Friday, September 13, 2019

Left-wing principal of DC school fails to protect Trump-supporting student

The principal of a high-performing magnet high school located in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, D.C. has jeopardized the safety of one of his students because of her support for President Trump.

Jayne Zirkle, a senior at School Without Walls High School, known as "Walls," will spend the rest of the school year taking classes online.  The severity of threats and harassment coming from her classmates has made it impossible for her to attend the public school without fear of physical harm.

When Zirkle went to D.C. public school leaders, including the principal of Walls, Richard Trogisch, she presented them with 200 pages of evidence outlining harassment, threats, and cyber-bullying from fellow students.

Zirkle told One America News reporter Neil McCabe that officials were not sympathetic, stating that "it would all blow over in a couple of weeks."  Incredibly, she also was informed by those at the meeting that some of the "things these kids were saying were arrestable but not actually suspendable."

Various videos posted on YouTube reveal to my eyes that Walls is an indoctrination camp for future hardcore socialist voters with zero tolerance for anyone who dares to dissent.

Zirkle never had a chance at this school once the student body of almost 600, their activist teachers, and the principal became aware of her political beliefs.

In 2012, Mr. Trogisch marched with his Walls students in support of Trayvon Martin

In 2017 and 2018, unlike his flippant disregard for the hate directed at Miss Zirkle, Principal Trogisch went into action when swastikas and other "hateful paraphernalia" showed up in the school's bathrooms.  The Walls principal contacted the Metropolitan Police Department to investigate the matter.

As with so many of these incidents, the person or persons responsible were never caught, but the Anti-Defamation League, led by Obama's former special adviser, Jonathan Greenblatt, quickly came to the rescue, advising the school to use the event as "a teachable moment."  ADL became a member of the school's advisory board, meeting with students to discuss inclusion, diversity, and equality as essential in improving the overall climate of the school.

The swastika incident prompted Mr. Trogisch to send an urgent letter home to parents:

I wanted to inform you of this incident and assure you that acts of hate will not be tolerated. At School Without Walls, we remain committed to ensuring that our campus is a safe space for learning and achievement for all students regardless of race or religion.

Mr. Trogisch apparently does not tolerate "acts of hate" unless they are directed at Jayne Zirkle, a future Trump voter.  His own political leanings seem to keep him and the students he incites comfortably within the School Without Walls while an innocent student with different views is denied the same safe space afforded to the Trump-haters.  To date, no student has been arrested, expelled, or suspended for threatening and harassing Miss Zirkle.  Why would they be?  They are simply doing what the Democrat politicians and their minions like Trogisch want them to do.


Memo to Teachers Unions: Charter Schools Clearly Benefit Students

When Morgan Waldrop started high school, academics weren’t much of a priority. “It wasn’t even a goal of mine to be at the top of my class,” Waldrop says. But when she became pregnant, her goals changed. “Focusing on my schoolwork was focusing on my son so that I could provide a future for him,” she says.

Starting in her junior year, Waldrop switched to Odyssey Online Learning, a virtual charter school in South Carolina. The flexible schedule allowed her to care for her baby and stay on top of her studies. “I locked in when I got to Odyssey,” she says. “It was exactly what I needed.”

Sure enough, Waldrop graduated as valedictorian last year.

Around the country, 7,000 charter schools–public schools that typically operate independently from traditional school districts–are serving students from all walks of life and make up the fastest-growing sector of our nation’s public school system.

Some charter schools resemble district schools and have traditional school days. Others, like Odyssey, provide instruction online. Still others offer combination online and in-person classrooms.

Charter schools have the flexibility to offer unconventional teaching methods without the bureaucratic oversight of traditional districts and burdensome teacher-union contracts. In exchange, these schools operate with more transparency to parents and taxpayers. State officials can close charter schools that don’t meet academic goals or show clean financial audits each year.

These learning options have attracted the ire of unions. A recent Wall Street Journal column by a teachers union member in Los Angeles claimed charter schools’ success is an illusion because they have “admission policies [that] exclude low-performing students.”

That was not the case with Waldrop’s charter school. Of her situation, Odyssey’s principal said simply, “With all of our students, life happens.”

Other charters have waiting lists and must admit students by lottery. New York City’s charter school lottery was made famous in the 2010 documentary “Waiting for Superman.”

These schools are helping students across the U.S. A 2009 study of charter schools in New York City found that students outperformed their district school peers in math and reading. Researchers found similar results in Boston among charter schools that admit students by lottery.

In 2011, Mathematica researchers found positive outcomes across 15 states for students from low-income families attending inner-city charter schools with these admissions practices.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, charter schools are more likely to have higher concentrations of minority students than traditional schools, and a higher percentage of charter schools are considered high-poverty than traditional schools.

The Journal columnist claimed district schools need more money to succeed, but the charter school student achievement described above came at a discount.

In large cities such as New York and Los Angeles, charter schools receive an average of $5,800 less per child than district schools, according to a recent University of Arkansas study. In fact, in The Journal contributor’s home city of Los Angeles, the funding gap between traditional schools, and charter schools widened from 2003 to 2016.

A survey that has tracked public opinion on parent choice in education for more than a decade finds increasing support for charter schools. Interestingly, this year’s survey found a sharp increase in the support from teachers.

According to LA School Report, charter school enrollment in California has increased by 100,000 students over the past five years as the state’s total public school enrollment has decreased.

This is great news for children and families because a 2014 study of Los Angeles charter schools found that, on average, charter students “gain an additional 50 days of learning in reading and an additional 79 days of learning in math” compared with students in the district’s traditional schools.

As for Waldrop, a charter school offered her a second chance, and she grabbed it. Union leaders should stop throwing stones at charter schools and join in the applause for any school that helps students succeed.


Australia: Education review ‘like a slow-moving train wreck’: academic

Leftist teachers want an easier ride and HATE being held accountable

The latest review of NAPLAN has been labelled as a “Trojan horse” for a push to undermine independent objective testing of Australian students, which could further erode academic standards.

Australian Catholic University research fellow, Kevin Donnelly, who also co-authored the most recent major review of the national curriculum, expressed concerns that the three states behind the review were being used by forces seeking to move away from standardised testing altogether.

“The review of NAPLAN, obviously by NSW, Victoria and Queensland, is a Trojan horse that will further standards and outcomes and ensure the continued underperformance of Australian students,” Dr Donnelly said. “It’s like watching a slow-moving train wreck.”

The three states have budgeted $1 million for the review after the Council of Australian Governments Education Council knocked back NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell’s request in June for a national review.

Ms Mitchell and Victoria’s Education Minister James Merlino have both insisted that they support standardised testing, but that NAPLAN was no longer fit for purpose.

“NAPLAN has been in place since 2008, and given the ever-changing nature of the education landscape, both nationally and within states and territories, it is important we assess and consider how we can use a diagnostic test to better support our students,” Ms Mitchell said.

Dr Donnelly said that the review had coincided with a push to develop a new model for schooling, which has been enabled by the latest Gonski education review, whereby students would no longer grouped in classes according to age and where assessment would focus on improvement rather than achievement against independent benchmarks.

He likened the model to running a 100m running race, where instead of awarding medals to those who finished first, second and third, the prize went to the runner who clocked a personal best, regardless of where they finished.

Centre for Independent Studies research fellow Blaise Joseph said there was nothing wrong with the states reviewing NAPLAN so long as it didn’t duplicate the work of five previous reviews.

“For example, the public reporting of NAPLAN results and the transition to online testing have already been reviewed. It would be a waste of time and money if the review goes down this path,” Mr Joseph said.

“NAPLAN isn’t perfect. But the transparency and accountability that NAPLAN provides are absolutely vital, so the focus must be on improving the tests, rather than scrapping them altogether. If the review does this, then it could actually add value.”

Mr Joseph said the review should focus on how to improve the quality of the tests.

“In particular, the NAPLAN national minimum standards appear to be set far too low, especially when compared to international test standards. And NAPLAN can definitely be better aligned with the Australian curriculum.

“But it’s really important that in the meantime states and territories continue to work on getting better results. Reviewing how literacy and numeracy are measured is no substitute for actually improving how literacy and numeracy are taught.”

Federal Minister for Education Dan Tehan called on the three states to “stop obsessing about the NAPLAN test and start obsession about the NAPLAN results”.

“Which would mean focusing on improving literacy and numeracy “.

Preliminary results from the 2019 NAPLAN tests, which were released in August, show average national student scores across most age groups and domains have barely budged since testing began more than a decade ago.

