another woman came up and started screaming a little bit.”

Mullen explained that the protestors were screaming in rage about TPUSA’s proprietary “Professor WatchList” while also calling the organization’s founder, Charlie Kirk, a slew of derogatory terms, including “neo-fascist.” But, Mullen said that there were only 4 to 5 protesters that she recalls. Regardless, the incident only got worse.

Unexpectedly, Mullen found herself being the target of the very professors she thought taught students to think critically and engage in debate. She was also surprised that the academic elite of the university sought out to intentionally bully her and bring her to tears.

“I didn’t want to pack up because I didn’t want them to win, so I kept on tabling,” Mullen recollected. “People would come up and they would say to them ‘oh, you are joining this neo-Nazi and stuff?’ So, it got to the point that they were right in my face so I started crying.” A bystander came to her aid and asked the protesting professors to stop bullying her.

Mullen, having enough, reached her limits and packed up her recruitment materials and left. As she was walking away, the campus police department met up with her, got her information, and even escorted her back to her apartment. Reportedly, the police were called for the professors being too loud.

The Professors

After Turning Point News observed the video of the incident provided to us by Mullen, we were able to identify two of the professors.

The name of the first professor who protested the TPUSA recruitment event is named Amanda Gailey, an associate professor in the UNL Department of English. Gailey has made headlines before through her advocacy for gun control. The Blaze reports that in January of 2016, Gailey went on a social media rant using statements like “Fuck Police Officers” or “Fuck the NRA” and, one week after, was invited to meet President Barack Obama.

The other protester is graduate teaching assistant Courtney Lawton, of whom is a member of the English Department also. Lawton is the was photographed by Mullen flipping the camera off

Turning Point USA has released a statement following the event:

The harassment of conservative students by university faculty that occurred today at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is sickening” said Turning Point USA Founder Charlie Kirk. “Everyday I hear stories about professors who attack and target conservatives and unfortunately this is yet another example of the radicalization of America’s higher education system”


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A typical Leftist whine that ignores crucial facts

It's just amazing how an argument from the Left NEVER covers all the relevant facts.  It's only by leaving out half the story that they can justify their complaints.  The undoubtedly correct claim below is that one mainly white Mississippi school offers a better standard of education than a mostly black school not far away.  But why?  The article shows no curiosity about that but any Leftist reader would fill in: Racism!

But is that the reason?  There are in fact quite clear other reasons.  Like money.  The mostly white school is in an affluent mostly white area.  And by way of things like local taxes and parental involvement, affluence filters through to the schools nearby.  Rich people can afford to be generous donors and providing facilities and other help to your kid's school is one of the major ways in which generosity will be expressed.

Another beef (or lack of beef) below is that the black school delivers much poorer educational results.  So what else is new?  The black/white "gap" in average educational achievement is universal in America.  And for many years now Leftist educators have turned themselves inside out trying to remedy it.  But nothing works.  They all refuse to acknowledge that the cause of the gap is the sharply lower average black IQ.  But denying that well-documented fact will not make it go away.  It will just stop blacks getting the sort of education they can use.

And a final beef is that the teachers don't stay long in the black school.  And why would that be?  Would it have to be a response to badly behaved black students?  What teacher who really wanted to teach would want to spend most of the day just trying to get the pupils to sit down and shut up? 

Much of the bad behaviour of the black students undoubtedly  results from them being given educational tasks that are not suitable to them and which they can't do.  So they rebel by behaving badly.  If blacks were given an education appropriate to their needs, abilities and interests, much of that problem could vanish.  But that would be "segregation", of course.  So what do people think they have got now?

And here's the funny bit:  The SPLC thinks a lawsuit can fix those problems!  Typical leftist obtuseness and unwillingness to face the real problems

Two summers ago, Indigo Williams couldn’t have been more thrilled to send her son off for his first day of school.

Her home was zoned into Madison Station elementary school in Madison, Mississippi, an “A” rated school and district where her son JS, then five, quickly dove into Kindergarten with enthusiasm. JS was taking Taekwondo lessons and was served fresh fruits and vegetables in the cafeteria. He had access to tutoring.

But when Williams and her children moved just a few miles away before the start of the following school year, her home was instead zoned to an elementary school in the Jackson, MS school district. She was horrified to see just how dramatic the difference could be.

Now attending Raines Elementary, Williams says Jonathan’s environment “feels more like a jail than a school. Paint is chipping off the walls. They’ve served him expired food in the cafeteria,” she said.

“There are no extracurricular activities available for my son, no art or music class or even afterschool tutoring. There are not enough textbooks for him to take home or even for students to use in the classrooms, and the books that are in the classroom are outdated,” Williams added.

She worries that JS is growing bored with his classwork, and that the school doesn’t have the resources to challenge him or make learning interesting. “I’m afraid he’s falling behind other kids in better schools,” Williams said.

