Friday, March 29, 2019

The Government Is Threatening a Christian School That Serves Children with Learning Disabilities

Crosspoint Church in Florida wasn’t anticipating starting a school.

But in 2013, a woman who was attending the church approached the pastor, Reverend Michael Lindsey, with a donation and a request. She wanted to do something to serve children in the community. Within weeks, the church launched a summer care program, advertising it at local elementary schools.

It was a hit.

Around 50 kids signed up for the first week. Soon, parents were approaching Rev. Lindsey. They felt their kids weren’t thriving in public schools and were looking for another option.

By mid-July, the church was ready to launch Englewood Christian School and open it to students that fall.

“Everything fell into place,” Rev. Lindsey said. “We felt the Lord was behind it.”

And the Lord has sustained and grown the school. What started in the 2013-14 school year with 15 students has grown to 52 students today.

What makes Englewood Christian School special is that it focuses on individualized learning and offers the flexibility to tailor the learning environment to the needs of its students. Many of the students are facing a learning disability of some kind and have fallen behind in the public school system.

But now Sarasota County is standing in the way of this school’s good work. In 2016, the county informed the church that it needed a special permit in order to operate. And when it applied for that special permit, it was denied.

That was startling news. Englewood Christian School had every reason to believe that its application would be approved – especially considering that charter schools in Florida are permitted to operate in any church. But, apparently, religious schools like Englewood Christian School don’t get the same treatment.

That’s why Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Crosspoint Church and Englewood Christian School – to protect the students they serve.

This school is a benefit to the church and the surrounding community. In particular, the students have thrived at Englewood Christian School. But don’t take my word for it. Just read these stories of transformation.

A seventh grade boy came to Englewood Christian School from a public school, where he had been tested and placed in a resource room. There, because he was older, he became the teacher’s helper. He had not been able to advance past a third grade reading level. At Englewood, his reading level advanced two years in his first year. The next year, he was fully caught up. He will be graduating on time with a regular diploma.

An eighth grade boy who was severely withdrawn and is on medication that makes him sleepy started attending Englewood Christian School. He hadn’t been speaking or interacting with anyone at the public schools. Englewood Christian School, however, is able to accommodate his schedule. He can take breaks during the day when his medication makes him tired. And in-class activities and one-on-one time with teachers have helped him to open up. Now, he is an active contributor in class, and he interacts with the other students.

A female student on the autism spectrum came to the school lagging four grades behind. With the help of the teachers, she has successfully caught up to the grade she should be in.

Those are just a few of the success stories that have come from Englewood Christian School. But if the county is permitted to continue treating religious schools worse than secular schools, these kids and their families will lose.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that a county has tried to use local zoning codes to target churches and religious schools.

In fact, ADF has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case on behalf of a school in Ohio, Tree of Life Christian School. There, city officials have used zoning codes to block Tree of Life from using a building that it bought in order to consolidate its four campuses and expand.

The good news for both Englewood Christian School and Tree of Life Christian School is that federal law prohibits the government from using its zoning codes to single out religious institutions and treat them worse than everyone else. Not to mention that the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that the government cannot treat religious organizations and individuals as second-class citizens.

But that is exactly what is happening in Sarasota County, Florida – all at the expense of the children and families that Englewood Christian School serves.


How Do We Make College More Affordable?

For weeks, I’ve been writing about the problems with college and the way it’s financed. That was easy. Finding solutions is the hard part.

First of all, let’s stipulate that there are plenty of ways to get an education. If you just want to learn for the sake of learning, there are plenty of colleges that post their lectures online FOR FREE! You can download Kindle editions of the great works of literature for a couple of bucks each. I once subscribed to a course that emailed me little mini lessons every day. I enjoyed the one on Art History immensely.

There are also plenty of ways to get job training at low costs. You can go to the welding school here in Atlanta for about $9000 and graduate in six months making more money than I will ever hope to make. There are technical colleges. You can join the military. Many employers will pay for college classes.

If you want to earn an actual 4 year degree, there are cheaper ways to do it than Harvard. Start with 2 years at a community college and then transfer. The College Level Examination Program (or “CLEP”) offers online courses for a fraction of the cost. State colleges and universities are far less expensive than private ones.

But with all of those options available, there are still students and parents willing to borrow thousands of dollars for a degree. And why shouldn’t they? Last week’s bribery scandal revealed that some feel that a college diploma is worth spending thousands of dollars just to get your kid admitted (or, if you’re Jared Kushner’s dad, it was worth a $2.5 million donation to Harvard.)

Jonah Goldberg posted an interesting question last week: would you rather have the Yale diploma without the education, or the education without the diploma? Most people would take the diploma, no question. Because education for the sake of education is a wonderful thing, but that piece of paper is what opens the job opportunities.

Changing our culture is going to be difficult. If you grew up in the 80’s like I did, every sitcom had what I called the “Mikey goes to college” episode. The plot rarely varied. The slacker kid that did poorly in school would ponder skipping college to get job. Mom and Dad would have a cow and insist kid go to college. After all, Mom was usually a lawyer and Dad was a doctor, so they could afford to pay tuition without going into debt. Nobody ever stopped to question whether or not Mikey actually NEEDED to go to college. Ultimately, slacker kid always made the “right” decision. And, if the show stayed on the air long enough, he was eventually shown with his cap and gown at his college graduation, thanking his parents for showing him the right way.

A lot of young people today ARE turning away from the college path. But it’s a hard thing for parents who were raised in the “college for all” mentality to let go of that image. That’s one of the reasons I ended up in debt. I realized at 20 as my sophomore year was ending that I didn’t know what I was doing. I liked school and was making good grades, but I had no earthly idea what I wanted to “do with my life” or what degree to pursue to make that happen. I suggested to my parents that I take some time off. I had a summer job that I enjoyed and they offered me a full time position. My parents hit the roof. My dad told me in no uncertain terms that I WOULD be staying in college. After he died, I knew that my graduating was his last wish and did what I had to do to make it happen. It turned out to be a poor decision. When I finally graduated 2 1/2 years later, I was thousands of dollars in debt and my first job payed the exact same salary I had been offered earlier. Imagine if I had chosen to keep working instead? Then I wouldn’t be whining here about how much student loan debt ruined my life.

We don’t do people a favor by letting them take on more debt than they can afford. I bought a new house last year, and my real estate agent thought it would be a good idea to by the new house first, move and THEN try to sell my old house empty. I qualified for the mortgage, but the underwriters scuttled the deal. They felt that I couldn’t carry the mortgage AND pay taxes, utilities, etc. on both houses. Which was true! And what if the old house DIDN’T sell right away?

Maybe student loans should be assessed the same way. Instead of just allowing students to borrow any amount deemed “necessary,” maybe someone should sit down and consider how much the student was likely to earn and whether the loan amount would be manageable. After all, $100K loan is not unreasonable if you’re going into law or medicine. But it’s far too much if you’re majoring in Women’s Studies or Art History. Maybe there should be a maximum cap on borrowing. Because why WOULDN’T colleges keep raising tuition charges if the loan program defines “need” as the gap between what the college charges and what the student can pay?

Democrats of course have a solution for all of this: make college free! But the problem with that is there is no such thing as “free.” What they really mean when they say “college should be free” is that “Congress should take money away from taxpayers who have earned it and use that money to pay tuition for every kid with a pulse.”

