Friday, November 06, 2020

Unifying the Country Starts with the Education System

This sounds a bit like a Prussian view of education. Is a unified country really a good thing? Libertarians would argue not. At the risk of sounding Leftist, diversity might be better. "Diverse" just means "black" in the Leftist lexicon so we should not let that abuse of language detain us.

It is true that America is badly divided at the moment and that is certainly in a large part the fault of the educational system. But that is precisely because an American education these days is NOT diverse. It is a Leftist monoculture. What is preached is a totally unbalanced message of hate for America.

So the educational system is indeed badly in need of reform but the reform needs to take the shape of depoliticization, above all

Jenna A. Robinson

For many years, E.D. Hirsch has been an outsider in education circles. While the education establishment focused on critical thinking, child-centered education, and skills instruction, Hirsch insisted that content matters. Hirsch’s new book expands on that theme. In it, Hirsch repeats the evidence he laid out in his previous works on how the teaching of content affects learning outcomes—including reading comprehension—and student success. But he adds that teaching shared content has another benefit: It gives students a common understanding of our shared history and culture as Americans.

Such commonality would go a long way to healing the great rifts that have developed within our nation.

Although most of Hirsch’s book centers on K-12 education, reform must start with higher education: Specifically, in our schools of education, where the majority of K-12 teachers learn from the same misguided playbook. Hirsch calls it educational romanticism, “the idea that education should be individualized to accord with the child’s nature” and allow them to “construct their own knowledge.” Hirsch is unrepentant in his criticism of ed schools: “The dominant, child-centered idea has been so well indoctrinated in teachers-to-be by our education schools that child-centeredness has wielded an intellectual monopoly.”

It was this philosophy that gave us “whole language” instruction instead of phonics, social studies instead of history, and culturally sensitive math lessons. None of those methods work. And at the same time, they prevent students from assimilating the common language, knowledge, and values that could tie them together as fellow citizens.

Hirsch has written at length about cultural literacy, beginning with a book of that name written in 1987, Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know. Hirsch defines cultural literacy, broadly, as “the basic information needed to thrive in the modern world…extending over the major domains of human activity from sports to science.” He sees such information as neither narrow nor elitist. Instead, it is unifying.

America’s founders, who embraced Enlightenment rather than Romantic values, knew this to be true:

The Enlightenment, with its faith in logic and science to advance the human condition, had created the United States. Jefferson and Franklin had been its children. The Enlightenment has also produced the common school, under the logical view that a common system of language, laws, and ideals would enable the new person—the American—to weaken or break the old ethnic bonds and form a thriving new nation.

Hirsch credits Noah Webster with the creation and maintenance of national cohesion when America was young. “He foresaw that the modern style of American democracy would have to be a manufactured thing, founded on a common system of laws, values, ethics, and a shared print language—what we call ‘culture’ and that he called ‘manners.’” Webster’s Speller, “a small guide to American spelling filled with moral tales and sentiments and factual information about the new nation,” provided a common starting point for all schoolchildren. Later, the McGuffey readers filled that same role.

But commonality has its detractors. The last time the federal government tried such an approach, we got Common Core, which has failed spectacularly. Among conservatives especially, federalism, decentralization, and local control have been the watchwords.

Content, too, can be controversial. Because as soon as schools teach content instead of generic skills and capacities, someone must choose which content to teach. Will it be 1619 or 1776? Hirsch recognizes this difficulty: “Trying to get nationwide or statewide or even district or schoolwide agreement about specific grade-by-grade subject matter in history, literature, or the arts is like touching some poisonous object.” But it’s worth doing and, Hirsch believes, it’s possible. He outlines some ideas of how to get there in Part III of the book, “American Ethnicity: Will the Common School Make a Comeback?”

If all goes well, maybe we can return to education as Hirsch experienced in it the 1930s:

I was born in 1928. I went to elementary school in the early 1930s, before the new wave of romanticism had reached as far as Memphis, Tennessee. The curriculum I received was nation centered, not child centered. We learned US history. We honored American founders. We learned by heart the preambles to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. We learned about the Civil War. We memorized not only the Pledge of Allegiance and the “Star-Spangled Banner,” but also the Gettysburg Address. We learned the parts of speech…My generation experienced elementary education that was more or less the same across the land.

This kind of shared, unifying, patriotic education is needed now more than ever. Reading Hirsch’s new book is a good starting place.

University Of Miami Official Demands Removal Of Pro-2A Sign

A University of Miami official demanded that the campus College Republicans club take down a sign that read “I’m Pro-Choice. Choose A Gun” from a public display that the group had set up on campus, claiming that the sign violated university policy.

The Miami Hurricane student newspaper reported on the incident on Friday as part of a larger story on the current “debate” over free speech on campus, which in actuality seems like less of an actual debate and more demands from the Left that conservatives and Republicans should only be able to say things that the Left agrees with.

“I do feel like there is a time and a place,” said UM senior John Cuddihy. “That’s where I think maybe it was too much on a college campus…I think there’s a distinction between glorifying assault rifles and just being pro-gun in general.”

Too much speech for a college campus? This isn’t daycare, this is a university for crying out loud. As for any distinction between “glorifying” semi-automatic rifles and “just being pro-gun,” as far as the First Amendment is concerned, it’s a distinction without a difference.

Hefley said that while tabling, UMCR received a call from the Director of the Student Center Complex saying that their sign violated university policy.

“I’m very confused because it’s just pictures promoting the Second Amendment,” he said.

Other students, including junior Nathaly Gonzalez, were adamant that UMCR was intentionally instigating public discord.

“They are purposefully making the campus an uncomfortable place to exist,” Gonzalez said.

How exactly are they doing that? By sitting at a table with signs that express political points of view that are different than yours? Frankly, if that makes you uncomfortable, that’s a good thing. College is supposed to be a place where you are exposed to new ideas and thoughts. You don’t have to agree with all or any of them, but if you’re only hearing things you already agree with, you’re doing college (and life) wrong.

As a private institution, the University of Miami can establish whatever speech code it wants, but just because they can coddle the minds of students doesn’t mean that they should. Nathaly Gonzalez says, in essence, that College Republicans should shut up because what they say makes her uncomfortable. Don’t you think they could say the same thing about her political opinions?

The controversy over the pro-2A signage is just the latest in a series of recent attempts to target conservative speech on the campus. A Trump sign was recently vandalized on campus, and some students are demanding a ban on banners or signs for political candidates entirely.

Student Sen. Randy Fitzgerald advocated for the rights of student organizations to display partisan banners on campus during the senate meeting.

“I don’t believe Student Government should be in the business of commenting as an organization on major parties’ nominees to the extent that we should attack the president of the United States, and consequently, our colleagues on this campus who support him as ‘racist, homophobic, and bigoted’,” Fitzgerald said.

For the moment, Fitzgerald’s view seems to have prevailed, and there are both Biden and Trump banners outside of the campus bookstore that put up by the College Democrats and College Republicans. The attempts to curtail conservative speech continue, however, and the “pro-choice, choose a gun” sign, remains tucked away out of sight instead of on display near the university’s Student Center.

Australia: NSW Education Department: 2394 teachers leave, 321 sacked for abandoning students

A record number of dud teachers have finally been put out to pasture this year following a Department of Education review into its human resources practices.

A total of 321 teachers have been terminated so far this year after the “Workforce Transition team” undertook a review of staff who had effectively deserted their positions.

“This review resulted in a large number of staff being deemed as having abandoned their employment and were terminated as a result,” a note accompanying the data said.

By comparison, last year only 10 teachers were terminated by the Department of Education.

Parent groups welcomed the surge in sackings of teachers who were in a kind of education purgatory -- no longer teaching in classrooms nor officially fired-- saying it will free up space for enthusiastic young teachers to secure a permanent job.

This year a total of 2394 teachers left the job including those who were terminated, along with 850 public school teachers who resigned so far this year, 1,152 who retired, 44 who were medically retired and 26 who died while still employed as a teacher.

NSW P and C Federation president Tim Spencer said the highly unionised workforce meant it was difficult to get rid of dud teachers and welcomed the push which would clear the decks and give young enthusiastic teachers the opportunity to get a permanent job.

“It is challenging for a principal to deal with staff who either just don’t turn up to work or go on prolonged stress leave, they have to replace them with casuals,” he said.

“(There) has to be a reasonable and rational discussion as to why that person is not performing their role just like it would be in any other workplace and dealing with it appropriately.”

Central Coast P and C president Sharryn Brownlee said the move could save thousands for the Education Department if the teachers had been still getting paid while on leave, at the same time principals had to pay another casual teacher to take their classes.

“It is long overdue… dragging things out for long periods of time is stressful for the individual and the school,” she said.

Secondary Principals’ Council president Craig Petersen said some teachers simply would never return from annual leave and the Department of Education had no mechanism to fire them. “These are people we haven’t seen for months and terms and in extreme cases, years,” he said.

A Department spokesman said they wrote to the teachers seeking explanation for their unauthorised absence this year. “The teachers who did not respond, or did not provide a valid reason for their absence, were terminated,” he said.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the Department had done a great job reviewing unauthorised absences. “Freeing these positions allows our principals to fill permanent roles with high quality teachers,” she said.

Shadow Education spokeswoman Prue Car said more needed to be done to keep good teachers in schools following the resignation of 850 teachers this year. “It’s concerning there is no proper plan to keep our best and brightest teachers in our schools,” Ms Car said.




