Friday, May 03, 2019

Oxbridge should consider poor pupils with one B and two Cs at A-Level for a place, universities regulator says

The amply demonstrated truth that the Left just cannot accept is that the poor are on average a lot dumber.  That's why they are poor in most cases

Poor pupils with one B and two Cs at A-Level should be considered for places at Oxbridge to increase diversity in top institutions, the universities regulator has said.

The Office for Students (OfS) claimed so-called contextual offers give bright students from deprived areas a route into university, without risking a fall in academic standards.

It suggested England’s higher education sector needed to be “more ambitious” with how it handles applications from  candidates with deprived backgrounds, similar to US and Scottish institutions.

Under the traditional admissions system, the focus on top A-Level grades risks shutting out students with great potential from disadvantaged backgrounds, the OfS suggested in a report.

Candidates from the most affluent neighbourhoods are nearly six times more likely to reach the top universities than their peers on the opposite end of the social scale, data from 2018 showed.

This comes despite a “significant growth” in the number of contextual offers over recent years, according to the OfS.

Research found students admitted to Oxbridge and Russell Group universities with BCC grades at A-Level had an 80% chance of graduating with a degree and a 46% chance of leaving with a first or upper second, it claimed.

The report concluded: “As it stands, the implementation of contextual admissions does not go far enough.

“Research has shown that lowering advertised grades at high-tariff providers to BCC, for example, would broaden the pool of available applicants without a marked fall in academic standards.”

High-tariff providers are generally universities requiring grades of AAB upwards at A-Level, including Oxbridge and Russell Group universities.

The OfS said information about students - such as whether they qualify for free school meals - should be considered by all universities when assessing a candidate.

League table providers are facing pressure to tweak their criteria so universities which make a greater number of contextual admissions are not penalised.

Several top institutions last year expressed concern that any change to their admissions practice would cause “reputational damage” as they plunged down the rankings.

But the OfS said there remains “no clearly understood approach” to contextual admissions across the sector, with guidance on grades which varies widely.

Sir Michael Barber, chairman of the OfS, said: “A young person from a council estate who gets decent A levels has often had to work a lot harder than the young person from a better off neighbourhood who gets a few grades more.

“That’s why it is right that contextual admissions are now an increasing part of the picture.

“When I visit great American universities, I’m struck by how they look beyond standardised test scores to see potential civic leaders, potential public servants, potential entrepreneurs who can succeed if given the chance to shine.

“When it comes to trying to reach beyond their traditional intakes, these universities have got something to teach us.”

The regulator also identified the need for “more diverse routes” into higher education, such as bridging course, foundation years and degree apprenticeships.

Foundation years can be offered to students who miss their A-Level requirements or lack qualifications as a precursor to their degree course, while apprenticeships integrate study and work.

The OfS hopes to eliminate the gulf between the most and least disadvantaged students at the country’s top universities within the next 20 years.


Cambridge University inquiry into slave trade connections is 'virtue signalling on steroids', Trevor Phillips says

Cambridge University’s slavery inquiry is “virtue signalling on steroids” which was only initiated to make “white liberal academics” feel better about themselves, one of the country’s leading equality campaigners has said.

Trevor Phillips, the former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, criticised the University’s decision to investigate how it benefitted from the slave trade, calling on its vice-chancellor to “change the future rather than attempting to rewrite the past”.

His comments come as details of a similar inquiry launched at University College London (UCL) in November last year have emerged, looking into their “historical and present role in the teaching and study of eugenics”.

The UCL investigation will deliver recommendations on current financial benefits the University receives from “instruments linked to this field”, as well as how to manage the naming buildings after prominent eugenicists.

This includes Victorian scientist Francis Galton, the man responsible for coining the term ‘eugenics’. UCL students are currently campaigning to get his name stripped from a lecture theatre and a laboratory.

Commenting on Cambridge University’s inquiry, Mr Phillips told The Telegraph: “It seems to me that this is virtue signalling on steroids. This is really about making white liberal academics at Cambridge feel a bit better about themselves. It will do very little for any ethnic minority person.

“Rather than having some clever people looking back 200 years for the next 35 months, wouldn’t it just be a good idea to have some people looking a few months into the future and do some work on how we could prevent discrimination affecting people of colour every single day.

“If they actually wanted to do something for young people, there are at least a dozen other exercises they could have chosen over this one.

“I have got no objection to some academics looking into the background of Cambridge. In fact, I made a series about this topic 18 years ago. However, if Cambridge University wanted to do something useful they might want to change the future rather than attempting to rewrite the past, which is what this is all about.”

Prof Martin Millett, who is chairing Cambridge University’s inquiry, suggested that one potential outcome of the investigation could be reviewing the names of campus buildings that are connected to the slave trade.

Speaking on the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday morning, Prof Millet said: “I think it’s quite interesting how Glasgow University have dealt with this. They have thought of symbolic ways of recognising the issue in terms of quite simple things, like how buildings are named and so forth.”

Glasgow University have named a new building due to open next year after James McCune Smith, who was born into slavery in 1813 and later became the first African American to be awarded a medical degree.

Cambridge University’s Colleges are omitted from the inquiry, which will only apply to the main university buildings, including eight museums and numerous libraries.

Academics and students labelled the investigation as nothing more than a “PR exercise” for failing to include the Colleges in the investigation.

“The real wealth in this university, as well as historical benefits, are constitutively collegiate,” Dr Priyamvada Gopal, English lecturer at Churchill College, wrote on Twitter. “If Cambridge REALLY wants to look at how it benefited from slavery, leaving the colleges out is absurd. Totally absurd.

“Short of that, this is in danger of becoming a PR exercise.

“I think this is a terrible dodge on more than one front: many many problems are located at the collegiate level and the University repeatedly washes its hands of the colleges.”


Australian Christian schools warn over Leftist anti-discrimination bill

A Christian school lobby group has warned that Labor’s plan to overhaul anti-discrimination legislation by removing the religious exemption for schools could hamper their ability to teach according to their values.

Christian Schools Australia, which represents about 140 faith-based schools across the country, has called on Labor to clarify its plans regarding the Sex Discrimination Act, in the wake of revelations that it would scrap exemptions that enable faith-based schools to employ teachers that represent their ethos and teach its traditional values.

Although Labor’s education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek this week signalled a strong willingness to support religious schools to continue to employ staff that “faithfully represent their values”, she declined to provide details of exactly how the rights of schools would be protected under Labor’s pledge to amend the Sex Discrimination Act if it is elected.

CSA national policy director Mark Spencer said the group had previously held constructive conversations with Labor over the issue, which sparked fierce public debate late last year when recommendations from the Ruddock review into religious freedom were released, but it was now unclear what Labor’s intentions were.

Mr Spencer has sought clarification from Labor.

“It sounds as though they expect us to rely on the employment process to deal with staff matters but you can’t put something in the employment contract if it is protected in discrimination legislation,” he said.

“We would be concerned with any plan to simply remove the exemption without replacing it with some other protection for religious schools.”

Charity lawyer Mark Fowler, an adjunct associate professor at the Notre Dame School of Law, agreed that removing the religious exemption without introducing accompanying legislative protection for schools posed a risk to faith-based schools.

“Private parties cannot contract out of federal anti-discrimination law,” Mr Fowler said.

“Where a school requires a form of fidelity from its employees that conflicts with a statutory prohibition on discrimination, the statute will override the contract, unless an exemption applies to balance the law with the requirements of religious freedom.

“Moreover, to authentically model their beliefs to students and the community, many schools seek to prefer teachers and staff who actually share their beliefs.

