Friday, April 13, 2018

School District: Pro-Life Walkout Not 'Viewpoint Neutral,' Anti-Gun Walkout 'Viewpoint Neutral'

The Rocklin Unified School District in California where Rocklin High School student Brandon Gillespie has organized a pro-life walkout for April 11, said it would not officially sanction the event because it does not meet the school's criteria for special events and "is not viewpoint neutral," unlike the March 14 National School Walkout, which it said was a "remembrance activity" and "was considered viewpoint neutral."

However, the Rocklin school district also said, in a statement, that students who participate in #prolifewalkout on Wednesday would not face "disciplinary consequences," as long as they followed school rules.

Back on March 14, the youth arm of the Women's March organized a nationwide walkout at schools to remember the students and teachers killed on Feb. 14 at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. by shooter Nikolas Cruz.  The #NationalSchoolWalkout was designed to remember the victims for 17 minutes. But it was also orchestrated, as the group states, "to demand Congress pass legislation to keep us safe from gun violence at our schools, on our streets and in our homes and places of worship."

The #NationalSchoolWalkout also issued demands that included banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and expanding background checks on to all gun sales. The organizers also opposed concealed carry reciprocity (allowing people to carry guns in any state). The walkout was very popular, with about 3,000 schools and 1 million students participating in the event.

Brandon Gillespie, 17, organized the pro-life walkout, he told CBS 13 Sacramento, "To honor all the lives of aborted babies pretty much. All the millions of aborted babies every year." He also made it clear that he wanted to see if the school would be fair: It allowed the anti-gun walkout, so would it allow the pro-life walkout?

"I would like to see if there really is a double standard and what will come of that," said Gillespie.

The website for the April 11 walkout, which takes place at 10AM (in all timezones), states that student participants "will walk out of our classes for 17 minutes of silence and prayer. We will stand silently outside honoring the 10 children who will violently die during that time at a Planned Parenthood abortion facility. We will rally and demand the end of Planned Parenthood's taxpayer funded empire. We will kneel and pray for the end of legal abortion in our nation."

The website lists dozens of high schools and colleges where students reportedly will participate in the walkout. asked the Rocklin Unified School District if the students at its schools had permission to join in the pro-life walkout. In a statement from the chief of Commications and Community Engagement, Diana Capra, the district said, "Several students at Rocklin High School have requested permission to conduct a pro-life walkout and to receive the same accommodations as those given to students who participated in the remembrance activity on March 14th. Rocklin High School approved the March 14th event since it was organized as a remembrance activity which was considered viewpoint neutral, and it was a show of unity for students as part of a national conversation concerning school safety. This met the school district’s policy for assemblies and special events."

"The request to hold a pro-life walkout during instructional time does not fall under the school district's policy for assemblies and special events as it is not related to school and is not viewpoint neutral," said the district.  "However, if students choose to engage in a protest or a walk out they will be allowed to do so without disciplinary consequences, as long as they conduct themselves according to school rules."

The district further said, "Background: School officials have a duty to ensure a safe and conducive learning environment for all students. On March 14th, thousands of students across the nation participated in the National School Walkout, a planned protest that called for students to walk out of their classrooms at 10 am in response to Congress' inaction to do anything about gun violence occurring in schools.

"Rocklin High School students instead chose to organize a remembrance activity for the 17 victims of the Parkland, Florida school shooting by assembling for 17 minutes in the high school's amphitheatre."

Students for Life of America (SFLA), which is helping to organize the pro-life walkout, said in an April 10 statement that the event "has gotten a slow walk from administrators," yet "still, more than 350 students and student group leaders from across the country have contacted Students for Life about their plans to stand with pregnant and parenting students on April 11."

“The Pro-life Generation has every right to exercise their free speech rights in defense of pregnant and parenting students,” said SFLA President Kristan Hawkins. “But we have found that some administrations have not embraced students who care about lives lost to abortion as they did students who cared about lives lost to gun violence. But you can’t open the door to one group of students and close it to another. Abortion has taken the lives of one-fourth of this generation, and we will remember those we’ve lost on Wednesday.”

Gillespie said that the Rocklin High School authorities delayed their decision on the walkout until essentially the last minute.

“They are not giving me any accommodation at all, except for the district policy of not punishing students for protesting," he said. "That is not the accommodation that I asked for; I asked for the same accommodation as the anti-gun protest, that teachers would be flexible in their lesson planning, and also for the availability of equipment that the anti-gun protestors were allowed to use."

"I really was not surprised when they told me that they were not going to give me the accommodations and that they were not going to sanction this walkout as they did the previous one," said Gillespie. 

"It just confirms for me that there is a political double standard, at least in my school district, but I’m still going to be out there," he said.

Life Legal Executive Director Alexandra Snyder said, "This is a blatant case of content discrimination and arbitrary favoritism. Rocklin High School’s decision treats the Pro-life Walkout differently than the way the school treated the gun walkout, which violates the First Amendment and the Equal Protection rights of every student participating in the Pro-life walkout."

"Life Legal is proud to fight for Brandon Gillespie’s rights to be treated the same as other students and to speak up for the nearly one quarter of his generation that will die from the scourge of abortion," said Snyder.


Rev. Graham: University of Tennessee's 'Sex Week' 'Simply Promoting Sin'

Commenting on the University of Tennessee-Knoxville's currently ongoing "Sex Week," where nearly every imaginable perverted sexual practice is celebrated and promoted to young undergraduates, Rev. Franklin Graham said the school is "simply promoting sin" and "parents should take steps to see this stopped -- or pull their students out."

Franklin Graham, son of the late-, world-renowned preacher Billy Graham, further said that some media refer to the week-long event (April 6-12) as "Sodom & Gomorrah," and that the university is "pushing this filthy trash on young people whose parents are paying good money to send them [their children] for a quality education." Tuition for out-of-state undergrads is $31, 390 a year.

In an April 6 post on Facebook about the event, Rev. Graham wrote, "I’m saddened, disappointed—and yes, shocked—to see that University of Tennessee, Knoxville is promoting a 'Sex Week' for its students. This Fox News story refers to it as 'Sodom & Gomorrah.'"

"It’s even worse than the name sounds when you read the events and classes on their own website," said Graham. "They’re actually pushing this filthy trash on young people whose parents are paying good money to send them there for a quality education."

"What could Chancellor Beverly Davenport be thinking?" said the Christian leader.  "There’s nothing healthy or educational about all of this. It’s just simply promoting sin."

"I think parents should take steps to see this stopped—or pull their students out," said Graham.  Alumni and the residents of Tennessee who fund the university should make it clear that this does not have any place at their state university."

He continued, "I think pastors across this great state should speak out against it, and I hope Governor Bill Haslam will step in and make sure the group responsible is no longer allowed to do their damage at UT."

How degenerate is the University of Tennessee-Knoxville's "Sex Week"?

In its schedule of events, the student organizers (and their "faculty supporters") describe "Sex Week Carnival" as follows: "Cum one, cum all, to the Sex Week Carnival! Join us to kick off the week that 'makes Mardi Gras on Beale Street look like a Sunday School picnic,'* mingle with dazzling drag queens and fabulous circus performers, and be dazzled by our three-Nuva-ring circus. Show off your skills at sex trivia! Try your hand at the Condom Relay Races! Test your knowledge at the Lube Taste Test! Winning games gets you tickets, and tickets get you prizes like sex toys!"


China's 'Confucius Institutes' Are Unseemly And Senator Rubio Has A Good Idea For Dealing With Them

The Chinese government wants to polish its terribly tarnished image and one of the tactics it has been using is to influence the education of American college students.

Since 2004, the Chinese have been sponsoring “Confucius Institutes” at colleges and universities around the world that are willing to host them. A Chinese government agency pays for most if not all of the cost of the programs that cover Chinese language, culture and history. Since many students want to learn about China, that seems like a good deal that saves the school money.

Ah, but there is a catch: The Chinese are not merely interested in helping Americans learn about their language, culture and history, but want to color their perceptions of the current Chinese regime. With Chinese funding comes Chinese control over who may teach and what may be said.

In its 2017 report on these institutes, Outsourced to China, the National Association of Scholars documented many problems with them relating to academic freedom and responsibility. The report states that the Institutes “attract scrutiny because of their close ties to the Chinese government. A stream of stories indicates that intellectual freedom, merit-based hiring policies, and other foundational principles of American higher education have received short shrift in Confucius Institutes.”

One telling example of the way the Confucius Institutes try to slant perceptions and block criticism was the demand made by North Carolina State’s Institute in 2009 that the university rescind the invitation to the Dalai Lama to speak on campus. I included that instance in this piece I wrote for the Martin Centeron the NAS report.

Especially troubling for the academic integrity of colleges that accept a Confucius Institute is the control the Chinese exert over who may teach and what they may say. Criticism of Chinese human rights policies is not allowed; individuals who are known as opponents of the regime may not be part of the faculty. The Chinese want to project a blemish-free image to the world, and academic freedom doesn’t fit in with that objective.

