Friday, October 11, 2019

UK: Headmistress of Elite Girls' School: Some Students Claim to Be Trans to Cause 'Turbulence at School'

The former headmistress of an elite all-girls school in London has gone on the record to admit what we all know. Transgenderism is mostly a fad, especially among the young kids who are always looking for something to rebel against.

The Daily Mail had the story.

Schools are facing a ‘transtrender problem’ with pupils identifying as transgender to be cool and rebellious, a former top headmistress said yesterday.

Clarissa Farr claimed that it has become trendy for some girls to say they are trans or ‘non-binary’.

She said while some pupils had genuine concerns about gender identity, staff believed others were trying to cause ‘turbulence’ in school.

The former head of the private St Paul’s Girls’ School in London suggested a bandwagon was causing students with no real gender issues to come forward claiming they are trans.

Transtrender is a term used for people who claim to be trans but never go through any altering surgeries or hormone treatments to proceed toward transition. Instead, they just demand the public call them by a pronoun that doesn't match their secondary sex characteristics.

Farr, the headmistress, admitted to the Daily Mail that the faculty knows what's going on. "‘It’s what we, I’m afraid, in the staff room at the end of a long day called the “transtrender problem” where you’ve got these individuals adhering to the issue because they’d adhere to anything that was a bit radical and might cause a little bit of turbulence in the school."

We all know kids like that, don't we? Back in my day, it was the punk rockers; then after them, it was the goth kids. Contrary to the claim by the far-left transgender crowd, transtrenders do exist and they outnumber kids who actually suffer from gender dysphoria. How many there are is unknown, but consider that the Gender Identity Clinic in the UK has seen a 400 percent increase in children referred for service. This is not a natural situation.

Instead of giving these kids access to whatever bathrooms or locker rooms they want while taking away privacy from the opposite sex, we should all start treating them exactly the way we do other rebellious kids. Detention and suspension. National policy needs to shift toward sex segregation through compulsory school age. After that, when they're 18 they can do whatever nonsense they want and yap endlessly about pronouns. But at this point, it's all a giant distraction that should not be allowed to go on in a school setting. Today's rebels are no different than yesterday's and they should all be in detention together.

If you don't believe that the kids are up to no good, peruse YouTube for a while under the topic "I was a transtrender." You'll find hundreds of video confessions just like this one. And just imagine how many more are out there too scared to admit they did it for the attention, or to shock the squares. Why do the adults in the room keep allowing it to happen?


Can Independent Christian Study Centers Restore the Soul of Higher Education?

In The Soul of the American University published in 1994, the historian George Marsden gave a powerful account of how once-great pillars and trend-setters of American higher education have abandoned even a residual commitment to the Christian foundations on which they were founded.

The cultural, political, social and economic upheavals of the 20th century moved American higher education to try and recover its “soul,” hoping to support liberal democratic ideals and resist the totalitarian movements that tore the world apart from WWI on.

This search did not, however, lead educators back to the religious foundations of their institutions but to naturalism, liberal pragmatism, and postmodern relativism. The search for this “soul” led leaders in higher education to reject the very existence of what they were looking for. The result was the marginalization and, in many cases, elimination of religious perspectives from the university.

C.S. Lewis wrote that “[t]he task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts.” A university without a “soul”—and without the willingness to even ask what a soul is—fails to do either.

In the 25 years since the publication of Marsden’s book, the situation has become considerably worse in much of the academy. Religious perspectives, and especially the theologically orthodox, are not just marginalized through neglect, but berated as hateful micro-aggressions whose relegation to the “dustbin of history” is long overdue. As a result, the soul of secular higher education in the Western world is largely a void, manifested in the nihilism of many students and their painful struggles with addiction, depression, anxiety, and confusion.

To be sure, laying all the blame on universities is short-sighted; many churches bear some responsibility for this degeneration. Persistent strains of anti-intellectualism permeate throughout Christianity and have left generations of the faithful suspicious of the life of the mind. This disposition has pushed many young adults away from Church, and many congregations are ill-equipped to recognize or minister to the needs of college students. In the often-overwhelming experience of higher education, there is a great need for a kind of intellectual discipleship, but few places to turn.

Amid the chaos, several organizations have attempted to fill the void. Ministries such as Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru), Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes have long served as refuges from the emptiness of University culture. Initially, these groups could enjoy official recognition and be allowed to reserve campus space, advertise their meetings, and recruit student leaders and faculty participants.

But in recent decades, that access to campus has diminished, and Christian organizations find themselves competing for fewer students with diminished resources and access while ministering to a culture increasingly hostile to their purposes. Duke University’s Young Life chapter, for example, recently lost official school recognition as a consequence of excluding actively gay students from leadership positions.

One could argue that a failure to remain independent of university bureaucracy made such problems inevitable. Outreach to the students on the university’s terms often allowed for a more amicable relationship between ministries and the university, and critical barriers to student access were removed. But such collaboration does not come without a price; ministry on the university’s terms was bound to become more problematic with academia’s increasing secularization. The mission of the universities and the goals of these Christian organizations have been diverging for decades.

Local pastors, faculty, and others, though, have begun to pursue innovative ways to re-insert a Christian presence back into the life of universities while remaining independent of higher education’s bureaucracy. They have, instead, begun to participate in a rapidly growing movement of Christian Study Centers.

Christian study centers, in most contemporary iterations, are independent non-profit organizations established near major secular universities in order to minister to the intellectual and spiritual needs of Christians and those on campus interested in exploring the faith. Their focus tends to be one of discipleship and lay education, with an emphasis on the Christian intellectual tradition that distinguishes them from more well-known campus ministries. Ideally, they own a space (such as a house or larger office space) where Christians can gather for intellectual conversations, lectures, and study.

Many also provide opportunities to connect students to local churches, mission trips, and service experiences. Some study centers also provide off-campus housing for Christian students, as well as internships and scholarship opportunities.

No two study centers are exactly alike and are not governed by any central denominational or administrative structure. Instead, they collaborate and share ideas through the Consortium of Christian Study Centers and look for ways to orient their ministry to the unique needs of their campus community.

The first Christian study center I had ever heard of was Anselm House, which has served the University of Minnesota (under different names) since 1974. Their mission statement is paradigmatic of the Christian study center movement:

“The mission of Anselm House is to help University of Minnesota students and faculty—and the surrounding Twin Cities community—connect the dots of study, life, faith, and relationships to each other. We want to see the world and approach our lives as God created them to be: whole.”

Anselm House has a Fellows program, welcomes high-profile speakers from across the disciplines, hosts study sessions, group discussions, and more while engaging 3,000 students, faculty, and community members annually.

By maintaining property, administration, and funding separate from the university, groups such as Anslem House can remain apart from the politics of public higher education while providing much-needed discipleship to students. Rather than seeing themselves as adversarial to the university, Christian study centers regularly demonstrate how valuable the Christian faith can be to campus and community life.

