Saturday, December 18, 2021

Improving Access or Lowering Standards? Abolishing the SAT

One of the major possibly semi-permanent effects of the pandemic is that a huge number of colleges and universities have dropped requiring prospective students from submitting courses on the SAT or ACT examination. Proponents of the move can cite several reasons for the change. These exams cost time and money to take, and thus are an obstacle to applying for college, more so for those with limited incomes. They seem to disadvantage minority applicants except Asians, who tend to have average scores significantly lower than for white applicants.

Moreover, most studies show that the best predictor of postsecondary academic success is high school performance, as measured by grades, courses taken, even extracurricular activities. Hence the trendsetting University of California, whose Berkeley campus is ranked first by Forbes, has nixed requiring the exams, not to mention many other prestigious private schools and many flagship public institutions.

As in most things, however, there is an alternative point of view. While it is probably true that the best single predictor of collegiate academic performance relates to high school grades (and also the quality of the high school attended), there has been generally a positive correlation between SAT or ACT test results and subsequent college performance—kids with high SAT scores usually do better in college than ones with low scores. In my own personal experience in evaluating honors student applications, those with very high SAT scores usually do very well in college, on average better than those with less impressive test results. More information is better than less, and test score information can help reduce college mismatch—admitting students who subsequently struggle to succeed while incurring large college debts.

What happens when a school becomes test optional? Perhaps not as much as you might expect. A Chronicle of Higher Education story provided some data from the University of Virginia that I found very revealing. For the class beginning last fall, 57% of applicants submitted test scores in spite of the fact that it was not required. I suspect these students thought they would do relatively well on the test, and, other things equal, it would enhance admissions prospects. It turns out 72% of those admitted were test-submitters. Doing the math, I calculated that those submitting test results had nearly twice as good of a chance of being admitted than the 43% not submitting results.

My guess is the admitted students on average had higher high school grades and perhaps other attributes (student leadership roles, athletic prowess) attractive to UVA. Modern day observers are largely unaware of nefarious admission practices in the first half of the 20th century that discriminated against some students, notably those of Jewish descent, and how the SAT test was viewed as an objective measure of academic merit that would remove or reduce discretionary decisions made by admissions bureaucrats in enforcing prejudicial behavior—see great books by Jerome Karabel (The Chosen) or Daniel Golden (The Price of Admissions).

A concern of some, including me, is that in our quest to achieve such commendable objectives as racial justice, greater intergenerational income mobility, and more economic diversity in picking students to attend top schools, we may lose sight of the fact that truly superlative “higher” education can be fully achieved only by students who are cognitively superior and highly motivated. There may be a trade-off here: achieving full socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic diversity may be possible only by sacrificing high academic standards. If we are too aggressive in pursuing non purely academically meritorious standards, we may lose America’s reputation of having a disproportionate number of the best educational institutions in the world. Perhaps this is a price we should pay to right past injustices—but there is a price.

There is also I think significant differences in the prevailing views within the academy and the general public in these matters. This is perhaps best illustrated by the rather sharp rebuke of California’s political leaders in the legislative and executive branches last year when the people of the Golden State constitutionally rejected, rather decisively, efforts to allow affirmative action play an important role in admissions and hiring decisions at public universities. Life is a series of tradeoffs, even in college admissions.


2 California Teachers Accused of Encouraging Student’s Clandestine Gender Transition

Two teachers in a California school district are accused of coaching a student into coming out as transgender behind the backs of the student’s parents, according to video footage circulating on social media.

School staff reportedly changed the student’s name and pronouns and called Child Protective Services when the parents objected to the gender transition, according to a Twitter thread by LibsofTikTok posted early Thursday morning. The thread included video of the girl’s parents addressing the school board of Spreckels Union School District on Wednesday.

The student’s mother, identified as Jessica Konen in the video of the school board meeting posted on its YouTube page, claimed that her daughter’s indoctrination began with a LGBTQ club at Buena Vista Middle School in Salinas, California.

Konen’s husband Gunter described a meeting with the middle school’s principal and an unidentified teacher where he learned of his daughter’s social transition, video showed. He claimed the school called Child Protective Services on the parents due to their objections to the actions of school staff. The agency later dropped the case.

During a California Teachers Association conference held in October, two teachers who taught in the school district described how they recruited students and concealed the students’ activities from parents, according to recordings and documents obtained by writer Abigail Shrier, author of the 2020 book “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters.”

At least one of the teachers taught at the middle school attended by Konen’s daughter.

“District policy was to deceive parents, and activist teachers ran with that to drive a wedge between parent and child in the name of trans ideology,” Erika Sanzi, director of outreach for the group Parents Defending Education, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“This is obviously an egregious case, but the sad truth is that when it comes to trans policies, parents are being deceived by their children’s schools all over the country and the pain felt by the parents in this district is shared by countless parents nationwide,” Sanzi said.

Lawsuits have been filed across the country over school policies that parents claim have encouraged educators to carry out clandestine transitions.

“Public schools and administrators are taking it upon themselves to make these decisions without involving the parents and in fact cutting them out.,” Ryan Bangert, senior counsel and vice president of legal strategy for the Christian legal aid group Alliance Defending Freedom, said when asked for comment.

