Friday, September 27, 2019

Harvard’s ‘Legacy’ Preferences Are a National Disgrace

The high proportion of legacy admissions is certainly surprising but it may not be as consequential as it seems. Most of the children of Harvard graduates will be pretty bright themselves.  They may not have worked hard in High Shool in full knowledge of their legacy status
The lawsuit against Harvard claiming it discriminates against Asian applicants may or may not succeed. But even if it fails, it has done the great public service of revealing how the school’s admissions process works behind the scenes.

The school was forced to turn its admissions data over to an expert witness for the plaintiffs: Duke economist Peter Arcidiacono, who analyzed the data and found that Asian applicants are far less likely to be admitted than white applicants with the same academic credentials. And now, using numbers the suit has made publicly available, Arcidiacono and two co-authors have written a disturbing report laying out how legacy, athlete, and similar preferences warp the Harvard admissions process. Much like race-based affirmative action, these policies admit hundreds of students each year who would not be accepted on the basis of their academic records. And each of Harvard’s preferences twists the school’s racial balance in a different way.

The report is a compelling illustration of how a prestigious, progressive institution departs from meritocracy to reward the wealthy and connected. There may be little the government can do about non-racial preferences, considering Harvard is a private school and there’s no law against these forms of discrimination. But healthy doses of public shame are warranted, especially given how strongly Harvard and similar Ivy League schools control the pipeline into the top echelons of American society.

The authors’ data cover the classes that applied in the autumns of 2009 through 2014 and are limited to applicants from within the U.S. By my math (based on their table 2), “LDCs” — legacies whose parents also went to Harvard; those on the dean’s list, often thanks to donations by relatives; and children of faculty and staff — were about a fifth of the students Harvard admitted during this time. Recruited athletes were another tenth. As the authors note, while it’s hardly identified with jock culture in the public imagination, Harvard for some reason fields 42 Division I sports teams.

In the authors’ analysis, legacies experience several times higher odds of admission than do otherwise similar applicants from less favored lineages. Those on the dean’s list are especially preferred. Recruited athletes have an astounding 86 percent chance of getting in despite relatively weak academic records. (Such strong athlete preferences are why the recent admissions scandal involved bribing coaches at several schools.)

In the authors’ estimation, most athletes and LDCs (together, “ALDCs”) at Harvard would not have gotten in based on their other credentials. Combining some more of their numbers (from table 10), I find that about 70 percent would not have made it. Paired with the fact that about 30 percent of students admitted to Harvard are ALDCs, this suggests that roughly a fifth of Harvard undergrads are there because of who their relatives are, or because they’re good at sports.

There’s a racial component to these boosts, too. The headline result from the paper, featured prominently in the abstract, is this:

"Among white admits, over 43% are ALDC. Among admits who are African American, Asian American, and Hispanic, the share is less than 16% each. Our model of admissions shows that roughly three quarters of white ALDC admits [i.e., about a third of all white admits] would have been rejected if they had been treated as white non-ALDCs."

In other words, ALDC preferences are largely an affirmative-action program for certain privileged subsets of white people. One is almost tempted by the idea that Harvard’s preferences for underrepresented minorities might be justified simply to level the scales a bit.

But the numbers don’t really support that argument. The fact that a third of white Harvard students get in via ALDC preferences doesn’t mean a third of whites are occupying spaces that would otherwise go to the underrepresented minority groups that receive racial preferences. Without preferences, many white legacies would be replaced by white non-legacies — or by Asians, the overrepresented minority at the heart of the aforementioned lawsuit.

Indeed, as this table shows, the number of white admissions would fall by just 4 percent without legacy preferences and 6 percent without athlete preferences. (Though it would fall more if both were eliminated at once, of course, and unfortunately this leaves out the smaller D and C categories in ALDC.) In both scenarios, the largest number of abandoned seats go to Asians.

The final row of the table also shows us what happens if legacy, athlete, and racial preferences are removed. In that case, whites actually receive 3 percent more Harvard slots than they do currently, because in today’s system they lose more from racial preferences than they gain from the others. Asian admissions rise more than 50 percent. Admissions crater dramatically for both blacks and Hispanics, falling more than two-thirds for the former and 40 percent for the latter. So no, race-based affirmative action does not merely balance out the racially disproportionate impact of legacy preferences. It’s just a different distortion with a different, and more drastic, racial effect.

But there is a strong connection between the two nonetheless. The argument against affirmative action has always been that we should judge people as individuals, and the work of Arcidiacono et al. shows that these other preferences do immense damage at the individual level. They let in hundreds of students each year simply because of who their parents are or how well they can throw a ball (or whatever one does to score in lacrosse) — and every preferred student who’s admitted excludes someone more qualified. Worse, these preferences exist not as an attempt, however misguided, to redress America’s reprehensible racial sins but merely to heap more donations on top of Harvard’s $37 billion endowment and to cultivate an amorphous sense of community based around sports teams and family members who attended the school decades ago.

Harvard is widely considered the single best school in the country. It sends its graduates out to influence all of U.S. society’s major institutions; all the current Supreme Court justices attended law school at either Harvard or Yale. And yet a substantial fraction of people walking around with prestige-soaked Harvard degrees were not given this opportunity on the basis of their academic record or potential.

The government may not be able to stop this. But the rest of us could stand to be a little less bowled over by the Harvard credential. And those of us who detest racial preferences should despise legacy preferences twice as much.


Why South Korea Can’t Quit College

More advanced societies tend to have more educated citizens, which is one reason why politicians of all stripes call for sending more students to college. One country has taken that impulse to its logical extreme—but has found that more is not always better.

South Korea has a more educated population than any other country in the developed world. Seventy percent of young Koreans (ages 25-34) have completed some higher education, and a similar proportion of high school graduates continue on to college or university each year. By contrast, only 49 percent of young Americans have a degree beyond high school. The rich-world average is just 44 percent.

In every advanced nation, university graduates out-earn those with only a high school degree. But when the number of workers with a university degree rises, the number of university-level jobs often doesn’t keep pace. Korea’s glut of educated workers means that those with higher degrees earn just 24 percent more than high school graduates, compared to a 69 percent earnings boost in the United States. And in a stunning reversal of a near-universal norm, young Koreans with a university degree have a higher unemployment rate than their less-educated peers.

“High youth unemployment [in Korea] is reflective of a structural, supply-demand mismatch in the labor market,” reports economist Tieying Ma in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. The World Economic Forum estimates that nearly half of Koreans are overqualified for their jobs. Yet at the same time, employers clamor that universities gloss over many practical skills that the Korean labor market desperately needs.

Ironically, while left-wing politicians argue that America can boost its college attainment rate by making public universities tuition-free, South Korea became the most educated country in the world by following the opposite model.

Unlike the United States and most European nations, a majority of Korean students attend an independent private university. Though universities receive significant direct subsidies from the central government, tuition at both public and private institutions still costs thousands of U.S. dollars per year.

As I wrote in an American Enterprise Institute report last month, the right to charge tuition gives institutions a revenue source other than government funding, allowing them to more effectively meet student demand for degrees.

Tuition-charging countries like Korea and the United States tend to produce more graduates than the “free college” nations of northern and central Europe. For nations with a strong cultural affinity for education, the demand-driven model of tuition paired with government subsidies is a recipe for stratospheric college attainment.

Korea’s love affair with education is often traced to the end of World War II when the country emerged from decades of Japanese colonial rule as an impoverished, agricultural nation where barely one in five adults were literate. During the colonial period, Japanese policy allowed Korea just one university. But as rapid industrialization boosted the standard of living to rich-world levels, parents, guided by a Confucian tradition that emphasizes education, began to spend small fortunes out-of-pocket on their children’s schooling. Hundreds of universities, public and private, bloomed.

“Whether their children wanted it or not, whether they had an academic aptitude or not, parents just wanted to send their children to universities,” said former education minister Seo Nam-soo in an interview with The Economist. “Parents send their children to go to university in order to relieve their regret for not going to university themselves.”

Preparation for university starts at early ages. Most parents send their children to hagwon, private tutoring centers that prepare students for high-stakes exams that determine their educational and economic futures. Between hagwon and traditional schooling, education can consume close to every waking hour of a Korean child’s time, as well as a hefty portion of the household budget.

A 2016 survey found that 83 percent of five-year-old Korean children attend hagwon, with the typical student attending the tutoring sessions five times a week for 50 minutes per session. At older ages, hagwon have been blamed for high rates of depression and suicide among Korean teenagers. So pervasive are the schools that the government felt the need to ban hagwon sessions after 10 p.m., and state agents patrol key neighborhoods (such as Seoul’s Gangnam district of K-Pop fame) after dark, looking for illegal tutoring rings to bust.

Hagwon tutoring culminates in the Suneung, a national college-entrance exam so revered that authorities halt air traffic in the country during portions of the test so students can focus. Suneung scores help determine which institution students will attend in Korea’s tiered higher education system. The big three “SKY” universities (Seoul National University, Korea University, and Yonsei University), which churn out most of the nation’s political and business leaders, offer the most-coveted spots but accept only a small fraction of students.

