Friday, November 19, 2021

Church of England school CANCELS Winston Churchill and JK Rowling

The deeds of Mary Seacole have been greatly exaggerated by Leftists who wanted a black heroine. She was just a good-hearted woman who ran a bar. Details here:

A school which sparked outrage by cancelling Winston Churchill and JK Rowling for not being diverse insisted the change was 'led by pupils' as it begged parents 'Hope you will support us'.

Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School in Richmond previously had houses named after the Prime Minister and the Harry Potter author - alongside Sir David Attenborough and Emmeline Pankhurst.

The school - which caters for young children aged three to 11 - claims pupils had asked for the house names to be more diverse.

It then replaced Churchill and Rowling with England star Marcus Rashford and nurse Mary Seacole.

After MailOnline broke the story, school chair of governors Michele Marcus desperately tried to shore up backing from mothers and father of pupils.

In a newsletter today she urged: 'The change was entirely driven and led by our pupils and they feel proud of having effected this change and knowing their views were heard.

'There may be further interest in the subject and I hope you will support the school in our position.'

The school, whose headteacher is Alison Bateman, timed the announcement of the changes to coincide with Black History Month in October.

While some are happy with the recognition of school meals campaigner Rashford and Crimean War lifesaver Seacole, parents think the school decided to cancel Churchill and Rowling because they are deemed controversial figures.

Earlier in the day one parent told MailOnline: 'A lot of us are quite shocked that the school authorities have decided that the contributions of Churchill and Rowling deserve to be erased from the records without so much as a consultation with parents.

'Presumably this has happened party due to the supposed thoughtcrimes committed by these two national figures. For context, the other two – unchanged - house names are 'Pankhurst' and 'Attenborough'.

'I am not alone in feeling appalled that this cowardly action has been taken.'


Fury as Old Dominion university REFUSES to fire trans professor who said pedophiles can't help their urges

The refusal of a Virginia university to fire a transgender assistant professor who defended pedophiles and said they should be given child sex dolls has outraged students, alumni, politicians and the school's LGBTQ board, who say it is proof of a double standard that protects woke staff.

Allyn Walker, 34, is an assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. The non-binary teacher claimed in a recent interview to promote their new book that pedophiles shouldn't be ostracized, that they can't help who they are attracted to and that they should be given child-like sex dolls to satisfy their urges.

Walker, formerly known as Allison, made the comments in an interview to promote their book Long Dark Shadow: Minor Attracted People and their Pursuit of Dignity. They believe pedophiles should be referred to as Minor Attracted People, and that they don't 'choose' who to be attracted to so shouldn't be considered 'immoral'.

'I want to be extremely clear that child sexual abuse is never ever okay,' they said, before saying pedophiles should be offered 'help' and aren't' 'destined' to act on physical urges.

There was immediate and intense outrage among students, who said the professor was using a 'blanket' term for pedophilia and was an apologist for criminals.

The university's own Trans Advisory Board released a statement to call Walker's remarks 'reprehensible', damaging to the victims of pedophilia and not reflective of the views of the trans community at large.

But Old Dominion is standing by Walker.

At first, the school said they didn't agree with them, but that they would keep their role. Then On Tuesday, the university - which charges $31,000 per year for out-of-state students - partly buckled to public outrage and placed Walker on leave, saying it was for their own safety.

Students and others - including nearly 5,000 people who signed a petition- think Allyn deserves to be fired and they are demanding to know why the university won't end their employment.

When presented with those questions, a university spokesman told 'Your questions address private personnel matters that it is our policy not to discuss publicly.'

It has stunned many, who point out the cases of conservative professors at other schools who have been marginalized for far less offensive remarks.

Peter Boghossian, a professor at Portland State University, quit his position earlier this year after being vilified by faculty and students for sharing anti-woke views.

'There's a particularly powerful mind virus... there's a suite of beliefs within an ideology and those beliefs literally exist to rip down western civilization,' he said of his resignation.

'Our institutions can sustain only so much and they're being attacked from the inside on multiple levels from people who have been -- there's no polite way to say it -- they've been indoctrinated within the academies and indoctrinated to beliefs that are completely untethered to reality.'

Dorian Abbott, a lecturer, was recently canceled by MIT in Michigan for suggesting students should be rewarded for their academic merit and nothing else.

'This is not a partisan issue. Anyone who is interested in the pursuit of truth and in promoting a healthy and functioning society has a stake in this debate.

Speaking out now may seem risky. But the cost of remaining silent is far steeper,' he said, writing for Bari Weiss' Common Sense newsletter, last month.

Walker lives in Norfolk with Vanessa Panfil, a fellow teacher at the university who has written her own books, including one called The Gang's All Queer: The Social Worlds and Identities of Gay Gang Members.

Walker has not commented on the controversy surrounding their remarks.


Taking neurodiversity seriously

By Maria from Murrumbeena

Being neurologically diverse myself -- I am a high-functioning autistic -- I have some sympathy with the girl below. I too realized from an early age that I was different and found normal classrooms stifling.

But schools are tasked with all sorts of requirements so asking for special attention to non-neurotypicals may be piling too much onto them. Certainly, school health personnel should be trained to diagnose and communicate such abnormalities but after that I think the main burden of coping has to fall on the pupil and his/her family

When I was younger, I often thought something was wrong with me. Why was I so different from my classmates? I was made to feel broken.

I wasn't struggling with schoolwork; I love to learn. I just hated the environment. Noisy open plan classrooms, the expectation to concentrate for long periods and being confined to a desk.

But in year 8, I received a diagnosis of ADHD, Anxiety and Sensory Processing Disorder. A huge wave of relief came over me.