Of particular concern is that pockets of improvement observed in primary school — including Year 3 reading, spelling and grammar and Year 5 reading, spelling and numeracy — are not sustained in secondary school.


Thursday, September 12, 2019

If California Relies on Obama School Discipline Policy, It Will Put Students at Risk

California legislators seek to expand a law that limits a teacher’s ability to keep order in the classroom.

Surveys find opposition to such loosened policies, and research demonstrates that ideas such as these may put students at risk and even limit student achievement. The provisions also dredge up painful questions about the relationship between recent school shootings and student discipline policies.

Under the proposal (SB 419) that legislators passed and sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom for his signature, California schools may not suspend students in grades 4 through 8 for having “disrupted school activities or otherwise willfully defied the valid authority” of school personnel.

The measure also amends existing law to say that educators cannot expel high school students on these grounds, and applies all of the new provisions to charter schools as well as regular public schools. Existing law already limits the use of suspension for students in grades K-3.

Research finds that such policies can be harmful to students. Studies from Florida and Philadelphia found that leaving troubled or disruptive students in a classroom is related to negative academic outcomes for the peers of offending students.

Media reports point to data showing that minority students in California are suspended for “defiance” at higher rates than their peers. Advocates of the change say these disparities are enough reason to limit the ways in which teachers and school officials address student misconduct.

However, research has not determined the causes for these disparities and has found other ethnic and gender differences in student discipline.

For example, a 2017 study of North Carolina schools found that black boys were less likely to be suspended by black teachers, but researchers said the data did not allow them to determine why. Others have pointed to national data showing that white students are disciplined more than Asian students, and that teachers discipline boys more than girls.

Variables such as violence in a student’s neighborhood or home also could be contributing factors to why some students act out more than others.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Mathematica Policy Research have suggested violent neighborhoods or gang activity concentrated in urban areas could be involved. They said “the greater frequency of violations among minority students could be caused by factors outside of the school’s purview, such as more exposure to poverty, crime, and life trauma resulting from residential and economic inequality.”

In 2016 and 2018, nationally representative surveys administered by Education Next found that more than half of respondents opposed school district policies limiting suspension and expulsion.

This topic has garnered more attention because of the school discipline policy in place when a former student took the lives of 17 students and teachers in February 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Education officials in Broward County, which includes Parkland, had instituted a policy that limited teachers’ and other educators’ ability to suspend or expel students—similar to the California proposal.

Heritage Foundation research last year showed that the Parkland tragedy involved individual and institutional lapses at more than one public agency, but Broward County’s school discipline policy kept turning up during the course of investigations into the causes and ensuing recommendations.

And because Broward County’s policy resembled—perhaps even inspired—Obama-era policy on school discipline, proposals to limit a teacher’s choices over how to manage his classroom deserve rigorous evaluation.

Last December, the Trump administration rescinded federal school discipline policy limiting suspensions and expulsions.

Former California Gov. Jerry Brown, like Newsom a Democrat, more than once vetoed legislation similar to the bill sent to his successor. In his 2018 veto letter, Brown wrote: “Teachers and principals are on the front lines educating our children and are in the best position to make decisions about order and discipline in the classroom. That’s why I vetoed a similar bill in 2012.”

The Federal Commission on School Safety’s final report last December recommending the rescission of the Obama administration policies had a similar analysis:

“Teachers are often best positioned to identify and address disorderly conduct at school,” the report said. “They have an understanding of the students entrusted to their care and can see behavioral patterns on an ongoing basis.”

California’s governor and lawmakers should reconsider teacher and school leaders’ efforts to protect children. Limits such as these on an educator’s ability to choose how to maintain order in the classroom puts all students at risk.


The Rise of the Comfort College

At American universities, personal grievances are what everyone's talking about.

By Steven B. Gerrard

Last year, in the fall of 2018, I tried to stand up for campus free speech.

A small group of faculty at Williams College in Massachusetts, where I teach philosophy, had circulated a petition to have our institution sign a national pledge of allegiance to principles of free expression that originated at the University of Chicago. Over 50 colleges and universities, including Princeton and the Citadel, had already adopted the mainstream liberal principles, protecting both speakers and protesters.

I was cautiously optimistic. Like many liberal arts colleges, Williams had gone through a free-speech crisis — and survived. In 2016, our then-president canceled a talk from a conservative writer (the first presidential cancellation since 1865, when Ralph Waldo Emerson was barred from speaking on campus); he also ordered that a mural of the school’s founder be temporarily boarded over because of objections to its depiction of Native Americans.

In response to these actions and the uproar that followed, I decided, as an old-fashioned liberal, to teach a course called “Free Speech and Its Enemies.” It proved to be a good decision. When the semester began, most of the students were willing to censor almost anything they didn’t like. By the end of the semester, the consensus was eminently reasonable: Of course we shouldn’t censor or cancel anyone; we just have to work to maximize the educational mission of all our events.

What caused the change? A semester’s worth of readings, from John Stuart Mill to selected Facebook posts, as well as speakers representing a multitude of perspectives, and serious and civil class discussion. My students came to see that free speech protects everyone, especially the oppressed, and includes those who share their leftist views.

So it was with all this in mind that I went into a faculty meeting to present the free-expression “pledge” with the idea that we would have a productive discussion. Then reality hit.

As I stepped up to the lectern in one of the college’s elegant Federal-style halls, students marched into the room, bearing a letter naming me an “Enemy of the People.”

In the spirit of liberal openness, I read their letter aloud. This is what it said: “‘Free Speech,’ as a term, has been co-opted by right-wing and liberal parties as a discursive cover for racism, xenophobia, sexism, anti-semitism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, and classism.” The letter reserved special scorn for liberalism: “Liberal ideology asserts that morality is logical — that dehumanizing ideas can be fixed with logic and therefore need to be debated.” But, it added, “dehumanization cannot be discussed away.”

The letter finished, I started to reply. But a group of younger faculty in the front row demanded that I be quiet and let the students speak. And the students did. They had almost nothing to say about free speech; instead, they testified to the indignities they suffered at Williams. The dean of the college, who was in attendance, praised the students for their passion.

And so began Williams College’s annus horribilis, a year marked by protests, marches, threats and demands — everything but rational argument. A significant number of faculty not only supported this, but also instigated it. And the administration? Its response was to appoint a committee consisting of faculty, staff and students. Since “free speech” was now a dirty phrase, it was called “the Ad Hoc Committee on Inquiry and Inclusion.”

The year pretty much went downhill from there.


Liberty University Officials Turn on Jerry Falwell Jr., Exposing Corruption

Jerry the son is a real estate tycoon, unlike Jerry senior, the founder

On Monday, Liberty University alumnus Brandon Ambrosino published a mammoth expose into Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. Officials at the school spoke on condition of anonymity, revealing business dealings that allegedly benefitted Falwell and his family, embarrassing episodes Falwell attempted to cover up, and political activism unbefitting a non-profit university.

"We’re not a school; we’re a real estate hedge fund," a senior university official with inside knowledge of Liberty’s finances told Politico. "We’re not educating; we’re buying real estate every year and taking students’ money to do it."

Ambrosino reported having interviewed members of the college's board of trustees, along with senior university officials and rank-and-file staff members who work closely with the president. "They are reluctant to speak out—there’s no organized, open dissent to Falwell on campus—but they said they see it as necessary to save Liberty University and the values it once stood for," the alumnus wrote. He added that all his sources consider themselves conservative and many are strong Trump supporters.

When the reporter reached out to interview officials for his Politico story, Liberty's attorney sent an email to board members. "All trustees sign a confidentiality agreement that does not expire at the close of Board service."

Sources described a school run by Falwell with an iron fist. "It’s a dictatorship," one current high-level employee said. "Nobody craps at the university without Jerry’s approval."

When Jerry Falwell, Sr. — founding pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church, the founder of Liberty University in 1971, and a co-founder of the Moral Majority in 1979 — passed away, his sons Jerry Falwell, Jr. took over the university while Jonathan Falwell followed his father's footsteps to lead Thomas Road Baptist Church. Slowly, Jerry Falwell, Jr. pushed his brother aside and emerged as his father's heir in the Religious Right.

"Jerry never removed Jonathan," a former top Liberty official told Politico. "He just kind of pushed him aside." Jerry used Liberty's resources to consolidate control over his late father's properties. "He bought all the [Thomas Road Baptist Church] properties, [Liberty Christian Academy], Jonathan’s building at the airport, and a couple of others. Jonathan complained but never stood up to [Jerry] because he knew [Jerry] controlled the purse strings."