Both the NAS and the Martin Center concluded that American schools ought to avoid getting entangled with what amounts to a Chinese government exercise in “soft power.” So did the University of Chicago, which closed down its Confucius Institute in 2014 following a faculty petitionthat called upon the administration to do so.

Now, at least one U.S. Senator has come to the same conclusion – Marco Rubio. In a letterdated March 12 to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray respectively), Rubio raised a red flag about the Institutes, stating “There is mounting concern, as articulated by senior intelligence officials at a recent Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on ‘Worldwide Threats’ about the Chinese government’s increasingly aggressive attempts to use ‘Confucius Institutes’ and other means to influence foreign academic institutions and critical analysis of China’s past history and present policies.”

That’s correct, but what does Senator Rubio propose?

First, he advocates greater transparency regarding foreign funding of higher educational programs. He advocates amending the Higher Education Act to lower the reporting threshold on reporting foreign funding from $250,000 to $50,000 and having that amount include the fair market value of in-kind gifts and services, since the Confucius Institutes often receive more than $100,000 per year worth of books and instructors paid by the Chinese government. Rubio explains, “It is in the interest of national security and institutional integrity to have information on potentially compromising gifts from foreign governments and agents of foreign governments.”

Second, Rubio wants to make colleges choose between federal funding and Chinese funding. “When a college or university accepts a Confucius Institute,” he writes, “it should become ineligible for a proportional amount of federal funding…. Conditioning a portion of federal money on the closure of a Confucius Institute is an important step toward limiting China’s pernicious influence on college campuses.”

Making those changes in the law would not prevent American colleges from accepting “Confucius Institutes” if they want them, but if they do so, they’d have to be more open about their funding and (probably more significantly), would see an offsetting decrease in their federal support.

I have long argued that we would be far better off if the federal government had nothing at all to do with education, but as long as we have the Higher Education Act and the leverage of federal aid money, we should use them to reduce if not eliminate this unseemly ploy to spread Chinese influence and obscure its human rights violations. Congress should include Senator Rubio’s language when it revises the Higher Education Act.


Thursday, April 12, 2018

UMass Boston feels snubbed after Mount Ida deal

I don't know why UMass administrators privilege UMass Amherst over UMass Boston but I suspect that it is because UMass Amherst is twice as white (majority white at Amherst versus minority white at Boston). Heh!

UMass Boston students and professors are livid after learning that UMass Amherst will buy a new campus in Newton for its students, while Boston is forced to keep cutting people and programs to make ends meet.

To them, the university system trustees’ approval of Amherst’s plan reinforces a longstanding belief on the Dorchester campus that the University of Massachusetts Boston is considered second-best.

“The board just really doesn’t care about Boston,” said Katie Mitrano, president of the UMass Boston undergraduate student body.

“This is going to starve us even more. It’s going to put us into competition with our sister campus,” said Lorna Rivera, a women’s studies professor at UMass Boston.

“There is a lot of neglect of the Boston campus within the UMass system in a way that we can only link to socioeconomic discrimination,” said Charla Burnett, a UMass Boston PhD student and graduate student employees union representative.

Attorney General Maura Healey said over the weekend she would look into the situation to see if Mount Ida students could possibly qualify for relief from their college loans and to help determine what transfer options are available.

Under the UMass plan, Mount Ida students have the chance to automatically enroll at UMass Dartmouth or apply to transfer to another UMass campus.

Amherst intends to use the campus for its students to complete internships and academic collaborations with Boston-area colleges and businesses. Amherst officials said the 72-acre facility, which comes with dorms, laboratories, and sports fields, will also help fund-raising by having a facility closer to alumni in the city.

The purchase will be financed by the Amherst campus with $37 million in tax-exempt bonds, plus other borrowing. All UMass campuses have separate budgets, and their borrowing abilities depend on how much debt a campus has in relation to its operating revenue.

The Boston campus has struggled acutely over the past year with an operating deficit at one point projected to reach $30 million. The deficit was caused, in part, by millions of dollars in delays and overruns on various construction projects on the campus, as well as decades of general financial mismanagement, according to the results of an audit released last fall.

As a result of the budget challenges, UMass Boston has cut course sections, laid off employees, imposed a hiring freeze, closed an on-campus day care center, and even instructed students to cut back on printing and copying.

Rivera, the women’s studies professor, also runs the Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development & Public Policy, one of 17 centers and institutes at UMass Boston that will lose funding from the university.  “It makes one wonder, . . . of all the campuses why is UMass Boston consistently excluded and shamed and marginalized from the whole system?” she said. ‘This is going to starve us even more.’

The Amherst deal is not final. The state Board of Higher Education is required to approve Mount Ida’s plan for how students will complete their degrees. Its next meeting is scheduled for April 24.

In addition, although UMass trustees approved Amherst’s plan to buy the campus, a UMass system office spokesman said on Monday that the deal is still subject to more research.


Nation’s ‘Report Card’ Shows Federal Intervention Has Not Helped Students

When President Lyndon Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act into law in 1965, he vowed the unprecedented new federal intervention in K-12 education would “bridge the gap between helplessness and hope” for “educationally deprived children.”

When President Jimmy Carter signed the Department of Education Organization Act into law in 1979 creating the Department of Education, he exclaimed that “the time has passed when the federal government can afford to give second-level, part-time attention to its responsibilities in American education.”

When President George W. Bush began making the case for No Child Left Behind, he elegantly stated that his federal education policies would end the “soft bigotry of low expectations.”

And when President Barack Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, more commonly known as the “stimulus”—sending an unprecedented $98 billion to the Department of Education—he said that it represented “the largest investment in education in our nation’s history” and would ensure American children wouldn’t be “out-educated” on the international stage.

Yet more than half a century after Johnson signed Elementary and Secondary Education Act into law, and 38 years after the Department of Education became operational, it has become clear that federal intervention in K-12 education has failed to achieve its primary goal: reducing gaps in academic outcomes between disadvantaged students and their more advantaged peers.

On Tuesday, the National Center for Education Statistics at the Department of Education released the highly anticipated results of the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress, often referred to as the nation’s “report card,” underscoring that point.

The scores are a particular indictment of Obama-era education policies, including historically high levels of spending, the addition of new programs, numerous federal directives, and perhaps most consequentially, Common Core.

Eighth-grade reading increased one point in 2017 from 2015, up to 267. Fourth-grade reading was not significantly different, declining from 223 in 2015 to 222 in 2017. Fourth-grade math scores were unchanged, at 240 in both 2015 and 2017, and eighth-grade math scores did not significantly change, moving from 282 in 2015 to 283 in 2017.

Both the math and reading scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress are measured on a point scale of 0 to 500.

In terms of the percentage of American students considered proficient in math and reading, the 2017 report card has little to cheer.

37 percent of fourth-graders scored proficient or better in reading, unchanged from 2015.

36 percent of eighth-graders scored proficient or better in reading, significantly better than in 2015, when 34 percent of eighth-graders reached proficiency or better. This was the only subject and grade level to show any significant improvement since 2015.

40 percent of fourth-graders scored proficient or better in math, unchanged from 2015.

34 percent of eighth-graders scored proficient or better in math, which was not significantly different from 2015.
Only a single state—Florida—posted gains in fourth-grade math since 2015. Florida was also the only state to post gains in eighth-grade math.

And while nine states saw improvements in eighth-grade reading, not a single state increased fourth-grade reading performance over 2015 levels. Fourth-grade math scores also decreased by two points in the nation’s largest districts.

Achievement Gaps Persist

The achievement gap between white students and their nonwhite peers also remained unchanged. The gap actually widened between students who were the lowest performers in math and reading, and students who were the highest performers.

For example, eighth-graders in the lowest 25th percentile of performance saw a statistically significant two-point decline in math, from 258 to 256, while eighth-graders in the 90th percentile of math performance saw a significant increase from 329 to 333.

A Trend Line Emerges

Although the 2017 scores are uninspiring, they should be particularly concerning when considered in conjunction with the 2015 results, the most recent release prior to this year’s report card.

The 2015 National Assessment of Education Progress represented the first time math and reading scores had declined or remained stagnant since the test was first administered in 1990. Further declines and an overall stagnation in 2017 suggest a trend—namely, scores are going in the wrong direction.

Forty-nine out of 50 states were stagnant on the 2017 report card, and achievement gaps persist. Historically, federal education spending has been appropriated to close gaps, yet this spending—more than $2 trillion in inflation-adjusted spending at the federal level alone since 1965—has utterly failed to achieve that goal.

Increasing federal intervention over the past half-century, and the resulting burden of complying with federal programs, rules, and regulations, have created a parasitic relationship with federal education programs and states, and is straining the time and resources of local schools.

Instead of responding first to students, parents, and taxpayers, federal education micromanagement has encouraged state education systems and local school districts to orient their focus to the demands of Washington.

