Friday, September 15, 2017

Why US colleges are the world's best but way too expensive

Each year, the Times of London produces a rankings guide to the world's best universities. This year's guide has just been released, and the U.K. universities of Oxford and Cambridge top the rankings. American universities remain on top, but are losing ground to Asia and Europe.

Those results speak to the rankings guide's credibility: It is pretty good, but not perfect.

As the Wall Street Journal explains, the guide fails to consider China's use of universities as "journal churning" factories. Producing as many research papers as possible, Chinese universities know they can boost their research value score in comparison to other institutions. The research papers don't need to be useful; they just need to tick a box "one more article." The Times report also overweighs academics (and thus liberals) when assessing colleges. It would be more accurate were the Times to use high-societal achievers such as Pulitzer Prize winners, CEOs, or economists to judge how good universities actually are.

And were these considerations included, the U.S. would retain an unchallenged position as the world's top center for value-assessed research and education. That's because whether it be medical developments, private sector innovation, or impact-based philosophy and history, no other nation comes close to America's knowledge factory. That includes Oxford and Cambridge universities.

Money tells a big part of the tale here. After all, high-end research is rarely cheap.

But considering Oxford University's 2015-2016 research budget was $700 million, were it a U.S. university, it would be only 23rd on the nation's research budget list. Even worse, Cambridge University's $491 million a year would put it in 38th place!

Still, there is one thing that Oxford and Cambridge do better than top U.S. universities: cost-control in other areas. Consider undergraduate tuition.

First off, a quick caveat: U.K. students have their annual tuition capped by the government at $12,041 a year, so it's not fair to contrast those fees with private sector U.S. colleges. That said, if we consider overseas students at Oxford or Cambridge (who do not receive U.K. government subsidies), the rates become comparative. This year, an overseas student at Oxford or Cambridge will pay a maximum tuition of $31,109 or $38,054 (excluding medicine) respectively. While those rates might seem high, they are nothing compared to the U.S.

Trawl through the websites of U.S. Ivy League schools, and you'll find annual tuition fees at Brown come in at $52,213, Dartmouth at $51,468, Yale at $51,400, Princeton at $47,140, and Harvard at $44,990.

Why so much higher?

In part, it's due to the higher salaries of professors. But it's also a consequence of vastly expensive expenditures U.S. colleges make beyond teaching. American colleges spend big in areas such as student accommodations, lecture halls, social facilities, and administration. To be sure, these facilities are far superior to those in Britain, but they carry a heavy cost in the form of tuition outlays. The consequence is that too little of each student's fees is actually spent on education. More problematic, this pricing system means that those from low to middle income backgrounds require government subsidies in order to study. And sadly, thanks to our acceptance that this price inflation is the norm, Americans are accepting its perpetuity.

As I've argued, we need a different approach. We should work to reduce tuition costs by bold federal grant reform and in staffing structure changes. Most of all, we must remind ourselves that the key to a good education is not luxury, but good teaching.

Until reform comes, however, I thoroughly recommend American students look abroad for their undergraduate study. For one, consider my alma mater, King's College London's War Studies department. Studying for a B.A. in War Studies will only cost you $22,231 a year, and in return, you'll learn the ways of spycraft, diplomacy, and statecraft. You'll get to learn from Alessio Patalano and Andrew Lambert!


Racial Lies and Racism:  Pesky Asians
Earlier this month, The New York Times ran an article titled “U.S. Rights Unit Shifts to Study Antiwhite Bias” on its front page. The article says that President Donald Trump’s Justice Department’s civil rights division is going to investigate and sue universities whose affirmative action admissions policies discriminate against white applicants. This is an out-and-out lie. The truth is that the U.S. departments of Justice and Education plan to investigate racial bias in admissions at Harvard and other elite institutions where Asian-Americans are held to far higher standards than other applicants. This type of practice was used during the first half of the 20th century to limit the number of Jews at Harvard and other Ivy League schools.

Drs. Thomas Espenshade and Alexandria Radford documented discrimination against Asians in their 2009 award-winning book, “No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal: Race and Class in Elite College Admission and Campus Life.” Their research demonstrated that, when controlling for other variables, Asian students faced considerable odds against their admission. To be admitted to elite colleges, Asians needed SAT scores 140 points higher than whites, 270 points higher than Hispanics and 450 points higher than blacks. An Asian applicant with an SAT score of 1500 (out of a possible 1600 on the old SAT) had the same chance of being admitted as a white student with a 1360 score, a Latino with a 1230 and a black student with a 1050 score. Another way of looking at it is that among applicants who had the highest SAT scores (within the 1400-1600 range), 77 percent of blacks were admitted, 48 percent of Hispanics, 40 percent of whites and only 30 percent of Asians.

The case of Austin Jia is typical of what happens to Asian students. In 2015, Jia graduated from high school and had a nearly perfect score of 2340 out of 2400 possible points on the new SAT. His GPA was 4.42, and he had taken 11 Advanced Placement courses in high school. He had been on his school’s debate team, been the tennis team’s captain and played the violin in the all-state orchestra. His applications for admission were rejected at Harvard, Princeton and Columbia universities, as well as at the University of Pennsylvania. Jia said that his rejection was particularly disturbing when certain classmates who had lower scores but were not Asian-American like him were admitted to those Ivy League schools.

California universities present an interesting case. At one time, they also discriminated against Asians in admissions, but now it’s a different story. As of 2008, Asians made up 40 percent of the students enrolled at UCLA and 43 percent at the University of California, Berkeley. Last school year, 42 percent of students at Caltech were Asian. You might ask what accounts for the high numbers. It turns out that in 1996, Proposition 209 (also known as the California Civil Rights Initiative) was approved by California voters. The measure amended the state constitution to prohibit state governmental institutions from considering race, sex or ethnicity in the areas of public employment, public contracting and public education.

The experience of California, where racially discriminatory admissions policy has been reduced, suggests that if Ivy League universities were prohibited from using race as a factor in admissions, the Asian-American admissions rate would rise while the percentages of white, black and Hispanic students would fall. Diversity-crazed college administrators would throw a hissy fit. By the way, diversity-crazed administrators are willing accomplices in the nearly total lack of racial diversity on their basketball teams. It’s not unusual to watch games in which there’s not a single white, Hispanic or Asian player.

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz says, “The idea of discriminating against Asians in order to make room for other minorities doesn’t seem right as a matter of principle.” Dershowitz is absolutely right, but he goes astray when he argues that investigating discrimination against whites raises a different set of questions. He says, “Generically, whites have not been the subject of historic discrimination.” Dershowitz’s vision fails to see people as humans, because what human is deserving of racial discrimination?


How NYU Can Learn from China

When I studied in London last year as part of my university’s exchange program, I experienced first-hand the inefficiencies of monopolies propped up by central authorities. The “central authority” I speak of is not, perhaps, what you are thinking of: the UK government, or worse, the ‘notorious’ European Union. Rather, I use the term to describe my own university, which in many ways operates like a state. I was inspired to write this blog post after reading China’s Great Migration, by Bradley M. Gardner, because of the parallels I saw between the Chinese government’s control over its economy and my university’s control over housing.

I go to New York University, which is known in New York for being egregiously expensive. At NYU’s London campus, the story is the same. In particular, housing costs turn a high tuition bill into a monumental cost of attendance. But it doesn’t have to be this way. NYU is much smaller than a state, but its housing woes reflect the problems caused by governments that limit economic competition and enforce state-run monopolies; it can learn from these experiences.

When I was choosing where to live in London, I was given the option of choosing between three different dorms: two operated by NYU and one operated by a private company called Urbanest, which also rents to students from other universities. In the two NYU dorms, you are most likely to be placed in a double room in a suite. You’ll have a roommate and share a bathroom with three or more other people. That costs about $8,500 per semester.

In Urbanest, you are guaranteed your own room, most likely in a suite with four to eight other rooms. You’ll have your own bathroom in your room, and share a kitchen with the suite. That’s listed on NYU’s housing website at around $10,000 per semester.