Imagine your brain as roads and each thought is a car. "Neurotypical" brains have traffic lights and road signs to keep thoughts organised and to stop the distracting thoughts from going on the main roads. ADHD brains don't have that.

So, there's a lot more cars on the main roads and the unnecessary information doesn't get filtered out.

But it turns out, I was not alone. After being unable to focus in class and turned away from the wellbeing office as they were full, I saw a year seven girl also waiting around.

She told me she had ADHD and anxiety and was being sent home. Although she wanted to stay and learn. She was a younger reflection of me.

This encounter flipped a switch inside my head.

I want high schools to start taking mental health and neurodiversity seriously. I'm going to continue raising awareness, educating, and advocating for fellow neurodiverse brains.

I will finish high school and get my education, even if it is the hard way.

To anyone like me, you are not alone. You do not need to be fixed because you are not broken. The system that is educating us is broken.




Thursday, November 18, 2021

UK: University sends shocking email offering sex work training

The student union of Durham University in England sent an email to all students and staff promoting a sex work training course offered by the university.

“The SU position on students in sex work are [sic] clear: support, informed advice, de-stigmatization and collaboration with expert organizations,” the email read.

The university brought in the external “Students Involved in the Adult Sex Industry” session in response to student requests, a spokesperson for Durham University said. Adding that sex work is a “feature” within higher education “across the UK.”

“We are emphatically not seeking to encourage sex work, but we are seeking to provide support to our students,” the spokesperson said. “We make no apologies for working to ensure that Durham is a safe environment for all of our students and staff.”

A sex work course offered via video conference offers to “support students in a difficulty arising from the reality of rising costs in higher education,” according to student union welfare and liberation officer, Jonah Graham. “Trying to create a scandal from an attempt to support people whose work can make them vulnerable is contemptible.”

The email advertising the course described it as a “training opportunity,” and stated that “student sex workers should not face any barriers to accessing support which is well informed and free from prejudice.” The “Level 1 Training” for “student sex workers” was described as a one, hour-long meeting, and the “Level 2 Training,” would last 90 minutes.

“Sex work is degrading, dangerous and exploitative. Uni should have nothing to do with it,” Member of Parliament Diane Abbott said on Twitter.

A similar incident occurred at Leicester University in October when the school offered an online “toolkit” for students involved in prostitution and assured them that “sugar daddies,” working on sex chat lines and selling one’s underwear online are all legal.


UK: White working class suffer from class privilege... that's why they hate the idea of white privilege': Actor Eddie Marsan

Actor Eddie Marsan has said white working class children are suffering from 'class privilege'. The Ridley Road star, 53, said they should be seen as a distinct group with issues that need to be fixed.

He called for universities to set up quotas for them and said he would be in favour of a Stormzy-style scholarship scheme for white boys and girls.

Meanwhile the actor called for the government to launch more grammar schools to boost their education.

It comes after a report last year found white working class children were the UK's most deprived pupils. Researchers found they were being left behind at school, face a lifetime of economic hardship and are hit hardest by the pandemic.

Marsan, who starred in Sherlock Holmes and War Horse, claimed he had benefited from white privilege but also suffered from class privilege.

The actor said playwrights Arnold Wesker and Harold Pinter helped him realise grammar schools could help.

He told the Times: 'I think we have to acknowledge the white working class are suffering from class privilege. 'And, probably, that's why they have an aversion to the idea of white privilege because they think it's really hard for us as well. But the two can exist at the same time.'

Marsan said his background stemmed his education, having not read his first book for fun - The Diary of Adrian Mole - until he was 16.

He told how he wanted to do his A-levels but when he told his father he told him he needed to get a job. He added: 'You have to acknowledge that the white working class are an individual social group, that their needs and their problems need to be addressed.'

Marsan was born in Stepney, Tower Hamlets, east London, to a lorry driver father and dinner lady mother. They moved to Bethnal Green and he went to Raine's Foundation School before leaving aged 16. He went on to work in a printers before moving into theatre and attending drama school.

Marsan was asked how universities should deal with a smaller proportion of white working class people applying.

He said: 'I would do a quota. I don't know how you would but I would.' He added bosses should set up a system for these people like the ones for ethnic groups.

The actor said he would be in favour of a scholarship for white working class pupils similar to singer Stormzy's Cambridge University one for black students.

Dulwich College and Winchester College refused to set up scholarships for poor white children worth £1.2million. They said they could not attach a racial element to any bursary after enquiries by mathematician Sir Bryan Thwaites.

A report last year found white working-class children are being left behind by the school system and face a lifetime of economic disadvantage. But it said help to raise educational standards is often targeted at ethnically diverse areas and pupils from minority backgrounds.

The research, submitted to the Commons Education Select Committee, revealed white pupils eligible for free school meals are half as likely as their peers from poor ethnic minority backgrounds to achieve strong passes in the eight GCSEs used in school league tables.

They are also more likely to attend a failing school and live in struggling communities in the North and Midlands.


A new higher education ranking has placed five Australian institutions in the top 50, comprising almost 10% of the top 50 universities.

The Aggregate Ranking of Top Universities (ARTU) ranked the University of Melbourne as the 28th best university in the world, followed by University of Queensland and the Australian National University at 42nd and 44th respectively.

The report also placed University of Sydney and University of NSW in the top 50.

In its third year, the ARTU combines the three main global university rankings to form a single index, examining 10 years of data.

Nicholas Fisk, the ranking’s creator and deputy vice-chancellor (research) at the University of NSW, told the Australian Financial Review the project provides a comprehensive picture of the state of the university sector.

“It smooths out the volatility and variance of the three major ranking systems,” Fisk said.

