Friday, August 17, 2018

Has brainwashing by the far-left gone too far?

Mamdouh AlMuhaini

Well-known historian Niall Ferguson complains from the dominance of leftist ideas on American universities, especially on the faculties of history, political sciences and sociology.

In a recent interview he lamentingly said he was so naïve because he thought talents, perseverance and efficiency are the standards of progress in academic work and in all other fields but he was wrong as he recently figured out that ideology is the most important factor.

Those with a leftist ideology support one another and eliminate people with different ideas until their voice and influence disappear. Whenever a conservative academic leaves a faculty, he’s replaced with a historian with a leftist tendency. By doing so, the influence of the leftist ideology increases.

The leftist vision thus decisively dominates students’ minds even in the most prestigious universities. Ferguson, who published interesting writings including an important biography about the most famous secretary of state Henry Kissinger, said that while substituting for a lecturer at the University of Berkeley once, he noted the religious reasons behind the September 11, 2001 attacks but he felt students were uncomfortable about this truth as they preferred other ideas that were planted in their heads, such as the idea that the attacks were a reaction to American “imperialism.”

Based on a personal experience, I’ve seen how leftist ideas overwhelm students’ little minds that are dazzled and incapable of resisting. In the American university where I studied, I took plenty of history lessons and found that the American lecturer strongly opposed her country’s policies and did not mention any of the latter’s advantages.

We took many lessons about the Vietnam War and the tragedies that happened, and we watched the documentary which features US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in tears for he regretted some of his decisions. This perspective may be right but it also forgets the bigger picture which is that the US has formed the face of the modern world which we live in with power sometimes and with diplomacy at other times.

It destroyed Nazism, Communism, Fascism and Al-Qaeda and supported Muslims in Bosnia and Kuwait. All these threats would have changed the face of the world today if they hadn’t been confronted and eliminated by American force. However, it’s difficult to bring up a free discussion in faculties that plant ideas in students who turn them into accepted facts. I remember I objected to this sharp and subjective vision but teachers pityingly looked at me implying I am deceived and brainwashed.

You would not expect the tails of this ideology to reach practical technological specialties like media production but I was wrong. Among the courses I wanted to study was the history of American media but the excitement to learn something new and get to know this huge media quickly disappeared.

Volatile ideas

The lectures were sessions to plant the leftist doctrine in one’s mind and heart. Lessons turned into trials and sessions that aim to dig ideas and find racist insinuations hidden in the folds of articles and in documentaries, movies and series. Some of them were right but they were also based on exaggerated analysis that’s driven by paranoia and that’s obsessed with the evil conspiratorial approach rather than with facts.

Another strange thing I heard was from a far-left lecturer during a lesson that aims to understand protest movements and follow their right approach. A course about social justice turned into an introduction to revolting! I then understood the secret of why there are plenty of frivolous and reckless figures who despise the idea of the state and development in favor of lustrous, empty slogans.

Those with a leftist ideology support one another and eliminate people with different ideas until their voice and influence disappear.

Ideas are volatile and these institutions need human demons to bring them up and increase their influence over the public imagination. American President Nixon was suitable for this purpose. He was completely demonized although he is to thank for the largest transformation our world is witnessing today, as he’s the one who opened the door to China to enter than international order and his visit to the Soviet Union was the actual beginning to disciplining the latter and declawing it. However, in an exclusionary atmosphere, it’s difficult to speak out and voice this opinion!

The situation was different at the faculty of economy. For the first time ever we heard about prominent economists like Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman and Thomas Sowell. The reason is because the faculty is famous for its faith in the principle of the free market and in its belief that the government should stop interfering in economy and was also against a minimum wage. All these ideas oppose the traditional leftist ideology. The faculty however was recently under heavy criticism due to its ideological approach, and the donor funds were also questioned. The aim is to subjugate it to one ideology, as per the fanatics’ way. The Wall Street Journal wrote an editorial defending it.

Due to the dominance of this sharp and narrow-minded ideology, several thinkers, journalists and writers were targeted and faced restrictions as they were literally deprived of the chance to hold open lectures. You would not expect something like this to happen in the US but in recent months, students at famous universities committed acts of violence and arson after they announced hosting figures with ideologies that are different than the common ideology. One of the angry students who contributed to silencing an author said: “We stopped the event from happening. This is great. Mission accomplished.”

The resistance

This ideology raged after President Trump arrived to the White House and it became some sort of resistance as they themselves say. Some wonder about the reason behind this terror and anger in the American media which transformed into a partisan media in crisis but they are not aware that most of these journalists and anchors are the product of this ideological environment which formed them and firmly established their principles and that they live among angry masses that share the same ideas and increase their rush.

This is why they celebrated President Obama and turned him into the prophet of the new era. As we celebrated the first black president, they saw in him the first president who will achieve their worldly and missionary prophecy on earth.

According to the recently published book by Ben Rhodes, Obama’s close adviser, Obama was shocked when Trump was elected after him as he viewed this as treason to his legacy and he talked as if he is a savior whom his people did not understand and he said with a sigh: “Sometimes I wonder whether I was 10 or 20 years too early,” i.e. the people are not yet ready for his teachings.

Of course these ideas extend to reach our world. We can thus understand why we find it difficult to convince these figures in universities and in the media that Iran, for example, is the most destructive element in the region and that it allies with Al-Qaeda and that the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist group on the ideological and practical levels hence it’s not possible to get rid of terrorism while keeping it and that the terrorists’ doctrine is due to an extremist religious doctrine and not because of the illusion of a western invasion. These figures have lived in a shell since an early stage and haven’t yet come out of it.


New Topic on Campus: Civil Discourse 101

Colleges across the U.S. are teaching students, parents and alumni how to talk politics without going on the attack in an effort to counter growing polarization and nastiness in political discourse.

The new Project on Civil Discourse at American University’s School of Public Affairs will coordinate student-led discussions through classes, dormitories and clubs. Students will reflect on their debate styles and talk through hypotheticals like whether to engage or kick out party guests who say hateful things.

Wake Forest University is using an intimate approach: Dinner parties for 10 to 16 people at a time. After pilot sessions with parents and alums in 45 cities over the past year, it is aiming to get 1,000 undergraduates and another 2,000 parents and alums to the dinner table this school year.

The goal is to have participants reveal things about themselves, find connections with others and feel more confident working together, says Brett Eaton, who leads communications at Wake Forest.

Carleton College in Minnesota plans to expand a two-year-old offering that has had roughly a dozen freshmen from different backgrounds live together and study how to engage on topics such as race and income inequality. In the fall of 2019, a version of the program will be an option to fulfill its first-year “argument and inquiry” course requirement.

“It forced us to have discussions,” says Zachary McCrary, a 19-year-old who took the class last year. Mr. McCrary, who said he was a liberal from a conservative Republican household in Colorado, encourages all first-year students to participate so they encounter a range of opinions.

With schools criticized either for coddling oversensitive young adults or for allowing extremists to spew hate, universities including Butler, Tufts and Duquesne are working to improve civil discourse. They are starting speaker series and courses and even designing skits on how to respond if a roommate hangs an offensive poster.

“The real world is full of incivility,” says Jonathan Zimmerman, a professor of the history of education at the University of Pennsylvania. “To me that’s all the more reason why our educational institutions have to try to teach a different way of being.”

In a 2017 survey of more than 3,000 college students from Gallup Inc. and the Knight Foundation, 61% said the climate on their campus stifled certain speech that might be viewed as offensive, up from 54% the prior year. They reported feeling that social-media dialogue was less civil than a year earlier, and that people blocked out views they disagreed with. Pew found in 2016 that 52% of Republicans said Democrats were more closed-minded than other Americans, while 70% of Democrats said the same about Republicans.

