Friday, October 15, 2021

The Campus 'Diversity' Menace Comes to Yale

It is increasingly obvious that modern Americans universities, which are less institutions of unfettered intellectual pursuit than they are "madrasas of wokeness," to borrow from the Independent Women's Forum's Inez Feltscher Stepman, are unsalvageable in most present manifestations. Though there are notable exceptions, many American universities are actually worse than unsalvageable. On-campus debauchery spoils matriculants' lingering senses of virtue and propriety, and woke classroom indoctrination and divisive intersectional poison vitiates the mutually interdependent bonds of citizenry without which no people can cohere. As Arthur Milikh soberly concluded in a 2020 National Affairs essay, "Preventing Suicide by Higher Education": "Universities that spread poisonous doctrines no longer believe in the purpose of the university."

Pedagogical and curricular debasement aside, one concrete manifestation of this now-decades-long corruption has been the engorgement of on-campus administrative bureaucracies tending to all sorts of "diversity" needs. As Heather Mac Donald's 2018 book "The Diversity Delusion" helped demonstrate, the core university mission -- ostensibly, to pursue truth and produce citizen-statesmen capable of advancing the national interest -- has been steadily undermined by the university's imbibing of various woke fetishes and "diversity" diktats like mother's milk. Even hold aside the institutionalized racism of affirmative action, modern "diversitycrat" commissars rove campus for possible Title VI violations, enforce "equitable" faculty hiring quotas and more generally seek to police and enforce intersectionality's hierarchy of alleged victimhood.

An eye-opening recent report from The Washington Free Beacon's Aaron Sibarium reveals how this cancerous operation can play out in practice. At top-ranked Yale Law School, a second-year student and member of both the Native American Law Students Association and the conservative/libertarian Federalist Society sent an email inviting classmates to an event: "We will be christening our very own (soon to be) world-renowned NALSA Trap House... by throwing a Constitution Day Bash in collaboration with FedSoc." The student added that the event would include "American-themed snacks" such as "Popeye's chicken" and "apple pie."

Within minutes of the email's mass distribution, the student's wokerati classmates were already signaling intense aggrievement. Some immediately concluded, with all the charity of Ebenezer Scrooge, that "trap house" necessarily connoted a nefarious blackface party. The president of the Black Law Students Association quickly wrote in an online forum available to all second-year Yale Law School students: "I guess celebrating whiteness wasn't enough. Y'all had to upgrade to cosplay/black face." We have fallen a long way from the stirring peroration of Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address (conveniently available online via Yale Law School) about the imperative to maintain "malice toward none" and "charity for all."

If the story were to end there, it would be unfortunate, but hardly newsworthy. But it didn't. Twelve hours after the email's distribution, the student was summoned to the Office of Student Affairs and presented by the law school's associate dean and diversity director with a laundry list of already filed grievances. The diversitycrat, a former Obama White House flunky, lamented how the student's affiliation with FedSoc, a very mainstream right-of-center outfit often criticized by frustrated legal conservatives such as this columnist, "triggered" some classmates. The administrators not-so-subtly hinted that the student could face serious professional consequences, such as not being admitted to the bar association, if he did not apologize. The diversitycrat then drafted herself an "apology" letter, Soviet-style, and oh-so-kindly "offered" the student the chance to send the apology in lieu of "character-driven rehabilitation."

But the key takeaway from this sordid ordeal is how the diversitycrat responded to the student's demurring and suggestion to instead let his classmates reach out to him individually: "I don't want to make our office look like an ineffective source of resolution." And there lies the rub.


Chicago Public Schools Back Down on Vaccine Mandate for Workers Ahead of Deadline

Vaccine mandates being enforced at the federal, state and local levels are threatening core U.S. institutions like hospitals, emergency services, airlines, and education systems.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, for example, had to plan for widespread worker shortages after the vaccine mandate on healthcare employees went into effect. Her proposal included bringing in the National Guard (who presumably would need to leave their civilian jobs in the healthcare field to help, thereby solving nothing) or hiring foreign workers. Other institutions are being similarly challenged, as Southwest's recent widespread cancelations over the "weather" show.

In Chicago, where Mayor Lori Lightfoot has mandated all cops be vaccinated by Friday, Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara is calling on officers to defy the deadline. He warned the city's police force will be reduced by half for the weekend.

"Whatever happens because of that manpower issue, that falls at the mayor's doorstep," he said.

For now, a similar staffing crisis in Chicago Public Schools appears to have been averted after the district said Wednesday that those who aren't fully vaccinated by the week's end deadline can undergo weekly Covid-19 testing.

The change came shortly after three unions representing CPS workers, including the Chicago Teachers Union, wrote a letter to Mayor Lori Lightfoot urging the city not to place unvaccinated school employees on unpaid leave if they didn’t meet the deadline. As of Wednesday, 86% of CPS employees have submitted proof of vaccination, district records show.

The unions cited the testing option given to other city workers such as cops, who remain in a public battle with the mayor over the mandate [...]

[Lightfoot] had said any school employees who aren’t fully vaccinated would be placed on unpaid leave and potentially disciplined. Now those repercussions will only come for any city employee who doesn’t submit proof of vaccination or agree to testing.

“This disparate enforcement of the vaccine policy will leave schools dangerously understaffed, and disproportionately impact employees of color within CPS,” the CTU, SEIU Local 73 and SEIU Local 1 wrote in their letter to the mayor before the updated policy was announced.

“We want every one of our members who can safely be vaccinated, to get vaccinated. But surely you are aware that our schools confront desperate shortages of staff, from janitors and bus aides, to substitute teachers and school nurses. Punitive enforcement of the vaccination policy in its current form will be ineffectual and will further destabilize already understaffed schools.” (Chicago Sun Times)

There were already 2,100 Chicago Public Schools students stranded on the first day of classes, which rose to 3,300 in September, according to Illinois Policy. The bus driver shortage was only made worse after 73 drivers quit over the Covid-19 vaccine mandate. Putting unvaccinated CPS workers on unpaid leave would've caused a full-blown crisis in the city's education system.


Cambridge college to be first in UK to return looted Benin bronze

A Cambridge college is to become the first British institution to return one of the Benin bronzes to Nigeria later this month in what has been described as “a historic moment”.

Jesus College, University of Cambridge, will return the bronze cockerel to Nigerian delegates on 27 October, in a handover ceremony that Nigerian officials say offers “hope for amicable resolutions” to the ongoing disputes over the ownership of cultural properties.

The Okukor, described by the college as a “royal ancestral heirloom”, was taken from the kingdom of Benin, which was later absorbed into Nigeria, during a punitive expedition in 1897 when thousands of bronzes were looted by British forces.

Its return is expected to spark a wave of repatriation ceremonies, as the cultural world continues to reckon with concerns over the ethics of plundered historical artefacts.

“We are indeed very pleased and commend Jesus College for taking this lead in making restitution for the plunder that occurred in Benin in 1897,” said the oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II.

“We truly hope that others will expedite the return of our artworks which in many cases are of religious importance to us. We wish to thank [Nigeria’s] President Buhari and our National Commission for Museums and Monuments for their renewed efforts in securing the release of our artefacts on our behalf.”

The oba also thanked the student body of Cambridge for “bringing to light the historical significance of this revered piece of the royal court of Benin”.”

The Okukor was removed from public display at the college following calls from students for it to be sent back in 2016. The college then set up a legacy of slavery working party (LSWP), comprising fellows, staff and student representatives, to explore the historical, legal and moral status of its ownership of the bronze.