The rankings show that Australia has catapulted in global standing over the past 10 years, with the country’s Asia Pacific neighbour China following closely behind.

“In the past decade, Australia has gone from five universities in the top 200 to 13, China has gone from five to 10,” Fisk said. “It is Australia and China that have really been the movers and shakers.”

With 13 universities in the top 200, Australia is behind only the U.S. with 54 and Britain with 27.

Fisk said that considering the country’s population, its growth as a higher education superpower was impressive.

“​​10% of the world’s top 50 universities are in Australia,” Fisk said. “That is truly remarkable for a country with 0.3% of the population and 1.7% of GDP.”

UNSW vice-chancellor Ian Jacobs said the internally developed index came together when the institution began working on a 10-year strategic plan to understand how it was performing against the world’s best.

In 2015, UNSW set a target to be in the world’s top 50 universities by 2025, a goal that has been achieved four years early.

“We wanted to be hard on ourselves and objectively measure what we had done,” Jacobs said.

“Rankings are one way of looking at how we are performing relative to other universities in the world,” he said, adding, “We are not suggesting that rankings are in any way perfect, but they are about the best surrogate measure we have.”

Fisk said each of the major rankings had quirks, adding to the arguments for its aggregated index.

The Academic Ranking of World Universities gives 33% of its score for Nobel and Fields medallists over the past century, whereas the Times Higher Education places significant weight on reputation by asking academics which universities they think are the best, and QS judges teaching quality by looking at staff-to-student ratios.

Jacobs said the success of Australian universities was “not something that happens overnight” and suggested it was based on strong foundations, including healthy public investment over the past three decades.

Universities are Australia’s third largest export industry, contributing a record $22.4 billion to the Australian economy as of 2017. However, the shockwaves of the pandemic rocked the sector hard, exposing the uneven nature of government funding and its internal business models.

The top five universities in the world are: Harvard, Stanford, Massachussetts Institute of Technology, Oxford and Cambridge. The rankings that feed into the ARTU are the Academic Ranking of World Universities from China, those from Times Higher Education and QS.




Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Second grader calls out school boards over mask mandate

After months of remote learning, children are finally back in the classroom. However, radical liberal COVID policies are traumatizing kids inside their schools. Despite little scientific support to level rigid COVID protocols on children, school officials are doing it.

One heavily debated school mandate is the wearing of a mask all day. There aren’t many adults who can adhere to that unthinkable task. The so-called scientists refuse to discuss the list of the obvious health risks from constantly restricting normal breathing through a mask.

However, kids, despite no data to show it would benefit them in any way, are having masks literally tied to their heads. One little Tampa Bay, Florida girl, is pushing back. She’s acting like an adult, while thousands of liberal adults are acting like spoiled little children.

Fiona Lashells is a second grader who is fiercely insightful for her age. She has resisted her school’s insane mask mandate. Fiona hasn’t sidestepped the rule a handful of times. Lashells has been suspended from school 38 times for refusing to wear a mask all day.

We say, good for her. Twice, the eight-year-old has spoken about the reasoning behind her resistance in front of local school board officials. They were shocked at her candor. Fiona firmly feels that those who promote this senseless, unnecessary rule should be in jail.

Those are some pretty prophetic words from an eight-year-old. Fiona’s mother insists that she is “on a mission to take back, not only her rights but every American child’s constitutional rights, from the tyrant school board.”

This courageous student has also been threatened with failing her grade because of her outspokenness. Reports indicate that this is a blatant threat made by her teacher. This is clearly a manipulative lie trying to force her to conform since Fiona is up to date with her assignments.

These idle threats aren’t about a savvy second grader's classroom performance, but a mandate against her and her classmates to be silent and conform. Fiona will do no such thing. In fact, she has vowed to continue fighting for school children all across the country.

“I’m doing it for other kids, not just myself”, Fiona told Fox 8 News in Tampa Bay. A perceptive second grader appreciates the brevity of what it means for Americans to be forced to conform. She thinks those who trample these American freedoms should receive harsh punishment.

Maybe the thought of a little jail time would change the radical maneuvers these liberals are using to overtake our society. We can only hope. In the meantime, we say hurrah for a courageous little second-grader from Tampa.


Connecticut School Teaches Kindergarteners About Transgenderism as Part of Its 'Social Justice' Lessons

An elementary school in Connecticut is requiring its students to engage in its "Social Justice Lesson Standards," which includes transgender content being exposed to children as early as kindergarten.

Parents of students attending West Hartford Public Schools contacted nonprofit parent group Parents Defending Education about the material, and expressed concern over it being used by the district to push group identities through books about transgenderism being included in the curriculum.

District officials informed parents that they will not be allowed to opt out of the curriculum.

One parent was particularly disturbed by a book taught to fourth graders entitled, "When Aidan Became a Brother," which the parent described as "full on gender theory" that teaches students their biological sex is "wrong."

"When Aidan was born, everyone thought he was a girl. His parents gave him a pretty name, his room looked like a girl’s room, and he wore clothes that other girls liked wearing," the book's description reads. "After he realized he was a trans boy, Aidan and his parents fixed the parts of his life that didn’t fit anymore, and he settled happily into his new life."

The description goes on to say that, when Aidan’s parents announce that they are having a second child, Aidan "wants to do everything he can to make things right for his new sibling from the beginning" including selecting the "perfect name" and picking out the right clothes. The book asks what "making things right" actually means.

Another fourth-grade title is about pronouns, called "They She HE Me; Free to Be!"

Meanwhile, kindergarteners are taught about a text entitled, "Introducing Teddy," which tells the story of the character's teddy bear explaining their wishes to change from a boy teddy bear to a girl teddy bear.

