Friday, August 26, 2022

Key Obama Official Shreds Biden's 'Reckless' Student Debt Cancellation: 'Everyone Else Will Pay for This'

The Harvard professor who headed the Council of Economic Advisers during the Obama administration torched President Joe Biden’s student loan debt cancellation on Wednesday, calling it “reckless.”

“Everyone else will pay for this either in the form of higher inflation or in higher taxes or lower benefits in the future,” Jason Furman tweeted as part of a long thread on the subject.

Biden announced Wednesday that Pell Grant recipients with loans held by the Department of Education are eligible for $20,000 in student loan debt cancellation, while non-Pell recipients could get $10,000 of their debt canceled.

Anyone with an income of less than $125,000 a year is eligible. Biden further said that the pause on repayment has been extended through Dec. 31.

Furman exploded about the move in a series of tweets.

“Pouring roughly half trillion dollars of gasoline on the inflationary fire that is already burning is reckless. Doing it while going well beyond one campaign promise ($10K of student loan relief) and breaking another (all proposals paid for) is even worse,” he wrote.

“The White House fact sheet has sympathetic examples about a construction worker making $38K and a married nurse making $77,000 a year. But then why design a policy that would provide up to $40,000 to a married couple making $249,000? Why include law and business school students?”

“Those examples also contradict the baseline some have concocted to claim that this won’t raise inflation. The claim it won’t raise inflation is based on the construction worker going from permanently paying $0 interest to paying $31 a month at an annual cost of $372,” Furman continued.

Furman said the White House is defying rationality in touting the plan.

“You can’t use one baseline (interest payments suspended) to argue this will constrain demand & then a different baseline (interest payments restored) to describe the benefits. That is incoherent, inconsistent & indefensible cherry picking–I hope the White House doesn’t do it,” he wrote.

“There are a number of other highly problematic impacts including encouraging higher tuition in the future, encouraging more borrowing, creating expectations of future debt forgiveness, and more,” he added.

Furman also said it wasn’t clear to him that the president has the power to unilaterally forgive student loan debt.

“Even if technically legal I don’t like this amount of unilateral Presidential power,” he wrote.

Even before the plan was announced, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers had opposed the idea on Twitter.

“Every dollar spent on student loan relief is a dollar that could have gone to support those who don’t get the opportunity to go to college,” he wrote on Monday.

“Student loan debt relief is spending that raises demand and increases inflation. It consumes resources that could be better used helping those who did not, for whatever reason, have the chance to attend college. It will also tend to be inflationary by raising tuitions.


Harvard Loses Big Thanks to Woke Investments, About to Be Beat by Oil-Drilling University of Texas

Harvard is a leader in woke investing by eschewing investments in fossil fuels, gun makers and other stocks, companies and funds it feels fail the liberal litmus test, but because of this policy, its investment portfolio is losing big time.

Meanwhile, in stark contrast, the University of Texas is raking in huge profits by selling oil drilling leases on land it owns and has made so much money that it rivals the much richer and older Harvard in revenue.

In a recent report on the oil revenue being earned by the University of Texas (UT), Bloomberg noted that the school owns 2.1 million acres in the Permian Basin situated in the Lone Star State.

UT’s land, “almost the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined,” is being leased to more than 250 drilling operations, including ConocoPhillips and Continental Resources, Inc., and the drilling leases are bringing a bounty to the school.

Bloomberg reported that the land is set to “post its best-ever annual revenue in fiscal 2022.” Much of this is due to the high prices of oil, of course.

Bloomberg added that “oil reached a high of $120 a barrel earlier this year as a result of a war-induced energy crunch. The revenue is expected to help narrow the gap between the Texas system’s $42.9 billion endowment and Harvard’s $53.2 billion as of June 2021.”

“The University of Texas has a cash windfall when everyone is looking at a potential cash crunch,” William Goetzmann, a professor of finance and management studies at Yale University’s School of Management, told Bloomberg. “Adjusting your portfolio for social concerns is not costless.”

Without a doubt, the millions that UT is earning from its oil drilling program will keep the school in cash for decades to come and will help the school weather any lean times, at least for a while.

In fact, UT has come close to toppling the Ivy League easterners in investments, Bloomberg wrote. Harvard’s “annualized 10-year returns as of June 2021 are among the lowest of its peers in the eight-school Ivy League, according to Bloomberg data.” But Texas is swimming in returns.

“The University of Texas System last overtook Yale’s endowment in 2018 as the second-richest US university because of rising oil prices,” Bloomberg reported, adding that UT has topped Harvard’s fellow Ivy League school, Yale.

UT is not banking solely on revenue from its vast oil fields, granted. It also has heavy investments in wind and solar power facilities. But right now, oil is bringing in dividends.

Naturally, being a left-wing outlet, Bloomberg did its best to undermine UT by blaming it for helping fuel the climate crisis with its investments.

Bloomberg gave space in its UT story to the climate change alarmist group named Environment Texas, whose representative told Bloomberg, “This is money that’s helping to fuel the climate crisis. I think that many students and faculty don’t know where the money is coming from. And when they find out, I think they will be shocked and very much opposed to this dirty money. It’s not something we should be celebrating.”

Whatever it is or isn’t, UT’s oil concerns are bringing millions in dividends.

Ultra-rich Harvard, on the other hand, has not been so fortunate. Its $53.2 billion endowment as of last year may seem massive, but it could have been so much more if not for its woke investing policy.

In June, the Harvard Crimson newspaper said that 41 of the 44 companies that Harvard’s investment arm, the Harvard Management Co., has thrown the school’s cash at have lost money in the first quarter of 2022. As a result, the IBL News reported, Harvard saw a decline of 43 percent in its stock portfolio during that quarter.

Worse, that first quarter decline is no outlier. In a report from last year, the Crimson told its readers that Harvard Management Co. has underperformed for the last 12 years in a row, and its investment policies left millions unearned. So, despite the outrageous base of over $50,000 a year for tuition, and its humongous $53 billion endowment, the school’s investment policies have actually hurt it.

Harvard is certainly not “broke” by any means. However, its policies prove the veracity to the idea that going woke eventually means going broke.


Welcome mat for Indian students in Australian universities

The higher education sector is pushing Labor to ­lure thousands more Indian students with cheaper visas and ­easier working arrangements to secure the nation’s stake in a ­market set to produce 500 million graduates and undergraduates by 2035.

Education Minister Jason Clare is holding rolling talks this week with his Indian counterpart Dharmendra Pradhan to tick off on key parts of the interim free-trade deal struck between the two countries in April, boost research collaboration and get more ­Indian students enrolled in Australian universities.

