Friday, February 25, 2022

UK: Student finance overhaul will punish poorer graduates while top-earners pay less, ministers warned

A shake-up of university finance will punish poorer students while top-earning graduates pay less, ministers are being warned – as a call to bring back maintenance grants is rejected.

The long-delayed response to a review ordered by Theresa May also throws out a recommendation to slash annual tuition fees from £9,250 to £7,500, made because of fears that high debt deters disadvantaged teenagers.

Instead, fees will be frozen, while graduates will feel the pain of a cut in the threshold to start repayments from £27,295 a year to £25,000, to “make the system fairer for the taxpayer”, ministers say.

As expected, in a further cost-cutting move, students will be blocked from taking out loans – and, effectively for all but the richest, from going to university – if they fail to get strong GCSE or A-level grades.

The government will seek to sweeten the pill by scrapping interest on new loans, while a new “lifelong loan entitlement” will allow people to “retrain flexibly at any time in their lives”.

But Labour described the package – three years after the Augar report was published – as “another stealth tax for new graduates”, which would be “slamming the door on opportunity”.

The Education Policy Institute think tank warned it would be “regressive” and threatened to hit “students from disadvantaged backgrounds”.

“These policies are likely to result in lower- to middle-earning graduates paying more than they currently do, while higher earning graduates are likely to pay less,” said David Robinson, its director of post-16 and skills.

The chair of the parliamentary All-Party Group for Students, Paul Blomfield, attacked the dropping of the “important proposal for the reintroduction of maintenance grants for the poorest students”.

He also warned: “Freezing tuition fees, without additional teaching grant, reduces resources available to universities and means future students will be paying more for less.”

And Larissa Kennedy, president of the National Union of Students, said: “This government parrots the language of levelling up, but these proposals are classist, ableist and racist: they target those from marginalised communities, and seek to gatekeep education.”

The package, which will go out to consultation, will:

* Freeze maximum fees at £9,250 a year until 2025, meaning they will not have risen for seven years – while rejecting a cut to £7,500.

* Cut the repayment threshold to £25,000 for students starting courses from September 2023 until 2027 – despite the backlash against the recently announced freeze.

* Link the student loan interest rate to the – higher – RPI measure of inflation, scrapping interest for students from 2023, both during studies and after graduation.

* Extend the period before loans are written off from 30 to 40 years for new students – meaning many will be nearing retirement before they are out of debt.

* Deny loans to students who fail to achieve at least two Es at A-Level or at least a grade 4 pass in English and maths at GCSE.

* Promise almost £900m of new investment in higher education over three years – including £300m of day-today spending and £450m in capital funding.

Nadhim Zahawi, the education secretary, said the changes would “create a fairer system for both students and the taxpayer”, while making “higher education accessible and accountable”.

“This package of reforms will ensure students are being offered a range of different pathways, whether that is higher or further education, that lead to opportunities with the best outcomes,” he said.

But the document makes little attempt to hide that the motive is to save money, calling the current funding system “unsustainable” – with student loans totalling £161bn in April 2021.

Without action, those loans will reach more than half a trillion pounds in 20 years, ministers say, by which point only 23 per cent of new borrowers will be repaying them in full.

Taxpayers – most of whom have not been to university – are funding 44p of every pound of student loans, but will pay less than 20p under the new system, they argue.

The Augar report, published in the dying days of Theresa May’s government, saw her plea for the return of maintenance grants for low-income students, axed by George Osborne in 2015.

But, speaking in May 2019, the outgoing prime minister admitted it would be a decision for her successor.


Transgender Berkeley English professor who backed burning of books is suspended by Twitter

A transgender Berkeley English professor who once backed the burning of books was suspended from Twitter after tweeting to the UK government that she hoped the Queen of England would die of COVID.

Prof. Grace Lavery, a prominent trans activist, was in a Twitter spat on Sunday with an anti-trans advocate when the person accused Lavery of wanting to incite public disorder with her upcoming tour around the UK to promote her memoir next month.

During the back-and-forth, Lavery snapped that: 'I hope the queen dies' in a tweet that also tagged the UK government.

The post came as Queen Elizabeth, 95, tested positive for COVID-19.

Twitter quickly suspended her account in response.

She told that she supported people being canceled on social media - but apparently that does not apply to her.

Lavery said: 'I wholly support social media platforms taking action against harassment.

'I do not think they should ban people for hoping that public figures die, whether the person in question is Elizabeth Windsor, Donald Trump, or Jeremy Corbyn,' Lavery said, the latter referring to a member of the UK's Labour Party that was suspended from the party in 2020 over anti-Semitic comments.

She also complained that her Twitter ban was suppressing her freedom of speech.

'Bans on discussing the Queen's death additionally have the (presumably unintended) effect of suppressing speech about the line of succession,' she said.

'I'm not expecting any of the free speech activists to get incensed about this, of course, but their hypocrisy is nonetheless pungent.'

UC Berkeley decline to comment on the issue, saying Lavery acted as an individual and that she has her right to freedom of speech.

After being suspended from the platform and facing backlash, Lavery went on to Instagram to further insult the British queen in a sarcastic post paired up with the Sex Pistol's 'God Save the Queen.'

'I certainly do *not* wish for the reintroduction of the guillotine, nor the public seizure of all lands and entitlements reserved by the Windsors, nor do I crave to appear on the front of the Daily Mail dressed in my (unmarried) mother's bridal veil' she wrote.

'Under no circumstances would I describe the Windsors as cruel, bloodsucking molesters and sponges, each of significantly below average intelligence even for the degenerate British ruling class; and at no price could anyone compel me to declare Elizabeth Regina an impassive, thoughtless windbag, as incapable of saying anything more thoughtful than a Tory's guff, as she is undeserving of even a legacy place in a second-rate provincial grammar school.

'We love our queen. God saves. Shine on, ma'am! (rhymes with SCAM).'

The post was preceded by Lavery echoing the words of others who stood by the queen and her decades on the throne.


Australian parents turn to religious schools as public enrolments slide

Australia has recorded its most significant shift in school enrolments since 2008, with 6,388 fewer Australian students in the public system in 2021 — meaning less funding for state schools while private schools will see a windfall.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) annual schools report, the number of public primary and secondary students fell by 0.2 per cent in 2021, with low-fee independent Islamic and Anglican schools in the suburbs picking up the most new students.

