Friday, June 17, 2022

YES! They Have Been FORCED To Cancel Drag Queen Story Hour

After community outrage, a mayor in North Carolina said Saturday that a planned LGBT Pride “Drag Queen Story Hour” event had been canceled.

The event was canceled after Apex Mayor Jacques Gilbert, a former captain of the Apex Police Department, forwarded community feedback to the festival commission hosting the event, according to a Facebook statement.

Here’s what Gilbert said, who used to be the captain of the Apex Police Department:

“Given that this part of the event was not originally presented when the event was proposed, I met with representatives from the organizations hosting the event, the Apex Festival Commission, and presented the feedback I have received from citizens.”

“Today I was notified that the Apex Festival Commission has taken the feedback into careful consideration and has decided to remove the Drag Queen Story Hour from the event,”

“It continues to be my goal to ensure that all voices in our community are represented,” said the mayor, noting that he “received a variety of feedback regarding the Drag Queen Story Hour.”

According to town council member Audra Killingsworth, the town got numerous complaints, some of which escalated into threats of violence, an outlet reported. The organizers said, “While the event may seem to be a small part in the festivities, the Drag Queen Story Hour can have a big impact on kids.”

The mayor’s announcement drew mixed reactions, with some expressing disappointment at the cancellation and others supporting the decision.

One parent wrote, “This was THE Pride event I was planning to attend with my toddler. Very disappointed in the event organizers who were swayed by hateful, misguided comments.”

One person said the decision was “fair,” adding that “this performance (stage names, etc.) is too adult for a children’s activity,” and thanking the mayor and the committee for their choice.


'Woke' Open University anti-racist training course titled 'Union Black' tells academics that 'white superiority' is 'embedded in the English language'

A 'woke' anti-racism Open University training course devised by professors as well as Labour frontbencher David Lammy is teaching academics that the English language upholds 'white superiority'.

The programme titled Union Black, which was launched last year through a £500,000 investment from Santander, claims that the idea of 'white hegemony' has been 'covertly weaved' into people's minds.

Course material studied by academics at almost 100 UK universities including Imperial College London says 'white superiority' is ingrained in the 'cultural psychology of the English language' - and that white Europeans have most 'successfully' imposed racist ideas.

Another module praises cancel culture, urging participants to 'share collective expressions of moral outrage' and encouraging them to become 'active allies' in advancing racial justice.

The course's claims about race and the English language have been blasted as 'characteristically woke', 'unhistorical', 'ignorant' and 'illiterate' by Dr Zareer Masani, historian of the British Empire.

'This is a sad reflection of woke brainwashing of our future academics. It betrays abysmal ignorance of how any language evolves, assimilating diverse influences along the way,' he told The Telegraph.

The programme was developed by leading academics including Professor Marcia Wilson, Dean of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the Open University. It also includes contributions from Mr Lammy, Sir Keir Starmer's Shadow Justice Secretary, historian and film-maker David Olusoga and Baroness Shami Chakrabarti among others.

In one module, called 'What is whiteness?', the course states: 'Along with religion, politics, laws and customs, white superiority is embedded in the linguistic and cultural psychology of the English language.

'Consequently, given the global reach of the English language, the assumption of white hegemony has been covertly weaved into the consciousness of white people, black people and people of colour.'

It calls on university staff taking the training programme to address unconscious biases which all people are either 'unaware of' or 'in denial about'.

An Open University spokesperson said: 'We are proud to have worked together with Santander on developing this course which is aimed at increasing awareness of racism and building allyship to support inclusion.

'Feedback from participants on the course has been extremely positive, and we are recommending it to staff and students across all UK universities.'

Santander previously said that the Union Black course was created in response to a report highlighting racial inequality in higher education. MailOnline has approached Santander for further comment.

The Telegraph reports that the course argues that the problem of white dominance is also political, stating: 'Historically, British politics has maintained white hegemony, making immigration an existential threat to white Britons.'

It defines 'whiteness' as 'the systemic and structural domination and oppression of 'non-white' peoples', informing students that 'white' people only exist in opposition to 'black' people, both of which are socially constructed ideologies'.

Course material also claims that the majority group experiencing 'reverse racism' from the minority group is a 'mythical' idea and suggests 'some people have been improperly educated about what racism truly means'.

However, the claims go against the views of the Commission on and Ethnic Disparities, led by Tony Sewell.

The report, published last year and which split opinions, said the 'claim the country is still institutionally racist is not borne out by the evidence'.


New NYC Council bills intend to widen access to elite public high schools

City Council Members Justin Brannan, Keith Powers and Oswald Feliz will introduce three proposals Thursday to promote test preparation for specialized high schools that rely on the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) for entry.

“We know SHSAT prep has the ability to level the playing field for every student in NYC,” said Brannan, whose district includes Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst and Bath Beach in Brooklyn.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that every student, regardless of race or class, can thrive within our school system,” he said.

The package requires the Department of Education to create a plan to administer specialized high school admissions tests on a school day.

The proposal would continue two years of the schools offering the SHSAT during the day since the pandemic began — to increase awareness of the test and make traveling easier for families who work or have other responsibilities.

Close to 15% of test-takers received an offer for this fall, or 4,053 out of 27,669 students who took the SHSAT this school year,new city data released Wednesday showed.

The third in the series has the DOE create a plan to provide SHSAT preparation to all middle school students.

Council members said the vast majority of New York City middle schools do not currently have access to publicly funded test preparation.

“For years, antiquated practices around the SHSAT have shut too many students out from success and opportunity,” said Powers, whose district extends from much of the Upper East Side and Midtown to Stuyvesant Town.

Powers added that while “there’s still so much more” that the city could do to address concerns about the test and increase diversity at the selective schools, the laws could be “pragmatic steps forward.”

Black and Latino students made up 21% and 26% of students who sat for the SHSAT this school year, respectively — but got just 3% and 6% of offers to enroll in specialized high schools this fall, data showed.

Asian students made up 31% of test-takers and 53% of offers; white students were 17% of test-takers and 28% of offers.

The distribution of offers by ethnicity was similar this year to that of last admission cycle.

Council members said previous legislation similar to their proposal had widespread support, including from Speaker Adrienne Adams, until public health measures took precedence.




Thursday, June 16, 2022

Missouri Attorney General Subpoenas 7 School Districts Amid Worry Over Student Surveying

Surveys in Missouri schools that collect information from students and create a perceived need for a so-called social-emotional learning curriculum have drawn the attention of state officials.

Attorney General Eric Schmitt issued subpoenas last week to seven school districts that allegedly employ student surveys—created by education companies Panorama and Project Wayfinder—that gather data about parents’ political beliefs and income levels, as well as racial identity, sexual behaviors, and mental health.

“Those same groups come in and sell that curriculum to the schools,” said Kimberly Hermann, general counsel with Southeastern Legal Foundation, a national nonprofit law firm that defends liberty.

“The contracts with these companies are public record, so they’re supposed to be approved during school board meetings, but the surveys are happening without parental consent and parental notification.”

In response, Schmitt has opened an investigation into the use of student surveys in Mehlville, Webster Groves, Jefferson City, Lee’s Summit R-7, Park Hill, Springfield, and Neosho schools—with an eye on violations of Missouri’s Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment.

“Subjecting students to personal, invasive surveys created by third-party consultants, potentially without parents’ consent, is ridiculous and does nothing to further our children’s education,” Schmitt said in a statement.

