Friday, August 12, 2022

The Activist Network Infusing Gender Ideology Into K-12

Radical gender theory has made sudden inroads in America’s schools. Many parents have watched in confusion as their children repeat the movement’s slogans and adopt synthetic sexual identities such as “non-binary,” “pansexual,” and “genderqueer.” The next question for many families is: Where does this surge in left-wing sexual ideology come from? One answer: from a network of professional activists, who have smuggled university-style gender theory into more than 4,000 schools under the cover of “gender and sexuality” clubs, or GSAs.

The main national organization behind this campaign, the GSA Network, is a professionally staffed nonprofit with a multimillion-dollar annual budget. GSA Network serves as an umbrella organization for more than 4,000 “gender and sexuality alliances” across 40 states. Once called the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, the group rebranded in 2016, reflecting a new focus on “the limits of a binary gender system.” The individual chapters, which operate in elementary, middle, and high schools, often use the language of “LGBTQ inclusion” and “anti-bullying” in their public relations, but behind the scenes, the central organization is driven by pure left-wing radicalism that extends far beyond sexuality.

According to the organization’s publicly accessible materials and administrative documents, the GSA Network’s ideology follows the basic framework of radical gender theory: white European men created an oppressive system based on capitalism, white supremacy, and “heteronormativity”—that is, the promotion of heterosexuality, the male-female binary, and bourgeois family norms. In order to fight back, racial and sexual minorities must unite under the banner of “intersectionality” and dismantle the interlocking “systems of oppression.”

The GSA Network isn’t subtle about its political objectives. In a manifesto, the organization calls for the “abolition of the police,” the “abolition of borders and ICE,” the payment of “reparations” to minorities, the “decolonization” of native lands, the end of “global white supremacy,” and the overthrow of the “cisgender heterosexual patriarchy.” The organization is also explicitly anti-capitalist: its literature is littered with references to “anti-capitalism” and, during one board meeting, its leaders fantasized about what life would be like “after capitalism falls.”

The specific practices of the GSA Network and its affiliates rely on cult-like programming techniques. A toolkit instructs children recruited into the clubs to do the “self work” of analyzing “how [their] actions, lack of actions or privileges contribute to the ongoing marginalization” of the oppressed. After establishing a baseline of identity-based guilt, the children identify their position on the intersectional hierarchy and categorize themselves as part of “groups w/ systemic power (privilege)” or “groups w/ less or no systemic power (oppressed)” along the axes of race, sex, gender, and national origin. Straight, white, cisgender male citizens are deemed the ultimate oppressor; gay, black, trans women immigrants are the ultimate oppressed.

Next, children are encouraged to atone for their privileges and perform acts of penance. “Doing the self and collective work to analyze how we contribute to the oppression of Trans, Queer, Non-binary / Gender Non-Conforming, Black, Indigenous, youth of color is tough, but we must commit to dismantling these systems for collective liberation,” the organization says. Specifically, the adults leading the clubs are instructed to tell the “privileged” children that they must “implement the use of pronouns,” “offer a land acknowledgment,” “listen to the Trans community,” “center conversations around Black liberation,” and “use your privilege (and your physical and monetary resources) to support Trans, Queer, Non-binary / Gender Non-Conforming, Black, Indigenous people of color, issues, businesses, and projects.”

All this activity, the group believes, is best kept secret from parents. The GSA Network tells the adult club “advisors” that they should keep a child’s involvement in the club confidential. “Know the laws in your state around students’ privacy rights and what you do and don’t have to tell parents/guardians/families,” the organization says in its official handbook. “When calling youth, it may not be safe to mention ‘GSA club’ or another trans or queer reference. Alternatively, club leaders can say they are from a student leadership program.” In many school districts, teachers not only can encourage a child’s participation in a “gender and sexuality” club without notifying parents but can also facilitate a child’s gender or sexual transition, including the adoption of a new name and set of pronouns, with the default policy requiring teachers to keep it a secret from that child’s family.

This strategy of the “gender and sexuality” clubs is deeply cynical. As independent journalists Colin Wright and Christina Buttons have documented, many teachers who serve as adult “advisors” to these clubs are intentionally concealing the sexual and political nature of their activities from parents, deliberately misleading families with vague language about “acceptance, tolerance, diversity, and identity.” This might work in the short term, but in the long term, they are playing with fire. School districts that allow adult employees to discuss sexuality with children secretly are creating a dangerous system that could easily be exploited by child predators. Clinical psychologists are already raising the alarm, warning that some of these practices resemble the tactics of such predators.

One solution for this problem is total transparency and the restoration of parental authority. Schools should adopt policies that parents must be notified about their children’s participation in curricular and extracurricular activities involving sex, gender, and sexuality, with the default being that parents are required to opt in explicitly to any such programs. Furthermore, as Governor Ron DeSantis has done in Florida, state legislatures should ban all instruction on sex, gender, and sexuality in at least kindergarten through third grade. Beyond that, schools should be required to post all training and teaching materials on their websites so that parents can easily review all curriculum and documentation associated with gender and sexuality programs.


New York hands out worthless diplomas to high school ‘grads’

A new report by the New York Equity Coalition confirmed what this page has been saying for years: Lowered standards have inflated statewide high school graduation rates.

The statewide rate jumped to 86.1% last year, as the city’s rose to 82%. But the report notes that 70% of grads used at least one state test exemption to “earn” a 2021 diploma, after the Board of Regents and the State Department of Education seized on COVID to relax graduation standards. That’s up from just 10% in 2020.

Sebrone Johnson of the Urban League’s Rochester chapter, one of the groups in the Equity Coalition, told The Post that relying on these exemptions “devalues the very premise of the diploma.”

And they’re still at it: In May, the Board of Regents approved a “temporary” measure that lets high schoolers with failing scores of 50-64 on a Regents test appeal their score if they pass the classroom subject. This will lift graduation rates once again. After all, schools in New York City (at least) regularly get caught committing grade fraud to boost those rates.

Now parents are wising up to these games. No wonder families are abandoning the regular public schools in droves


Majority of Texas teachers are considering quitting: survey

A majority of Texas teachers are apparently on the verge of quitting, according to a new survey.

The study, which was conducted by the Texas State Teachers Association, says that 70% of the 688 teachers surveyed are seriously considering leaving their profession.

The number is the highest recorded by the TSTA, which has been tracking teachers' concerns in the Lone Star State for over four decades. The survey recorded that 53% of the teachers they asked considered leaving their jobs in 2018.

About 94% of surveyed teachers attested to the pandemic increasing stress in their professional lives, while 84% said their workload and planning requirements increased. Around 41% of respondents said they took on extra jobs throughout the year.

According to TSTA, the main reason is discord between Texas teachers and legislators – with teachers feeling they are not listened to or paid adequately.

"If situations don’t improve, if the political climate doesn’t improve and the members of the legislature don’t start spending more money on public education and teacher’s salaries, it may get worse," Texas State Teachers Association Clay Robison told KTBC. "The people that suffer are the school children. Their learning loss could get worse and that puts the future of Texas at risk."