But Williams hasn’t just sat by and watched as her son’s quality of education deteriorated. She – and three other black Mississippi mothers – have put themselves and the Raines Elementary at the centre of a lawsuit that argues the state has reneged on 150 year-old promise to offer a “uniform system of free public schools”.

The lawsuit, filed by Southern Poverty Law Center on behalf of the mothers, is about quality of education, but there is also a broader context reflected in the make-up of the student population in the two schools that JS has attended. The pupils at Raines School pupils are 99% black. The pupils at Madison Station school are 70% white. And in a state where, in the years after Brown v Board, the landmark 1954 US Supreme Court decision that outlawed segregation in schools, public officials in Mississippi considered shutting down public schools all together to avoid integration, race is never far from view.

By virtually any metric you choose, Mississippi has among the worst education systems in the US. In a July study, researchers using a 13-point quality rubric ranked the state 49 out of the 50 states and Washington DC.

Mississippi is also, by both median income and poverty level, the poorest state in the country.

This is no coincidence, of course. Because US public school are almost exclusively funded by state and local tax dollars, the amount of resources any given school has is almost wholly a function of how wealthy the people who live nearby are.

The Madison Station elementary school where JS began his student career is, by car, about 20 minutes north of Raines – but it is a universe apart. Elaborate gated mansions with circular driveways dot the road to the school which passes through expansive stretches of verdant green Mississippi pasture. Near the end of the school day, a fleet of immaculate saffron and black buses pull up to the building.

The environment mirrors the performance. In 2010 Madison Station was a National Blue Ribbon School, a Department of Education designation made to high performing schools. Some 72.6% of students are proficient in reading and 70.5% are proficient in math – well above the state average. In 2013, less than 9% of the school’s teachers were in their first year of teaching.

Down the road at Raines, 20% of teachers are in their first year. Only 11% of students are proficient in reading and just 4% in math.


LGBT Flag At School Just As Divisive As Confederate flag

An online petition exceeding 1,000 electronic signatures as of Friday morning is targeting an LGBT flag at Alabama’s Auburn High School. Students and parents at the school say it is just as offensive to see the “pride” flag flying as it would be to see a Confederate flag, The Observer reports

The petition wants social studies teacher Donna Yeager to remove the symbol of gay rights. Yeager is the coordinator of a “diversity” club at the school.

The students and parents say the flag isn’t planting the seeds of diversity, but of provocation.

“We strongly feel that it creates a hostile and provocative learning environment for students not comfortable to openly supporting the LGBTQ+ community in a public school where students come from diverse political and religious backgrounds,” the petition reads. “Subjecting or explicitly exposing students from diverse political backgrounds to political views differing from theirs can make students uncomfortable and distract them from learning the material assigned to them, preventing them from reaching their full potential,” it continues.

“Furthermore, we believe it is unprofessional and distracting for a teacher to be so openly displaying their political views in an unbiased and socially neutral public setting.”

The petitioners ask why they should be subjected to an LGBT political symbol when other controversial emblems are banned from school spaces.

“Consider the uproar and chaos that would ensue were a teacher to hang for example a Confederate, Christian or Heterosexual Flag in their classroom.”

LGBT advocates haven’t been silent in the wake of the protest. They have launched their own petition that argues the school is “a healthy environment for our LGBT+ peers,” and accused the flag protesters of being insufficiently inclusive. They also contend that the Confederate flag angle is irrelevant to the issue.

The second petition is currently outgunning the first with just under 7,000 names.

Auburn school system superintendent Karen DeLano said in a statement that the issue is being assessed internally.


167 Year Old California Catholic School Removes Statues of Mary and Jesus to be More Inclusive

Officials at the San Domenico School in California decided recently to remove the Catholic statues and icons in a move to be seen as more inclusive.

The school is celebrating its 167th year.  Officials feared the statues of Jesus and Mary were alienating. MarinIJ reported:

Removal of a number of statues and other smaller Catholic icons from the campus of San Domenico School in San Anselmo has raised concerns among some parents.

In an email to the school’s board of directors, Dominican Sisters of San Rafael and the head of school, Shannon Fitzpatrick objected to the removal of the statues and other steps the school has taken in an effort to make the school more inclusive.

“Articulating an inclusive foundation appears to mean letting go of San Domenico’s 167-year tradition as a Dominican Catholic school and being both afraid and ashamed to celebrate one’s heritage and beliefs,” wrote Fitzpatrick, whose 8-year-old son attends the school.

She added, “In our time here, the word ‘Catholic’ has been removed from the mission statement, sacraments were removed from the curriculum, the lower school curriculum was changed to world religions, the logo and colors were changed to be ‘less Catholic,’ and the uniform was changed to be less Catholic.”