As universities try to diversify their foreign student intake and wean themselves off a decade-long overreliance on the Chinese market, the number of Indian students granted a visa almost doubled between June and July, from just over 3000 to close to 6000 as visa backlogs were worked through by the Home Affairs ­Department following a boost to staff under Labor.

Mr Clare said on Monday a “relatively small number of ­Indian students” studied in Australia, with 59,000 currently ­enrolled – 5500 of whom were offshore. “India has a challenge of another magnitude … the sheer scale of training half a billion young Indian students is enormous,” he said.

“I think I can confidently speak for Australian universities … that we’re keen to work with (India) to help implement that bold agenda.”

Mr Pradhan said his government wanted to “take the best practice of higher education of Australia to India”.

“A lot of Indian-origin students are coming to Australia for higher education … India is thankful to you for that,” he said.

While pushing for Australia to take up the “opportunity” of ­attracting more Indian students, Mr Clare said there were only so many places available.

“There’s a lot more we can do to help in the implementation of India’s education plan in India ­itself, either universities setting up campuses in India like the University of Wollongong is intending to do, or also the opportunity to provide courses online,” he said. But chief executive of the powerful Group of Eight, Vicki Thomson, warned fewer Indian students had taken up studying online during Covid compared to cohorts in China.

Ms Thomson said Australia was facing “stiff competition” in the international education market from Britain, the US and ­Canada, and raised the need for a high potential visa that would target graduates in areas of workforce need and encourage them into employment once they ­graduated.

“Our engagement with India, the world’s fastest-growing economy, is critical to the future ­success of our sector,” she said. “Building on our strong bilateral relationship with India in the higher education and research sector will be mutually beneficial to both nations.”




Thursday, August 25, 2022

Biden’s inflation-boosting, unfair and legally dubious student loan scheme

President Joe Biden’s plan to “cancel” federal student loans might sound great to loan-holders and progressives, but it shows how little he cares about everyone else — such as those who’ll be picking up the bill or hit by increased inflation.

The plan would have taxpayers foot the bill for up to $20,000 per loan in outstanding Pell Grant balances and $10,000 for other debt. The price tag: a whopping $330 billion (about $2,000 per taxpayer) over 10 years, per the universally respected Penn Wharton Budget Model.

This spending wipes out (and more) all the deficit-reduction that Democrats claim they achieved in their “Inflation Reduction” law, and also throws another $330 billion worth of gasoline on the inflation fire — which Dems ignited with their $1.9 trillion “rescue” plan last year.

The prez plainly cares more about the votes of progressives (and college kids) than poor and middle-class Americans suffering under 9% price hikes.

It’s a giveaway to college grads (including law- and business-school grads!), while truck drivers, waitresses and janitors who couldn’t afford college, as well as students who struggled to pay off their loans without federal help, will pay. How is that fair?

On top of everything, forgiveness will only encourage colleges to raise tuitions more, knowing students will just borrow more and expect the loans to get canceled again later.

The scheme is also legally dubious. The Department of Education itself said last year that it doesn’t “have the statutory authority to cancel, compromise, discharge, or forgive, on a blanket or mass basis, principal balances of student loans.” Speaker Nancy Pelosi echoed that, saying loan forgiveness “has to be an act of Congress,” even as she questioned the fairness of you “paying taxes to forgive somebody else’s obligations.”

Of course, she’s hedging now: “We didn’t know what authority the president had to do this. And now clearly, it seems he has the authority.” (It’s a miracle!)

In fact, it’s supposedly somehow legalized by . . . emergency pandemic powers!

In rolling out his plan Wednesday, the prez stumbled through yet another of his rambling yarns, this time about his dad being turned down for a loan for then-college-bound Joe’s tuition. That confused storytelling was a perfect frame for a plan that makes even less sense.


California mom's civil rights lawsuit alleges 'social justice teacher' forced students to pick cotton

A mom sued the Los Angeles Unified School District in California last week after her daughter told her that a "social justice teacher… required students to ‘pick cotton’" as an educational tool about slavery, according to court documents.

In Oct. 2017, a mom named Rashunda Pitts became "bewildered" and "completely incensed" when she observed a "cotton field" at the Laurel Span School, court documents said.

Before Pitts discovered what the lawsuit called the "Cotton Picking Project" at the school, she noticed that her daughter's mood changed. Her daughter then experienced "extreme emotional distress," including anxiety and depression, when she thinks about the project, the lawsuit said.

The mom said her daughter told her that other students were told to "pick cotton," and the lawsuit alleged the district violated her daughter's civil rights.

Upon discovering the "Cotton Picking Project," the mom spoke with the assistant principal Brian Wisniewski, who said that the "cotton field was planted so that the students could have a ‘real life experience’ of what is was like to be a slave by ‘picking cotton,'" court documents alleged.

Fox News Digital reached out to the California district for comment, and they said, "Los Angeles Unified does not typically comment on pending or ongoing litigation."

The district previously said in a statement after local media covered the story in that the "Cotton Picking Project" was "an instructional activity in the garden at Laurel School was construed as culturally insensitive," according to the lawsuit.

"Tending to the garden where a variety of fruits, vegetables and other plants grow is a school-wide tradition that has been in place for years and has never been used as a tool to re-enact historical events," the statement said.

"When school administrators became aware of a parent’s concern about the cotton plant, they responded immediately by removing the plant."


Christian schools fear closure if West Australian discrimination laws strengthened

The peak body representing Christian schools has “grave concerns” schools will close if new laws dramatically reducing their ability to preference staff and students of faith go ahead.

Last week, Attorney-General John Quigley announced broad support for 163 recommendations to improve the state’s anti-discrimination laws following a Law Reform Commission of WA review of the outdated Equal Opportunity Act.

One of the key reforms is an “inherent requirement test” that will force religious schools to prove religious belief or activity is an essential requirement of the job.

Australian Association of Christian Schools executive officer Vanessa Cheng said that change would make it difficult for religious schools to employ staff and preference families in enrolment who shared the beliefs of the school.

“The Christian school model requires that all staff, from the principal to the music teacher, share and practice the faith of the school community,” she said. “We believe this provides the best, holistic learning environment for our students.

“Parents who choose to enrol their children in our schools want an education based on Christian values, which the state school system can no longer provide, and these changes are trying to squeeze faith out of our schools too.

“Surely it is not for the government to determine how a Christian school should be a Christian school?”

Under existing legislation it is lawful for private religious schools in WA, including those receiving taxpayer funding, to sack lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer staff, expel LGBTIQ students, and refuse to enrol children of same-sex parents.