Administrators say students and faculty need to be exposed to more ideological diversity to revive policy-based debates and reverse a broader societal breakdown of civil discourse. Violent protests against controversial conservative speakers at Middlebury College and the University of California, Berkeley prompted concerns from the right that liberal students were unable to constructively engage opposing views.

Tufts University’s Institute for Democracy & Higher Education is using a $100,000 grant to study political polarization on campuses, looking at how other schools handled incendiary speakers and outside extremist groups and offering resources on turning conflict into teaching opportunities.

Free-speech advocates say schools could go too far in mandating civility, rather than just encouraging it.

“It can’t be, ‘You’re only allowed to speak if you’re going to be civil,’” says Princeton University politics professor Keith E. Whittington, whose new book, Speak Freely, was assigned reading for incoming students at the school.

At Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y., a 12-person working group on civil discourse found itself embroiled in controversy last winter. Philosophy professor Jennifer McErlean withdrew from the team, calling the leaders of conservative campus groups “evil” for organizing an event featuring Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone and Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe.

Lara Whelan, dean of the School of Liberal Arts at Siena, said the college can move past the incident by continuing “to model the ways of speaking that we want to encourage in our students and in ourselves.”

Siena recently earmarked $400,000 from a gift by the class of 1968 to expand civil-discourse programming, including moderated discussions. The first event focused on campus free speech, and future topics may include immigration, health-care policy and gun control, Dr. Whelan said.

Butler University, Duquesne University and Nebraska’s Wayne State College also have hosted speaker series on civil discourse in recent months, often drawing audiences in the hundreds.

Twenty-six private colleges, including the University of Richmond and the conservative Christian John Brown University, gathered in Atlanta in June for a Council of Independent Colleges workshop on diversity, civility and the liberal arts.

Attendees heard from experts on social movements, linguistics and psychology, and went home with plans for improving discourse on their campuses.

The council’s president, Richard Ekman, said he had been disappointed that most schools responded to the 2016 presidential election by trying to comfort students, rather than encouraging them to study underlying factors that fueled Donald Trump’s victory.

“That was a missed opportunity,” he said.


Education ‘Equity’ Professor Wants Mathematics To Honor ‘Other-Than-Human Persons’

Sounds like a case of psychotic thought disorder

An Illinois professor who focuses on “equity” in mathematics will present her plan to redefine the field of study to oppose “objects, truths, and knowledge” at a 2019 conference.

University of Illinois education professor Dr. Rochelle Gutierrez will give her talk, titled “Mathematx: Towards a way of Being,” at the Mathematics Education and Society 10th International Conference in India during January and February 2019.

“The relationship between humans, mathematics, and the planet has been one steeped too long in domination and destruction,” Gutierrez notes in her presentation’s description. “I argue for a movement against objects, truths, and knowledge towards a way of being in the world that is guided by first principles — mathematx.”

“This shift from thinking of mathematics as a noun to mathematx as a verb holds potential for honouring our connections with each other as human and other-than-human persons, for balancing problem solving with joy, and for maintaining critical bifocality at the local and global level.”

Gutierrez focuses on the effects that class, race and language have on learning. Her University of Illinois faculty profile claims that teachers must not only possess “content knowledge,” but also “political knowledge,” according to her research

The professor received grants from the National Science Foundation and the Bureau of Educational Research to incorporate diversity into math education. She has encouraged the use of what she calls “creative insubordination” by teachers in the classroom.

“With funding from the National Science Foundation, I have worked with teachers over the past 6 years to develop their political knowledge,” she writes in a summer 2016 issue of “Teaching for Excellence and Equity in Mathematics.”

The first page of Gutierrez’s article contains extensive footnotes documenting why she says “Black students” instead of “black students,” “Latin@” instead of “Latinx” and “historically looted” instead of “low income.”

The professor outlines tactics teachers can use to employ social justice in the classroom, such as “press for explanation,” in which teachers can respond to questions like “why do we have Black History Month, anyhow?” by asking follow-up inquiries as a way of “buying time.”

She also encourages teachers to make students learn how others would arrive at incorrect test answers because it “encourages empathy for having assumed different mathematical assumptions” and advises that teachers “turn a rational issue into a moral one,” using the example “regardless of what the data suggest or what has been done in the past, is this what we want to stand for?”


Thursday, August 16, 2018

What’s the craziest thing about a $16,000 college application boot camp: that it has a wait list, or its secret location?

Are you doing enough to get your kid into college? Are you sure? Have you hired a former CIA operative to scrub your kid’s social media presence? Are Hollywood screenwriters helping zip the college essay? Do you have a Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center interventional radiologist positioning your high schooler for the medical school track?

Did your child just finish the four-day, $16,000 Application Boot Camp at a Boston-area hotel — a program so hot that cofounder Michele Hernandez Bayliss wants the location kept secret? “We’ve literally had reporters and competitors trying to stalk” us, she e-mailed the Globe.

When it comes to college consultants, nothing is too extreme. With applications at elite colleges rising — and acceptance rates plummeting as a result — so many wealthy parents are so desperate for any edge it’s as if satirist Sacha Baron Cohen is at work, trying to see what people will buy.

How about $5,000 or more for a summer expert to help your teenager “find his passion” and “architect a plan” that includes brand-building volunteer, educational, or work opportunities? The goal is to build a summer resume that will look good on the college application.

“Parents come to us and say, ‘What is the one program that is going to get my child into the college they dream of?’ ” said Jill Tipograph, the founder of Everything Summer & Beyond. “But there’s no ‘program.’ It’s about [a student’s] entire story.”

In the Boston area, the average consulting package — which includes a college list, essay and interview prep, and organizational tools and general advice — costs about $4,800, according to Mark Sklarow, CEO of the Independent Educational Consultants Association, a trade group. But it’s possible to spend $80,000 or more for star consultants.

That’s a lot of money. In some cases enough for an entire college education, when you consider that in the 2017-18 school year, the average published price for tuition and fees and room and board for in-state students at public four-year universities was $20,770, according to the College Board, which administers the SAT.

But with parental panic mounting, the consultant business is booming.

Membership in the consultants’ association has doubled in five years, to nearly 2,000 members, Sklarow said, “and it will double again in four years.”

Some families start working with a consultant before the child hits ninth grade, with the goal of choosing every high school class and extra-curricular activity to impress some future admissions officer.

But don’t be stressed! Enjoy your childhood!

At the $16,000 application boot camp, students worked on all essays including supplements, completed the Common App, learned interview techniques, created a list of their activities and awards, and developed an admissions strategy to maximize early acceptances. In September, the price is rising to $18,000, but tuition includes a pre-boot camp personalized admissions report and consultation.

Who would spend this kind of money? Not most people, that’s for sure. Regular folks can’t afford it. They’re relying on high school guidance counselors — many of them very well-qualified, albeit typically too busy with large workloads to give the level of individualized attention of a private consultant.

The other side of this college arms race is well-documented: Many students and their parents are going deep into debt to afford college.

And even some with the budget to afford the private consultants are outraged.

But here’s the problem: In today’s world, in which onetime “safety” schools have gotten competitive, anxiety is rampant, especially in wealthier families who see acceptance at a “name” school as a ticket to success. That’s led to a crazy situation in which many who consider consultants overpriced are in fact hiring consultants.

“You don’t want to be one of those people,” said a Boston-area mother who spent $4,000 on a coach to help her daughter find a musical theater program, “but at the end of the day, if everyone else is one of those people, you have to be one, too.”

The woman, who asked that her name and town remain anonymous to protect her family’s privacy, said her daughter’s therapist told her she needed to “butt out” of the process, even though her daughter wasn’t getting her applications done early enough to secure audition slots.

“I kept riding her and riding her,” she said. “And I was right. The auditions filled up. But the therapist told me what I was doing wasn’t helping.”

