Friday, April 05, 2019

Pledging $15m, Boston Mayor calls universal pre-K a ‘game-changer’

All the studies show that pre-K teaching has no educational benefit. See here. Finland does not start kids at school until age 7 and they have famously good results. Early starts are just expensive child-minding.  But it gives mothers a break so there are votes in it

Boston will fully fund prekindergarten for 4-year-olds within five years, fulfilling a 2013 campaign promise by Mayor Martin J. Walsh to provide quality early education for some of the city’s youngest residents.

“This is a game-changer for the young people of our city,” Walsh said Tuesday, surrounded by school administrators and representatives from community groups set to partner with the city to extend pre-K programming.

If completed, the long-awaited initiative would put Boston on par with other major cities in the Northeast that offer educational programs to all of their 4-year-olds.

Walsh said the city will direct $15 million from next year’s budget, which begins July 1, into a “Quality Pre-K Fund” that will be used over the next five years to pay for high-quality seats at city schools and community groups that have partnered with the city.

High-quality pre-K programming is led by teachers who have degrees in early childhood education and earn the same starting salary whether they work for the public school system or community groups; the programming must be accredited and follow national curriculum models, with appropriate teacher-to-student ratios.

The city and community groups already provide high-quality pre-K programming to almost 3,200 children. Officials have identified the need for the additional 750 high-quality seats — a deficit that has narrowed by half under Walsh — to ensure that all 4-year-olds have access to the same level of programming.

“Boston will make sure we don’t forget and don’t leave behind our 4-year-olds in their education,” the mayor said. “It’s about ensuring every pre-K seat we offer is a high-quality one.”

Laura Perille, the interim schools superintendent, said Tuesday that the funds will expand public schools’ partnership with community groups and ensure parents have options for their children closer to home with the same quality education students receive elsewhere in the city.

“It is this mixed delivery model that allows us to meet all of our families with what they need,” she said at the announcement at ABCD Walnut Grove Head Start, which offers high-quality preschool in Dorchester.

High-quality pre-K programming was a staple in Walsh’s 2013 campaign for mayor. In the years since, though, securing funding for the initiative has proven to be more difficult than projected. Walsh first floated the idea of selling City Hall to pay for programming, though that idea never took root. Later, Walsh’s request for state approval to use surplus funds derived from Boston tourism tax revenue went nowhere.

Boston fell behind cities such as Philadelphia, which imposed a tax on sugary drinks to pay for early education in 2017. New York City’s prekindergarten program, which started in 2014, now enrolls 70,000 youngsters, and that city’s mayor is seeking to expand early childhood education to 3-year-olds.

Boston wasn’t far off: A report the mayor commissioned found in 2016 that 90 percent of the city’s 6,000 4-year-olds in any given year attend pre-K, either through the public system or at private schools. But not all of them receive high-quality programming.

The $15 million in funding will close that gap over the next five years, setting up classrooms with properly trained and compensated staff in schools and community organizations across the city.

Walsh said he would then sustain funding for the programming under the yearly public schools budget, which is projected to top $1.3 billion next year.

“Universal pre-kindergarten is going to happen,” the mayor said. “We couldn’t wait any longer, we had to do this.”

John J. Drew, the president of ABCD, who has been advocating for early education for 50 years, welcomed the announcement, saying, “We have all been striving . . . to bring together the elements that will allow us together to close the gap.”

Those who attended the announcement and spoke of the need for the programming included Chaokee Calderon, who said she and her husband work full time, and found it difficult to help their 4-year-old daughter, Khailee, with the “little things” to improve her education. So she took her to the ABCD Head Start Walnut Grove in Dorchester, a city partner, where she has excelled over the last seven months, Calderon said.

“It has helped my daughter get ready for school; it’s also helped my daughter and me become full partners in her education,” she said. “In just seven months, it has helped this shy child turn into a little social butterfly.”


What Is the Biggest College Scandal of All?

The seething anger Americans feel over the college admission scandal with wealthy and well-connected families using money, influence and cheating to bump their kids up in line so they get accepted into elite schools is well justified. Yet this scheme is small potatoes compared to the real scandal on college campuses from coast to coast. That scam is how much universities are charging families once they do get in.

College tuition, room-and-board costs can now exceed $50,000 to $70,000 a year. This is a massive financial hardship for the families that actually pay out of pocket the $200,000 to $300,000 tab for a four-year degree and for those who get loans. The debt for a 22-year-old graduate can easily exceed $100,000. Meanwhile, the size of the student loan debt nationwide has reached some $1.5 trillion.

As one solution, leading voices in the Democratic Party — ranging from Sens. Bernie Sanders to Kamala Harris to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — are touting "free college" or even more guaranteed student loans for families. The worst idea of all is student loan forgiveness of up to $1 trillion. This would only shift the costs of expensive colleges onto the back of taxpayers — many of whom never even went to college.

There are two glaring problems with free college.

First, instituting free college tuition does nothing to incentivize college administrators to lower costs. Instead, it simply transfers the burden of paying for higher education from kids whose families have relatively high incomes to general taxpayers, many of whom didn't go to college at all. As education economist Richard Vedder of Ohio University has pointed out, free college would be one of the most regressive public policies of modern times.

Second, we know from other industries, such as health care, that the bigger the government role, the more costs escalate.

There is a much more equitable and practical solution to lowering the high cost of universities — especially at the most expensive and elite schools. The federal government could incentivize colleges with high tuitions to lower its costs by tapping into its tax-deductible massive endowments.

It turns out that endowments have exactly the opposite effects on tuition that one might expect: The higher the endowment, the higher the tuition.

The feds have the leverage to reverse this.

The forthcoming 2019 oversight report of the U.S. Department of Education, conducted by nonprofit, discovered that "the 25 colleges and universities with the largest endowments in the country reaped $6.9 billion in Department of Education (ED) funding despite holding a quarter-trillion in existing assets, collectively."

The University of Notre Dame, Princeton, Yale, Harvard and other elite schools such as Duke and the University of Southern California can't make a plausible case for the need for billions of dollars annually in federal subsidies when these schools' bank accounts hold hundreds of millions — and in many cases billions — of dollars of funds.

Without any new gifts, most if not all Ivy League endowments could fund full-ride scholarships for all financially needy undergraduate students for the next half-century. With continued gifts to universities, tuition could practically be free to students forever without the endowments running dry.

The way to cut tuitions, starting with the most expensive colleges, is to require these schools to lower its tuition each year by 5-10 percent and make up the difference by either cutting costs (that's easy) or using endowments to subsidize the out-of-pocket costs paid by students and/or taxpayers.

We are not fans of price controls. But if universities are going to rely on taxpayers to subsidize its exorbitant costs, it makes sense for the public to hold these schools to the high standards it says it holds its students to. If the institution doesn't take federal money, it can do as it wishes.