Thursday, November 05, 2020

Action Civics Is Teaching Our Kids to Protest

Many young Americans seem to have a growing disdain for our country. According to a Gallup poll, pride in our nation has declined, especially among young adults.

Young adults are taking to the streets and not merely protesting but wreaking havoc, rioting and looting, tearing down statues, and shutting down anyone who doesn’t share their perspective.

One reason this is happening is what our children are being taught in school. And that doesn’t mean only in college. We all know college campuses have become centers of radical indoctrination, but now it is happening in K-12 as well, through something called action civics, a new movement in civic education.

As educator Thomas Lindsay explains, action civics was born in 2010 when six organizations set out to redefine civic education. Dissatisfied with traditional civics, which depended on book learning, they wanted to create a new civics that was more experiential. They wanted kids to engage, get involved, get active.

The problem is that without a solid understanding of why the Founders were so deliberate in designing our self-governing republic, with its separation of powers to prevent any one branch from becoming tyrannical, or establishing the rule of law so that we would not be subject to the whims of any one person, we risk falling into the same traps of other, less just regimes.

Indeed it is no accident that today’s protests are looking more like the French Revolution, with its guillotines and beheadings, than the American Revolution, with its debates and deliberations.

Robert Pondiscio, himself once a proponent and teacher of action civics, wrote that it has grown into “a manipulative and cynical use of children as political props in the service of causes they understand superficially, if at all.”

Indeed a study published by the National Association of Scholars found that action civics projects essentially teach students to protest for progressive political causes.

As Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, pointed out, the “new civics” is in fact a form of anti-civics. It does not teach students how our government works or, even more importantly, their critical role as citizens in a self-governing republic. Rather, it simply teaches them how to be activists.

For many today, it feels as if our country never has been more divided and the ideals of our Founders never more at risk. That is due in no small part to what is being taught in our schools.

Parents must step up and take a more active role in their children’s education, carefully watching what their children are being taught. The good news is that with the COVID-19 crisis and the prevalence of online learning, it is easier than ever before for parents to keep an eye on what is being taught to their children.

But what parents do with that information is what really matters. They must engage with schools, school boards, teachers, and principals to ensure that students are taught more than simply how to protest.

UK: The moral pantomime of the school-meals debate

It isn’t the Tories who loathe the poor – it’s the middle-class culture warriors of the new elites.

So this week the working classes are victims? Not villains? Honestly, it’s hard to keep up. The chattering classes flit violently in their view of the throng. One day they’re the ‘gammon’ (pigs) who propelled the country into post-EU doom by being so implacably ignorant and nodding along like dogs when a Facebook meme told them: ‘Must. Vote. Leave.’ The next they’re the ruddy-faced but emptied-bellied victims of ToryScum who need plummy Labourites to save them from literal starvation over the school holidays. One day it’s ‘Eurgh’, the next day it’s ‘Aaah’.

At the moment it’s ‘Aaah’. This week it’s pity rather than contempt. Don’t celebrate, though – pity is always worse than contempt. This is the school-dinners controversy, which has led to an outburst of metropolitan middle-class concern for the fate of the poor of a like we haven’t seen since Dickens set pen to paper about ‘straggling streets that reeked with crime, filth, and misery’. The response to the Commons vote against providing less well-off kids with free-school meals (FSMs) over the mid-term holiday has been staggering in its hyperbole and emotionalism. It has been far been worse, politically and morally, than the actual vote against extending FSMs.

Should Tory MPs have backed the plan to provide hard-up families with a bit more food once school breaks up? In my view, yes. It wouldn’t have cost much – £20million is nothing in public-spending terms – and families need extra help right now given the deleterious impact that constant lockdowns have had on their lives and livelihoods. Lockdowns, it should be noted, that many Labourties and left activists full-throatingly supported. In fact they want another one, which would plunge even more low earners into joblessness and despair. Mash together their lockdown fanaticism and their school-meals agitation and what we have here is a left essentially saying ‘Make the poor jobless but throw them a few scraps of food from the table!’. Which is an interesting platform to campaign on.

No sooner had 322 MPs voted against providing meals in the holidays than the commentariat were entering into paroxysms of fury and denunciation. It was positively unhinged. These MPs, these scum, these Dickensian baddies, were voting to starve children, we were told. The Mirror named and shamed the despicable 322 under the headline ‘SO CRUEL’. One ridiculous comic said the MPs had ‘voted to starve kids at Christmas’. Pushing the Victorian angle even harder, the Yorkshire Evening Post published a stock image of an Oliver Twist-style kid holding up an empty bowl and accused MPs of ‘shamelessly’ voting to ‘starve [the] poorest children’. It was at this very moment that the UK ‘sold its soul to the devil’, said an excitable letter-writer to the Guardian, capturing the near-religious hysteria that has gripped the middle classes.

The response was entirely out of proportion to the thing itself. Even if you disagree with what the Tories did – as many do – there really is no excuse for flat-out lying, for painting Britain as a nation in which kids are on the cusp of starvation and where only the state can save them from the hell of malnourishment. This is fantasy politics, a moral pantomime, designed to give a shot of political dopamine to the middle classes. In conjuring up a nightmarish vision of Tories as rotund, Victorian-style loathers of the poor, and a pity-inducing vision of working families as hapless victims incapable of survival without the loving largesse of the bureaucracy, these middle-class observers can position themselves as the true and righteous possessors of correct morality. That their portrayals of both the Tories and the poor bear no resemblance to reality matters not one jot; all that matters is the moral hit.

It was their depicting of less well-off families that was most offensive. A great irony of the moral pornography produced over the past few days by these agitators for free school meals is that it ended up characterising the less well-off as feckless, or at least useless. It is simply untrue that swarms of parents won’t feed their kids over the holidays unless the state provides them with grub. Parents find a way. They love their children and they make things work, whether through using individual initiative or turning to informal local networks for assistance. The image of starving children madly pushed by the Tory-bashing elites is more insulting to low-earning families than it is to the Tories themselves, given that it presents them as unfit, inexpert, lacking the capacity for self-replenishment.

What is this shrill, over-the-top pity all about? How have we ended up in the surreal situation where posh Guardian scribes (Zoe Williams) wonder if they might rustle up a venison cobbler for the down-at-heel? Partly, this is back-covering. At some level these people are aware that their failure to challenge the neverending in-and-out lockdowns – and in fact their fulsome support for these impoverishing policies – has contributed to a situation where the poor have got poorer and the rich have got richer over the past six months. ‘Perhaps if I campaign really noisily for free school meals people won’t realise that I conspired in the destruction of their jobs’, is partly the thinking here.

But more broadly, the school-meals meltdown is in keeping with the new elites’ view of the less well-off. Those people, the poor, the masses, are always either villain or victim; reckless or hapless; gammon or people who could really do with some gammon. There’s no in-between. The roles allotted to the less well-off by the middle-class culture warriors of the 21st century are to be either wrong-headed or wretched. That’s it. You’re either the low-information dupes of rich oligarchs who stupidly went along with the vote for Brexit, or you’re sad-eyed victims of the system who require handouts forever.

Food, in fact, sums up these reductive roles the poor are forced to play in the moral pantomime of the new elites. So one month the problem with the poor is obesity. They’re eating too much. These ‘white trash’, as Jamie Oliver branded them, are feeding their kids ‘shit’. The pitying image of Guardianistas a few years ago was of ‘fat slags’ shoving portions of chips through the schoolgates to their unhealthy offspring. And then the next month the pitying angle can be lack of food. They’re too thin. They’re dying. Give them some chips!

The fact that the poor can so easily go from being obese creatures hoodwinked by junk-food TV adverts into feeding their kids ‘shit’ to being a half-starved throng in dire need of fish fingers over the school holidays confirms that this discussion isn’t about the poor at all – it’s about the influential sections of society and their need for a moral project. That moral project might be one of condemnation (‘you’re too fat, you’re too uneducated, you’re too pro-Brexit’), or one of pity (‘you’re too hungry, you’re too starved to get a proper education, Brexit will be really bad for your income’), but the instinct is always the same: to marshal the poor as a stage army for whatever is the current moral psychodrama of the new elites.

Here’s the important thing: whether the poor are being treated as objects of scorn or objects of pity, they are always being treated as objects. As lacking in agency. As brainwashed by ads for fatty foods or memes saying ‘Vote Leave’. As ignorantly eating too much or dangerously eating too little. As incapable of resisting the lure of turkey twizzlers or incapable of feeding their children anything in the school holidays. As the political playthings of pro-Brexit oligarchs or the dumbstruck victims of evil Tory policy. Never subjects, never wise, capable, ingenious providers for their own families and contributors to the discussion about the future of the country. No, always just objects. Objects to be shaped or saved by their moral superiors. This is why the meltdown over the school-meals vote has been far worse than the vote itself. Because it has revealed the rotten patrician outlook of the new elites. Because pity is always worse than contempt.

Australia: Intelligence Committee to focus on higher education and research sector security

This is all about China

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) has received a letter from the Minister for Home Affairs agreeing to its suggested Terms of Reference for an inquiry into National Security Risks affecting the Australian higher education and research sector with a requested reporting date of July 2021.

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (the Committee) will inquire into and report on national security risks affecting the Australian higher education and research sector.

