Friday, November 16, 2018

Lawsuit says DeVos should be forced to cancel loans for students at closed campuses

A lawsuit filed Tuesday against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos asserts that the Education Department — as required by an Obama-era regulation — is failing to cancel student loans for borrowers whose schools closed before students could earn their degrees.

DeVos had sought to cancel the entire regulation, which governs the circumstances under which borrowers can have their debt erased. But in a ruling last month, a federal court said the regulation must take effect.

During the Obama administration, officials argued that students should not be responsible for often crushing debt when they did not get the education they were promised, sometimes bilked by for-profit schools and deceptive marketing. DeVos argued that the Obama rule made it too easy for students to cancel their debt and said she intended to replace the rules with her own version to take effect next year. That process fell behind schedule, and the earliest the new rules will hit is July 2020.

In the meantime, the federal court said DeVos cannot simply ignore the version put in place by her predecessor.

Under one provision, the Obama rule directed the Education Department to proactively cancel debts of students whose schools or campuses close before they get their degrees. It did not require that students apply for or request the cancellation.

The suit was filed Tuesday by Housing and Economic Rights Advocates, a nonprofit legal service and advocacy organization, in US District Court for the Northern District of California. The housing group is represented by the National Student Legal Defense Network, which has challenged a series of DeVos moves.

The Education Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

People who attended school on about 1,400 campuses that closed between November 2013 and November 2015 may be eligible for immediate debt cancellation, the legal network said. Students are eligible for the immediate relief if they have not reenrolled within three years in another school that participates in the federal student loan program. So students in schools that closed after November 2015 still have time on the clock to reenroll and are not eligible for the automatic debt relief.

The legal defense network estimated that if the rule were fully implemented, it would result in $250 million in cancelled debt, spread across tens of thousands of borrowers.

‘‘The Department of Education seems determined to deny student borrowers the financial relief to which they are entitled,’’ said Aaron Ament, president of the network.


Why This California College Student Is Choosing to Stand Up for Her Beliefs on Gender

A 20-year-old student senator at the University of California Berkeley says she didn’t expect the intense opposition she received for voicing her Christian beliefs on sexual identity and gender.

Although Isabella Chow, a junior, has the support of the school’s College Republicans chapter, her own student party cut ties with her and other students and organizations are demanding that she resign from the Senate or face a recall.

“I didn’t expect it at all, I’ll just put it that way,” Chow told The Daily Signal in a phone interview Tuesday.

“I expected there to be opposition, I expected there to be disagreement,” she said, “but I didn’t expect that a place that claimed to be so inclusive and tolerant would turn its back on me so quickly.”

Her offense? Chow chose not to vote Oct. 31 on a measure decrying consideration by the Trump administration of a legal definition that says a person’s gender is what his or her sex was at birth. She was the only one of 20 senators to abstain on the measure, which also backed organizations that promote the LGBT agenda.

Student-run CalTV and school publications Chow represented also abandoned or “disaffiliated with” her, she said.

In a statement on Facebook explaining why she abstained, Chow first said discrimination “is never, ever OK.”

But, she said, “where this bill crosses the line for me is that I am asked to promote a choice of identities that I do not agree with to be right or best for an individual, and to promote certain organizations that uphold values contrary to those of my community.”

Chow, who is from Gilroy, California, about two hours outside of San Francisco, told The Daily Signal that she fears funding for Christian groups on campus is threatened. A piano recital where she was supposed to play was cancelled because professors said, “You can’t perform when we are all afraid of protesters showing up at the door.”

At a protest Wednesday, Chow said, people yelled at her for three hours, swearing and demanding that she resign. Through that experience, she told The Daily Signal, “a big part of me was reminded that as a Christian, I needed to stand by what I said.”

That means not only standing by her beliefs about gender and sexuality, she said, but “loving the LGBTQ community and accepting all of them as valid and significant and loved.”

Chow was elected to the student Senate as a candidate running with the party Associated Students of the University of California. She had support from fellow Christian students and the “publications and media” crowd involved in journals, magazines, and CalTV, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Over 1,000 persons have signed a petition demanding that Chow resign from student government or face a recall. She also has faced pushback on social media.

Matt Ronnau, president of the Berkeley College Republicans, told The Daily Signal in an interview that his organization stands by Chow. “We support Isabella 100 percent,” Ronnau said, calling her treatment “incredibly unfair. She expressed very clearly … and decided to abstain, and then the Queer Alliance Resource Center [an LGBT rights organization] came out and basically said she was attacking them and really muddied what she said up,” he said.

The group “painted her to be this huge evil person when really she’s not,” Ronnau said.

Harini Shyamsundar, editor-in-chief and president of The Daily Californian, UC Berkeley’s student newspaper, told The Daily Signal in an email that the paper declined to publish an op-ed by Chow explaining her decision to abstain because it “did not meet the paper’s editorial standards. We could not publish it in our opinion section, even opposite our own editorial,” Shyamsundar said. Shyamsundar did not explain further, including what she meant by failure to meet editorial standards.

Manu Meel, CEO of BridgeUSA, a nonpartisan student club at UC Berkeley, told The Daily Signal in an email that while he and the organization did not support Chow’s stance, her opinions should still be respected.

“Millions of Americans share Senator Chow’s perspective,” Meel told The Daily Signal, adding: Rather than silencing her perspective, we must constructively engage her perspective and create the necessary spaces for those discussions to occur on campus. A democracy cannot thrive if we silence individuals that we disagree with, even if those disagreements are based on identity. In a democracy, progress is achieved when consensus can be forged because ultimately, we are one people united by a common commitment to advancing and protecting the rights of all citizens.

Meel also said students should focus on having a productive discussion about differing viewpoints. “As students on a campus that has a legacy of strengthening democracy, we can set an example for how difficult issues like the one being discussed here should be resolved,” Meel said. “We must take the opportunity to resolve our differences at a time when polarization and partisanship define the political landscape.”

Ryan T. Anderson, a senior research fellow in American principles and public policy at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email that opinions based on scientific fact should not be seen as hateful or bigoted.

“The best biology, psychology, and philosophy all support an understanding of sex as a bodily reality and of gender as a social manifestation of bodily sex. Biology isn’t bigotry,” said Anderson, author of the book “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment.”

“How absurd that a student has become a social outcast simply because she declined to support the manifest falsehoods of transgender ideology,” he said.


A Better Way to Spend Our Education Dollars

With the recent release of a study on education spending, many are reiterating a hackneyed conclusion: that the U.S. needs to funnel more money into schools.

The study, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, compared human capital, or the quality of a country’s workforce, in different developed countries. Human capital is important, the study explains, because countries with greater human capital experience faster economic growth per capita—meaning more jobs, better wages, and more affordable goods and services.

The researchers determined the quality of a country’s human capital by looking at years of educational attainment, student performance on tests, and health factors. Based on these indicators, the study found that the U.S. dropped from a 6th place international human capital ranking in 1990 to a 27th place ranking today.

“The decline of human capital in the United States was one of the biggest surprises in our study,” said Dr. Christopher Murray writes. “Our findings show the association between investments in education and health and improved human capital and GDP—which policymakers here in the U.S. ignore at their own peril.”

In response to the study, some media outlets are now calling on the U.S. to spend more on education. But they’re mistaken: The issue isn’t how much we’re spending, it’s how we’re spending. So before we run to our checkbooks, let’s remember that investment doesn’t always mean spending more—it often means spending better.

The study offers some insight into how the U.S. can be smarter in its spending. The 10 countries found to have the greatest human capital were Finland, Iceland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Taiwan, South Korea, Norway, Luxembourg, France, and Belgium.

If spending is America’s problem, then these top-performing countries should be the biggest education spenders out there.

But they’re not.

Of these 10 countries, only two—Norway and Luxembourg—spend more than the United States on education, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. For example, Finland, the study’s top performer in terms of human capital, spends $2,425 less than the U.S. on primary education, $2,602 less on secondary education, and $16,426 less on tertiary education per student.

So if spending is not the problem with education, what is?

The report reveals that, in terms of human capital, the best performing countries are not investing more than the United States—they’re investing in different education programs.

Finland, for example, provides advanced vocational training programs, where students can complete core curriculum coursework while participating in publicly-financed, on-the-job training programs of their choice. Today, 45 percent of Finnish high school age students are enrolled in such programs, one of the highest vocational education enrollment rates among member countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Iceland, the number two country in human capital, also offers a vocational education track for students, as do Denmark, the Netherlands, and other top-performing countries.

The United States would do well to learn from our friends abroad who are making vocational training accessible to students. Introducing education savings accounts in states across the country would offer students needed professional learning opportunities without increasing the price tag for U.S. taxpayers.

Education savings accounts increase access to vocational training by making public funding portable.

Today, to fund elementary and secondary education, the United States spends $11,762 per student annually. This funding is largely directed to public schools. In 2017, for example, only 0.3 percent of U.S. education spending went to vocational training.

