Friday, October 07, 2022

NYC ramps up safety strategy at ‘most challenged’ public schools

Good luck with all that but there is no substitute for a better curriculumm and real classroom discipline

The city Department of Education is ramping up safety and support at more than 100 schools where students are most often involved in troubling incidents, suspended or missing class, Mayor Eric Adams and Chancellor David Banks announced Thursday.

Project Pivot is investing $9 million in youth nonprofits focused on school safety, after-school and mental health support. Officials expect to reach up to 10,000 school kids.

“This project will bring community-based organizations into our schools to connect with young people at a pivotal moment in their development through counseling, mentoring, violence intervention,” Adams said outside Tweed Courthouse, the DOE’s headquarters.

“We’re thinking about our children, and the right they have to succeed,” he added. “And in the long run, we will keep them safe and keep their schools safe.”

The schools, mostly in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan, were selected based on safety and academic data showing children were disengaged from classes, or more likely to need support.

That data includes discipline and suspensions, but also relied on attendance — like the number of students chronically absent. More than 40% of kids missed one in 10 school days last year, city data show.

“We’ve identified 138 schools, some of the most challenged schools in the city, who are crying out for additional supports, additional resources,” said Banks.

“They have children in their schools who are brilliant,” he added. “They are every bit as talented as everybody, as any other child — they just need the additional supports.”

The nonprofits offer services in safety and violence prevention in and outside school, counselors and mentorship, enrichment programs like sports and the arts, and skills like financial literacy. The programs are backed by research and their effectiveness, officials said.

“We talk often about safety, and many of these organizations are going to provide a deeper level of safety in our schools,” said Banks, who started his education career as a school safety agent.

One of the organizations, Elite Learners Inc., supports traditional school safety staffers with more adults trained in anti-violence near the schools — on a corner, at a local bodega and inside nearby parks.

“So many young people were getting in altercations outside of the building that interfered with their learning in the building,” said Camara Jackson, founder of the Brooklyn-based nonprofit.

“If you don’t feel safe coming to school, how can you sit throughout the day and be successful? So we want to address that,” Jackson said.

These vans are equipped with PlayStations and refrigerators.
Elite Learners stations bright orange and yellow vans outside the schools to form relationships with the students.
Cayla Bamberger
The organization stations bright orange and yellow vans — equipped with PlayStations and refrigerators — outside the schools to form relationships with the students.

Other nonprofits range from Save Our Streets, a community-based program to end gun violence, to National Cares Mentoring, a black mentorship program founded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The DOE is also recommending groups like Youth Education Through Sports and the Canvas Institute arts and culture center on Staten Island, officials said.

“These are all activities that can serve as a motivating factor for many disengaged students, and can be the proverbial carrot to increase student achievement,” said Aaron Barnette of the DOE’s Office of Safety and Prevention Partnerships.

Project Pivot is funded by COVID aid, which expires in a few school years. The DOE didn’t provide The Post with concrete plans for funding when federal stimulus runs out, though said they would continue to prioritize student safety and well-being.

The new initiative comes as the number of weapons recovered in the public schools soared last year — a trend Banks attributed to safety concerns on the way to and from class, rather than conflict on campus. Roughly 5,000 weapons were recovered in the city schools last year, most of which were defense mechanisms like pepper spray and tasers.

Violence outside the school building has led multiple schools to temporarily lock their front doors, with students free to move between classrooms but not to leave the building.


Many NYC public school grads aren’t ready for college, state audit finds

More city students may be graduating from high school these days — but fewer are actually ready for the rigors of college, a state audit released Tuesday found.

Only 57% of city students were “college ready” the study by the state Comptroller’s office found — and of those who went on to higher education, a disappointing 37% dropped out in the first semester.

“We found DOE [Department of Education] should do more to prepare students to be college ready,” the report said.

“DOE should do more to help students gain the proficiency levels needed to enroll and persist in a post-secondary institution, and this preparation should begin much earlier in students’ school years.”

The report focused on the last pre-COVID-19 class in 2019, and found that only 77% of students across the five boroughs graduated that year.

Sixty-three percent of all students went to college — even though the study found that only 57% were ready based on how long it took them to graduate high school and how they did on state proficiency tests.

And their lack of readiness showed, as 37% of them left higher education by the end of the first semester, the audit found. This number is compared to national data published in the nonprofit news outlet The Hechinger Report, which found 26.1% of students who started college across America in fall 2019 dropped out by the end of the school year.

The report also found a racial disparity, as roughly four-out-of-five students who didn’t graduate by their expected dates were hispanic or black.

Rates also varied widely across the city’s many neighborhoods, including in District 23, where nearly half of students in Ocean Hill and Brownsville didn’t graduate on time.

And nearly half of kids in a smaller, randomized sample didn’t meet the DOE’s own standards for college readiness, based on years it took for them to graduate or academic proficiency on state tests.

“The DOE must make sure students are ready for their next steps after high school and should prioritize elementary and middle school intervention in city school districts where large numbers of students do not graduate high school,” said State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

Meanwhile, changes both to whether state tests were optional or administered at all, and how those scores factor into a student’s eligibility for a diploma, have made it possible for students to graduate high school without demonstrating their grasp of basic skills in reading and writing, and in math, the report said.

“This made it easier for students to graduate although they may not have been college ready,” read the comptroller’s report.

While the study focused on students who graduated before the pandemic upended school in the city and across America, it comes as and expert said universities nationwide have reported more freshmen arriving unprepared due to COVID-19 disruptions.

“Students coming into classes, I think many of them did experience upheaval in their education, especially in math,” said Elisabeth Barnett, a college readiness professor from Columbia University Teachers College and researcher at the national Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness.

Barnett told The Post the New York City data mostly lines up with national figures, given the demographics of the city’s public schools. But that students benefit from showing up to campus prepared for the work, even though supports may be available once they get there.

“Especially when students first get to college, they’re often very insecure about if they belong there. So if they get told they’re not college ready, that can be a very big blow,” Barnett said.

Recognizing many of the problems laid out in the audit, the city is rolling out programs that include funding and staff training for college and career advising, advanced coursework like AP courses, early college credit programs, and “bridge-to-college” programs the summer after graduation.

“This administration is deeply committed to continuing to strengthen the path from high school to college and good paying careers,” DOE spokesperson Nicole Brownstein said.

One of those programs, announced on Tuesday, is a small but ambitious push to help 230 students in foster care enroll and complete college. The so-called “College Choice” initiative directs $15,000 per student in city funds towards the unwieldy price tag of any college — plus room and board, and a stipend.

“We cannot just drop you off and say you are no longer our responsibility,” said Mayor Eric Adams at a news conference announcing the program.

“We got their backs, because we’re going to need them to have our backs,” he added. “Our young people are not the leaders of tomorrow — they’re the leaders of today.”


Campus Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Excludes and Targets Jews

Making the world safe for Jews in an age of skyrocketing antisemitism isn’t something American universities tend to believe they need to stand for. In a review of 24 major college and university diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, the advocacy group Stop Antisemitism found that only two of them had any specific programming or materials related to antisemitism. “DEI departments have not made fighting antisemitism a priority,” the group concludes in its 2022 “report card” of American campuses.

DEI itself is definitely a priority on campuses, though. Among the 65 large universities that comprise the “power-five” athletic conferences there are nearly 3,000 employees dedicated to DEI, according to a July 2021 analysis by the Heritage Foundation. Collectively, these institutions had 1.4 DEI officers for every history professor, and 3.4 DEI officials for every 100 tenured or tenure-track scholars in their employ.

As the report notes, these institutions have no legal obligation whatsoever to hire thousands of diversity bureaucrats—which is not the case, for example, with staff dedicated to providing federally required aid to disabled students. Even so, of the 65 universities surveyed, only Baylor University and the University of Minnesota employed more Americans with Disabilities Act compliance officers than DEI personnel. A pricey, often-invasive DEI regime is something these universities chose to expand in the wake of the nationwide racial justice protests in 2020, at the expense of providing adequate support for adjunct faculty, limiting class size, and other lesser budgetary priorities. Mistaken or not, DEI is an expression of academia’s deepest sense of its mission during a time of rapid social dislocation.

The reason that taxpayers should care about how American higher ed chooses to deploy its resources is that we are paying for it. On top of the enormous cost of America’s publicly funded higher education system, President Joe Biden’s executive decree of limited debt relief for certain student loan borrowers will cost the government upwards of an additional $400 billion, according to a late September analysis from the Congressional Budget Office. In practice, this is an eye-watering taxpayer subsidy for a system that has transformed itself over the past three decades into a vast federally funded cartel that has shunted aside traditional academic occupations of teaching and research in favor of bureaucratic thought-policing and ideological indoctrination. It is a mark of the failure of this system to provide the educational goods that taxpayers think they’re paying for that its graduates now require emergency federal assistance years or even decades after graduating.