Lower college tuitions are easily achievable for every family in America, and unlike our failed multi-billion-dollar student loan programs or populist slogans such as "free college tuition," this strategy won't cost taxpayers a dime.


Principals at some of Australia's most exclusive private schools are paid MORE than the prime minister - with some earning well over half a million dollars a year

The lucrative salaries of principals at Australia's elite private schools have been revealed - with some earning more than the prime minister.

Financial reports of eight top Queensland schools were tabled in the state parliament on Monday, showing parents were paying tens of millions of dollars in fees for their children.

Toowoomba Grammar School headmaster Peter Hauser topped the list in Queensland, making $537,000 in 2018 - a pay rise of $34,000 compared to the previous year.

Mr Hauser's salary pales in comparison to that of some principals in other states.

Former Kambala Girls High School principal Debra Kelliher was earning $650,000 per year before she resigned in 2017, the ABC reported. The school, at Rose Bay in Sydney's affluent eastern suburbs, charges up to $35,000 per year for each student's tuition.

Brisbane Grammar School headmaster Anthony Micallef's pay dropped from 2017 but he still pulled in $513,000, while Brisbane Girls Grammar School principal Jacinda Euler made $509,326 in 2018.

The school leaders each make more than Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's annual salary of $399,955, and they are just behind Prime Minister Scott Morrison's yearly remuneration of $538,000. 

State school principals with the highest salaries make about $171,000 per year.

According to the report tabled in parliament, Toowoomba Grammar School had a decline in enrolments in 2018. The shrinking roll meant income from fees dropped from $22.6million in 2017 to $22.3million in 2018.

The school was first opened more than 150 years ago and has 1180 students.

Brisbane Grammar School's 1700 students brought in $45million in school fees in 2018, while Brisbane Girls Grammar School had 1360 students paying $32million in contributions.


Thursday, April 04, 2019

No Right to College for Illegal Immigrants

At a time when Americans believe immigration to be the most important issue facing the nation, the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that Georgia’s state colleges and universities can’t be forced to admit illegal immigrants as students. And that includes aliens who qualified under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program implemented by former president Barack Obama in 2012.

In an opinion handed down earlier this month, a three-judge panel upheld the right of the Georgia Board of Regents, which runs the state-university system, to verify the “lawful presence” of applicants before granting them admission as students to the “more selective schools in the University System.” Selective schools are defined as any Georgia college or university that “did not admit all academically qualified applicants” in the “two most recent academic years.” That applies to at least three state colleges, including the Georgia Institute of Technology, one of the best-known engineering schools in the country.

This policy denies admission to aliens who received “deferred action” under the 2012 DACA memorandum issued by the Department of Homeland Security. That memo provided what amounted to a temporary administrative amnesty to aliens who entered the U.S. illegally before their 16th birthday and met certain other criteria. The government agreed to defer removing DACA beneficiaries from the country under the exercise of “prosecutorial discretion.” But as the court pointed out, the DACA memo specifically stated that DACA recipients “are not considered lawfully present in the United States.”

Despite that qualification, in Estrada v. Becker, three DACA recipients who were denied admission to Georgia colleges filed suit, alleging that the board’s policy is preempted by federal law and violates their right to “equal protection” under the 14th Amendment.

Thus, the lawsuit dealt simultaneously with two important questions: Does DACA actually confer “lawful presence” onto illegal immigrants? And do states have a legal obligation to any illegal immigrants when it comes to a college education?

“Lawful presence” is a classification that designates whether a person who is not a citizen is legally in the United States. It is a status enjoyed by green-card recipients, visa holders, and others.

The plaintiffs in Estrada v. Becker claimed that DACA provides them with lawful presence, but the DACA memo explicitly states otherwise. It also says that it “confer[s] no substantive right, immigration status or pathway to citizenship.”

Under federal immigration law, simply living in the United States for an extended period does not entitle one to lawfully present status — a fact usually overlooked by DACA advocates.

Yet the students argued that the board’s policy conflicts with federal law because it creates a new alien classification. The court disagreed. It concluded that the board’s policy verifies lawful presence based on classifications established by Congress and written into federal immigration law. According to the court, the DACA program grants recipients nothing more than “a reprieve from potential removal.”

Given that no federal statutory authority exists for classifying DACA recipients as lawfully present, the plaintiffs also argued that the constitutional doctrine of preemption (i.e., federal law overrides state law) prohibits states from regulating a policy area that is within the authority of the federal government. Under the Constitution, the power to regulate immigration is exclusively a federal one.

Yet, as noted earlier, the Board’s policy creates no new regulation. It simply uses existing federal immigration statutes to “verify lawful presence, and it does not require a state agent to make any independent determination,” according to the court. DACA confers no residency status onto illegal immigrants and does not prohibit state entities from using existing federal statutes to shape their policies. Thus, there is no preemption.

The plaintiffs additionally alleged that their right to equal protection under the laws is being abridged, since their classification burdens a fundamental right, the right to an education. But as the court pointed out, the Georgia “policy deals with postsecondary education, and the Supreme Court has never said that education is a fundamental right.”

According to the Eleventh Circuit, the plaintiffs “may pursue postsecondary education outside these three schools, and the Policy in no way undermines appellants’ deferred action status.” Lawful-presence checks are rationally related to a government’s interest “in responsibly investing state resources” in residents who are most likely to remain in the state. Thus, states have no obligation to admit illegal immigrants — whether they are DACA-qualified or not — to their university systems.

Outside of Georgia, 18 other states are doing their best to expressly disobey federal immigration law by providing in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens who reside in that state. 8 U.S.C. §1623 prohibits states from providing in-state tuition rates or any other post-secondary benefit to an illegal alien if the same benefit is not available to a citizen of the United States. In other words, states such as California and Texas that provide in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens while charging higher tuition rates to out-of-state students who are citizens are doing so in direct violation of federal law.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Justice Department has never enforced this provision against any state, to the detriment of the public. These states are encouraging illegal immigration and forcing taxpayer parents to subsidize the education of illegal immigrants while disadvantaging students who are citizens.

That is fundamentally unfair.


University Students Support Socialism – Reject Redistribution of Their Own GPA

Redistribution has a corrosive impact on both ends. Recipients are harmed because they get trapped in dependency, and workers are harmed because taxes discourage productive behavior.

Yet young people seem susceptible to this ideology, even when they are among the main victims.

While it might be tempting to shrug and assume they’re hopelessly clueless, this video shows young people are quite capable of grasping why redistribution is a bad idea.

I’ve previously shared a similar video, as well as a couple of written versions of this redistribution challenge.

In this case, though, we have some additional analysis.