"I think a lot of that [discord] built up and a lot of teachers said, ‘well, I’m out of here," Robison added.

The news comes as the U.S. experiences a teacher shortage, with districts from New York to Minnesota experiencing vacancies. DeKalb Independent School District in Texas shifted to a four-day weekly schedule on Monday. The district hopes that the extra day off will give teachers adequate time to prepare for the week.




Thursday, August 11, 2022

College Essay Prompts Get Absurd. ‘So Where Is Waldo, Really?’

This throws the door open to a lot of arbitrariness in admissions. Guess who is likely to be given the benefit of the doubt. SCOTUS looks likely to crack down on racial preferences in admissions. Enough said

Rachel Quaye-Asamoah is heading into her senior year at Brooklyn Technical High School in New York. She is eyeing several top-ranked colleges, and intends to major in economics. She is already preparing her personal statement for college applications, describing how her upbringing shaped her worldview around money and capitalism.

But some colleges, she is learning, are more apt to throw curveballs than gauge what applicants think of, say, budgets and bear markets.

Take the University of Chicago, which asks among its 2022-23 application essay questions: “What advice would a wisdom tooth have?”

“What am I supposed to do with that?” says Rachel, who is 16 years old and still weighing where she will apply.

Back-to-school season is approaching, and for many rising high-school seniors, so is the grinding process of applying to college. Most college applications—including the Common Application and the Coalition for College—opened on Monday. A key part of the frothing madness of college-admissions season: crafting the perfect essay.

Essays might now carry more weight in the increasingly competitive admissions process since about 72% of schools have already made college entrance exams optional next year, a shift away from standardized tests that accelerated during the pandemic.

These teenage treatises are a chance to shine creatively, and often, to stare bleary-eyed at a blank computer screen.

Advice offered by colleges makes clear the pitfalls.

“Proofread, proofread, proofread,” cautions Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., under essay tips on its website. “There’s a difference between ‘tutoring children’ and ‘torturing children’ and your spell-checker won’t catch that.”

Then there is the tortuous business of tackling the essay questions themselves. Some schools stick with fairly standard snoozers, such as “Why this college?” or “How did you learn from and overcome an obstacle?”

Others get more eccentric, though—schools say—with a purpose.

Peter Wilson, the University of Chicago’s director of admissions, explained what whimsical prompts, such as the school’s wisdom-tooth query, can drill down and extract from the applicants: “How do they think? How do they play with ideas?” Off-the-wall prompts, which have long been a tradition at the school, also tell the applicant something about the university. “Constantly pushing boundaries and creativity, that’s the type of culture we create here.”

The University of Maryland, College Park, has asked students to detail their favorite thing about…last Tuesday. That’s a tough one if your Google Calendar shows a lot of white space. One college-admissions consulting blog advises, “If you laid in bed all day Tuesday, but went for a beautiful hike on Wednesday, write about the hike.” The school says it continues to ask that question, but changes the day each year.

Chapman University asks applicants to name one dish they would cook for the school’s admission team. Princeton University, meanwhile, has asked “What song represents the soundtrack of your life at this moment?”

To get into Pomona College, last year’s seniors had to answer, in 50 words or less, “Marvel or DC? Pepsi or Coke? Instagram or TikTok? What’s your favorite ‘this or that’ and which side do you choose?”

The University of Vermont asks applicants: ‘Which Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor (real or imagined) best describes you?’

Wake Forest University has asked students to give a top 10 list with the theme of their choice. The University of Vermont asks applicants a brain freezer, related to a Vermont brand: “Which Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor (real or imagined) best describes you?” The school says about a quarter of its applicant pool chooses this prompt.

Ava Eros, who faced the essay question, picked the limited-edition “Chip Happens,” a chocolate-ice-cream base with fudge chips and swirls of potato chips. The combination served as a metaphor for her twists and turns in adolescence, from losing a track and field race to gaining self-confidence.

“Honestly, I’ve never tried Chip Happens before,” she says. “I usually get Half Baked.”

The University of Vermont accepted her but she chose to attend the University of Pittsburgh, where she will be a sophomore in the fall.

Rice University has a longstanding tradition—a prompt known as “The Box”—to ask applicants to submit a captionless image that appeals to them, in lieu of an essay.

Yvonne Romero DaSilva, vice president for enrollment at Rice, says more than a few applicants have sent a photo of rice—the actual grain.

“One might consider that clever,” she says. “But it’s been done so many times that it proves to be unoriginal.”

The University of Chicago might get Latin honors in unconventional essay prompts. Each year, applicants must answer one of a few essay questions. The queries are drawn from ideas submitted by admitted, current and former students.

Applicants can also dig through the school’s essay-prompt archives and pick questions from previous years, including: “Who does Sally sell her seashells to?” and “So where is Waldo, really?” One came from a student more than a decade ago: “Find x.”

More here:


Elite all-girls school in Nashville now admits anyone who identifies as female

Harpeth Hall, an elite girls school in Nashville, Tennessee, has implemented a new policy to allow applications from anyone who identifies as female, not just those who are biologically female.

In an email sent to parents, the school announced it would be following a new policy that allows biological males who identify as female to be admitted to the school, reported OutKick. The email included a “Gender Diversity Philosophy” document explaining the admissions policy.

“Harpeth Hall is a girls school. The school culture is unique and distinctly about girls, complete with the use of references to students as girls and young women and the collective use of female pronouns,” the Gender Diversity Philosophy read.

“Any student who identifies as a girl may apply to our school. Students who join and remain at Harpeth Hall do so because our mission as a school for girls resonates with them,” the document continues.

The document also stated that any student who “communicates a desire to be identified as male or adopt he/him pronouns” may not be served well at Harpeth Hall.

Harpeth Hall is not the only historically all-girls school to begin accepting biological males who identify as female. In 2016, Barnard College, an all-women’s college in New York City, implemented a policy to “consider for admission those applicants who consistently live and identify as women, regardless of the gender assigned to them at birth.” The decision made Barnard the last of the traditional Seven Sisters colleges to update their admissions policies.

Harpeth Hall dates its history to 1865, and is an elite college-prep school for girls grades 5-12. Notable alumni of the school include actress Reese Witherspoon and singer Amy Grant.

Harpeth Hall did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.


Forget the fads: Australian Math teachers urged to focus on traditional teaching methods

Math teachers should ditch “faddish” practices and focus on proven methods such as using clear and detailed instruction and teaching algorithms.

A new report from the Centre for Independent Studies says that teachers are often misinformed about how students learn and what works in the classroom.

The report, Myths are Undermining Maths Teaching, calls for a focus on traditional education methods such as explicit teaching, involving the explanation and demonstration of new skills, instead of “inquiry-based learning”.

Opposing education academics say teachers should be able to use their professional judgment to decide the best teaching methods on a case-by-case basis.