I stayed in Urbanest my first semester and an NYU dorm in my second, and I can say that the quality of Urbanest is undeniably better. The beds are comfortable. The kitchens are large and have ceiling-height windows. And Urbanest rents bikes to students for very cheap. None of this is true of the NYU dorms. It makes sense, though—Urbanest is more expensive, so the quality should be better. The problem is, Urbanest is actually not more expensive—for non-NYU students, that is.

As the Bedford Square News reported last year, NYU students who rent a room in Urbanest through the university pay $3,000 more per semester than non-NYU students, who can book directly through Urbanest for around $7,000 per semester. This means that, in reality, the private company is able to provide a superior product while charging much less than NYU.

And there are other, better—and cheaper—options outside of NYU housing. I stayed in three different Airbnbs in London over winter break (NYU kicks students out of the dorms over holiday) all costing from $28 to $44 a night. Taking the highest rate, $44, that’s just over $5000 for the seventeen-week semester—much cheaper than anything NYU provides. Unfortunately, though, living full time in an Airbnb—as well as booking directly through Urbanest—is not actually an option because NYU requires students studying abroad to live in university housing. Students must book through NYU and pay whatever rate the university decides to charge.

While the motivation behind such a policy may be to ensure the university has enough revenue to cover the costs of its dorms so it can guarantee students housing, the market already does a fine job providing housing at higher quality and lower cost.

NYU’s high housing costs are rooted in the same lack of choice that makes state-mandated monopolies inefficient, and NYU would be well-suited to look at the experiences of economies that have been dominated by these monopolies.

One of the best examples of such an economy is China. In his new book, China’s Great Migration, Bradley M. Gardner outlines how the migration of over 260 million Chinese people from rural China to urban centers helped transform the Chinese economy into the second largest in the world. The migration was so large and rapid that it forced the government to greatly loosen its control over the economy.

In 1979, the Chinese government legalized self-employment (private employment) to absorb the millions of unemployed people who could no longer find work in state-owned enterprises. Since then, the number of private firms has grown substantially and, as Gardner notes, these companies have consistently outperformed the SOEs. That’s because the private sector is forced to adapt to the market—to lower costs and improve quality as the market demands cheaper and better products.

State-owned enterprises, on the other hand, lack such adaptability and do not face actual market costs and prices. Just like NYU’s housing, Chinese SOEs that are still viable stay above water only because they enjoy monopolies. In both cases, monopolies created by central planning are inefficient, and the private sector can do a better job.

Mr. Gardner notes that SOEs are the biggest threat to China’s continued development and that China would only benefit from selling off these companies. Similarly, as NYU faces increasing pressure over its cost of attendance, it would do well to end its monopoly on housing and the corresponding price inflations at its campuses abroad, letting the market dictate where students live.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Where the Battle for America Must Really Be Won

“The day after the election I was texting my mom to pick me up from school and she almost had to!! Every teacher was crying in class, one even told the whole class ‘Trump winning is worse than 9/11 and the Columbine shooting.’” —a student describing the scene at Edina High School in Minneapolis last November

America is a divided nation. And nothing fosters that division more than the legions of public school students who have been fed a steady diet of progressive ideology for more than four decades — one that asserts America is a fundamentally flawed nation in need of wholesale change. Aided and abetted by Democrats, teachers and their unions have made it clear that students either conform to the progressive worldview or they will be bullied, harassed and intimidated until they do.

Moreover, progressives are twisting the law, especially with regard to their efforts to force-feed transgenderism to children beginning in kindergarten. “Whether parents will have a right to opt their children out of ‘gender identity’ lessons depends on the governing provisions of state law,” explains columnist Margot Cleveland. “Every state regulates public education, and in most states, parents may opt their children out of ‘sex-education’ classes. Whether a discussion of ‘gender identity’ and ‘transgenderism’ would qualify as ‘sex education’ depends on the specific statute.”

Bottom line? “My initial research indicates that the various statutory definitions of ‘sex education’ contained in opt-out provisions focus on sexual reproduction and thus would not cover classroom discussions of gender identity,” she adds. “Further, some states, such as California, expressly provide that ‘gender identity’ is not subject to the statutory opt-out provisions available to parents for comprehensive sex education.

Thus, when a kindergarten teacher Rocklin Academy Gateway staged a gender transition ceremony for one of her students, furious parents who had neither been notified in advance, nor given the opportunity to opt out, were told by the principal that the school’s non-discrimination policy "protects all students, including on the basis of gender, gender identity, and gender expression.”

Parents at a Washington, DC, charter school received the same treatment. When expressing similar concerns they were not given the opportunity to opt out of such classes, the principal was equally obdurate. “I will not exempt any child from classroom discussions or instruction relating to the topics of gender identity, and ‘marital norms,’” he wrote in a letter.

The sentiments of a parental majority are apparently irrelevant as well. A couple who insisted their child was gender fluid at the age of two — because he began emulating Beyonc√©’s dance moves — successfully sued St. Paul, Minnesota’s Nova Classical Academy for not including transgender material in kindergarten classes. As a result the school promised to establish a policy that doesn’t allow parents to opt out “based on religious or conscience objections.” In addition, the school stated it would “not call parents’ or guardians’ attention to the policy” — meaning they are trying to hide mandatory compliance with the progressive agenda from unsuspecting parents.

Chalkbeat Indiana is taking it one step further, providing LGBT activists with a list of schools that are “anti-LGBT” (read: espouse traditional and/or Christian values) in case “rainbow protesters wanted to show up at a few, or know where to enroll their gender-dysphoric kindergarteners and then sue,” warns columnist Joy Pullman.

Transgenderism is the tip of the progressive iceberg. “Not many things shock me, but I confess that I have been shocked by what I have learned about the Edina public school system,” writes John Hinderacker. “Indoctrination in left-wing politics begins in elementary school, where children are taught the pernicious doctrine of ‘white privilege.’”

In Texas, Katy High School was forced to delete a picture from its social media site depicting National Guard members taking a rest in an empty school hallway following their effort to help people devastated by Hurricane Harvey. At Georgia’s River Ridge High School, teacher Lyn Orletsky made students remove “Make America Great Again” T-shirts. Why? “Just like you cannot wear a swastika to school, you cannot wear ‘make America great again’ like that,” Orletsky asserted.

President Trump has been used as a springboard for much of this nonsense, beginning shortly after the election when the National Education Association urged schools to participate in a “National Day of Action” against the new president. But such ideological insidiousness began being implemented before that, casing a wider ideological net in the process. In 2015 at Nathan Hale High School in West Allis, Wisconsin, a teacher asked students to rate a list of political statements ranging from communist to fascist. With regard to the statement, “We should not help the poor, it’s a waste of money,” any answer that did not identify it as a “Conservative/Republican” position was marked wrong.

Such overt proselytization has also occurred with regard to religion, global warming, history and economics. Students who resist are bullied, suspended or forced to undergo psychological evaluations.

Yet it is far worse than that. As the Daily Caller reveals, “dozens of public school teachers” belong to the antifa-aligned organization By Any Means Necessary (BAMN). They include Detroit teacher Nicole Conaway, who led students on a 2016 protest resulting in a confrontation with police and her arrest. Militant Berkeley middle school teacher Yvette Felarca, currently faces charges for inciting a riot outside the state capital last year. The district where she works has accused her of and her BAMN of “actively trying to brainwash and manipulate these young people to serve your own selfish interests in not being held accountable to the same rules that apply to everyone else,” yet they have been unable or unwilling to fire her. And in 2016, 17 BAMN members ran for elected positions with the Detroit Federation of Teachers and five ran for positions with the NEA in 2017.

What can be done to counter this ongoing progressive onslaught? It’s time to use the same court-endorsed strategy that keeps organized religion out of the nation’s public school classrooms: make the case that progressive ideology is itself faith-based and its de facto endorsement violates the First Amendment’s prohibition thereof. Nothing demonstrates that reality better than its adherents determination to force the unproven science of transgenderism on children, leaving many of them confused and frightened. “The leftists harping on this topic are essentially demanding a religious litmus test … as a precondition for educating children,” Pullman states.

Not essentially. Exactly, and a class-action suit would be the beginning of an effort to hold schools accountable, not just with regard to transgenderism, but every other bit of progressive propaganda being presented as indisputable fact.