Here are some excerpts from the accompanying article:

“… for the first time ever, more young people say they’d prefer to live in a socialist country over a capitalist one. Whether it’s free healthcare, free college tuition, or universal basic income, students around America increasingly support higher taxes on the wealthy in order to pay for these progressive policies. 

But would they support similar policies if they had skin in the game? … Campus Reform‘s Cabot Phillips went to Florida International University in Miami to test the waters on a ‘Socialist GPA’ policy in which students with higher GPAs would be forced to ‘spread the wealth’ and give some of their GPA points to students with lower GPAs. Despite the overwhelming number of students who initially said they’d support socialist policies, few agreed to go along with such a plan.”

Interestingly, the students actually are quite perceptive when they apply incentives in their own lives.

“‘I’ve lost a lot of sleep so I don’t know if that would be fair,’ one student said, while another answered no because ‘I like, study all day for my grades.’ Yet another student, after expressing her support for socialism in America conceded, ‘I guess it would be kind of hypocritical for me to say no.’ Another student, trying to justify his refusal to abide by such a policy, said, ‘you study for your grades, and they reflect how much time you’re studying.’”

As a wonky economist, the first thing I wondered about is how young people would react if they were asked about a small amount of redistribution (say 1/10th of a point of a GPA) compared to a large amount of redistribution (a full point of GPA).

I’m guessing they would realize that the damage of the latter would be more than 10 times the damage of the former – which is exactly the same thing you find when you examine the deadweight losses of ever-higher tax rates.

Two final points.

First, many young people don’t understand socialism. They think it’s just a proxy for caring – or even for being sociable. It’s incumbent on advocates of freedom to help them understand the adverse implications (i.e., redistributing money is just as bad as redistributing GPAs).

Second, it won’t be easy to make an ethical appeal to young people if they perceive (and many do) that capitalism is the same as cronyism, which is why self-styled conservatives (or Trumpians) who support favors for special interests do a lot of damage to the cause of freedom.

P.S. Since they are huge net losers from the current system, young people should be very amenable to a message of genuine entitlement reform.


'Major distraction': Australian private school dumps iPads, returns to paper textbooks

As classrooms across the country embrace digital textbooks, one Sydney school has declared the e-book era over and returned to the old-fashioned hard copy version because it improves comprehension and reduces distraction.

For the past five years, Reddam House's primary and junior high school classes have used e-textbooks on iPads. But the consistent feedback from the students has been that they preferred pages to screens.

Teachers also found the iPads were distracting and did not contribute to students' technology skills, prompting the school to announce that students should no longer use digital textbooks, and must revert to hard-copy versions instead.

"We hadn't completely gone away from hard copy," said principal Dave Pitcairn. "We kept year 11 and 12 hard copy. When [students] got to year 11, and now had the comparison between digital and hard copy, they preferred the hard copy.

"The ease of navigation through the textbook was easier with the hard copy. I believe they learn better the more faculties they use, the more senses they use in research and reading and making notes."

Teachers at the eastern suburbs private school, which regularly appears on the HSC top-ten honours list, reported that iPads were hindering learning.

"[Students] could have messages popping up and all sorts of other alerts," said Mr Pitcairn. "Also, kids being kids, they could jump between screens quite easily, so would look awfully busy and not be busy at all."

The school will also phase out iPads and begin a bring-your-own device policy with a preference for laptops.

Dr Margaret Merga, a senior lecturer in education at Edith Cowan University, said an analysis of all the research into differences in book formats has found that understanding improves when information is read in a paper rather than a digital format.

Research into why young people prefer hard-copy textbooks "points to greater perceived comfort, comprehension, and also retention of what's been read," she said. "Some have found that there's less immersive involvement [in digital text]."

A University of Maryland study in 2017 found there was little difference in the two formats when students were asked about the general themes of a text, but the printed version made them better able to answer specific questions.

The study's authors suggested print be preferred when an assignment demands more engagement or deeper comprehension, or if students - primary, secondary or tertiary - were required to read more than one page or 500 words.

As for the weight of the textbooks in backpacks, Mr Pitcairn said students could leave them in their lockers or use a digital version at home. "I've noticed that students prefer their textbook in both places," he said.


Wednesday, April 03, 2019

As College Subsidies Rise, Student Learning Declines

The federal government provides more student loans and spends more money on higher education than it used to, but colleges just raise tuition to match the increased spending.

People’s vocabularies are shrinking at a time when more and more people have college degrees. As Zach Goldberg notes, people’s mastery of hard words has been falling for well over 20 years, and their mastery of easier words has been falling for over 15 years. Meanwhile, a higher proportion of Americans have college degrees than in the past, and their average amount of education in years has grown. These trends are illustrated on his graph, titled “WordSum Scores Overtime.”

Going to college no longer expands people’s vocabularies the way it once did: since 1970, there has been a steady decline in the correlation between years of education and people’s personal word stock.

Nearly half of the nation’s undergraduates learn almost nothing in their first two years in college, according to a 2011 study by New York University’s Richard Arum and others. Thirty-six percent learned little even by graduation.

Although federal higher education spending has mushroomed in recent years, students “spent 50% less time studying compared with students a few decades ago.” The National Assessment of Adult Literacy also shows that degree holders are learning less.

People’s minds may not expand much from attending college, but their indebtedness sure does. Increased college attendance has resulted in an explosion in student loan debt. Student loan debt now exceeds $1.56 trillion, saddling 45 million Americans with indebtedness averaging around $35,000 each.

The federal government provides more student loans and spends more money on higher education than it used to, but colleges just raise tuition to match the increased spending. That’s the conclusion to be drawn from a 2015 report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

On average, the report finds, each additional dollar in government financial aid translated to a tuition hike of about 65 cents. That indicates that the biggest direct beneficiaries of federal aid are schools, rather than the students hoping to attend them.

By subsidizing college, federal financial aid diverts young people away from vocational training that costs taxpayers far less but can lead to jobs with better pay and more value for America’s economy. In City Journal, Joel Kotkin described the rising pay and opportunities for workers in manufacturing, who often need vocational training rather than college educations.

Yet states spend billions of dollars operating colleges that are little better than diploma mills in terms of academic rigor while managing to graduate few of their students—like Chicago State University, which had an 11 percent graduation rate in 2016. As one education expert noted, “Our colleges and universities are full to the brim with students who do not really belong there, who are unprepared for college and uninterested in breaking a mental sweat.” Many drop out of college before acquiring a degree but after running up student loan debt that will haunt them for years.

"Spending Triples; Results Slide"

Education expert Richard Vedder sums up education’s decline over the last generation as “Spending Triples; Results Slide.” As he notes:

Spending on K-12 schools, adjusting for inflation and enrollment growth, has roughly tripled over the last 50 years, yet there is little solid evidence that today’s students are better prepared for work and citizenship than their grandparents were — and even some evidence that they are less so … college costs are soaring, and almost certainly the education system is becoming less efficient, at a time when labor productivity is rising elsewhere. … More college grads are taking low-skilled jobs previously occupied by those with high school diplomas — more than 80,000 bartenders, for example, have at least a bachelor’s degree.