Instead of building on the failed policies of the past and continuing top-down education mandates from Washington, a drastically different approach should be taken to significantly limit federal meddling in education and to empower state and local leaders.

It is time for the federal government to re-examine its intervention in local school policy.


Want to know how to get into Harvard? Court may allow some admissions documents to be open to the public
If there’s a Holy Grail in higher education, this might be it: thousands of documents that lay bare the inner workings of Harvard University’s admissions process.

The US Justice Department thinks the public deserves to see the information. Students and guidance counselors would love a peek. And a federal court case that could end up before the US Supreme Court hinges on this trove of information and whether it offers proof that Harvard discriminates against Asian-American applicants in its admissions, as an advocacy group has alleged.

On Tuesday, US District Court Judge Allison Burroughs indicated that some of Harvard’s admissions data will become part of the court record and open to public view in the coming months.

Still, how many of the tens of thousands of documents — which include student applications, notes about students from admissions officers, manuals for how to evaluate applications, and data on how Harvard scores student qualities for admissions — will be revealed is unclear.

Harvard has argued that much of the data is akin to “trade secrets,” and a good chunk will likely remain secret. The university has also repeatedly denied that it discriminates against Asian-American applicants.

In a court session Tuesday ahead of a trial scheduled for this fall, Burroughs asked Harvard and Students for Fair Admissions, a nonprofit organization that has been fighting affirmative action policies on campuses, to file two versions of court documents. One version, which will be publicly available, will have the sensitive information redacted; the other won’t.

She urged both sides to work on determining what should be redacted, although warned them against blocking out too much information, rendering the documents incomprehensible.

“I don’t expect to get pages and pages of blackness,” Burroughs said, in reference to heavy redactions.

The affirmative action case against Harvard has attracted intense scrutiny, especially under the Trump administration.

Students for Fair Admissions filed its lawsuit against Harvard in 2014, claiming that the university caps the number of high-performing Asian-Americans it admits each year.

Separately, a coalition of Asian-American groups also filed complaints about Harvard with the Justice Department in 2015. Those complaints spurred little action during the Obama administration. Then last year, the Justice Department launched an investigation into Harvard’s admissions policies.

Since then, the federal agency has threatened to sue Harvard over the slow disclosure of documents. And last week, it sided with Students for Fair Admissions in court, arguing for more transparency of Harvard’s admissions data.

“Applicants to Harvard, their families, and the general public have a presumptively paramount right to access the summary judgement record in this civil rights case,” John Gore, the acting assistant attorney general, wrote in a court filing.

But Harvard is concerned that some students might be identifiable through a quick Google search, even if their names and addresses are redacted.

Additionally, the university is worried that the information could be a boon for the college admissions industry and families who are all looking for any advantage to help their children land a spot at the Ivy League school.

“Publicizing this information would cause applicants and college consultants to seek to orient their applications to what they perceive Harvard wants, to the detriment of the authenticity of the information Harvard receives and its ability to make its best judgements,” wrote Felicia Ellsworth, an attorney with WilmerHale, which is representing Harvard, in a filing.

Harvard officials have also raised fears that Students for Fair Admissions would use the information in a “media campaign” to further its “agenda to eliminate consideration of race in higher education and to assail those institutions that consider race in order to pursue their compelling interest in the educational benefits that flow from a widely diverse student body.”

But William Consovoy, an attorney for Students for Fair Admissions, said so many of the documents in this case have been deemed top-secret that he hasn’t even been able to show his client some of the information.

On Tuesday, Burroughs allowed Consovoy to share some of the information with Students for Fair Admissions solely for review in the case.


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Austria's government plans to ban girls from wearing headscarves in kindergarten and primary schools to combat 'parallel Muslim societies'

Austria's right-wing government has announced plans to ban girls in kindergarten and primary schools from wearing Muslim headscarves.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who rules in coalition with the far-right Freedom Party, said the proposed anti-hijab law would aim to combat what the government sees as a threat to Austrian mainstream culture from some Muslims.

If any such plan became law it would apply to girls of up to around the age of ten, however as most Muslims who wear the hijab only begin doing so from puberty, it is not known how many people the 'ban' would affect.

Austria took in more than one percent of its population in asylum seekers during Europe's migration crisis, an issue that helped Chancellor Kurz's conservatives win an election last year by taking a hard line on immigration.

'Our goal is to confront any development of parallel societies in Austria,' Kurz told ORF radio, using a term he and the Freedom Party (FPO) favour to describe what they see as a threat posed by some Muslims to mainstream culture. 'Girls wearing a headscarf in kindergarten or primary school is of course part of that.'

Kurz, at a news conference with Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache of the FPO, said they believed there was a problem in schools though they produced no figures to support this.

'What I can tell you is that it is a growing phenomenon. A few decades ago we did not have this in Austria and now it occurs primarily in Islamic kindergartens but also here and there in public establishments of Vienna and other cities,' Kurz said.

He said a bill would be drawn up. Austria's main Muslim organisation was not immediately available for comment.

The previous coalition of Social Democrats and Kurz's conservatives, passed a law banning face coverings including Muslim full-face veils in public spaces, but women and girls are free to wear regular hijab.

It considered banning teachers from wearing headscarves but that plan was dropped after a debate over religious symbols in schools such as the Catholic crosses that still hang on many classroom walls.

For any headscarf ban to come into force in kindergartens, which are run by Austria's provinces, the government would need a two-thirds majority in parliament and therefore the support of either the Social Democrats or the liberal Neos party.

While the Social Democrats said they wanted a broader package of measures, they did not rule out cooperation. The Neos said they would examine the text drawn up by the government.


Parents Stage Walkout Over Planned Parenthood's Graphic, Violent Sex Ed in Public Schools

Sex education in public schools has gone off the deep end. Gone are the days of handing out birth control and practicing putting condoms on bananas. These days your kid is more likely to come away from school with more sexually deviant knowledge than single gay dudes in New York City, thanks to Planned Parenthood's comprehensive sex ed program that has somehow made it into public school curriculums. These programs teach dangerous and violent practices like BDSM, asphyxiation, gender-bending, anal sex, and let's not forget "rimming," which can saddle your kid with nasty parasitic infections.

Planned Parenthood has already been caught on video by Live Action advising a girl they think is 15 years old to allow her boyfriend to beat, whip, and gag her. These are the same people that taxpayers want educating their kids in schools? I can't imagine why anyone would want this, and neither can a group of fed up parents who have organized a walkout later this month.

"On April 23rd, parents around the nation will be pulling their children out of school for the day in protest of dangerous and graphic sex education and uniting at various locations to hold press events and field media questions," say organizers of Sex Ed Sit Out. Education chairwoman of the Indiana Liberty Coalition and one of the protest organizers, Rhonda Miller, stated, “Follow the money. Comprehensive sex ed is being rolled out across America, often sponsored by special interest LGBT groups like Human Rights Campaign, and disguised as anti-bullying programs. If it’s not okay for special interest groups like the NRA to be buying classroom time to push their agenda, then how is it okay for HRC monies to be buying schools off to teach gender-bending ideology and anal sex tutorials?”

These programs claim to teach abstinence too, but when investigated, "abstinence" by their definition includes masturbation, anal sex, oral sex, and mutual masturbation. This is a seriously deformed definition of abstinence, which has traditionally meant "restraining oneself from indulging" in any sexual behavior. New "comprehensive sex ed" programs do not include any discussion of celibacy as a viable alternative to early sexual activity, which can lead teens into poverty, early pregnancy, or chronic illness.

Sane adults would tell children that sexual activity is only for adults who can pay for the medical treatments they might need and support any children that may come as a result. Insane adults hire Planned Parenthood to teach dangerous and disgusting sexual deviancy to minors and call it "educational." If you think you can opt out of health class and keep your kids out during this indoctrination, you're wrong. "Comprehensive sex education" means they've woven it through science, math, English, and writing. How will you opt out of those things?


Kentucky Teacher Protests Are Political Theater Without Substance

Teachers have shut down schools across the state, allegedly to protest pension changes. But those pension reforms are pretty mild

About 5,000 teachers rallied at the Kentucky State Capitol on Monday to protest the passage last week of a pension reform measure that...well, it doesn't actually do much of anything to change their retirement plans.

But the bill might help bring Kentucky's public sector retirement plans back from the brink of financial collapse.

Under the terms of the bill that zipped through the legislature on Thursday, teachers hired after January 1, 2019, would be moved into a new retirement system using a so-called "hybrid cash-balance retirement plan," which retains some elements of a traditional pension and includes individual investment options similar to a 401(k) plan. Future hires know they won't lose their money—which makes the plans significantly less risky than 401(k) plans in the private sector—but taxpayers will no longer be responsible for making up the difference when the pension investments fall short of expectations. (The Pension Integrity Project at the Reason Foundation, which publishes this blog, provided technical assistance to Gov. Matt Bevin and state legislators as they crafted various pension reform proposals over the past year.)