“On the face of it, Labor’s proposal appears to be to remove this ability.”

Currently, the Sex Discrimination Act prevents discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status however there are exemptions that permit religious schools to discriminate in their employment decisions, as well as in relation to education and training, if it is in the interests of upholding religious values.

The Australian Law Reform Commission is currently looking into religious exemptions in anti-discrimination legislation, including the Ruddock review and some of its more contentious recommendations.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has previously expressed its desire to retain the existing exemption. In its submission to the amended bill inquiry on behalf of the nation’s 1740 Catholic schools, it strenuously denied that Catholic schools used the exemptions “to expel or otherwise discriminate against students simply on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status”.

“The exemptions allow schools to focus on educating students according to their mission and identity,” the ACBC wrote.

“We are concerned that without adequate recognition of our religious freedom, we will not be able to maintain a school community that operates in accordance with the tenets of its faith and in a spirit of harmony and cohesion.”

In advice to the National Catholic Education Commission, which has been circulated to school communities today, the ALP said it respected the right of people to practise their religion freely and that Ms Plibersek had “made our position on the rights of religious schools very clear in parliament when she stated, ‘schools are also entitled to have rules that ensure staff … don’t deliberately and wilfully behave contrary to the values of the school’.”

It stressed that Labor was “not proposing to amend the indirect discrimination provisions of the Sex Discrimination Act that allow educational institutions to impose reasonable conditions, requirements or practices in accordance with the doctrines, tenets, beliefs or teachings of a particular religion or creed”.

It is understood that some within Labor believe that those indirect discrimination provisions could be key to religious schools being able to ensure that its teachers outwardly adhere to the institutions values.

In a dissenting report following an inquiry into Senator Penny Wong’s proposed Sex Discrimination Amendment (Removing Discrimination Against Students) Bill 2018, which sought to prevent schools from discriminating against students, Labor Senators noted evidence as to whether schools needed to rely on exemptions to uphold the fidelity of an employee at their school or whether it was a contractual matter.

Their report referred to a hypothetical example of a teacher “who was not supportive of the teachings of the church in relation to a range of matters and who voiced that belief with students or with other staff in a fairly public manner”.

“It was noted in the course of this exchange within the committee that the exemptions can’t be used to uphold this kind of fidelity as a failure to uphold a specific teaching, but rather needs to be pursued through the contract with the employee,” said the Labor Senators’ report.

At a forum in Sydney on Tuesday, Ms Plibersek told an audience of about 250 Catholic school administrators, teachers, parents and students that she did not believe that there was “tension at all” between the rights of schools to require employees uphold their values and protecting people from discrimination.

“The way it was put to me was what we want is employees who can live by or demonstrate the values of our school,” she said.

“And I think that it is possible to find that balance where we don’t discriminate against people because of who they love or how they identify but that those people who are employees of an organisation have to faithfully represent the values of that organisation.

“I really don’t think that’s beyond us.”

Labor has previously advised Equality Australia, an advocacy group borne out of the marriage equality campaign, that LGBTI students and staff at religious schools were “at risk of discrimination “and it would “continue to work to remove all discriminator measures against LGBTI people from Commonwealth law”.

“Labor will not give up,” the response said.

“We do not believe that freedom from discrimination and religious freedom are mutually exclusive. We do not believe that the removal of these exemption will hamper a religious schools’ capacity to continue to teach its religion and operate according to its traditions and beliefs.”


Thursday, May 02, 2019

Should we shutter the Department of Education?

Since its inception 40 years ago as a political payoff from President Jimmy Carter to the National Education Association, the Department of Education has engaged in scores of dubious actions that have made millions of Americans yearn for its expulsion.

The most recent example of comes from a long string of audits showing the federal department is doing a lousy job keeping tabs on the $38 billion it receives to administer federally funded K–12 programs. “Complex and persistent” is how Congress’ spending watchdog, the Government Accountability Office, described the agency’s mismanagement of data, oversight, and evaluation.

It’s not surprising a colossal central bureaucracy cannot efficiently run 100,000 schools attended by 50 million children in 50 gloriously variegated states. The U.S. is a richly diverse country, and its families have widely different educational interests and needs.

The founders of our constitutional republic anticipated the pitfalls posed by big, intrusive government. They did not include education among the powers granted to the federal government. In fact, under the Bill of Rights (the often-overlooked 10th Amendment), they left authority over matters such as education expressly with the states and the people — where it rightfully belongs.

So, what is the expiration date for a federal education behemoth that shouldn’t exist in the first place?

Unfortunately, very few laws contain sunset provisions and “regulations almost never do,” Institute for Policy Innovation President Tom Giovanetti noted a few years ago. In other words, “we are piling up taxes, laws, and regulations that are outdated, ineffective, redundant, sometimes contradictory, and otherwise simply past their prime.” In 2015, Giovanetti proposed that every new law or regulation should contain a sunset clause after five years and after 10 years for any and all new agencies. If that commonsense guideline were actually in place, the Education Department would have probably been on the chopping block 30 years ago.

Partly by design and partly by accident, Idaho could be on the verge of providing a national test case for the sunset strategy. The Gem State stipulates that agency regulations will expire unless the legislature votes to reauthorize them. This year’s session ended in feuding, with House and Senate voting down each other’s bills. One of the casualties, the Associated Press reported, “was a bill approving 8,200 pages containing 736 chapters of rules and regulations that touch on just about every aspect of daily life in Idaho.”

The upshot of that fortuitous gridlock is that Republican Gov. Brad Little — a critic of excessive governmental regulations who in January ordered agencies to kill two regulations for every one they birthed — must decide by July 1 which regulations are important enough to be reinstated. News accounts suggest Little and his budget chief, Alex Adams, are downplaying the likelihood of sweeping policy changes.

Of course, some rules, such as those licensing hunting and fishing, are fairly innocuous. However, Wayne Hoffman, president of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, says Little could do more than simply tap the brakes on the administrative state: “He has a chance to discontinue a plethora of bad public policies.” For instance, he could pull out the failed Common Core education standards by their regulatory roots.

Regardless of what happens in Idaho, there is a lesson here for other states and the federal government in the value of having termination dates — not just for regulations, but for entire agencies too.

Meanwhile, Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., offered a sunset bill for the Department of Education, abolishing it at the end of 2020. A dissolution deadline would likely prompt a thorough examination of everything the department does and fails to do. Even better, it could devolve obsolete one-size-fits-all education federal programs, return taxing power to the states and localities, or transfer certain activities to other federal agencies.

Obviously, the Massie bill will not see the light of day in the current Democrat-led House of Representatives, where socialist schemes are the cause du jour. But if a sunset clause is never implemented, will inept and costly bureaucracies such as the Department of Education ever be dissolved?


Record Numbers of Public School Teachers Attacked as School Discipline Is Curbed

“A record 220,300 public school teachers reported that they were physically attacked by a student during the 2015-2016 school year, according to a report jointly published this month by the National Center for Education Statistics and the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

“The 220,300 public school teachers who said they were physically attacked by a student in 2015-2016 is up from the 197,400 who said they were attacked by a student in 2011-2012 (which is the last school year before 2015-2016 for which teachers were surveyed on the question).”

In recent years, many school systems have curbed suspensions of students who engage in “willful defiance” of their teachers. California plans to eliminate suspensions for all K-12 students for “willful defiance” (previously, it was an option for kids in grades 4-12).