Colleges have spent much of the increased tuition they now charge students on vast armies of college bureaucrats and administrators. Professors have benefited far less. By 2011, there were already more college administrators than faculty at California State University. The University of California, which claimed to have cut administrative spending “to the bone,” was busy creating new positions for politically correct bureaucrats even as it raised student fees and tuition to record levels. As the Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald noted in 2011:

The University of California at San Diego, for example, is creating a new full-time “vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion.” This position would augment UC San Diego’s already massive diversity apparatus, which includes the Chancellor’s Diversity Office, the associate vice chancellor for faculty equity, the assistant vice chancellor for diversity, the faculty equity advisors, the graduate diversity coordinators, the staff diversity liaison, the undergraduate student diversity liaison, the graduate student diversity liaison, the chief diversity officer, the director of development for diversity initiatives, the Office of Academic Diversity and Equal Opportunity, the Committee on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Issues, the Committee on the Status of Women, the Campus Council on Climate, Culture and Inclusion, the Diversity Council, and the directors of the Cross-Cultural Center, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center, and the Women’s Center.

Some colleges have raised spending on administrators by more than 600 percent in recent years.


Review of Palestinian textbooks launched amid British concern curriculum promotes anti-Israel violence

The UK government is to play a central role in a review of Palestinian school textbooks amid concern British aid money is funding a curriculum that allegedly incites violence against Israelis.

The Department for International Development (DFID) confirmed it had “successfully pushed” for the review of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) current curriculum for primary and secondary school children.

DFID announced the Georg Eckert Institute - a leading international institute for analysing education media based in Germany - had been commissioned to produce an initial scoping report to expedite the full review.

An international group, including representatives from the UK, will work on the review, which is to due to be concluded by September 2019.

The PA agreed to “engage constructively” with the findings. DFID said that if evidence of material which incites violence is found they will take action.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: “The UK is rightly at the forefront of the international community on this issue. We are working closely with the PA to ensure that all Palestinian children receive a decent education and are able to fulfil their potential.”

The UK will donate £125 million to the PA by 2021 with £20 million of the total budget spent on education.

DFID says UK aid is helping to provide quality education for children in the West Bank, including by paying the salaries of specially vetted teachers.

The department disputed reports that UK aid funds the writing or provision of textbooks by the PA, and claims everything given to the PA is subject to safeguards to ensure aid is used for its intended purpose.

Labour Friends of Israel has been behind repeated calls for the government to probe the “scandal” of British money being used to fund a curriculum which incites the murder of Israelis and circulates antisemitic material to children.

LFI vice-chair Dame Louise Ellman told the House of Commons in January that young Palestinian minds were currently “being poisoned” and “the opportunity for Britain to help promote the values of peace, reconciliation and coexistence squandered.”

LFI chair Joan Ryan has also been a vociferous campaigner for action over the PA curriculum.

In 2017, a report by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education group (IMPACT-se) concluded that PA textbooks encouraged “young Palestinians to acts of violence in a more extensive and sophisticated manner” and that “the curriculum’s focus appears to have expanded from demonization of Israel to providing a rationale for war”.


Principal of prestigious Australian girls’ school says students should be able to use Google during their HSC exams

The principal from a prestigious Sydney private girls’ school has suggested a radical new idea to add more “depth” to the HSC — and its not studying harder.

Shane Hogan, the principal of Kambala in Rose Bay, has voiced his support for students being allowed to use the internet and search engines such as Google on mobile devices while they sit their final HSC exams.

Mr Hogan thinks changing the way students sit the exam could add more “depth” to their learning, saying many enter exams having memorised entire essays.

He says the test has become outdated and has little to do with the real world. “You have to think historically about the HSC and what it was designed to do,” Mr Hogan told Ben Fordham on 2GB radio on Friday. He explained the HSC, originally introduced in 1967, was designed for school leavers who were hoping to enter university.

Students are now required to stay at school until they are at least 16 or 17 years old and school leavers are required to engage in training. Three-quarters of students remain at school throughout the HSC.

But the principal said the current system has been reduced to a “memory test” with students entering exam rooms having rote learned entire essays.

Mr Hogan said the reality of “today is that we all grab our phone as soon as we’re asked a question”. “If we’re gonna test the kids let them use the tools that they will really use when they’re out in the workplace.” This means access to the internet during an exam. “It’s down the track but I believe it’s the way to go,” Mr Hogan said.

“The students have the essays prepared before they enter the room. It’s almost irrelevant. “There’s no depth in their learning, there’s no passion in their learning. It’s merely a race to the finish. It’s time the HSC entered this century.”

Mr Hogan also questioned the relevance of the ATAR ranking, a percentile score derived from comparing HSC marks against students across the country. ATAR ranks compare students who take on vastly different types of course work, offering no recommendation for higher learning.

He compared students who take on a number of language subjects to those taking on courses like design and technology, art, drama and music, achieving the same ATAR score.

“How is that … relevant? And what courses are they entering?” Mr Hogan said. “It’s a tool for universities to pick students. It’s not relevant to life.”

Mr Hogan pointed to the US model, where entry applications are individually assessed by the institution, as opposed to being “plucked” from their ATAR numbers.

“We’ve got a group who want to go to university, where we need to ‘depth’ their study more,” he said. “But I also think we have a group of young people that are yet to decide, and we need to educate them in the basic skills of team building, problem solving, but also passions.”

He suggested changes to the later years of school, where students could be given the option to focus on one or two subjects and develop greater understanding.

Kambala’s principal says the exams were set up for students hopeful to gain entry to university, at a time when many more students left school at the end of year 10. Students are now required to continue on at school until they complete year 12.

There are now over 142 subjects tested at the HSC, including 62 language subjects. He said fewer than 25 per cent of HSC students use the ATAR to enter university.

At Kambala School, 99 per cent of students are university orientated.

The ATAR was introduced as a national system in 2009 by the Gillard government for students in NSW and the ACT. It was further rolled out to remaining states and territories in 2010, excluding Queensland who plan to introduce the ATAR system in 2019.

The HSC was introduced in 1967, and underwent its last major revision in 2001.


Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Students Literally Stack Chairs To Stop Speaker

A Wisconsin college canceled a speech by security company Blackwater’s founder Erik Prince after students banged drums and stacked chairs on the stage to prevent the speech Wednesday.

Beloit College interim dean of students Cecil Youngblood said the college canceled Prince’s speech, which was already delayed by at least 40 minutes, according to Inside Higher Ed on Friday.

Protesters responded with cheers, according to video shared on Twitter by Gazettextra staff photographer Angela Major.