The number of study centers has increased substantially over the last couple decades and now spans the country. The North Carolina Study Center, for example, serves the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill and hosts the annual Wilberforce Conference while also holding seminars, providing fellowship opportunities, and organizing mentoring groups. Yale’s Rivendell Institute hosts lecture series’ and student retreats emphasizing spiritual formation. Hill House serves the enormous campus of the University of Texas-Austin and records a podcast while hosting Bible studies and movie nights for discussing the intersection of Christian faith and popular culture. Chesterton House, ministering to Cornell University, provides student housing and even offers for-credit courses in Biblical and ministry-related subjects through an agreement with Gordon College, a non-denominational Christian school in Massachusetts.

As many student-affairs professionals and faculty have observed, today’s students often struggle with the “why” of their educational experience. Acquiring skills and knowledge to succeed professionally reduces individuals to little more than future employees, consumers, and donors without ever integrating the larger whole of which their education is a part. Students leave college under-developed and, at times, malformed, because so little of them has been cultivated. At the same time, churches often struggle to minister to young adults and seldom possess the personnel and the resources needed for the intellectual discipleship these students and others desperately need. It is encouraging to know the movement of Christian study centers has risen to meet this need and is poised for significant growth in the years to come.

Still, these centers cannot, on their own, restore the soul of the universities. The decline of church attendance and religiosity in America shows little sign of slowing down, and higher education has tended to double down on its hostility to religion generally. But this is no time for despair or retreat. Any faculty member who has taken the time to get to know their students has seen the deep spiritual and moral struggle they go through on a daily basis. They are desperate for hope, for meaning, truth, and the Gospel. Christian study centers are uniquely called and equipped to meet this pressing need.


British students told to take 'consent courses' before enrolling for degree

Universities are making students undergo "consent courses" before enrolling for degrees, a report representing Britain's vice-chancellors has found.

Universities UK (UUK), the representative organisation for educational institutions, on Wednesday published a report on harassment and hate crime on campuses.

The report, entitled Changing the Culture, assesses the progress that universities have made since a taskforce was set up in 2016 to look at the scale of harassment and hate crime across higher education.

After surveying almost 100 universities, researchers found that 81% have updated their discipline procedures, with 53% introducing or making additions to the student code of conduct.

A further 81% improved support for reporting students and 67% improved support for responding students and 78% provided students with clear information on how to report an incident.

It concluded that institutions have given priority to dealing with sexual misconduct and gender-based violence, with less attention given to race-related incidents and harassment.

However the report also gave examples of various university initiatives to raise awareness of expected behaviour offline and online - as well as sanctions if these standards are breached.

These included: developing “pre-arrival online consent courses and ensuring it is a condition of registration” as well as other measures such as “broadening the existing ‘consent quiz’ to include the inclusivity quiz as part of the registration process”.

The Telegraph understands that “a small number” of universities now require prospective students to take the online consent course before enrolling, and that if they fail to do so, their university application is void.

The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) is among the institutions which require students to take place in group workshops during enrolment week.

A spokesperson for SOAS University of London said: "The workshops address many important issues, including consent, sexual and gendered violence, as well as other forms of harassment, violence and abuse.

“They’re delivered by trained facilitators during enrolment week and, while mandatory, students are able to access support from our Student Advice and Wellbeing Team and opt instead for survivor-led workshops. So they’ve become a highly valued addition to enrolment, positively received by students - and are a strong example of an important student-led national campaign."

The University of Oxford is another institution to introduce mandatory sexual consent workshops.

In response to the report, Chris Skidmore, the Universities Minister, warned university chiefs that there must be a "zero-tolerance culture" to all types of harassment and hate crime.

He added: "Any form of harassment, violence or hate crime is abhorrent and unacceptable anywhere in society, and this includes our world-leading universities, which should be safe and inclusive environments.

"The impact of these offences can be devastating on victims, and while this report shows the progress which has been made, it also highlights the sad truth that there is much further to go to combat the culture of harassment, support those affected and take serious action where needed.

"I am struck by the report's finding that not all senior leaders are taking strong ownership of the issue, which is simply not good enough.”

Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the Office for Students,  the independent regulator for higher education in England, added: “All students should be able to thrive in higher education without fear of harassment, assault or discrimination.

“The findings from UUK show progress is being made by universities to develop systems and policies to address these issues, but more must be done. These improvements need to be taking place across all universities.”


Thursday, October 10, 2019

Florida Middle School Teacher Labels Trump an “Idiot” in Exam Question

A teacher at Watson B. Duncan Middle School in Palm Beach, Florida has been reassigned from regular classroom duties after labeling President Donald Trump an “idiot” in an exam given to students.

The multiple-choice question asked students to correctly identify the U.S. President described as “45th Pres.; 2017; Republican; Real Estate businessman; idiot.” The four possible answers were Donald Trump, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter. Obviously, the “correct” answer is meant to be Donald Trump.

The source of the exam question appears to be an online database called Quizlet, which allows educators to upload, edit, and share study materials and exam questions. It is unclear whether the teacher wrote the question herself or borrowed it from another user. Since the database is used by educators nationwide, it is possible that other teachers used the same exam question in their classrooms. The teacher has not yet been publicly identified.

Alarms about the exam question were first raised by Duncan Middle School parent Cam Cary, whose daughter took the quiz. Cary shared an image of the question on Twitter and promised to “raise some hell” with the school principal. “This was an actual question on my daughter’s middle school test today. Furious,” he wrote. “Indoctrination will not continue ... Not having it!”

Cary subsequently contacted administrators at the school and reported that he had a “long talk” with school principal Phillip D’Amico. “I let the school know that teachers’ personal opinions do not belong in the classroom no matter what you believe,” Cary reported in an update on Twitter. “That kids need to be free thinkers and not told how to think."

Principal D’Amico issued a statement via email acknowledging that “the question was inappropriate, and demonstrated an unacceptable lack of good judgement on the part of the teacher.” He also confirmed that the teacher has been reassigned while the school conducts an investigation. “I apologize for the incident, and for the offensive verbiage used in the question,” he added.

Florida Senator Rick Scott also condemned the teacher for politicizing the classroom. “This is UNACCEPTABLE,” he tweeted. “This liberal teacher was trying to indoctrinate kids in Florida with your tax dollars! The teacher should be fired immediately.”


Diversity Rankings Hold Deep Meaning for the University of California, the State, and the Nation

Even after the Supreme Court’s 1978 Bakke ruling, the University of California persisted in admitting students on the basis of race and ethnicity, not merit and test scores. Californians put a stop to such discrimination in 1996 by passing the California Civil Rights Initiative, Proposition 209, which bans racial and ethnic preferences in state education, employment and contracting. Opponents argued that the measure would end minority representation, but that turned out to be wrong.

As Fox Business reports, “The number one most diverse public university in the country is UC Davis, where 30,066 undergraduates are enrolled at a diversity index rate of 77.64.” The diversity index is a continuum that ranges from 0 to 100 to calculate whether a population is more evenly divided across race and ethnic groups. By this standard, UCLA comes second, UC Santa Barbara fourth, UC San Diego sixth, UC Berkeley ninth, and UC Irvine tenth. So diversity endures, but only in race and ethnicity.

