Friday, September 21, 2018

Mis-sold, expensive and overhyped: why British universities are a con

The Leftist writer below is wholly correct in what he says but he has no idea how Britain could do better.  Yet the answer is clear. It was the Grammar (selective) schools that opened up an upward path for  able working class kids.  Many of their graduates did rise to the top.  But the British Left hate Grammars because their selectivity runs against the great Leftist myth that all men are equal.  It is the Left who perpetuate the present static system.  The universities cannot undo the damage that Britain's chaotic government secondary schools have done.  The Grammars prepared students for university and social success generally.  Ordinary State schools do not

In any other area it would be called mis-selling. Given the sheer numbers of those duped, a scandal would erupt and the guilty parties would be forced to make amends. In this case, they’d include some of the most eminent politicians in Britain.

But we don’t call it mis-selling. We refer to it instead as “going to uni”. Over the next few days, about half a million people will start as full-time undergraduates. Perhaps your child will be among them, bearing matching Ikea crockery and a fleeting resolve to call home every week.

They are making one of the biggest purchases of their lives, shelling out more on tuition fees and living expenses than one might on a sleek new Mercedes, or a deposit on a London flat. Many will emerge with a costly degree that fulfils few of the promises made in those glossy prospectuses. If mis-selling is the flogging of a pricey product with not a jot of concern about its suitability for the buyer, then that is how the establishment in politics and in higher education now treat university degrees. The result is that tens of thousands of young graduates begin their careers having already been swindled as soundly as the millions whose credit card companies foisted useless payment protection insurance on them.

Rather than jumping through hoop after hoop of exams and qualifications, they’d have been better off with parents owning a home in London. That way, they’d have had somewhere to stay during internships and then a source of equity with which to buy their first home – because ours is an era that preaches social mobility, even while practising a historic concentration of wealth. Our new graduates will learn that the hard way.

To say as much amounts to whistling in the wind. With an annual income of £33bn, universities in the UK are big business, and a large lobby group. They are perhaps the only industry whose growth has been explicitly mandated by prime ministers of all stripes, from Tony Blair to Theresa May. It was Blair who fed the university sector its first steroids, by pledging that half of all young Britons would go into higher education. That sweeping target was set with little regard for the individual needs of teenagers – how could it be? Sub-prime brokers in Florida were more exacting over their clients’ circumstances. It was based instead on two promises that have turned out to be hollow.

Promise number one was that degrees mean inevitably bigger salaries. This was a way of selling tuition fees to voters. Blair’s education secretary, David Blunkett, asked: “Why should it be the woman getting up at 5 o’clock to do a cleaning job who pays for the privileges of those earning a higher income while they make no contribution towards it?” When David Cameron’s lot wanted to jack up fees, they claimed a degree was a “phenomenal investment”.

Both parties have marketed higher education as if it were some tat on a television shopping channel. Across Europe, from Germany to Greece, including Scotland, university education is considered a public good and is either free or cheap to students. Graduates in England, however, are lumbered with some of the highest student debt in the world.

Yet shove more and more students through university and into the workforce and – hey presto! – the wage premium they command will inevitably drop. Research shows that male graduates of 23 universities still earn less on average than non-graduates a whole decade after going into the workforce.

Britain manufactures graduates by the tonne, but it doesn’t produce nearly enough graduate-level jobs. Nearly half of all graduates languish in jobs that don’t require graduate skills, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. In 1979, only 3.5% of new bank and post office clerks had a degree; today it is 35% – to do a job that often pays little more than the minimum wage.

Promise number two was that expanding higher education would break down class barriers. Wrong again. At the top universities that serve as gatekeepers to the top jobs, Oxbridge, Durham, Imperial and others, private school pupils comprise anywhere up to 40% of the intake. Yet only 7% of children go to private school. Factor in part-time and mature students, and the numbers from disadvantaged backgrounds are actually dropping. Nor does university close the class gap: Institute for Fiscal Studies research shows that even among those doing the same subject at the same university, rich students go on to earn an average of 10% more each year, every year, than those from poor families.

Far from providing opportunity for all, higher education is itself becoming a test lab for Britain’s new inequality. Consider today’s degree factory: a place where students pay dearly to be taught by some lecturer paid by the hour, commuting between three campuses, yet whose annual earnings may not amount to £9,000 a year – while a cadre of university management rake in astronomical sums.

Thus is the template set for the world of work. Can’t find an internship in politics or the media in London that pays a wage? That will cost you more than £1,000 a month in travel and rent. Want to buy your first home? In the mid-80s, 62% of adults under 35 living in the south-east owned their own home. That has now fallen to 32%. Needless to say, the best way to own your own home is to have parents rich enough to help you out.

Over the past four decades, British governments have relentlessly pushed the virtues of skilling up and getting on. Yet today wealth in Britain is so concentrated that the head of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Paul Johnson, believes “inheritance is probably the most crucial factor in determining a person’s overall wealth since Victorian times”.

Margaret Thatcher’s acolytes promised to create a classless society, and they were quite right: Britain is instead becoming a caste society, one in which where you were born determines ever more where you end up.

For two decades, Westminster has used universities as its magic answer for social mobility. Ministers did so with the connivance of highly paid vice-chancellors, and in the process they have trashed much of what was good about British higher education. What should be sites for speculative inquiry and critical thinking have instead turned into businesses that speculate on property deals, criticise academics who aren’t publishing in the right journals – and fail spectacularly to engage with the serious social and economic problems that confront the UK right now. As for the graduates, they largely wind up taking the same place in the queue as their parents – only this time with an expensive certificate detailing their newfound expertise.


DeVos's Free-Speech Promotion

The secretary of education makes important remarks about our Constitution and schools.  

America’s education system has been not only commandeered but constitutionally misappropriated now for many decades. This is in large measure a corollary of control by the Education Department. One particularly alarming upshot of the federal government’s (and activists’) navigating is that student rights are being undermined. It’s probably a pipe dream to expect the Education Department to ever be shuttered, but Secretary Betsy DeVos clearly understands the ill effects of “government muscle.”

So it was appropriate that she devoted Constitution Day to castigating censorship and coddling while also advocating free speech. She declared:

Too many administrators have been complicit in creating or facilitating a culture that makes it easier for the “heckler” to win. One prevalent way is when administrators charge students exorbitant fees to host an event or speaker they arbitrarily deem “controversial.” This way, administrators can duck accusations of censorship based on content and instead claim that reasonable “time, place, and manner” restrictions are appropriate. …

Administrators too often attempt to shield students from ideas they subjectively decide are “hateful” or “offensive” or “injurious” or ones they just don’t like. This patronizing practice assumes students are incapable of grappling with, learning from, or responding to ideas with which they disagree. … A solution won’t come from defunding an institution of learning or merely getting the words of a campus policy exactly right. Solutions won’t come from new laws from Washington, DC or from a “speech police” at the U.S. Department of Education. Because what’s happening on campuses today is symptomatic of a civic sickness.