Hermann details in a May 1 letter to Schmitt that Webster Groves requires middle school students to take a survey on “LGBTQIA+ Struggles!” that asks: “What are your preferred pronouns, what struggles have you experienced related to LGBTQIA+, and what would you like to see in the school in order to be more inclusive?”

“There are federal statutes that they’re not supposed to ask these questions,” said Andy Wells, the Missouri chapter president of No Left Turn in Education, a national education advocacy organization.

“The problem is that school districts, and some of the companies that are being hired by school districts, don’t care. They just ignore it. They do it anyway and if somebody doesn’t like it, you’ll have to sue them.”

Second-graders were asked, “When is the first time you noticed that people can be different races from you, what did you notice, and do you feel more comfortable around people who look like you?”

“The goal here is to teach these kids that America is a white country of white supremacy and to destroy the nuclear family,” Hermann said. “If bad actors in the progressive left are not stopped, then we’re just going to have a further divide in this country among our kids.”

Neither Panorama nor Project Wayfinder responded by press time to requests by The Epoch Times for comment.

Schools often create partnerships with third-party vendors to secure grant money, according to Jill Carter, a candidate for the Missouri Senate’s 32nd District, and by accepting the grant, they are bound to allow the surveying.

“If it’s a platform that’s providing software or technology, especially with the technology in our school’s increasing, there’s less and less ability for the school to even really know what is being asked,” Carter told The Epoch Times.

“They are giving over that oversight, and the teachers sometimes don’t even know, because the kids are online or on a tablet, and that’s part of the software or implementation of some of these programs.”

Among the concerns identified is confidentiality.

“There’s a lot of danger by it,” Wells told The Epoch Times. “The biggest of which is who has access to the data and whether it follows students to college. How is the data being used?”

Another anxiety is whether the information gleaned is creating a profile that flags a need for intervention.

“It’s definitely a force of government and the intervention would be, ‘If we don’t like the way you respond on these surveys, we’re going to recommend intervention,’ and Panorama offers intervention activities and questions,” said Missouri-based Mary Byrne, who holds a doctorate in education from Teacher’s College in Manhattan.

“There’s a menu that you can access for teachers to implement different activities.”

The use of surveys isn’t new, according to Byrne.

“It was done years before, and that’s why the Pupil Privacy Act was put in place,” she said.

The Pupil Privacy Act, also known as the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment of 1978, prohibits children from participating in surveys and other analyses without parental consent and includes a provision for parents to opt their child out of such evaluations.

But there is no cause of action to file a lawsuit for a violation of federal privacy laws.

“The way Congress wrote the law is you can file an administrative complaint, but under the Biden administration, we know that’s not going anywhere,” Hermann said.

The subpoenas delivered by Schmitt demand documents and information to determine the extent of the surveys and whether parents consented to the surveys prior to distribution to students.

“We’d like him to obtain information regarding where these surveys are coming from and enforce federal and state privacy laws,” Hermann said.

“He has numerous different avenues that he could go based on the law and his investigatory power. So we’re going to leave it to his office to make determinations about what they think the best avenue is.”


Oregonians Say Education on Wrong Track, Overwhelmingly Support School Choice, Poll Finds

A new poll suggests that Oregon voters are extremely dissatisfied with the state’s K-12 education system and would overwhelmingly support school choice.

Of 727 registered voters polled on June 1, just 25 percent of Democrats, 9.7 percent of Republicans, and 14.1 percent of independents believe that Oregon’s public K-12 education system is on the right track.

The poll, commissioned by the advocacy group Oregon Moms Union and conducted by Nelson Research, also suggests broad support for school choice across party lines, including 59.7 percent of Democrats, 84.5 percent of Republicans, and 77.4 percent of Independents.

School choice gives parents the right to use the tax dollars designated for their child’s education to send their child to the public or private school of their choice.

Only 24.3 percent of those surveyed oppose letting parents have the right to use their tax dollars the way that best serves their child’s needs. Only 3 percent had no opinion.

The results in Oregon mirror a national poll conducted by RealClear Opinion Research in February.

That survey of more than 2,000 registered voters found the concept of school choice enjoys overwhelming support, with 72 percent in favor of the concept and 18 percent opposed. The same holds true across party lines, with 68 percent of Democrats, 82 percent of Republicans, and 67 percent of Independents saying they support such a policy.

That’s up nearly 9 percent since the pandemic began.

“In light of the failures of the public education system navigating COVID, the recent trend of parents pulling kids out of public schools, and continued poor performance indicators, we wanted to know what the public’s appetite is for real education alternatives for parents,” said MacKensey Pulliam, President and Co-Founder of Oregon Moms Union.

“Many parents are already pulling their kids out of the public school system in Oregon so that they no longer have to co-parent with the government and can have choice in their child’s education,” Pulliam told The Epoch Times.

Oregon’s largest district, the Portland Public Schools is feeling the pressure. PPS projects that next year’s enrollment will be down 14 percent from pre-pandemic levels. Other districts around the state are experiencing a similar trend.

Christine Drazan, a Republican candidate for Governor and former Oregon House Minority Leader, weighed in on the problems plaguing Oregon’s K-12 education system.

“Despite record funding levels, our graduation rates and student achievement remain stubbornly low,” she told The Epoch Times. “At the same time, what’s best for our kids too often takes a backseat to political agendas and the voices of parents are overridden by bureaucrats with too much power and misguided priorities.”

“We need to get back to basics in our schools … and focus on ensuring that our students know how to read, write, and do math,” she added.

If public schools can’t get that done, she supports school choice.

“Access to a classroom environment that best fits the needs of a student is essential to their ability to succeed,” Drazan continued. “For many students, the traditional classroom is just fine. For others, a charter school or other format might be more ideal.”

During the past two years, increasing numbers of parents have already “voted with their feet” for school choice, wrote Kathryn Hickock, executive vice president at the Portland-based Cascade Policy Institute.

Since the COVID pandemic began, 8.7 million children switched from public to private schools nationwide, she wrote on the advocacy group’s website.

In Oregon, charter school enrollment increased 20.8 percent between the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years. Today, nearly 36,000 of the state’s 560,000 students attend 131 charter schools.

The number of Oregon homeschooled students increased 73 percent between the last two school years, according to Hickock.

Nationwide, 11.1 percent of American households with school-aged children report they are now homeschooling. That’s double the percentage compared to before the pandemic, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.


Australia: Boys falling far behind girls in HSC and at university

The feminization of education reaps its inevitable rewards. It starts in primary school with the idea that boys are inherently disgusting, obnoxious, violent, and disrespectful, and asking them to sit the heck down during class and pay attention to the teacher. It is a system where boys are punished for behaving like boys and have few if any male teacher role models

Boys are falling far behind girls in school-leaving exams and at university to the extent that a University Admissions Centre (UAC) analysis of results found that being male was “greater than any of the other recognised disadvantages we looked at”.

The centre looked at Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) and first-year university grade point average data and found the gender education gap persisted across socio-economic quartiles at both senior school and university levels.

Educators said there could be many factors at play, including different maturity levels, the compulsory inclusion of English in the HSC, which tended to favour girls, the declining popularity of difficult maths and sciences, and the increase in the school-leaving age.

