Friday, December 14, 2018

Affirmative Action and the Rest of Us

The writer below is of mixed ancestry and feels alienated by the boxes Leftists constantly put people in.  He feels that his situation shows how rigid and foolish is the identity obsession of the Lerft

As the American melting pot continues to melt, how will Affirmative Action deal with the growing population of culturally and ethnically diverse Americans who don’t fit into any box?

The topics I want to hear about don’t get brought up much during most races for federal office. I’ve never heard a congressional debate where the devaluing of our dollar by the Federal Reserve was brought up, or Senate candidates discuss how they plan on continuing to fund the hundreds of military installations we have around the world while also increasing welfare spending. In Virginia, a red-gone-purple state that seems to have converted blue, the 2018 midterm has focused primarily on one issue- who will support the President’s agenda, and who won’t. Real policy debates being left out of this equation.

It shocked me on Monday evening however when scrolling through my inbox I saw a subject header with “Corey Stewart” and “Affirmative Action” in the same sentence. Of all the things I would say matter to Republican candidate Corey Stewart, I didn’t think Affirmative Action (in which college admissions decide who gets a shot and who doesn’t based on an applicant’s race when coming down to a final decision) was one of them.

The article attached from the conservative site the Bull Elephant discussed a press conference held where Mr. Stewart and members of the Vietnamese and broader Asian community joined together to declare their intention to fight to remove racial quotas in college admissions via the policy realm (primarily if Stewart wins the race, in which he pledged to sponsor legislation doing so). Asian-Americans, who are steadfastly becoming the majority-minority block in the United States, have for decades been discriminated against in college admissions based off their race.

A recent Washington Post article discussing the same topic even went on to mention how the Department of Justice even backed a group of Asian students in a lawsuit against the admissions department of Harvard. This is a topic that goes by the wayside in the mainstream media because a conversation about the ethics and impact of Affirmative Action seems to devolve into one side calling it “state sponsored racism” or “racial equality.”

At the Wednesday night US Senate debate, Mr. Stewart brought up this issue in which incumbent Senator Kaine replied stating he wanted “classrooms that look like America.” I’m glad this topic is finally being addressed publicly, but it still brings with it some other difficult challenges in order to find a better solution.

Affirmative Action was established in a post-Jim Crow era in order to ensure black students (a massively disenfranchised section of American society thanks to Jim Crow laws) had a fairer shot of obtaining college admissions. Having lived and gone to school in Alabama, I learned first hand what the struggle for civil rights looked like, and the cost for those who fought for it. At museums throughout the state there are still exhibits that mention Alabama Governor George Wallace’s famous tirade “segregation now! Segregation forever!” This is for many Americans, a speech that still feels like it was given yesterday.

With great strides in racial equality made despite all the challenges- social and economic- that have come with time, Affirmative Action seems to be running out of excuses for its relevance. For many Americans like myself, this racially based quota system puts us in a strange position that for many people in my shoes, becomes sort of an identity crisis.

My mother is half Korean and half anglo-American, and my father is half Puerto Rican and half anglo-American. I grew up primarily with my Korean grandmother involved in my life but still developing a working knowledge of latin culture due to my last name being Martinez. Racial surveys have always made me feel uncomfortable because I don’t know what box I fit in to, or why it even matters to begin with. I’m a minority-mix up, but on the outside I look what many would consider white. However the question arises; am I categorized based on how I look or what is in my blood? My last name Martinez embodies my latino heritage, so am I in the latino/hispanic box? What about the fact that I was closer to my mother’s asian side of the family? Surely I could make a case for myself identifying as the Asian/pacific islander box strictly speaking.

The further you go the more complicated you get once you narrow down the boxes. What is the true difference between a “latino” and a “hispanic?” I know as many black latinos as I do brown latinos and blonde hair, blue eyed latinos. Are people from Spain considered in the latino category because that is where my lineage goes back to, yet most would consider them white-European. Do all spanish speakers qualify for the vague latino box? I for one don’t even speak a lick of Spanish. Why also is the Asian box not split up between the Middle East and the oriental sections of the continent of Asia? How on Earth did the Pacific Islander population get put in the same block as Indians, Pakistanis, Chinese, and Koreans?

As the American melting pot continues to melt, how will Affirmative Action deal with the growing population of culturally and ethnically diverse Americans who don’t fit into any box? These are very difficult questions but questions that must be discussed in the public forum. I for one have always been a strong advocate for what Ayn Rand described as the “largest minority” on Earth, “the individual.” Maybe classrooms need to look like the people that have earned a place in them and not just what we imagine would be the ideal aesthetic.

Whether you support Corey Stewart or Tim Kaine in November, you should be glad they are at least having this discussion in the public forum because one day within our lifetime probably, Affirmative Action is going to truly become a front and center topic no one will be able to run away from.


Harvard Study Shows the Dangers of Early School Enrollment.
Are ADHD rates rising because we send children to school at younger ages?

Every parent knows the difference a year makes in the development and maturity of a young child. A one-year-old is barely walking while a two-year-old gleefully sprints away from you. A four-year-old is always moving, always imagining, always asking why, while a five-year-old may start to sit and listen for longer stretches.

Growing Expectations vs. Human Behavior

Children haven’t changed, but our expectations of their behavior have. In just one generation, children are going to school at younger and younger ages, and are spending more time in school than ever before. They are increasingly required to learn academic content at an early age that may be well above their developmental capability.

In 1998, 31 percent of teachers expected children to learn to read in kindergarten. In 2010, 80 percent of teachers expected this. Now, children are expected to read in kindergarten and to become proficient readers soon after, despite research showing that pushing early literacy can do more harm than good.

In their report Reading in Kindergarten: Little to Gain and Much to Lose education professor Nancy Carlsson-Paige and her colleagues warn about the hazards of early reading instruction. They write,

When children have educational experiences that are not geared to their developmental level or in tune with their learning needs and cultures, it can cause them great harm, including feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and confusion.

Hate The Player, Love the Game

Instead of recognizing that schooling is the problem, we blame the kids. Today, children who are not reading by a contrived endpoint are regularly labeled with a reading delay and prescribed various interventions to help them catch up to the pack. In school, all must be the same. If they are not listening to the teacher, and are spending too much time daydreaming or squirming in their seats, young children often earn an attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) label and, with striking frequency, are administered potent psychotropic medications.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 11 percent of children ages four to seventeen have been diagnosed with ADHD, and that number increased 42 percent from 2003-2004 to 2011-2012, with a majority of those diagnosed placed on medication. Perhaps more troubling, one-third of these diagnoses occur in children under age six.

Children who start school as the youngest in their grade have a greater likelihood of getting an ADHD diagnosis than older children in their grade.

It should be no surprise that as we place young children in artificial learning environments, separated from their family for long lengths of time, and expect them to comply with a standardized, test-driven curriculum, it will be too much for many of them.

New findings by Harvard Medical School researchers confirm that it’s not the children who are failing, it’s the schools we place them in too early. These researchers discovered that children who start school as among the youngest in their grade have a much greater likelihood of getting an ADHD diagnosis than older children in their grade. In fact, for the U.S. states studied with a September 1st enrollment cut-off date, children born in August were 30 percent more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than their older peers.

The study’s lead researcher at Harvard, Timothy Layton, concludes: “Our findings suggest the possibility that large numbers of kids are being overdiagnosed and overtreated for ADHD because they happen to be relatively immature compared to their older classmates in the early years of elementary school.”

This Should Come as No Surprise

Parents don’t need Harvard researchers to tell them that a child who just turned five is quite different developmentally from a child who is about to turn six. Instead, parents need to be empowered to challenge government schooling motives and mandates, and to opt-out.

As universal government preschool programs gain traction, delaying schooling or opting out entirely can be increasingly difficult for parents. Iowa, for example, recently lowered its compulsory schooling age to four-year-olds enrolled in a government preschool program.

As New York City expands its universal pre-K program to all of the city’s three-year-olds, will compulsory schooling laws for preschoolers follow? On Monday, the New York City Department of Education issued a white paper detailing a “birth-to-five system of early care and education,” granting more power to government officials to direct early childhood learning and development.