But with education savings accounts, parents could spend the $11,762 that the government budgets for their child’s education on learning programs of their choice. At parents’ requests, participating states would direct public funding into a verified education savings account. Parents could then access the funds with a government-issued debit card to cover authorized education costs, such as vocational learning programs.

Students using education savings accounts to pay for skills training would benefit from greatly-improved employment opportunities. After all, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that technical occupations will account for one-fifth of all new jobs by 2026. And the Finnish example suggests that successfully incorporating vocational training programs could increase student educational attainment and training, improving human capital and per capita economic growth—making the U.S. richer and more productive in the process.

The United States must stop pouring more tax dollars into a failing education system without improving the system itself. Taking a cue from international leaders in encouraging vocational training through the use of education savings accounts would help us do just that.


Thursday, November 15, 2018

UK: No learning if you’re liberal

There was a fleeting moment during my curious boyhood when it seemed possible that I might actually transmogrify into … an academic pupil.  I treasure the memory.  Purley Grammar School for Boys it was, on a September day in the late 1960’s.  An upstairs classroom overlooking the quad.  Chalk dust caught in the sunlight, rows of ink-stained desks, twenty uninterested, fish-eyed youths, Dougie Firmer and old Nicholson.

Dougie was the school genius.  It was already accepted that he was on his way in two years to Cambridge and then some top-Gag career in the higher etherium of the State.  Frankly, we were in awe not only of his intelligence but of his quite unreal urbanity.  Not only was he all brilliant polish for a seventeen year-old but he was brilliantly funny, too, and a natural mimic and extemporiser.  If by chance after the boiled ham and carrots he’d begin to extemporise in the lower sixth common room on the subject, say, of how old Jewitt got his limp or Rainforth his taste in shoes everyone quieted down instantly.  You knew to shut your silly prattle when Dougie gave forth, and belly-laugh with the best.

Now, Nicholson - dear, vague old Nicholson - was our European History master.  He was an intellectual sort of chap too, but down at heel and careworn in dull brown tweed trousers and the regulation, leather-elbowed check jacket.  His only natural talent was the ability to put otherwise hyper-active male youths to sleep.  He had, in fairness, been perfecting his technique for thirty years or more.  He called it teaching.

So ... it wasn’t very far into my first term at Purley Grammar.  Three months earlier at my sink secondary modern school, despite every effort to leave the education system forthwith by learning as little as possible, I had somehow pulled a number of exam rabbits out of the hat and got mistaken for university material.  Here I damn well was, then, imprisoned with five hundred males for another two academic years.  My driving ambitions to get a job, get some money, get a car and get laid – especially get laid -  were all in the deep-freeze.

Well, my story involves the schoolboy’s bane, homework.  At the close of a previous, excruciatingly boring, double-period investigation of the Hapsburgs in the 19th century old Nicholson had sent us off to write an essay at home.  Most of us hadn’t the faintest idea what he wanted from us because we slept so soundly through all old Nicholson’s soporifica.  But work was work, and the exercise books were scribbled upon just the same and handed in for marking.  Now, in that sunny upstairs classroom on this September day, they sat in a pile next to old Nicholson, with old Nicholson himself languidly perched as usual half-on, half-off his table.

He was unhappy.  More than unhappy he was, for him, exercised.  It had been a perfectly straightforward task, after all.  Yet there was scarcely any attempt, any attempt whatsoever, to answer the question we had been set.  Now Nicholson was on his feet dispatching exercise books towards their errant owners with mounting disdain.  Were we all deaf and blind?  Or just lazy and useless?  Even normally reliable students like Martin Smith, the Head Boy, had gone and answered the wrong ruddy question.  Only one boy – one – from among the lot of us had got it right.

All eyes rested on Dougie Firmer.  But old Nicholson’s were focussed, inexplicably, on me.  He strode over and planted my exercise book in front of me.  Horribly self-conscious I opened it up.  Nice words in green ink.  87%.

“One boy here at least,” Nicholson was saying, “who shows some desire to get on.”  Twenty pairs of hate-filled, gimlet eyes settled on me.  Fuck it, I thought, I didn’t even know what I had done right.  They can’t hate me for that surely.

It didn’t last long.  It was my only moment in the academic sunlight.  Thereafter, thoughts of fast cars and female flesh put a stop to all old Nicholson’s best efforts to rediscover my early promise.

I don’t know what became of Dougie.  I never heard of him after I left the school.  It’s strange that someone so evidently outstanding didn’t make his presence felt in the public arena.  A couple of years after I left Purley Grammar the school was catapulted into mediocrity by Anthony Crossland and Shirley Williams, who amalgamated all the local schools into the disastrous leftist fantasy world of comprehensive education.  It might have been dubbed, “No child left in front.”

Today, thirty-five years later, leftist fantasies about equality still complicate the education of hundreds of thousands of kids.  But the ones the left agonises most over are black and male.  Black educational failure is an experience common to the entire Western world.  But, inevitably, the outcomes are absolutely not accepted as being all that black boys are able to deliver.

Trevor Phillips, the head of the Commission for Racial Equality, has boldly attacked the attitudes of “liberals like myself”, as he puts it, and “our historical bleating about racist teachers”. He points out that statistics don’t justify the usual presumption of racism in schools.

It’s true that only 27% of Afro-Caribbean boys leave school with five GCSEs at A to C grade, and this is far below the national average of 47% for boys and 57% per cent for girls. But 44% of Afro-Caribbean girls do reach that standard, many of them sisters from the same families. Poor Indian and Chinese boys do roughly three times better in exams than poor Afro-Caribbean boys. So another explanation is needed.

These are the words of Times journalist Minette Marin.  And at this point in her argument you might, naturally enough, expect her to go on to talk about the ten thousand IQ tests conducted, among others, in scores of black populations.  She might mention the striking incidence of small black skulls housing small, light brains.  Stung by that word “skull, she might reserve a special mention for the malign influence of the liar Boas.  She might apprise us of the narrowness of black women’s hips, and its implication for the head size of the babies they bear.

But instead she writes this:-

"One of the most charismatic reformers in the world of literacy is Ruth Miskin. Once the head of a famously successful primary school in Tower Hamlets, east London, she’s now the creator of a programme called Read Write, which schools can buy to turn literacy problems round quickly and easily. She gave expert evidence to the Commons select committee that so galvanised Kelly"

The Ofsted reports her schools have had clearly bear that out. They back up her view that the black boys she sees doing her programme all over the country have no problem learning to read. “Black boys learn to decode just as fast as any white middle-class girl,” she says, if they are taught properly and have the joy of rapid success. There is, according to Miskin, no problem with discipline; they love learning and there is no gap between them and any other group.

I wonder if Ruth Miskin does genuinely believe there to be no gap between black boys and any other ethnic - or, indeed, tribal - group.  Either way, the mere fact that she publicly affirms human equality with such enthusiasm returns us with one giant stride to 1910 and the unarithmetic Franz Boas.  Somehow, in the public debate on black education we never seem to get past 1910.  Boas still has us snared.  None of the compendious evidence – and stupendous experience - that has been compiled to elucidate the reasons for black educational and economic outcomes has any real intellectual purchase on the situation because it is not read by the liberals who control the educational system.

But liberal denial goes much further than that.  It goes deep in the bone.  Nobody really needs to read Rushton, Brand or Lynn & Vanhanen because we have the greater teacher of life itself.  In my case, for example, a determined effort to avoid hard work, though it cost me formal education, did not blunt my intellectual equipment.  Such intelligence as I possess has served me passably well.  So, where are the hundreds of thousands of tolerably competent black minds that, although like me lacking a university education, have risen in life just the same?  Ah, white racism.  Inevitable.

Round and round we go, giving more credence to yet more well-intentioned wastes of time.  After Miskin has brought literacy to our, of course, always vibrant Afro-Caribbean and African Dougie Firmers we will have to shoulder the same burden of abject black failure.  Another false ray of hope will briefly shine, and yet another.  And on it will go because no public figure has enough courage to speak a simple human truth … and absolutely no courage whatsoever to address the awful, illiberal question which follows from it: since black mean IQ is so low what on earth are we supposed to do with our black population?


Regulations Threaten to Limit Best Schooling Options for Children

What is the measure of a good school? And who is best positioned to decide what works?

For decades, policymakers and education officials have attempted to bolster school “accountability” by increasing regulations on schools across the board—public, charter, and private. They have tried to do so at the federal level for half a century, with federal intervention in K-12 education hitting a high-water mark under the Bush administration’s No Child Left Behind policy and the Obama administration’s attempts to pressure states into adopting Common Core.

Yet ever-increasing government intervention in schooling has had little positive impact on education outcomes writ large. Math and reading achievement outcomes have been largely stagnant since the 1970s for high school seniors, while graduation rates have seen only modest improvements (and even those figures may be artificially inflated).

About one-third of high school graduates have to take remedial courses in college, one-third of Americans cannot name a single branch of government, and 20 percent of high school graduates who want to join the Army cannot do so because they cannot pass the Armed Forces Qualification Test.