Jennifer Buckingham, a reading expert who has studied the gender education gap in a previous role at the Centre for Independent Studies, said all jobs, including trades, now needed workers with strong literacy and numeracy skills. “The options for boys who don’t do well at school are becoming fewer and fewer,” she said.

“The expectations of what they can achieve change, they set their sights lower, and there are economic consequences of that too.”

The UAC analysis of ATAR data over many years, but particularly from 2020, found there was gender parity at the top end of the ATAR scale, above 98, and at the bottom end, below 39, but boys were far outnumbered by girls in the middle range.

The analysis said boys were under-represented due to a “combination of boys not performing as well as girls placed at similar points in the gender ability spectrum, and, more importantly, boys choosing study patterns that do not make them eligible for an ATAR or an HSC”.

The centre’s analysis found an ATAR-aged boy was 16.3 per cent less likely to obtain an HSC qualification than a girl in the same group, and 15 per cent less likely to complete at least one subject in 2020 than girls. “The effect of being male was greater than any of the other recognised disadvantages we looked at,” the analysis found.

The gap persists into university, the UAC analysis found, with boys enrolling at lower rates, less likely to pass all their subjects, and more likely to fail everything. The issue was across socio-economic quartiles.

NSW Department of Education data also show boys are also more likely to skip school. Attendance among high school girls is more than 82 per cent, compared with less than 73 per cent for boys. Boys also represent 70 per cent of school suspensions.

Robin Nagy, the director of Academic Profiles, which examines data for the independent sector, said the gap could be partly due to NSW requiring English to count towards a fifth of a student’s HSC mark. “On average, girls would appear to benefit more from this requirement than boys, due to the archetype of girls performing better in English,” he said.

Female enrolments outnumber male ones in the harder English subjects, which scale to higher ATAR marks, and boys were over-represented in easier subjects.

Craig Petersen, the head of the Secondary Principals Council, which represents public school principals, said there had also been significant efforts over several decades to ensure girls were catered to in HSC examinations.

“In response to the research that shows girls respond better to narrative questions, we started seeing scientific or mathematical problems voiced as a story,” he said.

This so-called “feminisation” of the HSC physics and chemistry syllabuses, in particular, was wound back in the most recent revision of the syllabuses, released in 2018, which had greater focus on mathematical applications and less on sociology-based content.

Petersen said boys also matured more slowly than girls; the prefrontal cortex, which helps people understand the consequences of their actions, does not finish developing for boys until 25. “That may be the area that says, ‘I want to have a good job, therefore I need to study hard’.”

The decision to raise the school-leaving age to 17 about a decade ago also meant boys who would once have left after year 10 for a trade were now staying on, Petersen said. “[Some] fall into this malaise, they don’t really want to be there, aren’t motivated,” he said.

Melissa Abu-Gazaleh is the managing director of the Top Blokes Foundation, which advocates addressing the health and wellbeing of young men to increase their engagement in school.

She said many young men were still tied to the stereotype that they should not express vulnerability or seek help, and expressed their frustration in outbursts, which led to disciplinary action.

“This then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy where the male student then has lower aspirations to be better or achieve more,” she said. Giving male students a different message about seeking help and positive role models would help, she said.

Concerned that boys needed more help, Dapto High principal Andrew FitzSimons appointed a boys’ mentor, Andrew Horsley, who works with the Top Blokes Foundation and local service providers to ensure boys get the support they need.

“For me, it’s all about developing connections,” Horsley said. “With boys, sometimes you need to spend a bit of time and effort and energy to develop those connections, and then they’ll feel safer, if they’re struggling with something.”




Wednesday, June 15, 2022

California Lawmaker Trying To Make DRAG SHOWS Part Of Mandatory Curriculum!

Senator Scott Wiener of San Francisco, who two years ago got a bill passed decriminalizing men having sex with boys by labeling all opponents “homophobic” and “anti-Semitic,” is now proposing that “Drag Queen 101” be included in the K-12 curriculum.

The Democrat senator may have outdone himself this time. The Senator appears to be unsatisfied with his plan, which would allow children as young as 12 to receive the COVID-19 vaccine without parental approval. Or his bill to remove the felony sentence for deliberately exposing someone to HIV.

Wiener made the remark in reaction to Texas Representative Bryan Slaton’s (R) announcement that he will introduce legislation to prohibit drag shows in the presence of children.

Here’s what Wiener said Tuesday on Twitter:

“This guy just gave me a bill idea: Offering Drag Queen 101 as part of the K-12 curriculum. Attending Drag Queen Story Time will satisfy the requirement.”

Wiener, who isn’t a father, has a sardonic sense of humor, but, given his previous legislation, which is heavily focused on the LGBTQ population in California, this feels more ironic than hilarious.

SB 145, his bill to relax sex offender requirements for sodomy with minors, actually says in the bill language:

“This bill would exempt from mandatory registration under the act a person convicted of certain offenses involving minors if the person is not more than 10 years older than the minor and if that offense is the only one requiring the person to register.” Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 145 into law.

“The bill would instead make the intentional transmission of an infectious or communicable disease, as defined, a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than 6 months if certain circumstances apply, including that the defendant knows he or she or a third party is afflicted with the disease,” according to Wiener’s bill, SB 239, which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Well, it looks like all of his work seems to have a consistent theme.


UK Tries ‘Old School Tie’ Approach to Migration Management

Assuming that there is a worldwide search for recent college graduate talent, as the open-borders people keep proclaiming, the United Kingdom has a new immigration policy — but it harks back to the ancient British tradition of the old school tie. It seeks to attract what might be called the advantaged talent of the world.

The government of Boris Johnson (Eton/Oxford) has created a worldwide list of 37 non-UK universities and declared that all of the current graduates of these elite institutions shall have an open invitation to be legal nonimmigrants in the UK for two years, even if they do not have a job. If they have a PhD from one of the 37, the offer is for three years.

The new scheme has one resemblance to and several differences from our H-1B and OPT programs. All of these programs seek highly educated talent from overseas.

On the other hand, in the UK program the screening is done by the 37 universities, not by UK employers, so there is none of the semi-indentured nature of the H-1B program. Further, unlike the U.S. program for the employers of recent alien grads of our universities, Optional Practical Training, there is no subsidy paid to employers (or if there is one it was not reported in the British coverage). A third difference is that the aliens involved have not gone to UK universities, while those in OPT have all attended U.S. ones. A fourth difference is that both OPT and H-1B stress high-tech credentials, while the new UK tradition does not (as Eton and Oxford do not).

The new system will be easy to administer as all coming from the select 37 are automatically eligible. It is also a blunt tool; the valedictorian of the Ivy League’s Dartmouth, which is not on the list, does not get admitted, but someone who just barely scrapes through at Harvard, which is on the list, gets a nice welcome.

The list of 37 universities, in addition to the 20 in this country (parts of which were once British territory) includes eight in other former UK colonies (Canada, three; Hong Kong and Singapore, two each; and Australia, one); and nine in the rest of the world (China, Japan, and Switzerland, two each; one each in France, Germany, and Sweden). That only three of the 37 are in the EU may reflect the British thinking that led to Brexit.

The general idea is that if you have managed to get a degree from one of the 37 you are potentially useful to the UK economy.