Spreckels Union Superintendent Eric Tarallo did not reply to an email requesting comment.


University with Rigid Mandates Closes Campus After ‘Rona Runs Rampant

Despite mandates in place for masks and vaccinations, Cornell University is closing its campus as fast as it can after a coronavirus outbreak on campus.

The Ivy League college reported 903 infections between Dec. 7 and Monday, according to CNN.

The school’s COVID-19 dashboard put Cornell’s status as “red alert.”

Officials said a “very high percentage” of the documented cases are due to the Omicron variant.

“Virtually every case of the Omicron variant to date has been found in fully vaccinated students, a portion of whom had also received a booster shot,” Vice President for University Relations Joel Malina said in a statement.

Cornell has decided to essentially shut down its campus, located in Ithaca, New York. The college has 25,600 students.

As part of its plan, the college is moving final exams for the fall term online, closing all libraries and canceling all activities, President Martha Pollack told students in a letter.

“While I want to provide reassurance that, to date, we have not seen severe illness in any of our infected students, we do have a role to play in reducing the spread of the disease in the broader community,” Pollack said.

“(The) point is that higher transmissibility leads to exponential growth, which outweighs the linear decrease in percent of severe cases. To avoid this type of situation, it is imperative not to let such infections run unchecked, but to take steps that limit transmission,” she wrote, according to WNBC-TV.

Malina said the college’s actions are designed to “help students who have tested negative to return safely home for the winter break, and in an effort to limit the spread of the Omicron variant to vulnerable populations.”

The school requires all students to be vaccinated except for those who have been granted religious or medical exemptions.

Unvaccinated students must be regularly tested, as are many vaccinated students. Cornell requires students to wear masks indoors.

Ninety-seven percent of people on campus are fully vaccinated, according to the college’s COVID-19 dashboard.

The ceremony for fall semester graduates that was scheduled for Saturday has also been canceled, according to NPR.

Princeton University is also moving all of its fall semester final exams online, according to Bloomberg.

Princeton urged students to go home “at their earliest convenience.”

“We hope to avoid letting the final exam schedule interfere with students’ travel home for winter break,” Jill Dolan, dean of the college, and W. Rochelle Calhoun, Princeton’s vice president for campus life, wrote in a letter to students. “We certainly don’t want you remaining on campus in required isolation through the holidays.”




Friday, December 17, 2021

The Antisemitism of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Staff at Universities


Universities ostensibly employ diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) staff to create more tolerant and welcoming environments for students from all backgrounds. A previous Heritage Backgrounder documented that the number of people devoted to DEI efforts has grown quite large, with 45 people working to promote DEI at the average university. This Backgrounder examines whether these large DEI staff are, in fact, engaged in behavior likely to promote the goal of creating a tolerant and welcoming environment on college campuses. In particular, this Backgrounder examines the extent to which DEI staff at universities express anti-Israel attitudes that are so out of proportion and imbalanced as to constitute antisemitism

Universities ostensibly employ diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) staff to create more tolerant and welcoming environments for students from all backgrounds. A previous Heritage Backgrounder documented that the number of people devoted to DEI efforts has grown to about 45 people at the average university.

1 Jay P. Greene and James D. Paul, “Diversity University: DEI Bloat in the Academy,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 3641, July 27, 2021, .

This Backgrounder examines whether these large DEI staff are, in fact, creating a tolerant and welcoming environment on college campuses. In particular, this Backgrounder examines the extent to which DEI staff at universities express anti-Israel attitudes that are so out of proportion and imbalanced as to constitute antisemitism.

To measure antisemitism among university DEI staff, we searched the Twitter feeds of 741 DEI personnel at 65 universities to find their public communications regarding Israel and, for comparison purposes, China. Those DEI staff tweeted, retweeted, or liked almost three times as many tweets about Israel as tweets about China. Of the tweets about Israel, 96 percent were critical of the Jewish state, while 62 percent of the tweets about China were favorable. There were more tweets narrowly referencing “apartheid” in Israel than tweets indicating anything favorable about Israel whatsoever. The overwhelming pattern is that DEI staff at universities pay a disproportionately high amount of attention to Israel and nearly always attack Israel.

While criticism of Israel is not necessarily antisemitic, the inordinate amount of attention given to Israel and the excessive criticism directed at that one country is evidence of a double-standard with respect to the Jewish state, which is a central feature of a widely accepted definition of antisemitism.

2 International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, “About the IHRA Non-Legally Binding Working Definition of Antisemitism,” (accessed November 17, 2021).

Frequently accusing Israel of engaging in genocide, apartheid, settler colonialism, ethnic cleansing, and other extreme crimes while rarely leveling similar criticisms toward China indicates an irrational hatred that is particularly directed toward Jews and not merely a concern for human rights.

The evidence presented in this Backgrounder demonstrates that university DEI staff are better understood as political activists with a narrow and often radical political agenda rather than promoters of welcoming and inclusive environments. Many DEI staff are particularly unwelcoming toward Jewish students who, like the vast majority of Jews worldwide, feel a strong connection to the state of Israel. The political activism of DEI staff may help explain the rising frequency of antisemitic incidents on college campuses

3 Maria Carrasco, “New Website Allows Students to Report Anti-Semitic Incidents,” Inside Higher Ed, October 7, 2021, (accessed November 17, 2021).

as well as the association between college and graduate education and higher levels of antisemitic attitudes.