It’s no surprise, then, that families have been looking for alternatives to geographically-assigned district schools. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have begun to offer alternatives, enacting private school choice options such as vouchers, tax credit scholarships, and education savings accounts.

Although the education choice landscape is growing, government officials who take a heavy-handed approach to regulation threaten its long-term success. Instead of freeing traditional public schools from bureaucratic red tape that has tied the hands of educators and stifled innovation, some policymakers want to expand that top-down regulatory approach to the growing private school choice sector.

Take, for example, the Louisiana Scholarship Program, which provides vouchers to eligible families to enroll their child in a private school of their choice. In order for private schools to participate, they must adhere to a host of government regulations, including the requirement that all students on a scholarship take the same standardized test administered to public schools in the state.

Some private school principals have been concerned that regulations like this would drive school curriculum, thereby discouraging schools from participating. Indeed, just one-third of private schools in Louisiana participate in the program, and an experimental evaluation found that participation in the program had a negative effect on student academic achievement.

We are now beginning to better understand the way regulations affect private schools’ willingness to participate in private school choice programs. We are also seeing that Louisiana’s “accountability” measures had unintended consequences, and that could happen elsewhere.

Along with Corey DeAngelis of the Cato Institute and Patrick Wolf of the University of Arkansas, we recently released the first experimental evaluation of the effects of various regulations on the willingness of private school principals to have their school participate in a hypothetical voucher program. We randomly assigned one of three different regulations—or no government regulation—as part of school participation in a hypothetical voucher program.

We found that an open enrollment requirement (mandating that private schools take all students who apply as a condition for participating in a voucher program) decreased the likelihood that private school leaders in Florida were “certain to participate” in the voucher program by around 17 percentage points.

At the same time, requiring participating private schools to administer a standardized test to their students decreased the likelihood that private school leaders were “certain to participate” by around 11 percentage points.

Standardized testing requirements appear to depress private school participation in school choice programs, which could partly explain what has transpired in the Louisiana Scholarship Program. High-quality private schools, as measured by tuition and enrollment growth, may have decided that the regulatory burden exceeded the benefits of participating in the program, and as a result, remained on the sidelines of the Louisiana Scholarship Program.

Although a growing body of literature is demonstrating that regulations on school choice programs generally correlate with lower rates of program participation, testing mandates—which in the hypothetical Florida experiment reduced school participation by 44 percent—are particularly notable for what little value parents place in them.

EdChoice recently released the results of the largest survey ever conducted of participants in a private school choice program. Parents participating in Florida’s tax credit scholarship program were asked to list the top three factors that influenced their decision to have their child attend their chosen private school. Only two factors—religious environment and instruction (66 percent) and morals/character/values-based instruction (52 percent)—were selected by a majority of scholarship parents.

Thirty-six percent of respondents listed a safe environment among their top three priorities when selecting a school for their child. The least important factor was standardized test scores. Just 4 percent of respondents listed standardized test scores as one of their top three factors.

Not only were families overwhelmingly satisfied with the tax credit scholarship program—92 percent of scholarship families reported being satisfied—but it is clear that Florida parents are choosing their child’s private school because those schools offered what their public schools either could not or would not.

So what do all of these findings mean?

At the very least, they suggest policymakers must be humble in their assumptions about what parents want in their children’s schools, and about their ability to drive quality through regulations.

A growing body of evidence suggests regulations, including standardized testing mandates, can depress school participation in private school choice programs. At the same time, while such regulations can discourage school participation (limiting the options available to families), they do not rise anywhere near the top of the factors parents value when choosing a school.

Parents are much more interested in those intangibles that standardized tests cannot capture, but that are more important to the long-term flourishing of their children, such as religious and values-based instruction. And for good reason: As Jay Greene has identified, we do not regularly see a relationship between changing test scores and later life outcomes.

Indeed, what parents are looking for is something apart from what their child’s traditional district school offered. To condition private school participation in a school choice program on adherence to the public school formula—as the Louisiana Scholarship Program does—renders school choice less meaningful by reducing the number of substantially different options available to families.

Policymakers should avoid being like the proverbial drunk looking for his lost keys under the lamppost because “that’s where the light is.” Standardized tests shine a light on an important aspect of school performance, but sometimes the keys are not under the light.

Families prioritize aspects of schooling that are less measurable, but equally or more important. Families want schools that will form children of good moral character. They want schools that will prepare their children to pursue their life and career goals. They want meaningful instruction in a safe school setting.

Choice is providing them access to just that.


Australian universities miffed about inquiry into freedom of speech

The government has asked a former chief justice of the high court, Robert French, to review the health of freedom of speech on Australia’s university campuses.

The review will take four months, and French has been asked to assess the framework protecting freedom of expression and inquiry, including the multiple codes of conduct and enterprise agreements that govern campuses.

He has also been asked to consider policy options that could “better promote” freedom of expression, including the development of a sector-led code of conduct to govern university behaviour.

The request comes after a series of controversies on university campuses where students and academic staff have been accused of stifling public debates.

But Universities Australia has questioned why the review is necessary, saying campuses should be free of political interference. [Including interference from Left-Fascist goons

It has also criticised some media commentators for being “very wide of the mark” and “selectively quoting from university policies and codes” to make their arguments about free speech.

Dan Tehan, the education minister, said universities were important institutions where ideas were debated and challenged and freedom of speech had to be protected “even where what is being said may be unpopular or challenging”.

“The best university education is one where students are taught to think for themselves, and protecting freedom of speech is how to guarantee that,” he said.

“If necessary, the French review could lead to the development of an Australian version of the Chicago statement, which is a voluntary framework that clearly sets out a university’s commitment to promoting freedom of speech.”

French said he would respect the “legitimate institutional autonomy” of Australia’s universities while undertaking the review.

“An important object of the review will be the production of a resource including a model code which can be used as a point of reference in any consideration by universities of their existing rules and guidelines relating to the protection of freedom of speech on campus,” he said.

But Universities Australia said the country’s universities had more than 100 policies, codes and agreements that support free intellectual inquiry, ensuring a culture of lively debate and a vigorous contest of ideas.

Prof Margaret Gardner, the chair of Universities Australia, said some assertions in media reporting had mischaracterised academic freedom and downplayed the robust state of debate on campuses.

“Some commentators on free speech at Australian universities have been very wide of the mark – jumping to the wrong conclusions or selectively quoting from university policies and codes,” she said.

“These same conclusions would not meet the threshold test of academic inquiry — informed by evidence and facts.

“They are made by advocates who appear to want government to override university autonomy with heavy-handed external regulation and red tape.

“Despite these incorrect assertions, a wide range of opinions are freely expressed on campus – in the context of Australian law and university codes of conduct.”

Gardner also said Universities Australia had not provided input for the review’s terms of reference.

A press release from Tehan’s office on Wednesday said: “Universities Australia have been consulted on the review.”


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The latest "Times Higher" top 200 universities in the world for 2019

British universities did very well this year and two Australian universities made it into the top 50


 1           University of Oxford     United Kingdom
 2           University of Cambridge     United Kingdom
 3           Stanford University     United States
 4           Massachusetts Institute of Technology     United States
 5           California Institute of Technology     United States
 6           Harvard University     United States
 7           Princeton University     United States
 8           Yale University     United States
 9           Imperial College London     United Kingdom
 10           University of Chicago     United States
 11           ETH Zurich     Switzerland
 =12      Johns Hopkins University     United States
 =12      University of Pennsylvania     United States
 14           UCL     United Kingdom
 15           University of California, Berkeley     United States
 16           Columbia University     United States
 17           University of California, Los Angeles     United States
 18           Duke University     United States
 19           Cornell University     United States
 20           University of Michigan     United States
 21           University of Toronto     Canada
 22           Tsinghua University     China
 23           National University of Singapore     Singapore
 24           Carnegie Mellon University     United States
 25           Northwestern University     United States
 26           London School of Economics and Political Science, UK    
 27           New York University     United States
 28           University of Washington     United States
 29           University of Edinburgh     United Kingdom
 30           University of California, San Diego     United States
 31           Peking University     China
 =32      LMU Munich     Germany
 =32      University of Melbourne     Australia
 34           Georgia Institute of Technology     United States
 35           École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Swiss
 36           University of Hong Kong     Hong Kong
 37           University of British Columbia     Canada
 38           King’s College London     United Kingdom
 39           University of Texas at Austin     United States
 40           Karolinska Institute     Sweden
 41           Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University,
 42           The University of Tokyo     Japan
 43           University of Wisconsin-Madison     United States
 =44      McGill University     Canada
 =44      Technical University of Munich     Germany
 46           Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
 47           Heidelberg University     Germany
 48           KU Leuven     Belgium
 49           Australian National University     Australia
 50           University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign     USA


Young Americans need to be taught skills, not handed credentials

Most education is now disconnected from the needs of students and the labour market

I cannot think of a market that is more dysfunctional in America right now than education. Total student debt topped $1.5tn this year and a Brookings study found that nearly 40 per cent of those borrowers are likely to default on their loans by 2023.