The LSWP examined evidence showing the statue was looted directly from the court of Benin and was given to the college in 1905 by the father of a student.

After Jesus College announced its decision to return the bronze in November 2019, a host of regional museums committed to or said they were also considering returning artefacts.

The UK retains hundreds of Benin bronzes – plaques and sculptures dating to the 13th century, made by artisans from the Edo culture. They were distributed from private collections and in some cases donated by soldiers who took part in the 1897 looting. Historically, much of the focus has been on the British Museum, which holds 900 objects – the largest collection in the world.

Sonita Alleyne, the master of Jesus College, said: “This is an historic moment … it is the right thing to do out of respect for the unique heritage and history of this artefact.

“I would like to thank the LSWP for its diligent and careful investigation into the provenance of the bronze, to the fellows for their keen support for its restitution, and to our students who pioneered early calls for this.”

The campaign to repatriate Benin bronzes gained momentum when Bernie Grant, one of Britain’s first black MPs, made vigorous appeals in the 1990s for their return. But it has been a contentious debate that has recently become embroiled in culture war clashes.




Thursday, October 14, 2021

A School Horror Story That Didn’t Fit the Narrative. Loudoun County tried to cover up a rape

When the phone rang, it was every father’s worst nightmare. Come to campus, a school official said, your daughter has been assaulted. No one told Scott Smith that she had been sexually assaulted — that a boy wearing a skirt had walked into the girls’ restroom and raped his 15-year-old child. Then, imagine your anger as a parent to find out that the school wasn’t going to involve the police — that they’d decided to handle the matter (which ended up being two counts of forcible sodomy, one count of anal sodomy, and one count of forcible fellatio) “internally.”

For Scott Smith, it was unimaginable. Standing in the Stone Bridge High School office, blind with rage, he demanded they call the police. They finally did — on him. “I went nuts,” he remembers. “…Six cop cars showed up like a… SWAT team.” Later that night, after a hospital rape kit confirmed what his daughter had insisted all along, the school’s principal sent out an email explaining the incident with Scott — never mentioning what had happened to his daughter and where. Even when the attacker was formally charged, administrators kept quiet.

A month later, at a local school board meeting, Smith — like a lot of parents — sat in shock as the new superintendent responded to the fury over Loudoun County’s radical transgender policies by insisting that nothing harmful had ever come of them. “To my knowledge,” Scott Ziegler said, “we don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms. It’s important to keep our perspective on this,” he went on. “We’ve heard it several times tonight from our public speakers, but the predator transgender student or person simply does not exist.” Smith was irate and tried to debate the point but was hauled out of the meeting by officers and charged with disorderly conduct. “I don’t care if he’s homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, transsexual. He’s a sexual predator,” he argued.

Afterward, Smith and his family tried to stay out of the public eye. That proved impossible last week when another bombshell dropped. Not only did the “predator transgender student” exist, he went on to attack again — this time at another school. Two and a half miles from the place where his daughter had been held and violated, a different girl was brutally victimized. “If someone would have sat and listened for 30 seconds to what Scott had to say,” the family attorney said, it could have been prevented. Instead, Loudoun County, whose extreme policies made the abuse possible, tried to cover up the rape — leaving thousands of daughters vulnerable to boys just like this one.

Scott Smith says it’s the most helpless he’s ever felt. “It has been so hard to keep my mouth shut and wait this out. It has been the most powerless thing I’ve ever been through,” he admitted. Other parents, aghast at the district’s negligence, have turned out in mass to blast the county leadership. “I’d rather save one girl from sexual assault than be politically correct,” one woman insisted.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration — sensing the national uprising is only growing — has decided to try to drive parents like Scott underground. Desperate to contain the uproar in local districts, the DOJ (egged on or in concert with the National School Board Association) is threatening to treat outspoken citizens like “domestic terrorists,” citing the arrest of Scott Smith for speaking out against the assault of his daughter as an example in their six page letter.

Outraged, 60 members of Congress pushed back, demanding an explanation from Attorney General Merrick Garland for how it could possibly be legal to treat concerned parents as criminals for exercising their constitutional rights. “While some of these meetings may get heated, most of the parents who have been attending these meetings have simply voiced their passions and concerns for their children and their futures,” they wrote. “While we agree with you that any threat of violence against these government officials should be condemned and investigated, no government official has the right to claim that a citizen may not speak out against government policies.” And yet, the NSBA in a letter to Garland, claims opposing the president’s wildly dangerous transgender agenda is tantamount to a public “hate crime.”

Politically diverse states like Louisiana and Virginia were horrified and publicly denounced the organization for “discouraging active participation in the governance process.” Separately, both chapters said they weren’t consulted about the letter to the DOJ and went out of their way to say the National School Board Association did not speak for them. Others have told news outlets that they’re even reconsidering their alignment with the national association. The debates taking place may be challenging, they agree, but they’re also necessary.

On what authority, Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) asked, is the federal government even intervening in the first place? They don’t have supervision over local school boards — and yet, the “Department of Justice is [going] into the local school districts to basically intimidate parents from getting involved in what their children are going to be taught? It’s very disturbing and troubling to me.” As it is to all parents, who are starting to see Washington’s heavy-handed education policy infused in their districts from the top down. When did it become the FBI’s job to investigate parents for speaking up at local board meetings, they want to know? It didn’t. This is just a desperate move by the Left to intimidate parents into silence so they can continue the indoctrination of children.

“From where I sit,” Rosendale said on Monday’s “Washington Watch,” “what this looks like is just another tactic of the Biden administration to completely silence those who might question what they’re trying to do. And I don’t think that there is a more important obligation for parents than to make sure that they are involved in how their children are being educated and what they’re being taught.”

So what can people do? Well, for starters, you can get your local school board on the record about whether they agree with the National School Board Association’s claims. (FRC Action even has a sample letter you can use.) Then, ask whether your state or community is a member of the NSBA. Is your district paying dues to the National School Board Association? Because if you are, you’re facilitating this type of attack on parents.

Maybe you don’t have children in the public schools, so you think this call to action doesn’t apply to you. But let’s face it: every one of us is a taxpayer, and organizations as radical as the NSBA shouldn’t have the ability to fight parents using our own dollars. Beyond that, this is an opportunity to hold the people we elected to represent us accountable. These school boards don’t just serve the families who have kids in school — they serve the entire community. So every one of us can — and should — show up to these meetings and demand the truth about what’s happening behind classroom doors.

Because, as Scott Smith will tell you, it might not spare his daughter — but it could spare someone else’s.


Seattle elementary school cancels its annual Pumpkin Parade because it 'marginalizes students of color who don't celebrate Halloween'

A Seattle elementary school has canceled its upcoming Halloween parade and will be banning students from dressing in costumes on October 31, claiming that the annual event ‘marginalizes’ students of color who administrators claim do not celebrate the holiday.

Officials at the Benjamin Franklin Day Elementary School have discussed axing the annual Pumpkin Parade for five years, but first notified parents about the unilateral decision to cancel it in an October 8 newsletter, according to The Jason Rantz Show on local news station KTTH Radio.

‘As a school with foundational beliefs around equity for our students and families, we are moving away from our traditional ‘Pumpkin Parade’ event and requesting that students do not come to school in costumes,’ reads the newsletter, seen by the radio host.

The school in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood annually invites students to dress in costume and march through the school with their peers as part of its Pumpkin Parade.

However, it decided to cancel the event this year because it could be upsetting for children who can’t afford a Halloween costume and that the loud noise levels and crowds are triggering to some kids, according to the newsletter.