California’s State Senate has voted 30-to-8 to ban such suspensions, and the State Assembly is expected to enact the ban into law. California’s legislature previously passed such a ban in 2018, but it was vetoed by former Governor Jerry Brown, who viewed it as too extreme. But Brown is no longer in office, and this time the ban is expected to become law.

In California, suspensions for willful defiance had already fallen a lot in recent years. For example, in the 2015-16 school year, 96,421 students were “suspended for willful defiance – a decrease of nearly 30,000 from 2014-15 school year.”

A single willfully defiant student can set back learning for the entire class. Students who assault teachers and classmates often do so after remaining in class despite repeated willful defiance.

Why, then, is California’s legislature doing this? It’s about racial bean-counting. As the Sacramento Bee reports:

“Research has shown the category of willful defiance was disproportionately used to discipline minority students, specifically African-Americans. … African-American students made up 5.6% of enrollment in California schools in 2017-18, but accounted for 15.6% of willful defiance suspensions. Conversely, white students made up 23.2% of statewide enrollment but made up only 20.2% of willful defiance suspensions.”

The reason why African-American students made up a disproportionate share of willful defiance suspensions is because a disproportionate share of students who engage in willful defiance are African-American. A 2014 study by John Paul Wright and several other professors in the Journal of Criminal Justice found that higher rates of “prior problem behavior” among black students — not racism — explained why black students are suspended at a higher rate.

Black students are not singled out for “willful defiance” suspensions more than other suspensions. The black share of suspensions for willful defiance is lower than the black share of suspensions for misconduct in general. In California, blacks are suspended for misconduct at more than four times the white rate, and nearly 15 times the rate for Asians, who have the lowest suspension rate of all races. (See Tom Loveless, The 2017 Brown Center Report on American Education: How Well Are American Students Learning?, Brookings Institution, March 2017, pg. 25).

Supporters of banning suspensions for “willful defiance” cite its allegedly “highly subjective” nature. But that is not a reason to tolerate willful defiance that undermines classroom learning. A federal appeals court pointed that out in striking down as an unconstitutional racial quota a rule that forbade a “school district to refer a higher percentage of minority students than of white students for discipline unless the district purges all ‘subjective’ criteria from its disciplinary code.” As the court observed, “important disciplinary criteria (such as disrupting classes) are unavoidably judgmental and hence ‘subjective.’” (See People Who Care v. Rockford Board of Education, 111 F.3d 528, 538 (7th Cir. 1997)).

But that is not a reason to get rid of such rules or thwart their enforcement. They are essential to creating an environment where learning can occur.

Also, subjectivity in discipline isn’t why blacks are suspended at a higher rate than whites. The federal appeals court in Philadelphia noted in 1996 that “statistical data” showed larger racial differences in discipline rates for serious, “very objective” offenses than for minor, “less objective” offenses. It also cited a lack of evidence for the notion that “misbehavior” occurs at the same rate among all “racial groups.” (See Coalition to Save Our Children v. State Board of Education of Delaware).

Curbing suspensions of willfully defiant students harms innocent African-Americans by reducing their ability to learn and be safe. After all, much violence is black-on-black, and when a black student constantly disrupts class, that harms black classmates’ ability to learn. After suspensions were curbed in New York City, the Manhattan Institute’s Max Eden found that “schools where more than 90% of students were minorities experienced the worst” effects on school climate and safety. Indeed, the harm from curbing suspensions had “a disparate impact by race and socioeconomic status.” Eden noted in the New York Post that another “study by a University of Georgia professor found that efforts to decrease the racial-suspension gap actually increase the racial achievement gap.” Joshua Kinsler found that “in public schools with discipline problems, it hurts those innocent African American children academically to keep disruptive students in the classroom,” and “cutting out-of-school suspensions in those schools widens the black-white academic achievement gap.”

The higher black suspension rate is not surprising to many observers, given the higher black crime rate and the fact that black kids are more likely to come from struggling single-parent households that fail to instill discipline. As even the liberal Brookings Institution has noted, “Black students are also more likely to come from family backgrounds associated with school behavior problems; for example, children ages 12–17 that come from single-parent families are at least twice as likely to be suspended as children from two-parent families.” (2017 Brown Center Report on American Education, pp. 30-31). The homicide rate is 10 times higher among black teens than white teens. And the Supreme Court rejected the “presumption that people of all races commit all types of crimes” at the same rate, as being “contradicted by” reality, in its decision in U.S. v. Armstrong.

Supporters of curbing school discipline say it is necessary to prevent racially “disparate impact,” which they define in a racial quota-like way, to mean anytime a higher percentage of black students is disciplined than of students of other races. But as I and others have explained in the past, that wrongly defines “disparate impact,” legally speaking. It also pressures school districts to have racial quotas in discipline.

“Disparate impact” only matters in the eyes of the Supreme Court when it takes into account the racial composition of the “qualified population,” meaning those students who actually misbehaved. Students who didn’t misbehave can’t be suspended to meet a racial quota, and they shouldn’t be included in any “disparate impact” comparison, either, because they aren’t part of the qualified population.

The rate at which a racial group is disciplined should be compared to that group’s actual misbehavior rate, not its percentage of the student body, because the student body is the general population, not the qualified population. What matters is if a school system’s discipline system has flaws that are causing the black or Hispanic percentage of the students disciplined to be higher than the black or Hispanic percentage of the students who misbehaved (for example, a failure to accommodate students’ inability to speak English in the disciplinary process, leading to Hispanic immigrants often being unable to defend themselves against false charges). But if the black percentage of students disciplined is high only because a lot of black students in fact misbehaved, that is not “disparate impact,” under the “qualified population” approach of the Supreme Court’s decision in Ward’s Cove Packing Co. v. Atonio, 490 U.S. 642, 651 (1989).

Assessing whether disparate impact exists in discipline should take into account people’s behavior, such as that reflected in “prior records of discipline,” not just compare discipline rates to the racial breakdown of the workforce or student body. (See, e.g., Mozee v. American Commercial Marine Ins. Co., 940 F.2d 1036, 1047-49 (7th Cir. 1992)).


Too Many Public Colleges ‘Are Silencing the Voices of Faith-Based Student Groups’

Sen. Tim Scott (R.-S.C.) joined Sen. James Lankford (R.-Okla.) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R.-Mo.) on Thursday in introducing the “Equal Campus Act,” a bill that would prohibit federal funding of public institutions of higher learning that discriminate against faith-based student groups

The text of the bill, which would amend a law that authorizes the federal government to provide funding to institutions of higher learning, says:

“None of the funds made available under this Act may be provided to any public institution of higher education that denies to a religious student organization any right, benefit, or privilege that is otherwise afforded to other student organizations at the institution (including full access to the facilities of the institution and official recognition of the organization by the institution) because of the religious beliefs, practices, speech, leadership standards, or standards of conduct of the religious student organization.’

Scott emphasized the importance of protecting the First Amendment rights of religious student groups.

“If we’re not instilling the importance of the First Amendment in our nation’s colleges and universities, we’re doing our future an injustice,” Scott said.

“Too many public institutions of higher learning are silencing the voices of faith-based student groups and I am proud to stand with my colleagues to stand up for the First Amendment,” he said. “Freedom of speech isn’t just a nice saying—it’s a core American ideal.”

“Our nation’s college campuses should respect the rights of religious student groups, just as they respect the rights of other groups, to select their own leaders who share their faith and mission,” Lankford said.

“More and more we see free speech and free association restricted on college campuses, especially for religious speech and religious groups, but students do not have to forfeit their First Amendment rights of speech, religion, and association to attend a public college,” he said. “The Equal Campus Access Act affirms the right of religious groups to choose their own leaders without government interference.”