In addition, Congress should hold nationally televised hearings on the current state of public school education. No doubt millions of Americans would be fascinated to discover why an anti-Republican, anti-Trump, anti-tradition, pro-global warming, pro-transgender, pro-socialist, pro-sanctuary and pro-revisionist history agenda has become the default position in hundreds of schools around the nation.

“Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted,” stated Vladimir Lenin.

In a nation enduring increasingly regular and leftist-orchestrated assaults on free speech, historical monuments, biological reality, capitalism — and American exceptionalism itself — a sustained and organized counter-attack is an idea whose time has come.


Why children should now aspire to be plumbers, builders and electricians... not lawyers

Among my generation of middle-class, university-educated male friends, there are countless who can explain the geopolitical significance of Turkey’s recent election, but barely one who could hang a painting straight.

As for changing a fuse, bleeding a radiator or fixing a tap, forget it. You need to get a real man in for that.

Hardly surprising, then, that new figures reveal that electricians, plumbers and plasterers are among the highest-paid workers in the country, with some earning more than £150,000 a year.

All over Britain, skilled tradesmen are now bringing home up to six times the average wage. A junior doctor earns £23,000 a year, working night shifts and long hours. A newly qualified sparky, by contrast, can easily make £1,500 a week.

There was a time, of course, when every home had its own live-in handyman. He was known as ‘the husband’. The quality of the work wasn’t always perfect, and he did require a certain amount of nagging and strong tea; but it at least meant that a blocked sink or a broken Hoover wasn’t the end of the world.

But most modern husbands, mine included, are far more likely to be found building a LEGO Death Star spaceship at the weekend with the children than repointing the garden wall.

Hence the rising salaries in the manual labour market — and the boom in websites such as Task-Rabbit, where helpless wives can find handymen for all sorts of niggling jobs, from fixing a wobbly shelf to sorting out a patch of damp.

Let us not forget the success of the boss of Pimlico Plumbers, Charlie Mullins, testament to the benefits of knowing one end of a stopcock from another. Born in Camden, he grew up in a council flat and left school at 15 to become a plumber’s apprentice. He’s now worth £70 million.

One fellow I employed recently to help with an especially fiendish flat pack came all the way from Canada. He had moved to the UK to work in the banking sector, but had lost his job a few years after the 2008 crash. Since then he had been making a perfectly good living as a general odd jobber — self-employed and master of his own destiny.

He much preferred his new life, he said. And there was no shortage of work to be had.

There may be something a little surreal about this army of surrogate husbands filling in for other men’s DIY inadequacies. But what is real is what it tells us about the future of the job market — and the entire post-war theory of education.

Since the Eighties, governments have embraced unquestioningly the notion of expanding university provision. In 2002, Tony Blair promised to get half of all young people into university and numbers have risen steadily ever since.

No one then would have thought to contest his vision of democratising higher education. But perhaps it’s not so straightforward after all.

The problem with flooding a marketplace is that you inevitably devalue the product.

Thus, the more undergraduates who enter the job market, the less their achievements count. And when you think what it costs for a young person to obtain a degree — three to four years of study, potentially £50,000 worth of debt and little guarantee of a well-paid job at the end of it — you do wonder whether it’s worth it.

Perhaps instead of aspiring for our boys to be doctors, lawyers and accountants, we should be encouraging them to be plumbers, builders and electricians.

Could it be that, after years at the top, the age of the middle-class intellectual professional is drawing to a close, driven to extinction not only by the Darwinian march of technology — but his own stubborn refusal to finally get around to changing that damned plug?


Yearning for More Robust Choice Than Charters Can Provide

Charters have become increasingly establishment.  Voucher-funded private schooling is increasingly sought

Charter schools are not going to disappear overnight from the menu of education-reform options. However, the precipitous decline in popular support for these semi-autonomous public schools, as shown by a 2017 EdNext Poll, is stunning and certainly a cause for serious reflection by the movement’s boosters and sympathizers.

A drop of 12 percentage points from 2016 to 2017—from 51 percent support down to 39 percent—is particularly noteworthy given that it comes in a survey overseen by highly respected, fair-minded scholars at Stanford’s Hoover Institution and the Harvard Kennedy School. The dip in charter support was the largest change the pollsters found in opinion on a broad range of education issues. Support for charters declined in similar proportions among Republicans and Democrats.

It’s also significant that the latest EdNext Poll showed private choice, which offers families a far more robust array of options than charters, gaining in public esteem. Opposition to universal vouchers—publicly-funded scholarships available to all—shrank from 44 percent to 37 percent, while opposition to tax-credit-funded scholarships dipped to just 24 percent (from 29 percent in 2016). The scholarship tax credits were the most popular form of school choice, with nearly seven of every 10 respondents supporting that option.

In the 2016 poll, universal vouchers –an idea originally championed by free-market economist Milton Friedman – were more popular among Democrats than Republicans— and by an 8-percentage-point margin. Who knew? Perhaps a partial explanation lies in the high level of support for all-out choice among African-Americans, who vote heavily Democratic despite that party’s catering to the anti-parental-choice teachers’ unions.

This partisan divide shifted in the 2017 poll, with universal-voucher support increasing among Republicans by 13 percentage points (to 54 percent) but declining by nine points among Democrats (to 40 percent). Gung-ho verbal championing of choice by President Donald Trump could help explain that.

What should we make of this data? Well, for starters, more choice is preferable to less choice, and choice extending into the private sector beats being limited to choice within the governmental system.

The strong suit of charter schools is that, in the 26 years since the first one came into being in Minnesota, they have offered at least a modicum of choice to families stuck in their neighborhood government school, often in inner cities and without a lifeline to independent schools.

Statistically, charters have had a decent run. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the percentage of charter schools within the public school orb increased from four percent to seven percent from school years 2004–05 to 2014–15, with the total number of charter schools growing from 3,400 to 6,750. During that period, charter school enrollment increased by 1.8 million pupils while enrollment in conventional public schools dropped by 0.4 million.

Yet the EdNext poll confirmed what many other surveys have found: At least a quarter of adult Americans still don’t understand what a charter school is. That may be partly a result of advocates’ failure to communicate the charter mission, but, increasingly, the problem is a blurring of differences between conventional and chartered public schools.

At the outset, the idea was that these would be innovative schools driven by an entrepreneurial spirit. Organizations or groups of parents and teachers with a shared vision could apply for a contract (or charter) with the local school district or a statewide chartering authority. In exchange for delivering a curriculum and specified results, the founders would receive an exemption from certain innovation-crushing rules, such as teachers having to be certified. Upon periodic review, the chartering authority could revoke the charter for failure to perform to agreed-upon standards.

However, charters gradually have lost their grassroots aura. NCES data show charters with fewer than 300 students are declining in numbers while those with at least 500 are growing. It used to be a badge of honor that grassroots charters operated on about one-third of the cost of traditional public schools, on average, compared to conventional public schools, but now, major charter organizations lobby for equalized funding.

More ominously, proponents of centralized education have co-opted the charter movement to push their own agendas, and, incredibly, have invited increased oversight and regulation of charters by public officials, who often are hostile to their very existence. Noting that, Tillie Elvrum, president of – a nationwide parents’ alliance, charged in a statement that the charter movement’s leaders “have walked away from the fundamental principle of trusting and empowering parents with their children’s education decisions.”

It is an open question whether, if these trends continue, charter schools will remain even a decent fallback option for families that cannot select a private or parochial school for their children.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Leftists rediscovering their segregationist roots

Irwin Holmes was in his living room, a laptop computer in front of him, a pile of reading materials stacked next to him, and his wife seated nearby when he heard the news. North Carolina State University might create segregated student housing for African American women.

When he learned his alma mater already had exclusive student housing for Native Americans and African American males he was incredulous, and at no loss for words.

“I want to make some contacts over at that school. I’m going to go over there and let them know what I think about it,” Holmes said. “I think it’s absolutely atrocious and stupid. I’ll tell you how it affected me. I’m going to make some reasonable contributions to the school. Maybe. I’m not sure I’m going to make them now.”