Liberty has flourished under the younger Falwell. When he took over in 2007, the school listed $259 million in assets on its most recent IRS Form 990. By the June 2017 filing, its assets had surpassed $2.5 billion. That number has increased to more than $3 billion, according to Falwell's public statements in 2018.

The Politico article alleges that Falwell used that massive wealth to benefit himself and his family. In July 2012, Falwell sent an email notifying university executives that his son, Trey Falwell, would be "starting a new company to do the management" of properties owned by the school.

"It raises red flags to have your kids being able to profit off the activities of the organization," Philip Hackney, an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh Law School who specializes in taxation and nonprofit management, told Politico.

University officials told Politico that Trey Falwell is a silent shareholder in Comeback Inn LLC, which owns the LaQuinta near Liberty University. In a December 2018 affidavit, Falwell Jr. described Comeback's owner as his "partner in ... real estate ventures in Virginia." Emails reviewed by Ambrosino "show that on at least one occasion, university employees were asked to promote the LaQuinta on the school’s website—what several current and former high-ranking Liberty officials and employees described as part of a process where the school 'funnels business' to the hotel."

Officials also recounted Liberty loaning money to the Falwells' friends. In 2014, the university gave at least $200,000 in loans to Prototype Tourism LLC, a "destination marketing" company founded by Liberty grad Josh Oppenheimer, whom Falwell Jr. described as "a friendly supporter." Trey Falwell said he was "not surprised" when Oppenheimer struggled to repay the loans.

In 2013, Robert Moon, a friend of Falwell's, founded Construction Management Associates Inc., a construction company devoted to work on and around campus. Liberty gave Moon a loan of $750,000 to form the company before awarding it more than $130 million in contracts and selling it land owned by the university. Liberty officials complained about CMA becoming the school's go-to contractor — previously, the school bid out its construction work.

Charles Spence, the school's then-vice president of planning and construction, sent an email to Falwell expressing concern "about cost control on all the projects" after CMA took over.

In June 2013, the year CMA was formed, Falwell shared a photo on Instagram showing him, his wife Becki, and his son Trey joining Moon for a cruise down the James River on Moon's private boat. Falwell admitted joining Moon on his boat "about five or six times," but claimed that "these afternoon outings did not cause me to lose my negotiation skills or abandon my fiduciary duties to enter into deals in the interest of the University."

On July 23, 2013, Liberty University began renting space to Ben Crosswhite for use as a fitness center. "The facility was specifically built into the old Racket Club for Jerry and Becki to train privately" with Crosswhite, a longtime university official familiar with the arrangement told Politico. While the trainer worked with Falwell and his wife, Liberty began to pay for expensive upgrades to the facility. Eventually, in 2015, Falwell had a university executive draft a proposal for Liberty to sell the property to Crosswhite at a discount, paying him up front for Liberty’s use of the facility for the next seven years.

An official said no one else was allowed to bid on the property. Randy Smith, the school's vice president and chief operating officer, insisted that this deal was nothing out of the ordinary. "It is VERY common practice for the university to dispose of an asset that is in financial and operational distress … especially if it can do it in a fashion that is advantageous to the university. To accomplish that while still making the facility available for the university to use is what most would consider to be a win-win situation."

Falwell emphatically denied having personally benefitted from contractor work. "I have not personally benefited financially from CMA’s or any other contractor’s work for Liberty University nor has any member of my family," he told Politico.

Yet perhaps the more damaging allegations involve claims about Falwell's personal behavior and attempts to cover it up.

On July 19, 2014, Swedish DJ John Dahlbäck performed at Wall, a nightclub in Miami Beach, Fla. The club's photographer took shots of the party, and a photo appears to have captured Jerry Falwell, Jr. in the crowd. Other photos showed that his son Trey had attended the party.

Such a photo would be extremely embarrassing for Falwell, the president of a conservative Christian college that frowns upon co-ed dancing and prohibits the consumption of alcohol (which can get students expelled). Liberty staffers told Politico that Falwell went to John Gauger to downgrade the photos' prominence on Google searches.

Falwell emphatically denied the existence of any photo showing him at the club. "There was no picture snapped of me at WALL nightclub or any other nightclub," he wrote. He further insisted, "I never asked anyone to get rid of any pictures on the internet of me and I never have seen the picture you claim is of me below. If the person in the picture is me, it was likely photo-shopped."

Whether or not the photo was genuine, Gauger's position at Liberty is fascinating. He has worked at the school since earning his MBA there in 2009. In 2016, he was promoted to become the school's chief information officer, after having been previously named deputy CIO. Several university officials described Gauger's rise as perplexing.

"I’m not being disrespectful, but John was a nobody," one longtime Liberty official said. "And the next thing you know, he’s high up in IT."

Sources described Gauger as a sort of fixer for Falwell, promoted because he would obey the president's orders without complaint.

Gauger is not only a Liberty official — he also runs RedFinch LLC, an online business he founded in 2009 to offer search-engine marketing work. Tax records show Liberty paid RedFinch $123,950 during 2016. In August 2013, Falwell asked Gauger to defend him personally in the comments section of a local news article. "I'm having my RedFinch guys blow this up right away," Gauger responded in an email.

Longtime Liberty employees told Politico it is extremely unusual for university employees to be allowed to own and run side businesses that do contract work for the school. "I’ve always had a problem with RedFinch because there never was any clear and distinct lines, one former Liberty employee said. "You can’t work at Liberty 8-5 on the clock and get paid from somebody else for the same hours."

Early this year, the Wall Street Journal reported that as Donald Trump was preparing the ground for a presidential campaign, Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen hired Gauger to manipulate online polls in Trump's favor. Liberty University sources told Politico that Trey Falwell joined Gauger for his trip to New York to collect payment from Cohen. Trey posted a now-deleted photo on Instagram showing around $12,000 in cash spread on a bed.

"The idiot posted [a picture of] money on a bed?!" one current senior Liberty official said. "Why do that if you’re not involved with it?"

This past May, Reuters reported that Cohen helped Falwell contain the fallout from some racy "personal" photos. Falwell attacked the report as "not accurate," insisting that "there are no compromising or embarrassing photos of me."

Yet longtime Liberty officials close to Falwell told Politico that the university president has shown or texted his male confidants photos of his wife in provocative and sexual poses. One official said Falwell is "very, very vocal" about his "sex life." One senior Liberty official who had since left the school described a car ride about ten years ago. "All he wanted to talk about was how he would nail his wife, how she couldn't handle [his penis size], and stuff of that sort." Falwell refused to comment on this car ride.

In one case, Falwell shared a photo of his wife wearing what appeared to be a French maid costume, according to a longtime Liberty official. The president intended to send the image to Crosswhite as a "thank you" for helping his wife achieve her fitness goals. Yet he accidentally sent the message to several other people, leading to the need for a cleanup.

Falwell denied this incident. "I never had any picture of Becki Falwell dressed in a French maid uniform, and never sent such a non-existent photo to Ben Crosswhite," he said.

In addition to the connection with rigging online polls for Trump, the Politico article also addressed the sale of t-shirts and baseball caps emblazoned with Trump's name in big letters for the 2017 Liberty University commencement. Falwell insisted that Liberty profited from selling the merchandise, but Eve Borenstein, an attorney and tax expert, said, "a 501(c)(3) organization cannot be selling those shirts or gifting space to someone selling t-shirts with a candidate's name on it, since that is advertising for a candidate."

Falwell has also rescheduled school events so that students could participate in local elections.

In tweets about his position, the Liberty president said on Twitter, "I have never been a minister. UVA-trained lawyer and commercial real estate developer for 20 yrs. Univ president for last 12 years-student body tripled to 100000+/endowment from 0 to $2 billion and $1.6B new construction in those 12 years. The faculty, students and campus pastor @davidnasser of @LibertyU are the ones who keep LU strong spiritually as the best Christian univ in the world. While I am proud to be a conservative Christian, my job is to keep LU successful academically, financially and in athletics."

In other words, Falwell Jr. does not consider his position a trust of spiritual leadership, despite his role leading a conservative Christian college and his national profile in the Religious Right. This is a considerable departure from his father's legacy.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Our Colleges Need to Cultivate Critical Thinking, Scrap Radical Left Conformity

With the rising acceptance of socialism and “social justice” in America, campuses have become ground zero for truly radical socialist indoctrination.

Back-to-school on America’s college campuses can be an exciting time for parents and students alike. But if your college freshman comes home for Thanksgiving Break and you no longer recognize the person you dropped off just three months prior, that excitement may turn to shock, or even anger.