Even when it comes to combatting prejudice and hate, the new academic DEI bureaucracies are quick to discard discernible social reality when it does not match up with their ideological aims and goals. It is to be expected that acts of antisemitism are common at American universities because they are so frighteningly common in the United States in general. The Anti-Defamation League’s annual nationwide audit of antisemitic incidents for 2021 reported an all-time record since the audit was first conducted in 1979. Incidents increased 34% overall year over year, with assaults spiking 167%, and harassment rising 41%. Sure enough, antisemitic incidents on college campuses rose by 21%.

It would be reasonable to expect campus-based initiatives aimed at addressing institutional racism to focus on any apparent overlap between the prejudices of the wider society and those that manifest within the supposedly more enlightened, diversity-obsessed confines of America’s universities. The overlap is there for anyone to see. Universities that consider themselves a beacon of social tolerance are becoming anxious places for Jews. Over the past 18 months, a Torah scroll was desecrated during a break-in at a George Washington University Jewish fraternity, neo-Nazis beat up a Jewish student at the University of Central Florida, a participant in a Students for Justice in Palestine rally hurled rocks toward counterprotesters outside the University of Illinois Hillel, and the AEPi house at Rutgers was egged on Holocaust Remembrance Day for the second year in a row. Sexual assault survivors’ groups at both the University of Vermont and SUNY New Paltz banned Jews insufficiently hostile to Israel; a series of anti-Jewish threats, vandalism, and harassment seized Indiana University and the University of Wisconsin; and “long live the Intifada” was spray-painted in the middle of Boston University’s campus.

Need more examples? The Amcha Initiative lists 851 instances of “antisemitic activity” on U.S. college campuses in 2021 alone.

Two instances of insensitivity toward Jews had a direct relationship with campus DEI initiatives. At Yale University, a diversity trainer the Yale Law Journal had brought to campus told her audience that the FBI inflated antisemitism statistics. When asked why her presentation hadn’t mentioned antisemitism, she replied that she didn’t need to discuss it, since at least some Black people were also Jewish. At USC, a student and former DEI officer serving on the engineering school’s student senate posted a series of antisemitic social media messages in Arabic, including one stating that she “want[s] to kill every motherfucking Zionist.” Apparently, those who teach academia how to fight hatred are themselves quite comfortable hating Jews.

Incidents from the ongoing academic year, still only a few weeks old, show that the problem is no closer to being solved on campus than it is anywhere else. The Rutgers AEPi house was egged yet again, this time on Rosh Hashanah. A remarkably diverse coalition of student groups at the University of California law school at Berkeley, including the Women of Berkeley Law, Law Students of African Descent, and the Queer Caucus, updated their bylaws to ban the invitation of any speaker supportive of “Zionism, the apartheid state of Israel, and the occupation of Palestine.” This would bar 85% or so of American Jews from speaking at these groups’ events, including Berkeley Law’s own dean, the distinguished legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky. UC Berkeley’s Law Students for Justice in Palestine (LSJP) reportedly wrote and promoted the bylaw, which states that all of the groups adopting the new rule have committed to participating in a DEI-type training, in this case a “‘Palestine 101’ training hosted by LSJP ‘to create a safe and inclusive space for Palestinian students,’” according to the Jewish Journal.

Acts of antisemitism have been given a unique status by DEI bureaucrats and the milieu in which they are embedded, in that they are apparently defined as having no broader “structural” implication beyond the individual people and communities who are attacked. Whereas racist flyers or epithets are held to automatically reflect centuries of legal discrimination and violence, the structural origins of antisemitism in the history of the West are ignored entirely. The incredible violence directed at Jews throughout the history of the West, culminating in the Holocaust, which is an event that happened in the lifetime of people still living on this earth; the mass ethnic cleansing of Jews from Arab countries; the overt, vile, legalized discrimination against American Jews in housing, education, private associations, and numerous other areas of American social life have all been amply documented by historians, Jewish and not, at every level of craft. If anyone has suffered from discrimination, violence, and social prejudice, across the broad expanse of Western history, surely Jews have.

Yet in New York City today, frequent physical attacks on Jews are treated as fairly normal and are very seldom punished with prison time. On a national level, a recent White House summit on hate crimes “overwhelmingly focused on right-wing extremism, with only scant allusion to the attacks Jews have faced from other sectors in recent years, including the pro-Palestinian left,” according to reporter Ron Kampeas of the JTA, who noted that the meeting generated controversy over an alleged lack of Orthodox Jewish representation, as well as over the involvement of Al Sharpton, who has a long history of antagonism toward Jewish communities in his native New York. The event did not include any reported participants from the Haredi community, who are by far the most common victims of antisemitic violence in the United States.

In practical terms, a reversal of DEI regimes’ determined obliviousness toward Jew-hatred probably wouldn’t help much. New York University is one of the only institutions that Stop Antisemitism surveyed to include Jews in its DEI efforts; it is also one of three universities in the report to have received formal federal-level complaints from a Jewish student under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. The Heritage study examined student surveys on the state of campus life at schools with DEI bureaucracies of varying size and found that “there appears to be little relationship between DEI staffing and the diversity climate on campus.” In an April 2021 story, Tablet’s Sean Cooper reported that despite their newfound ubiquity and high cost, there is shockingly little proof that DEI programs result in more tolerant workplaces and college campuses or reduce racism.

The DEI regime is often framed as a brave and honest reckoning with structural racism, educational inequity, individual bigotry, and other abiding sources of establishment shame. In fact, the purpose of DEI, and perhaps of the ideological and quasi-spiritual project underlying DEI, is to delay or deflect hard conversations about how universities operate, or any awkwardly critical assessments of the value of the education they provide, or the kinds of spaces and citizens they now produce. If it had any other purpose but creating a false edifice of reassurance and moral rectitude, campus DEI would have a lot to say about the higher education system’s continuing role as a locus of American antisemitism, rather than nothing at all.

Campus DEI regimes’ total lack of interest in antisemitism makes it obvious that Jews are not seen as part of the social justice mission of the university. Then again, much of the organizational architecture and bureaucracy of the contemporary university, from the stringency of the admissions process, to the emphasis on “diversity” itself, originated with the institutions’ attempts to keep Jews out, as Tablet has been recounting in Gatecrashers, a podcast exploring the history of antisemitism within the Ivy League.

One key difference between now and the 1920s, when the last largescale movement to exclude Jews from American campus life happened, is that Jews now lead and hold prestigious tenured chairs at major American universities, which host entire academic departments devoted to Jewish life and learning. That thousands of Jewish faculty and administrators, as individuals and as scholars, have allowed this resurgence of academic scapegoating and exclusion of Jews from campus life to happen with only occassional bursts of dissent is striking, at least to anyone who doesn’t spend their life on campus.

The institutional world’s hesitation to examine or even acknowledge its antisemitism problem points to a larger academywide fear of confronting institutional sins of the type that have little to do with Harvard’s or Yale’s involvement in the slave trade 200 years ago. Today’s universities are content with being unaffordable behemoths and lifestyle brands for the same reason they remain uninterested in the antisemitism they have historically practiced and indulged. The academy’s flaws, and the literal and figurative costs they arrogantly impose on the rest of American society, fall outside the purview of institutions that are rushing to add thousands of administrators who are supposedly dedicated to making the world a more tolerant and equitable place. In truth, the goal of these universities in a moment of disorienting and unpredictable social and political change is to protect their cartel from the scrutiny it has earned through its glaring inability to productively educate millions of students, and its determination to saddle ordinary taxpayers with the cost of its failures.




Thursday, October 06, 2022

Alabama’s federal funding could be stripped away by Biden administration over trans bathroom demands

Undeterred by repeated losses, the Biden administration’s war on red states and our "Neanderthal thinking" rages on. This month, my colleagues and I are fighting Biden and his comrades at the United States Department of Agriculture in court to protect the right of states to run their public schools as they see fit. This time, the fight isn’t over curriculum or masking — it’s whether states still possess the paltry authority to require boys to use the boys’ bathroom at school.

The United States Constitution leaves no doubt as to the states’ broad authority over their own public schools, but the Biden administration supposes that everything — even schoolchildren — has a price.

The USDA is the federal agency that directs the myriad "cooperative" federal food programs — including the Supplemental Food Assistance Program (SNAP), the Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program (WIC), and the Child Nutrition Program (including the school-lunch program). These programs both tug at the heart strings and come with a hefty price tag for states, so the Biden administration has found them to be ideal vehicles for forcing genderlessness into our state governments, and more particularly, our public schools.