Holmes, a retired electrical engineer who still lives in his hometown of Durham, was the first African American to earn an undergraduate degree from NC State, in 1960.

“I was clearly a pioneer” in tearing down racial barriers to integrated education in the Jim Crow South, Holmes said. “Somebody’s going to have to convince me why that’s not stepping backwards” to create separate housing for minorities.

Nashia Whittenburg, director of multicultural student affairs at NC State, stirred a national debate and a torrent of news articles shortly after she assumed her position on July 10. She was quoted in a university news release saying she wanted to create an exclusive living and learning village for African American women.

“Are we creating a sense of inclusion for our underrepresented students, and the opportunity for non-underrepresented students to understand that?” Whittenburg asked in justifying the segregated housing, which she likened to an after-class support system to deal with all-day microaggressions. She views female blacks-only housing as a student retention tool.

University housing director Susan Grant said Whittenburg’s plan “is not currently under consideration,” and could take more than a year to be developed if approved.

There are 16 living and learning villages on campus “to provide a high impact living and learning experience to complement and augment the academic and co-curricular experience,” Grant said.

She denied that any of the village housing is segregated, but did not answer whether people of other races lived in the Black Male Initiative or Native Space housing.

“Our focus is on cultural exploration, not exclusive of any race,” Grant said.​

It is unclear how many colleges and universities have such student housing arrangements.

James Baumann, director of communications and marketing at the Association of College and University Housing Officers – International, said that will be the subject of a research initiative in the near future.

He said that his organization has been following housing programs for African American males at, among other schools, the University of Connecticut, the University of Iowa, and Cal State Los Angeles. Reed College in Portland, Oregon, Cornell College in Iowa, UC Berkeley, and Stanford University also have ethnic and racially themed housing.

Themed housing “can address a number of different subjects that are sometimes connected to work in the classroom, and other times operate independently of the students’ coursework,” Baumann said. It can “bring together students that share an interest, area of study, or an identity. They can act as a support network that helps students build community and assist one another.”

But critics have raised questions about the legality of segregated housing for racial minorities, and whether it is a return to a darker time in the nation’s history when government policy and institutional rules separated the races.

Civil rights lawyer Irving Joyner, a law professor at the historically black North Carolina Central University in Durham, said separate housing could run afoul of the Constitution.

“If this is just done for the sake of doing it, then I think you have a clear violation of Brown v. Board of Education,” Joyner said of the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision that declared “separate but equal” education was unconstitutional.

Joyner said he is aware of efforts on university campuses and in high schools around the country “to declare that such an arrangement violates Brown v. Board, that it is a perpetuation of segregation, and because of that it should not occur.”

But he can imagine a defense for separate housing. If there is a hostility level on campus that makes African American females uncomfortable, or if they feel culturally alienated, or culturally attacked, that falls under the same umbrella as a physical attack in his mind, Joyner said.

A university has “a compelling interest” to provide separate housing as an emergency measure to protect students under those circumstances, he said. “I think that the court would allow it.”

Joyner was one of only two African American students in his dormitory during his undergraduate studies at Oswego State University in New York. He said he understands why older African Americans who endured similar experiences might feel like a return to separate housing betrays their important efforts to desegregate colleges.

But Irwin Holmes said he is less concerned about the legacy of his contributions in opening doors to minority students at NC State than he is about what might be lost through separate housing.

“One of the big advantages of integration in America has been that people who wouldn’t normally run into each other as they go through life are forced to run into each other. And what happens when you do that is you discover that there’s not much difference between us,” Holmes said.

Integrated schools and close living arrangements foster interracial friendships that might not otherwise occur, and that is “the main reason America’s changing today,” Holmes said. “When you mix, magical things happen that nobody can anticipate.…”

Holmes chose NC State for its engineering program. NC Central, from which his father and mother graduated, and where his father was an All-American football player, and later teacher and coach, did not have an engineering curriculum. And going to North Carolina A&T was out of the question because that was NC Central’s arch rival, and his parents wouldn’t have allowed that, he said with a chuckle.

Despite two racially charged encounters with professors, a sour experience or two from his white teammates on the tennis team, and a sucker punch from a white opponent during an intramural basketball game, Holmes said his experience at NC State was overwhelmingly positive.

Most professors were determined he would graduate, and helped him any way they could. Most of his fellow students were friendly. And he was named co-captain of the tennis team his senior year.

Holmes, like Joyner, said there might be more racial tension on campus today than during integration.

White teachers might not encourage African American students to excel because they don’t believe they are as capable as white students, he said. African Americans might feel that whites still don’t accept them into their groups. So they no longer try to assimilate where they don’t feel wanted, and tend to band together.

But he doesn’t believe that justifies splintering the races further through separate housing.

Neal McCluskey, director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Reform, said he is unaware whether any research has been done on the effects of segregated college housing.

But he said there is research at the high school level that shows self-segregation is common. He cited former Spelman College president Beverly Daniel Tatum’s Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? as one of the books that found that even if students are physically together in school, their friendships tend to be overwhelmingly homogenous.

“Meaningful, intergroup bridging does not seem to readily occur even where groups are physically mixed,” McCluskey said. “And this seems to be largely a function of homophily—people liking people like themselves—rather than animosity toward other groups.”

But proponents of race-themed housing, such as NC State’s Nashia Whittenburg, don’t appear to be working to bridge racial divides or reduce students’ tendency to self-segregate.

They seem to be more interested in creating psychological “safe spaces” for minority students than in breaking down social barriers. In the name of “inclusion,” they may end up perpetuating the exclusionary campus culture that Irwin Holmes and others fought against decades ago.


Illinois Passes Its First, Country’s 18th, Tax-Credit Scholarship Program

By Vicki Alger 

This week the Illinois legislature passed legislation creating the country’s 18th tax-credit scholarship program, and the bill is on its way to Gov. Bruce Rauner, who’s said he’ll sign it. UPDATE: Gov. Rauner signed the bill.

Officially called the Invest in Kids Act, Illinois’ flagship tax-credit scholarship program was passed as part of a compromise school funding bill. (See SB 1947)

Unlike voucher scholarships, which are funded by government appropriations, tax-credit scholarships are privately financed through donations to non-profit scholarship organizations.

The Invest in Kids Act makes students from low- and moderate-income families eligible for scholarships, which are scaled based on family income. When awarding scholarships, non-profits must give priority to low-income students, students in districts with poorly performing public schools, called “focus districts,” and siblings of scholarship recipients.

Scholarship amounts cannot exceed the lesser of necessary private school costs and fees, or the statewide average public school operational expense per student, which averages just under $13,000. Scholarship limits are higher for special needs, English learner, and gifted/talented students.

Students from families whose income is less than 185 percent of the federal poverty level, currently $45,510 for a family of four, receive full scholarship awards. Partial scholarships worth 75 percent of the maximum amount can be awarded to students whose family incomes fall between 185 percent and less than 250 percent of the federal poverty level, currently $61,500 for a family of four. Students from families with incomes of 250 percent up to the program income limit of 300 percent of the federal poverty level, currently $73,800 for a family of four, are eligible for scholarships worth 50 percent of the maximum award.

Individuals and businesses can claim a credit off their state taxes worth 75 percent of their donations to scholarship non-profits, and the aggregate value of tax credits that can be claimed in a given year is capped at $75 million. That works out to a maximum of $100 million annually in donations for need-based scholarships.

Even though the Invest in Kids scholarship program represents just a fraction of Illinois state education funding, which amounts to $8.2 billion, Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey called it a “time bomb” that could “sabotage school funding.” (See here also.) Hardly.

States that have enacted tax-credit scholarship programs have saved as much as $3.4 billion combined—approximately $3,000 per scholarship student. An official government analysis of the country’s largest scholarship program in Florida also found that the state saved $1.49 in education funding for every dollar claimed in donation tax credits.

What’s more, under the 500+ page bill the Chicago Public School system gets an additional $450 million, and the City of Chicago gets to increase property taxes by $130 million.

Most importantly the Invest in Kids scholarship program “will bring hope to many students who have been trapped in schools that do not meet their education needs,” according to the Heartland Institute’s Lennie Jarratt.