As schooling becomes more rigid and consumes more of childhood, it is causing increasing harm to children. Many of them are unable to meet unrealistic academic and behavioral expectations at such a young age, and they are being labeled with and medicated for delays and disorders that often only exist within a schooled context. Parents should push back against this alarming trend by holding onto their kids longer or opting out of forced schooling altogether.


Let’s listen to the children in Detroit schools

Why are leading educators, lawyers, and scholars filing briefs this week asking the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to listen to children in the Detroit public schools? A district court declined to proceed with the school children’s complaint that the Detroit public schools deprive students — 97 percent of whom are students of color — of any real chance for basic literacy while also exposing them to unsanitary and unsafe conditions. The school system has the lowest literacy rate of any major school district in the nation, a shortage of qualified teachers, and teaching materials that are both out-of-date and too few to serve the students. The schools do not even offer a core curriculum. Instead, the schools are infested with rodents and other pests. Extreme temperatures require early-bird dismissals and school closings.

The experience of Detroit public school students, in these unsafe and failing schools, is at odds with the genuine educational opportunities offered in the public schools of Detroit’s suburbs and elsewhere in Michigan. The State of Michigan has overseen the Detroit schools for nearly two decades. The City of Detroit, Detroit superintendent of schools, and Board of Education join in efforts by myself and others to reverse the district court’s ruling and get federal judicial protection for the Detroit school children.

Michigan convinced the district court to dismiss the complaint even though assertions in a complaint are treated as true at this stage. The only question now is whether there is a potential legal claim, assuming the evidentiary claims are true. The State of Michigan does not dispute that the Detroit schoolchildren are not obtaining basic literacy skills; instead, it blames the students and their families. In fact, the federal District Court judge acknowledged that the state officials are the ones responsible for the “deplorable conditions.” The judge also recognized that literacy is of “incalculable importance” but worried that there is no direct precedent to support the Detroit schoolchildren’s claims. In short, the District Court ruled that the students’ right to an education is not protected by the Constitution.

Actually, the United States Supreme Court laid the path for the students’ claims, more than 60 years ago, in the unanimous and internationally heralded decision in Brown v. Board of Education. The Supreme Court not only rejected state racial segregation in public schools; it also announced:

“In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.”

These words become only more compelling in the digital age, when jobs, news, political participation, and even social life depend on people’s literacy in the written word and other basic skills. No wonder the Supreme Court reasoned more recently:

“The American people have always regarded education and [the] acquisition of knowledge as matters of supreme importance. We have recognized the public schools as . . . the primary vehicle for transmitting the values on which our society rests. . . . In sum, education has a fundamental role in maintaining the fabric of our society.”

When a nation has elected — as every state in this nation has — to compel students to attend schools and to provide public schools, students in return have a right to a minimally adequate education. And when some students receive it and others do not, our constitutional commitment to equal protection is denied.

There are practical concerns. Failing to educate children not only places them at a terrible disadvantage. It also harms their families and communities. It exacerbates the risk that they will lack jobs, turn to crime, or rely on public assistance to survive, and it deprives the larger society of their talents and contributions. These are policy matters, but they are also relevant to the definition of legal obligations.

The law supplies sufficient grounds for the courts to act. When a state provides genuine education opportunities for some while confining others in failing, unsafe schools lacking adequate teachers and materials, it violates the guarantees of the Constitution. That is why I and so many others are joining this week to support the Detroit students seeking help from the federal appellate court.


Thursday, December 13, 2018

Wheaton College Students Say Black Pro-Life Speaker Made People of Color 'Feel Unsafe'

"Safe" BS again: "Safe" is a favorite Leftist word.  There is no way a talk about abortion can make a person feel unsafe in the ordinary meaning of that word.  "Safe" is just an attempt to encode  Leftist prejudices in a humane sounding word. "Unsafe" can usually be decoded as "Conflicts with my beliefs"

On Thursday, black pro-life activist Ryan Bomberger shot back after the leadership of the Wheaton College student body condemned a speech he gave as threatening to people of color. In the speech, he decried the "black genocide" of abortion and criticized Black Lives Matter for teaming up with Planned Parenthood. About a week after the event, the student leaders sent an email to the entire student body, denouncing it.

"The speaker of this event, Ryan Bomberger, made several comments at the event that deeply troubled members of our community," the students wrote. "His comments, surrounding the topic of race, made many students, staff, and faculty of color feel unheard, underrepresented, and unsafe on our campus."

In his official response, Bomberger suggested this attack constituted slander and said he was considering legal action. He directly addressed the three authors of the email — Lauren Rowley, student body president; Tyler Waaler, student body vice president; and Sammie Shields, executive vice president of community diversity.

"I am a person of color, a clarifying fact which you conveniently left out of your letter of denouncement. I was primarily presenting a perspective of those who are never heard, always underrepresented, and are actually unsafe — the unborn," he declared.

"For anyone—student, faculty, or staff— to claim that they were 'unheard' or 'underrepresented' obviously didn't stay for the 25 minutes of Q&A that followed or the additional 30 minutes that I stayed and responded to more thoughtful questions as well as some baseless (and even hostile) accusations," Bomberger added. "For anyone to claim they felt 'unsafe' by anything that I said is unfortunate and simply hyperbole."

"Are students at Wheaton taught to fear or taught to think?" the black pro-life activist quipped.

The student leaders' claims seem particularly laughable considering the facts that Bomberger's entire presentation is publicly available via Facebook video and that he began his discussion with an attack on "factophobia." He lamented, "When you're speaking facts or speaking truth, you'll be called a hater." That claim now seems rather prophetic.

Furthermore, the speaker focused on the fact that many abortion clinics specifically target black women for abortion — a trend confirmed by billboards in Dallas this August and Cleveland this past January, not to mention the disgusting history of the eugenics movement.

Yet Bomberger addressed these emotionally charged issues with nuance. He recalled that Steve Ivester, the dean of student engagement at Wheaton, "came up to me after the event and praised me for the way in which I approached such heavy issues." Indeed, this praise seems natural, as Wheaton is a Christian college with a clear pro-life stance.

As LifeSiteNews's Dorothy Cummings McLean rightly noted, Wheaton joined many other Christian colleges in suing the Obama administration over the Health and Human Services (HHS) contraception mandate under Obamacare. Like so many other institutions, Wheaton objected to the government's order that it must provide abortion-inducing drugs in employee healthcare plans. In February 2018, a federal judge ruled in Wheaton's favor.

Wheaton's pro-life stance goes beyond the administration, however. The Community Covenant calls on all Christians at the college — students included — to "uphold the God-given worth of human beings, from conception to death, as the unique image-bearers of God." The covenant grounds this pro-life stance in Psalm 139, where the psalmist recounts that God "knitted me together in my mother's womb."

Bomberger's talk — with its discussion of the dark history of the U.S. eugenics movement and the references to race-focused abortion as "black genocide" — may indeed have been uncomfortable to hear, but the purpose of a college is to expose students to uncomfortable truths.

Then again, a spokeswoman for Wheaton told LifeSiteNews that "Wheaton College's philosophy is to couple the presentation of challenging ideas with opportunities for care and reflection in response to the needs of our campus community." For this reason, she stood by the students who were "concerned" with Bomberger's statements.

The spokeswoman said administrators have reached out to Bomberger and his organization, the Radiance Foundation, to discuss his concerns.

While progressive activists often claim to be offended by conservative speakers, saying the speakers made them "feel unsafe," it is a serious charge for the student leaders to claim Bomberger — himself a black man who was conceived in rape and might have been aborted — made people of color "feel unsafe" at his speech.

After all, the Wheaton College Republicans — the group that invited him — have students of color serving as president (Hispanic) and vice president (Asian).

In a fiery conclusion, Bomberger threatened legal action.

"Your campus-wide email defies your school’s mission and teeters on the edge of slander and libel, which the Radiance Foundation never takes lightly," the activist declared. "We will pursue a discussion with your school’s administration/leadership and our attorneys at which time we will decide whether or not to take legal action against this defamation."

While Bomberger — a Christian — arguably should avoid bringing a lawsuit against other Christians (1 Corinthians 6:1), it is indeed remarkable for pro-life students at a pro-life school to take such offense at a pro-life speech that they accuse a black man of making people of color "feel unsafe."


