Friday, September 06, 2019

Kansas University faculty wants Chick-fil-A banned from campus for fears of 'safety,' 'mental well being'

Despite being closed on Sunday, Chick-fil-A is still the third largest fast food chain in the country. But there's growing liberal backlash against its conservative Christian values, and its philanthropic support. Shouldn't a business be able to donate to the cause of their choice? Christopher Hale and Shane Idleman are here to debate this growing religious freedom conflict.

A few Kansas University faculty members are not fans of allowing Chick-fil-A to be served on campus because they believe the chain violates "safety and inclusion".

The faculty council, filled with "extreme frustration," wants America's favorite restaurant removed from campus for being a "bastion of bigotry" after KU administrators relocated a Chick-fil-A from a basement to "prime real estate" on campus to the Memorial Union. But worse yet, to the council, is the "Chick-fil-A Coin Toss" at the start of the Jayhawks' football home games.

“The culture of Chick-fil-A fosters hate and discrimination on multiple levels,” the Sexuality & Gender Diversity Faculty and Staff Council wrote in a two-page letter, accusing university leaders of being "more concerned about money and corporate sponsorship than the physical, emotional, and mental well being of marginalized and LGBTQ people."

Chick-fil-A CEO opens up about company's Christian valuesVideo
While the fast-food chain is celebrated for its exceptional customer service, it has come under fire several times after its president and CEO, Dan Cathy, publicly supported traditional marriage in 2012 and opponents have accused Chick-fil-A of being anti-LGBTQ for its charitable giving to the Family Research Council and Salvation Army, to name a few.

The faculty group added: “The arrival of Chick-fil-A in this building is insulting, counterproductive and unacceptable."

In response, the College Republicans on campus started a petition for students, alumni, and concerned citizens to send to Chancellor Doug Girod. "Tell our university administration that our community wants Chick-fil-A on this campus," the conservative group wrote.

Katie Batza, an associate professor of women and gender studies, told the Kansas City Star that hundreds "will boycott or protest" but lamented that the request was "falling on deaf ears."

Interim Provost Carl Lejuez sent an email to faculty and staff, however.

“Moving forward, I believe it is important to have thoughtful discussion and deliberation when we enter into contracts. In the future, we will do so in a manner that is transparent and informed by our commitment to affirm diversity and to be a welcoming and inclusive campus,” the email said, according to the University Daily Kansas.


Author of Hoax Gender Studies Papers Punished by Portland State University

In 2017 and 2018, Portland State University philosophy professor Peter Boghossian set out to display the intellectual vacuity of women’s and gender studies as an academic endeavor. He, along with a few others, authored hoax research papers and submitted them to prominent academic publications.

It is impossible to overstate how nonsensical these papers are. From claiming that “manspreading… is akin to [a male] raping the empty space around him,” to a literal feminist rewrite of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, to a paper asserting that “dog parks are petri dishes for canine rape culture,” each paper submitted by Boghossian and his colleagues was, to any sane individual, open mockery of gender studies.

Yet, the lunacy fit right in with PhD’s and the world’s best “gender studies experts.” Hoax paper after hoax paper was accepted and published in prominent peer-reviewed academic journals.

After publicly revealing that the papers were hoaxes, bureaucrats and gender studies pseudo professors organized against Boghossian. He was accused of numerous counts of “research misconduct” by PSU and investigated. Among the charges were accusations of “violations regarding the ethical treatment of animals in research” based on the idea that Boghossian had abused the imaginary dogs in the hoax research paper about dog park rape culture.

In July, Mark McLellan, Portland State’s vice president for research and graduate studies, sent the results of the investigators’ findings to Boghossian, informing him that the charge of animal abuse, along with bogus charges of plagiarism had been dropped, but that he was being formally disciplined for “violations of human subjects’ rights and protections.” According to McLellan and the investigators, submitting a hoax paper is a violation of the rights of the recipients of the submission.

Boghossian’s punishment is that he is now “forbidden to engage in any human subjects related research” and “forbidden to engage in any sponsored research,” until he undergoes “protection of human subjects training.” The most overtly Maoist, Orwellian portion of the letter is the conclusion:

“I believe the results of this office’s review of your research behavior raises concerns regarding a lack of academic integrity, questionable ethical behavior and employee breach of rules. Therefore, a copy of this letter and its attachments are being sent to your supervisory ranks of department chair, dean, and provost. Additionally, as a part of the completion of this review, I am copying the president on this matter.”

According to Peter Wood and David Randall of the National Association of Scholars who wrote about the ordeal in The Federalist on Friday, Boghossian is still mulling over whether he will submit to the “training” of his political adversaries or possibly pursue legal action against the school.

Given that the charges against Boghossian lack any sense of a correspondence to reality and serious academic investigation, we can only gather that Portland State is fine with the public knowing that their harassment and punishment of Boghossian is pure political persecution for the purpose of intimidating any who would try to expose the field of women’s and gender studies again. That’s all the more reason to be thankful for Boghossian and his team exposing the pseudo-academics and higher education bureaucrats for what they are.


California Wants to Teach Your Kids that Capitalism Is Racist
California’s Education Department has issued an “Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum” and is soliciting public comments on it until Aug. 15. The legislatively mandated guide is a resource for teachers who want to instruct their students in the field of “ethnic studies,” and was written by an advisory board of teachers, academics and bureaucrats. It’s as bad as you imagine.

Ethnic studies is described in the document as “the interdisciplinary study of race, ethnicity, and indigeneity with an emphasis on experiences of people of color in the United States.” But that’s not all it is. “It is the study of intersectional and ancestral roots, coloniality, hegemony, and a dignified world where many worlds fit, for present and future generations.” It is the “xdisciplinary [sic], loving, and critical praxis of holistic humanity.”

The document is filled with fashionable academic jargon like “positionalities,” “hybridities,” “nepantlas” and “misogynoir.” It includes faddish social-science lingo like “cis-heteropatriarchy” that may make sense to radical university professors and activists but doesn’t mean much to the regular folks who send their children to California’s public schools. It is difficult to comprehend the depth and breadth of the ideological bias and misrepresentations without reading the whole curriculum—something few will want to do.

Begin with economics. Capitalism is described as a “form of power and oppression,” alongside “patriarchy,” “racism,” “white supremacy” and “ableism.” Capitalism and capitalists appear as villains several times in the document.

On politics, the model curriculum is similarly left-wing. One proposed course promises to explore the African-American experience “from the precolonial ancestral roots in Africa to the trans-Atlantic slave trade and enslaved people’s uprisings in the antebellum South, to the elements of Hip Hop and African cultural retentions.”

Teachers are encouraged to cite the biographies of “potentially significant figures” such as Angela Davis, Frantz Fanon and Bobby Seale. Convicted cop-killers Mumia Abu-Jamal and Assata Shakur are also on the list. Students are taught that the life of George Jackson matters “now more than ever.” Jackson, while in prison, became “a revolutionary warrior for Black liberation and prison reform.” The Latino section’s people of significance include Puerto Rican nationalists Oscar López Rivera, a member of a paramilitary group that carried out more than 130 bomb attacks, and Lolita Lebrón, who was convicted of attempted murder in a group assault that wounded five congressmen.

Housing policy gets the treatment. The curriculum describes subprime loans as an attack on home buyers with low incomes rather than a misguided attempt by the government to help such home buyers. Politicians—Republicans and Democrats—imposed lower underwriting standards on the home-loan industry. Republicans billed it as a way to expand the middle class, while Democrats crowed that it would aid the poor.

In a sample lesson on Native Americans, the curriculum suggests students offer their responses to a fictional environmentalist speech by Chief Seattle as well as an anodyne quote about relationships from the recently deceased rapper Nipsey Hussle. The Chief Seattle error is part of a larger problem. The curriculum perpetuates the myth that the Indians had the same values as present-day ecologists. In truth, Native Americans had a mixed approach to nature. The curriculum writers should have looked carefully at the scholarly evidence presented in Shepard Krech ’s 1999 book, “The Ecological Indian”—about, for example, the setting of brush fires that got out of control and the needless killing of buffalo, beaver and deer.

The curriculum lauds bilingual education, but it omits that this program—in which teachers conducted class mostly in Spanish until seventh grade—failed in California and was disliked by much of the Latino community.

The curriculum is entirely wrongheaded when it comes to critical thinking. Critical thinking is described not as reasoning through logic and consideration of evidence but rather a vague deconstruction of power relationships so that one can “speak out on social issues.” Thinking critically “requires individuals to evaluate phenomenon [sic] through the lens of systems, the rules within those systems, who wields power within systems and the impact of that power on the relationships between people existing within systems.”