4 Jay P. Greene, Albert Cheng, and Ian Kingsbury, “Are Educated People More Anti-Semitic?,” Tablet, March 29, 2021, (accessed November 17, 2021).

Rather than promoting diversity and inclusion, universities may be contributing to an increase in anti-Jewish hatred by expanding DEI staff and power.


Covid in Scotland: Sturgeon to defy unions and keep schools open

More than 18,700 children were off school last Friday for coronavirus-related reasons

Schools are expected to remain open until Christmas after Nicola Sturgeon defied unions’ demands to close them early.

The first minister confirmed that school closures are off the table because children have already lost too much education and suffered “disproportionate” harm during lockdowns, including mental illness and exposure to domestic abuse.

Scottish ministers will meet this morning to decide what other restrictions are required to head off the “tsunami” of Omicron cases predicted last week by Sturgeon.

Sturgeon told Drivetime on BBC Radio Scotland: “We’re not considering closing schools. I’ve tried to be really candid with people all along, that any leader that stands and says ‘100 per cent anything can be ruled out forever’ is not been straight with you.


'Racism disguised as progress': Colorado elementary school is accused of SEGREGATION over its playground event for 'families of color'

A Denver, Colorado elementary school has sparked outrage with a 'segregated' playtime for 'families of color' at its playground.

The Centennial Elementary School organized the 'equity' event for families of color to gather and play on December 8.

But critics have hit out at the event which conservative journalist Christopher Rufo called a 'racially-segregated playtime'.'

Rufo, one of the nation's leading anti-critical race theory activists, told Fox that the event was 'racism under the guise of equity' and joined a growing number of people on social media calling on the school to terminate the program.

One Twitter user named Geoffrey Miller wrote, 'If civil rights activists of the 1950s popped out of a time machine today, and saw all this stuff, they would infer that their movement had failed.'

Another Twitter user with the handle name Hound echoed fears of segregation in schools, writing, 'We're going to be segregated again, and somehow they will spin it that it's the white conservative males fault.'

Roy Ben-Tzvi, another person Twitter, mocked the idea that the event could be used to promote equity and celebrate diversity.

'This whole racism disguised as progress phenomenon is so backwards,' he wrote.

Another Twitter user with the handle name Timothy claimed the event was turning kids 'into a racist product'.

'If this continues, the product will desire and request segregated work space as they age into the work force.'

Dave Kopel, a law professor at Denver University, also chimed in an claimed the event was in violation of Colorado State law that schools not make 'any distinction or classification of pupils be made on account of race or color.'

Many called the program a work of segregation and called on its termination. Dave Kopel, a law professor at Denver University, claimed it event violated Colorado State law
Many called the program a work of segregation and called on its termination. Dave Kopel, a law professor at Denver University, claimed it event violated Colorado State law

Denver Public Schools did not immediately respond to's request for comment. Dr, Alex Marrero serves as Denver Public Schools Superintendent.

In a statement to Fox News, the Centennial Elementary School officials said the event was formed due to parent's request and open to all families.

'Our school leaders met with some of the black families whose children attend our school to determine ways for these families to feel more included in our school community.

'Some of these families shared with us that, since the only time many of them see one another is at drop-off and pick-up times, we host some events where black families can meet one another, connect with one another and share their experiences about the school with one another. We are honoring their request.

'All families are welcome to attend all of our events, and families from a variety of backgrounds have done so.'

The event itself was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols, but the school said the event will continue in 2022.




Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Covid keeps quarter of a million pupils off school in England

A quarter of a million pupils in England are absent because of Covid as schools struggle to cope in the last week of term.

Half of staff are off in some schools as head teachers said the new wave had caused chaos across the country.

They said this morning that some parents were choosing to keep children off school because they were so concerned about the Omicron variant. Schools are cancelling nativities and end-of-term, concerts and some are struggling to keep teaching with widespread absence of staff and children.

The latest figures, relating to last Thursday, show 236,000 pupils were off for Covid-related reasons from state schools in England. Cases are expected to have increased since then.

Total attendance was 88.9 per cent


President of the NEA Raises Eyebrows After Expressing Her 'Pressing' Goal for Schools

Is there any hope that U.S. public schools will ever get back to the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic? Under the current leadership at the nation's largest teachers unions, it does not appear that will happen anytime soon.

Becky Pringle, president of the influential National Education Association, is raising eyebrows after telling The New York Times about her "pressing" goal for schools.

She wants to "reclaim public education as a common good, and transform it into something it was never designed to be: racially and socially just, and equitable."

And that's not just a future vision, either. According to The Times, the NEA has been pushing full steam ahead.

This year, the N.E.A. published its Racial Justice in Education Resource Guide, which advises teachers on how to directly address issues such as white supremacy, implicit bias and acknowledging how race influences their work. Over the summer, at the union’s representative assembly — where Mr. Biden addressed the group, calling the N.E.A. “indispensable” — delegates voted to pour $675,000 into measures to “eradicate institutional racism” in public schools.