Sure, Tommy might have learned some valuable concepts in chemistry, literature, and history. But he may also have learned identity politics, that most people are racist, and to blame America for most of the world’s problems – from “climate change” to wars to depleting too many natural resources. Perhaps you’ll hear him telling his friends how he now hates capitalism and how we would all fare better under socialism.

It’s no secret that colleges have been bastions of liberalism for years, but with the rising acceptance of socialism and “social justice” in America, campuses have become ground zero for truly radical socialist indoctrination.

Even the best of parents who taught their kids to be critical thinkers can be shocked when those kids come home after months of leftist programming. Some young people are able to resist the pressure to conform, but others can’t. For many students, college can mean that they’re the targets of speech codes, bullying by other students, and intimidation by professors. Many times, campus administrators just stand by silently, or worse, enforce the radicalism.

It’s healthy for students to be challenged at college and be exposed to new ideas. What’s not healthy is to be berated, intimidated, or coerced into adopting an ideology that goes against their very core principles.

Recently, a friend of mine accompanied her son to freshman orientation at a state university. During the orientation, she and other parents grew increasingly uncomfortable as several campus speakers got up and introduced themselves not only by their names and titles but also by the pronouns that they preferred to be called. She noticed that the new students’ nametags also listed their preferred pronouns. This was an effort to accommodate those students who were transgender, undecided about their gender, or “fluid” between genders.

She was so shocked by what she saw that she wrote an article about it to try to warn other parents. She made it clear that she wasn’t casting aspersions on transgendered people and felt compassion for those with gender dysphoria. Rather, she was calling out university officials for pushing what they knew was a highly charged issue on an entire new class of students.

In response, the far-left began assailing her and her son with hateful and violent threats, posted her son’s name and photo on social media, and threatened to bully him on campus.

Recent polling by the Knight Foundation shows that more than two-thirds of college students – including both Democratic- and Republican-leaning students – say the campus climate prevents them from expressing their true opinions for fear of offending their classmates. This polling reinforces what many people already knew: that it’s a minority on campus, enabled by faculty and administrators, who are creating this environment for everyone else.

The polling also shows that, despite the fact that so many students feel they can’t speak up, 46 percent are still inclined to eliminate free speech on campus in favor of promoting an “inclusive and welcoming society.” That’s a frightening statistic. Contrary to the claims of the far-left, that doesn’t promote an open-minded learning environment, but rather conformity to the most radical tenets of leftism.

Going to college has such an incredible impact on our children’s futures that each time I found out I was pregnant, it was one of the things I prayed for on behalf of my children. I prayed that they would attend colleges that could help them open the doors to knowledge, grow as people, and prepare for fulfilling careers.

Even back then, I didn’t understand the degree of influence someone’s choice of college would have in his or her life. Over 40 years later, in today’s society, that influence is even more dramatic. That’s why we can’t just sit on our hands and let this indoctrination and bullying continue.

As parents and taxpayers who are turning our kids over to these schools and paying the lion’s share of college costs, it’s incumbent upon us to contact our legislators and school administrators and demand better of these institutions – not only for the benefit of our students and their education, but for the very future of our civil society.


Macalester College: Liberal Arts or Monoculture?

Macalester College is a small (2,000-plus students), highly regarded, and very selective liberal arts college in St. Paul, Minnesota. It is proud of its liberal reputation and international outlook, and touts as past faculty vice presidents Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale, as well as undergraduate Kofi Anan, previous head of the United Nations. Macalester boasts a student to faculty ratio of 10:1, an average class size of 17, and ranks 26th-best among liberal arts colleges according to U.S. News and World Report.

Yet on a recent visit to the school, this Macalester alum discovered troubling evidence that should challenge that ranking.

Like many colleges, Macalester holds an “Alumni Weekend” in the first few days of June, where alumni are welcomed back to campus to renew friendships, hear inspirational news of their alma mater, and perhaps step up their donations. Among the many speeches, seminars, and discussions was one on political correctness, in which I was scheduled to participate. But first I had to examine the “PC” culture at the college so I would have a sound basis for my remarks.

I have long suspected Macalester had abandoned the “western civ” ideals we were taught in favor of multiculturalism, identity politics, and social justice, however defined. But I needed proof. Although we often witness leftist abuses at colleges similar to Macalester, I needed empirical evidence specific to Macalester.

How does one discover the intellectual climate at a college from a distant state—Arizona in my case—without spending a whole week on campus interviewing students, faculty, and administrators?

I found that it can be done, and I invite the reader to examine his own alma mater in the four areas I investigated at Macalester.

First, course offerings, course descriptions, and faculty bios are all available online by entering the college name. At Macalester, it quickly became apparent that social justice issues have a toehold in many departments, and it appears that learning objectives have been pushed aside by viewpoint objectives.

For example, American Studies students are required to partake in a “civic engagement component, (which) creates a place to engage with…racial and ethnic differences, inequality and social justice.” To do that, “students will discuss books, articles, and films on schools, prisons, and racial inequality by such authors as Angela Davis, Leonard Peltier, Joy James, and Jonathan Kozol.” Angela Davis is an avowed communist, Leonard Peltier is an American Indian activist, Joy James is a black feminist, and Jonathan Kozol is a public education radical who fiercely opposes school vouchers which are favored by 72 percent of inner-city black parents. Completely missing is any hint that students grapple with ideas that dissent from the leftist party line.

Second, look online at the student newspaper for a view of student thinking and writing. Editorials, letters to the editor, even news items in The Mac Weekly revealed a clear left-leaning bias. That is not surprising. But what’s alarming is that not once in four months of reading the paper did I see any expression of conservative or libertarian dissent from the dominant orthodoxy. One wonders if conservatives at Macalester are similarly cowed into silence in the classroom.

Third, outside speakers invited to a campus can introduce new ideas and insights to students. The list of paid, recent speakers at Macalester for the past two years totaled 14. Excluding five who were non-ideological, nine of the speakers leaned left, including Angela Davis, former official of the Communist Party, and not one leaned right. Interestingly, nine of the 14 were black, and none were white males. For a college that prides itself on diversity and inclusion, the list of speakers shows the opposite.

Fourth, what kind of clubs and organizations exist for students to join? Macalester has approximately 100, and they range from sports to politics to clubs related to each major. Of those that can be classified ideologically, 12 clearly lean left. The single one leaning right is the GOP club.

One club is titled “Feminists in Action/Students Together Against Rape and Sexual Assault.” Footnote: The entering class of 2023 was 63 percent female, and Macalester is ranked 18th in the nation for “Best LGBT Colleges by College Choice.”

The discussion group that I led, with alumni attendees of widely varying political leanings, were in general agreement that yes, Macalester students, faculty, and administrators are, and always have been, “progressive.” The evidence I presented of a leftist monoculture was not challenged, but its insidious impact was eloquently articulated by one person in particular.

Jed graduated in May and studied economics/political science. He grew up on a farm, played sports at Macalester, and graduated with honors. He said many students are afraid to speak freely in class to express conservative views and the few who do have experienced “put downs” by the majority in class discussions. Some are afraid their grades will be affected by revealing such views. As a result, free and open debate is stifled. He also stated some acquaintances “defriended” him once they learned he voted Republican.

As a Macalester graduate who treasures the classical liberal arts education I received, I despair at this lack of free and open inquiry. In my 23 years of teaching college economics, including controversial issues, teaching without bias was the assumed norm. My favorite compliment came when a student said, upon turning in his final exam, “I still can’t figure out whether you are liberal or conservative.”

College should be a time of intellectual exploration where alternative and diverse ideologies are sought out and welcomed, leading to a lifetime of open-minded learning. Instead, the elite students at Macalester seem to be encased for four years in a bubble of like-minded social justice advocacy that does not tolerate dissent. They will emerge untested, fragile, and unable to confront a post-college world of intellectual diversity.


Academia Today ‘Not for Faint-Hearted,’ Says Professor Who Lost His Job for Talking About Gender

Academia today “is not for the faint-hearted,” says a veteran professor who was head of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Louisville School of Medicine until he was demoted and then let go for making public comments on gender identity.

“You know, I really was an academic physician, not a politician. I wasn’t there with an agenda or an activist position,” Dr. Allan Josephson, who also was a professor of psychiatry, told The Daily Signal in a recent phone interview.

“And what I want to do is what I started to do years ago, [which] is practice child and adolescent psychiatry [and] do it as well as I could. And universities who have people like myself there must respect my free speech rights, regardless of what I would say.”