Such a curriculum presents a serious problem of fairness to students. In a course titled “Math and Social Justice,” will you be graded on having correct answers on the math or politically correct answers on social justice?

This curriculum explicitly aims at encouraging students to become “agents of change, social justice organizers and advocates.” In the sample unit teachers are directed to have students plan “a direct action (e.g., a sit-in, die-in, march, boycott, strike).” Teaching objective history clearly isn’t the goal. Rather, it’s training students to become ideological activists and proponents of identity politics.


Thursday, September 05, 2019

“Free” College Systems: 3 Downsides to Consider
America agrees: we need change in higher education. But how do we provide high-quality, low-cost learning to students who want and deserve it? Democratic presidential candidates suggest government-sponsored free college. Bernie Sanders, famed Vermont Senator and high polling presidential candidate, offered the higher education programs in Finland, Denmark, and Norway as promising examples.

But while cost may not be a barrier to student success in these free-college systems, other factors are:

1. Not Everyone Can Go to College

At first glance, Finnish students have enviable higher education opportunities. The Finnish government covers more higher education costs than any other member of the 36-country Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), according to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and international students rank Finland a top place to study for its high-quality academics, culture, and vibrant student life.

However, few students experience these benefits.

According to the OECD, Finland has one of the most selective higher education systems in the world, with 67 percent of applicants rejected each year—more than double the average OECD rejection rate of 30 percent.

“One reason for the low attainment rate is that Finnish universities have finite resources and considerable autonomy to set admissions standards,” AEI researchers wrote. “Largely lacking the ability to raise revenue from tuition, it makes little financial sense for institutions to admit large numbers of students, and therefore, they are highly selective regarding which students they let in.”

If America embraces free college programs like Finland’s, then like Finland, we must also face the possibility of trading an expensive higher education system available for all, for a tuition-free higher education system available to only a few.

2. Disadvantaged Students Left Out

While politicians like Elizabeth Warren suggest that free college will put disadvantaged students on a path to success, Nordic higher education models suggest it’s not that easy. In Norway for example, students need only apply and be accepted to a higher education program and the government will cover the cost of tuition. But the data suggests that students from less-educated families aren’t making the transition.

According to the OECD, only 25 percent of 25-to-64-year-olds whose parents have not graduated from high school, have received degrees. For 18-24-year-olds whose parents have not completed college, only 39 percent earn degrees, even though they make up 53 percent of their age group overall.

These numbers don’t necessarily mean that young Norwegians from less-educated families are worse off than their peers.

“A bachelor’s degree in the U.S. has been seen as one serious option for getting into the middle class, whereas in Norway everything is a ticket into the middle class, because everyone is in the middle class,” Curt Rice, President of Oslo and Akershus University College, told The Hechinger Report. “It’s now less clear that it really is a ticket into the middle class in the U.S.”

But if America’s goal in adopting a free-college system is to educate those from disadvantaged backgrounds, the Nordic model suggests that free college may leave us disappointed.

3. Fewer Students Graduate

Like Finland and Norway, Denmark also covers tuition for higher education. Better yet, Danish students receive a monthly grant to cover housing and living expenses.

But many students still aren’t graduating.

Although 81 percent of eligible students in Denmark enroll in higher education programs according to the World Bank, only 40 percent of 25-64-year-olds have earned a degree, according to the OECD. Norway has similar results. There, 82 percent of eligible students enroll in higher education, but only 43 percent of 25-64-year-olds have earned a degree.

The United States fares better on both counts. Although American government covers significantly less of the cost of higher education (35 percent as opposed to 96 percent in Norway and 92 percent in Denmark), 89 percent of eligible students in America enroll in higher education, and 47 percent of students age 25-64 have earned a college degree.

These outcomes make sense. Why would a student graduate, join the workforce, and pay for their own living costs when they could stay in school and explore career opportunities on the government’s dime?

“With education being free, the Danish word ‘evighedsstuderende’ has risen,” Daniel Borup Jakobsen, a 24-year-old recent graduate and vice president at the software company Plecto, told Business Insider. “It refers to a person who never finishes his studies but continuously keeps changing study program year after year.”

While we certainly should revolutionize the way we think about college, expectations of free college don’t match reality. If we want higher education to allow access for many, put the disadvantaged on a path to success, and develop students who are eager to contribute to society, then Nordic examples suggest free college may not be the way to go.

Fortunately, good old-fashioned American innovation offers a way forward. Apprenticeship programs provide access to jobs without incurring the cost of traditional college and for the few jobs that require higher education, income-share agreements foster investment in promising graduates. As these programs continue to grow, students will continue to face new opportunities to pursue the careers and education they aspire to without the disadvantages of the Nordic “free” college model.


A Daycare in Every Neighborhood

Loosening Childcare Laws Could Make the Dream a Reality
Being a new parent is hard. Babies are loud and unreasonable creatures. The lack of sleep that comes with a newborn can break even the most prepared couple. Parental leave helps ease some of the pain, but it’s not available for everyone and ends in a few short months. And when it’s time to head back to work, the pain doesn’t stop. In most places in America, daycare today is expensive, scarce or both.

Scarce, expensive daycare is a problem for working families but one that can be mitigated with sound public policy choices that proactively consider their needs. States and localities regulate daycare providers in two principal ways—land-use and labor regulations—both of which increase childcare prices and decrease availability. When rules are too restrictive, parents are forced to turn to informal childcare services or unwillingly leave the workforce, both of which are worse alternatives than enabling commercially available options in the childcare market.

Labor regulations dictate who can work in childcare services and how they must work. They set minimum training standards for childcare employees, including requiring providers to have a college degree in Washington, D.C. These regulations typically exist at the state level as part of occupational licensing rules. They can include mandatory training and classes, as well as minimum ratios of staff to supervised children and other specifics. Education requirements and staffing ratios are intended to head off potential health and safety problems, but when imposed without restraint, they make compliance costly and risky for childcare workers and businesses.

Land-use regulations, on the other hand, limit the spaces where childcare centers can operate. These are typically set at the local level, and often force daycare operators to be located in properties zoned for commercial uses. This dramatically limits options for small and new daycare providers, and forces working parents to drive their children from residential areas to commercial strips. Even where daycare centers are allowed in residential areas, towns can set the maximum number of children allowed or mandate the property have certain characteristics, like off-street parking for child pick-up and drop-off, commercial kitchens for food preparation and other changes that can force a would-be provider to renovate their property for use as a daycare center. Some towns place strict limits on the number of children a daycare center can serve, preventing successful centers from scaling up to meet parent demand. Together, these land-use regulations make potential daycare sites hard to find and expensive to renovate and operate.

Addressing the problem of scarce, expensive childcare will be a state-by-state affair. America doesn’t have uniform national standards for daycare regulation. Thankfully, efforts to reform state occupational licensing and local land-use regulations have become more widespread in recent years, and the prevalence of high childcare costs is a powerful argument for reform in both areas. Reforms to state licensing laws could lower minimum education requirements for caregivers, opening the market to many new and part-time caregivers. Alternately, a two-tier system that allows both “registered” and “licensed” facilities would provide more consumer choice and lower costs as a result. In Vermont, licensed facilities face more stringent regulations but boast lower staffing ratios in exchange.

Fixing land-use rules will be a more piecemeal task, with most of the work requiring updates to municipal zoning laws. Burdened town residents could make the case for expanding daycare availability, as happened in Arlington County, Virginia, earlier this year. But a broader fix could also be appropriate. Generally, costly childcare becomes a statewide issue if municipalities don’t allow enough places for daycare providers to set up shop. A reform-minded state could mandate that municipalities recognize small-scale childcare as part of the by-right uses of any residential property, up to some maximum number of children. There’s plenty of precedent, as such laws have been on the books in some states for decades.

Labor and land-use regulations make running daycare businesses too expensive and challenging in many places. Working families pay the price when we set needlessly high standards for who may care for children and narrow limits for where they may do so. For supporters of the status quo, that may sound reasonable. But for burdened households struggling to find someone to look after their kids, it’s more than enough reason to get loud.


Warren Trashes 'Obscene' Profiting off Students, While Textbook She Wrote Costs $250

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts introduced legislation last month that would cancel student loan debt for tens of millions of Americans.

The senator previously stated it’s “obscene” to profit off of students, but she’s doing exactly that with a textbook she authored priced at $258.97.