Australian student achievement in the OECD-run Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) has declined more steeply and consistently than any other country except Finland. This downward trend has been greatest in mathematics. Compared with the top-performer, Singapore, the Australian students who sat the most recent PISA test in 2018 were three years behind in maths.

The report was co-authored by Sarah Powell, an associate professor in the department of special education at the University of Texas. She said myths dominated the teaching of maths, harming students’ learning and leading to educational failure.

“They have become so commonplace because teachers are regularly misinformed about how students learn and what works in the classroom,” she said.

Among the “teaching myths” outlined in the report are that teaching algorithms is harmful, that timed assessments cause maths anxiety, that “productive struggle” is helpful for students, and that inquiry learning is the best approach.

Inquiry learning involves teachers starting with a range of scenarios, questions and problems for students to navigate, instead of presenting information or instruction directly.

“Helping teachers to substitute faddish and evidence-free practices with proven, effective teaching will lift outcomes of students,” Powell said.

The report argues in favour of explicitly teaching students mathematics skills first and later encouraging independent practice and application of skills.

“While some students may thrive with true inquiry-based learning, their success is an exception rather than the standard outcome,” the report said.

Australian Catholic University STEM research director Professor Vince Geiger said teachers should be able to incorporate both explicit teaching and inquiry learning into their teaching. He said the research paper appeared to be reflective of a very specific point of view.

“It does amaze me when people put these ideas up as a juxtaposition,” he said. “The best teachers I know take the position that you need to do some of both.”

Geiger said the PISA results indicated Australian students were not falling short in their procedural maths abilities but rather in reasoning and problem-solving.

“We’ve got to get our kids to be better at adaptive type thinking – taking what they learn in the classroom and being able to apply it in different situations and contexts and real-world situations,” he said. “Explicit teaching by itself won’t get them there.”

Debate over the merits of inquiry-based mathematics learning and explicit teaching split the profession during a recent debate about Australia’s proposed new national curriculum.

Northholm Grammar School head of mathematics Phil Waldron said his school had a strong focus on direct instruction, where every step of a maths problem was directly modelled by a teacher for students, which was producing excellent results.

“The report reinforces the idea that students’ understanding is developed by the teacher and that it’s easy for the teachers to take students’ knowledge for granted and therefore miss steps in instruction,” he said.

“The problem with inquiry learning is that students are often left to figure it out for themselves and it’s all based on prior understanding and contextual understanding for them.

“You always need a foundation, you can’t start with inquiry, students need a level of understanding before they start to think for themselves.”

Waldron said inquiry learning was promoted as best practice through his teacher training at university.

“I’ve been blessed with professional experience that was somewhat counter to what I walked away from university with,” he said. “And now the evidence is suggesting that what these older staff members were doing is, in fact, the best way.”




Wednesday, August 10, 2022

2 California Parents Fight Transgender Bills

As California lawmakers consider two sweeping bills on gender ideology, one California mom says she’s over this “extreme liberalism.”

“We’ve had enough of this extreme liberalism,” Erin Friday, a registered Democrat, told The Daily Signal in an interview.

Friday, 55, is the leader of a local Parents of Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoric Kids chapter. For her, the transgender issue is personal.

Friday’s teenage daughter is what’s known as a desister, someone who is briefly socialized as the opposite sex but doesn’t go through with any surgeries or hormone treatments.

“After she said, ‘I want to be called by a male name,’ … every teacher and every student called her by a male name. This was kept from me,” said Friday.

In the ongoing debate surrounding gender ideology and medical intervention for children, California lawmakers are considering a pair of sweeping bills that critics claim will entice confused kids to the state and receive life-altering treatment.

If passed, SB 923 will require physicians and health insurance providers to receive training on how to deal with transgender and gender nonbinary people, as well as require insurance companies to include a list of providers that provide cross-sex hormones or perform gender surgeries in their network directories.

Friday sees the bill as “indoctrination.”

“It’s a forced curriculum that will be prepared by non-medical professionals and advocacy groups,” she said. “They are taking California state dollars and using them to advocate for gender interventions.”

SB 107 is being hailed as a transgender refuge bill that would prohibit state agents from complying with other states’ subpoenas for medical information and would prevent non-California courts from demanding the state remove children from homes where gender treatments are occurring.

The bills’ author, state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, tweeted in April, “SB 107 will be our legislation to provide refuge in CA for trans kids & their families from states that are criminalizing them & MDs & threatening to remove trans children from their homes.”

To Friday, the bill is nothing short of terrifying.

“It doesn’t just create a sanctuary state to go against those states that ban gender intervention, it creates a sanctuary against the other 49 states. Once [the minors] put their foot in California, the California courts are required to take jurisdiction over that child,” Friday said.

She continued, “That means the California courts will decide what is in the best interest of that child. We’ve seen it in California; taking that child away from those parents, because the parents refuse to involve their children in experimental sterilizing-causing treatments.”

As research by The Heritage Foundation indicates, studies cited to support the argument that gender therapy, like surgeries or hormones, improves the health for children who say they’re transgender are problematic. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)

Friday isn’t the only parent who has been impacted by the rise in transgender ideology across the country.

Ted Hudocko is a 56-year-old dad who lost custody of his son after the then-15-year-old claimed he was transgender. After researching the science behind gender transition processes, Hudocko expressed he was uncomfortable with his son transitioning.

Hudocko lost custody of his son to his ex-wife. If SB 107 is passed, Hudocko fears his story might become more common.

“It is absolutely going to encourage runaways to come to California. It’ll encourage parents in other states to abscond with their children,” he said in an interview with The Daily Signal. “As long as they get to California and claim a discordant gender identity, the California courts will assert jurisdiction.”

Hudocko continued, “It’s an Orwellian system. The family court system here is not to be trusted.”


It’s back to school soon — but not to failing, woke public schools for many families

As parents prepare to send their children back to school, many will have made decisions about their kids’ education that will not only put them on a different trajectory but also impact the public-education system, which is being used in too many districts to indoctrinate more than educate.

Stories about drag queens in kindergarten, forcing students to use preferred pronouns, biological boys who say they are transgender using locker rooms and showers once reserved for girls, along with the pandemic, which convinced growing numbers of parents that homeschooling worked better — all of these are prompting an exodus of parents and now teachers from public schools.

The New York Times recently chronicled the trend: “In New York City, the nation’s largest school district has lost some 50,000 students over the past two years. In Michigan, enrollment remains more than 50,000 below pre-pandemic levels from big cities to the rural Upper Peninsula.

“In the suburbs of Orange County, California, where families have moved for generations to be part of the public school system, enrollment slid for the second consecutive year; statewide, more than a quarter-million public school students have dropped from California’s rolls since 2019.”

Not only kids are abandoning public schools. Many teachers have also checked out. The Washington Post reports: “The teacher shortage in America has hit crisis levels — and school officials everywhere are scrambling to ensure that, as students return to classrooms, someone will be there to educate them.”

Speaking about the shortage of teachers, Dan Domenech, executive director of the School Superintendent Association, told The Washington Post: “I have never seen it this bad.”