Another mother who hired a consultant for her daughter, and also requested anonymity, said she feels guilty that she is able to afford what many families can’t. “It makes me want to take a shower,” she said.

With so many qualified kids applying to so many schools, the challenge for straight A students is to differentiate themselves from other straight A students, an opportunity — ideally, but not always — provided by the Common Application’s essay.

“Sometimes kids try to do this huge, broad, sweeping essay, which kind of puts the reader to sleep,” said Teddy Barnes, a cofounder of EssayDog, the firm preaching Hollywood techniques.

“Say a student wants to write about the death of a parent or a pet,” he said. “We’re like ‘don’t do that, because out of 100 essays the reader goes through in a day, he or she may read ten essays about that. It’s not that compelling.’ ”

The trick, he said, is to find the story within the story. “Maybe you met a long-lost uncle at the funeral and you learned all this interesting stuff.”

A major gripe against consultants is that they’re just one more way for the wealthy to buy their children a leg up.

But another complaint comes from the wealthy themselves: You can spend a lot of money for essentially nothing.

That’s an assertion that Sklarow, the head of the trade association, disputes: Independent consultants can educate families about out-of-town schools they might not have considered, where they might have a better shot at acceptance and merit scholarship money, he said.

He also emphasized that the typical client hiring an independent educational consultant is not wealthy. The largest block are middle-class families.

As for the big question: Do consultants improve a student’s odds of getting into a specific school?

That’s not even their role, Sklarow said in an e-mail.

“No one should hire a [consultant] because they think that person has the secrets to get admitted to Harvard. . . . We judge success in seeing if students are happy, satisfied, thriving, and engaged at the college they choose to attend.

“The fact that students working with a [consultant] are less likely to transfer and more likely to graduate in four years is our evidence of success.”

Meanwhile, with the application season ramping up — and stress escalating in many families — a father who sent his twins to the $16,000-per-student boot camp held in Boston said it was money well spent, and not just because he got a slight sibling discount or because it’s good to have expert advice.

“We want to take the anxiety out of this for our children,” he said. “And it takes us out of some of the drama of having to bug them.”

The father, who works in the finance industry, asked to remain anonymous. “There are misconceptions that having someone help organize things is somehow giving a leg up,” he said.


Anti-Israel activists fostering hatred of Jewish students

Anti-Semitic incidents on U.S. college campuses have continued to grow in 2018, with at least 384 recorded incidents in the first half of this year, according to a new report showing the number of genocidal expressions towards Jewish hit new highs on campuses across the United States.

A new report by released Wednesday by pro-Israel organization the AMCHA Initiative, a group that tracks anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity on college campuses, shows that much of the anti-Semitism on U.S. campuses is the result of activity by anti-Israel activists who promote imagery such as swastikas and tropes calling for the destruction of the Jewish people, according to the report.

Genocidal expression, such as images and language promoting the killing of Jews and destruction of Israel, "rose dramatically" over the past years, with at least 75 percent of such incidents "involving classic anti-Semitism" and "genocidal expression," according to the report. The number of such incidents appear to have dropped slightly from 2017 to the first part of 2018, the report notes.

Most notably, according to the report, "Israel-related incidents were significantly more likely to contribute to a hostile campus," the report found.

The AMCHA report puts figures to a range of anecdotal and reported conflicts on college campuses across the United States, where anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity continues to flourish. Pro-Palestinian campus activists continue to aggressively silence those in the Jewish community and foster an unsafe environment for many Jewish students.

The Washington Free Beacon reported last week that Stanford University was investigating a student who threated violence against Jewish students on campus in what is just one example of the unsafe environment stirring many college campuses across the country.

"Israel-related incidents with intent to harm were 6.5 times more likely to have multiple perpetrators and 7 times more likely to be affiliated with groups than classic incidents," according to the findings.

However, the number of "classic anti-Semitic incidents" still outnumbered "Israel-related incidents three to one," according to the report.

Much of the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel activity has centered around efforts by anti-Israel activists on campus to promote their views and suppress the free speech of pro-Israel activists and those in the Jewish community.

"Suppressing speech and ostracizing and excluding Jewish and pro-Israel students from campus life were the most common features of Israel-related anti-Semitic incidents," AMCHA found.

At least 44 percent of the Israel-related conflicts on campus "involved behavior intended to silence expression, including shutting down, disrupting, defacing, or other attempts to interfere with Israel-related events, displays, or trips," according to the report.

Perhaps most startling, 76 percent of recorded incidents against Jewish and pro-Israel students "involved behavior that directly and personally targeted students or groups for denigration or discrimination in order to ostracize and exclude them from campus life," according to the report.

Efforts to silent and exclude Jewish students on campus continued to manifest in 2018, following growing trends of past years.

"Attempts to silence pro-Israel expression stayed relatively constant," according to the report, while "incidents involving attempts to ostracize or exclude pro-Israel students and staff from campus life more than doubled."

In addition, "attempts to ostracize and exclude pro-Israel students and staff became much more flagrant" this year, according to the report. "Incidents including open calls to boycott interaction with or expel actual on-campus students or student groups increased from 3 in 2015 to 4 in 2016 to 14 in 2017, and 18 in the first half of 2018 alone."

"Recognizing that anti-Semitic incidents given equal weight in an audit may not have an equal impact on Jewish students, either individually or collectively, this study sought to go deeper than previous studies and look beyond the tallies to better understand how anti-Semitism affects American campuses today," AMCHA wrote in the report.

"Our examination revealed that Israel-related anti-Semitic incidents were considerably more likely to contribute to a hostile environment for Jewish students than incidents involving classic anti-Semitism, and that anti-Israel campus activities are no longer intent on harming Israel, but increasingly, and alarmingly, they are intent on harming pro-Israel members of the campus community," the organization noted.


Few costs to the success of Australia's universities

I don't like to rain on anybody's parade but Australia's advantage is partly geographical.  Australia is in roughly the same time zone as China and only a short jet flight away (around  $500 one way).  So Chinese can readily flit between the two countries and do so without jetlag

The Australian university system is highly unusual globally in two key areas: the large size of most universities, and the high proportion of international students, particularly from China, now attending them.

The massive growth in international education means it has become Australia's third largest export after iron ore and coal – as Malcolm Turnbull happily acknowledged in a recent speech at the University of NSW.

It's also translates into a not-so-quiet revolution on Australian campuses.

Several of the Group of Eight universities have international enrolments running at well over 30 per cent. In NSW, the percentage of international students at all universities is currently above 37 per cent, in Queensland it is 34 per cent.

The biggest growth, not surprisingly, has been in the Chinese student market, with 125,000 Chinese students at Australian universities as of last May and growing at about 15 per cent a year.

One result is that Australia is on track this year to jump Britain into second place, only behind the US, in the sheer number of international students in its universities. That's even though Britain's population is 65 million rather than 25 million.

On Go8 figures, for example, 38 per cent of the 141,000 students starting at Go8 universities in 2016 were international students. That average figure can only have increased since and is clearly much higher in faculties like management and commerce, engineering and information technology where international students are heavily concentrated.

University vice-chancellors certainly love to promote the academic, cultural and economic value of Australia's approach.

A virtuous circle

Ian Jacobs, vice-chancellor of the University of NSW and also chairman of the Go8 universities, will promote its success in a speech at the National Press Club on Tuesday.

This is part of a push by these older research-heavy universities to persuade the government and the bureaucracy that taxpayer money spent on them should not be seen as a budget cost ever vulnerable to cuts. Instead, they want to persuade Canberra to see it as a vital investment generating a very high return.

According to Jacobs, the growth in the international student market helps that, creating a virtuous circle. He sees the growth as an unalloyed good for Australia in general and for Australian students – generating opportunities and advantages that are far more extensive than the purely financial.