“I believe that if a critical mass of students object to a speaker’s presence or a speaker’s platform, they should have a say in whether or not that speaker is welcome in our home,” student Rose Johnson said, Gazettextra reported.

The college condemned the protesters and will investigate the situation, it said in a statement Wednesday.

“Due to disruptive protests and safety concerns, the event hosted by the Young Americans for Freedom featuring speaker Erik Prince had to be cancelled to ensure the safety of all participants,” the college told The Daily Caller News Foundation over email. “As an institution of higher learning, open dialogue on all topics is one of our core principles. Wednesday’s events fell unacceptably short of this core principle, and we condemn the behavior of those who disrupted the event.”

Blackwater, now Academi, has received backlash for its role in the United States’ involvement in the Middle East, Inside Higher Ed reported. Four Blackwater contractors were convicted in 2014 for a 2007 incident in which 14 Iraqis were killed.

Prince was invited by Beloit’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom.

He is the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, according to Inside Higher Ed.

“It’s sad the president and the administration of this college lacked the moral courage to enforce free speech and to defend free speech,” Prince said, the Beloit Daily News reported. “Fortunately, President (Donald) Trump will defend free speech and I think the college will be hearing from the court soon on this because enough is enough.”

Trump signed an executive order to require colleges to protect free speech if the institutions want federal funding. The president first announced the idea at the Conservative Political Action Committee in early March and signed it March 21.

“People who are confident in their beliefs do not censor others,” Trump said.

YAF spokesman Spencer Brown said the group is keeping a close eye on the college to see how it handles the situation, Inside Higher Ed reported.


Reading Print Books To Children More Beneficial To Child’s Development Than E-Books

It’s easier than ever to buy and download just about any book we want, but when it comes to story time with the little ones, we’re better off staying old-fashioned. A new study finds that parents reading print books to their children is much more beneficial when it comes to the child’s development compared to using digital books.

Researchers from the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital say that when parents read electronic books on a tablet or other digital device to toddlers, there’s less interaction and conversation, and the child may be more distracted by the device’s bells and whistles. Previous research has shown that children’s language development and literacy skills benefit tremendously when their parents read to them, but little has been done on how those benefits differ per book format.

“Reading together is not only a cherished family ritual in many homes but one of the most important developmental activities parents can engage in with their children,” says senior author Dr. Jenny Radesky, a developmental behavioral pediatrician at the hospital, in a news release.

Radesky and her co-authors recruited 37 parent-toddler pairs for the study, and had them read together print books, e-books on a tablet, and enhanced e-books that included sound effects and animations.

“We found that when parents and children read print books, they talked more frequently and the quality of their interactions were better,” says lead author Dr. Tiffany Munzer, a fellow in developmental behavioral pediatrics at Mott.

What’s more, while there was less conversation when e-books were read, much of the chatter that did occur often revolved less around the story and more around the technology, such as parents reminding children not to press the buttons. That type of conversation does little to promote literacy and expressive language skills, the authors say, whereas such distractions weren’t prevalent with print books.

Nonverbal bonding between parents and children was also seen more  more warmth, closeness, and enthusiasm from nonverbal gestures

Munzer adds that nonverbal interactions, including warmth, closeness and enthusiasm during reading time also create positive associations with reading that will likely stick with children as they get older.

Munzer suggests that parents can help their child’s development by asking open-ended questions about the characters or experiences in the book, and making them relatable to the kids. That could include pointing to an animal in a picture and asking the child what sound the animal makes, or comparing an event in a book to something the child or family has experienced, such as, “Remember when we went to the beach?”

“Parents strengthen their children’s ability to acquire knowledge by relating new content to their children’s lived experiences,” says Munzer. “Research tells us that parent-led conversations is especially important for toddlers because they learn and retain new information better from in-person interactions than from digital media.”

Interactions were especially disrupted with the enhanced books because it was harder for the parents to engage the children in conversation. If e-books are used during story time, researchers say that parents should focus on finding additional ways to encourage engagement based on the story, and avoid interaction revolving around the technology.

“Our findings suggest that print books elicit a higher quality parent-toddler reading experience compared with e-books,” says Radesky. “Pediatricians may wish to continue encouraging parents to read print books with their kids, especially for toddlers and young children who still need support from their parents to learn from any form of media.”

The study is published in the journal Pediatrics, an American Academy of Pediatrics publication.


Revealed: The ridiculously easy test designed to weed out poor student teachers in Australia - but those who fail are STILL being allowed in the classroom

Now why would that be?  It's because they would not be able to staff their classrooms otherwise.  After the Leftist destruction of discipline, Australian classrooms are not an attractive environment for work

A skills test to weed out student teachers who can't multiply two numbers or read a simple graph is failing to stop them graduating as universities side step the system.

The Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education (LANTITE) is a compulsory test that was brought in to remove incompetent student teachers from the system before they graduate and enter classrooms.

It is supposed to guarantee that student teachers have a literacy and numeracy level equivalent to the top 30 percent of the adult population in Australia.

Sample questions to prepare students for the test include problems as simple as multiplying 3.2 by 100.

'The weight of a box of stationery is 3.2 kilograms. What is the weight of 100 such boxes?' reads one sample question.

Another question asks students to look at a table of gym memberships and compare the monthly fee to the yearly upfront fee and work out the difference.

One in ten students fail the 130-question test the first time. 

Student teachers have three chances to sit the LANTITE test administered by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER).

If they fail on the third attempt, ACER says on its website that it will not allow them to try again without a formal recommendation from the university.

Students are instead trying up to five times after receiving study support and coaching from their universities who back them, the Daily Telegraph reports.

In a separate issue, universities are admitting below-average students directly into teaching degrees using a gap in the rules, according to the report.

After a scandal in 2015 where it was revealed that students with Australia Tertiary Admission Rank (ATARs) as low as 30 were becoming teachers, the NSW Government changed the rules to require students to have a minimum of at least 80 per cent in three HSC subjects, at least one of which had to be English.

The rule was intended to keep poor academic performers out of teaching degrees.

A provision was made to allow students who don't make the grade capable of entry after enrolling in an accredited degree and passing one year of studies in the subjects they will teach. 

The University of Newcastle, University of New England and the Australian Catholic University are using this provision to allow students who otherwise would not qualify directly into teaching degrees on the basis that completing the first full year of the teaching degree meets these requirements, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Australian Catholic University Executive Dean of Education Professor Elizabeth Labone said all entry pathways for enrolling in their initial teacher education course had been approved and were monitored by the NSW Educational Standards Authority (NESA).  

'ACU continues to ensure we meet the relevant accreditation requirements,' she said via an emailed statement.

A University of Newcastle spokesperson who declined to be named said ATAR was 'but one narrow indicator' for entry to university.