It’s easy for conservatives to mock the kids complaining about there debt and dismiss them with “Well, you shouldn’t have done that.” But as I pointed out before, it’s YOUR problem because YOU guaranteed those loans as a US taxpayer! It won’t help our society for conservative parents to scrimp and save and send their kids to community college if liberals are allowed to borrow with abandon. In fact, nothing will make the inequities in our society worse than having one class of people forego colleges due to the expense, while another relies on the taxpayers to fund it.

Government subsidies have contributed to the escalating cost of college. Pouring more money into it will just make the problem worse. Economics 101 shows that the more you subsidize something, the higher the price rises. (So, at least I learned something in college.)

The Brookings Institute has proposed a “risk sharing” program that would require colleges to have “skin in the game.” This would require the colleges themselves to repay part of the money if the student defaults. You can read the details here:

Personally, I think we should turn off the tap. The government shouldn’t be in the student loan business at all. Banks would take a much more sensible approach to lending if the loans weren’t guaranteed by the government. And colleges would have to figure out how to make their products affordable if the government quit subsidizing them with student loans. It’s called the “free market.”

Apprenticeships would be another solution. Businesses that need workers with certain skills could pay for that training in exchange for the worker being contractually obligated for a set time period.

If the government DOES finance education, it should at least be for the skills that we need. We need nurses. We need engineers. We’d get a much better payoff in this state if we devoted all the proceeds from the Hope Scholarship towards funding GA Tech than from what we’re doing now. Society as a whole benefits from a more educated population. Nobody benefits from entitled students running up thousands of dollars of debt for worthless degrees.

And if we DON’T come up with some workable proposals, the liberals will eventually win with their “free college” proposal. Then we’ll all be direct funding the elite indoctrination centers instead of just underwriting the loans.


Australia: Another young man tossed out of his college following a rape allegation

Bettina Arndt

I’m tackling serious stuff in my YouTube video this week – another young man tossed out of his college following a rape allegation.

This one happened a few years ago at the University of Western Australia. You will see from my interview with the male student in question – I’ve called him ‘Nathan’ – that he readily admits didn’t handle his sexual relationship with his new girlfriend very well. The relationship was only a few weeks old, his girlfriend clearly had sexual issues. But the appallingly biased handling of the inquiry by his college  gave him no opportunity for a fair hearing, he was given no legal advice before being expelled from college after his girlfriend, led on by her feminist friends, misrepresented what happened between them.

Here is the classic believe-the-victim scenario which has led to so many American college students winning big legal payouts due to a university’s failure to protect their due process rights.

I have absolutely no doubt this is now happening at universities across Australia. Last year I made a video with a PhD student at Adelaide University who was pursued by a university committee following rape allegations. I will be making further videos regarding a number of similar cases I am following up at the moment – in some I need to wait for the completion of legal action before going public.

Listen up, people. This is happening on our watch. We are allowing our universities to be bullied into getting involved in adjudicating these criminal matters, using grossly unfair semi-judicial processes which have no place in institutes of higher learning.

I’m currently preparing a detailed letter to send to all members of the University of Sydney Senate, urging them to  seek a proper explanation from the administration as to why the University is embarking on this course. I am providing them with detailed evidence of the huge costs and damage to the reputations of American colleges from becoming involved in such matters, explaining that the Trump administration is now acting to restore due process rights on campus. 

As members of the governing body of the university, I will be urging these people to make it their business to thoroughly investigate how the administration proposes to avoid the expensive and damaging likely consequences of this move and suggesting they seek legal advice on the desirability and consequences of this new direction.

I’m hopeful that the large, varied group included in the Senate will include some independent folk prepared to start asking tough questions. I’m starting with Sydney Uni because I am still awaiting news of their investigation of my complaint about the violent protest against me last year.

I’ll be following up with similar letters to board members at other universities, initially targeting those we know to have introduced regulations regarding this issue. But since I know of two cases at UWA which does not appear to have officially moved in this direction, I suspect similar cases are happening under the radar at campuses across Australia.

Email from Tina --

Thursday, March 28, 2019

There’s Rampant Fraud throughout American education

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70 percent of white high school graduates in 2016 enrolled in college, and 58 percent of black high school graduates enrolled in college.

However, that year only 37 percent of white high school graduates tested as college-ready but colleges admitted 70 percent of them. Roughly 17 percent of black high school graduates tested as college-ready but colleges admitted 58 percent of them.

About 40 percent of college freshmen must take at least one remedial course. To deal with ill-prepared students, professors dumb down their courses so that students can get passing grades.

Colleges also set up majors with little or no academic content so as to accommodate students with limited academic abilities. Such majors often include the term “studies”: ethnic studies, cultural studies, gender studies, or American studies.

The major selected by the most ill-prepared students, sadly enough, is education. When students’ SAT scores are ranked by intended major, education majors place 26th on a list of 38.

One gross example of administrative dishonesty surfaced at the University of North Carolina. A learning specialist hired to help UNC athletes found that 60 percent of the 183 members of the football and basketball teams read between fourth- and eighth-grade levels. About 10 percent read below a third-grade level.

These athletes both graduated from high school and were admitted to UNC. More than likely, UNC is not alone in these practices because sports are the money-making center of many colleges.

It’s nearly impossible to listen to college presidents, provosts, and other administrators talk for more than 15 minutes or so before the words diversity and inclusion drop from their lips. But there’s a simple way to determine just how committed they are to their rhetoric.

Ask your average college president, provost, or administrator whether he bothers promoting political diversity among faculty. I’ll guarantee that if he is honest—or even answers the question—he will say he doesn’t believe in that kind of diversity and inclusion.

According to a recent study, professors who are registered Democrats outnumber their Republican counterparts by a 12-to-1 ratio. In some departments, such as history, Democratic registered professors outnumber their Republican counterparts by a 33-to-1 ratio.

The fact is that when college presidents and their coterie talk about diversity and inclusion, they’re talking mostly about pleasing mixtures of race and sex. Years ago, their agenda was called affirmative action, racial preferences, or racial quotas.

These terms fell out of favor and usage as voters approved initiatives banning choosing by race, and courts found solely race-based admissions unconstitutional. People had to repackage their race-based agenda and call it diversity and inclusion.

Some were bold enough to argue that “diversity” produces educational benefits to all students, including white students. Nobody has bothered to scientifically establish just what those benefits are.

I’m not sure about what can be done about education. But the first step toward any solution is for the American people to be aware of academic fraud that occurs at every level of education.


Oxford University hires staff to investigate college's colonialism and British Empire links

Another exercise dfesigned to foster hate

An Oxford college is to investigate its connections to colonialism and the British Empire in the wake of the university's Rhodes Must Fall movement.

St John's College has posted a job advert on its website for a researcher to work on a project called St John's and the Colonial Past.

The college said there were "compelling intellectual and ethical reasons for institutions of higher education to face up to the role they played in the British Empire.”

Any findings will lead to “responses” from the university, the job advert added.

It comes after the Rhodes Must Fall movement in 2015 saw students demand the removal of a statue of the colonialist Cecil Rhodes from Oriel College.

The campaign prompted a number of universities to remove links to Britain’s colonial past.

In 2016, Jesus College at Cambridge University took down a bronze cockerel statue which had been looted during a British colonial expedition to Nigeria in the 19th century, after students asked for it to be repatriated.

Later that year Queen Mary University of London quietly removed a foundation stone laid by King Leopold II amid student complaints that he was a “genocidal colonialist”.

In the US, Harvard Law School replaced its official crest, because of its links to an 18th-century slave owner, following five months of demonstrations and sit-ins by students.

Last year Sam Gyimah, the former universities minister warned universities against 'decolonising' curricula to avoid 'unfashionable' subjects.