In response to growing protests against teaching students about the legacy of systemic racism, which conservative groups deride with the umbrella term “critical race theory,” the union also began an “Honesty in Education” campaign that supports teaching “truthful and age-appropriate accountings of unpleasant aspects of American history.”

In addition, the N.E.A. has pledged more than $56,500 to research conservative groups that it said were “attacking educators doing anti-racist work.” (NYT)

The report acknowledges that Pringle has "alienated members with her platform," but that's not all. In response to the story, many social media users just asked that she do her job and focus on the basics of education.


Australia's NAPLAN: Principals and teachers say it is ineffective and outdated, in Australian Education Union survey

Parents and education experts have hit out at principals and teachers after a survey slammed the national NAPLAN tests as being “ineffective and outdated”.

Australian Parents Council President Jenni Rickard also rejected claims in the survey by the Australian Education Union that the tests increased teachers’ workload, saying NAPLAN was about recording a “point in time” and there should be no prepping.

Ms Rickard said NAPLAN was also valuable to parents as an independent assessment and “a mechanism to ensure government departments are accountable and transparent”.

“It works as a test of the whole system from the bottom to the top,” she said.

The Australian Education Union surveyed more than 260 public school principals and nearly 3000 teachers across the country,

It found 73 per cent of principals believe NAPLAN increases teacher workloads; 86 per cent said the tests contribute to students’ stress and anxiety and 59 per cent said they make no difference to student outcomes.

More than 60 per cent of teachers said NAPLAN – undertaken by students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 – was an ineffective diagnostic tool.

Education author Dr Kevin Don­nelly criticised the AEU for its long history of opposing tests such as NAPLAN, saying it did not want schools to be held accountable for the billions invested and the fact students’ results in international tests were going backwards.

“We need NAPLAN to monitor and evaluate whether standards are improving or not,” Dr Donnelly said.

But AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said “NAPLAN is not fit for purpose in our schools” and should be scrapped and replaced with classroom-based and teacher-led assessments, along with sample-based testing.

Whites Hill State College Principal Andrew Beattie, based in Queensland, said NAPLAN caused “performance anxiety” among the children, especially in Year 5, as their results could determine which high school they went to.

He said many hours were wasted teaching children how to do the “unique” exam, instead of teaching them numeracy and literacy.

New analysis of this year’s NAPLAN results out on Wednesday shows students in Years 3 and 5 reading, Year 5 numeracy, and Years 3 and 5 spelling have significantly improved nationally since the tests began in 2008, but these improvements were not reflected in every demographic group, according to the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).

“We can now also see that the main group of students who fell behind the national average in Years 7 and 9 reading and Years 3 and 7 numeracy, compared to the base year, were students whose parents did not complete Year 12,” ACARA CEO David de Carvalho said

He defended NAPLAN, saying it allowed parents, teachers, schools, education authorities, governments and the broader community to determine whether or not young Australians are developing the necessary literacy and numeracy skills.

Acting Federal Education Minister Stuart Robert added that NAPLAN has been critical to tracking student educational outcomes, especially during Covid.




Tuesday, December 14, 2021

UK universities took £89m from oil firms in last four years

Some of Britain’s most prestigious universities are among those to have shared in funds totalling at least £89m from major oil companies in the last four years, an investigation has found.

Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial College London are among the universities to have been given funding from some of the world’s biggest companies, according to new research by openDemocracy.

In recent months there has been increasing pressure on institutions to break links with fossil fuel companies. Last month, more than 40 senior academics and scientists signed an open letter vowing not to work with the Science Museum over its financial ties to major oil corporations. The museum faced several resignations over ties with Shell and a newly announced deal with the renewables company Adani Green Energy, part of the Adani Group, which has major holdings in coal.

The new research found that Imperial College London had accepted £54m since 2017 – by far the most of any institution surveyed. It included £39m from Shell, with which the college has said it has a “longstanding and fruitful partnership”. Imperial said the confidentiality of private contracts meant it could not reveal exactly what the money was used for, stating that it funded research into “energy transition, lowering carbon emissions in extraction and in carbon mitigation measures”.

Cambridge University received more than £14m from oil giants, while Oxford got almost £8m. These include large donations to Oxford’s Said Business School Centre for Corporate Reputation.

OpenDemocracy used the Freedom of Information Act to ask universities for details of any funding they had accepted since 2017 from eight of the biggest oil firms: BP, Shell, Total, Equinor, Eni, Chevron, Exxon or ConocoPhillip. The figures include donations, gifts, grants and research funding.

In total, 36 universities said they had received funding from eight oil giants, with others refusing to disclose whether they had received similar funding. Southampton, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Bath universities also took more than £1m each from the oil firms. In total, universities said they had received £89m – but the true figure could be far higher, because many failed to provide details.

“By accepting millions of pounds in grants and sponsorship from the fossil fuel industry, UK universities are complicit in propping up and legitimising the existence and operations of some of the most harmful companies on the planet,” said Rianna Gargiulo, divestment campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “The revelation of these sponsorship deals tarnishes the reputations of the UK’s leading academic institutions, including those like the University of Cambridge that have committed to divesting from fossil fuels.”