Korea’s love for education is reflected in the vast sums parents spend out of pocket on schooling, in addition to the government’s substantial contribution. But much of Korea’s spending on education is inefficient, if not downright wasteful. Shelling out millions of Korean won on private tutoring and expensive universities might give your own child a leg up, but too often, that just comes at the expense of another student.

With places at top-tier universities limited and the labor market suffering from an oversupply of university-educated workers, spending more and studying more will not move the economy forward. As one Korea Herald writer opines: “Academic inflation has effectively devalued actual experience on the job and undermined diplomas earned from all but the most prestigious institutes.”

But much of Korea’s spending on education is inefficient, if not downright wasteful.

The central government recognizes what ails Korea’s education system, but many of the reforms it proposes are top-down. Many of the reforms don’t address the roots of Korean credentialism, and some—such as forcing universities to admit more applicants on the basis of standardized tests—may backfire.

A more promising avenue is to give students more choices. Currently, vocational education is enjoying a renaissance in Korea.

In 2010, Korea introduced Meister schools, vocational high schools inspired by Germany’s vaunted apprenticeship programs. Meister schools have more autonomy than other schools and work closely with industry to train students with in-demand skills. Students have a direct track into relevant jobs and are barred from pursuing university for three years after graduation. Meister schools receive more funding than regular high schools and land students in jobs at sought-after companies such as Samsung. Proponents hope this will destigmatize vocational education and lure students away from the university track.

Lee Ju-Ho, another former education minister who oversaw the introduction of Meister schools, hopes they can help tackle Korea’s university obsession. “Vocational education can provide alternative options for students who do not go to universities and have different talents,” he said in an interview with Today. “If there is no well-developed vocational and technical education in the system, you will have only vertical differentiation ending up with first-tier, second-tier universities.”

Advocates should be careful not to oversell Meister schools, though. They’re expensive to run and still account for a small share of students. And the close association between taxpayer-funded schools and specific companies raises the cronyism concern that schools will train students for the needs of certain businesses, not the needs of the whole economy.

Still, vocational education offers Korea a promising route out of the quagmire that its higher education glut has created. The United States should watch Korea’s path forward carefully.

Korea is a nation where the standard belief has become that college is the only path to economic prosperity, which has shortchanged an economy desperately in need of practically skilled workers and bolstered the prestige of a small group of elite universities. Sound familiar?


Outgoing University of California President Janet Napolitano Was More Politician than Educator

University of California President Janet Napolitano is stepping down from the post she has held since 2013. Californians, particularly students, have cause to wonder why she was given the job in the first place. Never known as an educator, Napolitano ruled the university like a typical politician.

As the Sacramento Bee noted, “in 2017, a state audit alleged Napolitano’s office hid $175 million from the public while tuition increased,” and it was just a bit more than an allegation. Napolitano used the money to shower perks on staff and renovate the houses of UC chancellors. State Auditor Elaine Howle reported that Napolitano’s office “intentionally interfered” with their investigators. Despite the corruption and obstructionism, Napolitano faced no criminal charges.

Reports of her resignation failed to note that Napolitano made her public debut in the 1991 campaign to keep Clarence Thomas off the Supreme Court. Anita Hill accused Thomas of sexually harassing her, and attorney Napolitano, then with a Phoenix law firm, represented Hill in the matter. During the confirmation proceedings, Hill’s witness Susan Hoerchner “suddenly developed amnesia” about parts of her story that contradicted Hill. Napolitano refused to answer questions about whether she had persuaded Hoerchner to change her testimony.

Napolitano became attorney general and governor of Arizona, then headed up the federal Department of Homeland Security. In that role, she put out the DHS report Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment, a sweeping indictment of those who prefer limited government and defend constitutional measures such as the Second Amendment.

For their part, UC students asserted their First Amendment rights by protesting Napolitano’s steady tuition and fee hikes while hiding $175 million. When the slush fund emerged, students called for Napolitano’s resignation and issued a statement reading: “We believe that the administration is incapable of holding itself accountable.”

If students, parents, and taxpayers see Janet Napolitano’s departure as long overdue, it would be hard to blame them.


Thursday, September 26, 2019

Colleges Don’t Want ‘Free College’

Several internet sites, especially The College Fix, have noticed something: most colleges are conspicuously silent about either the Warren or Sanders proposals for free college. This may seem odd, as most institutions of higher education and their national spokespersons (e.g, Terry Hartle of the American Council of Education) are not known to be shrinking violets. Why the reticence about commenting on something so fundamentally important to higher education?

There are several potential reasons. First, these are simply proposals of candidates for president, persons who may not be nominated, much less elected. Colleges should stay out of public policy brouhahas, so silence is the appropriate response. Saying something good, or bad, about, say, Bernie Sanders’s proposal might imply institutional support or opposition to his nomination, and universities should be neutral marketplaces of ideas, not proponents of positions, particularly since institutions of higher learning in reality are a melange of students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of wildly varying political persuasions. I find it offensive when some university president signs, for example, a document supporting efforts to combat climate change in which he proclaims an institutional position.

However, there is a more fundamental and crass reason colleges are silent: free college is potentially a nightmare for schools. Most universities earn a large portion of their revenue from tuition fees, and “free college” implies ending those fees. Implicit in the Sanders/Warren proposal is replacing tuition revenues with increased governmental subsidies. But the size and changes of those subsidies are highly uncertain and subject to political whims. Public opinion has turned less favorable to universities in recent years, manifested in tepid increases in state appropriations and, for some wealthy private schools, in the form of actually taxing them (the new federal tax on large endowments).

If tuition were free at public schools, how could the federal government justify large student loan programs benefiting only students attending historically expensive private schools? The free college proposals are potentially the death knell of federal student loans which, in turn, are the primary reason for the tuition explosion of the last generation and the large amount of student loan debt. Thus the Sanders/Warren proposals are a threat to maintaining the gravy train that has led to the highly inefficient and overstaffed modern university.

But the dilemma here is profound. Colleges are dominated by progressives—especially the faculty and the more vocal students. They by and large love politicians of the Sanders (whose wife is a former college president)/Warren (a former Harvard professor) variety. They contribute money to their campaigns and offer them policy advice. If either of those candidates is elected, they will be heavily represented in their administration. They certainly don’t want to appear to have negative feelings towards them, as that could help their political opponents (e.g., Donald Trump). Yet if free college ideas were adopted, especially Sanders’ free tuition for all proposal, they would face financial uncertainty and increased governmental dependence, meaning a loss of much of the institutional autonomy they still possess.

What to do? My guess is that individuals will support the Democratic Party nominee heavily in the 2020 campaign but largely remain silent on collegiate funding issues. After the election, if the Democrat wins, college presidents and lobbyists will endorse greater higher education funding of a traditional nature—large increases in Pell Grants, more liberalized student loan terms—but scuttle efforts for truly “free college.”

Economists like me have a so-so record of economic forecasting, much less election prognostication, but I put the probability of anything even closely resembling the Warren or Sanders proposal being adopted in 2021 at less than 10%. That further incentivizes colleges to keep quiet now about college funding proposals. I put the probability of divided government (no one political party controlling both houses of Congress and the presidency) in 2021 at 60% at the least. For all the rhetoric about college financing, the likelihood of big changes in funding higher education in the next three years is pretty low. A business downturn in those three years—a greater possibility—could further dampen the likelihood of free tuition (unless sold as a stimulus program, a highly dubious proposition).


Teaching That America Is Hopelessly Racist

Many more college students have read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ anti-white screed Between the World and Me (2015) than have read, say, works by the Nobel economist Robert Fogel, Time on the Cross: The Economics of American Slavery (1974) or Without Consent or Contract: The Rise and Fall of American Slavery (1989). I can say that with some confidence. The Open Syllabus Project finds Coates’ book assigned in 783 courses. Fogel’s Time on the Cross is assigned in 22 courses and his Without Consent or Contract in 156 courses. Moreover, Coates’ book is now the second most-assigned book in the country in college summer reading programs.

Coates treats slavery as an institution that was never truly abolished. It continues as the pervasive racism of American society. This rhetorical flourish sells a lot of books today. Fogel, the economic historian, takes on slavery as an appallingly real institution and brings intellectual heft to the task of explaining it.

That contrast is all the more important in light of The New York Times’ plunge into re-educating all Americans about our history through the lens of African American slavery. The Times launched its 1619 Project on August 18 to a great deal of fanfare. 1619 is the year that the first black African slaves landed at Jamestown. It is a noteworthy date, but not quite what the beginning of slavery in the New World or in what would become the United States. The Spanish had brought African slaves long before. And we have at least one account by an early Spanish soldier, Cabeza de Vaca, who was captured and enslaved by Native Americans in the South in the 1520s. Slavery was an indigenous American institution long before Europeans got here.

