Friday, January 04, 2019

The transformation of the U.S. teaching workforce

More teachers have been hired but few stay for long -- meaning that experienced teachers are far fewer than they were in the past.  Nobody knows how to get them to stay because the one thing that would work -- orderly classrooms -- is not available under permissive Leftist disciplinary policies

One of the largest workforces in America is undergoing major changes. Richard Ingersoll at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education says the latest edition of his groundbreaking work on the nation’s teachers points to serious implications for the nation’s schools and taxpayers, and should serve as a wake-up call to better understand the problems teachers face in schools.

The new report shows America’s schools are hiring more teachers than ever, a “ballooning” in the number employed, yet are struggling to keep them in the classroom. More teachers today are female, young, and have little experience. Despite a significant increase in the hiring of minority teachers, it is those teachers who are leaving the profession the fastest. And the diversity of the teacher workforce still doesn’t reflect the student population.

The updated analysis is based on recently released national data collected over 30 years by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. Ingersoll’s original report on the workforce was released five years ago.

“We have found that the trends we earlier identified are continuing, which in itself is striking,” he says.

The implications are important, especially the sharp increase in the total number of teachers, which Ingersoll says was surprising to him. In the most recent year of data available, 2015-16, there were 4 million public and private elementary and secondary school teachers, up steeply by more than 400,000 since 2011-12.

“I don’t see how it is sustainable,” he says, noting that teacher salaries are the largest part of a school system budget. “I don’t know how the number of teachers can continue to increase dramatically faster than the number of students.”

Between 1987-88 and 2015-16, the number of teachers in public, private, and charter schools grew by more than three times the rate of student enrollment increases. The growth is tied, in large part, to reforms that the public has demanded: smaller elementary school class sizes, more math and science teachers, more special education teachers, more enrichment teachers in elementary schools, more reading teachers, and more English as a Second Language and bilingual teachers—the last two categories the fastest growing of all.

Another surprising discovery in the update was the dramatic surge in minority teacher hires in public schools, both in number and percentage, from 305,000 in 1987-88 to 760,000 in 2015-16, or from 13 percent to 20 percent of the workforce. Growth in the number of minority teachers was three times greater than growth in the number of white teachers.

“There has been something of an unheralded victory here. There has been a huge increase in the numbers of minority teachers, suggesting that minority teacher recruitment initiatives have worked,” Ingersoll says. “That’s an important finding.”

The growth is even more remarkable because at the same time, the minority teachers are more likely than white teachers to leave the profession, with above-average turnover. This makes sense, Ingersoll says, because minority teachers are two to three times more likely than white teachers to work in schools serving high-poverty, high-minority, and urban communities, which can have some of the most challenging working conditions, and where teacher turnover is the highest.

Although the number of minority teachers is up, there still is not parity in the classroom, he emphasizes.

“The percentage of students who are minority [50 percent] is far greater than percentage of teachers who are minority [20 percent],” Ingersoll says.

School leaders are challenged to find ways to keep teachers in the classroom. One in 10 teachers quits after a year, and between 40 and 50 percent of new teachers leave teaching within five years. The problem is especially acute in low-income rural and urban schools, which tend to receive fewer resources than schools in the suburbs. About half of all turnover takes place in a quarter of those schools.

“We conclude teacher recruitment initiatives are worthwhile and it seems to have worked, but we need to work on improving teacher retention,” he says. It’s the working conditions in challenged schools, especially the lack of teacher autonomy and “voice” that is pushing these new recruits out the door, says Ingersoll.

“They’ve managed to get all these bright new teachers into these hard-to-staff places, but those places leak teachers like a sieve: it’s self-defeating,” he says. “School systems have done an admirable job with teacher recruitment and hiring, but then they’re losing many of them in a few short years. The key question now is: What can we do to improve retention?”

Teachers also have less experience today—typically just one to three years—compared with 15 years of experience in 1987-88. And there are fewer men, with women making up more than three-quarters of the public school teaching workforce. In a growing number of elementary schools, there is not one male teacher.

All of these topics beg for further research, Ingersoll says. “There are all these fascinating questions, and people want to know the answers,” he says.

“I’m a former schoolteacher. I study these problems, but I also care about these issues,” Ingersoll continues. “I’d like to see the situation helped. And the data certainly provide some answers in how to improve the retention of teachers, minority teachers in particular. Most simply put, it is a matter of improving the job conditions in schools.”


British taxpayers STILL fund 'lessons in hate' at Palestinian schools where children stage mock executions

British taxpayers are still funding ‘lessons in hate’ at Palestinian schools more than a year after ministers were told they could be inciting violence against Israel.

It emerged last year that the Department for International Development has helped pay the salaries of officials who drew up a new curriculum that teaches children the virtues of becoming a jihadi.

Plays put on at schools and summer camps have even included pupils staging mock executions. One in Hebron featured a child draped in Palestinian colours ‘shooting’ another dressed as an Israeli soldier.

Textbooks teach five-year-olds the words for ‘martyr’ and ‘attack’, while teenagers are told that those who sacrifice themselves will be rewarded with ‘72 virgin brides in paradise’.

But despite promises earlier this year that the curriculum would be reviewed, the books are still being used by the ministry of education on the West Bank, activists revealed.

Joan Ryan MP, chairman of the Labour Friends of Israel, said aid to the Palestinian Authority, which governs the West Bank, should be suspended until the books are removed.

‘It is absolutely appalling that the Palestinian Authority is using British taxpayers’ money to teach these lessons in hate,’ she said. ‘I simply cannot understand why ministers have spent over a year dragging their feet, coming up with excuses for the Palestinian Authority, and allowing this to continue. ‘They need to get a grip and suspend the money we pay to the ministry of education until we have a cast iron guarantee this vile content has been removed once and for all.’

Britain is giving the Palestinian Authority £70million in the current financial year and some of this is being used to help pay the salaries of 33,000 teachers and education officials in the West Bank.

In the spring, Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt admitted that these officials were ‘involved in the implementation process’ for the revised curriculum.

The school books, which were introduced in September 2017, teach ten-year-olds that ‘drinking the cup of bitterness with glory is much sweeter than a pleasant long life accompanied by humiliation’.

Terrorists – including Dalal Mughrabi, who led the 1978 ‘Coastal Road Massacre’ in which 38 Israelis including 13 children were murdered on a bus – are described as ‘heroes’. The books also contain violent poems which extol the virtues of ‘sacrificing blood’.

Miss Ryan first raised the issue of the textbooks with Mr Burt in September 2017.

In March, Theresa May promised a review of the curriculum, pledging that it would only ‘take several months’.

Mr Burt later said he would establish a review which would not report until September 2019. This review has still not been commissioned.

Last month he said the Palestinian Authority has ‘taken action to help address concerns raised’, including ‘piloting new textbooks’.

But research by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education shows that there have been no major changes in the school year that began this September.

The Department for International Development said: ‘We have always been clear that we expect textbooks used by the Palestinian Authority to be academically rigorous and they must not incite racial hatred or violence under any circumstances. We will continue to raise our concerns about incitement.’


Leftist Government in Western Australia:  Year Three students will be given 'ethnic clothes' to try on and boys will be encouraged to 'explore gender' by wearing girls' dresses under new school program

Boys and girls in year three will be encouraged to explore different gender roles in class and wear ethnic clothing as part of a controversial new program.

The fresh syllabus, which has the backing of the McGowan Government in Western Australia, will be introduced to a handful of Perth schools from term one in February.

Students will be provided with a range of dress ups and toys and will also learn about different kinds of ethnic dress such as burkas, traditionally worn by women of Islamic faith.