The move from public schools was greatest in primary years, with 0.8 per cent of students leaving.

Overall, independent schools grew by 2.2 per cent across Australia, or 30,101 extra pupils.

The ABS said Australia's closed borders and the first net loss of migrants since 1946 was influential in the trend, with new arrivals generally guaranteeing growth at public schools.

Public schools receive $14,776 per student in a combination of state and commonwealth funding, so a drop of 6,388 students means $94,389,088 less for public schools. Meanwhile, funding to the private sector, which receives $11,724 on average per student, is expected to rise by $352,904,124.

It's money that will be gratefully received at schools like the Australian International Academy, a fast-growing Islamic school with three campuses in Sydney's outer western suburbs.

Principal Mona Abdel-Fattah started the school a decade ago with just 19 pupils. Today, there are 611, with more joining at the start of every year.

"It's almost a hundred a year, and at the moment, there are classes where we cannot accept any more students," Ms Abdel-Fattah said.

Ms Abdel-Fattah said the attraction for many of the young families in the area was the extra moral guidance and shared faith.

"A big attraction at our school is the Islamic environment. It's the identity, the care, the compassion," she said.

Islamic schools see huge growth as families prioritise values
Nasha Mohammed moved her 13-year-old daughter Lujain and 10- and six-year-old siblings Layan and Alfarouk from the state system to the Islamic school at the start of the year.

Mrs Mohammed made the decision because her daughter was entering high school and she wanted to prioritise values.

"I wanted her to be around people who pray the same way, are brought up the same way and have the same priorities and same ideas," Mrs Mohammed said.

Mrs Mohammed had a great experience at the public school her children attended last year, but as a busy mum decided to move Layan and Alfarouk as well.

"I wasn't really sure but I thought as a parent I thought it would be easier to drop them off in the same spot and pick them up at the end of the day," Mrs Mohammed said.

Lujain Mohammed said the smaller class sizes allowed her teachers to give her more attention.

"They know more about students' health and wellbeing," she said.

Nationally, Islamic schools have enjoyed enormous growth, with the number of students tripling over the past 15 years.

Last year's Australia Talks survey found parents at independent and Catholic schools had the highest rates of parental satisfaction, leading to calls for an investment in the public system.

Pressure on public schools expected to grow after recent baby boom

Leading International education expert Pasi Sahlberg, from the Gonski Institute at the University of New South Wales, said it would not be the last tough year for public education.

"Governments need to take the responsibility to make sure that the neighbourhood public schools [are] always good enough … for all children," Professor Sahlberg said.

"When this doesn't happen, for example due to insufficient resourcing of these schools, I'm afraid we are going to see trends similar to education statistics published today also in the future."

Professor Sahlberg and other education experts expect pressure on the public system to grow after a recent baby boom.

"This means new schools and many more teachers that need to be available as these numbers grow," he said.

"It is important that the governments will invest in their public infrastructure and human resources to secure a good school and trained teacher for every child."

Independent schools across Australia have welcomed the figures.

In New South Wales, the growth means that for the first time independent schools have more students than the Catholic sector, which set up its first school in Australia in the 19th century.

"This record growth now makes the independent school sector the second largest in NSW and reflects the confidence and satisfaction of parents from across the socio-economic spectrum," Association of Independent Schools New South Wales chief executive Geoff Newcombe said.




Thursday, February 24, 2022

UK: How schools are captured by ideological institutions

This week, Nadeem Zahawi told teachers that they have ‘an important role in preparing children and young people for life in modern Britain, and teaching them about the society and world they grow up in.’

Actually, after 26 years in the classroom, I had worked that out for myself. Children spend significant periods of their lives with their teachers, and we have a huge responsibility that goes far beyond drilling our pupils for exams.

But something has gone amiss in schools, and it seems that Zahawi might even realise that as well. In new guidance he has told teachers this week to avoid political bias in the classrooms. The guidance lays out certain topics that ‘should be taught in a balanced manner’ and tells teachers to ‘stop promoting contested theory as fact.’

Part of the problem with politics in schools is about resources as much as ideology. For too long, the agenda in education has been driven by exam results and league tables. Non-examined courses like PSHE – personal, social, health and economic education – have become Cinderella subjects.

PSHE is vital; probably more so to many children than even electric circuit theory, and I say that as a physics teacher. But when we are under huge pressure to perform, it is too easy for stressed-out teachers to divert time, attention and resources to activities that will bump up grades instead.

But PSHE still needs to be taught and we need resources to teach it, ideally pre-prepared and ready to deliver. Third party organisations have been only too happy to step into the gap with their own teaching materials.

Need to teach ‘Trans Inclusive RSHE’ to four- to seven-year-olds? Stonewall has lesson packs just for that. The hard work has all been done: ‘Each of our LGBTQ+ inclusive lessons has a PowerPoint that you can use to support your whole class teaching.’

If the subject is anti-racism, the British Red Cross offers downloads for free. But a charity’s proud history does not guarantee its political impartiality when it comes to education. Throughout the lesson plan, Black Lives Matter is capitalised – linking directly to the political campaign rather than the underlying truth that black lives do indeed matter.

Primary schools looking for a one-stop shop might be tempted by the educational package offered by No Outsiders. Their vision is grand – ‘inclusive education, promoting community cohesion to prepare young people and adults for life as global citizens.’ Make no mistake this is a professional outfit – they even sell merch to ‘wear with pride and show support for teaching equality in primary schools’. But schools are playing a dangerous game by contracting out their thinking.

If something looks too good to be true it probably is, and propaganda is still propaganda when it is branded with rainbows and sparkles. It seems that the Department for Education has finally noticed.

The guidance that Zahawi’s department issued this week pointed out more of the blindingly obvious, ‘Schools should be aware that “partisan political views” are not limited to just political parties. They may also be held by campaign groups, lobbyists and charitable organisations.’

Zahawi added, ‘Clearer guidance on political impartiality is just one part of my wider work to give children the best possible education.’

But it is much easier for a government minister to talk about political impartiality than it is for teachers to deliver it. Zahawi might say that, ‘no subject is off-limits in the classroom, as long as it is treated in an age-appropriate way, with sensitivity and respect, and without promoting contested theories as fact,’ but to make progress we need to be able to distinguish contested theories from facts.