“Too many public institutions of higher learning are silencing the voices of faith-based student groups,” Lankford said.

“Students don’t give up their First Amendment rights when they step foot on a college campus,” said Blunt.

“Over the past decade, there have been far too many incidents where universities excluded religious student groups because of their faith-based policies,” Blunt said. “This bill ensures faith-based student groups have the same rights and protections as other student organizations. Congress afforded similar protections to public high schools under the Equal Access Act and there is no reason it should not apply to higher education institutions.”


Wednesday, May 01, 2019


A new high-school American history textbook depicts President Donald Trump as mentally ill and castigates both him and his supporters as racist.

Published by Pearson Education, “By the People: A History of the United States” will be used by many Advanced Placement students beginning in 2020, reports Todd Starnes.

In the final section, titled “The Angry Election of 2016,” the book states Trump’s “not very-hidden racism connected with a significant number of primary voters.”

“Most thought that Trump was too extreme a candidate to win the nomination, but his extremism, his anti-establishment rhetoric, and, some said, his not very hidden racism connected with a significant number of primary voters,” the book says.

Trump’s supporters, the author writes, are “mostly older, often rural or suburban, and overwhelmingly white.”

It says supporters of Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton “feared that the election had been determined by people who were afraid of a rapidly developing ethnic diversity of the country, discomfort with their candidate’s gender and nostalgia for an earlier time in the nation’s history.”

Clinton supporters “also worried about the mental stability of the president-elect and the anger that he and his supporters brought to the nation.”

A high-school student in Minnesota, Tarra Snyder, told Fox News she was “appalled” by the “blatantly biased” textbook. “It was really, really surprising to me,” she said. “I really believe that learning should be objective and that students can make their own decisions based on what they’re able to learn in a classroom, and if the facts are skewed then students aren’t able to make well-rounded decisions on what they believe.”

Starnes said a Pearson spokesman defended the textbook, arguing it underwent “rigorous peer review to ensure academic integrity.”

“This work is designed to convey college-level information to high school students and meet specific Advanced Placement standards. It aims to promote debate and critical thinking by presenting multiple sides of historical issues and offering a broad survey of arguments from the 2016 presidential election and other recent topics,” the spokesman said.

“We have reviewed the passages in question independently and in the context of the rest of the book. This review has confirmed that the text offers a broad view of critical arguments from both sides of the 2016 presidential election.”

‘Raw hatred’

Powerline blogger Paul Mirengoff wrote that the textbook clearly is using the phrase “Clinton supporters” as “a device to plant the idea that President Trump is mentally unstable, a proposition for which there is no basis other than raw hatred of the man.”

Responding to Pearson’s defense, he said the “peers” who reviewed the book “clearly share the blatant partisanship and mindless anti-Trumpism of the textbook’s author.”

“If they didn’t hate Trump, they wouldn’t be peers. They would be academic outcasts,”  Mirengoff wrote.

He said any schools that uses the book “should be the target of vigorous protests.” “The political blowback should be fierce,” he said.


UK: The real problem with SATs

Jeremy Corbyn wants to scrap SATs for all the wrong reasons. In Britain, SATs are exams taken during grade school

Political meddling has devastated education. Unrestrained bureaucracy has led to a teach-to-the-test culture in schools. The obvious solution is to give teachers the autonomy they need to carry out their jobs as they see fit.

Spiked has been making this argument for some time now. This week, Jeremy Corbyn appeared to join the fight by announcing that a Labour government would scrap SATs and ‘let teachers teach’. In a speech to the annual conference of the National Education Union (NEU) in Liverpool, Corbyn said that ‘Teachers get into the profession because they want to inspire children, not pass them along an assembly line’.

Corbyn vowed to scrap the compulsory national tests for 10- and 11-year-olds. Labour would develop ‘a broad curriculum aimed at a rounded education’. Yet although Corbyn’s rhetoric sounds good, it is not all it seems. The leader of the opposition is no friend of teacher autonomy and there is nothing new or refreshing in his vision for education.

Corbyn is correct to identify a problem with SATs. Many primary schools go insane at this time of year. There is often a hothouse atmosphere of test preparation that almost completely eliminates normal schooling for year-six pupils. Children are subjected to a regime of coaching and mock testing. If you want to see teaching to the test at its worst, visit a primary school in May. In my experience, the worst primary schools are also those that make the most fuss about SATs. The war-footing atmosphere feels like a defensive posture, as if, deep down, the head and staff know that the tests risk exposing the fact the pupils haven’t learned very much by the time they leave the school.

Even in schools which don’t take this assembly-line approach, the spectre of SATs testing can still distort the curriculum, with SATs syllabuses dictating what school time is spent on. The reason for this preoccupation is that schools are judged according to their SATs data. Poor SATS scores lead to low rankings in national league tables and are used as a negative performance indicator by the Department for Education and Ofsted. The accountability implications are serious and can have a direct bearing on the fortunes of headteachers, teachers and the school as a whole. But given the amount of coaching all students receive, the data does not produce an accurate or reliable account of pupil attainment or teaching quality.

But none of this was what compelled Corbyn to call for SATs to be scrapped. Instead, he repeated the well-worn mantra that the tests stress out young children, give them nightmares and make them cry. The NEU has called for a boycott of SATs on this basis, too. But I have never met these supposedly traumatised children in any of the numerous primary schools I have visited. Mostly, kids are bored out of their minds rather than stressed out by the endless preparations.

For Corbyn, testing is also problematic because, in his view, education should be all about freeing pupils’ ‘imagination’ and ‘creativity’. Schools should focus on individual needs in order to develop rounded pupils who are ready for life in the world, he argues.

But there is nothing new in this approach to education. For two generations now, education orthodoxy has favoured meeting the needs of individuals and has sought to provide life-skills rather than transmit knowledge. And it has been a dismal failure. What’s more, attempts to reverse this trend are met with hostility from the likes of Labour and the NEU.

When Corbyn says he wants to ‘free up teachers to teach’, he really means that they should be free to teach in line with the status quo. This freedom to teach is unlikely to be extended to the likes of Michaela School, Great Yarmouth Charter Academy or Outwood Grange, which are regularly attacked by Labourites and the teaching unions for daring to do things differently.

What Corbyn gets wrong is that the problem with SATs is not the tests themselves. There is nothing wrong with standardised assessments of what a typical child knows at the end of primary education. The issue lies in how the people working in education treat the tests. The bean-counters in Whitehall seem to think that the numbers in their spreadsheets reflect the quality of education. They are all too ready to beat poor performers with a stick. They don’t seem to realise that nothing truly worth doing in teaching can be measured.

The solution, however, is not the one that Corbyn proposes. Telling young people that they are being victimised by testing will get them nowhere. Playing to the education-union gallery by romanticising the failed orthodoxies of the present, while pretending that they are radical and innovative, will only make things worse. There is plenty wrong with SATs, but Labour is not offering a fresh alternative.


Many University Campuses Are Playgrounds for Insanity
If you think the left hasn’t taken over university life in America, you are probably not paying close enough attention or in denial.

I’m not just talking about the liberalism of the professors and the core curriculum but about all of college life. There are glaring examples of leftist extremism everywhere you turn, and they’re so loony that even sane liberal parents should be concerned.

In September, a Michigan State University student awoke from his nap to an apparently unbearable sight, according to The College Fix. His roommate was watching a video of conservative commentator Ben Shapiro. I can guess what some of you must be thinking as you read this: “I sure am glad my kids were never exposed to such provocations, such obnoxious, inconsiderate and uncaring roommates.”