The primary aim of the course, previously introduced to over a dozen Victorian schools in 2018, is to break down gender stereotypes.

Up to 10 schools in Western Australia will take part in the $1million Respect Relationships program.

Peter Abetz, from the Australian Christian Lobby, expressed his concerns on 9News Perth. 'It will indoctrinate children with the idea that they than choose to be a boy or a girl,' he said.

'Why do boys need to get dressed up in girls clothing? Let's get real about education.'

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is also a vocal critic. Speaking on breakfast radio with veteran broadcaster Alan Jones in Sydney, Mr Morrison said he didn't 'want the values of others being imposed on my children' before adding 'it shouldn't happen at a public or private school.'

Simone McGurk, the Minister for Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence, happily supports the program. 'By introducing respectful relationships in schools, we can continue to implement cultural changes in attitudes towards family and domestic violence,' she said. 'Early interventions can be critical.'

A spokesperson from the Western Australia Department of Education wouldn't confirm or deny whether 'dressing up' will be part of the 2019 gender education program, stating the 'curriculum is still being developed.'


Thursday, January 03, 2019

These British schoolchildren went back in time for an experiment where the boys studied Latin and the girls did sewing

Freed of social media they thought they'd dread it but it turned out to be a lesson they'll never forget

Teacher Sue Gavan expected some sort of revolt when she told the teenage girls in her class they were going to have a needlework lesson, while the boys studied Latin.

'They had to sew a buttonhole and embroider a handkerchief, and it didn't go down well,' she admits.

'They were utterly horrified, affronted by what they rightly perceived to be completely unjust.' She was with them on the howls of 'how sexist!'

'I actually felt really uncomfortable asking them to do it, because it went against everything we all think about equality.

'The boys also had lessons in firing guns, while the girls had to learn about how to wallpaper a room and make beds with hospital corners in their science lesson!'

But if she was appalled at having to set a girls-only needlework lesson, Sue, 46, was astonished at what happened next. First there was much grumbling at being asked to thread a needle.

One girl, who admitted she had never held a needle before ('in Design and Technology I just glue everything together'), argued it was physically impossible.

Then something odd happened. The girls settled down with their handkerchiefs, and rather enjoyed themselves.

'Within a short space of time they said, 'Actually, we really like this.' What they liked wasn't so much about the fact they were sewing, but they liked the fact that they had the time and the space to sit relatively peacefully and quietly and talk to one another while they did something.

'I remember sitting looking at them, thinking, 'This is just like the mindfulness of the modern day.'

'It was what we in the teaching profession spend a lot of time trying to get them to do, unplug from extraneous gadgets and just recognise the value in some quiet time and reflection, and old-fashioned face-to-face communication. It was quite an eye-opener.'

The TV project which instigated this embroidery class is an eye-opener all round. Back In Time For School is effectively a big living history lesson.

In the BBC show — based on a previous format where families undertook to live in homes from different historical periods — a group of teenage boys and girls are asked to turn back time with their schooling.

Over six episodes, the 20 teenagers and four teachers, from schools across the Midlands, follow lessons just as children in the Victorian era would have done, then progress to Edwardian times, and so on, right up to the Nineties.

The result? We now have a clutch of teenagers — and their teachers — who know what it felt like to walk the corridors in the shoes (and corsets, for the girls) of their great-grandparents, their grandparents and their parents.

And what did it feel like? 'Uncomfortable,' says Adelaide, 15, who must be one of the few teens in Britain who has attempted to play tennis wearing a floor-length skirt and, yes, a corset.

'I couldn't breathe, never mind run for the ball,' she confesses. Her teacher has sympathy. 'We all had to wear Victorian dress, too,' says Sue.

'It had an impact in so many ways. When we were trying to sing, we couldn't take a deep enough breath. I am not sure I realised how restrictive that dress would be.'

Mind you, the teenagers were equally appalled to wear the flares and dungarees their ancestors might have worn in the Seventies and Eighties.

'I went home one night and told my mum about this disgusting denim skirt I'd had to wear,' says Adelaide. 'She said 'Oh I had one like that.' '

The series was filmed in a Victorian-built school in Coventry, with the decor adjusted as the class moved through the ages. Uniforms, school meals and curriculums refected the era of the time.

The first episode sees the boys and girls lining up to go into class. Before they can even enter the classroom, they must undergo 'inspection' of their hands, and behind their ears.

Anyone with dirty fingernails is sent to wash them. Everyone is then given a spoonful of 'brimstone and treacle' to set them up for the day. Jamie, 15, dubbed it: 'The most disgusting thing I've ever tasted.'

Mind you, the school dinners from that era came a close second.   'None of the kids coped well with the fish pie,' admits Sue. 'But what we teachers were astonished at was that there were oysters in it. 'Who ever thought of oysters in a school dinner? But they were cheap at the time.'

What happened when the tapioca pudding was brought out though? There were howls of: 'What is this frogspawn?' One girl declared it to be 'like Coco Pops in sick'.

But oddly, one boy, licking his lips, appreciated the fact that he was getting a free school dinner. 'It's better than paying £2.60 for a little panini that is just dry with very little filling,' he says, summing up his modern canteen experience.

So what were they actually learning in school in Victorian times?

This is where the shocks come. The sexism is extraordinary. For starters, Sue — who in real life is the headteacher of a school in the Midlands — was not allowed to take the head teacher role, because the head teacher had to be a man.

If these were sexist times, then they were also racist. In history, the children learn about the dominance of the British Empire. This is, in parts a stirring experience, one that gives them the chance to dress up and be in a triumphant march.

'There was a parade to celebrate Empire Day, and that was quite affecting for me because I had a grandmother who was born in 1904,' says Sue. 'You realise that we are talking about quite recent history.'

This makes the more unpalatable parts all the more shocking. In one class, the pupils are asked to copy 'facts' the teacher writes on the board.

The paragraph refers to Aborigines as 'savages', explaining that efforts have been made to 'tame' them, but unsuccessfully.

It is racism literally writ large on the board, and the reaction of the pupils is one of stunned silence. 'I mean I knew that people had racist attitudes, but still. This is what they were taught, as fact,' says Adelaide.

This is particularly apalling for the non-white teenagers, whose faces register the horror.

One girl voices the reality many are thinking — that her own great-grandparents would have been taught that someone who had skin like hers should be thought of as a savage.

Remarkably, perhaps, Adelaide says the lesson was helpful. 'I'm almost grateful to have seen it written like that,' she says. 'It was shocking, but it made me realise how things were then, and why that racism was allowed to spread.'

Sue admits there was a lot of unease on the part of the teachers. 'That lesson on Empire will live with me for ever,' she says.

'It was horrible, horrendous. And as a teacher you are standing there thinking, 'I feel very uncomfortable about delivering this', but at the same time you know you have to be authentic. We can't rewrite history. This is what was being taught at the time, and it's important that we look at it and recognise the bits that are totally unpalatable to us now.'

Sue says there are lessons she learned about teaching, and how the curriculum has always been politicised. 'The boys were learning to shoot because of the Boer War not going as well as it might, and because of concerns about the Empire crumbling.

'Even though I've been in education for so long, I never stopped to think to what extent what we deliver in the classroom is dictated by national concerns.'

There were certain eras that everyone involved agrees are best consigned to history. The Seventies episode sees the school turn into a 'free school' with liberal ideas about education.

'That did not work,' says Sue. 'Classes were optional and the children could choose whether they wanted to attend. It was a disaster.'