Some of the borrowers will have attended predatory for-profit colleges, for which the Trump administration recently loosened regulations.

The imprimatur of a $75,000 Harvard degree is in such demand that the school is now being sued by a group of Asian-American students who say more of them should be allowed in on the basis of high test scores. But at the other end of the spectrum, several new studies show that a garden variety four-year degree isn’t paying off the way it used to. One recent survey found that 43 per cent of college grads are underemployed.

This certainly mirrors what I hear from chief executives, many of whom tell me they cannot find the skills they need either at the top or the bottom of the socio-economic ladder. Ivy League colleges are great for those who can afford them but most education has become completely disconnected from the needs of both students and the labour market.

There are plenty of MBAs who can read a balance sheet but have neither operational nor soft skills. Four-year business administration graduates are settling for low wage gigs, while $20-an-hour manufacturing jobs go unfilled because employers can’t find anyone with vocational training.

Desperate companies are trying to plug the gap — telecoms group AT&T has set up an internal online course to train the 95 per cent of those in its own technology and services unit that have inadequate ability in Stem subjects — Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Walmart Academy has trained thousands of workers, including in basic skills they should have learnt in high schools.

There are myriad factors that have created this dysfunctional system, but one that hasn’t been talked about enough is the unfair bias towards schools rather than skills. According to a 2017 Harvard Business School report, more than 6m good paying jobs in the US are at risk of “degree inflation”, meaning that skilled labour is locked out of the market for lack of a degree, even if one is not needed for the job.

For some middle-level positions in 2015, two-thirds of employers were asking for a college degree, even though only 16 per cent of people working successfully in similar positions had them. That cuts social mobility. But it also inflates the price of what may be a needless credential and costs employers, who pay more for people with fewer skills and a higher propensity to jump between companies.

How to end this arms race? Some businesses and educators are working with non-profits that help them vet skills of workers with no credentials. One such programme is run with state governments in Colorado and Indiana, as well as companies such as LinkedIn and Microsoft. Skillful evaluates and ranks workers based on their hard and soft skills via online and in-person testing and training. It then pairs them with appropriate jobs.

Others, like Year Up, provide something similar at a national level for young people, identifying and training the highly-motivated for six months, and matching them with major companies such as Salesforce or JPMorgan who can trial them for another six months without a full hiring commitment. “We think of it as supply chain management for talent,” says Gerald Chertavian, the CEO and founder of the programme.

Perhaps the most successful and scalable bridging of the skills and credentials gap thus far has been the P-Tech high school, initially started by IBM as a way to create a middle-market talent pool and now said to run with 500 other industry partners in 110 schools in eight states.

It graduates students with both a high school and associates’ degree, and they are guaranteed jobs paying $50,000-a-year. Corporate partners are willing to make this assurance since they have a hand in shaping the curriculum to their taste. The completion rates of the graduates are 500 per cent of the national average. The schools are non-selective, use unionised teachers, and serve a disproportionate number of lower-income students of colour.

Some worry about allowing business this sort of seat at the table in shaping education. I do not. Other countries — Germany, for instance — have shown it is possible to provide high-quality education and job-market skills at once.

We are at a crisis point in education today, but it is also a good moment to change the trajectory of things.

The Perkins Bill, which funds vocational education, was recently reauthorised by Congress. That means that there’s now a guaranteed pot of nearly $1.3bn over the next six years to be thrown at revamping secondary and tertiary education to meet the needs of employers and the labour market.

States have a fair amount of leeway about how they use the funds. It would be great to see more of them talking to employers about what they need and putting money into programmes that foster skills rather than simply award credentials.


Australia: Vocational education graduates earn barely more than school leavers

Another failure of credentialism.  Learning on the job is just as good

Students graduating with a vocational qualification earn only marginally more on average than students who finished year 12 at high school, and the small differential sticks with them all their working lives.

The lack of earnings premium is so startling it has left researchers puzzled, especially given the shortage of skilled labour in vocational jobs.

For women in some jobs a vocational education qualification left them worse off than if they'd got a job straight out of school, and this disadvantage also stayed with them for a lifetime.

In 2016, males with a vocational qualification earned just 2.1 per cent more than males who went straight into jobs from year 12. Women vocational graduates earned 1.8 per cent less than women who had gone from year 12 straight into the workforce.
He said the data was not necessarily a reflection of the quality VET providers or TAFEs. It was a reflection of ...
He said the data was not necessarily a reflection of the quality VET providers or TAFEs. It was a reflection of Australian job market and what people think should be rewarded most. Rob Homer

Professor Stephen Parker, national sector leader for education at KPMG, said while there are some irregularities that need to be accounted for, the data shows people with vocational education and training qualifications are not more well off, on average, despite the cost and time they put into further education.

The data comes from a long-term Household Income and Labour Dynamics Australia survey and was analysed by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling for KPMG.

Looking at a whole working life, the small gap between people with VET qualifications and people with year 12 qualifications does not change over a career. Male VET graduates continue to make barely any more than year 12 students well into their late 50s. And the negative premium for women continues right up to age 60.

"I can't fully explain it. This is such a stunning finding. We know there is a shortage of skills. We can see it in the government's skills shortage list. Certain jobs are in short supply but this is not pushing up average incomes in jobs done with vocational qualification."

Professor Parker there were exceptions. Some VET graduates, such as plumbers and electricians, earned more than people with less-sought after VET qualifications. But the overall trend remained.

He added that people who left school before year 12 earned far less than year 12 finishers or VET graduates. This meant that people doing VET at least had a lifetime premium over people who left school before year 12.

He said the data was not necessarily a reflection of the quality of VET providers or TAFEs. It was a reflection of the Australian job market and what people think should be rewarded most.

"Poor old TAFE has been targeted. But the problem lies in the jobs and the status attached to them."

By comparison with VET, males with university qualifications could expect a wage premium of nearly 19 per cent versus the benchmark year-12 graduate. Women university graduates could expect a 13 per cent premium.

"That's also about the nature of the job market and the status that is attached to higher education. It's about the expansion of the professions and the expansion of the knowledge economy."

But another puzzle in the data was that the 40-year trend for graduates showed no increase or decrease in the wage premium even though vastly more people were graduating which, in a market system, should mean the price of labor  would fall.

"So the market is not working perfectly," he said.

The data show the gender wage gap remains wide. In 2016 not only did women with VET qualifications earn less than people who went to work straight from school, they earned less than men with VET qualifications. In 2016 women university graduates' hourly earnings ($40.90) were 19 per cent lower than for men ($50.60).

Women who went to work straight after year 12 earned $30 an hour, compared to men, who earned $32.90.

"The really worrying thing is that the gap between men and women's hourly wage is not closing and it's across all qualifications."

"In the old days and perhaps still, people were resistant to the militant word 'patriarchy', a society run by men. But when you look at these figures you would say we are looking at a patriarchy in numbers." [Rubbish!  Women study different subjects]


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Leftist Protester At American University Goes Completely Bonkers Over Dinesh D’Souza Lecture

Leftists seem to think they are more persuasive if they shout

A leftist protester at American University was filmed screaming at a conservative who was hosting conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza on campus.

A leftist protester was caught on film screaming at a conservative student activist this week. The meltdown came in response to a scheduled lecture from conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza at American University in Washington D.C.

“Because motherfuckers like you come here and you have no idea what it’s like to be gay, to be a person of color, to know what it’s like to live with institutional racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia,” he said, to an inaudible response from the student.

The protester then blamed conservative speech for mass shootings around the country. “I don’t believe people should be promoting hate speech that leads to mass shootings by angry, white, Brock Turner motherfuckers like you,” he shouts.

“If I were your father, I’d kill myself,” the protester said before the video cuts off.

In the lecture, D’Souza addressed the protester, specifically the portion where the protester argued that the student had no idea what it is like to be a person of color. “I just saw, on social media, a video of a protester screaming about my presence here tonight, a white guy. And he goes, ‘You don’t know what it means to be a person of color.’ And I thought, well if there is one thing I do know, it’s that.”

SOURCE  Video at link

UCLA diversity requirement threatens academic freedom, trust in academia

A recent article in Real Clear Investigations reported on a decision by the University of California, Los Angeles to require all professors applying for a tenure-track position — as well as any seeking promotion — to submit an “Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion” statement as part of their portfolio.

Guidance from UCLA’s Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is intended to explain what this requirement means and why UCLA determined that these statements must accompany the evidence of teaching, research, and service that traditionally go into such decisions at every university in America. Unfortunately, the guidance is cause for alarm, and has the potential to seriously threaten academic freedom at UCLA.

UCLA’s FAQ-formatted guidance begins with the question, “Should equity, diversity, and inclusion figure into faculty hiring and promotion?” Its answer, of course, is yes, and it cites the university’s Academic Personnel Manual, Section 210-1-d, which states that “[c]ontributions in all areas of faculty achievement that promote equal opportunity and diversity should be given due recognition in the academic personnel process, and they should be evaluated and credited in the same way as other faculty achievements.”