Those future hires might also have to work a little longer before qualifying for retirement. While current teachers will still be able to retire after 27 years on the job, those hired next year will have to work until they are 65 or until their age and years of service add up to 87—a 57-year-old teacher with 30 years of service would be eligible to retire, for example.

None of those provisions affect the thousands of current and retired teachers who swarmed the state capitol promising to throw out the bums who had allegedly shortchanged their retirement plans. Andrew Beaver, a 32-year-old middle school math teacher, told The New York Times that he and his colleagues were angry about (in the Times' words) "not having a seat at the negotiation table" with Republican Gov. Matt Bevin and the Republican-controlled state legislature.

Bevin had pushed for a version of the bill that included changes to future cost-of-living adjustments for current teachers and retirees. But that provision was stripped from the bill after earlier opposition from the teachers who now say they did not have a seat at the negotiating table. Indeed, hundreds of teachers swarmed the state capitol in mid-March to have their voices heard as state lawmakers debated the pension proposal. The state set up a website to collect feedback from the public on various pension proposals too.

The public has the right to participate in the legislative process, but no one is entitled to get what they want out of it. This is political theater.

Protests like the one staged in Frankfort—and the walkouts in schools around the state this week—are meant to flex the public sector unions' muscles and make state lawmakers think twice about making more changes in the future. This isn't about retirement planning; it's about political power.

If it was about retirement planning, the teachers would admit that something has to change. Kentucky has eight public sector pension plans, and none of them are in good shape. The state faces more than $62 billion in unfunded pension liabilities over the next few decades, and the teachers' pension plan (the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System, or TRS) accounts for more than $33 billion of that debt.

By comparison, Kentucky taxpayers' paid about $32 billion last year to fund the entire state government—everything from schools to road construction.

Depending on how you measure, Kentucky's public sector pension plans are either the worst-funded or the third worst-funded in the country. A Standard & Poor's report in 2016 ranked Kentucky dead last, with just 37.2 percent of the assets needed to cover current obligations, behind even such infamous pension basket cases as New Jersey (37.8 percent) and Illinois (40.2 percent). A Moody's report published a month later measured states' pension liabilities as a percentage of their annual tax revenue. Kentucky's liabilities totalled 261 percent of annual tax revenue, well above the average burden of 108 percent and more than three times the median of 85 percent. Only Illinois and Connecticut were in worse shape.

There's no doubt that Kentucky's pension crisis is partially a self-inflicted wound caused by years of deferring contributions to the system. According to an analysis from the Pew Charitable Trusts, only 15 states contributed sufficient funds to their pension systems in 2014 (the most recent year for which complete data is available) to avoid falling farther behind. Among the 35 states that failed to do so, Kentucky was by far the biggest deadbeat, chipping in less than 70 percent of what is required. In the decade between 2006 and 2016, the Kentucky teachers' pension plan had negative cash flow in nine years, and hemorrhaged $634 million in 2016 alone.

This is a completely unsustainable course. Any teachers just starting their careers in Kentucky's public schools should take a look at the chart below and ask if they're willing to trust their retirement to a system that could be insolvent by the mid-2030s if it earns less than 4 percent annually:

"The reaction to this common sense bill makes it clear that many educators had no intention of supporting any changes whatsoever to the pension system," writes Gary Houchens, a professor of education at Western Kentucky University. "Which also means that there was no need for further discussion on the topic in the state legislature. You're either going to stop kicking the can and do something, or you're going to let a broken system continue to spiral out of control."

The pension reform package that passed the state legislature last week won't solve that existing pension crisis. The current debt will still have to be paid, and it will continue costing Kentuckians for years to come. But the changes to pension promises for future teachers will allow the state to pay off the current debt without risking futher financial disaster.

Last month, Bevin said teachers were being "selfish and short-sighted" by opposing pension reforms. He's as right today as he was then.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Real Source of Teachers’ Struggles

Striking teachers in West Virginia recently made headlines in their efforts to increase their pay and benefits, which are among the lowest in the country. Teachers in Oklahoma, Arizona, and Kentucky have followed suit with similar protests. The dominant narrative, pushed by Democrats and their allies in the labor movement, presents these protests as part of a larger struggle between underpaid educators and miserly state Republicans more concerned with cutting taxes than with investing in children.

While politically convenient, this story is largely a red herring distracting us from the real reason teachers in West Virginia and elsewhere are currently underpaid and unlikely to see substantial pay increases any time soon.

The problem is fiscal capacity. This is the ability of governments to raise enough revenues for the provision of basic public goods. Some states have greater total taxable resources (income, wealth, natural resources, etc.) than others. Typically, social scientists discuss fiscal capacity in regard to the inequality that results from the ability of rich suburbs to spend more on education than poor urban areas.

While reformers have made great strides in reducing the disparities between urban and suburban school spending, they have paid almost no attention to disparities among states. It is impossible to address the teachers’ grievances without addressing limited fiscal capacity among poor states.

Comparing West Virginia and New Jersey helps us understand the underlying problem. Each state dedicates the same proportion of its resources to spending on education salaries and benefits — about 3.5 percent of its GDP. In other words, they are putting in the same effort. The crucial difference is that New Jersey is a very rich state, which gives it more fiscal capacity. West Virginia, on the other hand, is a very poor state, which severely limits its fiscal capacity.

The difference in fiscal capacity translates into about $5,800 more per pupil for teacher salaries and benefits in New Jersey relative to West Virginia ($15,203 versus $9,409). If you want to know why the average teacher salary in West Virginia amounts to only 65 percent of the average teacher salary in New Jersey ($45,701 versus $69,623), then look no further than the fact that per-pupil spending in West Virginia amounts to only 62 percent of per-pupil spending in New Jersey.

Some of this gap can be attributed to regional differences in the cost of living. A $45,701 salary gets you more bang for your buck in West Virginia than in New Jersey. But when it comes to student learning, New Jersey ranks near the top of the National Assessment of Student Progress while West Virginia ranks near the bottom. Like any other service, you get what you pay for when it comes to education.

Critics contend that Republicans could simply raise taxes to pay teachers better. This misses the fundamental problem with West Virginia’s limited fiscal capacity. In order to attain per-pupil spending on par with New Jersey’s, West Virginia would need to substantially increase the tax burden on its already poor residents far above and beyond that of any other state. Even if West Virginia introduced a trendy new millionaire tax, it would not raise anything close to the necessary revenue because the state ranks near the bottom in terms of millionaires per capita.

The only way to ensure that underpaid teachers in poor states receive the pay raises they deserve is to directly address disparities in fiscal capacity across states. The most effective way to do this is through a federal equalization block grant targeting states with below-average fiscal capacity.

An equalization grant would enable poorer states to provide the same level of public services afforded to residents in richer states without adding crushing new tax burdens. Most states already do this when doling out local aid to municipalities by accounting for variations in property-tax bases in their formulas. This has helped reduce disparities in spending across school districts.

The United States is actually the only country with a federal system without an equalization grant. Introducing one would have similar effects in reducing spending disparities across states by raising education spending in the poorest states. That means more money for teachers and a better education for students in West Virginia.

An equalization grant is a tough sell politically, though. An effective grant would distribute the vast majority of its benefits to poor states that also happen to be red states. Rich blue states such as California, New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts would receive nothing. Unfortunately, it is hard to imagine blue-state Democrats voting for a policy, even a progressive one, that offers no benefits to their labor constituents at home. Likewise, it is hard to imagine Republican leaders lining up to introduce an expensive new block grant, even if it primarily benefits the states they represent.

Despite these obstacles, the implications remain clear: Labor struggles at statehouses across the country will largely be fought in vain until the federal government begins to provide poor states with the funding they need to boost their fiscal capacity and provide basic public services to their residents.


Breaking Up the Public School Monopoly

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

Every serious problem this nation currently endures can be traced back to a single source. To be blunt, we’re creating legions of useful idiots in public schools across America. At least two generations of Americans can no longer add and subtract simple numbers in their heads, know next to nothing about the nation’s history or government, and cast a jaundiced eye toward inalienable rights guaranteed by the Constitution — all while remaining well-versed in progressive ideology. The time for complaining is over. It’s time to do something about it.

"One of President Trump’s promises to the American people was that he would provide billions to fund private school choice for parents, especially low-income families,” writes columnist Glenn Delk. “By allocating zero dollars for school choice, congressional Republicans, in their $1.3 trillion spending bill, made it crystal clear, to both the President and families with school-age children, that they have no intention of ever fulfilling that promise. Given the congressional slap in the face, President Trump should now order Attorney General Sessions to file suit on behalf of the United States against all 50 states seeking to break up the monopoly known as public schools.”

Americans should be clear on this point. Despite education being controlled by the states, public schools remain monopolistic, unionized fiefdoms of unaccountability that have promised — and failed — to deliver reform for over 40 years.

And it shows. A 2017 Pew Research Center survey reveals that American 15-year olds who took the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests in 2015 finished in 24th place in science, 38th place in math, and 24th place in reading out of 73 countries. Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy sounded the alarm, warning, “The United States cannot long operate a world-class economy if our workers are … among the worst-educated in the world.”