St John’s College said the new researcher will be tasked with exploring "connections between the college and colonialism, uncovering benefactions to St John's and the alumni who served in the empire".

The successful applicant will be paid between £32,236-£39,609 per annum.

The advert reads: "This project will explore connections between the college and colonialism, uncovering benefactions to St John's and the alumni who served in the empire.

"It will also investigate the monuments, objects, pictures, buildings that evoke the colonial past.

"This is a pioneering project; one we hope will set the standard for future work in other institutions."

Professor William Whyte, who is leading the project, said colleges needed to be “open” about their colonial links. “It’s about understanding our history, and making sure we have nothing to hide,” he said.


Australian history lecturer is caught branding Anzac heroes who fought at Gallipoli as 'killers'

Gallipoli was a WWI campaign to assist Russia -- and by killing 300,000 troops of Russia's enemy, Turkey, it certainly did that. But it was not the big success against Turkey hoped for. And the allied soldiers were of course killers.  That was their job.  It appears however that the Lecturer was denouncing them for doing their job, which is grievous to the relatives of the more than 200,000 Australians who died at Gallipoli. 

There are no survivors left but there are many younger relatives alive, of whom I am one.  Men who did a difficult and onerous task honourably and bravely in response to their country's call do not deserve disrespect

A lecturer has been caught teaching students at a prestigious Perth university that Australian soldiers who fought at Gallipoli were 'killers'.

Dr Dean Aszkielowicz, from Murdoch University, also told students that Anzac Day commemorations were a 'cliché' and that many of the young people who attended Anzac Day services in Gallipoli were 'drunk,' according to The Australian.

An audio recording of one of Dr Aszkielowicz's lectures obtained by the publication contained the statements, leaving some students questioning whether they are being taught a biased version of history.

When asked by one student if Anzacs who fought during the First World War should be viewed as murderers, Dr Aszkielowicz said that he didn't see why 'that isn't a viewpoint that shouldn't sit alongside this other version of how we look at the Anzacs'.

'If you go and you kill people, whether it's in a foreign campaign or not, then you've killed people and you're a killer,' he said.

More than 8,000 Australian soldiers died during the disastrous Gallipoli campaign, which ran from February 1915 to January 1916.

Many Australians and New Zealanders view the campaign as the moment the young nations lost their innocence and became proudly independent. 

The comments on the Gallipoli campaign come as students at the same university were told that both the federal government and 'right-wing media' were misinforming the public about refugees on Manus Island and Nauru.

Anne Surma, an English and Creative Arts lecturer, urged her students to read a book by Manus Island asylum seeker Behrouz Boochani, who she described as 'prisoners'.

The University issued a statement that said it was important for all viewpoints to be taught to students – as well as the tools to allow them to form their own opinions.   

The interim pro-vice-chancellor of the College of Arts, Business, Law and Social Sciences, Professor Rikki Kersten, said that they actively encourage students to draw from arguments that range across the political spectrum.  

'They might not agree with all the viewpoints they hear or read, but it is important they understand them and have the tools to form their own views.

'In the context of these lectures, our academics provided informed but challenging comment respectfully — this is academic freedom in action.' 


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Why Politicians on the Left Can’t Fix What Ails Public Schools in New York City

New York leaders are right to be upset that only seven black kids got into one of the most prestigious public schools in the city, Stuyvesant High, out of 895 spots. Something indeed ought to be done.

Unfortunately, officials such as Mayor Bill de Blasio and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., emphasize equality of outcome rather than deal with the root causes of the problem. So, they are unlikely to fix anything but instead will make the problem worse.

Test results have been equally dispiriting across New York City’s seven other selective schools, from Bronx Science to Brooklyn Latin. They show a persistent achievement gap in education across racial and ethnic lines.

The only way to gain admission to these schools is to do well in the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT), a rigorous test of student aptitude in math and English.

The charts below, provided by email by the New York City Department of Education, show the breakdown of eighth-graders who took the SHSAT this year and last, and those who got a first-round offer, broken down by racial and ethnic category.

One immediate observation—and something that needs to be repeated again and again—is that these categories are in many ways worthless.

“Asian” and “Latino” are panethnic umbrella groups that comprise countries of origin as varied as China, Korea, Cuba, Laos, Argentina, Mexico, and India—that is, places whose descendants in America have very different outcomes. The city’s Education Department does not seem to have such a breakdown.

Having said that, what jumps out is that “Asian” eighth-graders take the SHSAT in disproportionate numbers. They represent 15 percent of the New York City public school system population, according to the city’s numbers, and yet were 31 percent of the test-takers. Non-Hispanic white kids came next, 18 percent versus 15 percent of the population.

The numbers of “Latino” and black test-takers were smaller than their overall numbers. Around 24 percent of test-takers were “Latino,” around 15 percentage points lower than their overall number in public schools, whereas 20 percent of test-takers were black, six percentage points lower than their overall number.

From these city government numbers, we can extrapolate that the overwhelming majority, or 60 percent, of Hispanics were Puerto Rican or Dominican, another 23 percent Central American, and 14 percent Mexican, adding up to 95 percent. The other 5 percent “others” includes Cuban-Americans, Spaniards, and South Americans.

According to the Statistical Atlas, Chinese-Americans make up 48 percent of the city’s Asian population, far ahead of Indian-Americans at 19 percent and Korean-Americans at almost 8 percent. In other words, roughly three-quarters of this population is comprised of three groups with high cultural indicators.

The most troubling numbers come at the bottom of the city Education Department chart, marked “percentage of testers who received an offer, by ethnicity.”

There we see that 29 percent of the “Asian” kids who took the test got into the selective schools, as did 27 percent of whites; but for “Latinos,” it was 4.8 percent and for blacks, 3.5 percent. That’s a proxy for who did well on the test.

Progressives want to emphasize the line above on the chart, called the distribution of offers, which shows that more than half of the incoming class at the eight selective schools will be “Asian” and almost 29 percent white, while “Hispanics” will be 6.6 percent and black students 4 percent.

Sure enough, Ocasio-Cortez quickly tweeted this out:

As for de Blasio, he tried last year to scrap the SHSAT altogether, a proposal that went nowhere as other prominent New York leaders, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a liberal Democrat, distanced themselves from such a Stalinist approach.

Not that de Blasio is giving up. Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, the mayor’s appointee, said in a prepared statement this week: “We’re also once again confronted by an unacceptable status quo at our specialized high schools. We need to eliminate the single test for specialized high school admissions now.”

That would accomplish only one thing, however—destroy the specialized school system that is not just the only bright spot in the city’s otherwise bleak school system, but one of the best in the country. It would do nothing to bring up the Latino and black kids.

The question then remains, how do we help these students?

We help them by really addressing what is holding them down, and sharing best practices. What makes people succeed? Well, many things: grit, perseverance, hard work, putting a premium on education, keeping families intact.

Reams of studies show that students with a mom and dad at home do best.

Those with the lowest out-of-wedlock birth rates, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are Asian-Americans. Asian-Americans also have by far the lowest divorce rate, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

And unsurprisingly, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, Asian-American kids spend a lot more time doing homework than students in other categories.

None of this is to say that addressing these issues will be easy.

But leaders such as de Blasio and Ocasio-Cortez could be using their bully pulpits to make this case. One black politician who had the courage to do so—though not often enough—was Barack Obama. Several months before being elected president in 2008, he famously said of absent black fathers:

They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. We know the statistics—that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools; and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.