About 15 percent of the school is considered low-income, according to nonprofit GreatSchools. It’s not clear why the school didn’t opt for alternatives to cancelling the parade, such as hosting a community costume drive or a DIY costume-making activity.

The newsletter states that students will still recognize the fall season by participating in activities the school claims are ‘more inclusive,’ like a thematic study of the fall season and a lesson on autumnal artwork.

The newsletter concludes by thanking parents for their support, despite inviting no parental input in the decision. It explains that the decision was championed by the school’s Racial Equity Committee and invites parents to join it.

The school defended the decision, saying that a number of students of color opt out of the event each year and feel excluded because they don’t celebrate Halloween.

‘Historically, the Pumpkin Parade marginalizes students of color who do not celebrate the holiday,” a school spokesperson told Rantz.

‘Specifically, these students have requested to be isolated on campus while the event took place. In alliance with SPS’s unwavering commitment to students of color, specifically African American males, the staff is committed to supplanting the Pumpkin Parade with more inclusive and educational opportunities during the school day.’

School principal Stanley Jaskot also supported the Racial Equity Committee and confirmed that the parade was cancelled.

‘Halloween is a very complex issue for schools,’ she told Fox News. ‘Yes, I agree this event marginalized our students of color. Several of our students historically opted for an alternate activity in the library while the pumpkin parade took place.’

She added, ‘This was an isolating situation and not consistent with our values of being an inclusive and safe place for all our students – especially students of color and those with a sensitivity to all the noise and excitement of the parade.’

But at least one parent of a student of color has taken issue with the school’s decision, telling Rantz that parents should have been able to voice their opinions on the matter.

‘I don’t see any way in which this actually addresses any inequities to the extent that there are any inequities. You know, this just seems like grandstanding on behalf of the principal and the staff who are predominantly white,’ David Malkin, who is Asian, told Rantz.

Malkin has a 7-year-old son enrolled at the school and said the boy's favorite holiday is Halloween.

'I’m sure they don’t want to hear from anyone of any race or ethnicity that doesn’t really want to go along with them in lockstep,' he added.

Malkin hasn’t yet told his son about the parade’s cancellation and that he believes students won’t even understand why the school cancelled it.

'I hate to see these kinds of things slowly be whittled away and destroyed or being done away with because someone has some, you know, theory in their head that somehow this is exclusionary when, again, it’s quite the opposite,' he said.


Defining America's education dumb down

What is the greatest threat to educating children today? Is it COVID-19 or ignorance? I’m going for number two. There is growing evidence to back me up.

In August, Oregon Governor Kate Brown privately signed a bill ending a requirement that high school students prove they are proficient in writing, reading, and math before graduating. The law lasts for three years. The pandemic was blamed for students falling behind, but the real motive was revealed by the governor’s spokesman, Charles Boyle, who said existing standards failed students who don’t test well and that the new standards would aid the state’s “Black, Latino, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal and students of color.” I’m surprised he didn’t include, as President Biden often does, the LGBTQI-plus demographic.

In New York, outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered the elimination of the city’s gifted and talented program. You can probably guess the reason. Critics of the program claim it is racist because white and Asian students are overwhelmingly represented. Mr. De Blasio will let children currently enrolled complete the program, but no new students will be accepted.

Instead, reports The New York Times, “The system will be replaced by a program that offers the possibility of accelerated learning to students in the later years of elementary school.” Who will qualify for that? And who gets to say? What if it is the same racial and ethnic imbalance as now?

Mr. De Blasio ludicrously claimed, “I bet you a lot of parents are going to look at this plan and say this is a reason to stay in public schools.” Quite the opposite. Enrollment in city public schools has fallen below 890,000 students — down from more than a million kids a decade ago, according to internal Department of Education (DOE) records viewed by The New York Post. COVID-19 is only part of the reason. Home-schooling and people moving out of New York are likely bigger contributors to the exodus. Over the past five years - starting before COVID-19 - New York City public schools shed at least 10 percent of their students, according to DOE figures.

The decline in American education is not a new trend, but it has been accelerated in recent years by certain politicians who allow their ideology and politics to replace outcomes.

I’ve written about the Children’s Scholarship Fund (CSF) in the past because it has a record of success, which ought to be the primary goal, not pleasing politicians and teachers’ unions. According to CSF’s website, “In New York City, 99.4 percent of CSF alumni responding to our alumni survey graduated high school on time in 2018, compared to the most recent average NYC public school graduation rate of 77.3 percent. Of the CSF alumni who graduated, 87 percent indicated they planned to enroll in college.” The same gap between CSF students and public schools exists in other cities where they are active.

What is - or ought to be - especially pleasing is the testimonies given by the mostly minority students who have been rescued from their failing public schools and given a chance at a real education, not to mention a moral framework for how to live a good life. Read some of these stories on the site.

Since its founding, CSF has provided $885 million in scholarships for 185,000 children. In the past school year, CSF and local partners distributed $46.9 million in scholarship awards. More children could be rescued if more politicians adopted school choice, which is a growing trend, along with homeschooling.

Cutting a gifted and talented program and not requiring kids to read, write or do basic math flunks the test of what education is supposed to mean and limits a child’s job and career opportunities. That is a form of child abuse.




Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Dems' Attack On Smart Kids

Parents whose kids excel in school need to be on guard. Leftist school administrators across the country -- not just in New York City -- are banning gifted programs in elementary and middle school and Advanced Placement courses in high school.

Typically, without any notice to parents, an eight grader's accelerated science class or a fifth grader's fast-track math class is merged into the regular classroom. Top students lose out. They need accelerated programs every bit as much as children with learning challenges need special education. It's discrimination.

The left is seizing on a newly published study of Ohio students from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute to call for banning gifted programs. The study, "Ohio's Lost Einsteins," looks at what became of second and third grade students who were identified as high performers. By eighth grade, only 30% of Black students, 39% of Hispanic students and 34% of economically disadvantaged students in the group were still outstanding performers. Most had floundered.

Washington Post education columnist Jay Mathews misreads the findings to argue that gifted programs are unproven and probably a waste of money. But many of the Ohio students labelled as high achievers were never placed in a "gifted" program. Fordham's experts actually recommend more students be tracked into gifted programs.

The study also underscores the importance of helping gifted children early on overcome barriers to success. They may lack a place to study and, most importantly, an involved parent. Some parents don't insist their children do their homework, concentrate in class and aim for AP classes. These parents need guidance on buying into the educational achievement culture.

Instead, school administrators are scapegoating gifted kids for the sake of equity. Boston suspended enrollment in its Advanced Work Classes program for fourth, fifth and six graders, citing the fact that the school district is 80% Black and Hispanic, but AWC enrollment is 70% white and Asian.

The rhetoric attacking gifted programs is vicious and divisive. The Hechinger Report, based at Columbia University's Teachers College, claims "gifted education has racism in its roots," arguing that the scientist who popularized IQ measurement was a eugenicist.

California proposes eliminating accelerated math before eleventh grade and requiring all students to study math together. "We reject ideas of natural gifts and talents," the state's math plan declares. That's like declaring that all students can play on the varsity football team. Ridiculous.

Educators are peddling a false claim that students of mixed abilities learn better together. A website addressed to school administrators deplores tracking as "segregation" and announces, "It's good for students to be in classrooms where there's a robust exchange of perspectives; perspectives that are shaped by racial, ethnic and economic identities." Maybe in homeroom or social studies, but not physics. Gifted children in slow classes grow bored and even drop out.

Leftist educators are also targeting AP high school classes. But a study by the left-leaning Center for American Progress shows that students who succeed in AP classes have higher grades in college and are more likely to graduate. Eliminating them would be a mistake.