Warren blamed the collective over $1.5 trillion in outstanding student loan debt on Washington, D.C.

“My very first bill when I got to the Senate was legislation to tackle the growing student debt crisis because I was sick of Washington allowing the wealthy to pay less, while burying tens of millions of Americans in mountains of student loan debt,” Warren said in a statement when she and Democratic House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina introduced the student loan debt forgiveness bill in late July, The Hill reported.

“Since then, Washington has only allowed this crisis to get worse — especially for people of color. Enough is enough,” she added.

Forbes reported the legislation would offer loan forgiveness for 95 percent of borrowers and entirely cancel the loan debt for 75 percent.

“The student debt crisis is real and it’s crushing millions of people — especially people of color,” Warren said in June, according to Forbes. “It’s time to decide: Are we going to be a country that only helps the rich and powerful get richer and more powerful, or are we going to be a country that invests in its future?”

The plan offers debt forgiveness up to $50,000 for all with a household income under $100,000 and gradually lowers the amount until those earning over $250,000 per year are not eligible.

Forbes reported that the senator’s bill closely mirrors a campaign proposal she made in April. At that time, she proposed an annual 2 percent tax on “ultra-millionaires” — defined as those with a net worth of $50 million in order to pay off the student loans.

In 2013, then-newly elected Sen. Warren called the fact the federal government profited from student loans “obscene.”

“Instead of helping our students, the government is making a profit on student loans,” Warren said. “That is wrong. It is morally wrong. That is obscene.”

As an aside, while the program was in the black in 2013, the Congressional Budget Office is projecting a $31 billion deficit in the federal student loan program over the next decade.

The Daily Wire’s James Barrett suggested if Warren is truly worried about profiting off of students she ought to look in the mirror.

A textbook she authored, “The Law of Debtors and Creditors: Text, Cases, and Problems,” costs $258.97.

For those students who can’t afford such a hefty price, they can always rent it at $126.78. However, the 2019 statutory supplement “Bankruptcy and Article 9” is an additional $60.

Warren co-authored another textbook, titled “Secured Transactions: A Systems Approach,” which is for sale at a more reasonable $122.83.

The lawmaker also didn’t seem to mind profiting off of students prior to coming to the Senate, when she was taking in an annual $430,000 per year as a Harvard Law School professor.

Townhall editor and Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich had a perfect response after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont offered their even more expansive bill in late June to pay off everyone’s student loans.

“Not my responsibility to pay for your ‘dream college’” Pavlich tweeted. “Your dream, your choice, your debt. Not mine or anyone else’s. It’s called personal responsibility.”


Wednesday, September 04, 2019

NY City Diversity Committee Says Programs for Gifted Students Are 'Racist'

A school diversity committee formed by Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to eliminate programs for gifted and talented students, claiming they perpetuate racial inequality because they’re comprised mostly of white and Asian students.

The committee also recommended scrapping all forms of screening for students across the city.

The report has no binding power, but de Blasio can implement the panel's recommendations if he wishes.

New York Post:

De Blasio only said of the report Monday, “Every child, regardless of ZIP code, has the right to attend a school where they can thrive. “I thank the School Diversity Advisory Group for all their hard work to promote equity and excellence across our system, and I look forward to reviewing their recommendations. ”

Carranza added, “We’re going to review their recommendations and take action to ensure all students have access to a rich and rigorous education.”

After the lip service to quality education, what's really at stake here? Perhaps we should be asking about the legitimacy of these programs.

But the schools chancellor has already openly questioned the legitimacy of gifted-and-talented programs, including to a group of Queens parents in February. “When you have over 35% of your students be designated as gifted and talented, we need to bottle the water we’re drinking and ship it all over the place,” he said sarcastically. “Because that is far beyond the percentage of gifted and talented that, from a statistical perspective, should be found in the population.”

Backers of the current system counter that it rewards diligence and accommodates families of advanced kids who would otherwise abandon the public school system altogether.

And proponents of gifted-and-talented programs and other screens note that many top city schools have significant populations of poor immigrants.

The bottom line is lower standards, making "gifted and talented" hollow words, indeed.

Still, the efficacy of having gifted and talented programs cannot be denied. When some students are being held back from learning by others, there is a need to recognize talent and nurture it by designing a curriculum that will challenge a gifted student -- regardless of race.

But the implications of this report are worrying. Are we now to penalize students of some races because kids of other races aren't doing as well? The inescapable conclusion is that schools must strive to achieve standards that meet the lowest common denominator, and not strive to meet the highest standards.

When explanations for why some students of some races do better than others become knee-jerk accusations of racism, schools will never improve.


Mandatory teacher training denigrates Christianity, exalts islam

Sickening: Christian scriptures described as “corrupted” while the Koran contains the “pure” word of God

A Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan revealed deeply concerning information on a mandatory two-day teacher training session on Islam conducted for public school teachers in the state which denigrated Christianity while presenting Islam in an exclusively positive light.

“We found that the teachers were subjected to two days of Islamic propaganda, where Islam was glorified, Christianity disparaged, and America bashed—all funded by Novi taxpayers,” explained Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel at the Thomas More Law Center. He noted that the school district had not sponsored teacher trainings on Christianity, Judaism, or other religions over the past five years, but solely on Islam.

The “cultural competency” expert hired by the Novi Community Schools District in Michigan is Huda Essa of Culture Links LLC, a hijab-wearing woman of Arab descent. After examining numerous documents relating to Essa’s presentation including audio transcripts from her talk, the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) found that “information on Islam she provided to Novi teachers was riddled with falsehoods and errors of omission that were clearly meant to deceive.”

During the two-day training session, Essa “spent a great deal of time in her Novi presentation talking about Muslim women, whom she described as victims of Islamophobia on the part of bigoted Americans,” explains a press release from the TMLC. She described cases where hijab-wearing Muslim women have been attacked or killed for their religious dress but provided no details on when or where these attacks occurred. As the Thomas More Law Center pointed out in its release, “anti-Muslim attacks are relatively rare in America and actually fell by 17 percent in 2017” while “Anti-Jewish hate crimes that year out-numbered anti-Muslim offenses by nearly four to one.”

Essa also claimed that mistreatment of women in Islamic countries is due only to “cultural” differences, and not to the Islamic religion itself, which in fact dictates radically different rules for men and women.

Her presentation repeatedly portrayed Christianity in a negative light, claiming that the Christian scriptures were “corrupted” over time whereas the Koran contains the true and “pure” word of God. Claiming that Christianity and Islam are “mostly similar,” she also asserted that Islam is in fact the world’s “only purely monotheistic religion.”

Teachers attending the training session were taught to believe in a whitewashed version of Islam. Essa told those in attendance that the word “Islam” is a variation on the Arabic word “salaam” which means peace. As the TMLC points out, Islam is more accurately translated as “submission,” since Muslims must submit to Allah and Sharia law before all other authorities. She also described the phrase “Allahu Abkar” as a refrain used to convey strong emotions; she did not mention that this same phrase is used as a battle-cry by Islamic terrorists conducting attacks.

The problematic presentation on Islam was not limited to one Michigan school district. Essa’s website lists nine separate school districts in Michigan as clients and also public schools, colleges and professional organizations in numerous other states including California, Texas, Georgia, and Florida. For the two-day presentation for the Novi Community Schools District, Essa’s organization was paid $5,000. The Freedom of Information Act requests filed by the TMLC further revealed that the district did not fully vet Essa before allowing her to conduct the mandatory training, nor did they conduct a factual analysis of her claims. In spite of the school district’s limited screening process, Essa was given access to data from student and faculty surveys.

“This type of infiltration amounts to an Islamic Trojan horse within our public-school systems,” Thompson of the Thomas More Law Center said. “No other religion gets this kind of special treatment in our schools.”


Father's Day no longer promoted in some Australian schools

The Father's Day stall and gifts for Dad crafted by little hands are increasingly a thing of the past in some Melbourne schools and kindergartens.

The growing diversity in the forms that families take, and a lack of interest in the occasion from kids themselves, have seen it pass without a mention in many classes this year.

Some kids have two mums, some have no dad and some are from cultures where Father’s Day isn’t really a thing.

Annie Dennis Children’s Centre in Northcote recognises the diversity in children’s family situations. For the past 20 years, child-guided programs have formed a fundamental part of its philosophy.

Assistant director Anna Chiera said they did not celebrate Father’s Day this year because kids simply weren’t interested.