Interestingly, the pupils hated this decade, too. 'At first we thought 'Oh great, we don't have to go', but actually it was a nightmare because we were all bored, and it was a bit chaotic,' admits Jamie. Sue found the Eighties quite odd.

'That was when I was at school, so it was like stepping back into my own life. But it was also weird. And it was the era of the teachers' strikes. I hadn't thought of them from the teachers' point of view when I was at school.'

Technological advances are lived during the programme, rather than studied. The children watch the moon landings on huge TVs wheeled into the classroom. In the Eighties clunky computers appear.

The lack of their own handheld devices, though, throws up fascinating reactions. To be authentic, all devices — phones, iPads, laptops — were banned.

Yet, the pupils seem to have thrived on it. 'It was one of the best parts,' says Adelaide. 'At first it was weird, but not being able to be on social media was actually quite liberating. It made the making friends part quite interesting. We'd get chatting to people because we liked talking to them. It didn't really matter how many likes they had on Instagram.'

Sue says that if there is one thing she will take from the experiment it is that old-fashioned communication trumps everything — and some enforced communal acts that were routine in previous times, compulsory school dinners among them, provided a much healthier environment.

'I think it brought home just how much the technology has created a 24-hour society that it is very difficult to actually turn off from,' says Sue. 'This did make me ask: 'What are we teaching our children about the balance of life?' '

She concludes: 'I do think we have things so much better now, and yet I think we have to be mindful of the fact that, in the future, somebody might look back on this time and say 'Goodness me, what were they thinking?' '


Boarding schools in Irish Republic seeing 'Brexit bounce' in enrolment

Boarding schools in the Republic are seeing an increase in enrolment off the back of what is being described as a 'Brexit bounce'.

The spike comes as a result of families opting for schools in the Republic over those in the United Kingdom.

The Irish Times reports fee-paying schools have seen a boost from Spanish and German families who have shifted their focus across the Irish Sea in anticipation of Britain leaving the European Union at the end of next March - with Irish schools representing an opportunity for children to be educated in English.

A survey carried out by the newspaper also found enrolment in private schools in the Republic was on the rise on account of Irish parents' increasing incomes.

It was also found fee-paying schools across the Republic had increased their fees in line with the rising demand.

Salaries at private schools in Ireland are generally lower than those in the mainland UK, due to schools in the Republic paying teachers out of a public salary pot of around €90m.

Brexit is expected to have a broader impact on the costs in the education sector in the United Kingdom and across Europe.

A new government analysis published earlier this month revealed that Northern Ireland students studying in the Republic could expect to face higher fees after Brexit.

The joint effort between the governments of Northern Ireland and the Republic found the number of students from Northern Ireland studying at higher education institutions south of the border fell by almost 40% between 2011/2012 and 2015/2016.

It is reported that non-EU students studying after Brexit could pay non-EU fees, which range from €9,750 up to €54,153 - substantially higher than the €3,000 a year fees are capped at for students from the EU.


Chinese students are coming to Australia in droves: International enrolments hit record levels

Chinese students are choosing Australian universities in record numbers, with more than 150,000 enrolled across the country.

This marks a huge increase from 2013, when only 85,111 studied tertiary education in Australia.

Undeterred by high fees, middle-class Chinese people believe an overseas education will give them an edge in a competitive domestic job market, and now the country supplies 39 per cent of Australia's foreign university students.

Qualifications from developed English-speaking nations such as Australia are highly respected, often more so than degrees from Chinese universities.

Despite having a population of over 1.38billion, China only has seven universities in the top 200 in the world, compared to Australia's nine.

Competition for the extremely limited number of places at China's elite institutions is intense, and for those who can afford it, studying abroad can be a better option.

The US, the UK and Canada are seen as the most attractive destinations, with many Chinese students only choosing Australia after failing to find a place elsewhere.

But although many Chinese students do want to connect with Australian culture, they are often disappointed once classes begin and they struggle to adapt.

Arriving with high hopes of being surrounded by English speakers and a unique cultural experience, they instead find campuses packed with people from their home country.

As Australia is often only a practical selection, with many students having no intention of settling permanently or learning more about their host country and its way of life.

Chinese international students are seen as a cash cow for Australian universities, which have increasingly adopted a business mindset to attract students from around the globe.

International education is Australia's third-largest export, injecting $31.9billion into the Australian economy during the last financial year.

Data from the Australian Government Department of Education revealed there were 839,784 international students enrolled in Australia in October 2018 - an 11 per cent increase from a year earlier.

The majority - about 380,000 international students - are visiting Australia for tertiary education, with China, India and Nepal providing the highest numbers.

A total of 152,060 Chinese students were enrolled in Australian universities in the same time period, compared to 68,404 students from India and 26,665 from Nepal. 

The 2016 Australian Bureau of Statistics census found Australia is home to 1.2million people of Chinese ancestry.

The ABS noted that Chinese people are enticed by Australia's competitive universities with 22 per cent of Chinese-born people in Australia enrolled to study.

Universities Australia Deputy Chief Executive Anne-Marie Lansdown said the record amount of foreign students isn't just a boon to the education sector.

'Our world-class universities attract students from all over the globe, bringing vast benefits to Australians and the nation,' Ms Lansdown said.

'And the buck doesn't stop with us – that $32billion flows on into the entire Australian economy, generating jobs, supporting wages, and lifting the living standards of Australians.

'International education is a modern Australian success story – built from the ground up over six decades to become the nation's third-largest export and the envy of the world.'

Ms Lansdown added that a majority of international students return to their home country.

'Australians develop powerful personal and professional relationships, and long-lasting cultural, diplomatic and trade ties when students from overseas spend their formative years here,' she said.

'And when international students return home from their studies – which the vast majority do – this creates a powerful network of global alumni with great affection for Australia.'


Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Black privilege

The Leftist article excerpted below gives a good account of an educational fraud but draws perverse lessons from it. 

When a small black school churned out fraudulent credentials and documentation for their students, even Ivy league institutions fell for it and admitted the students concerned. 

How come?  The students were black and under the manic "all men are equal" doctrine that consumes the Left, the universities had a desperate need for black faces on campus.  So they turned a blind eye to any shortcomings in the student or his documentation.  Black privilege was at work.  You cannot challenge black claims and you must not suspect any intellectual deficit in a black. So the misrepresented blacks were simply waved through on the color of their skin.

The interesting question, therefore, is did the students come unstuck in doing university courses for which they were not prepared?  One would expect so but once again black privilege is at work. Incompetent black students can also be waved through university courses.  And there is no doubt that that was done or the scam  would have come unstuck in one year

The Leftist galoot below thinks that the scam reveals the wrongness of university selection criteria.  What it does reveal is that no system is proof against Leftist fraud and folly

Until two weeks ago, T. M. Landry College Preparatory School was the most enigmatic school in America. Small and with minimal resources, this private school was known for one thing: placing an extraordinary number of black, low-income students in America’s most elite colleges and universities. Almost everything else about it was mysterious.

The school’s founders and namesakes, the married couple Tracey and Michael Landry, had promoted it via a series of viral videos. In each of the videos, a young student, usually black, waits in suspense, surrounded by classmates, to find out if he or she has been admitted to a top college—Princeton, Dartmouth, Yale, among others. Invariably, the student gets a happy answer, and the entire room erupts in raucous celebration.

T. M. Landry is in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, a high-poverty town of fewer than 10,000. The school’s graduates are overwhelmingly black, poor, or both—a socioeconomic segment that, due to pervasive discrimination, is notoriously underrepresented in higher ed. Statistically speaking, when a poor black student is admitted to a Harvard or a Yale, it’s a minor miracle. The odds of an institution sending graduate after graduate to the Ivy League and similar schools are infinitesimal. Watching T. M. Landry’s viral videos was akin to watching lightning strike the same spot not twice, but over and over again. Had the Landrys cracked the educational code?