Fewer Black students enroll in AP, and those who do are less likely to pass the AP exams. Approximately 69% of Asians, 65% of whites and 46% of Hispanics who take AP tests pass, but only 28% of Blacks pass. The country should be deeply concerned, but the solution is to better prepare disadvantaged kids.

The equity warriors are also attacking the nation's 165 competitive public high schools. From Boston to Alexandria, Virginia, and San Francisco, they're eliminating entrance exams and allocating seats by lottery or zip code. Georgetown University's Anthony Carnevale calls it "a direct populist rebellion." Don't buy it. The real populism is parents rising up to resist dumbing down their children's education. These parents, including Asian American immigrants, know their best shot at the American dream is to have their children succeed in a highly competitive public school. No one should take that away.


'We are parents, not domestic terrorists: 'Lifelong liberal' mother-of-four who was hounded out of her public defender role 'because she is white' blasts the FBI's attack on families who disagree with CRT

A former New York City public defender has slammed the city's school system for imposing CRT on kids and the FBI's attack on parents who disagree with it, writing on Bari Weiss' substack channel Common Sense that they are parents 'not domestic terrorists.'

Maud Maron is a former public defender who claims to have been wrongfully dismissed earlier this year because she is white. She sued the Legal Aid Society at the time for wrongful dismissal.

The mother-of-four is now taking on the NYC school system. She says she is becoming increasingly concerned about how critical race theory is imposed on young kids.

Maron, who is also running for city council, also slammed the Department of Justice and FBI for treating concerned parents like her as if they were 'domestic terrorists' by threatening to prosecute them if they are perceived to be violently threatening towards teachers.

'I am a mother of four, a criminal defense attorney and a lifelong liberal who is deeply concerned about the direction of New York City’s public schools. I’ve been outspoken about my views, along with an untold number of frustrated parents. 'For that, the FBI is considering using the PATRIOT Act against me,' Maron wrote.

She was among millions of parents who the FBI is warning it will target if they become aggressive against school staff who they disagree with.

Attorney General Merrick Garland gave the warning in a memo last week in response to a letter that the National School Board Association wrote to Joe Biden the previous week, asking for his help.

Maron said she read the school boards' letter with 'grave concern', 'as would any American who cares about our public schools and the safety of teachers and students.'

She was aghast when she realized the threat they were talking about was her. 'What was the nature of this threat? And would my own children be at risk?

'As it turns out, the threat is me. The threat is parents showing up to dress down school boards over their dereliction of duty. That is what the NSBA considers a crime.'

'I urge you to read the letter in full You will see that it contains 24 footnotes. The worst of the so-called crimes include prank calls; a single individual in Ohio yelling a “Nazi salute in protest of masking requirements”; another individual in Washington State whose disorderly conduct prompted the board to call a recess; “spreading misinformation” online, and disorderly conduct arrests. In New York, where I live, disorderly conduct is not even a criminal offense.'

She said she was treated worse by the woke mob when it chased her out of her role as a public defender in the city, and as a member of Manhattan's largest school board.

'From 2017 until June of this year, I was elected to two consecutive terms on Manhattan’s largest school board in what is our nation's largest school system. I chaired many school board meetings attended by hundreds of parents often voicing contentious opinions around the highly charged topics of admissions and curriculum. Ultimately, I became the board chair.

'As a school board chair, I was harassed, bullied, smeared and subjected to online campaigns demanding my resignation. Activists who disagreed with me regularly showed up at my school board meetings to give me a piece of their minds. When I decided to run for City Council in 2020 they continued their public attacks, accusing me of “harming” students because I would not agree with their policy proposals, including eliminating merit-based admissions, scrapping objective tests and dismantling gifted and talented programs. Some protesters even crashed an outdoor, pro-merit rally I organized with fellow parents.

'It is not fun to listen to people call you names or falsely accuse you of racism. But when you are an elected board member you have an obligation to listen to everyone — everyone —at public meetings,' she wrote.

'You may disagree with parents like me who do not want our children indoctrinated with Critical Race Theory, masked during recess, or told that their biological sex is is not real. But in a free society, we don’t call the feds to police our fellow Americans because we don’t share their politics.'

Maron also slammed the NSBA for claiming in its letter to Biden that it doesn't enforce CRT on kids.

She says it is clear that this is not the case, and that teachers take it even further than CRT text books - which she herself had to read when she was a law student.

'I read the classic Critical Race Theory textbook in law school. I would much prefer to have my children read that impenetrable tome than be subjected to the ideological grooming that takes place in their classrooms — a phenomenon that I and parents across the country witnessed over Zoom this past year-and-a-half.

'Why should our children — in class, in front of their peers — be required to discuss their sexual orientation? Give their pronouns? Renounce their “privilege”?

'Plumbing children for this kind of personal information is grotesque and inappropriate, and it has everything to do with the worldview of Critical Race Theory.

'Anyone who denies as much is lying,' she wrote, adding: 'That’s not domestic terrorism. It’s good parenting. It’s patriotism. And it’s a basic American right — one we all need to defend.'

Earlier this year, Maud sued Legal Aid Society for wrongful dismissal, claiming that she was forced from her job and 'discriminated against on the basis of race'.

Legal Aid denied her claims as 'frivolous' at the time.


Australia: Classroom windows to be open at all times so schools meet COVID-safe air standards

Students and teachers will have to put up with heat, noise and pollination in classrooms when school returns for some next week as new ventilation advice provided to the NSW Education Department says windows should be opened in all possible circumstances to mitigate COVID-19 transmission.

If windows are kept open at all times – including after lessons, over lunch and during hot weather or rain – independent modelling released on Tuesday shows the average public school classroom will meet global standards for fresh air changes and indoor carbon dioxide levels.

The department is also releasing 2200 school-level ventilation reports which are available to parents before students in kindergarten, year 1 and year 12 return on October 18. Other years return on October 25. They have divided school spaces into two categories: rooms that can have full capacity with their windows open, and rooms that need to implement the one person per four square metre rule.

For the latter category, which mainly affects staff offices, schools have been told how many people can be in that space safely.

Engineering consultancy Steensen Varming was contracted to provide independent advice to the department. It used guidelines from the World Health Organisation and the Harvard School of Public Health to gauge whether natural ventilation in classrooms met global standards for mitigating COVID-19 transmission.

The report assumes the typical NSW classroom has a 65 square metre floor area, 2.7 metre ceiling height, and accommodates 25 students and one teacher. It also assumes there are 3.25 square metres (or 5 per cent of floor space) worth of open windows – which is the standard that schools have been built to under construction codes – and that windows are positioned on one side of the room, which is a worst-case scenario.

“There are obviously numerous variables that would need to be considered ... However, known industry tools have been used to estimate likely [air changes per hour] of natural ventilation together with conservative assumptions of some variables for a typical classroom,” the report says.

The calculations indicate classrooms will achieve the main benchmarks of fresh airflow: there would be six air changes per hour and carbon dioxide levels would be about 726 parts per million, which is safely below the accepted threshold of 850. When the number of students in the room increases to 30, estimated CO₂ levels are 772.

“The typical classroom satisfies and exceeds the WHO road map first strategy approach of providing the nominated fresh air ventilation rate of 10 [litres per second] per person. Additionally, the results also show satisfactory CO₂ levels in the typical classroom,” it says.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the Steensen Varming report would allow schools to implement expert ventilation advice at a classroom level.

“Parents can be assured that everything is being done to ensure schools are safe for students,” she said. “We need to listen to the experts when it comes to ventilation, just as we do with vaccines.”