Caroline Lucas, the MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: “Let’s be clear – there is no justification for taking money from oil and gas firms and no justification for being complicit in greenwashing of these big corporations.”

Some universities refused to reveal details of any links. The London School of Economics said it could not reveal any information because it would “prejudice the commercial interests of the school, by making it more difficult to raise funds from private donors in the future”.

The University of Surrey also refused to disclose details of its research funding from BP, on the advice of BP itself. “After contacting BP, they confirmed that they consider the specific amount of the funding as being commercially sensitive,” the university said.

Imperial College defended its funding, saying it helped to “develop meaningful solutions to climate change”. It added: “We are using our influence and expertise to accelerate this transition, and we actively engage with energy companies to push them toward the Paris agreement targets.”

Cambridge University said that since October 2020, it had accepted funding from oil companies only if the collaboration would help the UK “transition to decarbonised energy”. It said: “Over the past five years funding from traditional energy sector partnerships represented about 0.5% of the University of Cambridge’s combined annual research and philanthropic income.”

Oxford University said: “Those donating money or sponsoring programmes at the university have no influence over how academics carry out their research or what conclusions they reach. Our partnerships with industry allow the university to apply its knowledge to real challenges of pressing global concern, with funding often going directly into research into climate-related issues and renewables.”


Plea to give primary school children lessons in money

Judges of an award given to the country's best personal finance teachers are urging the Government to extend mandatory financial education from secondary schools into primary schools and sixth-forms in England.

In an open letter to be sent to the Department for Education and the consumer panel of the City regulator (the Financial Conduct Authority), judges of the Interactive Investor Personal Finance Teacher of the Year Awards 2021 are calling on the Government to 'take the financial education of our children and young people seriously'.

They also want compulsory teaching of money matters at secondary school level in academies, private schools and faith schools, where it is currently optional.

The seven judges, who are all personal finance experts, have drafted the letter after witnessing the impact that good money lessons can have on young people. They include MyBnk chief executive Guy Rigden and Russell Winnard, a director of charity Young Enterprise. Both MyBnk and Young Enterprise have led the way in providing personal finance teaching resources to secondary schools.

The judges received scores of nominations from both primary and secondary school teachers, who are finding creative ways to teach young people about money.

However, many teachers are doing so against the odds – squeezing lessons around other subjects and with few resources.

Nominations from primary school teachers in particular brought home to the judges the value of giving young children money lessons such as budgeting, saving and making payments.

Financial education has much improved in recent years. For example, when charity MyBnk was founded 14 years ago, just one in ten UK adults had received any form of financial education. Today, more than half leave school having been taught about money matters.

A breakthrough moment came in 2014 when money lessons were incorporated into the national curriculum for secondary schools in England. Since then, personal finance education has been extended, with some regions of the UK being bolder than others.

For example, in Wales, basic money issues such as doing calculations in pounds and pence are taught at primary school with more complex matters such as compound interest and household budgeting tackled at secondary school.

A new national school curriculum next year will extend personal finance teaching into subjects such as numeracy, health and well-being. By way of contrast, in England, financial education is only included in the national curriculum for secondary schools as part of citizenship and maths lessons.

A survey of 2,000 adults by Interactive Investor showed financial education is seen by parents as the most important factor affecting a child's long-term financial security.

Richard Wilson is chief executive of Interactive Investor. He says it is unacceptable that too many children are leaving school without being taught rudimentary personal finance. He says: 'Let's make 2022 the year that the Government starts taking financial education seriously. It needs more time on school timetables and better resources and guidance made available.'

The Department for Education said: 'We have made financial literacy compulsory for 11 to 16-yearolds in the national curriculum, so young people are taught about the importance of budgeting, savings, money management and the need to understand financial risk.

'The primary maths curriculum also includes specific content on calculations with money to develop young children's financial literacy.'

Finance and economics teacher Danny Topping is fanatical about the need for greater personal finance education. He believes the earlier children are taught about money issues, the better prepared they are to fend for themselves financially when they leave school.

Danny, 45, is a teacher at Blackpool Sixth Form College and goes the extra mile when it comes to preparing students to get a certificate or diploma in financial studies. He has produced 'attractive and interactive' coursework that has proved so popular with students that other schools have asked to use it.

'I'm passionate about money education,' says Danny, who is married, has twin boys aged 11, and lives in Fleetwood, Lancashire. 'Given the economic challenges that a town like Blackpool faces, the focus of my work is ensuring young adults are made aware of the perils of racking up debt.'

He adds: 'I repeatedly bang the drum for budgeting and do this by trying to relate it to my students' personal experiences. For example, I get them to plan and budget for their 18th birthday party.'

Danny was one of three winners in Interactive Investors' personal finance teacher of the year awards, spanning both primary and secondary schools.


Saint Louis University Student Threatened with Expulsion for Hanging Matt Walsh Flyers Off Campus

Saint Louis University is threatening to expel or suspend a conservative student for hanging flyers off school grounds promoting the Daily Wire's Matt Walsh's off-campus lecture on the Supreme Court abortion case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

The student, James Dowling, was told by school administrators during a Zoom call on Dec. 9 that he could be expelled over his "failure to comply" and "inappropriate conduct." He was notified that he had been "allegedly confrontational, disrespectful, and failed to comply with reasonable requests made by the staff in accordance with their duties."