A student can pass through the UC system without learning much about Nobel Prize-winning economists such as F. A. Hayek and Milton Friedman. UC literature departments are not strong on writes such as Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Vaclav Havel. UC bosses such as the outgoing president Janet Napolitano are not strong on the First and Second Amendments.

Still, as Hoover Institution scholar Thomas Sowell noted in Intellectuals and Race, after Proposition 209 was enacted there was an increase in the number of black and Hispanic students graduating from the UC system, including an increase of 55 percent in the number graduating in four years. There was also an increase of 63 percent in the number graduating in four years with a GPA of 3.5 or higher. And after voters banned racial preferences, Sowell shows, the number of black and Hispanic students graduating with degrees in science, technology, mathematics and engineering rose by 51 percent. Also after 209, the number of doctorates earned by black and Hispanic students in the UC system rose by 25 percent.

The lessons should be clear. Proposition 209 promoted merit and achievement while allowing ethnic diversity to thrive. If other states pass similar measures, California might become a leader again.


Australia: Phonics focus of teacher training

Education Minister Dan Tehan will push universities to overhaul their teacher training courses to ensure that graduates learn how to teach children to read and write using the phonics method, amid damning evidence that many new teachers are ill-prepared for the classroom.

Mr Tehan is due to meet with the heads of university teaching faculties this week and said he was confident he would be able to sec­ure their co-operation to deliver on one of his key election promises.

“I have raised this with the education deans and they are looking forward to working with the government on this,” he said on Sunday.

“Every indication they’ve given to me is they are looking forward to making sure phonics is a key component of what teachers are taught when they are doing their degrees.”

The push to embed phonics, which explicitly and systematically teaches the correspondence between letters and sounds, into initial teacher education comes amid widespread concern about declining literacy rates among Australian children.

Mr Tehan signalled his entry into one of the most hotly debated areas of education ahead of the May election when he announced the Coalition would roll out a voluntary “phonics health check” for Year 1 students and would “ensure that teaching students learn how to teach phonics for use in the classroom to improve the literacy of their students”.

Doing so, however, will likely come up against significant opposition, with a recent research report by high-profile literacy advocate Jennifer Buckingham revealing that most teaching courses preferenced the balanced literacy approach to reading instruction, which promotes whole-word recognition and encourages children to guess at unfamiliar words, despite repeated scientific studies finding systematic phonics instruction to be the most ­effective way to teach children how to read.

According to the report, which analysed more than 60 teacher education courses, just 5 per cent of units appeared to have a specific focus on teaching beginning readers to read. And just 6 per cent of units referenced the recognised essential elements of evidence-based reading instruction: phonics awareness, phonics, ­fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.

Australian Council of Deans of Education president Tania Asp­land said the deans did not claim to be literacy experts but faculties were keen to work with the government and other stakeholders to ensure all education courses were providing graduates with evidence-based strategies for teaching children to read.


Wednesday, October 09, 2019

UK: University rich list revealed as figures show over 4,000 staff are paid more than £100,000 a year

More than 4,000 university staff are paid more than £100,000 a year, a new rich list has revealed.

Edinburgh University had the most high earners last year, with 359 staff receiving over £100,000 in total remuneration, of which 110 received over £150,000.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance, which compiled the rich list by sending freedom of information requests to 120 institutions, said that higher pay is “soaring” in universities.

In 2016/17, there were 3,947 university staff members paid over £100,000 which rose by 12 per cent to 4,423 the following year. The number of staff paid over £150,000 rose by a similar proportion over the same period, from 867 to 976.

Kieran Neild of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said their findings shine a light on the “thousands of university administrators taking home very plush pay packets”.

He said: "Taxpayers and students will be left with a degree of uncertainty over whether this is money is being well spent, particularly when left-wing professors are so keen to lecture them about the evils of inequality.

"Instead of constantly complaining about faculty budget cuts, university bosses need to get their bumper wage bills under control and focus on providing their students with the very best higher education they can."

British universities employed 429,560 people last year, according to data from the Higher Education Statistical Agency, up 2.3 per cent from the year before.

David Palfreyman, director of the Oxford Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies, said that vice-Chancellors now surround themselves with a “cadre” of highly paid managerial staff. “Compared with 25-30 years ago, there are now far more managers at universities,” he said.

Mr Palfreyman, who is the Bursar at New College, Oxford, added that there is “some justification” to accusation that the higher education sector has got “carried away” with “administrative bloat”. 

Vice-Chancellors have come under fire for their vast paypackets. Earlier this year it emerged that the average pay for university chiefs rose above £250,000 for the first time as more than 100 institutions offered pay rises in the last year despite heavy criticism of the salaries.

According to the Office for Students, the average basic salary for a university vice chancellor rose ahead of inflation, from £245,000 a year to £253,000 a year, with five heads earning more than £500,000 with benefits and severance payments included.

The universities watchdog has warned that university chiefs must be prepared to answer “tough questions” and be able to justify their salaries where necessary. 

There has been increased scrutiny on large salaries of university chiefs, especially after student fees rose to £9,250 per year at many institutions.

Ministers have called on universities, which are autonomous and set their own salaries, to show more restraint rather than “ratcheting up” salaries at a higher rate than inflation.

A spokesman for Universities UK said: “It is important for universities to demonstrate that the process for determining pay for senior university staff is rigorous and that decisions are fair, explained and justified.

“We support the Committee of University Chairs’ Remuneration Code and its principles to create a more transparent system for determining senior staff pay.”


California State University System’s Math Problem

The education bureaucrats in California have a public-relations problem. State education officials sold the Common Core K-12 academic standards to skeptical parents with the officials’ promise that kids would be “college- and career-ready.” California State University administrators sold abolition of remedial classes to incoming students and their parents with the administrators’ promise that without having to take these classes, students would graduate from college sooner. Now the CSU faculty is unhappy—the incoming students don’t know math, even at the most basic level.

State officials promised that high school graduates would be college-ready. In fact, they are not college-ready in math. Isn’t it cheating taxpayers to promise one thing and provide much less?

In the fall of 2018, CSU abolished its remedial freshmen courses in English and math, with the explanation that this change would raise graduation rates. Instead of remediation, students were supposed to take—for full credit—new courses that include both the regular and the remedial material. CSU officials assured us at the time that this new policy was not about dumbing down expectations but rather giving students a leg up while maintaining the rigor.

How such a miracle was supposed to be accomplished was left unclear. Teaching a double-dose course and expecting better results strains credulity. And, at the same time CSU made another decision about expectations for its students. For decades, in order to graduate from CSU, students had to take Intermediate Algebra, which was a general education requirement. CSU dropped this requirement and has allowed students to take less-analytical non-algebra-based math courses instead. So much for the promise of “not lowering expectations.”

Suddenly, we hear now that CSU is considering beefing up its admission requirements with a fourth year of high school math, since its faculty now feels three years are insufficient for incoming students. CSU’s explanation? “The goal of the change is to better prepare students for success at CSU and to enable more students to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) majors once they enter college.”