That’s not how it turned out for Josephson, a medical doctor in his mid-60s who previously was on the faculties of schools of medicine at the Medical College of Georgia and the University of Minnesota.

While still a division chief at the University of Louisville, he spoke in October 2017 at The Heritage Foundation as part of a panel discussion on “Gender Dysphoria in Children: Understanding the Science and Medicine.”

After hearing about his remarks, four or five fellow University of Louisville faculty members who worked with Josephson asked the university to discipline or punish him.

Seven weeks after his appearance at Heritage, university officials demoted Josephson from division chief to faculty member in the division he had headed for nearly 15 years.

Ultimately, the public university in Kentucky let him go as of June 30, after announcing in February that it would not renew his contract.

“I experienced a lot of hostility [in] my work environment, and that continued for well over a year and my contract wasn’t renewed,” Josephson told The Daily Signal, which is Heritage’s multimedia news organization. “And this was in spite of the fact that I’d had perfect marks on the two most recent performance evaluations, and my perspective was asking probing questions as part of an academic job description.”

Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal nonprofit that works to protect religious liberty, notes that Josephson “had earned perfect marks on his 2014, 2015, and 2016 annual reviews.”

The organization filed a federal lawsuit in May against University of Louisville administrators on behalf of Josephson.

“Doing those kind of things shouldn’t disqualify me for academic service,” Josephson said of the speaking engagement at Heritage. “We were allowed to do that in a university appointment. We’re encouraged to do that, to be out teaching, if you will, to the community.”

Travis Barham, legal counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, said:

When Dr. Josephson spoke at The Heritage Foundation, he simply noted, based on his research and clinical experience, that when treating children with gender dysphoria, medical professionals should first seek to understand and treat the psychological issues that often cause this confusion before pursuing more radical, aggressive treatments.

That is how other psychological issues in children are treated, let alone ones where the more radical treatments pose such grave and permanent consequences. The university made it clear that it was these views that precipitated everything that happened later.

“The university typically does not comment on pending litigation,” John R. Karman III, the school’s director of media relations, said in an email to The Daily Signal.

The case likely will be heard in court, although the University of Louisville filed a motion to dismiss a portion of it, said Tyson Langhofer, director of Alliance Defending Freedom’s Center for Academic Freedom.

Josephson, who lives in the Louisville area with his wife Jeri, said it’s important for academics who are younger than himself to have the courage to speak up.

“I had the backdrop of a successful career,” Josephson told The Daily Signal. “The challenge for many academics right now, particularly those who are younger, is that their careers could be on the line.”

“They have not been able to do all they wanted to do. And so it really is challenging, and each case is different,” he said.

Josephson maintains that those with conservative views on gender dysphoria should be able to express those views without fear of retribution.

“I can’t make any general statements,” Josephson said of the challenge, but added: “I do think, though, it is important if you feel something within you not to be silent. Find a way to express yourself, as best you can find people who might be academically open to discuss this. But this is not for the faint-hearted.”

Many universities no longer are marketplaces of ideas, he said, but instead vacuums where only one point of view is recognized and accepted.

“Universities are supposed to be places where you can exchange ideas and vigorous discussion, go back and forth,” Josephson said. “This marketplace of ideas as a metaphor is great, and that’s how science proceeds. That’s how we make progress. Unfortunately, many academic settings, including my own, are becoming more of an activist setting—meaning you’re not testing ideas, promoting the results of research; you’re asking for someone to agree with you, essentially.”

Josephson cautioned that universities need to stop being about groupthink and instead embrace debate and differences of opinion.

“Tolerance is a two-way street; you’ve got to go back and forth,” he said. “That’s what universities are.”


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

New NYC teachers given book with essay titled ‘Dear White Teacher’

A cadre of newly hired teachers will report to city schools this week following orientation sessions where they were given a book that includes an essay titled “Dear White Teacher,” The Post has learned.

But unlike the Department of Education’s controversial “implicit bias” training — which, among other lessons, tells teachers that “racial equity” requires favoring black students over whites — the essay’s message is that white instructors should stop being afraid to discipline black students.

Essay author Chrysanthius Lathan blasts white teachers who she says routinely send minority students to “teachers of color” for discipline — because they’re scared of being called racist.

“My strength in the classroom does not come from my racial identity, and neither does yours,” wrote Lathan, a former teacher in Portland, Oregon, who now works as an educational consultant.

“It comes from the way we treat — and what we expect from — kids and families. It is time for you to take back the power in your classroom.”

Lathan also gives blunt advice to the white teachers she says “live in fear of their good faith actions being labeled as racist.”

“You need to find that bone in your body that tends to recoil when it comes time to deal with people of color —- and purposely straighten it back out,” she wrote.

By contrast, the $23 million, “implicit bias” training mandated by schools Chancellor Richard Carranza included consultant Darnisa Amante’s justification that a middle-class black student would “have less access and less opportunities” over the course of a lifetime than a poor white classmate, according to sources who heard her say it.

A veteran Queens teacher said DOE educators were getting “a lot of mixed messages.”

“On the one hand, we’re told that we have these implicit biases that we need to work on to get rid of,” the teacher said.

“And on the other hand, certain teachers are told that race is incredibly important in everything we do. It’s like: don’t focus on race, but focus on race.”

“Dear White Teacher” is among more than 50 essays in “The New Teacher Book,” a 324-page manual published by Rethinking Schools, a Milwaukee-based nonprofit.

Copies of the $24.95 paperback were included in some of the tote bags given to the 2,700 new teachers who attended two days of orientation last week ahead of Thursday’s start of the 2019-20 school year.

Several readings take aim at traditional measures of learning, with titles including “Time to Get Off the Testing Train,” “Beyond Test Scores” and “My Dirty Little Secret: I Don’t Grade Student Papers.”

There are also repeated attacks on charter schools — which purportedly pose a “fundamental threat to the hope of sustaining a multicultural democracy” — and sections that urge new teachers to get involved in their unions and join activist groups.

A veteran city educator who took part in last week’s orientation sessions was outraged that the book was distributed, saying it was “of no practical use.”

A DOE spokesman said the book contained “valuable strategies for new teachers and received positive reviews from several leading educators,” but also maintained that “its views represent the book’s authors, not the DOE.”


White children fall to joint bottom place in British Sats, official figures show

When compared with immigrant children

White children have fallen to joint bottom place in Sats, official figures show. 

Figures released by the Department for Education show that 64 per cent of white pupils reached the expected standard in the three R’s this year, the same proportion as black children.

More than half a million 11-year-olds across England took national curriculum tests in May.

Chinese students were the highest performing ethnic group, with 80 per cent meeting the expected standard, although they only make up one per cent of pupils taking the test. The second highest performing group is Indian children, with 76 per cent meeting the standard.

When the Government launched a new "tougher" curriculum in 2016, black children were the lowest performing ethnic group, with just over half (51 per cent) meeting the standard. But over the past four years, this has risen by 13 percentage points.

White pupils’ scores have also improved, but at a slower rate, meaning that they are now the joint bottom group with black pupils.

Professor Alan Smithers, director of Buckingham University’s centre for education and employment, said that white British families can have a “lackadaisical” approach to school.

He said that the difference in performance of ethnic groups is “down to how keenly parents feel that education is important to their children”.

Prof Smithers explained: “Many of the ethnic groups are recent arrivals to this country or first generation immigrants and the parents know from the experience of their home countries just how important education is to getting on in the world.

“Therefore they make it plain to their children that if they want to get on they really have to apply themselves in school.

“Whereas I think the white British tend to get rather complacent and comfortable in life. They assume quite falsely that the world will take care of them.”

The gap between boys and girls is getting wider, the data showed. Seven in 10 girls (70 per cent) reached the expected standard, compared to 60 per cent of their male classmates.

This is a gender gap of 10 percentage points, up from a gap of eight percentage points last year. This has been driven by a widening gap between the sexes in reading results, the Department for Education (DfE) statistics show.

Poorer pupils continue to lag behind their richer peers, the Government statistics show. In total, around half (51 per cent) of the most disadvantaged pupils achieved the expected standard across all three subjects, compared to 71 per cent of their peers from more affluent backgrounds.

Pupils who speak English as a second language are closing the gap with native speakers, the figures show.

This year the expected standard for children for whom English is their mother tongue was 65 per cent, just one percentage point ahead of their peers who speak another language at home.

Four years ago, native English speakers were four percentage points ahead, but the gap has narrowed over time.

Earlier this year, Jeremy Corbyn announced that a Labour government would scrap Sats because primary school children are “unique” and should not have to go through "extreme pressure testing".