The question is: What kind of classroom will public-school kids return to? Will it be like classrooms in Portland, Ore., where children as young as 5 will be taught transgender ideology, sexual orientation and, reports The Washington Times, “the role of ‘white colonizers’ in marginalizing LGBTQ people”?

Darla Romfo, president of the Children’s Scholarship Fund, which offers scholarships to students in poorly performing inner-city schools, responds to this sweeping wokeism in an email: “When more than half of students can’t even read proficiently and the pandemic only exacerbated this learning loss, especially for our most vulnerable students, why do schools insist on diverting time and resources into non-academic, controversial subjects that are confusing at best and don’t align with many families values? Parents are tired of it and rightly so. And my advice is if your school doesn’t respond to your concerns, find another school that will. There are no do-overs when it comes to your child’s education.”

US students continue to lag behind other countries’ in reading, math and science. We appear to be No. 1 in costs, though, averaging $16,268 per student annually, well above the global average of $10,759.

Parents have a right to ask if the cost equals the benefit, since it’s their tax dollars.

With the proliferation of private schools, more readily available resources for homeschooling and school choice in growing numbers of states, more parents are withdrawing their children from public schools.

The public-school system, increasingly dominated by left-wing political and social ideology, has long been in need of reform — or burial. The trend seems to be headed in the burial direction, like with previous aging monopolies.

President Joe Biden has declared a “public health emergency” because of monkeypox. There is a vaccine to protect against monkeypox. The only protection from the public-school intellectual and moral “infection” of children is to remove them.


Parents fighting schools to protect their kids are heroes, not book-banners

Across the country, librarians in schools and public libraries are stocking the shelves with material that is so pornographic that when parents have tried to read aloud and show the material at school board meetings, their microphones were cut off.

For progressives, the victim of the situation isn’t the children exposed to inappropriate content; the hero of the story isn’t the parents fighting for their kids’ innocence. No, the hero and victim of the coverage of these incidents are the librarians buying the sexually explicit content and recommending it to children.

Librarians are putting themselves on the front lines of a culture war, often shooting the first shots, and then bemoaning that they’ve found themselves under fire. But here’s the thing: Libraries have turned themselves into battlegrounds for these arguments, and librarians, one of the most radically progressive professions, have made them that way.

If you’re hosting drag queen story hour and stocking literal pornography on the shelves, you’ve surrendered the right to just ask for a quiet and respectful conversation about how you’re doing your job.

How libraries are functioning is an assault on our children, paid for by our tax dollars. It’s long past time for parents to fight back, even if they’re called book banners for doing so. Librarians turned themselves into political warriors and are trying to make our kids into their foot soldiers. They don’t get to do so without a fight.

Progressives have received their talking points on the matter. Efforts on the part of parents to make sure that inappropriate and pornographic materials aren’t available to their children is called "book banning." In April, Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, held a hearing to examine what he called "the ongoing efforts across the country to ban books from schools and public libraries."

A single mother of a middle schooler in Raskin’s district, Marilyn (who asked to be anonymous for professional reasons), shared with me her own story. She told me,

"My daughter started asking to go to the school early so she could spend some time in the library and came home with 'George' by Alex Gino. I had not heard of this book, and have yet to meet the school librarian. I asked my daughter if she picked out the book and she told me that the librarian gave it to her and said she thought she would like it. I still have no idea why.

Murray slams school board for cutting off mom exposing graphic book: 'Any excuse other than accountability'Video
"The school librarian also apparently said the same things about 'Rick' by Alex Gino. 'The Art of Being Normal' by Lisa Williamson also came home from the school library. These three books are the only books that came home from the school library in Montgomery County in 2021-2022."

Gino’s book "George," which has since been renamed "Melissa," has been at the top of the American Library Association’s list of Top 10 Most Challenged Books for several years. The ALA, with its list, posit the book challenges are akin to censorship. Here’s a sample from "George," just to get an idea of what many parents objected to:

"George stopped. It was such a short little question, but she couldn’t make her mouth form the sounds.

"Mom, what if I’m a girl?

"George had seen an interview on television a few months ago with a beautiful woman named Tina. She had golden-brown skin, thick hair with blond highlights, and long, sparkling fingernails. The interviewer said that Tina had been born a boy, then asked her whether she’d had the surgery. The woman replied that she was a transgender woman and that what she had between her legs was nobody’s business but hers and her boyfriends.

"So George knew it could be done. A boy could become a girl. She had since read on the Internet you could take girl hormones that would change your body, and you could get a bunch of different surgeries if you wanted them and had the money. This was called transitioning. You could even start before you were 18 with pills called adrogen blockers that stopped the boy hormones already inside you from turning your body into a man’s. But for that, you needed your parents’ permission."

All you have to do is permanently mutiliate yourself with major surgery and hormone therapy; it’s as easy as taking antibiotics!

This is the message in a book marketed for ages 8-12; one that was the winner of the Stonewall Book award, Lambda Literary Award, E.B. White Honor, a best book of the year for Booklist, School Library Journal, and Kirkus Reviews. It also won a New York Public Library Notable Book Award. It’s a book that librarians around the country are trying to push into the hands of its young patrons.

In 2021, Gino’s "George / Melissa" was finally getting knocked out of the top spot by a new book, "Gender Queer," by Maia Kobabe. In its coverage of the "book banning" wars in the its Sunday newsletter, the New York Times interviewed Alexandra Alter, a Times reporter covering the publishing industry on the subject, and in its graphics illustrating the newsletter item, "Gender Queer" was one of the books highlighted.

Alter was asked, "How are librarians responding?" And Alexandra laid it on, thick with her reply, "It’s heartbreaking for them. Librarians say they got into this field because of a love of reading and talking to people about books. Some have left their jobs; some have been fired for refusing to remove books. Others quit after being subject to a barrage of insults on social media."

Alter recently sounded a similar tone in a piece she wrote for the Times about the plight of the librarians facing backlash for their choices in purchasing and display choices,

"As highly visible and politicized book bans have exploded across the country, librarians – accustomed to being seen as dedicated public servants in their communities – have found themselves on the front lines of an acrimonious culture war, with their careers and their personal reputations at risk."




Tuesday, August 09, 2022

I’m a Conservative College Student. Here’s How Universities Are Failing to Prepare Our Future Leaders

Lindsey Aden

Polite discourse among citizens about political issues has become increasingly hard to find in recent years. This is especially true at colleges and universities around the country, where students are supposed to use debate and discussion with classmates to help develop their opinions.

This begs the question: If college-aged students are afraid to engage in civil discourse about political affairs with their peers, how can we expect them to do so in the future when many of them will be leading our country?

Growing up in the early 2000s, this lack of debate was anything but apparent to me. My very civically engaged parents saw no reason to withhold their political opinions and beliefs from my brother and me. They always boasted about being the first ones at the ballot box on Election Day in our small town of 200 people, and I even volunteered a few months before my 18th birthday to work as an election judge for the 2020 presidential primary.