Indeed, the guidance cites this language throughout as justification for the newly mandatory statements. Yet the language cited dates back at least to 2015, and substantially similar statements about how candidates’ work in this area should count for hiring and promotion date as far back as 2005. These statements weren’t mandatory then, so why are they now? Even today, the manual itself does not actually specify that candidates must have done work to promote “equity, diversity, and inclusion” — it merely says that if candidates have done that work, it must be counted in their favor.

One needn’t be a rocket scientist to see the distinct difference between counting “equity, diversity, and inclusion” work in a candidate’s favor and mandating all candidates to provide evidence of this work with their application. It’s one thing to tell candidates that their work in the areas of equity, diversity, and inclusion will be credited to them and make sure these do not go unrecognized by departments. It’s entirely another to indicate to candidates that their mandatory EDI statement is going to be awfully lacking if they happen to spend too much time pursuing teaching, research, and service goals that may be both worthy and excellent, but which simply don’t move the needle in the direction of equity, diversity, or inclusion. Or to set up a process where faculty interviewers can’t help but hold this against them.

Speaking of which, what does UCLA mean by equity, diversity, and inclusion? For those who might suspect that these terms are politically loaded, UCLA offers little if any evidence to the contrary. While the definitions provided are not themselves explicitly partisan, one searches in vain for an example of work toward these goals that includes activity with which people on the left side of the political spectrum would be uncomfortable, either in the guidance itself, in a document from the Office of the President to which it refers, or in the example EDI statements supplied to give candidates an idea of what the university is seeking. If you doubt this is likely to be used an an ideological screening tool, imagine UCLA replacing “equity, diversity, and inclusion” with “capitalism, freedom, and patriotism,” and providing examples that happen not to include any activities or opinions that would make mainstream Republicans uncomfortable, and see if your opinion changes. Such an idea is hardly far-fetched, and of course such tests are wrong no matter whose ideology happens to be in the ascendant.

Anticipating objections on ideological grounds, the guidance explicitly professes to tackle the questions of whether this new requirement violates California’s Proposition 209 banning certain kinds of discrimination or preferential statement by state entities (it says it doesn’t), and whether it will violate academic freedom (it says it won’t, and adds that political tests in hiring or promotion are banned in UC Regents bylaws). Given the nature of such disputes and our current political culture, of course, these assurances are unlikely to do much to convince those wary of the new requirement that their fears are baseless, and it’s reasonable to expect that most of the controversy over the requirement will fall along the predictable political lines.

Even those without much interest in current culture-war disputes have reason to be concerned about the effect of this requirement on academic freedom. In its 1915 Declaration of Principles on Academic Freedom and Academic Tenure, the American Association of University Professors wrote the following:

[I]t is highly needful, in the interest of society at large, that what purport to be the conclusions of men trained for, and dedicated to, the quest for truth, shall in fact be the conclusions of such men, and not echoes of the opinions of the lay public, or of the individuals who endow or manage universities. To the degree that professional scholars, in the formation and promulgation of their opinions, are, or by the character of their tenure appear to be, subject to any motive other than their own scientific conscience and a desire for the respect of their fellow experts, to that degree the university teaching profession is corrupted; its proper influence upon public opinion is diminished and vitiated; and society at large fails to get from its scholars, in an unadulterated form, the peculiar and necessary service which it is the office of the professional scholar to furnish.

UCLA’s diversity statement requirement contradicts this principle.

First, take a look at who is demanding that faculty members, both current and prospective, dedicate a substantial part of their efforts to activities that look good on an EDI statement. It’s not the faculty members themselves. It’s not even the faculty at large. No, it’s the UCLA administration and the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion — in other words, “the individuals who [] manage universities.”

Second, even by 1915 it was obvious to the professoriate that the credibility of their work, which is based on their reputation for expertise in their fields, would be fatally compromised if people could merely dismiss their purportedly academic conclusions by pointing out that ideology, or the fear of losing jobs or opportunities because of political disagreement, was what was driving their academic endeavors. Yet that is precisely what UCLA has now mandated must happen. If faculty members want to have a satisfactory EDI statement, they’d better turn some of their academic endeavors toward “equity, diversity, and inclusion,” however UCLA administrators define such terms, regardless of their own “scientific conscience” and/or “desire for the respect of their fellow experts.”

Last year, the Pew Research Center released a poll indicating that the percentage of Republican-leaning respondents who thought that colleges and universities had a positive effect on the way things are going in the country had dropped to 36 percent in 2017, with 58 percent saying they had a negative effect. This was a dramatic drop from just two years before, in which 54 percent said colleges had a positive effect and only 37 percent said it was negative. (The overwhelmingly positive sentiment of Democrat-leaning respondents remained virtually unchanged.)

Whatever your political sentiments, colleges and universities will most certainly suffer if they can no longer claim a broad, cross-partisan base of support. Avoiding policies that are both politically divisive and destructive to academic freedom is a necessary condition if we are to rebuild everyone’s confidence that higher education is a net positive for our country, and worthy of the billions of tuition, taxpayer, and philanthropic dollars it receives every year. By allowing administrators to rely on broad, subjective, and ideologically-loaded terms to influence hiring decisions, UCLA is headed in the opposite direction.


My Macquarie University talk shows why universities can't win

Bettina Arndt, writing from Australia

Well, I have just completed the final talk in my Fake Rape Campus tour for this year– at Macquarie University in Sydney. Macquarie is a pretty snoozy place, a far less political campus than Sydney university and it is currently exam time so the event was much quieter than previous ones. It went pretty well, with about 60 people showing up and no protesters.

For the previous few weeks feminists had been very actively pull down posters promoting the event but the Liberal Club students hosting my talk did a great job getting more posters out there. That’s the main point of the whole exercise – not simply persuading people to show up for the event but getting the message out to ordinary students the universities are misleading them about the safety of their campuses – and demonising young men in the process.   

The student newspaper put the usual feminist spin on what I am doing, claiming the Human Rights Commission figures understate the problem because rape victims won’t come forward. That’s an argument that surely doesn’t hold up when it comes to a totally confidential, anonymous survey. But at Macquarie the activists had the bright idea of holding an event supporting rape survivors at the same time as my talk – and a far more peaceful time was had by all.

I’m posting just a small segment of the Q&A, where I was questioned by a rape victim. It’s only a few minutes long but I think you will find it illuminating. 

We are not allowing comments to be posted about this video because I don’t want my questionner to receive personal attacks. However I thought this was a very interesting exchange, illustrating very clearly that the whole campus rape narrative is being driven by people, some with very sad histories, who have no interest in evidence or facts but are determined to promote their ideological position that our campuses are crawling with rapists. They are now actively seeking to drum up new data which supports their position, conveniently dismissing the Human Rights’ Commission survey which failed to produce evidence of a rape crisis. It shows so clearly that despite the strenuous efforts of our universities to appease these people, there is no way they are ever going to be satisfied.  

It is quite frightening that the whole higher education sector appears to believe they can enhance their public reputation by kowtowing to this dangerous minority group – selling out young men in the process. It makes me all the more determined to push ahead with my campus tour next year. I now have student groups across the country keen on hosting more talks – which will roll out from the start of first semester next year. We are looking at ways of circulating proper information about the campus rape issue, organising meetings with university administrators, talking to staff and alumni groups as well as students.

Senator Amanda Stoker

Then there’s action following Senator Amanda Stoker’s excellent efforts to raise questions about the violent Sydney University protest in Senate Estimates.  We’ve organised for TEQSA, the body responsible for monitoring universities’ compliance with regulations, to be given all the evidence for Sydney University’s failure to protect student safety and control unruly students. It will be nice to see this arrogant institution facing some tough questions and we have other plans if the current approach fails to achieve any results. 

Gunning for me

Some of you may remember a video interview I posted last year with Nico Bester, a teacher who served time in prison for having a sexual relationship with one of his older students. He rightly paid the price for doing something very wrong. I interviewed him because I object to the fact that having served prison time for his offence he has now become the poster boy for the #MeToo activists who are conducting a ferocious campaign to try to stop him finishing his PhD at Tasmania University.

This week the activists have launched  the latest stage in their campaign, arguing in numerous newspaper articles that his victim should be allowed to “fight back,” by openly telling her story. At present Tasmanian laws prohibit the media from naming her. The irony is we recently removed Bester’s video after discovering the material we presented included a tiny image of her face, taken from her Facebook page, which apparently was most distressing for the victim.

It seems rather odd that she is now demanding Tasmania changes its laws so her identity can be publicly revealed. Sixty Minutes is currently promoting a teaser for this week’s programme which includes a highly selective segment from my video interview with Bester. Rest assured they’ll be doing their best to discredit me in every way possible. My campus tour is making me a very big target!