Obama paid a price for his bluntness, and was criticized by those who insist that failing grades are due to “institutionalized oppression.” But leadership requires courage.

And de Blasio, Ocasio-Cortez, and the others ought to support charter schools and other forms of school choice. Studies such as a recent one by Stanford University show strong “learning gains” by students in New York City charter schools compared with their peers in traditional public schools.

The study said: “When the findings were examined by demographic subgroups, they showed stronger growth for minorities and students in poverty.”

Regrettably, the mayor has waged an ideological crusade against charter schools, as our friends at the Manhattan Institute demonstrated in a report last year. Under his administration, the number of approvals for space requests for these popular schools has plummeted by 60 percent.

Progressive politicians such as de Blasio and Ocasio-Cortez are the ones making the biggest noise about economic inequality and its racial component, yet are unable to do anything about what causes these problems.

Education is the all-important rung in the ladder of success in America. So long as the achievement gap persists, don’t expect inequality to go away.


Admissions bribery? The real problem with higher education is far deeper than that

“Today’s ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits.” —Angelo Codevilla, “America’s Ruling Class — And the Perils of Revolution,” 2010

“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it.” —Hillary Clinton, 2016

“In the largest known college admissions scandal in U.S. history, federal prosecutors on Tuesday said a California company made about $25 million by charging parents to secure spots for their children in elite schools, including Georgetown, Stanford and Yale, by cheating the admissions process.” —Reuters, March 14, 2019

Two words in Reuters’ description of the Operation Varsity Blues criminal probe stand out: “known” and “scandal.” Americans have long known that virtually the entire college admissions process is a sham. There have always been positions reserved for children of previous graduates, those who shower their alma maters with generous donations, the athletically gifted who also generate millions of dollars in revenue, and a number of other less-qualified students whose racial or sexual orientation is trumpeted as a university’s commitment to “diversity.” What makes this current endeavor undertaken by CEOs, Hollywood stars, and Wall Street millionaires a scandal is the likelihood that these ruling-class mandarins are as upset with being singled out as they are with being caught.

After all, as columnist (and Yale graduate) Kyle Smith asserts, “Let’s not think of Felicity Huffman et al. as unusual. Everybody with the means to steer their kids into top-drawer colleges is thinking about how to game the system. This is because an elite-college degree isn’t an instrument or a tool; it doesn’t have to lead to anything. It’s a status symbol in itself. Yale is Louis Vuitton is Piaget is Mercedes.”

No, Mr. Smith, not everyone with means is trying to game the system. There are millions of decent Americans who play by the rules, and don’t succumb to the siren song of ill-gotten status symbols.

Moreover, the biggest takeaway from this exposé isn’t that ruling-class members have been revealed for the status-mongers they’ve always been. It’s that those who run America’s universities — universities teeming with grade inflation, worthless majors, and tuition costs that have skyrocketed to the point where student loan debt is now $1.56 trillion — have been exposed for who they truly are: morally bankrupt elitists, enabling a morally bankrupt, self-perpetuating elitist system.

“These institutions of higher learning have spent the last several decades promulgating complicated and specious theories about inherited guilt and privilege on the basis of immutable characteristics such as gender and ethnicity, all the while fueling themselves on the real privilege of wealth and celebrity,” writes columnist Ed Morrissey. “If that’s not a blatant corruption of their core mission to educate, then nothing can be called corrupt.”

Is education still their core mission? “Since the 1970s, it has been virtually impossible to flunk out of American colleges,” Codevilla explains. “And it is an open secret that ‘the best’ colleges require the least work and give out the highest grade point averages. No, our ruling class recruits and renews itself not through meritocracy but rather by taking into itself people whose most prominent feature is their commitment to fit in.”

Genuine education is about the dissemination of core principles vital to the understanding and preservation of our constitutional republic, the free and open exchange of competing ideas, and learning how, not what, to think.

Fitting in is all about kowtowing to the prevailing ideology. Since the 1970s, the number of college administrators has soared by 369%, and if Americans don’t quite understand the implications, a story about Harvard Business School is indicative: They’ve hired an Associate Director for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging “to improve the environment surrounding equity and inclusion at the school,” according to the Harvard Crimson.

Equity and inclusion? Ideological enforcement is more like it.

Besides, given that particular school’s record with Asian students, that position isn’t working as advertised.

Such contemptible nonsense is only part of the picture. In 2013, the Obama administration proposed a ratings system whereby colleges would be required to reveal student graduation rates, the level of debt they’ve accumulated and what they earn after graduating. The idea was aimed at finding out if colleges — some with costs exceeding $60,000 per year — were worth the money. “The college presidents were appalled,” The New York Times reported, citing a number of college officials who believed the effort was “uncharacteristically clueless,” “quite wrongheaded,” or “oversimplified to the point that it actually misleads.”

Many things are misleading. Transparency and accountability are not.

Columnist Heather Mac Donald also champions transparency, asserting that universities “should adopt a transparent, purely merit-based admissions system based on quantified tests of academic preparedness.”

Unfortunately, it may be little more than rearranging Titanic deck chairs.

That’s because the real problem is that while universities perpetuate an odious ruling class status quo utterly inimical to millions of Americans, those same Americans have been thoroughly conditioned to believe their children are doomed without a college degree, because college graduates earn more than those with a high-school education.

Yet where do the proverbial lines cross? Higher earnings require specific majors and often more advanced degrees — which feed the massive student debt load that seriously impedes graduates’ ability to own homes and start a business and/or family. Non-graduates? Approximately 40% of students do not graduate within six years — and have the debt without the higher wages to mitigate it.

In the meantime, colleges can raise costs with impunity, because all student-loan defaults are ultimately borne by taxpayers. Thus, the contemptible status quo perseveres. One in which ordinary American are viewed by the self-professed “best and brightest” as “retrograde, racist, and dysfunctional unless properly constrained,” as Codevilla puts it.

In 2016, “unconstrained,” “deplorable” Americans elected a non-politician to the Oval Office. The elitist backlash has been tremendous, led by the very same ruling class as desperate to preserve their political status quo as the educational one that perpetuates it.

And why not? The Left has always sought power by any means necessary. But the American Right enabled them when they unconditionally surrendered America’s entire education system to the leftist/elitist agenda. And now, 50 years later, legions of socialist/Marxist foot soldiers produced by that surrender sense their Liberty-crushing “moment” is at hand.

Fix colleges? Better to render them as irrelevant as possible. Compete against them with wholly accountable institutions for millions of students who prefer developing skill sets to polishing social justice warrior résumés. Less expensive institutions, unburdened by the administrative dead weight colleges have embraced.

A heavy lift? Undoubtedly. But the status quo of ongoing cultural degradation, crushing debt, and contempt for national sovereignty that defines the elitist agenda — along with the cultivated polarization used to maintain it — is unsustainable.

Education is the ultimate battleground for the nation’s soul. And it’s time the American Right deprived the leftist-dominated elitist class of their ideological fiefdoms, disguised as institutions of higher learning.

The nation’s survival depends on it.


Cambridge University withdraws visiting fellowship of Jordan Peterson

Cambridge University has rescinded its offer of a visiting fellowship to controversial academic Jordan Peterson, who refuses to refer to transgender people by their chosen pronouns, after outcry from faculty and students.

The Canadian psychologist, who has hundreds of thousands of fans, styles himself as the "professor against political correctness", and has argued for enforced monogamy, and pushed the view that men are victims of gender discrimination.

He has also said that the idea of white privilege is a “Marxist lie.”