With a mom serving under the umbrella of the Department of Defense and a father who was a hardworking, conservative farmer, political opinions in our household were hardly divisive. It was not evident to me early on that politics could be such a taboo topic in a public setting.

My neighboring friends and family often had signs for the same conservative candidates in their yards, and discussions on political viewpoints were not uncommon.

By the time I was in high school, I looked forward to analyzing American history and current events on a daily basis with my left-leaning high school teachers.

Anxious to be around young individuals who loved politics and government as much as I did, I jumped at the chance to attend a large university far from home to engage in passionate discussions on politics and government. I wanted to be a lawyer, after all, and constitutional and political debating was all I wanted to do.

It was this dream that took me to the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, a lengthy 10 hours from my hometown in Illinois.

UGA brought together several niche qualities that I was looking for in an institution. It is a large, diverse university in the epitome of a Southern state. In its small school for political science, there had to be students and teachers who came from both sides of the political aisle who were open to opinions from around the political spectrum, right?

It was not until the first semester of my sophomore year that I realized I may have been very wrong about this assumption.

I remember sitting in the last row in class, apprehensive at first because I was the only 19-year-old kid sitting in a graduate class with 30-year-old Ph.D. students talking about their marriages and children. UGA allows a small number of students to take 8000-level graduate classes during their undergraduate years to count toward honors credit. I would quickly learn that age would not be the only thing where my classmates and I would differ.

Growing up, I had always been the quiet kid in class unless I knew for a matter of fact that I had the correct answer. My mother had taught me to be cognizant of the opinions of others and carefully consider my own thoughts before spewing them around to others. I knew this quality would come in handy in graduate classes where I was significantly outnumbered by those who were older than me and who didn’t share my political opinions.

I sat through a number of evening classes that semester in which I hardly talked. Instead, I sat back and soaked in the intelligent connections that my professor and fellow students made. I thrived on hearing from students who had devoted their academic careers to debating and analyzing government and political institutions.

Very quickly, I noticed how my peers often referenced left-leaning politicians when highlighting positive policy enacted by the U.S. Congress. Moreover, I noticed how conservatives, or Republicans for that matter, were usually portrayed in a negative light, if they were mentioned at all.

The overwhelming agreement on political opinions among this devoted group of political science students did not surprise me. By that time, I had been in plenty of classes with outspoken left-leaning students. However, the fact that none of my peers seemed to have conservative or right-leaning opinions on the topics we discussed was more than just a little odd.

After one of my classes in my sophomore year, I remember another quiet student walking up to me. She had noticed the sticker on my laptop promoting a conservative candidate I had worked for, and she asked me if I was a Republican. I told her that I was, and she said she was shocked to find someone who was on the same side of the political aisle as her. We walked together for a while, and she told me about how reluctant she was to speak up in class amongst her left-leaning peers.

This depiction threw me for a loop. She was a 24-year-old master’s student attending a popular Southern school. Surely, there were other right-leaning individuals in her program, right? And surely, the political differences between her and her classmates did not mean that she was left out of most conversations altogether?

I would come to find out that she was the only conservative in her cohort of graduate students.

She told me about how she chose to focus on her research and avoided discussing politics with her classmates. I was shocked by how an individual in her position avoided discussing major components of her field of study with her peers because she feared the judgment and broken friendships that might ensue.

It turns out that polite discourse about politics was not what either of us had found in our programs. Instead, students at our school avoided controversial topics and opinions that differed from those around them. Prominent issues were either not brought up or only portrayed by one side of the aisle.

Whether you consider yourself to be a Democrat or a Republican, this is an issue that should be of importance to us all. Our country was built by Founders who made it their mission to debate controversial topics amongst themselves to better form our democracy. The framework of our government requires our leaders to debate and discuss issues with one another and their constituents to attempt to make the best decisions for the good of all individuals.

As students attend major colleges and universities across the country, they should feel that they are free—encouraged even—to discuss relevant political issues with those who may disagree with them.

The students who are attending these schools are members of the next generation that will lead our country. If they cannot engage in political discussions at an academic level, how are we ever supposed to expect them to do so as future leaders of our nation?


Conn.: At Private School Party, Whites Not Welcome

A Connecticut private school advertised an annual family event to which only families who identify as certain races appeared to be invited, according to a copy of the letter posted to Twitter by the Greenwich Republican Town Committee.

Greenwich Country Day School (GCDS) sent a letter to school families Monday in which they highlighted an annual Cider and Donuts event, according to a copy of the letter posted to Twitter by the Greenwich Republican Town Committee. The event reportedly aims “at supporting families interested in celebrating and nurturing a diverse and inclusive school community.”

The letter said the Cider and Donuts event planned for October is “open to GCDS families who identify as Black, Asian, Latinx, multi-racial, Indigenous, Middle Eastern, and/or people of color,” according to Greenwich Time.

The Greenwich Republicans, who obtained the GCDS letter and shared it on Twitter, criticized the Connecticut private school over the event.

“You listed nearly every group but white people… was that on purpose?” Greenwich Republicans tweeted Monday. “Is that how you bring people together? Inclusion… ?”

The Greenwich Democratic Party defended the school’s Cider and Donuts event, tweeting that they “recognize the importance of celebrating racial diversity” in schools.

“Greenwich Democrats support schools’ efforts to make minority students feel welcome on campus,” the Greenwich Democrats tweeted. The party also said they “condemn the Greenwich RTC’s out of touch remarks.”

Head of school for Greenwich Country Day School, Adam Rohdie, told Greenwich Time on Tuesday that he was “disappointed” in how the Greenwich Republican Party characterized the event. (RELATED: University Of California-San Diego Appears To Offer Segregated Back-To-School Orientation)

“Unfortunately, I think the national commentary is a space where everybody wants to yell on Twitter, where nobody wants to talk and certainly no one wants to listen,” he told the outlet.

“I think there are ways we could change the language a little bit in the letter,” Rohdie continued. “If any family wanted to attend they would be welcome to attend. We celebrate community throughout the year, and we provide opportunity for affinity groups and families of students with common interests and backgrounds and experiences.”

Greenwich Republican Town Committee Chair Beth MacGillivray responded to the Daily Caller’s request for comment, stating, “Our tweet stands.”


Australia: Read the books the teacher's union wants YOUR kids reading in English lessons - including one about a child who has NO gender

A union push to teach primary school students about intersex identity and gender diversity through picture books has been slammed.

The NSW Teacher's Federation union is urging educators to deliver the lessons to students during English and Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) classes across NSW schools even though the state has a ban on any lessons in gender fluidity.

The JPL says on its website it 'seeks to enhance the quality of teaching and of public education' and calls itself the 'professional development arm' of the teacher's union.

The website contains a range of academic articles including ones pushing for more lessons about gender identity.

'English in primary school provides rich opportunities for students to learn about gender diversity in relation to themselves, each other, and the world at large,' academics claim.

'We encourage teachers to stay attuned for primary school texts that feature intersex identities.'