Steensen Varming said there was no “zero risk” scenario and that some of its advice may not apply to all school buildings, while issues such as hot weather had not been accounted for.

“As we are currently in spring external temperatures are mild and favourable for natural ventilation. However as we approach summer, and with rising ambient temperatures, the reliance on natural ventilation will lead to thermal comfort issues in classrooms,” the report says.

Classrooms that use air conditioning units on hot days will still need to keep their windows open, meaning rooms will not be as cool and students may be less comfortable.

High outdoor air pollution or pollen levels, loud outdoor noise for schools near construction sites or under flight paths, and security concerns might also affect a school’s ability to open windows. “If it is windy, hot, cold or raining then it may not be practical to fully open the windows or vents,” the report says.

But in all cases the advice says the “highest tolerable” amount of outdoor air should be used, even if it means students and teachers have to adjust their clothing to be comfortable: “[Windows] should be open as far as reasonably possible without causing intolerable discomfort.”

The report also says that wind pressure and certain temperatures – two factors that ensure successful natural ventilation – will inevitably vary based on weather, the position of the classroom and its windows, as well as obstructions like mesh or fly screens.

School Infrastructure NSW chief executive Anthony Manning said the design criteria governing the state’s schools with regards to window sizes meant classrooms would generally have all the fresh air they needed. His team will be working with schools in coming weeks as they adjust to the new edict.

“We’ve said to schools, you can run your wall-mounted air conditioning systems [for heat], you just have to run them with the windows open. They won’t be as effective, but they will provide some level of comfort. The idea is we’ll work with schools to understand all those issues [such as heat and noise] and find alternative ways of doing it,” he said.

The department is also sourcing about 10,000 air purifiers that schools can use if natural ventilation is not sufficient, or in the event of bushfire smoke or poor air quality.

The state’s infrastructure staff are finishing maintenance tasks before all students return on October 25. This includes fixing window frames that have been painted shut and fitting mesh or restrictors on windows above ground level so they can open safely.




Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Public University in Hong Kong Orders Removal of Statue to Commemorate Tiananmen Massacre Victims

The oldest public university in Hong Kong, the University of Hong Kong (HKU), has ordered the removal of a statue from its campus that have for many years commemorated the victims of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) Tiananmen massacre in 1989.

The statue dubbed the “Pillar of Shame” was created by Danish sculptor Jens Galschiøt and has been standing in the university for more than 20 years.

The 26-foot high copper statue depicts 50 anguished faces and tortured bodies piled on one another. It was the centerpiece of Hong Kong’s candlelit vigil on June 4 to commemorate those killed when Chinese regime’s military opened fire on unarmed pro-democracy college students and citizens in Beijing.

The organizer of the city’s huge annual Tian’anmen vigil that worked with Galschiøt, Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, recently dissolved due to the CCP’s increased pressure to silence political opposition to its rule in Hong Kong and China.

The alliance is a pro-democracy organization that was established during the Tiananmen Square protests. Several of its members have been arrested under the Beijing-imposed so-called Hong Kong national security law. The alliance is going through a liquidation process at the moment.

The liquidators of the alliance received a letter dated Oct. 7 from law firm Mayer Brown representing the university, asking the alliance to remove the statue from university premises “no later than 5:00 p.m. on 13 October 2021.”

The university cited that its decision was made based on its own legal advice and risk assessment, but didn’t provide further explanation, according to media reports.

If the alliance fails to remove the statue by the deadline, the statue will be deemed abandoned and “the university will deal with the sculpture at such time and in such manner as it thinks fit without further notice,” according to the letter seen by Artnet News.

Galschiøt sees the action as an attack on his freedom of expression through his art and an attempt to erase history.

“They really want to destroy everything about a story that China doesn’t want people to know about,” Galschiøt told Artnet News.


High School Bans Police, Then People with AR-15 Show Up in Parking Lot

The left’s destructive “defund the police” frenzy has backfired in spectacular fashion as unprecedented crime waves roil Democrat-run cities across the United States.

In the latest iteration, students at a Seattle public school were threatened by an armed duo toting an AR-15 rifle, KOMO-TV reported Wednesday.

The incident occurred Monday afternoon in the parking lot of Ingraham High School, according to a parent whose son witnessed the terrifying confrontation.

The father, who asked to remain anonymous, said a man and a girl drove up to four students in the parking lot. He started yelling at the kids and then threatened to kill them.

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“The girl that was in the passenger seat, clicked in and loaded in a magazine into the AR-15,” the dad told KOMO.

His son told him the girl handed the gun to the male driver, who then pointed it at the four frightened students.

“It was the middle of the day and somebody decided to, who knows,” the father said.

He said all parents should be angry that armed thugs freely roamed the school campus and threatened to kill four children. “You should be outraged,” the father said. “You should be pissed out of your brain.”

Another parent told KOMO, “Hearing that kids are on the property with guns, I want to move my kid away from this region as quickly as possible.”

Amazingly, most students at the school and their parents were unaware of the incident until the following day, when Principal Martin Floe sent out a letter to parents.

In his letter Tuesday, Floe did not share many details about the menacing event.

“Around 2:45 p.m., students reported interacting with two people in a vehicle on the periphery of Ingraham property,” the principal wrote, according to KOMO. “The students also reported seeing a weapon, believed to be a firearm.

“The driver then briefly drove into the visitor parking lot on the west side of campus and then turned into the student parking lot. Neither of the occupants are believed to be Ingraham students.”

Floe said the school alerted the Seattle Police Department about the episode, which is currently under investigation. The principal then paid lip service to protecting students without specifying any actions he’s taking to ensure their safety.

“We will continue to work to resolve this as the safety of our students, staff and school community is our top priority,” he said. “We have been, and will continue to be, a school community where everyone feels safe, respected, and engaged.”

Several parents said Floe’s letter left out key details about the confrontation, including that the car had returned to the parking lot a second time and that the school never went into lockdown.

Some parents told The Post Millennial on Wednesday that the Seattle Police Department was called because there were no security guards at the school.

This is because Seattle Public Schools banned police who had served as school resource officers from campus for one year following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody in May 2020. A city government report in March said “there are no plans to restart this program.”

Erika Nagy, a parent at Ingraham High School, said students are being endangered because Seattle’s left-wing school district caved to Black Lives Matters’ false narrative demonizing all police as “racists” who are hunting down black people for no reason.

“Seattle Public Schools has become less and less about education and more about what’s the daily ‘popular’ political view,” Nagy told the Post Millennial. “Seattle public schools prioritizes a socialist narrative over the education and public safety of our children,” she said.

Nagy pointed out the farcical irony of anti-police school administrators calling the cops to protect them after they had chased law enforcement off the campus last year.

“The same taxpayer-funded ‘for the people’ institution that banned police because of false BLM narratives, had to call the police after armed trespassers entered school property at least twice,” she said.

This is one of many incidents around the country spotlighting how toxic left-wing policies are blowing up in everyone’s faces and eroding public safety


Academics accuse Oxford's Oriel College of depicting Cecil Rhodes as the 'devil incarnate' with plaque 'distorting his legacy'

Academics have slammed Oxford's Oriel College for pandering to Left-wing statue topplers by erecting a plaque which depicts British imperialist Cecil Rhodes as the 'devil incarnate' and 'distorts' history.

Cambridge professor David Abulafia said the plaque 'lacks balance', claiming it is 'only concerned with linking him to racist and imperialist policies' and is 'clearly a reaction to the Rhodes Must Fall campaign'.

