Friday, October 19, 2018

Despite crusade against school choice, most Americans are still in favor

Most Americans support wider private-school options for all families, according to the newly released 2018 Education Next Poll.

This finding flies in the face of the highly politicized onslaught to discredit U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and the Trump administration for being, among other things, “out of touch … with what works best for students, parents, educators and communities,” as National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García put it.

Based on the poll, however, it appears that opponents of educational choice like the NEA are the ones who’ve lost touch — big time.

Fully 54 percent of all respondents in Education Next’s nationally representative poll favor giving all public-school parents the option of sending their children to private schools with government helping to pay tuition.

Not only has overall support for universal private-school options increased by 9 percentage points since 2017, bipartisan support has also increased. Among Republicans support increased 10 points since last year to 64 percent. Among Democrats it increased 7 points to 47 percent.

Majorities of Americans also support universal private-school choice regardless of their racial or ethnic backgrounds, including 53 percent each among black and white Americans, as well as 67 percent of Hispanic Americans.

The only group with a majority opposed are teachers, whose support dropped from 40 percent last year to 34 percent this year —a stark contrast to the 61 percent of parents who favor universal private-school choice.

Compared to support for private-school options for all families, support for wider publicly funded options targeting just some families is 11 points lower at 43 percent. However, context matters.

When poll authors replaced the phrase “wider choice” with the word “voucher,” support for making all public-school families eligible dropped 10 percentage points. Yet there was no significant change in support when it came to offering low-income families private-school vouchers.

Similarly, the Education Next poll found that a majority of Americans, 57 percent, also support privately funded tax-credit scholarships for low-income students. Unlike voucher scholarships, which are government funded, these scholarships are funded through private tax-credited donations to nonprofit organizations.

Support for low-income-student tax-credit scholarships includes 58 percent of Republicans and Democrats, 61 percent of blacks, 62 percent of parents, and 68 percent of Hispanics.  Support among teachers for tax-credit scholarships is also higher than for publicly funded voucher scholarships at 47 percent overall and 49 percent of non-union teachers.

Regardless of how the concept is phrased, expanding educational options is clearly popular as private-school parental choice programs proliferate.

Over the past decade, for example, the number of voucher programs has more than doubled since 2009, from 11 to 26. Meanwhile, the number of tax-credit scholarship programs has nearly tripled, from eight programs to 23.

Altogether, voucher and tax-credit scholarship programs in 28 states (including the District of Columbia) are now helping over 450,000 students—more than twice as many as a decade ago.

For those rightfully concerned about D.C.’s influence over education, such growth should be welcome news because it indicates that restoring parental control helps keep the feds at bay. Private schools have more autonomy than their public counterparts over academic standards, curriculum, and testing, depending on whether or to what extent private schools participate in federal programs.

It is also worth recalling that the expansion of educational options occurred during the Obama administration, which along with its teacher-union allies was openly hostile to private-school-choice programs, including the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program as well as choice programs in Louisiana and Wisconsin.

The Obama administration’s efforts to end those two state programs failed, and the Trump administration has already reversed Obama-era policies designed to kill the D.C. program.

That is certainly a victory worth celebrating, but the federal government should leave the continued expansion of educational options throughout the rest of the country to parents and the states.

Likewise, opponents of educational choice should come to grips with the fact that they’re not going to convince parents to return to the bad old days when bureaucrats picked their children’s schools based on their families’ zip codes.

As the Education Next poll authors concluded, “Despite heavy criticism of choice-advocate DeVos by union officials and Democratic politicians … school choice did not lose ground and may well have gained political favor over the past year.”

So it appears the educational choice genie isn’t going back into the bottle any time soon — if ever.


High School Band Banned for Skit Pointing Toy Guns at ‘Police’ in City Where 2 Officers Had Just Been Killed

A high school band that depicted police being held at gunpoint during a performance at a high school in a town where two officers had recently been murdered has been suspended for the rest of the school year, and Mississippi’s governor wants those responsible to be fired.

Last week, the Forest Hills High School band from Jackson, Mississippi drew public outrage when it performed the skit during halftime of a game at another Mississippi high school, MYNBC 15 reports:

“The skit depicted band members dressed as police officers being held at gunpoint. “But what really hurt was the fact that two Brookhaven Police officers had been murdered a few days before.

“Governor Phil Bryant spoke out forcefully against those responsible for the controversial halftime performance at Brookhaven High School.”


Australia: Teachers honoured by Prime Minister for teaching science
2018 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science were awarded last night.

Two of the 2018 recipients are science teachers—one primary and one secondary. They are:

*       Mr Brett Crawford has transformed science teaching at Warrigal Road State School in Brisbane. All the school’s 50-plus teachers now actively teach science in their classes: Mr Brett Crawford, Warrigal Road State School, Brisbane, $50,000 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools

*       Many of Cessnock’s students don’t believe that the new jobs are for them. Dr Scott Sleap is opening their eyes and showing them that they can participate in the new economy: Dr Scott Sleap, Cessnock High School, $50,000 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools.

Full profiles, photos, and broadcast quality video are available at

Brett Crawford—A school where everyone teaches science

Mr Brett Crawford has transformed science teaching at Warrigal Road State School in Brisbane. All the school’s 50-plus teachers now actively teach science in their classes.

Warrigal Road is a large primary school in Brisbane with more than 1,300 students. The students are from 54 cultures, English is a second language for 60 per cent of them, and there’s also a cohort of hearing-impaired children.

The local high schools have recognised that Warrigal Road students come to them curious about the world and ready for secondary science. Test results back that up, showing the school’s science performance is well above national averages.

Brett is the lead science teacher at the school. He believes that science teaching in primary schools is easy.

Primary school students are curious about the world. You can engage them with simple, inexpensive experiments.

But Brett also knows that many primary school teachers are anxious about teaching science.

So, at Warrigal Road he led a program in which he spent two days every week mentoring his fellow teachers.

The results speak for themselves and other schools are now picking up his ideas and programs.

For creating an environment in which every teacher is engaged in science, Brett Crawford receives the $50,000 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools. Brett is the lead science teacher at Warrigal Road State School in Brisbane.

Scott Sleap—Opening young eyes to careers in science, technology, engineering and maths

Cessnock in New South Wales was traditionally a mining town, but today’s high-value jobs in the Hunter Valley are in agriculture, tourism and increasingly in aerospace. Williamtown is already a maintenance base for Australia’s F/A-18 fighters. Soon it will be a maintenance hub for the Joint Strike Fighter in the Asia-Pacific.

Many of Cessnock’s students don’t believe that the new jobs are for them. Dr Scott Sleap is opening their eyes and showing them that they can participate in the new economy.