The academics suggest teachers include books about a child who is born as a boy but identifies as a girl, a child who does not identify as either gender, and a boy who likes to dress in girl's clothes.

The books have been recommended by the Journal of Professional Learning - the professional learning unit of the NSW Teacher's Federation Union.

One Nation MP Mark Latham has slammed the push saying parents should be responsible for teaching their children about personal topics. He has raised the issue with education minister Sarah Mitchell,' Daily Telegraph reported.

'The Minister has been ineffective in stopping organisations like the NSW Teachers Federation infiltrating our schools with gender propaganda, such as in these books,' he said.

2GB host Ben Fordham, who has previously slammed an after school centre for teaching children about gender theory, posted about the push on Facebook.

Social media users were quick to vent their outrage over the material.

Ms Mitchell shot down the push to bring in the picture books saying public schools had to stick to the NSW curriculum.

The NSW curriculum does not currently include gender identity education programs such as Safe Schools. 'Safe Schools is not part of the NSW curriculum and is not taught in public schools,' Ms Mitchell said.




Monday, August 08, 2022

Old English classic Beowulf gets slapped with trigger warning as university dons fear students may be distressed to read about monsters

How pathetic. Beowulf is a rare window into the values of our pre-Christian past

It's a staple of English literature courses, an Old English epic poem so dramatic it has even spawned a computer-animated action fantasy film.

Yet academics have slapped a ‘trigger warning’ on Beowulf, cautioning students that they may read about ‘monsters’.

The University of Aberdeen believes that students reading Celtic and Anglo-Saxon Studies may be distressed by the saga.

The university has put more than 30 warnings on one module, entitled ‘Lost Gods and Hidden Monsters of the Celtic and Germanic Middle Ages’.

A note to students reads: ‘Texts studied on this course contain representations of violence, coercion, animal cruelty or animal death, incest, suicide, explicit sexual content... ableism.’

In addition, students were warned that ‘there will also be monsters’.

It is not the first time Aberdeen has attracted controversy for its use of trigger warnings.

Last year, The Mail on Sunday revealed the university cautioned students that Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped contained ‘depictions of murder, death, family betrayal and kidnapping’,

Beowulf, the tale of terrifying beasts and a fire-breathing dragon being killed by a hero, has been taught for generations as one of the greatest stories of all time.

The hero of Beowulf dispatches the monstrous figure of Grendel – who is described in Old English as ‘unhælu’, or ‘infirm’.

However, some scholars have argued this is offensive because it pitches the able-bodied against the disabled.

The hero of the 3,000-line poem also kills a ‘wyrm’ (a dragon/ serpent) at the end, alongside his dutiful servant Wiglaf.

The advice specifically mentions the violent content in Beowulf, stating: ‘Particularly graphic representations of violence... will be encountered in... Beowulf.’

A further note warns of ‘blasphemy, defecation, psychological violence, pain, alcohol abuse, symbols of evil, black magic’.

The university policy on content warnings, reported by the Daily Telegraph, explains the need for warnings: ‘The mental health and wellbeing of students is a primary concern of the school.’


Calif.: Queer Theory Reigns in San Diego Public Schools

Christopher Rufo

I have obtained a range of publicly accessible documents from San Diego Unified that reveal the district’s new ideology. The materials follow the basic premise of queer theory: white Europeans created a false “gender binary” and used the categories of “male” and “female” to dominate racial and sexual minorities. A San Diego Unified training for facilitators of LGBTQ student groups argues that this system of “heteronormativity” forces students to conform to these norms: they are “assigned” a sex at birth, pressed into the identities of “man” and “woman,” and expected to have heterosexual relationships culminating in “marriage (and kids).” This “gender binary,” however, is arbitrary, socially constructed, and harmful. It is, in the words of the presentation, a “limited system [that] excludes and oppresses trans, nonbinary, intersex, and gender-nonconforming people.”

According to the district, the gender binary has created an unjust society that distributes “heterosexual and cisgender privilege,” the sexual analog to the concept of “white privilege.” In the presentation, administrators explain that “a heterosexual/cisgender person automatically receives” this privilege, which “benefits members of dominant groups at the expense of members of target groups” and “results in institutional power” for straight men and women. Furthermore, the district claims, this sexual privilege is connected to a broader range of privileges and oppressions via the theory of intersectionality. “Racism, classism, heterosexism, etc. do not exist independently,” the presentation reads. “Multiple forms of discrimination interrelate creating a system of oppression.”

What is the solution? To dismantle “heteronormativity” and break the “gender binary.” Following the principles of queer theory, San Diego Unified has created a program of gender-identity instruction with the explicit goal of undermining the traditional conception of sex and promoting a new set of boutique sexual identities, such as “transgender,” “genderqueer,” “non-binary,” “pansexual,” “asexual,” and “two-spirit,” that promise to disrupt the oppressive system of heteronormativity. A series of curriculum documents encourage students to study the basic tenets of queer theory and then examine photographs of gender-nonconforming role models, including a woman with a beard, a boy in a dress, a teenage girl with a “genderqueer” identity, a boy wearing a tiara, and an infant with a “gender neutral baby name.” In another document published by San Diego Unified, administrators celebrate “nonbinary identities,” arguing that there must be a “linguistic revolution to move beyond gender binaries,” including the adoption of the term “Latinx,” which “makes room for people who are trans, queer, agender, nonbinary, gender non-conforming or gender fluid.”

This ideology has already shifted the district’s sexual-education program. In a training produced jointly by San Diego Unified and Planned Parenthood, administrators walk teachers through the constellation of new identities and advise them to eliminate traditional language from their vocabulary. Men are to be called “people with a penis” and women are to be called “people with a vulva,” because, according to the district, some women can have penises and some men can have vulvas.

Additionally, the district points out that teachers can assist in a child’s gender transition without notifying parents and that, under California law, minors of any age can consent to pregnancy testing, birth control, and abortion. Finally, the training program includes sample questions on sexuality that teachers might address in the classroom, including: “Is it okay to masturbate?”; “How do gay people have sex?”; “What is porn?”; and “What does semen taste like?” In a related presentation, the district also advises teachers on leading discussions on “how to use a condom” and how to engage in “safer oral sex” and “safer anal sex.”

For now, the continued spread of queer theory and gender ideology in districts such as San Diego Unified appears to be a foregone conclusion. It is remarkable to see the tenets of a once-obscure and controversial academic discipline translated into classroom orthodoxy for children. Parents, however, should begin pushing back. If the case against queer theory as an academic disciple is strong, the case against queer theory as a K-12 pedagogy is even stronger. The goal of dismantling “heteronormativity” is nonsensical and destructive to the basic building blocks of society. To divide the world into man and woman and to encourage the development of families and children is not “oppression,” but a basic process of human nature—one that should not be discarded under the false pretenses of academic postmodernism.


Apprentice teachers would earn as they learn under new model being pushed by Universities Australia

Back to the future. In the 19th century teachers learned their craft via apprenticships

Apprentice teachers would earn as they learn while working as classroom assistants under radical training reforms to be driven by the nation’s universities.