Students began campaigning for the Rhodes statue outside Oriel to be removed in 2015, but the 'Rhodes Must Fall' protests were reignited after the toppling of a statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol at the height of last summer's Black Lives Matter protests.

The new plaque describes Rhodes as a 'committed British colonialist' who 'obtained his fortune through exploitation of minerals, land and peoples of southern Africa. Some of his activities led to great loss of life and attracted criticism in his day and ever since.'

It adds: 'In recent years, the statue has become a focus for public debate on racism and the legacy of colonialism. In June 2020, Oriel College declared its wish to remove the statue but is not doing so following legal and regulatory advice.'

The wording has now sparked a backlash among a group of academics who intend to write to Oriel's Provost, Lord Mendoza, to express their concerns.

Prof Abulafia told the Telegraph: 'I am not trying to defend Rhodes's career right across the board. This is a man who was a great benefactor of Oxford University and who - it may seem strange to us - actually thought he was bringing benefits to the people who fell under his control.

'The notice is only concerned with linking him to racist and imperialist policies. This is clearly a reaction to the Rhodes Must Fall campaign and it's simply not how you do it.'

He added: 'It should look at the whole of Rhodes's career, explaining properly who he was and what he was trying to do. One needs to explain where he stands in the context of the attitudes of his day.

'He believed he was bringing benefits to Africa. We might now argue that he did more harm than good, but one has to understand what his intentions were. He is portrayed here as some sort of devil incarnate.'

Rhodes, an Oxford student in the 1870s who left money to Oriel on his death in 1902, was an imperialist, businessman and politician who played a dominant role in southern Africa in the late 19th Century.

He founded Rhodesia and served as prime minister of the Cape Colony in the 1890s. Rhodes was not a slave trader but supported apartheid-style measures in southern Africa.

Last year, Oriel's governing body said it was their 'wish' to remove the statue and it established an independent commission to examine the key issues surrounding it. The commission eventually concluded its inquiry saying it backed the college's original wish to remove the statue.

More than 100 Oxford academics are refusing requests from Oriel to give tutorials to its undergraduates. They have also pledged not to assist the college with its outreach work and admissions interviews, and they will refuse to attend or speak at talks, seminars, and conferences sponsored by the college.

But the academics have been criticised by Lord Wharton, chairman of the Office for Students (OfS), who said it would be 'utterly unacceptable' if students were left disadvantaged.

He said: 'Oriel College took a decision to retain the Rhodes statue after carefully considering all of the evidence.

'It would be utterly unacceptable if any 'boycott' of Oriel led to students, or prospective students, at the college being disadvantaged in any way.'

Tim Loughton, a former minister for children and families, told the Daily Telegraph: 'This is academic blackmail by a group of academics who think their own political views should trump everyone else's, and if they don't get their own way then any innocent students who happen to fall within their boycott will become the victims.




Monday, October 11, 2021

US Sees Surge in Homeschooling and Not Just Over Pandemic

Thanks to the Covid virus, there’s been a surge in homeschooling in the United States.

The U.S. Census Bureau conducted what it calls its “experimental Household Pulse Survey,” described on the bureau’s website as “the first data source to offer both a national and state-level look at the impact of COVID-19 on homeschooling rates.”

The survey shows “a substantial increase” of homeschooling from spring of 2020 to the start of the school year the following fall. These dates coincide with the start of the pandemic.

But the surge didn’t end there. This March, the bureau reported that the number of households with at least one homeschooled child more than doubled from 5.4 percent to 11.1 percent.

Why the dramatic increase?

According to Steve Duvall, the director of research at the Home School Legal Defense Association in Virginia: “COVID last year was the number-one reason people started to homeschool. That made a lot of people try this for the first time.”

Sandra Kim, the media relations manager at the association, added that the health risks the CCP virus poses to children in a school setting prompted parents to take on homeschooling.

“A lot of parents are unsure about the vaccine for their child,” Kim said. “So that might be another factor going forward, as we’re seeing things like mandates, starting from California.”

Duvall said for the past 20 years or so, the leading reason for homeschooling was poor school safety. That has dropped to reason number four, with more flexibility and more one-on-one attention as numbers two and three, respectively. He cited these statistics from a Hanover Research survey.

Brian Ray, who has a doctorate in philosophy, is a co-founder of the National Home Education Research Institute in Oregon. While he agrees there’s been a “significant” growth in homeschooling, he feels the bureau’s statistics are flawed for several reasons. He also believes its numbers are misinterpreted.

“The census bureau did not say the number of homeschooled children doubled. They said the number of adults living with a homeschooled child about doubled,” he said.

Ray accumulated data from several sources and came up with his own estimated number of U.S. homeschooled students. He “mixed it up in the mathematical pot,” and concluded there are roughly 3.721 million students being homeschooled in the current school year.

The previous school year had an estimated 2.2 to 2.5 million homeschooled students.

Ray believes U.S. public schools did not have the infrastructure, or even the know-how, to produce effective, remote learning during the lockdowns. This, in turn, caused part of the surge.

He also believes critical race theory and the LGBTQIA+ push are additional factors. He said parents perceive, or believe, “that critical race theory is being forcefully introduced throughout the schools,” and “they think it’s way-over-the-top, a form of indoctrination.”

“There’s been an accelerated push for sexuality philosophy and theory into every field of what’s being taught in public schools,” he said. “Parents, whether they’re Progressive, Conservative, Libertarian, they’re tired of that.”

“Right now, it doesn’t seem like the growth of homeschooling is slowing down any,” said Duvall. “It doesn’t look like the end is in sight.”


High School Student Arrested for Refusing to Adhere to Mask Mandate

A 16-year-old Wyoming high school student was arrested for refusing to wear a mask, resulting in an hour-long school lockdown.

Grace Smith, a Laramie High School student, said in an interview with Wyoming Sen. Anthony Bouchard about her arrest that she had received three separate two-day suspensions. She was also allegedly fined $1,000 for trespassing after she refused to leave the school's premises.

"It makes me angry," Smith said. "It makes me feel unwanted by the school system. It makes me stressed out that I have to fight this battle as a 16-year-old. Right now, I should be playing sports and having fun. And instead, I’m fighting for the rights that were supposed to be won hundreds of years ago."

Bouchard applauded Smith for "standing against Covid Tyranny" and set up a fundraiser on GiveSendGo to help her with "the legal cost of defending her civil liberties and the civil liberties of other students in Wyoming who are enduring the same unlawful treatment." The campaign has raised more than $32,000 as of Sunday afternoon.

"You're what really everybody has to do, and I believe that," Bouchard told Smith in the interview. "I've seen from the beginning of this, everything has been about following orders, it's all about compliance, but I don't really see a real direction we're going in other than making people fit into a mold."

Laramie High School's mask mandate is in place until Oct. 15, at which time school officials will decide if it will be extended.


Tory MP says the phrase 'white privilege' is racist and teachers who use it should be disciplined and reported as extremists

A Conservative MP has defended his view that the phrase 'white privilege' is racist and extremist - and that teachers who use it should be disciplined and reported to the government's counter-terror programme as extremists.

Stoke-on-Trent North MP Jonathon Gullis said in a statement he had been told 'lefty Twitter is in meltdown' because he said the use of the term in schools, colleges and university's is extremist.

Gullis had told a panel at the Conservative Party conference last week that it is racist 'to suggest everyone who is white' is privileged, and said the phrase should be reported to anti-terrorism programme Prevent.

He also said any teacher who is using the term white privilege should face a disciplinary hearing 'at the very least', reported The Mirror.