Why did the decline occur? Tucker insists it’s because “the standards movement was stolen by the accountability movement.” In fact, he writes, “Facing tough sanctions from the federal government for low test scores, many states lowered whatever standards they had for high school students, so they could escape the consequences of poor student performance.”

Thus, as he further reveals, “High school textbooks that used to be written at the 12th-grade level for 12th graders are now written at the 7th- or 8th-grade level,” and “many community college teachers do not assign much writing at all to their first-year students because they cannot write.”

And as night follows day, the lowering of standards engendered the inevitable fraud necessary to maintain them. Two Google searches, “public schools issue worthless diplomas” and “public schools, grade fixing scandals” reveal the intentional dumbing-down of our nation’s youth to satisfy contemptible political interests has occurred all over the nation.

Yet while education dies, progressive indoctrination flies. As columnist Daniel Greenfield reveals, schools in New York City, Minnesota, Virginia and Missouri are force-feeding the Left’s “white privilege” agenda to kindergarten students. That agenda includes “separating whites in classes where they’re made to feel awful about their ‘whiteness,’ and all the ‘kids of color’ in other rooms where they’re taught to feel proud about their race and are rewarded with treats and other privileges,” the NY Post reports.

Unsurprisingly, the transgender agenda has also been inflicted on kindergarteners in California, Washington and Minnesota. Moreover, California’s state legislature purposefully excluded “gender identity” from their parental opt-out requirements — meaning parents must either withdraw their child from school or allow them to be subjected to an agenda replete with LGBT-inclusive textbooks.

Civics? A 2017 report released by the National Association of Scholars reveals that U.S. civics education, “if it exists at all, is being transformed into a political machine to push left-wing causes, undermine American government, and incite civil unrest,” reveals The Federalist’s Joy Pullmann.

Why do so many teachers embrace indoctrination masquerading as education? “Since the publication of the English edition in 1970, Pedagogy of the Oppressed has achieved near-iconic status in America’s teacher-training programs,” explained Manhattan Institute senior fellow Sol Stern in 2009. Stern further revealed how this “ed-school bestseller” serves the progressive agenda, noting that it is “a utopian political tract calling for the overthrow of capitalist hegemony and the creation of classless societies.”

That is only part of the picture. When two Supreme Court rulings made in the ‘60s asserted Judeo-Christian ethics were an “establishment of religion” and removed them from the classroom, an intellectual/ethical vacuum was created. It was filled with the Left’s secular humanist worldview — one that became non-rebuttable as a result.

This paradigm shift — despite the reality the Left’s socialist utopian agenda is as much a faith-based proposition as any religion — remains the status quo.

Steven Calabresi, a Northwestern University law professor, and the Federalist Society’s chairman of the board, envisions a remedy. In a number of law review articles, he makes it clear that a system with a 90% market share that is sole recipient of state education funds is no different than 19th century monopolies.

Monopolies outlawed by the 14th Amendment.

Delk also reminds us that the Justice Department successfully ended monopolies enjoyed by the likes of Standard Oil, IBM, AT&T, and the airlines, and that the same pressure should be applied to public schools. He urges Trump to seek a Supreme Court decision ordering state governments to make vouchers available to any student who wants a private education — secular or religious.

That would be a second Supreme court ruling in that regard. In the 1954 case, Brown v. Board of Education, SCOTUS unanimously ruled that education is “a right which must be made available on equal terms.”

Ever since, “Big Ed” has made a mockery of that ruling, and Harvard Graduate School of Education Dean James Ryan spells out exactly why, stating, “Right now, there exist an almost ironclad link between a child’s ZIP code and his/her chances of success.”

In 2013, Slate columnist Allison Benedikt revealed the Left’s genuine public school agenda, insisting that if “every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve,” she wrote. “This would not happen immediately. It could take generations … but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good.”

Few things are more despicable than the notion one should sacrifice the future of one’s own children for the “common good.” Yet far too many public schools continue to embrace this socialist/Marxist worldview, along with the Left’s unrelenting effort to “fundamentally transform the United States of America” — one indoctrinated child after another.

This de facto sedition must be met head on. While Sessions sues, Congress should hold nationally televised hearings and put the white-hot spotlight on “educators” who see nothing wrong with teaching children what to feel instead of how to think, or using them as cannon fodder for leftist political causes. That same spotlight should also shine on politicians who champion public schools — but put their own children in private ones.

America has endured this contemptible combination of indoctrination, incompetency and hypocrisy long enough.


The charter school movement regroups and looks ahead

IT’S A BITTERSWEET WAY to celebrate the 25th birthday of this state’s education reform law.

But as we approach the quarter-century mark for the landmark law that made Massachusetts the recognized national leader in K-12 education and brought charter schools into being here, the Bay State’s charter school sector is focused on repairing frayed political ties, rebuilding its reputation, and redefining its mission.

Considered a smashing success story nationally, Massachusetts charters found themselves bashed as a drain on traditional public schools in the 2016 charter school ballot-question campaign. And even, in the fevered imaginings of some charter opponents, as the cat’s paw of “corporate” reformers supposedly hell-bent on the privatization of public education. A big campaign-finance violation by a key pro-charter-campaign funding group added image-injuring impropriety to the ideological attacks. For those aware of how hard idealistic charter educators work, it’s been a sad period.

To be sure, there are some bright spots. This fall, Phoenix Charter Academy will open a high school for those who have previously dropped out or are at risk of doing so, to serve students in Lawrence, Haverhill, and Methuen. Map Academy Charter School will start a similarly focused high school to serve Plymouth, Carver, and Wareham.

Meanwhile, Hampden Charter School of Science-West is opening in West Springfield, with the aim of expanding to serve some 588 students in grades 6 through 12 from that community, Agawam, Westfield, and Holyoke.

The city’s innovative initiative to improve education is earning interest inside the state and out.

And the waiting lists for charter schools remain long.

Still, the Question 2 thumping has imposed a widely recognized reality: For the foreseeable future, raising the charter cap is off the public policy table, leaving the movement to look to communities where there’s room under the current cap. The good news there, said Tim Nicolette, 38, who took over last August as executive director of the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association, is that there’s still space for some 10,000 new charter seats in urban districts.

“We want to have conversations with superintendents and mayors about the needs that they’re seeing, and then we want to have conversations with talented educators who are passionate about those needs,” he said. Charter school proposals that originate that way, Nicolette hopes, will meet with warmer receptions.

Another part of the regrouping effort will focus on strengthening political ties.

“We very much want to rebuild relationships, both with the Legislature and with the local community,” he said. “We want to invite local officials to come out to see our schools, and we also want our schools to be deeply integrated in the community.” Advice: Importune your senators in particular to come visit. Acquaint them with the data refuting the notion that urban charters have a larger attrition problem than the traditional publics. Show them the progress charters are making enrolling more English-language learners.

And make sure they know about the latest research attesting to charter success here. Like the February report from the University of Arkansas’s School Choice Demonstration Project, a research center that studies the effects of school choice, showing that Boston charters are delivering a big bang for the buck. Or the study from MIT’s School Effectiveness and Inequality Initiative, which finds not only that Boston’s “no excuses” charters impart significant education gains but also that those gains have continued as the charter sector has grown. All that is in keeping with past research documenting the big educational gains that Massachusetts charters, and Boston’s in particular, impart.

“We want to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and rebuild relationships with the community and the Legislature, and then identify where the greatest needs are and where the opportunities are for us to continue to serve kids,” Nicolette said.

Keep your chin up, charter educators. You’ve been an important part of this state’s educational success — and ballot-campaign balderdash notwithstanding, fair-minded observers know that.


Monday, April 09, 2018

Australia: Grandparents' education gives year 3 students huge boost

The Leftist morons below have just rediscovered IQ but don't know it.  IQ is a huge influence on educational success and is strongly inherited genetically.  So of course high achieving people will tend to have high achieving children and grandchildren.  The various "explanations" put forward below for the relationship are therefore supererogatory and pointless, though they may have some marginal explanatory power.

Most amusing is the apparent belief that schools can somehow make up for a disadvantageous ancestry.  Since there is not yet any known way to genetically engineer a high IQ, the expectation is not so much optimistic as plain stupid.  Leftism  is a terrible blight on the brain

A student's year 3 NAPLAN scores can be significantly impacted by their grandparents' level of education, with new evidence showing that educational disadvantage is multi-generational.

Having four family members with university degrees can place a student 1.4 years ahead of their peers who have no family members with high attainment by year 3.

The study, which looked at the NAPLAN numeracy and reading scores and family background of 5107 infants aged between three and 19 months and 4983 children aged between four and five in 2004 over a decade, found that "grandparent educational attainment is associated with grandchild test scores independent of parent education" where both grandparents have high attainment.

Lead author of the study, Kirsten Hancock, a senior research fellow at the Telethon Kids Institute, said the findings have implications for both schools and families.