As a scientist, I can dismiss creationism as a belief with no place in the classroom. But other people do hold the belief that the earth is young. Not only that, but they believe that there is proof of Noah’s flood in the geological record. We can debate who is right and who is wrong, but I am not going to start teaching creationism in the meantime.

But what about gender identity? Again, as a scientist, I see no need to invent something unprovable and unfalsifiable to explain that some people might be unhappy with the sex of their bodies. Is gender identity any different to creationism? Both are based on belief and both have proponents who claim to have supporting evidence. However, while creationism is usually dismissed without debate, there is great social pressure for gender identity to be accepted without debate. Why?

Zahawi’s guidance extends for 9,000 words, and includes 19 scenarios starting with climate change and ending with political systems. Each one can be up for debate – or not. Those who win an individual debate may be content with their prize, but the real power is held by those who decide just what can be debated in the first place. Campaign groups, lobbyists and charitable organisations – to use Zahawi’s words – have been astonishingly successful in this regard.

But identifying the problem is only the first step to putting this right. We need to empower teachers and schools and give children the resources to think for themselves. There, the government has a poor record. I teach physics; I also used to teach critical thinking. I taught my pupils to analyse arguments, identify flaws, assess the credibility of sources, and construct reasoned arguments of their own – all based on evidence and examples. However, in line with the government programme of general qualification reform, the A-Level course was cancelled in 2016.

If Zahawi is serious about rectifying the problem, then he needs to get to the heart of the problem. We might possibly evict those unhelpful influences from schools, but we are less likely to remove them from the internet. In short, we need to teach children to think for themselves.


Critical race theory-related ideas found in mandatory programs at 23 of top 25 US medical schools

At least 23 of America’s 25 most prestigious medical colleges and universities have some form of mandatory student training or coursework on ideas related to critical race theory (CRT), according to, which monitors CRT curricula and training in higher education.

"The racialization of medical school education is troubling. It's one thing to recognize the health needs of different populations, it's entirely different to inject racial politics into medical care. Demanding that medical school students become activists is dangerous," William Jacobson told Fox News Digital.

Jacobson, Clinical Professor of Law at Cornell Law School and founder of the Legal Insurrection website, founded’s sprawling database that previously examined elite K-12 private schools and 500 of America's top undergraduate programs.

"The mantra of the so-called 'antiracism' movement has no place in medicine. Current racial discrimination in order to remedy past racial discrimination is wrong generally, but is downright dangerous in medicine," Jacobson added.

The schools examined were based on the rankings by U.S. News’ rankings of America’s top medical schools. Of the top 25 colleges and universities, 23 had some sort of mandatory training and 21 have offered materials by authors Robin DiAngelo and Ibram Kendi, whose books explicitly call for discrimination, according to Jacobson.

Training is sometimes targeted, such as a new requirement for a major or department, and sometimes school-wide. The subjects of mandatory training and coursework are worded and phrased differently at individual schools, but use terms including "anti-racism," "cultural competency," "equity," "implicit bias," "DEI – diversity, equity and inclusion" and critical race theory, according to

The study found that 16 of the top 25 medical schools have declared that anti-racism, DEI, CRT, and/or other similar elements will be embedded into the general curriculum of the university. Among them is The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, where first-year students must take "Health Equity, Advocacy, and Anti-Racism."

At the University of Michigan Medical School, the school’s Anti-Racism Oversight Committee recommends that it, "[i]ncorporate critical race theory, health justice, and intersectionality framework into doctoring materials," according to

The study also found that an additional six of schools mandate department-specific training, including University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Yale School of Medicine.

At Yale, the Department of Psychiatry’s Anti-Racism Task Force’s Education Subcommittee "is charged with addressing the legacy of racism on training, increasing the representation of BIPOC individuals, anti-racism training efforts, social justice and healthy equity curricula, and interfacing with the clinical subcommittee regarding the clinical context of training," according to’s findings.

School-wide training consisting of modules, online orientations, and other programs were found at 12 of the schools, including Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine where Kendi’s "How to Be an Antiracist" is required reading for the class of 2025.

"Medical school activism is playing out in real world patient care, with health departments in multiple states, including New York, injecting racial preferences into COVID therapeutic eligibility," Jacobson said.

Critical race theory isn’t only pushed on students, as 17 of the top 25 institutions were also found to have some type of mandatory training for faculty and staff. For example, The Office of Education at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis will "require diversity and bias training for all searches and admissions processes including student, resident, fellow, faculty, and staff positions in education," according to the study.

David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA also required anti-bias and anti-racism training for all search committee members.

"When a patient presents for treatment, that person needs to be treated as an individual, not just as a member of some larger racial or ethnic group," Jacobson said., which details activity and contact information for each school, previously found that at least 236 colleges or universities of 500 examined have some form of mandatory student training or coursework on ideas related to CRT.

"While our prior databases on higher education and elite private schools served as educational tools for students and parents making application decisions, the medical school database serves as a wake-up call for the public to pay attention to the damaging racialization of medical education," Jacobson said.


‘Clear’ need for STEM boost to prepare job-ready graduates

The billionaire founder and chief executive of logistics software outfit WiseTech, Richard White, has called for a major boost to STEM education in Australia, declaring he’ll “tell anyone who listens” that the nation needs to improve its outcomes for primary and high school students.

Amid an ongoing battle for tech talent, WiseTech on Wednesday posted an 18 per cent increase in revenue to $281m for the first six months of the financial year, while earnings before interest taxation depreciation and amortisation jumped by 54 per cent to $137.7m.

The company also upgraded its EBITDA growth guidance by 10 per cent to 43 per cent, representing EBITDA of $275m to $295m.

Its net profit climbed a whopping 74 per cent to $77.4m.

Mr White said that WiseTech’s string of acquisitions in recent years was beginning to pay off, and that its CargoWise product in particular had been up a strong performer, with its revenue up 33 per cent year-on-year.

WiseTech’s software helps simplify logistics solutions for businesses.

It noted that despite the overall positive outlook “uncertainty around future economic and industrial production growth and/or global trade may lead to alternative outcomes” and “prevailing uncertainties relating to sovereign and geopolitical risk may also reduce assumed growth rates.”

The executive, a former guitar tech for AC/DC, said that for both WiseTech and Australia’s technology sector more broadly, Australia needs to boost its education efforts and pump out more job-ready graduates.