By issuing a USDA memorandum and accompanying administrative rule, the administration has waged a campaign to impose the left’s extremist "gender identity" agenda on schoolchildren with the implied threat that if states resist, their programs and public schools will get less money from the federal government.

It is important to understand how compliance with the left’s radical gender identity agenda would destroy the educational experiences of students — girls in particular. The Biden administration’s own fact sheet about its guidance indicates that preventing a boy from using the girls’ restroom would be discrimination if the boy identifies as a girl. Similarly, the fact sheet suggests that preventing a boy from trying out for the girls’ cheerleading squad would be discrimination if the boy identifies as a girl. This is what the left wants to see in Alabama’s schools.

Alabama parents — the taxpayers who fund our schools — do not share the Biden administration’s goal of genderlessness in our classrooms. That is why the people of Alabama have supported laws that protect girls’ sports and girls’ bathrooms, as well as laws that prohibit sexual indoctrination in the classroom.

The federal government’s ever-increasing control over primary and secondary education offends our American constitutional system. The root cause is coercion through federal funding, upon which states have been far too willing to blindly accept and jealously rely.

The Biden administration’s actions seeking to impose the left’s gender identity agenda on schoolchildren are illegal and unconstitutional. But even if they were not, and federal funding was at risk, the duty of state leaders is not to dollars. We are meant to serve the interests of the people of our states — and the people of Alabama have clearly spoken, through their elected representatives, that they do not wish for sexual politics to be thrust on their children by the far-left in Washington.

While I hope to preserve every penny of federal funding being threatened by this administration, Alabama’s sovereignty is not for sale.


Homecoming season is here — and for many young people in parts of the South, that means homecoming mum season is here, too.

Now, however, mums — which started off as simple corsages, essentially — have become bigger than ever.

And it's why photos of teenage girls wearing large decorative flowers continue to flood the internet year after year.

Here’s the story behind the "homecoming mum" phenomenon. Homecoming mums are said to have hit the scene in the 1930s in the South — sharing a longstanding tradition in states like Texas.

Kisha Clark, the founder of Mums Inc., spoke with Fox News Digital about the phenomenon and how it began.

"If you go all the way back to where it began, [these] were actually live flowers that evolved over time to a silk flower," the Texas mum maker said.

This flower, normally given to a girl by her homecoming date, was a symbol that she had a date to the homecoming football game and school dance.

Over the years and even decades, these small live flowers turned into huge, over-the-top decorative pieces.

Clark has been making mums for 20 years, using 1,700 square ft. in her Little Elm, Texas, home as a workspace.

Ten years ago, she started Mums Inc., an organization of mum makers across the country who share trends, tips and supplies. A mum, at the time, would have a decorative ribbon, the homecoming dates’ names, the high school name, etc. and one fake mum flower positioned at the top.

"Somebody somewhere added a feather boa. I’m not even sure who that was … Now I can’t make the boa situation end."

Clark said she began to see a shift in the types of mums people were ordering. Clients wanted their mums to be much larger than before. "We started to see a shift in design where people wanted a more custom product," she said.

Clark said that cutting machines were new around the same time, which changed the game for mum makers.

As the years went on, the mum flower on the designs doubled to two, then three — and on and on from there. Customers also wanted stuffed animals incorporated, plus cow bells for noise, lights for fun — even feather boas for flair.

"Somebody somewhere added a feather boa. I’m not even sure who that was," said Clark.

"Now I can’t make the boa situation end," she said.

And in case anyone needs proof that everything really is bigger in Texas, Clark said a mum she made recently took her three days to complete and cost over $400.

She also said the COVID pandemic, interestingly enough, has played a huge role in mum development.

"COVID changed our industry," she said. "A lot of these people do not want their children to miss out on the ability to have some sort of normality in their lives."

Clark said mum sales have only increased since the lockdown.

"It’s almost as if people made a new connection to spirit at school because they didn’t have it," she said.

Tara O’Donnell owns Tarariffic Mums in Houston, Texas, and makes an average of 60-80 mums each season.

"After the chaos of the last few years, my mum orders this year definitely express each student's personality," she shared with Fox News Digital.

O’Donnell said "themed mums" have been more specific this year, with one student even requesting the center mums resemble a paw print.

"Whether the mom is in tears over her daughter’s senior mum or the student squeals in delight — knowing that I have made their vision a reality is a satisfying conclusion to the process," she said.


Longer school day, master teachers could solve Australia's education productivity problem

Changing the length of the school day and employing master teachers are among the solutions the Productivity Commission has put forward to improve the performance of Australia's education system.

Australia is spending more than ever per student on education and yet national literacy and numeracy achievement is stagnating.

A new report by the Commission investigates why this problem exists and what can be done across the school and higher education system to solve it.

One in five Australians have low basic skills, impacting on their job opportunities, capacity to learn further skills and wages.

Productivity Commission deputy chair Dr Alex Robson said the while spending had grown, Australian students' results were not improving.

"One of the issues could be that the best practice is not becoming common practice," Dr Robson said.

"So diffusing what works and, just as importantly, what doesn't work in the classroom in different circumstances, that's one of the things we focus on."

The report said classroom teachers spend much of their working time on low-value administration tasks that could be reduced or reassigned to support staff.

Technology also has a role in relieving this burden and improving student outcomes but it needed to be introduced carefully.

"It's not a silver bullet... there's a digital divide where some schools have access to the technology and others don't, but then also in terms of how it's used and what's more effective in different circumstances," Dr Robson said.

An increase in the numbers of support staff and lower student-to-staff ratios don't appear to have had any impact on student results.

The report suggests improving consistency of professional development for teachers and employing master teachers to spread best practice teaching across schools.

It also suggests trialling more radical changes, such as extending the length of the school day or adopting the United Kingdom's model of academy schools to improve under-performing public schools.

"Maybe some of these more forward-looking ideas are possible solutions, but we're definitely not saying that that's the exact answer," Dr Robson said.

The report also suggests a HECS-style system for vocational education could reduce some of the up-front costs and disincentives for students to go down that path that could be more appropriate for their career ambitions compared to university.

The commission was highly critical of the changes to university course fees under the Coalition's job ready graduates reforms, stating that price signals for in-demand fields didn't work under the income-contingent loan system.

The commission is seeking feedback on the report by October 21 and will hold roundtable discussions.




Wednesday, October 05, 2022

'History is now a niche subject': Princess Diana's brother Earl Spencer says children 'miss out on so much' and teachers should teach more than just 'Hitler and Henry VIII'

Earl Spencer has criticised 'niche' history taught in schools, claiming children 'miss out on so much'. The historian and younger brother of Princess Diana said he would like to broaden the way the subject was taught because pupils learn only about 'Hitler and Henry VIII'.

'This is one of my bugbears, how history is taught,' he said at the Henley Literary Festival. 'I'm 58 and I'm probably the last generation who was brought up on a very wide arena of British history just as standard fare because history was compulsory when I was at school.

'Now it's a niche subject and history teachers quite rightly have to attract people to their subject, so what they're going to do is give you Hitler and Henry VIII and I'm afraid things like Henry I just drop off the chart.

'I don't know if I would dare change [the curriculum] but I do think history is such an important subject, not in itself necessarily but for perspective and context. 'So I would broaden the way this is taught because I think you miss out on so much if you don't have it.

'But I realise I would be up against a lot of resistance.'

The peer was speaking to promote his latest book, The White Ship: Conquest, Anarchy and the Wrecking of Henry I's Dream.

He described the sinking of the vessel as 'the greatest maritime disaster in British history', adding: 'There's not been a shipwreck that has changed a dynasty and I think that's where it wins gold.'

The White Ship sank in the Channel in 1120, killing William Adelin, Henry I's son and the heir to the throne. It prompted a succession crisis and a period of civil war between 1138 and 1153 known as The Anarchy.

Earl Spencer said it was extraordinary that so few people knew about the story yet in 1956 Winston Churchill felt it was too well known to put in his History of the English-Speaking Peoples.

He added: 'My first history book was incredibly non-PC, it was called Our Island Story and it was a Victorian look back at how wonderful Britain has always been, and the Henry I chapter is basically about the White Ship because it was such a hackneyed subject up until the Seventies.'

He also lamented the lack of understanding of the history behind road names. 'Out of all my education, the thing I'm most excited by is being able to see bits of history still alive,' he said.

'If you put Blenheim Road up now they'd think what the hell are you on about.'

A survey by academics at Oxford and Reading universities last year found that a small number of schools said they had 'reduced the attention given to certain topics – specifically medieval British or Tudor history – in order to accommodate new ones or a new kind of emphasis'.


Vermont High School Under Fire as Girls, Parents Push Back Against Biologically Male Trans Student Using Female Locker Room

Two Vermont high school girls did what few of their peers have dared: When a biological boy who identifies as a transgender girl entered their locker room, they asked that student to leave.