The American institutions that made the list are: California Institute of Technology; Columbia; Cornell; Duke; Harvard; Johns Hopkins; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; New York University; Northwestern; Princeton; Stanford; UC Berkeley; UCLA; UC San Diego; University of Chicago; University of Michigan (Ann Arbor);the Universities of Pennsylvania, Texas (Austin), and Washington; and Yale.


Australia: My all-girls education failed to give me the skills I now value most

This article by Anita Punton is a good antidote to the deeply biased article by Loren Bridge that I rubbished recently

I went to a private, all-girls school from the age of five. Whenever I had my violin lesson, the portraits of the two Miss Singletons, tightly stitched into their Victorian gowns, looked down on me with admirable patience.

The Singleton sisters were the joint principals of my alma mater in the late 19th century, and they were determined to provide girls with a proper education.

I found them hugely inspiring. Still do. But my all-girls education failed to give me the skills that I now value most. I had to learn those skills in the real world.

I support anyone who believes an all-girls school is the best choice for their daughter, but I don’t subscribe to the theory that this educational model is how our future female leaders have the greatest chance of succeeding.

When my two sons reached high school age, I was determined that they would go to a co-ed school, because I believed it was the best way for them to grow up treating women as equals.

Paradoxically, I wanted my daughter to go an all-girls school like me, to give her “opportunities” to “fulfil her potential” and be a “leader”. These are the same words and phrases that all-girls schools use so liberally in their marketing.

However, I started to notice that most of my highly educated, successful female friends were choosing to send their girls to co-ed schools. One of them told me bluntly: “The world is not single sex. They will have to work with men all their lives.”

I began to question the logic that girls must be sequestered away from males in order to learn the very skills that are needed to work with them in the future.

One of the underlying assumptions about all-girls schooling is that boys are an impediment to a girl achieving her potential. They are “other”. It’s as if their presence will take something away from a girl, that she will not feel confident enough to thrive in their presence.

This was certainly the messaging I took on board throughout my time at an all-girls school, and I still hear the same messaging from parents today.

Now I feel those assumptions not only further entrench outdated gender roles, but demonstrate an offensive distrust in both the strength and capacity of our girls and the humanity of our boys.

On a daily basis, boys in a co-ed school get to see that girls are confident, capable, courageous and profoundly human. They get to experience a female perspective when discussing issues. They work together on projects. They see girls succeeding and leading and it is completely normal.

The idea that girls must be isolated from the rest of society and overtly taught strategies of how they are going to cope when they finally are catapulted back into it seems a back-to-front way of going about preparing girls for leadership. The cultivation of women’s leadership potential should not be the sole responsibility of women; all of society must contribute.

My daughter has grown up with a second language that wasn’t available to me as a teenager – a language to express female solidarity, strength, possibility and self-worth. The culture she has experienced is totally different to the one I knew as a teenager.

And while some might dismiss the empowering effect of a Taylor Swift lyric, or watching The Simpsons episode “Lisa vs Malibu Stacey”, those cultural experiences have done as much to provide fluency in that language for her as any overt teaching by her parents or school.

I ended up sending my three children to the local high school. My daughter is now 15. What has she missed out on going to a co-ed school? Her government school, like many, had some poor facilities, inconsistency in teaching due to a staff room under immense pressure, funding shortages.

What has she gained? All those skills it took me so long to learn. Enviable confidence that she can talk to anyone and handle herself in any situation. An ability to try new things, make a fool of herself and find it funny, rather than humiliating. A complete indifference to the “otherness” of boys. She lives her life with them every day. They are her friends and collaborators.

This morning, I asked her if she had ever felt any sense of discrimination at school because she was a girl. Did the boys dominate? Has she ever been tempted to “play small” because she’s worried what the boys will think of her? Did she feel that the boys were stopping her from achieving her potential?

She gave me the same withering look as the time I asked her to explain TikTok. “Never,” she said. She’s too polite to say “OK, Boomer”, but I’m pretty sure she thought it.




Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Working in Higher Ed Sucks. Here’s Why I Left

Lately, I’ve been hearing an increasing number of “I quit” anecdotes from friends working as administrative staff at universities. I worked in this space until recently, so I feel little surprise. But I do feel sympathy because most of them have been systematically underpaid and overworked for years.

Frankly, higher ed deserves a Great Resignation. And it may be coming sooner than its leaders realize.

I still vividly remember the struggle so many are experiencing. After graduating with a master’s degree, I worked in a major university’s dean of students office from 2014 to 2016, a role that regularly demanded 60-hour weeks. I was on the front lines, dealing with student issues, including the student stress and depression that pervaded such a high-achieving academic environment. For this, I was paid about $30,000 a year with meager benefits.

The reason I endured this for so long—and why many others do too—was the belief that I was working for a higher calling: namely, the betterment of students’ college experiences and subsequent careers. Colleges consistently inculcate this idea of a higher “mission” to appeal to administrative staff, getting them to accept pay and hours that would be unacceptable elsewhere.

Ultimately, my employer’s talk about its mission didn’t put dinner on my table.

If colleges walked the walk and were genuinely mission-focused, things might be different. But in reality, they operate no differently from for-profit corporations, paying top dollar to those in leadership positions while underpaying junior staff, and preferring to focus on generating revenue.

According to a 2019–2020 survey by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, academic advisors nationally make less than $50,000 a year on average, including those with master's degrees. Comparatively, the national average for master's degree holders is just over $70,000.

Meanwhile, the prospects of advancing to more senior, better-paid roles are remote. It can take decades to qualify for a vice president or dean role, where salaries start to enter six-figure territory.

University administrators should have moved to address these issues long ago, but the prevailing attitude has been to do things the way they’ve always been done. After all, the old way has delivered handsome profits and comfortable life for those at the top.

It’s unlikely to work much longer, though. I’ve lost count of the number of friends in higher ed who’ve told me in recent months they’re leaving or considering leaving their jobs because they feel undervalued. A potential perfect storm is brewing for colleges, as employees come out of the pandemic with a new perspective on their work-life balance and the opportunity to do something about it.

If college leadership teams are smart, they will start implementing fundamental changes before the resignation trickle turns into a flood.

The first thing they should do is to drop the empty “mission” rhetoric, at least when it comes to persuading staff to work longer and harder for some nebulous greater good. Then, they should implement more equitable wage structures that put administrative workers on par with equivalent workers in other sectors.

It’s not all about the money. The Great Resignation has taught us that workers are placing more value on flexible work arrangements and comprehensive benefits, including training and development opportunities. College leaders have generally dragged their heels on allowing remote work, probably because they have so much invested in the physical infrastructure of the college campus. But if they want to retain people, they need to recognize that many employees now see hybrid work as crucial.

Colleges should also go beyond the standard health benefits they offer and think more innovatively about how to attract and retain employees in this environment. Millennials and Gen Z workers want their jobs to have meaning and enrich their lives. Universities should respond by offering healthy professional development allowances, perks such as student loan payment assistance, and even a chance to share in institutions’ often substantial equity.

When I found a new career after leaving higher ed, I felt the relief that comes from leaving a toxic relationship. Many more will be following my footsteps unless colleges start to mend their ways. University leaders can’t rely on their “mission” anymore to justify low pay and overwork for administrative staff.


Teachers in Conservative States Are Volunteering to Carry Guns

The Republican-led Texas legislature is addressing the twin issues of school safety and mass violence following the May 24 Uvalde, Texas, school shooting. Committees of lawmakers are reviewing past legislative efforts, such as the Guardian and Marshal programs that allow teachers to carry firearms in the hopes of hardening schools as targets. School officials and firearm trainers in the Lone Star State say interest has risen sharply since the recent shooting.