Responding to follow-up questions Monday, Fitzpatrick wrote, “There are other families having the same concerns I do. Many parents feel if the school is heading in a different direction then the San Domenico community should have been notified before the signing of the enrollment for the following year.”


Monday, August 28, 2017

Thanks to the Teachers Union, Poorest Students in New York Will Be Taught By Worst Teachers

Last year, 822 public school employees sat idle in “rubber rooms” in New York City.

Well, perhaps not entirely idle. Some played Scrabble, others slept. On average, a quarter of these taxpayer-funded employees have sat in these rubber rooms—places where teachers who have been dismissed from the system but can’t be fired spend their days—for five years.

The average salary of these teachers—who are not working—is $94,000 per year. Their counterparts in the district who are working every day earn $10,000 less each year.

Yet, as the poorest and most disadvantaged children in New York head back to school in the coming weeks, they’ll find these union-protected employees have been shuffled into their classrooms, likely moved into unfilled teaching slots in the worst-performing schools in the city.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a vocal opponent of school choice, has not only backed policies that prevent low-income children from leaving these schools. His administration will now transfer teachers who had previously been fired from the district system for disciplinary reasons or poor performance—a rare occurrence, indeed—into classrooms across the city, likely to schools that are already underperforming and have trouble filling teaching slots.

“You’re going to force the worst teachers in the system into the schools that are struggling the most,” one Manhattan principal told The New York Times.

These teachers cost New York City taxpayers $150 million last year alone, the result of a deal struck initially by the Bloomberg administration with the teachers union to provide more autonomy to principals over personnel decisions, without unionized teachers facing the threat of actual firing.

If, come October, schools still have unfilled teacher slots, some 400 teachers currently filling rubber rooms—or what the city refers to as “Absent Teacher Reserves”—will be transferred in, with no input from school principals.

Instead of moving these teachers out of the system entirely—as would happen in the private sector, private schools, and many charter schools—these teachers are retained due to policies pushed by union special interest groups, and will now make their way back into the classroom.

It is a crystal-clear instance of union policy protecting adults in the government school system instead of working to ensure children have access to a quality education—and in this case, quality teachers.

While union heads argue that the new policy of moving these idle teachers back into hard-to-staff schools will provide “stability” for students, principals, understandably, see things differently.

According to The New York Times:

“I have had over the past five years a lot of [absent teacher reserves] come in,” said the principal, who spoke anonymously for fear of repercussions for the school. “And I have to say, less than 10 percent of them—way less, maybe 5 percent of them—would I hire.”

This in a city where just 28 percent of fourth-graders are proficient in reading, a figure which falls to fewer than 2 in 10 black and Hispanic students.

It is a further injustice to the children already trapped in the worst-performing schools in New York City to double down on the lackluster education they currently receive by transferring these individuals—previously relieved for poor teaching performance, among other things—into their classrooms.

Stanford scholar Eric Hanushek has identified how important teachers are to children’s future success, particularly for poor children. As Hanushek has found, children in classrooms with teachers near the high end of the quality distribution experience an entire additional year of learning.

He also found that having a good teacher—as opposed to an average teacher—for three to four consecutive years would close the mathematics achievement gap between poor and non-poor children.

Access to a quality teacher can also have a dramatic impact on a child’s future earnings potential. According to Hanushek, relative to an average teacher, a teacher in the 75th percentile would increase each child’s average income by $14,300 over the course of her lifetime, or $358,000 in a classroom of 25 children.

Access to quality teachers is one important feature parents look for in a given school.

It’s unbelievable then, that in an American city today, policymakers would assign children to government-run schools based on their parents’ ZIP code, consigning the poorest among them to the worst schools. And then to top it all off, would send some of the worst-performing teachers into their classrooms.

Yet that is exactly what will happen this fall in New York.

If only parents could exercise school choice.


Safe spaces and ‘ze’ badges: My bewildering year at a US university

Fear of causing offence on campus is stifling free thought – as I’ve found to my cost

As a child in Glasgow, I learned that sticks and stones might break my bones but words didn’t really hurt. I’m now at New York University studying journalism, where a different mantra seems to apply. Words, it turns out, might cause life-ruining emotional trauma.

During my ‘Welcome Week’, for example, I was presented with a choice of badges indicating my preferred gender pronouns: ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘they’ or ‘ze’?

The student in front of me, an Australian, found this hilarious: ‘Last time I checked, I was a girl.’ Her joke was met with stony silence. Later I realised why: expressing bewilderment at the obsession with pronouns might count as a ‘micro-aggression’. Next stop, ‘transphobia’.

It was soon obvious to my fellow students that I was not quite with the programme. In a class discussion early in my first semester, I made the mistake of mentioning that I believed in objective standards in art. Some art is great, some isn’t, I said; not all artists are equally talented. This was deemed an undemocratic opinion and I was given a nickname: the cultural fascist. I’ve tried to take it affectionately.