The ability to respectfully deliberate, discuss and disagree — to model the behavior on display in Independence Hall — has been lost in too many places. Some are quick to blame a “tribalization” of America where groupthink reigns. Others point to the rise of social media where, under the cloak of anonymity, sarcasm and disdain dominate. Certainly, none of that improves our discourse. But I think the issue is more fundamental than that. And it’s one governments cannot solve. The issue is that we have abandoned truth.

DeVos also lamented that “all too often, students do not learn about our Constitution and our freedoms in the first place.” And as National Review’s David French observes, “There are powerful reasons for America’s Bill of Rights, yet students not only don’t know these reasons, they’re ignorant of the rights.” So it’s little wonder, as DeVos relayed, “that over half of students surveyed think views different from their own aren’t protected by the Constitution.”

The reason conservatives oppose the federal government’s control over education is constitutional limits on government’s power. And that concern is born out by the fact that government so callously ignores teaching the tenets of the Constitution. Censorship is merely a symptom of a central government’s natural inclination to impose statism.


Australian Catholic and Independent schools get $4.6 billion extra funding as Federal election looms

This is something that Turnbull should have done.  Getting the Catholic church offside was a major blunder.  The extensive non-government education sector depends heavily on Federal subsidies

The Morrison government has removed one of the "barnacles" holding the coalition back, by injecting $4.57 billion of new money into the Catholic and Independent schools sector - ridding itself of an angry voter backlash. But already public school-teacher unions are threatening to retaliate.

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Education Minister Dan Tehan outlined a package of three funding measures to be rolled out between now and 2029.

The biggest of these is $3.2 billion over 10 years to be spent on Catholic and independent schools that are identified as needing the most help.

The money will be spent using a formula based on personal income tax records, so that schools with the lowest income families will get the most help. This replaces a system which relied on census data and which parents said was unrepresentative.

A further $1.2 billion will be put into a new Choice and Affordability Fund to provide extra support for non-government schools in drought-affected areas and schools that need help to improve performance and to deliver choice in some communities. Of this about $718 million will go to Catholic schools.

And $170.8 million will be spent in 2019 to top up school budgets until the new arrangements can be put into place by 2020 at the latest.

Catholic Schools in Victoria threatened to use parents' votes against the government at the next election unless they got extra money.

Catholic, independent schools approve

The National Catholic Education Commission said it fully supports Thursday's announcement.

"Hundreds of primary schools would have been forced to double or triple their fees because of the previous model's very narrow interpretation of 'need'," said acting executive director of the National Catholic Education Commission​, Ray Collins.

"We commend the new education minister Dan Tehan for recognising that the previous model had jeopardised the future of low-fee, low-expenditure schools in areas where they've served families for generations."

"Fundamental to our support of this package is the Minister's agreement to review the new arrangements to ensure they continue to support the government's policy objectives, including parent choice."

The non-Catholic independent schools said the arrangement created a "fair and reasonable" resolution of current funding issues. The Independent Schools Council of Australia said as part of the deal the government had promised to review the new funding arrangements in 2027.

The new $4.57 billion comes in addition to the $19 billion extra money promised by the government under the Gonski 2.0 funding reforms announced last year.


Thursday, September 20, 2018

University under fire for creating a safe space for white students called 'White Awake'

The Left can't leave race alone.  They've been at it ever since Karl Marx

The University of Maryland's Counseling Center received backlash after they started a group called "White Awake" as a "safe space for white students" to discuss race on campus.
The University of Maryland's Counseling Center received backlash after they started a group called "White Awake" as a "safe space for white students" to discuss race on campus.  (UMD)

The University of Maryland (UMD) was forced to take down flyers and change the name of a counseling program that offered “safe space for white students” after sparking outrage on campus.

At the beginning of the fall semester, UMD’s Counseling Center posted flyers for a new group called “White Awake,” which prompted the backlash.

Early Friday, the university’s website changed the name to “Anti-Racism and Ally Building Group” and scrubbed any references to a “safe space” and “white students.”

“This group offers a safe space for white students to explore their experiences, questions, reactions, and feelings,” the initial description read. “Members will support and share feedback with each other as they learn more about themselves and how they fit into a diverse world.”

The flyer also asked if white people ever “feel uncomfortable and confused” in their “interactions with racial and ethnic minorities,” and if they “want to become a better ally.”

Several students conveyed their outrage on social media and on campus.

“The world is a space for white people to talk in,” one student told The Diamondback, a UMD student newspaper, expressing how unnecessary the new initiative is.

I am ashamed over the execution of white awake nor do I fully understand its clause. “How they can fit into a diverse world”? Why do they need to attend therapy sessions on how to be a decent human being in society? Why do they need to have these sessions to learn how to coexist?

Noah Collins, who leads the group and specializes in group therapy for the Counseling Center with an interest in “racial and cultural awareness,” issued a statement Thursday night saying UMD will discontinue the flyer and consider changing the name, but that it stands by the group.

He added the flyer was “not clear enough” in explaining that the group’s aim is “anti-racism and becoming a better ally.”

The university told Fox News in a statement that UMD’s Counseling Center acknowledges it “did not choose the right words in raising awareness about this research-based initiative, and how this group has been perceived is counter to the values of inclusiveness and diversity that we embody.”

“This is an incredibly difficult, nuanced issue, and that’s the reason we need to discuss it,” Collins wrote. “The aim of this group is to help white students become more culturally competent, so they can better participate in creating a more inclusive environment at the University of Maryland.”


How Colleges Teach Students to See Bias Where It Doesn’t Exist

“You have blood on your hands. You’re a murderer,” shouted one of the protesters at Judge Brett Kavanaugh during the Senate hearings of his nomination to the Supreme Court. This apocalyptic rhetoric had been espoused before — at none other than the Yale Law School, immediately after President Donald Trump announced the school’s graduate as his chosen replacement for Justice Anthony Kennedy. There, a group of alumni and professors circulated an open letter declaring that selecting Kavanaugh “presents an emergency — for democratic life, for our safety and freedom, for the future of our country.” People “will die” if Kavanaugh is confirmed, the letter announced. By the time of the hearings, Kavanaugh had gone from being a future murderer to an actual one.

These protests, intended to shut down the proceedings — and the fantastical social-media charge that one of Kavanaugh’s former clerks displayed a white-power sign during those hearings — showed how academic identity politics is transforming the non-academic world. To be sure, there were differences: the Capitol police actually intervened to restore order and the Judiciary Committee is ideologically balanced. But the long-term prognosis for reason and civility is not good.

The key feature of academic diversity ideology is the assertion that to be a member of an ever-growing number of favored victim groups at a college today is to be the target of pervasive bigotry on campus — despite, well, being favored. Taught by a metastasizing campus-diversity bureaucracy to believe that they are subject to an existential threat from circumambient bias, students equate nonconforming ideas with “hate speech,” and “hate speech” with conduct that should be punished, censored and repelled with force if necessary. This victimology fuels the efforts to shut down speech that challenges campus orthodoxies. Dozens of times in the past several years alone, classrooms have been invaded; professors, accosted and even assaulted; and outside speakers, silenced.