That sounds positive and reasonable on its face, yet the extra-year math requirement is not for STEM-related math such as trigonometry or pre-calculus, but a “Quantitative Reasoning” course. What is meant by that? parents are asking. CSU officials and faculty say they want incoming students, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, “who can figure out if they can afford a credit card, determine whether the new furniture will fit into their apartment, understand if they should buy or lease a car and even explain why greenhouse gases cause climate change.”

An observant parent would certainly ask: What is the connection between what is clearly a consumer-math course and better preparation for STEM. The short answer is: There is no connection.

Independently, various civil rights organizations started to raise a ruckus arguing that any additional admission requirement will make life more difficult for marginal students and place another obstacle on their path to a degree. They are right, yet we didn’t hear any organization ask a different question: How is a consumer-math course supposed to prepare more students for STEM?

The plot thickens. In 2010, California adopted the Common Core standards. Experts warned that its expectations are below California’s prior 1997 academic standards in math. To make things worse, our Legislature in its infinite wisdom declared students who passed Common Core’s mediocre tests were “college ready” by fiat, and forced CSU to accept such students without remediation, even before remediation classes were eliminated.

To illustrate the foolishness of this decision, in 2014, the last year before Common Core tests, fewer than 22,000 California students qualified as “college ready” in math. In 2015, the first year of the Common Core test, more than 45,000 students were labeled qualified, and the number has grown since then to more than 56,000 today. Clearly such a big jump overnight indicates not an increase in student readiness but the lowering of the passing bar.

Lowering the bar is detrimental to students because it gives them the illusion of college-readiness, when they are not in fact ready.

But CSU was stuck. The state sets its budget, and the state insisted on CSU accepting many such unprepared students. CSU tried to figure out how to raise the preparedness of incoming students, and it hit on the idea of requiring a fourth year of high school math. The natural path would be to require courses more demanding than the 11th grade Common Core test, such as classes in pre-calculus or AP statistics. Yet this path was impossible, as it would expose the fact that Common Core is low-level, while California politicians and the California Department of Education have argued for years that Common Core is “demanding and has a high-level of expectations.” So in a classic “a camel is a horse designed by a committee” outcome, CSU has proposed requiring an additional and meaningless consumer-math course, raising the ire of various constituencies in the process.


Jewish boys taunted in shocking cases of anti-Semitic bullying at Australian schools

A 12-year-old Jewish student was forced to kneel down and kiss the shoes of a Muslim classmate, while a five-year-old boy was allegedly called a "Jewish cockroach" and repeatedly hounded in the school toilets by his young classmates.

The two incidents this year – the first involving a year 7 boy at Cheltenham Secondary College and the second a prep student at Hawthorn West Primary School – have prompted the Anti-Defamation Commission to sound an alarm about what it says is a "rapidly spreading" crisis involving anti-Semitic bullying in Victorian state schools.

Both boys, whose parents have asked to remain anonymous, have since left the schools where the incidents occurred, with the five-year-old boy currently being home schooled.

The older boy’s act of kissing another student’s shoes, under threat of being swarmed by several other boys, was filmed, photographed and shared on social media.

No disciplinary action has been taken against the group of boys involved in the incident, which took place in a public park.

The mother said she was bitterly disappointed by the response of Cheltenham Secondary College and the Education Department.

The school and the department have denied having responsibility for the incident, because it did not take place on school grounds, the mother said.

"I took such offence with the Education Department, because there was nothing they did to protect my son at all, at any point in time – that’s what’s cut me up," she said.

The mother sought out the parents of the Muslim boy, who were horrified by their son’s actions.

"We sat down, his parents, the two boys and myself, around the table and explained the velocity of [the bullying] and what it meant to us as parents as far as building bridges between Jews and Muslims in society and not creating division like that photo does," she said.

One of the boys who watched on was later suspended for five days for assaulting the Jewish student in the school locker room.

The Jewish boy was punched in the face and left with a bruised back and had skin gouged out of his shoulder, his mother said.

The mother of the five-year-old boy at Hawthorn West Primary said her son was repeatedly taunted and laughed at over his circumcised penis, to the point where he began to wet himself in class rather than go to the toilet.

The taunts – which the education department said could not be corroborated because they were not overheard by teachers – led the school to temporarily provide a separate toilet for the boy as a "safety plan", although this plan failed on its second day.

The mother said one of the most disturbing aspects of the other children’s insults was the way they mirrored the anti-Semitic language of the Holocaust. "The words ‘you dirty Jew’ and ‘Jewish cockroach’, they are such cliches," she said.

"I grew up with Holocaust survivors, I used to go to synagogue with my uncle who was a Holocaust survivor and those were the words, literally, he was taunted with when he was five."

The department conceded last month in an apology letter to the parents that the boy had been laughed at in the toilets by other students on this day and said this was unacceptable.

"While school staff were not able to substantiate that any negative interactions were anti-Semitic in nature, on the basis of those investigations, school staff identified an incident that involved children laughing at [the boy]," department director Barbara Crowe said. "This was not acceptable and would have been an unpleasant experience for [the boy]. I am sorry that this occurred."

But the mother said the school had made an error of judgment by treating the incident as general bullying, not anti-Semitism. "Why not just say, this is anti-Semitism and talk about it? These are things that happen to different people and different religions," she said.

The parents have lost confidence in Hawthorn West Primary School’s ability to care for their son, and are home schooling him while looking for a new school.

Dvir Abramovich, chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission, said this was part of a disturbing trend of Jewish parents pulling their children out of government schools in Melbourne.

"There is mounting evidence that families are forced to take their children out of public schools and to enrol them in Jewish-day schools due to a growing sense of insecurity and fear that their kids will be harmed simply because of who they are," Dr Abramovich said.

Mr Abramovich has been helping the mother of the 12-year-old boy to find another school for her daughter, because she does not want to send her to Cheltenham Secondary College.

The Education Department has been contacted for commen


Tuesday, October 08, 2019

University Officials Held 'Personally Liable' for Discriminating Against Christians

On Friday, a federal court ruled that officials at the University of Iowa must pay out of their own pockets for discriminating against InterVarsity Christian Fellowship by kicking them off campus, along with other religious student groups. The university deregistered the religious groups after an openly gay man claimed he was unjustly denied a leadership position in another Christian organization that required leaders to follow traditional Christian sexual morality. This morality may be unpopular, but organizations should have the freedom of association to limit their leadership to those who follow their precepts.

"We must have leaders who share our faith," Greg Jao, director of external relations at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA, said in a statement. "No group—religious or secular—could survive with leaders who reject its values. We’re grateful the court has stopped the University’s religious discrimination, and we look forward to continuing our ministry on campus for years to come."

In the ruling, Judge Stephanie M. Rose of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, not only found that the university and its officials violated InterVarsity's First Amendment rights to free speech, free association, and the free exercise of religion but she also held university officials personally liable. The officials must pay damages to InterVarsity from their own personal accounts. In handing down the ruling, Rose called the university's actions "ludicrous" and "incredibly baffling."