The professor first came to fame in 2016 because he opposed an anti-discrimination bill that meant he had to use the preferred pronouns of his students and colleagues. He said that the law infringed on his free speech, refusing to use any other pronoun than "he" or "she".

Students protested across the university's campus and caused a media storm in Canada and the US.

He was due to take part in a two month academic fellowship at the Faculty of Divinity, planning to run around ten public lectures on the Bible, which would be a continuation of his work at the University of Toronto.

Academics and the student union publicly protested his appointment, with lecturer Priyamvada Gopal sarcastically tweeting: " Jordan Peterson to be my colleague later this year? So EXCITED. So much to learn, so much wisdom to glean. Well done, Cambridge, no better way to signal our commitment to diversity and decolonization."

PhD student Lieske Huits tweeted: "Enraged and disappointed with @Cambridge_Uni that Jordan Peterson has been given a visiting fellowship. Such hatemongering shouldn't be given a place at our University."

Another student,  Neha Malhotra, agreed, writing: "@Cambridge_Uni by hiring Jordan Peterson, you are giving a platform to anti-trans speech. Instead of making this campus safe(r) for trans folks & those that fall under your so-called “diversity” mission, you are actively supporting their oppression. So shameful."

Hours later, the university U-turned, writing in a statement: "We can confirm that Jordan Peterson requested a visiting fellowship, and an initial offer has been rescinded after a further review." 

Cambridge Student Union said in a statement to student paper Varsity: “We are relieved to hear that Jordan Peterson's request for a visiting fellowship to Cambridge's Faculty of Divinity has been rescinded following further review. It is a political act to associate the University with an academic's work through offers which legitimise figures such as Peterson.

“His work and views are not representative of the student body and as such we do not see his visit as a valuable contribution to the University, but one that works in opposition to the principles of the University.”

Jordan Peterson has responded, writing on his website: "Now the Divinity school has decided that signaling their solidarity with the diversity-inclusivity-equity mob trumps that opportunity–or so I presume. You see, I don’t yet know, because (and this is particularly appalling) I was not formally notified of this decision by any representative of the Divinity school.

"I heard about the rescinded offer through the grapevine, via a colleague and friend, and gathered what I could about the reasons from social media and press coverage.

"I think the Faculty of Divinity made a serious error of judgement in rescinding their offer to me (and I’m speaking about those unnamed persons who made that specific decision). I think they handled publicising the rescindment in a manner that could hardly have been more narcissistic, self-congratulatory and devious.

"I believe that the parties in question don’t give a damn about the perilous decline of Christianity, and I presume in any case that they regard that faith, in their propaganda-addled souls, as the ultimate manifestation of the oppressive Western patriarchy, despite their hypothetical allegiance to their own discipline."


Tuesday, March 26, 2019

A different kind of March madness

Brits have it easier.  Going to one of the Russell group universities is advantageous but the main advantage comes from where you got your High School education.  As long as you went to a good private school, you are one of the chosen

Please, let’s stop pretending that the college cheating scandal is just an indictment of overindulgent, wealthy helicopter parents.

The Justice Department has accused dozens of super-rich parents of making $25 million in illegal payments — and, in some cases, taking a tax break to boot — to get their children into selective colleges.

If true, these parents broke the law. They could face some prison time. But in the coming weeks, a lot of parents and their children, who’ve been legitimately accepted to pricey colleges, will make a move to put themselves in another type of prison.

Certain madness takes over this time of year — between late March and early April — when the college acceptance letters are sent out. Hearts are elated if children are accepted to prestigious public and private universities. Then comes the financial reality: Going to these dream colleges often means taking on substantial student loans.

Outstanding student-loan debt at the end of last year was $1.5 trillion. Education debt ranks second in consumer debt nationwide behind mortgages.

Parents will sentence themselves and their children to decades of debt because they believe attending a select school is a must for their children to succeed. They will trade financial stability for the status symbol of a brand-name college education.

The recent admissions scam has been used to underscore the pressure parents and students are under to get into “better” schools, as if the thousands of other colleges and universities in the country just aren’t good enough. Heaven forbid you suggest a student attend a community college first, if money is woefully lacking. The pushback is typically substantial — and illogical.

Dripping with disdain, parents and students say that if the acceptance to an elite college doesn’t happen, there is always the “safety school.” What’s financially sound and safe about struggling under the weight of enough debt to equal the price of a home?

And the financial imprisonment is even harder for low-income families, particularly minorities. Many students from these homes run out of money before they can graduate. They end up with debt and no degree.

Last fall, I met a mother at a financial-literacy program in Delaware who was very concerned about how to pay her parent PLUS loans. She had taken out more than $100,000 to help send her child to the top-rated University of Michigan to study to be a teacher.

I asked her why she didn’t send her daughter to a school in her home state or somewhere close by so she could commute and reduce the cost of attendance.

“It’s where she really wanted to go, and she worked hard to get into Michigan,” the mom said with pride.

But studies have shown that the determination and hard work that the child demonstrated would have helped her succeed wherever she ended up going to college.

“A sort of mania has taken hold, and its grip seems to grow tighter and tighter,” wrote New York Times op-ed columnist Frank Bruni in his 2015 book “Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be.”

It’s the “elite edge” that drives many parents and students to put themselves in financial jeopardy, Bruni pointed out.

What about the connections a child will make at a premier institution, you might ask?

Gallup asked 5,100 graduates about the career helpfulness of their undergraduate alumni networks.

Just 9 percent of graduates said the school network has been very helpful or helpful to them in the job market, according to Gallup, which released the findings earlier this year.

Just one in six alumni from schools ranked in the top 50 by U.S. News and World Report reported that their alumni network has been useful to them in the job market.

“While these alumni are slightly more likely than alumni from lower-ranked schools to perceive their alumni network as helpful, the differences are relatively minor and unlikely to offset the significant differences in tuition costs,” Gallup said.

What can markedly make a difference in job success for a student?

What helps tremendously is an internship during college in which a graduate can apply what he or she is learning, Gallup said.

Long before the current admissions scandal, Bruni wrote, “The admissions game is too flawed and too rigged to be given so much credit. For another, the nature of a student’s college experience — the work that he or she puts into it, the skills that he or she picks up, the self-examination that’s undertaken, the resourcefulness that’s honed — matters more than the name of the institution attended.”

Stop the madness. Don’t succumb to admissions mania that can condemn you and your kid to a life of crushing debt.


Deflating College Degrees

The value of a college degree decreased considerably as academic merit became secondary.

What is a college degree really worth these days, as opposed to how much it costs? One of the Democrats’ favorite policy platforms recently has been the call for “free college.” That this message is so popular with the younger generation may be an indication that the increasing cost of a college degree and the ballooning student debt associated with it (now more than $1.5 trillion) has not placed graduates on the fast track to the higher-paying jobs educated professionals once enjoyed. Instead, more and more college graduates are finding themselves ill prepared to successfully engage in a dynamic free-market world that rewards innovation, enterprise, and hard work.

In other words, a college degree no longer provides, in and of itself, a path to earning income that is greater than that of those without a college degree. Nor is that income sufficient to pay off student loans — now grossly inflated by government guarantees, which preclude any liability to educational institutions. Those institutions should be co-liable for student loans rather than being enriched by them while taxpayers bear the burden of default. And worse, millions of young people incur several years of student debt and never finish their degree. (The Trump administration has proposed limits on student loans as a first measure to resolve this debt crisis.)