'It is in no way a predictor of whether a person will go on to successfully complete their degree or be a great teacher,' the spokesperson said via email.

 The University of New England was unable to respond by time of publication.

Federal opposition education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek told Daily Mail Australia that in 2005, about a third of teaching entrants had an ATAR above 80 but by 2015 it had dropped to only one in five.

 'It is also a waste of students' time and money to allow them to complete a teaching degree if they are unsuitable to teach,' she said via email.

Ms Plibersek said if elected she would cap places in teaching degrees and pay cash bonuses of up to $40,000 to encourage 'top achievers' into teaching by way of 1000 bursaries per year.

Daily Mail Australia contacted the NSW Educational Standards Authority, Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan and the NSW Teachers  Federation but they were unable to respond by time of publication.


Monday, April 01, 2019

The Right Way to Choose A College

What students do at college matters much more than where they go. The key to success is engagement, inside the classroom and out

Does the brand name of the college you attend actually matter? The best research on the question suggests that, for most students, it doesn’t. Challenge Success, the research and advocacy group that I cofounded at Stanford’s Graduate School of Education, conducted an extensive review of the academic literature on the subject. We found that a school’s selectivity (as typically measured by students’ SAT or ACT scores, high school GPA and class rank, and the school’s acceptance rate) is not a reliable predictor of outcomes, particularly when it comes to learning. As common sense would suggest, the students who study hard at college are the ones that end up learning the most, regardless of whether they attend an Ivy League school or a local community college.

Similarly, the 2014 Gallup-Purdue Index, a study of over 30,000 graduates, found no correlation between college selectivity and future job satisfaction or well-being. The study showed that graduates were just as likely to score high (or low) on a scale measuring their “thriving” whether they attended community colleges, regional colleges or highly selective private and public universities. Research does suggest that there is a modest financial gain from attending a highly selective school if students are the first in their families to attend college or come from underserved communities.

But the difference in financial outcomes between the low-earning and high-earning graduates of topranked schools is greater than the difference between students from such highly selective schools and graduates of non-selective schools, including community colleges. As Greg Ip noted in The Wall Street Journal earlier this week, “The fact that smart, ambitious children who attend elite colleges also do well in life doesn’t mean the first caused the second.”

Would such findings have mattered to the parents involved in the college admissions scandal that has unfolded over the past two weeks? Probably not. In a society that is hyperfocused on achievement, credentials and status, it isn’t surprising that some parents are willing to sacrifice just about anything, including their integrity, to get their child into a top-ranked school. Unfortunately, many high school students also have a “cheat or be cheated” mentality when it comes to getting the grades and test scores that they believe they need for future success. More than 80% of students at high-achieving schools cheat in one way or another, according to surveys of over 145,000 students conducted in recent years by Challenge Success.

Today’s admissions scandal should serve as a wake-up call. As a society, we need to reexamine the purpose of college and the underlying issues that lead families to be so obsessed with status or brand that they jeopardize their own children’s healthy development and well-being. In surveys conducted by my group, three-quarters of high school juniors and seniors list planning for college as a top source of stress or worry in their life, well above relationships and family issues. More and more students are reporting severe sleep deprivation, anxiety, depression and thoughts of suicide as they struggle to meet the unrealistically high expectations foisted upon them. The ultimate irony is that, even when these students do end up in selective colleges, many of them continue to struggle with mental and physical health issues, and often lack the independence, resilience and sense of purpose they need to graduate and enter the workforce.

What would a better approach look like? If the name of the school they attend doesn’t make a difference for most students in the long run, what does?

It turns out that what students do at college seems to matter much more than where they go.

The students who benefit most from college, including first-generation and traditionally underserved students, are those who are most engaged in academic life and their campus communities, taking full advantage of the college’s opportunities and resources. Numerous studies attest to the benefits of engaged learning, including better course grades and higher levels of subject- matter competence, curiosity and initiative.

Studies conducted in recent years by Gallup- Purdue also show a strong connection between certain forms of engagement in college and future job satisfaction and well-being. In particular, they found six key college experiences that correlated with how fulfilled employees feel at work and whether they thrive in life after college:

* Taking a course with a professor who makes learning exciting

* Working with professors who care about students personally

* Finding a mentor who encourages students to pursue personal goals

* Working on a project across several semesters

* Participating in an internship that applies classroom learning

* Being active in extracurricular activities

And yet, as important as these various forms of engagement seem to be, relatively few college graduates say that they experienced them. While more than 60% of graduates strongly agreed that at least one professor made them excited about learning, only 27% strongly felt that they were supported by professors who cared about them, and only 22% said the same about having a specific mentor who encouraged their goals and dreams. Just under a third strongly agreed that they had a meaningful internship or job or worked on a long-term project, while just a fifth were actively involved in extracurricular activities.

Given the research on what matters in college, the best advice for choosing the right one would seem to be finding a place where the student will be engaged, in class and out, by all that the college has to offer. The good news is that engaging experiences of this sort can happen at a wide variety of colleges, regardless of selectivity, size or location. And with over 4,500 accredited degreegranting colleges in the United States, students have plenty of options from which to choose.

Parents can play an important role in the college search process, but they should always let the student—the one who will actually attend the school—lead the way.


More University Corruption

By Walter E. Williams

Last week's column discussed the highly publicized university corruption scheme wherein wealthy parents bought admission at prestigious universities for their children. That is dishonest and gives an unfair advantage to those young people but won't destroy the missions of the universities. There is little or no attention given by the mainstream media to the true cancer eating away at most of our institutions of higher learning. Philip Carl Salzman, emeritus professor of anthropology at McGill University, explains that cancer in a Minding the Campus article, titled "What Your Sons and Daughters Will Learn at University."

Professor Salzman argues that for most of the 20th century, universities were dedicated to the advancement of knowledge. There was open exchange and competition in the marketplace of ideas. Different opinions were argued and respected. Most notably in the social sciences, social work, the humanities, education and law, this is no longer the case. Leftist political ideology has emerged. The most important thing to today's university communities is diversity of race, ethnicity, sex and economic class, on which they have spent billions of dollars. Conspicuously absent is diversity of ideology.

Students are taught that all cultural values are morally equivalent. That's ludicrous. Here are a few questions for those who make such a claim. Is forcible female genital mutilation, as practiced in nearly 30 sub-Saharan African and Middle Eastern countries, a morally equivalent cultural value? Slavery is currently practiced in Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Sudan; is it morally equivalent? In most of the Middle East, there are numerous limitations placed on women, such as prohibitions on driving, employment and education. Under Islamic law in some countries, female adulterers face death by stoning. Thieves face the punishment of having their hands severed. Homosexuality is a crime punishable by death in some countries. Are these cultural values morally equivalent, superior or inferior to Western values?

