Friday, June 01, 2018

Mexican-American studies will be taught in Texas schools. Why there's a fight over its name

What's in a name?

A community's culture and history, argue Mexican-American experts in Texas who are protesting the name change of a recently approved high school elective course on Mexican-American studies.

In April, the Texas State Board of Education voted to approve the elective course in Mexican-American studies, but called it "Ethnic Studies: An Overview of Americans of Mexican Descent," instead of Mexican-American studies. The name change prompted Mexican-American experts and activists to push back.

“This course was named for a community rather than in partisanship with the community and understanding why that community identifies that way,” said Erika Beltran of Fort Worth, who sits on the State Board of Education. She represents District 13.

On Wednesday, Beltran was among several dozen people who joined the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies Tejas Foco for a statewide protest against the name change.

Press conferences/protest events were held at 1:30 p.m. in Fort Worth and several other Texas cities, including Austin, San Antonio, San Juan, Houston and El Paso. The Fort Worth event took place at Marine Park north of downtown.

Roberto Calderon, a history professor at the University of North Texas in Denton, said the issue is important because the original name reflected an area of study by educators, historians and sociologists. Educators were also proud that this course was finally on its way to students.

"This is the first time in Texas and U.S. history that a state board of education approves a (Mexican-American studies) course, and the first time in Texas history that they approved an ethnic studies course of any kind," Calderon said, reading from a prepared statement.

But when the name was changed, it was an affront to the Mexican American community, protesters said.

David Bradley, a Republican from Beaumont who proposed the name change, told reporters after the name change vote: “I find hyphenated Americanism to be divisive."

Jacinto "Cinto" Ramos, a trustee on the Fort Worth school board, was among speakers at the Fort Worth event. "Words have power," he said. "Titles have a lot of relevance."

The course is slated to be offered to Texas students starting in the 2019-2020 school year. In Fort Worth schools, students at North Side High School can participate in a locally offered course on Latina and Latino studies. About 60 students participated this year, said principal Antonio Martinez.

Ramos said the new state course builds on efforts to educate students through the lens of racial equity. Earlier this year, the school board created a school holiday to honor César Chávez and Dolores Huerta.

"This is not an anti-white conversation," Ramos said, explaining that the goal is to help all students understand how their histories are relevant in the world.


A Class to Enroll Your Child in This Summer: The Absurdity of Socialism 101

Here we are. Summer has started, and school is out in most places across America, especially colleges and universities. As these generations return home, or to summer internships, it is important, no, vital, to take the time to provide them an education. Too many of our young people have fallen to the indoctrinations of college and university professors. The result being that many of these young people suddenly believe that socialism is a more preferred economic system than the free market capitalist system that has made our constitutional republic an economic powerhouse in just 242 years.

If you are an adult who embraces a progressive socialist economic model as presented by one Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in their seminal work, “The Communist Manifesto,” then perhaps you need a little further education. If you are one of those who accept the principle of “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need,” you have failed to recognize that a socialist economic model has yet to prove successful. And if you wish to argue that point, I would happily refer you to the example of Venezuela.

The time is fleeting as summer will be over before we realize it. And with that, our children and grandchildren will return to the laboratories of progressive socialist indoctrination. Therefore, it is time we had a course of our own, “The Absurdity of Socialism 101.” First, we need to let our young people know that socialism has nothing to do with social media. We need to begin with the understanding of this simple maxim, “a free people are not equal, and an equal people are not free.” The basic premise of socialism is the insidious notion of social egalitarianism, making everyone equal in some form, as mandated, dictated, by a central government. The basic tenets of a socialist economic model are wealth redistribution, nationalizing of economic production, expansion of a welfare state, social equality, and secular humanism. Not even one of these principles is in keeping with the fundamentals of our constitutional republic, hence why Barack Obama stated his goal of “fundamental transformation” of America.

Socialism does not see us as unique individuals with our own unique talents and abilities. Socialism believes in coalescing us all into a collective social structure that does not regard individual achievements, unless enabled by the central government, the state. And do not forget that it was Vladimir Lenin who stated, “The goal of socialism is communism.” In other words, the end goal of a socialist economic model is a collective societal structure, no individualism, but rather, collectivism. Now, why would young people want that? Why would young people, you know the “selfie generation” not want to be regarded as individuals, unique.

One of Marx’s socialist economic planks is the abolition of private property. In other words, he wanted to get rid of home ownership. Yet, it was the English political philosopher, John Locke, who introduced the true liberal ideal of natural rights theory and that we all have these unalienable rights bestowed upon us by our Creator – life, liberty, and property. It was Thomas Jefferson who refined that concept and established it in our Declaration of Independence as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – however you define that happiness.

However, socialists like Bernie Sanders and his ilk do not believe that we have natural rights, nor unalienable rights from a Creator. They believe that they, government, grant rights as a means of their guaranteeing happiness: the right to own a home, the right to free healthcare, the right to free college (because you gotta indoctrinate future generations), etc. And all of this is attained by taking from one group and redistributed to another. This is an expansion of the culture of the participation trophy. If this is the path upon which we are heading in America, then what is the motivation to work hard and excel?

Of course, you will always get the typical emotional rhetoric from the progressive, socialist left. They will denigrate you as heartless and evil, but what is more evil, abjectly wrong, than to coerce, mandate, intimidate, and steal from one group? Heck, even the Ten Commandments say, “Thou shall not steal,” and “Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s goods.” Now you realize why the progressive socialists prefer secular humanism.

One of the essays we should have our students read during this summer is “The Law” written by French economist Frederic Bastiat. Bastiat believed in individuality, liberty, and property, and he advanced the idea that there are some among us who seek to use the law as a means of legal plunder to redistribute wealth due to a false belief in naked greed and misconceived philanthropy. Bastiat’s work is without a doubt something that our college and university students are not studying. But this summer, we should make them do so. And if they seek to run to a “safe space,” then follow them there because obviously they are incapable of conducting intellectual debate.

Also, have your returning student, or intern, read “The Road to Serfdom” by Friedrich Hayek. Hayek’s concept of “liberalism” was in favor of free markets, capitalism, government regulation to inspire economic competition, private property, individualism, and personal liberty. These are the principles of classical liberalism, which his today’s constitutional conservatism. So, who are these folks masquerading and calling themselves “liberals” today? Well, they are not “liberals.” They are progressive socialists.