Mr Corbyn said that children should be “encouraged to be creative” and allowed to “let their imagination roam” rather than be subjected to the "unnecessary pressure of national exams".

However, ministers said that axing Sats would cause “enormous damage” to education and undo decades of improvement in children’s numeracy and literacy.   

Nick Gibb, the schools minister, said:  “We want all pupils to leave primary school equipped with the knowledge and skills that will help them to be successful in the rest of their education and beyond – that’s why I’m pleased to see an increase in pupils reaching the very highest standards at the end of primary school.”


High School Assignment Forces Kids to Disclose Sexual Orientation, Reveals Massive Political Agenda

A high school in North Carolina is under fire for an assignment entitled "Diversity Inventory" that left students crying and parents outraged. Heritage High School English teacher Melissa Wilson gave out an assignment to her class last week that asked them to categorize themselves, their parents, their doctor, friends, and more by race, class, sexuality, and religion, among other things.

Students reported that Wilson made them go stand by a sign on the wall that correlated with their sexuality. One student called a parent during the exercise to express her discomfort with it. Another student broke down crying. North Carolina Values Coalition reports.

Students were also asked to stand up, and walk towards posters in different areas of the room that correlated with their sexual identities.  Students were traumatized. Some were even brought to tears. At this morning's meeting, one parent said that her student had been experiencing PTSD from the incident. Another student didn't attend school on Friday, and is so scared to return to Wilson's classroom environment that they told their parent they hoped the hurricane would distract everyone from this incident.

Another parent's child Facetimed them in the middle of the classroom to tell them how uncomfortable they were with the assignment. Another student had a friend who had recently shared very private information about themselves to a select number of their peers, and went white when the teacher asked students to now stand and reveal their private identities.

When the students expressed discomfort, the teacher's response was to tell them it was alright because she used to be Catholic and is now a bi-sexual atheist.

Colorado Teachers Asked to Take 'White Privilege' Survey
PJM reached out to the school for comment and was told by district Communications Director Lisa Luten that the assignment has been removed from the curriculum, but questions remain. The same assignment, without the worksheet, was used by the same teacher in February and met similar criticism. Luten claimed that the assignment had been reworked before being done again. But this go-around the outcry was even greater, resulting in a letter to parents from the principal that read in part,

At Heritage High, we value the opportunity to learn and to grow from challenges we face in teaching and encouraging constructive discussion around sensitive topics.

This week, one of our teachers conducted a classroom activity that included a worksheet titled Diversity Inventory. After learning of concerns from a parent, I reviewed the activity and resource and directed the teacher to discontinue the lesson immediately.

This particular worksheet was not a resource that was provided by our school or our school district. My team and I are committed to working together around the important classroom conversations connected to identity, culture and other sensitive topics as appropriate.

We value efforts to build a classroom community that is inclusive and respectful of all students and backgrounds. But we also must respect and value student privacy, along with their right to engage in discussion about personal identity only when they are comfortable doing so.

The North Carolina Values Coalition found that the teachers at this school district are involved in a district-sponsored program called WCPSS Equity.

This office promotes a far-left "social justice" curriculum written by the controversial anti-Christian Southern Poverty Law Center. The assignment, created by Wilson, is taken from lessons found on a website founded by the SPLC called The district also contributes to via articles written by at least one staff member, assistant superintendant of WCPSS, Rodney Trice, who wrote:

Equity work is not a one-off professional development training or an office that works in isolation. This work requires embedded and systemic shifts. Diversity, equity and inclusion must be infused within the very fabric of your organization, school or district. The transportation department needs to be operating with an equity lens just as much as an academic department, and so on. While traditional leadership is top-down, equity leadership looks more like a lattice—everyone from families to support staff to educators all the way to the school board  must be in.

A school that operates under the assumption that the fabric of the educational system must be embedded with cultural Marxism and race theory is a school that is interested in churning out nothing but politically and culturally brainwashed students. It also, by default, must necessarily target for censorship any dissenting voices. One wonders how Christian students fare in Ms. Wilson's class. (Any of you who want to speak out about it can contact me at @MeganFoxWriter on Twitter.)

The website is full of far-left propaganda, including lessons about gender that are completely unscientific and based in the far-left fantasy that biological boys can be girls and biological girls can be boys.

The site also gives away grants to schools that use their radical teaching materials.

Teaching Tolerance Educator Grants support educators who embrace and embed anti-bias principles throughout their schools. These grants, ranging from $500-$10,000, support projects that promote affirming school climates and educate youth to thrive in a diverse democracy.

Luten did not answer whether or not the school is participating in these grant programs through the SPLC. The taxpayers in this North Carolina district ought to be very concerned that their tax dollars are supporting a very organized, subversive movement operated by the district under the WCPSS equity office to infiltrate every academic subject and radicalize students to turn them into good little Democrat voters. Removing this assignment does absolutely nothing to stop the problem. Disbanding the "equity" office and cutting all ties to radical anti-Christian hate groups like the SPLC would be the best place to start rooting it out.


Sunday, September 08, 2019

The immorality of free and public education

As I travel across the United States to give talks and seminars on my books and political and moral philosophy, I am increasingly struck by the degree to which today’s college students believe that they are morally entitled to a free education. They think that this entitlement starts from the time they were born right up until the time that they graduate from college.

Since I never politicize my classroom and generally, as a rule, do not insert my political viewpoints into that space which I believe is a sacred domain where rigorous exploration and examination of great canonical figures from the Western philosophical tradition should take place, these campus visits give me ample opportunities to explore the philosophical and moral assumptions behind the idea that “free public education,” is the birthright and human right of all human beings. In a gentle but rigorous manner, I usually begin by asking students who press the issue privately with me on such visits, a few basis basic and fundamental questions. And they are:

Are the procreative choices that your parents made the moral and financial responsibility of other individuals? Or, do they not belong to your parents? When you become a legal adult at the age of eighteen are you not responsible for your own life and existence? Do we have a constitutional right to have children we cannot afford to maintain? Is it a form of child neglect to bring more children into the world than one can afford to support? When one has children, is it fair to expect one’s neighbors or compatriots to bear in the financial responsibility of raising them when they may have decided not to have any, or to have just one, or two, or just the exact number their budget can afford over the course of a lifetime?

Several students interpret the questions as hostile ones. This says more about the untrained and lugubriously sentimental nature of their sensibilities than it does about the probing nature of the questions themselves. Other students seem genuinely baffled that such questions could even be rationally presented to them. They are equally stunned that they are required to answer them. One student told a panel I was participating in that the right to a free public education from birth to college was an unassailable moral axiom, and that those who challenged such an axiom were heartless monsters.

So now we begin the question by posing it to the general public—the men and women of common sense. 

You who have sacrificed and planned your lives carefully and are already in debt and sending your own children to school, by what moral right would anyone dare tell you that you have a right to finance his or her college education? By what moral standard would anyone bring a child into the world and expect total strangers to assume the financial and moral obligation of educating that child?

Those on the far left will say that to do so is a social good. I have heard this sort of conceptual inanity repeatedly, and I have often asked for clarification. When asked what is meant by social good, left-wingers often mean “the public interest.” When asked to define the public interest, they fumble and mumble and twist themselves like linguistic pretzels into all orders of moral conundrums. Society is nothing more than the sum of each individual person. Therefore, any reference to the public good would have to first logically refer to what is the good of each individual person.

The answer to this presupposes the question: How do we know what that good is? One of the glorious achievements of this country, and one that has appealed to millions the world over, is that here we get to choose a conception of the good for ourselves. For some, it is having a family, for others it is pursuing a career or devoting one’s life to a specialized hobby, service to others, traveling—you name it.

There are as many conceptions of the good as there are persons to imagine them for themselves. And, in the United States of America, the state has no business imposing its or any conception of the good on you or deciding a priori what your conception of the good is. It leaves you free to choose your own notion of the good, so long as in doing so, you do not violate the individual rights of others. Any foisted notion of the public good on individuals means that a group of people has decided that their interests and their conception of the good should be the sum of the good of all members of society. It is an act of tyranny because it overrides your conscience and takes away your indubitable capacity to decide what the good is for you personally.

The cardinal sin of asking for anything for free in this life is that you abnegate your responsibility not just for maintaining your existence but, more importantly, of achieving your humanity. For we achieve our humanity in several ways. One is by exchanging goods and services with others. We affirm the worth of the other, and we respect the other by rewarding him or her for such services, and, in so doing, our agency is implicated in affirming our self-worth and dignity in the beautiful act of reciprocity. In reciprocity, there is a recognition of equality among each of us as individuals. Each ratifies the survival of the other through this reciprocation.