He’s done that by creating the Cessnock Academy of STEM Excellence, a partnership between Cessnock High School, its feeder primary schools, and local industry.

Students struggling with numeracy are catching up with the help of robotics. A team of Aboriginal girls are making and racing model F1 cars, mentored by Boeing engineers. And the number of students signing up for STEM subjects is growing. NSW Education is now rolling out similar programs in other regional centres.

Dr Scott Sleap receives the $50,000 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Teaching in Secondary Schools. Scott is Deputy Principal, STEM, for the Cessnock Learning Community.

Media release

Thursday, October 18, 2018

School District Changes Its Restroom Policy – Then Ignores the Sexual Assault of a Five-Year-Old Girl

“When you send your daughter to school – when you see her off in the morning – you have a level of expectation that you’re not going to be worried about them, that they’re not going to be exposed to something that you’re not aware of as a parent,” said Mark, a parent in Decatur, Georgia.

But City Schools of Decatur betrayed that expectation. And the consequences were exactly what parents had feared.

In July 2016, Mark’s wife Gena happened to be on Superintendent David Dude’s Facebook page and saw an interesting post. Superintendent Dude had announced that City Schools of Decatur would authorize students who identify with the opposite sex to use the restrooms and locker rooms that align with their claimed gender identity. Not only that, but they would be authorized to join sports teams and share overnight accommodations on school-sponsored trips with members of the opposite sex as well.

Alarmed by this announcement, Gena called other parents asking whether they had heard of the policy change. It quickly became apparent that the school district had not notified its students or parents about the change. Instead, the superintendent simply announced this policy quietly, on Facebook, during the summer months.

Is that how you would want your school district to communicate with you?

As you can imagine, Mark, Gena, and several other concerned parents were not happy. So they met with school district officials and the school board. They made phone calls. They wrote letters. They sent emails. But their concerns left school officials unmoved. The policy remained in effect for the 2016-2017 school year.

Finally, the school board put the policy on its meeting agenda in October 2017. Many people spoke, including the former chairman of the Board of Pardons and Paroles for the State of Georgia.

“Given his understanding of human nature, he specifically testified to his concern that this policy would be used by young boys to gain access to girls in private settings for mischievous purposes,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Allied Attorney Vernadette Broyles.

“And it was as if he was prophetic, because that is precisely what has happened.”

A month after the school board hearing, a five-year-old girl was sexually assaulted in the girls’ restroom by a boy in her class – a boy that was allowed to be there because of the new school policy.

Imagine your five-year-old daughter coming home from school and telling you that she was sexually assaulted in the girls’ bathroom. Now imagine going to school officials – the same officials who stand in your shoes as a parent during school hours – and being told that nothing is going to be done about it.

That is the horrible – and heartbreaking – reality that Pascha, this little girl’s mother, is facing. Pascha told school officials about the sexual assault on her daughter. And they didn’t investigate. They wouldn’t take the boy out of her daughter’s classroom. They wouldn’t assure her that her daughter—and other girls—wouldn’t meet him in the restroom again.

It makes me sick to my stomach.

School officials, the school district, and superintendent must be held accountable. That’s why Alliance Defending Freedom asked the U.S Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights to launch an investigation into this incident. Thankfully, it has agreed to do so.

Every school district has a duty to protect the privacy and safety of its students. The City Schools of Decatur has failed that duty. It has failed Pascha and her daughter. And now it must be held responsible.


Pathetic: Students use cupcakes, tie-dye in diversity talk

They go to university to learn to decorate cupcakes?

Stony Brook University in New York invites students to express their diversity through cupcake decorating and "tie-dye-versity" in October.

Students can attend an Oct. 15 “Diversity Cupcakes” event, designed to make them aware of “how different each individual can be, without even realizing it.” Attendees will decorate cupcakes “which best defines [sic] their identity.”

“Placing dialogue secondary to a fun event like tie-dying shirts or decorating cupcakes takes away needed focus from the actual dialogue.”   

Different cupcake toppings will represent different aspects of each individual’s intersectional identity, such as race, sexual orientation, class, and even relationship status. Each frosting color will also signify a certain hobby. Event organizers call it “a fun, colorful, and tasty way” to “create an appreciation” for differences. 

Stony Brook also invites students to an Oct. 19 event, titled “Tie Dye-Versity,” where they will “[focus] on creating a conversation on diversity while making tie[-]dye shirts.”  Attendees will participate in activities that “make them think on their own identities, explore ideas of diversity, and enjoy a fin [sic] day outside while making their own shirt.”

“These types of events seem like wastes of money,” Stony Brook student Justin Ullman told Campus Reform. “Placing dialogue secondary to a fun event like tie-dying shirts or decorating cupcakes takes away needed focus from the actual dialogue.”

“The more productive events are those that place dialogue as the primary purpose,” Ullman said, noting that while he fully supports “accepting diversity in [the school’s] community,” he feels that “decorating cupcakes likely does not have any effect on someone’s acceptance of others compared to prior [to] the event.”

“The tried and true method of spreading understanding is through simple dialogue,” he asserted.


Sydney Uni still opposed to Western civilization 

A Ramsay Centre-funded course at Sydney University would be badged 'Western tradition' rather than 'Western civilisation' in a bid to assuage concerns held by some academics about the proposed partnership.

The country's oldest university has offered staff worried about the Ramsay course a number of concessions in an updated memorandum of understanding it will put to the centre, including stripping Ramsay representatives of voting rights on academic and scholarship committees.

A Bachelor of Western Tradition would also have to comply with a university-wide plan to emphasise skills such as "cultural competence", or "the ability to engage ethically, respectfully and successfully in inter-cultural settings". The Herald understands the MOU was distributed to university staff and received by the Ramsay Centre on Tuesday night.

The Ramsay Centre board, which includes former Coalition prime ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott, would need to accept the MOU before a deal progresses. If it agrees, Sydney University will draw up a curriculum that would have to be approved by its academic board.

The Ramsay Centre is offering millions to fund courses on the great books of the West at several universities. Universities, including Sydney, already cover similar content, but this proposal has inflamed the culture wars because opponents see it as cultural imperialism. Its supporters believe the resistance shows political correctness is taking over campuses.

The Ramsay Centre said it would need to time to consider the updated MOU before commenting.

Sydney University vice-chancellor Michael Spence sparked furious debate when he began talks with Ramsay earlier this year after the Australian National University pulled out. Queensland University has also expressed interest.

The ANU said Ramsay's demands would have curtailed its academic freedom. The centre denies these claims. Using "Western civilisation" to describe the course was a sticking point in ANU negotiations, with Ramsay rejecting the Canberra-based university's proposal to call it Western studies.