The final essay to have students read, and yourself if you have not, is esteemed economist Thomas Sowell’s, “‘Trickle Down’ Theory and ‘Tax Cuts for the Rich.’” Sowell’s common-sense approach to understanding tax and economic growth policy is a must read, certainly not on the reading list at most of our nation’s campuses.

These three writings sit right above my work station in my home office. I refer to them often when it comes to comprehending the essential delineation between economic freedom and economic enslavement, servitude. The former is the true essence of classical liberalism. The latter is the goal of socialism. These are the lessons we must impart upon these young people, the millennials, if we are to secure the future of America. They do not get this basic lesson in the absurdity of socialism. Therefore, it is our responsibility to educate them.

As we have the NBA Championship going on, along with the NCAA Women’s college softball and men’s baseball it’s important to remember: in all of our sports, each team starts out 0-0. It is through hard work and dedication that a champion is made, and we all cheer for our team to win, to be a champion. Socialism redistributes victories in order to make everyone a victim. That is not our way.

Sir Winston Churchill said it best, “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”

The socialist theme of “shared prosperity” is a code word for shared misery. Who wants to be miserable?


Demand for international schools takes off in China

The ever-increasing demand for international school education is spurring interesting shifts which may give more choice for all pupils.

From an almost exclusively expat market, international schools in Europe and Asia are now facing soaring demands for their services from aspirational local parents looking for home country education provided by teachers with globally respected qualifications. China is very much the new kid on the block as regards international curricula, but demand from locals is outpacing supply in spite of its 5,344 international education providers.

British independent schools are leading the Chinese market for an international education, with brands such as Lucton School and Kings College School due to open later this year and Uppingham School scheduled to launch some time in 2019. Looking further ahead, Wycombe Abbey and Westminster School are planning to open in 2020. All the newcomers will be accepting applications from both Chinese nationals and expat parents for their children.

The Chinese education system may seem confusing to expat parents, as there are four main types of school. The first, Schools for Children of Foreign Workers, are closed to Chinese students and aren’t forced to offer the local curriculum. Private schools are owned and operated by Chinese investors and aimed at Chinese citizens’ children. The oddly-named Sino-Foreign Cooperatives include a foreign education partner as well as a Chinese owner and accept both expat and Chinese children. Finally, International Streams run within Chinese schools open to both local and foreign pupils and are privately-owned entities.

At present, there’s a high demand for British-style independent schools in China, as illustrated by Theresa May’s visit in February which resulted in education deals worth over £550 million and included several well-known British education brands. There’s also a need for bilingual Chinese private schools in the style of Hangzhou’s Wellington Collage International, and a recent landmark deal is linking the Hualan Education Group and the University of Buckingham with the setting up of teacher training facilities in both countries.


Thursday, May 31, 2018

Thousands of Boston students don’t graduate on time. And it’s a problem

Elephant detected!  How many were blacks?

Nearly one in five students in Boston’s public high schools are two or more years behind academically, jeopardizing their chances of earning a diploma, according to a report released Wednesday.

Only about a third of the 3,300 students who have fallen behind will end up earning diplomas within six years of entering high school, according to the report, which was prepared by consulting firm EY-Parthenon Education with funding from the Barr Foundation.

The report calls for sweeping changes to the Boston Public Schools, from primary grades through high school. The overhaul is needed because about two-thirds of the off-track students enter high school with serious deficiencies in their schooling.

But equally concerning is that hundreds of students who enroll in high school with solid academic records eventually fall behind, an indication of potential shortcomings in many high school programs, the report found.

“This research has uncovered some sobering truths: There are thousands of BPS high school students who fall off track during their time in BPS, and this challenge is a systemic and long-standing one,” the report stated. “Many of BPS’ high schools are not meeting the high needs of many of their students, and a variety of policies within BPS exacerbate the challenge of helping students succeed.”

Superintendent Tommy Chang, who commissioned the report, said the school system needs to do a better job of keeping students on track and intervening more aggressively when students fall behind.

“I see this report as a call to action and a further refocusing of the work we are already doing,” he said.

The report recommends expanding or replicating high-quality schools that students are clamoring to attend, overhauling alternative education, providing high school faculty with data about which entering freshmen are off-track academically, revamping the central office’s oversight of high schools, and changing high school admission policies so more students with a variety of needs have access to more schools.

The last recommendation is a response to a longstanding practice of allowing many high schools to set admission standards, which can include passing an entrance exam or writing an essay. The school system also funnels students with disabilities or limited English fluency to certain schools.

School officials said some of the recommendations dovetail with efforts already underway. The school system is restructuring its school management team and redesigning alternative education so each school focuses on a specific group of students.

In another big move, school officials said they will stop the practice of assigning high schools to students who don’t apply to any and instead will develop ways that ensure all students are making a choice.

School officials acknowledged that change could lead to school closures. That’s because the school system has been filling seats at under-chosen schools with students who failed to apply to any schools.

The report, titled “Excellence and Equity for All,” was produced at the urging of the Barr Foundation, a Boston nonprofit that works on education issues. The Barr put up $1.25 million for the research.

James Canales, Barr’s president, said the report reveals “urgent and challenging truths.”

The report is a follow up to one Parthenon conducted in 2007, which found that 20 percent of Boston high school students were at risk of not graduating because they had fallen significantly behind — a challenge similar to what the school system faces today.

The initial finding galvanized the school system into action a decade ago with newly arrived Superintendent Carol Johnson making the high school dropout problem a top issue.

High school graduation rates subsequently rose from below 60 percent to 73 percent last year, a historic high.

A signature initiative under the effort was creating a “re-engagement center,” which tracks down dropouts and persuades them to return. The center expanded its reach by connecting with students who were chronically skipping school.

But momentum has stalled, due to a variety of factors, according to the new report.

One factor is inadequate funding for schools that educate a high population of students with significant needs. That’s because the way the school system doles out per-student funding fails to reflect how much it actually costs to serve these students.

The report also highlighted a disturbing practice of the school system that allows schools to restrict the timing of when students can enroll during the course of a school year, leaving students — including, for instance, former dropouts — in limbo.

To keep these students engaged while they wait for a seat, the report recommended adding online courses at the re-engagement center so students can start catching up.