As education ministers prepare to meet school leaders and unions on Friday to discuss the dire shortage of teachers, Universities Australia has proposed a shake-up of professional qualifications to give teaching graduates more practical experience.

“We can help create a degree apprenticeship system where, like any other apprenticeship, student teachers have the opportunity to do more training in schools with a job secured at the end of it,’’ Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson said on Sunday.

Longer practical placements for teachers in training, to work as aides and help teachers in classrooms are spelled out in a Universities Australia document prepared for the ministerial summit.

“Students will get more exposure to the classroom and develop practical skills in the workplace together with quality mentoring and coaching,’’ it states.

“Pre-service teachers will be more productive sooner and will contribute to addressing workforce shortages, including by taking on ancillary tasks and freeing up teachers to teach.”

Australia is facing a shortage of 4100 teachers over the next four years, as school student enrolments soar 10 per cent. But school-leavers are shunning a career in teaching, with a 17 per cent slump in the number of university graduates with teaching degrees between 2017 and 2020.

One in eight teachers intends to quit in the next five years and 40 per cent of maths teachers and nearly a third of science teachers are not qualified to teach subjects essential for a hi-tech economy.

The federal government has fast-tracked visas for more than 1000 foreign teachers this year, to plug shortages in Australian schools.

Cutting red tape for teachers to ease their workload, and higher pay rates for top teachers are canvassed in a discussion paper to be put to the state and territory education ministers by federal Education Minister Jason Clare on Friday.

The document says high-school teachers work an average of 45 hours a week, including four hours on administrative tasks.

“How can we reduce administrative burden to give teachers the time to deliver high-quality learning and support for students and their school communities?’’ it states. “What promising approaches to reducing teacher workload could be piloted, such as deploying administrative or support staff more effectively to take on tasks that do not require teaching expertise or qualifications?’’

The document says pay scales that range from about $75,000 for a beginner teacher to $126,000 for a lead teacher fail to reward the most proficient teachers who choose to stay in classrooms.

“Australian teachers begin their career on a competitive salary but pay scales are flatter than in comparable countries and teachers can reach the top pay points within 10 years,’’ it states.

“Australia’s top teacher salary is only 40 per cent higher than the starting salary, significantly below the OECD average of 80 per cent.

“Outside of the national Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher (HALT) program there are limited career opportunities for teachers to be recognised and remunerated for their expertise, without moving to school leadership or education bureaucracy positions.’’

The federal government will spend $51m for 5000 bursaries to attract high-achieving school students to choose teaching as a career. It will also spend $71.5m over four years to support 1500 qualified professionals with degrees in engineering, science, maths, law or the humanities, to swap their careers for teaching.

Universities Australia hopes to rekindle interest in teaching by replacing its traditional four-year teaching degree with a radical new “degree apprenticeship’’.

“(It is) an approach to teacher education that combines theory and practice in a new way and links education directly to the workforce,’’ its proposal states.

“Degree apprenticeship systems offer schools qualified new teachers and offer students and graduates a pathway to a job.”




Sunday, August 07, 2022

The teachers union’s cynical bid to steal NYC school control from Mayor Adams

If Judge Lyle Frank goes ahead and voids the city’s already enacted schools budget, it’ll be just another power play in the United Federation of Teachers’ bid to bring Mayor Eric Adams and Chancellor David Banks to heel, at kids’ expense.

The idea that minor trims to some schools’ budgets portends the apocalypse is, as we’ve noted, baloney. Anyway, Adams has already given the noisemakers what they say they want: The Department of Education announced Wednesday that schools can now use available funds to retain the teachers they were going to have to let go.

So the UFT and its pawns and allies, by refusing to drop the case before Judge Frank, are demanding that he void the entire system’s budget — risking major chaos when schools open in the fall — on a ludicrous technicality: that Team Adams declared an emergency to push through its spending plan before the city Panel for Education Policy got public comments and voted on it.

Never mind that school spending plans are often passed this way, or that such “emergencies” are routine in New York government. Or that the cuts are to schools whose enrollments have fallen dramatically.

Adams and Banks are trying to save the city’s public schools after the utterly disastrous de Blasio years triggered an exodus of furious and/or fearful families. But the UFT cares only about its own short-term interests and its continued power to veto anything it dislikes.

Hence, its willingness to belabor this fight, at kids’ (and most teachers’) expense, even though the mayor’s already conceded the immediate point.

This isn’t about school funding, the law or good government, but who runs the schools: The mayor, on behalf of kids and taxpayers? Or the union, on behalf of itself?


Parents push back on American colleges promoting DEI initiatives: 'DEI is dangerous'

Some universities across America are requiring compliance from faculty in the form of signed diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) statements, as conditions for tenure or promotion — arguing that DEI across college campuses is a top priority.

However, there may be growing pushback in some areas from faculty as well as from parents — who claim that the DEI agenda actually challenges the diversity of viewpoints and opinions of students within the college environment.

Some say it also promotes a culture of fear and intimidation.

In the city of Seattle, for example, roughly 40% of the University of Washington's faculty recently rejected — or abstained from voting on — a measure that would have required faculty members seeking advancement to provide a statement demonstrating their support of DEI.

"The fact that [the vote] was stopped is unprecedented," Cliff Mass, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the university and an advocate for viewpoint diversity, told Fox News Digital in a phone interview.

Fox News Digital reached out to the University of Washington for comment.

Victor Balta, senior director of media relations at the school, said, "My understanding is that the legislation failed despite earning over 63 'yes' votes among those cast, which was a margin of 26 points over the ‘no’ votes."

Balta noted that faculty code requires that "Class A legislation earn a two-thirds supermajority of votes in instances where fewer than 50% of the faculty actually cast ballots."

Students who hold even moderate viewpoints are often afraid to express themselves on campus today, one professor says.

"Viewpoint diversity is part of diversity, equity and inclusion, and we don’t believe they are in conflict," he also told Fox News Digital.

"Our campuses should be, and are, places for thoughtful and rigorous exchanges of ideas."

"Placing value on diversity, equity and inclusion introduces more perspectives to these discussions, not fewer," Balta added.

Yet for Mass and others who say they desire a true diversity of thought restored in the college campus environment, the failed measure appears to be a win.

"One political viewpoint is being pushed very hard by the administration and by a number of others," said Mass, who is also a meteorologist.

To him, "diversity statements" appear very much like "the anti-communist loyalty oaths of the late 1940s and early 1950s."

Students who hold even moderate viewpoints are often afraid to express themselves, he said.

"Requiring all faculty members to support a social/political agenda favored by one segment of society not only politicizes the university, but represents ‘compelled speech,’" he noted recently in a blog post.

It's "a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution at a public university," he added.

That blog post has received more than 70,000 page views since early July 2022.

DEI advocates are said to focus not on equal opportunity, but on the ideology of equal outcomes or equity.

Fox News Digital reached out to two other colleges that seem to endorse DEI initiatives, according to their websites.