“This is something I‘ve been clear on for more than a decade,” Mr White said. “I want Australia to lift education, particularly digital technology education, and I’ll tell everybody, from politicians to industry leaders and everybody, that we need to do better.

“In primary school, and in high school, we need to get students in to digital technologies and into STEM so that when they arrive in the workforce they‘re highly skilled in the technologies for the future, rather than focused on what they might perceive as an interesting career but that is not necessarily the future.”

WiseTech shares closed up 4.2 per cent to $44.58.

The company has been caught up in the recent choppy market valuations, but Mr White said that businesses with strong fundamentals will have no trouble weathering the storms.

He added that while the recent acquisitions have been important for WiseTech’s success, he’s concentrating now on “not getting distracted by shiny objects’’.

“It’s important that we focus on really sticking to our knitting, and making this business’s core capabilities better and better,” he said. “So to be frank, the next year is about more of the same and being as good as we can.”




Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Progressive SUNY Binghamton professor rebuked for race, gender policy

SUNY Binghamton officials have rebuked a professor who said white students should clam up in class and let others lead academic discussions.

A syllabus for Ana Maria Candela’s sociology class alerted students that she would be calling on non-white coeds first.

Candela wrote that “if you are white, male, or someone privileged by the racial and gender structures of our society to have your voice easily voiced and heard, we will often ask you to hold off on your questions or comments to give others priority and will come back to you a bit later or at another time.”

Student Sean Harrigan shone a light on the pigment-specific pedagogy after he filed a Title IX discrimination complaint to the school.

Harrigan told The Post Monday that Binghamton officials scrambled to revise the syllabus and later insisted that they opposed the practice.

“How am I supposed to get a full participation grade if I’m not called on because of the way I was born?” Harrigan, an economics major, said Monday.

A school spokesperson said that they cleansed Candela’s syllabus of the offending phrases.

“The faculty member has updated their syllabus, removing the section in question, and is now in compliance with the Faculty Staff Handbook,” the school stated.

Dubbed “progressive stacking,” Candela’s policy aimed to “give priority to non-white folks, to women, and to shy and quiet people who rarely raise their hands,” the syllabus read.

Candela extolled the strategy in the first draft of her syllabus, telling students that it yields “tremendous benefits for our society.”

Over time, the academic said, “those who feel most privileged to speak begin to take the initiative to hold space for others who feel less comfortable speaking first, while those who tend to be more silenced in our society grow more comfortable speaking.”

Harrigan said that Candela also routinely equates capitalism to slavery during lectures. “This is just the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “The sociology department scares me.”

Harrigan said a professor in another class on “nonviolent compassionate communication” — also being offered through Binghamton’s rhetoric department — strongly encouraged him against choosing America as an example of a compassionate nation.

The student said campus opinion is generally split on progressive curricular trends — with some embracing them and others bristling.

“The Faculty Staff Handbook outlines principles of effective teaching, which include valuing and encouraging student feedback, encouraging appropriate faculty-student interaction, and respecting the diverse talents and learning styles of students,” the school said.

Candela’s syllabus “clearly violates those principles,” a school official said


NYC schools need more opportunity — not race-based ‘redistribution’

New schools Chancellor David Banks last week basically apologized for the new “standards” for admission to the city’s screened middle and high schools — and rightly so.

“As I got here, there were a number of things that were already in motion,” Banks said at a Queens meeting. “For right now we’ve come up with this new admissions criteria. We had to make a decision because parents need to make decisions on admissions sooner rather than later,” saying he’d re-examine the issue next year.

In other words, he doesn’t endorse the changes; he just fears that another revamp at this late date would make things worse.

Maybe so, but parents are rightly outraged. Department of Education Chief of Enrollment Sarah Kleinhandler basically admitted the point was the racial re-engineering that obsessed the old regime: “When we modeled this, we saw that black and brown children had . . . the percentage of their access to these screened high schools [go] up 13 percent.”

To get there, the de Blasio folks created a complex algorithm with “buckets” that basically blur the kids’ achievements, so that children with grades averaging 85 have the same chance as those with 99s (among other anti-excellence moves). Then it’s just a lottery; luck, not your hard work, is the deciding factor.

Of course, all families should have access to high-standards public schools for their children, at every level. But right now the only sure way to get that is to manage to get them in as tots to a Gifted & Talented school that feeds directly into good schools all the way through grade 12 — or to win another lottery, for entry into a public charter system like the Success Academies.

Students who enter a Success primary school are guaranteed seats in the network’s middle and high schools — all of which work with children of all ability levels, including special-needs kids. Yet the network as a whole produces test scores better than those of Scarsdale’s public schools.

We’re not saying the entire public-school system should do the same: Some kids are better off on a vocational track at some point; a few really want a performing-arts program, and so on. And while other charters satisfy many of those desires, the regular system should too: The city’s large enough to offer the whole range.

What the city doesn’t need is gimmicks that aim to award seats on the basis of skin color, rather than ability. The race-obsessives don’t even want selective performing-arts schools to do auditions as part of admissions.

If Banks doesn’t manage to stamp out that thinking fast, the system he runs will continue its current rapid enrollment drop.


Racially Sensitive 'Restorative' School Discipline Isn't Behaving Very Well

The fight outside North High School in Denver was about to turn more violent as one girl wrapped a bike chain around her fist to strike the other. Just before the attacker used the weapon, school staff arrived and restrained her, ending the fight but not the story.

Most high schools would have referred the chain-wielding girl to the police. But North High brought the two girls together to resolve the conflict through conversation. They discovered that a boy was playing them off each other. Feeling less hostile after figuring out the backstory, the girls did not fight again.

This alternative method of discipline, called “restorative practices,” is spreading across the country – and being put to the test. Many schools are enduring sharp increases in violence following the return of students from COVID lockdowns, making this softer approach a higher-stakes experiment in student safety.

“Kids are getting into more fights and disturbances because they are struggling,” says Yoli Anyon, a professor of social work at San Jose State University. “So schools are relying on restorative practices as a way to help young people transition back to the classroom.”

Long pushed by racial justice groups, the method aims to curb suspensions and arrests that disproportionately affect students of color. It replaces punishment with discussions about the causes and harmful impact of misbehavior, from sassing teachers and smoking pot to fighting (serious offenses like gun possession are still referred to the police). The hope is that students, through apologizing and making amends, will learn from their misdeeds and form healthier relationships with peers and teachers, making school violence less likely as they continue their education.