“We don’t bring up Father’s Day because there are children with single and same-sex parents here, but if it’s an issue for them, we encourage them to let us know,” Ms Chiera said.

“We don’t like to put pressure on the children to make a present if it isn’t going to mean something and they don’t have a father or their families don’t celebrate it.”

“We acknowledge that it’s an important celebration though.”

Helen Darcey, a kindergarten teacher at Annie Dennis, said the centre had a list of celebrations from different religions and cultures they encouraged kids to learn about and contribute to.

In the past they’ve celebrated everything from Orthodox Easter to Harmony Day, but typically not Father’s Day.

Ms Chiera conceded they did get the occasional parent who asked why they didn't make a card, but for the most part they were supportive.

“It’s sometimes harder for the wider community to accept it especially,” Ms Chiera said.

An objection to the commercialisation of Father’s Day – a day of socks, jocks and power tools – has also contributed to it falling out of favour.

Australian Primary Principals Association president Malcolm Elliott said Father’s and Mother’s Day had been linked to the “implicit buying of gifts” thanks to advertising.

“It can place a burden on children who are short on resources,” Mr Elliot said.

But not all Melbourne kinders and primary schools have completely ditched Father’s Day festivities.

Carlton North Primary School ran things a bit differently, with a Father’s Day stall organised by parents selling gifts donated from families for students to buy their dads or other special people.

A grade one pupil bought her dad, a teacher at the school, a hamper filled with chocolate and socks. “I got him new socks because his ones are very stinky,” she said.


Tuesday, September 03, 2019

College-Educated Women Outnumber Men in U.S. Workforce

Another statistic dispelling the feminist Left's myth about a gender wage gap.

For the first time in American history, women now outnumber men in the college-educated workforce. The Wall Street Journal reports, “Since 2013, the female share of college-educated workers has been around the 49% mark, with 2019 being the year that women cross into a very slight majority.” Meanwhile, the overall labor force in the U.S. is still a slight majority male.

The Journal further notes that this milestone has been a long-time coming: “Since the 1980s, women have made up the majority of those seeking bachelor’s degrees. By 1999, women received 57% of bachelor’s degrees, and it has been that way more or less for almost two decades.”

Far from a fluke, this would appear to be the new normal. But how could the “patriarchy” let this happen?

The Federalist’s Helen Raleigh notes that this news puts the lie to a well-worn leftist trope, writing, “Of course, when we talk about women in the workforce, one of the left’s favorite topics is the pay gap between the sexes. We’ve all heard the famous statistic that ‘a woman makes 77 cents for every dollar a man earns.’ They’ve used this number as evidence that the United States is a patriarchal society that discriminates against women or, even worse, that there is a war on women going on in America.”

In fact, Raleigh further observes, “More women in the labor force means more women are creating wealth. It is estimated that by 2030, women will control more aggregate wealth in the United States than men. So far, no activists, no politicians, and certainly no male workers are complaining about this reverse pay gap.”

Clearly, the Left’s canard that American women aren’t getting a fair shake is patently false.


The Key to Success for Young People Isn’t Always College

As young people worry about their futures, going to college isn’t necessarily their first step toward a good job.

Entrepreneur Isaac Morehouse predicts the relevance of colleges, and the degrees they confer, will erode as employers increasingly look for workers with demonstrated, often self-taught job skills.

“I think it will be a long, slow decline, where probably the very elite schools will stick around, and probably some of the really hands-on, practical vocational schools will stick around,” but middle-of-the-road schools with fuzzy liberal arts programs will disappear, Morehouse said.

“People will realize more and more you can bypass that, and you can learn the skills cheaper and quicker in other ways, and you can prove that you’re worth hiring in ways that are more effective than that diploma,” Morehouse said.

The learning tools for success are ubiquitous through the internet and hands-on learning.

Morehouse has put that philosophy into practice as a labor market disrupter. Six years ago he created Praxis, a six-month professional boot camp to help participants build their brands and talent portfolios to land apprenticeships leading to jobs. In July he launched Crash, a crowdsourcing platform for job seekers to promote their talents to employers.

Morehouse said 300 people have gone through the Praxis apprenticeship program. Most apprentices lacked college degrees and about 90 percent of them got non-tech jobs with an average starting pay of $50,000. The 200 people who created profiles through his Crash program in its first three weeks received 80 interview requests and 21 job offers, he said.

Research shows employers are moving away from hiring workers solely based on academic credentials.

Phil Gardner, director of the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University, said his organization’s recent study showed 62 percent of employers have shifted away from hiring practices focused on a candidate’s college major or are contemplating doing so. And in an Association of American Colleges and Universities study, 78 percent of CEOs and upper management said academic discipline doesn’t matter as much as what a job candidate can do.

Managers want prospective hires with broad communicational, analytical, and technical competence.

But Gardner cautioned about interpreting the data. Front-line hiring managers might have the same goals, but different outlooks than upper management on who and how to hire. “I think you’re going to see a continued transformation of higher ed” to produce graduates with the skills that businesses want, Gardner said.

If colleges can’t do that, Gardner said, they face the chopping block.

Gardner agreed that some liberal arts majors are not prepared for today’s job market, but doesn’t foresee the demise of liberal arts programs. “I think colleges and universities are doing a much better job with their liberal art grads getting their technical skills,” Gardner said. “We’re going to interdisciplinary education, multidisciplinary thinking. We’re looking at lots of learning outside the classroom,” incorporating online resources and practical experiences.

Gardner has seen those approaches during campus visits and has read about them in higher education publications.

He pointed to the University of Tampa’s example in trying interdisciplinary or team internships in which a group of students addresses a problem in the community and a faculty member serves as a coach.

Employers would suffer if liberal arts graduates disappear because they’re the creative class, he said. They have unique skill sets different from engineers and computer scientists. While Gardner said that’s a widely held view among many academics, he acknowledged most information backing the assertion is anecdotal. Liberal arts colleges, unlike engineering and some business fields, have done a poor job of collecting long-term information on graduates, so supporting data is weak.

But he said IBM and other companies have transitioned from manufacturing to a systems, problem-solving approach. They seek employees with communication skills and skill sets that allow them to work across boundaries, and that know-how is picked up through liberal arts education, he said.

Rich Feller, a professor of counseling and career development at Colorado State University and past president of the National Career Development Association, agrees.

“The real commodity today is skills because we’re in a skills-based economy…that’s looking for self-directed learners who can add value without companies spending any money because companies are not doing as much training as they used to,” Feller said.

“Colleges are trying to fill their seats, so they don’t want to talk about this” shift to skills-based hiring,” Feller said. Feller trains counselors and psychotherapists. He is developing tools for aptitude assessment and narrative storytelling, which have helped his students get jobs.

If students understand their skills, it helps them understand how they learn, why they master training programs, and succeed in a job. Teaching storytelling guides students in understanding their personal story and how to promote themselves.

Gardner doesn’t agree that a glut of college students is leading employers to find new ways to differentiate among applicants. He said the picture is distorted because some states have more college graduates than available jobs. The college might be in a wider labor market, but many graduates are unwilling to move away from family and friends to find a job.

Some employers are starting in-house training programs or establishing apprenticeship programs, especially in the industrial sector.
However, he concedes there is an oversupply of students pushed into four-year degrees. He said social stigmatization that began escalating in the 1980s led to an undersupply of two-year college graduates in hard-to-fill trades or technical jobs.

The trend toward de-emphasizing college degrees likely is the result of the tough climate for employers, said Michelle Snyder, spokeswoman for the American Staffing Association, a trade group. The labor market is tight, with more jobs available in the boom economy than qualified candidates to fill them. There is a skills gap among job-seekers. Employers are competing vigorously for the same small pool of talent.

Many staffing companies are encouraging their clients to consider hiring applicants who don’t possess all the job requirements, Snyder said. Some employers are starting in-house training programs or establishing apprenticeship programs, especially in the industrial sector.

Job seekers are blasting out 150 resumes with GPA and leadership skill bullet points that go through an automated application-tracking system scanning for keywords among thousands of resumes just to generate one interview, Morehouse said. On average, hiring managers muddle through 250 resumes to fill a position. He said the time is ripe for change. It’s becoming more common for young people to do a short-term, volunteer project, accept an internship, or work a low-pay, part-time job, then parlay that trial run into a full-time job, he said.

Charles Marohn, president of Strong Towns, an online media company focused on municipal financial sustainability, also thinks the old-fashioned method of hiring based on college degrees is declining.