The current law also means religious schools can discriminate against staff who are unmarried parents or living together out of wedlock.

Quigley said the new Act would bring WA into line with other jurisdictions, including Victoria, which introduced changes to its Equal Opportunity Act in June in a bid to ensure a fairer balance between the right to religious freedom and the right to be free from discrimination.

One of the key reforms in both states is strengthening equal opportunity protections for LGBTIQ staff and students in religious schools.

“Since WA’s nation-leading anti-discrimination laws were first introduced, community expectations regarding discrimination have progressed and WA now lags behind most other jurisdictions,” Quigley said.

“This is not about granting additional rights to any one group of people, but ensuring all Western Australians are free from discrimination, harassment, vilification and victimisation.

“Whilst still subject to drafting and further consideration, it is our ambition that the new Bill will achieve a balance between the rights and interests of a wide variety of Western Australians and ensure that employers are not unnecessarily burdened with complex legislation.”

But Cheng has called on the state government to push back against some recommendations. “Unless the government pushes back, it will be very difficult to operate a Christian school according to Christian principles and beliefs once they become law,” she said.

“The sign of a mature and tolerant society is allowing challenging and thought-provoking ideas in the areas of religion, science and the arts to thrive; suppressing religious expression only robs society of its diversity and richness.”

Equality Australia legal director Ghassan Kassisieh said every teacher or staff member should be confident that they are treated fairly by their employer, and judged only by their capacity to fulfil their role.

“The Law Reform Commission recommended reforms would ensure religious schools and organisations play by the same rules as others,” he said.

“By narrowing the carve-outs which currently allow discrimination against LGBTIQA+ staff, students and service users, the laws would bring the practice of religious schools and organisations in line with 21st century community expectations.”




Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Public School Teachers Told to Indoctrinate Kids as Young as Three in Radical LGBT Theory

State universities indoctrinate future teachers in controversial transgender, racial, and political theories—and instruct them to teach these principles to children beginning in preschool, a new report has found.

“There’s a huge amount of liberal indoctrination going on,” the report’s author, Will Flanders, told “Washington Watch” guest host Joseph Backholm on Monday. “We found it across every public university in the state that has an education program.”

Flanders, the research director at the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, performed a wide-ranging records search across all public universities in Wisconsin that teach education. He and co-author Dylan Palmer asked for the syllabus, assignments, and reading list for education courses—the classes future teachers needed to pass in order to teach in the state’s public schools.

The 44-page report found that many of these courses begin by defining biblical morality as beyond the pale. The “Multicultural Education” course at the University of Wisconsin at Superior forces students to take the “Human Relations Attitude Inventory,” which asks how strongly students agree with such statements as: “Homosexuality is unnatural because it is contrary to human nature”; “We should not notice differences in people’s skin color”; and “Whites are just as likely to be victims of racism as racial minorities”—all of which the course intends for students to reject.

Once the university changes students’ personal morality, it instructs them to begin introducing radical gender theory to children as young as three. At UW-Whitewater, students read a chapter titled “Just Another Gay Day in the Campus Three-Year-Old Room,” which tells students to include LGBTQ “lessons with a three-year-old day care center.”

At UW-Green Bay, would-be pedagogues must read the book “Safe Is Not Enough: Better Schools for LGBTQ Students” by Michael Sadowski, which the report explains “argues that teachers must bring conversation about gender and sexual identity into the classroom, encourage advocacy, and foster the LGBTQ identification of young students.”

The universities also teach students to fight “homophobia” in their taxpayer-funded classrooms. UW-Stout students have to take a course titled “Multiculturalism: Dialogue & Field Experience,” which mandates that students “critique the nature and effects of political economies such as colonialism and slavery, and specific socially constructed and discriminatory discourses such as race/racism, whiteness, poverty, class/classism, gender/sexism, sexual orientation/homophobia, different abilities/ ableism in the field of education and beyond.” They must then identify whether educational systems “reflect equity and equal educational opportunity through a critical examination of hegemony in the form of culture, race, social class, gender and sexual orientation … and homophobia.”

Other titles students in the University of Wisconsin’s education classes must read include:

“Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy”;

“Playing with Gender”;

“When the Gender Boxes Don’t Fit”;

“Trans Woman Manifesto”; and

“Supporting Transgender and Gender-Expansive Children in Schools.”

Future teachers must also read an enormous amount of critical race theory. UW-Stevens Point education students must read portions of the CRT canon, including Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility” and Ibram X. Kendi’s “Antiracist Baby.” Flanders noted that, while he has no objection to students being exposed to such theories, these mandatory education courses present these theories without any opposing viewpoint, as though they were uncontested truths.

These criteria mean that teachers will be “discussing racial politics, gender politics, sexual identity, transgenderism, ahistorical anti-American history, and culturally revolutionary ideas with children as young as five or six years old,” according to the report, which was produced by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty.

“There’s even more in there than what’s listed in our report,” Flanders told Backholm. “It’s still a small sample from each university. But it’s likely that almost every class that a [prospective] teacher is in” has similarly biased content.

“When we’re looking for the origins of the stuff that we are seeing in our classroom today, what we’re learning here is it’s not just teachers organically coming up with this stuff themselves,” explained Flanders. “Instead, it’s the process that’s been going on for years and years throughout their entire education.”

The results can be seen in Wisconsin classrooms, where test scores continue their multi-year decline. In the 2020-21 school years, only one-third of students from third through eighth grade passed the state’s Forward test, down eight points from 41% in 2018-19. Scores on the ACT, which state law requires every high school junior to take, have eroded from 20 in 2014-15 to 19.6 in 2020.

Teaching educators radical political theory instead of subject matter or pedagogical techniques likely affects these outcomes, Flanders believes. “It’s a fixed pie. There’s a set amount of hours in the day and a set amount of classes that a teacher is taking. And inevitably, some of that content is being replaced by this sort of material that really is not related directly to what they’re supposed to be teaching, but takes up that time,” Flanders stated. “We see the results in schools that are seeing declining performance relative to where they were a decade ago.”

The report appeals to Wisconsin lawmakers to rewrite Section 118.19(8) of the Wisconsin statutes, “which mandates that the Department of Public Instruction grants teacher licenses only to those who have ‘received instruction in the study of minority group relations,’” where highly controversial theories are being propounded as undisputed fact.

Flanders previously conducted a study that found the prevalence and duration of school closures had to do with the strength of local teachers unions and the area’s political opposition to President Donald Trump, not the COVID-19 infection rate. “The number of COVID-19 cases in a particular community bore no relationship to the decision to go with virtual education,” Flanders wrote. “It is partisanship and union presence that are the main drivers of the decision to reopen or not.”