"It has implications for the current generation of parents, knowing that what they're doing now not only affects their own children but also generations down the line," Ms Hancock said.

"Not everyone's going to go to university but valuing education and supporting their kids is really important."

Ms Hancock said the study also "helps to show what schools are dealing with".

"There is a wide range of backgrounds that kids come to school with and it's difficult for schools to overcome that," Ms Hancock said.

"Something like 20 per cent of a child's waking hours are spent at school each year, so what happens there has to be pretty good to offset all these other things."

The study found that grandparents can contribute to their grandchildren's education directly through financial or other support, or by promoting the value of education within the family and providing access to useful networks.

It also found that grandparents' ability to contribute differs by country, and that Australian grandparents have plenty of opportunities to provide a financial boost by helping with school fees and costs or supporting extracurricular activities.

"Enrolment in private education is also substantially higher in Australia than in other countries, with almost 40 per cent of students attending non-government schools compared with an OECD average of 15 per cent," the paper states.

"Grandparents may also help parents to secure housing in the catchment areas of desirable public schools, either by providing financial support, or by providing free childcare that enable parents to generate more income and have greater choice with respect to housing."

The advantage provided by well-educated grandparents and parents tends to be concentrated in some families, with people with high educational attainment likely to partner with people who have similar levels of attainment.

"Such a concentration of human capital may contribute further to educational inequalities in subsequent generations," the paper states.

Ms Hancock said: "We haven't had the data to prove this in Australia before now. "For children who come from these strong educational backgrounds, they're doing pretty well. But it's difficult for schools to overcome and they need significant resources."

The latest NAPLAN results show that students across all year levels are far more likely to achieve scores in the top bands for all five NAPLAN domains if one parent holds a bachelor degree or higher.

This was especially evident in the numeracy test where 33.4 per cent of year 3 students with parents who had a bachelor degree or higher achieved a band 6 or above, compared to 13.2 per cent of those with parents who had a diploma and 2.7 per cent of students whose parents only reached year 11.


No Excuse Possible for Anti-Jesus Views of Professor at Catholic College

Sometimes there is no explanation for some actions. It can’t be a question of ignorance. It can’t be a mistake in judgment. It’s plain wrong, and the person does it anyway.

Such is the case of Prof. Tat-Siong Benny Liew. He is chair of New Testament Studies at the Jesuit-run College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.

An article by Elinor Reilly ’18, on pages 5-7 of the March 2018 issue of The Fenwick Review, quotes Prof. Liew writing that Our Lord Jesus Christ was a “drag king,” a “cross-dresser,” and a man with “queer desires.” He eroticizes the relations among the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity, Our Lord’s miraculous healing of the Centurion’s servant, His washing of the Apostles’ feet, and the Crucifixion.

Throughout, Prof. Liew uses unrepeatable language that he certainly knowingly offends God and devout Catholics. And yet he does it anyway.

It is impossible for this scholar not to know what has always been taught about Our Lord. He is a man of studies; one who has been fully exposed to the New Testament and Church teaching on the Gospels. He has to know that his position is a direct challenge to the Church’s official interpretation of Scripture and traditional beliefs on the Redeemer. Nevertheless, he presents his position without fear of reprisal. He makes no effort to hide his unorthodox beliefs.

On March 30, 2018, Worcester Bishop Robert MacManus declared these Gospel interpretations to be “false,” “perverse,” and “blasphemous.”

It appears that Prof. Liew has not disavowed these blasphemous writings or shown any remorse for them.

It is part of the frenetic intemperance of the educational establishment that there are no standards which cannot be overthrown in the name of academic license (please don’t call it freedom). For these academic license-worshippers, neither truth nor error exists. One is free to present the most outrageous thoughts and make believe they are worthy of serious consideration.

There is no Church authority, not even a bishop, who can restrain such offensive imaginings. And anyone who feels wounded in his Faith is labeled intolerant, a rigid bigot, and is academically excommunicated and damned.

In this manifestation of extreme individualism, the academic license-worshipper sets himself up as the standard of all things. Everything and everyone must adapt to him. Yet he bows before no one; no, not even God.

However, there are other tragic conclusions to take.

If Prof. Liew speaks without fear of dismissal from a Jesuit college, it is because he knows there are many others in Catholic academia who think similarly. He knows there is collusion for his academic license. He knows his colleagues harbor sympathy for his ability to show off his outlandish beliefs. He knows that he is not shunned or ostracized by his academic peers for his unorthodox views. He knows that he continues tranquilly to chair his New Testament Studies department at a Jesuit-run university.

Also, he knows there are administrators who certainly have heard of his offensive positions and activities. And he knows they do not fire him or remove him from his rostrum of influence over the souls and salvation of young Catholics.

No, Prof. Liew is not alone in his heretical views on Jesus. His training and education must have had those of similar mind who encouraged him in his research and writing. He quotes others with equally twisted interpretations of Scripture. It is impossible not to conclude that significant sectors of the Catholic teaching establishment have long been undermined by those holding and openly espousing unorthodox positions. Things now have reached a point where once hidden views are unashamedly promoted.

Similar considerations can be made about others associated with the theological formation that Prof. Liew today imparts including those bishops and priests that gave free reign to such licentious and false studies. The same goes for the theologians who develop these perverse doctrines hoping to subvert Catholic theology into homosexual ideology.

All of this is a reflection of a great crisis that has long festered inside the Church, destroying morals and Faith. Indeed, already fifty years ago Pope Paul VI mentioned that “the Church finds herself in an hour … of self-destruction.” Forty-six years ago he said that “the smoke of Satan has entered into the temple of God through some crack.”

Today, this “self-destruction” rules at all levels.

That is why it is important that faithful Catholics protest when unorthodox views are presented openly. Their prayerful voices can be a cry of alert that denounces error and forces the other side to rethink. Above all, their prayers serve as needed public reparation for the unspeakable blasphemy against Our Lord. They also implore God to intervene and set this wayward world aright. 


When Ideology Collides With Good School Governance

Should schools be focused on providing children with a good education in a safe environment, or should they be laboratories of partisan political agitation? The answer, of course, should be obvious. The National School Boards Association states that “education is not a line item in your school board’s budget, it’s the only item.” The principles of “governance and leadership,” such as those articulated by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, make no allowance for focusing on anything other than educating children. Most schools adopt policies protecting students from any attempts by faculty or staff to indoctrinate them toward any partisan or ideological positions.

So when the needs of education and the drum beats of political ideology collide, the former should always prevail. As designed by Pennsylvania (where I’m a sitting school board president for a small rural district in the western part of the state) and many other states, local school governance must surely be close to an ideal concept. Residents are elected by other residents and are given responsibility for a very narrow range of activity and held accountable not only at the ballot box but also in the grocery store aisles, concert seats, and game bleachers.

In other words, school governance is designed to be a targeted, pragmatic, and highly accountable enterprise. Most of the time, that’s exactly what it is. The vast majority of items taken up by the vast majority of school boards are unaffected by the broader ideological or political considerations that often infect our national policymaking.

Of course, that’s not always the case. Local school boards do sometimes navigate ideologically charged national political debates. I and my fellow board directors have been in this position many times, involving such subjects as debt, taxes, church and state, health care, and more. I’ve written previously about our school district’s encounter with anti-fracking activists, who relentlessly maligned board members’ intelligence and integrity. It wasn’t the first time. It won’t be the last.

But with the recent school shooting in Florida and the flurry of high-profile news and activities we’ve seen in its aftermath, we appear to have reached some kind of tipping point in the annals of ideology versus school governance.

Let’s face it, there is high emotion built into the topics of gun control, gun violence, school safety, etc. Mass shootings exacerbate tribal divides and accentuate policy differences. That said, nowadays there appears to be something uniquely intractable about the gun control debate. National Review writer David French — not someone prone to hyperbole — even argues that of all issues, this could be the one that “breaks America.”

So while there’s always a certain possibility of clashes between ideology and good school governance — especially given the expanding range of topics now heaped under the rubric of “education” — the potential today appears to be reaching unprecedented levels. This is certainly driven at least in part by school shootings and society’s attempt to grapple with them.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen evidence that many school districts are wilting under the pressure to allow ideology to undermine their core missions. An object lesson in this is the National School Walkout that took place earlier this month. Advertised and obsequiously covered in much of the media as a grass roots, “student-led” movement, the whole event was orchestrated by Empower, the youth wing of the Women’s March. Yes, THAT Women’s March, an unapologetically progressive movement with an undeniably far-left platform and a penchant for outrageous and aggressive tactics.

As for the “walkout” itself, consider what schools were being pressured to do: permit students to leave the school building en masse at the same exact time as hundreds of other schools in the country, thus allowing a massive disruption of the school day and (ironically) putting students in potential danger. In addition, schools were effectively expected to facilitate and enable the exploitation of the opportunity to promote aggressive gun control and convey a blanket demonization of the NRA, the GOP, and anyone who doesn’t sufficiently support every radical gun control idea.