You are probably also thinking, “But if my kid had been the subject of such a triggering event, I hope he would have had the presence of mind to exercise self-help and extricate himself from the hostile environment.”

In this instance, the innocent victim didn’t react violently. He calmly booted up his own computer and filed a complaint against his roommate with the administration’s bias reporting system. Kind of makes you well up with vicarious pride, no?

“Ben Shapiro is known for his inflammatory speech that criticizes and attacks the African American community,” wrote the student in his complaint. “I thought hate had no place on MSU’s campus yet MSU has roomed me with someone who supports hate speach” (misspelling in the original quote).

As a parent you will also be gratified to learn that the university dutifully dispatched an investigator to dig into this urgent matter and to work for a “room change if the claimant would like one.”

A few observations. Ben Shapiro communicates directly and refuses to bow to the gods of political correctness, but his speech is not inflammatory unless you define that as any utterance that leftist students disagree with and therefore unreasonably consider to be incendiary. Nor does Shapiro attack the African American community, and the false allegation that he does is far more inflammatory than anything he says in his podcasts or speeches.

That a major university would even dignify a complaint so frivolous on its face is deeply disturbing. In a sane campus situated in a sane world, a sane administration would have informed the offended student that universities are institutions of higher learning that promote freedom of academic inquiry. It would have told the student that he, not his innocent roommate, is the one who has the problem. He would have to learn that differing political viewpoints are not grounds for psychiatric alarm or switching roommates.

If, on the other hand, the Shapiro-friendly roommate had persistently accosted the offended snowflake in a ceaseless effort to proselytize him, that might be a different story. But in this case we are talking about a roommate minding his own business and watching a video on his own computer. As long as leftists all around us continue to portray mainstream conservative speech as hate speech and inherently racist, sexist, homophobic and all of the rest — and that’s exactly what they do — then we’ll see such faux controversies continue to proliferate. Our leftist culture is indoctrinating kids from the crib to the academy that conservative ideas are so heinous that merely harboring them in the presence of a liberal is a microaggression that demands redress. If I’m exaggerating, then please explain the aforementioned incident — and hundreds of others like it.

I’m sure you realize that if my word limit for this column were 70,000 words, I could fill it with similar examples. Let me leave you with a few more from The College Fix, lest you think I’m blowing conservative smoke. For more, check out the website.

Wake Forest University is hosting a series of “listening sessions” for faculty and staff of color (no white people allowed) to promote “inclusivity” in response to a student protest over “white supremacy.” Don’t bother to look up the definition of “inclusivity.” Leftists have seized control of our dictionaries, too. LOL.

During a guest lecture at Boston University, a University of Washington professor who specializes in “whiteness studies” reportedly railed against colorblindness, saying that white people who see people as individuals rather than as members of their race are “dangerous.” I hope I don’t need to remind you that this is wholly out of phase with the teachings of the universally revered Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — not to mention just outright bizarre.

I shouldn’t have to issue a disclaimer, but as a matter of self-protection I will: Nothing I’m saying here is to diminish actual displays of racism when they occur. They can and should be addressed. But it should be obvious that the political left has bastardized our language by redefining terms to demonize political opponents and suppress their speech.

Incalculable damage is being done by characterizing differing opinions as “hate” and “racist” when they are nothing of the sort. Leftists are causing immeasurable suspicion, distrust and divisiveness in teaching that conservatives and/or Trump supporters are bigoted. Such slanders are exacerbating the very conditions they purport to address, and people need to speak out against this destructive trend in our culture and on our campuses.


Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Rapper arrested for sending son to school in Lyft ride

Sending your kid to school in a taxi would once have been regarded as a safe option.  Being arrested for it seems excessive

A New Orleans rapper known for a raunchy, sexually charged viral hit was arrested after sending her 5-year-old son to school alone in a ride-sharing service, authorities said.

Reiona Oliver, 27, was arrested Tuesday on child desertion charges in Louisiana after putting her son in a car that picked him up in Chalmette. She then told the driver to take the boy to school in New Orleans, roughly 8 miles away, according to the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Oliver, who is better known as “GameOva Reedy,” told the driver she wouldn’t be accompanying her son on the ride and then went back inside the Chalmette residence and did not return, the driver told deputies.

But instead of dropping the boy off at school, the driver took the 5-year-old to a sheriff’s substation in Arabi, telling deputies that he just told a woman who had summoned a ride that he could not transport a minor not accompanied by an adult.

Oliver was later taken into custody at the St. Bernard Parish Prison. She was also wanted on two outstanding traffic warrants in Jefferson Parish, deputies said.

WWL reports that a since-deleted video on Oliver’s Instagram account — which has 247,000 followers — appeared to show her explaining that she put her child in a Lyft vehicle because she wasn’t feeling well and thought it wouldn’t be an issue, saying she was told it was OK.


98,000 illegal immigrants graduating from US high schools

Nearly 100,000 illegal immigrants graduate from U.S. high schools annually, thousands more than long assumed, according to a new analysis.

The Migration Policy Institute, in a new report, estimated that at least 98,000 illegal immigrant students graduate every year, up from the earlier estimate of 65,000.

“Forty-four percent of these graduates reside in just two states: California and Texas, which account for about 27,000 and 17,000 of the 98,000 graduating every year,” said the analysis.

The report dubbed the students “Dreamers,” attributing the numbers in part to former President Obama’s decision to protect younger illegal immigrants from deportation and provide potential amnesty.

The study also estimated that there are 680,000 young aliens in the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program in the U.S.

The report expressed concern that President Trump’s effort to close out the DACA program leaves the nearly 100,000 illegal immigrants that graduate every year in limbo.

“While high school graduation represents an important milestone in the lives of many young people, these graduates will face severely limited opportunities to pursue further work and education, and will be at risk of deportation,” said Jeanne Batalova, a senior policy analyst at the institute.


Australian teachers claim constant bullying and harassment from parents is forcing them to abandon their profession in droves

Parents objecting to Leftist bias and indoctrination, most likely.  Leftists can dish out the aggression but they can't take it

The number of teachers quitting their jobs is rapidly rising across Australia amid claims angry parents are to blame. 

Teachers say they are being met with bullying, harassment and violence from parents more than ever, and even face the prospect of losing their role if they speak up.

But parents claim they're just being vocal about their concerns. 

A study from Melbourne's La Trobe University found 80 per cent of teachers were subject to student or parent-led bullying in the past year.

A separate report conducted by the Australian Catholic University found that 45 per cent of school principals across the country were threatened with violence in 2018.

In an emotional interview with Channel Nine's 60 Minutes, former teacher George Allertz says that although he was passionate about his job, the constant physical, verbal and electronic abuse he copped pushed him out of the profession.

'You're going home after being abused from a parent because they didn't agree with something that you taught or the way that you taught it,' Mr Allertz says. 'You basically become deflated… I can't do that anymore.'

Mr Allertz says he has witnessed school events during which parents become violent.

The former teacher says parents have opted to fight not only teachers but other parents on school grounds.

He also said he's seen parents use horrific language and come to physical blows before having to be escorted off the grounds.

However, parents have insisted they're just speaking up about their concerns over their children's treatment or the education system.

Kevin Saunders was disciplined for criticising the way his son was being taught at school, causing the angered father to pull him out altogether. Mr Saunders was bewildered that he was disciplined and questioned why he didn't have the right to speak up for his son. 'I spoke the truth and suddenly I'm getting escorted out of there,' he said.