"If you were to be found responsible for a policy violation, suspension or expulsion from the institution are included within the range of possible outcomes that could be applied," Office of Student Responsibility and Community Standards Assistant Director William Bowey told Dowling during the call, according to the Young America's Foundation.

Dowling, a member of the SLU College Republicans chapter, was off campus posting flyers advertising Walsh’s event on Dec. 1 when school administrators present took issue with SLU’s name being printed on the same flyer as the SLU College Republicans. They instructed him to take all of the flyers down, prompting Dowling to offer to use a marker to cross out the names included on the flyers, a proposal the administrators rejected.

Even after it was brought to their attention the fact that the flyers were posted on public city property, not campus grounds, the administrators still demanded they be removed, claiming that the College Republicans chapter was barred from posting promotional materials because of their disciplinary status, regardless of whether they were hung on or off-campus. The club had previously been issued a punishment for posting an Instagram video asking, "What is a woman?"

In a letter dated Dec. 9, the Office of Student Responsibility and Community Standards informed Dowling of his alleged violations of SLU’s "Community Standards."

"The Office of Student Responsibility and Community Standards has been notified that on or about December 1, 2021, you were involved in an incident near Grand Ave. and West Pine, on or around the Saint Louis University campus, that may involve violations of the Community Standards as found in the Saint Louis University Student Handbook," the letter read.

"Specifically, it is alleged that you were posting unapproved signs for an off-campus event, and that when contacted by University staff, you were allegedly confrontational, disrespectful, and failed to comply with reasonable requests made by the staff in accordance with their duties," it continued.

The letter also notified Dowling that he would be required to attend a hearing for his "Suspendable Violations" and, should he miss the meeting, his fate would be determined in his absence.

The university's College Republicans chapter slammed the actions from SLU's administrators, saying in a statement that this is "yet another case of politically motivated prosecution by the Office of Student Responsibility and Community Standards."

"After dealing with them when they went after the club for asking another organization, the ‘SLU Sluts,’ to define the word ‘woman,’ and learning that the office’s director distributed copies of the ‘Genderbread Person’ to students a few years ago, I have no confidence in their ability to be fair and objective in their decisions," SLU College Republicans President Nicholas Baker said.

Walsh’s lecture, hosted by the SLU College Republicans and YAF at a local hotel, addressed the Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that was brought to the bench after Mississippi signed into law legislation banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.




Monday, December 13, 2021

About 100 middle schoolers walk out of class at East Village school over complaints of sexual harassment from fellow pupils saying school officials have not done enough to stop it

Around 100 students from a New York middle school left class in the middle of the school day on Friday to protest what they say is 'rampant sexual harassment from peers'.

The young students, consisting mainly of teenage girls from Tompkins Square Middle School, headed to nearby Tompkins Square Park to air their grievances and make their voices heard in public.

The group addressed their fellow classmates as they detailed how girls who attend the school are subjected to unwelcome comments and touching from boys who go there.

The protesting teens said they had to take their voices out onto the street after feeling school officials were doing little to curb the behavior.

'We hear rape jokes and sexual assault jokes being made left and right... nothing is being done about it,' 13-year-old Esme Thorne, who helped to organize the demonstration, told the New York Daily News.

'I've gone to the bathroom crying multiple times because of it… it's really sad we don't feel safe in our school anymore,' Esme added as she explained how a boy who harassed her was given an in-school suspension where the boy was able to complete school work from the office. 'That's no punishment,' Esme said.

Aside from being abused physically and verbally, the students are also subjected to homophobic and racist jokes to the point at which some students are unable to concentrate in class, another protesters said.

'Kids are super distracted from their work because they're so afraid to be in their classrooms,' organizer 13-year-old Rain Barak, explained.

One girl told how she would wear 'sweaters with my jeans because I feel uncomfortable to walk around school with revealing clothing. 'I should be able to wear what I want without worrying I'm going to distract this boy, because I'm not wearing it for them, I'm wearing it for me,' the student added.

Teachers at the school believe online learning that was required during the pandemic saw toxic behavior among students worsen because of the distinct lack of informal lessons on how to behave in society, coupled with the increased amount of time the children were spending on the internet and on social media.

'These kids just finished a year and a half with functionally no structure,' one teacher from the school told the Daily News. 'During that time they were online the entire time… and the internet is a terrible place. Homophobic, racist, sexist comments were normalized by virtue of these kids having free rein on the internet 24/7.'

Some teachers say they felt constrained through online teaching, particularly when it came to sex-education classes, with worries they might be being watched or recorded by parents at home.


Satanism on Display at Local Library: Inappropriate, Sexual Books Placed Next to Bible

A war is being waged in Fairfax County, Virginia — one that will have implications far beyond its local influence.

In September, local mother Stacy Langton confronted the school board after finding questionable content in the library at Fairfax High School. The resulting video of her presentation went viral.

The two books she addressed were “Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison and “Gender Queer,” a graphic novel by Maia Kobabe.

While many would shrink from confronting school officials or stating so specifically why they find these books objectionable, Langton made it very clear what the offensive content was and what was at stake.