And this brings me back to the basic principles of school governance. When an ideological or partisan political initiative collides with a school’s fundamental mission to maintain an atmosphere conducive to good education in a safe environment, erring to the side of the latter is not a “nice-to-do.” Schools do not have the luxury of spending their time, energy, or resources agitating for changes to the U.S. Constitution or federal or state HIPPA regulations, just to name a couple of examples. They must be much more narrowly focused on things they can do to maximize student safety and student educational outcomes.

Needless to say, there was no mass walkout in our district. Students were allowed to gather briefly and quietly in the school gymnasium to pay tribute to the slain Florida students. But school wasn’t disrupted; children weren’t allowed to endanger themselves while under our watch; and there was no blatantly partisan posturing by anyone.

It would have been easy enough to follow the crowd. Those who think we should have done just that ought to consider the unwieldy precedent that would have been set by allowing students to create anarchy in the school for any ideological reason they like. And they should remind themselves about the legal and moral requirements of good school governance. All these things considered, there should be ample common ground upon which to gather for the right reasons.


Sunday, April 08, 2018

Concealed Carry on Campus Is More Common, and Useful, Than You Thought

Recent tragedies have put a spotlight on the issue of firearms in schools, particularly whether there should be more or fewer armed personnel protecting students in the classroom.

What many do not realize is that students and teachers at some colleges and universities have for years been able to arm themselves on school property.

Which States Allow Guns On Campus, Under What Circumstances

Several states have statutes that explicitly protect the right of licensed individuals to carry concealed firearms at public colleges and universities:

Utah—In 2007, Utah became the first state to explicitly allow concealed weapons permit holders to carry firearms on public college campuses.

Colorado—The Concealed Carry Act of 2003 clarified the state’s concealed carry permit process and established statewide uniform standards establishing carrying restrictions. Then, in 2012, the Colorado Supreme Court determined the University of Colorado system could not prohibit concealed carry permit holders from carrying on campus.

Mississippi—In 2011, the state passed a law prohibiting public universities from enforcing firearms bans on persons with “training-endorsed” firearms permits.

Kansas—In 2013, the state passed a law that allowed for the carrying of concealed handguns on the state’s public university campuses and in university buildings, beginning July 1, 2017.

Idaho—In 2014, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter signed into law a bill that allows enhanced concealed carry permit holders to carry concealed firearms on public university campuses.

Texas—As of 2016, all state four-year colleges and universities must permit individuals with concealed handgun licenses to carry loaded, concealed firearms on campus. This statute took effect for all state two-year and junior colleges in 2017.

Tennessee—As of 2016, full-time employees of state public colleges and universities with concealed carry permits may be armed on campus. Students are still prohibited from carrying firearms on campus.

Arkansas—As of Sept. 1, 2017, individuals 21 or older with concealed carry permits may apply for an enhanced permit to carry on college campuses.

Georgia—In 2017, the state passed a law permitting any person with a valid weapons license to carry concealed firearms on the grounds of public college and university campuses.

Most colleges and universities in states that protect the right to carry concealed weapons on campus have policies prohibiting firearms from being carried in certain sensitive areas and buildings.

For example, the University of Georgia prohibits the concealed carrying of firearms at athletic events, in Greek or university housing, or within “disciplinary action locations.”

Similarly, the University of Texas at Austin allows faculty members to declare their offices as “gun-free zones,” and students are not permitted to keep their weapons stored in their dorm rooms.

Some Universities Refuse to Cooperate

In several more states, the law on the books is complicated by administrative rules from noncooperative colleges and universities.

In Oregon, for example, the law protects the right of individuals to carry concealed firearms on public college and university campuses, and the state’s Court of Appeals in 2011 struck down an institutional policy prohibiting the possession of firearms on campus.

This has not stopped state universities and colleges from continuing to post guidelines purporting to prohibit the concealed carry of firearms on campus, even as county attorneys publicly state these policies cannot be legally enforced under state law.

The state of the law in Wisconsin is even more uncertain.

In 2011, Gov. Scott Walker signed Wisconsin Act 35, which makes it lawful for persons with concealed carry licenses to be armed in public as long as they do not present themselves with criminal or malicious intent.

The law created exceptions for certain public buildings but did not expressly include college or university buildings among those exceptions.

But the University of Wisconsin system continues to enforce an administrative code that prohibits firearms on campus, despite the wording of Wisconsin Act 35.

Allowing Law-Abiding College Students to Defend Themselves Can Save Lives

After Colorado passed its Concealed Carry Act in 2003, the University of Colorado argued that an obscure legal loophole exempted it from the law because it did not expressly state its requirements applied to the university.

Then-Attorney General Ken Salazar issued a nonbinding opinion agreeing with the university, which subsequently continued to prohibit firearms on campus because, officials argued, they “threaten the tranquility of the educational environment in an intimidating way” and “contribute in an offensive manner to an unacceptable climate of violence.”

In the years following the enactment of the concealed carry law, Colorado State University—which permitted concealed firearms on campus—experienced a 60 percent drop in reported crimes.

Meanwhile, the University of Colorado—which continued to prohibit students from defending themselves with firearms until a 2012 Colorado Supreme Court ruling found the prohibition unconstitutional—experienced a 35 percent increase in reported crimes.

In other words, it appears that the University of Colorado created a more threatening and intimidating educational environment by banning firearms than Colorado State University did by allowing students to effectively defend themselves.

This makes sense. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that firearms are much more likely to be used in a defensive manner than they are to be used for criminal activity and are used defensively somewhere between 500,000 and 3 million times per year.

Not only are firearms invaluable for defense of self or others, but concealed carry permit holders as a group are statistically among the most law-abiding citizens in the nation. It is hardly surprising that, according to John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center, “Not once has a permit holder in any of these states [that allow college students to carry concealed firearms] committed a crime on one of these campuses with a gun.”

Disarming Students Has Traumatic Consequences

In 2013, legislation was introduced in the Colorado Legislature that would have prohibited the concealed carry of firearms on campus, even for permit holders. Rape survivor Amanda Collins provided powerful testimony before the Senate State Affairs Committee, highlighting how a similar prohibition in Nevada had resulted in her inability to defend herself against her attacker.

As a 21-year-old college student, Collins possessed a Nevada defensive handgun license, which normally would have permitted her to carry a concealed firearm. But the University of Nevada at Reno prohibited the possession of firearms on campus, regardless of whether a person had a defensive handgun license.

She was raped just a few feet away from an emergency call box, in the parking garage of the campus police station, which had closed for the day.

“Had I been carrying concealed, he wouldn’t have known I had my weapon,” Collins told the committee. “I know without a doubt in my mind at some point I would’ve been able to stop my attack by using my firearm.”

She further demanded to know “[h]ow … rendering me defenseless protect[s] you against a violent crime?”

Collins’ rapist went on to rape two more women and murder another before he was stopped—something Collins could have accomplished had the university not disarmed her.

It is highly likely Collins indeed would have been able to effectively defend herself had she been permitted to carry her firearm that night. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that “self-defense can be an important crime deterrent,” and that studies evaluating the actual effects of defensive firearm use consistently find “lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.”

Further, when the Census Bureau interviewed more than 2,000 people who said they had been sexually assaulted between 1992 and 2002, only 26 stated they used a weapon to resist—but not a single one of those 26 cases resulted in complete rapes, because all would-be victims reported that the confrontation ended swiftly after they deployed their firearms.

Collins was a law-abiding citizen with a natural, pre-existing right to defend herself against violent attacks. The Second Amendment exists, in part, to protect her right as a law-abiding citizen to defend herself in the most effective way possible—with a firearm.

Her question remains as valid today as it did in 2013: What did anyone gain from disarming her and rendering her defenseless?

The answer remains: nothing.



One of the most dangerous developments of the last few decades has been the subversion of our universities by radicals who in the 1960s first tried to burn them down and then, after this strategy of destruction failed, decided to get on the tenure track to take them over. Their generational long march succeeded, possibly beyond their wildest expectations. With the exception of a few rear guard actions by brave conservative students, American higher education is now an indoctrination center for cultural Marxism, identity racism and other anti-American ideas.

But the left’s demolition project is not yet complete. To make the victory complete, it must take over all of American education, including the schooling of our youngest and most vulnerable students.  This effort is now well advanced as radical leftists use their control of the university Ed schools and the teacher unions as a base to extend their ideological campaigns into the K-12 system.  Their shock troops include teachers, administrators and textbook publishers and feature “theorists” such as former Weatherman Bill Ayers (who reinvented himself as an eminent Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Illinois when his days as a terrorist had ended) who provide the manuals on “teaching for social justice” that target teacher training programs and ultimately children as early as kindergarten for radical indoctrination.

The effects of this systematic effort to radicalize K-12 education are being felt in school districts all over the country.  No corner of the classroom is immune from indoctrination.  Young students learning arithmetic are given thought problems involving homelessness and the percentage of “undocumented workers” subjected to heartless deportation proceedings.  Social studies is now a race, gender and climate change-obsessed curriculum designed to frighten rather than educate.  In the hands of leftist teachers, America is a nation of victims rather than a nation of immigrants.