Thus Illinois will soon officially be the largest blue state with a private school parental choice program, which should give hope to Californians that nonpublic educational choice could be a reality someday soon.

“Illinois, a state mired in debt and tortured by one of, if not the worst teachers unions in the nation, has finally done something to help children stuck in failing schools,” says the Heartland Institute’s Teresa Mull. Her colleague Tim Benson concurs, adding, “At the dawn of 2017, I never would have expected that one of the states to pass a new education choice program would be Illinois, the poster child for governance – both stupid and criminal. Yet here I am, pleasantly surprised to be wrong.”


UK: Liberal school that's just too liberal: Top £10,000-a-year Steiner school is ordered to close amid child safety fears after series of damning inspections

When my son was a toddler, we visited the local Steiner School with a view to seeing if it might be right for him. But it was way too wacky for us

A top £10,000 a year school has been ordered to close following a damning report from Ofsted that flagged up serious fears of child safety.

The Rudolf Steiner School, in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire, will close down after failing to make improvements since the education watchdog's last visit in December, when it stopped any new pupils from coming aboard.

But now the school has been ordered to close down for good, with inspectors saying data protection had been breached, pupils were able to wander off-site during lunch breaks and that there were no 'professional boundaries' between students and teachers, with some meeting up outside school.

The school is currently appealing the decision and will continue to operate as normal until a decision on this has been made.

A statement on the school's website reads: 'On 26th July the School received notice from the Department for Education of the Secretary of State's decision to de-register the School from the Register of Independent Schools, subject to appeal.

'This notice was a result of the findings of Ofsted's May 2017 Inspection.

'After almost seventy years of providing a unique and inspiring education to countless children, the School is facing closure.

'The School is appealing the deregistration and the community is now coming together in a positive and dedicated campaign to save our school.'

After it failed the report in December, Ofsted officials visited the school in May to see if it had managed to turn its fortunes around.

However, lead inspector Philippa Darley and her team found that, in many respects, teachers were far behind the necessary standards, with some even casually meeting children outside class.

The report said: 'Professional boundaries between staff, parents and pupils are not maintained... Parents arrange for pupils to see their teachers, and former teachers, off the school site.  This culture is unchanged, despite known serious safeguarding failings.

The report also slammed the school for lying to parents about the severity of some of the issues, and for failing to keep data secure.

'Leaders have underplayed and misrepresented the school's safeguarding failings to parents,' it said. 'On more than one occasion, they have publicly stated that the failure is simply one of 'record keeping'.

'They have also stated that 'no transgressions or wrongdoings were found to have taken place' and have implied that former parents who expressed concerns have misrepresented the position. These messages are not supported by the inspection evidence.

'Leaders have failed to ensure that information relating to child protection is retained in line with the rules on retention of data promulgated by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

'They have failed to take proper steps to save the email accounts of former staff, including those of one former leader for safeguarding.

'Records of pupils going off-site at lunchtime continue to be poorly kept. It is not always clear if pupils have returned to school.

'These standards remain unmet. Crucially, leaders do not base their decisions, at all times, on what is in the best interests of the child. This is the core principle of good safeguarding practice and a statutory requirement for all schools.'

A new principal has been appointed in a bid to save the school from closure, and an entirely new Council of Trustees has also been put in place.

In a public statement on the school's website, co-signed by the new principal and the chair of trustees the school said:

'The new leadership of the School is putting into effect a strategy to address all of the issues identified by Ofsted and others, working closely with parents, staff and all stakeholders

'While the School feels it provides a positive experience for children, there have been real and serious failings going back several years.

'The School and leadership wishes to fully and publicly apologise to those children, and their families, to whom the School failed to provide the safe and supportive learning environment it should.

'The new leadership is determined that the School continues to learn and apply all the important lessons arising from past complaints to ensure that such failings never happen again.

'While a lot has been done, there remains a lot to do. The new leadership team is fully confident that the required progress can be achieved.'


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Charles Murray speech draws Harvard protesters

CAMBRIDGE — Nearly 100 protesters, including college students and local residents, greeted lightning-rod libertarian author Charles Murray at Harvard University on Wednesday night.

Fearing a repeat of the violent protests when Murray visited Middlebury College earlier this year, officials had barricades and a heavy police presence outside the university’s Natural History Museum, near where Murray was scheduled to speak.

But the scene — both outside and inside the address — was peaceful.

Murray’s work on intelligence, race, gender, and class has drawn crowds and sparked protests for decades. The Southern Poverty Law Center has called Murray a white nationalist, a label he vigorously denies.

As Murray spoke about IQ and the value of intelligence in the current economy Wednesday, more than a dozen students, some with signs that said “Speak out Against White Nationalists,” quietly got up and walked out.

“I appreciate the way that was done,” Murray said to the students.

Murray spent much of his speech discussing his recent work on the economic stratification of American society and the disdain that elites have shown the working classes and its impact on Donald Trump’s election.

Still, Murray acknowledged that much of the heated debate he generates goes back to his 1994 book, “The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life,” which explored the ethnic differences in measures of intelligence. He has also written about whether economic and social success and intelligence in the United States are partly tied to genetics.

Most questions from students Wednesday night focused on his writings about race, intelligence, and genetics.

In a question submitted before the event, one audience member asked directly if Murray was a white supremacist.

“No,” he said, adding that he is “sick of the fact that I’m trying to prove a negative.”

Some students who attended said they appreciated that Murray took a respectful tone.

Erin McCarthy, a sophomore, said she was expecting Murray to say things that were much more controversial and inflammatory.

“I came in feeling heated and came out feeling a little confused,” McCarthy said.

Her friend, Eve Driver, also a sophomore, said she still disagreed with some of what Murray said, but was there to support an open dialogue.

Outside, protesters chanted “Don’t give in to racist fear — everyone is welcome here.” Some held signs that said, “Say no to fascism” and carried an antifa flag, which is a symbol for far-left-leaning militant groups that have resisted neo-Nazis and white supremacists at demonstrations and other events.

Nicholas Whittaker, a junior and a member of Harvard’s Black Caucus, who helped organize the protest, said he wanted to make sure objections to Murray’s views were heard. He said he would have preferred if the Murray event had been a panel discussion, where the author’s view could be more vigorously debated.

“There is a lot of talk about free speech thrown around,” he said. “We wanted to throw our speech out there.”

Scott Gilbert, a resident from the Greater Boston area with Refuse Fascism, said Murray shouldn’t have been invited.

“Charles Murray is a known white supremacist, a pseudo scientist — all his literature has been debunked in the ’80s and ’90s, but he’s still spewing his [research] out and being promoted by places like Harvard,” Gilbert said.

At Middlebury College in Vermont this past March, student protesters interrupted Murray’s speech and injured a professor as she escorted him out the building.

A political scientist and a Harvard graduate, Murray’s controversial books, in addition to “The Bell Curve,” include “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010,” published in 2012.

He was invited to speak at Harvard by the Open Campus Initiative, a student organization that says it was launched last year to promote free speech on college campuses by inviting controversial speakers to events.

Also Wednesday night, the undergraduate Black Caucus and the school’s Black Student Alliance held a panel discussion nearby, with speakers who focused on why inviting Murray to speak at Harvard was a mistake and discussed flaws in his work.

Walter Johnson, professor of African and African-American Studies, called Murray’s appearance “performance art, a spectacle to trigger a response.”

The event drew about 100 people.


Why the Trump Administration Is Rewriting Campus Sexual Assault Rules: 5 Men Who Were Falsely Convicted

"One university leader was rightly appalled when he was asked by an Office for Civil Rights official: 'Why do you care about the rights of the accused?'" – Betsy DeVos

One of the many disasters the Obama Administration put in place was a reinterpretation of Title IX that led to colleges setting up kangaroo courts that were heavily stacked against men in rape cases. Men were not given due process; the standard of guilt was changed from beyond a shadow of a doubt to “a preponderance of the evidence;” men were denied meaningful counsel; men were not allowed access to information gathered by the college proving their guilt and allowing men to cross-examine their accusers was discouraged. In other words, if you’re a man charged with rape on a college campus, you’re essentially guilty until proven innocent by a hostile system.