The re-engagement center used to offer online courses, but stopped a few years ago due to budget cuts, said Neil Sullivan, executive director of the Boston Private Industry Council, a nonprofit that helps run the center. Sullivan welcomed a return of the online programming.

Sullivan said he agreed with 98 percent of the report’s findings on alternative education, but didn’t think it gave enough credit to those schools for the success they are having. The report actually faulted the schools for high dropout rates.

“They are doing heroic work,” he said. “They are saving one out of two students and from a social standing point of view that’s a huge success. A high school diploma does matter out there in the economy and helps to break the school-to-prison pipeline.”

In some cases, students who try to take greater control over their education and switch to a school that they perceive as a better fit ultimately graduate at lower rates than similar students who stick with their schools, the report found.

Burke, English, and East Boston high schools are having success with challenging student populations, boosting graduation rates by the double digits, according to the report.

Jessica Tang, president of the Boston Teachers Union, said the report validated concerns over inadequate school funding provided by the city, state, and federal governments.

“This should serve as yet another clarion call for the governor and for state lawmakers to take action by fixing and modernizing the state’s school funding formula in ways that address the critical needs of Boston students – students who are disproportionately receiving less funding due to an outdated state formula,” Tang said in a statement.

Chang said the school system is reexamining how it divvies up funding for schools.

Michael Loconto, chairman of the Boston School Committee, said the board will ask Chang to put together a plan by this fall to help off-track students. “We don’t want this to be a report that goes into a drawer,” he said. “We need solutions to solve these problems.”


Female student detained, searched by cops after she talked about her concealed carry permit

A junior at Kent State University said she was pulled out of class and searched by cops after she was overheard talking about her concealed carry permit.

What did she do?

According to Campus Reform, the incident involving student Leandra Westbrook took place in late April.

Westbrook said that she was speaking with a friend on the phone while on campus and during the conversation mentioned that she’d like to be able to carry her firearm on campus, since she possesses a concealed carry permit.

“[I]t is a shame that I cannot carry a gun on campus, considering I have my carry license,” Westbrook reportedly told her friend.

Unbeknownst to Westbrook, some student cadet officers overheard her remark, which apparently caused them enough alarm to contact campus police.

Westbrook went on her way to class, and that was when police stepped in.

What did police do?

According to a police report obtained by Campus Reform, officers entered Westbrook’s classroom and told the professor that Westbrook would be needed for questioning as a result of the report.

A portion of the police report read, “[A cadet] said several cadets overheard a female … speaking about having a gun and getting into trouble if it was discovered.”

“None of the cadets saw a firearm, but believed she may have been armed with one,” the report continued.

The report noted that police searched Westbrook and her possessions, but no firearm was found.

Westbrook did admit to having a concealed carry permit but did not have a firearm with her because guns are prohibited on campus, the report said.

Westbrook told the outlet that the encounter with police left her “too shaken up and disturbed” to return to class.

Anything else?

Westbrook told Campus Reform that while she believed that officers were simply “doing their jobs,” she feels the student cadets jumped the gun in making a call to campus police and targeted her for “being pro-Second Amendment” instead.

“I do not believe they genuinely thought I was a threat, because I specifically said I had a license to carry,” Westbrook said, according to Campus Reform. “In the conversation I had, there was no way to misinterpret what I said, or to even suggest that I had a gun with me.”

Westbrook explained that she’s received threats in the past over her well-known conservative beliefs and revealed that she brought this latest incident to the school’s dean.

According to Westbrook, the dean said that there was nothing to be done about the incident.

Westbrook saod she plans to report the “people who harassed me to the police,” including the student cadets who called in the initial report that Westbrook had a gun “for falsifying a report.”

“My main concern is that people are not being held accountable for their actions,” she told the outlet. “Their words don’t bother me, but if I was to say something like that to them, my guess is it wouldn’t be tolerated by the university.”

Westbrook also hopes to start a concealed carry club at the school.

“My hopes are to teach people about gun safety and the gun control laws we already have in place, because a lot of people who speak on the subject are very uneducated [about gun laws],” Westbrook noted.


University degrees costing up to $100,000 may get you NOWHERE

Young Australians are often told that the path to success is paved by a tertiary education.

But a new study by Ernst & Young may have debunked that apparent myth, with almost half of Australian university degrees now at serious risk of becoming obsolete in the next decade.

The company has called on universities to future-proof themselves given the current model leaves graduates with more debt and poor job prospects, the report said on Tuesday.

More than 50 university leaders and policymakers were interviewed and more than 3000 students and employers were surveyed.

Around 42 per cent of current and past graduates felt their degree needed to be overhauled.

Only 36 per cent of those studying humanities, culture and social sciences and just 41 per cent of science and mathematics students thought their degree was relevant to their job.

'Australian universities are under threat from changing learner preferences, new competitive models and international competition,' Ernest & Young Oceania Education Leader Catherine Friday said.

'They need to move now to ensure they meet the needs of a changing society and changing economy. To succeed, they will need to deconstruct the higher-education value chain, offering new formats such as unbundled degree programs, continuous subscription-based learning and just-in-time learning options.'

The report urges universities to collaborate more closely with industry in creating course content to produce more work-ready graduates after 50 per cent of employers claimed that management and commerce degrees are not worthwhile.

'Australian universities are ranked last in the OECD ranking for the ability to collaborate with business on innovation,' Ms Friday said.

'Fixing that has become an urgent priority - 51 percent of international students believe their degree needs to be transformed and the university leaders we spoke to estimate that 40 per cent of existing degrees will soon be obsolete. Those institutions that can crack the new, flexible teaching learning models required will reap the benefits, as they outpace competitors that persist in delivering three to four-year degree programs that employers simply do not value.'  


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

How Title IX became an ideological battering ram

Do we really need to litigate every school dress code in federal court? The ACLU and the National Women’s Law Center think so. They argue that rules against inappropriate attire perpetuate “gender stereotypes” in violation of Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education.

Since its passage in 1972, Title IX has unleashed a flood of opportunity for women and girls in the classroom and on the playing field. Today, on almost every available metric, high school girls significantly outperform boys. Women now constitute 56 percent of students in college, where (on average) they earn better grades than men. They outnumber men in graduate school, earn a larger share of doctoral degrees, and are enrolling in both law school and medical school in greater numbers than men.