The Randolph, Vermont-based Randolph Union High School told the community in a Sept. 23 email that it is “launching a harassment investigation” —apparently into the girls’ conduct rather than the 14-year-old trans-identify student’s behavior, parents suggested. The Daily Signal has chosen not to name these students due to their youth, though local outlets have reported some of their names.

Since then, The Daily Signal has spoken with a number of parents who are outraged that the school and Orange Southwest School District allowed such an incident to occur. These parents do not want biological boys in their daughters’ locker rooms, and they are bewildered as to why the school system apparently prioritizes the needs of students who identify as transgender over the needs of their daughters.

“We allowed a child who is biologically the opposite sex, male, go in a locker room where biologically girls were getting fully changed,” one of the girls’ mothers told The Daily Signal. “The biological child was not changing and sat in the back and watched girls getting changed. That made girls feel uncomfortable, made girls feel violated and not protected.”

“When parents and kids went to the school principals they were told it was a law—nothing they could do about it,” she added. “The law gives them room to protect all and they did not.”

Beginning Friday afternoon, The Daily Signal has unsuccessfully attempted to reach the student who identifies as transgender or the student’s mother via social media and email.

Girls Speak Out

Female student A, who is 14 years old, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview that she was dressing for a game when the trans-identifying student began to enter the locker room. She shared that she was not wearing a shirt, only a bra, and was halfway through putting on her shorts.

“Please don’t come in here, we’re still changing,” she says she called out, as she struggled to clothe herself.

But the trans-identifying student allegedly told her that it was fine, entered the locker room, and stood in the corner “watching” as the other girls finished dressing. Female student A said that the interaction made her incredibly uncomfortable, and her mother compared the incident to “voyeurism” in a phone interview with The Daily Signal.

Asked why she took issue with the trans-identify student entering the bathroom, female student A answered slowly, as if surprised she must explain: “It’s a dude.”

“He was born a boy,” she said. “I don’t care if he’s on my team, he can join any team, I don’t care. But when I’m undressing and there’s a male in the girls locker room or in the bathroom with me, I feel very uncomfortable.”

Female student B told The Daily Signal in a phone interview that she also unsuccessfully told the student that identifies as transgender that the girls needed their privacy.

“I think everyone feels this way about going into a locker room, you shouldn’t be uncomfortable,” said female student B, who is also 14. She joked that since all the girls have the same body parts, they are comfortable changing around one another. “But then when [the trans-identifying student] comes through, it doesn’t feel that way. It’s like, a male is in here. Everyone feels so awkward.”

Female student B said that though she asked the trans-identifying student to leave the locker room, the student stayed. When she and her fellow teammates tried to bring the matter to school officials, she said, they were told that they had to comply with state law (which allow students to use bathrooms and locker rooms corresponding with the gender they identify with).

Most of the girls’ teammates agreed that biological boys should not be allowed in the girls’ locker rooms, both female students told The Daily Signal. Female student A said that she only knew of their two volleyball teammates who said they were fine with the student who identifies as transgender being in the locker room while they changed.

“Everyone was telling me they were happy that I did the thing on the news to get awareness about it,” female student B said, referencing an interview she did with a local outlet. “They don’t like it either.”

But female student B said that on Thursday, during a math class, some of her friends showed the news hit to the trans-identifying student. According to female student B, the student allegedly reacted to the video by allegedly saying, “I’m going to f—ing kill someone,” before allegedly adding, “I f—ing hate” female student B.

Female student B said she headed to the principal’s office as soon as she heard what the trans-identifying student had allegedly said. Co-principal Lisa Floyd reportedly told her that the school would conduct a threat assessment, she said, police arrived, and she was ultimately sent back to class (Floyd did not address The Daily Signal’s request for comment on the trans-identifying student’s alleged remarks but stressed that “student safety is our District’s highest priority”).

On Friday afternoon, the girls said, both female student A and B played in their volleyball game with the trans-identifying student.

Female student A and B both told The Daily Signal that the student had allegedly also said, “my male instincts are kicking in,” referring to another female students’ breasts (though neither female student A nor female student B heard the remarks made herself).

In a comment on a local outlet’s Facebook post about the incident, a woman who claims to be the trans-identifying student’s mother denied that any such comments were made.

“I am the mother of the trans student in question and my daughter did not make any comments at all. The entire team can back this up, other than the girl that made up the story for attention,” Facebook user Mo Sivvy posted (she did not immediately respond to a request for comment).

“This is slander, defamation of character, and we have secured a lawyer,” the comment continued. “My daughter has no interest in anything other than being accepted for who she is and playing volleyball. What inappropriate comments would she have made, I’m curious? This is outrageous. The ACLU has been enlisted. There will be a thorough investigation and truth will prevail.”

The ACLU did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Signal.


NYU Students Failed Organic Chemistry, Got Prof Fired

In the field of organic chemistry, Maitland Jones Jr. has a storied reputation. He taught the subject for decades, first at Princeton and then at New York University, and wrote an influential textbook. He received awards for his teaching, as well as recognition as one of N.Y.U.’s coolest professors.

But last spring, as the campus emerged from pandemic restrictions, 82 of his 350 students signed a petition against him.

Students said the high-stakes course — notorious for ending many a dream of medical school — was too hard, blaming Dr. Jones for their poor test scores.

The professor defended his standards. But just before the start of the fall semester, university deans terminated Dr. Jones’s contract.

The officials also had tried to placate the students by offering to review their grades and allowing them to withdraw from the class retroactively. The chemistry department’s chairman, Mark E. Tuckerman, said the unusual offer to withdraw was a “one-time exception granted to students by the dean of the college.”

Marc A. Walters, director of undergraduate studies in the chemistry department, summed up the situation in an email to Dr. Jones, before his firing.

He said the plan would “extend a gentle but firm hand to the students and those who pay the tuition bills,” an apparent reference to parents.

The university’s handling of the petition provoked equal and opposite reactions from both the chemistry faculty, who protested the decisions, and pro-Jones students, who sent glowing letters of endorsement.

“The deans are obviously going for some bottom line, and they want happy students who are saying great things about the university so more people apply and the U.S. News rankings keep going higher,” said Paramjit Arora, a chemistry professor who has worked closely with Dr. Jones.

In short, this one unhappy chemistry class could be a case study of the pressures on higher education as it tries to handle its Gen-Z student body. Should universities ease pressure on students, many of whom are still coping with the pandemic’s effects on their mental health and schooling? How should universities respond to the increasing number of complaints by students against professors? Do students have too much power over contract faculty members, who do not have the protections of tenure?

And how hard should organic chemistry be anyway?

Dr. Jones, 84, is known for changing the way the subject is taught. In addition to writing the 1,300-page textbook “Organic Chemistry,” now in its fifth edition, he pioneered a new method of instruction that relied less on rote memorization and more on problem solving.

After retiring from Princeton in 2007, he taught organic chemistry at N.Y.U. on a series of yearly contracts. About a decade ago, he said in an interview, he noticed a loss of focus among the students, even as more of them enrolled in his class, hoping to pursue medical careers.

“Students were misreading exam questions at an astonishing rate,” he wrote in a grievance to the university, protesting his termination. Grades fell even as he reduced the difficulty of his exams.

The problem was exacerbated by the pandemic, he said. “In the last two years, they fell off a cliff,” he wrote. “We now see single digit scores and even zeros.”

After several years of Covid learning loss, the students not only didn’t study, they didn’t seem to know how to study, Dr. Jones said.

To ease pandemic stress, Dr. Jones and two other professors taped 52 organic chemistry lectures. Dr. Jones said that he personally paid more than $5,000 for the videos and that they are still used by the university.

That was not enough. In 2020, some 30 students out of 475 filed a petition asking for more help, said Dr. Arora, who taught that class with Dr. Jones. “They were really struggling,” he explained. “They didn’t have good internet coverage at home. All sorts of things.”

The professors assuaged the students in an online town-hall meeting, Dr. Arora said.

Many students were having other problems. Kent Kirshenbaum, another chemistry professor at N.Y.U., said he discovered cheating during online tests.

When he pushed students’ grades down, noting the egregious misconduct, he said they protested that “they were not given grades that would allow them to get into medical school.”

By spring 2022, the university was returning with fewer Covid restrictions, but the anxiety continued and students seemed disengaged.

“They weren’t coming to class, that’s for sure, because I can count the house,” Dr. Jones said in an interview. “They weren’t watching the videos, and they weren’t able to answer the questions.”

Students could choose between two sections, one focused on problem solving, the other on traditional lectures. Students in both sections shared problems on a GroupMe chat and began venting about the class. Those texts kick-started the petition, submitted in May.