Unsurprisingly, this system has produced a significant number of false convictions. Now, some people might say that’s impossible because “women never lie about rape.” Of course, many women would never lie about rape, but A LOT of women HAVE lied about rape. Tawana Brawley, Emma Sulkowicz (Mattress Girl), the Jackie Coakley Rolling Stone case and the Duke Lacrosse case are some of the most famous examples, but depending on the numbers you believe, it can be quite common,

According to the FBI, a higher percentage of rape claims are false than any other criminal complaint - 8 percent compared to 2 percent for other crimes. More detailed studies have found much higher rates of false rape charges. A study of all rape allegations in a midwestern city over nine years found 41 percent were false and a study of more than a thousand rape allegations on Air Force bases over the course of four years concluded that 46 percent were false. In 27 percent of the cases, the accuser recanted.

Rape is a terrible thing and if it were up to me, men who are convicted of it would be impaled on a sharp spike. However, because rape is such a terrible thing, it is extremely important that we don’t falsely label men as rapists. It’s very true that when a woman is raped, she has been victimized and that incident can have devastating consequences for her life. However, men can also face devastating consequences if they’re falsely branded as rapists.

Here are five examples of men who could tell you all about that. Once you read their stories (many of which were covered by my friend Ashe Schow who does great work on this issue), you’ll understand why the Trump Administration is doing the right thing by addressing these rules (PS: I could have easily done a lot more than five, but because of space limitations, I had to keep the number down).

1) “John Doe” at Swarthmore:  “John Doe” and “Jane Doe” kissed. A week later, after a date, “John Doe” engaged in some sort of sexual activities with a “Jane Doe” that DID NOT include intercourse.  Later on, by her own account, “Jane Doe” initiated sexual intercourse with “John Doe.”

Nineteen months later, “Jane Doe” claimed she had been “coerced” into the FIRST TWO ENCOUNTERS (the kiss and the activities that did not include intercourse).

The university investigated and decided to drop the incident without filing any charges against “John Doe.” After two other students filed complaints unrelated to John Doe with the Department of Education, Swarthmore’s President announced a “zero tolerance” policy for its sexual assault policy (I should hope it was zero tolerance before). “John Doe’s case was then reopened and he was convicted of “sexual misconduct.” Afterwards he was expelled. Eventually, the school settled a lawsuit with “John Doe” and admitted that it unfairly charged him.

2) “John Doe” at Brandeis University: This one involved two gay men who were in a 21-month long relationship. After they broke up, the “victim” claimed his boyfriend once awakened him with a kiss while encouraging him to have sex and on another occasion, patted his groin without permission. After he filed a claim, Brandeis gave “Doe” a disciplinary warning and ordered him to attend mandatory training despite the fact that he wasn’t given a hearing. “Doe” then claims that this information was leaked by Brandeis, which cost him an internship along with multiple job offers which were withdrawn. “John Doe” eventually dropped his lawsuit (But not his Title IX complaint) against Brandeis after a judge tore into Brandeis for the unjust way it handled the case.

3) Justin Brown and Alphonso Baity at the University of Findlay: Both men, separately had sex with a woman who accused them of rape. Their roommates were around. They said it was consensual. Other women visiting the house said it was consensual. In fact, some of them noted that they could HEAR HER loudly consenting to sex. The woman herself said the encounter was consensual….before she changed her mind 10 days later. The university refused to interview Brown and Baity’s roommates, threatened the visiting women who corroborated their stories and didn’t even hold an official hearing. Forty eight hours after the accusation was made, both men were expelled and an email was sent out to the student body telling them why. This led to news stories that noted the men were accused of sexual assault. Neither student has ever been charged with a crime and they’re suing the university.

4) “John Doe” at Amherst College: John Doe was blackout drunk and his roommate’s girlfriend performed oral sex on him. Even the university said that it considered Doe’s claim of being blackout drunk to be “credible.”  Immediately afterwards the “victim” sent exculpatory texts to a female friend,

 “Ohmygod I jus did something so f*ckig stupid" [sic throughout]. She then proceeded to fret that she had done something wrong and her roommate would never talk to her again, because "it's pretty obvi I wasn't an innocent bystander."

She also had consensual sex with another man AGAIN THAT SAME NIGHT. Later, when Doe’s girlfriend found out about her friend’s encounter with her boyfriend, their friendship ended.

TWO YEARS later the “victim” accused John Doe of sexual assault. He was then expelled. Later, after his lawyer came across the texts that the university never bothered to run down, Amherst refused to reopen the case. There’s currently a court case working its way through the system.

5) "John Doe" at the University of Colorado Boulder: “John Doe” met “Jane Doe” at a frat party. They were both drinking, made out and eventually had sex. A few days later, “Jane Doe” told the Boulder police that she was sexually assaulted. As the police investigated, she lied to them several times and admitted she was angry at “John Doe” for rejecting her and wanted “the s*** to be scared out of him.”

Bizarrely, despite the fact that the police found no evidence of sexual assault and “Jane Doe’s” ADMISSION to the university that she lied to the police, “John Doe” was found guilty and suspended from campus. “John Doe” sued the university and it chose to settle the case.


UK: A NATIONWIDE school maths competition has come under fire after it emerged pupils must answer one of the questions entirely in Gaelic or Scots

Scots is just another English dialect and Britain has a lot of dialects so it should be widely understod

A nationwide maths competition has come under fire
The SNP was heavily criticised after maths standards fell to their lowest ever level in a global study last year, with Scotland plunging from fifth place to 15th place in the world.

It came just weeks after Education Secretary John Swinney launched an initiative to drive up numeracy skills and improve confidence among pupils, teachers and parents.

One of the main events of this year's Maths Week Scotland, which begins tomorrow, is a competition called Maths Wi Nae Borders.

It is open to any class in Scotland and features five questions, including one written in Gaelic and Scots with no English translation. Pupils must also give their answer in Gaelic or Scots using a minimum of 30 words.

In Scots, the question reads: "Ailsa 'n' Catriona fin' three tartan bunnets in thair faither's bedroom. Wan o' the bunnets wis blue an' the ither twa wur rid. Aw o' a sudden, the lecky goes aff in the hoose - the lassies are left in pure pitch black. Baith of them grab a bunnet, whap it oan and huv a donner ootside. Ailsa heids oot furst so Catriona spots the colour o' Ailsa's bunnet. Afore Ailsa even turns roon, Catriona pipes up 'Ah dinnae ken whit colour mah bunnet is'. Ailsa replies 'That means ah ken the colour o' mine!' Whit colour is Ailsa's bunnet? Explain how ye ken."

According to the 2011 census, only around 5,000 of Scotland's 624,000 5-15 year olds were able to speak, read and write in Gaelic while a further 124,000 could speak, read and write in Scots.

This means that up to half a million pupils would be unable to answer the question and therefore denied a realistic chance of winning the Maths Wi Nae Borders contest.

All participating teams will receive a certificate while the winners will receive a trophy and prizes for individual pupils and the school's maths department.

Last night, Scottish Conservative shadow education secretary Liz Smith said: "This is needless tokenism by the SNP especially as it will mean that lots of children will be unable to answer that particular question.

Meanwhile, Scottish Labour is calling on opposition parties to back a review of teachers' pay and conditions.

Iain Gray has written to the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens asking them to support him to ensure staff do not leave the profession.

More than 40 per cent of Scottish teachers are considering leaving their job in the next 18 months due to stress, according to a survey published last week.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “Maths Week is the first ever week-long celebration of maths and numeracy and we encourage as many people as possible to take part. This is just one of a huge range of activities taking place all over Scotland throughout the week, including another national competition being run by Sumdog.”


Monday, September 11, 2017

Trump administration plans rollback of campus assault rules

Saying the system has failed both victims and those accused of sexual assault, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Thursday announced a rollback of government guidelines that have spurred federal investigations of hundreds of colleges, including at least 26 in Massachusetts.

DeVos faulted the Obama administration for issuing a 2011 directive that required universities to thoroughly investigate assault claims, saying it resulted in college “kangaroo courts” denying due process to those accused of sexual misconduct.