While these tactics have famously been directed at conservatives, that is not exclusively the case, as senior fellow at the Public Policy Center Stanley Kurtz has documented for National Review Online. It has happened year after year, recently.

In October 2017, protesters at Columbia University temporarily occupied a class and accused a professor who is an LGBTQ rights advocate and one of the school’s premier proponents of the idea that campuses are pervaded by rape culture of creating a “dangerous environment for students, including queer students.”

That same month, shouting activists prevented University of Oregon President Michael Schill from delivering his State of the University Speech. Schill’s merely pro forma support for free speech was enabling “fascism and white supremacy,” according to the student protesters.

In November 2016, Kimberly Peirce, director of the groundbreaking 1999 film on transgenderism, Boys Don’t Cry, was shouted down at Reed College with slogans like “f-ck your respectability politics.”

Dozens of Yale students mobbed sociologist Nicholas Christakis for three hours in October 2015 because his psychologist and faculty member wife had circulated an email suggesting that students could select their own Halloween costumes without oversight from Yale’s diversity bureaucrats. “Be quiet!” shrieked a girl at Christakis, who was frozen in his place. “You should not sleep at night! You are disgusting!” Another mobster complained that Christakis’s invocation of free speech creates “a space to allow for violence to happen on this campus.” When he meekly disagreed, the protester shouted back: “It doesn’t matter whether you agree or not … It’s not a debate.”

The list goes on — from Rutgers in New Jersey and American University in Washington, D.C., to U.C. Berkeley in California and Evergreen State College in Washington and beyond. In none of these instances were the silencers disciplined. In several of them, the college presidents thanked the anti-speech advocates for their courageous stands. Yale conferred its prize for “provid[ing] exemplary leadership in race and/or ethnic relations” on two of Christakis’s scourges, including the student who shouted, “It’s not a debate.”

The belief that college campuses today pose an existential threat to females and students of color is just as lunatic as the belief that Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a murderer or that an Establishment lawyer was signaling her white supremacy affiliation on live TV. American universities are among the most tolerant environments in history towards humanity’s traditionally oppressed groups. Far from discriminating against what admissions officers call “underrepresented minorities,” or “URMs,” every selective college today employs large racial admissions preferences to engineer what they call a “diverse” student body — and they twist themselves into knots to hire qualified minority staff members who haven’t already been snapped up by better-endowed schools. Professors want all their students to succeed, particularly females and “underrepresented minorities.”

But the resulting campus culture often coaches students to see bias where none exists. That delusion continues once they leave school. The result is a growing society-wide intolerance for speakers and ideas that fail to conform to an increasingly exacting code of political correctness, on the ground that such non-conforming speech harms favored victim groups.

The right has its shrill manias— whether the unseemly obsession with Hillary Clinton and her emails, the corrosive Trump-fueled calumny that federal law enforcement agencies have been corrupted by political bias, and the dangerous Trump-induced crusade to turn those agencies into instruments of political revenge. But until now, the notion that silencing non-conforming speech is a legitimate response to disagreement has come overwhelmingly from campuses and other progressive institutions — from Google to the New Yorker. Were Trump to seize the same weapons, arrogating to himself the power to define and punish “hate speech,” the danger of such precedents might become clearer to all.

The new censorship is an outgrowth of the twin ideas that race and gender are the most important features of a human being, and that American society is one long assault on various identity groups defined by race and gender. Until these key tenets of academic identity politics are rebutted, we can expect to see more of the hysteria that characterized the Kavanaugh hearings — and less ability to talk across ideological divides.


What Shakespeare and the Greats can teach a self-centred world

Professor Panayiotis Kanelos, President of St. John’s College Annapolis, will address the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation on the value of a liberal education in the contemporary world.

“Many people think Shakespeare and the great writers, artists, composers and thinkers of Western civilisation are no longer relevant in the modern world.  They are wrong,” says Professor Kanelos.

“Modernity encourages us to fashion ourselves and a liberal education – understanding the great works of Western civilisation - helps us to understand what sort of selves we ought to fashion.  Shakespeare, for example, still has so much to teach us,” Professor Kanelos said.

“The “liberal” arts have always had at their centre the cultivation of freedom.  Yet as conceptions of freedom have shifted over time, so too has the shape of liberal education,” Professor Kanelos said.  

“In our hyper-individualized world, the role of liberal education has shifted from liberating human beings to teaching us how to cultivate our liberty responsibly,” Professor Kanelos continued.  “So, a liberal education helps students build lives of meaning and purpose and helps society by helping individuals find common ground,” Professor Kanelos said. 

Chief Executive of the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation Professor Simon Haines said, “Professor Kanelos has a rich understanding of the value of a liberal arts education and St John’s College, Annapolis, is one the leading liberal arts colleges in the world.” 

Professor Kanelos has a distinguished background as an educator and is also an ardent Shakespeare scholar, who has authored and edited numerous books, articles and essays on Shakespeare.  He has a Ph.D. from the Committee on Social Thought at University of Chicago, an M.A. in Political Philosophy and Literature from the University Professors Program at Boston University, and a B.A. in English from Northwestern University.

St. John’s College, Annapolis, is one of the oldest colleges in the United States, tracing its origins to King William’s School, a preparatory school founded in 1696, and receiving a collegiate charter from the state of Maryland in 1784.  It has run a Great Books curriculum, based on the Western canon, since 1937.

The Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation was created with an endowment from the late Paul Ramsay AO, founder of Ramsay Health Care, to promote a deeper appreciation of Western civilisation through the creation of university degrees, Ramsay Scholarships, summer schools and public lectures.

Media release via email

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Due Process, Even on College Campuses

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is soon to release specifics on a major policy change.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is soon to release specifics on a major policy change to restore due process to the handling of sexual misconduct charges of within the world of education. This change is necessary to end college and university administrators from trampling due process by automatically assuming guilt when allegations of sexual assault are made.

Imagine you’re accused of sexual misconduct and your accuser has made serious statements about you publicly that will certainly ruin your reputation and, in most cases, your ability to move up in the world, both personally and professionally. If the alleged act(s) occur in the workplace, community, or a church, these charges are filed in court and treated as criminal in nature, but the burden of proof is on the accuser. Should you be found guilty, then jail time, a criminal record featuring a felony (depending on the offense), and possible restitution are in your future.

However, if this is your story and your accuser is a student, as of 2011, your chances of having your side of the story heard are greatly diminished. In other words, if you’re accused in a campus or student-related sexual assault, the protections of the Constitution currently are not afforded fully to you.

Obviously, sexual misconduct — whether rape, assault, or unwanted advances — is wrong and should be punished. If every situation fell into the clearly defined category of either consensual or nonconsensual, this would not be a problem. But that isn’t the case. The unfortunate reality of the modern feminist backlash is that a mob now wants to destroy the “patriarchy” and “toxic masculinity,” no matter what the truth may be.