Flanders said, if anything, his latest report underestimates the extent of the problem. “It’s definitely the case that we are seeing this stuff pop up … at small rural universities that might have very little connection to those larger universities,” he concluded. “It’s pervasive across the board, because I think it sort of fits with the politically correct narrative that these schools want to push. And that’s what makes it even harder to fight.”


Wisconsin school board votes to ban pride, BLM flags from classrooms

A Wisconsin school board voted in favor of a policy banning gay pride flags and Black Lives Matter (BLM) flags from classrooms due to what school leaders say is political messaging.

"Teachers and administration will not have political flags or religious messaging in their classroom or on their person," Superintendent Stephen Plum said ahead of the vote, according to Fox 6.

The Kettle Moraine School Board voted last Tuesday in favor of keeping a code of conduct in place that the school's superintendent had interpreted as banning teachers from displaying political and religious messages in classrooms. The political messages include ones such as gay pride flags, BLM flags and "We Back the Badge" signs. Only one school board member voted against the ban, saying he made the decision after speaking with concerned students and staff.

The policy also includes banning teachers from including their preferred pronouns in email signatures.

Plum told the school board that the district’s interpretation of the policy — which prohibits staffers from using their positions to promote partisan politics, religious views and propaganda for personal, monetary or nonmonetary gain — changed following a legal analysis.

The vote was held in a packed room last week as students and community members sounded off on the measure.

"I am not controversial. I am not political. I am a person," one student told the board, according to Fox 6.

"The fact is, the majority of students don't want or need this, so catering to the minority only encourages the envelope to be pushed further," another student said.

Ahead of the vote, two high schoolers in the district established a petition calling for a reversal of the ban. The petition has garnered more than 13,000 signatures since it launched last month.

The ACLU of Wisconsin has since issued statements slamming the vote and is currently investigating the policy.


From firing to hiring: Australian universities now on hunt for staff

The nation’s top universities are promising to fill hundreds of jobs cut during Covid-19, after spending the last year letting staff go while boosting expenditure on ­advertising and consultants by millions of dollars.

The University of NSW, the University of Sydney and Monash University in Melbourne told The Australian they planned to rehire staff after “better than expected” financial results last year.

The Australian examined the financial results and staff cuts at seven universities across the country amid warnings from Education Minister Jason Clare that universities could “do better” in the way they treated staff.

The increased spending on ­advertising and consultants last year, while staff budgets were cut, also comes amid questions about teaching quality at many universities, with The Weekend Australian revealing on Saturday that half of the nation’s student teachers are dropping out of university courses.

Higher education bosses have defended spending decisions and bumper surpluses experienced by many institutions in 2021, and University of Sydney vice-chancellor Mark Scott says a renewed push to bump up staffing numbers will improve teaching and ­research.

“Unlike a business, we don’t seek profits or pay out shareholders – all our surplus is reinvested back into the university to support teaching and research, ­including the recruitment of more academic and professional staff,” he said. “Our work has a positive effect across the whole country by addressing the biggest challenges, equipping students from diverse backgrounds with knowledge and skills, and creating new opportunities and jobs.”

Sydney University recorded a surplus of more than $1bn while the University of Melbourne ­recorded a surplus of more than $500m. Monash, UNSW and the University of Queensland reported surpluses of more than $300m.

The University of Western Australia posted an operating ­result of about $203m in total comprehensive income and Curtin University reported a $113m ­result.

The National Tertiary Education Union estimated 40,000 jobs were lost in public tertiary education in the 12 months to May last year. President Alison Barnes said investment in staff in NSW universities had fallen by 10 per cent since 2008 and the rate of ­casualisation was at about 70 per cent across the sector.

“We need university management to step up to the plate and deal with systemic problems that their business models have ­created,” Dr Barnes said.

Mr Clare identified casualisation and the treatment of staff as an issue, arguing that “the way that universities work with their staff is one of the things I want the Universities Accord to look at”.

He said the sector “can do better”, particularly when it came to high rates of casualisation and staff underpayments.

UNSW led the charge on staff cuts last year, with figures revealing 726 fewer full-time-equivalent jobs when compared to the previous year.

At the University of Sydney, the number of academic staff fell from 3743 to 3514 due to voluntary redundancies. Monash’s full-time-equivalent employee numbers fell from 8017 to 7719, while Melbourne University saw 210 staff leave through voluntary redundancies and 168 via involuntary ­redundancies.

However, most universities said they would now begin rehiring staff thanks to their better than expected 2021 financial results.

UNSW said it was aiming to ­increase investment in staff in 2022 by 16 per cent. Monash said its staffing numbers had grown by 4.5 per cent compared to last year and were “projected to slowly grow further by the end of this year”. The University of Sydney said it was “actively recruiting new staff in areas where there is demand and will continue to ­invest in our staff going forward”.

But Frank Larkins, a former deputy vice-chancellor of research at Melbourne University, said universities would likely struggle to refill jobs. “The challenge will be whether universities can rehire high-quality people to cover the breadth of their curriculums,” he said. “University employment is an international profession, and the US and UK have also reported shortfalls, so there’s competition.”




Tuesday, August 23, 2022

A California elementary school principal took flak this week for calling the police on a 4-year-old child for not wearing a mask to school

The incident occurred on Thursday at Theuerkauf Elementary School in Mountain View when the principal refused to allow the boy to enter the school because he wasn’t wearing a mask, KGO-TV reported.

A video recorded by the father of the child shows the principal telling him, “I welcome him here and I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again — I want him here, but it is our district’s policy that students have to wear a mask.”

Another video shows the little boy being escorted out of the school with a piece of paper that he hands to his father. He asks, “Daddy, what does it say?”

A police officer was also called to make sure the 4-year-old was barred from entering the school.

It probably isn’t much of a surprise that this sort of lunacy continues to occur in California.

The boy’s father, identified only as “Shawn,” told KGO that he thinks it’s time to get past the COVID panic.

“I just think it’s time to move forward. The kids need to see faces, they need to see people smiling, they need to have a brighter outlook on the future in general,” he said.

Shawn added that his son, who isn’t even old enough to read, may have developmental issues and is unable to keep a mask on his face at all times. He said the boy doesn’t understand why he isn’t allowed to go to school.

“I’m watching my son … go to school, get turned away with tears in his eyes,” Shawn said. “He doesn’t know what’s going on. He’s visibly upset … by getting turned away and rejected.”

Shawn’s attorney also said Theuerkauf Elementary broke the law because schools are only allowed to send children home for public health reasons if they are sick.