Via email

Monday, November 12, 2018

DARTMOUTH NIGHTMARE: It’s worse than you might think

President Philip Hanlon
Dartmouth College
Hanover, New Hampshire

Dear President Hanlon,

On October 23, I spoke at your college. I was invited by members of College Republicans and Students Supporting Israel. They probably wanted to hear what I had to say because I am one of the most prominent conservative intellectuals in America, having published over twenty books, three of which were New York Times best-sellers and one of which was nominated for a National Book Award. The feminist Camille Paglia has said of me: “I respect the astute and rigorously unsentimental David Horowitz as one of America's most original and courageous political analysts…. As a scholar who regularly surveys archival material, I think that, a century from now, cultural historians will find David Horowitz's spiritual and political odyssey paradigmatic for our time.”

Despite my credentials, and even though these conservative students pay the same tuition - $75,000 per year – as your leftwing students, I was forced to raise the money to underwrite my visit and lecture. This was particularly galling to the Dartmouth conservatives who invited me, because the previous spring Dartmouth’s “Office of Pluralism and Leadership” sponsored a visit by notorious anti-Semite and terrorist supporter Linda Sarsour – who has no academic credentials to speak of – underwriting her expenses and paying her a reported $10,000 honorarium for her talk.

My hosts were also probably interested in what I had to say because over the preceding decades, Dartmouth has purged conservative intellectuals from its faculty so effectively that the students could only name two Dartmouth liberal arts professors who were conservative. This reflects a collective faculty attitude that intellectual diversity is dangerous and unwanted. This is a disgraceful fact of academic life, which could easily be remedied, which prevents Dartmouth students from getting a decent liberal arts education, where all issues are controversial and intellectual diversity is the only guarantee that students are being educated rather than indoctrinated, or that there are reasonable checks on unchallenged leftist professors going off the deep end. As it happens my visit elicited a professorial outburst showing just how far leftwing bigotry and anti-academic discourse can go on your campus. I will come to this in a moment.

Before my arrival, an anonymous leaflet was circulated, apparently by the Dartmouth Socialists club. It was filled with lies about my work, calling me a “racist, sexist and ignorant bigot.” These slanders were drawn from the Southern Poverty Law Center, an institution so discredited that it recently had to pay a devout and moderate British Muslim $3.4 million after it libeled him as “a violent anti-Muslim extremist.” None of the students behind this slander sheet was apparently aware that I have a 50-year public record as a civil rights activist, or that I have published three books in the last 20 years dedicated to Martin Luther King’s vision of an America in which people are judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. And why should Dartmouth students be aware of my views since Dartmouth’s leftwing faculty obviously has no respect for conservative perspectives, which is why conservatives are as rare as unicorns on your faculty.

Leading the pack of Dartmouth character assassins who mobilized to combat my presence was Professor Annelise Oreleck, an out-of-control Gender Studies professor who tweeted: “Long-time hater, Islamophobe and anti-intellectual David Horowitz is speaking today in Rocky 3 at 6pm. He is a hater of the first order. If you’re so inclined, support students who are organizing a protest – Bring signs. Turn your back. Stage a walkout.” What justification can there be to have such an angry, close-minded individual teaching Dartmouth students?

Professor Oreleck’s protest instructions happened to be – and surely this was no coincidence - exactly what the Dartmouth Socialists were planning to obstruct my lecture -  namely to turn an academic talk into a circus so that no one would pay serious attention to anything that was said. They came in force to play loud porn videos, put on headphones to block out my words, unfurl distracting banners with slogans like “Trans Rights Are Human Rights” and “ICE is the Gestapo,” and to periodically walk out of the room throwing jibes in my direction as further distractions before they left. One transgender person, dressed as though she was going to Mardi Gras, sat herself near the front and eyed me intensely in the hope I guess that I would find her disturbing.

All the disrespectful antics of the protesters were in fact disturbing – not least because they were displays of Ivy League students wasting what could have been a valuable educational opportunity, and demonstrations of their total lack of interest in what someone who disagreed with them, and was far more educated, might be saying. When I was a college radical, as I told them to no effect, I always wanted to hear what our opponents were saying because I thought it would make me a better radical. Apparently, today’s radicals are so dedicated to self-righteous know-nothingism that they couldn’t care less what they are fighting against. As for the transgenderism, like many other conservatives, I am actually a very tolerant person. I happen to have a transgendered grandson who graduated from an Ivy League school and would never think of attending a college lecture only to mock it.

Wondering how students paying $75,000 a year for a Dartmouth education could throw away such an opportunity, it occurred to me that maybe they were not paying anything at all, but were so-called “marginalized” and “under-served” affirmative action scholarship cases. What a travesty that Dartmouth would encourage them to squander the opportunity their scholarships provided by not insisting on behavior appropriate to an academic community. When educators encourage closed minds, what is left of the learning process?

As it happens there were several Dartmouth administrators overseeing this event, including Keysi Montás, the Director of Safety and Security who was in charge. Unfortunately, they were not there to enforce an educational decorum but to encourage the protesters by tolerating their antics and refusing to eject them.

The whole travesty was sealed by the school newspaper, The Dartmouth, which bills itself as “The Oldest College Newspaper,” and which sent a reporter named Andrew Culver to cover the event. Before I began speaking, I gave Culver a recorded interview at his request. In it, I defended myself against the slanders in the anonymous leaflet, and showed him exactly how and why they were gross misrepresentations of the facts. For example, I was called a “sexist” for pointing out the scientific fact that men score higher on mathematical aptitude tests than women. What the slander sheet left out was that I also said, women score higher than men on verbal aptitude tests, and that I brought up these facts in defense of Harvard’s liberal president, Larry Summers, who was under fire for stating them first. I also described my public record as a civil rights activist, mentioned the fact that I had three black grandchildren, and was probably the only conservative in the country to defend Trayvon Martin during the trial of his killer George Zimmerman.

The Dartmouth reporter Andrew Culver failed to print a single word of my interview. Instead he opened his article by repeating the lies in the leaflet – namely that I was a racist, a sexist and a bigot. Culver’s mis-reporting of the event closed off the possibility that anyone in the Dartmouth community at large would be exposed to anything I had actually said. Only the slanders would remain. This is the state of education at a once admired Ivy League institution, where students can go four years without encountering a conservative adult. Moreover, if one is invited to campus to speak, he will be drowned out by students who shouldn’t be in college in the first place.

You had no personal role in these travesties, but you are president of the institution that made them possible. I’m not going to ask you to have your “Office of Pluralism (how Orwellian is that)” sponsor a return visit from me, since it might well provoke a faculty riot. I just want you to think about these signs of a damaged institution. and the warping of the educational experiences of your students.

I would like an apology from you on behalf of the Dartmouth community. I would also like to see some instruction from you to your staff on the importance of promoting educational values rather than encouraging close-minded political bigotry at your school. Perhaps hiring a dozen or so conservative administrators might help.


David Horowitz


4 Pros of Homeschooling (and 4 Challenges)

All parents want what’s best for their children. But when it comes to schooling, the field of choices can be murky and the decisions difficult. Parents don’t always get a close look at what goes on in their kids' schools, nor can they fully understand the demands of homeschooling until they’ve made the leap.

Both options incur financial and intangible costs; both offer benefits that can be enticing. An increasing number of parents, though, are making the financial sacrifice to stay home and educate their children themselves.

Homeschooling fosters deeper connections between kids and parents, allows a more tailored approach to education, and accommodates the family schedule, among other positive effects. It can also leave children isolated from peers and social interaction without the resources offered by traditional schools. Before deciding whether or not to homeschool your kids, it is important to examine all the facts—the clear advantages as well as the challenges that homeschooling families face.
Pros of Homeschooling

    One-on-one attention: To prepare for homeschooling, many experts recommend modifying the home to create a classroom or area designated especially for schooling. While this transformation can be costly depending on its extent, the potential benefits are many. Being together in that classroom every day enables your kids to spend one-on-one time with you.

Not only can this potentially strengthen the parent-child relationship, but it also gives you time to devote special attention to exactly what your children need to learn. If they require more time to concentrate on a particular subject or lesson, you’re free to spend the extra time necessary to ensure that they fully understand the concepts. Class can pause at any time without the usual pressure to keep up with other children. Conversely, if your child excels in a certain subject, that lesson can be taught at an increased pace.

    Flexible schedule: Kids who need a very rigorous schedule may benefit from taking part in traditional schooling, but those who require a more flexible schedule can prosper in a homeschooling environment. Homeschooling’s flexible schedule allows parents to take time for doctor appointments or private lessons. If your child is sick often, lessons can wait until they’re feeling better. If your kids are more productive during certain hours of the day, school can easily be reserved for that time period. And if your child is having a particularly bad day, they don’t have to feel overwhelmed by going to school; instead, they can learn in the comfort of their home.

    Teach in your child’s style: Parents and teachers know that different kids learn in different ways. Some may learn spatially, using images and dimensional understanding; visual learning and photographs should be implemented in their lessons. If your child is an auditory learner, consider integrating music and sounds into their learning process. Linguistic learning requires speaking and writing to understand concepts. Kinesthetic learners prefer to assimilate ideas through the sense of touch, so hands-on activities are a must. Different learning styles use different parts of the brain, so it’s important to integrate elements of all of these learning styles when homeschooling your child. However, particularly difficult concepts can be taught in the style that helps your child understand best.