This approach to “justice” began in 2011 during Barack Obama’s administration via a “Dear Colleague” letter. The 19-page “guidance” was a directive to supplement the Office of Civil Rights’ Revised Sexual Harassment Guidance from 2001. This informal-yet-binding supplement greatly expanded the role and reach of an educational institution when a student was involved in an alleged act of sexual misconduct.

On page four, the directive notes that even if a student complains of an alleged act that “initially occurred off school grounds, outside a school’s education program or activity,” the school “may have an obligation to respond.” So an educational institution is to take jurisdiction in dealing with an alleged crime even if that act occurred off its property, outside a school-sanctioned event or activity, and should be beyond its scope of control. If the alleged victim is an elementary student or a minor, it’s understandable that a reporting of an alleged assault would occur. Yet, without a designation, the letter establishes that an adult student falls into this broadly written policy to assume some liability and jurisdiction in dealing with potentially criminal behavior, even when off-campus.

Keep reading the seven-year-old Obama administration letter that gave excessive and inappropriate powers to schools and you’ll find, on page 12, the reason these quasi-courts present a real problem on college campuses, where alcohol, drugs, and promiscuity are found easily. Verbatim, the federal directive reads, “OCR strongly discourages schools from allowing the parties personally to question or cross-examine each other during the hearing. Allowing an alleged perpetrator to question an alleged victim directly may be traumatic or intimidating, thereby possibly escalating or perpetuating a hostile environment.”

Because it may be traumatic, the accused, regardless of extenuating circumstances, may not be afforded the opportunity to present his version of events and challenge the alleged victim’s account. Assuredly, this is because all who are accused are guilty, right?

One of the most memorable, and still vivid, examples of how the right of due process is important dates to 2006, when the Duke lacrosse team hired a student from North Carolina Central College to strip for them at a party. Most folks could conclude this was already a bad idea. This case would now easily fall under the jurisdiction of the Obama way of handling sexual misconduct through colleges.

Three men were identified and alleged to have raped the female student who had agreed to be part of their evening. Nothing about this is good, so let’s not pretend that anyone walks away from this original scene as virtuous. After the case was tried in the court of public opinion based on race and class warfare, the evidence in court remained insufficient — yet reputations were forever damaged. All accused were not found guilty and the prosecutor was disbarred and served jail time for his mishandling of the case. Still, thank goodness for due process.

More recently, Rolling Stone magazine ran a 9,000-word expos√© about the supposed “rape culture” at the University of Virginia with an extensive account of one female, “Jackie,” who allegedly had been forced into performing sex acts on five fraternity brothers. To avoid trauma or retaliation, the reporter “decided to honor her request not to contact the man she claimed orchestrated the attack nor any of the men who she claimed participated in the attack.” Rolling Stone, after protests and the production by the accused fraternity of information that refuted the claims, had to issue a retraction noting discrepancies in the “victim’s” story. And, yes, an apology was issued “to anyone who was affected by the story.” Awww, so kind.

Every one of the accused had to obtain a lawyer and live in fear and public scrutiny, but, “Gee, sorry. Oops.”

Whenever Secretary DeVos does provide the changes to policy that are currently under review, it will be a defeat to the Left’s approach of political correctness while restoring due process on campus. While it remains that a very real toxicity lies in mixing substances that inhibit the conscience and control of adults in situations that can escalate quickly and have serious consequences, Rule of Law through due process must always hold true.


It's Time to Hold America's 'Educators' to Account

Arnold Ahlert

Last week, in an effort to blame a president for his administration's failings before a disaster occurred, a Washington Post editorial stated that Donald Trump is "complicit" with a hurricane. Such a statement should set off alarm bells, but not for its pathetically inane level of political bias. That the Post would not only consider such an editorial for publication but actually publish it is a testament to the pitiful state of American education. And it's time for Trump to demand a Republican-controlled Congress hold nationally televised congressional hearings to deal with what has become an existential threat to our republic.

According to, the definition of complicit is "choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act, especially with others." Thus, the Post's editorial board is asserting that the president of the United States and a storm are partners in crime. It is impossible to believe the board isn't fully aware that such an assertion is a complete non-sequitur. Nor can we be expected to believe they seriously think that if Trump only fell into line with the progressive worldview and kept America in the economy-crushing Paris Accord, that Hurricane Florence would either not exist, or would have turned to sea instead of making landfall.

We suppose it's worth something that at least the editors knew the word "collusion" was spent.

How contemptuous of the American public's acumen are the Post's editors? Last February, the same paper revealed that many nations who signed the Paris Accord are failing to meet its goals. Moreover, the U.S. is currently the world leader in cutting CO2 emissions. Thus, one can conclude the most reasonable motive for publishing such unadulterated garbage is the editorial board's smug conclusion that a mis-educated public will buy it.

Their contempt is hardly unique. "Today's ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits," writes former Select Committee on Intelligence member Angelo Codevilla. "These amount to a social canon of judgments about good and evil, complete with secular sacred history, sins (against minorities and the environment), and saints. Using the right words and avoiding the wrong ones when referring to such matters — speaking the 'in' language — serves as a badge of identity."

And what kind of education do ordinary Americans get? "For our K-12 school system, an honorary membership in the Third World," writes columnist F.H. Buckley.

This divide produces immense polarization between a ruling class that believes it is entitled to rule — irrespective of elections — and an American public they believe is "retrograde, racist, and dysfunctional unless properly constrained," as Codevilla puts it.

Codevilla wrote that piece in 2010. Last week, video of a post-election meeting of Google leadership and employees revealed the utter contempt these self-appointed Masters of the Universe have for anyone who runs afoul of the progressive social canon. Moreover, company co-founder Sergey Brin and CEO Sundar Pichai refer to project "Jigsaw," which was an effort to use their search engine — the one with a 90.88% worldwide market share — to redirect "extremists" to content tailored to change their opinions.

Extremists according to whom?

Google's arrogance is matched by Twitter. The social media service that both exploits and epitomizes America's increasing infatuation with semi-literate communication has determined the highly accurate term "illegal alien" — used in federal law and at the Supreme Court — violates its "Hateful Content" policy.

Unfortunately, both companies are plowing fertile soil, courtesy of a unionized educational cartel that is a de facto arm of the Democrat Party. This contemptible decades-long alliance has turned America's classrooms into dumbed-down, progressive indoctrination factories.

It's time for a national accounting. For example, it would be highly illuminating to put officials at John F. Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on national TV and ask why they are teaching students a gender-bending, anti-white worldview, courtesy of a "Diversity Toolkit" that contains a confidentiality clause that keeps inquiring parents at bay. Or maybe a Vernon, New Jersey, middle school teacher could explain why she skipped commemorating Sept. 11 to teach a fictionalized account of a Muslim boy bullied because his name was Osama. Maybe officials in numerous cities and states who boast of increasing graduation rates could explain why a whopping 40-60% of high school "graduates" need remediation classes in English or math — or both — before entering college. Or why only 36% percent of eighth-graders are proficient in reading, and only 34% are proficient in math.

