Friday, August 20, 2021

Australia: Academic calls to scrap ‘English’ name from the curriculum

Another white "Aborigine" making a nuisance of herself

image from

English would be renamed as a subject in the Australian curriculum and kids instead taught “Language Arts” under a radical proposal from a leading academic.

In a major address at the recent Australian Association for the Teaching of English conference, former Queensland school teacher and University of Melbourne senior lecturer Dr Melitta Hogarth described the use of the name English as an “act of assimilation”.

She offered alternatives, such as “Language Arts” or “Languages, Literacy and Communications”.

But the idea was shot down by Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge, who told The Courier-Mail in terms of changing the national curriculum he would be “firmly rejecting such nonsense”, claiming it would “lead to the dumbing down of our kids”.

“This is not just political correctness gone mad, but it actually makes me angry that such views are in our universities’ education faculties - the place that trains our future teachers,” he said.

“Everyday Australians are just sick of this sort of rubbish that infects our universities.”

Dr Hogarth, an Indigenous woman who spent many years teaching Indigenous children, said in her address her intent was to “disrupt and scrutinise” the role subject English played in maintaining the “status quo”, and “asserting the besieged sovereignty of the colonial state”.

“The power of the coloniser within colonial Australia is clear when we consider how essential to the teaching and learning and schooling in Australia is the privileging of Standard Australian English,” she said.

“It wasn’t enough that First Nations peoples had been disposed of their lands, their children stolen but also their languages were silenced and it was dictated within the government controlled missions that English should be spoken.

“A supposedly superior language, the language of the oppressor, and just to make sure you didn’t know who the oppressor was let’s call that subject English.

“So I’m left asking, is subject English just another act of assimilation?”

Dr Hogarth told The Courier-Mail her provocation for renaming the subject was “first and foremost to identify that there is no definitive English language but many Englishes”.

“Within the rationale of subject English, it refers to the linguistic and cultural diversity of the country but then counters this by stating that you need to be able to communicate in Standard Australian English,” she said.

“I feel as though subject English is limited in describing what it is we do in the subject and therefore, alternatives such as Languages, Literacy and Communications provide a much better scope of the teaching and learning.”

Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace said there were “no plans to rename English as a subject”.

“We adopt the Australian Curriculum and that includes the teaching of English in schools,” she said.

Queensland Teachers’ Union president Cresta Richardson said English was currently taught with a variety of names in senior subjects, including English, English & Literature Extension, English as an Additional Language, Essential English, Literature, and Literacy.

“We believe that curriculum should be reviewed and updated to meet the changing needs of students and their communities and that any change in curriculum must be adequately resourced,” she said.

Dr Hogarth said she knew her ideas would be provocative and controversial - and perhaps even cause “anger” or “outrage” – but said she had received “amazing feedback” from colleagues and peers.

“But of course, the provocation does not have an easy answer and demands a strong reaction so I am sure there were others challenged by what I had to share,” she said.

“If these past 18 months has shown anything within the education space, it is the inequity within education so I would hope that the education community at the very least is open to any innovations and ideas for change that will make things better for all.”


University in Connecticut to Fine, Block Internet Access to Unvaccinated Students

Students at Connecticut’s Quinnipiac University will be fined up to $2,275 and lose internet access if they fail to comply with the university’s COVID-19 vaccination policies.

The private liberal arts college in New Haven County announced the new penalties on Aug. 16 in an email sent to some 600 students who haven’t yet provided proof of COVID-19 vaccination or requested an exemption.

Students at Quinnipiac were required to submit their vaccination records by Aug. 1, according to an email obtained by The Epoch Times. Those not in compliance by Sept. 14 will begin to face $100 weekly fines, with increases of $25 after every two weeks, up to a maximum of $200 per week. They also won’t be able to use the school’s campus network and Wi-Fi.

Students could be fined up to $2,275 in total for the fall term, the university warned. The penalties cover those who don’t receive a vaccine, as well as exempted students who miss weekly COVID-19 testing. There will be a $100 fine for each missed test.

Students who received one dose of a two-dose regimen by Aug. 25 won’t face a fine, as long as they are fully vaccinated by Sept. 14, the university officials said. But they still need to participate in weekly testing until two weeks after their second dose and upload a negative test result before returning to campus.

“We wish we did not have to take these measures, but protecting the health of our QU community by ensuring compliance with our vaccination requirement is the only way we can ease most of our COVID-related restrictions and safely return to our in-person learning and living activities,” Chief Experience Officer Tom Ellett said in the email sent to students. “Thank you for your attention to these important health protocols.”

Quinnipiac isn’t the first school in the United States to use financial means to enforce its vaccination policy. Rhodes College, a private liberal arts college serving a little more than 2,000 students in Memphis, Tennessee, announced in June that students must be vaccinated or pay a mandatory testing fee of $1,500.