In the aftermath of the incident, the Mountain View Whisman School District seemingly tried to cover its tracks by making a sudden change to its masking policy.

At a school board meeting on Thursday night, officials suddenly decided that masks are optional.

The board sent out an email to schools to relay the “good news,” according to the group Reopen California Schools.


Parents Choose Schools to Protect Their Rights. This Makes School Choice the Future of Education

Parents across the country are waking up to what’s taking place in our education system, and they’re not happy with what they’ve discovered.

“Icouldn’t trust these people with my kids.” When Nancy Anderson, M.D., said this about her child’s school in North Carolina, she was speaking for herself and her family. But she is far from alone.

In 2019, Anderson began reviewing her private Montessori school’s curriculum. What she found shocked her. Her elementary age children were being taught that America was founded on rape and murder. Her kids were instructed that the first Pilgrims were bigots filled with “hatred” and “greed.” The organizations that designed the curriculum contend that, in America, racism is “embedded in institutions and everyday life.”

“This was scary and caught me by surprise,” Nancy said.

Parents in North Carolina and around the country share Nancy’s sentiment. Other private schools, such as Sidwell Friends in Washington, D.C., (where former presidents have sent their children) also argue that America has “white-supremacist origins” and offer racial affinity groups where students can “explore their developing identities.”

These ideas are unpopular with American voters and parents. In 2020, a nationally representative survey commissioned by The Heritage Foundation found that 70 percent of parents say that slavery was a tragedy, but does not define America today.

What does define America? In 2021, an Associated Press/University of Chicago poll found that 85 percent of respondents say that “individual liberties and freedoms as defined by the Constitution” are important to our national identity.

Nancy left her private school for a different option. National associations of Montessori schools associate lessons soaked in identity politics under the umbrella of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI). Public school families are also signaling their dissatisfaction with curricula that fixate on DEI. DEI content, included in lessons in virtually every subject area, focuses on ethnic “identities” and radical instruction on sex. The former lessons harken back to the dark days of racial discrimination when students were treated differently based on skin color. The latter ideas force families to accept ideas about human biology that are unscientific and often leave minor children confused about their sex.

Whether due to DEI policies, draconian school rules during the pandemic, or for other reasons, assigned school enrollment dropped by 3 percent in fall 2020. That’s equivalent to the entire public school enrollment of Los Angeles and Chicago--combined.

What does this mean about the future of school choice?

Some claim that, when parents move their children to different schools, they are “destroying public education.” This is a common refrain from teacher unions and other education special interest groups.

In fact, though, the future of school choice will restore an authentic meaning to the words “diversity, equity, and inclusion.” When parents choose to homeschool (an increasingly popular option) or choose a private school, including religious schools, because assigned schools do not represent their values, they are preserving a diversity of ideas.

A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling concerning school choice said that state lawmakers cannot exclude religious schools from programs that are publicly available because that would be discriminatory.

Activists have perverted equity to mean equal outcomes, regardless of personal behavior. Yet parent choice in education allows families to challenge their children or find them extra help—customizing the learning experience according to each child’s needs. Learning pods and microschools do this quite well. West Virginia lawmakers just adopted a policy specifically allowing families to create pods and microschools.

Finally, the future of school choice can only be forecast as inclusive. West Virginia policymakers adopted an education savings account proposal in 2021 that allows nearly every child in the state to apply for an account. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey just signed a similar expansive proposal, giving every Arizona child the same opportunity. Lawmakers in Iowa and Texas are on the verge of adopting similar policies. This is what inclusion should look like, not mandatory racial affinity groups or policies that allow only children of a certain color to use the playground at certain times.

Activists have corrupted and institutionalized the ideas of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The future of school choice will not be defined by a radical acronym. It will offer a diversity of ideas, create equal opportunities, and include everyone—ideas all parents can trust for their children.


School Choice Ensures Equality of Opportunity, Empowers Families, Experts Say

Government-assigned schools have fostered a system of resegregation, one in which students are divided “racially, socially, and economically,” says Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts.

Roberts contends that educational freedom is the foremost civil rights issue of the 21st century, because school choice ensures equality of opportunity, and that in turn improves public schools on every measure, he said.

“Because school choice increases transparency, it provides data in the market … that doesn’t exist now,” he said. “It breaks up the monopoly of government-funded schools.”

Roberts made his remarks at a panel discussion, “Empowering Families in Education” on Monday at Heritage, where he was joined by Tiffany Justice, co-founder of Moms for Liberty, and Corey DeAngelis, senior fellow at the American Federation for Children and executive director of the Educational Freedom Institute.

Trusting parents is central to school choice, Justice said. Schools must enable parents to make informed decisions for their children through transparent curriculums and the parent-teacher relationship, she explained.

In recent years, she said, it’s become clear that teachers unions represent “fringe, far left” interests. “What other industry would you pour money into and have the kinds of outcomes we’re having?” she said, likening it to continuing to pay a surgeon who consistently killed his patients.

The infiltration of leftist ideology in K-12 curriculums, without parents’ knowledge, is evil, Roberts said. “It’s evil because it’s dealing with our kids.”

DeAngelis noted that we should “thank teachers unions,” which he said have “inadvertently advanced the concept of school choice and homeschooling.”

Those unions lobbied the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to keep schools closed in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak, he noted. “Two weeks to flatten the curve” turned into two years of “flattening a generation of children,” DeAngelis said, contending that self-serving teachers harmed students academically, mentally, and even physically.

Justice added that the radical gender ideology and critical race theory being taught in public schools were revealed during the pandemic. Parents were shocked to discover that their children were being taught such highly polarizing subjects, she said.

Ultimately, DeAngelis argued, those teachers “showed their true colors, and we’re all better off for it.”

Political winds are shifting, however, he continued. The governor of Arizona, for instance, signed into law an expansive school choice bill in July. Families who opt into the program receive over $6,500 per year, per child. They are free to choose their preferred schooling options—including private schools, homeschooling, and tutoring.

Roberts noted that the demographic groups most harmed by government-assigned schools also benefit the most from school choice, citing an experience he had as headmaster of the private John Paul the Great Academy Catholic high school in Lafayette, Louisiana.

A month after the school opted into then-Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s 2012 voucher program, a young black mother approached Roberts after school one day. She was able to send her son to the school because of the voucher program. That had changed the life of her seventh-grade son, her own life, and that of her family.

Freedom of education is the great equalizer, DeAngelis agreed. Nonwhite families are disproportionately more likely to use school voucher and tax credit programs, he said, adding that contrary to what critics say, that doesn’t entail a conflict between public and private schools. It’s about giving families a choice.