Jeff Sellers owns Schools on Target, a company in Marble Falls, Texas, that trains teachers to carry firearms in schools. Since the school shooting, Sellers told The Epoch Times that he has added nine additional classes—double the amount customarily held—for June through August.

“I’ve gotten an insane amount of calls,” Sellers said. “It hasn’t stopped. Ninety percent is because of Uvalde.”

Bryan Proctor, owner of Go Strapped Firearms Training in Arlington, Texas, told The Epoch Times much the same thing—that training requests for the Guardian program have skyrocketed.

“We’ve had about a 100 percent increase,” Proctor said. “It’s been pretty dramatic. I’ve sent out over 20 proposals in the past week.”

Proctor said teachers want to protect their students and themselves, despite what people may be hearing form the select voices in legacy media.

“What you’re seeing is a vocal minority,” Proctor said. Arming teachers isn’t about giving them something else to be responsible for—but instead giving them a tool as a last defense.

Elsewhere, state legislatures are investigating how to make schools safer and arm teachers.

Louisiana is currently looking at legislation similar to Texas, allowing teachers to carry guns in schools after receiving specialized training. Ohio’s latest bill aims to be less restrictive than the current law, mandating 700 hours of police training and board approval before allowing teachers to be armed.

Republican governors Bill Lee of Tennessee and Ron DeSantis of Florida took action on school security this week. Lee signed an executive order June 6 to ensure working safety protocols at schools, and to evaluate training for active shooter scenarios. DeSantis signed a school safety bill into law on June 7 that focused on crisis intervention and training, and mental health awareness.

Meanwhile, teacher unions have nixed the idea and portrayed arming teachers as unpopular with educators. A 2018 Gallup poll found that 73 percent of teachers oppose the idea.

Meanwhile, policies to arm teachers in some form has widespread participation throughout the country amid the horror of gunmen targeting schools for mass shootings. The RAND Corporation reported in 2020 that 28 states permit armed teachers under some circumstances, while states such as Texas and Florida have passed laws encouraging the practice.

In North Florida, one principal at a private Christian school said he would like to see the program expanded to include private schools. The principal, who didn’t wish to be identified, said he added chain-link fencing around his school’s 40-acre perimeter and allowed just one-way traffic onto the campus, except during drop-off and pick-up times.

Now, cameras monitor doors into buildings, and access is controlled remotely or with special key fobs. Classrooms stay locked throughout the day. But it’s not enough anymore, he said.

He asked for training under Florida’s school guardian program to protect his school’s 340 students, ranging from toddlers to high school seniors. He was denied because the program doesn’t extend to private schools.

Currently, it is open to employees of public schools or charter schools who volunteer to serve as guardians and their official job duties. To qualify, they must pass psychological and drug screenings, and complete a 144-hour training course.

Sheriff’s offices in 45 of Florida’s 67 counties participate and receive funding to cover screening and training costs. And guardians receive a one-time bonus of $500 for serving in the program. Schools in districts can arrange to send employees for certification.

So the principal is now training on his own to become a licensed, armed security guard.

“It’s the only option,” he said. “Even before this last school shooting, I said, ‘I’ve got to go get this taken care of.’ So we’re doing it the right way.”

About a decade ago, Texas lawmakers created the school Marshal program, as a way for educators to carry weapons inside schools, and later initiated the Guardian program.

Under the Marshal program, school employees can carry a handgun on school premises after 80 hours of training. However, school marshals are restricted from carrying concealed firearms if they are regularly in contact with students. Instead, the marshal can store a gun in a safe at the school. There are 62 school districts participating in this plan, according to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.

Gretchen Grigsby, director of government relations with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, told The Epoch Times that 30 new students and nine new school districts have signed up for the Marshal program since the Uvalde shooting.

The Guardian program authorizes school boards to arm employees under the federal Gun-Free School Zones Act and the Texas Penal Code. After completing 16 hours of training, those employees may carry a concealed firearm in the presence of students. According to the Texas Association of School Boards, 389 districts reported using the Guardian plan as of May.

While Democrats are calling for gun control, people like Sellers reiterate that the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Sellers told The Epoch Times that the first few minutes of an active shooter situation are critical, and arming teachers could save lives.

“In active shooting incidents, time is everything,” Sellers said. “No gun control law is going to stop evil from conducting evil acts.”

Madalyn Maresh is an assistant superintendent at the Edna Independent School District, a rural 3A district northeast of Victoria, Texas. She told The Epoch Times that her district reopened the application process for the Guardian program at her school in response to the Uvalde shooting.

“The day I reopened it, I got two applications immediately,” she said. In the three years since the program has been operational, she gets between 3 to 10 volunteers per year. Without guns for protection, teachers are forced to use their own bodies to shield students from an active shooter, she said.

“You’ve got to find what fits your community. We got zero push back on it—our community embraces it,” Maresh said.

Kyle Collier, police chief for City View ISD in Wichita Falls, Texas, said an additional four or five teachers volunteered after the Uvalde shooting.


NC man pays off entire student loan of $28K — 'Cannot describe how happy'

For nearly two decades, Bruce Paulson, a digital marketing expert, toiled to pay off his student loan debt in the amount of nearly $28,000.

"It took me 19 1/2 years to pay it all off," he told Fox News Digital about his accomplishment.

Though that's a long stretch of time, he also noted, "If I hadn't made the extra payments toward the principal those first few years, it would have taken much longer."

Based in North Carolina, Paulson, 42, recently received confirmation from Navient, the financial services company that managed his loan, that he had paid off his student loan debt in full.

"I cannot describe how happy I was," he said. "I never thought the day would come when I actually paid back all the money I owed plus interest."

In addition to making extra payments early on, Paulson credits the auto-payment plan for his success in completely ridding himself of debt.

He said he set that up shortly after graduating in 2002 from Appalachian State University, set amid the storied Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

Over time, though, whittling down his student loan became more of a challenge for him, he said.

"Eventually my loan got sold to another bank and their website was not as easy to use. It got harder," he said, "to pay extra toward the principal."

"With Navient," he added, "I just left the auto payments [plan] on" and continued getting rid of his debt bit by bit that way, he said.

Navient, the Delaware-based company that services and collects student loans, clarified to Fox News Digital that borrowers, using its online portal, "can make additional payments toward the principal when paying extra payments."

In search of independence and financial freedom, Paulson said he pursued a variety of jobs over the years.

One of those included selling wine in Napa Valley — but he struggled to get by, especially early on, when all he yearned to do was to snow ski.

"I had zero dollars when I graduated from college, and I could not wrap my head around owing almost $30K."

"My goal in life was to ski big mountains," he said.

Saddled by that student debt loan, he said he put that dream on hold.

He also "began to wonder why I just spent four years in school and had a huge amount of money to pay back, and I had no idea how," Paulson explained.

"I did not have any skills that the job market valued," he said. "I had zero dollars when I graduated from college, and I could not wrap my head around owing almost $30K. It made me nervous to even think about it."

Paulson’s candid view of college runs counter to the prevailing narrative among many today that higher education is vital for success.