Yet for many domestic students and their lecturers, the price of such success seems to also be increasingly obvious – and accelerating given the universities' business model.

These complaints are largely anecdotal but they are persistent and extremely common across a modern generation of students. Just ask one of them.

One problem is the low level of interaction between most domestic and international students, particularly when international students are in a majority of a course. That's compounded by the large size of lectures and tutorials that limit any sense of individualised attention.

Other frequent complaints involve the insidious pressure on lecturers to reduce quality standards in order to pass international students to ensure the money keeps flowing.

Things could be better

Many domestic students also argue they are required carry more of the load on joint projects in order to compensate for the poor English skills of many international students.

Professor Jacobs concedes there may be "pockets" where things could be better, including the level of cross cultural interaction. He still insists Go8 standards in terms of enrolments, marking and English qualifications remain extremely high and that interaction is definitely increasing to everyone's mutual benefit

Australia, he says, is developing a tremendous reputation for providing "high quality education at scale in a very efficient way" with huge flow on benefits and potential to do even more.

To back this up, Jacobs will cite a new study commissioned by the Go8 on the broader economic benefits produced by Australia's top universities, including the massive dollar value of their research.

According to this study by London Economics, the Go8's total operational costs of just over $12 billion in 2016 were dwarfed by the $66 billion contribution to the Australian economy. That includes the long-term impact of their research activity but also the direct and indirect impact on jobs, wages and increased economic growth to support students, especially the accelerating number of international students.

By this yardstick, the study argues that every three international students at a Go8university generate $1 million in economic impact each year.

Big money

For universities, the huge direct financial hit still comes from the much higher charges for international students over their domestic students. For international students starting at Go8 universities in 2016, the net tuition fee income alone was estimated to be over $3 billion.

According to the study, this fee income supports 43,000 jobs throughout the economy plus more than 29,000 due to the additional spending of international students.

But the large tuition fees from international students also allow universities to cross-subsidise their research work which pushes them up the global university rankings. That in turn means they then attract yet more international students.

According to the latest ABS statistics for 2016, the Go8 invested $6.4 billion in research and development of which just over half was in the form of cross-subsidy from general university funds – those not explicitly tied to supporting research.

That balance will be ever more reliant on international tuition income and numbers to bulk up. Can there be – should there be – a limit? Not according to the Go8.

Although Jacobs says the percentage of Chinese students may diminish in a decade or so as China becomes self-sufficient at education, he sees a wave of students from India, then Africa and Latin America sustaining growth for decades to come.


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Creating a ‘Right to Literacy’ Won’t Ensure Children Learn to Read

Is recognizing a “right to literacy” the solution to improved reading outcomes in America?

Groups in at least three states think so. There are currently lawsuits in Michigan, New Mexico, and California seeking to establish that school districts have violated a student’s “right to literacy” by providing inadequate learning conditions and insufficient school funding. The “right to literacy,” they argue, requires better conditions and more funding.

Setting aside the supposed “right to literacy,” it’s understandable why these families are frustrated with the outcomes in their children’s assigned public schools.

According to the 2017 National Assessment of Education Progress, only 29 percent of California eighth-graders are at or above proficient in math, and 32 percent achieved that level in reading. Thirty-one percent of Michigan eighth-graders are proficient in math and 34 percent in reading. New Mexico scores even lower, with only 21 percent proficiency in math and 24 percent in reading.

Public schools are assigned based on ZIP code, and the process of transferring to a school outside of one’s zoned area can be very difficult.

As it stands, all 50 states have compulsory attendance laws, meaning every child is required to attend school between the ages of 6 and 17 (with ages slightly varying by state). In most states, children must attend their assigned school unless their parents have the ability to homeschool them or pay private school tuition—in addition to paying taxes to support the government-assigned schools.

Because school attendance is mandated, and because most children attend assigned public schools, any incentive for improvement on the part of the public system is mitigated.

This issue is particularly acute in the three states where these suits are underway. There are no private school-choice options (vouchers, tax credits, or education savings accounts) in California, New Mexico, or Michigan. Save for some charter school options, parents who cannot afford to pay twice for their child’s education are largely at the whim of the government-assigned public system.

The petitioners’ proposed solutions in the three states range from increasing funding and programs and making sure teachers are trained to teach the curriculum, to providing additional classroom resources and ensuring the conditions necessary for learning. Although the petitioners’ grievances are understandable, research shows that increased funding does not necessarily lead to improved educational outcomes, and the funding is sometimes even used fraudulently by school districts.

The solution is not more government intervention, mandates, or funding. The solution is allowing parents and families to leave failing schools, or any school that doesn’t meet their child’s learning needs.

There are a host of factors that go into student success. Putting parents in the driver’s seat when it comes to deciding how best to foster that success provides the best chance for maximizing a child’s life goals.

Empowering parents with the opportunity to enroll their child in a school of their choice, or utilizing their child’s state per-pupil funding to customize their child’s education in a way that best fits their needs through education savings accounts, is a far better means of ensuring students can access an effective education that is the right fit for them.

By giving funds to students and not schools, families will be empowered to choose the schools or education providers that best help their children—whether it’s in reading or any other subject.

Inventing a “right to literacy” is not what will make a difference in student learning. The best way to achieve an improvement is by empowering parents to choose how and where their children are educated.


Asian-American Parents Join Forces to Fight for ‘Education Fairness’

About 100 parents, largely of Chinese-American descent, gathered on a recent Saturday afternoon inside an elementary school near Washington, D.C., to hear Heritage Foundation scholar Michael Gonzalez speak against racial preferences in school admissions.

Gonzalez, a senior fellow in the leading conservative think tank’s Davis Institute for International Studies who has written on the subject, delved into the roots of the affirmative action crisis that has frustrated many Asian-Americans for years.

He argued that affirmative action is the byproduct of the racial identity politics of the left.

“Merit is the antidote to racism,” Gonzalez said, to the applause of the crowd.

His audience at Farmland Elementary in Rockville, Maryland, is part of a growing wave of Chinese-American activism in the Montgomery County public school system.

These parents are concerned, even angry, because they suspect affirmative action prompted the Montgomery County Board of Education to overhaul admissions to its highly touted programs for gifted and talented students.

The school board decided in 2016 to change the way the school system selects students for gifted and talented programs.

Since then, the percentage of Asian-Americans enrolled in these programs has dropped by 20 percent, and parents say the changes may have to do with factors other than merit.

The July 7 meeting in Rockville was organized by the Association for Education Fairness, a new grassroots organization of Asian-Americans created to demand equal treatment in education. The group gained visibility in the Chinese-American community through WeChat, a social messaging platform.

“The school board claims that the admissions system is based entirely on data,” Eva Guo, lead organizer of the Association for Education Fairness, said in a phone interview with The Daily Signal.

But, Guo said, the school system “will not respond to parents’ requests for that data.”

The group’s founding comes at a critical point in Asian-Americans’ educational activism, after Asian-American students filed a lawsuit against Harvard University alleging that the school discriminates against them  in admissions processes.

Many of those at the meeting voiced concerns with Harvard’s policies, drawing parallels between what they consider mistreatment in the Montgomery County school system and Harvard’s own racial balancing programs.

The school board consulted an outside company, Metis Associates, to help construct a revamped admissions program. In 2016, it advised the board to change standards and admissions procedures to narrow a racial education gap and reach desired diversity levels.

But, Guo said, it isn’t clear exactly what selection criteria the school board uses to determine how to reach these goals in admissions to gifted and talented programs.

The Association for Education Fairness contends the 2016 actions severely reduced the difficulty of the entrance exam, which allowed a greater range of students to achieve desired scores.

This allowed leaders of an admissions committee to decide who gets in based on a range of other factors, including socioeconomic status and the ability to speak languages other than English at home, the group argues.