"One sunny day, Errol finds that Thomas is sad, even when they are playing in their favorite ways, the description reads. "Errol can't figure out why, until Thomas finally tells Errol what the teddy has been afraid to say: 'In my heart, I've always known that I'm a girl teddy, not a boy teddy. I wish my name was Tilly, not Thomas.' And Errol says, 'I don't care if you're a girl teddy or a boy teddy! What matters is that you are my friend.'"

Books about crossdressing and avoiding the use of pronouns are taught to elementary school students.

The district’s director of equity advancement, Roszena Haskins, wrote in an email to parents that the schools have "redoubled district-wide efforts to attend to the social and emotional needs of children and adults."

The email explains that the "social justice standards" stem from the framework of the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning.

Haskins points out that "CASEL acknowledges that ‘While SEL alone will not solve longstanding and deep-seated inequities in the education system, it can help schools to promote understanding, examine biases, reflect on and address the impact of racism…close opportunity gaps and create a more inclusive school community.'"

"Essentially, SEL provides students with understandings and skills that they need to increase their social consciousness and act in ways that foster respect, empathy, fairness, and universal humanity," the email continues. "SEL instruction sits at the cross-section of prosocial education that fosters safe, positive, inclusive, equitable and supportive learning environments."

Haskins adds that the school district teaches SEL through an "equity lens, adapted from the Learning for Justice social justice and anti-bias framework."


Parents' Bill of Rights is needed to combat Left's indoctrination of students

As just about every parent with school-aged kids knows, the Left is trying to shut parents out of education.

Joe Biden’s Justice Department has tried to turn the FBI into a monitor of school board meetings, with one DOJ official going so far as to draw up lists of federal crimes for which parents could be prosecuted. Failed Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe spoke the Democrat Party’s mind when he infamously said, "I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach."

Wrong. Parents have every right to direct their children’s education, as the U.S. Supreme Court has long recognized. Parents make our schools work. The Left’s concerted effort to silence parents’ speech and ridicule their concerns is dangerous – for our children, our schools, and our democracy. It’s time to do something about it.

That’s why I’m proposing a Parents’ Bill of Rights, for every mom and dad in America. My proposal would guarantee them the seat at the table they deserve, one that no bureaucrat – or political party – can take away.

The need for action is urgent. Democrats and their allies in academia increasingly view our schools as laboratories for the indoctrination of American children. Over the past year, we’ve learned how school districts have quietly introduced new learning materials in classrooms related to critical race theory – often without parents’ knowledge, let alone approval.

Faced with backlash, now the Left denies there is any such thing as critical race theory, and the media gladly repeats the falsehood. But parents know better.

Emails reveal coordination between NSBA and White House that targeted parentsVideo
An Illinois teacher reported being required to teach students that "racism is a white person’s problem and we are all caught up in it," that "color blindness helps racism," as well as the need "to disrupt the Western nuclear family dynamics as the best/proper way to have a family."

Seattle Public Schools released a draft math curriculum including discussion questions like "where does Power and Oppression show up in our math experiences?" – as if addition and subtraction could somehow be racist.

The Virginia Department of Education even issued a document denouncing "microinvalidations," or "communications that subtly exclude, negate, or nullify the thoughts, feelings or experiential reality of a person of color."

Parents have had enough, as the recent election results in Virginia and New Jersey attest. In other words, the search for truth takes a backseat to racial identity politics.

To make matters worse, much of this propaganda was pushed into schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Few school boards were holding lengthy in-person meetings where parents could weigh in on curricular changes. Indeed, many school boards didn’t seem particularly interested in reopening schools at all. But the Left was interested in force-feeding students a poisonous, anti-American ideology. And all this while millions of American parents struggled to balance work with child care.

Parents have had enough, as the recent election results in Virginia and New Jersey attest. They’re tired of education bureaucrats and teachers unions keeping schools shuttered for months on end, while still finding time to wallow in woke sloganeering. They’re tired of being called racists for holding to Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of a colorblind society.

No matter how the media may try to spin the narrative, those are the real reasons behind this month’s remarkable political swings.

But parents shouldn’t have to fight these battles for their children’s future alone. It’s past time for Congress to declare, clearly and firmly, the rights that American parents have over their children’s education.

Those parental rights begin with a right to transparency – to know what their kids are being taught, and by whom.

Likewise, parents have a right to know whether their tax dollars are funding trainings saturated with racist agitprop. Parents should be able to check in on their kids at school, and to know immediately of any safety issues at their kids’ campuses. And parents should be able to access all school data concerning their children, as well as control how any third-party groups use that personal data.

Finally, parents should have the right to be heard at school board meetings, without any fear of reprisal from Biden’s Justice Department.

In addition to writing them in law, Congress also needs to give these parental rights teeth. Where any of these rights are infringed, parents should be able to sue to enforce them. If schools or districts refuse to cooperate, their federal funding should be on the chopping block.

Protecting these basic parental rights can help start a new era of openness in schools. These rights will help parents get the information they need, and deserve to have, about their kids’ education. Empowering parents will, in turn, hold administrators accountable – and stop activists from lacing school lessons with toxic ideology disapproved by parents.

America’s schools should be the envy of the world. And they will be, if America’s parents are empowered. The Parents’ Bill of Rights is a start.




Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Safe space - that’s the last thing university should be

What’s going on in universities these days? It seems that not a week passes when we don’t hear of the banning or censoring of someone the students don’t like or whose opinions one group doesn’t agree with.

Feminist philosopher Kathleen Stock was hounded out of her job at Sussex University last month, and last week LSE students tried to storm a talk being given by the Israeli ambassador.

There’s a long list of people who have been banned from speaking at events at universities for fear of students being offended by what they have to say: Amber Rudd, Jordan Peterson, even my fellow columnist Jenni Murray.