The university acted against InterVarsity and other religious groups after it deregistered the student group Business Leaders in Christ (BLinC) for its policy of restricting leadership to those who believed in Christian teaching and adhered to Christian sexual morality. BLinC sued the university, claiming the school could not treat BLinC differently from other, non-religious groups.

A judge ordered the school to reregister BLinC, but the school responded by deregistering 37 other organizations, including the Imam Mahdi Organization, the Japanese Students and Scholars Club, the Latter-day Saint Student Association, the Sikh Awareness Club, and Young Americans for Liberty.

In February, Rose ruled in favor of BLinC, granting a nominal $1 in damages. The damages will be a great deal larger in the InterVarsity case.

"It’s rare for a federal judge to call out a public university for ‘ludicrous’ and ‘incredibly baffling’ violations of the First Amendment," Daniel Blomberg, senior counsel at Becket, who represented InterVarsity and BLinC, told Fox News. "But it was necessary here. The court already told the University of Iowa to stop picking on one Christian student group. The University responded by doubling down and kicking out Christian, Muslim and Sikh groups. That was obviously wrong. And it’s even more clearly wrong once you consider, as the court did, that it was also unfair."

This ruling upholding InterVarsity's religious freedom and freedom of association follows the historic ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (2018), in which the Supreme Court ruled that the Colorado commission had engaged in unlawful religious discrimination against a Christian baker who refused to craft a custom cake for a same-sex wedding. Government officials had compared the baker's beliefs to the Nazis.

Also last week, a district court judge in Michigan granted a preliminary injunction protecting a Catholic adoption agency from discriminatory state action. That agency had refused to certify same-sex couples and single people for adoption.

The LGBT movement has become overzealous in efforts to prevent discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. These people deserve equal rights, but they do not have the right to silence dissenters or to force conservative religious believers to violate their consciences.

Conservative Christian organizations still have the right to restrict leadership to people who believe their doctrines and follow their moral codes.

The well-documented animus against conservative Christians referred to as Christianophobia helps explain the likely motivations behind these officials at the University of Iowa. Rather than merely accepting that BLinC had the right to choose its own members, the officials revoked the standing of dozens of other groups. Now it seems the chickens will be coming home to roost.


UNC System Grads Carry Less Student Debt

Most students rely on loans to pay for college; colleges raise their prices, and student debt increases. Now, about 44 million students collectively owe $1.6 trillion in student debt.

In North Carolina, at least, graduates carry less debt than their peers. North Carolina ranks 37th in the country for total debt levels of its graduates, with the average student holding $26,526 in debt upon graduation.

And the average graduate from a University of North Carolina school holds $25,433 in student debt, less than the state average.

North Carolina’s flagship institution, UNC-Chapel Hill, is best at keeping debt proportions low—only 40 percent of its graduates have some form of debt. But at other UNC schools, the picture changes. Most UNC graduates carry some debt, and over 80 percent of graduates from NC A&T, UNC-Greensboro, and UNC-Pembroke leave with debt.

Western Carolina University students hold the least amount of debt per student in the UNC system, with the average student holding $15,669 in debt. This may be in part due to the new NC promise tuition plan, which offers a flat tuition rate of $500 per semester at Western Carolina, Elizabeth City State University, and UNC-Pembroke. The NC Promise plan is funded by $51 million from the state legislature and has resulted in enrollment increases of 14 percent at UNC-P, 6 percent at WCU, and 19 percent at ECSU.

Students are not entirely to blame for taking on so much debt; only wealthy students can afford to pay tuition and fees without loans. The federal government perpetuates this problem by offering easy loans, along with colleges who load students with debt for degrees that don’t provide them with the skills necessary to repay the loans. Parents are also complicit for not teaching their children to think about how much debt is too much.

The current political solutions to address this debt problem are not sufficient. So far, they have ignored how colleges and the government make student debt worse and tend to be “quick fixes,” such as wealth redistribution. Politicians on the left promote proposals to force the federal government to pay for existing student debt by taxing individual and institutional savings, and politicians on the right ignore the issue entirely.


Single-sex schools get top marks

Stephanie Bennett

GIRLS' schools could be the key to closing the gender pay gap, with a Queensland study finding female students graduated more confident and more likely to hold leadership roles if they attend single-sex schools.

University of Queensland Business School gender equality expert Terrance Fitzsimmons' research into how subtle differences in raising boys and girls could set up a lifetime of inequality at work included surveying more than 10,000 boys and girls at 13 single-sex schools across Queensland.

With the gender pay gap at 14 per cent and the number of female CEOs at the top of ASX-listed companies falling, Dr Fitzsimmons said ensuring girls graduate school with as much self-confidence as boys could be a key component to tackling inequality.

"Studies in this area always show that overall, men are more confident than women and that starts changing in late childhood —up until about the age of eight, it's the same," he said.

But the research found when attending single-sex schools, boys and girls had equal levels of self-esteem and self-efficacy in their senior years. Dr Fitzsimmons said this was a crucial finding, given the development of self-confidence and the non-selection of STEM subjects by female high school students had both been found to be major contributors to workplace gender inequality.

"In single-sex schools, girls are surrounded by female role models in leadership positions, such as principals. Any stereotypes that boys are better at maths or science—which often can't help but play on some teachers' minds and may lead girls to dropping subjects simply don't exist."

Girls were also more likely to continue to play team sports into their senior years at single-sex schools. "There's definitely something in this whether we go the whole way, there's no doubt there's an effect and we should be looking at these things strategically," he said, adding that even single-sex classrooms could potentially prove beneficial.

Brisbane Girls Grammar School principal Jacinda Euler said "confidence isn't, nor should it be, gendered". "However, as a school that educates girls, we focus specifically on nurturing girls' self-confidence and independence in a supportive environment," she said.

The above is an article from the Brisbane "Sunday Mail" of 6 Oct., 2019

Monday, October 07, 2019

The True Cost of a PhD: Giving Up a Family for Academia

In 2012, CBS noted the bleak future that awaited PhD graduates. From 2005 to 2009, American universities graduated 100,000 new PhDs but only created 16,000 new professorships. The average PhD student spends 8 years in graduate school and turns 33 years old before they graduate.

Unfortunately, the outlook for PhDs hasn’t improved since 2012. More and more, doctoral students sacrifice family, wealth, and their mental health to earn a degree with terrible job prospects.

In the United States, PhD students work as researchers, teaching assistants, and instructors as they study. In return, they earn a cash stipend, which varies and can be anywhere from $17,100 for a chemistry student at Clark University in Atlanta to $42,000 for a civil and environmental engineering student at Stanford University.

The size of the stipend can determine whether a student can start or support a family. Graduate students are at the stage of their life when the average person would start a family, and postdocs are at the stage where it might be their last chance to have kids. Pursuing a PhD will have an outsized impact on whether a grad student achieves their basic life goals.