    Cover topics that schools don’t teach: Most public schools are good at teaching reading and math, but they might not delve into practical things that don’t appear on standardized tests. Homeschooling gives you the freedom to teach math in the context of budgeting and show your kids how the stock market works. You can blend science with cooking. If your child is obsessed with a particular subject like trains or dinosaurs, you can work that into your curriculum.

Possible Homeschooling Drawbacks (and Their Solutions)

    Lack of art and sports facilities: Public schools usually have gymnasiums, sports fields, science labs, and other facilities that can be hard for homeschooling families to replicate. But that doesn’t mean homeschooled students have to miss out on traditional extracurricular activities. To make sure your kids can still take time for art and sports, sign them up for classes outside of school. Many art supply stores offer art classes for children, providing the materials for the craft and teaching your kids to do it themselves. The kids get to take the finished product home. You can also stock up on basic crafting supplies and turn to Pinterest or YouTube for ideas. Also consider signing your children up for extracurricular sports through clubs or organizations in your community. Outside art and sports classes allow homeschoolers a chance to socialize and experience elective activities with other kids their age, as well.

    No special education therapists: If your child has special needs, they’ll be missing out on having access to an in-school special education specialist or therapist. While this can be inconvenient for in-the-moment issues, many homeschool parents sign their children up to see a specialist outside of school, absorbing the added spending as part of their child’s overall health care costs. The more flexible schedule offered by homeschooling can allow for lessons to be planned around these other appointments outside of school.

    Peer interaction: Children who are homeschooled miss out on the classroom dynamic. They’re the main focus of the class, as opposed to being only one among a number of students. To help kids stay social while being homeschooled, sign them up for extracurricular activities. Sports and art classes are a great place to start, or think about letting your child join a club (a scouting or other outdoor group, for example). Many parents who homeschool also network with other homeschoolers, allowing them to hear advice from other parents on how best to navigate curricular, economic, or other homeschooling challenges. Networking with other families who homeschool also presents the potential for group field trips and outings, and allows kids to make friends among others with whom they have something in common, further improving their social skills.

    No nurse: Homeschooling means that unless you happen to be a nurse, there is no nurse. If your child falls and scrapes a knee or feels sick, no one with medical training is around to help. To address this problem, consider taking some basic first-aid classes, as well as CPR classes. Keep a first-aid kit handy in your classroom in case of an accident.

At the End of the Day

When deciding whether or not to homeschool your child, it’s important to keep in mind both the positives and negatives of homeschooling. If traditional schooling is difficult for your child, homeschooling may be the answer. The negative aspects of homeschooling often have straightforward solutions to make the process easier for both parent and child, meaning that homeschooling your son or daughter has the potential to be a success.


Australian curriculum reform must be based on evidence, not fads

The NSW school curriculum review is no trivial matter, and will have serious consequences for the state’s students. The importance of the curriculum – what students are expected to know and be able to do at each stage of school – by far outweighs jousting over funding, although it gets far less public attention.

Curriculum development is a balancing act and involves compromises and trade-offs. Children spend a limited number of hours in class each year, and there are many competing demands for this time: from foundational skills in literacy and numeracy, to general knowledge of the world and its history, health and physical activity, using technology, and now so-called general capabilities such as collaboration and creativity.

This balancing act is growing more fraught. There is strong advocacy to add to an already crowded curriculum in significant ways. Decisions have to be made about what to keep and what to jettison. These decisions must made with advice from subject matter experts, without recourse to superficial and dangerous propositions such as that from “21st-Century skills pioneer” Charles Fadel, who recently suggested trigonometry should be out and mindfulness should be in.

Care must be taken that curriculum does not implicitly or explicitly prescribe teaching methods. In theory, curriculum is agnostic about teaching. It specifies the content students should learn and the skills they should master, but does not state how these things should be taught.

The Australian curriculum says children should learn to calculate percentages by the end of Year 4, but has nothing to say about whether this should be learned sitting at a desk or playing in a sandpit. Schools make judgments about which teaching strategies are most likely to be effective.

However, in reality a curriculum can and often does encourage certain teaching practices. An example is the recommendation in the second ‘Gonski’ report to “strengthen the development of the general capabilities, and raise their status within curriculum delivery, by using learning progressions to support clear and structured approaches to their teaching, assessment, reporting and integration with learning areas”.

Creating a set of learning progressions is not a straightforward exercise. It heightens the influence of curriculum on teaching methods, and drives a particular approach to assessment. The Gonski report proposes “developing the general capabilities into learning progressions that will provide a detailed picture of students’ increasing proficiency.”

There are two risks in this. One is that it will authorise and promulgate the misguided notion that general capabilities are independent of knowledge of facts and concepts – including the fallacy that “learning how to learn” is the ultimate goal of school education.

The other is that the proposed policies and practices overshoot the existing evidence base, and therefore risk wasting valuable time and resources – not least the time of teachers who generally
already have a heavy administrative workload, and that of students whose education is at stake.

The general capabilities listed in the Australian curriculum – digital capability, critical and creative thinking, personal and social capability, intercultural understanding, and ethical understanding – are inarguably valuable for the world of work and for life more broadly. The crucial questions are whether they are really generic skills that can be conceptually sequenced on developmental progressions, and if they can be taught and assessed separate from content knowledge. The evidence at the moment suggests the answer to both questions is no.


Sunday, November 11, 2018

Why Yoni and Yael can’t do math. Israeli math scores are among the lowest in the developed world

The article below ignores the elephant in the room:  That Israel has a bimodal distribution of IQ.  The Ashkenazin are very bright and the rest have IQs similar to those found in the Muslim societies from which they migrated.  Let me put it bluntly:  The Sephardim and the Mizrachim are DUMB -- on average of course.  And they pull the national averages down.  Doing a study of Ashkenazi children only would yield very different results

The culprit, says one economist, is a society-wide lack of discipline and disdain for rules

Within Israel’s startup culture the conventional wisdom is that certain Israeli character traits — our impatience, ability to improvise, and a tendency to defy rules and challenge authority — have contributed to the country’s impressive high-tech success.

Israel is booming in terms of entrepreneurship because “you don’t follow the rules,” Google’s Eric Schmidt once told an audience at the Weizmann Institute in 2015.

Not so fast, says Noam Gruber, an economist and senior researcher at Israel’s Shoresh Institution for Socioeconomic Research. In his recently published study, “Why are Israel’s PISA Achievements So Low?” [Hebrew link], Gruber analyzes the factors that lead to relatively poor Israeli performance on international math tests and concludes that students’ lack of discipline — the very quality praised by Eric Schmidt and other startup Nation enthusiasts — is a significant factor behind the lackluster PISA scores.

“Israel has an advantage compared to other developed countries,” Gruber told The Times of Israel, noting a relatively high percentage of kids whose parents are educated and whose parents understand the importance of education.

But much of this great potential is wasted, he lamented, when Israeli students enter an education system that is of poor quality and suffers from a pathological lack of discipline. Gruber cites high levels of truancy and tardiness as well as classrooms abuzz with background noise and student disruptions as indicators of a lack of discipline.

“Discipline in Israeli schools is far below what is normative in the West,” he said. “If we don’t address this problem it will be hard for the Israeli workforce to remain competitive.”

The importance of global math scores

PISA is an acronym for the Program for International Student Assessment, a global test administered by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) measuring 15-year-olds’ performance in mathematics, science and reading.

“PISA is a unified test and it’s a way to assess the achievements of our education system compared to those of other countries,” said Gruber. “Mathematical ability is proven to be a major predictor of students’ future success in the labor market.”

PISA math scores are also highly correlated with PISA reading scores, explained Gruber, so they’re a good stand-in for overall student achievement.

Gruber surveyed all 34 OECD countries along with Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong. He found that Israel’s math PISA scores (in 2012) were the fifth lowest in this group, worse than every country except for Mexico, Chile, Turkey and Greece. The original PISA test was scaled so that the OECD average score would be 500 and the standard deviation 100. In 2012, the 5,000 Israeli students who took the PISA math exam scored an average of 466. If you break this result down still further, those Israelis who took the test in Arabic scored 388 on average while those who took it in Hebrew scored 489.

Why are these results worrying? First, because they point to a drastic inequality of outcomes between Jewish and Arab students. Even within the cohort of Jewish students, scores on the PISA test are highly unequal, with students from poorer, less educated families obtaining much lower scores than those from more advantaged backgrounds. In fact, of all 37 countries surveyed, the inequality of test scores in Israel was highest.

What this means, said Gruber, is that Israel’s school system is so mediocre it fails to contribute to social mobility. Students in Israel who have educated parents will have a PISA score that is close to the OECD average, because what they don’t get in school their parents will often give them at home. But if a child’s parents did not finish high school, the school system here is unlikely to give the student the tools needed to succeed, said Gruber.