Art critic and broadcaster Andrew Graham-Dixon was banned from speaking at a Cambridge University debating society after doing an impression of Hitler during a debate on good taste. The list just goes on and on.

It’s getting ridiculous and all this has prompted academics to warn universities that they need to stand up to students and tell them to accept academic freedoms and differences of opinions — or leave.

How on earth have we got to this situation? Universities shouldn’t be safe places: in fact, they should be the very opposite of this. They should be unsafe spaces, where every idea or thought is heard and listened to, questioned and challenged. Where things are turned on their head, re-examined, debated and dissected.

There should be no no-go areas, nothing off-limits. I mentioned this to a student the other day and he laughed and said I was a ‘free-speech radical’.

But what’s radical about being able to discuss different ideas? If we can’t question anything and everything in a university, where on earth can we?

What angers me about this nauseating ‘safe space’ culture that has crept into our hallowed institutions like a patch of dry rot is not just the embarrassing infantilising of students that it encourages, but the subtle, insidious way students use the language of mental illness to justify their stance.

These students like to make out they are protecting their peers’ mental health, while clearly caring not one jot about the mental health of those they are attacking.

Rather than engaging in a calm, rational and good-natured debate, they resort to bullying, threatening, intimidating and attacking their opponents.

How on earth do they think they can claim the moral high ground in any way?

They suggest that ideas they don’t agree with will trigger some form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as though the entire student body is walking around on the brink of mental collapse. Seriously, get a grip.

Let’s be clear: having your ideas challenged by someone you don’t like will not provoke mental illness. You do not have PTSD if someone says something you disagree with.

I’d go so far as to venture that these students are spoilt and childish and have no place in a university.

They should drop out in order that those who actually want to engage in the rich experiences a university has to offer can take their place.

In fact, the students who advocate the ‘safe space’ culture are hijacking the very good, dedicated work that has been done around tackling the stigma of mental illness, and they’re doing it to shut down debate and silence people they don’t like. It’s offensive to people who really do have PTSD.

Many of my patients suffer from medically-diagnosed PTSD. They don’t have safe spaces or trigger warnings in their lives. They are getting on with treatment to try to get better.

The BBC has now quit the Stonewall diversity scheme and I don’t blame it. I’ve been saddened by what has happened to Stonewall. The LGBT charity took a wrong turn when it focused on trans rights and gave up on issues relating to gay people, effectively abandoning the people it still needs to fight for.
The reality of PTSD is that often the things that trigger it are obscure and idiosyncratic —a smell, a sound, a phrase.

Sufferers go out of their way to avoid places that are associated with their trauma. But, more often than not, symptoms can come on entirely unexpectedly and the trigger is hard to identify.

Students I have seen who have PTSD will quietly mention it to a lecturer and ask to skip a lesson if they feel it might touch on something that could cause symptoms.

But it’s actually very rare that they need to do this and they certainly don’t make a big song and dance about it.

The idea that simply having topics broached or their ideas challenged could trigger their PTSD symptoms is laughable.

For those of us in the real world, I’m afraid those advocating ‘safe spaces’ just come across as mollycoddled, navel-gazing and self-obsessed.


Move Over, Teachers Unions: There’s a New Special Interest Group in Town

For too long, Democratic Party-aligned teachers unions have inculcated young minds with propaganda and propelled the decline of American educational standards.

Schooling going virtual in spring 2020, however, was the straw that broke the camel’s back. If unaware before, parents now recognized something was awry with their coursework.

From critical race theory (CRT) pushes to discouraging merit-based admissions, moms and dads had enough. Many decided to pull their kids out of bad schools altogether—instead, transferring them to private schools or opting for homeschooling options.

Leading school choice advocate Corey DeAngelis says parents will support “funding students instead of systems.” He noted momentum for educational freedom was already brewing.

“2021 is the year of school choice, but we're just getting started,” DeAngelis said in an email to “The teachers unions overplayed their hand and have awakened a sleeping giant: parents. These parents are the new special interest group in town - and they aren't going away any time soon.

Politicians are going to have to listen to these parents going forward if they want to be politically successful. Many parents felt utterly powerless over the past year and a half when it came to K-12 education - and they're going to fight to make sure they never have to feel that way ever again.


Liberals Schools Now Asking 12yr Olds About Their Sex Lives!

These leftest liberals have gone too far that they even include our kids as early as 12 years old with their sick survey questionnaire.

We should be mindful as parents because they are liberating our child innocent minds with their sexual propaganda.

Recently, in a new Fairfax County survey, 12-year-olds in Virginia are asked specific questions about their sex and dating life.

According to ABC7:

Virginia students in Fairfax County – as young as 12 years old – will be asked about their sex life, dating life, home life, and more.

The survey begins with asking students how old they are, whether they are male, female, or transgender, and the survey asks students their sexual orientation, their race, and their experience at school. The survey also asks students several questions on how they spend their time after school, questions on their home life, bullying, their feelings during the past 12 months — plus how often students use tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs.

One of the questions asked in the Fairfax County Youth Survey of 2021, “Over the past three months, how many people have you had sex with?”

Others include: “Have you ever had sexual intercourse?”; “How old are you when you have sex for the first time?”; “In your life, how many people have you had sex with?”; “Have you ever had oral sex?”

The Anonymous Survey is a collaboration between the Fairfax County Government and the Fairfax County Public Schools. Students in grades 8, 10, and 12 have the option of participating in the survey – which is not mandatory.

Other parts include asking students about bullying, their home life, the feelings they have had over the past year, and how often they use tobacco or alcohol. The survey prompts students about their sexual orientation, their sexual orientation, and their race.