"I suspect most parents don’t understand what’s happening here."

Mass addressed the DEI agenda of many of them.

"They believe that the university should be biased in its admissions and resources to ensure equal outcomes for all groups, with particular attention to a small number of favored ‘unrepresented’ groups," Mass told Fox News Digital.

"I suspect most parents don’t understand what’s happening here," he said. "Parents that we serve are from the whole state. There’s a wide variety of political views from people who send their kids here."

"Then there’s people from outside. We have a lot of foreign students," he added. "They're coming here to get a good education."

Mass said he believes that parents have a huge role to play in limiting the DEI agenda on campus.

"There’s a lot that parents can do," Mass said, noting that parents can decide not to make contributions to their child's college.

"There are a lot of tools to pressure the university — and if they did, it would have an impact," Mass predicted.

DEI advocates 'misuse our trusted words,' says one mom
Rebecca Friedrichs, a California-based mother of two grown sons, told Fox News Digital that parents may be "unaware of the destructive nature of DEI."

She said that "DEI proponents (and their allies) use linguistic gymnastics to change the very meaning of words, in order to manipulate the masses into believing propaganda."

"DEI is dangerous … and many parents don’t discover this destructive agenda until it’s too late."

"We collectively understand the word 'diversity' to include respectful debate of diverse opinions, open and honest discussion, respect for others, even when we disagree."

"So, when the university announces it is 'diverse,' we think, ‘That’s positive,'" noted Friedrichs, a co-founder of For Kids and Country, a national movement of parents, teachers and citizens.

DEI advocates "misuse our trusted words," according to Friedrichs.

"Their definition of ‘diversity' is twisted and is the exact opposite of our understanding," she said. "Their ‘diversity’ accepts only their group-think opinions, their stifling of true debate, their silencing of diverse ideas and their tyrannical control of all content."

"DEI is dangerous," she said, expressing her opinion — "and many parents don’t discover this destructive agenda until it’s too late."

Friedrichs encouraged parents to boycott universities that promote the DEI agenda to "stop the madness."

"Trades are a great alternative for many students," she said, as opposed to the four-year university degree — "and can lead to much satisfaction and high wages without the burden of school debt and indoctrination."


Australian universities set low bar to take subpar students

This is grossly irresponsible. Universities are clearly doing anything to get their numbers up. And it is the poorer and less able students who will be penalized. Many will fail but will still have to pay for their courses. Money for nothing.

There was a much more defensible system in my day. Under the Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme, only the top third of high school passes earned government help

Struggling students who left school at the bottom of the class are being accepted into prestigious university degrees including engineering, architecture and psychology.

Universities made offers to students with Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) scores below 50 – the bottom 10 per cent of high school leavers – for 221 different bachelor degrees this year, placing them at higher risk of failure and financial risk.

The revelation of the low bars being set for academic entry comes as the federal government cracked down on cheating by blocking 40 of the most visited academic cheating websites on Friday.

Federation University Australia, the University of Tasmania, and La Trobe University both accepted students with an ATAR in the 30s – the bottom two per cent of school leavers.

Aspiring teachers can access seven different education degrees with ATAR scores 50 and below, sparking protests from the teachers’ union on Friday.

Australian Education Union president Correna Haythorpe warned that students with an ATAR lower than the average of 70 were likely to fail a teaching degree.

“Low university-entry scores for teaching degrees is a growing concern,’’ she said.

“Evidence suggests that students admitted with low ATARs are likely to be less successful at university and are less likely to complete their course.

“The bar must be raised by ­setting minimum entry requirements and making teaching a two-year postgraduate degree.’’

A Federation University spokeswoman blamed an “administrative error’’ for admitting a student with an ATAR of 37 to a teaching degree this year.

“We have investigated this matter with the Victorian Teaching Institute, and we are both satisfied that the student is doing well and should be allowed to complete the course,’’ she said.

Alarmingly low academic requirements are revealed in ATAR cut-off scores for university ­admissions this year, published on the federal government’s Course Seeker website using ­official data from universities and tertiary admission centres. Starting this year, students who fail to pass at least half their subjects will lose taxpayer subsidies and be forced to pay the full cost of their degree, switch to an easier course or drop out of university.

The federal Education ­Department said it did not yet know how many students were failing, and losing taxpayer funding, as a result of the former ­Coalition government’s Job-Ready Graduates legislation that will be reviewed by the new Labor government later this year.

If students fail a course and are kicked out, they will still have to repay the student loans they borrowed through the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP), possibly leaving them with a lifelong debt.

“For a bachelor degree the rule applies if a student does not complete or fails more than 50 per cent of at least eight units until the end of the degree,’’ a spokes­person said.

“If this occurs students lose access to Commonwealth Supported Places (government subsidy) and to HELP. They can regain access by changing to another course that, for example, might better suit them.

“If a student has failed or not completed units because of illness, or other unusual stresses or things out of their control in their life, their university can exempt those units from the rule.’’

Federal Education Department data shows that more than 13,000 students with below-50 ATAR scores applied for university last year, with 55 per cent ­accepted.

Another 30,000 students ­applied with ATARs between 50 and 70, with three-quarters ­accepted, while nearly all the 29,000 applicants with an ATAR above 90 enrolled in a degree.

Of the students with low ATAR scores, 11 per cent were from poorer backgrounds while only 2 per cent were from wealthy families.

Among the highest achievers, 38 per cent were wealthy and 17 per cent were from poorer families.

Higher education policy ­expert Andrew Norton, professor in the practice of higher education policy at the Centre for ­Social Research and Methods at the Australian National University, warned that students admitted with low academic results were the most likely to drop out of university.

He said half the students with an ATAR below 50 would fail to complete their course.

“Often they are equity students admitted under special ­arrangements,’’ he said. “Nevertheless, they are coming in with what looks like poor academic preparation. “I am concerned that some students will be expose to financial risk because they have a high chance of not completing their degree.’’

The Course Seeker data shows that the University of Tasmania admitted business graduates with an ATAR of 30 this year, while RMIT University set a low threshold of 48.4 for its Bachelor of Psychology.

While the University of NSW accepted only students with an ATAR over 85 for its civil engineering degree, La Trobe University lowered its cut-off to 50.

For an accounting and finance degree, the Australian Catholic University set a cut-off barely below 50, while the University of Tasmania admitted architecture students with an ATAR of just 44.

Federation University Australia this week scrapped its Bachelor of Arts degree, blaming a drop in student enrolments.

“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant ­decline in international enrolments, and we are now in our third year of declining student enrolments,’’ acting vice-chancellor Wendy Cross said on Friday.

“We have also seen a drop in domestic student enrolments generally due to online learning fatigue that continues to significantly impact the university’s ­financial position.”

National Tertiary Education Union Victorian assistant secretary Sarah Roberts said an arts degree was a “bedrock offering for all universities’’. “This is a demoralising day for humanities in Victoria (and) a hammer blow for students who live regionally and want to study arts,” she said.