Monday, August 22, 2022

Biden Administration Announces Cancellation of $3.9 Billion in Student Loan Debt

President Joe Biden is set to cancel $3.9 billion in student loans, announcing that the federal government will discharge all remaining federal student loans for students who attended the ITT Technical Institute.

The student loan borrowers who attended the now-defunct institute will receive a discharge through “borrower defense to repayment” according to Forbes and do not need to apply to have their loans canceled.

“It is time for student borrowers to stop shouldering the burden from ITT’s years of lies and false promises. The evidence shows that for years, ITT’s leaders intentionally misled students about the quality of their programs in order to profit off federal student loan programs, with no regard for the hardship this would cause,” Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona said.

“The Biden-Harris Administration will continue to stand up for borrowers who’ve been cheated by their colleges while working to strengthen oversight and enforcement to protect today’s students from similar deception and abuse.”

The ITT Technical Institute was a well-known private technical institute based in Indiana with approximately 140 satellite campuses all over the United States. The institute operated until announcing on Sept. 6, 2016, that it would “discontinue academic operations at all of its ITT Technical Institutes permanently”.

Since taking the White House in 2021 Biden has canceled almost $32 billion in student loans, essentially subsidizing the educational expenses of a combined 1.8 million borrowers spread across “borrower defense to student loan repayment and school closures,” “public service loan forgiveness” and “total or permanent disability”.

Democrats continue to call for Biden to “#CancelStudentDebt“, a move that conservatives believe would obfuscate the transfer of debt from the individual borrowers to the American taxpayer.

Democratic Rep. Pramila Jaypal of Washington urged Biden to cancel all student debt.

Representative Cori Bush of Missouri also joined the refrain.

Conversely, Republicans have heavily criticized student loan forgiveness.

“Expansive student loan forgiveness does nothing to solve the problems in higher education and exacerbates the economic disaster fueled by the President’s lack of fiscal responsibility,” Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina said according to Forbes.

“Time and again, President Biden operates as if he can issue any decree he wants on student loan forgiveness, even if it means exercising authority that he does not have.”

In an Op-Ed for Fox News, Foxx and Sen. Richard Burr, also of North Carolina, wrote, “By caving to progressives, President Biden is breaking his promise to over 100 million taxpayers without student debt who are subsidizing this boondoggle.”

They pointed the finger squarely at their Democrat colleagues in Congress, “Yet, when in the position to actually legislate, House and Senate Democrats are (un)surprisingly quiet on student loan debt. Rather than do their jobs, top Democrats are asking the president to do their dirty work for them, calling for an additional extension through the end of the year and debt forgiveness by executive fiat.”

The GOP legislators also voiced concerns that the proposed student loan cancelation would “easily push inflation above 9 percent” back in April when the piece was written.


UK: North-South gap in A-level results fuels social mobility fears

A North-South regional divide has emerged in A-level results, as the first exam results since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic also showed a dip in top grades.

In a blow to Downing Street’s levelling up agenda, analysis has revealed a sharper decrease in A* and A grades handed out in the North East of England compared with the South East.

A social mobility charity said the government needed to do more to address disparities, while Labour’s shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson said: “Students in the North East are no less capable, but after 12 years of Conservative governments they’re seeing their results go backwards compared to their peers across the South of England.”

Hundreds of thousands of pupils tore open their results envelopes on Thursday, after schools made a return to exams following two years of teacher-assessed grades during the pandemic.

Overall results showed A-level entries receiving A* and A in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were down 8.4 percentage points compared with last year, following a move to curb grade inflation – but the numbers were still higher than in 2019, before the pandemic.

Girls continued to outperform boys overall, with the proportion of A* to E grades standing at 98.7 per cent for girls compared with 98.1 per cent for boys – but the lead enjoyed by girls in the top grades has narrowed.

The divide between the state and private sectors in England was also brought into sharp focus, with 58 per cent of candidates at independent schools and city training colleges awarded A and above in all subjects, compared with 30.7 per cent at secondary comprehensive and middle schools. Pre-pandemic, in 2019, the figures were 44.7 per cent and 20.5 per cent.

University admissions also fell by 2 per cent compared with last year, but still represent the second highest on record. Figures from Ucas (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) showed that 425,830 students had had places confirmed. The number of students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds to gain places on courses is 46,850 this year, up by 3,770 from 2019.

Analysis by Labour, based on Ofqual figures, showed that top grades dropped further in the North East of England compared with the South East over the past year. Figures showed that in the North East, the proportion of grades at A and A* fell from 39.2 per cent in 2021 to 30.8 per cent in 2022, compared with a fall from 47.1 per cent to 39.5 per cent in the South East.

“Students receiving their results have worked incredibly hard through unprecedented circumstances, but these inequalities reveal the Conservatives’ continued failure to enable all young people to thrive post-pandemic,” said Ms Phillipson.

The Sutton Trust also highlighted that the biggest gains since 2019 in grades at A or above were seen in London, where they were 12 percentage points higher, at 39 per cent. In comparison, the figure in the North East of England was 30.8 per cent, up less than 8 percentage points.

Sir Peter Lampl, founder and chair of the Sutton Trust and chair of the Education Endowment Foundation, said: “It’s great to see that many disadvantaged youngsters are gaining a place at university, and that there is a slight narrowing of the gap between the most and least advantaged.

“Universities have rightly prioritised widening participation in spite of an extremely competitive year. However, the gap is still wider than it was pre-pandemic, highlighting that there is more work to be done.

“This data also shows that there are regional disparities in attainment. The government must work to ensure that students from all backgrounds, in all areas of the country, have the opportunity to succeed.”

The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) said the overall pass rate, representing the proportion of entries graded A* to E, fell by 1.1 percentage points, from 99.5 per cent in 2021 to 98.4 per cent this year. It was up by 0.8 points since 2019, when it stood at 97.6 per cent.

Entries receiving the top grades of A* and A were down 8.4 points, from 44.8 per cent last year to 36.4 per cent – but up 11 percentage points from 25.4 per cent in 2019. The figure for the highest grade, A*, was down year-on-year from 19.1 per cent to 14.6 per cent, still remaining higher than in 2019, when it stood at 7.7 per cent.

The proportion of entries graded A* to C dropped from 88.5 per cent in 2021 to 82.6 per cent this year – but it was up from 75.9 per cent in 2019.

Sam Tuckett, senior researcher for post-16 education and skills at the Education Policy Institute, said: “The 2022 cohort of students should be proud of overcoming the substantial disruption they have faced, with many not having sat a formal exam ahead of this summer.