The past four and a half decades have, moreover, witnessed an explosion of women’s high school and college sports. Indeed, without Title IX, we likely would not have seen multiple US gold medal victories in women’s soccer and ice hockey.

In short, Title IX has been an incredible success. Unfortunately, however, the law that was intended to break down barriers to opportunity is now being misused to change the way students and teachers think about gender generally.

On college campuses today, activists use Title IX as a means to shut down and punish opinions that some women find “triggering.” College administrators invoke the law to investigate, without due process, the murky he-said/she-said of drunken hook-ups. And during the Obama years, the Department of Education relied on Title IX to demand that every primary and secondary school in the country allow students to use the locker-room and bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.

So how did a simple prohibition against sex discrimination morph into a labyrinth of federal mandates on everything from political speech and sex between students to high school bathrooms and dress-codes?

The answer is, in part, ideological. Despite the stunning educational progress that women have made since the 1970s, some activists believe that female students remain the victims of institutional sexism and unconscious bias. And they seek to use the power of the federal government to promote their version of social justice and change gender norms.

In his new book, “Transforming Title IX: Regulating Gender Equality in Education,” Boston College professor Shep Melnick explains this new paradigm and tells how bureaucratic overreach, congressional inertia, and unwarranted judicial deference have all contributed to its growth.

Melnick traces the way the Department of Education used “policy guidances” and “Dear Colleague” letters to broaden the scope of Title IX without legal authority or public input. Rather than pass official regulations (which require notice and public comment), unelected bureaucrats simply wrote letters announcing novel interpretations of the law.

At the same time, Education Department officials shifted from investigating specific allegations of discrimination to proactively searching for “institutional bias.” These tactics allowed the department to extract from schools far-reaching settlement agreements requiring gender-related training (read: reeducation) for their entire workforces and student bodies.

Melnick, however, does not blame the bureaucrats for the entirety of this ideological mission-creep. He also criticizes the courts (for deferring too often to the Education Department’s legally spurious interpretations) and Congress (for failing to override administrative abuses of power).

Perhaps surprisingly, Melnick is no conservative. To the contrary, he is a liberal Democrat who isn’t sure he’s “ever met a Trump voter.” But he feels strongly that rule-making by “guidance” is anti-democratic. And he does not think that manipulating Title IX is the best way to resolve new and controversial social issues.

As such, Melnick joins a growing chorus of principled liberal voices, including feminist scholar Laura Kipnis, former federal judge Nancy Gertner, legal affairs reporter Stuart Taylor, and Harvard Law professor Jeannie Suk, who have opposed the use of Title IX to chill speech, deny due process, and prevent educators from resolving controversial issues without litigation.

Hopefully, the people responsible for enforcing Title IX are listening. Title IX was passed to ensure that schools provide male and female students with equal educational opportunities, not to give kids license to dress however they please.


A Beacon (High School) of Moral Relativism

Some NYC students observed a moment of silence for Palestinian "victims" of violence.

Few things warm the cockles of progressive hearts more than moral relativism. And few things make them prouder than inculcating children with that odious concept. Thus it should surprise no one that students at Beacon High School in Manhattan were asked to observe a moment of silence for the Palestinian “victims” of the violence that took place in Gaza last week.

One outraged father cut through the nonsense inflicted on his child. “I am extremely upset because I did not send my child to a New York City public school to pray for Hamas operatives,” said the father, who is Jewish. Another student’s mother was equally illuminating. “I just don’t think any school should be promoting a moment of silence for terrorists,” she said. “What if it was Islamic terrorists in ISIS? No school would be having that over the loudspeaker.”

But it was Islamic terrorists the school was honoring. Hamas was designated by the State Department as a terrorist group on Oct. 8, 1997, and last Wednesday, Hamas official Salah Bardawil admitted that 50 of the 62 Palestinians reported killed during the Gaza border riots were members of that group. Other casualties were claimed by the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another designated terror organization.

Moreover, a rioter captured by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) revealed the contemptible machinations Hamas undertakes to maintain the victimist narrative — the one swallowed whole by a purposefully uncurious media. “They tell women to go forward,” he explained. “They say to the woman: Go ahead, you are a woman, and the Israeli army does not shoot at women. They tell small children: Go ahead, the army does not shoot at small children. They tell a child to go ahead and he goes, it’s a little boy. They deceive him.”

It’s not the first time. In 2014, during the war between Hamas and Israel, Hamas finally admitted to using schools and hospitals in the Gaza Strip to launch rocket attacks on Israel, effectively turning those locations into human shields. Hamas spokesman Ghazi Hamad claimed the terrorist group made every effort to keep civilians away from the violence but that “there were some mistakes made and they were quickly dealt with.”

Mistakes? In a July 8, 2014, interview on Al Aqsa TV, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri insisted that sacrificing innocents attests to the “character of our noble jihad-fighting people who defend their rights and their homes with their bare chests and blood.”

Predictably, a 2015 UN inquiry blamed Israel for attacks on UN schools in Gaza. Yet the board of inquiry conceded that Hamas stored mortars and other weapons in at least three of those UN schools during the war — and fired rockets at Israel from two of them.
In a better world in 2014, Hamas thugs, along with their contemptible enablers in the mainstream media, the Democrat Party and the progressive movement might have been asked to explain why the terrorist group should be entitled to retaliation-free missile launches against the Jewish State, simply because they purposefully locate their launchers in an area to maximize Palestinian casualties. In a better world in 2018, they might have been asked why it’s acceptable for Hamas to pay Palestinians to riot, and to make sure women and children were pushed to the front of a throng of approximately 40,000 to 50,000 protesters, many of whom were attempting breach the Israeli border — while their more militant allies placed explosive devices at the fence and opened fire on IDF forces.

In this world? A tony NYC high school embraces moral bankruptcy masquerading as compassion.

Such faux virtue-signaling is hardly surprising. “The highly selective Hells Kitchen school tends to lean left,” the New York Post explains. “Students, some with the permission of their teachers, walked out of school in November 2016 to protest Donald Trump’s election.”

No doubt.

Nonetheless, junior Sophie Steinberg was somewhat perplexed by the school-wide announcement. “As a Jewish student, I could see a lot of my Jewish friends get very weird when the moment of silence started,” she said. “They don’t know how to feel. They don’t know how to fit into all of this.”

Feel? If anyone still wonders why American education has become an international laughingstock, look no further than the paradigm shift that occurred when schools dominated by progressive ideology began teaching children what to feel instead of how to think.