Making lunches great again? Chocolate milk, biscuits and tortillas are back on the menu as Trump relaxes Michelle Obama's healthy school lunch regulations to allow more salt and fat

President Donald Trump’s administration on Thursday relaxed rules championed by former first lady Michelle Obama aimed at making U.S. school lunches healthier, a move that will affect institutions that feed 30 million children annually.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, delivering on a promise he made when he took office in May 2017, said schools under the current rules faced challenges serving meals that were both appetizing and nutritious.

'If kids are not eating what is being served, they are not benefiting, and food is being wasted,' Perdue said in a statement.

The Trump administration has vowed to slash regulations, which it says are burdensome for industries such as oil and coal, and has already rolled back a number of Obama-era rules as part of its business-friendly agenda.

Not everyone welcomed the relaxed rules.

The American Heart Association encouraged schools to 'stay the course' and commit to meeting the stricter standards that started going into effect in 2012.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest also said the decision to roll back the whole-grain requirement makes no sense because most schools were already in compliance.

Those still struggling to meet the standard would have eventually been able to comply as well, said Colin Schwartz, the center's deputy director of legislative affairs.

The 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was championed by Michelle Obama and became a rallying cry for her critics after it set school lunch maximums for calories, cut sodium and artery-clogging trans fat, and required more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

The new rules will provide the option to offer flavored, low-fat milk to children and more time to reduce sodium levels in school meals.

The former First Lady was known as an advocate for healthier eating, but users of social media posted gruesome images showing school lunches that didn't look so edible after the Obama-era regulations were put in place.

School children chose not to eat the newly required meals, instead photographing them and posting them to social media with the hashtag #thanksmichelleobama.

While Obama's initiative was largely panned by schoolchildren, some studies did show that they were eating healthier compared to when they were bringing lunches from home, according to The Washington Post.

Trump, meanwhile, is known as a man who doesn't partake in good nutrition.

In August, it was reported that his wife, First Lady Melania Trump, asked the White House kitchen to prepare healthier meals for the President.

Donald Trump is notoriously a lover of fast food - drinking multiple cans of diet Coke a day and taking in McDonald's and KFC regularly.

The New York Times report claims that despite Melania's best efforts 'he still prefers two scoops of ice cream for dessert'.

In January, Admiral Dr Ronny Jackson, the White House physician who also served Barack Obama, examined the president and declared Trump to be in 'excellent health'.

Despite his bill of good health, Jackson advised the president to improve his diet and exercise.

Trump is teetering on the edge of obesity at 239 pounds and a height of 6 feet 3 inches, giving him a BMI of 29.9.

One pound heavier at the same height and Trump would be categorized as obese.

Under the new rules introduced by the Trump administration, the U.S. school lunch program is making room on menus again for noodles, biscuits, tortillas and other foods made mostly of refined grains.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday only half the grains served will need to be whole grains, a change it said will do away with the current bureaucracy of requiring schools to obtain special waivers to serve select refined grains foods.

Low-fat chocolate milk will also be allowed again.

Previously, only fat-free milk could be flavored, although that rule had also been temporarily waived.

The School Nutrition Association, which represents local cafeteria operators and companies like Domino's Pizza, Kellogg and PepsiCo, had called for relaxing the whole grain-only requirement, saying it was too difficult for some districts to meet.

Diane Pratt-Heavner, a spokeswoman for the association, said whole-grain bread and buns generally aren't a problem.

But she said students complained about other items, in many cases because of cultural or regional preferences.

Finding whole-grain biscuits and grits that students like are a challenge in the U.S. South, she said, while tortillas are a challenge in the Southwest.

For the current school year, the USDA said 20 percent of schools were applying for exemptions to the whole-grain rule. Pasta, tortillas, biscuits and grits were the most commonly requested items for exemption, it said.

The USDA school lunch program provides low-cost or free lunches in public schools and other institutions. Last year, it served an estimated 30 million children.

Brandon Lipps, deputy undersecretary for the USDA's food and nutrition division, said that at some schools that only serve whole grain foods, some is wasted if students won't eat it. In those cases, schools might now consider other options, Lipps said.

Reaction on social media was divided. Some said that Michelle Obama's reforms did not succeed, while others say they were necessary.


Harvard student accused of rape far from campus sues university for investigating it

Does a university have the responsibility — or even the right — to investigate a claim that one of its students raped someone hundreds of miles away?

The question is central to a case filed in federal court by a Harvard University student who argues the school is overstepping its authority by investigating him for a rape allegation lodged by a nonstudent in a city where police declined to prosecute.

Saying he faces “a grave risk of being incorrectly branded a rapist,” the unnamed male Harvard student argues in the suit that the school has no jurisdiction and he wants the investigation halted.

The lawsuit was filed Nov. 28, less than two weeks after the Trump administration proposed revising the rules for college sex assault investigations — including by stipulating that colleges are responsible for policing misconduct that occurs only on their property or within their programs.

The suit signaled to some worried Harvard activists that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s efforts to overhaul the Title IX process are altering the landscape of sex assault investigations before they’re finalized.

“That demonstrated to me that [there are] students who see the Department of Education backing away from enforcing strong protections against sexual violence on campus and taking advantage of this political moment,” said Amelia Y. Goldberg, 21, a Harvard senior from New York City. “Title IX is about enforcing a violence-free campus.”

Like DeVos’s rewrite of the regulations, the lawsuit aims to rein in the perceived excesses of the campus disciplinary process that men’s rights advocates and civil rights attorneys have described in recent years as Kafkaesque.

Harvard’s Title IX officer launched an investigation after learning about the allegation. It’s unclear, the suit says, whether the woman sought Harvard’s investigation. But since she is not a student at Harvard — and never was — the school does not need to make accommodations to safeguard her education and presence on campus, as required by Title IX.

“I don’t think there’s much the school can or really should do unless the evidence is so bad that this person is deemed an obvious danger on campus,” said Robert Shibley, executive director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which has fought for greater due process in college disciplinary actions.

But women’s rights groups fighting the new federal proposal say that interpretation misunderstands the purpose of Title IX, the civil rights law that guards women’s education from sexual discrimination or harassment. Shiwali Patel, senior counsel for the National Women’s Law Center, said schools such as Harvard should know about such troubling behavior from a student — or an employee for that matter — whether on campus or off.

Imagine, Patel said, if a college learned about a rape allegation against an incoming professor relocating from a different school. “Wouldn’t you have an obligation at a school to ensure this behavior isn’t continuing against your own students?” Patel asked.

Moreover, Patel said, the new federal limit would ignore a host of behavior off campus, including sexual assaults that occur in apartments.

“Our concern is that by forcing schools to not investigate these complaints and dismiss them, they’re ignoring a lot of sexual harassment and not taking into account the reality of how often off-campus sexual harassment or sexual assault occurs,” Patel said, noting that many survivors of sexual assault eventually drop out of school. “This will exacerbate a very significant problem.”

The scope and reach of a college’s sexual harassment policy are at the heart of the lawsuit filed by a Harvard student identified by the pseudonym John Doe. In the suit, Doe claims he had a consensual sexual encounter in July 2017 with a fellow summer intern in an undisclosed city. The woman later filed a rape complaint with local police, who declined to prosecute, according to the lawsuit; she also filed a civil suit in that jurisdiction in March.

“The incident did not take place at Harvard, anywhere close to Harvard, or even in-state; the incident did not take place during the academic year or in connection with any Harvard program; and none of the witnesses to Mr. Doe’s knowledge were, or are, connected to Harvard in any way,” says the lawsuit.

Doe’s lawsuit argues that Harvard’s Office of Dispute Resolution does not have jurisdiction to investigate.

Harvard’s policy on sexual- and gender-based harassment does not cover off-campus behavior, except in university-recognized programs or activities. But the Faculty of Arts and Sciences — one of several colleges that fall beneath the university’s umbrella policy — has its own standard that goes further, mandating that students “behave in a mature and responsible manner.” The policy also notes that sexual misconduct will not be tolerated, even when it falls outside the jurisdiction of the universitywide policy.