It didn’t used to be this way. To put it bluntly, education standards have slipped considerably. How else can one explain why Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who majored in economics and graduated cum laude from Boston University, fails to understand the most rudimentary economic principles?

But why have the standards slipped? One of the main factors is that academic merit, which should be the primary and sole criteria for admission into institutions of higher learning, has become secondary. Academic merit has been displaced by financial considerations, athletic ability, favored racial-minority status, and legacies. The results are predictable: When students are admitted who fail to meet the higher academic standards, what eventually occurs is that those standards are gradually lowered. Secondarily, the requirements for gaining a degree begin to slip as well. For example, in 2017, Yale changed its course requirements for English majors so that it is now possible to graduate without ever having read or studied Shakespeare.

Unlike the recent case where students cheated the admission system, in this case the admission system has cheated the students.

In recognizing this dumbing down of higher-education standards, Harvard University Professor Harvey Mansfield, who has been teaching for over 60 years, applies a unique practice to demonstrate how the pressure to lower academic standards has produced deficient students. Mansfield gives all his students two grades — the first grade goes into their official transcript and is one that has been artificially inflated; the second is the grade they have actually earned. His reason: to honestly show his students how they really did.

It would seem that too many colleges and universities today are more concerned with producing “woke” activists than sober academics.


Australian Grade school BANS parents from buying and delivering their children McDonald's and KFC fast food for lunch

Bureaucratic ignorance and snobbery.  Fast food is highly nutritious

A primary school has been forced to ban fast food to stop parents from delivering McDonald's and KFC meals to their children at lunchtime.

Canley Vale Public School in Sydney's west recently posted to Facebook asking parents to stop feeding students unhealthy food.

Principal Ben Matthews said parents should provide their kids with a packed lunch or to order from the school canteen.

'Lately a significant number of parents have been delivering fast food to the school for their child's lunch. This includes McDonalds, KFC etc,' Mr Matthews wrote on social media.

'Please note that as of today we are no longer accepting these deliveries.'

A parent of a Canley Vale student said 'the kids love' fast food.

'McDonald's is commercial junk and shouldn't be at school,' the parent told the Daily Telegraph.

Parenting expert Dr Justin Coulson said parents had a responsibility to provide their children with a healthy lunch.

'This doesn't seem like it in the interest of the children at all,' he said.

Nutritionist Joel Ferren said parents should be providing their children with packed lunches including sandwiches, salads, fruit, vegetables, eggs and yoghurt.

A New South Wales Department of Education spokesman said students were advised about making healthy choices at school.

'Canley Vale Public School promotes healthy eating and active lifestyles. As such, it has requested parents not deliver fast food to the school,' the spokesman said. 


Monday, March 25, 2019

How Parents Are Robbing Their Children of Adulthood

Today’s “snowplow parents” keep their children’s futures obstacle-free — even when it means crossing ethical and legal boundaries

Helicopter parenting, the practice of hovering anxiously near one’s children, monitoring their every activity, is so 20th century. Some affluent mothers and fathers now are more like snowplows: machines chugging ahead, clearing any obstacles in their child’s path to success, so they don’t have to encounter failure, frustration or lost opportunities.

Taken to its criminal extreme, that means bribing SAT proctors and paying off college coaches to get children into elite colleges — and then going to great lengths to make sure they never face the humiliation of knowing how they got there.

One parent in the college bribery scandal was accused of lying about his son playing water polo, but then worried that he would be perceived by his peers as “a bench warmer side door person,” according to the affidavit. (He was assured that his son wouldn’t have to actually be on the team.) Another was said to have paid someone to take the ACT for her son — and then pretended to proctor it for him herself, at home, so he would think he took it.

The parents charged in Operation Varsity Blues are far outside the norm. But they were acting as the ultimate snowplows: clearing the way for their children to get in to college, while shielding them from any of the difficulty, risk and potential disappointment of the process.

In its less outrageous — and wholly legal — form, snowplowing (also known as lawn-mowing and bulldozing) has become the most brazen mode of parenting of the privileged children in the everyone-gets-a-trophy generation.

It starts early, when parents get on wait lists for elite preschools before their babies are born and try to make sure their toddlers never do anything that may frustrate them. It gets more intense when school starts: running a forgotten assignment to school or calling a coach to request that their child make the team.

Later, it’s writing them an excuse if they procrastinate on schoolwork, paying a college counselor thousands of dollars to perfect their applications or calling their professors to argue about a grade.

The bribery scandal has “just highlighted an incredibly dark side of what has become normative, which is making sure that your kid has the best, is exposed to the best, has every advantage — without understanding how disabling that can be,” said Madeline Levine, a psychologist and the author of “Teach Your Children Well: Why Values and Coping Skills Matter More Than Grades, Trophies or ‘Fat Envelopes.’”

“They’ve cleared everything out of their kids’ way,” she said.

In her practice, Levine said, she regularly sees college freshmen who “have had to come home from Emory or Brown because they don’t have the minimal kinds of adult skills that one needs to be in college.”

One came home because there was a rat in the dorm room. Some didn’t like their roommates. Others said it was too much work, and they had never learned independent study skills. One didn’t like to eat food with sauce. Her whole life, her parents had helped her avoid sauce, calling friends before going to their houses for dinner. At college, she didn’t know how to cope with the cafeteria options — covered in sauce.

“Here are parents who have spent 18 years grooming their kids with what they perceive as advantages, but they’re not,” Levine said.

Yes, it’s a parent’s job to support the children, and to use their adult wisdom to prepare for the future when their children aren’t mature enough to do so. That’s why parents hide certain toys from toddlers to avoid temper tantrums or take away a teenager’s car keys until he finishes his college applications.

Lost in the real world

But snowplow parents can take it too far, some experts say. If children have never faced an obstacle, what happens when they get into the real world?

They flounder, said Julie Lythcott-Haims, the former dean of freshmen at Stanford University and the author of “How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success.”

At Stanford, she said, she saw students rely on their parents to set up play dates with people in their dorm or complain to their child’s employers when an internship didn’t lead to a job. The root cause, she said, was parents who had never let their children make mistakes or face challenges.

Snowplow parents have it backward, Lythcott-Haims said: “The point is to prepare the kid for the road, instead of preparing the road for the kid.”


South Carolina Democrats Fight Against University Constitution Course

South Carolina Democrats argued for more than an hour to prevent legislation that would require state universities to teach a “Constitution 101” course Tuesday.

The Republican-proposed bill would update an existing 1924 requirement to teach the course, which the University of South Carolina has hitherto ignored. The legislation has already passed in the Senate, but Democrats in a Tuesday House subcommittee hearing argued the update would be too burdensome on students both financially and academically.

The bill would require students to take a three-credit, semester-long class covering America’s founding documents, including the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Federalist Papers.

Democratic South Carolina state Reps. Ivory Thigpen and Wendy Brawley argued the cost of the course, which Thigpen referred to as “Constitution 101,” may be transferred onto students. They also pointed to a representative from the university who argued against the bill’s requirement that students pass a comprehensive exam covering the course material to graduate.

Republican South Carolina state Rep. Garry Smith, R-27th District, who is sponsoring the bill in the House, pointed to several classes not required by law that the university could stop offering if it wanted to cut costs, such as a class on “Global Citizenship.”

“I would argue that if you can’t pass a comprehensive exam on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, then maybe you shouldn’t graduate,” Smith said.

The bill is the latest attempt from South Carolina Republicans to get the university to require a class that is already mandated by law. The first push came in 2014, which University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides rebuffed with a letter listing several reasons the university would offer, but not require, the class. The primary reason was a mandate to test students for “loyalty to the United States.”