Social justice theory holds the vision that the world is divided between oppressors and victims. The theory holds that by their toxic masculinity, heterosexual white males are oppressors. Among their victims are females, people of color and male and female homosexuals. The world's Christians and Jews are oppressors, and Muslims are victims.

Increasingly, the classics of Western civilization are being ignored. Why? Because they represent the work, almost exclusively, of "dead white men." Only works of females, people of color and non-Western authors are seen as virtuous. The same is true with political history. The U.S. Constitution should be less respected because its writers were white slaveholders. The academics who teach this nonsense to students are grossly ignorant of the struggle over the slavery issue at our 1787 Constitutional Convention.

Professor Salzman concludes his article with the observation that "Marxist social justice offers all the answers anyone needs, so no inquiry or serious research is required. Be confident that at university your children will learn 'the right side' to be on, if little else." As a result of leftist indoctrination, many college students graduate illiterate, innumerate and resistant to understanding. A survey of employers showed that over 70 percent found college graduates were not well-prepared in skills such as "written communication," "working with numbers/statistics," "critical/analytical thinking" and second-language proficiency.

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni publishes occasional reports on what college students know. One report found that nearly 10 percent of the college graduates surveyed thought Judith Sheindlin, TV's Judge Judy, is a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. Less than 20 percent of the college graduates knew the effect of the Emancipation Proclamation. More than a quarter of the college graduates did not know Franklin D. Roosevelt was president during World War II; one-third did not know he was the president who spearheaded the New Deal. Such ignorance might explain why these young people are the supporters of today's presidential candidates calling for America to become a socialist nation.

By the way, one need not be a Westerner to hold Western values. One just has to accept the sanctity of the individual above all else.


Marxism, the Frankfurt School, and the Leftist Takeover of the College Campus

How did socialism become mainstream?  Look no farther than modern-day socialism's roots: Marxism.  When one observes the modern political scene occupied by the likes of Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris, one observes nothing but modern-day Marxism.  When one observes the modern-day college campus, one observes nothing but the Marxist-leftist indoctrination of America's youth.

When Marxism is considered, it is often viewed through an economic lens.  Karl Marx's ideas of historical materialism, the exploitation of the proletariat by the bourgeoisie, and class-based division are staples of American collegiate academia.  Any second-year university student, no matter his degree path, has already been taught from the enlightened minds of Marx and Engels.  However, what if these ideas of Marxism go much deeper than mere economics?  What if Marxist philosophy has extended to every facet of the American college campus?

To some, this idea might seem preposterous and a manufactured right-wing conspiracy.  To any politically moderate or conservative student, it's a living reality.

While socialist and Marxist-influenced ideas have spread throughout the corridors of America and thus led to the election of such prominent democratic socialists as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, many Americans don't realize how deep an impact Marxist ideas have made culturally — namely, on college campuses.

The Frankfurt School was a movement of far-left European philosophers who sought (among many other things) to apply the ideas of Marx in a social context.  What developed from this school was Critical Theory, which is ultimately a re-envisioning of the way the world is seen.

The Frankfurt School rejected objective truth and the historical records of humanity and objected to any form of objective knowledge.  According to Claudio Corradetti of the University of Rome, this can be said of the Frankfurt School: "on the basis of Habermasian [a Frankfurt School philosophy] premises, indeed, there can be no objective knowledge[.] ... Since knowledge is strictly embedded in serving human interests, it follows that it cannot be considered value-neutral and objectively independent."

With this statement comes the basis of the identity politics–centered culture.  There is no longer objectivity in the sciences or arts, and everything becomes an element of interpretation.  Knowledge, according to Marxist thought, can be manipulated to serve a purpose, and that is what the left is actively doing.

While this idea that objective knowledge is no longer accepted might seem like nonsense, these ideas are prominent in far-ranging academic subjects from the arts to the sciences.  In turn, these ideas are captivating campuses and infecting students everywhere.

Throughout Western history, society has been rooted in the principles of objective truth.  The great philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, and Locke all believed in some form of objective truth that guided society and established principles to be followed.

Much of the modern Western world is based on the ideas produced by Judeo-Christian thought.  Judeo-Christian thought is based deeply in objective truth and objective reality.  However, objective truth or reality of any kind is no longer the fad.

 One has to look no farther than Boston University to find courses with titles such as "Dismantling White Privilege, Power, and Supremacy."  Any course that attempts to induce guilt for one's ethnicity is undeniably subjective in nature.  Consider the debates on sex, sexuality, and human physiology.  There is arguably mainstream societal acceptance that there are more than two "genders" and that sex and sexuality are in no way linked.

Furthermore, if one even questions the eligibility of male athletes in female-only sports, he will often be labeled a bigot, or at the very least old-fashioned.  No empirical research is needed to realize that much of American history is now scrutinized rather than honored.  American military involvement is commonly preached as oppression rather than liberation.  Everything from the nuclear family to supporting ICE is under scrutiny.  There is a systematic dismantling of American values that were once accepted as objectively good and now maligned as evil.

When objective truth and reality no longer exist, the Left can rewrite the rules to society — and it has.

Where do all of these ideas come from?  Primarily college campuses.  The Frankfurt School's rejection of objective truth has led to the creation of leftist ideologies that demonize all forms of conservatism while praising intersectionality.  Once an idea is preached into impressionable minds, reiterated throughout the echo chambers of social media, and proselytized to the masses, these ideas became mainstays of mainstream culture.

 If objectivity continues to be rejected on college campuses and throughout much of our society, it will be a lonely world for conservatives and free-thinkers.  There's no telling where the promulgators of Marxism and the Frankfurt School will go from here.


Sunday, March 31, 2019

Record Low 4.5% Admitted to Harvard; Cost for Some Is Highest Ever

Of the 43,330 candidates who applied to Harvard College's class of 2023, only 1,950 were admitted, the college announced. That's a record low 4.5 percent admission rate for the school.

According to the Harvard Crimson, the college notified 1,015 students of their acceptance Thursday evening. Another 935 were admitted early decision.

The Crimson also reported that it's more expensive than ever to attend the college:

The total cost of attending Harvard College — including tuition, fees, room, and board — will increase by 3 percent, to $69,607, for the 2019-2020 academic year, the College announced in a press release Thursday evening.

That increase marks a $2,027 rise from the 2018-2019 school year cost of attendance of $67,580.

This is the second year in a row that the cost of enrollment at the College has risen by 3 percent, outpacing the rate of inflation in both years.

Harvard's Financial Aid Office believes that more than half of the Class of 2023 will receive some form of need-based financial aid, and under a Harvard program geared to students from low-income families, 20 percent of the class will not be required to contribute to the cost of attendance, the Crimson reported.

Brown University also post a record low overall acceptance rate of 6.6 percent, or 1,782 students, to the class of 2023. The applicant pool of 38,674 was the highest ever, up nine percent from the year earlier.