After a year on campus, on a course entitled ‘Cultural Reporting and Criticism’, I still feel unable to speak freely, let alone critically. Although it doesn’t apply to my own course, friends have told me about ‘trigger warnings’ that caution they are about to be exposed to certain ideas; the threat of micro-aggressions (i.e. unintended insults) makes frank discourse impossible. Then there is the infamous ‘safe space’ — a massage-circle, Play-Doh-making haven — where students are protected from offence (and, therefore, intellectual challenge).

During class discussions, I’ve learned to discreetly scan my classmates’ faces for signs that they might be fellow free-thinkers. A slight head tilt at the mention of Islamophobia, a gentle questioning of what exactly is meant by ‘toxic masculinity’. I was thrilled to see a scribbled note — ‘This is utter shit’ — on someone’s copy of one of the reading requirements, Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts (an introduction to queer theory). In this way, I found the members of my secret non-conformist book club.

We met in a disused convent in Hell’s Kitchen and discussed campus-censored ideas. We read Douglas Murray’s The Strange Death of Europe, Laura Kipnis’s Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus and Walter Benn Michaels’s The Trouble With Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality. We were a diverse group: a Catholic woman, a black conservative man, an anti-theist neoconservative, a Protestant libertarian, and a quick-witted Spanish contrarian. We were united in agreeing that we should be free to disagree. We made our own unsafe space, and at the end of each meeting, we were invigorated and parted on good terms.

It seemed to the members of my book club that academia is losing its way. It is riddled with paradox: safe spaces which are dangerously insular; the idea of ‘no absolutes’ (as an absolute); aggressive intolerance for anything perceived as intolerant; and censorship of ideas deemed too offensive for expression. It’s a form of totalitarianism and it’s beginning to infect British universities, too.

The morning after the US election, New York was bluer than ever. My classmates were in tears, including one professor. Protesters chanting ‘Not my President’ took to the streets as cries of ‘How did this happen?’ ‘What will we tell our children?’ and ‘What a terrible day for [insert identity group]!’ echoed down NYU’s hallways.

Two weeks later, I spent a slightly surreal Thanksgiving with my friend’s family in the DC area. My friend’s father is the former Republican senator and twice presidential candidate Rick Santorum. As I stuffed my face with turkey, I couldn’t believe my luck. Santorum’s insights into the new administration were as close to an insider’s scoop as any student journalist could hope for.

I was sure that, despite their differences in outlook, my classmates would be fascinated to hear about what he had to say. But before I had mustered the courage to share my experience, I received the following email from a professor: ‘Dear all, hope you are all recovering well from any encounters with Trump-supporting relatives over Thanksgiving. I should be all right myself in a day or so.’ Naturally, when this professor asked me, ‘How was your first Thanksgiving?’ I chose to speak exclusively about marshmallow yams.

This is daft, certainly. Even funny, in a macabre way. But it also raises a serious point: the university experience in America is now not one that will adequately prepare students for real life. In real-life democracy, people disagree — and normally they don’t die or suffer emotional injury because of it. In normal life, there’s no reason not to like someone with whom you disagree politically. On campus, opinions are often ontology: you are what you think. But this is dangerous logic: if I hate what you think, I must hate what you are.

At the end of the year I hosted a party in my grungy sixth-floor apartment in Washington Heights, where my classmates finally came face-to-face with some real-life conservatives. I had naively hoped people wouldn’t talk about politics. But my hopes were soon dashed. A friend’s boyfriend came wearing a Reagan and Bush T-shirt. When confronted about his choice of outfit, he shrugged confusedly: ‘It’s laundry day.’ Another friend, an African-American conservative, who was wearing a US military cap, was furiously berated from across the room by a liberal of colour, ‘How can you be a conservative and black?’

When two classmates pointed in horror to the (admittedly large) crucifix on my wall — my own identity signifier — I climbed out of the window and on to the fire escape. The game was up. An image of the dying Jesus had scuppered my intellectual, perhaps even moral, credibility. I would be returning to NYU in the autumn, the flag of ‘cultural fascism’ forever nailed to my mast. A highly intoxicated friend, who had been enthralled by the whole experience, soon joined me. Handing me a cigarette, he congratulated me on ‘bringing people together’.


Australia: Sydney public schools record a huge rise in the amount of Muslim and Hindu students - while Christianity continues to decline in popularity

Public schools in Sydney have recorded a huge rise in the number of Muslim and Hindu students with Christianity on a sharp decline.

A New South Wales Department of Education survey found the number of Muslim and Hindu students were standing at 52,000 and 20,000, respectively.