In considering national security risks to the Sector the Committee specifically seeks information on:

A. The prevalence, characteristics and significance of foreign interference, undisclosed foreign influence, data theft and espionage, and associated risks to Australia’s national security;

B. The Sector’s awareness of foreign interference, undisclosed foreign influence, data theft and espionage, and its capacity to identify and respond to these threats;

C. The adequacy and effectiveness of Australian Government policies and programs in identifying and responding to foreign interference, undisclosed foreign influence, data theft and espionage in the Sector;

D. Responses to this issue in other countries and their relevance to the Australian situation; and

E. Any other related matter.

A full terms of reference are available online here

The Chair, Mr Andrew Hastie MP, said “We are going to examine the question of foreign interference in the Australian higher education and research sector. The Committee will engage with a wide variety of stakeholders in this sector as well as appropriate national security agencies.”




Wednesday, November 04, 2020

California’s Proposition 24 Fails Students’ Privacy

At a time when reliance on digital school services is at an all time high, Proposition 24, the Personal Information Law and Agency Initiative of 2020, fails to advance digital safeguards to students. The voter initiative, which is complement to the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, has been promoted as a means to protect school children online, but this is a grave exaggeration.

Voicing her support for Prop. 24, Valerie Amezcua, Vice President of the Santa Ana Unified School District, commented on the enforcement agency Proposition 24 creates, saying, “We can protect the privacy of our students and make sure violations are enforced. We have no agency to administer our privacy laws and Prop. 24 would put that in place.”

On the surface, it seems to deliver some promise of that. One of the features of Prop. 24 that garnered attention from educators is the tripling of fines for violations which involve a minor’s sensitive information. But the benefits to students stop there.

The CCPA is notable for its creation of a “right to be forgotten,” meaning a consumer can submit a request to have their personal information deleted. The original CCPA rightfully considers educational assessments and other student data to be a sensitive class of information. Yet, Prop. 24 undermines this by carving out an exemption to these types of records.

Section 15 of Prop. 24’s text amends Section 1798.145 of the California Civil Code to allow for the deletion of data of some classifications of data to be refused. One class of information, outlined in subsection (q) (1), exempts businesses from complying with a “verifiable consumer request to delete a consumer’s personal information... to the extent the verifiable consumer request applies to a student’s grades, educational scores, or educational test results that the business holds on behalf of a local educational agency... to which the student is currently enrolled.”

This is an inappropriate exemption. There are numerous reasons why a student or the student’s parents would want this personal information to remain private. Least among them is the poor record of protecting student information by education agencies and third parties. In a 2019 review on “The State of K-12 Cybersecurity”, the group EdTech Strategies LLC found that “[Fifty-one percent] of student and educator data breach incidents during 2019 were due to the actions (or inaction) of school vendors or (in some few cases) partners, including regional service agencies, non-profits, associations, and state departments of education.”

This means that a majority of times where there was a data breach or improper disclosure involving student records, a party working with schools to hold this data was responsible.

These data breaches are no small matter. In 2019 a FBI investigation uncovered that a cyberattack of Pearson PLC, a British education software maker, affected upwards of 13,000 American students. Last year it was reported that in 2016 the ACT inappropriately released information pertaining to 8,000 students in Montana.

At a Defcon Hacker Conference a high school student found flaws in the Blackboard and Follett platforms used by his school, which exposed sensitive information of at least five million students. This included “records for students and teachers, including student grades, immunization records, cafeteria balance, schedules, cryptographically hashed passwords, and photos.” In the Bay Area, the chief financial officer of a school lunch company was charged with identity and unauthorized computer access, when he was accused of hacking into a competitor’s website so he could obtain student data, including on food allergies and grades. California should not limit efforts of students or parents to mitigate the possible release of potentially damaging information.

Proponents suggest that a new enforcement agency, like Prop. 24 would create, is needed to ensure compliance. Yet, herein lies another monumental flaw with the initiative: it does not allow for a private right of action.

Having the right to address those who mishandle data is a necessary component of helping guarantee there is remedy against bad actors. Such an amendment to the CCPA should have been an obvious inclusion. A similar online consumer privacy bill introduced at the federal level in the Senate by Maria Cantwell (D-WA) contains a private right of action and is worthy of consideration for future public policy.

As such, Prop. 24 does not adequately extend privacy protections to students. The initiative does not give Californians privacy, it gives Californians extra bureaucracy. It is worse than window dressing.

Discipline Suffers as San Diego Schools Adopt ‘Anti-Racism’ Grading System

The San Diego Unified School District has approved a change to its grading system that coincides with broader ideas of restorative justice and “anti-racism.”

It will do this by no longer letting late assignments and bad behavior in the classroom affect grades. Students also won’t be penalized for not showing up to class at all.

Only “mastery” of a subject, whatever that means, will count for grading purposes. Students will also receive a separate grade for “citizenship.”

This change was made, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune, because of data showing that there are disparities between the number of white and minority students who receive “D” and “F” grades. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported:

District data have shown that Black, Hispanic, Native American and Pacific Islander high school students are significantly more likely to be given D and F grades. Black students received D or F grades 20 percent of the time and Hispanic students received them 23 percent of the time, while White students received them 7 percent of the time and Asian students received them 6 percent of the time, according to data from the first semester of the last school year. The district-wide average for D and F grades was 16 percent.

The San Diego Unified School District’s policy change is consistent with the Obama administration’s push to crack down on racial disparities in school discipline through legal threat.

The Trump administration and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos rescinded that policy, but school districts can still choose to follow the policies if they wish to.

The San Diego Unified School District concluded that the disparity in its schools must be a product of racism, or at least insufficient “anti-racism.”

“This is part of our honest reckoning as a school district,” San Diego Unified School District Vice President Richard Barrera said to a local San Diego NBC affiliate. “If we’re actually going to be an anti-racist school district, we have to confront practices like this that have gone on for years and years.”

It must be noted that the ideology of anti-racism, popularized by intellectuals like Ibram X. Kendi, is based strongly on critical race theories and other ideas once consigned to the radical fringe of college campuses.

And anti-racism, ironically enough, often looks like plain old racism, as its adherents—like Kendi—openly promote racial discrimination as a means to creating more equity.

Broad trends in behavior leading to unequal outcomes, according to the anti-racists, must inherently be a product of racism. No other explanation is acceptable.

Behavioral problems are not seen as the impediment to success. Instead, it’s the punishments for behavioral problems that are the problem.

While there may be some justification for treating late assignments and misbehavior in classrooms differently than subject grades, one wonders how better outcomes for minority students are ultimately being promoted by this change?

As Virginia Walden Ford, a visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation, explained on a Heritage panel in 2018, breakdowns in classroom discipline create a terrible classroom environment for children who want to learn.

Walden Ford, who was one of the black students chosen to help integrate Arkansas schools in the 1960s and is the subject of the movie “Miss Virginia,” explained how a school program she ran in Arkansas was made worse by the changes to disciple policies.

Students who wanted to learn were made to feel unsafe “because the kids that were creating a lot of the discipline problems” got “a slap on the hand” instead of real punishments.

The result is that misbehaving students kept misbehaving, and other students had a tougher time because classrooms were out of control.

This seems to be a bad way to go about helping students who are struggling in the classroom.

Teaching children that there are no consequences or minimal consequences for not showing up on time or misbehavior will probably have more negative consequences for a person later in life than a bad test score.

Police Education Is Not Police Training: Virtue Signaling Is Not the Road to Improvement

In the wake of George Floyd’s death, a number of colleges have cut back their interactions with local police departments and are redesigning their law enforcement programs.

The University of Minnesota (UM) was one of the first to accede to faculty and student demands to cut ties with local police. The university scaled back its contract with the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) to provide officers at events and limited its reliance on MPD’s specialized services. The university’s Department of Public Safety was ordered to limit university police officers’ interactions with the city department.

UM is one of more than 90 percent of public colleges that employ their own police departments. Thus, it is unclear what such actions accomplish beyond complicating investigations of off-campus crimes against students or faculty and adding to the paychecks of campus officers who will be assigned to events without assistance from local police.

Focusing on education, colleges, particularly community colleges, are reacting to demands they change their law enforcement degree and certificate programs to include courses that focus on police history, race, social justice, and diversity. The goal is to change police culture by changing police training, but it’s predicated on the colleges’ misunderstanding of their role in police training.

Law enforcement/criminal justice degrees are among the most awarded in the country. This includes about 35,000 associate, 63,000 bachelor’s, and 7,500 master’s degrees conferred annually. Their popularity is based on a misconception.

Colleges rely on hyped-up marketing to convince students that the degrees are gateways to jobs as police or corrections officers, firefighters, emergency managers, or other public service positions. Sending the message that a cop badge starts at community college is not uncommon. Neither is posting typical hourly wages for law enforcement personnel.

But a law enforcement degree or certificate is not a direct line to a police job. To become a police officer, a candidate must meet a department’s requirements, including age and education (fewer than 1 percent require a four-year degree); physical, psychological, and drug testing. Only after those criteria are met is a candidate eligible to attend a police academy.

Why, then, are college administrators promising to reform something they don’t control? Are they showing their “wokeness” by responding to demands to defund—or at least reform—the police? Are they virtue signaling their concerns about police tactics?

Speaking in June, Elroy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of California’s community colleges, promised a “review of police instruction” to create a curriculum that better reflects “the lived experience of people of color.” Emotions were high; Edward Bush, president of Cosumnes River College, said he had “yet to fully process how I internalize the repetitive trauma of seeing black bodies dead in the street.” Frank Chong, president of Santa Rosa Community College, added that “no one is free until we are all free.”