The Fairfax County website reports on the youth survey, “The Fairfax County Youth Survey is a comprehensive, anonymous and voluntary survey of students in grades 6, 8, 10 and 12 each year that examines the behaviors, experiences and other factors that impact the health and well-being of Fairfax County youth. The results provide a snapshot of county youth. Serve as a measure of community effectiveness in developing healthy choices for young people.”

The 6th graders will also be given a survey and will ask students about bullying, their feelings in recent months and weeks, how often they have moved since childhood, and other questions.

The county has given similar surveys in previous years to find out how many students vape, and the level of depression and stress in students.

It is not clear how this year’s data will be used.




Monday, November 15, 2021

School Choice Denied to Most Rhode Island Families, but Not These Union Teachers

A "secret deal" between a teachers union and a school district allows teachers, but not other parents, to send their children where they choose. (Photo illustration: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images)

A local chapter of the nation’s largest teachers union has acknowledged the importance of school choice, at least for its own members.

Thanks to an agreement quietly reached between the South Kingstown, Rhode Island, chapter of the National Education Association and the South Kingstown School Department, teachers there now have access to an exclusive school choice program.

Under the formal agreement, teachers who live outside the South Kingstown Public Schools district may send their children to schools there at no additional cost.

Other parents outside the school district, however, cannot do the same for their children.

About 2,800 students are enrolled in the South Kingstown district, which has seven schools.

“The union is saying—loudly—‘Choice for me but not for thee,’” Lindsey Burke, director of the Center for Education Policy at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email Tuesday. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.)

The agreement between the teachers union and the school district “is an admission that school choice is important,” Burke said in the email, adding that “[a]pparently, the unions have finally come around to the notion that money should follow the child to the school that fits her needs!”

School choice programs allow parents to send their children to private schools, charter schools, or schools outside their assigned district at little to no additional cost. Supporters argue that competition spurs officials to improve failing public schools.

School Superintendent Linda Savastano and Brian Nelson, head of the NEA chapter in South Kingstown, signed the agreement June 24. Savastano resigned from the school district four days later amid controversy over her releasing students’ addresses for mailing political material that sought parents’ support for a $85 million school bond on the ballot.

“Many residents in my town believed that this was an agreement signed by a superintendent who made one last backdoor deal before walking out the door,” South Kingstown mom Nicole Solas told The Daily Signal in an email Tuesday.

South Kingstown, a town of about 32,000, is the county seat of Washington County, Rhode Island. It includes 11 villages, among them Kingston, West Kingston, and Wakefield.

Officials did not publicize the pact between the teachers union and the South Kingstown School Department. The Daily Signal learned about the memorandum of agreement from Solas and Goldwater Institute, a conservative public policy and litigation organization based in Phoenix.

A local teacher told Solas about the agreement, and the mom shared the information with Goldwater Institute.

Solas told The Daily Signal that she was able to find the agreement on the school district’s website, but it was “posted in a place where the average resident would not look, because public documents about school business are posted in an entirely different part of the website.”

“It looks like it was deliberately buried and hidden,” she said.

In a recent blog post, Goldwater Institute called the agreement between the school district and the teachers union “a secret deal,” raising questions about the transportation policy specified in the document.

“Under no circumstances will the district be responsible for the transportation of any student enrolled under this provision,” the agreement reads.


Kathleen Stock: Professor accused of transphobia takes job at ‘anti-woke’ University of Austin

Kathleen Stock, a philosophy professor who resigned from a UK university amid accusations of transphobia, has found a new job at a nascent university that prizes “free thought”.

“Delighted to be invited to be a Founding Faculty Fellow of the University of Austin, a new initiative announced today by @bariweiss alongside several other stellar individuals,” Ms Stock announced on Twitter. “I accepted with alacrity. It’s an exciting looking project, focused on free inquiry.”

Ms Stock had previously taught at the University of Sussex in England. But her controversial public comments on gender identity – including saying “the claim ‘trans women are women’ is a fiction” – angered many students, who demanded her removal in a series of protests. The university refused to fire her, but Ms Stock eventually quit.

“This has been an absolutely horrible time for me and my family,” the professor – who says she is not transphobic – said last month. “I’m putting it behind me now. On to brighter things soon, I hope.”

For Ms Stock, that “brighter thing” appeared to arrive on Monday, when a group of like-minded intellectuals unveiled the University of Austin, a still-in-formation school in Texas devoted to “the fearless pursuit of truth”.

“The reality is that many universities no longer have an incentive to create an environment where intellectual dissent is protected and fashionable opinions are scrutinised,” wrote the university’s founding president, Pano Kanelos. “We are done waiting for the legacy universities to right themselves. And so we are building anew.”

Also involved in the project are a number of other public intellectuals who feel victimized by “woke” censorship, including Bari Weiss, a former New York Times editor who resigned amid what she called “bullying by colleagues”.

On Monday, Ms Weiss excitedly announced that Ms Stock would be among the school’s founding faculty members.

“This university will welcome witches who refuse to burn,” she tweeted.

Critics, however, have called the school a vanity project for well-connected media figures, and are dubious of the oppression they’ve supposedly faced.

“People who have the luxury of shouting, ‘I am being silenced!’ from the nation’s op-ed pages and university lecterns are, by definition, not actually being silenced,” The Independent’s Noah Berlatsky wrote in one opinion piece.

The university is still very much in the idea phase. It is not yet accredited, and does not yet have a physical campus. As Ms Stock accepted her new position, she clarified that she is not literally going anywhere.

“PS I should add to avoid confusion – this doesn’t mean I’m moving to Austin,” she tweeted. “And it’s not a full-time role. Just getting involved in various ways from a UK base.”