The demand for a free education is symptomatic of another moral problem in the United States. Those on the alt-left see self-reliance, initiative, and a commitment to one’s own life as, at best, hopelessly naïve—not for themselves. Oh, no, they have gotten where they are by the exercise of their own virtues. But the state apparatus and its system are so corrupt and stacked against the “marginalized” they believe, that the application of those virtues will always be possible for a Condoleezza Rice, or a Colin Powell, or an Oprah Winfrey, but not for the majority of those on whose behalf the case for free education is usually made: blacks and Hispanics in America.

The problem is that these left-wingers see grit, honor, hard work, and self-reliance as American virtues, and ones that they possess. But, more specifically, unlike, say, conservatives, who tend to be individualistic and encouraging of universal self-reliance, left-wingers see such traits as “white” characteristics. Those traits reinforce whiteness in their minds, and there is a gnawing resentment towards those blacks and others “on the margins” of society who wish to appropriate those virtues for themselves. They cease being authentic in the minds of the left. A sizable number of well-meaning, but, in the end, racist progressives, need so-called marginalized peoples to be marginalized.

The point I am making once more is that left-wingers heed the call of blacks or any espoused socio-economic need by any group with glee because it places them in a permanent position of power, and as part of a managerial class over a needy set of entitled subjects whose interests they represent. The absence of independence, and the neediness of those who regard need as a justification for the creation of a special set of rights, simply reinforce how independent, privileged, and powerful they stand in relation to their socioeconomic inferiors.

Finally, when you demand anything for free, a demand that is so un-American one can hardly take the claim seriously, you are claiming a status of such impoverishment that you are holding yourself up as an object of pity. But, unlike compassion and mercy, pity is not an American emotion at all. Pity denotes contemptuous sorrow for the misery or distress of another person. And the contempt one feels is linked to a moral vice the other harbors: an unwillingness to exercise one’s agency in the relief of that suffering; a perception on the part of the pitied that the world is hostile to one’s initiatives, and that no action is possible—at least, action that would liberate one from the condition of hopelessness one is trapped in.

To present oneself as a life-long socio-economic supplicant is morally repugnant because it requires that one becomes an active participant in the infantilization of oneself, that one permits one’s creative agency to be  expropriated by others, and,  therefore, that one effaces one’s capabilities, and that one remains locked in a concrete-bound range-of -the moment mode of existence appropriate for animals, rather than see oneself as a being who must project a long-range future for oneself and plan one’s life accordingly.

Americans find it hard to endorse such standpoints because they assume a malevolence about the American universe that is untenable and empirically false. No doors are closed forever to anyone in this great country of ours. If your ethos and character disposition are set for achievement, if your will is wedded to a resilient and tenacious spirit, perseverance guides and drives your efforts, and, further, you rid yourself of the squalid self-defeating idea that you are entitled to the financial earnings of other people—that your parents’ procreative choices are the responsibility of other people—you will find a way to make it in this country.   


UK: 'Let girls be girls, and boys be boys!': Piers Morgan stands up for protesting pupils at his former school after staff locked them out of classes ALL DAY for refusing to wear new gender neutral uniform

New policy driven by Communist thinking

Police and teachers have been criticised for locking school gates to schoolchildren who protested a new 'gender neutral' uniform policy this morning, leaving pupils to wander the streets of a Sussex town.

Angry pupils and parents protested outside the gates of Priory School in Lewes over the clothing policy for the new school year.

But teachers and Sussex Police officers locked the gates on pupils and refused admittance to girls in skirts - and according to one eyewitness officers were actually involved in selecting which students could enter and which would be barred. He said: 'It was like they were bouncers - they waved some through and stopped others.'

Piers Morgan, a Priory School alumnus, tweeted 'Let boys be boys and girls be girls' and local MP Maria Caulfield said it was 'political correctness gone mad.'

By lunchtime a group of around 50 pupils were seen wandering the streets of the town still holding their placards from the morning's protest.

Maria Caulfield MP said she would be speaking to Sussex Police chief constable Giles York and police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne. She tweeted: 'Very disturbed to see the school turning away girls from Priory school because they choose to wear a skirt and calling the police on them.  'This is not how we should be treating the young women of Lewes'.  She added: 'Calling the police on pupils is not the way forward'.

This afternoon Ms Caulfield told MailOnline: 'What has the world come to when girls in Lewes are excluded from school because they are not allowed to wear skirts.

'While I am a strong supporter of schools having a robust uniform policy, I support parents and pupils on this issue.  'It is ridiculous to send female students home just because they choose to wear a skirt. 'It is political correctness gone mad.'

And on Twitter there was an outpouring of anger and ridicule with one man who claimed to be a former officer saying a request to enforce school uniform rules would have been laughed out of the room in his days on the force.

Piers Morgan tweeted: 'Speaking as a former Priory student, I’d like to state that this is absolutely bloody ridiculous, and the protesting parents & students have my full support. 'This whole gender neutral craze is out of control. Let girls be girls & boys be boys.'

The Priory School in Lewes, East Sussex, forced all pupils to wear trousers in 2017 after 'concerns' were raised over the length of skirts - and to cater for transgender pupils.

It has brought in a fully gender neutral uniform and yesterday the head teacher warned pupils would be sent home if they are not wearing it.

Parents of older pupils are outraged at being ordered to purchase entirely new uniforms for their children to wear for just two and a half terms.

This morning the children waved placards outside the school gates protesting the 'pointless' and 'silly' policy and the waste of previously-purchased clothes.

The signs read: 'The fashion is the second biggest contributor to climate change' and '1000's of new clothes wasted'. Another read '£100 for 1 uniform for 9 months is not sustainable.'

The protest against changes to uniform rules meant dozens of girls were barred from entering the school after arriving in skirts.

Angry parents gathered at the gates said the school was being unreasonable.

Cressida Murray, whose daughter Libby organised a petition against the uniform change said the school is not listening to their concerns.

'They are hiding behind the gender neutral thing. This is just about not wanting boys to wear skirts.

'They are saying it's about girls rolling up their skirts but they've always done that.

Sheila Cullen, 57, said the school uniform policy had changed many times. 'They've got form for this, they've been doing this for years.'

Parents and teachers demanding answers from the school questioned the policy of making girls wear trousers.

The school warned parents that children still wearing the old uniform will be sent home from the first day of school today.

But furious parents of year 11 pupils have said they will send their children into school wearing the old uniform anyway.

Parents say they plan to protest at the school.

In a statement the school said: 'Priory School uniform is designed to be a practical uniform which encourages students to be ready to focus on their school work and activities.

'Our uniform also helps us to dilute the status placed on expensive clothes or labels and challenge the belief that we are defined by what we wear.

'Instead, we encourage individual beliefs, ideas, passions and wellbeing and an ethos of camaraderie that is reflected in this shared experience.

'We believe that a uniform worn without modification is the best way to ensure equality. We do not want children feeling vulnerable and stressed by the pressure they feel to wear or own the latest trend or status symbol. 


Student Group Flags Top 5 Instances of Campus Censorship of Conservatives

Why bother with a liberal arts education? Some students at a Washington university wanted to know, but their school administrators canceled a panel scheduled to debate the question.

The cancellation, with no reason given, was one of the five biggest incidents of censorship of conservatives on college campuses in the past 12 months, Charlie Copeland, president of Intercollegiate Studies Institute, told The Daily Signal in a recent phone interview.

Here are the top five identified by Copeland as contrary to free speech and other First Amendment rights:

1. Liberal Arts, but Not Liberal Discussion

Students affiliated with ISI at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, which says it celebrates “a proud Jesuit liberal arts tradition,” planned a debate for last November on the importance of a liberal arts education.

Intercollegiate Studies Institute, a nonprofit organization that seeks to educate conservatives to become eloquent defenders of liberty, invited three professors to speak on a panel on the topic “Why Bother With a Liberal Arts Education?”

ISI said George Mason University’s Bryan Caplan would argue that the study of liberal arts isn’t important, and Clemson University’s Brookes Brown would argue that it is important. Utah State University’s Harrison Kleiner was set as moderator.

“This wasn’t a panel discussion where we had one opinion; it was going to be a discussion of the value, good or bad, of a liberal arts education,” Copeland, who also is a veteran Republican activist in Delaware, told The Daily Signal.

Yet, on Nov. 5, about three weeks before the scheduled event, the university informed ISI that it couldn’t approve the debate, without citing a reason.