“Instead of working with schools on behalf of students, the prior administration weaponized the Office for Civil Rights to work against schools and against students,” DeVos said in a speech at a university outside of Washington, D.C.

Though she did not provide details on a replacement measure, a spokeswoman later promised an “open and transparent process to replace the current guidance with a workable system that is fair for all students.”

Some Massachusetts universities said they had no intention of reversing course, however. Bentley University president Gloria Larson said in a statement that the announcement would have “no impact” on the school’s pledge to protect students against sexual assault. “Our commitment to these protections for all of our students, faculty, and staff remains as strong today as ever.”

A spokeswoman for Harvard University said the school has “worked persistently to more effectively prevent sexual assault and other forms of sexual harassment, and to respond fairly and thoroughly to allegations when they arise.”

The Obama-era rule — prompted by a concern that colleges were still not taking campus rape and assault seriously — was issued under Title IX, the gender discrimination law passed in 1972 and best known for opening up athletic opportunities for girls. The 2011 directive aimed to ensure students who were assaulted or harassed on campus could complete their educations without pressure, and it laid out guidelines for how universities should protect survivors. Colleges that failed to comply risked losing federal funding.

“When we were in school, our universities routinely failed survivors, even going so far as to suggest that survivors should drop out of school until their perpetrators graduated,” said Dana Bolger, a cofounder of “Know Your IX,” a survivor-led organization that aims to empower students to end sexual violence. The letter “told us for the first time that we did have rights.”

But in recent years, many have complained that the process tipped too far in the other direction, presuming guilt rather than innocence and failing to protect the rights of the accused. Unlike a criminal case, which would have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, a case adjudicated on campus is decided based on a “preponderence of evidence.”

A group called the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education this week released a report detailing a lack of procedural protections for those accused of assault and finding that many top universities do not even guarantee students will be presumed innocent until proven guilty. In a statement, foundation executive director Robert Shibley called DeVos’s speech a “reason for great optimism that the important issue of campus sexual assault will finally get the fair and open consideration it deserves.”

The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights currently has 360 cases related to Title IX campus sexual violence under investigation at 257 colleges.

In her speech, which aired live on Facebook, DeVos denounced sexual misconduct as “atrocious” and gave voice to women’s concerns about sexual assault.

“One rape is one too many. One assault is one too many. One aggressive act of harassment is one too many,” DeVos said. “One person denied due process is one too many. This conversation may be uncomfortable, but we must have it. It is our moral obligation to get this right.”

Her attention was keenly trained on reports of false accusations and the impact on young men whose college careers have been derailed by entanglement in a bureaucratic system in which they were unable to defend themselves. Universities and government policy must better balance the rights of the accused with the rights of victims, she said.

The speech infuriated activists for women’s rights.

Neena Chaudhry, director of education for the National Women’s Law Center, called it an “attack on survivors of sexual assault.”

While acknowledging that some colleges have made mistakes, which resulted in unfair processes, she said, “When you have a rule and people aren’t following it, the answer is not to get rid of the rule. The answer is to help them follow the rule.” Changing the guidance, she said, “is only going to make it harder for survivors to come forward and to get the justice that they need.”

Boston Area Rape Crisis Center executive director Gina Scaramella said she was deeply disappointed with DeVos’s decision to replace the 2011 directive and that sexual violence on college campuses remains a pervasive issue.

“Today’s announcement sends a confusing message to colleges and universities charged with complying with the requirements of Title IX,” Scaramella said in a statement.

Attorney General Maura Healey, one of 20 state attorneys general who wrote to DeVos this summer urging her not to abandon the rule, said the secretary is moving the department in the wrong direction.

“Her comments showed a basic lack of understanding of the very real and pervasive problem of sexual assault on our college campuses,” Healey said in a statement Thursday.

For DeVos and others seeking to rewrite the rules, the process may well be thorny.

Those involved in the process say it’s incredibly difficult to sort out the particulars of an unseen sexual encounter between two students — who often have been drinking, and sometimes do not want to cooperate with an investigation. Universities — bound to protect victims of sexual assault — must take immediate action to insulate victims from those accused of attacking them. That affects the lives of both students, long before guilt is established.

“Which makes sense if there’s been a heinous crime that’s happened. You want to act quickly to let her or him know that we’ve got you on this, you’re going to be safe,” said Lee Burdette Williams, a former dean of students at Wheaton College. “But there’s really no way to do that without really compromising the other student’s opportunity to continue.”

Williams grew so frustrated with the process — fielding intense scrutiny from the public, the government, and pundits, rather than the students she was tasked with protecting — that she dubbed herself the “Dean of Sexual Assault” in a 2015 opinion piece.

On Thursday, she said she was pleasantly surprised that DeVos wasn’t oversimplifying the issue. “I know people are going to say it’s all blaming the Obama administration and that’s what the Trump administration does,” Williams said. “If we just keep saying that, we’ll miss the point. Maybe this is an opportunity for this to really change.”


Black Parents Sue School, Claim Bullies Abuse Daughter for 'Acting White'

A black family in South Carolina is suing their daughter's school for failing to protect her from racially motivated abuse at the hands of other students. However, both the abusers and the victim are the same race.

The high-achieving girl is black, and she is being abused by other black students because her success is apparently too "white."

From The College Fix:

The parents of an academically stellar African-American student are suing a South Carolina school district alleging school officials did not prevent continued verbal and physical abuse of their daughter from … other black students.
Students at Richland School District One’s Hand Middle School “called (the girl) racial slurs like ‘Oreo,’ ‘white girl,’ ‘wannabe white girl’ … and generally maligned her for ‘acting white,’” the lawsuit says, according to The State.

Hand’s student body is approximately 50% black, but the girl was just one of a few African-American students in her advanced courses.

“During those years, she also was “repeatedly pushed, shoved and tripped in hallways and other locations around Hand Middle School … (and) suffered several notable physical assaults,” the lawsuit continues.

The lawsuit contends that school officials were informed of the situation, yet did nothing. The superintendent reportedly avoided the girl's parents when they tried to meet with him.

This is troubling for me -- but not because I find it unusual. I was raised in a majority-black community, and it appears the same thing I witnessed then is still happening to black students who do well academically.

I can't, for the life of me, reconcile the rhetoric we hear from black activists about black students being left behind with this complete silence about academic excellence being devalued as "white" behavior. She's challenging herself. She's humiliating anti-black racists by proving any kid is capable of anything.

And she's being harassed for acting "white"? Where the hell does such a cultural phenomenon come from? Is this the result of decades of race-baiting about oppression? About Leftist narratives that blacks are not able to make it without government assistance anyway, so why bother with hard work?

How is the black community going to deal with the disproportional poverty affecting blacks if there is widespread denigration of academic achievement -- the one surefire way known to alleviate poverty? We have yet to see a government program actually work. We know hard work and education can. We've seen it time and time again.

Please, someone, explain to me how this school administration finds it acceptable to do nothing when they know students are attaching a racial slur to the act of achievement.


Australia: A gay comic given to Year 7 English students to study has caused a stir

A GRAPHIC novel featuring two princesses who fall in love with each other has been given to Year 7 students at a public high school as part of an English lesson.

The hard-cover comic Princess Princess Ever After has been described in a review as an example of a “romantic fairy tale for children featuring LGBTQIA characters”.

A father of one of the students said he thought the theme was inappropriate for 12-year-olds.

He has a gay sibling and he plans to vote Yes in the postal survey that starts next week on whether the law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry.

“I know the world’s changing but I just think it’s inappropriate for Year 7s,” the parent said. “I’m not homophobic. I just think at that age they’re dealing with enough. . . they don’t need to be reading stuff about gay relationships. “I think kids need to be kids for a little while.”

The comic was presented to students at Kalamunda Senior High School as an example of a “fractured fairy-tale” before they were asked to create their own graphic novel. The graphic novel features two princesses who fall in love with each other .

An Education Department spokeswoman said: “The comic was one of a number of examples used by a teacher in an English class to illustrate visual storytelling.”