In an attempt to set clear boundaries around academic autonomy early in the negotiations, senior Sydney University staff drew up an MOU. The first draft gave Ramsay standard donor voting rights for an academic appointment and scholarship committees, but specified that teaching and content be controlled by the university.

But when the university surveyed staff's views on the MOU, reactions were mixed. A third of the 500 respondents were ideologically opposed to involvement with Ramsay, believing it would be a course in European supremicism, according to an email sent to staff on Tuesday night.

A third supported the course, and the remaining third supported the principles of the MOU but worried about how it would work in practice. "Following consultation, the draft MOU has been significantly revised," the email said.

Under the changes, Ramsay will be required to agree to the term tradition rather than civilisation; waive its voting rights on the committees; and comply with the graduate qualities program that begins in 2021.

The university has also amended the clause about a Ramsay review after four years, saying any review would need to be done by academics jointly chosen by the university and Ramsay. The university would also have control over the marketing of the course.

Staff opposed to the centre are planning a public meeting on October 29.


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

University disciplines instructor over denial of recommendation letter for study in Israel

The University of Michigan is disciplining American Culture professor John Cheney-Lippold for rescinding his offer to write a letter of recommendation for a student as part of a boycott against the state of Israel, a letter obtained by The Michigan Daily confirmed. In the letter, dated Oct. 3, interim LSA Dean Elizabeth Cole criticized his actions and reaffirmed the University does not support this boycott.

“To be clear, there are no University departments participating in the boycott and in fact, the University formally and publicly opposes a boycott of Israeli academic institutions,” Cole wrote. “Your conduct has fallen far short of the University’s and College’s expectations for how LSA faculty interact with and treat students.”

The letter conveyed a strong warning that his behavior would not be tolerated in the future, in addition to imposing several academic sanctions. According to the letter, Cheney-Lippold will not be eligible for a salary increase for the 2018-2019 academic year, and his sabbatical eligibility and credits will be frozen for two years until the Fall 2020 semester.

“Please be advised that further conduct of this nature is subject to additional discipline, up to and including initiation of dismissal proceedings under Regents Bylaw 5.09,” Cole wrote. “Nothing in this letter is intended to discourage you from speaking on or advocating for matters that are of concern to you, which you are free to do. But interfering with a student’s academic aspirations, as you have done here, is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.”

This response comes a month after John Cheney-Lippold, a professor in the American Culture Department, rescinded his offer to write a letter of recommendation for LSA junior Abigail Ingber after realizing the letter would be used in an application to a study abroad program in Israel as well. Cheney-Lippold was accused of anti-Semitism and received death threats for his response.

However, Cheney-Lippold quickly affirmed he holds no ill will towards the student in question, and the boycott is about holding institutions accountable to better human rights abroad.

“The perennial claim of anti-Semitism I fully deny,” Cheney-Lippold said. “I have no bad will against the student, and I would have very gladly written a letter for any other graduate program or study abroad. The idea is that I am just one person, and by refusing to write that letter or at least rescinding it, I tried to keep to my conscious and to the fact that I believe that the boycott is a good tactic to enhance human rights and to get everyone in Israel-Palestine to have what international criminal court and the U.N. in general has requested, which is equal rights for everybody.”


Mother who confronted her teenage daughter's bully before pulling her by the hair and repeatedly punching her in the face walks free

A mother who attacked her teenage daughter's bully avoided a conviction recorded against her name.

Nicola-Jane Jenks assaulted a 17-year-old girl near Mount Albert Grammar School in Auckland after she received a phone call from her daughter, who was terrified and upset.

She grabbed the teenager and repeatedly smacked her in the face, but a Magistrate at a District Court said the 'bad decision' shouldn't impact the rest of her life.

While Ms Jenks is apologetic for her actions, she told the NZ Herald her actions were the product of unrelenting bullying.

Her young daughter had been suffering panic attacks and avoiding school due to the verbal and physical abuse the bully was inflicting on her, and Ms Jenks was fed up with the school's inaction.

The teenager suffered some bruising and spent some time in hospital to monitor for internal injuries. The teenage victim claims she has been left feeling frightened and required counselling to get over the trauma of being attacked in front of her peers.

Judge Tony Fitzgerald said the close proximity to the school was a worrying factor in the case, as both girls should have felt safe in that environment, but noted there were a lot of redeeming qualities in Ms Jenks.

'You are 50 years old and you should have handled it a lot better than you did,' said Judge Fitzgerald. '[But] your remorse is deep and genuine.'

He chose to grant Ms Jenks a release without conviction, due to complications for future similar cases and for Ms Jenks own wellbeing. He said he believed it was proportionate to her offending. 


DeVos tackles top-down federal education regs

Betsy DeVos understands that education is best handled when handled locally. Time after time, we have seen big government policies make it more difficult for teachers to teach their students, including the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act and the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act.

Under the Trump Administration, the tide is turning. DeVos is using legal loopholes to turn the law against itself in order to give schools more latitude to teach their students based on what they know works rather than what the federal government wants to work. On DeVos’ “Rethink Schools” tour, she highlights the need for local, individualized curriculum rather than federal intervention. Now, Congress needs to match her energy and remove federal education regulations.

On DeVos’ “Rethink Schools” tour, she highlighted the need for local, individualized curriculum rather than federal intervention.

At the beginning of the year, the Department of Education (DoE) provided parents and schools with a guide to help them understand how to navigate a child’s education under ESSA, legislation that like its No Child Left Behind predecessor requires states to develop challenging academic standards.

The critical component of DeVos’ 2018 ESSA guide was not teaching parents and students how to conform to the ESSA, but instead how to work around it.

The ESSA was signed into law by President Obama in Dec. 2015 despite bodies of research which conclude that standardized tests don’t work. Cookie cutter formulas for teaching children have been proven ineffective and don’t allow teachers to teach how they know is best, instead creating a system where teachers just teach to the test.

DeVos’ new guide explains how parents can seek charter school and alternative public school admissions through ESSA grants. Perhaps most importantly, the guide outlines how states, with approval from the DoE, can waive certain ESSA requirements to meet individual student academic needs.

Under DeVos’ leadership more and more states are seeking these waivers. Her latest “Rethink Schools” campaign, takes her around the country to see how individual schools and districts are waiving their ESSA requirements in favor of policies that better cater to their student’s needs.

Last year, the tour began in the Midwest, where DeVos sought out schools in Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and Indiana who took “out of the box” approaches toward education. This year, the tour continued through the South with visits to Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, according to Education Week.

DeVos has met with schools helping students recover from addiction, a school based in a zoo for interactive learning, and rural school districts working together to Advanced Placement classes to their campuses.

DeVos has been providing parents with the guide discussed earlier in each of her visits.