“Our kids make so much effort to study for the test,” lamented one Asian-American parent at the event who has children in the county schools. “It’s all wasted under the new exam.”

Guo said she would like to see the Association for Education Fairness grow to the point that it can fight for the educational rights of all those unfairly treated across the country.

“The worst part is, they’re not even setting standards based on things we can change about ourselves,” said Liu Ruohong, an Asian-American mother who attended the meeting. “We’ve got to stand up for our children.”

Another mother at the event, who is white, told The Daily Signal: “I am deeply concerned about my highly able kid, whose academic needs are not met by the Montgomery County Public Schools’ regular curriculum.”

Guo describes her organization’s mission as “to promote and advocate education fairness for all who have the right for equality.”

She said she wants to connect with government agencies and think tanks, such as The Heritage Foundation, to achieve policy changes.

If the organization manages to roll back negative aspects of Montgomery County’s school admissions procedures, Guo said, she will target other school systems where racial balancing is happening.


Hungary Bans Gender Studies From Universities

Hungary will ban gender studies programs in state-run universities, the Hungarian government announced this week.

The government's stance is that the programs have no tangible use and are based on "ideology rather than science," ​according to a report in Hungarian political magazine Heti Világgazdaság published Thursday.

Bence Rétvári, Secretary of State of Hungary's Ministry of Human Resources, ​explained the decision by arguing that, while university degrees must have a scientific groundwork to justify them, gender studies are more rooted in ideology than in science, likening the field of study to Marxist-Leninism in that, in his view, it should not be taught at a university-level.

A Hungarian government spokesman expanded on this thinking when he told ​Breitbart News that degrees in gender studies are simply not useful to Hungarian employers.

“There is no economic rationale for studies such as these,” he said. A degree in the field does not “furnish students with skills that can be readily and directly converted on the labour market," he added.

The spokesman said that ​gender studies programs are not sustainable for state-run universities, arguing that they "take away valuable resources from other programs, deteriorating the economic stability of universities.”

Only two universities in Hungary, the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest (ELTE) and the Central European University (CEU), currently offer gender studies at the graduate level. At these universities, a total of 13 students enrolled in the offered programs this year.

Pointing to the minor demand for gender studies degrees among both Hungarian students and employers, the spokesman noted that government resources should not be wasted on such seemingly impractical university programs.

“State universities operated from public funds must take these factors into consideration since the purpose of these institutions of higher education is to meet genuine social and labour market needs," he said.

Marta Pardavi, -- co-chair at the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, a human rights watchdog organization -- criticized the Hungarian government with an "#academicfreedom" hashtag.

Friday's news signals only the latest rejection of modern liberalism by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's authoritarian ​government.

Ever since first taking office as PM in 1998, Orban has driven a populist agenda that has pushed for a rejection of globalism and ​multiculturalism and has seen a repression of press freedom.

With his dismissal of European liberalism and federalism, Orban has often been compared to President Donald Trump, even earning the nickname "The Donald Trump of Europe" for himself.


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

UK: Male, pale and stale: university professors to be given 'reverse mentors'

A reminder of Maoist China and the "Red Guards". Wondering why applications to universities are down? Because universities have stopped being about the transmission and expansion of knowledge and become left-wing madrassas. Who wants to pay £50,000 to be told they’re racist, sexist, transphobic, etc.?

Male, pale and stale university professors are to be given “reverse mentors” to teach them about unconscious bias, under a new Government funded scheme.

Under the project, white men in senior academic posts will be assigned a junior female colleague from an ethnic minority as a mentor.

Prof John Rowe, who is overseeing the project at Birmingham University, said he hoped the scheme will allow eminent professors to confront their own biases and leave them “feeling quite uncomfortable”. 

“What is understood about unconscious bias is that we have all got it, but the more you learn about it and become conscious of it, the more you can act,” he told The Daily Telegraph. 

“While it is well known and obvious that women and minority groups suffer setbacks to their career progression no one really understands why. “It’s not as if there is any overt prejudice – it is something to do with the way the system is or the way it has evolved and we needed to find out why.”

The mentor scheme is one element of a broader project aimed at challenging bias, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s (EPSRC).

Prof Rowe, who is director of research at Birmingham University’s College of Engineering and Physical Science, said he hoped to interrogate the “underlying causes” that lead to the underrepresentation of female and ethnic minority academics at the top of academia.

“We are mindful that previous attempts at addressing such imbalances have not been successful, so we are investigating new ways of understanding how to support progression of our female and ethnic minority colleagues,” he said. 

“Questions such as ‘Is there a bias when the gender of the academic is known?’, ‘Is it the result of the group dynamic of a panel of assessors?’ and ‘Are women encouraged to work in particular research areas, perhaps those outside of STEM subjects?’ will also be addressed.”

Staff from Birmingham will work with researchers from Aberystwyth University and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

The EPSRC, a government agency, is funding eleven “Equality, Diversity and Inclusion” projects as part of an £5.5 million anti-discrimination drive in engineering and physical sciences.

It has previously been claimed that Oxford porters should be given “unconscious bias” training, amid claims that they assume black students are trespassing when they enter College grounds.

The university’s students’ union published their Liberation Vision document, which recommends that porters should also be trained in how to respond to reports of sexual violence and mental health issues among students.

The document says that and cleaners, known as “scouts”, tutors, supervisors and senior tutors should also partake in the training.

The move follows a series of complaints about porters unfairly targeting black students and singling them out for questioning about why they have entered College grounds.


Report casts doubt on link between academic outcomes and spending

August 7, 2018 – Milwaukee, WI – With campaigns in full swing, candidates are frantically trying to outdo each other in promising to spend more money on K-12 public schools.  Yet little debate is had over the relationship between additional school funding and student performance.

This is a topic that deserves in-depth research. To get the ball rolling, WILL Research Director Will Flanders, Ph.D., looked at the relationship between test scores and the number of non-teachers in a school district, per pupil spending in a district, and teacher pay in a new report titled Money for Nothing: The Relationship Between Various Types of School Funding and Academic Outcomes. None of these factors seem to be linked to higher student test scores.

Dr. Flanders gathered data at the school district level on a number of categories of spending over a six year period.  These include the number of non-teaching staff in a school district, the average pay of teachers in a district, and the overall per student spending in a distict. The dynamic changes both within and across districts on each of these variables creates a natural experiment for comparison with student outcomes.  Using a statistical analysis that accounted for other plausible causes of student performance, he compared each spending variable with student performance.  Among the key findings of this research:

School districts have increased their hiring of non-teachers, pay adminstrators 305% of teachers. The average school district hires 40.4% non-teacher with 101 districts having at least 50% of non-teachers making up their employees.  School administrators make on average 305% of the average teacher in their district.  Some districts such as Kenosha, Milwaukee, Madison, and Peshtigo pay their distict administrator more than 400% of the average teacher.

Yet, the number of non-teachers on staff has a negative effect on student test scores. When it comes to English proficiency on state exams, districts with more non-teachers have lower proficiency rates than districts with a higher percentage of teachers controlling for other factors known to relate to proficiency.

Teacher pay has kept up with inflation, no relationship to student test scores. Despite claims to the contrary, average teacher pay in Wisconsin is similar to six years ago, accounting for inflation. Our analysis shows that there is no statistically significant relationship between a district’s spending on teacher pay and student test scores.

As other studies have shown, there is no statistically significant relationship between overall per student spending and test scores. In fact, when proper control variables are included, school districts that spend more per student have lower academic proficiency in both math and English.
Dr. Flanders said:

“When it comes to spending on K-12 public schools, Wisconsin is at the point of diminishing returns and just does not receive a return on investment for children. The state should look at other options—such as increasing competition through choice and charter schools, both of which are drastically underfunded compared to their public schools.”