According to The Brown Daily Herald, 65 percent of admitted students plan to apply for financial aid.

The total direct and indirect costs of attending Brown for the current academic year are estimated at $77,690.


Public Schools Are No Longer a Foundation of America's Republic

When Thomas Jefferson made the case for state-supported public schooling to Benjamin Franklin and other skeptics, he emphasized the necessity of turning young students into fully-fledged citizens. If our new form of government was to survive, Jefferson argued, it would need to be buttressed by an education system that taught the virtues of self-government. Public schooling was to become “the keystone in the arch” of our new constitutional republic.

Education was never meant to be values-neutral, and recent decades have shown that the public schools are indeed aggressively teaching a set of values to the almost 90 percent of American kids who travel through their halls. They’re just not the small-r republican values Jefferson had in mind.

Robert Pondiscio of the Fordham Institute, along with several colleagues, conducted an informal survey of the mission statements of the 100 largest school districts in the U.S. It’s clear that school districts are advertising the preparation they offer for material success after K-12: the word “college” appears in 37 of those 100 statements, and “career” appears in 46. By contrast, the words “patriotic” or “patriotism,” and “America” appear in none, and a large majority make no mention even of citizenship.

Little wonder, then, that the graduates of our public schools know little about the system of government Jefferson’s contemporaries designed. Only a quarter of Americans can name the three branches of the federal government. Only one in three can pass the U.S. citizenship test administered to immigrants who apply for citizenship, but for graduates of a more recent vintage, under the age of 45, just 19 percent passed.

To the extent that civics is taught, it emphasizes grievance and activism, rather than core knowledge about the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. These days, just noting that the original purpose of the common schools (forerunners to today’s vast public system) was to instill a knowledge and love of country is deeply controversial.

But shaping character — moral and public — is an inextricable educational goal. In pretending that education should be value-neutral to appease a pluralistic society, we’ve actually ceded the institution most important in shaping hearts and minds to one side of the political spectrum.

Instead, the answer in a large and diverse nation should be to empower families to choose an education for their children that supports, not fights, the values they teach around their dinner tables. And when we evaluate schools and educational programs, we should be looking at whether graduates demonstrate qualities that make them good citizens over improvements in standardized test scores.

Parents already know this. It’s why they consistently rank standardized test scores at the bottom of reasons to choose a school, well below factors such as religious instruction, moral and character development, and a safe environment.

Policymakers and researchers are starting to catch up to families. A recent study on a Milwaukee school choice program found, for the second time, large decreases in criminal conviction rates between graduates of the program and meticulously-matched public school students. Even more shockingly, researchers found a 38 percent decrease in a student’s likelihood of being involved in a paternity suit as a young adult, indicating that school choice recipients are either having fewer children out of wedlock, or at minimum, not shirking the duties of parenthood when they are.

Raising intact families and following the law are both vastly more important to being a good citizen than math scores.

If we are facing a crisis of citizenship and patriotism today, it is because conservatives chose short-term political victories over slow-burn cultural institutions. In some states, education is so undervalued on the right that Republican leadership has to beg state elected officials to take education committee chairmanships. School choice has had some “wins” — the majority of states now boast at least one private choice program — but those successes are still a drop in the bucket compared to the larger system.

Conservatives must realize that their future political victories are contingent on breaking the public school ideological monopoly and re-educating America’s students about the greatness of the country they live in. By empowering parents with choice, we’re not just improving test scores of those worst served by the public system. Instead, we’re ensuring that future voters are prepared to shoulder the heavy burden of citizenship in the freest, most prosperous republic in human history.


Australian schools to promote "Stolen generation" story

This is fiction, not history.  One or two dubious cases of "stolen" Aboriginal children have been put forward but nothing outside the usual incidence of social worker misjudgment. There have been far more incidences of regrettable social worker actions in England.

So the idea of a stolen "GENERATION" (i.e. 20,000 children or thereabouts) is the wildest fantasy. It is however a dangerous fantasy.  It has made modern-day social workers very reluctant to remove Aboriginal children from neglectful and abusive families, resulting in some avoidable deaths and much suffering

Australian history and the curriculum that teaches it will today receive a boost as new lesson plans detailing the lived experience of the Stolen Generations become available to school children.

Developed by The Healing Foundation in consultation with Stolen Generations members, teachers, parents and curriculum writers, the new resources promote greater understanding about an often overlooked part of Australia’s history in a safe and age appropriate way.

The Stolen Generations Resource Kit for Teachers and Students will be officially launched at Trangie Central School near Dubbo in regional NSW this morning, one of the schools involved in testing the resources.

Including compulsory modules on the Stolen Generations in school curricula was first recommended in the landmark 1997 Bringing them Home report. The report identified education as an important part of the reparation process, with awareness of the history of child removal seen as key to preventing a repetition of such human rights violations.

The Healing Foundation’s Chair Professor Steve Larkin said sharing the truth of Australian history is an important part of healing for the thousands of children who were forcibly removed from their families between 1910 and the 1970s.

“Despite the traumatic impact that the Stolen Generations policies continue to have on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities, very little about this chapter of our history has been taught in schools - particularly from an Indigenous perspective.

"We hope these resources will foster greater respect and understanding of the past and influence a different relationship with our communities,” Professor Larkin said.

Trangie Central School’s Deputy Principal Dimiti Trudgett said learning about the Stolen Generations encourages reconciliation for all Australians.

“As an important part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education, it supports the healing process for those impacted both directly and indirectly by acknowledging, comprehending and correcting the past,” Ms Trudgett said.

“We have trialled a number of activities from the resource kit with our secondary students and the response has been positive. The resources are not only educational, but are genuine and engaging. Our students particularly enjoyed the video case studies and computer components.”

The Healing Foundation’s Stolen Generations Reference Group Chair Ian Hamm said the activities draw heavily on the stories, music, dance, art and writing of Stolen Generations members and their descendants and showcase the strength and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and culture

“While the policies and suffering of the Stolen Generations is only one part of the ongoing story of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people it is an essential one to learn as part of developing a full understanding of the history of Australia,” Mr Hamm said.

The kit includes suggested lesson plans for Foundation Year through to Year 9, mapped to the Australian Curriculum, as well as professional learning tools for teachers.

Each year level includes four activities that can be taught over a day, week, month or term and align with National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week.

To mark the launch of these important new resources, The Healing Foundation is offering $700 micro grants for schools to hold events about the Stolen Generations between National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week 2019. To find out more or apply visit

The lesson plans, case studies and other resources are available on The Healing Foundation website. Hardcopy versions of the kit can be ordered by emailing

Media release from The Healing Foundation, a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation.  Media contact: Ben O'Halloran - 0474 499 911 or