How is failing to teach more than six in 10 children basic skills — year after year — even remotely acceptable?

Because it aligns with the American Left's long-term strategy, which is now bearing fruit: When one turns out a sufficient number of semi-literate, semi-numerate, and ultimately government-dependent students — the majority of whom are contemptuous of a nation they know next to nothing about in terms of civics, history or the Constitution — an increasing infatuation with socialism, and countless other permutations of a "by any means necessary" agenda, including the effort to unseat a duly elected president, become eminently reasonable.

The deleterious effect on the nation has never been clearer. The orchestrated ignorance is profound, enduring — and multi-generational.

Thus in Hollywood, a community that once turned out thoughtful, well-constructed, clever, literate and oftentimes pro-American entertainment now floods the nation with a degenerative sludge-fest of anti-intellectual detritus, often accompanied by moronic moralizing.

Our universities have become de facto kindergartens, where social justice warriors make the now seamless transition from their helicopter parents (educated by the same system) and "everyone gets a trophy" lifestyles to campuses replete with safe spaces, trigger warnings, and utter contempt for the First and Second Amendments, all enabled by cowardly or complicit administrators.

Corporations have abandoned sensible business practices for leftist-oriented virtue-signaling policies that alienate customers. Moreover they embrace monocultural hiring and firing practices that amount to nothing more than political blacklisting.

And as for what Codevilla called our uniform ruling class, a public-be-damned lack of statesmanship, and a boundless level of self-interest are its two most "uniform" characteristics.

Nonetheless, nationally televised congressional hearings are the best vehicle for staging the battle to save the nation. It is one of the few venues where the filter of an equally corrupt mainstream media is least likely to be imposed — and where the rogue's galley of scam artists, activists, and propagandists purporting to be educators can and must be taken to task in no uncertain terms.

The public must be made to understand that every serious problem with which this nation is afflicted has education as its common denominator, and that "sunlight" — as in the white-hot lights of national TV exposure — is the best disinfectant.


Students with record-low High School leaving scores will soon be teaching Australian kids: Secret report reveals bottom-of-the-class pupils are being encouraged to be TEACHERS

Students with the lowest scores at high school are being encouraged to take up jobs as teachers.

Some students with zero scores in university admission tests are being offered places in teaching degrees, according to a secret report.

The figures show that in NSW and the ACT there were 28 offers made to students who scored between zero and 19 in the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank, the criteria for undergraduate university programs in all states except Queensland.

The figures were revealed by retired professor John Mack, who released the figures to the ABC despite the University of Sydney requesting the secret report be destroyed.

Professor Mack said it was not in the interest of the universities to reveal the information. 'What it shows is that overall the general quality of applicants has gone down,' he said.

'In some cases it was worrying that offers were being made to some students that I would have thought would have had exceptional difficulty coping with first-year university.'

The University of Sydney said it was 'very disappointed' with the release of the report.

'We are currently considering whether the release of this report now constitutes a breach of our policies and processes and will take appropriate action if it does,' the university said in a statement to Daily Mail Australia.

'At the time the report was written, we communicated with the researchers involved, UAC and the NSW Vice-Chancellors’ Committee to ensure research produced by our academics meets both UAC’s protocols for data use and ethics requirements, as well as our own policy requirements, before being made public.'

University of Sydney lecturer Rachel Wilson - who co-wrote the report with Professor Mack - said there were 'disturbing indicators' showing declining performance at high schools.

'There are very clear trends, I would say disturbingly steep trends, in the admission of lower-attaining students to initial teacher education,' she said. 'And if the system doesn't rise up and address this issue we are going to be in a downward spiral from here on in.'


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Texas Board Of Education Sends A Clear Message To Hillary Clinton

The State Board of Education in Texas met Friday to discuss some major changes to it’s school curriculum and well,  one curriculum got a little more attention than the others.

The State Board of Education in Texas voted on Friday to eliminate several historical figures, including Hillary Clinton  from the state’s social studies curriculum.

The decision made by the 15-member body reportedly came as part of an overall effort to “streamline” the state’s social studies curriculum.

Board member Barbara Cargill,  told The Dallas Morning News that “the recommendation to eliminate Helen Keller and Hillary Clinton was made by [Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills] work groups.”

As reported by The Hill, Texas high school students have been required to learn about Clinton after the former first lady made history in 2016 by becoming the first woman to be the presidential nominee of a major political party.

Texas third-grade students have also been required to learn about Helen Keller, who went on to become the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree and later led a life of activism.

Members of the volunteer work group that made such recommendations to the board said the state requires children to learn about too many historical figures.

So, the volunteer work group was tasked with creating a rubric for grading historical figures to deem who was “essential” to learn about and who wasn’t. The group would ponder things like whether the historical figure triggered a watershed change or if he or she were from an underrepresented group.

Clinton reportedly scored a five on the 20-point grading rubric.

The  vote cast Friday was a preliminary one,  however the board, whose members are elected to represent specific geographical areas, is scheduled to cast a final vote on the decision this coming November.


The College Campus's Cult of Fragility

The beginning of another academic year brings the certainty of campus episodes illustrating what Daniel Patrick Moynihan, distinguished professor and venerated politician, called “the leakage of reality from American life.” Colleges and universities are increasingly susceptible to intellectual fads and political hysteria, partly because the institutions employ so many people whose talents, such as they are, are extraneous to the institutions’ core mission: scholarship.

Writing last April in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Lyell Asher, professor of English at Lewis & Clark College, noted that “the kudzu-like growth of the administrative bureaucracy in higher education” is partly a response to two principles now widely accepted on campuses: Anything that can be construed as bigotry and hatred should be so construed, and anything construed as such should be considered evidence of an epidemic. Often, Asher noted, a majority of the academic bureaucrats directly involved with students, from dorms to “bias response teams” to freshman “orientation” (which often means political indoctrination), have graduate degrees not in academic disciplines but from education schools with “two mutually reinforcing characteristics”: ideological orthodoxy and low academic standards for degrees in vaporous subjects like “educational leadership” or “higher-education management.”

The problem is not anti-intellectualism but the “un-intellectualism” of a growing cohort of persons who, lacking talents for or training in scholarship, find vocations in micromanaging student behavior in order to combat imagined threats to “social justice.” Can anyone on a campus say anything sensible about how the adjective modifies the noun? Never mind. As Asher said, groupthink and political intimidation inevitably result from this ever-thickening layer of people with status anxieties because they are parasitic off institutions with scholarly purposes.

The Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald says that between the 1997-1998 academic year and the Great Recession year of 2008-2009, while the University of California student population grew 33 percent and tenure-track faculty grew 25 percent, senior administrators grew 125 percent. “The ratio of senior managers to professors climbed from 1 to 2.1 to near-parity of 1 to 1.1.”