Last year, enrollment for Muslim students in public schools was at 50,000 while Hindu students were standing at 18,600, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The newspaper reports that more than 230,000 students did not identify themselves with any religion at all. 

There was also a sharp decline in the number of Christian students with the number of Anglicans falling from 105,300 students last year to 99,000 this year.

Other forms of Christianity such as Presby­terian, Protestant and Baptist were also on the decline, according to the newspaper.

However, the number of Catholic students were unchanged at 103,000.

Parents and teachers have also called for ethics classes to be more readily available across the state after the data showed 230,000 students identified with 'no religion'.


Sunday, August 27, 2017

The debate over Harvard final clubs isn’t going away anytime soon

Fizzing feminism leads to "Safe spaces" not being allowed at Harvard!  A real turnaround.  Why? Because it would be disgracefully hypocritical to allow safe spaces for women and not for men. But what are Harvard's men's clubs if not safe spaces for men? The intolerance of the clubs is being led by Rakesh Khurana, an Indian-American  Professor of Sociology who appears never to have been a member of any of the clubs.  Sour grapes?

As students return to Harvard University this week, the controversy over the administration’s attempt to ban students from joining off-campus social clubs is heating up again.

The entering freshmen class is the first to be subject to a new policy that punishes students who join elite male-only final clubs, female-only clubs, fraternities, and sororities.

In a move that rekindled the debate, professor Harry Lewis, a former dean of the undergraduate college and a computer science professor, filed a motion signed by 21 professors Monday opposing that policy.

“Students should be punished for things they do, not for clubs they join,” said Lewis, who has led the faculty movement against the policy since last year, not because he likes the clubs but because he says the policy infringes on civil liberties.

For more than a year, Harvard has been consumed in a debate over whether administrators should be able to bar students from joining final clubs, a group of exclusive organizations that have dominated school social life for decades.

The all-male clubs operate independently of the college, own mansions in Harvard Square, and hold parties and guest-listed social events that many say unfairly exclude some students and foster an environment where sexual harassment and assault are more likely.

The debate has also divided students. Many women have said the policy unfairly penalizes female-only clubs that do not have the same party culture as some of the male clubs. This summer members of at least one all-male club, The Fox, have begun to organize to write letters to professors this fall opposing the administration’s efforts to curtail the clubs, and are considering holding a march or peaceful rally, according to one member.

The administrator leading the push to minimize the clubs’ influence over student social life is Rakesh Khurana, the dean of undergraduate students. In a welcome e-mail to incoming freshmen sent last week, Khurana mentioned the new policy, which forbids students who join the off-campus single-gender social clubs from holding leadership positions in student organizations or sports teams and disqualifies them for endorsement letters from the college for fellowships.

“This policy does not prevent you from choosing your own path at Harvard, but it does make clear the college’s position on discrimination,” he wrote to the freshmen.

The seven all-male final clubs have secret traditions and mysterious names like Delphic, Fox, and Porcellian. Many were founded in the 1800s, and their alumni include T.S. Eliot, Henry Cabot Lodge, Bill Gates, and John F. Kennedy. There are also five gender-neutral clubs, four all-female final clubs, as well as five fraternities and four sororities.

Lewis filed a similar motion to last year to nullify the penalties for final club and Greek organization members, but withdrew it when college administrators, amid a backlash, appointed a special committee to reexamine the policy that punishes students for joining the clubs.

That committee released its findings in July, but instead of loosening the penalties, as some expected, or hoped, the committee recommended an even stronger policy: forbidding students from joining the clubs altogether.

Khurana was cochair of that committee, whose report called the clubs’ influence at Harvard “pernicious” and said some have a “zest for exclusion and gender discrimination.”

“Time after time, the social organizations have demonstrated behavior inconsistent with an inclusive campus culture, a disregard for the personhood and safety of fellow students, and an unwillingness to change — even as new students join them over generations,” the report said.

The report cited other elite colleges like Bowdoin, in Maine, that have banned fraternities as models for the type of policy it recommended.

This fall, faculty are invited to “drop-in discussion sessions” hosted by the committee to comment on the new recommendation for a stronger policy. Notes from the meetings will inform the committee’s final report and recommendations to Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust, who will make the ultimate decision on what policy to adopt.

The committee also plans to seek feedback from students for its final report, which is set to be complete by Sept. 25, according to an e-mail from Khurana to faculty sent this month.

Lewis’ latest motion will be considered at the first faculty meeting of the semester, in October.

Members of the final clubs, meanwhile, are closely watching what Harvard is doing. Some have considered legal action against Harvard for infringing on students’ right to freely associate, but so far nothing has been filed.

“We hope it doesn’t become a matter of litigation because that would signal a real shift to intolerance on Harvard’s part,” said Rick Porteus, graduate president of the Fly Club. Membership in the final clubs is for life and they are governed by an undergraduate board as well as a board of alumni, known as graduate members.