Yet despite the difficult choices made for a PhD, the PhD students who spoke with this author were optimistic about the future. They enjoy the student camaraderie and relish the opportunity to study material that interests them. They also don’t mind the long hours and low pay. The lifestyle of a PhD student remains attractive.

Among current students, international students were happier and more willing to talk than tightlipped American students. On average, STEM students seemed more pleased with their situation and open to talk than humanities students—which isn’t surprising. For many international students, the stipend is more than what they could earn in their home countries and STEM PhDs typically are better supported than the humanities.

Apoo Apoorv, a second-year PhD STEM student at Rice University, said he was happy with his situation. “I got here with the mindset, ‘I’ll do the best I can,’” he said. “I’m not spending a penny. If I don’t get a job, it’s fine.”

Speaking for graduate students, he said, “you’re happy at least in a well-funded university.” Apoo’s $30,000 annual stipend is comfortable compared to his options if he had stayed in India.

Nguyen, a first-year PhD student at the University of Houston, echoed Apoo. Coming from Vietnam, Nguyen was satisfied with his stipend and happy to pursue his passion for chemistry.

Though the money can be better for some international students than back home, “nobody pursues graduate school for the money,” said Santiago, a PhD student in chemical engineering who also works as a bartender. The main draw, he said, was the freedom in research afforded to grad students. They get to pursue any aspect of their discipline on their own schedule.

The freedom for research, though, often means giving up a family.

“A wealthy spouse helps,” Santiago said, but, “purely on the basis of the stipend, starting a family is not often possible.” Even with two stipends, Santiago said it is very difficult to start a family. Many students worry about missing milestones. However, he pointed out that the situation for PhD students is the same for other students earning an advanced degree. Would-be doctors and lawyers face similar choices.

Medical school, for example, lasts four years and costs $35,000-$60,000 a year. To avoid debt, some medical students obtain an MD-PhD, working as lab assistants for up to 4 years to get their education funded.

“I mean, come on, medical school is extremely stressful,” said Peter, an MD-PhD who works in remote-patient monitoring. “You’re also, in America, extremely leveraged. You’re borrowing a tremendous amount of money. You don’t have any income at all.”

At least with medical school, Peter said, the job prospects are better. New doctors begin making $60,000 and their salary increases by $20,000 a year during residency. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “almost all graduates of domestic medical schools are matched to residencies (their first jobs as physicians) immediately after graduating,” and the median income is $208,000 a year. Academia is much more difficult, financially.

Peter echoed Santiago about the strain medical school puts on family formation. “I agree one hundred percent,” he said. “It’s really hard; it’s really hard for the families; it’s really hard for the kids.”

Given the length of medical school and residency requirements, and the debt incurred, a doctor might be in their mid-30s before they’re financially secure enough to have kids.

To make medical school more attractive to women who want a family and a degree, Peter said some programs have offered to freeze eggs for potential doctors. While some major corporations offer this benefit, this appears to be a new development for hospitals.

For women, earning a PhD and starting a family might be harder than earning a medical degree. According to an article by sociologist Nicholas Wolfinger, the main reason women drop out of STEM is because they believe an academic career is incompatible with a family:

About 30 percent of the women—and 20 percent of the men—we surveyed at the massive ten-campus University of California system turn away from their goal of becoming a professor at a major research university. “I could not have come to graduate school more motivated to be a research-oriented professor,” one woman told us. “Now I feel that can only be a career possibility if I am willing to sacrifice having children.”

For women and men who press on for a PhD despite the sacrifice, their chances of getting hired are low. As The Atlantic detailed:

The job market for those with advanced degrees is clearly tightening, according to the NSF study, with many more PhDs in all fields reporting no definite job commitments in 2014 compared to 2004. Nearly 40 percent of the Ph.D.s surveyed in 2014 hadn’t lined up a job—whether in the private industry or academia—at the time of graduation.

For those who do find employment, most will end up as non-tenured faculty. Over the last several decades, the proportion of tenure-track faculty has steadily declined, and non-tenure track faculty now make up more than 75 percent of the profession.

For non-tenured faculty, pay varies greatly. Visiting professors are hired on a full-time basis and earn an average salary of $55,000 a year, according to Glassdoor. But for adjuncts, who are hired and paid on a course-by-course basis, they earn a median salary of $35,000 a year.

Colleges have no easy solutions. Students enter graduate school with a deep passion for the material and a burning desire to learn. It’s hard to tell someone to give up their dreams, but few PhD graduates will secure their dream job in academia.

Medical schools avoid the problem of oversupply by limiting the number of medical schools and class sizes. By restricting supply, doctors keep their salaries high. PhD programs, in contrast, are only restrained by state approval and regional accreditation. So long as universities can find graduate students to sign up, they can award PhDs regardless of how many graduates find a job in academia.

Ultimately, colleges and universities must find a way to allow those pursuing academic careers to obtain the basic goods that most people seek in life: marriage, a family, and a career to support themselves. The price of pursuing a life of the mind shouldn’t be the rest of one’s life.


UK: Girls are skipping school to avoid sharing gender neutral toilets with boys after being left to feel unsafe and ashamed

Gender-neutral toilets in schools have left girls feeling unsafe and even put their health at risk, parents and teachers have warned. Girls who are menstruating are so anxious about sharing facilities with boys that some are staying at home for fear of being made to feel 'period shame'.

With a growing number of both primary and secondary schools installing unisex toilets, some girls are risking infections by refusing to urinate all day. Others are so fearful they have stopped drinking liquids at school.

Parents and teaching staff have told The Mail on Sunday that female pupils feel deeply uncomfortable or even unsafe sharing toilets with male students.

The trend for single-sex toilets is driven by the wish to be more inclusive of children who identify as transgender and wish to use the same facilities as the opposite sex.

But last night, doctors and politicians called on schools to halt the move towards unisex toilets to prevent any further harm to female pupils.

GP Tessa Katz said holding in urine for prolonged periods on a regular basis could increase the risk of girls suffering urinary and bladder infections.

'The psychological effects of girls not feeling safe enough to use mixed-sex toilets is also concerning,' Dr Katz said.

At the same time, the rise in gender-neutral toilets has sparked a backlash among parents, many of whom say they were not consulted before the change was made at their children's schools.

The latest row involves Deanesfield Primary School in South Ruislip, West London, where parents launched a petition last month against the introduction of unisex toilets.

One angry mother, who has daughters aged four and eight at the school, said: 'The cubicles were open at the bottom and top so older pupils can easily climb up the toilets and peer over.'

Stephanie Davies-Arai, from the parent campaign group Transgender Trend, said schools were being misinformed by 'trans activist' organisations that they were breaking equality laws if they did not make toilets unisex. She said there were clear exemptions under the current equality laws that meant it was perfectly legal to have single-sex toilets.

A spokesman for Deanesfield said: 'We will continue to support parents with any individual worries or concerns they have.'

Tory MP David Davies, who has backed feminist claims that transgender rights are overriding those of women, said: 'If girls are not comfortable sharing toilets with boys then schools should make provision for them, rather than saying girls have got a problem.'