Be that as it may, the Times wants to reimagine the European version of America as founded on slavery and stained in every possible way by the continuing effects of slavery. This is a political project more than a historical one. Its unacknowledged goal is to taint all opposition to progressive political goals as rooted in the perpetuation of oppression, and perhaps to delegitimize America itself.

The 1619 Project overstates things a bit. Slavery does have lingering consequences, and the economic, cultural, and political history of the country does reflect the awful institution. But the 1619 Project also reduces the lives of African Americans to perpetual victimhood, and it ignores the glorious ideal of freedom in American history. It reverses the traditional conception of America as an exceptional land of liberty to conceive of it as an exceptional land of slavery and oppression.

Four centuries ago, almost every Englishman believed a piece of anti-Spanish propaganda called the “Black Legend.” It presented all Spaniards and all Catholics as uniquely, demonically evil, whose cruelty was proved not least by their barbaric treatment of the Indians. The 1619 Project creates a new kind of Black Legend, which casts America as uniquely, demonically evil.

The Times is calculating that Americans are already primed to believe this new Black Legend. They have been softened up by the pseudo-history of Howard Zinn, whose elaborately distorted vision in A People’s History of the United States has been swallowed whole by millions. (A nod of appreciation is due to Mary Grabar whose new book Debunking Howard Zinn is a long-overdue corrective to the Marxist storyteller.) Others are hoping the 1619 Project will flatten what is left of resistance to anti-American mythmaking in K-12 and college history courses. The new Black Legend is already comfortably ensconced in many of our high schools and colleges. The first book college students read very likely treats it as fact.

One of the contributors to The 1619 Project, Bryan Stevenson, is the head of the Equal Justice Initiative, which is dedicated to releasing innocent people from jail. He’s also the author of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (2014), which has been the most popular single college reading for the last three years.

Stevenson wrote the same story for The New York Times and for Just Mercy: America’s justice system is racist to the core, and it aims at torturing blacks. Stevenson sees no distance between a racial lynching of an innocent man and the sober desire for justice by a judge and a jury following the law. He thinks “mass incarceration” is the result of racist animus—not a response to the unfortunate reality of too many millions of Americans choosing to commit crimes and even more unfortunate reality that a disproportionate number of those Americans who commit crimes are African American. He has no conception that it is a terrible injustice for the victims of criminals to see criminals fail to receive justice for their crimes. And he never even acknowledges that there might be an argument against him. He simply assumes that reading the book will get you ready to sign up for social justice activism, in service of the Equal Justice Initiative.

Stevenson’s Just Mercy has already been assigned to 94 colleges in the five years since it was published—it’s already the third-most frequently assigned book since 2007, and it’s on track to be the most widely assigned in a few years. In the very first year after it came out, it was the second-most popular assignment—assigned 16 times in 2015. It was the single most popular assignment in the last three years—assigned 31 times in 2016, 29 times in 2017, and 18 times in 2018. Every single one of those 94 colleges is already signed up for The 1619 Project.

So are the 54 colleges that have assigned as pre-freshman reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. So are the 13 colleges that assigned Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (2009). So are the ten colleges that have already assigned Angie Thomas’ Black-Lives-Matter young adult novel The Hate U Give (2017).

The campaign to delegitimize America, to recast it as a uniquely evil force for slavery and oppression, has triumphed in a myriad of classrooms in American higher education. But it has triumphed even more with college administrators. The vast majority of the bureaucrats who choose common readings, plan events and invite speakers to campus are already true believers in The 1619 Project. The deans, provosts, and presidents acquiesce in their initiatives, where they do not support them. The institutional stamp of higher education tells incoming college students throughout the country: We believe in the Black Legend of American villainy. And you should too.

After all, the editors at The New York Times who commissioned The 1619 Project learned their defamatory history in college. The 1619 Project isn’t just a fire bell in the night that warns of distant dangers. The American Black Legend has already taken over much of our colleges, and The New York Times is just following their lead.

We must act now to reclaim our colleges and our history if we are not to lose our country.


N.J. Schools Pushing Far-Left Indoctrination. What the Hell Is Betsy DeVos Doing?

Melissa Barnett, a supervisor of English Language Arts in the Washington Township School District in New Jersey, caused outrage on Twitter by tweeting out a photo of hundreds of books in dumpsters. "This week, dumpsters were filled with books that should have left decades ago @TWPSchools and replaced with engaging, relevant, culturally diverse literature."

This led to cries of "book burning" by critics and crowdsourcing to identify the books in the bins.

Amongst the "books that should have left decades ago" visible in these bins are "Hiroshima" by Pulitzer Prize winner John Hersey, a 1946 journalistic account of the lives of 6 survivors of the atomic bomb, which started some of the 1st debates about the morality of atomic weapons

PJ Media reached out to the Washington Township School District to find out more. "I was not unaware they were cleaning out a book room," said Steve Gregor, director of secondary education. "Many of them were in poor condition and unreadable, dating back to the 1960s or earlier. We intended to replace [relevant] books with new copies."

Among the books that were reordered are Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, 1984, by George Orwell, Slaughter House Five, by Kurt Vonnegut, Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck, Dante's Inferno, and Night, by Elie Wiesel.

Most of the new books that were added to the classroom libraries are for independent reading time to be selected by the students. They include The Poet X, by Terreece Clarke which, according to Common Sense Media (CSM), contains sex, drinking, violence, drugs, and bad language.

It's a coming-of-age story about a first-generation Dominican American teen, Xiomara, growing up as a thoroughly American young woman with a developed body in a deeply religious (Catholic) immigrant home. There are instances of street harassment, parental abuse, religious discussions, sexual exploration (some kissing, and one scene of heavy petting), and the revelation of a character being gay. . .her mother makes her kneel on uncooked rice and hits Xiomara, causing injury.

Other offerings are Educated, by Tara Westover, a book recommended by Michelle Obama about being abused in a homeschooling survivalist family, and The House on Mango Street, which is full of child abuse, sex, and rape that CSM  calls "gritty material."

Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah, also made the list of new books and is about growing up under apartheid in South Africa. At least this one seems interesting, but it is also awash in abuse and violence.

I Am the Messenger, by Matt Berman, is "loaded with swearing and sexual references and fantasies. There are several bloody beatings, a husband rapes his wife, and characters smoke and drink to excess," according to CSM. Bodega Dreams, by Ernesto Quinonez, seems great. Here's an excerpt from Amazon,

"Blanca wasn't allowed to wear jeans but she made up for it by wearing tight, short skirts. She always carried a Bible with her and never talked bad about anybody and at school she only hung around with her Pentecostal friend, Lucy. Lucy was a hairy girl who never shaved her legs because it was against her religion. . .

Made you want to pick up a tambourine and join her one night in her church. Make a joyful noise to the Lord so she would begin to jump up and down to all that religious salsa. And maybe you'd be lucky enough to cop a cheap feel as the Holy Ghost took over her body."

And the last "engaging, relevant and culturally diverse" book on the list is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon, that parents on Amazon describe as offensive and dark.

"What the author tries to do is obliterated by the overuse of offensive language," wrote one parent. "An 11-year old read this book and thought it had way too many bad words. If it was not a reading assignment from school, I would not have allowed her to read it. I don’t understand how this can be a pick of any writing award group. The plot is gruesome and it is too dark of a theme for middle schoolers."

"I did not like this book at all," wrote another.

The theme here seems to be that culturally diverse books must have violence, sexual degeneracy, rape, and foul language. I don't know about you, but that sure seems racist to me. Are the New Jersey "equity" educators saying that minority children only understand and relate to violence, abuse, and vulgarity? It's sad that there are so few uplifting choices in YA literature. Instead, the genre seeks to draw its readers into the gutter to wallow in filth and degeneracy.

The school district declined to name any of the books that were removed and not replaced, but Twitter users have identified at least two. One of them seems like it would be awfully relevant to today's youth called, The Ox-Bow Incident, by Walter Tilburg Clark, which is "a harrowing novel about ordinary people drawn into a murderous lynch-mob, exploring the nature of violence, mob mentality and the subversion of justice by supposedly good people." This seems far more relevant to the high school experience of 2019 than the "culturally diverse" offerings the district chose.

Amongst the "books that should have left decades ago" visible in these bins are "Hiroshima" by Pulitzer Prize winner John Hersey, a 1946 journalistic account of the lives of 6 survivors of the atomic bomb, which started some of the 1st debates about the morality of atomic weapons

More troubling than the book selections of a single district is the reason the changes were made in the first place. "We get our marching orders from the [New Jersey] Department of Education," said Gregor, the Washington Township school official. And those orders included "equity training" that Gregor says he has participated in as a speaker. These trainings have led to assignments in schools like the one in North Carolina that left students in tears because they were asked to publicly declare their sexual identities in front of their peers.

The assignment, which was quickly pulled after media attention, came from one of these "equity trainings" that seem to be about pushing far-left social justice onto children at the expense of taxpayer dollars. PJM's investigation into these events uncovered that the equity office in North Carolina's school district had partnered with the highly partisan Southern Poverty Law Center in using its website,, to push out sexual identity politics into the public school system there.