Biology professor David Haig is one of the 21 faculty who signed latest Lewis’ motion. Haig also served on the review committee and wrote a dissenting opinion that said forbidding students from joining the clubs would not fix the problems of discrimination and exclusivity.

Haig said he hopes faculty are allowed to vote on Lewis’ motion before the administration makes a final decision on the new policy.

“This is an example of more and more power going to managerial classes,” he said.


How did so many of today's students turn into snowflakes

Once they protested about great injustices like apartheid. But now many think THEY are the victims, taking offence over the most laughably trivial issues

As anyone who has read a newspaper in the past few months will know, this planet boasts two kinds of snowflakes.

One is an exquisite natural wonder, formed from a single tiny crystal, which falls through the sky, attracting cloud droplets which accumulate in dazzling patterns of ice.

The other is rather less of a wonder. Formed from a single tiny brain cell, it wafts through the British university system in a cloud of victimhood, attracting similarly strident comrades who accumulate in student unions and spaces where they are safe from criticism and hurtful ideas.

You may think I am being harsh. Indeed, when I first read the headlines about the so-called ‘snowflake generation’ — a generation of students intolerant of dissent, who melt when forced to confront tricky challenges, suffused with a sense of their own entitlement — I wondered if they had been exaggerated.

As a former lecturer myself, I knew things in our universities were bad — but surely they weren’t that bad? But recently, I read two stories about my own alma mater, Oxford, which confirmed all my worst fears.

The first concerns a former law student at Jesus College, Catherine Dance, who is suing the university for loss of earnings.

She claims that because the college refused to give her special treatment for her chronic anxiety — for example, she wanted to sit her exams in a private room with a laptop — she had to take a break from her degree, and therefore graduated a year late and missed out on a year’s wages.

The second concerns one Sophie Spector, a former student of politics, philosophy and economics at my old college, Balliol.

Miss Spector thought the college should give her special treatment, including extended deadlines, because she suffered from anxiety and depression, and was, in her own words, ‘a really slow reader’.

But the college refused, she fell behind and eventually she left.

The details are different, but the story is basically the same. Indeed, if you talk to anybody who works in British universities, it is a very familiar tale.

Of course, many students are relatively sane and sensible people. Thanks to the economic pressures of the modern world, the majority are also probably some of the hardest-working in history.

Indeed, last week’s A-level results mean that at least 416,000 new students will be enrolling for university courses.

All the same, there is simply no denying that there now exists a pernicious culture of narcissism and self-obsession at our universities.

This began among a tiny group of Left-wing student activists — the apostles of ‘safe spaces’ (where people are protected from ideas that make them uncomfortable) and ‘no-platforming’ (when students proscribe, or refuse to give a platform to, speakers they disagree with).

But it is now seeping into mainstream national life.

Inside the classroom it is bad enough. One academic friend recently told me about a student who objected to receiving any criticism at all, no matter how well-intentioned or gently put.

The student simply believed that if she delivered her essays on time, she was entitled to get a First.

This, too, is a very common story. Having been raised to think they are special, garlanded with praise and showered with A-grades as teenagers, students have come to believe they are entitled to success, whether they deserve it or not. If they fail, it is the university’s fault — never theirs.

It is outside the classroom, though, that the new student narcissism is most poisonous.

Just think, for example, of the Rhodes Must Fall movement, which sought to tear down a little statue of the Victorian empire-builder and Oxford donor Cecil Rhodes.

Since the statute was high above a busy road, where virtually nobody ever saw it, the activists could hardly claim that it made any difference to the people of Oxford.

But they didn’t care about the people of Oxford. They only cared about themselves.

In their own words, they felt ‘oppressed and marginalised’ by the statue, even though they had to go out of their way just to glimpse it. Merely walking down the street, in one of the most privileged educational institutions in the world, was apparently enough to reduce them to tears.

If that sounds ridiculous, there is much worse where it came from. It is at Oxford, for example, that the university’s Equality and Diversity Unit advised students that if they avoided eye contact with each other, they might be in danger of committing ‘racist micro-aggressions’.

In fact, there are so many examples of the cult of victimhood that I could probably fill every page in this newspaper, from the students at Pembroke College, Cambridge, who complained that dishes such as ‘Jamaican Stew’ and ‘Tunisian Rice’ were yet more ‘racist micro-aggressions’, to the National Union of Students, which has tried to ban clapping and cheering because they could ‘trigger anxiety’ among sensitive students.

All this talk of ‘triggering’ will probably baffle most readers over the age of 25. But it has become one of the favourite words of the student snowflakes, who are so frightened of being offended that they require ‘trigger warnings’ before having to deal with even the tamest material.