DeVos noted in an Oct. 2018 press release, “Our focus is on returning power to the hands of parents, states and local educators, where it belongs. Parents should not have to parse through a 500-page legal document to understand how a law or policy affects their children’s education. Because states and districts have significant flexibility in how they meet the requirements of the law, parents should know and have a voice in how they use that flexibility to best help their children. These new resources will help empower those closest to students with information they need to be informed advocates as education decisions are made at the state and local level.”

DeVos has already granted New Hampshire and Louisiana permission to implement pilot programs that will assess students English language arts and social studies progress not based on randomly-selected texts in a test administered once during the school year but, instead, by assessing students on passages from books used in daily classroom instruction at regular intervals.

While these waivers and the “Rethink Schools” campaign are helping move control over education from the federal government back to teachers, parents, and local districts, the fact that these waivers are even necessary is part of the problem.

DeVos is approving these waivers and pilot programs now, but the next administration might not be so generous.

Congress must act to repeal the elements of the ESSA which force states into molds and prevent individualized learning. We already know this model does not work, so reforming it through Congress is the only way to ensure change sticks. DeVos has begun a great system that truly has allowed us to rethink schooling, but without Congressional action some might miss out on the lesson.


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Unease sweeping the halls of Harvard on eve of race-based admissions suit

As Harvard University prepares to defend its selective, highly secretive admissions process in a Boston courtroom Monday, outside groups are marshaling their forces, with protesters descending on the city, and a rally planned outside the university’s iron gates.

The high-stakes case accusing Harvard of discriminating against Asian-American applicants has reopened a sharp national debate over race, equity, and merit. And on campus, it has forced students to confront uneasy and intensely personal questions about racial diversity, privilege, and their place at the Ivy League institution.

“It’s forcing me to talk about race in a way that I’ve not done,” said Priyanka Kaura, 27, an Indian-American graduate student from Pennsylvania at Harvard’s Kennedy School. Kaura said she supports affirmative action, and is careful about acknowledging there may be concerns about bias against Asian applicants, especially when discussing the issue with other Asian-Americans. “I haven’t lost any close relationships yet.”

“It’s on everybody’s mind,” added Victor Agbafe, 22, a senior whose parents emigrated from Nigeria, and who grew up in Dallas and Wilmington, N.C. “I think the case has the potential to be huge.”

In animated — sometimes fraught — conversations among friends in dining halls and dorm rooms, in Facebook groups and private texts, in classroom discussions and group gatherings, Harvard’s students are grappling with the issues raised by the lawsuit.

Unlike previous affirmative action lawsuits that primarily hinged on if race-conscious admissions practices benefited black and Hispanic students while hurting white students, this case pivots on Asian-American applicants.

The lawsuit was filed by Students for Fair Admissions, a group representing Asian-Americans who allege Harvard’s admissions policy discriminates against them. As proof, the organization points to six years of Harvard admissions data that its experts argue indicates Asian-Americans were rated lower on personal qualities, such as courage and kindness, which hurt their chances of gaining admission. The group also alleges Harvard limits the number of Asian-American students it admits every year, a practice called racial-balancing, which is unlawful.

Harvard denies any discrimination and insists its admissions practices are legal and ensure that all students learn on a diverse campus and are exposed to different ideas and classmates from various backgrounds.

At Harvard, 21 percent of students are Asian, nearly 12 percent are Hispanic, 8 percent are black; the majority of the campus is white.

The university is also quick to point out that Students for Fair Admissions is led by Edward Blum. He is a conservative white scholar who unsuccessfully challenged the University of Texas admissions process and led an effort that unraveled parts of the Voting Rights Act.

Yet Harvard administrators worry the trial could open up fault lines among students and alumni at the country’s oldest and most prestigious institution of higher education. The trial is likely to raise questions about who is deemed worthy and special enough for one of the few slots at a university heralded for educating future presidents, corporate titans, poets, and prizewinners. Of some 42,000 applicants, Harvard enrolls just 1,600 or so freshmen every year. Entry itself is a privilege and viewed as a ticket to future success.

Students for Fair Admissions “is likely to make provocative assertions that will receive public attention and cause some to question our admissions practices,” Harvard president Lawrence Bacow wrote in an e-mail to the Harvard community last week. “I would hope all of us recognize, however, that we are members of one community — and will continue to be so long after this trial is in the rearview mirror. What kind of community we will be, however, will be determined by how we treat each other the next few weeks.”

Some Asian-American students say they already feel conflicted about the lawsuit. They support diversity on campus, but some say the case has reinforced warnings they received from parents and counselors in high school that they had to get far better grades than their peers, jump into leadership roles, and appear less stereotypically Asian in their applications to earn a spot in the most elite colleges.

Rainbow Yeung, a senior majoring in molecular and cellular biology at Harvard who rushes between post-graduate job hunting and her leadership responsibilities at her house, said she worries Asians have been neglected in US history and American media. And she doesn’t want their concerns about potential bias in admissions to also be silenced. ‘It’s forcing me to talk about race in a way that I’ve not done.’

— Priyanka Kaura, a graduate student at Harvard’s Kennedy School 
“I am scared of what the results of the suit might mean for affirmative action,” Yeung said. “However, I just don’t want Asian students to be suffering from negative consequences due to our race.”

Ivy Yan, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard in 2015 and is now a graduate student there, has found herself at odds with Harvard administrators. She fought Harvard’s efforts to squash a union for graduate students and as an undergraduate rallied alumni and other student groups after she felt the university’s response to e-mail threats received by many Asian-American female students was inadequate.

But now, Yan is helping organize a rally Sunday in favor of affirmative action and is bringing together many of Harvard’s supporters. “I am firmly anti-Blum, but not pro-Harvard,” she said.

Still, she understands why many Chinese-Americans, especially those who immigrated more recently, are backing this lawsuit. Even her younger sister questioned the need for affirmative action until recently, Yan said.

“The people on the anti-side are my people,” she said. “This is the American dream for many immigrants and the admissions process — it takes into account something you don’t really understand, and it can be alienating.”

The case against Harvard’s affirmative action policy is generally seen as a conservative cause and even gained support from the Justice Department under the Trump administration. Yet some conservative students acknowledge that admission to the elite school is based on a complicated formula, with race just one factor among many. Star athletes, children of financial donors, students whose parents attended Harvard, and applicants from under-represented states all get special consideration.

“Who got here and how they got here — everybody has things that got them here,” said Conor Healy, a senior from Canada who last year invited controversial sociologist Charles Murray to speak at Harvard amid protests from minority students. “It’s personal . . . . I knew that when I applied, nobody was entitled to a spot . . . and they paid a lot of attention to personal details of individuals. It’s just not straightforward.”

Healy said private institutions should be able to dictate their admissions standards.

Some students, though, feel Harvard does too little to encourage diversity and that if it loses the case, there will be even fewer black and Hispanic students on campus.