New Jersey schools are also getting their direction from these new equity projects that share the same goals of infiltrating every class in order to create "equity," but is little more than disguised political messaging.

Both in New Jersey and North Carolina, the equity conferences were the first of their kind. These are new directives that have clearly been well-organized and planned for some time. Students and parents are reporting that these equity initiatives are being carried out in every class through reading assignments, tolerance projects, and more, all focusing on sexual identity politics or racism and social justice. These lessons also include teaching the students how to be "activists," which is why we are seeing organized student protests pop up around the country -- protests that always seem to support Democrat talking points like gun control or climate change initiatives.

A review of the group activities for the New Jersey Equity for All conference found many politically charged sessions, including one on Black Lives Matter and teaching about white privilege in class.

Educators do not seem to understand that these talking points come directly from the Democratic Party and they are not accepted as fact by half of this country. Half of America rejects the idea that America is a racist nation or that whiteness comes with privilege. What the school systems are doing here is indoctrinating children into a political point of view. This is not education -- it's Marxist brainwashing.


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Future-proof your degree: why these qualifications will stand the test of time

The world of work is changing, says Zoe Thomas. So, are there qualifications that will stand the test of time? We investigate to find out.

As any parent whose well-intended advice has been met by a withering eye roll knows, telling teenagers what to do is best approached with caution. In the current technological revolution, offering your teen careers guidance is even more of a minefield.

Automation is reshaping the world of work and the traditional nine-to-five is giving way to more independent ways of working. Under the “gig economy” banner, task-based contract jobs are on the rise, beyond the Uber and Deliveroo boom that has come to represent this type of working – encompassing consultants across the professions, freelancers and small-business owners.

Economists say young people should plan for five careers in a lifetime. Three years ago, the World Economic Forum predicted 65 per cent of primary-school-age children will end up working in jobs that don’t yet exist. In this shifting professional arena, are any qualifications more future-proof than others?

Three career coaches who work with young people give their expert opinions:

Carolyn Parry

Finding a career that focuses on a problem that is really hard to solve is the secret to a successful future, believes Parry, director of Career Alchemy’s INSPiRED Teenager career- and life-coaching programme: “If you want to find a good opportunity in life, go and work on something that is hard to solve; a) it will give you a challenge that will keep you going, but b) it focuses you on a purpose.”

As for which fields, look at the big issues addressed in 2015’s United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): improving health and education, clean water and sanitation; reducing inequality; spurring economic growth; and conserving the environment – problems whose solutions are long-term and with a higher purpose than salary alone.

This could mean doing a job such as working in human resources for a water company overseas, suggests Parry, thus linking to the UN’s clean water and sanitation SDG. For more information on what these SDGs are, check out their website.

“Gen Z and millennials want a sense of belonging and purpose, being able to contribute and make a difference – that’s the language I’ve heard from talking with thousands of students, teenagers and parents,” Parry notes. Advances in robotics and artificial intelligence will mean some jobs are on the way out, but roles needed to develop new technologies and new solutions are expanding.

"The stuff that makes us different from machines, such as emotional intelligence and caring, will be vital in the future jobs market, thinks Parry, as will creativity and continual learning. Ask yourself: 'Am I creative? Am I resilient? Do I have grit? Do I have bounce-back-ability?'" Parry advises: “If you have a purpose and a focus on what you are doing, all that happens by default, because you are fascinated by the problem.”

We need to embrace technology in our future careers
Most of the young people Parry speaks to are puzzled about their futures: “Then you add parental confusion – they are trying to help their child based on their own experience, which is sometimes 20, 30 years out of date. The old wisdom that if you go into a profession, you’re safe, is no longer valid. Safety comes from finding out what you are good at and what you care about and linking those together. And safety comes from being able to keep an eye on the horizon to see what trends and changes are happening, and then having the wit to keep learning and stretching as they develop. It’s time to look at the world a bit differently.”

Dave Cordle

Career development professional Dave Cordle also thinks this ability to manage changes is the most important skill young people need: “The actual topic studied is of less interest than who you are as an individual. Whatever qualifications you come out of university with, or whatever apprenticeship you get, soft skills will help you stand out – things like critical thinking, problem solving.

Cordle advises young people and their parents to keep a log of their achievements – not just academic ones–and the impact they make: “If they are involved with Scouting, Girlguiding or the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, or if they play sports or musical instruments – those demonstrate employability skills and separate them from their peers. “Young people want to know how to have more confidence; they want to know how to have self-belief. I run a group, Discover the Diamond, for kids in Years 9 and 10. One of the nicest comments I’ve got on a feedback form is: ‘I’ve discovered it’s OK to be proud of what I’ve done.’ That’s a British thing – we are told from a young age not to blow our own trumpet, but in the jobs market, it’s demonstrating that you make a difference.”

Asking what young people are passionate about and how they can bring it into their work is a great way to start, advises Cordle: “As parents, we also have to get over our traditional view of ‘you’ve got to work for someone else’. A lot of people will find themselves part of the gig economy, doing consultancy work and having two or three organisations that they do that for. There is an upside to that type of work and it seems to be the way things are going.”

He stresses the idea of embracing technology: “We seem to live in fear of technology, rather than saying, ‘OK, it’s is a tool.’ Technology is taking over the number-crunching parts of accountancy, for example, but successful accountants are becoming the trusted business adviser and moving into that more people-oriented relationship with their clients.”

Denise Taylor

When figuring out what course to study, young people should think in a broad sense about what they might want to do when they graduate, advises Denise Taylor, a chartered psychologist and career coach.

Rather than thinking about a specific job, get into the habit of thinking about a job family: “It may be ‘something about law’, or ‘something about agriculture’ or ‘something about marketing’. And I say to my young clients: this is not for ever; this is for the first few years that you’re working. Choose the degree that is going to help you get to those sorts of jobs.”

If your child totally has no idea about what they want to do, Taylor suggests doing something that will keep their options open: “The other thing I always say to my young clients is: if you’re going to be working until you are 80, does it really matter if you haven’t got everything together by the time you are 30?”

Graduate Prospects head of higher education intelligence Charlie Ball is sanguine about the effect of new technologies on the jobs market: “It’s not happening overnight. It will cost jobs in some areas, but other roles will grow. When the internet first happened, people predicted we would all lose our jobs, but we didn’t – people still have jobs. And we’ve got to bear in mind the strength of our degrees from UK universities, which are highly valued around the world.”


How home schooling has become mainstream

Tiana Kubik, second from left, begins a lesson with son Griffin, 6, while Thomas Kubik walks through their van and prepares to read to daughter Adair, 2, inside their van.(Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune photos)
Griffin Kubik spent two years at Chicago Waldorf preschool before his parents pulled the plug on his formal education.

The 6-year-old now spends his days with his parents and his 2-year-old sister, Adair, traveling in their newly purchased van.

“For our family, the experience of learning while traveling outweighs the benefits of going to school,” said Griffin’s mom, Tiana Kubik, co-owner of TK Photography, which is based in Chicago. The family’s trips include visiting Toronto, Montreal, Banff and Jasper, Canada.

Griffin is one of about 3.5 million home-schooled children in the nation. The number of kids who are home-schooled has surpassed children at charter schools and has been growing by 3 to 8% each year since 2012, according to the National Center for Education Statistics and analyses from Brian Ray, home-schooling researcher at the National Home Education Research Institute.

That growing popularity can be attributed to a number of factors, ranging from parents’ ideology to more practical issues, including globally focused families who don’t want to tie their children to a set way of learning, school-based issues and a desire for religion-based education, said Stephen Spriggs, managing director of William Clarence Education, a London-based education consultancy that works with families around the world.

“It’s becoming more acceptable and mainstream, so parents who previously wanted to but couldn’t are now open to seeing what options there are,” Spriggs said.

Home schooling also can be altered to fit a family’s lifestyle. There are parents who teach kids at home loosely and others who do a full home-schooling program delivered by tutors and teachers in the home, Spriggs said.

“School isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach,” he said.

The Kubiks practice unschooling, a form of home education that allows the child’s interests and curiosities to create the path for learning. They live out of their van and work on reading and writing while they travel, but they also try to go with the flow, depending on their location and their children’s interests.

“Then, we help them dive into those topics,” Tiana Kubik said. “We also sign the kids up for activities if we are in any one area for more than a couple of weeks.”

Even some traditional teachers are home-schooling their children. Genola Johnson and her husband taught public school overseas, and Johnson said that she appreciates the safety and unique learning opportunities available in the home-school community.

“No matter if the school is urban or rural, safety is a serious issue with public schools,” Johnson said. “And parents don’t want to get a call or see on the news or social media that their child’s school is under attack.”

She also said class sizes, which are reaching more than 30, is a concern and that each child has unique needs.

“This is really impossible to manage,” Johnson said, adding that it’s part of the reason parents are choosing to home-school their children.

But home schooling isn’t problem-free.