Like many very bad ideas, it has been imported from U.S. universities, where students have requested warnings before being exposed to such supposedly offensive books as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (because of characters’ violence to women) and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway (in which a character commits suicide).

Even Shakespeare’s The Merchant Of Venice is apparently too much for some students, who cannot handle his anti-Semitic portrait of the Jewish moneylender Shylock. And as for teaching Joseph Conrad’s great novella The Nigger Of The ‘Narcissus’, you can forget it.

You might have thought that the whole point of university is to challenge conventional wisdom and stretch students’ minds — but according to today’s student Left, you would be wrong.

The point of university, they say, is to provide a ‘safe space’, where sensitive little flowers can shelter from the horrors of the real world. Of course, students have always been idealistic to the point of extremism. Just think, for example, of those who campaigned against the Vietnam War in the late-Sixties.

As older readers will recall, the campaign reached its peak in the Grosvenor Square demonstration of 1968, when some 10,000 people battled hundreds of mounted London policemen.

But that merely set the stage for a wave of strikes and sit-ins in the late-Sixties and early Seventies, many of which came perilously close to self-parody.

To give just one colourful example, the University of Essex, which had been built in the Sixties in the fashion of an East German power station, was plagued by student unrest.

The low point was a so-called ‘revolutionary festival’, at which, according to one observer, ‘a car was set on fire and a student and a mathematics professor struggled over possession of a hosepipe’.

For all their ludicrousness, though, the protests of the Sixties and Seventies were motivated by genuine concern about the state of the world.

It is true that sometimes students were protesting about parochial concerns such as exams and regulations.

But there was also a real passion about major international issues, from the wars in Vietnam and Biafra (which tried to secede from Nigeria) to the apartheid regime in white-dominated South Africa.

It was much the same story in the Eighties. Then, too, universities often fizzed with political enthusiasm.

Students joined campaigns calling for Nelson Mandela’s release; they argued about the bloodshed in Northern Ireland; they donated time and money to help the striking miners; they demonstrated against Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government.

Whatever you think of their goals, all these campaigns were motivated by genuine idealism, however naive.

And all were devoted to something far beyond the students’ immediate horizons, from the future of Britain’s coalmines to the plight of millions of black South Africans.

Today’s student activists, however, are very different.

While their predecessors wrung their hands about the plight of others, modern students shed tears of self-pity. And although we live in a more globalised age than ever, our students’ horizons have never been narrower.

The students of the Sixties never saw themselves as victims.

Quite the reverse, in fact: they knew they were privileged, often felt guilty about it, and were fired with an idealistic determination to help others less fortunate than themselves.

But today’s students, despite their predominantly middle-class backgrounds, have been encouraged to see themselves as the suffering casualties of a cruel world.

Instead of recognising their own privilege, they see themselves as victims of oppression, which is why so many of them flocked to Jeremy Corbyn, who shamelessly panders to their sense of entitlement.

They see no shame in asking for special treatment; indeed, as any academic will tell you, today’s students can hardly wait to proclaim themselves uniquely hard done by, and to demand compensation for their educational handicaps and mental disabilities, whether real or imagined.

As the U.S. psychologist Sean Rife puts it, in a society where ‘victimhood has become the ultimate status symbol . . . the notion of quietly bearing one’s trials has become passe’.

Perhaps the most famous example of this is a deranged furore at Yale, one of the most prestigious universities in the U. S., where student activists complained that professors were not treating their fears about potentially offensive Halloween costumes seriously enough. (Yes, really.) You can see the clip on YouTube, and it makes for truly extraordinary viewing.

Surrounded by activists, a professor begs them to consider their common humanity and to listen to contrary opinions. At that, one of the students, apparently in tears, shrieks: ‘But we’re dying!’

As Professor Rife writes, it is barely believable that a student at one of the world’s top universities could consider herself oppressed, let alone that she could claim to be ‘dying’.

In his words, ‘the idea that a simple email about Halloween costumes could constitute an existential threat is nothing short of delusional.’

Alas, the delusion is spreading. Take the students at the University of East Anglia who took offence at what they saw as ‘cultural appropriation’ — or the act of using things from another culture — because a local Mexican restaurant handed out Sombreros.

Or the student activists at Sussex, who asked their fellows to stop using the pronouns ‘he’ and ‘she’ because they make ‘assumptions about identity’.

A collective mania seems to have seized Britain’s campuses.

What makes this so toxic is that campuses often set the tone for mainstream society, since it is our universities that produce the leaders of the future.

You can bet the youthful prigs and censors of today will be the Labour MPs and BBC executives of tomorrow, endlessly hectoring the rest of us about the importance of safe spaces and making sure that every prime-time TV show has a transgender character.

The irony, of course, is that there are lots of good causes that students could be marching about.