After a slog of career setbacks, Paulson eventually founded Determined Solutions in 2015. The company specializes in search engine optimization — and glowing client testimonials abound on his firm’s website (

"The market, for the most part, does not value college. No client I have ever had cared that I went to college. They never even asked."

"I am currently in the best place I’ve been with my business, and I just keep getting more and more opportunities. And that is really awesome," he said.

Paulson’s unorthodox outlook on college offers a cautionary tale for those leery of incurring student loan debt.

"The market, for the most part, does not value college," said Paulson. "No client I have ever had cared that I went to college. They never even asked. They only cared about how I could help them. And that is the reality of life."

Even with a bachelor's of science degree in business administration, Paulson said that nothing he learned in college was pertinent to the real world or to running a business for him.

"Going to college and getting student loans was the biggest financial mistake I've ever made," he said bluntly.

"Taking responsibility for my error and finally paying it off has been great for me."

"But since I did it when I was young, I accepted that it was my mistake and my responsibility to fix it," he said.

"That helped me tremendously throughout my life. Taking responsibility for my error and finally paying it off has been great for me," he said.

Paulson said he never considered defaulting on his student loan. "I didn't even know it was possible," he said.

He said he was "super broke for many years — and I lived in a tiny studio apartment in Lake Tahoe, making $8 an hour. I ate canned food and Ramen noodles," he said of his time in Nevada.

"The only person who could break and devalue my word was myself — and I was not going do that."

He added, "All a person really has in this life is their word. I might have been broke, but I still had my word, which to me has a lot of value."

"The only person who could break and devalue my word was myself — and I was not going do that."

With his student loan now paid in full, Paulson continues to have mixed feelings. Does he regret going to college?

"Yes and no," he replied. "College was not the right choice for me."

"It was a mistake," he also said. "But I learned from it. I am kind of hardheaded. I must make mistakes to learn."

"I will be able to navigate adverse economic conditions much better than the average person."

Paulson added, "By living within my means and having zero debt [now], I have a level of freedom that most people I know do not have. I will be able to navigate adverse economic conditions much better than the average person."

Paulson also made these key points: "If the government forgives someone's student loans, or reallocates a person's student loan liability to someone else, then the person who took out the loan will not learn from their mistake. What is the consequence of that?"

"The person will likely make even bigger mistakes in the future. Plus the person will be breaking their word."

"I do not see," he also said, "how a situation like that sets someone up for future success."




Monday, June 13, 2022

Keeping Schools Open During Pandemic Helped Swedish Children Avoid Learning Loss

There’s no evidence that Sweden’s youngest schoolchildren, who have never had to miss a single day in school because of the COVID pandemic, suffered any drop in their reading skills, a new study suggests.

When the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus first hit Sweden, the country’s public health authorities made it clear that daycare centers and primary schools, which serve students in grades 1 through 3, must stay open. Swedish government held on to that policy even after its COVID-19 death rates surpassed those of its Nordic neighbors.

Throughout much of the pandemic, Sweden’s response relied heavily on voluntary cooperation. Instead of imposing face covering and social distancing mandates on schools, it only recommended teachers and students to stay at home if they felt any symptoms of illness.

In a study published in the International Journal of Educational Research, a team of researchers at Stockholm’s Karolinska University analyzed data from 97,073 primary school students across Sweden. The goal was to investigate whether Swedish children suffered any potential learning loss over the past two school years.

There is no official national data on student progress in reading during the pandemic because the Swedish government canceled its national tests in 3rd-grade reading and math in 2020, and didn’t require schools to report those test scores in 2021. This prompted the researchers to base their study on data collected from LegiLexi, a popular free-to-use online tool that allows primary school students to test their language skills.

The researchers compared average LegiLexi test scores from the four school years from 2017–2018 to 2020–2021 in two aspects: word decoding and reading comprehension. The result shows that test-takers in the 2020–2021 “pandemic year” performed just as well as those in previous school years in both areas of language.

“We conclude that there is no evidence of a learning loss regarding early reading skills in Swedish primary school students,” the researchers wrote.

This of course doesn’t mean that the CCP virus pandemic didn’t at all negatively affect the reading ability of any individual Swedish child, the researchers noted. But overall, Swedish primary school students’ reading skills did stay at a stable level throughout the pandemic.

“In the light of international studies on reading skills in younger students during the pandemic, we conclude that the decision to keep schools open benefited Swedish primary school students,” they added.

The finding comes amid numerous reports on loss of literacy skills among American children in the aftermath of pandemic lockdowns and widespread school closures.

According to a report (pdf) publish this February by curriculum and testing company Amplify, the percentage of students at highest risk for not learning to read jumped by 8 percent during the pandemic, from 29 percent in the 2019–2020 school year to 37 percent in the 2021–22 school year.

Another study (pdf), conducted by the University of Virginia, found that about 35 percent of Virginia’s children in kindergarten through 2nd grade scored below their expected levels of literacy in the fall of 2021.

“Especially alarming, overall K-2 Fall 2021 scores indicate the highest percentage of students scoring below benchmark at grade-level entry ever observed at the fall assessment,” the study warned.


'This is not part of the curriculum': Parents' fury after its revealed NYC has spent more than $200k sending drag queens into schools to read to kids as young as THREE - sometimes without parental consent

New York City has been spending heavily on sending drag queens into its public elementary schools, dropping more than $200,000 on appearances since 2018.

Just last month, records show the city paying $46,000 to send Drag Story Hour NYC to public schools, libraries, and street festivals, according to the New York Post.

Some parents say the programs were booked without their consent, while city officials have responded with outrage, according to the Post.

The news comes as debates rage across the country about how gender identity and young children should interact.

In 2022 alone, Drag Story Hour NYC has made 49 appearances at 34 public schools in New York City, according to its website.

The organization characterizes itself as promoting inclusivity, creativity, and acceptance of the self in children, by exposing them to drag queens reading similarly thematic books.

'Through fun and fabulous educational experiences, our programs celebrate gender diversity and all forms of difference to build empathy and give kids the confidence to express themselves however they feel comfortable,' the website reads.

Images from the site show people dressed in bedazzled dresses, shimmering wigs, and heavy eye shadow, reading to young children in classroom, and even helping the kids apply makeup themselves.

The company has received $207,000 from taxpayers since 2018, records show. $50,000 of that has come from the New York State Council on the Arts, and the other $157,000 from the NYC Department of Education, the Department of Youth and Community Development, the Department of Transportation, and Cultural Affairs.

The funds were provided by city council members, with $80,000 being allocated for drag programs in 2022 alone - over three times as much as was provided in 2020 for drag programs.

'I can't believe this. I am shocked,' Helen Qiu, the mother of a Manhattan middle school student, told the Post, 'I would be furious if he was exposed without my consent. This is not part of the curriculum.'

But some parents say that the drag programs have taken place without their consent, and that they only learned about them after their kids came home from school and mentioned them.

'I didn't get any notice, my daughter actually came home and told me that a drag queen came to the school,' said PS 191 parent Reese Harrington. 'I feel like it would have been better for that conversation to happen at home.'

Storm Neverson, the parent of nine and six-year-old girls at the STAR academy, expressed concerns about schools exposing young children to drag queens.

'If they were in junior high school or middle school, I would be okay with that because I feel like they would have a little bit more understanding,' said Neverson. 'At this time, the kids were just a little too young.'