And if those feelings don’t align themselves with the progressive agenda? “More than anything, high school children fear not ‘fitting in,” writes columnist Rick Moran. “Leftist activists play on that fear by ostracizing anyone who might have a different opinion on any issue. This not-so-subtle form of pressure to conform to the dominant liberal view of the world discomfits children and prevents most of them from speaking out.”

It is a dominant liberal view backed by the New York City Department of Education. “We support civic engagement and advocacy amongst students, and encourage schools to provide inclusive environments where students are able to respectfully discuss current events,” declared DOE spokesman Doug Cohen in a statement.

Maybe they should discuss the reality that Hamas’s founding charter calls for the annihilation of the Jewish State.

It is not known whether the announcement, made by a student, was sanctioned by the school. Principal Ruth Lacey has not returned media requests for a comment, and parents who’ve reached out to Lacey said she’s been unresponsive. The Patriot Post also tried contacting her, but access to her voicemail was unavailable. She is also the only member of the faculty with an unpublished email address.

Pro-Israel group Zionist Organization of America plans to send a letter to the school demanding an apology. “It is disgraceful to mourn the death of Hamas terrorists,” said organization president Morton Klein.

At Beacon, “disgraceful” is apparently in the eye of the beholder. “A lot of us are really concerned with what Israel is doing,” stated junior student Matt Klass, who is Jewish. “I think there is some disparity in how the parents feel and how the students feel.” Despite having a large contingent of Jewish students, Klass further noted the school is sympathetic to Palestinians and a two-state solution.

The same two-state solution Palestinians themselves have rejected for decades.

Junior Rosie Hendricks thought the announcement “was fine,” but she felt students could have “given more context” about the history of the ongoing conflict.

Here’s more context. “When we talk about 'peaceful resistance,’ we are deceiving the public,” stated Mahmoud Al-Zahar, a co-founder of Hamas, in an interview with Al Jazeera on May 13.

Only that part of the public that chooses to be deceived — along with an NYC Department of Education that likens rank propaganda to “civic discussion,” to defend a high school where the progressive agenda reigns supreme.


Australia: Victorian government crackdown aims to draw children back to local schools

Your kid will go to school where WE want, not where you want.  Typical Leftist authoritarianism

The Victorian education department is cracking down on schools that accept high numbers of enrolments from non-local students by refusing to provide portable classrooms.

The department told state schools this month that it would not deliver portable classrooms in 2019 to schools where more than 50% of students live outside the local catchment area.

The new rule will apply to about 15% of state schools, based on 2018 enrolment figures.

The aim is to funnel students back into under-capacity schools in preparation for an estimated 10% increase in the number of school-age children by 2021. The state needs to build an estimated 50 new schools to keep up with demand.

A department spokeswoman said the decision allowed the department to focus resources on schools facing enrolment pressures from local population growth.

“It’s important for all schools to take a common sense approach to managing enrolments from outside their local community so we don’t have schools lose vital play space,” she said.

But some parents have suggested it will take away choice.

Parents in Victoria are able to choose which public school to send their children to, provided the school prioritises local enrolments. It is a system that has seen some more popular schools overflow into portable classrooms to cope with out-of-area demand while other schools are under capacity, the Australian Education Union’s Victorian president, Meredith Peace, said.

According to a 2017 ombudsman’s report, more than half of all primary and secondary students at Victorian public schools in 2016 attended a school other than their local school.

Peace said it was a concerning trend that could increase inequality in the public school system.

“We risk ending up with a very stratified system, which is frankly not in anyone’s interests,” she told Guardian Australia.

“We don’t want to continue to see that [inequity] added to by this movement of what I think is a false notion of choice, because the reality is not everyone has a choice. The government has a responsibility to ensure that our state education system, regardless of where you live, provides your child with a properly resourced school that can offer high-quality education.”

Pearce said that the reputation of public schools was “fickle” and encouraged parents to visit their local schools during term to make their own assessment.

“Schools can get reputations for being good, bad, or otherwise often unfairly or with no basis,” she said. “It’s often based on hearsay from other people who may have their particular issues with that school.”


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Crapweasel of the Week: Educrat Arne Duncan

Michelle Malkin

Educrat (ED-yoo-krat) noun, usually pejorative. A government school official or administrator whose primary function is to spend tax dollars telling other parents what to do with their children.

Beltway education bureaucrats abhor families who choose to keep their kids out of public schools — unless it's to grandstand over gun control.

Behold Arne Duncan, longtime pal of Barack Obama and former U.S. Department of Education secretary, who called last weekend for parents nationwide to withdraw students from classes "until gun laws (are) changed to keep them safe."

Emotions are still raw after a teen shot 10 classmates and teachers to death in Texas last week. But Duncan has no excuse for his cynical, made-for-cable-TV exploitation of the Santa Fe High School massacre. Existing state laws banning minors under 18 from purchasing or possessing guns didn't stop the shooter. Neither did laws against possessing sawed-off shotguns or pipe bombs.

And contrary to hysterical early reports, the accused 17-year-old gunman did not use "assault rifles." So a "common sense" ban on "assault weapons" would not have saved lives, either.

But effective solutions to maximize students' safety and well-being seemingly aren't Duncan's goals. His mission is airtime. Publicity. Entertainment. Provocation for provocation's sake. Show time — for the children, of course.

School boycotts are a "radical idea," he admitted to MSNBC. "It's controversial. It's intentionally provocative." Praising teacher walkouts and student protests, Duncan told The Atlantic he supported parent-initiated school shutdowns for gun control because "we are not protecting our kids ... And the fact that we're not doing that — we're not willing to think radically enough to do it — I can't stomach that."

Ah, the royal, unstomachable "we."

Here's another thing I find hard to swallow: Education overlord Arne Duncan now championing the radical idea of parents exercising their autonomy to do what's best for their children.

As Obama's meddling power-hungry education secretary, Duncan attacked "white suburban moms" and their children who turned to homeschooling in protest of the top-down Common Core "standards"/testing/data-mining program. Duncan sneered that he found it "fascinating" that the grass-roots anti-Common Core revolt came from "white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn't as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn't quite as good as they thought they were."