“Upon returning to campus, non-vaccinated students will be charged a $1,500 per semester Health & Safety fee to cover the costs of mandatory testing,” a letter to the Rhodes community read.

Similarly, West Virginia Wesleyan College, a private liberal arts college in West Virginia, announced earlier this month that it will fine any unvaccinated student $750. Those students also are required to wear masks while indoors, undergo weekly testing, and maintain physical distance. Any students who are diagnosed with COVID-19 and are unable to leave campus will pay another $250 fine.


What My College President Gets Wrong About Critical Race Theory

Critical race theory, the enemy of free thought, undermines American exceptionalism. Many institutions have embraced teaching this ideology, blind to just how toxic it is.

As a student at the College of the Holy Cross, I know this all too well.

My college’s president, Vincent Rougeau, publicly diminished the psychological harm critical race theory poses to America’s children July 29 on “The Gloria Purvis Podcast.”

“This boogeyman that some have created around critical race theory—that it’s this mind control mechanism that is going to destroy our children and make them all feel terrible about being white—is nonsense,” he said.

Rougeau then flat-out denied K-12 students are learning critical race theory in public schools. He said it is only a tool used in law schools and legal education, and is therefore not taught to children, especially as some kind of “mind control mechanism.”

This is at best a ruse. While the texts of critical race theory may not be assigned to third graders, its tenets are being applied at all levels and the teachers are being trained according to its precepts. In other words, critical race theory is taking America’s K-12 public schools by storm and poses a grave threat to children.

Today, Marxist leaders call for the country to rid itself of capitalism and openly express their disdain for the power of the free market. In the classroom, critical race theory manifests itself by stating “systemic racism” exists. It also teaches students that some people have “privilege” due to race and others don’t.

Professors are assigning Ibram X. Kendi’s book “How to Be an Antiracist.” This book promotes the 1619 Project and tells children that “all white people play a part in perpetuating systemic racism.”

I have seen professors teach critical race theory ideas in the classroom at the College of the Holy Cross. I do not have a huge problem with it because at the collegiate level, I can pinpoint its faults and voice my opinions in the classroom. I hope my classmates will challenge the logic of this ideology as well.

But having my college’s president promote an ideology antithetical to American principles and then deny people’s concerns about it promotes critical race theory’s Marxist doctrine. But if you asked Rougeau, linking critical race theory to Marxist thought “is an attempt to deflect because people are worried about the consequences of having the conversation [about race].”

I had hoped for more from the representer of the institution I attend.

His views paint the College of the Holy Cross as a pro-critical race theory institution. This should not be the case. If Rougeau wants to encourage the free flow of ideas, he should not blatantly put College of the Holy Cross on one side of the debate.

While I may be a bit less excited about returning to campus this fall, at least I am fired up. I am ready to discuss, debate, and deliberate my professors and my peers. I’m ready to explain how this ideology is indoctrinating America’s youth. My peers and I can start fighting this now.

Critical race theory isn’t a “boogeyman,” but it is scary. Let’s work to keep it out of our schools.


How Back to School Is Different, Again, This Year

It’s back-to-school time. Like every other year, children are excited about new teachers, new experiences, new clothes, and maybe even some new friends.

But for many families, going back to school is not business as usual this year. In many cases, temporary changes to education brought on by COVID-19 have become permanent.

Perhaps the biggest change is how many families decided to homeschool their children. The number of families homeschooling during the 2020-2021 school year doubled compared to the previous year. That doesn’t count those who have been “attending” public school from home.

The data on private school has been mixed. Although the economic impacts of COVID-19 forced some private schools to close, others have seen a sharp rise in enrollment from families looking for alternatives to government schools.

It’s possible that strong private schools have taken advantage of a growth in demand while those that already were struggling were forced to close.

What is undeniable is that a significant change has occurred in the relationship between Americans and their local public schools, and it’s possible that this change is only just beginning. We can identify several reasons for this.

First, schooling from home gave parents a chance to peek behind the curtain of public education, and many didn’t like what they saw. For years, parents have been concerned about sex ed curriculum that is too much too soon and tells children they can choose to be a boy or a girl.

In addition, school districts and individual teachers increasingly are prioritizing components of critical race theory and curriculum such as The New York Times’ 1619 Project, which teaches that the American Revolution was fought at least in part in order to protect slavery. (After criticism from historians, editors at the Times backed away from the earlier claim that the Revolution was primarily about slavery).

Parents are beginning to realize that school is much different today than in years past, and have chosen to do something about it.

Second, COVID-19 opened the eyes of many families to the fact that public schools aren’t the only option. When schools closed, families were forced to adjust. Some families began homeschooling and discovered, despite doubts, that they could do it. They also discovered homeschool co-ops, churches, and other groups that provide support for parents and community for families reclaiming control of their children’s education.