Harvard paused the disciplinary proceedings on Nov. 15 — the day the US Education Department issued its proposed new rule, the suit states. But on Nov. 27, Harvard’s Title IX investigator announced the investigation would continue, with no changes to procedures, and asked Doe to appear for an interview the following day or the following week. Instead, he sued the next day.

Harvard officials would not speak to the details of the lawsuit. On the broader Title IX changes proposed by DeVos, a spokesman said the university is still reviewing them to determine how they would affect current policies and practices.

“Harvard’s top priority remains ensuring the safety and well-being of every member of our community, supported through thoughtful and fair policies and procedures,” Harvard spokesman Jonathan Swain said in a statement. “Essential to this is ensuring that all members of our community are both encouraged to report and feel comfortable in reporting incidents of sexual and gender-based harassment, including sexual assault.”

Enacted in 1972, Title IX is intended to ensure women and girls have equal opportunities at school.

In 2011, amid concerns about an unchecked rape culture on college campuses, the Obama administration tightened schools’ requirements for investigating assault and harassment and threatened to withhold federal funding from schools that were noncompliant.

But in the ensuing years, many lawyers argued the scales of justice tipped too far, with the accused not receiving due process. Many colleges did not guarantee the accused student would have a hearing, a lawyer, or the right to see evidence.

“I think that the Obama administration so egregiously overdid it,” said Janet Halley, a Harvard Law School professor. “We started out with a bad situation of underenforcement. The Obama administration corrected that by moving in the direction of overenforcement, overly broad definitions, and lack of fundamental fairness in the process.”

The changes proposed by DeVos would require colleges to hold live hearings to review the evidence in any sexual assault allegation. Many schools had adopted a “single investigator” model, in which an employee or professional hired by the Title IX officer assesses the evidence.

In addition, under DeVos’s revisions, a student accused of sexual harassment could not go unrepresented by a lawyer; the university would have to appoint a representative.

The draft rule DeVos proposed is up for public comment through Jan. 28.


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Black Education: What Makes Sense?

By Walter E. Williams

What do you think of the proposition that no black youngsters should be saved from educational rot until all can be saved? Black people cannot afford to accept such a proposition. Actions by the education establishment, black and white liberal politicians, and some civil rights organizations appear to support the proposition. Let's look at it with the help of some data developed by my friend and colleague Dr. Thomas Sowell.

The Nation's Report Card for 2017 showed the following reading scores for fourth-graders in New York state's public schools: Thirty-two percent scored below basic, with 32 percent scoring basic, 27 percent scoring proficient and 9 percent scoring advanced. When it came to black fourth-graders in the state, 19 percent scored proficient, and 3 percent scored advanced.

Dr. Sowell compared 2016-17 scores on the New York state ELA test. Thirty percent of Brooklyn's William Floyd elementary school third-graders scored well below proficient in English and language arts, but at a Success Academy charter school in the same building, only one did. At William Floyd, 36 percent were below proficient, with 24 percent being proficient and none being above proficient. By contrast, at Success Academy, only 17 percent of third-graders were below proficient, with 70 percent being proficient and 11 percent being above proficient. Among Success Academy's fourth-graders, 51 percent and 43 percent, respectively, scored proficient and above proficient, while their William Floyd counterparts scored 23 percent and 6 percent, respectively, proficient and above proficient. It's worthwhile stressing that William Floyd and this Success Academy location have the same address.

Similar high performance can be found in the Manhattan charter school KIPP Infinity Middle School among its sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders when compared with that of students at New Design Middle School, a public school at the same location. Liberals believe integration is a necessary condition for black academic excellence. Public charter schools such as those mentioned above belie that vision. Sowell points out that only 39 percent of students in all New York state schools who were recently tested scored at the "proficient" level in math, but 100 percent of the students at the Crown Heights Success Academy tested proficient. Blacks and Hispanics constitute 90 percent of the students in that Success Academy.

There's little question that charter schools provide superior educational opportunities for black youngsters. In a story The New York Times ran about charter schools earlier this month, "With Democratic Wins, Charter Schools Face a Backlash in N.Y. and Other States," John Liu, an incoming Democratic state senator from Queens, said New York City should "get rid of" large charter school networks. State Sen.-elect Julia Salazar, D-Brooklyn, said, "I'm not interested in privatizing our public schools." The New York Times went on to say, "Over 100,000 students in hundreds of the city's charter schools are doing well on state tests, and tens of thousands of children are on waiting lists for spots."

One would think that black politicians and civil rights organizations would support charter schools. To the contrary, they want to saddle charter schools with procedures that make so many public schools a failure. For example, the NAACP demands that charter schools "cease expelling students that public schools have a duty to educate." It wants charter schools to "cease to perpetuate de facto segregation of the highest performing children from those whose aspirations may be high but whose talents are not yet as obvious." Most importantly, it wants charter schools to come under the control of teachers unions.

Charter schools have an advantage that some call "selection bias." Because charter schools require parents to apply or enter lotteries for their children's admission, they attract more students who have engaged parents and students who are higher-achieving and better behaved.

Many in the teaching establishment who are against parental alternatives want alternatives for themselves. In Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, 25 percent of public-school teachers send their children to private schools. In Philadelphia, 44 percent of teachers do so. In Cincinnati, it's 41 percent. In Chicago, 39 percent do, and in Rochester, New York, it's 38 percent. This demonstrates the dishonesty, hypocrisy and arrogance of the elite. Their position is, "One thing for thee and another for me."


‘America Is Trash:’ Liberal University Students Responses To Living in America

It’s well-known that college students lean to the left, but they seem to be getting more radical and hateful with each passing day. In a video published Friday, Slightly Offens*ve’s Elijah Schaffer interviewed students at the University of Southern California and some of them expressed outright disdain for their own country. “America is trash and I look forward to the day it burns down,” one student said while hurrying away.

Only a left-wing college student would be ignorant enough to compare the most prosperous and wealthy country in the world to “trash.”

Currently, there are thousands of people camping out in Tijuana, Mexico hoping to illegally enter this great country.

America has accepted over 3 million refugees since the 1980s. That’s 3 million people who fled their countries to live in the United States. In late October, there were 700,000 immigrants waiting on applications to become U.S. citizens.

As a different student pointed out, the United States is a highly desirable country to live in. “I have a positive opinion,” the student said. “Because I traveled around the world, and it’s pretty s- someplaces, so I like the U.S.”

Unfortunately, most students don’t seem to realize how lucky they are to live here.

“Is America a good country or not?” Schaffer asked one of the students. “It can be. It can be great. Right now it’s meh,” she replied.

Actually, America is great under President Donald Trump. Under Trump’s leadership, unemployment is extremely low, wages are going up and economic growth is beating expectations. Even youth unemployment has plummeted. Students should be celebrating America under Trump instead of bashing it.

When the student asked what it means to be an American, she answered, “not freedom.”

That’s an interesting statement coming from someone who is presumably left-wing. Liberals are constantly clamoring for higher taxation and gun control, which are both attempts to take away freedom.

“All those red states, Republican, conservative, we’re trying to outvote them,” she said. “But it’s not really happening until they die off.”

It’s worrying that these America-bashing students are the nation’s future professionals, teachers and politicians.


Australian Greens want to SCRAP university fees and increase funding in plan that will cost taxpayers $133billion

Like Leftists everywhere they know no history. Leftist Gough Whitlam  did this in the '70s but the cost made his Leftist successor reimpose fees

The Greens want to scrap universities and TAFE fees, while also increasing funding by 10 per cent in a plan estimated to cost $133 billion over a decade.

The minor party's proposal would generate $139 billion in the same period through whacking offshore gas companies with a 10 per cent tax and ending fuel excise paid to mining companies.

A 10 per cent boost to university funding would be tied to increases in job security, while course fees' abolition would allow 1.3 million to study debt-free by 2023.

The HELP repayment threshold would be tied to the median wage, meaning students with existing debts won't begin giving money back until they earn $52,990 on 2019 figures.

Support payments like Youth Allowance, Austudy and Abstudy would go up by $75 a week with all postgraduate students made eligible for Austudy.

Greens education spokeswoman and former academic Mehreen Faruqi said coalition and Labor governments had cut funds to universities and TAFE while giving massive tax handouts to corporate donors.