This elitist control freak revealed his fundamental disdain for rabble-rousing parents who've taken educational matters in to their own hands. By characterizing the movement against Common Core as "white" and "suburban," Duncan also exposed his bigotry against countless parents "of color," like myself, who've long opposed Fed Ed's sabotage of academic excellence, local control and student privacy in school districts across the country.

Note that newly minted parents' rights advocate Arne Duncan never once advocated boycotting Chicago public schools, which he ran for eight years, for their abject failure to quell rampant school violence.

Nor has Duncan called for parents to demand their districts withdraw from the disastrous "PROMISE" alternative discipline program that he helped create. (After Duncan's protege, Broward County school superintendent Robert Runcie, initially denied that Parkland, Fla., shooter Nicholas Cruz had benefited from the program, he sheepishly acknowledged last week that Cruz had in fact been referred to the program and avoided criminal prosecution for school vandalism as a result.)

Nor has Duncan said a peep about systemic coddling of abusers in the classroom by teachers' union presidents in New Jersey and Ohio, as exposed over the past month by undercover investigative journalists at Project Veritas.

Instead, Duncan has won high praise and more media interviews for his phony boycott proposal. "My family is all in if we can do this at scale," he nobly tweeted.

But what his slavering fans in the liberal media won't tell you is that Duncan's wife works at and his own children attend the exclusive, private University of Chicago Laboratory Schools in tony Hyde Park, which a Lab Schools brochure brags is "patrolled by the University of Chicago Police Department and private security."

Armed, of course, for thine and thee, Arne. But not for we.


Feminist Professor Claims Male Student's Paper 'Triggered' Her

Remember when feminism was "I am woman, hear me roar" and similar platitudes? When a woman called herself a feminist, she was claiming that she was as strong as any man and just as capable as anyone, Ah, good times.

Today, feminists are hothouse flowers who apparently need to be sheltered from the harsh realities of life. Evidence of this comes from a feminist college professor who felt so triggered by a student's paper that she began associating the student with the man she claims raped her.

Yes, really.

Writing anonymously in Inside Higher Ed, the professor described a lesson on rape culture she included in her gender class, saying she was frustrated with male students skeptical that it exists.
But one male student’s paper left her “thrown back into a pit of traumatic, fragmented memories,” she wrote.

The student cited a men’s rights advocacy group, referenced a case where a woman raped a man, questioned whether feminism was relevant, and said that concerns about gender inequality were overblown.

The professor thought the paper was not well sourced, and that the argument wasn’t sufficiently supported. But that wasn’t all.

“As I went over his paper,” she wrote, “I realized that I was reading a paper that sounded word for word like something the man who raped me would say. And not only did this sound like something my rapist would say, this student fit the same demographic profile as him: white, college male, between the ages of 18 and 22.”

The anonymous professor went on to state that upon reading the paper, her immediate reaction was to give the student a zero for the work.

She recounts screaming “Zero! You get a f*cking zero!” at the computer screen as she graded the student’s two-page paper, saying that she also felt that simply by writing the paper, he had undermined her authority as an instructor.
Honestly? This is someone who has no business teaching anything.

She claims that the paper wasn't properly sourced and that its conclusions were insufficiently supported, but she also admits to wanting to award it a zero and claims the paper undermined her authority as an instructor. It leads me to wonder whether the issue was sourcing and supporting the argument, or rather just that the argument was offensive to the professor.


The intolerant Left again: Hating on pro-gun student

Students are now threatening to boycott graduation next year if the number one ranked student in the 2019 class at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Kyle Kashuv, becomes valedictorian.

Kashuv tweeted: “LOL just got told that a bunch of students said they’re boycotting graduation next year if I’m valedictorian. CAN’T WAIT TO HAVE EXTRA CAKE!”

Kashuv is probably going to have to work twice as hard as other students to maintain his excellent GPA given he way he’s been treated by his teachers since the shooting.

One student witnessed a Parkland teacher go on a massive rant attacking Kyle Kashuv, “It was basically a hate fest, They were just saying means things about Kyle. He talked about how he was right, and how Kyle was making an ass of himself. He did say he ‘was the Hitler type.’ I don’t really know what that means exactly, but I think he was just being crazy.”

According to Fox News:

The teacher allegedly also called Kashuv “dangerous.”

Though Kashuv was not in class that day, he responded to the controversy on Twitter.

“I find it utterly vile that he’d call a Jew the next Hitler,” said Kashuv, whose family emigrated from Israel in the 1990s. “It’s also quite telling that he doesn’t know that Hitler took the people’s weaponry and I want more law-abiding citizens to have firearms.”

Kyle is not only the most intelligent when it comes to gun control laws, but also the most intelligent in the classroom.

It’s petty how students would boycott their own graduation over someone with a different political view than them. But that doesn’t come as a surprise with how the intolerant left acts.


Monday, May 28, 2018

Unions ramp up attack on private schools for poor

In his extraordinary 2009 book The Beautiful Tree, James Tooley revealed how low-cost private schools were providing education to the poorest people in the world and changing their lives for the better.

This remains the case, but not everyone is happy about it — including the local teacher unions. Recently and inexplicably, teachers unions in the UK and Australia have also started protesting against private schools for the poor in Africa, claiming they entrench inequality.

Private schools in developing countries are almost all small family businesses, located in city slums where public schools are crowded and inadequate, or in isolated villages where there is no public school. Very poor families willingly pay a small but significant proportion of their income so their children can have a decent education.

Some private education in developing countries is delivered in school chains run by corporations. The largest of these is Bridge International Academies, which gives teachers centrally-developed lesson plans and resources based on the national curriculum. This is a huge advantage in places where state-accredited teachers are difficult to come by, or are restricted from teaching in private schools. Thanks to funding from private investors and governments in developed countries, these schools are also affordably priced.

It sounds like an efficient way to provide education to the estimated 600 million children in developing countries who would otherwise miss out, doesn’t it?

Not according to organisations ideologically opposed to private schools — even if it means children go without an education. Education International, an international federation of teachers unions, is backing the claims of Kenyan teachers’ unions that Bridge schools provide substandard education in unsafe conditions, despite there being no proof of this, even in EI’s commissioned report. In solidarity, the UK National Union of Teachers has held protest rallies against foreign aid supporting Bridge schools.

Bridge International Academies opened its first school in Kenya 10 years ago and now has 600 schools in five countries. Like most low-cost private schools, its students achieve academic results higher than the national average (with lower per-pupil expenditure).