Australian academics spending big in search for racism

Leftists boost themselves up in a most childish way -- by running down other people.  That those they criticize are in fact innocent of any wrongdoing or even wrong thoughts does not seem to matter to them

And when it comes to academics the process is magnified.  Because of their great learning in one tiny field of knowledge, they feel that they are much wiser and superior to the average Joe. So, improbable though it is, the whole population can then be found to be at fault

Solid evidence that Australians are NOT systematically racist is the high rate of intermarriage between ordinary Anglo-Australians and East Asians.  I see young Asian ladies on the arm of Caucasian men all the time in my local shopping centre

These "anti-racists" live in a delusory little world of their own.  Their self-image as noble rescuers is what it is all about

If you were not already convinced that Australia’s humanities departments have truly lost their way, the latest research project from the faculty of arts and social sciences at the University of Sydney should get you over the line.

Resurgent Racism is the seventh “flagship” theme of FutureFix, a program devised by academics at the university to show taxpaying Australians their money is being put to good use. Resurgent Racism will “address the emergence of new forms of racism manifesting as national populism and far-right extremism”. Researchers will “seek to explain the logics of emboldened white rac­ism in Western liberal democracies”, which they predict “will be applicable to majoritarian racism elsewhere”. These self-appointed sages have looked into the crystal ball and have seen a future blighted by white supremacists.

But we can be pulled back from the brink of this dystopian nightmare if the team at the faculty of arts and sciences is permitted to spend taxpayers’ dollars, and the next few years, “mapping the changes of racism, including anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and white supremacism” in Australia.

That Islam is a religion, not a race, seems not to matter because a great many academics have shifted from focusing on what is real to what is not — in this case an imagined crisis of endemic racism. They are knee-deep in the quagmire of identity politics, that most dangerous and divisive of ideas that insists on distinguishing individuals by their differences rather than by their similarities.

Like so many in the humanities, they view the world through a Manichean lens, in which everything can be explained as a struggle between the forces of good (light) and evil (darkness). Everything they think about, write about and talk about in their capacity as historians, sociologists or political scientists must support the belief that Western civilisation is a white male patriarchy that wields power over, and oppresses, women and racial minorities.

Last year, Sydney University invited American professor, author and “renowned anti-racism educator” Robin DiAngelo so she could tell all the white people attending the launch of What Does It Mean to be White? Developing White Racial Literacy just how terribly, but perhaps not irredeemably, racist they were. According to DiAngelo, white people live in a racially insular bubble that renders them quivering wrecks when it comes to talking about race, a phenomenon she calls “White Fragility”. “Why does race seem to be the hardest word for white people?” she asked.

If she were to take a closer, impar­tial look at the Australian university sector, she would encounter many white people who have no problem at all with the word. Many academics are not only not afraid to talk about race but they talk about it so incessantly that if it weren’t for gender — the other great preoccupation of 21st-century academe — it would verge on monomania.

Of the 30-odd staff employed at the uni’s department of history, for example, 10 make a point of mentioning race or racism as a research interest. When Greg Sheridan criticised the Australian National University for rejecting the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation, one Sydney University professor, Dirk Moses, compared Sheridan to Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik.

Since 2002, the department has received almost $9m from the Australian Research Council to fund 18 historical studies research projects that focus on racism, in one form or another. These included The Construction of Race and Racial Identity at the Antip­odes of Empire, 1788-1840 (costing $231,000); Southern Racial Concepts: Comparative Histories and Contemporary Legacies ($2.4m); Immigration Restriction and the Racial state, c. 1880 to the Present ($359,000); Enterprising Women, Race, Gender and Power in the Revolutionary Atlantic, 1770-1820 (‘$323,000); and The Racial Century ($94,000).

The Resurgent Racism squad comprises, among others, former race discrimination commissioner Tim Soutphommasane, seen by some to have encouraged complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission following publication of a 2016 cartoon by Bill Leak in this newspaper. Last year Soutphommasane gave the keynote address at the university’s National Centre for Cultural Competence, launched in 2013 to the tune of $5.6m of taxpayers’ money. It claims its mission is to “roll out cultural com­pe­tence across the university and broader local national and international community”, but in real­ity it is a concerted effort to con­vince us Anglo-Celtic white culture is bad.

When vice-chancellor Michael Spence suggested questioning the existence of Chinese influence on his campus was akin to the White Australia policy, he was simply ensuring next year’s income. Last year the university pocketed $884m in international student fees, a generous portion from Chinese students.

The Resurgent Racism team is spending taxpayers’ money to tell Australians how racist we are. It is evidence the racism industry is flourishing on our university campuses, which are no longer in the business of producing objective and impartial scholarship that will edify, inspire and educate future generations of Australians.


Sunday, October 06, 2019

Campus Hook-Up Culture and Title IX Sex Police Meet Due Process

The sexual misconduct case of John Doe v. Grinnell College just settled, joining over 200 other such cases vindicating male students falsely accused of nonconsensual sexual relations on campus.  It appears the college hook-up culture is moving from Title IX sex police to courtroom due process.

Title IX is the federal law which bans sex discrimination at schools receiving federal funds. Since 2011, when President Obama’s Education Department declared in a Dear Colleague Letter that sexual violence was a form of sex discrimination, it has required campuses to expand Title IX offices with coordinators, investigators, and adjudicators to handle sexual misconduct complaints. Acting as law enforcement, judge, and jury, these officials are sometimes referred to as the campus sex police.

John Doe was a sophomore in November 2015 when he learned that a female student had complained that two of their prior sexual liaisons one year earlier had been non-consensual. The female student did not want Doe formally investigated, but she also did not want him to attend her upcoming study abroad trip. The matter was resolved informally.

A few months later, however, a second female student expressed the same concern about Doe regarding relations she had with him the previous summer. Grinnell’s Title IX Office then, on its own initiative, opened a formal investigation into both claims. Doe insisted his relations with both females were consensual.

To adjudicate, Grinnell hired Marsha Ternus, former Iowa Supreme Court Judge known principally as one of three judges kicked off the Court in a 2010 recall election after it mandated same-sex marriage under the state Constitution. Ternus met with neither the investigation team, nor the second female student, as required by Grinnell policy, but still found Doe at fault on both counts. She then recommended his expulsion, “based upon a predatory pattern of behavior.” Doe’s internal appeal failed. He later learned that Ternus had provided additional documents and commentary to Grinnell’s reviewing official in off-the-record communications, to which he had not been given the opportunity to respond.

Sensing that both the process and the personnel favored complainants from the start, Doe sued the College in March of 2017, claiming the school itself had violated Title IX by discriminating against him on the basis of sex. He also stated that Ternus’s off-the-record communications violated Grinnell’s own policies and his due process rights­—specifically, his right to a neutral judge.