As public school teachers, Johnson said she and her husband are very familiar with scheduling and routine. But this was a major problem for their fifth- and ninth-graders. Setting up a schedule and sticking to it is very different when it comes to dealing with your own children, she said.

Johnson suggests creating a set schedule for home-school. For example: breakfast from 7:30 to 8 a.m.; schoolwork from 8 a.m. to noon, then break for lunch; 60 minutes to be in nature and for physical activity; then complete remaining school assignments from 2:30 to 4 p.m.

“Assignments can easily get out of control,” Johnson said. “Your child loses interest and is bored and nonperforming, which can be due to no social interaction. You have to find ways for them to socialize with their peer groups regardless of them having siblings at home.”

In addition, home schooling may not work for every child, just like school may not be the perfect fit for everyone, said Lisa Lightner, a Philadelphia-based special education advocate. When a child is struggling in school and the parent is tired of battling the school district, home schooling is often considered, she said.

“But what parents often don’t understand is that in most states, if you home-school, you are giving up a lot of possibilities as far as therapies and special ed,” Lightner said.

Before home-schooling a child with special needs, she suggested checking the regulations in your state to see if cyber schooling and other options are available so your child can still receive the assistance he or she needs.

Home schooling can also become very expensive. In the early years, parents may consider teaching their own children, but as they advance — or as the child needs classes or other opportunities for socializing — the fees can quickly add up.

“It can be expensive if you engage professional tutors to deliver a set program of study, so thoroughly researching all possible costs involved prior to taking the steps into home schooling can make the situation easier to manage and alleviate any financial stress that could arise in the future,” Spriggs said.

Many of those who have mastered home schooling, however, said that they were grateful for the option.

Michelle Fishburne, national director of public relations and partnerships at the Brian Hamilton Foundation, home-schooled her oldest daughter, Alexis Lewis, from first through ninth grade, and again for junior year. Alexis thrived, Fishburne said.

“She could pursue the subjects and skills that interested her as deeply as she wanted without having to truncate them because the lesson was over,” Fishburne said. “Her interests are incredibly varied, so home schooling was a great fit in terms of letting her deeply explore those interests as early and as often as she wanted.”

To help her with her education, Fishburne used Discovery Education’s streaming services, which enabled Alexis to learn at her own level, despite age.

While there are plenty of online schooling options, it’s also essential that local schools are on board with home schooling, said Randy Speck, a school superintendent in Michigan who has been with private schools for 10 years, and has spent the last seven years in public schools. All states have different laws and regulations regarding home schooling.

“At my last school district, we built a program that grew to over 1,000 students,” Speck said. “While the growth was great, the important part was that it allowed families who were choosing a certain form of education the option.”


'Woke' Education Corrupts Students

"Progressives" replaced education with indoctrination, as even some leftists discover. 

“For decades now, America has been investing ever-growing fortunes into its K-12 education system in exchange for steadily worse results.” —from the book The New School by Glenn Reynolds

Journalist George Packer, who proved his progressive bona fides in a decades-long career writing for leftist publications, has written a lengthy article for The Atlantic regarding his personal discovery of something American conservatives have known for decades: Many of America’s public schools are nothing more than leftist indoctrination factories.

“When the Culture War Comes for the Kids” describes Packer’s personal experience with NYC’s public school system, where the “organized pathologies of adults, including yours — sometimes known as politics — find a way to infect the world of children,” he reveals.

Yet while Packer’s article is devoted to machinations of a school system, he also divulges the almost pathological levels of narcissism, self-aggrandizement, and arrogance of New York’s cultural elites, who lie awake at night wondering if they can get their two-year-old children into preschools costing $30,000 a year, even if it takes “gaming the special needs system” to do so.

Their angst is palpable. “The pressure of meritocracy made us apply to private schools when our son was 2 — not because we wanted him to attend private preschool, but because, in New York City, where we live, getting him into a good public kindergarten later on would be even harder, and if we failed, by that point most of the private-school slots would be filled,” Packer writes.

Packer soon realized meritocracy had nothing to do with it, noting that in recent decades “a broadening of opportunity” had been displaced by “a new class structure in which professionals pass on their money, connections, ambitions, and work ethic to their children, while less educated families fall further behind, with little chance of seeing their children move up.”

“When parents on the fortunate ledge of this chasm gaze down, vertigo stuns them,” he adds. “Far below they see a dim world of processed food, obesity, divorce, addiction, online-education scams, stagnant wages, outsourcing, rising morbidity rates — and they pledge to do whatever they can to keep their children from falling.”

Not exactly. They won’t abandon a progressive ideology that ultimately ensures a societal split into rich and poor, with the latter dismissed as “deplorables” who refuse to embrace the elitist world of intersectionalism and diversity.

A world where social justice trumps meritocracy.

Thus, when the tuition at the preschool in which Packer enrolled his first child passed the $50,000 mark, and soon after his wife gave birth to their second child, he enrolled his kids in public school.

Yet he soon realized his “zoned” public school was a disaster, and he applied to “eight or nine” others. When his wait-listed son finally got a place in one of them Packer was ecstatic, taking additional pride in the fact that the boy was befriending children from different social strata, even as he and his wife wondered whether “we had cheated our son of a better education.”

All remained well until 2014, when a new mood Packer described as “progressive but not hopeful” took hold. “At the heart of the new progressivism was indignation, sometimes rage, about ongoing injustice against groups of Americans who had always been relegated to the outskirts of power and dignity,” he explained.

Packer soon discovered how that new progressivism played out in the classroom. The first thing that troubled him was the backlash against standardized testing, couched as “structurally biased, even racist, because nonwhite students had the lowest scores.” And while he was not on board with the “opt-out” movement, he soon realized it had become “a form of moral absolutism, with little tolerance for dissent,” even as actual meritocracy became the ultimate casualty.

That was only the beginning. Next up, identity politics. He recounted, “When our son was in third or fourth grade, students began to form groups that met to discuss issues based on identity — race, sexuality, disability.”

Then, the transgender agenda. Shortly after a second grade girl insisted she was a boy “almost every bathroom” in the school became gender-neutral. “Where signs had once said boys and girls, they now said students,” Packer reveals.

All of it was done without parental notification. “Parents only heard about it when children started arriving home desperate to get to the bathroom after holding it in all day,” Packer writes. “Girls told their parents mortifying stories of having a boy kick open their stall door. Boys described being afraid to use the urinals.”

Moving on 2016, two things dominated life in the Packer household: the musical “Hamilton” and the election of Donald Trump. Packer describes the former as a balm for the latter, as Packer claims both of his children were wholly traumatized by Trump’s victory.

“We owed our children a thousand apologies. The future looked awful, and somehow we expected them to fix it. Did they really have to face this while they were still in elementary school?” Packer asks.

Not unless the adults make their political biases transparent.

Which is exactly what the school system did to Packer’s son and his fellow students. “He learned about the genocide of Native Americans and slavery,” Packer writes. “But he was never taught about the founding of the republic. He didn’t learn that conflicting values and practical compromises are the lifeblood of self-government.”

It gets worse. “At the year-end share, the fifth graders presented dioramas on all the hard issues of the moment — sexual harassment, LGBTQ rights, gun violence,” Packer reveals. “Our son made a plastic-bag factory whose smokestack spouted endangered animals. Compared with previous years, the writing was minimal and the students, when questioned, had little to say. They hadn’t been encouraged to research their topics, make intellectual discoveries, answer potential counterarguments. The dioramas consisted of cardboard, clay, and slogans.”

Packers first child eventually entered middle school and it didn’t take Packer long to become disenchanted, as Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio and his equally radical School Chancellor Richard Carranza were working furiously to eradicate the “racist” concept of meritocracy, and Packer soon realized the $23 million Carranza spent on anti-bias training was a sham. “One training slide was titled ‘White Supremacy Culture.’ It included ‘Perfectionism,’ ‘Individualism,’ ‘Objectivity,’ and ‘Worship of the Written Word’ among the white-supremacist values that need to be disrupted,” Packer notes.

Ultimately, however, Packer remains myopic. “That pragmatic genius for which Americans used to be known and admired, which included a talent for educating our young — how did it desert us?”

“Progressives” abolished it, Mr. Packer. They replaced education with indoctrination and made academia a place where social justice and woke history flourishes, and reverse racism is celebrated. A place where content of one’s character is less important than the color of one’s skin, or one’s sexual or gender preference.

It is a world you, Mr. Packer, and your fellow elitists have championed for decades, all the “chasms” and “vertigo” that separate the privileged elitists from ordinary Americans fully intended. It’s what being “woke” — as in fully contemptuous of this nation’s customs, culture, traditions, and exceptionalism — is all about.


Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Impossible Math of College Admissions

Colleges say they want more low-income students. So why are they admitting so many wealthy ones? The NYT article excerpted below tries to answer that. 

And for most colleges the answer is simple.  To meet their costs they need to charge high prices for their services and the children of poor families just cannot  afford those prices. So to get poor students on campus colleges have to slash what they charge.  But they can't do much of that or they would go broke.