In her just-published book “The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture,” Mac Donald writes that many students have become what tort law practitioners call “eggshell plaintiffs,” people who make a cult of fragility — being “triggered” (i.e., traumatized) by this or that idea of speech. Asher correctly noted that the language of triggering “converts students into objects for the sake of rendering their reactions ‘objective,’ and by extension valid: A student’s triggered response is no more to be questioned than an apple’s falling downward or a spark’s flying upward.” So the number of things not to be questioned on campuses multiplies.

Students encouraged to feel fragile will learn to recoil from “microaggressions” so micro that few can discern them. A University of California guide to microaggressions gave these examples of insensitive speech: “I believe the most qualified person should get the job” and “Everyone can succeed in this society if they work hard enough.” Fragile students are encouraged in “narcissistic victimhood” by administrators whose vocation is to tend to the injured. These administrators are, Mac Donald argues, “determined to preserve in many of their students the thin skin and solipsism of adolescence.”

Nowadays, radical intellectuals who are eager to be “transgressive” have difficulty finding remaining social rules and boundaries to transgress: When all icons have been smashed, the iconoclast’s lot is not a happy one. Similarly, academic administrators whose mission is the elimination of racism have difficulty finding any in colleges and universities whose student admissions and faculty hiring practices are shaped by the relentless pursuit of diversity.

Explicit racism having been substantially reduced in American society, a multi-billion-dollar industry for consultants (and corporate diversity officers, academic deans, etc.: UCLA’s vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion earns more than $400,000) has developed around testing to detect “implicit bias.” It is assumed to be ubiquitous until proven otherwise, so detecting it is steady work: Undetectable without arcane tests and expensive experts, you never know when it has been expunged, and government supervision of everything must be minute and unending.

And always there is a trickle of peculiar language. The associate vice chancellor and dean of students at the University of California, Berkeley — where the Division of Equity and Inclusion has a staff of 150 — urges students to “listen with integrity.” If you do not understand the peculiar patois spoken by the academy’s administrators, try listening with more integrity.


Australian University graduates increasingly accepting jobs which require only a year 12 education

University graduates are increasingly accepting jobs which require only a year 12 education, with graduates in law, IT and engineering less likely to use their qualifications.

As detailed in the Herald Sun, a Grattan Institute report found graduates in the fields of science and commerce particularly are failing to gain work that makes use of their degrees.

Andrew Norton, Higher Education Program Director at the Grattan Institute, told Ross and John there are a number of reasons why this has started occurring.

“We increase the number of university students, then we had two downturns, global financial crisis, the end of the mining boom, and that meant the number of jobs declined for a while,” Andrew said.

“People have to be aware of the risks of certain courses, commerce and science, that are easy to get into, some of those people should probably just do something else instead.

“A lot of people do a degree, they don’t get a job that matches that degree but it does give them substantial insurance to having no job at all, so it’s not a complete waste of time.”

“Just a fantastic description of a university degree,” Ross said. “Quote, ‘Not a complete waste of time’.”


Monday, September 17, 2018

Education is not preparing students for a fast-changing world

Attention: Your acronym of the day is VUCA.

VUCA stands for “volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous,” a handy shortcut used by the military to describe these uncertain times, and a framework to shape its leadership programs.

But VUCA is an important signal for more than military educators. Change is coming at us with bewildering speed, driven by globalization, demographics, the corrosive effect of increasing inequality, and the seductive quicksilver of technologies ranging from artificial intelligence and blockchain to nanotechnology and quantum computing. We all must be preparing for the challenges of a VUCA world.

Sadly, as the world of work spins faster and faster, the world of education has actually slowed down. We have dreamed the American dream of upward mobility through education, but the numbers tell a different story. We placed an unimpressive 38th out of 71 countries on the 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment, which measures math and science literacy and other key skills among 15-year-olds around the world. Of the 20 million currently enrolled American college students, only an estimated 57 percent are likely to graduate. In fact, six-year graduation rates are the current national standard for higher education, not four. Even for those who graduate, more than 40 percent will be underemployed, filling jobs not commensurate with a college education. With over 6 million jobs currently unfilled in American companies, and record-setting levels of student debt, something is woefully out of whack.

Proficiency-based learning emphasizes “21st-century skills” at the expense of content and knowledge. It doesn’t work.

These are global trends but perhaps most acute in the United States, where we have championed college education for all at the same time that we have not paid enough attention to the link between learning and earning. The false choice between vocational training and the lofty devotion to the life of the mind is particularly damaging to first-generation college students with no parental safety net or networks of their own. Career services remain the Siberia of most college campuses, visited rarely and woefully under-resourced.

Looking back again at our military analogy, there is much to be learned from the last 25 years of research on advances in military leadership development, especially the emphasis on professional development, continual improvement, applied knowledge, and the strategic shift from seeking one star leader — the perfect general — to building constellation leadership.

We need to do the same in education: inspire our students to be continuous, lifelong, and self-directed learners with the ability to build collaborative knowledge networks and assemble teams that augment their own skills and styles. The days are over when any front-loaded university education could provide sufficient fuel for a long career. These are times that call for new models of leadership and learning.

The VUCA future is evident in the shape of new coalitions between educational institutions, government, and the private sector, and the explosion of new pathways to knowledge and certification. Starbucks sends its baristas to study online at Arizona State University. Disney announces that the Magic Kingdom will now support its hourly employees with advanced educational options. Pluralsight and Khan Academy create networks of online experts offering just-in-time learning. AT&T partners with Udacity for computer science “nanomasters.” Degreed identifies skills gaps and matches mid-career professionals with the rich and growing array of learning opportunities available through certificate programs, MOOCs, articles, and podcasts.

Today’s students need to prepare themselves for job descriptions yet unwritten. In the VUCA environment, there is no robot-proof major. Instead, students need to steer a course between “Will” and “Watson,” between the humanities and social sciences (as represented by William Shakespeare) and computational thinking and STEM fields (as represented by IBM Watson). This is not merely our wishful cheerleading for literature and history. The skills they foster — critical thinking, clear communications, empathy, and self-awareness — are what employers consistently promote as essential characteristics for job candidates.

But the ultimate skill is the ability to learn how to learn. The goal of continuous, lifelong learning is implicit in everything that happens in education. We need to make it explicit and intentional and respected as the most important preparation for an uncertain world. That readiness for a lifetime of learning is the “mission accomplished” of education.

This approach raises a howl from those who rail against the “corporatization” of the university, a concern that we will tilt too far away from research and intellectual pursuits. Those battle lines are tired and anachronistic. Universities today are engines of economic opportunity, of knowledge entrepreneurship, and the irreplaceable wellspring of research and scholarship. Their institutional pride should also rest on their proven ability to assure bright futures for students from all backgrounds.

It’s time to look with fresh eyes at aligning American education with those values and a new appreciation for the VUCA imperatives. The future of work is the future of education.


Bonanza Ending for Higher Education?

The party might be winding down for the outlandishly expensive boondoggle that higher education has become. This swindle is falling prey to the tight labor market:

Job recruiting site Glassdoor recently reported that companies like Google, Apple, IBM, Bank of America no longer require that applicants have a college degree.