“We are very concerned about our scores, and find that they are not an accurate reflection of the time and effort put into this class,” the petition said.

The students criticized Dr. Jones’s decision to reduce the number of midterm exams from three to two, flattening their chances to compensate for low grades. They said that he had tried to conceal course averages, did not offer extra credit and removed Zoom access to his lectures, even though some students had Covid. And, they said, he had a “condescending and demanding” tone.

“We urge you to realize,” the petition said, “that a class with such a high percentage of withdrawals and low grades has failed to make students’ learning and well-being a priority and reflects poorly on the chemistry department as well as the institution as a whole.”

Dr. Jones said in an interview that he reduced the number of exams because the university scheduled the first test date after six classes, which was too soon.

On the accusation that he concealed course averages, Dr. Jones said that they were impossible to provide because 25 percent of the grade relied on lab scores and a final lab test, but that students were otherwise aware of their grades.

As for Zoom access, he said the technology in the lecture hall made it impossible to record his white board problems.

Zacharia Benslimane, a teaching assistant in the problem-solving section of the course, defended Dr. Jones in an email to university officials.

“I think this petition was written more out of unhappiness with exam scores than an actual feeling of being treated unfairly,” wrote Mr. Benslimane, now a Ph.D. student at Harvard. “I have noticed that many of the students who consistently complained about the class did not use the resources we afforded to them.”

Ryan Xue, who took the course, said he found Dr. Jones both likable and inspiring.

“This is a big lecture course, and it also has the reputation of being a weed-out class,” said Mr. Xue, who has transferred and is now a junior at Brown. “So there are people who will not get the best grades. Some of the comments might have been very heavily influenced by what grade students have gotten.”

Tuesday, October 04, 2022

Conservatives Fear Schools Being Pressed to Accept Transgender Pronouns, Bathrooms and Showers

Texas school boards are being pressured to adopt policies giving transgender students the right to use preferred pronouns, school bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers, according to conservatives who feel schools are stepping on parental rights.

The Texas American Civil Liberties Union presented a “best practices” program on transgender student legal issues based on Biden’s Department of Education interpretation during a convention on Sept. 24 in San Antonio.

The Texas Association of School Administrators and Texas Association of School Boards 2022 convention included speakers and training for Texas school officials. The ACLU, a liberal civil rights group, titled their program: “Transgender Students in Texas Schools: What You Need to Know.”

ACLU attorneys gave a presentation at the convention that included transgender students speaking directly to officials on “challenges” in schools with restrooms, sports, dress codes, pronouns, and bullying.

David Hamilton, a board member at Fort Bend Independent School Board who attended the ACLU presentation, posted on Twitter that the union was “trying to force Texas public schools to allow boys in girls’ locker rooms, showers, restrooms, and athletics.”

“They had a biological girl who IDs as a boy speak because that appeals better,” his post continued.

When contacted by The Epoch Times, Hamilton said he viewed the ACLU presentation as a warning that schools must accommodate transgender student rights or face lawsuits from it or other liberal groups.

The ACLU did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Texas state Rep. Steve Toth (R-Woodlands) agreed there was a concerted effort to push schools to accept the Biden administrations’ interpretation of Title IX as law. But part of the problem lies with the trustees who don’t question what they’re told, he said.

“There’s no way this isn’t coordinated,” he said. “We’re hearing this in all 50 states.”

“If they put this into place, they’re violating the law,” said Toth, who intends to introduce legislation in 2023 to protect students from sexualization at school.

Title IX, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, now permits students to use restrooms, locker rooms, and compete on sports teams based on their gender identity instead of their biological sex.

Biden issued an executive order after a June 2020 landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that expanded the legal definition of sex discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity in employment situations.

The Department of Education and EEOC issued “guidance” in June 2021 prohibiting such discrimination and promising enforcement action against violators, including the loss of federal funding for schools.

However, the Biden administration’s push to enforcing the executive order designed to protect the LGBT community from discrimination in schools and the workplace was blocked by a Tennessee federal judge in July, while a legal challenge launched by 22 attorneys general, including Texas, is making its way through the court system.

On May 5, 2022, the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services issued guidance to Texas and other states announcing that discrimination on the basis of sex in Title IX and the Food and Nutrition Act includes discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity.

This put Texas’s Title IX and SNAP school lunch funding at risk.

Also, Biden’s policy directly opposes a Texas law passed last year requiring student-athletes to play on sports teams that correspond with their sex as listed on their birth certificate.

Julie Pickren, a former school board trustee for Alvin ISD and candidate for State Board of Education District 7, told The Epoch Times trustees need a choice regarding training that is objectionable to the values of conservatives.

“We have a responsibility to protect our kids as parents, educators, and public servants,” she added via text.

Hamilton said that ACLU lawyers presented information at the convention indicating suicide attempts by transgender students decreased if schools affirmed their choices on things like pronouns and bathroom preferences.

He felt that the presentation would give school districts who wanted to adopt liberal policies on transgender students an excuse to do so.

Meg Bakich, a parent activist in the Highland Park school district, said parents need to understand what’s happening in their schools.

“Why are school boards paying tax dollars to an association indoctrinating our trustees?” she asked. “Our legislature has done nothing to stop it.”


LA: Grover Cleveland High School was a "humanities" magnet school -- riven with sexual abuse of minors

The faculty of E Hall were celebrity educators, rock stars of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). They ran Cleveland’s renowned humanities magnet, an interdisciplinary program combining instruction in history, literature, art, and philosophy. “We were like a little Sarah Lawrence in the middle of a Title I school,” an alum told me, referring to the federal program that provides financial assistance for schools with a large population of low-income students. Since its founding in 1981, the magnet had been the subject of glowing news stories, and schools across Los Angeles had replicated its curriculum. The program, which called itself Core, produced so many graduates bound for top-notch colleges that some alumni referred to the University of California at Berkeley as “Core north.”

Core teachers prided themselves on being radicals. They encouraged students to eschew taboos, expand their horizons, and question conventional wisdom. They lectured on systemic racism and postmodernism, and they treated the teenagers they were tasked with educating as “young men and women,” a phrase the program’s founder, Neil Anstead, was fond of using. In turn, the students worshipped them.

Chris Miller was an object of particularly intense adoration. Miller, who taught American history and social studies to juniors, had been with Core since its founding. His students read Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. They discussed the imperative of dismantling white supremacy and the patriarchy. A white man approaching fifty, Miller wore Birkenstocks and jewelry, and had a long ponytail that he adorned with a threaded hair wrap, the kind popular among aging hippies and teenage girls. He hugged students and urged them to talk about their feelings; crying wasn’t unusual in his classes.

The fall semester after the Northridge earthquake, Jackie* began eating lunch in Miller’s room. Jackie was petite, with dark hair and a wide, winning smile. But, entering the 11th grade, she felt insecure. “I basically advertised within those first few weeks that I was an incredibly vulnerable 16-year-old girl,” Jackie told me. She assumed that her friends were smarter than she was, and her parents’ rocky marriage was taking an emotional toll. Meanwhile, she struggled to navigate the sexual attention that men and boys had begun showing her.

*Asterisks denote pseudonyms The Atavist is using for women who requested that they not be identified in this story.
Miller made Jackie feel comfortable in his class right away. “He was teaching us things other people were afraid to teach us,” she said. “He was brave, he was a pioneer.” When they talked one on one, she felt that he treated her like an adult, asking her about her life and listening when she spoke. He gave her The Celestine Prophecy, a popular novel about a man’s spiritual awakening, to read and discuss with him. Barely a month into school, Jackie wrote in her diary that Miller was “so fucking cool”—and also a “big flirt” and “very sexual.”

One day, Miller asked Jackie if he was right in sensing an attraction between them. Jackie felt like she had to say yes or he would be disappointed. Besides, maybe she did like him, or should. When Miller asked if she’d ever had sex, Jackie told him she had, which was true. In response, Miller drove her to get an HIV test. Jackie felt like he was taking care of her.

They started seeing each other off campus—teachers and students in Core often interacted outside school, so Jackie didn’t think twice about it. But then, according to Jackie, Miller began sexually abusing her. Once, while giving her a ride to a friend’s house, he pulled over and lunged across the console between them. As Miller kissed Jackie, he placed her hand on his erection. On another occasion, he took her to the beach with two of her friends, both male Core students. The group sat on the sand, with Jackie leaning against Miller’s legs, his arms wrapped around her, and his hands on her breasts. That night, as Miller drove Jackie home, he told her that she could “use” him to work through the problems in her life. He suggested that they write letters to each other and leave them in a filing cabinet in his classroom. He told her to call him “Journey” in the correspondence.

Miller said he loved her. Jackie wanted to believe him. It would be more than two decades before she learned that she wasn’t the only student Miller pursued—and that Miller wasn’t the only Core teacher who allegedly targeted students for abuse.