They could be protesting about environmental damage in the Amazon, jihadi violence in Syria, the treatment of refugees in Eastern Europe, the oppression of women in Saudi Arabia, genocide in Yemen, the death of democracy in Venezuela, the nuclear threat in North Korea — the list goes on.

But no. The precious little flowers much prefer talking about themselves and the terrible hardships they have had to endure.

Revealingly, however, there is one group of students who never get involved in this sort of thing.

These are the thousands of youngsters who have come to study in Britain from much poorer, less privileged countries than our own.

Many of them might well be tempted to see themselves as victims, since they often come from battle-scarred, war-torn countries such as Syria and Iraq. But they almost never do.

Precisely because they are so conscious of their good fortune, they usually work extremely hard, putting their British colleagues to shame.

So while our own students are shouting about micro-aggressions and trigger warnings, and wallowing in their supposed oppression by their callously unfeeling tutors, their foreign counterparts are quietly working in the library, getting the qualifications they need to lift themselves out of poverty and lead their countries towards prosperity.

The ideal thing, of course, would be for our own students to ‘man up’. Alas, even those words are enough to lead to all sorts of feminist weeping and wailing in the halls of academe.

And that, of course, tells its own story.    


Monument mayhem, history hysteria, rooted in poor public education

It’s the education, stupid. That, in a nutshell, is a major reason why America’s monuments and national symbols are being torn down, removed, relocated and otherwise blotted from the public square.

If students in America’s public schools were properly taught the foundation of this country — the roots that made it great, the causes that both divided and united, the struggles of the nation to achieve even infancy, never mind maturity — then the leftist and anarchist calls to destroy would fall on deaf ears.
There would have been no Durham, North Carolina, toppling of the Confederate soldier monument.

There would be no fear of black-hearted antifa crowds coming to a community near you.

ESPN’s ridiculous removal of Asian Robert Lee from broadcasting duties at the University of Virginia’s home opener football game out of concerns for the politically correct crowd would not have happened. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s equally ridiculous consideration of a proposal to remove a Christopher Columbus statue from public view would die a quick political death.

As for the still-swirling suggestions to remove statues related to our nation’s founding — those tied to Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and half of the ones in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall, as well as at dotted spots around the country?

They’d be roundly and soundly mocked as radical and anti-America notions.

That they’re not — that these suggestions are actually gaining steam and collecting snowflake love — indicates a sad and pitiful reality of our nation’s youth: They’re ignorant of our country’s founding, and of the roots of America’s greatness. And for that, public schools are largely to blame.

Look at this, from even the left-leaning NEA Today, in a piece titled “Forgotten Purpose: Civics Education in Public Schools,” published in March: “One of the primary reasons our nation’s founders envisioned a vast public education system was to prepare youth to be active participants in our system of self-government.

The responsibilities of each citizen were assumed to go far beyond casting a vote; protecting the common good would require developing students’ critical thinking and debate skills, along with strong civic virtues. Blind devotion to the state or its leaders would never be enough.”

But America, post-1960s, turned a sharp corner on requiring public schools to provide such thorough lesson plans. How many of today’s students are truly taught the Constitution — as founders intended it to be implemented, that is?

Teachings of founders have turned to trendy politically charged lesson plans that draw skewed parallels between today’s radicals and yesterday’s dissenters. Lookie here, lefties. The Boston tea party, no matter how many educators agree, is hardly akin to Black Lives Matter uprisings. Yet these are the messages being sold today’s youth.

No wonder thuggish behavior and violent activism have replaced critical thinking and contextually based political dissension as proper expressions of the First Amendment nowadays. Today’s students are being taught they’re one and the same — that violence, nonviolence, it’s all good.

If they were taught to think for themselves — if they were taught to see and analyze history in context of the events of the era, rather than knee-jerk react to a linear interpretation — they would see the double standard of pressing for the tear-down of Robert E. Lee statues, while turning blind eyes to the many West Virginia facilities named after the former Democratic Ku Klux Klansman, Sen. Robert Byrd.

They would see clearly the feminist hypocrisy of condemning President Donald Trump as a misogynist while adopting more nuanced views to praise the likes of churlish but progressive Franklin Delano Roosevelt, serial adulterer but left-leaning John F. Kennedy, and hound dog Democrat Bill Clinton as solid politicians for their side.

They would realize that tearing down Thomas Jefferson and George Washington for racism common to the era is not one and the same as condemning today’s neo-Nazis or KKKers — or, for that matter, historical justification for cheering the existence and influence of the equally vile Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

No, if schools taught as they were supposed to — if teachers in public facilities provided proper context, if history and civics lessons instilled truthful commentaries on the progression of America’s politics and government, if teacher unions were actually in business to broaden students’ minds rather than purses and pockets of educators — today’s youth wouldn’t be burning in the streets.

They’d instead be placing flowers on veterans’ graves.