Conservative Liberal senator Eric Abetz, a key figure in the campaign against same-sex marriage, said the comic was an example of parental rights being diminished.

“For schools to be giving this kind of material to 12 and 13-year-old children is completely inappropriate,” he said. “At such a young age these kinds of graphic novels should be left up to individual parents to determine the appropriateness, not teachers. The normalisation of these kinds of materials in classrooms without parental consent is just another reason to vote No in the marriage survey.”

Curtin University associate professor of human sexuality Sam Winter said schools should normalise same-sex relationships because they were a normal aspect of society.

“I don’t know of any research to show that teaching young adolescents that two people of the same sex can fall in love is in any way going to damage or corrupt them or even confuse them,” he said.

Katie O’Neill, the New Zealand artist who created the comic, said she believed it was essential to provide LGBT representation in children’s media.

“It’s easy for them to feel invisible or abnormal until much later in life, when they finally get to connect with media that offers a positive portrayal of who they truly are,” she said.

“And for kids who aren’t under the LGBT spectrum, books with LGBT characters help inspire compassion and understanding towards those who are different from themselves.”


Sunday, September 10, 2017

‘We didn’t know it was this bad’: New ACT scores show huge achievement gaps

Minorities are rarely (9%) college material.  As you would expect from their average IQs.  Educators trying to change that are pissing into the wind.  Nothing works and they are now facing that

New results from the nation’s most widely used college admission test highlight in detailed fashion the persistent achievement gaps between students who face disadvantages and those who don’t.

Scores from the ACT show that just 9 percent of students in the class of 2017 who came from low-income families, whose parents did not go to college, and who identify as black, Hispanic, American Indian or Pacific Islander are strongly ready for college.

But the readiness rate for students with none of those demographic characteristics was six times as high, 54 percent, according to data released Thursday.

“That kind of shocked us,” ACT chief executive Marten Roorda said. “We knew it was bad, but we didn’t know it was this bad.”

The analysis of “underserved learners” was a first for the ACT, which is one of two major tests students can take to apply to college. The other is the College Board’s SAT.

In recent years, both tests have found major disparities in college readiness among students in the Washington region and around the country. Roorda lamented that these gaps have persisted despite efforts to improve schools under the banners of No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top and other national initiatives.

“You could argue that those investments should have made a clearer difference,” he said, “and that’s not what we’re seeing.”


UC Berkeley Students Try To Ban Hate Speech From Campus

An amendment proposed by University of California, Berkeley students aimed at cracking down on alleged hate speech from conservative speakers like Ben Shapiro failed to pass earlier this week.

The UC Berkeley student government struck down “Denouncing and Demanding the Immediate Rescission of UC Berkeley’s Subsidization of Hate Speech” in a 15-5 vote, reports the Daily Cal. The resolution called for the college to immediately stop subsidizing an upcoming Shapiro speech sponsored by the Berkeley College Republicans.

“While my personal values do not necessarily align with that of the student organization, I do not believe that we as an Association can claim to represent all UC Berkeley students if we start taking hard-lined stances against fellow students,” college senator Adnan Hemani said in an email, adding that he felt that language describing the Berkeley College Republicans was too harsh.

The resolution claimed that the college had endangered its students by inviting past speakers like Milo Yiannopoulos and Shapiro, and demanded that the college start subsidizing groups based on their financial needs and how they are helping more marginalized groups.

“The Berkeley College Republicans have displayed a consistent disregard for their fellow student’s safety, and have placed students of marginalized racial and gender identities at direct risk, by not only bringing speakers whose rhetoric disintegrates their personhood, but also bringing said speakers, and their violent audiences, into the spaces utilized by this population of marginalized students,” the resolution stated.

Others in favor of the bill said that it was necessary in order to protect students on campus, while a transgender student claimed that Shapiro had questioned her existence.

“I hope the resolution gets voted on unanimously,” Yvette Felarca, an organizer for an activist group, said before the vote. “Sanctuary means protecting immigrants … I think this resolution should take stronger language.”

Shapiro is set to speak at the campus Sept. 14, but has been fighting a battle in order to do so. Campus administrators are only allowing 1,000 people into the building where the speech will be held, citing concerns from campus police about potential agitators.

UC Berkeley officials have offered students who are traumatized over Shapiro’s speech support and counseling services should they need it.

“We are deeply concerned about the impact some speakers may have on individuals’ sense of safety and belonging. No one should be made to feel threatened or harassed simply because of who they are or for what they believe,” the announcement read.


Berkeley Mayor Wants University of California to Cancel ‘Free Speech Week’

Jesse Arreguin, the mayor of Berkeley, Calif., is calling for the University of California to cancel the “Free Speech Week” that has been scheduled for next month by the Berkeley Patriot, which the San Francisco Chronicle describes as “a conservative campus group.”

"I don’t want Berkeley being used as a punching bag,” the Chronicle quoted the mayor as saying.

The event, which will be held Sept. 24-27, will feature blogger Milo Yiannopoulos, and, according to the Chronicle, there “have been reports that Berkeley Patriot is also trying to lure ousted White House chief strategist Steven Bannon and right-wing commentator Ann Coulter to appear on campus during its Free Speech Week.”

“I’m very concerned about Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter and some of these other right-wing speakers coming to the Berkeley campus, because it’s just a target for black bloc to come out and commit mayhem on the Berkeley campus and have that potentially spill out on the street,” Mayor Arreguin was quoted as saying in the Chronicle.

“I obviously believe in freedom of speech, but there is a line between freedom of speech and then posing a risk to public safety,” the mayor told the Chronicle. “That is where we have to really be very careful--that while protecting people’s free-speech rights, we are not putting our citizens in a potentially dangerous situation and costing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars fixing the windows of businesses.”

A spokesman for the university, Dan Mogulof, told the paper that the school does not have the legal right to stop people from speaking to student groups based on their beliefs.

“[W]e have neither the legal right nor ability to interfere with or cancel (students groups’) invitations based on the perspectives and beliefs of the speakers,” Mogulof told the paper.

“Where we do have discretion is around everything that has to do with the safety of our communities, and the well-being of those who may feel threatened or harmed by what some of these speakers may espouse,” he said.


Nebraska Senator Calls For Professor Who ‘Berated And Intimidated’ Conservative Student To Be Fired

A Nebraska state senator is calling on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to fire a professor who “berated and intimidated” a conservative student for her right-leaning politics.

In a Campus Reform story published Thursday, professor Amanda Gailey led a cohort of her colleagues to protest a Turning Point USA recruiting event by chanting things like “fuck (TPUSA founder) Charlie Kirk.” The group called TPUSA members “Nazis” during the heated protest, and directed their anger towards TPUSA chapter president Kaitlyn Mullen.

The publication reports that one of the protesters, Courtney Lawton, was reassigned to non-teaching duties following the outburst, but Gailey maintains her position as an associate professor in the school’s Department of English.

Writing for the Star Herald Friday, Erdman referred to statements made by NU Regent, Hal Daub, who described the protest as being a “premeditated and organized effort to intimidate and shut down Kaitlyn Mullen.”

“According to Daub, this is not a free speech issue; it is a conduct issue, and I agree,” wrote Erdman.

“Unless Amanda Gailey is fired, a double standard will exist at the University of Nebraska between students and staff and between liberals and conservatives,” he said. Citing the school’s core values and commitment to civil conduct, Erdman maintained that Amanda Gailey broke these tenets in her confrontation with TPUSA.

Erdman also referenced Lawton, who he said “called Kaitlyn Mullen a neo-fascist on her protest sign and verbally assaulted her as a ‘Becky.’”

“The conduct of these two individuals has had a debilitating effect on the student body at UNL,” he said, recounting an instance where a father whose daughter attended the school expressed her worry about encountering activist-professors like Gailey.

“These conservative students no longer feel protected by the university,” he added.

“The bottom line is that we can no longer tolerate this kind of extremist behavior from our esteemed faculty at the University of Nebraska,” the senator concluded. “To the contrary, the University of Nebraska must become a place which welcomes the free flow of ideas from both liberals and conservatives. Tolerance is a value which must protect students, staff, and faculty on both sides of the political aisle.”