Neither do companies like Costco, Whole Foods, Publix, Chipotle, Home Depot, Starbucks.

Students have been digging themselves ever deeper into debt to finance increasingly useless degrees. The rest of the country is going into debt with them:

Further fueling this college bubble has been an upward spiral of federal grants, aid, subsidized loans and tax credits. College Board data show that federal college aid shot up 93% between 2001 to last year, after adjusting for inflation. …

Over those same years, public college tuitions climbed 72%.

A few parasites are getting very rich at everyone else’s expense.

College administrator jobs have climbed much faster than student enrollment.

Tinseltown is probably the only place on earth where you could find people more absurdly overpaid than educrats.

Prominent Democrats call for free college for everyone at public expense. Meanwhile, college has become ever more a means of staving off adulthood at the cost of wasted years that could have been spent starting families and generating wealth rather than extending adolescence.

Some jobs truly require a college education; most do not. A large part of what is taught in college serves no constructive purpose. Much of it is pernicious.

College isn’t always a scam. Within traditional parameters, it is a critical component of society. It will return to those parameters when only people who have a sensible reason to be there go to college.

That happy day will come sooner if intelligence tests are allowed for job applicants. This would require overturning the Supreme Court’s Griggs v. Duke Power Co. ruling, which determined that intelligence tests are racist because they discriminate against racial groups that are less intelligent. Holding a college degree, which costs many thousands of dollars and wastes precious years of time, is used as a proxy for the inexpensive tests due to political correctness.


Private education spending in Australia soars ahead of other countries

Because Australian families send 40% of their teenagers to private schools

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development released on Tuesday night its annual education at a glance report, a major compendium of statistics measuring the state of education across the world.

The report found Australia is among the highest contributors to education spending in the world, at about 6% of gross domestic product.

But it found the proportion of public money spent on primary, high school and vocational education decreased significantly between 2005 and 2015.

By 2015 the share of private sources of non-tertiary education made up 19% of overall spending, the most of any advanced economy and double the OECD average of 8%.

At the same time, the government’s share of total expenditure on non-tertiary education declined from 73% to 66%. The report also found that in Australia, expenditure on non-tertiary education as a share of GDP decreased by 10% over the five year period between 2010 and 2015.

In Australia, private schools are funded through a mixture of parent fees, donations and per-student contributions from states and the Commonwealth.

Correna Haythorpe, the head of the Australian Education Union, said the report showed the “cost burden” of education funding was being shifted away from the government.

“This OECD report shows public expenditure on education in Australia is already well below the OECD average of 11% of public expenditure, and falling rapidly,” she said.

“The report shows that government policies have led to a significant shift over time in how education is funded. That shifts the cost burden from the government to the community.”

According to the report, global eduction funding has suffered as a result of the global financial crisis.

While public funding to education globally started to increase in 2010, it did so at a slower pace than GDP. Across OECD countries, total average expenditure on education at all levels decreased by 4.1% as a percentage of GDP.

“The effects of the global economic crisis that began in 2008 are currently reflected in the adjustments of public budgets and, therefore, in the expenditure on educational institutions across all levels of education,” the report stated.

In the university sector, private funding before public transfers – money given to the private sector through tuition or student subsidies, for example – accounts for 37% of all expenditure. Only the UK has a higher proportion of private university funding.

After public transfers, private expenditure accounts for 62% of the expenditure on tertiary education compared to the OECD average of 31%.

The AEU said it was concerned about findings on teacher workload.

The report found that in 2017 the net teaching time for Australian primary teachers per year was 865 hours, compared to the OECD average of 778 hours. Upper secondary teachers taught 797 hours, it found, compared to the OECD average of 655.

“Australian teachers are teaching larger classes and working significantly more hours than the OECD average, which is a clear indication of resource shortages,” Haythorpe said.

“When schools can provide extra staff, they can address larger classes and provide extra support for students who need it.”

The report also found gender differences in the labour market remained “significant” in Australia.

In the last decade, tertiary attainment of 25-34 year-olds in Australia had “increased significantly”, reaching 52% in 2017.

That increase has been especially pronounced among women. Between 2007 and 2017, the share of 25-34 year-old women with tertiary education increased from 46% to 59%, above the OECD average of 50%. In 2016, half of the new entrants to doctoral programs were women.

In the same period the share of tertiary attainment among young men increased from 35% to 45%.


Sunday, September 16, 2018


Australian sex expert Bettina Arndt met by protesters at La Trobe University event as she explodes the campus rape myth

Bettina Arndt has confronted protesting socialist students as she starts her controversial university tour about campus rape.

The sex therapist and columnist gave her first of a series of lectures on why she believes there is not a “rape crisis” at Australian universities at La Trobe University today, but not everyone wanted to listen.

All through Ms Arndt’s lecture, protesters aligned with the Victorian Socialists banged on the doors of the Eastern Lecture Theatre and chanted “Bettina Arndt, go to hell. Go take Milo (Yianipoulos) there as well.”

But before she spoke, the sex therapist approached the students at their uni square stand and tried to talk to them. The socialist students just kept chanting.

“Why don’t they come and listen to me speak? And engage in a conversation around this issue,” she said, “What are they afraid of?”

The lecture comes a week after La Trobe University reversed their ban on the student Liberal Club inviting Ms Arndt to speak on campus.

Ms Arndt’s lectures use cases of US rape allegations, and data from both the NSW bureau of Crime Statistics and the Australian Human Rights Commission, to make the case that there is not a growing prevalence of rape and sexual assault against female university students.

The sex therapist has said she wants to tackle the unfair treatment of male students who are falsely accused of sex crimes on campus. But her critics accuse her of victim blaming.

Ms Arndt said she spoke to the socialist speakers, despite their aggressiveness, because she wanted to invite them to the lecture.  “I went over there to ask them to come and listen and ask me questions,” she said, “they proceeded to scream in my ear from a foot away.”

Ms Arndt faced sceptical audience members inside too.

But she and her audience of supporters and critics battled on while the protesters banged on the doors and chanting “F*ck off, f*ck off, Bettina,” to the tune of Queen’s We Will Rock You, and “When women’s rights are under attack, what do we do? We fight back.”

Socialist student leader Elliot Downes said before the protest they did not want to shut Ms Arndt down. “I think she represents a real far-right kind of sexism … which drags society back to the 1950s,” they said. “We’re not here to shut her down. We’re here to show there are opposition to those views.”

But the socialist student added they had no interest in taking on Ms Arndt in debate. “I think our protest is the dialogue I want with her. I think she has enough capacity to share her ideas,” they said.

The university had originally let Ms Arndt speak if the Liberal Club paid for costs. But both Ms Arndt and Liberal Club president James Plozzo told The Australian yesterday that the university will now pay for security.


Feminist Brownshirts doing their best to silence those they disagree with

This is a short video of what happened at Bettina's talk above.  Disturbing in its mass intolerance and aggression, not to mention its sheer ignorance.  It's very reminiscent of Hitler's Brownshirts

Police called to Sydney University after protesters riot against talk by Bettina Arndt

Riot police were called to a university as protesters pushed and shoved students attending a talk by a sex therapist.