“Given Ofqual’s strategy to return to pre-pandemic styles of exams and grading, it’s no surprise that this year’s results sit between the lofty results students gained in 2021 and the last exam-based assessments of 2019.”

He continued: “This year’s return to pre-pandemic styles of assessment accompanied a continuation of several trends. Female students continue to outperform males in most subjects. However, the gap between female and male attainment narrowed and is likely a result of the return to exam-based assessments.

“This year’s results also indicate the preservation of a strong geographical divide between students, with those in southern regions, by and large, outperforming their peers in the North and the Midlands. Large grade increases of independent schools under teacher assessments in 2021 were considerably reversed this year.”

He added: “Focus should be given to investigating the impact educational disruption has had on the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their more affluent peers.”

Education secretary James Cleverly congratulated students and thanked teachers, adding: “These students have experienced unprecedented disruption over the last couple of years, and such excellent results are a testament to their resilience and hard work.”


Fargo School Board Reinstates the Pledge of Allegiance After National Public Outcry

After criticism from conservative lawmakers and backlash from citizens nationwide, the Fargo Board of Education on Aug. 18 voted to reverse course on its previous week’s decision to stop reciting the Pledge of Allegiance before its meetings.

On Aug. 9, seven of the board’s nine members, including four newcomers who took office in June, voted to cancel a previous board measure that was instituted in March before the election.

Board vice president Seth Holden said at the Aug. 9 meeting that the Pledge of Allegiance was contrary to the district’s diversity, equity, and inclusion priorities.

“Given that the word ‘God’ in the text of the Pledge of Allegiance is capitalized, the text is clearly referring to the Judeo-Christian God, and therefore, it does not include any other faiths such as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism,” Holden said, adding that this made the pledge of allegiance a “non-inclusionary act.”

Reciting the pledge is a “non-inclusionary act” and there is text within the pledge that is “simply not true,” Holden added.

“The statement that we are ‘one nation under God’ is simply an untrue statement,” Holden said. “We are one nation under many or no gods.”

Tracie Newman, who is board president, recommended that a member recite “a shared statement of purpose that would bring us all together” at the start of the meetings instead of the pledge, adding that it would be “unifying.”

“I’m just not sure that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is a useful way to begin every one of our board meetings,” Newman said at the Aug. 9 meeting.

North Dakota’s Republican Party called the board’s Aug. 9 vote “laughable” and an “affront to our American values.”

Republican State Sen. Scott Meyer told North Dakota media outlets last week that he would start work on a school voucher bill draft to allow public money to pay for private school tuition.

“These positions like by the Fargo School Board just don’t align with North Dakota values,” he said. “The logical solution is to just give parents that option to help educate their kids.”

Robin Nelson was one of two board members who voted on Aug. 9 to keep the pledge.

“It was a very easy ‘no’ vote from me from the get-go. I knew right away it would be controversial,” Nelson told Fargo’s Valley News Live.

“Our focus should be on our great students and teachers and education, but this is going to detract from that and really shed more negative publicity on the Fargo school district, and quite frankly, we don’t need that.”

Nelson’s words were proved correct. The decision prompted an outcry across the country, which led the board to hold the Aug. 18 meeting to discuss reinstating the pledge.

“That is perpetuating Critical Race Theory, which is against the law in North Dakota,” Fargo parent Jake Schmitz told Fox & Friends last week following the initial vote to ban the Pledge of Allegiance.

“The next logical step in the progression is [they’ll] want to remove it from schools because it’s a non-inclusionary act which is a bunch of [expletive].”

At the special meeting on Aug. 18, the board discussed the volume of angry emails and voicemails directed at members.

Nyamal Dei, a refugee from war-torn Sudan, was among those who received messages from irate citizens.

Dei was one of the seven members who voted on Aug. 10 to eliminate the pledge. At the special meeting, she was the only board member to vote no on reinstatement.

“We won’t be rewarding our children or students in our district for acting in this way,” Dei said at the special meeting.

“But know that this moment will pass. Let’s get back to the work that we are elected to do and that is to find a solution to our teacher shortages, mental health issues, and academic achievement for our students.”

Greg Clark, who also serves on the board, said that less than 20 percent of the “angry messages” were from Fargo residents.

He admitted that his vote to reinstate the pledge was influenced by people who do not live in the district.

“But I hope you’ll forgive me because I truly believe it is in the best interest of our schools to do so,” Clark said.

“The disruptions and the threats must end so that we can have a successful start to our school year.”

Holden voted to bring back the pledge, but not before expressing reluctance.

“Do you concede the battle to win the war?” Holden said.

“I’m also concerned about what might happen to this board in the future because we’re going to have to probably be prepared to take more heat than we normally do for decisions that we make because that there may be a perception of success.”

David Paulson, a former board member who proposed that the pledge be recited before meetings in March when he was still in office, said that the current board members were “misinterpreting” what the words mean.

The March motion passed 6-2. Holden was one of the two who voted no.

“We are misinterpreting the Pledge of Allegiance,” Paulson said at the Aug. 9 meeting.

“The pledge isn’t a show of our patriotism; it’s an affirmation of our commitment and our loyalty to the greater cause, and that greater cause is freedom.”




Sunday, August 21, 2022

Majority of college students have a mental illness: study

Researchers at Boston University recently revealed some staggering findings — that depression among college students increased by nearly 135% over eight years, while anxiety surged 110%.

Unfortunately, those rates have well outpaced the demand for available and affordable mental health services, they said.

“Living in a new setting and away from home can often create overwhelming and stressful circumstances, and recently we’ve added the stress of the pandemic to the mix,” Sarah Lipson, a health policy professor at Boston University’s School of Public Health and the study’s lead author, told the Washington Post earlier this month — amid back-to-school season.

Lipson’s team also looked at rates of eating disorders, non-suicidal self-injury and suicidal ideation, which increased at rates of nearly 96%, almost 46% and 64% respectively. As for “flourishing,” rates decreased overall.

The study, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders in June, analyzed data from more than 350,000 students across 373 campuses, collected by the Health Minds Network between 2013 to 2021.

To no surprise, depression increased most on average during the COVID-19 pandemic. Between 2020 and 2021, over 60% of students met the criteria for at least one mental illness — double the rate of 2013.

In March, the World Health Organization announced that depression increased 25% globally due to the pandemic, adding support to BU researchers’ findings.

Furthermore, they noted a decrease in the rate of college students seeking help and mental health services, especially among racial and ethnic minorities.

The data concerned the study authors, who noted a 45% increase of one or more mental health problems among multiracial students, while past-year treatment seeking only grew 9% among the same group.