Oakley wants every community college to become more inclusive and to develop “an anti-racist curriculum.” He quoted from a report about black students’ and their families’ concerns that they were unaware of financial aid programs, felt isolated because there are few black students or professors, and received misleading academic information they felt was motivated by racial biases.

While those may be legitimate issues, none involve course content, and none are based on recent actions by police officers.

As Oakley said, while working to be more inclusive and mindful of racial differences in student access and outcomes, the death of George Floyd prompted many of us to ask, what can we do? His answer: improving instruction for what future and current police officers learn “is certainly one place where we can do something.”

Despite all this soul-searching, most of the searchers, including Oakley, can do very little. Any of the textbooks that faculty members assign would tell them that their programs do not replace state-mandated, skills-based academies.

In Virginia, community college chancellor Glenn DuBois promised a six-year plan to increase “equity” at the colleges, to increase diversity in hiring, and to invite community members and law enforcement officials into a review of law enforcement training. He said that in 2019 more than 2,000 students were enrolled in law enforcement programs, but that he could not estimate what percentage of Virginia’s law enforcement personnel the programs “train.”

DuBois at least is aware of his limits to drive change. In a June 28 Hechinger Report article critical of the para-military model of police training, he admitted that little is known at the state level about what is taught in police training, and that although he didn’t have the authority to shut down a program, he could “ask some pretty uncomfortable questions.”

Yes, he can ask, but who is responsible for answering and acting on the answers?

In his state, it is the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services that manages training for police officers and deputy sheriffs. It sets hours, modules, and performance-based tests that recruits (they are not called students) must pass, including a 1.5-mile run to test aerobic capacity, maximum sit-ups and push-ups to test muscular endurance, and an estimate of body fat percentage to measure body composition.

The community colleges in Virginia don’t determine police training. This is just more virtue signaling. If the goal was to accomplish change, why does it require a six-year plan? Are the community colleges currently so inequitable that it will take six years to achieve today’s holy trinity of diversity, equity, and inclusion? And if the task force’s goal is to improve American policing, why are the colleges reviewing their own hiring practices?

Administrators of the Minnesota state university system also mistakenly think their law enforcement, criminal justice, and corrections programs “train 80 percent of police officers in the state.” They want to change the programs to include law enforcement history, stress management, and cultural competencies, and to provide internships in diverse communities, according to Henry Morris, vice president of diversity and inclusion at the Mankato campus.

Morris suggested that rather than a normal program review, his task force on change might go beyond academic experts to include community members and police officers. One program director, Champlain College’s Tony Perriello, has already determined the direction of the change, noting that content about race should be “embedded into every course.”

But why assume that college students in Minnesota (or elsewhere) harbor racist attitudes? And why only race? Should content on sex/gender, sexual orientation, or homelessness be embedded in every course? Moreover, obsessing about race requires that some existing assignments and discussions in these basic courses be modified or dropped. That won’t improve student learning.

The same is true in North Carolina. Its Board of Community Colleges recently approved $100,000 to train police officers in de-escalation, relationship-based policing, and community interaction to ensure that officers “have the tools and training necessary to engage effectively within their communities.”

But, according to the attorney general’s Law Enforcement Training and Standards website, the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Education and Training Standards Commission and the Criminal Justice Education & Training Standards Commission regulate the training and certification of sheriffs’ deputies, law enforcement, corrections, and juvenile justice officers, not the community colleges.

Some of this confusion may stem from college campuses physically hosting almost half of the almost 700 certified police academies that operated between 2011-2013 (the most recent years available). But physically hosting a training academy is not the same as running it.

Colleges are attractive for police training; they have classrooms, facilities for indoor and outdoor physical training, and are available all year. Between 2011-2013, of the nearly 135,000 (45,000 per year) police recruits, about 1 in 7 were women and nearly 1 in 3 were racial or ethnic minorities.

I was once one of those 1 in 7. My police academy training was held at a Westchester County (NY) college. We had no contact with college administrators, faculty, or students. Our instructors were police personnel who followed a curriculum approved by New York state’s Municipal Police Training Council (MPTC).

And yes, as the Hechinger Report states, we followed the para-military model. We wore uniforms, answered “yes, sir,” or “no, sir;” boxed, and did a lot of running and sit-ups and push-ups!

Regardless of where the training occurs, a police academy must comply with its state’s police standards and training requirements.

In response to demands by students, faculty, and outside groups, college administrators have been drawn into promising to make police training more “diverse and inclusive.” But with little or no responsibility for police academy instruction, their efforts are likely to produce minimal change, if that. Rather than obsessing over police training, colleges should look beyond race to refresh and enrich the instruction they are providing to the students enrolled in their law enforcement courses.




Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Did You Know? Elite Colleges Fail to Report $6.5 Billion in Foreign Donations

Elite colleges are quick to take foreign donations, but slow to inform the federal government.

A recent report from the Department of Education found $6.5 billion in foreign donations that colleges had failed to self-report before the Department raised the issue.

“Since 2000, the higher education industry has increased its entanglement with foreign adversaries, leading to correspondingly larger and more dangerous foreign threats to American academic freedom, national and economic security, and research integrity,” the partially redacted report noted.

The Department mostly focused on donations coming from China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Qatar. The threats these hidden donations carried included espionage and threats to academic freedom.

“America’s adversaries have long exploited the openness of American society, our deeply held belief in free inquiry and academic freedom, and the misjudgments of some higher education industry leaders to advance their institutional interests at the risk to American security,” the report noted.

The investigation focused on a dozen elite schools:

Georgetown University
Texas A&M University
Rutgers University
Cornell University
University of Maryland
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Harvard University
Yale University
University of Texas
Case Western Reserve University
Fordham University
Stanford University

The report was quick to note that the schools are not being investigated for criminal activity. Instead, the Department wanted to get information on foreign donations that schools are legally obligated to report. But the $6.5 billion discovered so far is only “a fraction of the true total,” the report noted.

Stanford, for example, has now reported $64 million received from anonymous Chinese donations. Harvard has received more than $1 billion since 2012 in foreign donations. An unnamed university hadn’t disclosed more than $760 million. Another unnamed university didn’t previously disclose $1.2 billion from foreign gifts and contracts.

“The flow of foreign money” since 2009 “rose massively,” especially from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and China.

An earlier Senate subcommittee report mentioned the problem of Confucius Institutes, which are controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. Almost 70 percent of schools required to report on foreign gifts exceeding $250,000 connected to Confucius Institutes failed to report them.

The Department of Education also flagged universities for working with Huawei, “a heavily state-influenced technology company” in China that posed security concerns. Intellectual property theft was a concern, but so was losing classified projects and technology thanks to Chinese spies.

The previously undisclosed donations could also encourage elite schools to look the other way on their foreign campuses. In Qatar, the Department referenced a case where Northwestern University’s Qatari campus prevented an openly gay Lebanese singer from speaking in February.

When colleges uncritically accept donations from foreign countries with questionable records on human rights and academic freedom, it may weaken their resolve to uphold academic principles. That poses a threat to students on campus, but their dealings with repressive regimes abroad also endanger American economic competitiveness and national security.

America Wants Its Public Colleges Back and The Chronicle Isn’t Happy About It

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently released a report decrying the politicization of public higher education governance, entitled The New Order: How the Nation’s Partisan Divisions Consumed Public-College Boards and Warped Higher Education. The report says more about the tunnel vision that pervades the liberal media and academic establishment than it does about the real state of politics in academia.

Politicization is indeed a major governance problem, as the report suggests. However, it is not, as the authors claim, a recent phenomenon resulting from Republican dominance in state politics, the Tea Party movement, and the surge in conservative populism.

It is instead a longstanding pattern that has been gradually increasing for over a century. The recent resurgence of Republican, conservative, or traditionalist involvement in higher education governance is not a cause, but an effect of politicization. It is the result of pre-existing political partisanship and extremism.

Only one side of the political spectrum—the left—has had significant influence at the vast majority of American campuses for a long time, and it has indeed been pushing a political agenda. Much of the country is waking up to an Ivory Tower that openly works against, not just their traditions and interests, but long-held standards of objective truth and merit. For many people, this situation is untenable, and they are just starting to demand that educational institutions serve their needs and respect their values, especially at the public universities they help to fund.

Naturally, that is causing dissension and controversy in university boardrooms.

And it’s about time! Complacency in the face of growing anti-society extremism is no way to run a university system. For too long our educational institutions have been sleepwalking us to a future we will regret.

The Chronicle report focuses on the political machinations concerning public higher education board activity in several states. But the authors of the report leave out or underplay several key factors that make the performances of the Republican boards seem worse than they are. Higher education was a deeply troubled institution before 2010—the year the Tea Party revitalized the Republican Party—yet the article essentially ignores this prior state of affairs.

Democrats dominated public university boards every bit as much in those “good old days” as Republicans do today in the states discussed in the report. For example, in North Carolina—the state that is the central focus of the report—the Democratic legislature commonly reserved four or five seats out of 32 on the University of North Carolina (UNC) system’s Board of Governors for liberal Republicans who did not pose any serious opposition to the liberal agenda to create the appearance of bipartisan cooperation. The other 27 or 28 seats were given to Democrats. Board meetings back then were largely social events, and the media, for the most part, did not stoke the fires of controversy.