Religion in decline in Australian schools

Australian school students are becoming more likely to identify with “no religion” even in religious schools, including a 68 per cent increase in Catholic schools.

The trend, which mirrors changes in the wider population, has led the peak independent schools body to warn religious schools to rethink their marketing.

Across all schools, 37 per cent of students identify with "no religion", according to an analysis of 2016 census data by the Independent Schools Council of Australia. That's up from 30 per cent in 2011.

At government schools, 45 per cent of students profess to no religion or did not specify a religion in the 2016 census, up from 38 per cent in 2011 and the highest proportion ever recorded.
The number of students describing themselves as having no religion increased 68.2 per cent at Catholic schools.

About 31 per cent of students at independent schools are categorised as having no religion, up from 24 per cent in 2011, and 14 per cent of students at Catholic schools did not have a religion, up from 10 per cent in 2011.

The change reflects a drift to secularism in the wider population. About 30 per cent of people reported “no religion” in the 2016 census, up from 22 per cent five years earlier. The trend is most marked with the younger population, with 39 per cent of those aged 18 to 34 reporting no religion.

Just over one in two Australians of any age identified as Christian, with Catholicism and Anglicanism the two biggest denominations.

"Schools may need to think about the implications of the slow but steady rise of secularism, and the ways this may affect their approach to religious education and how they market their schools," the Independent Schools Council of Australia states in its analysis.

Matt Beard, a fellow at the Ethics Centre, said the rise in non-religious students wouldn't necessarily affect the approach schools take to education.

“If you found out students aren't reading literature, you wouldn't stop teaching novels," Dr Beard said. "But it may provide a catalyst for having a discussion around whether religious education is a critical analysis of faiths and their place in society or teaching the tenets of particular religions."

Social researcher Rebecca Huntley said the Baby Boomers kickstarted the rise in no religion, but also a changed relationship with the church even for those who identify with a religion.

"Children get their religious direction and affiliation from their parents and with each generation since the Baby Boomers we've seen not just a decline in people identifying on census documents as belonging to a particular religion but also a decline in behaviour associated with religion," Dr Huntley said.

"You might put that you're Catholic on the census form but that does not necessarily mean that you go to church every Sunday and do the other things the church might tell you to do."

Dr Huntley added that, anecdotally, she'd observed parents "suddenly declaring for a religion and doing things like baptizing their child to give them more school choice".

The number of students describing themselves as having no religion increased 68 per cent at Catholic schools, 48 per cent at independent schools and 41 per cent at government schools.

The next biggest increase was in students who said they were Christian, with a 59 per cent increase in Catholic schools, a 15 per cent rise in private schools and a 27 per cent rise in government schools.

Students professing to Islam also grew by 19 per cent in Catholic schools, 41 per cent at independent schools and 36 per cent at government schools.

Greg Whitby, executive director of the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta, which oversees 80 schools, said the diocese "recognises things are changing" and caters to students with different levels of understanding in faith-based lessons.

"Though Catholic students have enrolment priority, we welcome other community members who wish to join our caring learning communities," Mr Whitby said.

Julie Townsend, headmistress at St Catherine's School Waverley, a private Anglican girls' school, said most of her students did not have a strong religious affiliation and attended the school mainly for its educational facilities, but also benefited from its Christian underpinnings.

"The families who send girls to St Catherine's may not be religious in the home but they're looking to the school to teach them about Christianity and its values of compassion and kindness," Dr Townsend said.


Monday, August 13, 2018

Christian Student Group Sues University for Rejecting It as Official Club

After expelling several religion-based student groups from campus for “discrimination,” the University of Iowa is being sued for religious discrimination.

The University of Iowa chapter of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA was one of the student clubs kicked off campus for not conforming to a university rule that clubs must eliminate a faith-based precondition to serve in leadership.

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship consulted the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a nonprofit legal group, and sued the university Monday for violating its First Amendment rights.

The lawsuit states that on June 1, the university “abruptly emailed InterVarsity’s student leaders and instructed them that they had until June 15 to change their leadership-selection practices or be deregistered.”

The group responded by “emphasizing the importance of having Christian leadership” for the Christian club, the lawsuit says, but the school rebuffed it.

“The university further stated that InterVarsity student leaders could not even be ‘strongly encouraged’ to agree with InterVarsity’s faith,” according to the suit.

The university has disallowed numerous other clubs for the same reason, including Muslim and Sikh groups, it says.

Becket senior counsel Daniel Blomberg said in a formal statement that “banning religious groups from having religious leaders just flattens diversity and impoverishes the campus.”

While the university singled out religious groups for supposed nonadherence with its nondiscrimination policy, Blomberg said, the school “has exempted or ignored leadership and membership restrictions set by other student groups, such as sports clubs, fraternities, and political organizations.”

The university will not comment under its policy on “pending or ongoing litigation,” Anne Bassett, the school’s media relations director, told The Daily Signal on Wednesday.

Kristina Schrock, president of the university’s InterVarsity group, said in a prepared statement:

We’re grateful to have been part of the university community for 25 years, and we think that the university has been a richer place for having Sikh, Muslim, Mormon, Catholic, Jewish, atheist, and Christian groups. Because we love our school, we hope it reconsiders and lets religious groups continue to authentically reflect their religious roots.

Ryan T. Anderson, a senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation and co-author of “Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination,” called the case an example of “how our liberties hang—or fall—together.”

“Students should be free to associate around a common cause or mission, including religious ones,” Anderson said. “And they should be free to advocate for that cause and live out that mission, and that requires the ability to select leaders who support the cause and embrace the mission.”

“How sad that in the name of diversity and pluralism the university would seek to curtail the freedoms that protect true diversity and principled pluralism,” he said.


Condemning “Whiteness” and “Privilege” in Higher Education

The left’s war on whiteness might have been fought only in the shadows if its “long march through the institutions” hadn’t resulted in its takeover of American higher education in the 1980s. But with the university as its launching pad and megaphone, the left has set out to systematically demonize whiteness through the rapidly growing field of Whiteness Studies, which first began to appear in college curricula in the mid-1990s and since then has become a growth industry.

Whiteness Studies is like other group-identity-based curricula like Black Studies, Chicano Studies, and Women’s Studies only in its intellectual vacuousness. Whereas those other study areas often absurdly celebrate their respective groups and emphasize their status as innocent victims of oppression, Whiteness Studies programs programmatically stigmatize whites as malevolent oppressors of “people of color” and as authors of crimes against humanity. As Jeff Hitchcock put it in 1998 at the Third National Conference on Whiteness, “There is no crime that  whiteness has not committed against people of color…. We must blame whiteness for the continuing patterns today that deny the rights of those outside of whiteness and which damage and pervert the humanity of those of us within it.”[19]

The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education describes Whiteness Studies as “a growing body of scholarship whose aim is to reveal the invisible structures that produce and reproduce white supremacy and privilege.” Central to this definition is the notion that the average white person is largely unaware of his own racism, and that he therefore must be helped to overcome the dreaded “ignorance of one’s ignorance” which prevents him from even recognizing “racism as a system of privilege” that benefits him at the expense of others.[20]

Whiteness Studies professor Lee Bebout of Arizona State University, for his part, says that “white supremacy makes it so that white people can’t see the world they have created.”[21] Jodi Linley, a white assistant professor at the University of Iowa, says that she aims to “dismantle whiteness” in her “curriculum, assignments and pedagogy,” in order to battle “white supremacy” and “white privilege.”[22]

In his class called “The Problem of Whiteness,” University of Wisconsin professor Damon Sajnani explores how white people “consciously and unconsciously perpetuate institutional racism.” In November 2016, Sajnani posted to his Facebook account a picture of a white American family seated for a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day with the words “Genocide, terrorism, small pox, colonization, torture” written in blood over it.[23]