In addition, legislative proposals in many states have made private school more realistic for many families. States such as Ohio greatly expanded the number of schools eligible for school choice programs. Indiana expanded a school choice program so that most middle-class families can use state education dollars to send their kids to private schools.

As a result, families that discovered new options also are finding that they like their chosen alternative better.

Third, the ongoing response to the coronavirus from local public schools continues to be untenable for many families.

From the beginning, public and private schools responded in radically different ways to COVID-19. During the fall and winter of 2020, 60% of private school students were receiving in-person instruction while only 24% of public school students were. The disparity likely would have been even greater but for jurisdictions that made it illegal for private schools to hold in-person classes.

This also reflects the difference between systems that are responsible primarily to parents and systems that are responsible primarily to politicians. While teachers unions fought to keep schools closed, parents were desperate to keep their children from falling behind.

Many of those who found options outside the public school system now have no intention of returning. Public schools that parents relied on and trusted all but abandoned students and families during a crisis—a fact that parents aren’t likely to forget.

There is reason to believe that COVID-19-related movement away from public schools will continue. Nine states (California, Washington, New Mexico, Nevada, Louisiana, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, and Hawaii) will require all students to wear masks as they begin the 2021-2022 school year. Individual school districts in other states are taking it upon themselves to require students to wear masks.

Families that were willing to endure one enormously difficult educational year for their children may not be willing to put up with a second. Mask mandates in schools are particularly galling given the fact that some states (South Carolina, Florida, Iowa, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, and Utah) have forbidden local jurisdictions from requiring masks.

Increasingly, the experience of living in different states feels more like the experience of living in different countries.

In a world in which so many things that were once choices have become mandates, many parents now choose to exercise choice where they still have some. That’s why for many families this year, going back to school is different, either because they’ve already made a change or because they’re about to.




Sunday, August 15, 2021

UK: Poorer pupils are more likely than ever to miss out on top university courses

Poorer pupils are more likely than ever to miss out on top university courses, experts have warned, as this year’s A-level results widen the gap between private and state schools.

The proportion of A-level students given top grades has reached a record high, with nearly half achieving an A or above, after cancelled exams meant marks were determined by teachers.

But data from regulator Ofqual showed the increase in A grades was 50 per cent higher in independent schools than in secondary comprehensives – prompting fears this would combine with the record number of university applications to “compound” inequality in the education system.

 The data also showed black students, those on free school meals and those living in areas of high deprivation were all less likely to achieve the top A or A* grades than their more privileged peers.

The relative success of private schools means state school pupils still trying to pin down a place at university in the weeks ahead could be “elbowed out”, experts warned.

Dr Lee Elliot Major, professor of social mobility at Exeter University, said he was worried many students from low-income backgrounds could lose out during the fierce battle for places – including on top courses at “selective” Russell Group and Oxbridge universities.


Civil Rights Group Challenges ‘Flawed’ Vaccine Mandate at George Mason University

A civil rights group is calling on George Mason University (GMU) executives to reconsider their vaccination requirement for staff and students in the fall semester, claiming that it’s a scientifically “irrational” policy that violates constitutional rights and medical ethics.

The New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), which describes itself as a nonpartisan, nonprofit civil rights group that seeks “to protect constitutional freedoms from violations by the Administrative State,” said in a July 22 statement that GMU’s “flawed reopening policy” for the fall semester “tramples on the civil liberties of students, faculty, and employees alike.”

The Fairfax, Virginia, university announced on July 22 its new vaccination requirements for the fall semester, citing the rapid spread of the Delta variant, the strain of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers to be more transmissible and potentially more resistant to vaccines.

“Mason is joining the growing community of universities that require all students, faculty, and staff to get vaccinated and to share verification of their vaccination status, in order to work, study, and live on campus,” GMU said in a statement. “We will, of course, approve appropriate exemptions for medical and religious reasons.”

GMU President Gregory Washington, in an email reported on by Just The News, wrote that disclosure of vaccination status “will be a prerequisite for eligibility for any future merit pay increases” for faculty staff.

The NCLA represents Todd Zywicki, a professor at GMU’s Scalia Law School who has recovered from COVID-19.

“For Professor Zywicki, who has recovered from COVID-19 and acquired robust natural immunity, it is not only medically unnecessary to undergo a vaccination procedure at the current time, but doing so also would create a risk of harm to him,” the NCLA wrote in the statement.

In a letter (pdf) to GMU executives, the NCLA urged them to reconsider their vaccination policy, arguing that the university’s refusal to recognize natural immunity or grant merit pay to staff who don’t share their vaccination status could lead to a lawsuit. The civil rights group is challenging GMU’s vaccination policy on the grounds of the Ninth and 14th Amendments.