But, while governance may have seemed to run smoother back then, those in charge permitted massive problems to grow and fester throughout academia, in North Carolina and elsewhere. Costs and tuition soared much faster than the rate of inflation and faster than any other major sector of the economy. For instance, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, in constant dollars, room, board, tuition, and fees roughly doubled between 1985 and 2010. And according to, student debt rose from $10 billion in 1986 to $1 trillion in 2012.

Those trends are largely the result of Democratic governance and policies. But as bad as their handling of higher education’s financial aspects were, intellectual developments during that same period were even worse.

Academia began moving away from the spirit of free inquiry that had been its central mission, despite the implication by The Chronicle authors that pre-2010 governing boards acted as “collective guardians of sacred trusts.” New York University social psychologist Jonathan Haidt—himself a liberal Democrat—has emerged as an important public intellectual by publicizing the way that academia is replacing free inquiry as higher education’s highest value with a dogmatic faith in a radical form of social justice.

That change is no small matter; it is a transition in the underlying philosophy of our society every bit as dramatic as the shift from divine revelation to empirical objectivity that occurred in the late 19th century. Only, while the previous philosophical shift brought many benefits to go with some negatives, the approaching transformation pushed by today’s academia is likely to bring nothing but devastation and tyranny.

The evidence of academia’s increasing leftist bias is overwhelming. William F. Buckley became a national figure by exposing it in God and Man at Yale—all the way back in 1951. The push to the left since then has been relentless. A series of reports focusing on humanities and social science faculty voter registrations show that that there were four Democrats for every Republican in 1972, eight to one in 2005, and 11.5 to one in 2015.

Even that imbalance does not reveal the full degree to which the academy has radicalized. Today’s Democrats are not the same as they were in 1972, and any serious look at academics’ scholarship will show that it is increasingly extremist. Strong support for violent Marxist groups such as Antifa or Black Lives Matter is the rule on many campuses.

New unproven theories such as multiculturalism, gender fluidity, and critical race theory have become indisputable orthodoxies on most campuses. Public universities now routinely violate the principle of institutional political neutrality by investing endowments according to political beliefs, presidents signing politically tinged climate statements, and making statements of support for radical political movements. To openly object to these absurd theories is to invite scorn and ostracism; somebody who does so is unlikely to be hired or promoted in much of the academy.

This madness is in large measure due to university governance by the liberal establishment. Academia has not been wisely run by earnest stewards in the last half-century; it has been manipulated and directed by a political movement.

Beyond leaving out the crucial historical context of past politicization, The Chronicle report also paints routine, expected, natural activities by governing bodies as scheming, devious, and underhanded—but only if performed by Republicans. For example, they suggest that there was some nefarious underhanded plot by the Republican-controlled UNC Board of Governors to take over the university system by firing the system president in 2015:

Once the chess pieces were in place on the board, the end game became clear: Take out the king. At that time, that was Thomas W. Ross, who had been named president of the system in 2010, a few months before Republicans took control of the legislature.

A lot is missing from this description. First of all, system presidents serve at the pleasure of the board. And it is only natural that a board would select a president who is in sync with their agenda. Keeping Ross—a liberal Democrat—in the presidency seemed to be a breach of faith with the people of North Carolina, who had overwhelmingly voted for the Republicans to take over the state after 140 years of Democratic control.

Certainly, the Democrats on the UNC board never ceded power to conservatives from 1972 to 2010, when they chose four Democrats and one liberal Republican whose political beliefs differed little from their own to be UNC system president. In this light, it appears as though The Chronicle authors condemn Republicans for the same activities for which they give Democrats a “pass.”

It appears as though The Chronicle authors condemn Republicans for the same activities for which they give Democrats a “pass.”
Furthermore, instead of firing Ross immediately, the Republicans allowed him to serve for three years, even though they had held both a majority of the board and the powerful board chair position starting in 2012. There was anticipation that he would retire in 2015 after five years, the same amount of time served by his predecessor, Erskine Bowles, but he signaled his intention to continue indefinitely. Expectations that a board chosen in such an environment would allow him to do so are unrealistic. The removal of Ross was in line with the will of the people of North Carolina; clearly, in several elections starting in 2010, they had demonstrated a desire for change from the century-long Democratic control of the state.

The Chronicle article ties the incessant turmoil and controversies concerning the UNC system to the Republican control of the board. In a sense, there is some truth to this criticism; the board has underperformed, and many of the board chairs—who are extremely powerful—have proven to be inadequate. Another problem is a lack of unity on the right: For example, many establishment Republicans are less interested in intellectual renewal than they are in treating universities as economic tools, while their “movement-oriented” colleagues want some focus on academics.

And in North Carolina (and probably elsewhere), many of the problems are due to the way the board is still functioning as it did before 2010. That is, the board is still allowing itself to be dominated by entrenched bureaucrats and media opinion rather than confidently asserting its full power.

Even though most American colleges and universities were set up with boards in firm control, and even though boards still have considerable statutory or chartered authority, over time they have been reduced to rubberstamp committees, booster clubs, and donation-based ATMs. This has allowed the faculty and administrators to push their agenda—and it has indeed been political.

Because that agenda has been so successful, so biased, and so radical, higher education could use some disruption. The Chronicle authors appear to be too far inside the leftist bubble to see how one-sided their analysis is. And they fail to see how precarious the leftist hold on the nation’s intellectual life is. They may call the pushback “politicization,” but it may in fact be an understandably awkward first step toward the American people reclaiming the public institutions they created to serve their needs.

University of Wisconsin-Madison Student Government Votes Unanimously to Remove Statue of Abraham Lincoln

The student government at the University of Wisconsin-Madison voted unanimously to remove a statue of Abraham Lincoln, which the student government sees as a "remnant of white supremacy." President Lincoln, who signed the Emancipation Proclamation and lobbied for the 13th Amendment, is not a "remnant of white supremacy."

"That would likely have come as something of a surprise to John Wilkes Booth," Professor Turley writes in a recent article on the students' unanimous decision to cancel Lincoln.

One issue that was raised by student is that Lincoln ordered the execution of 38 Dakota men and signed the Homestead Act, which gave settlers land forcibly taken from Native Americans.

As I previously discussed, Lincoln’s role in the Dakota executions is legitimately controversial but has been presented without some countervailing facts. The Sioux or Dakota uprising occurred not long after Minnesota became a state and involved the death of hundreds of settlers. The Army crushed the Sioux and captured hundreds. A military tribunal sentenced 303 to death for alleged crimes against civilians and other crimes. The trial itself was a farce with no real representation or reliable evidence. Lincoln reviewed the transcripts of the 303 and told the Senate:

“Anxious to not act with so much clemency as to encourage another outbreak on one hand, nor with so much severity as to be real cruelty on the other, I ordered a careful examination of the records of the trials to be made, in view of first ordering the execution of such as had been proved guilty of violating females.”

However, only two men were found guilty of rape and Lincoln later expanded the criteria to include those who participated in “massacres” of civilians as opposed to battles with the Army.

Lincoln however commuted the sentence of 264 of the 303 convicted.

Turley also points out that a statue is not an endorsement of a person's entire legacy. "I have heavily criticized Lincoln for the unconstitutional suspension of habeas corpus and the loss of free speech rights as well as other decisions," Turley writes. "We learn from such public memorials, which can be augmented with a more full historical context and criticism."

But try telling that to Nancy Pelosi and the leftist mob hellbent on removing every symbol of America's founding and governance over the past three centuries. Pelosi has called for a "review" of statues in the United States so that leftists can continue tearing down history in an official, government-approved manner.

Would any historic figure survive the scrutiny of a congressional review committee comprised of members like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, or Rashida Tlaib? Would any living figure?

Cancel culture is a repugnant development of our universities, and the unanimous vote to remove Lincoln shows just how pervasive the problem has become.

A petition has been started in support of keeping the Lincoln statue where it is.

SPLC Pushes 'Anti-Racism' Indoctrination in Schools

The leftist organization is promoting racism and hate, the very things it was established to oppose.

The leftist hate-labeling and race-baiting Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) recently released a guide for school teachers offering them ways to “manage their white fragility.” The guide, created by the SPLC’s ironically named “Teach Tolerance” division, claims, without evidence, that black teachers are unduly burdened in working against racism in large part because many white teachers have supposedly used their privilege to ignore the “problem.” The guide condemns white teachers for failing to adhere to the Left’s false systemic racism narrative as a means of guilting them into uncritically accepting its claim of their “white fragility.”

For example, the guide reads in part: “We know we all live in the same society of racism and white supremacy. We know white educators have the privilege to ignore these conditions and often do. … While all educators of color carry the burden of white supremacy, black teachers have even more weight placed on them.”

The guide claims that white teachers can demonstrate their commitment to the “anti-racism” cause by following and promoting the messages of woke activists and by shunning those fellow teachers and even students who refuse to accept their “anti-racist” training. To put it bluntly, it’s cultist.

Anna Miller, education policy analyst at the Idaho Freedom Foundation, predicted that the SPLC’s dubious “anti-racism” training guide would result in families “exit[ing] the system as public schools increasingly mandate anti-racist, anti-bias reeducation and teach children to hate their country.” She added, “Many poor and middle-class students, however, will remain trapped in a debased system void of educational value.”

However, for the SPLC and other “woke” organizations, “anti-racism” is big business. The Washington Free Beacon reports, “The group’s new guidelines come as similar companies are raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars in anti-racist consultancy fees. In Virginia’s Loudoun County, the school district spent $422,500 on equity and diversity training in less than two years.”