Monday, April 29, 2019

College: An Overpriced Scam

Mike Rowe argues Americans are "obsessed with credentialing," and it's costing kids big time.  

“You don’t have to be rich or famous to believe that your kid is doomed to fail if they don’t get a four-year degree. There are millions of parents in the country right now … who genuinely feel that if they don’t do everything they can to get their kid into a good school, they will fail the kid.” —Mike Rowe

Rowe appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show to address the college-admissions scandal. Yet far better, he explained that college has become the most over-priced scam in the nation, saddling thousands of young Americans with decades of student-loan repayments. Repayments that have forced them to postpone activities like buying a house, getting married, or having children.

Postponements that are now impacting the entire U.S. economy.

“Where’s the outrage for the pressure that we’ve put on a 17-year-old to borrow $100,000?” Rowe asks. “So much of that pressure comes from their mom and dad. It’s well-intended, but it’s kinda tragic.”

Rowe further notes that parental pressure is amplified by high-school guidance counselors, politicians, lobbyists, and employers.

The results? Rowe says, “We promoted the one thing at the expense of all of the others and the one thing just happened to be the most expensive thing.”

Expensive is an understatement. As measured by the Consumer Price Index, the cost of college since 1985 has increased at nearly quadruple the rate of inflation. In a single decade from 2007 to 2017, college tuition skyrocketed 63%, school housing 51%, and textbooks 88%.

As a result, total student-loan debt — now more than $1.5 trillion and counting — is the second-highest segment of consumer debt, trailing only mortgage obligations. Moreover, default rates are now more than 10%, making them the highest segment of household debt in the nation.

In the meantime, Americans trapped by this increasingly onerous dynamic never get around to asking an essential question: Why do most employers require a college degree, even when one is not necessary to perform job-related actives?

One of the main reasons has to do with a 1971 Supreme Court decision in Griggs v. Duke Power Co.. Prior to the ruling, Duke Power restricted workers without a high-school diploma to menial jobs, unless they could pass an aptitude test. Griggs and other black American employees filed suit, claiming that the company’s requirements were discriminatory under the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

SCOTUS unanimously agreed, ruling that employers could only require educational credentials that were reasonably job-related. Furthermore, any company’s educational or testing qualifications that engendered “disparate impact” were in violation of the law.

The implication? In a 2008 paper, “Griggs v. Duke Power: Implications for College Credentialing,” authors Bryan O'Keefe and Richard Vedder explained that many employers, knowing that aptitude testing and high-school diplomas had become legally hazardous, began using college degrees to screen out applicants they didn’t want to hire. “Griggs turned the college degree into a ‘credential,’” the authors explained. “The content of the education did not change, but the degree — the sheepskin — became a necessary first step for a decent job.”

Is it? As columnist (and Yale graduate) Kyle Smith asserts, “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.”

More troubling, colleges are also the places where “a single orthodoxy about the origins of man, about American history, and about how America should be governed” is now imparted to the nation’s Ruling Class, as Boston University professor emeritus Angelo Codevilla explains.

Yet the most salient aspect of this ongoing scam is revealed by columnist Mark Hemingway. “Credentialism creates the illusion of knowledge and capability where none exists,” he explains.

Rowe heartily agrees. “Seven million jobs are available now; most of them don’t require a four-year degree,” he states. “They require training. And yet we’re obsessed, not really with education, you know. What we are obsessed with is credentialing. And so people are buying diplomas. And they’re buying their degrees. It’s a diploma dilemma, honestly. It’s expensive. It is getting worse. It’s not just the kids holding the note. It is us.”

“Us” is the American taxpayer who bears the ultimate burden for any and all student-loan defaults. Thus, colleges themselves, which bear no burden whatsoever, can raise costs with impunity.

Enter Democrat presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, who promises to “fix” the problem — from exactly the wrong end of the equation. Rather than take on the entire government-backed, taxpayer-underwritten student-loan program that fuels the cost spiral, she proposes what amounts to rank vote-buying: Warren pledges to cancel almost all student-loan debt for 42 million students, which would cost taxpayers a staggering one time payment of $642 billion.

Following that shakedown, she proposes “universal free college,” paid for by her “Ultra-Millionaire Tax — a 2% annual tax on the 75,000 families with $50 million or more in wealth.”

That Warren is comfortable promoting the idea of borrowing money and not honoring one’s commitment to pay it back is bad enough. Yet the utter failure to control costs — and the nerve to use to the word “free” as it relates to those costs — is astounding. Americans might ask themselves how a Harvard professor can be as morally bankrupt and economically ignorant as Warren appears to be.

In 2016, University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds addressed the credentialing dilemma, stating, “If you want equality, the best thing to do is to ban employers from asking students where they went to school and, perhaps, even if they went to college at all.”

The quality dilemma? Require colleges to publish data on student graduation rates, the level of debt they’ve accumulated, and what they earn after graduating, so potential enrollees know exactly what they’re getting before they go into debt.

The pricing dilemma? Make colleges partially liable for all student-loan defaults, incentivizing them to offer students the marketable skills that would prevent such defaults. Despite what people like Warren believe, “skin in the game” is the best cost controller there is.

Most important, a national conversation must be engendered to disabuse Americans of the long-orchestrated fear that the only choices they have are college or eternal mediocrity. Eternal indebtedness is closer to the truth — which might even be tolerable if it were a genuine education one was receiving in return.

Far too often, it’s not. “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.” Why? Because “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.”

And what has that “commitment to fit in” precipitated? An arrogant, “credentialed” Ruling Class that has given America a $22 trillion national debt, manufactured tribalism, un-winnable wars, and defenseless borders, all while holding “deplorable” Americans in utter contempt.

If college is the “answer,” Americans are asking the wrong questions.


After 20 Years of Reform, Are America’s Schools Better Off?

On the surface, statistics show significant improvement. But if you dig a bit deeper, the status quo begins to look a lot less desirable.

Twenty years ago this spring, George W. Bush announced that he was forming an exploratory committee as a precursor to his first run for the presidency. In the announcement, he pledged to improve America’s schools, “set high standards, and insist on results” so as to “make sure that not one single child gets left behind.” An era of ambitious education reform had begun.

Two decades later, after sweeping efforts that included No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and the Common Core, are our schools better off? The answer is less reassuring than one would hope. On the whole, it’s certainly possible to find some evidence of improvement — but progress is easiest to find in the metrics most amenable to manipulation.

State tests in reading and math do appear to demonstrate that schools have significantly improved over the last 20 years. Between 2005 and 2009, as No Child Left Behind took full effect, the share of students who proved to be proficient in state tests rose by 1 to 2 percent per year. Over the next six years, state assessments were too varied to allow for meaningful comparison. But the same trend — with the share of proficient students increasing by 1 to 2 percent each year — did reemerge after 2015, when standardized Common Core tests became widely used. And high-school-graduation rates also skyrocketed, from 71 percent in 1997 to 85 percent in 2017.

Good news, right? Not exactly. The politicos and state education officials claiming credit for these gains are the same ones who choose state tests, define what qualifies as “proficient,” and monitor graduation rates to guard against funny business. The results are tied into state accountability systems, where lousy results can produce practical and political headaches. Thus, policymakers have both the means and the incentive to inflate the numbers any way they can.

Fortunately, the U.S. also regularly administers the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to a random, nationally representative set of schools. Because the NAEP isn’t linked to state accountability systems, it’s a good way to check the seemingly positive results of state tests. From 2000 to 2017 (the most recent year for which data is available), NAEP scores showed that fourth-grade math results increased 14 points, which reflects a bit more than one year of extra learning. Eighth-grade math results also demonstrated significant improvement, increasing ten points in the same period. Fourth- and eighth-grade reading scores, meanwhile, barely budged. And almost all of the math gains were made in the decade from 2000 to 2010; performance has pretty much flatlined since then.