So for most colleges economic necessity dictates that only a small percentage of admissions will be of students from a poor background, no matter how smart they may be.

But what about really rich schools such as Harvard who could afford to charge no fees at all if they chose?  So they have a lot of students from poor backgrounds, right?  Wrong.  Such schools tend to have the fewest poor students of all.  So why?  To put it crudely, admitting many poor students would lower the "tone" of the college -- and tone is a big part of their identity.

So how is "tone" enforced?  Via the "holistic" system of admissions. "Holistic" judgements are used to admit a few blacks and sportsmen but their main function is to keep out those awful poor people.  If you spend a year doing the grand tour of Europe or "helping" blacks in Botswana, your tone score is high.  If you spent similar time flipping burgers your tone score is prohibitive. You are just not "suitable"

Over the last decade, two distinct conversations about college admissions and class have been taking place in the United States. The first one has been conducted in public, at College Board summits and White House conferences and meetings of philanthropists and nonprofit leaders. The premise of this conversation is that inequity in higher education is mostly a demand-side problem: Poor kids are making regrettable miscalculations as they apply to college. Selective colleges would love to admit more low-income students — if only they could find enough highly qualified ones who could meet their academic standards.

The second conversation is the one that has been going on among the professionals who labor behind the scenes in admissions offices — or “enrollment management” offices, as they are now more commonly known. This conversation, held more often in private, starts from the premise that the biggest barriers to opportunity for low-income students in higher education are on the supply side — in the universities themselves, and specifically in the admissions office. Enrollment managers know there is no shortage of deserving low-income students applying to good colleges. They know this because they regularly reject them — not because they don’t want to admit these students, but because they can’t afford to.

There is a tiny minority of American colleges where tuition revenue doesn’t matter much to the institution’s financial health. Harvard and Princeton and Stanford have such enormous endowments and such dependable alumni donors that they are able to spend lavishly to educate their students, with only a small percentage of those funds coming from the students themselves. But most private colleges, including Trinity, operate on a model that depends heavily on tuition for their financial survival. And for many colleges, that survival no longer seems at all certain: According to Moody’s Investors Service, about a quarter of private American colleges are now operating at a deficit, spending more than they are taking in.

In public, university leaders like to advertise the diversity of their freshman classes and their institutions’ generosity with financial aid. In private, they feel immense pressure to maintain tuition revenue and protect their school’s elite status. The public and private are inevitably in conflict, and the place on each campus where that conflict plays out is the admissions office.

When Angel Pérez arrived at Trinity and took a close look at the way the admissions office had been making its decisions, what he found left him deeply concerned. “We were taking some students who probably should not have been admitted, but we were taking them because they could pay,” he told me. “They went to good high schools, but they were maybe at the bottom of their class. The motivation wasn’t there. So the academic quality of our student body was dropping.”

At Trinity, Pérez’s predecessors had been able to capitalize on a pattern that admissions officers say they often see: At expensive prep schools, even students close to the bottom of the class usually have above-average SAT scores, mostly because they have access to high-octane test-prep classes and tutors.

“O.K., you’re not motivated, you’re doing the minimum at your high school,” Pérez explained, describing the students Trinity used to admit in droves. “You have not worked as hard as your peers. But you did the test prep, and you learned how to play the SAT game.”

If you work in admissions at a place like Trinity was before Pérez arrived, SAT scores can provide a convenient justification for admitting the kind of students you might feel compelled to accept because they can pay full tuition. It’s hard to feel good about choosing an academically undeserving rich kid over a striving and ambitious poor kid with better high school grades. But if the rich student you’re admitting has a higher SAT score than the poor student you’re rejecting, you can tell yourself that your decision was based on “college readiness” rather than ability to pay.

The problem is, rich kids who aren’t motivated to work hard and get good grades in high school often aren’t college-ready, however inflated their SAT scores may be. At Trinity, this meant there was a growing number of affluent students on campus who couldn’t keep up in class and weren’t interested in trying. “It had a morale effect on our faculty,” Pérez told me. “They were teaching a very divided campus. The majority of students were really smart and engaged and curious, and then you’ve got these other students” — the affluent group with pumped-up SAT scores and lower G.P.A.s — “who were wondering, How did I get into this school?”

Hidden away among the wealthy masses on the Trinity campus was a small cohort of low-income students. When Pérez arrived, about 10 percent of the student body was eligible for a Pell grant, the federal subsidy for college students from low-income families, and many of those were students of color. Academically, Trinity’s low-income students were significantly outperforming the rich kids on campus; the six-year graduation rate for Pell-eligible students at Trinity was 92 percent, compared with 76 percent for the rest of the student body. But Trinity’s low-income students — at least the ones I spoke to during my visits to campus in 2017 — were often miserable, struggling to find their place on a campus where the dominant student culture was overwhelmingly privileged and white.

But perhaps the most startling fact about the pre-Pérez admissions strategy at Trinity was that it was not doing much to help the college stay afloat financially. As Pérez saw it, this was mostly a question of demographics. The pool of affluent 18-year-old Americans was shrinking, especially in the Northeast, and the ones who remained had come to understand that they had significant bargaining power when it came to negotiating tuition discounts with the colleges that wanted to admit them. As a result, paradoxically, Trinity was going broke educating an unusually wealthy student body.

More HERE 

6-Year-Old Girl Arrested For ‘Battery’ After Throwing Tantrum

This is what happens when school discipline is neutered.  Teachers are no longer allowed to do much with unruly students so the cops have to be called in

A 6-year-old girl in Florida was arrested after she threw a tantrum in her Florida classroom.

The girl’s grandmother, Meralyn Kirkland, said the girl suffers from sleep apnea and was sleep deprived when she threw the tantrum, and shouldn’t have been arrested. She told NBC affiliate WFLA-TV that she was told of the arrest after the fact.

“What do you mean she was arrested, he said ‘there was an incident and she kicked somebody and she is being charged and she is on her way,'” Kirkland told the outlet.

She said police officers were not persuaded by her granddaughter’s medical condition.

“She has a medical condition that we are working on getting resolved and he says, ‘what medical condition, she has a sleep disorder, sleep apnea,’ and he says, ‘well I have sleep apnea and I don’t behave like that,” Kirkland told WFLA.

The outlet reported that Kirkland’s granddaughter Kaia, a first grader at Lucious and Emma Nixon Elementary charter school, was handcuffed and taken to the police station in a squad car to be fingerprinted and have her mug shot taken.

“They told us we had to wait a few minutes because Kaia was being fingerprinted, and when she said fingerprinted it hit me like a ton of bricks,” Kirkland told WFLA. “No six-year-old child should be able to tell somebody that they had handcuffs on them and they were riding in the back of a police car and taken to a juvenile center to be fingerprinted, mug shot.”

Kirkland added that Kaia “was charged with battery!” because she kicked a staff member at her school during her tantrum. Kirkland told Click Orlando that Kaia was sent to the head office after throwing a tantrum. Once there, a staff member tried to calm her down by grabbing her wrists, which is when Kaia kicked the staff member.

Kaia said Friday that she “felt sad that my grandma was sad, and I really missed her."

The outlet also reported that another child at the school, an 8-year-old, was also arrested that day. Orlando Police Department officials told Click Orlando that department policy dictates school resource officers must seek watch commander approval before arresting children under the age of 12, but this particular officer did not do that in either case. That officer, Dennis Turner, is now facing an internal investigation for the arrests.

Kirkland told the outlet that Kaia has an upcoming court date related to her arrest.

Kaia is not the only Florida child whose arrest caused national outrage. In 2017, a 10-year-old boy with autism was arrested after an outburst in class. CNN reported at the time that John Haygood, a student at Okeechobee Achievement Academy, was throwing paper balls at students. His paraprofessional told him to take a time out, but he refused, and kicked and punched the paraprofessional instead. In a previous incident, Haygood allegedly threatened to kill the paraprofessional.

Haygood was expelled from the Academy but returned months later to take a test. He was arrested after refusing to take the test and “not being compliant.” The arresting officer told Haygood’s mother that the 10-year-old had an active warrant because the paraprofessional had filed charges. He was arrested.


Trump Administration to UNC and Duke: Quit Promoting Islam on Our Dime

Will the Trump Administration move against the radioactive wastelands of far-Left indoctrination and Islamic proselytizing that our nation’s colleges and universities have become?

On Friday, it made a small, long overdue step in that direction: Associated Press reported that “the Trump administration is threatening to cut funding for a Middle East studies program run by the University of North Carolina and Duke University, claiming that it’s misusing a federal grant to advance ‘ideological priorities’ and unfairly promote ‘the positive aspects of Islam’ but not Christianity or Judaism.”

The U.S. Department of Education wrote to the UNC-Duke Consortium for Middle East Studies, no doubt interrupting these cosseted pseudo-academics as they swapped stories about how oppressed they are, and told them they had three weeks to revise their course offerings or else they could lose federal funds that were intended for instruction in foreign languages.