Miller further observes, “If black lives really matter to today’s institutions, as they should, there would be no greater purpose than cultivating students’ minds instead of demanding acquiescence to a corrupt political cause.” Exactly. Parents should demand education, not indoctrination.




Monday, November 02, 2020

Black Education Matters

Most Americans would probably be shocked and angry if they knew all the dirty tricks used to sabotage charter schools that are successfully educating low-income minority children.

This is not "systemic racism." It is plain old selfishness on the part of traditional public school officials and teachers unions protecting their own vested interests.

Most of us might see charter schools that succeed where traditional public schools have failed as welcome news, especially in minority communities where there is so much bad news.

But, when there are a million public school students on waiting lists to get into charter schools nationwide, that amounts to many billions of dollars a year that traditional public schools would lose, if all those students could actually transfer. That would represent a lot of jobs lost in traditional public schools. It would also represent a lot of union dues lost, because most charter school teachers do not belong to a union. The success of many charter schools is definitely unwelcome news to both traditional public school officials and teachers unions.

The law gives parents the right to transfer their children from traditional public schools to charter schools. But how many can actually exercise that right depends on how much capacity the charter schools have. All across the country, traditional public school officials and teachers unions do all they can to keep charter schools from expanding their capacity.

In many states, there is simply a law putting an arbitrary numerical limit on how many charter schools will be permitted. It doesn't matter whether the charter schools are good, bad or indifferent. Or whether the traditional public schools are good, bad or indifferent.

In other words, this is not about the quality of education for students. It is about protecting traditional public schools from a mass exodus of the students they have failed to educate.

A numerical limit to the number of charter schools is not enough by itself. After all, existing charter schools could expand their capacity. But, for that, they would need more classrooms -- and classrooms and school buildings are controlled by existing public school officials.

Even in cities where many school buildings have been completely vacant for years, charter schools have been prevented from using those buildings, by various tricks.

Some of these buildings have been sold, with explicit provisos in the deeds that they cannot subsequently be used again as schools, but only for residential or other purposes.

Some school officials have openly admitted that they are trying to keep those buildings from falling into the hands of charter schools. In Milwaukee, this was spelled out officially. In Detroit, a school board member said, "there is no way we should be sustaining our competition."

Similar policies have been followed in Chicago, Washington, Cleveland, Indianapolis, and elsewhere. Some vacant school buildings have simply been demolished, making sure they cannot be used by charter schools.

These are just some of the tactics used against charter schools by traditional public school authorities, who constantly declare their devotion to the students. But actions speak much louder than words.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has denounced and obstructed charter schools repeatedly. Yet, when he ran for mayor in 2013, a poll showed that 96% of black voters favored him.

This is what can happen when the vast majority of black votes automatically go to one party. Under these conditions, neither party has much incentive to serve black interests.

This year, Joe Biden told a black man that, if he didn't vote for him, he wasn't black. How is that for taking the black vote for granted? Both Vice President Biden and Senator Kamala Harris have declared their support for teachers unions.

Teachers unions supply millions of votes and millions of dollars to politicians, mostly Democrats. They don't do that automatically, but require politicians to do something in return.

Unless black voters take the same attitude, their interests -- and the future of their children -- will be sacrificed for the political support of teachers unions.

This year the Republicans are making an effort to get more black votes. Record high average incomes for blacks and record low unemployment rates for blacks are part of this administration's record. But support for charter schools, including awarding more than $9 million to the Success Academy schools in Harlem and other minority communities may be even more important for the future.

Everything depends on how well Republicans inform black voters and how receptive those voters are to breaking their old voting habits.

Joe Biden’s Coming War on Education Choice

Two entirely different visions for America are on the ballot this November, espoused by two candidates who share not a single floor tile of common ground on the issues. As President Trump firmly embraces less government activism and a thriving free market, Joe Biden has surrendered to the far left wing of his party after decades as a left-leaning moderate. In this third quest for the presidency, Joe has shown just how malleable his principles have become.

Few issues, however, highlight Biden’s unparalleled duplicity so much as school choice, an idea he once passionately embraced as critical to helping the poor - minorities especially - escape the cycle of poverty and government dependency. In 1997, Biden pleaded from the well of the Senate, “Where the public schools are abysmal or dysfunctional or not working and where most of the children have no way out, it is legitimate to ask what would happen to the public schools with increased competition from private schools. Is it not possible that giving poor kids a way out will force the public schools to improve…”

Today Biden is the Democrat presidential nominee and therefore a loyal puppet of the powerful National Education Association (NEA) teachers union that calls the party’s shots on education. Despite the overwhelming popularity of school choice, including its 78 percent support among black voters, Biden now opposes vouchers, charter schools, or any reform that would give poor kids “a way out.”

Biden’s lockdown of educational opportunities is a deliberate confrontation with the efforts of President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who have fought to expand school choice through federal grants, scholarship programs, and legislation. DeVos refers to school choice as a “matter of justice” and backs that up by advocating compassionate policies to rescue the victims of the education establishment’s massive failures. It is a position that no fair person could oppose; but no one claims the NEA or Democrats are fair. Biden’s children benefited from attending private schools, underscoring the hypocrisy of his position that willfully condemns poor children stuck in dysfunctional classrooms to a bleak future.

Just as troublesome, Biden has adopted his party’s hostile position on choice in higher education as well. For years Democrats and their allies in the elitist education establishment have attempted to hijack government agencies ranging from the IRS to Veterans Administration (VA) to delegitimize and deny accreditation to hundreds of career-oriented, for-profit and not-for-profit colleges that are helping America fill its deficit of skilled workers. Institutions such as ECPI University, Grand Canyon University, the University of Phoenix, Full Sail University, and many other highly valued and successful institutions would be devastated by the Democrats’ legislative and regulatory assault on colleges that don’t fit the traditional four-year mold.

Active duty military personnel and veterans would see their ability to apply GI Bill tuition assistance to the school of their choice greatly restricted. Biden would alter the 90-10 rule that sets the formula for what percentage of federal student aid career-oriented schools can accept. Curtailing a benefit our veterans have earned is not only an egregious slap at our men and women in uniform, but will likely lead to dozens of schools closing while others will have to raise tuition to make up the difference.

Biden has pledged to fire DeVos “day one” in office and reverse the unprecedented work she has accomplished in expanding education options. He would follow the advice of highly-paid, ultra-left education activists Bob Shireman and David Halperin, former Clinton and Obama advisors, who routinely disparage private college education with jaded "research" that never acknowledges the quality and accomplishments of dozens of career-oriented colleges. Shireman and Halperin happily do the dirty work of the entrenched education establishment to promote policies designed to shut down college options, such as through the Gainful Employment Rule (GER). The GER empowers federal bureaucrats to police school degree programs based on arbitrary salaries its students earn, a rule totally inapplicable at traditional four-year state schools or elite Ivy League universities.

Biden’s education reforms would ignore the numerous problems plaguing traditional four-year colleges and universities, such as student debt, admissions scandals, poor graduation rates and tenure, and instead seek new ways to harass career-oriented universities with oppressive rules and regulatory oversight. A Biden administration will do nothing about campus speech codes, growing levels of ideological intolerance, or lack of due process that has turned what should be a time of open-minded exploration for college students into an exercise in oppressive left-wing indoctrination.

Joe Biden frequently jokes that his wife Jill is a teacher, and that he has to answer to her on education policy. But Biden’s plan to kill school choice from grade school through to college is no joke, and no laughing matter. Biden is the candidate of the NEA and its cohorts in the education establishment that seek a complete government monopoly on policy and iron grip on the distribution of education funding. His goal is to stop choice across the board, and end the innovations that threaten the traditional four-year college model. He will take us backwards, and hurt millions of students at every age level in the bargain.

A while back on our sister site, Townhall, I noted that I’d really rather my son not attend college. I’d actually prefer him to go to trade school or something of that sort. Of course, he went to college. For what he ended up majoring in, accounting, there really isn’t a viable option for him unless he went to college.

However, some people have wondered just what the hell was wrong with me and why so many others on the right are down on colleges.

They don’t seem to understand that colleges have a deep progressive bias. They’re anti-gun and anti-freedom.

Don’t believe me? Well, explain this one, then.

On the school’s website, Brandeis University in Massachusetts highlighted a song inspired by the gun debate.

Written by Professor of Music Eric Chasalow and titled “Ghost of John William, Chasalow explained on the website that he “wrote the song out of a deep sense of frustration and exhaustion.”

“It is crystal clear that gun rights and white supremacy are intertwined,” claimed Chasalow in the description on the school’s website. “The deeply entrenched, well-financed gun-rights movement is, at its core, a fear-driven, reactionary institution for maintaining our racist and classist power-structure.”

Now, understand that Chasalow has a right to believe anything he wants. His academic freedom means that making a song like this shouldn’t impact his job. I’m fine with all that.

My problem is that Brandeis University went beyond permitting this and entered into the realm of glorifying it. It’s a blatantly political message that many of their students and alumni vehemently disagree with, but Brandeis simply doesn’t care.

This, however, isn’t unusual. It’s typical.

Many, if not most, pro-gun students find themselves in a hostile environment. A study released earlier this month notes that 72 percent of conservative college students self-censor themselves out of fear. One of the issues people censor themselves on is their support for gun rights. Colleges and universities are hostile toward even the idea of pro-gun students.

In fact, even the mere photograph of a student holding a firearm has been enough to trigger meltdowns.