'It's time to end the debt sentence. Young people are graduating from university and TAFE with crushing debts that take almost a decade to pay off,' Senator Faruqi said.

'We have universal primary and secondary education. Free public higher education is the missing piece of the puzzle.'


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Nutcase: School principal condemns candy canes

A school principal in Nebraska was placed on administrative leave this week after sending a memo to staff urging a ban on Christmas items in the school.

Jennifer Sinclair was temporarily removed from her position Thursday after telling staff some unacceptable practices included singing Christmas carols and using items that have red/green colors. Candy Canes were also outlawed as “historically, the shape is a ‘J’ for Jesus.”

“The red is for the blood of Christ, and the white is a symbol of his resurrection,” Sinclair told faculty. “This would also include different colored candy canes.” Also on the naughty list were Santa Claus, Christmas trees, Christmas music and making Christmas ornaments as gifts.

The principal said it was a way to be “inclusive and culturally sensitive” to all students. “I feel uncomfortable that I have to get this specific, but for everyone’s comfort I will,” she wrote. Permitted items included snowflakes, hot chocolate, polar bears, penguins and sledding.

Spokesperson for Elkhorn Public Schools District, Kara Perchal, told KETV the memo “did not reflect district policy." The school this week faced heat from a local religious organization. Perchal said Sinclair—new to the role—did not consult administrators before making policy.

A statement released to KETV Thursday read: "Elkhorn Public Schools District administration promptly addressed the issue at Manchester Elementary School regarding the memo.

It continued: “The memo does not reflect the policy of Elkhorn Public Schools regarding holiday symbols in the school. The district has since clarified expectations and provided further direction to staff in alignment with district policy. This issue was limited to Manchester Elementary School and did not arise at any other schools within the district."

Perchal added: "As of this morning, Principal Sinclair has been placed on administrative leave. Due to the fact that this is an ongoing personnel issue, the district cannot comment further.”

School policy says that religious symbols may be used as aids in the classroom, provided they are “displayed as an example of the cultural and/or religious heritage of the holiday.”

The official rules, which are published online, also state: “Christmas trees, Santa Claus and Easter eggs and bunnies are considered to be secular, seasonal symbols and may be displayed as teaching aids provided they do not disrupt the instructional program for students.”

It was not immediately clear how long principal Sinclair’s administrative leave would be.


From Diverse Professors to Professors of Diversity

Ever since Justice Powell’s lone opinion in Bakke allowed the camel’s nose of “diversity” under the anti-discrimination tent, controversy has raged over preferential treatment awarded to college applicants of certain races.

Just as hurricanes often change direction after landfall, the diversity movement has recently taken off in some surprising new directions that deserve public attention.

Diversity Statements

First came the “diversity statements,” introduced by a smattering of institutions for promotion or tenure and sometimes for all new hires.

Both the prevalence and the required content of these diversity statements has expanded dramatically.

UCLA’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, for example, recently released Version 2.1 of a comprehensive “Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Statement FAQs” attempting to justify why equity, diversity, and inclusion should “figure into faculty hiring and promotion” and laying out chapter and verse of what should be included in EDI statements.

Helpful examples were provided, quoted from the faculty hiring guide:

efforts to advance equitable access to education;
public service that addresses the needs of California’s diverse population;

research in a scholar’s area of expertise that highlights inequalities;

mentoring and advising students and faculty members, particularly from under-represented and underserved populations.

An applicant’s research must not only reflect publications, etc. but also “contributions to the advancement of equitable access and diversity in education.”

UCLA’s statement helpfully defined EDI. Particularly revealing was its effort to define equity: “On a formal level, ‘equity’ just means treating likes alike. In other words, if two candidates provide the same performance, give them the same score.” But that’s just “formal.” Where the rubber meets the road, however, “On a more substantive level, equity means not ignoring differences when they matter.”

At UCLA and many other institutions requiring proof of diversity for hiring and promotion, race matters very much.

Not long ago Pomona College, for example, changed its criteria for tenure specifically stating that candidates must be “attentive to diversity in the student body.” It does not take much imagination to imagine the fate of applicants who aren’t obsessed with race and ethnicity.

Northwestern law professor John McGinnis has pointed out that job and promotion applicants must go beyond affirming their faith in the diversity creed:

In the nineteenth century, Oxford and Cambridge required dons to adhere to the 39 Articles of Religion, the basic creed of Anglican Church. Today the University of California requires faculty to adhere to a new creed—diversity…The old requirement of the British colleges was at least less intrusive. One had to profess a set of beliefs but did not have to do anything to advance their social realization. But under the California policy, a prospective faculty member must advance a designated social mission to advance his or her career.

Diversity statements are fast becoming a new kind of religious creed for faculty.

Diversity Hires

“Affirmative action hires” has long been a snarky (but not inaccurate) reference to faculty hired largely on their race, gender, or ethnicity. Now the University of California at Davis has taken affirmative action hiring to a new level. “Hoping to increase faculty diversity,” Inside Higher Ed reports, “UC Davis is holding eight open searches focused on candidates’ contributions to diversity, instead of narrow disciplinary expertise.”

As UC-Davis explains its policy,

“The searches are designed to increase the potential for highly diverse pools,” said Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter… “But what will make the campus most attractive to the kind of people we want are the values that the program itself promotes, underscoring our commitment to inclusive excellence.”

In other words, the candidates UC-Davis seeks should not only be of a desired color, but also of the right religion, i.e., proven acolytes of the Diversity Creed. “We want people who are committed to advancing diversity,” said Phil Kass, vice provost for academic affairs. “This elevates the importance of diversity as a singular qualification in these searches. They have to have that.”

Those new hires need not possess any particular “disciplinary expertise” and the searches will be conducted “by college or school, not department.” Once hired, “they need only find a home somewhere in the participating school or college.”

At UC-Davis, diversity comes first. Academic expertise is an after-thought.

In any event, if more institutions follow the example of Georgia Southern University and “require all students to take courses in ‘diversity and inclusion,’” it makes a certain kind of perverse sense to hire professors whose “field” is diversity to teach them.

Consider, for example, this recent announcement from Virginia Tech’s department of sociology, which “invites applications for the tenure-track position of Assistant Professor in Black Feminisms.” In addition to teaching the usual suspect classes in race, gender, etc.,

The successful applicant will contribute critical perspectives to a university-wide, interdisciplinary initiative to enhance curriculum and research focused on Equity and Social Disparity in the Human Condition (ESDHC). ESDHC is a strategic growth area that seeks to explore and analyze crucial issues related to diversity, especially those highlighted through the application of the analytical lens of intersectionality. Faculty engaged in this area seek to highlight the ways in which issues of identity, equity, and social disparity impact multiple academic disciplines, fields of study, and areas of inquiry.

Virginia Tech does not limit its required devotion to diversity to the softer fields. A new announcement for a tenure-track position in physics, for example, lists “commitment/sensitivity to address issues of diversity in the university community” as one of the “required qualifications.”

At least these diversity hires, even when they lack “narrow disciplinary expertise,” are academic appointments. As I discussed recently, however, San Diego State University is now hiring diversity professors altogether outside the academic chain of command.

As this email to SDSU faculty announces, an unnamed number of new “Professors of Equity in Education,” led by a new “Provost’s Chair of Faculty Diversity and Inclusion,” will be appointed. Instead of reporting to an academic dean, they “will report to the Associate Vice President for Faculty Diversity and Inclusion.”

In the beginning, “diversity” was limited to lowering admission standards for some black and Hispanic students so that a few more of them could be admitted to selective institutions. That was followed by similar but limited efforts to hire more black and Hispanic faculty. Now, however, it has expanded into a whole gestalt, complete with its own enforced creed. It increasingly casts a pall of conformity (ironically, the opposite of “diversity” as originally understood) over the entire academy.

One of the worst-kept secrets of diversity-justified racial preference has been that almost no one believes the official justifications. If administrators actually believed what they say about diversity, rather than limit their efforts to engineering just the right percentages of blacks and Hispanics, they would reach out to various religious adherents and other under-represented ethnicities and search for students who would also bring intellectual, religious, or political diversity to campus. They don’t.