Put another way, the NAEP results raise hard questions about those cheery state-test results and graduation rates. George Washington University’s Center on Education Policy, for instance, analyzed the annual increase in the percentage of students whose NAEP results demonstrated proficiency and the percentage of students whose state tests demonstrated proficiency from 2005 to 2009. It found that, depending on the subject and grade, average gains on state assessments outpaced NAEP gains by 50 to over 100 percent. In other words, state-reported gains vastly exceeded the gains on NAEP. Similarly, high-school-graduation scandals and analysis of “credit recovery” programs have raised serious concerns about the validity of the dramatic graduation-rate gains.

Given the disparity between state tests and independent national results, it’s useful to see what the results look like on international tests. The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is the only major international assessment of both reading and math performance. While PISA has its share of limitations, it offers a wholly independent view of American education and accountability systems.

From the time PISA was first administered in 2000 to the most recent results from 2015, U.S. scores have actually declined, while America’s international ranking has remained largely static. Average American reading scores have declined from 504 to 497, and average American math scores have declined from 483 to 470. Compared to other nations in the same time span, the U.S.’s world ranking dropped from 15th to 23rd in reading, and from 19th to 39th in math. (The number of nations participating has increased significantly over that time, from 43 to 72, so it’s fair to say that relative American performance has remained about the same.)

The PISA results should concern anyone eager to insist that 20 years of accountability-based school reform has obviously “worked,” even when we limit the discussion to K–8 math instruction.

Evaluating the success of any reform effort starts with a careful accounting. And a fair assessment of the two decades since President Bush’s bold challenge would admit that there has been a lot of action, but not much in the way of demonstrated improvement. Just why this is the case remains an open question. But going forward, education-reform proposals must start by acknowledging that the status quo appears deeply flawed the minute one looks below the surface of the numbers.


Elizabeth Warren’s Debt ‘Cancellation’ Plan Would Make College More Expensive, Not Less

Elizabeth Warren wants free college for every American. But what the Massachusetts senator doesn’t seem to realize is just how much more costly college would get if her “free” proposal passed.

Shortly after Valentine’s Day in 1987, Education Secretary William J. Bennett wrote a now-famous op-ed in The New York Times titled “Our Greedy Colleges.” In it, he suggested that “increases in financial aid in recent years have enabled colleges and universities blithely to raise their tuitions, confident that federal loan subsidies would help cushion the increase.”

This observation became known as the “Bennett Hypothesis.” As the years go by, it seems more apt to call it the Bennett truism.

In the last 20 years, the federal government’s total spending on student loans has skyrocketed, from $24.8 billion in the 1995-96 school year to $93 billion in 2017-18.

At the same time, the price of college tuition has soared. Between 1998 and the present, tuition at four-year institutions has roughly doubled, and at private four-year colleges tuition has gone up 58%.

The price increase is even more dramatic looking at the last 40 years. Since 1980, the cost of attending a four-year public university has increased 287%—an uptick rate surpassed only by increases in the cost of medical care.

Enter Warren.

On Monday, she published a proposal that includes the following:

Students with household incomes below $100,000 would have the first $50,000 of their student loan debt canceled.

For every additional $3 of income over $100,000, the amount of loan forgiveness offered would be cut by $1.

Borrowers from families earning more than $250,000 annually would receive zero debt cancellation.

On the whole, as Robert VerBruggen has pointed out, her proposal would cancel all loans for about 75% of borrowers and provide partial cancellation for 95% of borrowers.

This debt cancellation portion of the plan would cost taxpayers $640 billion, as Warren pointed out herself.

And that’s just the retroactive part of the proposal.

The plan would also provide “universal free college,” allowing students to attend a two- or four-year college “without paying a dime in tuition or fees,” as she says. The total tab? $1.25 trillion over just the next decade.

Warren suggests her “free” college and debt cancellation plan would be financed (again) by an “ultra-millionaire tax,” singling out the 75,000 families in America she estimates to have more than $50 million in assets.

This is a group she has already identified to finance her “free” childcare plan. Things are getting expensive in a hurry.

Her latest proposal is problematic for a host of reasons, not least of which is the exorbitant cost to taxpayers. But it would also fail to achieve the goal of greater equality in access to education. A similar proposal for “free” college was already tried in England, and it ended up benefiting the wealthy rather than the needy.

But beyond these failures, Warren’s proposal would likely expedite the rise in college tuition. It comes down to simple math: When colleges know the federal government is financing “free” tuition in perpetuity, they’ll have all the more reason to raise tuition and fees, which taxpayers will then absorb.

In fact, a growing body of literature has already shown that federal subsidies have this tendency to push tuition prices higher.

In one study, researchers Grey Gordon and Aaron Hedlund found that raising subsidized loan limits led to a 102% increase in tuition from 1987 to 2010. Absent that additional federal money, the authors estimate tuition would have only gone up by 16% on net.

Another study by David O. Lucca, Taylor Nadauld, and Karen Shen of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found additional evidence of the Bennett Hypothesis at play. The authors found that credit expansion (increasing subsidized federal student loans) leads to a tuition increase of 60 cents for every additional dollar of subsidized federal loans. Their conclusion bluntly states:

"… a credit expansion will raise tuition paid by all students and not only by those at the federal loan caps because of pecuniary demand externalities. Such pricing externalities are often conjectured in the context of the effects of expanded subprime borrowing on housing prices leading up to the financial crisis, and our study can be seen as complementary evidence in the student loan market."

As Carlo Salerno of CampusLogic points out, students choose to take on college loan debt, and are not assigned that debt. So loan forgiveness “unfairly rewards the person who borrows to get a Ferrari over the one who got a Kia.”

That inequity is underscored by the numbers. As Salerno calculated, a wealthy student who borrowed $100,000 a few years ago and has been delinquent on repayment would get more forgiveness than the low-income student who responsibly worked to pay down $40,000 in debt over the past 20 years and only has $10,000 remaining, which would be forgiven.

Some would clearly benefit from this scheme, but it would penalize students who choose to work while in college to minimize their debt, those who pursue an apprenticeship over an expensive degree, and those who take out debt, but live modestly post-graduation in order to fully pay back what they owe.

Moreover, as the Urban Institute found (in an analysis unrelated to the Warren plan), “the top 25% of American households by income hold nearly half of all student debt—and the bottom 25% holds just a tenth of it. Canceling all student loans would deliver $5 to rich Americans for every $1 given to poorer families.”

Proposals to make college “free” or to forgive vast amounts of student loan debt reward one entity more than any other: the universities.

Subsidizing the already-dysfunctional student loan system is not the solution. If we want to get serious about addressing the student loan issue, we must pursue structural changes to accreditation, along with innovation in financing through options like income share agreements. Making sure colleges have some “skin in the game” also holds promise.

But above all, Washington should get out of the student loan business. The federal government currently originates and services 90% of all student aid, leaving taxpayers greatly exposed when defaults occur or when loan forgiveness becomes more generous.

Getting the feds out of the student loan business would go a long way toward finally addressing the root causes of soaring tuition.


Sunday, April 28, 2019

UK: Fee‑paying schools ‘save billions for the taxpayer’

Independent heads hit back against VAT threat

Private schools are saving taxpayers billions of pounds a year, their head teachers have said in a forceful defence of the sector.