But the most convincing evidence that the unions are wrong is that Bridge schools are schools of choice. Why would so many parents intentionally waste the little money they have? As Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former president of Liberia said, “this distinction between public and private shouldn’t matter; a school’s outcomes should.”


Preschool Teachers and Unintended Consequences

Many states mandate that individuals obtain a two-year college degree—or more—in order to be eligible to teach preschool. This requirement sounds eminently sensible, at least on the surface. After all, children are delicate flowers who have specific needs that are neither always obvious nor always easily met, and childcare may have long-lasting consequences, especially if its quality is very poor. But first impressions are not always reliable. Those habituated in the economic way of thinking know it is essential to ask: a two-year degree requirement...compared to what? What are the costs (broadly construed), the alternatives, and their second- and third-order consequences? Analysis posed in this way encourages insights that otherwise might not arise, explains Independent Institute Research Fellow Art Carden.

“For a lot of people, the relevant substitute for low-quality childcare isn’t high-quality childcare. It’s no childcare—and therefore, most likely, no job—at all,” Carden writes at Forbes. “It’s by no means clear that a kid who would have been in a low-quality daycare would be safer or better cared for, on net, by his or her (unlicensed!) parent in his or her (unregulated!) home.” Trade-offs are always and everywhere present when human beings make choices—and regulations for teaching pre-school are no exception.

Social scientists and philosophers may never have formalized what some call the “law of unintended consequences,” but in 1759 Adam Smith expressed it well. The proponent of active government interference in an otherwise unfettered social order of natural liberty—what Smith called the “man of system”—“seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board,” Smith wrote. “He does not consider the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might chuse [sic] to impress upon it.” More than two and a half centuries ago, Smith articulated a timeless principle that doesn’t require a college degree to understand, but ignoring it is still one of the most common and most socially destructive of all mental vices.


Australia: Western civilisation course at the ANU sparks uproar

An unprecedented scholarship program to encourage the study of Western civilisation is facing a backlash from within the first university selected to participate, with staff and students accusing the philanthropic group behind it of pushing a “racist” and “radically conservative agenda”.

The National Tertiary Education Union and the Australian National University Student ­Association have intervened in negotiations between the university and the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation over a proposal to establish an undergraduate degree that could see up to 40 students offered scholarships in the first two years worth $25,000 a year each.

In a letter to vice-­chancellor Brian Schmidt this week, NTEU ANU branch president Matthew King expressed “grave concerns” and warned of a potential backlash if the finalised agreement were perceived to compromise the university’s core principles.

Mr King singled out a Quadrant article written by Ramsay Centre director and former prime minister Tony Abbott in which he “implies that the Ramsay Centre would wield considerable influence over staffing and curriculum decisions”.

“If this is true, we are very concerned that this would violate the core principles of academic freedom, integrity and independence, and reflects an ignorance of, or disregard for, the role of the academic board as final arbiter of academic standards,” Mr King wrote.

“If the Ramsay Centre agreement is perceived to compromise on these principles, it will be ­rejected by staff, students and other stakeholders and could lead to significant anger, protest and ­division.”

Mr King, who is employed as a technical officer, told The Australian academic staff and non-academic staff, and students, had raised concerns around the proposal. The union has been backed by the student association, which has also written to the vice-chancellor, while a separate student petition has been established ­opposing the deal.

ANUSA president Eleanor Kay told the campus newspaper, ANU Observer, that Western civilisation was often used as “a rhetorical tool to continue the racist prioritisation of Western history over other cultures”. She said there was “value to learning from Western civilisation” without prioritising it over others.

Ms Kay was not available for comment yesterday. ANUSA education officer Harry Needham said students had multiple concerns, including lack of consultation around what was “more than a philanthropic donation” involving an organisation with a “politically loaded board”.

The Ramsay Centre, based in Sydney, is chaired by former Liberal prime minister John Howard. As well as Mr Abbott, its directors include former Labor leader Kim Beazley, who is now governor of Western Australia.

The proposed Bachelor of Western Civilisation, due to commence next year, is understood to be the first course of its kind in Australia and is the brainchild of late healthcare mogul Paul Ramsay, who bequeathed part of his $3.3 billion fortune to revive the neglected study of the liberal arts.

After its launch March last year, the Ramsay Centre sought expressions of interest from universities seeking to establish undergraduate degrees in Western civilisation based on the great books courses taught at top liberal arts colleges in the US.

ANU was the first university invited to enter detailed negotiations after the centre opened in March last year. It is understood the centre is hoping to announce a conditional agreement with a second university within months. Up to 100 scholarships could be established under deals with two or three universities over time.

While Mr Abbott in his Quadrant article ­published last month stressed Ramsay was not “oblivious to the deficiencies” of Western civilisation, his comment about the Ramsay Centre being “not merely about Western civilisation but in favour of it”, has ruffled some feathers.

Ramsay Centre chief executive Simon Haines yesterday defended the process. “The Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation is completely committed to academic freedom, integrity and independence,” he said. “University autonomy itself is a bastion of Western civilisation.”

Professor Haines declined to comment on the ANU negotiations or internal university ­matters.

An ANU spokeswoman said the university was not in a position to make an announcement on the outcome of negotiations. “The university has a long history of managing donations and gifts from a range of private and public donors,” the spokeswoman said.


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Indiana shooting stopped by brave teacher

New details have emerged about how a heroic science teacher wrestled a student gunman to the ground and was shot three times after the youngster returned to his classroom from a bathroom break wielding two handguns.

Jason Seaman, 30, was shot three times as he brought the gunman to the ground in his classroom at Noblesville West Middle School on Friday shortly after 9am.

A 13-year-old girl was also shot and was taken to hospital in a critical condition afterwards.

The shooter was arrested shortly afterward Seaman tackled him and he remains in police custody.

The teacher's family have since revealed that he has undergone surgery and is doing 'well'.

The teenage girl's condition is not known and she has not been identified. 

As shots rang out in the school, terrified students hid in closets and sent petrified emails to their parents telling them that they loved them.

Once the suspect was brought into custody, the children were evacuated onto school buses to be taken to the Noblesville West High School where they will be reunited with parents.

There are 1300 students in the school, according to local media, and around 70 teachers. A school resource officer was there but it is not clear where he or she was stationed.