Now, however, many university leaders seem to have swallowed their own kool-aid, insisting that diversity really is the heart and soul of the academic mission. The day after Michigan voters passed Proposition 2 in 2006, prohibiting state agencies from discriminating against or granting preferential treatment on the basis of race, University of Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman gave an impassioned speech, declaring “I will not stand by while the very heart and soul of this great university is threatened. We are Michigan and we are diversity!”

At the time that sounded like hyperbole, a cri de coeur not unlike George Wallace’s “Segregation today! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!” But it now sounds like an increasingly accurate description of universities as engines of “diversity” dedicated to enforcing and propagating the new progressive gospel.

A good measure of how far we’ve come is that our new loyalty oaths, i.e., diversity statements, are regarded as not only acceptable but required by those who would react in horror at similar efforts to promote, say, patriotism or capitalism. Orthodoxy never seems orthodox to those intent on imposing it.


Australia: Falling education standards prompts review

The national curriculum needs to be decluttered and simplified to help Australian students excel, the federal education minister says.

Dan Tehan has flagged a review of the curriculum, which could see revamped learning goals for Australian schoolchildren.

"What I'm hearing from teachers and principals is there is just too much on the curriculum, there is too much being asked of teachers to teach," Mr Tehan told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

"What they want to see is a more simplified curriculum and that's why I'm calling for us to look at decluttering the Australian curriculum."

But a "total overhaul" is not required as the fundamentals are right, he says.

The minister concedes the review is in response to falling education standards, with the nation dropping in world rankings for reading, mathematics and science during the past 15 years.

Recent concerns flagged by Australia's chief scientist Alan Finkel has prompted Mr Tehan to zero in on science and mathematics, to ensure they are being focused on.

"So we're setting up our young people if they want to go into careers as scientists or other areas in those STEM subjects," he said.

Mr Tehan outlined the review during a speech at an education conference in Canberra on Monday, ahead of a meeting with his state and territory counterparts on Friday.

The minister will also ask his counterparts to revamp the nation's declaration of education goals, which was first developed under the Gillard government in 2008.

The original declaration advocates for equity and excellence in education, and Mr Tehan hopes to broaden its scope to also focus on early, vocational and higher education.

"I want to hear from the students in the classroom, the teachers on the frontline, the parents supporting their school communities to succeed and the subject matter experts," he says.

The minister praised the NSW government's schools community charter as a model for clear and respectful communications between teachers and parents.

He's also pushing for teachers to be able to ban mobile phones in classrooms if they are distracting students.

Labor's education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek says the government should reverse its $14 billion cut to public schools to help students master the basics.

"That's the only way to ensure every child gets the individual attention they need to excel in reading, writing, maths and science," Ms Plibersek told AAP on Monday.

"All we've had from the Liberals is cheap talk and harsh cuts. Meanwhile, Australian schoolkids are being left behind."


Monday, December 10, 2018

Sororities, fraternities sue Harvard over social club crackdown

Harvard University’s controversial clampdown on single-gender clubs came under double-barreled legal fire Monday as six sororities and fraternities filed a pair of sex discrimination lawsuits alleging the school used threats and intimidation against students and violated their rights to free association.

Harvard’s policy of penalizing students who join single-gender clubs has virtually eliminated all-female social organizations and shut down their gathering spaces, the plaintiffs said in a federal lawsuit that was filed along with a separate Massachusetts suit.

“Women and their former all-female social clubs have suffered the most,” the federal lawsuit said. “A Harvard undergraduate could join the American Nazi party, or could create an off-campus undergraduate chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, without running afoul of the sanctions policy, or any other Harvard student-conduct policy. Those groups may be heinous but they are co-ed, so under Harvard’s rules, its students may belong without any threat of sanction.”

Three individual male students are also part of the suits, although they are unnamed for fear of retribution from Harvard, their lawyers said.

The legal challenge serves as a dramatic postscript to a multiyear fight at Harvard between the administration and a group of off-campus, all-male social groups known as final clubs. It also marks the second recent high-profile lawsuit against the university. Harvard is awaiting a federal district court judge’s ruling in Boston on a lawsuit alleging that it discriminates against Asian-American applicants.

Harvard declined to comment on the new legal challenges Monday. In the past, the university has said that the elite clubs foster an exclusionary environment on campus and that their raucous parties have contributed to unsafe situations leading to sexual assault.

This claim has been challenged by many students and alumni, and the federal lawsuit filed Monday contains perhaps the most detailed account to date of the behind-the-scenes debate between the administration and the clubs.

According to that lawsuit, the relationship between Harvard and the clubs was “cordial” for several decades. But Harvard targeted the final clubs and single-gender organizations in 2014 after Rakesh Khurana became the dean of the undergraduate college and the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights received a complaint over how the college handled allegations of sexual harassment and assault.

The lawsuit alleges that in a series of meetings Khurana had with club officials, he attempted to force the final clubs to admit women.

In May 2015, the suit says, Khurana held what was billed as a typical meeting to ensure the groups were aware of the latest school policies on alcohol and sexual assault.

Instead, Khurana allegedly told club representatives at that meeting that the university had already decided the clubs would have to go co-ed. At that meeting, according to the suit, Khurana waved a sheet of paper in the air that he said contained accounts of sexual assault.

“Khurana said that the papers in his hand were very embarrassing to the clubs and that he could not guarantee that they would not be leaked,” the lawsuit says. “But, Khurana said, if some clubs became co-ed — systematically and soon — that would help the situation. It was an unmistakable threat.”

Under the Harvard policy, starting with the Class of 2021, students who join a single-gender club are barred from leadership positions such as being captain of a varsity athletic team or receiving a college endorsement for a prestigious graduate fellowship or scholarships, including the Rhodes.

The final clubs are not among organizations formally suing Harvard, but some of them have collaborated with the legal challenge and are providing financial support, according to the North American Interfraternity Conference.

The sororities argue that they were collateral damage in the university’s mission to eliminate the male-only final clubs because Harvard created a policy that punishes not just the male clubs but all single-gender, off-campus clubs.

“Harvard attempted to tell the female students what was good for them without bothering to ask them,” Rebecca Ramos, a 2017 Harvard graduate and former chapter president of the college’s Delta Gamma sorority, said at a news conference in Cambridge.

In 2014, Harvard had nine sororities and all-female final clubs. But as a result of the sanctions, only one still exists, according to the lawsuits. The remaining have closed or become co-ed. Sororities had to break ties with the national organizations that supported them, and many saw their membership plummet.

The federal suit alleges that the university violated students’ right to freedom from sex discrimination under the well-known Title IX statute. The law bars discrimination on the basis on sex.

The plaintiffs for the federal suit are Kappa Alpha Theta and Kappa Kappa Gamma, international sororities; Sigma Chi and Sigma Alpha Epsilon, international fraternities; Sigma Alpha Epsilon — Massachusetts Gamma, the local chapter; and three current Harvard students who are members of male clubs.

The federal lawsuit points out that the new policy has also affected such groups as the all-female Radcliffe Choral Society and the all-male Harvard Glee Club and also would punish students who join groups including the Knights of Columbus, an all-male Catholic organization.

The suit also describes how policy caused harm to the three individual male plaintiffs, allegedly damaging their reputation, job opportunities, and ability to continue their leadership roles in the single-gender clubs.

The state suit, filed by three women’s organizations, asserts that the university interfered with students’ right to free association and equal treatment based on sex, as protected by the state Constitution.

The plaintiffs in the state suit are Delta Gamma and Alpha Phi, international sororities; and Alpha Phi — Iota Tau, the Cambridge chapter.

The lawsuits seek to bar Harvard from enforcing the sanctions policy.

They are the latest attempt by the single-gender organizations to fight Harvard’s policy. The final clubs, fraternities, and sororities have also lobbied Congress to protect single-sex organizations. But with Democrats soon taking control of the House of Representatives, those efforts may stall.

“We are going to fight this every avenue we can,” said Judson Horras, the president of the North American Interfraternity Conference. “This was our last resort and we knew we had to do this.”