The Education Department letter came after Rep. George Holding (R-N.C.) noted that the UNC-Duke Consortium for Middle East Studies had held a taxpayer-funded conference featuring “severe anti-Israeli bias and anti-Semitic rhetoric,” which made it like virtually every other conference on Israel and the Middle East held in every college and university over the last few years, but never mind. The Education Department found that instruction in foreign languages (which, remember, the money was for) and national security had “taken a back seat to other priorities,” and that the Consortium was spending taxpayer money on courses that were “plainly unqualified for taxpayer support.”

The letter also observed that the Consortium was failing to offer – shocker! -- a “balance of perspectives” on religion. Instead, the Consortium was placing “considerable emphasis” on “understanding the positive aspects of Islam, while there is an absolute absence of any similar focus on the positive aspects of Christianity, Judaism or any other religion or belief system in the Middle East.” There were few, if any, courses discussing the persecution of non-Muslims in the Middle East, “including Christians, Jews, Baha’is, Yadizis, Kurds, Druze and others,” and pointed out that the grant’s rules require that students be given a “full understanding” of the region. Not, that is, one that could have been taught by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.

AP, unsurprisingly, thought this was horrifying – not the course on Jew-hatred or the ones proselytizing for Islam, but the Education Department’s letter. It reported that “academic freedom advocates say the government could be setting a dangerous precedent if it injects politics into funding decisions.” These “academic freedom advocates” were not reported as saying anything at all about the dangerous precedent that academic institutions all over the country have already set by injecting politics – far-Left politics, of course, required, taken for granted, pervading everything – into academic discourse.

Henry Reichman, chairman of a committee on academic freedom for the American Association of University Professors, fumed: “Is the government now going to judge funding programs based on the opinions of instructors or the approach of each course?” Without any sense of irony, this man who has won honors and advancement because of his adherence to left-wing political correctness railed against the Trump administration’s letter, saying: “The odor of right-wing political correctness that comes through this definitely could have a chilling effect.” He said nothing about the chilling effect of indoctrinating a generation of young Americans into thinking that their nation and its history are evil, that murderous jihadi thugs are noble freedom fighters, and that “climate change” and “Islamophobia” are real things that they need to worry about.

Jay Smith, a history professor at UNC and vice president of its chapter of the American Association of University Professors, was outraged, charging the Department of Education with “ideologically driven harassment” and declaring that Education Department official Robert King, who signed the letter, “should stay in his lane and allow the experts to determine what constitutes a ‘full understanding’ of the Middle East.”

It is important to remember that Smith was raging against just one small expression of disapproval toward two of the universities where this proselytizing for Islam has been going on in universities and colleges for years. But the Education Department’s letter is at least some pushback. And it signals to other “institutions of higher learning,” as these Antifa/Muslim Brotherhood recruitment centers quaintly used to be called, that they may not continue to be able to get away with this indefinitely.

In a sane world, none of the academic institutions that have been little totalitarian fiefdoms in which Leftist politics are taken for granted and thrust upon every student, and Muslims ostensibly standing against the alleged abuses of the Israeli military themselves abuse and even sometimes brutalize Jewish and pro-Israel students should receive any taxpayer funding at all. The federal government should withhold all – yes, all -- funds from any university or college, no matter how great or insignificant, where only one point of view is allowed to be taught, and which train young people in little, if anything, other than a sense of grievance at perceived racism, “white supremacism,” and “cisgender hegemony.”

As it happens, I took a UNC/Duke graduate course on Islam back in 1985, when I was a graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Even that many years ago, the violent aspects of Islamic doctrine were downplayed and whitewashed. There is no doubt whatsoever that in the intervening years, the impulse to absolve Islam of all responsibility for the crimes committed in its name and in accord with its teachings has only intensified.

Smith rages that the Department of Education should allow the “experts” to set the parameters of academic instruction. “Experts.” Sure. Everyone at this point should be wary of what historian Christopher Dummitt calls “the so-called proof presented by alleged experts.” He notes, in a fascinating article about his own promotion of currently fashionable gender fictions, that his “own flawed reasoning was never called out—and, in fact, only became more ideologically inflected through the process of peer review.” Yes, and that is happening in every academic department in virtually every university and college in the country. Untold millions of young people have had their heads filled with this destructive nonsense. If America is to have a future, this must stop.


Monday, September 23, 2019

UNC Board Steps Up to Defend Civil Discourse on Campus

An important new front in the culture war has opened up at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, one with major implications about intellectual diversity and how universities in North Carolina are to be governed.

The controversy concerns plans for a new “Program on Civic Virtue and Civil Discourse,” scheduled to begin in the Fall of 2021. The idea initiated with the UNC system’s Board of Governors and was further developed in discussions with Princeton University professor Robert George, who heads the James Madison Program in American Ideals at Princeton. George has been influential in the program’s creation, giving one address to the UNC system’s Board of Governors, and engaging in a public discussion about the importance of maintaining civil discourse with his colleague Cornel West at Duke University.

George has consulted on the matter regularly with Chris Clemens, another principal actor in the new program. Clemens, who now serves as the senior associate dean for research and innovation at the UNC-Chapel Hill College of Arts and Sciences, will be the program’s inaugural director until a full-time director is hired. Funding has been offered by anonymous donors, whose identities are being protected by the UNC Foundation.

It sounds like a very positive development for UNC-Chapel Hill. Knowledge of citizenship appears to be diminishing nationally, and the crucial concept of civil discourse seems to be in disarray in academia. Students’ inability to engage in civil discourse has led to such phenomena as “safe spaces,” and “trigger warnings.” Even moderate conservative invited speakers are shouted down and chased away. “Twitter mobs” hound any student who voices an unpopular opinion.

On the UNC campus, civil discourse is indeed threatened. Consider that the last major campus controversy—the removal of Silent Sam, a statue of a Confederate soldier—was essentially settled by the actions of a violent mob rather than through due process. And that authorities feel so threatened by even mentioning the topic that they have continually postponed its final resolution.

The new program appears to make an extremely important statement about the public dialogue, that civic virtue and civil discourse are essential values that will be given considerable attention. This is in accord with the mission statement and other fundamental documents.

Even so, the program has drawn the ire of some faculty. In a recent Raleigh News & Observer op-ed piece, UNC-Chapel Hill history professor Jay Smith and gender studies professor Karen Booth argued for a “resolution” against the new program that, at latest count, has been signed by over 100 faculty members. (The resolution has since failed to advance). Among the reasons they list why development of the program should cease are a perceived lack of transparency, the perception that the program’s courses are redundant with course offerings already in place, and the conservative leanings of the main drivers of the program.

But their major point of contention cuts to the heart of university governance—who really controls the main product of the university, its intellectual content? For decades, there has been the concept of “shared governance,” in which the faculty controls the curriculum, supposedly with board oversight (which, although statutory, is rarely used by the board except for reducing programs with low enrollment).  This arrangement is supported by both the American Association of University Professors and the Association of Governing Boards.

Smith and Booth described two ways in which the new program’s development conflicts with this shared governance tradition. One is that the board initiated the idea for the program rather than the faculty. The other is the exclusion of the UNC faculty from the decision to create such a program and from its subsequent development.

Smith and Booth treated these board actions as a threat to faculty control of the curriculum and treated as some sort of violation of shared governance.

Furthermore, their legitimate concerns about the lack of transparency seem to suggest the board’s conduct is nefarious; the perceived redundancy suggests that the program is unnecessary or arbitrary; and the conservative political beliefs of Clemens and George make the program appear to be politically motivated.

But Smith and Booth are wrong on most counts. Most important, there is no violation of governance. The BOG is the final authority in the university system. According to State Law #116-11:

The Board shall determine the functions, educational activities and academic programs of the constituent institutions.

According to the Association of Governing Boards:

Governing boards are stewards of the whole of the institution, not just its financial components or strategic plan…a central responsibility of an institution’s governing board is to define and uphold that institution’s educational mission.

Surely no value in higher education is more important than the spirit of free inquiry—the search for truth without restrictions (academic freedom). As such it is the board’s duty to defend that spirit. One of the biggest mistakes the faculty objectors are making is they are treating their dominance in the shared governance arrangement as an end, not a means. The true end—perhaps the most important one of all in higher education—is that the university should maintain the spirit of free inquiry.


Education Department says Duke-UNC Middle East studies program favors Islam over Christianity, Judaism

The US Department of Education is threatening to revoke a university Middle East studies program's federal funding, alleging -- among other complaints -- that its curriculum fails to address the plight of the region's Christians and Jews.

In a letter to Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which jointly run the Consortium for Middle East Studies, Assistant Secretary Robert King says the program lacks balance.

It offers "few, if any, programs focused on the historic discrimination faced by, and current circumstances of, religious minorities in the Middle East, including Christians, Jews, Baha'is, Yadizis, Kurds, Druze, and others," King writes.

The letter, published in the Federal Register, says that in materials for elementary and secondary students and teachers, "there is a considerable emphasis placed on ... understanding the positive aspects of Islam, while there is an absolute absence of any similar focus on the positive aspects of Christianity, Judaism, or any other religion or belief system in the Middle East.