In 2021, Jackie and three other Jane Does filed lawsuits claiming they were groomed and sexually abused while they were students in Core. Four former teachers, including Miller, are named in the suits as perpetrators. The alleged abuse happened between 1994 and 2009; during that same time frame, according to public records, two additional Core teachers were convicted of crimes involving students, including statutory rape, and a third Cleveland teacher whose classes were popular with magnet students was convicted of possession of child pornography.

Read the legal complaints filed by the four Jane Does and an open letter written by the first woman to come forward to report abuse.
An estimated 10 percent of U.S. students suffer sexual misconduct at the hands of a school employee before they leave high school. Over the past decade, LAUSD has paid out hundreds of millions of dollars in response to abuse and harassment claims. What makes Core unique is the number of teachers accused of misconduct over a prolonged period, and the apparent use of the magnet’s curriculum itself to groom students. There is also evidence that some of the teachers’ colleagues and school officials were aware of what was happening but did little or nothing to stop it. “They put the magnet program’s reputation over a student’s well-being. That hurts, you know?” said Kate*, a classmate of Jackie’s and another plaintiff in the lawsuits. “At the end of the day, it was almost like they didn’t care.”

Like the blind thrust faults beneath Los Angeles, the network of suspected wrongdoing at Core is dense, and its capacity for devastation is enormous. This story is based on extensive interviews with the four Jane Does, dozens of other Core alumni, and multiple educators with knowledge of the program. It draws from hundreds of pages of depositions and other legal documents, as well as personal correspondence, yearbooks, journals, and social media postings shared by Core graduates. Two of the accused teachers, including Miller, are deceased; the others either declined to comment for this story or did not respond to interview requests. A spokesperson for LAUSD, which is named as a defendant in the lawsuits, said in a statement that the district “does not comment on pending or ongoing litigation.”

In 2021, Core celebrated its 40th anniversary. The program remains a crown jewel of LA’s public education system. The women who have come forward understand why: Core taught them to disrupt the status quo, expose injustice, and demand accountability for harm. Now they are doing just that. ?


Who's to blame for our censorious students?

Without freedom of speech, you do not have a university. More than any other value, it is freedom of speech that most defines the university, that makes it a special place in society set aside for debate and inquiry in which speech and thought should be freer than in practically any other workplace or institution.

And yet an alarming proportion of students seem not to have got the memo. A new study by the Policy Institute at King’s College London confirms what has been clear for some time: that today’s students, far from being rebellious free-thinkers, are if anything more supportive of censorship than the general population.

The numbers are pretty stark. Forty-one per cent of students believe that academics who ‘teach material that offends some students’ should be fired, compared to just 25 per cent of the general public. Similarly, 39 per cent of students believe that students’ unions should ‘ban all speakers that may cause offence’, compared to just 26 per cent of the general public.

The notion that even discussing bigoted ideas risks legitimising them is also alarmingly mainstream on campus. Forty-six per cent of students believe that ‘if you debate an issue like sexism or racism you make it acceptable’. This is essentially a blank cheque for censorship, based on the conviction that people are too easily led to even be exposed to obnoxious ideas.

On all of these questions, a plurality of students side, essentially, with censorship – only around 30 per cent of students disagree with any of these statements. This is the crucial context to the never-ending stories of campus censorship. Whether it is the hounding of Kathleen Stock or the No Platforming of ‘Islamophobic’ speakers – in each case, an alarming number of students will think ‘fair enough’ when they see such censorship. And while ban-happy SU bureaucrats hardly represent all students, we’d be foolish not to take this ideological drift away from free speech among students seriously.

The danger, of course, is that this takes the form of boomerish hectoring – of greying columnists demanding to know why young people aren’t what they used to be. But aside from this tending to alienate those we should hope to win over, this also tends to let older generations off the hook. These illiberal ideas didn’t come from nowhere. These students didn’t emerge from the womb with a predisposition to censorship. They’ve been socialised into a society that sees free speech as dangerous.

Take the great awokening of the British police. It should be little wonder that students’ union officials are clamping down on ‘offensive’ speech when literally thousands of people have been arrested in recent years for posting ‘offensive’ things on the internet. And this wasn’t the work of millennials, working their way through the ranks – restrictions on ‘hate speech’ of one kind or another have been on the British statute books for decades.

We conceded the principle on freedom of speech a long time ago in this country. So much so that even nominally pro-freedom politicians are apparently incapable of defending it as an indivisible liberty. When the government introduced its Free Speech Bill in 2021, then universities minister Michelle Donelan was slapped down for suggesting that Holocaust deniers should be allowed to speak on campus. Boris Johnson’s spokesman quickly made clear that this wasn’t government policy.

It should go without saying that Holocaust deniers are odious racists. But the lot of the free-speech advocate is occasionally having to stick up for the rights of odious racists. You either support free speech for all or for none at all. Plus, what constitutes ‘hate speech’ is very much in the eye of the beholder. Having failed to hold the line on freedom of speech, politicians and commentators can hardly now act surprised that a younger generation is demanding the censorship of a new set of ideas and speakers who they deem wrong and hateful.

Where did these censorious youngsters come from? It’s really quite simple. They were born into a society that has lost faith in freedom of speech.




Monday, October 03, 2022

NYC moves away from de Blasio’s unfair high-school-admission scheme — but not far enough

Kudos to Schools Chancellor David Banks for telling kids and parents: “We do believe in high standards.” Good grades and hard work will matter again under the city’s new high school admission process. Too bad he didn’t go far enough.

The revised system puts about a fifth of students citywide into the top tier that gets “first access” to screened high schools: 8th-graders (with a GPA of 90 or above) who place in the top 15% of their middle school or the top 15% citywide. As Banks notes, this rewards “those who work hard academically and make it to the top of their middle school class.”

Last year’s top tier included 60% of 8th-graders; the resulting lottery then placed far too many kids in schools that didn’t match their abilities — condemning far too many high achievers to schools that can’t challenge them.

But one holdover from the de Blasio war on excellence remains: Schools can’t use scores on state proficiency exams as one criterion for admissions. Why not, Mr. Chancellor?

We have no problem with boosting “access to communities who have historically been locked out of screened schools,” as Banks says his system does — provided it has safeguards against wholesale grade inflation at the middle-school level.

That is, as is the new system penalizes kids whose middle schools set higher expectations. If he’s serious about excellence, Banks needs to give selective schools some way to address such issues. Otherwise, he’s still guaranteeing grim cases of mismatch.

But at least this streamlined admissions process is simple and easy to understand, with faster timelines for open houses, applications, and admission offers. It also extends the wait-lists period into mid-September to ensure that any open seats get filled by students desiring to enroll.

The plan also ends the de Blasio ban on screened middle-school admissions: It’s up to the superintendents of each of the city’s 32 school districts to work with middle-school leaders and the community to devise admission criteria for such programs. Parents can at least hope that, for example, a performing-arts middle school can screen for performing-arts aptitude.


Cambridge university traduces itself

It’s perfectly legitimate for Cambridge University to seek to understand its history, warts and all. But the University’s final report of its ‘Legacies of Enslavement Advisory Group’, established in 2019 to investigate the university’s historic links with slavery, is short on facts and long on opinions. It also fails to consider Cambridge’s links with the noble cause of anti-slavery.

It is hardly surprising that Cambridge should have been associated with slavery. The Atlantic slave trade and West Indian slavery were integral to the British empire between the late sixteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Yet the report tells us that no ‘Cambridge institutions directly owned any plantations that exploited enslaved people’.

Instead, the Advisory Group focus in their report on ‘individuals closely associated with Cambridge and its colleges’. No one today would hold a university responsible for the subsequent actions and opinions of the students it educated. Yet this report proceeds on this basis, relying on ‘guilt by association’. Much of the evidence is not about Cambridge but individuals linked to it in tenuous ways.

Cambridge is held to be complicit in slavery because a number of those who established the Virginia Company in the early seventeenth century were educated there. The university is apparently shamed by ‘the parents of Cambridge students’ who invested in the Royal African Company which traded in slaves.

Individuals who did nothing to further slavery are also shamed, such as Adam Sedgwick, professor of geology and teacher of Charles Darwin. Sedgwick received a legacy, after the emancipation of slaves in the British empire in 1833, from a woman whose family had previously owned a plantation. Or take Henry Coulthurst, a brilliant Cambridge mathematician, the vicar of Halifax, and a prominent abolitionist. Coulthurst’s father and brothers owned plantations in the West Indies, and the report condemns him for their sins. He might more appropriately be praised for his opposition to the slave trade.