Neverson said that she was told that the program was happening, but that she was not asked if she thought it was okay.

'It was mostly just like a heads up, you know, like, "Hey, this event is coming up. We're gonna have these people come in." And that was that,' Neverson said.

Queens City Council member Vicki Paladino responded with outrage over news of the city's drag queen expenses.

'I am considering pulling funding to any school in my district that is implementing Drag Queen Story Hour,' Paladino said, 'We are taking hundreds of thousands of dollars out of the pockets of hardworking New York taxpayers… to fund a program teaching little children about their gender fluidity? Not. On. My. Watch.'

The Department of Education defended the city's expenses on the drag queen appearances at schools, characterizing them as helping prevent violence against transgender people.

'Last year, 50 transgender or gender-nonconforming people were killed in the United States due to their identity,' spokeswoman Suzan Sumer told the Post, 'We believe our schools play a critical role in helping young people learn about and respect people who may be different from them.'

News of the program comes as debates and controversies swirl across the country about the role of gender-identity exposure and education to children.

Just last week, a Dallas gay bar threw a pride month event that invited kids to join drag queens on stage beneath a pink neon sign reading 'It's not gonna lick itself.'

In March, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into a parental rights bill that bans teachers from giving classroom instruction on 'sexual orientation' or 'gender identity' in kindergarten through third grade.

In April, a Tennessee lawmaker said he would 'burn' banned books if he could, as books about gender identity top the lists of banned titles at schools across the country.

In May, a Florida mother sued her daughter's school after teachers created a 'transgender support plan' for her daughter without asking for parental consent.

This month, even Pizza Hut was pulled into the debate after it promoted a children's book that featured a little boy who dresses in drag.

Also this month, DeSantis moved to ban transition therapies for children and revoke Medicaid support for trans adults' treatments in Florida.

That includes suspending access to 'puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgeries'.

'Florida must do more to protect children from politics-based medicine,' wrote state surgeon general Joseph Lapado, who DeSantis appointed to his post in February.

'Otherwise, children and adolescents in our state will continue to face a substantial risk of long-term harm.'


Australia: Why girls’ schools succeed at producing women who lead

There is probably some truth in the claims below by the partisan Loren Bridge but she ignores the elephant in the room: Girls schools are almost all private, even if they are Catholic schools only.

And private schools are almost all selective in some way. Most require fees for attendance and that selects for parents who can afford such fees -- almost all being from better-off families. And richer people tend to be brighter, which their daughters inherit. So the pupils at such schools will mostly be of above-average IQ. And high IQ helps with almost everything in life

And at least some of the claims above are simply untrue. She says that boys and girls have equal basic ability at maths. But all the psychometric research shows otherwise. And how many Fields medals were won by women? Just one, an Iranian lady

And I haven't even mentioned testosterone

The whole article below is suffused by Leftist bias, so should be taken with a large grain of salt

Much has been said about this exciting “teal wave” of forthright, trailblazing, smart women. Five out of the eight female independents who will take their place on the crossbench of this parliament – Dr Monique Ryan, Dr Sophie Scamps, Dai Le, Allegra Spender and Zali Steggall – are graduates of girls’ schools.

This would be no surprise to anyone familiar with the benefits of single-sex education for girls, but for those who aren’t, it’s important to put this figure into perspective — girls’ schools make up just 2 per cent of schools in Australia.

Clearly, there is something inherent to the girls’ school environment that better prepares women for high-level leadership.

So what is it about a girls’ school education that ignites in young women the determination, inspiration and motivation to lead? What gives them the courage and grit to be change-makers in a world that continues to squeeze women onto the edges of the centre stage positions that men carve for themselves?

In girls’ schools, students are intentionally equipped with the knowledge and skills required to overcome social and cultural gender biases, and in doing so, actively break the stereotypical norms that define women in society. This is achieved through an education that rewires the implicit biases that so often limit women.

Women are expected to walk a tightrope between exhibiting the characteristics society expects of women and being seen to have the “strength” to lead. They are in a double bind. The obsession with former prime minister Julia Gillard’s empty fruit bowl in her kitchen illustrated this perfectly.

To resist this concentrated pressure, girls must be encouraged to take a leap of faith. They must leap from the tightrope and defy gendered pressure. To do this, they need the confidence to lead and be disruptors.

A study by the University of Queensland found that confidence levels for girls in single-sex schools matches that of boys, while girls in the general population consistently demonstrate lower confidence levels than boys.

In other words, the study found that a girls’ school provides the environment for girls to develop and maintain innate confidence and healthy self-belief. And it is confidence, or a lack of confidence, that is frequently attributed to the under-representation of women in senior leadership roles.

Let’s be clear — girls aren’t innately less confident or assertive than boys, they aren’t less capable in maths and sciences and they certainly don’t have more body image or mental health issues than boys as infants. It is our patriarchal society that stereotypes women diminishing their self-belief and self-efficacy, quashing their voice and ultimately, their power.

A girls’ school turns the tables on gender stereotypes, and this can be life-changing for a girl.

Girls’ schools provide significant leadership opportunities — 100 per cent of the leadership positions (not just 50 per cent) are held by girls. The power of mentoring and role modelling provided by past students, and the predominantly female leadership of girls’ schools, provides girls with leadership development opportunities beyond those available in co-ed schools. With no requirement to cater to boys, girls’ schools balance the inequality in broader society through purposeful, targeted education.

Data from a US study shows that girls’ school graduates are more likely than co-ed school counterparts to be involved in political activities, demonstrate social and political agency, and be supportive of societal improvements. They are more likely to be change-makers.

Research shows unequivocally that girls thrive in an all-girls environment; they do better academically, socially, and emotionally. Regardless of socio-economic factors, data — not just from a single study but from a plethora of unique studies from all over the world — indicates that girls simply do better in girls’ schools.

Girls in co-ed schools tend to be more self-conscious and less confident; they are less likely to speak up in class, ask questions or take on a leadership role. They are also more likely to have a negative body image and considerably more likely to experience sexual harassment or bullying. In contrast, girls in girls-only environments participate more freely in discussions, are more competitive and take more healthy risks with their learning — skills that are advantageous for life success.

Girls’ schools are at the forefront of gender equality, deliberately challenging gendered norms and purposefully building girls’ confidence, conviction and self-belief, making sure that girls have the skills and knowledge to speak out and to break down barriers.

These are skills our new female MPs will certainly need as they step into the male-dominated Parliament House, famed for its sexism and misogyny. May their voices add power to changing that culture and progressing the ongoing fight for a more equal society.




Sunday, June 12, 2022

Progressives Have Captured Another Institution: Commencement Addresses

Time was when many commencement speeches at major universities were about America and its values and what graduates could expect in the future. In recent years, they have become a political capstone on the progressive ideas imposed upon them in their classes and textbooks.

This year has been no different. While an occasional token conservative or Republican is invited, most speakers are liberal in their political beliefs and promote activist causes.

Here are just a few examples from a long list.

Augustana College: Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

Bard College: Deb Haaland, secretary of the Department of the Interior.

Brandeis University: Deval Patrick, former governor of Massachusetts.

Clark University: Mary Frances Berry, civil rights activist.

Harvard Law School: Loretta Lynch, former U.S. attorney general.

There are many more you can Google, but the picture is clear. Most major universities, while giving lip service to “diversity,” don’t believe in diversity of opinion.