After receiving backlash for his comments, Gullis has since defended his comments and urged those believing everyone who is white is privileged to visit parts of Stoke-on-Trent where poverty is rife.

Gullis said on Facebook: 'I would urge any left woke warrior to visit Stoke-on-Trent North, Kidsgrove and Talke and try [to] tell the people there that they are somehow 'privileged'. I suspect they wouldn't like the response they get.'

A report released this summer found that the Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated poverty levels in Stoke-on-Trent, which is the 14th most deprived district in England.

Gullis initially made the comments while speaking at an event organised by the Conservative Friends of Education group. He said: 'The term white privilege is an extremist term, it should be reported to Prevent, because it is an extremist ideology.'

Gullis added: 'It's racist to actually suggest everyone who's white somehow is riddled with privilege. 'So I hope that will be reported, I hope that will be looked into, any any teacher who's perpetuated in the classroom ultimately should face a disciplinary hearing at the very least.

'Because it's not what children should be listening to, it's not appropriate for the classroom. 'The classroom is a place to impart knowledge, not to impart political ideology of the teacher standing in front of you.'

Gullis, who is a former member of the parliamentary Education Select Committee, later said in his statement that he has previously said the term white privilege is extremist and should be reported to Prevent while sitting on the Committee.

He added: 'We actually made a point about this in the "Left behind white pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds" inquiry I was part of, and which Labour voted against supporting.'

The report from the Commons Education Select Committee which Gullis refers to claimed terminology such as 'white privilege' may have contributed towards a 'systemic neglect' of white working-class pupils.

The Conservative-dominated committee said white working-class pupils have been 'let down' for decades by England's education system - and 'divisive' language can make the situation worse.

The report concluded that disadvantaged white pupils have been badly let down by 'muddled' policy thinking and the Department for Education has failed to acknowledge the extent of the problem.

Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy told the Mirror: 'The idea that white privilege exists isn't extremist, it's a widely accepted fact.

'These comments betray a wider desire in the Tory party to drive a wedge between working class communities, crack down on free speech in education, and impose right-wing values on teachers.

'Working class children of all races are being held back by Tory cuts, not by the teaching of racism and classism in schools.'

During the panel event at the Conservative Party conference Gullis also said there should be 'consequences' for 'woke left teachers' who are pushing their ideology in the classroom. He said: 'The other way we can stop the cancel culture is by actually saying to the woke left lecturers and the woke left teachers, who seem to be becoming more and more apparent, 'ultimately, guess what's going to happen'. 'If you are going to push your ideology in the classroom there are going to be consequences for you.'

'I don't push Conservatism in the classroom, it wasn't an appropriate thing to do…

'For some reason, if a Labour Party member wants to stand up in front of the classroom and say how bad and evil the Tories are, then the headteacher has to take some sort of sympathetic viewpoint to that. 'It's absolutely disgusting, we need to start sacking people who are pushing their political ideology.

'If you want to do that, join a political party, come to Stoke-on-Trent North, pay your £500 deposit, run against me at the next general election.'




Sunday, October 10, 2021

Should Low Earnings Degrees Be Eliminated?

There are few advantages of getting old, but one of them is professors gain a body of former students whose accomplishments provide great pleasure. One of mine is Andrew Gillen, who graduated from college 20 or so years ago, got a Ph.D. at Florida State, worked for me for a while at the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, and now flourishes as a scholar at the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF).

Like me, Andrew loves data, and when the U.S. Department of Education did a rare useful thing by publishing data on college student earnings by school and major, I knew Andrew would be in statistical nirvana for years. The ratio of accumulated student debt to early postgraduate annual earnings is an excellent measure of the financial burden of earning a college degree relative to the benefits of doing so. While the “college for all” crowd tells us “it pays to get a degree,” that sweeping generalization does not apply to all

individuals, schools or fields of study, as Andrew reminds us in new studies from TPPF. Looking at Texas schools, he found dozens of programs where the debt-earnings ratio is precariously high. And some schools fared better than others: Texas Southern University had five programs ranked “excellent or good” by Gillen, but an astonishing 15 ranked “mediocre”, “poor,” or in four cases “terrible.” By contrast, at the main campus of Texas A&M, 63 programs were rated “excellent”, but only one as mediocre. Should someone (Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board?) exercise some quality control and close the awful programs?

Inspired by Andrew, I had my intrepid student Braden Colegrove analyze my mid-quality university (Ohio University) to observe variations in graduate earnings by major. The results were astonishing. For example, the history and economics departments are neighbors—literally a few dozen feet away from one another. We share classrooms in Bentley Hall. Yet those claiming a major in economics had median earnings after graduation that were 57 percent higher than history majors taking many of the same general education courses in our College of Arts and Sciences. Located just across the street is Copeland Hall, home of the accounting department. The median earnings of the accountants was 143% !!! higher than for the historians learning nearby. Averaging even higher earnings were the civil engineers, toiling a couple of blocks away, while the Department of Education tells us that the Ohio University English majors studying five minutes from my office typically earned after graduation less annually ($22,329) than some new full-time workers at Wal-Mart with a high school diploma.

Of course, this is not the whole story—maybe not even half of it. First of all, there is more to life than money. Many English majors I know lead joyous fulfilling lives even without enormous material abundance. Second, earnings rise enormously for most workers over their career, and the low paying history major of 2021 might be a plutocratic fat cat executive 25 years later. Historians are usually good writers and good thinkers, good qualities in seeking career advancement.

Third, “median” earnings often disguise wide variations around that number, and exceptionally good individuals do well. One of my favorite students graduating in 2021 is no doubt making with bonuses a six digit income at the Private Bank of J.P. Morgan Chase in New York, while another is toiling for far less in a clerical role in a nearby rural law office. I like them both, and think both will be happy in life.

Lastly, most human beings find a mate (some more than one) to live with during their adult life. What is relevant is not individual earnings so much as “household income.” The $25,000 English major might marry a $60,000 finance major who in five years will be making $150,000 a year. College is where many find love and ultimately marriage. College is about learning and earning, but also about developing life-long friendships—its also about love and sex.

Bottom line: majors are as important, often more important, than choice of college. For most students, good advice is to “Think about what you like and are good at, and explore different options early in your college career before choosing a major.”


De Blasio cancels gifted and talented schools program in NYC because it 'discriminates against black and Hispanic students' - but parents AND teachers say it will halt smart kids' learning and leave others 'behind'

New York City is ending its gifted and talented schools program for exceptional students and will put all children in the same classes, claiming that the current system discriminates against black and Hispanic kids.

Announcing the decision on Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio - who is in the final months of his term - said: 'The era of judging four-year-olds based on a single test is over'.

Critics of the program said it was racist because most of the gifted schools were filled up with white and Asian American students.

But parents and teachers say ending the program in its current state will create more problems for students: the gifted kids will be bored and slowed down in classrooms of mixed ability, and those who need more attention will be 'left behind,' they say.

Students were being accepted to the special Talented and Gifted (TAG) schools after passing a standardized test at the age of four. In some parts of the city that are predominantly black and Hispanic, fewer kids were passing the tests, so the schools closed.

Now, all kids will be put into same-level classrooms, but gifted kids will be given different work.

It's not yet clear how teachers will determine which children are considered gifted and which aren't.

Parents and teachers say it is a flawed decision that punishes gifted children and holds them back.

They say it will slow down their progress and will also lead to other, less gifted kids being 'left behind' because teachers won't be able to cope with the multiple levels of students' abilities in large classrooms.