Australia: Consumer-minded parents treating schools like shops, says principal

When John Collier, the retiring head of St Andrew’s Cathedral School, began teaching 50 years ago, parents had nothing to do with their kids’ schooling. They didn’t even turn up for parent-teacher interviews. “In many ways they were mystery figures,” he said.

Now, they’re much more involved, and - mostly - that’s a good thing.

But some, Dr Collier says, are behaving like chauffers, cheerleaders and customers while treating schools as a product, rather than a community. At the same time, they’re abrogating their authority and letting children have their way too often.

While leading a previous school, a father told Dr Collier his son had decided to leave. The boy was in year 2. While Dr Collier supports consulting children, they “lack the wisdom of perspective that comes from life experience, so having them make all the decisions is sometimes not good,” he said.

Dr Collier - a graduate of James Ruse Agricultural High - began his career in the early 1970s, teaching English at western Sydney public schools. He has been a principal for 31 years.

In 2018 he famously sent a newsletter to parents saying too many of them had verbally abused, physically threatened or shouted at staff members, and some saw the relationship with teachers as a master-servant one because they were paying fees.

While he says most parents, the silent majority, are supportive, Dr Collier worries about high parental anxiety, and how it affects students. Too often, for example, parents will take children out of a school because of a minor incident.

“There’s an increasing consumer mentality among parents about education, so they can at times approach it much like they will approach buying a garment at a department store,” he said. “If they decide they don’t like it, they’ll take it back and go somewhere else.

“The difficulty is we are dealing with people and not garments, there are relationships that are severed when people move on. Sometimes I see children in middle school who are in their fifth school, it’s very disruptive to their education.

“It teaches them that the first time you see a problem, you flee.”

Dr Collier said too many parents also shielded their children from accountability and negative consequences, while trying to be their friend rather than their guide.

“Parents are less inclined to direct their children as society changes, and more inclined to give the child his or her way,” he said. “My argument is that children need guidance; they have age-appropriate friends. Their parents need to be prepared to make decisions that are unpopular but in the child’s best interest.

“What we sometimes see is parents who’ve taken on the role of cheerleader and chauffeur rather than authoritative parent. This means some parents will defend their child no matter what their child has done, and try to prevent appropriate accountability occurring.

“People take the view that their family is their fort ... and must be defended and advanced, an aspect of growing individualism. Understandably parents are focused right down on their child, whereas schools have to focus on everybody’s child.”

Parental pressure on teachers is only one of the aspects of teaching that have changed during Dr Collier’s career. The job is now far more demanding, salaries have not kept pace, and severe shortages are looming.

He said the teacher shortage was an “urgent” problem; the state’s 39 Anglican schools alone will need another 1700 teachers for new positions - plus replacements for those who retire or leave - in the next eight years.

The most effective way to increase the attractiveness of the profession would be to increase pay, Dr Collier said. “To do so will be expensive, not to do so is in other ways more expensive in terms of the future of the nation,” he said.

“We have a splendid system of education which is often unnecessarily deprecated, but there are structural problems in terms of salary and conditions for teachers, and governments need to deal with those.”




Sunday, November 14, 2021

Memphis Christian School Under Attack For Affirming Christian Values

A nationally-renowned private Christian school in Memphis is facing attacks from LGBT activists and a radical county commissioner for following the teachings of the Holy Bible.

Briarcrest Christian School drew fire after they announced a training session for parents and students on a Gospel response to sexuality and gender titled, “God Made Them Male and Female. And It Was Good. A Gospel Response to Culture’s Gender Theory."

Briarcrest promised an "enlightening look into the craziness our culture is throwing at our kids and leave equipped with a gospel response to share with them."

"When Superman is rewritten to be a homosexual, when parents allow children to choose their genders, and some schools are embracing students for being courageous by ‘coming out’ and considering do you respond biblically," the school pointed out in promotional materials.

LGBT activist Dylan Sandifer accused the school of promoting bigoted ideas.

“I understand that as a private school they can teach anything that they want, but that doesn’t mean that it’s right,” he told television station WREG. “I’m more concerned with LGBTQ students who are going to the recipients of hatred and rejection by the adults they look up to as authority figures, their parents, and their teachers as well their peers who are getting those ideas from their authority figures."

And the radical activists weren't the only ones triggered by the private school's lessons. “There has to be a reckoning with these institutions on the oppression they uphold and the gates they keep," Shelby Commissioner Tami Sawyer posted on her Twitter feed. She accused the school of spreading "hateful drivel against LGBTQ children."

In a statement to KWAM NewsTalk 107.9 FM, Briarcrest defended its commitment to teaching "students about all aspects of biblical truth, including biblical sexuality."

“Briarcrest is a Christian School that teaches and upholds the biblical principles found in scripture. We affirm our unity in Christ and that we are all created equal in God’s eyes. We will continue to strive to teach our students what is true and just in light of God’s word. We love people enough to tell them the truth about biblical sexuality. We have a responsibility to teach students about all aspects of biblical truth, including biblical sexuality. In addition, we strive to support parents in their efforts to raise biblically literate children who learn to defend their beliefs with gentleness and respect. Furthermore, as our culture attempts to silence biblical truth, we will proclaim the hope of the Gospel.”

Former Shelby County Commission Chairman Terry Roland told the television station that it's pretty clear God made two sexes.

"If you don’t know what sex you are look in your britches and it’ll tell you real quick what you are," he said. "They have all right in the world and people are tired of the left pushing this transgenderism. I think Briarcrest, they have all the right to do what they’re doing. It’s a private school and it’s a Christian School.”

The government has no right telling a Christian school what they can and cannot teach. And if the LGBT mob has a problem with the curriculum at Briarcrest, they are more than welcome to educate their children in a public school.