Perhaps the most troubling of this June’s commencement addresses was not just the main speaker at Harvard’s Law School commencement, but a prominent and soon-to-be powerful and influential person who attended.

The main speaker was New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, whose preferred topic appeared to be “LGBTQ-plus.” She bragged that her deputy is an “openly gay man.” She also touted her country’s approval of same-sex marriage and its progress on “climate change.” This presumably is supposed to inspire graduates to embrace her views, if they don’t already share them. Why wouldn’t they after what they’ve been taught, watched what is promoted in the media, and endured the peer pressure of like-minded students?

Among those attending the ceremony was Supreme Court justice-designate Ketanji Brown Jackson. When Ardern reached the part in her address in which she referenced New Zealand’s ban on “military-style semi-automatics and assault rifles,” Jackson applauded.

As Congress debates which, if any, weapons to ban, this issue could come before the Supreme Court. It was inappropriate for Jackson to seemingly telegraph her opinion in advance. Notice how the justices never applaud at a president’s State of the Union Address. That should be Jackson’s model.

What a contrast between Ardern’s remarks and another commencement address delivered at Harvard on June 8, 1978, by Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn. His speech drew the ire of some faculty and The New York Times editorial page, because it didn’t fit in with their ideological perspectives.

While Solzhenitsyn called Western systems “best,” he indicted the West for its lack of courage: “A decline in courage may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days. The Western world has lost its civil courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, each government, each political party, and, of course, in the United Nations.

Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite, causing an impression of loss of courage by the entire society. Of course, there are many courageous individuals, but they have no determining influence on public life.”

He added: “Should one point out that from ancient times declining courage has been considered the beginning of the end?”

Solzhenitsyn was a modern prophet. Many speakers at recent commencement ceremonies are more pathetic than prophetic.


De Blasio’s HS-admission lottery could destroy NYC’s public-school system

The cockamamie system imposed during the last mayor’s last days in office no longer put a premium on good grades; it lowered the bar for entry into many competitive high schools and mixed kids with a range of academic achievement into various bingo baskets.

As a result, some of the city’s best students opened their admission letters Thursday only to learn they didn’t get into any of their top choices.

High-achievers of all backgrounds are asking: “What’s the point of striving for all As and perfect attendance? There’s no reward for excellence, and half-stepping can still get you into the best school.”

It’s not just that the nation’s largest — and fast-shrinking — school district is telling kids and parents: “Good grades don’t matter.” Families that care about education will now look outside the DOE system for a high school that will challenge their kids. Many will join the angry mom who told The Post she and her family are now looking at leaving the city entirely.

We warned Chancellor David Banks about this months ago; now he’s stuck with this mess. At a bare minimum, he needs to make it plain that future admissions will be far more like the traditional process Blas blew up.

If the system no longer strongly rewards merit, the flight from DOE schools — and from the city itself — will become a flood.


Star-studded LA high school is sued by Jewish father for its 'racially divisive, anti-Semitic' curriculum which branded Jews 'oppressors'

A star-studded Los Angeles high school is being sued by a parent for its allegedly 'racially divisive, anti-Semitic' curriculum – and may soon face more lawsuits, the parent's lawyer claims.

Celebrity alumni of Brentwood School, a private K-12, include Jonah Hill, Adam Levine and Jack Quaid, and parents of alumni include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Reese Witherspoon and Jack Nicholson.

In a lawsuit filed in a Los Angeles court on Wednesday, a Jewish parent of a former 8th grade student at the $50,000-per-year school said the girl was booted after he complained about alleged anti-semitic discrimination in its new woke curriculum installed after the death of George Floyd.

The school says the claims are 'baseless' and a 'work of whole fiction'.

Frustrated father Jerome Eisenberg is suing the school for breach of contract, violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act – which protects individuals from discrimination by California businesses – and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other claims.

The news of the lawsuit being filed was first published by LA site The Ankler.

Eisenberg said he was happy with the school until the summer of 2020, when the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer led to an alleged ideological overhaul of the school's policies and teaching.

He accused the school of holding racially segregated meetings, encouraging students to treat Jewish people as 'oppressors', and discriminating against a Jewish group of parents.

'Everything at Brentwood radically changed after the death of George Floyd,' the lawsuit said.

'After accepting parents' tuition payments, Defendants Brentwood and its head of school, Michael Riera, pulled a bait-and-switch with the school's curriculum and culture.'

Eisenberg claimed the school replaced its traditional teaching with 'an identity-based ideology of grievance, resentment, and racial divisiveness' and 'started indoctrinating [students] into what to think, based on Brentwood's preferred political fad of the moment.'

In the girl's literature class, To Kill a Mockingbird and Lord of the Flies were replaced by Ibram X. Kendi's Stamped, which Eisenberg said included 'ahistorical, racially inflammatory perspectives on this country's history with no legitimate pedagogical purpose.'

'[The] English Department told parents that if they wanted their children to read Shakespeare or Hemingway, they should do it in their own free time,' the legal complaint said.

The changes were made secretly and 'withheld from parents', Eisenberg claimed, while Jewish parents were 'prevented from participating in the school's policy-making decisions' due to the school's alleged 'anti-Semitic animus'.

A source close to the dispute told that 40% of Brentwood students were Jewish and claimed that Eisenberg was in a tiny minority of disgruntled parents.

'The curriculum changes have not affected interest in Brentwood. In fact, more people have wanted to come to Brentwood than ever before,' the source said.

A parent at the school, who also asked to remain anonymous, said: '​​It's only a few parents who have a problem with the changes to the curriculum. The students by and large, including my own, have no problem with it.'

The parent said they didn't trust Eisenberg, having discovered he had previous charges for fraud dating back to the 1990s.

According to a 1993 LA Times article, Eisenberg and his realtor client were charged with improperly inflated real estate values in loan transactions allowing them to obtain $6million.

According to federal court records, Eisenberg, a former lawyer, pleaded guilty to mail fraud and bank embezzlement in 2000, was sentenced to a year in prison and resigned from the California bar.

Eisenberg's lawyer claimed that the furious father is just the first in a growing number of parents considering legal action against the school.

'I can tell you for a fact that there are dozens of parents who support what Jerry's doing,' attorney David Pivorak told in an exclusive interview. 'Jerome Eisenberg is by far not not alone in this.'

He added that other parents had approached him for representation, and that 'it's not out of the question' that Eisenberg's complaint would become a class action lawsuit.

Pivorak added that the girl's removal from Brentwood School was 'devastating' to her.

'For someone her age, 13 or 14, it's jarring and it's devastating, because you're no longer with your friends. You have to completely reorganize your life. It's tough having to make new friends, especially for a young girl,' he said.

'When you're suddenly pulled away from [your community] because your school decides to discriminate against you and single out your group, and you're punished because of that, it's kind of jarring.'

Pivorak said he believes parents are afraid to speak out against woke new curricula for fear of being 'canceled'.

'You have a lot of very unhappy parents who, in woke progressive LA, are terrified to stand up and oppose this stuff,' he said.

'With the cancel culture that's been proliferating throughout the country, standing up and opposing the woke regime is akin to having a scarlet letter on your forehead. You're ostracized from your friend group, you're ostracized from society in general.

'Not only are they afraid to lose their social standing, but they're also afraid of what's going to happen to their kids, their college admissions letters and their ability to proceed in life.'