In a “White Privilege” course taught by Portland State University Professor Rachel Sanders, students learn that “whiteness is the lynchpin of structures of racial meaning and racial inequality in the United States,” and that “to preserve whiteness is to preserve racial injustice.”[24]

There is no virtue associated with whitenesss that is not a vice in disguise. In an article published in September 2017, Pennsylvania State University professor Angela Putman criticized “whiteness ideologies” that extol the virtues of “hard work” and “meritocracy.” Such values, she explains, are lamentable reflections of the fact that white students “are socialized to believe that we got to where we are,” particularly in classroom settings, “because of our own individual efforts” rather than through white skin privilege.[25]

Similarly, in a December 2017 academic article analyzing the racial attitudes of college students, University of Northern Iowa professors C. Kyle Rudick and Kathryn B. Golsan assert that “whiteness-informed civility” toward “students of color” is subconsciously rooted in a desire to “assert control of space” and “create a good white identity” wherein “white privilege” and “white racial power” can continue to thrive.[26]

At Scripps College in Claremont, California, all incoming students receive a “survival guide” designed to alert the newcomers to the racism lurking insidiously in the dark corners of white people’s hearts. One entry in this manual, titled “Dear White Students,” declares that “we as white students must identify the ways that we are engaging in the perpetuation of white supremacy and work to unlearn our racism”; that racism is often manifested in “subtle ways through language” and “the perpetuation of white supremacist values like perfectionism [and] individualism”; that “reverse racism does not exist because there are no institutions that were founded with the intention of discriminating against white people on the basis of their skin”; and that the “anger” of nonwhites “is a legitimate response to oppression, as is … a general distaste [for] or hatred of white people.”[27]

In an opinion piece in a Texas State University student newspaper, the University Star, student author Rudy Martinez writes that “whiteness in the United States” is a “construct used to perpetuate a system of racist power,” and that, “ontologically speaking, white death will mean liberation for all.” Toward the end of his piece, Martinez finally said what was really on his mind: “I hate you [white people] because you shouldn’t exist.”[28]

In 2016, Portland Community College designated April as “Whiteness History Month” — not, like Black History Month, as a time to examine the achievements or contributions of the featured group, but rather as a moment to explore how whiteness had “[emerged] from a legacy of imperialism, conquest, colonialism, and the American enterprise.” This exercise, said PCC, was expected to help “change our campus climate” for the better.[29]

In the spring of 2017 at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, a new “study group” was formed to provide a forum “where those who most often exhibit racist and sexist behavior — white males — can begin to be self-critical of the very dangerous, brutal, and depraved hierarchical pathologies of superiority, supremacy, and inferiority handed down to us by white Euro-American institutions.” Particular focus was placed on “the depravity of whiteness” and “the privilege of white people (especially white males).”[30]

At the University of Michigan, a group called the Coalition Against Anti-Blackness maintains that in order to make campuses safe for blacks, the “scourge of whiteness” must be removed altogether.[31]
                                                            Attacking Whiteness in Primary and Secondary Schools

With its stranglehold on higher education secure, in the last few years leftists waging a war on whiteness have opened another battlefront in K-12 schools. Its first target has been teacher-training programs, turning them into indoctrination projects designed to produce K-12 teachers who are committed to the leftist worldview, especially the idea that “white” values and traditions pose a mortal threat to the well-being of nonwhite minorities.

Heather Hackman, a former professor of multicultural education at St. Cloud University, exhorts schoolteachers to become political activists who reject “the racial narrative of White,” which, by her telling, aims to develop children who are “honest, hard-working, disciplined, rigorous, successful,” and capable of speaking “proper English.” These goals, says Hackman, are actually the racist objectives of what she terms a “Super-Whitey” mentality that disrespects the cultural values of nonwhites.[32]

Robert Holland and Don Soifer of the Lexington Institute have studied the attempt to insert leftist propaganda into teacher-training curricula. They write that the instructional methods taught to aspiring K-12 teachers at many teacher-training universities focus on “inducing white guilt and causing teachers to acquire the dispositions of leftist activists who believe in government-enforced redistribution.” Further, Holland and Soifer report that two of the most influential forces in K-12 classrooms across the United States are Paulo Freire, the late Brazilian Marxist who believed that schoolteachers have a duty to turn their students into political revolutionaries, and Howard Zinn, the late Marxist historian renowned for his deep contempt for America. Both Freire and Zinn  emphasize the idea that racism and “white privilege” pervade American society.[33]

Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Sol Stern concurs: “One by one, the education schools are lining up behind social justice teaching and enforcing it on their students — especially since they expect aspiring teachers to possess the approved liberal ‘dispositions,’ or individual character traits, that will qualify them to teach in the public schools.” Among these is a commitment to “an education centered on social justice” that aims “to transcend the negative effects of the dominant [white] culture.”[34]



Who will teach the teachers when the teachers are dummies?

ASPIRING teachers in Victoria [Australia] are being accepted into university teaching courses despite shocking academic ­results of their own.

One student with an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) of just 17.9 out of a possible 99.95 secured a place in an initial teaching course.

Aspiring teachers in Victoria are being accepted into university teaching courses despite shocking academic ­results of their own.
The rank is almost 50 points below a minimum benchmark the state government set to raise teaching standards.

The worrying data, ­obtained by the Sunday Herald Sun, last night prompted Victorian Education Minister James Merlino to order an ­immediate investigation. “I will not stand for universities who are attempting to undercut or bypass our reforms and minimum ATAR standards,” he said.

He warned universities that didn’t comply could lose ­accreditation to teach future educators.

Federal Education and Training Minister Simon Birmingham has written to Mr Merlino, calling on him to ­explain why Victoria is the worst-performing state in the country.

Tertiary admission centre figures released through Senate Estimates reveal Victoria University admitted students with the lowest scores in Australia to an Initial Teaching Education course, with ATARs of only 17.9, 19.8 and 21.3.

The university this year introduced a Bachelor of Education Studies degree to circumvent new rules.

Students who enrol in the degree, which has no minimum standard, can then transfer to the Bachelor of Education in their second year.

Victoria University’s Tim Newhouse said the students enrolled with the lowest ATARs in Australia “are not going into teaching”.

He instead insisted they were doing a “Diploma of Education Studies or Bachelor of Education Studies, which can lead to many ­careers”.

Mr Newhouse said these could include “mentoring and tutoring, community programs, public and welfare services, after-school care and teacher aide positions”.

However, the Victoria University website states that its ­Diploma of Education Studies program will help students “achieve your dream of becoming a teacher … this education course prepares you to enter the second year of a teaching degree”.

Federation University Australia, also in Victoria, accepted the second-lowest ATARs in the nation, including 22.1, 23.6 and 24.3, followed by NSW’s University of Wollongong with a 25.7 ATAR.

A spokeswoman for RMIT — which had the fourth-lowest entry scores in Australia — said admissions “with an ATAR that is lower than the recommended level” were based on complex issues that could include student finances or health problems.

“Admissions under these circumstances are undertaken to ensure that otherwise talented and hardworking students, who faced serious adversity during their final years of school, are not disadvantaged,” she said.

Mr Merlino said while universities had always been able to take special consideration into account for all courses, “it isn’t good enough that some universities are looking for ways around the rules purely to boost their numbers to make money”.

A minimum standard of 65 was this year introduced, rising to 70 next year.

Australian Education Union Victorian branch president Meredith Peace said: “We have to raise the standard. We don’t support these backdoor entry programs, which allow people to come in without a suitable academic level.”

Opposition spokesman Tim Smith said Mr Merlino had been “caught out lying over the lack of education standards”. “This minister needs to spend less time on smearing political opponents and more time on his real job of giving children a good education,” he said.