Perhaps counterintuitively, this inequality is not just bad for students at the bottom of PISA achievement, but for students at the top as well. Looking at the 10 highest-scoring countries in his sample — such as Estonia, Canada, Japan and Finland — Gruber observed that these countries’ education systems have a relatively low level of inequality as well. In other words, those countries where the gap between the top and bottom scorers was smallest tended to be the countries with the best PISA achievements overall.

Unfortunately, even Israel’s best students are not that stellar compared to top students in other developed countries, the study showed.


California Schools Dominate In Bringing In Money From Rejected Applications

California schools like Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley and UC Irvine topped the list when it came to making revenue off rejected applications.

LendEDU, a marketplace for financial products like credit cards and private student loans, found UCLA made $5,574,730 in revenue off of declined applications for the 2016-2017 school year. UCLA topped the list for the 2015-2016 school year as well.

UCLA had more than 97,000 total applicants, but admitted a little more than 17,400 applicants.

UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara and the University of Southern California were the other California schools on the list. Cornell University, Boston University and University of Michigan – Ann Arbor were the schools outside of California rounding out the top 10. The top 10 schools combined made more than $37 million off rejected applications.

Application fee costs for the top 10 ranged between $75 to $90. Fee costs generally cover the price of reviewing the applications.

“Not only is the college application process tedious, but it can become quite expensive, which is why it may be a good idea to only apply to schools that the student is seriously considering,” Mike Brown, research analyst at LendEDU, told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement. “Otherwise, it can be $50 or even $150 down the drain! And yes, the colleges do post big revenue numbers from the application process, but this is not to be mistaken with profit.”

Revenue is the total income earned that excludes operating costs, and profits are the amount left after including operating costs.

LendEDU made their projections based on data from National Center for Education Statistics‘ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). This is the second annual survey done by LendEDU.

The survey did not mention how much in profits colleges earn from declined applications. The data does not take into account waived or discounted application fees given.


Finally, Western civilisation finds champions at the University of Sydney (Australia)

Only time will tell whether this week marks the turning point when cool reason defeated hotter heads at the University of Sydney. Those trying to secure more diverse views on campus and greater choice for students to study the great books of Western civilisation are not pulling their punches any more. Too much is at stake.

Sydney University was once a place for robust debates and diverse views. It is, or at least was, the embodiment of thousands of years of human progress and learning from ancient Greece to the Roman Empire; from the spread of Christianity and the artistic, political and economic discoveries of Renaissance, the Reformation and the Enlightenment. This is the rich, messy and splendidly complicated heritage of intellectual freedoms that underpin our liberal democracy.

As part of a $3 billion bequest by businessman Paul Ramsay, the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation is offering to fund a three-year degree where students study 30 of the great texts, from Homer and Chaucer to Marx and Virginia Woolf. The proposal includes about 40 scholarships of $30,000 to young students. The curriculum has not been finalised, nor has a memorandum of understanding been signed.

This has not deterred a small group of loud and irrational malcontents at Sydney University who are determined to stop negotiations dead in their tracks.

For months now, they have turned a debate into a one-sided diktat that the university must say no to Ramsay. They have spread wild claims, piled high with misrepresentation and misinformation. Unloading their double-barrelled loathing of the Ramsay Centre and Western civilisation, they have pitched themselves to other staff and students as moral guardians holding back barbarians from the university’s gates.

This week more reasoned ­voices pushed back against the real vandals, the hotheads inside the gates who run scared from div­erse opinions and competition by concocting conspiracy theories to scupper a Ramsay-funded degree. James Curran, professor of modern history, is one of those voices of reason.

“I’m speaking up now because of my concern that those more strident voices of opposition have unfortunately abandoned cool real­ism and calm detachment in responding to the Ramsay proposal,” Curran told The Australian on Thursday. “My bottom line is: a course such as this will complement much that is already being taught in the humanities at the university, not least the Faculty Scholars program.”

Curran says there is no evidence the intellectual autonomy of the university will be compromised. He also rejects claims the degree harbours a “three cheers for the West” ambition.

He challenges claims by professor of politics John Keane, who, says Curran, has been quoting “the British race patriot rhetoric of wartime prime minister John Curtin, implying that to support Ramsay is somehow to be advocating the recrudescence of the White Australia policy, or that it involves some kind of nostalgic harking back to or longing for the British Empire”.

“What?” says Curran with incredulity. “I am not sure where this kind of interpretation comes from. Thankfully Australia long ago dispensed with its British race character and instead wholeheartedly and enthusiastically embraced a new language and policy of tolerance and diversity.”

Curran says this country has an “ancient, rich and precious indigenous heritage” and that modern Australia, for good and ill, derives from a Western tradition that we have adapted to our environment and experience. He points to our interaction with the civilisations of the Asia-Pacific and elsewhere around the world.

Curran is speaking out after a meeting late last month where academics stridently opposed to Ramsay lined up on stage all shaking their heads in one direction. “Say ‘no’ to Ramsay,” they said, one after the other.

Professor of English literature John Frow said Western civilisation had “become code for a ­racially imagined culture under attack from racially imagined others”.

Academic Shima Shahbazi said: “The Ramsay Centre is structurally, institutionally, morally and epistemically violent to other knowledges, modernities, democracies and more importantly the indigenous history of the land.”

University of Western Sydney associate professor Alana Lentin claimed the Ramsay offer would compound the “wilful, knowing white ignorance that is leading us down the road to fascism while Liberals mindlessly bleat about the marketplace of ideas”.

In his open letter of October 3, Keane described Western civilisation as brimming with resentment. “It feels unshakeably arrogant, male and white,” he wrote. He said it was being “championed by fools (Boris Johnson) and arsonists (Nigel Farage)” and “these loudmouthed champions of Western civilisation are killing off its last remaining credibility”.

This is the stuff of political rallies. But remember these same ­academics are educating our children, the next generation of leaders and citizens.

On Wednesday at 10.04am, provost and deputy vice-chancellor Stephen Garton fired off an email to Keane, copied to members of the arts faculty and other staff. His exasperation is palpable. So is his determination to check a minority of politically charged and ideologically blinkered academics who want to scuttle an epochal funding offer to Sydney University. Garton’s 2000-plus-word response, along with Curran’s public intervention the next day, are pivotal developments. Finally, facts are gaining ground over emotion and fabrication.

In his response to an email Keane sent a week earlier, Garton’s confronts the “leaps of logic” and the “myths that frame some of the misrepresentations” running rife at the university. He addresses Keane’s “conspiracy theory thinking”, which is “lacking any evidence whatsoever”.

Garton objects to Keane’s “pejorative language of lucre” — a word that alludes to filthy money. You will find the word in the Bible, Titus 1:11, admonishing those who teach “things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake”.

“Is it lucre when we raise funds to support indigenous scholarships or research on childhood obesity?” Garton asks Keane.

“The logic of the argument … escapes me. Does this mean we shouldn’t accept funding for renal cancer because it is not also for bowel cancer, that we shouldn’t accept a chair in Celtic studies because it is not more broadly ­European studies, that we shouldn’t accept funding for a position in Near Eastern archeology because it is not also classical archaeology, that we wouldn’t accept it for medieval history ­because it ignores medieval ­philosophy?”

He assures Keane and other academics that the draft MOU will safeguard academic autonomy but laments that nothing will satisfy them except outright rejection of the proposal. Deploying his background in medical history, Garton likens some of their anxiety to “a type of Victorian ­miasma theory”.

“The frame of reference here is an implication that if we breathe any Ramsay air at all we will immediately become infected and diseased,” he writes. “I have far more confidence in the intellectual robustness and resilience of our colleagues than that.”

As to the claim by loathers of Western civilisation that core texts such as Plato, St Augustine, Locke, Chaucer and Shakespeare are “old-fashioned”, Garton admonishes their “dismaying dismissal of much that is good in what we do”. He defends “many of our finest colleagues” who teach such texts using depth, not breadth.

“To explore one set of intellectual traditions or one canon of texts does not devalue other traditions or textual canons,” writes Garton. He dismisses as equally irrational claims the new course will compete with other courses. “How a program with a very small commencing cohort (30 to 60) can threaten disciplines like history and English is equally puzzling,” Garton writes. “Are these disciplines really that vulnerable? If students are leaving these disciplines then they have more to worry about than Ramsay.”

Garton points out that existing teaching of the Western tradition is done in a piecemeal fashion. “None of it is stitched together as an overall program as the university does with, say, Asian studies or American studies.”

This point is critical to learning the real story of human progress. During a visit to Australia earlier this year, the historian and author of The English and Their History, Robert Tombs, said: “The West ravaged continents, burned heretics, invented the gas chamber and the atom bomb, and almost destroyed itself in two world wars. But when woven together the separate parts of Western civilisation explain how we learned to end slavery, defeat totalitarianism and grew ashamed of war, genocide and persecution.”

It is, says the historian who has taught at Cambridge for more than 50 years, “an action-packed adventure story, not a philosophical treatise”. And that is how it should be taught at school and university.