Yet they don’t even blink about promoting the opposite side, glorifying it with every fiber of their being. Now, if you can’t see the hypocritical nature of what’s going on, then your head is completely stuck in the sand.

The average American university isn’t nearly as interested in educating our young people on how to think, but what to think. When my son can come home and tell me which teachers are commies or SJWs while taking no classes in politics, there’s a problem. When students can be punished for their lawful actions with firearms away from campus and yet the colleges will celebrate anti-gun efforts, it’s kind of hard to think they’re anything but pushing an agenda.

Remember that David Hogg was turned down at every college he applied to before his activism kicked into gear. Afterward, he got into Harvard. The Ivy League schools pretend they’re the elite, that they only take the best, yet they jumped at the chance to take a state-college reject because he held the right opinions about guns.

Yeah, the reason so many pro-gun folks are down on colleges is an absolute and total mystery, ain’t it?

Australia: In the case of Peter Ridd, we’ll soon learn whether academic freedom matters

Prof. Ridd was critical of alarmist utterances about the Barrier Reef coming from his university colleagues

This week there were whoops of delight from Republicans over the appointment of conservative lawyer Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court. It will, they say, buttress democracy for decades to come. The Democrats were inconsolable, marking the rushed appointment as the end of democracy. The divide is fundamental: is it the role of America’s highest court to interpret law in humble deference to what the law says, or to change the law to suit social ­engineers who have grown ­impatient with the democratic process?

Everyone agrees on one thing: judges on the US Supreme Court can alter the country in profound ways.

By the way, two new judges were appointed to Australia’s High Court this week, although few will know their names. For the record, Simon Steward from Melbourne and Jacqueline Gleeson from Sydney, both former Federal Court judges and both in their early 50s, will serve long stints on our most influential court until they reach the mandatory retirement age of 70. Steward will join the court in December, and Gleeson, the daughter of former chief justice Murray Gleeson, will take up her seat in March next year.

Both judges will be watched closely by those who understand that the High Court can fundamentally change the direction of our country, too. Eighty per cent of its cases are mundane, having little impact on the country. The other 20 cent are the Big Bang cases. Through the intersection of law, politics and values, they can cause seismic shifts throughout the country.

Will Steward and Gleeson become roaming judicial adventurers making decisions like philo­sopher kings rather than humble judges? There are no guarantees. After all, the court’s most recent appointment, and disappointment, is Justice James Edelman. Part of the recent 4-3 majority decision in Love v The Commonwealth, along with fellow justices Michelle Gordon, Geoffrey Nettle and Virginia Bell, Edelman dreamt up a legally bogus racial privilege to exclude two men from the normal application of our non-citizens laws.

Chief Justice Susan Kiefel’s scathing rebuke of the majority should be inscribed somewhere along the hallowed halls of the High Court for the newcomers.

“Implications are not devised by the judiciary,” Kiefel said, because they are “antithetical to the judicial function since they involve an appeal to the personal philosophy or preferences of judges”.

The departure of Nettle and Bell means that, without the support from the new appointees, Edelman and Gordon might be relegated to minority dissents the next time they choose to cook up propositions to suit their preferred outcomes, and pronounce them as the law of the land.

All eyes will be on the newest judges especially if the High Court decides to hear the case involving physics professor Peter Ridd. In August, Ridd lodged a 13-page ­application for special leave to ­appeal a 2018 Federal Court decision that upheld his sacking by James Cook University. On Thursday, the High Court agreed to hear oral arguments about special leave in February next year. This is interesting. The vast maj­ority of applications are rejected “on the papers” — in other words without an oral hearing.

Next, the High Court will decide if the Ridd case is sufficiently important to warrant judgment from the nation’s highest court. There is, as former High Court judge Michael Kirby once said, no point pretending that it is a logical or scientific process. In other words, it’s down to whether the court finds a matter interesting. The test is subjective, their decision unappealable.

For the punters, the raw odds are about one in 10: last year, of a total of 445 special leave applications, the court granted leave in 52 cases.

Insiders give Ridd a 50-50 chance of making it over the next hurdle. The case, after all, is not just about the “substantial injustice” of JCU’s termination of Ridd’s career, claiming he acted in an uncollegial manner in breach of the university’s vaguely drafted code of conduct when he raised questions about the quality of climate research at JCU.

If the High Court grants Ridd special leave to appeal, the court’s final determination is likely to ­reverberate across the country. Many universities have intellectual freedom clauses in their ­enterprise agreements with academics. And most universities have ambiguously drafted codes of conduct that could be used to restrict these same intellectual freedom clauses. Where does that leave academic freedom in this country?

Ridd’s case is being led by Melbourne QC Stuart Wood, while JCU has Bret Walker SC in its corner. Ridd’s claim for special leave to appeal includes a powerful observation from legal scholar Ron­ald Dworkin that “any invasion of academic freedom is not only harmful in itself, but also makes future invasions more likely”.

There is another harm to ­society. If JCU’s infringement of academic freedom is allowed to stand, it will have a chilling effect on other academics. We will never know what research escapes rigorous testing by academics who do not want to jeopardise their jobs.

The High Court is being asked to rule on the core mission of a university: is it, first and foremost, to defend academic freedom and further research, to seek the truth by challenging orthodoxies that can become dangerously inaccurate over time?

If, on the other hand, universities are allowed to sack academics in circumstances similar to Ridd, with obvious impacts for the quality of research and learning, then Australians are entitled to confirmation of this dystopian brave new world at Australian universities from our highest court.

And dystopian it certainly is. Along with making 17 findings against Ridd, two speech directions and five confidentiality directions (even prohibiting him at one stage from speaking with his wife about the matter), JCU also issued a “no satire” direction against Ridd demanding he not make fun of the disciplinary proceedings.

No satire? It’s hard not to make fun of a taxpayer-funded university that censures, then sacks, a respected professor of physics, and employee of 27 years, a man ranked in the top 5 per cent of researchers globally for raising questions about the quality of climate science research at the Great Barrier Reef.

Only this week, this report slipped under the ABC News’s ­Armageddon radar: “Researchers have found a new reef that is as tall as a skyscraper in the waters off Cape York in north Queensland.” As Ridd told Inquirer this week, “we are constantly learning new, and incredible things about the reef”.

The shoddy, disproportionate treatment of the physics professor by JCU has become the centrifugal force to better protect academic freedom at universities, not just via the courts, but by parliament too.

Ridd’s sacking led Education Minister Dan Tehan to initiate a review into free speech and academic freedom at Australian universities in 2019 by Robert French. Nothing had been done prior to Tehan taking the portfolio. This week, Tehan tabled the Higher Education Support Amendment (Freedom of Speech) Bill 2020, which gives effect to legislative changes suggested by the former chief justice. The bill requires that universities commit to “academic freedom” — as defined by French — in return for getting registration, and taxpayer funds.

These are indeed interesting times for academic freedom, with a review under way by Professor Sally Walker into the implementation by universities of the model code on academic freedom also recommended by French.

The model code is intended to operate as an umbrella-like standard to fall over all university policies, codes, pronouncements, etc. If a particular enterprise agreement has a broader definition of academic freedom, that is great for academics at that university. If an EA offers less protection than French’s model code, then that model code will lift the standard of academic freedom protections. That will be a terrific boost for academic freedom across the country because, as experts who have trawled through EAs of Australian universities told Inquirer this week, none of the EAs offer more protection than French’s model code.

When Walker’s review is completed late next month, we will discover which vice-chancellors have dragged the chain, more cowardly corporatist controllers than defenders of robust intellectual excellence.

Their incalcitrant approach to academic freedom should firm up the minister’s resolve to stop the rot. Tehan’s next move might be to legislate that every university implement the full French model code as a requirement of university registration. Even if not legislated, the minister has a backdoor way to secure the same outcome. Under section 136 of Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act, Tehan can direct the university regulator to use the model code when enforcing the educational standards to Australian universities. With oversight from Senate Estimates, this could well transform TESQA, known as a wet-lettuce regulator, into a genuine guardian of university excellence acting in the best interest of academics, students, taxpayers and the country.

In other words, with the model code in place, either by law or ministerial directive, what happened to Ridd can never happen again. That, of course, will not help the unassuming, but determined, professor. His final appeal for justice, and common sense, rests with the High Court next year, when at least one new judge, maybe two, will be on the bench. No wonder we will be watching closely.




Sunday, November 01, 2020

Home School Reform News: South Carolina Among Best in the Nation for Parent Power in Education

Parents in South Carolina have more say in their child’s education than in many other states, according to new analysis released by the Center for Education Reform.

The organization’s annually released Parent Power Index ranked South Carolina 10th best nationally for parent power. High quality teachers received high marks, while the state’s charter schools received a high score “owing more to the decline of other state laws, and not necessarily its own strength.”

“Recent developments in universities authorizing have helped spur more growth; more is needed,” the analysis on charter schools read. “So is funding such things like transportation which is currently denied these public schools of choice which makes it very hard for rural communities to get excited about charters.”

South Carolina also scored high for innovation in helping students with continuous learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and progress on broadband expansion, but earned a D grade for school-choice programs.

“The Palmetto state’s programs offer choices for a limited number of students with special needs, approximately 2,600 students,” the analysis read.

The goal of the index is to measure the policies states have in place to put students ahead of systems, value diversity of needs and empower parents to make choices about their child’s education. Scores are based on teacher quality, personalized learning, school-choice programs and charter schools.