Racial Segregation on American Campuses: A Widespread Phenomenon

The National Association of Scholars, a group of mostly academics interested in higher education, issues only a few research reports annually, but what they lack in quantity they make up in quality; their studies are extremely carefully done, with well documented research.

A young NAS employee, Dion Pierre, has been researching the segregation of students on college campuses by race—special commencement exercises for African-American students, living and recreational facilities segregated by race, black student unions, and so forth. These practices have existed for decades on some campuses and rather than fading as racial prejudices decline (witness rapidly increasing interracial marriages), they are flourishing. The Pierre study, mostly completed, should be released around Martin Luther King Day in early 2019.

All is this is terribly ironic. In 1954, in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively outlawed racial segregation in our schools. Angry whites, especially in the South, fought the attempt to integrate schools, often leading to violent protests, such as when James Meredith became the first black to enter the University of Mississippi in 1962. Civil rights leaders put their lives on the line working for a color-blind, non-race determined society, most memorably King when he articulated his dream where people “will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” The bitter struggle to break down racial distinctions in education lasted for decades, yet now universities are reintroducing segregation, making race the primary determinant of student participation in some activities, such as black student unions or race-based housing facilities.

College administrators facilitate this by constantly harping on race. They hire “diversity” coordinators in large numbers to check on the racial complexion of students, faculty, other staff and even contractors. If diversity has any educational virtue, it is in the notion that individuals will intermix with others with different traits—perhaps students coming from another area of the world, or having a different sexual orientation, socioeconomic background—or skin color. The idea is people become more tolerant, more understanding of alternative perspectives when they are exposed to individuals markedly different from themselves.

Yet having all-black dorms or recreational areas is anti-diversity. In an Orwellian twist, the diversity coordinators are stifling interaction between people of different races. A news report says the new diversity czar at my university, Ohio University, is wanting to create a workout room in the campus recreational center open only for minority students—white students, who pay student activity fees to support the center, would be excluded.

Why? Two thoughts come to mind. First, college campuses are overwhelmingly left-of-center in political orientation. A new study by Samuel Abrams shows this is particularly true of student affairs staffs, the people who run housing and allocate funds for social and cultural campus events. Some 71% of 900 respondents labeled themselves liberal or very liberal, compared with 6% conservative. There are almost 12 student affairs college administrators who are liberal for every conservative. Progressives tend to be more conscious of the group characteristics of individuals—identity politics if you will. Part of this leads to a strong conviction that the identity of historically underrepresented groups needs to be publicized and given special attention.

Conservatives or moderates are more likely to want to emphasize individual meritocracy and elimination of the evaluating people on the basis of such attributes as skin color, closer to the King position in his “I Have a Dream” speech.

Second, I think some individuals without solid academic credentials push racial diversity as a means of gaining employment and/or enhancing their income—what economist’s call “rent-seeking.” Colleges are falling over one another creating new diversity officials at cushy six digit salaries. What are they going to do besides harass campus employees in their efforts to achieve their racist agenda, getting a “better” racial complexion among members of the university community? Pushing race-specific forms of campus involvement becomes one way to occupy themselves while collecting a nice paycheck and reveling in the power they have over a cowed faculty.

It is time that collegiate racism and massive redirection of resources away from academic goals of instruction and research is confronted. The prospective NAS study is thus a potentially promising way to expose the scandal, corruption and racism that student affairs and other university bureaucrats have foisted on the American academy.


White males are a now a MINORITY GROUP! British Universities are setting targets to recruit more after numbers plummeted

Men have woken up to the fact that a university education is no longer where the money is

Universities are setting targets to recruit more white male students after numbers fell so low that they were classed as a minority group.

Aston and Essex universities have pledged to boost numbers in their latest 'access plans' submitted to the Office for Students (OfS), the higher education regulator.

Aston says it will focus its energies during 2019/20 on white males, black British students and women studying engineering and science-related subjects.

Essex wants to increase the number of white men joining it and other local universities by two per cent.

Several universities, including Oxford, have previously launched campaigns to increase the intake of white, working-class men, but Aston and Essex are the first mainstream institutions to include white men in strategies to boost under-represented groups.

According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency data, white British students are in a minority at about ten per cent of institutions.

And on some courses, such as business, pharmacy and science-related degrees, more than 70 per cent of students are from ethnic minorities. [Indians and Chinese]

In 2016/17, 27 per cent of the UK undergraduate intake were white males, down from 30 per cent in 2007/08. At Aston, almost two-thirds of the current intake are non-white.

Official figures also show that 123 out of 149 higher education institutions have more female than male students and the gender gap is growing. Female students are a third more likely to apply to degree courses than their male peers.

While university entry should primarily be decided on merit, Professor Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, said there was a good case for giving white men special attention. 'It is a form of racism to be uncomfortable in tackling white male under-representation,' he said.

Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), which has published a study on the educational under-achievement of young men, said: 'When putting together our report, we were shocked to find so few higher education institutions had these sorts of targets. The problem is so evident and we've continued to go backwards.

'Some people oppose this whole agenda. We were told we were wrong to look at gender and should care only about class.

'Tackling access to university needs a focus on gender, disadvantage and ethnicity, and it is possible to care about all three of these things simultaneously.'

The HEPI report called for a 'Take Our Sons to University Day' and also for more foundation year courses, which prepare students for degree-level study, to help to encourage young men to seek university places.

Others have suggested boosting the number of degree apprenticeships, which allow youngsters to earn as they learn.

Research has found some university staff feel uncomfortable offering programmes aimed specifically at white boys in case it is viewed as racist or leads to other groups being overlooked.

'We found that people were quite uncomfortable with the idea of running a targeted activity with this group, in a way that we've not encountered, for example, targeting young black African men,' said one study from King's College London.

'We had quite a lot of people saying, 'This isn't going to be a white-only event, is it?''


Sunday, December 09, 2018

The Problem with Elite Education

Hojung Kim, the author below, will go far.  He is apparently of Korean parentage so got to go to eminent schools through sheer brainpower, not parental affluence.  He is already engaged in an entrepreneurial business. It is to his credit that he strongly appreciates how kind America has been to him.  His background also seems to make him sensitive to arrogance and that is what he writes about below.

I come from a culture -- Australia -- where social stratification is very faint and where it is deplored. "Jack is as good as his master" is one way that it is popularily expressed.  And I have personally benefited from that egalitarianism. My origins are pretty bottom of the heap but I have cruised through life with no hint of my origins holding me back in any way.

So I deplore arrogance born of  privileged origins as much as Mr Kim does.  He doesn't have much of a solution to the problem he sees, though.  I do.  Christianity.  It teaches humility. I had a great deal of influence from Christian teachings in my pre-adult years so I know that culture well and appreciate it.

Another way in which I diverge from Mr Kim is that he sees an advantageous beginning in life as imposing an obligation -- to work for the good of others.  Most people would probably agree with him on that but I cannot see a chain of reasoning that leads to that conclusion.  There seems in fact to be no chain of reasoning.  It is just asserted that good fortune imposes an obligation. But that assertion is purely a matter of opinion or personal values.  It is a leap of faith, not anything logically implied.

From my libertarian viewpoint, ones achievements are as much private property as are one's goods.  It is very common for rich men -- such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett -- to become energetic philanthropists but they are under no obligation to do so. I give a lot of my income away too. People who spend millions of dollars on a wedding or other family celebration seem pathetic to me but as long as their money is fairly earned we need to give them that liberty.  In Australia, any such ostentation is regarded with contempt, however

But, in essence, what Mr Kim is arguing for is humility.  That is a Christian message too.

Shades of dark blue sweatshirts and scarves. A raucous crowd. The squeak of shoes on hardcourt floors and rubber balls slapping against glass backwall.

These were my surroundings from yesterday night. I was the acting referee for the Yale squash team’s home match against Drexel University.

The overall match is scored best of 9, with each team’s 1–9 seeds playing five-set matches against the corresponding ranked player. In the middle of a tightly contested match between the #8 seeds, one Yale senior from the crowd starts shouting at the Drexel player:

“Sorry man. You’re just not good enough.” he jeers.

Trash talk from the crowd is not uncommon, perhaps even acceptable in other sports like football or hockey. But in squash, spectators have little separation from the players. The sound reaches from above the courts and echoes around the walls. And for the referees, who sit among the crowd, the noise distracts the decision-making that ultimately affects the outcome.