Beforehand, the program accepted 2,600 gifted kindergarteners but now, some 65,000 kids will be considered under de Blasio's replacement plan, which he is calling Brilliant NYC. 'Brilliant NYC will deliver accelerated instruction for tens of thousands of children, as opposed to a select few,' he said.

Parents reacted angrily to the change that de Blasio made without consulting them or teachers.

Some also pointed to TAG Young Scholars, one of the gifted schools in Harlem, where more than 36 percent of students are from black or Hispanic households.

Previous debates over the issue said it was proof that the program was not racist or discriminatory.

'I grew up in a place where being gifted and talented was not only a blessing, it was a necessity. It's quite unnerving that Bill de Blasio would end the program as he's about to exit. Leaving a mess for the incoming Mayor and communities to clean up as he goes,' tweeted Alicia Hyndman.

'Hopefully [mayoral candidate] Eric Adams will reverse this,' one parent tweeted. 'Accelerated learning in general classroom sounds good on paper but in reality, they just give smart kids extra work to do.'

'Not the same experience as being in an environment where they are challenged by other smart kids.'

Others went further, claiming it was proof that NYC purportedly 'hates smart kids'.

'It is critical that all teachers are able to recognize different learning needs including students who need more depth and complexity,' tweeted Inform NYC, a voter activist group.

'Talented and gifted describes our Nobel Prize winners, scientists, doctors, sports stars/teams, actresses/actors, all forms of artists, singers, researchers... does everyone see where this is going?'

Another critic tweeted: 'No reward... no compensation for unique... ALL EQUAL.'

There are also examples of how the system can work against racism.

TAG Young Scholars in Harlem had an intake of pupils that was 36 percent black and Hispanic in 2019, according to a New York Times article, which quoted several parents who explained how the school benefited their kids.

One was the father of a Hispanic boy, who said his son would never have learned to read so quickly in a non-gifted class.

A white mother with two kids told the reporter for the same article that her 'gifted' child needed a different environment than her non-gifted child.

'I do worry that my son would have been bored in a general-education classroom,' the mother said.


"Anti-Racism" Comes to Australian schools

Parents beware! Anything which the corruptors of society get away with in America will eventually be introduced into Australia. And the obvious place to introduce it is in the schools, under the radar of the parents. We have already been alerted to the "Safe Schools" abomination, and questions are now being asked about how the new curriculum undermines the national identity.

Now we have a three-part ABC documentary on "The School That Tried to End Racism". No doubt the intentions were good (which is more than can be said for some other teaching programs), but the sum result was to introduce racial tension into an area where it did not previously exist.

First of all, you should understand that about a fifth of Australia's population is of non-European background, and while we see a few of them scattered around here in Brisbane, the vast majority are concentrated in Sydney and Melbourne. Not only that, but they are concentrated in specific suburbs, some of which do not look like Australia at all. This is a relatively new development. Pauline Hanson warned about it, but they vilified her, demonized her, and put her in jail.

The program was introduced to a class of 10 and 11 year olds in a Sydney state school with a broad mixture of European and non-European children, with an idea of teaching them about racism before it started. It was acknowledged that the various pupils got on well together. This, you might think, is how racism is defeated: by having people, particularly the young, mixing together and discovering that a lot more unites them than divides them. Heck! My nephew's best friend in primary school was a "blackie" (his word) from Fiji. My wife grew up playing with the black kids in Papua New Guinea, so when she went to school in the U.S., she automatically gravitated to the negro girls (and got stones thrown at her as a nigger lover). However, they were now going to be put through a course to make them conscious of racial differences that hadn't bothered them before.

First of all, they asked the children to draw their friends. I suppose they were trying to establish that they picked their friends according to race, but we didn't hear much more about it. What did they expect? The drawings were so inexpert, it was hardly possible to identify the friends, or even their race.

So the kids were taken outside to learn about "white privilege". This is a definite import from America. The concept was invented by Peggy McIntosh, a specialist in "women's studies". In other words, she is one of those unnecessary academics who make their money creating tension and resentment between the sexes, and now she was intent on doing the same with the races.

To give her credit, she did not pretend that a white hillbilly was more privileged than a middle class black man. Instead, she talked of being able to get a "flesh coloured" Band-Aid close to the colour of her skin, to easily find a hairdresser familiar with her kind of hair, to open newspapers or turn on the TV and see white people widely represented, and know that her bad behaviour would not reflect on her race.

All these, of course, are simply a reflection on being in the majority ethnic group. I suppose my cousin, who works in Japan, finds himself surrounded by Japanese privilege. She did, however, add the fact that, if she gets a job with an affirmative action employer, people won't assume she got it because of her race - evidence that there is such a thing as "black privilege" in America.

But the managers of the school program were determined to teach the kids that being white gave them a head start in life, and for this they adopted a program straight from the US. They took them to a race track outside, and told them to take one or two steps forward or backwards depending on certain qualifications. The system was rigged to make the white children win, and left one poor little Vietnamese boy stuck at the back because he spoke Vietnamese at home, and was once asked where he really came from.

And what were the factors which allowed the white kids to step forward and win the race? Such things as speaking English at home, seeing people predominantly of their own race in advertisements and on TV, having most Members of Parliament of their own race, and so on. Is there any evidence that these factors give anyone a head start in life? It was never proved, just asserted.

The most ludicrous was for them to take two steps forward if they had blue or grey eyes. Are brown eyed white people at a disadvantage to those with lighter coloured eyes? Don't these idiots know that brothers and sisters can have eyes of different colours?

And no-one ever mentions the elephant in the room: immigration. If non-Europeans are really at a disadvantage in Australia - no matter whose fault it is - then bringing in more of them can only make the situation worse. Why import an underclass?

Through their agencies, Governments inflict us with contradictory propaganda. When they want to justify their unpopular immigration policies, they assure us that we are a "proud multicultural country", and we are all getting on swimmingly. But when they want to justify their procrustean anti-discrimination legislation and the indoctrination of children, they claim that there is racism everywhere.

Having now convinced the non-Europeans that they were hard-done-by second class citizens, they took them all back inside and told them to divide into two groups: whites and non-whites. One girl from the Lebanese Muslim community initially failed to act as planned. She looked around and decided she belonged with the whites. This of course was correct; non-European is not the same as non-white.

But in the second round, she decided to join the non-whites. (I might add, that we saw her family a couple of times, and a disturbing thought occurred to me: when she becomes a teenager, will she be forced to wear the headscarf like her mother? Will the school permit it? If so, this will isolate her from mainstream Australia more than anything else.)

The non-white groups consisted of children whose origins lay in the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia, and east Asia. In other words, they were a mixture of races, religions, and cultures, with nothing in common except they were non-mainstream.

Instead of the teachers encouraging them to consider how they might fit in, they asked them to consider their experiences of being non-white - which meant rehearsing the occasional slights they had received in the past, plus what they had been taught about "white privilege".

The teachers noted that the white children were reticent when asked to reflect on what it meant to be white. What did they expect? Prior to that, it had never been part of their world view.

The program was a success; they had introduced racial tension where little had existed before. When they grow up, the non-Europeans will not assimilate, and they will assume that any difficulties they encounter will not be due to their own fault, or bad luck, but to Australian racism. The whites had been taught to feel guilty just for being white. I hope the parents of both groups were suitably impressed.

It will no doubt be a while before it is introduced to white cities such as Brisbane, but they are sure to expand it in Sydney and Melbourne. When this happens, parents will have to refuse to permit their children to get involved, and they must make a fuss at the local PTA, and with their Members of Parliament. This is why parents must be very diligent at investigating everything their children are being taught at school. The days are past when they could assume the education system was their servant.