“Although the Policy may be well-intentioned, GMU has breached its constitutional and ethical obligations by interfering with health decisions that should reside with individuals and their medical providers,” the NCLA wrote.

The NCLA urged GMU to reexamine the policy “to deem natural immunity at least equivalent to that achieved through vaccination, and to confirm that Professor Zywicki will not lose eligibility for future pay raises (merit or otherwise) if he does not wish to share his vaccination status.”

“George Mason is forcing me to choose between serving my students on one hand and undergoing an unnecessary and potentially risky medical procedure on the other. Multiple clinical studies have shown that natural immunity provides at least as much protection against reinfection as the most effective vaccines,” Zywicki said in a statement.

GMU officials didn’t respond to a request by the Epoch Times for comment by press time.

Vaccine mandates have become a hot-button issue, with advocates arguing that they’re necessary to keep people safe and opponents decrying them as unacceptable violations of bodily autonomy.


Bloated Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Staffs Explode Cost of Higher Education

The woke revolution on college campuses is being bolstered by a vast network of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” staffers who gobble up school budgets and enforce left-wing orthodoxy.

A recently released paper by Jay Greene, a fellow at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Education Policy, and James Paul, a doctoral fellow at the University of Arkansas, sheds light on the inflation of diversity, equity, and inclusion staff on modern college campuses. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)

The study examined the personnel at “65 universities representing 16 percent of all students in four-year institutions in the United States.” It found that a significant number of personnel at those universities are devoted solely to the task of promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Of course, general administrative bloat on college campuses is nothing new. There has been a sustained growth in administration in recent decades that has contributed to a drastically higher cost of education and tuition. It certainly has outpaced by far the increase in the number of employees engaged in teaching students or conducting research.

That alone should be cause for concern as a college degree weighs more heavily on students, many of whom are saddled with enormous student loan debt and increasingly questionable job prospects.

Perhaps worse, it’s becoming a bigger problem for taxpayers, many of whom never received a college degree or gained the benefits of one. When legislators and donors provide money for higher education, is that really what they think they are investing in?

The study’s authors found that “the average university has 45.1 people tasked with promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion,” and that at some schools, the number is much higher. They found that the University of Michigan, for instance, has 163 diversity, equity, and inclusion personnel and that many other schools had similarly high numbers.

It seems that that emphasis is overtaking what one would assume is the core function of higher education; namely, teaching students.

For instance, the authors of the study compared the number of diversity, equity, and inclusion staff with the number of history professors typically on campuses and found that the average institution has “1.4 times as many DEI personnel as tenured or tenure-track history professors.”

At many schools, there were twice the number of diversity, equity, and inclusion staff as history professors.

What’s worse is that the total staff and faculty devoted to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives is likely much higher than what the study uncovered. As its authors note, “the DEI personnel count is likely an underestimate of universities’ commitment to DEI.” There are likely a huge number of staff on campus who do not include diversity, equity, and inclusion in their job titles, yet spend most of their time working on those goals.

Is the surge in diversity, equity, and inclusion staff on college campuses making them more welcoming places? That’s doubtful.

“Universities—especially those that are publicly funded—should be welcoming to all students, and it is admirable that inclusion is a priority for so many institutions of higher education,” they wrote. “Having said that, this research suggests that large DEI bureaucracies appear to make little positive contribution to campus climate.”

It’s more likely that the surge in diversity, equity, and inclusion personnel “may be better understood as a signal of adherence to ideological, political, and activist goals.”

It’s hardly news at this point that a commitment to “diversity” in modern academia not only ignores a diversity of viewpoints (where diversity actually matters), but often actively precludes it.

Instead of producing more desirable results for students, the explosion of diversity, equity, and inclusion staff both reinforces ideological dogmas while providing high-paying jobs to an empowered activist class.

“Employing dozens of DEI professionals—in the form of chief diversity officers, assistant deans for diversity, and directors for inclusive excellence—may be better understood as jobs programs subsidizing political activism without improving campus climate,” the authors of The Heritage Foundation study wrote.

This explosion in diversity, equity, and inclusion staff is certainly in line with larger trends in American society as diversity consultants operate to inculcate woke orthodoxies in elite institutions.

Swarms of diversity, equity, and inclusion officers enforce left-wing ideology on college campuses, corporate boardrooms, government agencies, and even K-12 schools. It has become a vast, hive-mind apparatus that keeps activists employed, dissenters cowed, and the revolution moving forward.

They are the glue holding together this top-down social revolution being foisted on America and much of the rest of the West.

Americans, regardless of ideology or background, pay for the wastefulness of our colleges and universities.

But Americans are not only paying the salaries of the swarms of diversity, equity, and inclusion administrators who eat out our substance, we are paying an even higher price for the destructive ideologies they impose and reinforce.