“It appears that an update of these statutes is necessary to strike the balance between compliance and application,” Pastides wrote at the time. “The University of South Carolina is committed to working with members of the General Assembly on a favorable solution.”

The updated legislation appears to address each of Pastides’ concerns, putting the university in a difficult situation should it again insist on not requiring the class.


White House proposes caps on student loan borrowing

The Trump administration on Monday proposed new limits on federal student loans taken out by parents and graduate students as part of a broader proposal to curb the cost of college.

White House officials included the plan in a list of suggested changes to the Higher Education Act, a sweeping federal law that governs student lending. The legislation is getting its first overhaul from Congress in more than a decade.

Ivanka Trump, the daughter and adviser of President Donald Trump, unveiled the plan at a meeting of the National Council for the American Worker, an advisory group that Ivanka Trump helps lead.

“We need to modernize our higher-education system to make it more affordable, flexible and outcomes-oriented, so all Americans, young and old, can learn the skills they need to secure and retain good-paying jobs,” Ivanka Trump said on a call with reporters.

A primary goal of the proposal is to curb the growth of college tuition rates and reduce the nation’s student debt load, which has reached nearly $1.5 trillion and has more than tripled since 2003.

The White House’s proposed solution is to cap federal loan programs available to students’ parents and to graduate students. The plan doesn’t propose specific limits, but officials suggested it could vary based on academic program.

Underpinning that idea is a belief that colleges are largely responsible for the nation’s debt woes. The White House says easy access to federal aid has led colleges to drive up prices, adding that they are “unable or unwilling” to make education more affordable.

Colleges often argue they have been forced to raise tuition to make up for reduced funding from their states. Many Democrats have echoed that position, with some calling for greater government support for schools.

Sen. Patty Murray, the top Democrat on the Senate education committee, says the plan misses the “root cause” of the problem: “that college costs are rising exponentially and most students can’t afford college without taking on massive amounts of debt.”

“In fact, this proposal would end up hurting students by reducing the amount of federal aid for students and taking billions out of the pockets of borrowers,” she said.

Borrower advocates said they welcome attention to the topic but don’t think the White House plan will help. Federal loans for students’ parents and graduate students total about $25 billion a year, compared to $151 billion in total federal student loans.

James Kvaal, president of the nonprofit Institute for College Access & Success, said the plan takes the wrong approach, adding that there’s “no evidence” the availability of federal loans has led to higher college costs.

“The solution is to invest more in Pell scholarships for low-income students, to work with states to make public colleges and universities more affordable,” said Kvaal, who is also a former policy adviser to President Barack Obama.

White House officials say they also want to simplify the loan repayment process, a goal shared with Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who chairs the Senate education committee and is leading the push to update the Higher Education Act.

Lamar said it is “helpful” to have the White House’s perspective as he works with Democrats on the overhaul.

“I share the administration’s goals to make a college education worth it and to make it simpler to apply for federal student aid and pay back student loans,” he said.

Several items on the White House’s wish list were also included in the Education Department’s budget proposal for next year, including the elimination of public service loan forgiveness, a program that can erase debt for certain borrowers after 120 months of repayment.

Instead, the White House says all federal borrowers should get undergraduate debt wiped clean after 180 months of repayment.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos praised the White House plan as “an important roadmap for working with Congress to rethink higher education and pass meaningful reforms.” She added that legislation to simplify lending “should be passed immediately.”

The White House is also asking Congress to make federal Pell grants available to be used in short-term certificate programs, and to take other steps intended to help workers gain skills outside of traditional colleges and universities.

“The higher education system has been slow to adapt to the changing nature of work,” the White House said. “Millions of jobs remain unfilled in part due to a lack of Americans with appropriate skills.”

Congress is still in the early stages of its work to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. Alexander has made it his mission to update the legislation before he retires in two years. The law, originally signed in 1965, received its last major update in 2008.


Sunday, March 24, 2019

Why the mystique of elite college admissions really does matter

When college admissions and their power to corrupt a certain class of Americans dominates the national conversation, everyone has something to say. One common and acceptable reaction is to condemn the unsurprising unfairness of it all. Another is to inform the world that there are those of us who were admitted to good schools the old-fashioned way, whatever that means. Others still — the optimists among us — issue a call to reform the crooked culture that inflates these institutions’ social capital. As if their prestige could be cut down by joint decree.

The one thing we don’t say — at least not right away, or not out loud — is that elite colleges aren’t actually overvalued. They can’t be, when you consider what the eight Ivies and equivalent colleges like Williams, Stanford, and the University of Chicago actually do. They collect the brightest and hardest-working crop of a generation on the cusp of adulthood and clump them together into an anxious mass, then expose them to social and intellectual stimuli more intensely concentrated than they’ll ever get again.

Even the experience of being admitted hits a high school senior like a religious conversion. It changes her. As it should. Because what are these places if not sacred sites? They’re over-brimming with America’s holiest stuff: raw human potential. No other secular institution approaches an elite college’s ability to force smart, driven people to focus so singularly on the problem of what they’re meant to be doing on this earth.

The actual work of college is older than the liberal arts. It’s the project of becoming yourself. Marinating in poetry and history helps, but so does the mystique of competitive admissions. Collectively buying the hype, once you’re in, that you and your cohort of nervous grade-grubbing solipsists are somehow exceptional can even be good for humanity. Because, for better or worse, the more exclusive your college, the likelier you are to hold yourself to a terrible standard of excellence that only grows from the “what now?” moment after the Common App website delivers the good news.

None of this is to say that actresses, hedge funders, and mid-level magnates are justified in their crimes against the meritocratic admissions system and its honest participants. If the colleges William Singer, his cronies, and clients defrauded want to preserve their invaluable mystique in the wake of the Operation Blue Varsity indictments, they can only expel those parents’ kids. Let them reapply, if they care to, clean. But if the indictments teach us anything, it should be that the mystique actually is worth the actual price of admission. A price obviously much higher than what the “side-door” scammers paid — and, yes, even higher than what the “back-door” scammers, a.k.a. the multimillion-dollar donors, shell out every year to actually inconsistent effect.

Everyone who idolizes the Ivy League and comparable colleges buys into the mystique — and, I’d argue, they’re owed something in return: consistently excellent graduates prepared to bring their gifts out into the world. When they fail to do so, the colleges cheapen their own mystique. And effectively default on their debt to everyone who fell for it in the first place.

William Deresiewicz’s “Excellent Sheep” came out shortly after I graduated, and its arguments have resurfaced since last week’s news. The mystique wasn’t paying out, he basically argued. As an albeit Ivy-pedigreed indictment of elite higher education, it rang mostly true: I’d seen the best minds of my generation competing for entry-level comp at a handful of elite hedge funds, investment banks, and financial firms. Deresiewicz’s critiques carried an undercurrent of insidery anti-snobbery and were so self-consciously damning that the reforms he proposed in response seemed limply obvious by comparison.

But he was right that graduates of elite colleges too often wind up zombified, trapped in a cycle of high achievement and low return. Once they’ve made enough money to send their future children to fancy colleges — if they can get them accepted, that is — it won’t actually be enough. Because status-seeking, like any addiction, leaves the seeker unfulfilled.