At the end of November, in a blockbuster story, The New York Times solved part of the puzzle. The Landrys’ school seems to have been a fraud all along—faking transcripts, forcing students to lie on college applications, and staging rehearsed lessons for curious media and other visitors. According to the Times, an atmosphere of abuse and submission helped maintain the deception, with Michael Landry lording over his flock of children like a tyrant. In the Times story, Landry admitted to helping children with college applications while denying any fraud. The school did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

Still, a mystery remains. Even taking the alleged fakery into account, how did T. M. Landry seem to fool so many of America’s most prestigious universities for years?

The key to the alleged T. M. Landry scam can’t be the quality of the deception, because it was far from airtight. If anything, the story the school told about itself should have sparked immediate skepticism.

This isn’t hindsight speaking; I know from experience. I first encountered the school's viral videos last spring, and as a researcher on race and education, I felt compelled to learn more. What I found immediately raised my suspicions. Outside the videos themselves, the school offered little coherent explanation of how its students managed to win the collegiate lottery so often.

Many aspects of the school were unorthodox. Tuition was modest for a private school, and paid monthly, with students seemingly able to start and stop at any time from kindergarten to 12th grade in an unusual rolling-admissions format. While the Landrys were reliably vague about their instructional methods, the hints they dropped —no homework, no textbooks, and minimal parental involvement—didn’t conform with any successful teaching model I’d ever heard of. Nor did the couple have any prior teaching experience to suggest they should be capable of working educational wonders. Press coverage openly discussed T. M. Landry's apparent dearth of courses, classrooms, and structured teaching—even while celebrating students’ sophisticated subject-matter specialties and high GPAs. Certain inconsistencies, such as how a school without defined courses could have GPAs, were never explained.

Frankly, none of the pieces fit together. Still, whatever T. M. Landry was up to, the colleges and universities were fine with it, and presumably the admissions officers were doing their due diligence.

Except it now appears they didn’t.

American higher education is a hierarchy, and the schools at the top wield vast influence, both in academia and in the wider world. Whether they admit it or not, universities like Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, and Columbia are gatekeepers for the social, political, and economic elite. The T. M. Landry revelations should constitute an extraordinary crisis for these schools. They challenge these institutions’ role as gatekeepers—and perhaps even the need for the hierarchy itself.

How could T. M. Landry allegedly deceive so many? The colleges and universities that admitted the school’s grads aren’t saying publicly. When reached for this story, a number of top-tier institutions only provided brief statements expressing their concern about the situation. In a typical response, Yale stated that it “takes all allegations of fraudulent application materials seriously,” and “when applicable … pursues all cases where potentially misrepresentative application information is brought to our attention.” Princeton emphasized that it was “concerned for the affected students and their families,” and “remain[ed] committed to attracting and supporting talented students, including students from groups that have been underrepresented in higher education.”

Admirably, Wellesley College stated its specific and unequivocal support for its Landry graduates, describing them as “thriving and engaged members of the community.” However, none of the institutions contacted—which also included Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, Brown, Dartmouth, Wesleyan, and Syracuse—would offer any public explanation for how they might have gotten tricked in the first place.

But at least in general terms, it’s possible to sketch out the source of the breakdown. Like a lot of scams, the alleged T. M. Landry admissions ploy wasn’t convincing because it was hard to detect, but because it offered something that a lot of people wanted to believe. Their viral videos told a story of black children magically beating the odds, drawing millions of viewers. The school played into this narrative, appending hashtags like “#blackexcellence” and “#blacksuccess” to its videos. The faked transcripts told the same story, one that higher education found irresistible.

When it comes to admitting students from underprivileged backgrounds, colleges and universities are facing cross-cutting currents. To start with, most highly selective schools remain committed to promoting racially and economically diverse student bodies. This commitment is sincere, at least to the extent that, all else equal, these institutions would be delighted to admit lower-income students of color who have overcome great hardships.

But this is where the T. M. Landry accusations begin to look truly destabilizing, because now its miracles appear to be fictions. Many of its graduates were, by all accounts, hard-working and dedicated, but otherwise merely mortal. And yet, they did not implode the moment they breathed the rarified air of the Ivy League. Some struggled or dropped out, but a number of Landry students—particularly those who had spent more time in traditional schools—simply continued to advance.

More HERE 

Congress should banish college savings

The Leftist article below outlines real problems in college affordability but more government money is their moronic solution.  No awareness is shown that many costs could be cut or that credentialism has got out of hand

The new Congress will have the opportunity to do something meaningful to make college more affordable. It should stop asking families to save for college.

The expectation that students and their families will have squirreled away tens of thousands of dollars for a college education no longer makes sense in a world of high college costs and deep racial and income inequality.

Student debt has catapulted past $1.5 trillion. A whopping third of women in college have their own kids to support. A substantial number of college students are going hungry.

All that student debt isn’t even buying college success — or a fair shot for those who need it. Low-income students are four times less likely to earn a bachelor’s degree than their wealthier peers. While 55 percent of whites between the ages of 25 and 34 have at least an associate degree, only just over a third of blacks and less than three in 10 Latino adults have any degree.

Congress will be working next year on the long-overdue reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. The chances of a bill getting through both the Democratic House and the Republican Senate are uncertain, but this is also the moment for leaders to advance novel ideas for investing in America’s future that will take hold in the 2020 election cycle and beyond.

The blueprint for jettisoning college savings is in Beyond Tuition, a broad vision for a more equitable, higher quality higher education system that the Center for American Progress released in 2018. In exchange for new federal and state funding, colleges would sign performance contracts with government entities, committing to specific benchmarks to improve performance and close equity gaps.

Beyond Tuition envisions a world where no one forces students to take out loans, where colleges stop expecting low-income and middle class families to sock away money they don’t have, and where colleges ask only for a reasonable slice of a family’s current income.

Students whose families make less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level — just under $38,000 for a family of four — would pay nothing for an in-state college, while middle-class families would pay no more than 10 percent of their income. Upper income families would be expected to pay no more than 20 percent of their income. Students who chose private, nonprofit colleges or out-of-state publics would have a slightly higher contribution, but the same guarantee of affordability.

Crucially, when we talk about covering the cost of college, we mean not just academic expenses like tuition or books, but also living costs including food, housing, and transportation.

Families that have the means to save for college would still find it in their interest to do so, because they wouldn’t have to tighten the proverbial family belt by up to 20 percent while their student was enrolled. But yesterday’s bedrock assumptions about paying for college are simply unfair to today’s students, half of whom don’t get family help for paying for college. Four in 10 Americans can’t come up with $400 for an emergency. And people of color don’t have the savings of white Americans. For example, the median wealth of black households is one-tenth that of white households.

Our proposal would cost the federal government about $60 billion a year. That’s a tiny sliver of last year’s multi-trillion-dollar tax cuts, and an investment in the potential of all Americans that would pay off in a more prosperous, just society.

Yet if that price tag ends up being too high for the new Congress, this proposal could still provide a framework to approach financial aid policy differently. Instead of thinking about what aid to offer a low-income student– a Pell grant, for example – we should be thinking about what that student’s family can reasonably afford, and how to fill in the rest.


Public school teachers do not love their profession

The 2018 election was marked in many corners as the “Year of the Teacher.” Record numbers of educators ran for—and some were elected to—local, state and national office.