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“The illustrations include fellatio, sex toys,” she said at the meeting, describing and illustrating in the books’ own words and images just how explicit the content was.

At one point, the board urged her to tone it down and appeared to be cutting her off, saying that there were children present — an ironic concern, given the subject.

“So, this is pedophilia here,” Langton later explained in a call with WRC-TV in Washington. “This is a man having sex with a boy. Here, the character is masturbating.”

“I don’t know how you defend this. Why would you write such a thing? It’s so — just garbage. It’s absolute filth,” she said.

The school said it would temporarily suspend the two books — but two months later, the books were put back in the library.

According to WJLA-TV, two separate committees composed of students, parents, librarians and school administrators “unanimously recommended that the books should remain available.”

Langton isn’t finished, and many other parents have since voiced their disapproval of these texts being available to their children, but it appears that this is only the beginning.

Recently, the two books were prominently placed in a holiday-themed display at Fairfax County’s Dolley Madison Library in McClean. But this time, they were displayed alongside a Bible — which ruffled quite a few feathers.

Based on photos taken of the glass-enclosed holiday display, each book was paired with a plush gnome, and the Bible was posed against a gnome wearing a rainbow hat and outfit.

The librarians reportedly declined to comment about the incident, but the display was taken down.

“The Dolley Madison Library holiday reading display was intended to highlight the freedom to read and the fact that many library patrons have more time during the holidays to do so,” Fairfax County Public Library Director Jessica Hudson said in a statement, according to The Washington Times.

“It was not the intention of staff to create a display that could be construed as offensive. The display has been removed.”

Many have not bought that explanation, and a protest is planned at the library on Saturday, spearheaded by “Mama Grizzlies” Langton and Xi Van Fleet.


Australia: Final exam score no longer relevant to rising number of students given early university entry

The anxious wait for the postman carrying a yellow envelope or suffering through the slow lag as a webpage loads final Year 12 marks was a rite of passage for generations.

Whether it was called the TER (Tertiary Entrance Rank), UAI (University Admissions Index) or ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank), university admission hung on that all-important number.

The days of waiting on these much-anticipated scores could well be on their way out with a massive rise in the number of early round offers being made to students nationally.

Figures compiled by the ABC show some universities have more than doubled their number of early offers, with many delivered before final exams have even begun.

While the institutions have long had early rounds of offers, the programs were given a kick along by COVID-19 as universities tried to adjust for the disadvantages of remote learning.

Now early offers look set to stay, with a growing number of universities finding that not only do they alleviate final exam stress, they also recruit better students.

At the Australian Catholic University, offers have nearly tripled, up from 3,000 last year to nearly 9,000 this year.

At the University of Canberra, they've doubled between 2019 and 2021, with up to 2,000 offers already made for study next year.

Charles Darwin University has had similar success, jumping from 548 to 963 offers between last year and this year,.

At Griffith University, offers are up more than 6 per cent this year.

South Australia's Flinders University has made 2,026 offers for next year, up from just 181 back in 2019.

In Victoria, La Trobe University has also had strong growth in offers, going from 2,287 pre-pandemic to 3,032.

But it's the Western Sydney University (WSU) that's been the stand-out performer, with early offers rising from 7,000 in 2019 to 15,000 in 2020.

It's made 9,000 offers so far for 2022, but expects numbers to rise as its program remains open until January.

Early offers have benefits for unis and students

The sharp increase in early offers is spread across the range of disciplines, including health sciences and education to law and criminology.

Largely attributed to the pandemic, the rise is, however, seen by others in the industry also as evidence of a sector competing for market share among school-leavers.

There are reports of universities encouraging their new recruits to officially enrol before main-round offers have been rolled out so they can lock in the best student talent.

Australian Catholic University Provost Belinda Tynan said it had moved into early offers in response to students' desires to organise family and work-life elements before the university year began. "Our early offer students can receive their study timetable as early as October the year before," she said.

University of Western Sydney's Angelo Kourtis oversees its early admissions program and said that, for WSU, it was an acknowledgement the ATAR could be a "blunt instrument" for measuring student ability. "We recognise that students are more than just the ATAR," he said.

"We think it actually disadvantages many students, especially students from regions."

Early admission selection criteria can include individual subject and exam marks, Year 11 results, or the portfolio work of creative arts students.

"If a student wants to do an arts degree, then we will look at their performance and things like history and English and languages and other related subjects," Mr Kourtis said.

The program at La Trobe University also recognises a student's contribution to their community.

Flinders University has also continued a practice it began in response to the pandemic in 2020, and makes early offers based on Year 11 results.

"Schools have told us that the early admission scheme allows students to focus on specific subjects for their particular university degree rather than simply achieving a high ATAR score — really helping to take the pressure off," said interim deputy vice-chancellor (students) Deborah West.

It's not just domestic school-leavers reaping the benefits, either.

Charles Darwin University made 1,254 offers to international students for next year, up from 750 pre-pandemic.

Early admission leads to better outcomes

Mr Kourtis said WSU's internal analysis showed early admission programs often recruited better students overall.

The university compared typical applicants with those admitted through early admission, and found early entrants went on to achieve a higher grade point average than their peers in more than 50 per cent of courses.