After making what he described as terrible hiring decisions based on his genuine like of the applicants when he ran a planning consulting firm for local governments, he shifted his hiring approach. He wants to hire the best people, not the best resumes.

Marohn de-emphasized college degrees and academic credentials. Resumes, references, and cover letters are no longer the first thing he looks at. Instead, he’s prioritizing job skills and competency.

His first step is to simply ask for an email address and location. Online Q&A sessions and two sets of questionnaires are used to gauge candidates’ style and approach, work habits, and life experiences. Only after that four-step process are resumes and references requested, and interviews scheduled. Marohn said some of his best hires would have been weeded out of the process quickly if he sought resumes first.

That squares with Morehouse’s attempt to upend the college-centered hiring approach.

“I think we are helping to find hidden talent everywhere, and unleash it to go find opportunities that they didn’t know existed,” Morehouse said. “We’re reinventing the way that people get jobs.”


Flaws in Australian education system ignored as journos plunge into class warfare

The sources quoted by journalists can tell media consumers a lot about the politics of a newspaper or electronic network but sometimes not much about the truth of the story.

Look at the reaction to the release last Wednesday of preliminary results of this year’s National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy tests. Journalists at Nine Entertainment’s newspapers, the ABC and Guardian Australia were likelier to quote teachers, teacher unions and politicians continuing their long criticism of national testing. Media on the right often quoted education researchers who have argued Australia is not getting value for its spending on schools.

Many teachers hate NAPLAN and anything that makes them accountable for student performance. But here’s the thing: the media should not care. The $57.8 billion we spent across all levels of government and school systems in 2016-17 is not for the edification of teachers. It’s to educate our children. Some tweets last Wednesday highlight personal attitudes among media types.

Former teacher and Sydney Daily Telegraph education writer Maralyn Parker tweeted: “Oh FFS, #NAPLAN has failed. The constant testing and huge scammy $$$$$ industry around teaching and preparing for the tests is stuffing up Australian children.” Nine newspapers cartoonist Cathy Wilcox tweeted: “What if, now bear with me, just as an experiment, we properly funded public schools (crazy I know), then compared NAPLAN results to see if it made a difference?” Unbelievable that a highly paid cartoonist whose work is published in The Sydney Morning Herald did not already know the figures.

Australia has increased funding across all school systems from $36.4bn to $57.8bn in the nine years since the Gillard government committed to the first round of Gonski funding rises. The Turnbull government committed an extra $18.6bn across four years in Gonski 2.0 funding in 2017. All that money has bought some improvement in primary school NAPLAN results, flatlining overall in literacy and numeracy and disappointing Year 9 results.

Remember NAPLAN was not a plot by a conservative government to hurt political enemies in the teacher unions. It was introduced in 2008 by then education minister Julia Gillard in the first Rudd government.

The most sensible reactions to NAPLAN numbers each year usually came from long-time critics of educational standards such as Kevin Donnelly, from the Australian Catholic University, and Centre for Independent Studies researchers Jennifer Buckingham and Blaise Joseph.

Progressives tend to deny there is a problem and want the test scrapped or its standards lowered. Funny thing is we have known for many years why Australia lags in international tests. Admission standards for teaching are too low, more than half of university education degree entrants being accepted with an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank of less than 50.

Better paid and more qualified teachers with proper mentoring in the job seem to work in systems that continually outperform ours, particularly in Shanghai, Singapore and Finland. Education reformers in the US and Canada have proved better quality headmasters with more independence in hiring and firing staff — usually backed by activist parents bodies — can lift results in even the most underprivileged areas.

Unfortunately state education departments here have used headmaster independence to load the role with managerialist tasks to defend schools against lawsuits rather than to lift education outcomes.

The Australian under former education writer Justine Ferrari in the noughties highlighted the role of curriculum in letting down children. This has only worsened as teachers have been required since 2012 to overlay all their work with three mandated cross-curriculum priorities: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures; Asia and Australia’s engagement with it; and sustainability. In a worst-case hypothetical, maths teachers with fairly poor HSC results who did no maths to Year 12 and none in their education degrees are now burdened with these three overlays in trying to teach kids struggling to understand mathematics.

Teachers often complain about lack of student discipline and lack of parental support for schools trying to impose such discipline.

Technology and the rise of social media, smartphones and iPad use in education have had a perverse effect. Some schools have now banned mobile phone use. I have heard of parent-teacher nights when parents themselves did not put away their phones and Facebook feeds while teachers were giving individual feedback about children.

Auto-correction software on devices is having an adverse effect on spelling ability while teachers talk of students coming to school, often with no breakfast, having been up past midnight on devices.

The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday raised another important issue with screen use. University of Sydney cognitive psychology professor Sally Andrews said poor grammar skills “could be the result of skim reading on screens”. “That means they’re not picking up on the subtleties of sentence construction and punctuation marks that occur when you read a book on paper,” she said. Many parents no longer read books to their kids.

Like The Australian, the News Corp tabloids last Wednesday also quoted Donnelly and Joseph, who discussed these issues. The Sydney Morning Herald chose the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority, which runs NAPLAN, and federal Education Minister Dan Tehan to defend the test. It quoted Australian Education Union acting federal president Meredith Peace and NSW Primary Principals Association president Phil Seymour bagging it. ABC 7.30 interviewed Tehan but host Leigh Sales seemed to think the testing should be scrapped.

It is instructive the left media did not question teaching methods or curriculum, discipline and electronic learning approaches. Nor did most media go to the core philosophical question: what is our education system for? Do we want world-class students or do we want to reshape the world?

Some quotes from educators suggest more of the latter. Former Victorian premier and education minister Joan Kirner: “Education has to be reshaped so it is part of the socialist struggle for equality.”

Former Griffith University education lecturer Gregory Martin: “A major task for leftist academics is to connect education with community struggles for social justice.”

Former head of the Australian Education Union Pat Byrne: “We have succeeded in influencing curriculum development … conservatives have a lot of work to do to undo the progressive curriculum.”

Media consumers are grateful when journalists shine a light on such areas. Parents marvel at children’s lack of numeracy and literacy skills, things taken for granted in previous generations. Maybe modern “child-centred learning” needs a rethink.

Having watched direct instruction in action at Noel Pearson’s Hope Vale school north of Cooktown last month I can only concur with Donnelly in Friday’s Tele: “The most effective way to learn stresses … ‘automaticity’ — essential knowledge and skills like times tables and learning to read have to be automatic before students complete more complex tasks.”


Monday, September 02, 2019

Donors Beware: College Officials Have Their Own Ideas About Using Your Money

It is quite common: A successful college alum decides to donate a large sum of his accumulated wealth to his alma mater, but wants the money to be used in a specific way. School officials want the money. They don’t, however, care for the conditions attached to it. What to do?

The honorable course of action, of course, would be to say, “Thanks, but we’ll have to decline unless you are willing to change your conditions.” But often, they decide to accept the donation, knowing that they aren’t going to fully comply with the donor’s intentions. They figure that they will be able to get away with using the money as they desire so long as they don’t depart too radically from the donor’s intent. Such cases occur regularly, as philanthropy expert Martin Morse Wooster pointed out in his 2011 paper, “Games Universities Play.”

The most recent instance of a university accepting an alum’s donation and then using it in ways inconsistent with his wishes involves the University of Missouri.

Sherlock Hibbs graduated from Missouri in 1926 and pursued a successful business career. Late in his life, he approached the university’s Trulaske College of Business (TCB) with a proposition. He offered $5 million to support six faculty positions. Those positions, however, were not to be filled with just any scholar. Hibbs only wanted people who would conduct their teaching and research from the analytical perspective of the Austrian School of economics.

There are various approaches to the study of economics (“schools” of thought). In the article above, professor Peter Boettke explains the key aspects of the Austrian School: “Man with his purposes and plans is the beginning of all economic analysis. Only individuals make choices; collective entities do not choose. The primary task of economic analysis is to make economic phenomena intelligible by basing it on individual purposes and plans; the secondary task is to trace out the unintended consequences of individual choices.”

One of the leading scholars in the Austrian School was Ludwig von Mises and Hibbs stipulated that the faculty members hired with his bequest must all be followers of von Mises’ analytical method. At the time Hibbs made his offer to Missouri in 2002, there were many faculty members throughout the U.S. who were Austrian in outlook and there was at least one major university economics department where Austrians were dominant (Auburn). Clearly, Hibbs wanted TCB to become another center for Austrian-based teaching and research.