As Paola Martinez waited last week for a movie screening at Harvard’s newly renovated Smith Campus Center, where red and orange modern couches are surrounded by ceiling-to-floor glass windows, she scoffed at the implication in the lawsuit that Harvard has too few Asian-American students.

Martinez, 37, grew up in the Dominican Republic and takes classes and works at the Harvard Extension School, a program for adult learners. She said black and Latino students and faculty are rarer than white and Asian-Americans.

This lawsuit is an effort to “keep students of color out of environments where they can succeed,” Martinez said. “At least give us a chance to prove that we’re smart enough and that we could do something.”

Andrea Loera, 23, a Latina who grew up in Texas and is a graduate student at Havard Law School, said she worries that many on-campus discussions about the lawsuit are being held among students of color, instead of the broader community.

A teach-in she attended on a rainy evening last week drew more than 50 Harvard students; most were Asian and other minorities, with just a handful of white students.

Loera said she understands that some students of color are concerned about drawing too much attention to themselves, especially around a case that questions whether they belong at Harvard.

“You already feel like an outsider here,” Loera said. “It becomes a personal topic so fast. And it’s so hard to talk about it as a minority, especially in a school that is so white.”


To be race-blind is to be simply blind

A Leftist elitist rejects Martin Luther King's good dream.  Leftists can never let go of their racial obsessions

WITH THE ELEVATION of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, conservatives are closer than ever to a long-cherished goal: outlawing race-based affirmative action in college admissions.

And the case that could end a five-decade experiment in promoting equality, righting past wrongs, and building a fairer society starts Monday, at a federal courtroom in Boston.

At least on paper, the question before a judge is whether Harvard University actively discriminated against Asian applicants. Harvard contends that it follows the law, which allows for schools to consider race as part of a holistic admissions process.

But the plaintiffs in the case aren’t simply asking the courts to right any wrongs committed against Asian applicants. They’re asking the courts to prohibit colleges from ever asking or even learning the race or ethnicity of applicants. This is a breathtakingly aggressive remedy that seems certain to end up before the Supreme Court.

Building a class of freshman is a zero-sum exercise. There are only so many seats. But college admissions society-wide is not a zero-sum exercise, where one group’s advancement comes only at the expense of another’s. We all benefit from generations of business leaders, politicians, teachers, doctors, lawyers, scientists, and academics that reflect the diversity of our nation.

A ruling against Harvard on the terms the plaintiffs seek also threatens to muzzle students and shackle college administrators. Harvard supporters contend that admissions officers potentially couldn’t learn the name of applicants, interview or recruit them, or watch videos of athletic or dramatic performances. To be race-blind is to be simply blind.

MAKE NO MISTAKE, Students For Fair Admissions, the plaintiff, is being used by its founder, Edward Blum, a long-time conservative activist, who has fought to end race-based affirmative action through a variety of cases. In the most famous, Fisher v. University of Texas, a divided Supreme Court upheld the rights of universities to consider race as a part of the admissions process.

The courts should respect this precedent for several reasons. Diversity on a college campus is important not just for its own sake — it also enriches the educational experience, strengthens communities and workplaces, and enhances economic competitiveness in a globalized world. Beyond all that, though, is the fact that race-based affirmative action is a necessary — though politically unpopular — instrument to address the inequity among many groups of Americans.

While Harvard makes for a high-profile defendant, it is a bad representation of higher education nationwide. There are more than 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States, and the vast majority are nonselective. Of the 1,254 schools ranked by US News and World Report in 2016, for instance, nearly 80 percent admitted more than half of the students who applied.

High stakes admissions is limited to the country’s top-tier schools. And even there, the use of race in admissions is only a small part of the equation. The most important factor for any applicant is the one thing that they have full control over yet can’t change by the time they apply: their high school grades.

MORE PEOPLE GO to college now than ever before. When the Civil Rights Act passed in 1964, 14 percent of whites 25 to 29 years old had attained a bachelor’s degree. Only 6 percent of blacks were able to do so. By 2014, 41 percent of whites that age had a degree. Yet only 22 percent of blacks had one.

Of the 21 million students in the higher ed system, 58 percent are white, 17 percent are Hispanic, and 15 percent are black. But those raw numbers are also misleading. At the country’s top schools, black students make up only 4 percent of undergraduates. In the Ivy League, that number jumps to 9

These numbers put the lie to a central thesis of white-grievance politics — that white people are the true victims of discrimination. Surveys show that some 55 percent of white Americans believe there’s discrimination against whites, and 11 percent claim to have been boxed out of a college spot because of it.

Appeasing angry whites is almost certainly behind the Trump Justice Department’s siccing the Civil Rights Division on colleges like Harvard and Yale for using race in admissions. The Department of Education rescinded its endorsement of race-based admissions this summer.

But if the Trump administration were really interested in stopping colleges from giving one group an unfair hand up, they’d prohibit them from considering gender. Women have better grades, higher test scores, and make better college applicants than men. Indeed, they make up 57 percent of all college students. In the interests of relative gender parity on campus, many colleges admit lesser-qualified men and reject more qualified women.

Schools do this in part because college is about more than just the classroom. It is about creating a community of people who study together, live together, fall in love with each other, play sports together, and form bonds that will stay with them for a lifetime.

Sometimes more than a lifetime: Often called “white affirmative action,” colleges give special preference to legacy students — the children of alumni — and the children of big donors. This practice disproportionately helps rich white students to the exclusion of black and brown students who are more likely to be the first in their families to attend college.

A COLLEGE DEGREE adds millions of dollars to a person’s lifetime earnings, and policies like legacy admissions cascade those benefits down through the generations. How much does it pay to have had a relative go to Harvard? According to documents filed in the case, the admission rate for legacy students was 34 percent, while the admit rate for non-legacy students was 6 percent. More than 21 percent of admitted white students were legacies, compared with 6 percent of Asian students and 5 percent of black students.

Another generational factor that plays into who gets a seat in Harvard’s freshman class is geography. The richest zip codes have the best schools, and the best schools send the most kids to college. The poorest places often have the worst schools, and that’s an impossible fact to separate from race. Decades of discriminatory housing policies have concentrated poverty — and the poor schools that follow from that — in black communities.

That’s just one problem with simply replacing race-based affirmative action with similar preferences based on income. A second problem is the fact that there are more poor white people than poor black people. Putting a thumb on the scale for poverty writ large would simply benefit more whites.

And what of the Asian students at Harvard? If race were totally removed from the admissions process, their share of the freshman class would rise modestly, from 24 percent to 27 percent, according to court filings. White students, meanwhile, would see a bump three times as large — increasing their share of the class from 40 percent to 48 percent. If the goal is to make Harvard white again, stripping race from admissions is the way to do it.