Even Thomas Clarkson, second only to William Wilberforce in the campaign to abolish the slave trade, is fair game because of his ‘gradualism and elitism’ and his realism in accepting that slavery could only be ended by compensating slaveholders. Clarkson and other Cambridge abolitionists should be ‘interrogated’, we are told, because they followed different strategies from those advocated by the Cambridge Advisory Group two centuries later. Clarkson was the very hero of the movement. He rode through Englandfor years, stopping to convene meetings to raise awareness of the hated trade while holding aloft his famous image of the innards of a slave ship.

The report is intolerant of different views and ignorant of context. The authors are appalled that during the American Civil War many Cambridge students supported the Confederacy, the southern slaveholding states that seceded from the Union, and that Charles Kingsley, then Regius professor of history, gave lectures endorsing the Confederacy’s right to secede. The authors seem not to know that these views were commonplace in Britain, especially among the governing class. The Union’s imposition of import tariffs to pay for the war; the struggles with Britain over ‘rights of search’ on the high seas; the blockade of Southern ports, depriving Lancashire of cotton; and traditional British support for national self-determination led many Britons to favour the Confederacy. Cambridge students merely reflected a section of national opinion.

There is little sensitivity and respect for literature either, as in the case of the poet John Donne. Donne was educated in Oxford, receiving an honorary degree from Cambridge. Geographical references, images drawn from the age of exploration, and metaphors based on voyaging were frequently used by him in poems that many consider among the greatest literary works of the Renaissance. Yet in a few words Donne, who had nothing to do with slavery, is set down as a colonialist and white elitist. There is no mitigation in literary genius.

Worst of all is to write about ‘legacies of enslavement’ in Cambridge with only the most cursory treatment of the university’s many associations with antislavery.

Cambridge University was one of the communities, alongside whole cities like Birmingham, Bristol and Leeds, which had its own list of subscribers to the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, founded in 1787. Everyone has heard of William Wilberforce, the society’s leading spirit, and many will know the name of Clarkson: both were educated at St. John’s College, Cambridge in the early 1780s. But fewer will know of the Clapham Sect, evangelical Christian families, gathered around Holy Trinity Church on Clapham Common in the 1780s and 1790s, who led the abolition campaign. And no one will be able to appreciate the links between Clapham and Cambridge from reading this report. Yet Cambridge men were prominent in the Sect. They included Wilberforce himself; Henry and John Venn, father and son, successive pastors at Holy Trinity; Charles Simeon, of King’s College, Cambridge and the minister at Holy Trinity Church in Cambridge; and Isaac Milner, president of Queen’s College.

Leading figures in the Anti-Slavery Society, which campaigned for emancipation after 1823, included two men educated in Cambridge, George Stephen and Thomas Babington Macaulay, the famous historian, who spoke brilliantly at the Society’s first mass meeting. Both were sons of leaders of the Clapham Sect. A portrait by Reynolds of the Anti-Slavery Society’s president, Prince William Frederick, second duke of Gloucester, hangs to this day in the Hall in Trinity College, Cambridge. The second earl Grey, prime minister when slavery was abolished, was educated at Trinity.

The name of Peter Peckard, Master of Magdalene College, deserves more than just a single passing reference in the report. In a sermon in 1784, he denounced the slave trade as a ‘sin against the light of nature, and the accumulated evidence of divine Revelation’. The following year, as Vice-Chancellor, Peckard set the question: ‘Is it lawful to enslave the unconsenting?’ for the annual Latin essay prize. It was won by Clarkson for an essay on the Atlantic slave trade which was declaimed in the university’s Senate House. Three years later, Peckard published his famous pamphlet Am I not a Man and a Brother?, a criticism of concepts of African inferiority. Its title became the slogan of the antislavery movement. Peckard was also a supporter of Olaudah Equiano, the African-born abolitionist.

There is no statue of Peter Peckard in Cambridge and it is unlikely one will be erected on the evidence of this report, which does all it can to ignore him, and others like him. In any case, Cambridge is more concerned to pull statues down than to commemorate its true heroes.


Christian nurse sues controversial Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust for 'forcing racist ideology' on students in lecture entitled, 'whiteness - a problem of our time'

A Christian nurse, who is suing an NHS Trust for discrimination, has claimed that the healthcare service forces a 'racist ideology' onto its students.

Amy Gallagher, 33, is taking legal action against the Portman Clinic in North London, part of The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust.

The nurse, who is in her final stages of a two-year course in forensic psychology at the trust, claims she has been discriminated against on the basis of race, religion and philosophical belief.

The mental health nurse took issue with the trust when she was allegedly forced to take part in a lecture titled 'whiteness - a problem of our time' in October 2020.

The online presentation then said, 'the problem of racism is a problem of whiteness' and encouraged attendees to confront 'the reality of whiteness'.

At a meeting with her course leader Ms Gallagher explained she did not consider herself racist and that she took a 'colour-blind' approach, meaning she did not judge people by their skin colour.

Ms Gallagher claims she was told that such a colour-blind approach is now 'outdated'.

Ms Gallagher then filed a formal complaint to the Tavistock Trust in January last year.

In March the legal case was escalated after an external speaker complained to the Nursing and Midwifery Council, claiming that Ms Gallagher had 'inflicted race-based harm' and as a result could not work with 'diverse populations', The Telegraph reports.

Ms Gallagher said she believes it will be the first legal case for 'lack of belief' that argues that a white Christian woman cannot believe in Critical Race Theory.

The theory says racism is institutional and rejects the colour-blind approach.

She told The Telegraph: 'They are forcing Critical Race Theory onto people - you're not allowed to disagree with it, or they will bully you for two years.

'I'm bringing this legal case to protect my career but it's also the in the courts. 'The NHS is forcing someone to adopt a racist ideology and it needs to be stopped.'

The nurse who will be represented by Andrew Storch Solicitors, filed court documents in the Central London County in March.

Shakespeare Martineau law firm, representing the trust, plans to file its defence this week.

Ms Gallagher, who has worked for seven years, enrolled on the Portman Clinic's D59F Forensic Psychodynamic Psychotherapy course in September 2020 to finish her clinical training. She had already completed the Tavistock's foundation psychotherapy course.

She said she initially enjoyed the two-year, part-time course, which will qualify her to set up her own private psychotherapy practice.

But became concerned when, in November, students were given a compulsory lecture on race and racism by forensic psychoanalyst Dr Anne Aiyegbusi.

Ms Gallagher claimed that the lecturer 'spoke negatively about Christianity while no other religions were mentioned'.

In August 2021, the nurse set up a Go Fund Me page titled '#StandUpToWoke Tavistock discrimination Lawsuit'.

On the site, she said the money would help fund the initial lawsuit, class action lawsuit and an application for a Judicial Review.

It has raised £27,518 in the last year.

The nurse previously said that the Trust had threatened to suspend her from her final year of the course to become a psychotherapist, which cost more than £20,000.

She previously told MailOnline in January: 'On the basis of my experience there, what they describe as anti-racism is racism. What they describe as tolerance is an intolerance of anyone who thinks differently to them.

'Left unchallenged, such institutional bullying will only be emboldened.

'I feel passionate about this. I hope my case will prove that teaching these discriminatory ideas – as though they are factual and true – within the NHS or within academia is wrong.'

A spokesman for the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust said: 'We cannot comment on an ongoing legal case. 'As a trust, we have made a public commitment to work to become an anti-racist organisation.'

In July, the NHS Trust's controversial child transgender clinic was forced to shut down after a report found that it was 'not safe' for children.

The gender identity service will instead be replaced by regional centres at existing children's hospitals, which will provide more holistic care with 'strong links to mental health services'.




Sunday, October 02, 2022

UPenn medical school professor says new 'anti-racism' policies are 'lowering standards and corrupting medicine' because they focus on 'skin color' and not the 'best and brightest'

A University of Pennsylvania professor has condemned recent movements for racial equity in health care, saying they prevent white and Asian students from being accepted to medical school.

Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, 78, professor emeritus at the university's medical school, told the New York Post that a 'focus on diversity' has become detrimental to medical education.

'I understand we need to give people more opportunities,' Goldfarb said. 'But there are some things you can't sacrifice.

'This focus on diversity means we're going to take someone with a certain skin color because we think they're OK, that they can do the work, but we're not going to look for the best and the brightest.

'We're going to look for people who are just OK to make sure we have the right mixture of ethnic groups in our medical schools.'

A spokesperson for the medical school said Goldfarb's statements do not reflect 'core values' representative of the school.

To complement his public statements, Goldfarb is also chairman of Do No Harm, an organization that says it wants to remove 'the same radical movement behind critical race theory in the classroom and Defund the Police in health care.

The organization's website says it works toward protecting doctors, patients and health care in its entirety from 'discriminatory, divisive ideologies.'