The problem was that officials at TCB thought that hiring a cadre of Austrians would make it too radical. That’s because the Austrians argue that nearly all governmental interventions in the economy are counter-productive: minimum wage laws, occupational licensing laws, labor regulations, subsidies of all kinds, and even government production of money.

Austrian scholars don’t necessarily or uniformly write and comment about such public policy questions, but many do and Missouri’s provost, Brady Deaton, feared that if the Hibbs bequest were strictly followed, it would create the perception that “the university was held hostage to a particular ideology.”

That’s a pretty flimsy concern, since employing a small number of Austrian economists in a huge university scarcely entails “being held hostage.” Many ideas that compete with Austrian School economics are well entrenched at Missouri. Moreover, the Austrian approach to economics is not an “ideology”—a set of beliefs—but rather a method of inquiry.

University officials were determined to both take Mr. Hibbs’ money and avoid his conditions. So in 2003, Bruce Walker, dean of the college, announced that it had accepted the bequest and would use the funds to hire professors with “Evident commitment to the tenets of a free and open market economy, coinciding with the Austrian School of Economics, including such principles as innovation, creativity, change, entrepreneurship, private property, competition, pricing through markets, individual choice, and market processes.”

Despite the tiny bow toward Austrian theory, Walker’s description meant that the university could hire any business professors so long as they were not leftists. The university wanted to use the money for non-controversial, “mainstream” business professors whose thinking might overlap slightly with the Austrian School. Since Hibbs had died late in 2002, he couldn’t object that Missouri was misusing his money.

Missouri was determined to play games with that $5 million.

But there was catch. Under the terms of the bequest, Hillsdale College was to oversee Missouri’s use of the funds. Hibbs had known Hillsdale’s president Larry Arnn and told him that he planned to make a large donation to his alma mater, but didn’t trust Missouri to follow his wishes. At first, Arnn demurred, but later agreed to let him write his will so that Hillsdale would be a third-party beneficiary of the Missouri bequest; if the money was not used according to his desires, the funds would go to Hillsdale.

It was up to Missouri to certify to Hillsdale that it was using the Hibbs bequest in accordance with his desires by sending a letter every four years attesting that it was doing so. In 2006 and 2010, the university sent the required letter, stating that each of the faculty members holding a position funded with Hibbs money was a “dedicated and articulate disciple of Ludwig von Mises and the Austrian School.” In neither instance did Hillsdale challenge the certification.

But in 2014, Missouri did not send Hillsdale the required letter, causing the latter to investigate the “Austrianness” of the faculty holding the Hibbs professorships. Hillsdale scholars familiar with the Austrian School had no trouble discerning that not one of them could remotely be described as Austrian. Apprised of that conclusion, Missouri had each professor sign and send to Hillsdale identical statements claiming to be Austrians. That gesture was futile. Hillsdale had firmly concluded that Missouri hadn’t made any effort at complying with the terms of the Hibbs bequest.

In 2017, Hillsdale filed suit against the University of Missouri in a state court in St. Louis. It seeks a ruling that Missouri must turn over the $5 million given by Sherlock Hibbs (plus interest) because it failed to comply with his conditions. The case has yet to come to trial.  (If it hadn’t been for discovery in the case, no one outside of the university would know about its conduct.)

Hillsdale had firmly concluded that Missouri hadn’t made any effort at complying with the terms of the Hibbs bequest.
One interesting fact is that part of the Hillsdale legal team is former Missouri governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat. In this PJ Media article, Tyler O’Neil interviewed Nixon, who said, “Donor intent is really important. Donors appreciate that the commitment of their generosity lives beyond their time on earth. When I looked at this, it was clear to me that the intent of Mr. Hibbs was not being embraced or followed by the University of Missouri.”

Nixon’s view is supported by the silence of the current Hibbs professors as to their adherence to Austrian analysis. Reason magazine’s Robby Soave asked each to point to any Austrian theory in their work or references to Ludwig von Mises. Three of them failed to respond at all and the fourth merely suggested that he speak with the university’s director of media relations. Austrian scholars are usually eager to talk about their research and teaching, but not those on the TCB faculty who benefit from Hibbs’ bequest.

The first legal skirmish was won by the university when it persuaded the Supreme Court of Missouri to change the venue from St. Louis to a local court. Apparently, it hopes to play upon hometown sympathy to keep the money it has been misusing for the last 16 years.

Sherlock Hibbs did everything imaginable to try to guarantee that his school would devote his money to the purposes he had in mind. If the university should convince the jury that it has done nothing wrong and may keep his money, it’s hard to imagine that any prospective Missouri donor who wants to target his donation will ever again do so. TCB is helping to further weaken the trust that philanthropy depends on.

I’ll close by quoting Martin Wooster’s reaction to this dispute: “I don’t know of any case involving an enforcement mechanism for honoring donor intent like the one Sherlock Hibbs created. I hope Hillsdale prevails, for I believe Missouri’s misuse of the Hibbs endowment is a severe violation of donor intent.”


The appalling story of an Illinois family's encounter with a school district's Rainbow Mafia  

Perhaps nothing reveals the American Left’s fascist inclinations better than the ongoing effort to force-feed the transgender agenda to the American public. Quite simply, you’re either on board with the idea that gender is “fluid” and that one’s sexual identity is determined solely on the basis of self-identification — wholly absent the same “settled science” argument leftists use to promote their moral superiority on global warming — or you’re a bigot. And since so many parents are “bigoted,” leftists have to make sure their children “get their minds right” at school — whether parents like it or not.

On August 12, USA Today published a column by parent Jay Keck, whose daughter attended public school in Hinsdale District 86 in Illinois. His ordeal with the fascist inclinations of leftist school officials began when his then-14-year-old daughter, who was enrolled in an Individualized Education Program (IEP) because she was “on the autism spectrum” and had difficulty making friends, “was approached by a girl who had recently come out at school as transgender,” Keck explains. “Shortly after meeting her, my daughter declared that she, too, was a boy trapped in a girl’s body and picked out a new masculine name.”

Keck notes this was an unprecedented development. “Throughout my daughter’s childhood, there were no signs that she wanted to be a boy,” he writes. “She loved stuffed animals, Pocahontas and wearing colorful bathing suits. I can’t recall a single interest that seemed unusually masculine, or any evidence that she was uncomfortable as a girl.”

None of it mattered. As Keck discovered, the wholly subjective and utterly absurd “standard” of self-declaration was all it took to put the fascist machinery in full gear, and usurp his rights as a parent. Thus, when she came out as a boy, he reveals that “the faculty and staff — who had full knowledge of her mental health challenges — affirmed her.” Specifically, he says, “Without telling me or my wife, they referred to her by her new name. They treated my daughter as if she were a boy, using male pronouns and giving her access to a gender neutral restroom.”

That was only the beginning. At an IEP meeting shortly after his daughter’s announcement, Keck told school officials he and his wife wanted his daughter’s legal name to be used when addressing her. A social worker present told Keck he had the right to make such a request, which Keck reiterated in a follow-up email. He assumed the school would follow his wishes and that would be the end of it. Yet he learned his request was ignored “and school staff continued to refer to her by the male name.”

A meeting with the school district’s assistant superintendent was equally fruitless, when that superintendent insisted his hands were tied by federal law. Yet as Keck rightfully pointed out, there was no law — there was only the Obama administration’s 2016 Dear Colleague letter whereby the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ and the Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Education brazenly asserted that the failure to embrace the transgender agenda was a violation of the Title IX provisions of the Education Amendments of 1972 “that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity.”

Despite the letter itself describing its contents as “significant guidance” that “does not add requirements to applicable law,” the administration nonetheless warned schools they faced a loss of federal education funds if they did not accommodate the transgender agenda.

That directive was overturned by a federal judge in Texas on August 21, 2016 following a lawsuit filed by 13 states. In addition, the Trump administration’s Departments of Education and Justice rescinded the Dear Colleague letter in 2017, when Education and Justice departments officials, who also notified the U.S. Supreme Court, asserted the administration wants to “further and more completely consider the legal issues involved,” because there must be “due regard for the primary role of the States and local school districts in establishing educational policy.”

Keck also cited the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act as evidence the school was acting out of turn. It gives parents “the right to inspect and review the student’s education records maintained by the school,” and “the right to request that a school correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading.”

None of it mattered. “My daughter told me that the school social worker was advising her about halfway houses because he thought we did not support her,” he writes. “The social worker confirmed this when I scheduled a meeting with him to discuss it.”