Considering race as one of many factors in admissions can help correct past injustices while enriching the college experience. Continuing its modest deployment in admissions will not overnight remedy the historic inequality currently plaguing American society. But it is an important tool and one that the court should uphold.


Elite schools still need affirmative action — just not by race

The Left are obsessed with discriminating against people based on the group they belong to

A RECENT WGBH poll found that 86 percent of Americans value having racial and ethnic diversity on college campuses, and yet 72 percent said they disagreed with a Supreme Court decision allowing race to be “one factor in deciding which applicants to admit.” Are Americans nuts in thinking universities can get racial diversity without racial preferences?

Not at all. Because race still matters in American society, blacks and Hispanics are disproportionately poor, and therefore disproportionately benefit from socioeconomic preferences. At the same time, the class-based approach recognizes that disadvantaged whites and Asians deserve a leg up, too, and that privileged underrepresented minorities, such as former President Barack Obama’s daughters, do not.

Needs-based affirmative action makes sense to people. Whereas only 24 percent supported using race as a factor in the WGBH poll, 58 percent said admissions officers should include “overcoming hardships such as poverty or health problems” as an admissions factor — more than supported considering leadership, or athletic or musical talent.

Extensive research finds that if colleges create a genuinely fair admissions system, which factors in economic obstacles students have had to overcome, then African-Americans and Latinos can succeed without racial preferences. New research my colleagues and I conducted as part of a lawsuit by Students for Fair Admissions against Harvard affirms these findings.

Using actual applicant data, we were able to test whether socioeconomic preferences would work to produce the educational benefits of diversity, using Harvard’s own system of rating students based on academic, extracurricular, athletic, and personal criteria.

We began by simulating what would happen if Harvard eliminated the blatantly unfair obstacles that it throws in the path of disadvantaged students, such as the substantial preference provided to the privileged children of alumni and faculty children, and a back-door “Z-list” admissions system that favors, among others, those who make it on to a special “dean’s interest” list. We then provided a preference to economically disadvantaged students that is about half the size of the leg up Harvard currently gives to athletes. Students of different races were treated equally.

The result? The admission of African American and Latino and other underrepresented minority students rose from 28 percent to 30 percent. Meanwhile, the proportion of first-generation college students increased from 7 percent to 25 percent, a development that would surely make classrooms discussion more interesting at a university where in recent years, the number of high-income students has outnumbered the number of low-income students by 23 to 1.

Harvard nevertheless claimed this alternative system would fail to maintain “the standards of excellence that Harvard seeks in its student body.”

In reality, however, under socioeconomic preferences, the average high school grades of admitted students would be just as high as they are now, and SAT scores would be at the 98th percentile.

Incredibly, officials at Harvard also raised questions about whether the nation’s richest university could afford to provide financial aid under a system socioeconomic preferences. This was a surprising claim from an institution whose $37 billion endowment is larger than the GDP of half of the world’s countries. Indeed, Harvard’s own financial aid director testified that Harvard would have no problem doubling the proportion of disadvantaged students eligible for financial aid programs.

Racial diversity on campus is important, especially in the age of Donald Trump, when our nation is so deeply divided. But there is a better, less divisive way to achieve the goal by opening the doors of elite universities to disadvantaged students of all races who are now largely shut out of elite higher education.


Monday, October 15, 2018

Ohio University Journalism Student Arrested For Fabricating Death Threat Against Herself

On Monday, one of the managers of an Ohio University student newspaper was arrested after campus police discovered that she had fabricated three separate threatening messages against herself, at least one of which was a death threat.

Anna Ayers, a journalism student who is also a member of OU’s student senate and was formerly a columnist for The Post, has been charged by university police with three misdemeanor counts of “making false alarms” in relation to the hoax threats. If convicted on the charges, Ayers faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for each of the three counts. She is first set to appear in court on Thursday morning to answer the charges.

According to The Post, which had reported on the fake threats last week, Ayers claimed that she had found two notes in her senate desk —one that directly attacked her for her “LGBTQ identity” and called her “a derogatory term,” and another threatening to kill her. Tellingly, The Post reported at the time that people at the school had already figured out that those notes probably came from someone involved with the student senate because although “[a]nyone [could] enter the senate office…whoever left the note had to know which desk belonged to Ayers” in order to deliver the threat.

After making her manufactured threats public, OU’s student senate postponed all of its events in favor of holding a special hearing on the “threats” against Ayers. At the hearing, Ayers reportedly spoke at length about the trials and tribulations caused by reading her own notes


Teacher Accused Stephen Miller Of Eating Glue When He Was 8: Now She’s Under Review

A teacher who said President Donald Trump’s senior adviser Stephen Miller ate glue as a child is under review by the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District in California for disclosing information of the former student.

The DCNF reports:

Nikki Fiske, 72, revealed accounts of having Miller, 33, in her class when he was 8-years-old to The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday.

The school placed her on “home assignment,” which means Fiske is not at work but retains employment status, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) spokeswoman Gail Pinsker told The Daily Caller News Foundation. Pinsker emphasized that Fiske “is not suspended.”

“He [Miller] was a strange dude,” Fiske said to The Hollywood Reporter. “I remember he would take a bottle of glue — we didn’t have glue sticks in those days — and he would pour the glue on his arm, let it dry, peel it off and then eat it.”

Fiske added that Miller was a “loner.”

The article recounting Miller’s alleged behavior as a third grader has received push back since its release.

“What kind of teacher goes to an entertainment newspaper with gossip about an 8-year-old boy?” Becket Adams wrote in The Washington Examiner Wednesday. “Hell, forget that she’s a teacher. What kind of human being does that?”

William Jacobson, a Cornell University professor and founder of the blog Legal Insurrection, said The Hollywood Reporter’s focus on a teacher “badmouthing” was meant to bring down Miller. “It’s meant to dehumanize Miller, to suggest he is brain damaged,” Jacobson wrote Thursday.

Pinsker said the district was concerned about Fiske’s “release of student information, including allegations that may not have complied with applicable laws and district policies,” The Los Angeles Times reported.

“The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is looking into this matter and has placed Nikki Fiske on home assignment pending the completion of the review,” Pinsker told TheDCNF over the email.


Australia: Freedom Charters may be needed to Protect Free Speech on University Campuses

The most concerning aspect of the current debate about free speech in Australian universities has been the complacent attitudes of Australian higher education leaders.

During Bettina Arndt’s recent speech at Sydney University on ‘rape culture’, riot police had to be called onto the campus to allow the event to proceed, after security guards were overwhelmed by demonstrators blocking audience members from attending the venue.

However, according to Sydney Vice-Chancellor, Michael Spence, the demonstration allegedly showed that “free speech is alive and well” in universities; the student demonstrators were supposedly exercising their legitimate right to protest and engage in counter-free speech.