“We don’t have any idea why they didn’t want the debate to proceed,” Copeland said in a phone interview. “And then they further asked for the names of the students and faculty involved, which we perceived as a blacklist, so we didn’t give them that information.”

On Nov. 6, the university told ISI that another, more high-profile event sponsored by Gonzaga’s dean was scheduled the same night, and the school didn’t want such conflicts.

The university wouldn’t permit ISI to advertise on campus and didn’t provide any information on the conflicting event, Copeland said.

The students put on their panel discussion at a nearby hotel instead.

The censorship was “ironic,” Copeland said, given the university’s liberal arts background.

A few months later, he said, Gonzaga allowed a student-hosted campaign event for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to take place, with no issues raised by the administration.

Gonzaga provided this statement in response to an inquiry from The Daily Signal:

Gonzaga University hosts an array of speakers representing various political, religious and social perspectives each year.

With respect to the event proposed by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, our academic leadership reached out to ISI regarding the event to learn more about their plans. No acknowledgement or response was received.

As an independent, faith-based and nonprofit institution, Gonzaga University works every day to provide students with a broad range of intellectual thought, ideas and debate opportunities. We encourage our faculty and students to discuss the value of a liberal arts education–and they are well-prepared to do so.

Gonzaga also emphasized that the Sanders event was an informal, students-only gathering that occurred under conditions set by the school’s Student Development Division.

“Gonzaga University’s decision to host any speaker—past and future—does not imply endorsement of the speaker’s views,” spokeswoman Mary Joan Hahn said in an email.

2. Woke at Wake Forest

When some perceived a fake campus campaign poster at Wake Forest University to be racist, student Jordan Lancaster called out fellow collegiates on Twitter for overreacting.

Then she received death threats.

The phony poster in the campaign for student body president, the work of an unknown person or persons, read: “Build a wall between Wake Forest and Winston-Salem College.”

Salem College, Wake Forest’s rival, also in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, traditionally has had a larger percentage of blacks in the student body.

Wake Forest President Nathan O. Hatch sent a campus-wide email March 23 condemning the fake poster and announcing that a team led by the dean of students would investigate.

Almost immediately, [Jordan] was doxed, she received death threats, one student said explicitly that she would have the girl’s head, basically because ‘the other school is not going to be played with.’ All of these are characteristically threatening, by any definition, and yet there was no response about that from the administration.

The College Fix reported that Winston-Salem students recommended on Twitter that Lancaster be “fired and expelled,” and called her employer and Wake Forest with complaints.

Copeland said he thinks this outsized response was due to Wake Forest’s making a big deal out of the campaign poster in the first place.

“By the administration’s response at Wake Forest, creating a big racial incident out of that one comment, it all of a sudden became very touchy and polarized, and angry people started to respond,” Copeland said. “Whereas, had the administration just contacted the original student and told him it wasn’t funny, corrected his behavior, they likely could have solved the problem.”

“It’s an instance of when the adults in the room don’t act like adults. They allow angry members of society, on both the right and left, to overreact,” the ISI president said.

Wake Forest did not respond to The Daily Signal’s requests for comment.

3. Notre Whiteness

Copeland recalled how Notre Dame University held a panel discussion on “whiteness” during which faculty members expressed frustration with skin color as an “oppressive political condition.”

The panel of four professors—three speakers and a moderator—was hosted in January by the mediation program of the Indiana university’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. Copeland said he found this odd, since all speakers on the panel argued that whiteness is oppressive.

“I’ve been in mediation before. It basically means you have one person on one side and one person on the other side, to reach common ground,” he said. “There was no mediation involved. Why the Kroc Institute for International Peace was involved in this, I don’t know.”

During the question-and-answer session, the ISI president said, a European man stood up to ask a question.

“When he got to the microphone, one of the panelists, a faculty member, yelled out, ‘White power!’ and they took the microphone away,” Copeland said. “Now if you’re a white student at Notre Dame, how do you think that made you feel? Talk about oppressive.”

Copeland, who said some ISI students attended, said he found the premise of the panel of professors ironic:

Notre Dame is one of the most elite schools, and these people have reached the pinnacle of their career. They should be thankful, saying, ‘Look what I have achieved, it has allowed me to thrive.’ And instead we get moments like this, where they’re saying, ‘We are oppressed.’

Notre Dame did not respond to The Daily Signal’s requests for comment.

4. Targeted at Michigan State

When a student representative at Michigan State University included his student government position in his email signature, his fellow representatives tried to remove him from the elected position in February.

Copeland said that Sergei Kelly, a conservative student at MSU, had sent out an email to recruit more conservatives for student government, and included his position in the student legislature with his name.

Some students said they were afraid Kelly’s use of that signature implied that the student government promoted conservative values at the school in East Lansing, Michigan. Copeland said:

He had in his email signature line that he is a member of student government, ASMSU [Associated Students of Michigan State University], which I imagine most students do. Well, some progressive students viewed this as him using it in an inappropriate way, and so they came up with a bill to get him removed from his elected position. Which would be a little bit like [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi bringing a bill before Congress to get [Rep.] Mark Meadows kicked out of Congress.

Meadows, R-N.C., is chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative lawmakers.

Though the motion to remove Kelly did not succeed, the student assembly did pass a rules change. An inappropriate act now is defined as “physical violence, personal attacks of a severe and/or pervasive nature, harassment and discrimination,” or—in response to this flap—“the misrepresentation of a constituency.”

Copeland pointed out that a student representative’s voting privileges already could be removed if the assembly finds that he or she has committed an inappropriate act.

“Because of the adding of that phrase, you’ve now equated physical violence—me punching you in the nose—as the same as my email saying I’m a member of student government,” Copeland said.

“The chamber defines that as a misrepresentation. It’s one thing to not hit somebody, but now I’m not even allowed to speak because the majority could say that in my speech I misrepresented my constituency.”

This kind of censorship is what leads to “tyranny of the masses,” Copeland said.

“The rules are in place to protect the minority, because otherwise the majority could rule all the time,” he said. “It would be tyranny of the masses. Many of those people who fought those civil rights battles years ago are now in charge today, and they are reinstituting rules that allow for the tyranny of the majority, and that is a dangerous place for this country to go.”

In response to The Daily Signal’s request for comment, Michigan State University said it does not have a role in overseeing student government, and that the student government’s decisions are not subject to the university’s jurisdiction.

The Associated Students of Michigan State did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment.

5. Closed Doors at Pitzer

Pitzer College in Claremont, California, prohibited some student journalists from attending a student council vote that previously was to be open to the public, Copeland said.

The Pitzer College Council, composed of students and faculty, voted in March to suspend Pitzer’s only Israel study abroad program, in an effort to keep American money out of Israel in support of the pro-Palestinian BDS movement, which stands for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions.

The college advertised the March 14 vote as an open meeting, and when the Claremont Independent initially called the college’s Office of Communications, it welcomed the student journalists to attend, Copeland said.

“And then, when [the office] realized later it was a conservative student newspaper, they called back and said, ‘No, you cannot attend, it’s only for faculty, staff, and members of The Student Life staff,’” he said.

The Student Life is a publication funded by the student government.

The Claremont Independent published a story March 13, the day before the meeting, saying that the college had prohibited its editors from attending.

“They wanted to make certain that no external media attended. But [the Claremont Independent] is not external media—it’s an official club of the Claremont College Institute,” Copeland said.

The ISI leader suggested the student-faculty council actually withdrew the Claremont Independent’s invitation because it didn’t want a more conservative perspective in the room during the vote.

“They didn’t want somebody in there that would say, ‘This is a bad idea,’ and force these brilliant faculty members to defend their position,” Copeland said.

The Pitzer Faculty Executive Committee offered this explanation:

Due to limited seating for College Council, the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC) requested that attendance be limited to Pitzer faculty, staff and current students, and that reporters be limited to the official 5C paper, The Student Life. The Claremont Independent (CI) is privately funded.

FEC also excluded the LA Times and other papers that have inquired about attendance to the meeting, along with Pitzer alumni who have asked to attend. If there were any current Pitzer student-reporters for the CI, they were welcome as members of our community.

Pitzer’s senior director of communications and media relations, Anna Chang, said the Claremont Independent was informed after publishing the article that it could cover the meeting using reporters who were Pitzer students.

Both the Claremont Independent and The Student Life are staffed by students from all five Claremont colleges.

“As far as the claim that our student editors were invited to attend, I can only go off what our student editors told me, and that was that they were banned from attending,” Copeland said.