Some concerned parents and educators appalled by this new regime have reported educational horror stories that should concern every citizen.  The following give a sense of the scope and intensity of the onslaught our youngest and most vulnerable students face after the school bell has sounded.

Indoctrination on Race and “Social Justice”

*On February 1, 2018, Vermont’s Montpelier High School flew the Black Lives Matter flag for the month of February to mark Black History Month in response to pressure from the Racial Justice Alliance, a student group at the school where 18 of 350 students are African American.

*A teacher at Norman North High School in Oklahoma was recorded by a student stating in class,  “To be white is racist, period.”  The teacher who made the comment was white. Despite being part-Hispanic, the student who taped the teacher and her family took offense at the comments. “Why is it ok to demonize one race to children that you’re supposed to be teaching a curriculum?” her father wondered.

*Students in a literature composition class at Aloha High School in Aloha, Oregon were given a “White Privilege Survey” to complete as homework. The assignment included such questions as “I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed” and “I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the newspaper and see people of my race widely and positively represented.”  A school district spokeswoman attempted to excuse the exercise by stating that the class covers current issues including race and that the goal is for students to “gain empathy, understanding and to build bridges,” but the father of one student in the class stated, “The way this survey is read, it almost wants to like, shame you for being white.”

*Highlands Elementary School located in Edina, Minnesota—one of the state’s highest ranked  elementary schools based on standardized tests—has instituted several initiatives on racial inequality and social justice. Kindergarten classes, for instance, spend weeks participating in the “Melanin project,” which involves, among other things, coloring images of their hands which were attached to a banner reading “Stop thinking your skin color is better than anyone else’s!”  Meanwhile, first graders were to write poems about social justice and fourth and fifth graders participate in a performance project that links the anti police and racially divisive Black Lives Matter movement with peace.  The principal’s page on the website of Highlands Elementary School in Edina, Minnesota, effusively praises Black Lives Matter and reproduced the entry on the BLM’s own website which states, “We are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages.’”  The  school principal also reported on her page that “students of color” had experienced 291 “microaggresions” in a 90 day period, meaning that they had been encouraged by the school’s racialized atmosphere to convert imagined slights all around them into instances of white racism and to inform on their fellow students.  

*Teach for America is partnering with the organization EdX to craft a six-week online course for middle school teachers called “Teaching Social Justice through Secondary Mathematics.”  A course overview states “This education and teacher training course will help you blend secondary math instruction with topics such as inequity, poverty, and privilege…” Ideas for sample math lessons include instruction on “Unpaid Work Hours in the Home by Gender” and “Race and Imprisonment Rates in the United States.” There is no lesson on violent crime rates by race so the inevitable conclusion is that if more blacks are incarcerated than their proportion in the population, white racism must be responsible. 

*In February 2017, teachers and staff serving in the Rochester City School District in upstate New York received an email stating that February 17 would be designated “Black Lives Matter at School.”  The email urged staff to purchase a “Black Lives Matter at School” T-shirt and included links to leftist websites featuring propaganda about why the phrase “all lives matter” is racist. The email explained that educational goals for students will include “Understands inequities based on race”; “Affirms that the lives of people of color matter”; and “Believes that we all have a responsibility to work for equity.” In other words the lesson is that inequalities are solely the result of racism, with differential abilities, application and individual talent playing little or no role in social outcomes.

*In January 2017 an activist group within the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers called the Caucus of Working Educators launched an optional lesson plan for the city’s kindergarten-to-12th grade students that included six days of “social justice action.”  Children in lower grades were required to work on   “The Revolution Is Always Now” coloring book; older students had science lessons about the biology of skin color. The focus in all classrooms was on imbuing children with a heightened awareness of “white privilege” while fostering feelings of racial resentment and guilt. Teachers were also encouraged to wear Black Lives Matter T-shirts.  Some Philadelphia teachers objected to such blatant politicization in the classroom, not to mention its racist overtones. One English teacher caused controversy by stating, “I don’t think kids should be taught that Western society is perpetrating a war on black people.”

*At Highlands Elementary School in Edina, Minnesota, one of the publications principal Kate Mahoney touts for younger students in her space on the school blog is an A-B-C book titled A is for Activist.  The pages feature text such as this: “A is for Activist.  Are you an Activist?  C is for Creative Counter to Corporate Vultures.  T is for Trans. X is for Malcolm. As in Malcolm X.”

*The Edina School District’s employees must take “Edina School District Equity and Racial Justice Training: Moving from a Diversity to a Social Justice Lens.” This includes bus drivers, who are instructed that “dismantling white privilege” is “the core of our work as white folks,” and that working for the Edina schools requires “a major paradigm shift in the thinking of white people.” Drivers were exhorted to acknowledge their racial guilt, and embrace the district’s “equity” ideology.

*In October 2016 2,000 Seattle educators wore Black Lives Matter shirts at their schools in a district-wide action. The event was organized by Social Equality Educators, a group of Seattle teachers.  At Chief Sealth International High School, dozens of educators and students gathered outside the building and held up banners and signs that said  “Black Lives Matter” and “We Stand Together” with logos in the shape of a clenched fist.

More HERE 

Backlash Hits University Attacking ‘Christian Privilege’ Days After Easter

Nonsense dreamed up by a homosexual

For liberals, just being white isn’t bad enough anymore. According to a 90-minute training session being offered by George Washington University, whites who happen to be Christian are even worse.

But judging by the response on social media so far, Christians aren’t exactly turning the other cheek.

First reported by the Christian Post, GWU is using the first week after Easter to host a session on so-called “Christian privilege” to teach all those bigoted believers in the Christian faith how they can recognize “bias” and “microaggression” in their own lives.

Dubbed “Christian Privilege: But Our Founding Fathers Were All Christian, Right?”, the seminar, scheduled for Thursday, purports to explore how belief in Christianity results in unmerited benefits for the baptized.

“Let’s reflect upon ways we can live up to our personal and national values that make room for all religious and secular identities on an equal playing field,” the university’s website states.

Well, Twitter users decided to do a little reflecting of their own about the condition of Christians in the world today. And what they came up with wasn’t likely what the seminar organizers had in mind.

There’s no need to get into a big “we’re-more-persecuted-than-you-are” argument here. But the facts are the facts, and the facts are that major legal battles are being fought even today over the rights of Christians to believe what they choose — even in a country where their freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Constitution.

The Little Sisters of the Poor had to fight to the Supreme Court to prevent the federal government from forcing an order of nuns to provide birth control to employees in violation of their religious beliefs (the court dodged a final ruling in 2016, but as David French pointed out at National Review, it was still a victory for the sisters).

During this very term, the high court is deciding whether a Christian bakery in Colorado was within its rights to decline to bake a cake to celebrate a homosexual wedding that its owner felt violated his beliefs. A decision on that case, Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, is expected in June, according to Fox News.

So, spare us the “Christian privilege” argument.

As more than a few commenters pointed out, Christianity is the only religion in America today where it’s open season for pop-culture mockery.

 Christian Privilege is when you're the only religion that's allowed to be openly mocked and ridiculed. Dont say anything about Islam, might get into trouble.

Is this really trending? The only thing I see happening in today's America is the Mainstream Media and Liberals shaming anyone who is a Christian for their beliefs..

 The "privilege" to be discriminated against, mocked and derided by major academic institutions, dominant cultural institutions and the media.

Basically, Americans were tired enough of having their skin color constantly thrown in their faces by their alleged moral superiors — no matter what their race.

The decision by GWU to host a seminar to explore how biased the country is in favor of Christianity is just another insult.

Even the question in the seminar’s title is a bait for the unaware. No, strictly speaking, the Founding Fathers weren’t all Christian. Thomas Jefferson, for instance, famously created his own “bible” that literally cut out mentions of the New Testament’s miracles, according to the Smithsonian magazine.

But what they all were — to a man — were products of the Christian civilization of Western Europe and the Enlightenment, steeped in the foundational beliefs of the worth of the individual, and the rights of the individual against the overpowering might of the state.

And it was those beliefs that gave birth to the idea of America, and the American exceptionalism the whole world envies but American liberals despise.

It doesn’t take too long of a look around today’s political landscape to see which side favors the rights of Christians — and everyone –- and which side favors the power of the state to make decisions about individual lives.

The liberals at George Washington University might well believe they’re doing God’s work with a seminar like this. But it’s just as likely that there’s a political agenda here — and it’s not one that favors traditional Christianity, or American conservatives.

The man in charge, Timothy Kane, is, according to his GWU biography, “a proud gay member of the LGBT community as GW. His master’s thesis was titled ‘Solidarity as the Greatest Hope for the Gay and Lesbian Community.’”

Does anyone seriously question which side Kane voted for in 2016? And what the message of this seminar really is?