In other words, the school was advising Keck’s child to run away from home.

On top of that insult, a district approved-psychologist who evaluated his daughter — and determined that her infatuation with transgenderism was driven “by her underlying mental health conditions,” refused to go on the record, because he feared the backlash he would endure. Thus, the letter he submitted to school officials and Keck omitted that part of the assessment.

What intimidated the psychologist? “The National Education Association has partnered with the Human Rights Campaign and other groups to produce materials advocating automatic affirmation of identities, name changes and pronouns, regardless of parents’ concerns,” Keck reveals. “In 18 states and the District of Columbia, including in my home state of Illinois, there are ‘conversion therapy’ bans, which prevent therapists from questioning a child’s gender identity.”

What this nation desperately needs are bans against indoctrinating impressionable children, while intimidating their parents to prevent them from challenging that indoctrination. “Many parents just like my wife and me are often afraid to speak out because we are told we are transphobic bigots, simply because we do not believe our children were born into the wrong bodies.”

When his child went into senior year, Keck called the principal to voice his expectation that her legal name would be used at graduation. “Once again, the school refused to honor my request,” he writes.

And therein lies the problem. Parents don’t need to request that schools avoid promulgating progressive dogma, they need to demand it. If they don’t, every state in the nation will become like California, where the Board of Education has determined schools should begin discussing “gender identity” in kindergarten. State officials insist that “children in kindergarten and even younger have identified as transgender or understand they have a gender identity that is different from their sex assigned at birth.”

No, they don’t. Virtually every aspect of “thinking” by children under the age of seven is wholly determined by the adults with whom they interact, many of whom apparently embrace the wholesale destruction of the nuclear family.

“Public education has become an institutionalized form of child abuse,” columnist David L. Rosenthal asserts. “Rather than being a tool used to prepare children to become productive adults, public education is being used to indoctrinate them to believe what powerful interest groups wish them to believe.”

Those powerful interest groups embrace the “fundamental transformation of the United States” — by any means necessary. Nothing serves that purpose better than the indoctrination of children and the intimidation of their parents.

That is the essence of fascism.


What you should do instead of university

Australia: Jobs are changing so fast nowadays that heading to university for three years may no longer be the best way of getting work.

Young people are struggling to find jobs after they finish uni and a recent report from the Grattan Institute showed doing a degree could leave some people $30,000 worse off.

TAFE or other vocational education is often seen as the only alternative but technology firm WithYouWithMe (WYWM) hopes one day to provide another lifelong learning model.

Tom Larter, the chief executive officer of the Australia and New Zealand operation, said while education and learning from university could be valuable, it was more important to get into the workforce as quickly as possible.

“Jobs are changing so fast, you need to get into your first job and then use lifelong learning to build out your skills,” he said.

“We’ve got to speed up the rate that we learn new skills.”

A WYWM report recently found Australia’s education system had not been designed to respond to changes in the labour market and many students were enrolling in studies where job prospects were expected to be low.

“When up to 80 per cent of students will not find a job in their field after graduation, you have to wonder what exactly degrees are equipping them for,” WYWM co-founder Luke Rix said.

WYWM focuses its efforts on skilling people for jobs in the technology sector where there is increasing demand.

Under its model, the focus is on getting people into work as quickly as possible, in industries where there is increasing demand, through doing short online courses. Once they have a job they continue to do courses over two to three years.

“Find out what you’re good at, make yourself competitive quickly by learning in-demand skills, get into the workforce as fast as you can and then continually learn through your career as you go,” Mr Larter said.

At the moment WYWM works mainly with military veterans to help them get jobs after they retire from service, but non-military personnel can still do their testing and courses.

The program is free for veterans and this year 1178 have got jobs through the course.

Mr Larter told that many of their clients don’t have a university degree. “Our speciality is that we can take any veteran regardless of their background and show them how to reach their full potential,” he said.

“Even if they are a truck driver they don’t have to be a truck driver when they leave, we can upskill you in a high-demand job, particularly in tech, so you can have an ongoing career.”

Veterans first do testing, which others can also do for free online, to identify what they are good at.

“Job seekers often don’t put any data behind decisions they make about their career,” he said.

Another common mistake was not considering that they could be good at one of the many new emerging jobs. “This holds them back but the testing opens their eyes,” Mr Larter said.

“We’ve had bus drivers and junior sailors with no experience in cybersecurity do a 12-week training course and get jobs.

“Those candidates had never considered, before receiving their match, that they could actually achieve this, and it’s really inspiring for them.”

The courses at the WYWM Academy take about 100 hours and generally take about six to 12 weeks to complete part-time. There is training for things like cybersecurity, software automation and data analytics.

Veterans can complete the courses for free but they cost between $3000 to $5000 for non-military jobseekers. Once candidates are trained up WYWM helps to match them with jobs at organisations they partner with.

Sydney resident Sheldon Rogers, 26, did not have a degree but got a job through WYWM after retiring from the Royal Australian Navy. He was previously a maritime warfare officer — responsible for navigation and he generally acted as the captain’s representatives on the bridge.

After serving for six years he had no idea what he was going to do after leaving the military but the testing at WYWM suggested he would be good at sales, something that surprised him.

“It was not something that I had thought about but when they explained the parameters the testing captured, what they had identified in my personality and my background and experience, it made a lot of sense in the end,” he said.

Mr Rogers worked as a recruitment provider earning $70,000 plus commission for 14 months but has recently moved on from the company. He is working at WYWM temporarily while he looks for another job.

He said he would probably stick with sales and recommended the WYWM program.

“It’s not so much for the content itself but more about the way it’s delivered,” he told

“You are made to feel genuinely engaged and cared for. You are being supported and they were a sounding board to bounce off my problems and issues. People here relate to my experiences, I think that’s the best part of the course.”

Mr Larter said WYWM eventually hoped to expand its services beyond its current focus on military personnel.

“We care about solving underemployment through helping people reach their potential and achieve better paying or new jobs.”


Sunday, September 01, 2019

White School Teachers Told People of Color Cannot Be Racist
Only white people can be racist, according to a presentation delivered to public-school teachers in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

“I was appalled to hear this,” Hamilton County School Board member Rhonda Thurman said on “The Todd Starnes Radio Show.” “First of all, I was very much offended by this. Somebody came in from out of town — that I don’t know — and they don’t know me and assumed that I’m racist right off the bat just because I’m white. They don’t know what kind of childhood I had. They don’t know anything about me.”

The Tennessee Star reports that the presentation on white privilege included a number of jaw-dropping claims:

"People of color cannot be racist because they lack the institutional power to adversely affect white lives.

Even if minorities sometimes complain about whites, such complaints serve as coping mechanisms to withstand racism rather than actual anti-white bias.

Even when minorities express or practice prejudice against whites they are not racists.

White privilege is both a legacy and a cause of racism.

White privilege exists because of historic, enduring racism and biases."

Thurman said on my nationally syndicated radio program that teachers were outraged over the presentation. “A lot of teachers were upset about it. This was just a few days before school started. Teachers need to be working in their classroom but instead they had to sit through this presentation,” she said.

Thurman said the school district’s training session is “planting the seeds of bitterness and division in these fertile minds of these kids.”

“The [training] said if [students] showed any kind of animosity toward a white person it was usually just a coping mechanism,” Thurman said. “So I wonder how the teachers feel about that? That [students] can criticize their teacher any way that they want to and it’s just looked at as a coping mechanism for them for racism.”

It’s a fair question.

“What does this have to do with student achievement, number one, which is what we’re supposed to be about,” the school-board member demanded to know.

“I wondered how it made the white teachers in attendance feel to know that they were going to go into a classroom where 90% of the students were going to think that they were racist before they ever taught the first day,” she said.

Hamilton County School District spokesman Tim Hensley told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that they regretted there had been a misinterpretation of the presentation.

“The slides are being misrepresented as a presentation on white privilege. For the slides in question, the speaker was reviewing terms that can impact perception and definitions attached to the terms when the slides were used. White Privilege was one of several terms on slides during the short part of the presentation,” Hensley said.

The school district’s argument doesn’t hold water, folks. It said that only 15 minutes of the 90-minute presentation was about white privilege. But it doesn’t matter if it was only five minutes.

The Hamilton County School District owes an apology to every white teacher who was in attendance at that workshop. They were singled out because of the color of their skin, and that’s just not right.

That workshop flies in the face of everything Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for — the idea of a society where people would not be judged by the color of their skin.

Shame on you, Hamilton County School District.