Similar mental health data has been reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, calling it a “cry for help” from young Americans.

The shocking numbers come at a time when good therapists are increasingly few and far between, according to the federal Health and Resource Service Administration. The agency has estimated that the US will be short 8,000 clinical, counseling and school psychologists by the year 2025.


Racism at Berkeley

Berkeley co-op bans WHITE PEOPLE from common areas to 'avoid white violence and presence' and all students trying to sign in are asked to declare their race

An off-campus co-op for students at the University of California, Berkeley named the 'Person of Color Theme House' has banned white guests from entering common areas of the house.

A list of house rules revealed that occupants were told 'many POC moved here to be able to avoid white violence and presence, so respect their decision of avoidance if you bring white guests.'

While the student house aims to have an 'inclusive' environment, the rules specifically state 'white guests are not allowed in common spaces,' according to the list, which was posted on Reddit.

The accommodation, which is located close to Berkeley's campus, is a five-story, 30-room home that can house up to 56 students. The house is owned by a private landlord.

But the 'rules' which were leaked on social media have caused outrage - with many people slamming the restrictions as 'racist' as others came forward and revealed their experience living in the co-op.

One mixed-race Reddit user, who claimed to have lived at the house, said that their 'presence as a light skinned person was not received well.'

They said house members called them slurs and they were even 'not allowed to let my dad enter the house because he's white.'

The house was set up as part of the Berkeley Student Cooperative, a program designed to bring affordable housing to students in California's Bay-area, and 'aims to provide housing to low-income, first generation, immigrant and marginalized students of color.'

According to the 'rules,' people that live there should 'avoid bringing parents/family members that express bigotry,' because 'Queer, Black, and Indigenous members should not have to avoid common spaces because of homophobic or racist parents/family members.'

Janet Gilmore, Senior Director of Strategic Communications at the University told the house is 'not campus operated,' meaning 'it is not the role of the campus to comment.'

Gilmore also said the University does have it's own Theme Programs, but they have 'no such policies like the one alleged in the Reddit image,' and stated 'Cal Housing Theme Programs do not discriminate on the basis of race, consistent with UC and campus policy.'

'As this involves an off-campus non-affiliated landlord, the campus has no ability under the Code of Student Conduct to discipline the landlord.'


Australia: Hard lesson for dropout university teacher degrees

Teacher training courses have always had easy entry and dumbed down teaching but it is chronic now that the classroom experience has greatly deteriorated. So university education departments have to enrol just about anyone who has a head

The only real solution is to make the teaching experience more attractive -- and that means a revival of discipline. But Leftist dogma forbids that -- so it won't happen in schools that they control.

Smart young people will always opt for a more congenial environment than teaching in chaotic government schools. Private schools are much more orderly so dedicated teachers will always gravitate there.

I have taught in both a high discipline (Catholic) High School and a low-discipline ("progressive") High School and there is no doubt about where the pupils learnt more

I sent my son to a private school, which even featured male mathematics teachers! Partly as a result of that he majored in mathematics at university

Is it any wonder that private schools are so numerous in Australia? About 40% of Australian teenagers go to them

Universities that lower entry ­standards for teaching degrees to cash in on students doomed to fail will be targeted in a government review of courses with high drop-out rates to make them “fit for purpose”.

Education courses have the highest drop-out rate of any ­degree except hospitality, an analysis of federal Education ­Department data reveals.

As schools grapple with a worsening teacher shortage, The Weekend Australian’s analysis shows a clear correlation between low Australian Tertiary Admission Rank scores and high drop-out rates among student teachers.

But universities are refusing to raise the bar for admission to teaching, with the Australian Catholic University declaring that higher standards will only worsen the teacher shortage.

At one university, just 20 per cent of students completed a four-year teaching degree within six years, including those studying full-time or part-time.

Students enrolled in Initial Teacher Education (ITE) courses are twice as likely as engineering or science students to drop out of their degree.

One in three ITE students who started university in 2015 had dropped out by 2020 – including one in seven who failed to return after the first year of study.

The high drop-out rate results in a waste of taxpayer funding for university degrees, as well as ­tuition debts for students who still have to repay their loans despite abandoning study.

Federal Education Minister Jason Clare on Friday pledged to review the quality of university teaching degrees to boost the number of graduates. Universities with high drop-out rates or poor course quality risk losing commonwealth cash.

“At the moment, only about 50 per cent of students graduate from a teaching degree,’’ Mr Clare said. “That needs to be higher if we want to tackle the teacher shortage. I will work with universities on this to make sure they are fit-for-purpose and delivering quality education for students.’’

Mr Clare said ITE degrees would be examined in a review by University of Sydney vice-chancellor Mark Scott, who is a former teacher and NSW Education Department secretary.

The Australian Catholic University, one of the biggest providers of teacher training, is resisting calls to raise the bar for ITE students. ACU enrolled students with a raw ATAR of 50 to its teaching degrees last year – school leavers in the bottom 20 per cent of academic results in NSW.

Universities often inflate the raw ATAR scores with bonus points to compensate for illness or social disadvantage.

ACU has told the NSW parliamentary inquiry into teacher shortages that the “blanket imposition of a minimum ATAR for entry into ITE will exacerbate the growing teacher shortage’’.

“(It) does nothing to attract more high-achieving school ­leavers into teaching, conveys a negative message to all students considering enrolling in ITE (and) disregards the capacity for ­student growth over the course of university study,’’ ACU states in its submission.

“ITE candidates, irrespective of their background, are alienated by the suggestion that the teaching profession is increasingly ­populated by unintelligent or ­underperforming students that necessitates the need for a minimum ATAR.

“Many academics in ITE know from their own experience that numerous students who performed poorly at school end up becoming great teachers.’’

ACU says most ITE students enrol through non-ATAR pathways – such as mature-age entry or on the basis of a diploma – and there was no evidence to support higher ATAR entry barriers.

However, university data provided to the federal Education Department shows that universities that admit students with low ATARs suffer some of the highest drop-out rates.

Across all university ITE degrees, one in three students dropped out of a degree started in 2015, with barely half graduating within six years.

University of Sydney associate professor Rachel Wilson, who analysed the link between ATAR scores and teacher performance in a 2018 report, The Profession at Risk, declared it wrong for universities to be allowed to enrol students unlikely to finish a degree. She said more students were studying ITE online, and were less likely to finish their degree than students attending lectures on campus.

Associate Professor Wilson said Australia had been “complacent and let the system slide’’.

“I think it is unethical for governments not to monitor these things,” she said.