School Can Force Students to Share Bathrooms With Transgender Students, Federal Court Rules

A Pennsylvania student said Thursday that her school opening its locker rooms, showers, and restrooms to students of the opposite sex is unfair and wrong.

“There are good ways to make room for everyone, without letting a boy into the girls’ locker rooms, shower areas, or restrooms,” said Alexis Lightcap, a senior at Boyertown Area Senior High School in Boyertown, Pennsylvania, who is also in a lawsuit against Boyertown Area School District, at a press conference.

“That is why I joined this lawsuit, so no other girl has to go through what I went through. It is common sense that boys shouldn’t be in girls’ locker rooms, restrooms, and shower areas. Every student matters and schools should put our privacy, safety, and dignity first.”

Lightcap was joined at the press conference with two of her attorneys, Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom’s legal counsel Christiana Holcomb and Independence Law Center chief counsel Randall Wenger, who argued the lawsuit.

On Thursday, three judges on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia heard oral arguments over the lawsuit, Doe v. Boyertown Area School District.

Judges Theodore McKee, Patty Shwartz, and Richard Lowell Nygaard ruled 3-0 against student privacy, Holcomb said. “We are currently evaluating our options, [but] it is very likely that we will seek en banc review with the 3rd Circuit to ask a full panel of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals to consider the issue of student privacy.”

En banc review would allow more judges to weigh in on the lawsuit rather than just the panel of three.

Students and parents appealed the lawsuit to the 3rd Circuit in September of last year, according to Alliance Defending Freedom.

The school opened its restroom and locker room facilities during the 2016-17 school year to students of the opposite sex without warning, Holcomb said.

“Without notice to parents or to students, Boyertown High School ignored its duties to respect the privacy, the safety, and the dignity of Alexis and her fellow students,” Holcomb said during the press conference, adding:

To her shock, she was told, due to a new and unannounced school policy, she would be sharing the restroom, locker rooms, and shower changing facilities with boys. Today, we asked the court to protect Alexis’ right to privacy, safety, and dignity in her own school.

“The Supreme Court has already spoken that the real differences between men and women means that privacy must be protected in the areas that it matters most, in locker rooms, restrooms, and shower changing facilities,” Holcomb said. “Today’s decision is out of step with the long-standing protection for privacy and we will continue to advocate for these young students.”

Aidan deStefano, a transgender student who graduated last year from Boyertown Area High School, said, according to Metro Weekly, “Reversing the practices that have allowed me and other trans kids to thrive at school would have been devastating. I’m glad other transgender students will know the experience of being treated like any other student.”

Lightcap said she was startled when she went into the bathroom one day and saw a man in the women’s room. “One day when I was in school, I walked into the bathroom and immediately when you walk in the bathroom, there is actually a mirror there, and I saw a reflection of a man. My body went into immediate shock,” Lightcap said in a video released by Alliance Defending Freedom. “I immediately ran out and I went to the administration at the school to report what I had seen in the bathrooms.”

Lightcap communicated the concern to her grade level principal but was ignored, Holcomb said in the video.

“After Alexis encountered that guy in the girl’s bathroom, she turned and ran out of the restroom and we actually have video footage of her fleeing the restroom in fear,” Holcomb said, adding:

She went to her grade level principal … and Alexis told Dr. Foley what had happened to her, how scared she was, how concerned she was, but Dr. Foley didn’t seem to care, he didn’t listen, he didn’t fix it, he basically told her, ‘This is the new school policy and this is the way things will be.’

“My voice didn’t matter, I knew that,” Lightcap said in the video. “I wish that the school had protected my privacy somehow, because it felt like a specific group of people were protected, while the greater population was not.”

The Daily Signal requested comment from Foley and the Boyertown Area School District but did not receive a response by publication deadline.

Ryan T. Anderson, author of “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment” and a senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email that the Boyertown policy is wrong.

“Schools should protect the bodily privacy of their students,” Anderson said. “The reason we have separate bathrooms and locker rooms for boys and girls is not because of ‘gender identity’ but because of the bodily differences between males and females.”


Professor Tried to Boost Female Students’ Grades Based Only on Their Gender

Thankfully, the plan didn't work.

A STEM professor at the University of Akron in Ohio was trying to boost his female students’ grades — just because those students are women.

On Monday, the professor, Liping Liu, sent an email to students letting them know that three groups of students may see their grades raised a “level or two,” according to a screenshot of the email that was posted on Reddit.

The screenshot has since been removed because it contained recipients’ email addresses, however, a redacted copy of it was provided by a student to Campus Reform. It stated:

    The following categories of students may see their grades raised one level or two:

    1) Female students (it is a national movement to encourage female students to go to information sciences)

    2) Students who had earned scores in exams (especially final exams) demonstrating a higher performance than their calculated ones

    3) Students who attended class but missed reporting attendance (as long as I can tell)

Liu told The College Fix that he was well aware that his attempt to raise women’s grades could be “questionable,” but that he decided he wanted to “test the water” anyway and see if the grade raises might “attract female students into future classes.”

In a win for sanity, however, the plan didn’t work. The Fix reports that an administrator contacted the publication to say that Liu’s idea was “unacceptable,” and that no one’s grades would be raised.

This was obviously the right choice. Although Liu told The Fix that the “one or two female students” in his class are “not doing well” — and that they would likely need to “repeat the courses or leave the program” without the extra grade help — it’s still an overall good thing for women that Liu won’t be able to enact this plan.   

The goal of feminism, after all, is for women and men to be treated equally — and this policy works in the opposite direction. It spreads the message that women are not as capable as men, that they need extra help to be able to do the same things that men can do. It doesn’t make women look stronger, it makes them look weaker. If I were one of these students, I would actually be offended at this kind of patronizing plan. I understand that it must be difficult to fail a class, but I would absolutely never feel right about passing a class solely because of my gender. I’d rather work twice as hard the second time around and pass on merit alone — just like everyone else had to do.

What’s more, if Liu’s idea became a popular trend, it could make it even harder for women to actually get hired for STEM jobs. Think about it: If employers knew that women routinely got higher grades just because they were women, they might start to assume that any woman with a STEM degree may not have actually deserved that degree. Passing a class is great, but the entire purpose of school is to prepare you for the workforce — and Liu’s idea could make it even tougher for women to make that ultimate goal a reality.