Trump Cancels Student-Loan Debt for Thousands of Disabled Vets

President Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order directing the Department of Education to cancel all federal student-loan debt for seriously disabled veterans.

“Veterans . . . who have made such enormous sacrifices for our country should not be asked to pay anymore,” Trump said as he addressed more than 2,500 veterans at the 75th annual AMVETS convention in Louisville, Ky. “The debt of these disabled veterans will be entirely erased. It will be gone. They can sleep well tonight.”

More than 25,000 “completely and permanently” disabled veterans will see “every penny” of their student debt forgiven under the order, Trump said.

Student-debt forgiveness for eligible veterans is a bipartisan issue, and several Democratic presidential candidates have proposed eliminating student-loan debt for all the nation’s students.

“Only half of the roughly 50,000 disabled veterans who are qualified to have their Federal student loan discharged have received this entitled benefit” because of a “burdensome” process, the White House said in a statement.

Trump has made caring for veterans a priority of his administration and in June 2017 signed the Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, which expedites the process of firing negligent VA employees.


Australia: Universities have lost their way as homes for free speech

In 2016, the Collins English Dictionary ranked “snowflake generation” as one of those annoying new phrases for the year. It is time to bury it. It’s a beat-up and, worse, it is an unfair slur on the current generation of students.

That is the good news from a forthcoming research report by the Institute of Public Affairs into the state of free speech on campus. Far from being snowflakes, it turns out kids are not the problem.

But the bad news is that there is, most definitely, a free speech crisis on campus. The results show that universities are failing students, boys in particular, and this institutional dereliction of duty raises questions about the relevance and sustainability of universities in the 21st century.

Instead of speaking to univer­sity administrators and academics, the IPA commissioned a survey from independent market research company Dynata, asking 500 students to agree or disagree with a series of statements about free speech, diversity of views and so on. Importantly, students joined the survey groups without knowing they would be asked about free speech on campus.

The first point to note is that 82 per cent of students said they should be exposed to different views even if they found them challenging or offensive. And free speech is not a political issue. Of those who said they should be exposed to different views, 86 per cent of Greens supporters were concerned and 82 per cent of Labor supporters were worried, as were 82 per of Coalition supporters.

And those noisy anti-free students who try to shut down views they don’t like? They are tiny in number. With only 2.2 per cent of students disagreeing with the statement that they should be exposed to different views, why on earth are university leaders so pusillanimous in dealing with them? After riot police had to be called, it took a nine-month investigation for the University of Sydney to discipline a student organ­iser of the protests that tried to stop Bettina Arndt from speaking at a function last year.

The next set of numbers point to a truly depressing state of free speech crisis on campus. A little more than 41 per cent of students said they sometimes were unable to express their opinions at university. Just under a third of students had been made to feel uncomfortable by a university teacher for expressing their opinion. And 59 per cent of students said they sometimes were prevented from expressing their opinions on con­troversial issues by other students.

This last figure should cause students to rethink their claimed commitment to a diversity of views. You can’t, on the one hand, say you support different views on campus, even if they are challenging and offensive, and on the other hand make students expressing different views feel uncomfortable. A genuine belief in free speech means defending the right of people you disagree with, even vehemently, to speak freely.

The other damning results show that students are going elsewhere to express their views and to learn about different ideas from others. More than 47 per cent of students said they felt more comfortable expressing their views on social media than at university, and 58 per cent of students said they were exposed to new ideas on social media more than they were at university. Almost 45 per cent said that social media played a bigger role in shaping their views than what they learned at university.

This raises serious questions about the diminishing relevance of universities for students who are keen to be exposed to diverse opinions, so keen that they are seeking out other platforms for different ideas.

The learning environment at universities is letting down young male students in particular. The survey results reveal a consistent gender gap between male and female students when it comes to feeling free to express views. Most concerning, 44 per cent of male students (compared with 23 per cent of female students) said they had been made to feel uncomfortable by their university teacher for expressing their views, and 47 per cent of young male students (compared with 38 per cent of young female students) said they sometimes felt unable to express their views at university.

Time to bury another myth, then: the one about boys hogging discussion in the lecture theatre and in the tutorial room. Maybe this sharp gender gap should be no surprise given a recent workshop at the University of Melbourne where organisers wanted white male students, and anyone who looked like a Liberal voter, to remain silent in tutorials. It turns out that the students wrapped in their identity politics on campus didn’t need to make that demand because many boys are self-censoring. It hardly needs pointing out — or maybe it does today — that this kind of self-censorship is not a healthy learning environment for male or female students.

The IPA’s survey also explains why Jordan Peterson is a cultural rock star among young men. The gender gap is pronounced when it comes to those students who feel more comfortable expressing their views on social media (56 per cent of male students compared with 41 per cent of female students), and those who say they are exposed to more new ideas on social media than at university (65 per cent of male students compared with 54 per cent of female students).

Young male students are disproportionately looking elsewhere for a more diverse range of opinions, and for a space where they can express their own views. Again, this should be no surprise given the phenomenal popularity of long-form podcasts and YouTube conversations, by left-liberals such as Dave Rubin to more conservative ones such as Peterson and Ben Shapiro.

The terrific news is that students don’t have short concentration spans when they are listening to views that challenge the orthodoxy. In fact, the next generation of leaders, teachers, lawyers, scientists and engineers want to learn; this survey shows they are hungry for ideas.

What an indictment on the university sector in this country that these students, especially young men on campus, rely on social media, not their own campus, to challenge their views and, ultim­ately, to form their opinions. And don’t imagine these findings are akin to a young conservative man feeling stifled in the audience of the ABC’s Q&A. The gender gap uncovered by this survey is reflected among young male students across all political persuasions. In other words, the lack of free speech on campus transcends politics.

It is also clear that open intellectual inquiry is unhealthy across university faculties, not just in arts and humanities. Among the 500 students, 234 students are studying science and technology, and 40 per cent of them said their teachers sometimes unnecessarily inserted political content into their courses. These areas should be the least political. But again, are we surprised? After all, James Cook University unlawfully sacked esteemed physics professor Peter Ridd for asking questions that challenged the climate change orth­odoxy on campus.

And these findings are only slightly below the percentage of all students, 45 per cent of whom said university teachers sometimes unnecessarily inserted political content into their courses.

Speaking at the National Press Club on Wednesday, federal Education Minister Dan Tehan announced his plan to work with the university sector to collect student feedback on diversity of opinions on campus and whether students felt empowered to voice nonconformist views. “I believe universities want to know if students and staff are afraid to discuss certain topics,” Tehan said. We can test that by watching how university vice-chancellors respond to the IPA’s findings.

Their reaction to the French report into the state of free speech released in April points to disheartening default settings: they told us they were committed to free speech; that any other suggestion would be ludicrous because they were universities after all; then they did nothing to explore what in fact was happening on campus. Worse, they turned their noses up at evidence collected by others. By not mentioning the French report they prayed it would go away and, when pushed to respond, they grabbed one titbit — a line from the report that said there was no free speech “crisis” — so they could quickly resume normal programming even though French made clear there were problems around free speech that universities must confront.

Like a recalcitrant child, some VCs eventually signalled they would consider adopting some version of French’s model code on free speech. Even then, as French noted, adopting a code is no substitute for changing the university’s culture.

For example, following a Senate estimates inquiry late last year, Sydney University vice-chancellor Michael Spence was reported as being “galled” that Liberal senator Amanda Stoker prised from federal education bureaucrats a new-found focus to hold univer­sities accountable for obligations they have under the law to be ­places of free intellectual inquiry.

This latest research by the IPA shows those laws are not working.

Yet, in response to Stoker’s line of questioning, Spence told one newspaper: “Have you ever heard of a more shocking waste of public funds?” Yes. Last year $17.5 billion was provided to universities by taxpayers, many of whom have not been to university. How extraordinary that it needs saying, let alone enforcing, that each university drawing on public funds should be an oasis of free intellectual inquiry, offering a range of diverse and challenging opinions, so that fee-paying students don’t need to go elsewhere to feel comfortable expressing their views.

The days of university vice-chancellors paying lip service to free speech are coming to an abrupt end. As evidence mounts, with more people, including students, contesting the ability of universities to be places of genuine learning, taxpayers should expect university funding to be strictly tied to their ability to foster diversity of opinions. That we need such measures at all, and given the history of intransigence among university VCs, we also need to start planning for the next phase of learning, offering new avenues for higher education and deciding whether universities should be publicly funded at all.