If only Commissioner Sawyer and the LGBT mob paid as much attention to the dumpster fire that is public education in Shelby County.


Glasgow University retreats over ‘antisemitic’ label for journal article

The University of Glasgow has backed down from labelling a peer-reviewed journal article about pro-Israel lobbying as “antisemitic”, amid criticism from leading international academics.

The university was criticised for undermining academic freedom after it appended a preface in May to the four-year-old paper, apologising for its publication and claiming it promoted an “unfounded antisemitic theory”.

The university republished the article this week with a new preface, removing the apology and instead saying the paper promoted “what some would regard as an unfounded theory” about Israel.

The climbdown came after Noam Chomsky, the US linguist and foreign policy critic, and George Smith, a Nobel prize-winning chemist, were among more than 550 academics who signed a petition handed to Glasgow two weeks ago calling on the university to assert its commitment to free speech.

“[Glasgow’s] untenable position implies that other groups, states and corporations can all be the subject of critical academic analysis, but commentary on pro-Israel advocacy must be limited,” they said.

The article, published in Glasgow’s eSharp journal, for early career academics, had argued that “an Israeli state-sponsored strategy [was] focused on controlling public opinion in the UK”. It said Israel sought to “harness the resources of grassroots Zionist supporters” to bolster British government support for Israel, and to “discredit and neutralise pro-Palestinian discourses”.

Glasgow added the new preface to the article in May, after complaints and a story about the controversy in the Jewish Chronicle.


Australia: We have some yawning gaps in balancing the history we teach

There has been much throwing about of brains in the review of the Australian national history curriculum. The federal Minister of Education, Alan Tudge, has declared that the draft consultation curriculum taught students to suspect Australia’s Liberal democracy: that teaching ANZAC Day as a “contested” idea is downright un-Australian, and that Christianity and liberal democracy should be far more emphasised.

Professor of History at the ANU, Frank Bongiorno, dismissed Tudge with a “gigantic yawn” in this masthead on Saturday. ”Any well-educated history student would know that … he is simply wrong. The origins of democracy lie in classical and pagan Greece, not Christianity or the West, both later inventions.”

As Australia’s pre-eminent historian of Australian politics, this kind of easy contempt, frankly, is below Professor Bongiorno. Christianity and the West do lie at the origins of democracy, and he knows it. Pagan Greek philosophy, Roman administration, and Christian spirituality combined to form the engine room of Western European history.

Over many centuries and contexts, the tiny Athenian 5th Century BC experiment was spun into modern democracy, through, for example, the Reformation, the English, French and American Revolutions, the Clapham sect reformers, the independence movements in the Central and South Americas, the struggle for female enfranchisement, among many other examples. After its short-lived origins in pagan Greece, radical Christianity and its various ideological offspring lay at the base of most of it.

That aside, however, he and many historians attacking Tudge’s complaints – particularly those who have never set foot in a primary school – have missed the larger point. The Australian Curriculum is not a tutorial for clever history undergraduates but mandatory school education: millions of small children, and their families, are compulsorily involved.

Consequently, this has far less to do with the theory of history than the theory and practice of mass education and civics. Unlike former prime minister John Howard, Tudge’s complaints about the curriculum have not peddled a particular theory of history, but relate to an imbalance between the big social ideologies that inevitably bump into each other in every mandatory curriculums, in every school subject.

In the past 50 years, all Australian curriculums – across all disciplines – have been framed by three ideologies. First, skills: that students graduate as economically useful. Second, cultural heritage: passing on through the generations “the best and the good”. Finally, and most recently, emancipation: to equip students to question and oppose dominant, oppressive power structures.

All three are important in a liberal democracy. Cut emancipation and the marginal are crushed; reduce skills and everyone runs out of money; trim cultural heritage and everyone forgets what is best, good, honorable and beautiful. The key to a successful curriculum in a liberal democracy is a judicious balance between all three.

There is much good about the recent history consultation drafts, particularly in teaching history as a disciplinary foundation, and especially the introduction of “Deep Time” First Nations Australia.

However, it is also clear that a balance between curriculum ideologies was lost. The relentless interrogation of European history, and Australia’s colonial cultural heritage, belonged squarely in the emancipation camp. This was mostly characterised by the depiction of First Nations Australians post-colonisation, almost exclusively, as a devastated, oppressed minority. The sheer volume of the material, inevitably, would displace the time for children to study other basic facts about European and colonial history, including, by the way, the incredibly rich post-colonial heritage of First Nations Australians, from first-contact to the present day, that is far more complex, diverse and proud than just that of a moribund, weakened people.

True enough, this oppression happened, it was abominable, and one of the original sins in our national story. The teaching of mandatory history is a necessary vehicle to propel us towards the great social goal of redemption and restoration.

However, teaching small children to relentlessly question a heritage about which they have not been substantially taught is like creating a literary critic who hasn’t read anything – the worst kind of critic. When emancipation drowns out cultural heritage in a curriculum, our children are consigned to spin round and round in an echo chamber of unresolvable complaint, never able to find solid footing on what is useful, what is good, and what is true. Such imbalance does not make us freer, and it certainly doesn’t make us kinder.

Bongiorno is right that the understanding, publication and teaching of history has different perspectives. This is something children must be taught over time: to rationally question and test the veracity of sources, and the merits of interpretations.

However, for children to learn history primarily about one perspective – that all power is suspect – is just one of many theories of history. Mandatory history as a vehicle for intelligently celebrating national heritage, is also a widespread, defensible educational approach. However, without emancipation in a curriculum, the teaching of national pride through the history classroom produces monsters. The balance is all.