The Turnbull Government will introduce a website within weeks where universities must publish admission information, prerequisites and ATAR scores of previous students as part of new transparency reforms.

Mr Birmingham said: to achieve the best student outcomes “we need the highest calibre teachers in the classroom”. “With more admissions transparency, we’re ensuring unis are held to account for the students they enrol,” Mr Birmingham said.


Sunday, August 12, 2018

The road to the White House runs through the Ivy League

When Supreme Court justices gather in the cafeteria, they might debate philosophy. They could also talk about Harvard and Yale, where all eight justices attended law school.

The Ivy League has also produced a larger group: potential candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Candidates are officially noncandidates until they’re not. Some names are new. Others appear on television as often as the weather forecast. The Ivy-clad possibilities include:

Cory Booker, Yale Law

Steve Bullock, Columbia Law

Eric Garcetti, Columbia

Kirsten Gillibrand, Dartmouth

Eric Holder, Columbia and Columbia Law

Tim Kaine, Harvard Law

Joseph P. Kennedy III, Harvard Law

Amy Klobuchar, Yale

Seth Moulton, Harvard

Deval Patrick, Harvard and Harvard Law

Adam Schiff, Harvard Law

Mark Warner, Harvard Law

Elizabeth Warren, Harvard Law faculty

The two best-known potential 2020 candidates have run before, and neither went to Ivy League schools. Both appealed to working-class voters with lunchpail issues. Bernie Sanders is a University of Chicago alumnus. Joe Biden attended the University of Delaware and law school at Syracuse University.

To those who fret about “elites,” a caution. Many Americans are grateful that Harvard welcomed John Adams in 1751 and Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1900. Ditto for Princeton’s nurturing of James Madison and Woodrow Wilson.

Sometime in the early 1990s, perhaps during a Renaissance Weekend, ground zero of the Democratic party shifted from the factory floor to the faculty lounge. Since 1988, every Democratic National Convention has chosen an Ivy League presidential candidate.

Republicans, meanwhile, chose two Yalies named Bush. In 2012, they chose Mitt Romney, who, after Brigham Young University, chose Harvard for graduate school. He graduated from its law school and its business school on the same day.

Another Ivy-garlanded Republican transferred from Fordham in 1966, then won a diploma after two years at the University of Pennsylvania. Donald J. Trump is the 16th Ivy Leaguer to occupy the White House.

Trump’s fellow Penn alumnus studied at its medical school before giving up medicine in 1791. William Henry Harrison joined the Army, commanded troops at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811, and was elected president in 1840. He died of pneumonia after one month in office.

In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt summoned to the White House the football coaches of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton to change the rules of college football. In 1954, the Ivy League was founded as a conference for intercollegiate sports.

The Ivy League attracts more politically ambitious scholars than do campuses west of Ithaca and south of Philadelphia. The imbalance is slowly changing. In Palo Alto, Stanford students refer to Harvard as “the Stanford of the East.”

The perfect college may not be as crucial as parents of SAT-saturated students fear. Since World War II, the most consequential, decisive presidents offered slim academic credentials: Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, and Ronald Reagan.

In erudition and depth of knowledge, few American politicians surpassed the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York. He received five degrees from Tufts University and was proud of all five. “The odd one,” he said, “is Bachelor of Naval Science from the 1940s.”

Moynihan’s boss, President John F. Kennedy, was well educated and also self educated. He knew how to keep education in perspective. In June of 1962, he journeyed to New Haven for an honorary degree. He name-dropped first, then offered an inside-Ivy zinger:

“As General de Gaulle occasionally acknowledges America to be the daughter of Europe, so I am pleased to come to Yale, the daughter of Harvard. It might be said now that I have the best of both worlds: a Harvard education and a Yale degree.”


Social media posts could ruin your college dreams, lawyer warns

Merely following Alex Jones on Twitter almost cost one teen a college admission. Another lost his scholarship over a Facebook message about the 2016 election. Anything you post can and will be used against you, a lawyer tells RT.

“It’s absolutely troubling what some of the colleges are doing,” attorney Bradley Shear, who specializes in social media cases, told RT. Many universities are hiring monitoring companies that comb the social media lives of applicants, even going so far as to spy on their search histories and internet activity.

“This is a very problematic situation,” Shear said. “It’s a very big problem and it’s only getting worse.”

Shear shared a story about one client of his, a 17-year-old who was asked in his college admission interview why he followed Alex Jones on Twitter. Last week, half a dozen platforms banded together to ban, block and delete the accounts of Jones and his InfoWars show.

The teen had never liked or retweeted any of Jones’s content – his “transgression” was merely following the conspiracy theorist on Twitter, Shear explained. The way he tackled the case was by going to the college and arguing the admissions interviewer displayed improper political bias.

“I made sure the situation was resolved to the student’s satisfaction,” Shear told RT.

Another client wasn’t so lucky, losing a $250,000 scholarship and admission to “one of the most prestigious universities in the world” over an emoji and like on a Facebook post related to the 2016 presidential election.

“Even though this teen’s social media accounts had the highest privacy settings, a ‘Facebook friend’ took a screenshot of the alleged inappropriate like and emoji, saved it for months, and anonymously sent it to the admissions office of the teen’s top college choice,” Shear said in a November 2017 Baltimore Sun article.

Though tech platforms have a legal cover for banning someone by invoking their terms of service, “I’m of the belief that, in general, people should be heard,” Shear told RT on Thursday. “And whether or not you like, or agree with, someone’s statements, that’s an individual determination of everyone using their platform.”

“I’m a big fan of not only personal privacy, but freedom of speech,” he added.

The major problem with social media companies is that they are “invasive” in their demands for personal data, the attorney said. Using technology, private institutions gather information about your race, religion, political viewpoints, and so on. Facebook has even reached out to banks about getting the private information of their customers, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report.

“They are taking this information and using it against you,” Shear said. “I don’t want Facebook to know my bank account information. It’s none of their damn business!”

Even as political campaigns seek information on potential voters to better target their online advertising, having little or no social media presence might be an asset for aspiring candidates for public office in the future, as there won’t be any “digital dirt” to dig up on them, the attorney told RT.


Students graduating with some of the most sought-after degrees will have the WORST chances of landing the right job as they lack practical skills

They should go into IT.  They should have the ability for that.  And IT workers are in high demand

Once heralded as the passports to a secure and well-paid career, science, technology and maths degrees now have some of Australia's lowest employment rates according to a university head.

The warning for STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) graduates came from Vicki Thomson - chief executive of the Group of Eight universities association.

Ms Thomson's words are backed by industry leaders who say too many graduates are ignorant of the job market or do not have practical experience.

Around 20 per cent of Australia's near two million domestic students who graduated between 2007 and 2016 were in STEM disciplines - according to the Daily Telegraph.

But maths and science graduates are finding jobs at a rate 10 per cent lower than the average post-graduation, according to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI),

The Go8 chief executive has also called for greater recognition of vocational education.

Group of Eight head Vicki Thomson has called for greater recognition of non-university training courses and warned STEM graduates their degree is no passport to a certain career

In an address to the Graduate Employment Outcomes and Industry Partnership Forum in Sydney, Ms Thompson said Australia would be a 'poorer nation' if it did not give the entire tertiary system the value it deserves.

She said: 'We could not live healthily, safely or successfully without plumbers, electricians, fire safety inspectors - all of which is delivered through VET.'

Ninety-two per cent of trade course graduates found a job straight away, according to a recent report.

Pearson educational consultants published an article last year calling for more government investment in STEAM, with the added 'A' referring to Art. 

Meanwhile, Business Chamber CEO Stephen Cartwright said even highly qualified candidates from STEM degrees were struggling to get hired. He said: 'No qualification by itself these days is a passport to a job.'