But what was lost in the ensuing debate back then, and again now, is that there’s nothing wrong with aspiring to attend an elite college. As a motivating ambition, there’s a lot more that’s right about it. When these colleges fail to individuate their flocks, though, it’s clear something’s missing. A top-notch faculty and world-class resources aren’t the only, or even the most important, ingredients in an elite education actually worthy of the mystique. Too often, students who’ve spent so long on the academic grind won’t stop long enough to take a look around once they get where they thought they were going. In reality, wasting time at a great school — time made meaningful by the history and pathos of the place, and the thrill of figuring out, in such rigorously curated company, who you want to be — is more worthwhile than time spent at the same school grinding toward the next status-marking achievement.

The more bright young people there are actively wondering who they’re going to be, and why it matters, then the better off society will be: Because the ultimate answers always have something to do with giving of oneself to the world. If we’re going to keep buying the mystique, and we inevitably are, we’re right — being citizens of that world — to expect a return on our investment.


Asian students received most offers to NYC's elite high schools

Asian students again dominated the city’s specialized high school admissions this year, accounting for 51.1 percent of all offers, the Department of Education announced Monday.

A total of 27,521 applicants took the admissions exam for the elite high schools, with 4,798 scoring high enough to secure a seat.

Asian students accounted for 2,450 of those coveted offers. At 28.5 percent, white applicants had the next-highest share of specialized high school seats, with 1,368.

Hispanic kids received 316 offers for a 6.6 percent share, and black students got 190 spots for a 4 percent share.

Those racial proportions were largely unchanged from last year, according to the Department of Education.

While Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza congratulated those who were admitted this year, he pointedly reiterated his opposition to the current single-test admissions structure Monday.

“I share the excitement of students and families receiving high school offers today,” Carranza said in a statement accompanying the new figures.

But Carranza then noted the low acceptance rates for black and Latino kids — and demanded changes to the admissions process.

“We’re also once again confronted by an unacceptable status quo at our specialized high schools,” his statement continued. “We need to eliminate the single test for specialized high school admissions now.”

While the figures released Monday largely mirrored prior years, the total number of offers decreased by several hundred.

That’s because of the DOE’s expansion of its Discovery program, which gives offers to low-income kids who score just below the test-score cutoff for admission.

There were 5,067 specialized high school offers in the first round of offers last year, compared with 4,798 this year.

The DOE said that it expects to extend roughly 500 offers through the Discovery program this year — roughly 250 more than in 2018. The exact figures will be revealed in the coming weeks.

The initiative is part of a larger City Hall campaign to increase the number of black and Latino kids at the specialized schools.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Carranza want to eventually boost the share of Discovery program admissions to 20 percent and hope to scrap the entrance exam altogether.


What Conservative Students Face on Your Campus

Jerry Zheng

“It’s OK that conservatives don’t feel welcome”. That was the headline of an op-ed piece in the Washington University in St. Louis student newspaper published last month.

“Conservative ideas do not deserve equal consideration to that afforded liberal and left ideas, because conservative ideas are not equal to liberal and left ideas.”

Would the author, Sean Lundergan, support Donald Trump’s recent statement on enforcing free speech on campus? I reached out, and I haven’t received a response.

No one can say Sean Lundergan didn’t exercise his first amendment to full effect. 

Two and a half weeks later, this happened on the University of California Berkeley campus:

A conservative activist on campus physically attacked by a man who disagreed with his views.

The two events aren’t related; but they lend credence to something we already knew: college campuses are hostile to conservatives. 

Both WUSL’s and UCB’s campuses are overwhelmingly left-leaning. At the WUSL campus, conservatives only make up 8% of the student population in their recent survey. At UCB, it could be even less.

We wanted to know what students across the United States thought of their school’s political climate, so we asked 1500 of them.

Here’s what stood out:

* Less than half of Republicans surveyed say they feel welcome on campus. On the other hand, Democrats, feel very welcomed on their campus.

Democrats and moderates know their school isn’t very welcoming for Republicans too.

But conservative students aren’t the only cohort that feels unwelcome on campus – their allies do too. Right-leaning speakers face disinvitation attempts coming from the left of the speaker 2x as likely as left-leaning speakers, according to a 16-year study by Heterodox Academy.

Conservatives function in an environment where forces on campus are trying to mute them, from facing disinvitation attempts to outright censorship.

According to a Harvard poll, 60% of Democratic students say they feel they can share their opinions on campus “without fear of censorship or negative repercussions,” whereas only 25% of Republican students can say the same.

* 37.5% of Republicans say they feel unsafe on campus

To the question do you feel unsafe on campus for having your political views. 37.5% of republicans answered yes, to 11.5% from democrats.

The incident at UC Berkeley isn’t unheard of. News of conservatives on college campuses getting attacked for their political views make the airwaves frequently enough to make conservatives think twice about exercising their freedom of speech.

When Allison Stanger, a professor at Middlebury College, was physically assaulted to the point where she had to wear a neck brace after her live discussion event, it warned conservatives that they are not safe.

It’s no surprise, then, that more than 1/3 of conservatives don’t feel safe on campus.

When sharing conservative views on campus can get you doxxed, stalked or even have death threats issued against you. It takes Herculean courage to be transparent about it on college campuses.

* 55.1% of Republicans don’t tell their friends about their political views

Republicans are 4x more likely to hide their political views from their friends than democrats in college campuses

The fear of being cast with damning labels and feeling ostracized is a genuine fear for conservatives on campus. It’s also why 55.1% of Republicans are closet conservatives who don’t tend to share their political orientation with their friends.

For Democrats, being part of a college campus that mostly shares their views could be what contributes to feeling accepted in inner and wider circles.

According to research from the Pew Research Center, liberals are more likely to unfriend you over politics – online and offline.

It shows Republicans and Democrats share very different social lives on campus. Republicans have to suppress their voice to feel accepted, while the Democrats can speak without thinking twice.

* 35% of Republicans feel their student government seats were elected with a political bias

Democrats believe student government seats are elected with a political bias the least between Republicans and Moderates.

Conservatives tend to believe the seats on student government were elected with a political bias 14% more than their liberal peers. Most students aren’t quite sure on both parties.

This has been a point of concern for conservative groups because student government bodies are the conduit for student groups to get funding. Sometimes student governments are the determining factor between a guest speaker being invited or not. 

* Republicans are 2x more likely to want to transfer schools after a political encounter than Liberals

Political encounters on campus for conservatives are particularly distressing because the ammunition used against them are more sharp and damning.

“Racist”, “misogynist”, “bigot” – Labels and over-generalized assumptions of the makeup of their character are part of the package leveled against conservatives.

The distress that comes from political encounters for campus conservatives lead them to think about transferring schools three times more than their liberal peers.

If campus conservatives didn’t believe they have the numbers stacked against them, at least they ought to know the political makeup of college professors: Democratic professors outnumber Republican professors 10 to 1.

Digging deeper, research has shown 52% of students have said their professors or course instructors express their own unrelated social or political beliefs “often” in class.

For conservative students, It would be unwise to believe their professors wouldn’t let their political preference affect their grading.

What’s worrying is the endangerment conservatives on campus face for holding their political views. In the pursuit of their own political aims, the left has resorted to libelous claims, intimidation and unlawful use of violence against the right.

55.1% of campus conservatives say they’re too scared to speak or show their political identity to even their friends. Even if they don’t want to admit it– that’s terror.


Based on survey data collected from 1500 US college students across 207 different schools. 441 males and 1091 females participated in the survey. Students were engaged on social platforms. 814 identified as first-year students, 347 as second-year, 187 as third-year, 111 as fourth-year and 41 as 5th year or grad. This survey was conducted from March 4th to March 6th.

More HERE  (See the original for links, graphics etc.)