He most recently wrote a new book, released in March, titled 'Take Two Aspirin and Call Me by My Pronouns: Why Turning Doctors into Social Justice Warriors Is Destroying American Medicine.'

In response to Goldfarb's public comments, the school's chairman, Dr. Michael Parmacek, has called Goldfarb 'racist' in communication with school staff, according to The Post.

Goldfarb said he blames the 2018 arrival of Senior Vice Dean Dr. Suzanne Rose for the school's push toward diversity.

'We'd had a very stable leadership for quite a while and resisted going the way some other medical schools were going but she brought in this new ideology,' Goldfarb said.

'She wanted to link up to what the American Medical Association was doing in education, which was promoting woke ideas, and there was a phrase that she told me that always stuck with me.

'She said we have too much science in the curriculum - which meant physicians should be more akin to social workers in their activities, particularly primary care physicians, rather than learning hard science that relates to patient care.'

In 2020, the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) said systemic racism was to blame for the disparities between white and black patients.

They then announced a three-year plan in 2021 to 'aggressively push forward' policy to encourage people of color to enter the medical profession.

Because of this, other students do not have access to medical school, Goldfarb said.

'It's manyfold harder for a white medical student who has average grades to get accepted into medical school, maybe 30 or 40 times harder than a minority student with the same grades,' he continued.

Dr. Ashley Denmark, founder of Project Diversify Medicine, started a petition in early 2022 demanding Goldfarb's removal from the school.

Denmark, 38, started Project Diversify Medicine to help minorities get into medical school.

'Goldfarb represents the privilege that a lot of white male doctors enjoy, which is the ability to express themselves freely without recourse,' Denmark said.

'Doctors like me don't get the support a white doctor like Goldfarb does. Racism ends in a funeral for a lot of black and brown patients. All we want is more doctors who look like our community.' [Looks matter in a doctor??]


Berkeley is slammed for allowing NINE student groups to create 'Jew-free zones' that prevent speakers who support Israel or Zionism from being allowed on campus

Several student groups at the University of California, Berkeley, law school have adopted a bylaw prohibiting pro-Israel speakers at events.

Written by Berkeley Law Students for Justice in Palestine (LSJP), the bylaw is meant to ensure 'the safety and welfare of Palestinian students on campus.' It added that the organization will hold 'Palestine 101' training courses.

At least nine groups have adopted the rule so far, including the Berkeley Law Muslim Student Association, Middle Eastern and North African Law Students Association, Womxn of Color Collective, Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, Queer Caucus, Community Defense Project, Women of Berkeley Law and Law Students of African Descent.

Erwin Chemerinsky, the law school's dean since 2017, identifies as Jewish and recognizes that under this new bylaw he would not be able to speak.

'It is troubling to broadly exclude a particular viewpoint from being expressed,' he told The Jewish News of Northern California. 'Indeed, taken literally, this would mean that I could not be invited to speak because I support the existence of Israel, though I condemn many of its policies.'

Some Jewish organizations have criticized Chemerinsky's response, indicating he has allowed for an anti-Semitic environment at the school.

Head of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law and Berkeley law alumnus Kenneth L. Marcus said that students involved 'are taking a step down a very ugly road.'

'Berkeley Law wouldn't be Berkeley Law if students didn't engage in a certain amount of wrongheaded political nonsense,' he said.

'This is different, because it's not just a political stunt. It is tinged with antisemitism and anti-Israel national origin discrimination.'

The Jewish Students Association at Berkeley Law wrote in response to the byline that they were 'saddened' and 'concerned' that groups will 'silence Jewish voices on campus' while alienating 'many Jewish students from certain groups on campus.'

'Students can advocate for Palestinians and criticize Israeli policies without denying Israel the right to exist or attacking the identity of other students,' the statement, co-written by five members, says. 'We are troubled that this bylaw creates an environment in which only one viewpoint is acceptable.'

The campus's larger group, the Jewish Students Association, complemented this opinion. 'When an affinity group adopts this by-law or conditions speaking privileges on denouncing Israel, many Jewish people are put in a position all too familiar: deny or denigrate a part of their identity or be excluded from community groups,' the group wrote.

The bylaw starts by saying the group, which adopts it will 'include a Palestine-centered and de-colonial approach to holding club activities,' according to a LSJP Instagram post.

'The (insert organization name) is committed to providing a supportive community space for all indigenous peoples globally, including movements for Palestinian liberation,' it reads.

A caption on the post says LSJP is openly promoting the bylaw to other student groups: 'LSJP is calling ALL student organizations at Berkeley law to take an anti-racist and anti-settler colonial stand and adopt the bylaw into their constitutions ASAP!'

In response to backlash from the bylaw, LSJP said they believed 'Israel is an apartheid state,' which requires them to 'have an obligation to act.'

'Supporting Palestinian liberation does not mean opposition to Jewish people or the Jewish religion; in fact, Jewish liberation and Palestinian liberation are intertwined, and we are committed to each other's safety,' it said.


Appeals Court judge says he will REFUSE to take on law clerks from Yale because the 'intolerant' Ivy League school 'not only tolerates the cancellation of views - it actively practices it'

A federal appeals court judge appointed by former President Donald Trump has said he will no longer hire clerks from Yale Law School, which he says is plagued by 'cancel culture' and students disrupting conservative speakers.

'Yale presents itself as the best, most elite institution of legal education,' US Circuit Judge James Ho said in remarks given to the Federalist Society on Thursday. 'Yet it's the worst when it comes to legal cancellation.'

Ho said Yale 'sets the tone for other law schools, and for the legal profession at large,' but it has set a poor example in recent years due to its 'closed and intolerant environment.'

The judge then added, Yale: 'not only tolerates the cancellation of views - it actively practices it.'

'I want nothing to do with it,' Ho concluded.

He has urged his fellow judges to likewise boycott the Ivy League institution which has been the scene for several controversies over an allegedly 'woke' culture among students and faculty leading to several flashpoints in this year alone.

Yale Law School is one of the most prestigious law schools in the country, having produced some of the nation's most prominent leaders, including Presidents Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford, at least five current US senators and four current Supreme Court Justices.

Among the incidents he cited was a free speech talk in March by Kristen Waggoner - who defended a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a gay wedding in a case before the Supreme Court - that was disrupted by nearly 120 students supporting the LGBTQ community.

Waggoner, who is now the president of the conservative religious rights group Alliance Defending Freedom, has supported Ho's remarks.

'Yale still hasn't condemned the behavior of its law students last semester, so no one should be surprised when a federal judge notices,' she said in a statement after the judge's comments.

The havoc caused by the student demonstrators appeared to violate the university's free speech policy and when they were reminded by moderator Kate Stith, she was met with chants and raised middle fingers, to which she replied: 'Grow up.'

The students hit back, arguing that their disturbance was execution of 'free speech' and continued to scream at the panelists.

Police were forced to escort the guest speakers from Yale Law School's free speech debate after the students intimidated the conservative panelist by yelling obscenities, including one person who shouted 'I will literally fight you, b***h.'

Heather Gerken, Dean Yale Law School, insisted that the students hadn't violated the college's rules.

Judge Ho has previously railed against the woke culture at Yale, having defended Ilya Shapiro - former director of the Cato Institute's Robert A. Levy Center - after students at Georgetown University's law school urged that he be ousted from a new faculty position.

Shapiro caused outrage when he wrote tweets questioning President Joe Biden's pledge to nominate a Black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A prominent conservative legal scholar, Shapiro was suspended but later cleared to become the executive director of Georgetown Law's Center for the Constitution.

He eventually quit, however, saying the school's handling of the matter made working there 'untenable.'

Ho said, 'At Yale, 'cancellations and disruptions seem to occur with special frequency.'

Senior US Circuit Judge Laurence Silberman of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, an appointee of former Republican President Ronald Reagan, had in March called on judges to think twice about bringing on Yale students who disrupted Waggoner's event.

He wrote in an email, 'All federal judges – and all federal judges are presumably committed to free speech – should carefully consider whether any such student so identified should be disqualified for potential clerkships.'

Silberman said students at the event had 'attempted to shout down speakers participating in a panel discussion on free speech.'

The incident 'prompts me to suggest that students who are identified as those willing to disrupt any such panel discussion should be noted,' he wrote.

Ho said that event was just one example. U.S. Circuit Judge William Pryor of the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was also 'disrupted by loud angry law students in the classroom' at Yale a few years ago.

That incident, Ho said, was because as Alabama's Republican attorney general, Pryor backed Texas' defense of the anti-sodomy law struck down in 2003 in the landmark Supreme Court gay rights case Lawrence v. Texas.

Ho, according to NPR, is an outspoken opponent of abortion rights and a staunch advocate for gun rights, causing the public broadcaster to refer to him as potentially 'President Trump's most enduring legacy.'