“2020 has been a year of conflict and chaos,” said Jeanne Allen, the founder and chief executive of the Center for Education Reform. “By providing substantive information for parents and policymakers, we hope that the Parent Power Index can guide significant changes in law and behavior – something that most states are typically hesitant to do for fear of offending their friends and colleagues in the status quo.”

Who Says Academia Isn’t Awash in Liberal Bias?

In a year when numerous faculty members who aren’t “woke” have been pilloried, and many universities are revamping themselves in accordance with the agenda of Black Lives Matter and Antifa, I was amazed to read an article by Harvard history professor Naomi Oreskes and her student, Charlie Tyson, who claim that research findings that university professors overwhelmingly lean to the left are wrong.

Oreskes and Tyson published “Is Academe Awash in Liberal Bias?” in the Chronicle of Higher Education on September 14. Their piece violates common sense and misconstrues basic statistical reasoning.

Left-wing bias pervades higher education, and since the COVID-19 lockdowns, colleges have carried left-wing bias to greater extremes than ever. At Brooklyn College (a part of the City University of New York), where I work, a faculty group called “Rank and File Action” just emailed a university-wide invitation to an event featuring the Marxist Democratic Socialists of America chapter at LaGuardia Community College. RFA describes itself as “a group of militant rank & file activists at CUNY challenging the culture of austerity in higher education and demanding a more democratic fighting union.”

Is there any counterweight to RFA? Of course not.

Since June 1, I have received 11 emails concerning identity and racial politics from CUNY’s chancellor, the president of Brooklyn College, and the college’s chief diversity officer. On July 2, the president wrote an email to the faculty voicing opposition to federal customs policies, which breach Democratic Party voter registration goals. On August 26, Brooklyn College’s provost sent an email welcoming the faculty back for the academic year and enumerating the main academic priorities of the college, prominent among which is fighting racism. Meanwhile, left-wing activist students and teaching assistants at CUNY Law School have harassed Jewish law student Rafaella Gunz for expressing the opinion that Israel has the right to exist. Gunz decided to withdraw from the school after its faculty and diversity department failed to protect her from the harassment.

As I see things, my own institutions certainly are awash in leftist bias.

Not satisfied with political advocacy, higher education institutions have recently escalated personal attacks on conservatives. Here are just a few recent examples:

The Federal Reserve Bank, a public institution that is supposed to adhere to the First Amendment, fired one of the nation’s leading economists, Harald Uhlig of the University of Chicago, for disagreeing with the Black Lives Matters agenda. (For details about the case, this American Thinker story is good.)

The student newspaper at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh has attacked Duke Pesta, a conservative English professor. In covering discredited, three-year-old complaints about Pesta, the newspaper excluded information that had been provided to it that refuted false charges of “bigotry, hate, homophobia and racism” that the paper chose to trumpet.

The University of Central Florida is investigating Charles Negy, a tenured professor of psychology, for tweets expressing doubt about the idea of “institutional racism.” According to this story, the university’s administration is looking for a pretext to fire him, such as “misconduct” in his teaching.

And, as we read here, UCLA accounting professor Gordon Klein, who declined to change his (and the university’s) policy on final exams following the death of George Floyd, was put on punitive leave when students demanded that he be fired. (Klein has been reinstated after humiliating publicity.)

Despite those and many other instances of intolerance toward “unwoke” professors, Oreskes and Tyson’s article aims to deflect the obvious by claiming that colleges aren’t really left-wing.

They say that although studies have found overwhelmingly high ratios of Democrats to Republicans in universities, the studies have focused on elite colleges rather than on a broad sample. The authors also say that it’s unimportant that elite colleges are almost exclusively Democratic because opinion survey measures are preferable to looking at political donations and partisan registrations when we consider political activism.

Oreskes and Tyson rely on data showing that 46 percent of professors say that they are moderate. This is 9 percent above the 37 percent of Americans with postgraduate degrees who say that they are moderate, according to a 2018 Gallup study, but it overlooks the overwhelmingly skewed ratio of left to right in the same data: While 44 percent of professors describe themselves as left, only 9 percent describe themselves as right, a ratio of almost 5:1. The 2018 Gallup study found that, among the general American population, the ratio is 0.7:1. Among Americans with postgraduate education, the ratio is 1.7:1.

As well, there is reason to be suspicious of the meaning ascribed to “moderate.” There are biases such as referent bias (everyone I know votes for Bernie Sanders, so I am moderate because I vote for Sanders too) and social desirability bias (I am a professor, so I should appear moderate on gun control) that are likely to skew survey data. Objective data that record registration and political donations do not suffer from such biases.

Furthermore, Orestes and Tyson incorrectly claim that means of broad samples are more meaningful than means of sub-categories such as elite universities. Means are of importance if your aim is to characterize and equally weight members of a homogenous population, but it is not useful to characterize a population that contains sharp differences. For instance, if you are a politician, the mean opinion of likely voters is more useful than the mean opinion of the general population. With respect to professors’ political affiliations, the mean orientation of the most influential professors is more useful to know than the mean orientation of professors who are not influential.

The American university system was established, in large part by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, to be a pyramid, with the most influential universities at the apex and less influential ones below. The influence of the apex institutions is disproportionate, so the use of means that combine elite universities with community colleges is deceptive. Because there are many more community colleges than elite universities (there are more than 1,000 community colleges), mixing community colleges with the leading schools gives Orestes and Tyson their desired result of making college faculties seem moderate. But it is misleading.

Orestes and Tyson claim that ideology doesn’t perfectly correlate with political affiliation, so the use of political affiliation measures does not indicate what occurs in the classroom. That may be true, but it’s beside the point. We know what occurs in the classroom. We cannot turn a blind eye to the many cases where “progressive” faculty have used their courses to instill their beliefs in students and downgrade those who don’t conform. Cases of the reverse, of colleges committed to advocating conservative and libertarian principles, are few and far between, and virtually no government money goes to the few conservative institutions.

Orestes and Tyson claim that while the social sciences and humanities may be skewed left, many students take other subjects like business and nursing. True, but that doesn’t prove their point. In business schools, political ideology becomes most important in the management and business ethics courses, and those are the ideologically left courses. Much of business education is statistical or involves narrow financial and econometric models. My study of liberal arts colleges looked at all of the disciplines with PhD-holding faculties in the elite colleges. Indeed, the professional subjects and sciences are among the least left-skewed, but even these have D:R ratios of 5.5:1.

Just because students aren’t uniformly subjected to leftist bias doesn’t mean that it isn’t widespread.

Orestes and Tyson aim to square the circle. In the wake of repeated left-wing attacks on conservative professors and heightened diffusion of political propaganda by university administrations, they offer weak arguments based on erroneous claims about research methods. Their piece makes the claim that there is only one methodology, standardized questionnaires of the kind that failed to predict the 2016 presidential election, that can reveal professors’ political orientations. Objective, archival methods that reveal how rates differ across institutions give us information free of biases.

Both kinds of methods should, and if properly executed do, converge on a point known to all: The professoriate is left-wing, and the most important portion of the professoriate with respect to political ideology, the social scientists at elite institutions, are almost universally so.

Can the new broom remove the feminist tentacles strangling Australia's university regulator

Bettina Arndt

We’ve had a very lively few days, with interesting developments in our campus campaign.

The good news is we have learnt that the new CEO of TEQSA, Alistair Maclean, might be the new broom the university regulator needs to clean up its act, given its shameful history of pandering to activists by bullying universities into setting up the regulations to usurp criminal law.

Maclean’s previous job was CEO of Victoria’s anti-corruption commission, IBAC, and he was also once senior adviser to former PM John Howard. This should be a man interested in ensuring regulators do their job properly rather than allowing universities to indulge in ideologically driven policies aimed at punishing men.

We can only speculate that this was a deliberate government decision to provide some proper oversight of this regulatory authority which has so clearly run amok. Dan Tehan must be frustrated that TEQSA chose to ignore his advice at their conference last year telling them to instruct universities to leave sexual assault to the criminal courts.

The Government has also set up an TEQSA integrity unit. No, that’s not a joke! Apparently the idea is to encourage the regulator to rein in the unscrupulous behaviour exhibited by many of our universities, with the kangaroo courts coming in for particular scrutiny.

On Wednesday our campus justice group sent a long background document to Maclean, outlining the whole history of TEQSA’s shameful role in this quasi-judicial mess.

Lo and behold, the letter ended up featuring in a highly entertaining Senate Estimates session that night, where the brilliant Queensland Senator Amanda Stoker grilled Nick Saunders, Chief Commissioner of TEQSA, about TEQSA’s role in the establishment of these courts.

Regular readers may remember that last year Stoker’s inquisition left Saunders and his colleagues squirming as she waved before them one of the TEQSA documents on adjudicating campus rape cases, pointing out it contained not one word about the rights of the accused.

We’ve put together a video about all this, which starts with an extraordinary confrontation where Saunders emphatically denies that TEQSA’s initial Guidance Note to universities on this matter was intended to push them to adjudicate sexual assault. He claims he’d never heard of such a notion, apart from the letter they had received that very afternoon – which was, of course, the email from our campus justice group. Watch Saunders’ normally flushed tones turn a vivid shade of puce as he mentions the offending email!

Clearly TEQSA is not at all happy that their new CEO is being exposed to the truth about their meddling on this matter.

Anyway, please watch my video and promote it widely.

I am sure you will find the Stoker/Saunders confrontations riveting and very revealing. We need people to know about all this.

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