The heads used their annual report yesterday to assert the financial benefits of fee-charging schools and the good they are doing for society.

The schools bring economic benefits and taxpayer savings totalling more than £20 billion a year by educating pupils who would otherwise need state places and by providing employment, community facilities and tax contributions, an analysis for the Independent Schools Council (ISC) has found.

Private schools have come under pressure from both main parties, with questions raised over their social contribution and whether they should continue to enjoy charitable status.

Labour has vowed to add VAT to private school fees


New Jersey Parents to Rally Against LGBT Education Law

A rally this weekend will give New Jersey parents an opportunity to oppose a new state law requiring public schools to teach children about the “political, economic, and social contributions” of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.

The new law also requires schools to stress such contributions made by disabled persons, but it’s the LGBT education component that prompted organizers to plan the rally.

“When you teach about George Washington, you don’t teach that George Washington had sex with his wife and what he did; we teach what George Washington did as a president,” Victoria Jakelsky, a political consultant and parental rights activist in New Jersey, told The Daily Signal in an interview Wednesday.

“But they are twisting it around to say that anyone who is LGBT, they’re going to explain what they did, who their relationships were [with], and incorporate it as gay and lesbian and bisexual people are the history-makers,” Jakelsky, a paralegal by training, said.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, signed the legislation into law Jan. 31, and it is set to go into effect for the 2020-2021 school year.

Jakelsky is among those organizing the rally Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of the New Jersey State House in Trenton to help educate and mobilize parents to oppose the state law.

“We have no hope of fighting this through the legislative [process] so the only option is to rise up or to have a lawsuit,” she said.

The Facebook page with information about the rally says the event will include over 15 speakers, including R.J. Snell, director of the Center on the University and Intellectual Life at the Witherspoon Institute and a lecturer at Princeton University.

“This rally has been organized to notify parents about the new law that Murphy signed in January to mandate that LGBTQ ‘history’ is placed into ALL public middle school and high school curriculum starting in the 2020-2021 school year,” another Facebook post reads.

It says the rally is for those who want to speak the truth, defend parental rights, preserve religious liberty, and assist parents of children in public schools to collaborate with school boards to “protect their children and perhaps fight for Christian world views to also be taught.”

In 2013, state legislators in Colorado passed legislation on sex education that required students to undergo “culturally sensitive” sessions. This meant “sex ed lessons would incorporate minority perspectives on sex that had not previously been represented in sex ed—including LGBT individuals, but also other groups,” Stephanie Curry, policy manager for Family Policy Alliance, wrote in a recent commentary in The Daily Signal.

A new bill in Colorado’s Legislature would “prohibit religious, moral, and ethical perspectives on sex from being discussed in the classroom” and ban speech that promotes abstinence, Curry wrote.

Family Policy Alliance’s vice president for strategy, Autumn Leva, wrote in another commentary for The Daily Signal that the Equality Act, a priority bill for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is being used to “manipulate schoolchildren to carry water for the LGBT political agenda—whether their parents like it or not.”

The Equality Act would add sexual orientation and gender identity to characteristics—race, color, religion, sex, and national origin—already protected from discrimination under the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Emilie Kao, director of the the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email that the Equality Act would harm any victories that parents have gained at keeping LGBT policy and curriculum at bay.

“The Equality Act could override the efforts of parents across the country, like those in New Jersey, to preserve their freedom to teach their own children about sexuality, marriage, and biology at a time and manner of their choosing,” Kao said, adding:

The act would codify in federal law certain viewpoints about sexual orientation and gender fluidity while censoring and punishing nonconforming viewpoints. All people should be treated with dignity and respect, but federal legislation should not determine that all students learn about homosexuality and transgender theory in their school curriculums.

Jakelsky said her goal is to bring attention to the issue so that parents will be able to opt out of New Jersey’s LGBT education programing.

“What we think is going to happen is that we’re going to find a way to work with the school board to be able to give the parents an opportunity to opt out, or at least be notified when this [LGBT material] is being part of the lesson plan,” Jakelsky said.

She said organizers of the rally want to protect children and give parents a say in their children’s education.

“All of us feel very passionate that this is a mission we are called to do, and we are just determined to stop this from being implemented, or provide parents a way to protect their children,” Jakelsky said.


Justice Kavanaugh and GMU Snowflakes

Walter E. Williams:

George Mason University's Antonin Scalia Law School hired Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh to co-teach a course this summer called Creation of the Constitution. The course will be held 3,668 miles away, in Runnymede, England, where the Magna Carta was sealed 800 years ago.

Some George Mason University students and faculty have become triggered. One student told George Mason's Board of Visitors, "It has affected my mental health knowing that an abuser will be part of our faculty." Another said, "The hiring of Kavanaugh threatens the mental well-being of all survivors on this campus." The Washington Post reports that a petition to fire Kavanaugh has gathered almost 3,500 signatures and has the endorsement of George Mason Democrats. GMU students have created separate forms for parents and alumni to pledge that they will not donate to the university so long as Kavanaugh is teaching.

Part of student demonstrations included defacing a statue of the university's namesake George Mason by putting blue tape on his mouth and attaching anti-Kavanaugh signs. The university's spokesman Michael Sandler gave The College Fix a mealy-mouthed excuse saying, "We allow students to dress up the statue, so this doesn't violate any policies that I'm aware of." He said the university "strongly supports freedom of expression and this would seem to fall into that category." His vision suggests that freedom of expression includes defacing university property.

Youngsters with little understanding might be forgiven for their protest of a U.S. Supreme Court associate justice sharing his wisdom with law students. But faculty members cannot be excused. Professor Bethany Letiecq, the head of the George Mason chapter of the American Association of University Professors, endorsed a call by UnKoch My Campus, another leftist group, for a congressional investigation of GMU's law school's hiring of Justice Kavanaugh as an adjunct faculty member. Fortunately for civility, Dr. Angel Cabrera, the university's president, said that there were no legitimate grounds for an investigation by the university.

He threw a bit of pablum to the protesters by saying: "I respect the views of people who disagreed with Justice Kavanaugh's Senate confirmation due to questions raised about his sexual conduct in high school. But he was confirmed and is now a sitting Justice."

Considering that a college president is also a politician, that statement demonstrates good judgment. According to The College Fix, after listening to the student protestors speak during the board meeting, Cabrera and Board of Visitors rector Tom Davis said they were proud of the students and appreciated that they spoke up and acted as engaged citizens. That's nonsense.

I receive many questions from people around the nation who are surprised by the happenings at GMU. As I have advised on numerous occasions, George Mason University erroneously earns a reputation as a conservative/libertarian university because of its most distinguished and internationally known liberty-oriented economics department, which can boast of two homegrown Nobel laureates in economics.

Its Antonin Scalia Law School has a distinguished faculty that believes in personal liberty and reveres the U.S. Constitution — unlike many other law schools that hold liberty and our Constitution in contempt.

The rest of the university is just like most other universities - liberal, Democratic Party-dominated. The chief difference between my GMU colleagues and liberals at some other universities is that they are polite, respectful and congenial, unlike what one might find at places like U.C. Berkeley or University of Massachusetts.

GMU students and faculty may also be disturbed about what Justice Kavanaugh is going to teach. In the course, Creation of the Constitution, he will explain how much the Magna Carta influenced the founders of our nation. The 1215 Magna Carta limited the power of central government and it forced a reigning monarch to grant his English subjects rights. It contained a list of 63 clauses drawn up to limit King John's power, resulting in making royal authority subject to the law instead of reigning above it. It laid the foundations for limited constitutional governments, an idea offensive to most leftists.