Teachers also stormed statehouses from Arizona to West Virginia to demand better pay in what was known as the “Red for Ed” movement.

Why were so many teachers motivated to leave the classroom and get political on a scale never before seen?

According to EdChoice’s recent Schooling in America survey, a large proportion of public school educators around the country would not recommend their profession—specifically, teaching in public schools—to other colleagues or friends.

We polled 777 current public school teachers and asked whether they were favorable to the profession based on a Net Promoter Score (NPS)  question. The results were stunning: Nearly three-fourths of teachers in our survey would not promote or recommend teaching in public schools based on the NPS rubric.

In fact, only 26 percent clearly would be “promoters,” with 32 percent considered “passives” and 42 percent considered as “detractors” of the profession. In previous surveys, we have reported significantly higher percentages of promoters among active-duty military servicemembers and state legislators. Furthermore, teachers with 10 or more years of experience were more likely to be detractors than teachers with three or fewer years under their belt. Based on results, professional morale appears to go down the longer someone teaches.

Teachers are our most important educational resource. They shoulder the brunt of expectations and mandates placed on them by federal, state and local governments; by superintendents, school boards and principals; and, perhaps most frustratingly, by parents. Balancing these different forces—from testing requirements to government standards, from principals to parents—places a tremendous challenge for teachers, competing for time and attention when we would much rather they be focused on students’ needs.

This clearly has led to some trust issues for teachers with some of the groups imposing these policies, rules, and expectations. In our survey, majorities of teachers say they trust their students (52 percent) and principals (57 percent) most, but less than half say they trust their teachers’ union leadership (46 percent), superintendent (41 percent), or even their students’ parents (36 percent). Teachers place even less trust in elected officials and government agencies, such as the school board (35 percent), state department of education (28 percent), or the federal department of education (25 percent).

Proximity to stakeholders appears to matter, and teachers start by looking locally when they want to address the issues making them dissatisfied with their profession.

That may be why public school teachers in the survey also said that they hold their local school districts most responsible for the recent spate of strikes and walkouts earlier this year. Dissatisfied with pay or other working conditions, they first look to who is signing their paychecks. In the most recent EdNext poll, we see plenty of increased support among teachers, parents, and the general public for increasing teacher pay.  It should be an imperative for local education leaders to play a more prominent role in addressing teachers’ concerns and frustrations.

The Schooling in America survey also shows that public school teachers appear to agree with parents and the public in that they want to keep matters as local as possible when it comes to accountability. Rather than imposition from the federal government, the local level, or even the state level, are better at providing proper oversight.

As a corollary—and far from surprising—more than half of teachers think too much time is spent on standardized testing.

When we launched this survey at an event in Washington, panelist George Parker, a 30-year D.C. public school teacher and a former president of the Washington Teachers’ Union, said he wasn’t surprised that public school teachers were feeling put-upon. He said teachers aren’t feeling empowered, decisions are being made for them, and they feel like they are being used as a scapegoat for the failures of school systems.

Parker is right. Teachers are in an intensive profession that requires significant emotional investment, content knowledge, classroom management, among other attributes – all in the hopes of educating our children. Public district school teachers alone are responsible for more than 80 percent of all school-age children in the United States. We should do all that we can to focus their energy in the classroom and boost their morale for the profession, which at its best is a vocation. Boosting their pay, reducing administrative rules and burdens and localizing accountability are all ways to begin addressing their concerns.


Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Confederate Memorials are educational

Florida Lawmaker Introduces Bill To PROTECT Confederate Memorials

Mike Hill, the first black state representative elected from the Panhandle since the Civil War, introduced the bill and argues the memorials should be preserved because of their educational value.

According to the Miami News Times, It would become illegal to remove any of those memorials — plus the Confederate flag and other symbols, as well as street and school names honoring Confederate soldiers — under a bill proposed by a Republican state lawmaker from Pensacola.

“It will not change any person’s life today by tearing down a Confederate monument or tearing down a statue or tearing down a cross,” Hill tells New Times. “It will not change any person’s life by doing that. What it will do is prevent someone from learning the history of why it was there in the first place.”

Hills has a point, removing items from the history of our Country makes it much easier to cast doubt on the truth’s of our past, thus opening the door for non factual “stories or accounts” of things that happened good or bad, that changed our Country’s direction.

“Slavery was a part of it,” Hill says. “And we as a nation overcame that; we fought a terrible war — over 600,000 people died — so that we could rid this nation of slavery. I think that is something that we shouldn’t erase or try to run away from. That is something that we should understand, know and be proud of, that we were a nation that did that.”

Hill also noted that “It’s ridiculous to spend money like that because somebody says their feelings were hurt,” he also told the times. “Why should we spend public money to protect someone’s feelings?”


Teen Graduating from High School and Harvard in the Same Month

A 16-year-old boy from Kansas is set to graduate from both high school and Harvard University in May 2019.

Braxton Moral, a Ulysses High School senior, will graduate from his Kansas school on May 19 and then attend his Harvard graduation ceremony on May 30, The Hutchinson News reported Dec. 20.

Moral could “entertain people” at volleyball games through math when he was three, according to mother Julie Moral, NPR reported Friday. Many also said his vocabulary was beyond his years. But Julie Moral did not realize her son was gifted for some time, NPR reported Friday.

Braxton skipped the fourth grade, according to NPR.

The child’s parents took him to Seward County Community College to get tested, The Hutchinson News reported.

“They thought the machine was broken,” Carlos Moral, the father, told The Hutchinson News. “He was like off the scale, beyond an associate’s degree.”

The Ulysses school district allowed Braxton to take some high school classes while he was in middle school. Braxton also took a class from Fort Hays State University before being admitted into Harvard’s extension program, The Spokesman-Review reported.

“The program (extension) ideally serves these nontraditional, working professionals (ordinarily aged 21 or older) who want to complete their degrees part time, both on campus and online,” Harvard’s extension program website said.

Braxton would take fall and spring semester courses online and started to go to Harvard’s campus during his junior year, according to NPR.

“Because of his age and the fact that he doesn’t have a high school diploma, he couldn’t get regular scholarships or federal aid,” Julie Moral said, NPR reported. “We did get a couple Sallie Mae private loans to help ease the financial burden.”

The total tuition cost for the 2018-2019 academic year was $54,400, Harvard’s extension program website said.

Julie Moral said they make sure his son isn’t too stressed, according to The Spokesman-Review.

“We constantly are monitoring Braxton to make sure he is not too overwhelmed,” Julie Moral told The Spokesman-Review. “No achievement is worth him being unhappy.”

Braxton hopes to attend Harvard Law School upon graduation and become a politician. “Politics is end game for me,” Braxton told The Hutchinson News.

Braxton Moral will be 17 when he graduates from both schools.


Teachers in America quitting jobs at record rate

With chaotic schools, who can blame them?

Teachers and public education employees in the United States are reportedly quitting their jobs at a record rate.

Public educators — including teachers, schools psychologists, janitors and community college faculty members — quit their jobs at a rate of 83 per 10,000 a month on average in the first 10 months of the year, data from the Labor Department seen by The Wall Street Journal revealed.

According to the newspaper, that rate is the highest on record since the government began collecting such data in 2011.

The rate of departures is also nearly double that of the 48 per 10,000 public education workers who quit their jobs in 2009.

However, the report also points out that teachers are still less likely to leave their positions than other American workers, who reportedly quit their jobs at a rate of 231 per 10,000 this year.

“During the recession, education was a safe place to be,” Julia Pollak, a labor economist at Zip Recruiter, told the publication.