Orange County, Calif., is spearheading an expansion of the program into 32 schools, and Iowa City just started its own. Many other large districts – including Baltimore, Chicago, Kansas City, Miami, New York City, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Washington D.C. – introduced the alternative in recent years.

Denver, which pioneered restorative practices more than a decade ago and inspired districts to follow its lead, seems a good place to ask: Is the kinder approach working? Yes and no, and often the answer depends on the eye of the beholder. Suspensions have fallen significantly, in keeping with the intent of the changed discipline policy. But fighting and other serious incidents have not meaningfully declined, the district says. Other cities have reported similar outcomes, according to evaluations and school leaders.

Critics point to the massacre in Parkland, Fla., as a chilling example of what can go wrong. Nikolas Cruz, who killed 17 fellow students and staff members in 2018, was able to stay in school – and pass a background check to purchase the weapon he used – because the district tried to address his violent behavior before the shooting through counseling instead of referring him to authorities.

The reasons for the mixed results in Denver, where Latinos and blacks make up two-thirds of the students, and other cities are complex. Some teachers and administrations don’t buy the restorative philosophy. In schools struggling with low test scores and overcrowded classrooms, it seems like another time-consuming educational fad. And students who are demoralized by school sometimes see a restorative conversation as an easy way to escape suspension rather than a learning experience.

“Restorative practices aren’t a silver bullet that alone fix behavior problems,” says Don Haddad, the superintendent of Colorado’s St. Vrain Valley School District, which has used the program for years. “It only works as part of a comprehensive improvement of schools, with better academic programs that give students hope for the future. Otherwise, it has the potential to be just another feel-good program.”




Tuesday, February 22, 2022

UK: Free speech student fears he's in danger of being cancelled by the Open University for posting ‘statement of solidarity’ with controversial professor

A student who formed a club to promote free speech after a series of academics were attacked for their views says he is now in danger of being ‘cancelled’ by Britain’s biggest university.

Sam Cowie, 28, formed the Free Speech Society at the Open University (OU) last year but has been told his moves to get official affiliation for the club are currently ‘on hold’.

In emails seen by The Mail on Sunday, the university’s Student Association lays the blame for the OU’s decision on his posting of a ‘statement of solidarity’ on social media in support of Professor Jo Phoenix, an academic who quit the Open University in December following a campaign by trans activists.

Last night, Mr Cowie, a second-year psychology student from Glasgow, who has received the support of the UK’s Free Speech Union, said: ‘I formed the club because debate is being stifled and people are being bullied and mistreated, especially senior female academics.

It’s sinister ...why can’t people talk about perfectly reasonable things without being slammed?’


Pennsylvania School Removes CNN from Classrooms

A Pennsylvania school board has voted to end mandatory streaming of a CNN-affiliated program in its middle school over concerns that such broadcasts are biased.

Fox News reports:

The Norwin School Board voted 5-4 Monday to end requiring homeroom teachers to show students CNN 10, which is described as “compact on-demand news broadcasts ideal for explanation seekers on the go or in the classroom.”

Teachers will now use their discretion on whether to keep TVs turned off, show the newscast, or show patriotic videos on events such as Veterans Day or the attack on Pearl Harbor, Trib Live reported.

One mom, Ashley Egan of North Huntingdon, said broadcasting CNN-affiliated programs is “feeding [her son] every day that CNN is a label you can trust.”

CNN 10 was first added to required viewing material in 2019 in the district, after schools had previously viewed similar programs from Channel One.

Egan noted that CNN is not “unbiased” and supported the decision to end the mandatory viewing.


Florida governor: school districts that defied no-mask mandate to lose $200m

Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, is backing a controversial proposal to strip $200m in education funding from Democratic counties that defied his executive order last year banning mask mandates in schools.

DeSantis, who is widely seen as a leading heir to Donald Trump in the Republican party, plans to send the money instead to mostly Republican counties that supported him.

The plan, which some analysts believe is almost certainly unconstitutional, was part of a budget bill that passed the Republican-dominated Florida house on Wednesday.

It was immediately attacked by teachers unions, school districts and education advocates, who say the penalties will strip further resources from classrooms in a state already in the bottom four of per-student spending nationally.

“This is retaliation by legislators and the governor,” said Jabari Hosey, president of the advocacy group Families for Safe Schools and a parent of school-age children in Brevard county.

“We are down over 150 teachers in Brevard right now. We need more social workers, there’s a performance gap because of Covid that is still present in our community. We need more funds, more opportunities, more instructors.

“To retaliate and to attack the public school system they are supposed to be promoting is very sad. Frankly, it’s embarrassing.”

Under the proposal by the Republican state congressman Randy Fine, school districts in the 12 Florida counties that implemented mask mandates last summer in defiance of DeSantis’s executive order will forfeit amounts based on their size.

Brevard, where Hosey’s children attend school, and which Fine represents, would forgo $4.5m.

Two-thirds of the money would come from south Florida, which votes overwhelmingly Democratic in local, state and national elections. Miami-Dade, the nation’s fourth largest district with 357,000 students, would lose $72m; Broward, the sixth largest with 270,000 students, would forfeit about $32m; and Palm Beach, the 10th largest with 193,000 would give up $28m.

Of the others, Alachua, Duval, Hillsborough, Indian River, Leon, Orange, Sarasota and Volusia counties, all but three backed Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election in Florida, which was won by Donald Trump.

“Following the law is not optional. These school districts broke the law, and they were broken for nothing,” a visibly angry Fine told fellow legislators on Wednesday.

He insisted during a turbulent session of the Florida house appropriations committee last week that the state would cut the salaries of administrators earning more than $100,000 and not “reduce funding for any direct educational service or resource that impacts the education of kindergarten through grade 12 students”.

He conceded, however, that the policy was intentionally punitive to counties who refused to fall in line with the governor. “It is intended to reward the 55 school districts, the overwhelming majority of which followed our state law and respected the rights of parents over the past year,” he said.

Initially, DeSantis, a fierce critic of mask and vaccine mandates, declared himself against the proposal. “My view would be let’s not do that,” he said in an appearance in Jacksonville on Friday, telling reporters he instead preferred to let parents sue school districts individually if they felt children were harmed by “forced masking”.

By Tuesday, however, the governor backtracked, supporting Fine’s initiative and parents’ rights to file lawsuits. “They should get compensated for academic, social and emotional problems caused by these policies,” he said in a tweet.