Almost 40 students were blocking the corridors of Sydney University as they protested the talk of sex therapist Bettina Arndt.

Ms Arndt said the protesters were 'roughing up' people who were trying to enter her lecture and described it as 'appalling behaviour' as police arrived about 6pm to ease the situation.

She apologised to the attendees for having to call the police to handle the situation over the rights of the students to free speech and debating of various topics.

The self-described social commentator was offering a lecture on the topic of, 'Is there a rape crisis on campuses’ at the city campus on Tuesday.

Footage uploaded to social media shows several students shouting and chanting against Ms Arndt's attendance and lecture at the university.

According to the uni's student paper, Honi Soit, Ms Arndt was saying that women should be held more accountable for sexual assault crimes.

She also said that universities should not be interfering with any allegations which are put forward, stating the 'risks of being raped on campus are very low.'

In addition, the student paper writes that Ms Arndt claimed universities are '100 times safer' for women than 'Indigenous communities and rough neighbourhoods.'

She also warned against NSW changing sexual consent laws following the rape trial involving Luke Lazarus, Daily Telegraph reported. The former private schoolboy had been accused of raping an 18-year-old virgin in a Kings Cross alley behind his father's Soho nightclub about 4am on May 12, 2013.

Mr Lazarus, now 26, admitted he and Saxon Mullins had anal sex in the alley, and that the woman was down on all fours. The pair had gone outside Soho into Hourigan Lane within three minutes of meeting on the dance floor.

He was initially found guilty of rape in 2015, but after 11 months in prison, he was granted a retrial and subsequently acquitted.

Ms Arndt said it was 'not surprising' the case fuelled so much outrage and is used as a means to change the state's sexual consent laws. 'It doesn't mean we should go down this road of tilting the rules to really disadvantage men who are falsely accused.'

She continued to advise the young men to not take the risk and always seek the 'enthusiastic yes' when looking to perform any sexual activity.


Australian students set for shift to ‘radical’ 21st century curriculum

Australian students are set to be taught fashionable but contentious 21st-century skills, ranging from critical and creative thinking through to “mindfulness”, “gratitude” and “resilience”, with moves under way for a radical redesign of the national curriculum.

The Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority has started a review of the curriculum that is understood to draw heavily on the recent Gonski review, an OECD future of education project and the work of a US-based “futurist” who has been contracted to help “modernise” the mathematics curriculum.

The push has attracted criticism from ACARA’s recently retired chairman, Steven Schwartz.

“The 21st-century skills movement is the latest in a long line of educational fads,” Professor Schwartz said. “In each case, early enthusiasm gave way to disillusion. The problem is always the same: children cannot learn to be critical thinkers until they have actually learned something to think about.”

ACARA chief executive Robert Randall alluded to the review during a University of NSW lecture last month. He revealed the next iteration of the curriculum would be out within two years.

It is understood work is centred on two objectives: bringing 21st-century skills — referred to as general capabilities in the curriculum but also known as “soft skills” and “generic competencies” — to the fore of what is taught in classrooms; and incorporating equally contentious learning progressions that have been linked to a proposal to replace student achievement, including A-E grades, with “gain” as a measure of a student’s success.

Both were endorsed by businessman David Gonski in his ­recent review into educational ­excellence

Former ACARA director of curriculum Fiona Mueller, who resigned late last year after two years in the role, exposed the ­review in a recent online opinion article. She lamented the “fixation on 21st-century competencies” and “lack of broadminded, transparent and objective leadership on the part of local decision makers”.

Approached by The Weekend Australian, Dr Mueller said she was concerned that work under way amounted to a redesign of the curriculum by stealth. “You might call (it) a rather stealthy shift in approach, and the implications for students, teachers and other stakeholders are absolutely enormous,” she said. “What they are talking about is actually another radical shift in teaching and learning.”

Despite ACARA’s frequent ­assurances that any changes to the two-year-old curriculum would be “refinements”, it recently commissioned the US-based Centre for Curriculum Redesign, headed by self-­described education thought leader and futurist Charles Fadel, to work on a new maths curriculum.

It was referred to on ACARA’s website in July under the obscure heading “Australian Curriculum: Mathematics recognised as global leader”.

More detail was available on the CCR’s own website. A July 24 media release reveals the project would lead to the ­creation of a “world-class ­mathematics ­curriculum” that paid ­explicit attention to “21st century competencies” that addressed the “learning needs of students for life and work in the 21st century”.

Mr Randall was quoted as saying that the project would be used to “inform any future refinement to the Australian curriculum in mathematics and to help guide improvement to ACARA’s overall curriculum design and development process”.

Hailed by many as a panacea to declining educational results — both locally and when compared with international counterparts — the general capabilities received a big tick in the Gonski report, which described them as “critical to equipping ­students with the skills necessary to successfully live and work in a changing world and are increasingly sought after by employers”.

Positioned in the national curriculum with eight core learning areas, such as English, maths, science and history, there are seven general capabilities: literacy, numeracy, ICT capability, critical and creative thinking, personal and social capability, intercultural understanding and ethical understanding.

The degree to which teachers embed them in their subject teaching is not known.

Australian Catholic University research fellow Kevin Donnelly, a former secondary school principal who conducted the government’s 2014 review of the curriculum, said the push to elevate the role of skills and capabilities in education was a worldwide trend, driven by “globalist groupthink” about “changing times” and preparing students “for jobs that have not yet been created, for technologies that have not yet been invented, to solve problems that have not yet been anticipated”.

It is also a major theme of the OECD’s Education 2030 position paper, The Future of Education and Skills, in which ACARA was heavily involved. The report, ­released this year, features a long list of “constructs” of competencies currently under review that could find their way into the curriculum, such as adaptability, compassion, equity, global mindset, gratitude, hope, integrity, motivation, justice, mindfulness, resilience, respect, purposefulness and trust.

“Such competencies represent a content-free approach to the curriculum that is guaranteed to further lower standards and ensure that Australian students continue to underperform and leave schools morally and culturally bereft,” Dr Donnelly said.

Centre for Independent Studies senior research fellow Jennifer Buckingham also questioned the push, describing it as “well-intentioned but misguided”. “Of course it is important for young people to be able to collaborate, communicate and think critically and creatively, but there is absolutely nothing new about that,” Dr Buckingham said.

“What is new is the idea that these things can be taught by schools as a set of generic skills or capabilities disconnected from disciplinary knowledge. Good evidence suggest that this is a fool’s errand.”

A spokesman for ACARA confirmed that the organisation was engaged in work designed to inform the next generation of the national curriculum, but any ­action would require the endorsement of all education ministers.

The spokesman said that the recommendation in the Gonski report relating to the development of learning progressions built on ACARA’s recent work in producing literacy and numeracy learning progressions, which “help teachers locate the literacy and numeracy development of their students and identify what development should follow”.

The spokesman said the CCR contract, to design a new maths curriculum, was worth $215,000.