In reality, the violent scenes of verbal and physical abuse witnessed were an example of the ‘no platforming’ phenomena prevalent in North America, which has seen numerous so-called controversial speakers banned and prevented from speaking on university and college campuses because their views are deemed ‘offensive’ or ‘hurtful’ to some students.

But according to Vicki Thomson, the Chief executive of the Group of Eight peak lobby ground representing Australia’s leading universities, there is no need for universities to take action on free speech on campus because she “couldn’t remember a particularly violent protest [on university campuses] in the past 10 years.”

Thomson was responding to the suggestion by Federal Education Minister, Dan Tehan, that Australian universities adopt the charter — the Statement on Principles of Free Expression — introduced by the University of Chicago in 2014 and subsequently adopted by 45 other American universities.

But if university administrators like Spence and Thomson are unwilling to even acknowledge free speech problems, it is difficult to trust them to self-regulate free speech solutions.

These attitudes suggest that stronger government regulation may be needed to actively spur universities to properly protect freedom of thought and expression on Australian campuses.

My new report, "University Freedom Charters: How best to protect free speech on Australian campuses", therefore proposes a new regulatory framework — based on the polices announced in the Canadian province of Ontario — which would hold universities accountable for implementing and complying with free speech policies, or have them risk financial penalties.

Tying funding to actively protecting free speech on campus would focus the minds of university administrators on free speech problems — especially the minds, once funding was directly at stake, of administrators who claim there is no problem and mistake legitimate protest with disruptive conduct interfering with the free speech of others.

As I told The Australian  this week, universities should consider the report a “shot across the bows.”

If university administrators don’t like the idea of government regulation, the power to forestall this is in their hands. They should take Minister Tehan’s advice, and put in place robust free speech policies to ensure universities remain true universities committed to free and open inquiry.


Sunday, October 14, 2018

UK: How the Tories’ education shake-up risks alienating Jewish voters

Labour desperately needs to win over Jewish voters if Jeremy Corbyn is to make it to Downing Street. At the snap election, the party was damaged by underperformance in seats with large Jewish populations: Hendon (held by the Tories by a only 1,072 votes) and Finchley (Tory majority 1,657) are two examples. Labour’s summer of anti-Semitism has made winning over such voters even trickier. But while the Tories look well placed to keep hold of these seats, they appear to be doing their best to imitate Corbyn and alienate Jewish voters.

An increasingly bitter row between the government and orthodox Jewish communities across Britain is to blame for this. This confrontation has nothing to do with Israel, though, and everything to do with the education that pupils receive in both taxpayer-funded and private Jewish schools.

From 2020, all primary schools in England will have to teach relationships education; all secondary schools will have to teach relationships and sex education (RSE). Parents will have the right to withdraw their children from sex (but not relationships) education. Faith schools have received an assurance that they will still be able to teach RSE “within the tenets of their faith.” Yet it’s far from clear that teachers in faith schools will not be required to promote same-sex marriage to which they, or their schools, are religiously opposed.

In 2017, the orthodox Jewish Vishnitz girls school failed an Ofsted inspection on the grounds that because it declined to teach its pupils about homosexuality, it was not giving them “a full understanding of fundamental British values.” It apparently matters not that, in other respects, Jewish schools are complimented on their teaching and pupil behaviour. Schools that are deemed not to meet Ofsted requirements must “improve” or face closure. As the Edgware-based rabbi Mordechai Rose wrote in a pamphlet that’s being circulated widely within the orthodox Jewish world, “Jewish faith schools are consistently being failed for promoting a way of life that does not conform to modern British secular values. … But is it really the role of the state to suppress the views of those that differ from them and to forbid that they teach them to their children?”

The reality is that the LGBT lobby is slowly but surely undermining the right of parents to bring up their children in accordance with their religious beliefs. Parental authority is being replaced by the edicts of the state.

Damian Hinds’ predecessor as education secretary, Justine Greening proposed a shake-up of sex education that could see children introduced to concepts such as homosexuality and transgenderism from a young age. This would meet with near-total opposition in the orthodox Jewish world, where sex education takes place exclusively in the privacy of the home, and is given by married parents. Traditionally, such education is typically grounded in an understanding of Leviticus 18, which prohibits any active male homosexual relationship.

There have been a couple of clumsy attempts made recently to encourage a rapprochement between the country’s fast-growing orthodox Jewish communities and the Department for Education. Last week, the DfE announced that children in private primary schools would no longer have to be explicitly taught about gay marriage or same-sex families. But this new guidance does not extend to secondary schools, nor to any school that is taxpayer-funded (as a growing number of leading orthodox Jewish schools are).

The DfE’s announcement followed an initiative by chief rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who last month issued guidance for communities under his authority relating to the treatment of LGBT schoolchildren. His unequivocal condemnation of the bullying of young people struggling with their sexuality is clearly sensible. But in drafting his guidance he worked with “Keshet UK,” a body whose purpose – to promote the inclusion of LGBT lifestyles – is simply anathema to most orthodox Jews. Scarcely less serious is the offhand way in which Mirvis refers to Leviticus 18 in his guidance. Rabbinical repudiation of his guidance is widespread and growing.

Damian Hinds and his advisors at the DfE would be wrong to think that Ephraim Mirvis speaks for most Jews in Britain today. In fact, demographic trends mean that, as a proportion of the total of British Jews, the centrist United Synagogue is a declining force. In short, May’s government is in danger of neglecting the views of a large proportion of Jews. If she fails to do this, she will do so at her political peril.


‘I will never return to teach in England’: the UK teachers finding refuge abroad

An estimated 15,000 teachers are snapped up overseas each year, driven away by the stress in British schools

The English education system is broken, says Freya Odell, a state secondary school teacher with 18 years’ experience. This month, she followed in the footsteps of thousands of other talented, fed-up teachers and moved abroad – in her case, to St George’s British International School in Rome.

“It wasn’t a difficult decision. My job in England took over my life. Over the past year, I had stopped laughing and smiling. I had lost all sense of who I am.”

Despite being director of learning, literacy lead and director of English at her previous school, Odell, 38, had to teach 20 out of 30 lessons and mentor three new staff. “I had to get up at 4.30am to get everything done, returning home at 7pm and working for another hour before bed, as well as at weekends.” She offered to take a pay cut to reduce her teaching load, but was refused.

In Italy, she has been allocated the same amount of teaching but none of the responsibilities – and she will teach a class of 16 children, instead of 34. “If St George’s will have me for ever, I will never return to teaching in England,” she says.

As the new school year gets under way, an Education Policy Institute report has highlighted how the government’s failure to recruit enough trainee teachers to stem the flow of experienced staff leaving the profession has led to a “severe shortage” in England’s schools.