Pollak went on to describe that the field is a “more boring place now” for educators who “see their friends finding exciting opportunities.”

Teachers are leaving their jobs for a variety reasons, the newspaper reported.

Some are reportedly leaving in search for potentially more lucrative positions elsewhere given the current low unemployment rate.

Others are quitting due to frustrations over a lack of resources and little support from communities, an issue brought to light by a wave of teacher protests in recent months.

“Part of it was compensation,” Alice Cain, executive vice president of Teach Plus, a policy organization that works with a network of thousands of teachers, told the Journal.

“But part of this was that their students weren’t valued, and that the public education system in our country isn’t a priority in so many places,” she continued.


Monday, December 31, 2018

Deerfield Academy confronts its male-only past

The slick, student-produced video could be a recruitment tool: a sun-washed campus, nestled in rich Western Massachusetts farmland, featuring students dancing, singing, and living a seemingly idyllic life.

“There is so much to learn here,” says a young man in a green Deerfield Academy cap, looking into the camera. “I’d send my son here for sure.” Then he pauses, and looks down. “I’d have to think about sending my daughter here, but I’d definitely send my son.”

Another young man states matter-of-factly: “It’s a pretty toxic place for girls.”

Thirty years after boys chanted “better dead than coed” in protest of the school’s decision to admit girls, one of the nation’s oldest and most elite boarding schools remains a place where female students have a sense this is not their Deerfield.

It’s a place, students say, where boys get away with breaking rules that girls can’t. Where girls have been shunned from prime seating at hockey games. And where a letter of apology was punishment enough for groping a girl.

Many of these issues are laid bare in a federal sexual discrimination lawsuit, in which a popular former teacher said young women faced unequal treatment in disciplinary hearings and when they filed sexual harassment and misconduct complaints. The ex-teacher, Sonja O’Donnell, alleged she faced administrators’ wrath for years for standing up to the school’s unwritten rule that “boys will be boys.”

Separately, a 2015 graduate told the Globe she is still stunned that a male student who groped her several times in class was only made to apologize in a letter. “Deerfield had many great professors and I learned a lot,” said the woman, now a senior at an Ivy League college. “But the culture is really backwards.”

Though the student body is split nearly equally along gender lines, inequity is spread across campus and woven into the way of life, according to 17 current and former students, most of whom asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal from Deerfield and classmates.

Until recently, girls were not welcome in the sought-after upper bleachers at hockey games, long a males-only seating area, and hadn’t been considered for the coveted position of Captain Deerfield, the school’s mascot.

Students and alumni are still chafing over a message earlier this year from Deerfield’s top administrator to “Deerfield girls,” with the subject line of “self worth.” It suggested female students more “carefully consider [their] clothing choices” after visitors to campus were shocked by some girls’ short skirts and high-heeled boots.

“I wish there was more of an acknowledgment that being a girl at Deerfield is tough,” said one 2017 graduate.

The 300-acre campus of red brick buildings and rolling fields, book-ended by a tiny village of 18th-century houses along Old Main Street, seems a quaint outpost. Or as some students describe it, a bubble separated from the outside world.

Leaders of the 220-year-old academy say they are trying to shed the vestiges of an all-boys school and deny the allegations in the lawsuit. Drawing on its $590 million endowment, Deerfield hired an inclusion officer and has ramped up antibias initiatives to tackle these issues.

In a statement to the Globe, Deerfield denied O’Donnell’s allegations and said its actions against her — including cutting her pay, barring her from serving as an advocate in student discipline hearings, and not renewing her contract — were “entirely legitimate.” It called discrimination and retaliation “antithetical to who we are and what we teach.”

O’Donnell, an English teacher at Deerfield for 18 years until administrators opted not to renew her contract this year, said the school offers students incredible educational opportunities. She and her husband, Michael O’Donnell, a Deerfield teacher who resigned in August because he said the situation had become untenable, sent their son there and he graduated in May.

“I love Deerfield,” Sonja O’Donnell said. “I have never stopped believing in the potential for that community.”

On campus, pictures of Abraham Lincoln and other historic figures line the reception area of the administration building. Two statues, a confident “Deerfield Boy,” books casually slung under an arm, and a “Deerfield Girl,” clutching her books at her chest, still stand in the library.

In a 2009 survey, conducted by a consortium of private schools, nearly 90 percent of Deerfield’s 12th-grade girls said boys enjoyed more influence than girls at the school. Some students say things haven’t changed much in the nine years since.

Deerfield said it has taken robust steps to tackle these issues, including housing ninth-graders exclusively in a village of dorms to foster healthier male and female friendships from the get-go.

It also said it has added extensive gender sensitivity training and reviewed the selection process for student leadership and faculty positions, with an eye toward gender balance.

Deerfield’s reckoning has come later than others. As a wave of boys-only prep schools started opening their doors to girls in the 1970s, Deerfield’s trustees twice voted to stand firm. But in the fall of 1989, faced with a declining pool of applicants, Deerfield acquiesced.

Today, Deerfield enrolls about 650 students in grades 9 through 12. Its $590 million endowment is the fourth largest among more than 300 US and foreign schools tracked by Boarding School Review, a clearinghouse for boarding schools.

With tuition and fees about $60,000 a year, Deerfield draws from a largely affluent applicant pool. Fewer than one out of every five applicants is accepted, according to the school’s website.


Let’s Make Colleges Better at Serving Their Students

A growing chorus of voices is calling for universities to have more “skin in the game,” that is, stronger incentives for desirable outcomes. This is discussed most often with regard to student loans. Much of the blame for the student loan problem rests on college admission and retention policies.

Many schools accept numerous applicants they know are very unlikely to graduate. At some schools the six-year graduation rate is under one-third: There are at least two dropouts for every student earning a bachelor’s degree. This tragedy creates unrealistic expectations and then shatters them.

How might colleges be given a stronger stake in avoiding this problem? One way is to make them liable for part of their students’ defaulted loan balances. (Schools could be left off the hook for the default rate expected to arise from job-hindering illnesses and accidents.) If schools bore some of the costs of student loan defaults, this would induce them to become more selective regarding admissions, a change that many people would view as inconsistent with the ideal that higher education should reduce inequality.

To these people I ask: How are justice and opportunity promoted by a system that assures such large numbers of college dropouts? Shouldn’t we focus on educating students well and helping them obtain gainful employment? “Skin in the game” is a powerful inducement to help achieve these twin goals.

How else might schools develop stronger incentives for better outcomes? In 1955, economist Milton Friedman proposed that schools invest directly in their students by lending them funds to be repaid after they graduate and start earning more income. As in so many other policy areas, it took a while for academia to catch up to Friedman’s ideas. Today, Purdue University and some others have implemented Friedmanesque income-share agreements (ISAs).

Under such programs, the school pays some or all the cost of attendance in exchange for a share of a student’s future income. If the students fare well after graduation, the university benefits. Highly endowed private schools could devote some portion of their endowments to similar programs.

Adam Smith also knew about incentivizing educational excellence. In The Wealth of Nations (1776), he noted that professors at Oxford University were more effective teachers when they had skin in the game. Students paid them a fee, so the more students a professor had, the greater his income. Today, however, professors’ compensation often has little correlation to clearly identifiable performance indicators.

In contrast, corporate executives and other high-level employees in the for-profit business world typically have much skin in the game, in the form of performance bonuses, stock options, and the like. Admittedly, it is more difficult to implement performance incentives in higher education, because the “bottom line” of universities is often difficult to define and measure.