Having passed the Florida house, the $105bn budget that includes the redistribution of education funds must now be reconciled in the state senate, which also has a Republican majority.

If DeSantis eventually signs it into law, it is likely to face legal challenges. Hosey’s group points out that every Florida county with mandates dropped them as soon as the original executive order became law in November, following a lengthy legal back and forth with districts who insisted they followed advice on masking from the Biden administration and federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Additionally, they say, the fines target the salaries of school district administrators who only implemented the mask policies, not the school board members who set them.

John J Sullivan, director of legislative affairs for Broward county public schools, told the Guardian in a statement that students would be directly affected by the withholding of funds.

“We are disappointed in the governor’s reversal. We hope the senate will not agree to penalize administrators who have worked tirelessly to meet the unprecedented challenges caused by the pandemic, always focused on the health and safety of students and teachers,” he said.

“This penalty would have a negative impact on the services the district is able to provide to our students.”

Administrators in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties have issued similar statements, and educators’ unions have condemned the plan.

“We have 165 vacancies and a lot of it has to do with the salaries we can offer to teachers. So that money would mean a lot to our school district and it’s a shame that someone would do that. It’s totally punitive and politically motivated,” Wendy Doromal, president of the Orange county classroom teachers association told WMFE radio.




Monday, February 21, 2022

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wants professors to lose tenure if they teach CRT

Texas college and university professors may soon lose tenure if they teach critical race theory (CRT) in their classrooms, according to the Lone Star state's lieutenant governor, who has vowed action by the state.

In a warning message to educators this week, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said he will work to strip them of their job security in the state if they teach CRT.

"The critical race theory people are trying to take us back to a divided country," Patrick told reporters at a press conference.

"Tenure to these professors who voted 41-5 telling the taxpayers and the parents and the legislature, and your own board of regents, to get out of their business that we have no say what you do in the classroom… You've opened the door for this issue because you went too far."

"What we will propose to do is to end all tenure for all new hires," Patrick said, vowing that the state legislature would take action against those who teach the subject in their classrooms.

"The law will change to say teaching critical race theory is prima facie evidence for good cause for tenure revocation," he said. In addition to his comments concerning tenure, Patrick said he wants annual reviews for the professors rather than six year reviews.

Patrick's remarks came after a vote by the Faculty Council at the University of Texas at Austin on a resolution to "defend academic freedom" by allowing the promotion of critical race theory in classrooms.

In a video that has been viewed over 10,000 times, UT-Austin Associate Professor of Finance Dr. Richard Lowery spoke out against the resolution which affirmed the "fundamental rights" of professors to push critical race theory in classrooms.

Lowery told Fox News that critical race theory, which promotes the idea that the United States is inherently racist, has "no scientific basis."

"From an academic perspective it basically assumes its conclusion," Lowery said. "There’s no reason to do research when you’ve already assumed that everything is driven by this one particular thing. They assume everything is driven by racism so you go back and figure out how things are driven by racism and that’s not actual research. It’s not falsifiable. It has no scientific basis."

Differing from Lowery, Andrea Gore, a professor in the Division of Toxicology and Pharmacology at UT-Austin, offered support for the resolution, saying it is "educators and not politicians" who should be making decisions about what is taught in schools across the state.

"This resolution affirms that its educators and not politicians who should make decisions about teaching and learning and it supports the rights and the academic freedom of faculty to design courses curriculum and pedagogy and to conduct related scholarly research," Gore said.


DeSantis, first lady vow to 'change the narrative' on kids' mental health, keep politics out of classroom

Florida's Gov. Ron DeSantis and his wife, Casey DeSantis, sat down with Fox News Digital in a joint interview during which they reiterated their commitment to keeping Florida free in addition to announcing a new focus on cancer research and children's mental health in the months following the first lady's breast cancer diagnosis.

Casey DeSantis told Fox News Digital on Monday that she feels "really good" and is starting to get her energy back again, after announcing she completed her final round of chemotherapy for breast cancer in January. She said she was motivated by her family, including children Madison, 5, Mason, 3, and Maime, 22 months, to continue fighting.

As part of his wife's commitment to continue fighting, Gov. DeSantis proposed to increase the state's budget by 60% for cancer research, bringing the total to $100 million. The first lady told Fox News Digital that early detections and screenings for cancer were imperative, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic that saw a large decline in individuals seeking preventative medical treatment.

The other pocket of funding would be dedicated to technology and innovation so "we can finally find a cure for this thing," she said. The first lady in recent months has visited numerous children's hospitals and cancer centers throughout the state to discuss importance of early screenings and offer a sense of hope for children and adults going through chemotherapy.

Empowering kids

The first lady also talked about mental health impacts of the pandemic in addition to physical impacts, stating that her resiliency initiative, launched in February 2021, is aimed at empowering kids to be able to persevere through life's challenges. The initiative includes a "resiliency toolkit," as well as the Hope Ambassador Clubs program, designed to create "kind and compassionate school environments" through peer-to-peer volunteering.

"With mental health, what I noticed in traveling the state and speaking with a lot of kids is that if they come forward and say that they have a mental health issue, that they feel like a victim and that there's a stigma associated with it," Casey DeSantis told Fox News Digital.

She detailed working with the state Department of Education to pass a standard and curriculum that goes toward mental health in addition to engaging with well-known athletes, including Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, and sports teams to discuss how no one is immune from hardship. "We're really trying to change the narrative with that," she continued.

In addition, the first lady said that virtual learning during COVID "was a terrible, failed experiment and our poor kids suffered immensely," which is why she's proud that the governor kept schools open.

"The governor keeping the schools open has done so much for these kids’ emotional and mental well-being. I really am so sad to hear that that's even part of the dialog in other states that you would be closing schools, not providing the opportunity for some of these kids."

On the topic of education standards for Florida's schoolchildren, Gov. DeSantis weighed in, citing the state's ban on teaching critical race theory as well as the new education standards his administration enacted last year on teaching of American civics, the Holocaust and character standards.

He told Fox News Digital that the education standards will be taught from "a vantage point of facts and truth," and without infusing political ideology. Gov. DeSantis referred to the 1619 Project, authored by Nikole Hannah-Jones, who recently incorrectly claimed that the Civil War started the year it ended, among other controversial statements.