In July, an Iowa federal trial court gave Doe almost complete vindication. In a ruling by Obama appointee, Rebecca Ebinger, the Court noted that the Grinnell policy required an impartial decision-maker and that the off-the-record communications here not only called that objectivity into question but also cast doubt on the legitimacy of the outcome. Even more seriously, the Court decided that Ternus herself seemed biased against Doe, in particular because she ignored exculpatory evidence of consent, including statements by the second female student that, “I turned back towards him, and was like I—I responded—I like kissed him … I guess I just felt like fine, it’s just sex.”

Doe’s case is one of 480 such lawsuits filed in both state and federal courts, of which almost half have found in favor of males wrongly accused. These statistics alone indict the campus sex police and the current Title IX regime.

What went wrong?

First of all, campus personnel are not law enforcement and campus adjudications are not courts. Sexual violence is criminal activity and belongs in the criminal justice system—where both accusers and the accused have due process and other protections. These due process protections are lacking in the campus Title IX Office. Fortunately, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has withdrawn the 2011 Obama guidance. The Trump Administration is expected to issue replacement regulations soon, which, judging by the draft DeVos released last November, will respect this distinction.

Second, it should be noted that the hyper-sexualization of campus culture combined with the politicization of higher education creates a perfect storm that injures everyone. As the hook-up culture name implies, sex is now almost the default activity, undercutting female resistance so that women find themselves later regretting sexual encounters.

At the same time, regretted sex is not coerced sex. In hindsight, women may claim these relations were non-consensual and, in fact, are often encouraged to do by an anti-male political bias on campus, as exemplified by the actions of Marsha Ternus in the Grinnell case. That a former judge, deemed too radical for the courts, found a comfortable home as a Title IX adjudicator speaks volumes about both campus politicization and the current state of Title IX.

The Grinnelloutcome may bring some justice to one aggrieved male student, but policy makers and schools would do well to re-think their entire approach to discrimination, dating, and sex to help prevent cases like Doe’s in the first place. We need a better understanding of healthy relationships and more consensus on how to promote them, along with neutral decision-makers and basic due process protections when things go wrong


Why Oxford and Cambridge are still the best universities in Britain

My eldest son is a design engineer, a profession he settled on when he was five. When he was applying to university, he dithered between going to Loughborough, a world-leader in his field, and Oxford, which didn’t teach the subject at all.

In the end, he opted for human sciences at Oxford and has never regretted his decision. Now in his 20s, he understands – even more clearly than at 18 – that an Oxbridge education opens professional doors that might have been slower to admit him with a degree from elsewhere.

We live in an age when a university education has become a commodity. Oxford and Cambridge are undoubtedly among the world’s leading brands, alone among British universities regularly ranked in the top 10 of international league tables.

In 2019, Oxford was placed fourth in the QS rankings and seventh in the Shanghai rankings, with Cambridge seventh and fourth respectively. This tends to mean that those with a degree from Oxford or Cambridge are immediately prioritised by employers.

While international league tables are concerned primarily with research rather than teaching quality, there’s some justification in believing employers have got the right end of the stick.

Though it’s fashionable to decry these two universities as unfairly favouring polished public school products over state school educated students with genuine potential, what Oxford and Cambridge actually favour is a demonstrable background of relentless industry – evidenced in top grades in public examinations. It’s a quality these universities continue to demand in nerve‑jangling application once a candidate has made it past their taxing admissions process. 

Despite ongoing traditions of white-tie balls and candlelit dining, Oxbridge today bears little resemblance to Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited or Boris Johnson’s Bullingdon. With ever more competitive admissions, the main focus of students required to cram their studies into three eight-week terms, rather than the leisurely 10 weeks allocated elsewhere, is the persistent, pressing burden of weekly or biweekly essays.

As I explained to one applicant, concerned he’d have insufficient time for sport, those taking natural sciences at Cambridge spend 40 hours a week studying. He knew, of course, he’d be able to sail through a similar degree elsewhere on significantly fewer hours.

The well-organised, effortlessly clever or don’t‑give‑a-damn still manage to juggle the extra-curricular politics, journalism or drama considered desirable for career advancement in these professions – and, here, these universities continue to offer the opportunity to network both with those likely to succeed in the future and the alumni who’ve done so in the past.

For the intellectually curious with a genuine passion for their subject, the educational advantages remain equally clear: the one-to-one teaching system, which distinguishes both universities, allows undergraduates to interact regularly with some of the leading thinkers in the world. Choosing your college wisely can mean your weekly supervision or tutorial will be overseen by someone who has written the definitive text. And that is the real excitement of Oxbridge.


Australian private schools want 'hire and fire' freedom

The peak body representing more than 500 independent schools in NSW says the government has offered to "provide clarification" in the next iteration of its religious discrimination bill to make it clear they will be able to preference teachers on their faith.

Attorney-General Christian Porter declared, however, that the draft bill already protected the right of faith-based schools to choose staff on religious grounds and any suggestion otherwise was a misunderstanding.

The Association of Indepen-dent Schools of NSW warned in its submission on the draft legislation that the draft put in jeopardy a school's right to employ religious teachers and enrol religious students before others.

Mr Porter staunchly rejected that interpretation of the draft bill. "The reason why we have held nine long and separate face-to-face roundtable consultations with over 90 representatives from religious bodies, anti-discrimination groups, employer organisations and others is to minimise any misunderstanding about how the bill would operate, but clearly this is one of those misunderstandings," Mr Porter said.

"My office has spoken with the Association of Independent Schools of NSW today because, having read their submissions, it appears there is a mistake in their understanding of the operation of section 10, which specifically protects religious schools."

Under section 10, a religious body such as a school does not discriminate against a person by engaging in conduct that may "reasonably be regarded as being in accordance with the doctrines, tenets, beliefs or teachings of the religion in relation to which the religious body is conducted".

Geoff Newcombe, chief executive of AIS NSW, said Mr Porter's office had assured the organis-ation that faith-based schools were appropriately protected in relation to employing staff. "They understand our concerns and have said they will provide clarification in the next draft of the bill," Dr Newcombe said.

Labor senator Kimberley Kitching said while section 10 established a positive right rather than an exemption for religious bodies, some groups she had met had expressed concerns about how well defined that right was. "Labor has stated we consider this to be an issue above partisan politics and we look forward to receiving briefings from the Attorney-General, but we can only work with the government if they want to work with us," she said.

Liberal Eric Abetz said the association's submission raised a "fair concern that needs to be looked at in some detail" while his colleague Concetta Fierravanti-Wells said it was just one of a number of problems religious leaders, experts and stakeholders had canvassed.. "The (religious freedom re-forms) do not create a positive right to freedom of religion which religious leaders, experts and stakeholders have been calling for and which meet our international obligations," she said.

"It is clear from my ongoing consultations and engagement with them that the bills fall far short of properly and fully addressing their requirements for religious freedom protection."

AIS NSW said if there were two equally qualified candidates for the role of an English teacher but one was agnostic and the other shared the religious beliefs of the school, it could be seen as discriminatory to hire the latter under the draft bill. That was because there may be no "inherent requirement" as outlined in the bill to hire a religious teacher for an English teaching job.

From "The Australian" of 4 Oct., 2019