But since part of the mission of our great research universities is to make important discoveries, few tasks seem more appropriate than discovering efficient ways to improve students’ lives in the classroom and beyond. Surely, “skin in the game” will play a role in restoring the promise of higher education. Without it, we will continue down the road of burdensome debt loads, academic mediocrity, and shattered dreams.


Agenda activism takes over Australian university history classes

Agenda-driven activism has subverte­d the teaching of Aust­ralian history at the nation’s universit­ies, with gender, race and class politics dominating two-thirds of subjects on offer.

Australian history is no longer taught as a study of past events, according to a report by the Institute of Public Affairs to be released today. It argues that students are more likely to be ­exposed to disconnected themes, or “microhistories”, presented through the lens of identity ­politics, than key concepts explain­ing Australia’s development as a modern nation.

An audit of the 147 Australian history subjects offered across 35 universities this year showed 102 were preoccupied with identity politics. Of those, 13 subjects were solely focused on gender and sexuality, race or class.

ANU’s Sexuality in Australian History examined “how an understanding of sexual diversity in the past can illuminate current debates in Australian ­society”.

Monash University’s History of Sexuality 1800-the Present had topics that included “the construction of masculinity and femininity, courtship and marriag­e … heterosexuality and homosexuality”.

In comparison, four subjects featured democracy as a major theme, three covered industrialisation, and capitalism was the focus of just one subject.

Prime ministers appear to be largely overlooked, but Queensland senator Pauline Hanson is mentioned in the descriptions for three subjects.

The report’s author, Bella d’Abrera, said the audit highlighted that students were not being taught basic concepts explaining the origins of Australian society, including its successes as a ­modern nation.

She said historians had instead “recast themselves as political ­activists” and students were being “politicised in the classroom” as a result of the courses that were available to them.

“Historians occupy a special position because they have a unique ability to shape our society and to shape the future … but they should not attempt to rewrite the past,” Dr d’Abrera said.

“By reframing Australia’s past using the lens of identity politics, they are warping history to fit their own agenda.”

The report highlights how ­indigenous history has been framed around common themes of resistance, colonisation and the frontier wars. Twenty-nine of the 57 indigenous history subjects ­offered ­focused on indigenous-settler relations “in terms of violence and conflict rather than co-existence and co-operation”.

Dr d’Abrera said many Australian history subjects were better suited to the disciplines of politics, sociology or anthropology.

She said there was a dearth of subjects that discussed Australia’s economic and political development since 1788 and only one subject looked into the cultural conditions in Britain that led to the development of our liberal democracy.

No subject mentioned “the fact the Australian nation had ­benefited enormously from the Western legacy”, Dr d’Abrera said.

She said this shed new light on the opposition that the ­Ramsay Centre has come up against in its bid to establish ­degrees in Western civilisation at several Australian universities.

After rejection by ANU and a push-back from academics at the University of Sydney, the ­Ramsay Centre recently signed up the University of Wollongong as a partner for a course and scholarship program planned to launch in 2020.

Bachelor of Arts student Oscar Green took the University of Queensland’s The Australian Experience during his first year of study expecting to be introduced to issues around Australian history and culture.

Instead, the 19-year-old, who is involved in the IPA’s Generation Liberty program for students, was disappointed by a “disproportionate focus” on race and gender and “revisionist approach” to studying the past.


Sunday, December 30, 2018

University says a man asking out a woman who's smaller than him could be sexual harassment after they suspended a black for making a woman 'feel uncomfortable'

I am not too critical of Mizzou here. They dance all around the point below but blacks can be very pushy in their approaches to women they fancy, often showing little inclination to take "no" for an answer -- JR

The University of Missouri has claimed that a male asking a female out on a date could be sexual harassment – if she is smaller than him.

Mizzou officials made the claim as doctoral student challenged them in a lawsuit surrounding his suspension in 2016 for the romantic proposal to his student dance instructor Annalise Breaux.

The college claimed that posing the question could violate Title IX, which serves to prohibit sexual discrimination on any federally funded education program, after Jeremy Rowles sued them for racial and sexual discrimination.

The university's claim was revealed in a motion for summary judgement filed on Sunday, after a judge approved his lawsuit in July agreeing that the black student had done nothing more than make his fellow student - a white woman feel 'uncomfortable'.

Rowles had his suspension time cut in half to two years when he claimed it was 'part of a larger pattern and practice' of racial discrimination. He was also banned from his gym and residence halls permanently.

The university was the setting of 2015 protests over workplace benefits and leadership related to race that led to the resignations of the president of the University of Missouri System and the chancellor of the flagship Columbia campus.

Rowles said that 'applying the same disciplinary standards differently to students of different races was unreasonable.'

Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Cathy Scroggs, who left in 2017, had claimed asking someone on a date more than once was an 'unwanted sexual advance'.

It is claimed Breaux did not firmly say 'no' in reply to date requests. She eventually asked him to 'stop making romantic advances' but also encouraged him to continue taking dance classes.

However he says she began avoiding him soon after and when he said a letter apologizing for being awkward about his 'sincere feelings' the matter was escalated.

She accused him of 'bizarre' behaviour.

Later the university accused him of exerting 'power or authority' to harass Breaux, in reference to his 'physical size'. They also accused him of using similar behavior with three other student employees who haven't spoken out against him.

When asked if authority meant hierarchical, Scroggs replied 'I didn't interpret it that way'.

Current assistant vice chancellor for civil rights and Title IX, Andy Hayes said in her deposition: 'I think there could be a feeling of that [abuse of "power"] just by the nature of your gender.'

Assistant vice chancellor for civil rights and Title IX, Andy Hayes said in her deposition: 'I think there could be a feeling of that [abuse of "power"] just by the nature of your gender

However she allegedly told Rowles in a previous Title IX investigation that he 'looked like someone who might commit sexual assault'.

Rowles was accused of having 'insinuated' he would help a female undergraduate student cheat in return for 'sexual favors' but won his case.

Various figures of authority disagreed on what constituted a violation of Title IX and Hayes admitted they couldn't communicate a consistent answer to students.


Revive For-Profit Higher Education

The Obama Administration intensely disliked for-profit higher education. Political appointees in the U.S. Department of Education (Robert Shireman particularly stands out) as well as Democrats in Congress (e.g., former Senator Tom Harkin, current Senator Dick Durbin) constantly attacked the sector. Most of them probably thought that businesses should not make profits from education, which they consider primarily a public good appropriately only provided by nonprofit schools.

All sorts of regulations were imposed: state certification requirements (forcing online companies to get state bureaucratic approval in every state in which they operated), gainful employment rules, etc. These restrictions were ostensibly designed to protect student consumers from fraud, but since in most cases they did not apply to public not-for-profit institutions, they were highly discriminatory—clearly an attempt to stamp out the schools.

The effects of this are still being felt, as evidenced by the recent decision by the Education Corporation of America to close dozens of campuses with thousands of students. To be sure, there were a number of “bad apples” engaging in deceptive practices, although a non-discriminatory policy would have closed down some public institutions as well with very poor academic and employment outcomes.

I thought the unfortunately largely successful regulatory attack was a mistake for four reasons.

* First, markets impose disciplines on all institutions charging a price for their services, including schools. In the case of the for-profits, however, that discipline is far greater, because tuition fees are virtually the only source of revenues, unlike nonprofit institutions dependent on government subsidies, endowment income or private gifts. At for-profits, satisfying the customer is critical to survival, and hence teaching is Job One—more so than at other institutions also promoting research, saving the earth (“sustainability”), achieving progressive objectives (“diversity”), providing entertainment (e.g., football), etc.