"We found their performance is as good, and in some instances better, than students who were admitted solely on the basis of the year 12 result," Mr Kourtis said. "What these programs do is actually challenge the primacy of the end-of-year-12 exams or the ATAR."

The University of Canberra has had a similar experience.

"With early offers, we are continuing to see very strong academic outcomes from students who have entered through this approach," its deputy vice-chancellor (academic) Geoff Crisp said.




Sunday, December 12, 2021

Mother Sues School for Not Allowing Trans Daughter to Play Boys’ Soccer, Use Boys' Restroom

An Indiana mother is suing Martinsville school for not going along with the delusion that her daughter is a boy and allowing her to participate on the boys' soccer team or use the boys' restroom.

Isn't it odd that a mother would want her daughter to be allowed into the bathroom with boys? She sounds as mentally ill as her kid!

Breitbart reports:

The mother of the girl, who is referred to the suit as A.C. because she is a minor, is a seventh-grader at John R. Wooden Middle School and is being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana.

The student also claims she has been “misgendered” — or called a girl instead of by her male “gender identity,” according to an Indianapolis Starreport quoting the lawsuit by saying that the school was “unfairly denying a transgender student access to the boys’ bathroom, not letting him participate in boys’ sports and refusing to call him by male pronouns.”

“He feels that he is being singled out and that he is not accepted for who he is,” the mother complained.

Or, just maybe, the school realizes the child is either being pressured into pretending she is a boy or she is severely mentally ill, and that regardless of the situation, she should not be allowed into the restroom with the opposite sex. Nor should she play on a sports team of the opposite sex.

The Star reports:

According to court documents, the student is a patient at the Gender Health Program at Riley at IU Health in Indianapolis where he is receiving care and treatment for gender dysphoria. He’s on medication to prevent him from having periods and, when medically appropriate, he will start masculinizing hormones.

The student has been presenting as a boy since the fifth grade. His mother has petitioned a Morgan County state court for a legal name and gender marker change so that his birth certificate can be amended to reflect his male gender and the name he uses. It’s still pending, according to court documents.

The suit is requesting that the court require the school to treat A.C. as “a boy in all respects, allowing him to use male restrooms and other facilities,” to refer to him as male, with matching pronouns and let him play on the boys’ soccer team next fall.

As the great Ben Shapiro has said many times, the facts don't care about your feelings. She might "feel" like she is a boy...but the fact is, she is a female.


California School District Promotes Using Witchcraft On Police And Those Who Say All Lives Matter

A California school district recently removed a link to resources that included an outline of how to cast a spell on people who said things like “all lives matter.”

That content was included as part of a Google Drive for a “Black Lives Matter Resource Guide.” A document on “Writing Prompts on Police Brutality and Racist Violence” encourages high school students to write a “curse” for police and others.

“Hexing people is an important way to get out anger and frustration. Make a list of specific people who have been agents of police terror or global brutality,” it reads.

“This list can be wide-ranging, from small microaggressions to larger perpetrators (i.e., people who say ‘all lives matter’ to the police officers who arrest non violent protestors to George Zimmerman). Pick one of those people on your list.”

It continues: “Read Martin Espada’s poem ‘For the Jim Crow Restaurant in Cambridge Massachusetts Where My Cousin Esteban was Forbidden To Wait Tables Because He Wears Dreadlocks.’ Write your own hex poem, cursing that person.” Another prompt directs students to picture a world “with no police.”

Campbell Union High School District (CUHSD), later removed the link to the drive but an internet archive shows it as listed under “Addressing Racialized Violence.”

CUHSD’s resource list resembles that of many other school districts’ that have surfaced in the media reflecting a growing interest in ideologies like critical race theory (CRT).

One CUHSD teacher, who the district appointed teacher of the year, told teachers to recognize “the power of critical race theory and use it in our lesson plans”

While much of the discovered “equity” content seems to be focused on socio-political issues, religious content has surfaced as well.

California had previously proposed a curriculum that included chanting the name of an Aztec god that accepts human sacrifices.


First Omicron Covid case confirmed at English primary school as all pupils told to stay home and get tested

The case was found at Manor Community Primary School in Swanscombe, Kent. All year five students, aged nine or ten, have been advised to stay home and get tested, the Mirror reports.

A year four class at the school has also been strongly encouraged to get tested in case the new variant has spread.

As a precaution, health bosses at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) are carrying out testing on some pupils in key stage two groups.

A mobile testing unit has also been set up at the school in Keary Road today.

People who are close contacts of a person who has been infected with Omicron must self-isolate for 10 days.

A statement from the school said: "A case of the Omicron variant of Covid has been confirmed at Manor Community Primary School.

"As a result, and while standard investigations continue, the UK Health Security Agency is carrying out testing on some Key Stage 2 students, as a precaution.

"The school has followed the national guidance and has written to the parents of all children who have been in close contact with the affected person.

"This testing is voluntary but parents have been strongly encouraged to comply, even if their children have recently had a negative PCR test.

"They have been advised to keep their children at home and self-isolate in line with government guidance.

"If children are well and have not tested positive at the end of the period of self-isolation, they can return to their usual activities.

"If a child tests positive, however, they need to isolate with their household following national guidance."