So I turn to him, and ask him to stop, explaining that insulting the visiting players is both disrespectful and distracting to the game.

He smirks, cutting me off: “Yeah, yeah, yeah. I apologize. I get it. I’ll stop, I’ll stop.”

As play continues, this Yalie shouts more insults at the Drexel player, getting louder as points become more crucial. The Drexel player, exasperated, turns toward me, points the kid’s cocky smile out from the crowd:

“Can you please ask that guy to stop?”

Another Drexel player, sitting beside me, tells me:

“I only have this problem with Ivy League kids. It’s like they feel they’re better than everyone else and can just do whatever they want.”

I nod. He’s just stated the very definition of entitlement.

I think this bothers me so much because I myself have been blessed with elite educational opportunities throughout my life. I attended Phillips Exeter Academy, and later the University of Chicago — both top-tier academic institutions. I only got the chance to attend them through generous financial aid.

Nick, one of my dormmates from Exeter, put it best during an annual dorm tradition where the graduating seniors would give the younger students parting “Words of Wisdom.” His arena was the football stadium, dark in the midsummer night. A small candle at his feet illuminated his body up to his chin while he spoke:

“There are not a lot of people who are blessed with this educational opportunity.”

He speaks slow and measured, with wisdom far beyond his 18 years:

“We really won the lottery of life. We should use that privilege to try to change the world for the better.”

I felt tears slipping from my eyes as I nodded. I had always seen this incredible education as a lottery-like privilege. Some of my peers have not.

They brandish elite education like a brand name on their resume. These kids have been blessed with so much privilege, which a decade down the road will turn into power. Will they take that power and turn it into positive impact? Or will they carry it as an ego-boost, coasting through life on Wall Street?

The problem is that kids become comfortable. Simply saying that they attended these brand name universities — Harvard, Princeton, Yale —commands respect without them even having to accomplish anything. Without ever having to become good people.

I feel this sinking in the rhythm of my breathing. I am watching Brett Kavanaugh’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in early September. His candidacy for the Supreme Court, the highest judicial body of the United States, is being leveled by multiple claims of sexual assault and misconduct.

First he launches into a tirade completely unfit for the respectful atmosphere of the hearing room. As he speaks, the sinking feeling turns to one of dreadful familiarity. That cocky smirk as he answers questions with a sense of impunity. A complete lack of accountability and respect.

Kavanaugh graduated from Yale College in 1987, and Yale Law in 1990.

I’ve seen that look so many times throughout my life. At Exeter in high school, at UChicago in college, and now at Yale, where I spend my days working on a startup with some of my cofounders (who are Yale students themselves). When I recognize it, I worry about the future.

Someday, those kids are going to be our society’s leaders — in industry, medicine, and government. With so much power to their name, who will hold them accountable?

I know that this article will be extremely upsetting to a great deal of my peers, who attended these schools with me. But the problem that I point to may make up as little as 5% of the student bodies in concern.

But the worst 5% will characterize the whole. We see it with the small minority of police officers who exercise racial brutality so vile that we have lost our trust for our service people in blue. The fault is of the 5%, yes, but they are only allowed to thrive because the other 95% of the organization fails to hold them accountable for their actions. It is not the onus of the public, but of that 95% to call their peers out on their toxic behavior.


Harvard’s President, Lawrence Bacow, Is Wrong: The College Earnings Advantage Is Not Growing

In a October 5 interview with the Washington Post, newly inaugurated Harvard University president Lawrence Bacow asserted that “the differential lifetime earnings between a college and high school graduate has never been greater...” From my reading of the evidence, I think that is simply incorrect. To be sure, there are different ways of measuring things :(using median or mean incomes, looking at all earners or simply those working, looking at males or at females, and also comparing different time periods). But from 2015 to 2017, the U.S. Census Bureau tells us the median annual income of male high school graduates in constant dollars rose a healthy $1,849, while those earnings declined by $565 for those with bachelor’s degrees. The data are less striking for females, but the college/high school earnings differential did decline for them as well. Looking at males again and looking at the longer 2008 to 2017 period, the constant dollar earnings differential between high school and college graduates declined, albeit modestly. The claim the earnings differential is at an all-time high simply is not supported by rather authoritative evidence.

I next decided to look at mean (not median) incomes, but only for full-time workers employed for the entire year. Again, the data show a recent meaningful decline in the differential between high school diploma holders and those with bachelor’s degrees. For males with high school diplomas, average earnings rose by $1,551 from 2015 to 2017; for bachelor degree holders, earnings actually fell by $367. For females, earnings rose $1,212 for those with high school diplomas, but only $312 for those with bachelor’s degrees. The payoff for having a college degree was falling.

This is confirmed by still other data on wages. The Wall Street Journal recently reported Labor Department data that earnings for those in low-paying jobs in the last couple of years have risen more than those for the highest earners. Since most low-paying jobs are held be those with a high school education or less, and those in the highest paid jobs are typically college educated, these findings are highly consistent with those of the Census Bureau. Some highly detailed Current Population Survey data shows that from July 2017 through June 2018, real wages rose 2% or more for those in the lowest-paying jobs, but generally less than 1% in high-paying ones.

Moreover, a 2014 Federal Reserve Bank of New York study showed that among poorer performing college graduates (those in the bottom one-fourth of their graduating class), earnings tend to be not much different than for the typical high school diploma holder. And many (about 40% by most estimates) college degree aspirants fail to get their degrees in any reasonable time period, often facing some college loan debt and only mediocre job prospects. Getting big salary gains through obtaining a college education is indeed a somewhat risky proposition.

As the costs of college rise and the benefits stagnate or even decline, it is no wonder enrollments have been falling for an unprecedented long time in an era of prosperity. Some would argue the recent wage data are atypical because of the extraordinarily tight labor market—labor shortages for jobs like fast food restaurant employees or cashiers in retail stores exist now, but that is unusual, and the rise in the relative wages for those with low education is a temporary phenomenon. Perhaps that is right, but long term trends suggest we are overproducing college graduates: the number of graduates is growing faster than needed to fill newly created high skilled jobs and replace retiring workers.

As the weakness of a “college for all” approach to higher education policy becomes apparent, it seems time to change our financial assistance programs, reducing largely dysfunctional federal student loan programs for college students but providing more assistance, perhaps in the form of vouchers, allowing those with high school diplomas to take short certificated programs training them in a specific skill—driving a big truck, welding, plumbing, serving as a home health care aide. As our nation’s budget deficit reaches frightening levels for a booming nation with low unemployment, we need fiscally to “do more with less.” One place to start is reforming our system that lures too many students into degree programs inappropriate on both academic training and labor market grounds.


Education inequity isn’t just about money

It's also about chaotic classrooms

Opponents of non-government schools often claim Australia’s school system is grossly inequitable. But this is not true.

Multiple international OECD reports have concluded the same thing: Australia has lower inequity than the OECD average. That is, student socio-economic status has less of an impact on student achievement in Australia than it does on average in the OECD.

A recent OECD report attributed 11.7% of the variation in Australian students’ science scores to socio-economic status, compared with the 12.9% OECD average and 16.8% in top-performing country, Singapore.

While on average, students from lower socio-economic backgrounds tend to have lower academic performance, many students — known as ‘resilient’ students — buck this trend and perform relatively well.

So how can we produce more resilient students? An OECD study on the topic found there is no significant relationship between school resources and the proportion of resilient students in Australia. While extra money for schools would certainly help in some developing countries, in countries like Australia — which already has relatively high school funding levels — more funds are unlikely to spark significant improvement, due to diminishing marginal returns on spending.

However, the same OECD study found there is a significant relationship between having a classroom climate conducive to learning — in other words, orderly classes and less student disruption — and student resilience in Australia. We know that Australia’s school system appears to have an issue with student misbehaviour. So perhaps the best policy approach to help disadvantaged students, is to focus on improving school climate in Australia, which wouldn’t necessarily require much more taxpayer funding.

It’s unfortunate that the political discourse about educational disadvantage is limited to ‘fairer funding’. In reality, there are other important issues being neglected.