It is estimated around 15,000 teachers leave the UK each year to join an international school – and nearly half (47%) are dissatisfied with the British education system, according to a recent survey of 1,600 teachers at British international schools by the Council of British International Schools (Cobis). Around a third (32%) were thinking about leaving the profession altogether before they took on an international job.

“There’s a toxic mix of factors, created by this government, that is making teachers decide they cannot teach in England in particular any more,” says Mary Bousted, general secretary of the National Education Union. “The low net pay of teachers means many cannot even afford rent. There is systemic overworking, with teachers routinely working 55 hours a week, and a vicious accountability system, which means teachers are not given the time and support to get better at what they do.” It reflects badly on the government, she says, that so many highly qualified teachers are going abroad. “It’s not that they don’t want to teach, it’s that they don’t want to teach in the context we’ve created in this country, and the government is responsible for that. We are haemorrhaging teachers, particularly at secondary school level.”

Teaching timetables in the UK are similar to the OECD average. “But our teachers spend twice as long as other teachers in high-performing OECD countries preparing lessons, assessing and looking at data. It is that, combined with low pay, which is driving teachers away. The very measures the government has taken to police standards are decimating the numbers of teachers in the classroom and lowering educational standards.”

Meanwhile, four in five British international school teachers say they are happy or very happy with their new jobs, according to the Cobis survey. “Other countries exercise much more trust in their teachers,” says Bousted. “They enable their teachers to concentrate on what’s important.”

Over the next 10 years, it is expected that international schools will require up to 230,000 more teachers to meet staffing needs – 145,000 of them will be recruited from the UK, ISC Research predicts. If so, according to Schools Week, international schools could snap up more than half of all the UK’s trainee teachers over the next 10 years to meet their targets.

According to Nick Gibb, the schools minister, more than 14,000 teachers returned to teaching last year, many of whom had been working abroad. “A period teaching in another country has always been an option which adds to a teacher’s experience,” he said.

In Italy, Odell enjoys lower living costs and free lunches, so expects to be better off despite a lower salary. “I feel optimistic that I’ll develop as a teacher here while still maintaining a healthy work-life balance.”

This was partly why Binks Neate-Evans moved to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, this month as head of prep for a prestigious fee-paying school. In the UK she worked 65 to 70 hours a week as the head of an outstanding infants’ school in Norfolk, where 90% of the children came from the poorest 10% of postcodes in the county.

She says: “We had very limited resources. If you have a child with significant behaviour challenges because of childhood trauma, you need access to a clinical psychologist. For example, there was a child we worked with tirelessly to keep in school, to keep him safe. He absolutely needed specialist support but children’s mental health services said they were taking only life-threatening cases.”

The child was later excluded from junior school. “Despite government spouting off about the importance of early intervention, it wasn’t there. Due to this lack of resources, the needs of very young children at my school were not being met.”

The job left her with high blood pressure and, like her colleagues, she suffered chronic stress and insomnia. “I feel like I’ve done my bit and I was not prepared to compromise my personal health.”

With 23 years’ experience as a teacher, 12 as a head, she found it easy to get a job abroad, choosing Jeddah because the teaching profession seemed highly valued there. Now her earnings are tax-free, her transport to work is paid for, and she has a complimentary two-bedroom flat. “It’s the equivalent of getting a six-figure salary in the UK.” She is not sure she will work in Britain again.

Jenny Anderton (not her real name), 51, who taught at state primary schools in southern England for more than 10 years, says that in the UK she was “more of a social worker than a teacher”. She is now teaching in Seville. “I love teaching, but it was frustrating at my UK school – there was a lot of paperwork and meetings for the sake of meetings,” she says.

The last straw came when a child who had severe emotional issues was excluded. “I had flagged up that he needed help. He was a child in crisis.” Instead of supporting him, the school involved the police when he bit another teacher.

Anderton’s wages are £500 less a year but she is confident she will be better off because of the lower cost of living. “I’m looking forward to being appreciated, rather than having the whip cracked over me all the time, and enjoying my job again, rather than being comatose at the end of every half term. The focus in the UK on attainment, when social services is on the brink, is bonkers and exhausting. I’m not planning to ever go back.”

“Teaching in the UK is a thankless task,” says Victoria Mitchell, 39, who has taught at state primary schools in Nottingham for 11 years. She took a job at an English language school in Puglia, Italy, this month. “In the UK we’re set unrealistic targets and, compared to when I started, there’s little support. Things just get swept under the carpet.”

She left a previous school after she discovered a leader from the academy chain lurking in the corridor, monitoring her teaching through a window. “I felt I was constantly being watched.”

Her GP advised her to get a new job and, along with 11 other experienced teachers at that school, she did. But her new school was equally stressful. “Everybody was still under immense pressure. I love teaching PE, music and art and am passionate about languages. But in the UK, the focus is entirely on maths and English.”

After holidaying in Puglia, she decided to send her CV to all the language schools there and received three job offers. “I chose the one that seemed the best fit for me.”

On her last day of the UK summer term a parent yelled in her face. “I drove home from my final ever day in a primary school in this country in tears.”


Islamic extremism in Australian primary schools: Two students under ten years old revealed to have threatened to BEHEAD teachers

Diversity and inclusion at work

Two students younger than 10 have threatened to behead teaches in two frightening instances believed to be inspired by Islamist militant movements.

The two incidents were reported earlier this year and were believed to involve non-Muslim students attending public schools in New South Wales.

They follow reports 10 boys at an inner west Sydney primary school had been deemed 'at risk' of becoming radicalised, according to Daily Telegraph.  

Students as young as nine had reportedly started to show signs of extreme radicalisation, and some as young as five were also being monitored.

Up to 19 schools in Sydney's western and southwestern suburbs have reportedly been identified as potential targets for radical recruiters seeking vulnerable victims.

Sources inside the education field revealed the behaviour of children who had visited war zones in the Middle East were among those being closely watched.

Last year a female teacher claimed she was tormented by students aged between 10 and 13 who wore ISIS shirts to class and circled around her while reciting the Koran.

'I had students coming into class flying flags from overseas, be it the Syrian flag and possibly the ISIS flag. It looked to me like the ISIS flag,' she told the Mark Latham Outsiders program.

A former teacher said she chose to leave her job at a public school after primary school students said they would kill her family.    

'Some students would act out beheadings with their fingers across their necks,' she told the Daily Telegraph.

Earlier this year a jury was told a 12-year-old boy attended a Sydney protest holding a sign saying 'Behead all those who insult the prophet'.

He was one of two boys who pleaded not guilty to doing an act or acts between October 6 and October 12 in 2016 in Sydney in preparation for a terrorist act.