"So, for example, this 1619 Project that the New York Times parrots, they say that the American Revolution was fought both to defend slavery," he said. "But if you look, there's literally nothing in the historical record."

Weaponizing history

The governor continued, "And so it's a historical, they're trying to weaponize history by distorting it in order to advance a political agenda. And so I think we've tackled that right. We are, though, increasing the ability of parents to be involved in the curriculum. Parents have a right to know what's being taught in schools. There's going to be more rights for parents after this legislative session so that they can make sure that our standards are enforced," he said.

Casey DeSantis, a former TV host, also weighed in on the state of the national conversation, saying, "I think we are divided, and I think it's very unfortunate. I think that if there were more outlets that would probably tell more accurate information that I don't think that we would be so divided. I think that there's a lot of entities that make a profit off of divisiveness." Gov. DeSantis chimed in, slamming the mainstream media "legacy outlets" for trying to "nullify" the 2016 election results by attempting to tie the Trump campaign to collusion with Russia.


Education Department erases $415M in student loan debt for 16,000 borrowers

The Department of Education announced this week it will cancel $415 million in federal student loans by nearly 16,000 borrowers allegedly misled by for-profit colleges.

The borrowers, who attended DeVry University, ITT Technical Institute, Westwood College and the Minnesota School of Business/Globe University, will receive the relief through a legal provision known as borrower defense, which allows individuals to discharge some or all of their student loan debt if their school misled them or otherwise engaged in other misconduct.

"The department remains committed to giving borrowers discharges when the evidence shows their college violated the law and standards," Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement Wednesday.

The department found that between 2008 and 2015, DeVry University, a for-profit university headquartered in Illinois, repeatedly misled students by claiming that 90% of its graduates actively seeking employment landed a job in their field of study within six months of graduation. The job placement level was actually closer to 58%, according to the department.

The department has so far identified about 1,800 borrowers who will be eligible for more than $71 million in discharges because they "relied upon DeVry's misrepresentation in deciding to enroll." The number of borrowers who qualify for discharge is expected to grow as the department continues to review outstanding claims from former students. All borrowers with approved claims will receive full relief.

"Students count on their colleges to be truthful," Cardona said. "Unfortunately, today's findings show too many instances in which students were misled into loans at institutions or programs that could not deliver what they'd promised."

In a statement, Devry's Donna Shaults, senior director of university relations, noted the university's board of directors and leadership have changed since 2015.

Still, she maintained the university had been misrepresented by the government.

"We do believe that the Department of Education mischaracterizes DeVry's calculation and disclosure of graduate outcomes in certain advertising, and we do not agree with the conclusions they have reached," Shaults said.

In total, the Biden administration has approved about $2 billion in loan forgiveness for more than 100,000 students allegedly defrauded by their schools.




Sunday, February 20, 2022

Top California university may have to slash admissions after neighborhood group complains

The University of California, Berkeley may have to slash its new admissions by about one-third after a neighborhood group in the hilly Bay Area city challenged the environmental impact of the top college’s expansion plan.

The university is asking California’s supreme court to intervene after the local group, called Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods, successfully argued the university was violating a major environmental law by failing to account for increases in the trash, traffic and noise that increased enrollment and new construction would bring.

As a result, the university will have to send out 5,100 fewer admission letters than planned next month, and forgo $57m in tuition fees over the 2022-23 academic year.

The case sits at the intersection of several big debates roiling California at the moment: how to reduce educational inequities and rein in increasingly unaffordable tuition fees? How to address a housing crisis even as nimby homeowners seek to stifle new development?

At the center of the UC Berkeley case is the state’s environmental law – the California Environmental Quality Act – which critics say is being brazenly used by neighborhood groups to block necessary housing and infrastructure using the pretense of environmentalism. It has also raised the alarm that amid unprecedented demand for higher education in California, thousands of students will miss their chance at a degree from one of the top US universities.

The construction project near campus that triggered Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods’ challenge would replace an existing parking structure with accommodation for 30 graduate students, and classroom space for the university’s public policy program.

In its environmental impact study for the new construction, the university argued increased enrollment previous years had “no significant environmental impacts”. UC Berkeley has also said that it should be able to address the concerns raised in the lawsuit without having to limit enrollment in the meantime.

But in August, a county judge disagreed. “Further increases in student enrollment above the current enrollment level at UCBerkeley could result in an adverse change or alteration of the physical environment,” superior court judge Brad Seligman wrote, ordering the school to freeze enrollment at the same level as 2020-21.

The court’s assessment essentially concluded that crowded classrooms full of college students posed an environmental threat akin to a highly-polluting highway project, said Jennifer Hernandez, an attorney who often defends developers from CEQA litigation.

Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods has stated that the university, which has increased its enrollment from 31,800 in 2005 to 43,100 last year, has failed to provide adequate housing for students. The group argues students have pushed into the city and impacted housing prices and homelessness in surrounding communities. It has further suggested that the university adjust admissions to let in fewer students from other states and other countries – who pay higher tuition fees than California residents – to admit more locals.

“UC Berkeley students themselves have repeatedly said that UC should stop increasing enrollment until it can provide housing for its students,” said Phil Bokovoy, president of Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods. “We are all very concerned that UC Berkeley will create a housing crisis next fall.”

But critics of the group have countered that while the university should do more to house students – many of whom struggle to find apartments and afford rents in one of the most expensive California regions – Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods shouldn’t be blocking the development of new housing in making that point. Bokovoy, who is a graduate of UC Berkeley himself, has suggested that the university expand elsewhere in the Bay Area.

The university has not yet detailed how it would decide which offers to rescind if the freeze were to go ahead. But it has said the losses in tuition revenue would reduce the university’s capacity to offer financial aid to low-income students and could limit class offerings.

Because many graduate students have already received their admissions letters and because of the number of new admits the university would have to cut down, undergraduate students are expected to be most affected.

Riya Master, a senior at UC Berkeley and the external affairs vice-president for Associated Students of the University of California, a student association, said she worried that lower-income, first-generation and minority students who might have had fewer extra-curricular activities listed on their applications due to the opportunities that were available to them would be disproportionately affected.

Environmental law is “not being used with the intention of protecting the environment. It’s being used to limit access, it’s being used to keep the neighborhood the way an older, primarily white generation wants it to be”, Master said.