"This lack of balance of perspectives is troubling and strongly suggests that Duke-UNC CMES is not meeting (the) legal requirement" to provide a "full understanding" of the region, the letter states. King also accused the program of failing to adequately prioritize language instruction.

CNN has reached out for comment to the consortium's centers at both universities, the UNC Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies and the Duke University Middle East Studies Center.
The Education Department declined to discuss the letter when contacted for comment.

The consortium receives funding under Title VI, whose funds are meant for cultural and language programs designed to develop experts.

King instructed the program to prove that it will restructure its materials in accordance with funding requirements.

"As a condition for future Title VI funding, the Duke-UNC CMES is directed to provide a revised schedule of activities that it plans to support for the coming year, including a description demonstrating how each activity promotes foreign language learning and advances the national security interests and economic stability of the United States," the letter says.


Australia: Elite Brisbane college shunning kids with learning problems

There have always been separate classes for gifted children and backward students so why has this furore arisen?  It is the rage of parents who are forced for the first time to face the fact that their kid is not bright and therefore has limited prospects.  There are many private schools in Brisbane and some would undoubtedy be ready to accept the  rejected  enrolees from Churchie. It appears that some have

ONE of Queensland's most prestigious schools is under fire over claims by parents that children with poor grades and learning difficulties are being excluded in a ruthless bid to boost academic performance.

Furious parents, including big financial donors and third-generation old boys, have slammed Anglican Church Grammar School (known as Churchie) as discriminatory and elitist. Speaking on condition of anonymity, they have told of distressed children made to feel "dumb" and inferior.

They claim that students as young as five are being denied enrolment, while those in older primary are being asked to find another high school.

This fresh scandal comes after The Courier-Mail revealed lower-performing seniors were pressured to stay home from the Queensland Core Skills Test (which helps decide OP scores) this month.

A third-generation parent said the East Brisbane school claimed to be non-selective but was turning away boys with dyslexia or deemed "not bright enough, even for Prep". "It's about lifting academic performance, but it's wrong," said the man, whose son does not have learning issues.

Another father said he was "shell-shocked" when his younger boy was "rejected". "My older son was already at the school and I, my father, my grandfather and my cousins all boarded there," he said

"We were going through the normal enrolment procedure and I said, 'by the way, this boy has dyslexic tendencies, how do we go forward?' "Never in our wildest dreams did we think he'd be discriminated against, to be told Churchie was not the school for him; I was in tears."

Emails seen by The Courier-Mail confirm the parents were told the school could not accommodate the child. "My boy was devastated," the father said. "We know of at least a dozen other families this has happened to, but we are speaking out because we want change."

 Dyslexia affects one in five people and creates problems with reading and language, however, experts agree when traditional learning is replaced with other strategies, children can achieve well.

Frustrated parents have even offered to fund a Churchie program to assist dyslexic children, but it's understood this has been refused.

Many have withdrawn their children and sent them elsewhere, including Brisbane Boys' College (BBC), St Joseph's Nudgee College and The Southport School (TSS), which offer boarding.

A second-generation old boy, who boarded at Churchie in the 1980s, described the situation as "disgusting". The western Queensland man refused to send his three sons to the school after his eldest, then in Year 6, was "ruled out" due to dyslexia.

"We had an interview and they basically said he's not smart enough; it was pretty degrading," he said. "Who are they to think they can take the cream of the crop?

From the Courier Mail 21/9/19

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Telling children that they 'can do anything if they put their minds to it' can actually lead to POORER results, study finds

Artificially boosting pupils' self-belief might do more harm than good by 'papering over' serious problems in schools.

A study of primary schools in Scotland found those that tried to motivate children to try harder in subjects they struggled with were not improving their exam results.

Instead, grades were found to be falling across the country and experts warned catchphrases and platitudes weren't helping.

'What we see is grades going down across the whole country, so saying, "I love maths because of a cartoon superhero" is kind of papering over pretty big troubles in education,' Dr Timothy Bates, the leader of the study, told The Times.

The psychology expert, from the University of Edinburgh, referenced a quote from a young child who said she felt better about a subject because of mascots.

A girl at Lasswade Primary School in Midlothian said: 'I love maths now because the superheroes help me,' after teachers there introduced 'Tough Tina' and 'Mike the Mistake Maker' to try and encourage children.

Dr Bates's study said that in fact pupils are likely to have subjects they are naturally worse at and telling them they can do it if they try may not be ideal.

Although a positive attitude is important, overdoing it might ignore the science behind people being naturally gifted in different areas.

The researchers called telling children they could use effort to overcome their nature a 'growth mindset'. 'A growth mindset attitude suggests you can reprogramme your brain,' Dr Bates said.

'Our study tested whether invoking a growth mindset would improve grades, and we found that it didn’t.

'In the one study where we did find a significant change it was in the wrong direction, with the kids who were taught a growth mindset getting worse grades.'

In their study the Edinburgh researchers found that grades were actually falling across Scotland. There was a two per cent drop in the number of children achieving high pass rates and notably worse performances in maths and English.

The research was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.


Chicago Public Schools CEO Says NYT 1619 Project to Be Taught in All City High Schools

The CEO of Chicago Public Schools announced this week that the New York Times‘s 1619 Project is being provided as a supplemental resource to every one of the system’s high schools.

“Thanks to our partners at the Pulitzer Center, every CPS high school will receive 200–400 copies of the New York Times’ The 1619 Project this week as a resource to help reframe the institution of slavery, and how we’re still influenced by it today—from the workforce management system created to harness enslaved labor and the incredible wealth that came from its unsparing efficiency to the music that you may very well be listening to now,” CPS CEO Janice Jackson wrote in an essay published Tuesday.

The 1619 Project, a collection of writings and photography marking the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery, has been challenged by critics as containing several misrepresentations and inaccuracies. The Times has said the project is designed “to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”

“As educators, we are always looking for new tools and strategies to help students contextualize the world around them so they may one day become informed and effective citizens,” Jackson said. “In order for our students to engage with the issues of today, it is essential that they have an honest accounting of our country’s past.”

“It is my sincere hope that parents and families explore the project with their children; teachers examine these curricular materials and share it with their students; and principals support staff and students as they tackle this subject,” she added.


A small comeback for the classics in Australia

Less than a year ago, Aadita Menghani knew nothing about Latin. "I had never even heard of it before," she said.

But the 13-year-old Blacktown Girls High student is discovering the ancient Roman language in the first NSW class to be offered Latin outside the fully selective or private school systems in more than 20 years.

More than 80 per cent of Blacktown's students are new or recent migrants, and their native tongues - Mandarin, Arabic, Hindi - have little crossover with the 3000-year-old language that influenced modern English.

But advocates of the classics say that's exactly why they should learn it, as new research suggests students with the least access to Latin and Classical Greek are the ones who benefit most.

Blacktown Girls' High, a partially selective school, was able to offer Latin to year eight this year thanks to the arrival of Lance Shortus, a second-year teacher who studied the language as part of his ancient history degree at university.

Like most teachers of the classics, he embeds the language in wider lessons about ancient Roman culture. This year's course is open to students from the selective and non-selective but gifted streams, but if it succeeds, he hopes to offer it to more.

"It would be great to see it appearing in more public, non-selective schools," he said. "Please don't call it a dead language. Latina est immortalis. It's an immortal language."

Emily Matters, the president of the Classical Languages Teachers' Association, said Latin could be instrumental in developing a category of vocabulary that was particularly useful to students from a non-English speaking background or disadvantaged community.

While they were already bi-lingual, had a rich understanding of conversational words, and learned scientific, technical words such as 'photosynthesis' or 'hypotenuse' at school, they often had little exposure to the complex English vocabulary found scholarship and literature, she said.

The children most likely to pick up this type of vocabulary - largely derived from Latin and Ancient Greek - were from highly-educated, native English-speaking families, giving them an advantage in high school or university, said Dr Matters.

"By the age of 10, the division [in vocabulary] is quite clear," said Ms Matters.

"For some children, if they can't learn these words at school, they are not going to learn them. That's the kind of thing that learning Latin will give children - that enrichment of their English vocabulary."

A single Latin word can unlock many English ones. For example, if a student knows ardere means 'to burn', they can work out the meaning of ardent, ardour or arson. The word tractare, to drag or pull, is a clue to words such as subtract, attractive, and detractor.

Arlene Holmes-Henderson from Oxford University is finishing a longitudinal study into the impact of classical languages on children's cognitive development.

"Initial and interim findings suggest that learning Latin can unlock significant literacy gains for certain pupils, but not the ones who traditionally have had access to the study of classics," she told the Herald.

Dr Matters said the last comprehensive school to teach Latin was Turramurra High School, which closed its course in the early 1990s.

Fully selective schools were more likely to be able to offer Latin or ancient Greek because they could attract enough interested students to fill a class, while private schools had the resources to teach smaller groups, she said.