* Second, that market discipline makes colleges more efficient. Resources are more intensely used. Most proprietary institutions rent pleasant but highly functional space with good parking on the outskirts of town or operate on-line—having no real campus. Instructors each teach several sections of needed core courses, not one or two sections of classes covering obscure tangential topics that the instructor favors.

* Third, while traditional higher education talks about serving low-income persons, racial minorities and first-generation college students, the for-profits do it—without hiring an army of diversity coordinators to demonstrate institutional support for equal educational opportunity. Critics of proprietary education bash the schools for poor performance, a phenomenon largely a consequence of accepting large numbers of at-risk students. The elite private schools that heavily influence the culture of most American universities want it both ways—they want to sound like they love the poor and minorities, but they also want high academic standards, first-rate students and the like. These goals sometimes conflict, particularly given the abysmal circumstances at home and school facing many poor inner city kids prior to college.

* Fourth, the proprietary schools emphasize preparing students for specific vocational objectives. Many are two-year or even nondegree schools offering certificates denoting competency in some needed vocation, such as welding, plumbing, or driving eighteen-wheel trucks over long distances. We need truck drivers and welders just as we need engineers and accountants, and Americans have neglected public vocational education, viewing it as second-rate, inferior training. The for-profit schools include many “career colleges” that often train students with limited interest or skills in traditional book-based learning who are capable of learning other very useful skills in a short period for less money than traditional four-year bachelor’s degree-granting institutions cost.

A recent National Bureau of Economic Research study suggests that on average the for-profits do less well in terms of academic performance than traditional schools. There are variations, however, around that average. I recently spoke at a CEO summit of leaders of scores of these institutions, and generally was impressed with their diligence, intelligence and, as far as I could see, integrity. I would buy a used car from a randomly selected president of one of those schools as eagerly as I would from presidents of traditional not-for-profit institutions. American higher education benefits from competition and diversity of its schools. Let’s preserve that, welcoming a vibrant network of proprietary schools.


Can millennials do maths?

Comment from Australia

“I can no longer teach with these new brains,” says an exasperated Clio Cresswell, mathematics lecturer at the University of Sydney and author of Mathematics and Sex. The core of the problem, she says, is the diminishing capacity of undergraduates for “linked thinking”. And it’s not just a problem in the classroom.

“I’ve always enjoyed teaching,” she says. “But these days students are so busy posting on social media — ‘love the burger’, ‘great fries’ — that if something tragic happens to a loved one they struggle to understand why they’re feeling the way they do. They’ve trained themselves in first-step thinking. Their worlds are constructed of disconnected moments.”

It’s an axiom of cognition that when the brain learns new ways of doing things, the command centre in the cranium evolves in response. Anthropologists and ­biologists track these changes across large spans of time, but the digital revolution has come on so fast that the brain is being remade in decades, not eons.

Between 2007 and 2012 the number of internet users doubled to two billion. Four years later the world’s digital population had leapt to 3.5 billion, and this year it reached 4.2 billion — more than 55 per cent of the global population.

Cresswell has her own way of measuring the changes.

This year, after a break of five years during which she taught mainly gifted second-year mathematics students, she returned to a class for students who do not particularly like maths but need it for subjects such as psychology and geology. Immediately, she noticed a difference.

“They don’t turn up for lectures and they don’t ask questions,” she says. “They have no idea about the interactive process.”

She describes a sea of “glazed” eyes. “Mostly they’re looking at their screens, and occasionally they’ll take a photo of me and an equation.”

Wiki, she adds, is their go-to tool. “But while Wiki is pretty good for maths it doesn’t teach you how to think mathematically; the whole point is to connect ideas.”

Cresswell’s first-hand observations about what was once, rather quaintly, termed the chalkface are all the more penetrating because she is no badly dressed myopic maths nerd in the mould of The Big Bang Theory’s Amy Fowler. If anyone can cut through the fog of student lack of interest, it’s Cresswell, whose TED talk Mathematics and Sex has been viewed by more than eight million people.

So dispirited is Cresswell with the state of mathematics literacy, in an age when the algorithm rules just about everything, that she foresees a world divided into a numerate priesthood and an innumerate mass.

“I’m seeing a big problem in a society in which everything is maths-based,” she says. “Fewer and fewer people know how maths works, and they’re asking more and more stupid questions and getting more and more dis­enfranchised.”

Steven Schwartz, emeritus professor and former vice-chancellor of Macquarie University, shares Cresswell’s concerns about maths literacy. A board member of Teach For Australia, a nonprofit body set up to tackle educational disadvantage, he nevertheless resists generalising about the digital brain when all brains are different.

Schwartz, whose academic field is psychology, stresses the prior role of genetics, which affects children’s behaviour, particularly the amount of time they spend on devices and how their brains respond.

“Kids who are genetically inclined to obesity may spend more time in the bedrooms playing computer games than riding a bike to the beach,” he says.

“This not only makes them fat but also affects their neurobiological functioning. These kids would probably wind up obese even if they never have access to a computer or phone.

“If a child inherits risk factors for cognitive deficits, as measured by NAPLAN (National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy), he or she may spend more time playing computer games, which could make cognitive deficits even worse. Limiting device time for those kids may help, especially if they spend the liberated time reading.

“On the other hand, limiting device time for kids without the same genetic disposition to cognitive deficits will not have the same beneficial effect.

“The bottom line is that kids are all different and they need to be treated as individuals. When it comes to device time, one size does not fit all,” Schwartz says.

New research does suggest, however, that some conclusions about the brain’s response to digital stimuli can be made with confidence. A recent study out of Norway, published in the International Journal of Educational Research, found that students who read texts in print performed significantly better in comprehension tests than students who read the same texts digitally.

In the graduate employment market, however, there are signs the digital brain may not be all bad. Andrew Spicer, chief executive of Australia’s biggest financial comparison website, Canstar, is “in awe” of new graduates.

“Millennials are highly educated, energetic, with a desire to learn, and many are entrepreneurial in their approach to business,” he says.

Spicer doubts there is an enormous cognitive gulf separating the generations, although he says that his young graduates clearly have different ways of communicating.

This, in turn, puts the onus on managers to learn to communicate with them.

“Millennials’ success in the workplace can be guided by teaching them patience and resilience, and managing their expectations. We have learned that it’s valuable to communicate more, and explain the why as well as the what,” he says.

Trent Innes, managing director of global software company Xero’s Australian operations, is equally sanguine.

“What’s different today is the pace of information,” he says. “Devices have accelerated the frequency with which we communicate, and that can be overwhelming. The next generation needs more advice on how to use these tools. Our education system can help kids navigate what has become a river of information.”

As principal of architecture practice BVN, it’s Matthew Blair’s job to think deeply about the ways technology is transforming architecture and building construction, and the changes, he says, are just beginning to gain momentum.

He foresees a time in the not too distant digital future when virtual reality and automation will turn architectural designs into finished built forms.

He works alongside the generation that will steer and shape this process and the most observable change he has noticed is its ability to inhabit the real and virtual worlds simultaneously.

“Their consciousness is in both places at the same time,” he says. “The brain has enabled that to happen.”

He’s not the first to observe that digital natives feel they don’t need so much to know stuff as to know where to find it.

“They think it’s more important to think critically and have ideas,” he says.

Blair concedes that the downside of the digital brain, with its capacity to traverse the temporal and virtual worlds, is a more diminished capacity to maintain concentration and focus, both of which are preconditions for the “linked thinking” that Cresswell says is essential to mathematics, and may also prove an essential ingredient of the self as conventionally understood.

“But I’m an optimist,” Blair ­declares. “And it’s good to be ­optimistic.”