In a letter to prospective students, Olufemi Ogundele, director of undergraduate admissions, wrote: “This is unsettling news, we know” and reassured students that the university is working to avoid a reduction in new admits.

The freeze on admissions would come as the demand for seats in the University of California system continues to rise. Applications to the UC schools have soared, especially since the state university system phased out a requirement to submit standardized entrance exam scores. Applications to the schools were also up among Black and Latino Californians. The number of students who took semesters off due to Covid-19 seeking to return to campus this fall will further squeeze the university’s ability to admit new students, UC Berkeley said.

“This is a disaster for the university, and this is a disaster for students,” said Ozan Jaquette, an assistant professor of higher education at the University of California, Los Angeles. “It’s the meanest thing I’ve ever heard.”

For many students, a degree from a highly-regarded public institution is a “big massive engine of social mobility”, he noted, adding that there would not be a way that Berkeley could feasibly reduce admissions to the extent currently required without it affecting students from all backgrounds.

“Trying to use CEQA as a population control statute is a real slippery slope,” said Hernandez, the attorney.

The CEQA, a landmark law initially signed into law in 1970 by then-governor Ronald Regan, has recently been at the center of several high-profile court cases challenging developments. The state’s attorney general has intervened in some cases that use CEQA to challenge new construction in fire-prone wildlands.

But the state’s strict environmental laws are also used to challenge in-fill construction in cities, including affordable housing. Over the past several years, CEQA has been used to delay or block the development of affordable apartments for disabled veterans in Los Angeles and a 500-unit building in housing-crunched San Francisco. Recently, the wealthy Bay Area town of Woodside tried to use the state’s endangered species law to block the construction of new duplexes.

The law can be exploited by people who want, rather than protect California from the effects of climate change and pollution, to preserve “their own personal environment, as they experience it, outside their window when they want to take a quiet nap in the afternoon”, she said.


Charlie Kirk, Students Rally Against Chicago Mask Mandate

The history of the COVID pandemic includes a wide range of stories. Many of them explaining the draconian measures taken by governments around the world, in response to erroneous forecasts provided by the “experts”.

Marxist political governors in the U.S. used the temporary emergency powers afforded to them by their state legislatures, to control their populations, similar to past tyrannical fascist dictators such as Stalin and Mussolini.

As more and more data has come out concerning the effectiveness of natural immunity, and as more stories of politicians and elite members of Hollywood flouting the rules they put in place, a strong movement to fight the mask and vaccine mandates is increasing.

For example, last week, a maskless Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams visited an elementary school, where she required children to cover their faces.

On Wednesday evening, Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk and Illinois students hosted a rally, with a standing-room-only crowd of 1,200 people, at the Arcada Theatre in the Chicago suburb of St. Charles, where he, Chicago-area students, and TPUSA activists gathered in protest of forced masks.

“We know it’s not about public health. We know it’s about control,” Kirk said


Australia: Shorter, fewer school suspensions under controversial behaviour policy

The length of school suspensions will be halved and students cannot be sent home more than three times a year under a new behaviour strategy designed to reduce the high number of sanctions against vulnerable children in NSW public schools.

Parents support the policy, but the teachers union says it will increase safety risks for staff and students by constraining teachers’ ability to manage disruptive and dangerous behaviour.

The changes come amid concerns that 40 per cent of suspensions – including around two-thirds of the hundreds of kindergarten suspensions each year – involve students with disabilities. Indigenous students are also more likely to be sent home from school.

Under the new policy, to begin next term, principals must give a warning – valid for 50 days –if a student’s behaviour is raising the prospect of suspension, and can only send them home immediately if there is a threat to the safety of others.

Students from kindergarten to year 2 can be sent home for a maximum of five days instead of the previous 20, although the government abandoned an earlier plan to ban all suspensions in that age group. A principal must take in the student’s circumstances – including any disability or background of trauma – before making the decision.

A new expulsion process will require schools to give the student and their parents seven days’ warning of a decision and to conduct a risk assessment before the student attends another school. If the risk is too great, the minister can ban the student from the public system.

There are also new rules around the use of so-called restrictive practices such as seclusion, which can only be used in an emergency, and mechanical restraint, which requires parental consent and approval from the student’s medical team.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the new strategy would also come with extra resources, such as behaviour specialists to support schools and training for staff in managing student behaviour.

“Behaviour management in our schools is one of the most important aspects of providing quality education, and we need to get it right,” she said.

“We know that what is currently happening is not working as too many students, particularly those with learning difficulties or from low socio-economic families, are suspended and do not receive the support they need.”

The suspension issue has divided school communities. Parents say students are being suspended for behaviours caused by their disability, but teachers say they don’t have the resources to deal with extreme behaviour that puts other students and staff at risk.

A draft of the policy, released 18 months ago, was welcomed by parent groups but led to tense negotiations with principals and the teachers’ union, who argued it would undermine their ability to protect the safety of staff and students.

One of their chief concerns was the scrapping of a list of grounds for suspension, ranging from physical violence or drug possession - which would result in a long, or 20-day suspension - to continued disobedience or aggressive behaviour, which could lead to a short, 10-day suspension.

The Secondary Principals Council said it had not yet seen the finalised policy so declined to comment.

However, one principal – who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media – said some were angry enough to consider industrial action if their concerns were not met.

The new strategy allows principals to apply to their superior, the regional director, for permission to suspend students for longer than the maximum 10 days, or more often than the three times outlined in the policy.

The Advocate for Children and Young People, Zoe Robinson, welcomed the policy. “We know there is a link between suspensions and youth justice. We welcome this policy reform as a step forward and are glad the department and Minister have worked with and listened to children and young people.”

P&C Federation president Natalie Walker also backed the plan. “This strategy looks to provide a more inclusive and engaging and accessible education for all children and families in NSW public schools.”

Louise Kuchel from Square Peg, Round Whole – a community of parents advocating for children with disabilities – said parents supported reducing the number and length of suspensions but wanted to see them banned for the youngest children.

“Some parents have lost count of how often their kids have been suspended,” she said. “We’re not improving outcomes for young, neurodivergent people when we keep excluding them and sending them away.”

However, the NSW Teachers Federation wrote to the NSW Department of Education on Thursday, warning the policy would increase teachers’ workload and put safety at risk.

“It will constrain the ability of schools to manage and address appropriate student behaviour, denying the vast majority of students a safe and settled learning environment,” deputy president Henry Rajendra told the Herald.