Friday, November 11, 2022

New Endorsements for College Athletes Resurface an Old Concern: Sex Sells

Female college athletes are making millions thanks to their large social media followings. But some who have fought for equity in women’s sports worry that their brand building is regressive.

Olivia Dunne, a gymnast at Louisiana State, earns over $1 million annually in endorsements. “That is something I’m proud of,” she said, adding that most female athletes will not advance to a pro league after college.Credit...Annie Flanagan for The New York Times

She was an all-American in her freshman year and made the Southeastern Conference’s honor roll as a sophomore majoring in interdisciplinary studies.

Ahead of the start of her junior season, Dunne is also at the leading edge of a movement shaking the old foundations of college sports: a female student athlete raking in cash thanks to the passage in 2021 of new rules allowing college athletes to sign name, image and likeness, or N.I.L., deals.

Dunne, 20, won’t give specifics on her earnings, which at least one industry analyst projects will top $2 million over the next year.

“Seven figures,” she said. “That is something I’m proud of. Especially since I’m a woman in college sports.” She added: “There are no professional leagues for most women’s sports after college.”

Dunne, a petite blonde with a bright smile and a gymnast’s toned physique, earns a staggering amount by posting to her eight-million strong internet following on Instagram and TikTok, platforms on which she intersperses sponsored content modeling American Eagle Outfitters jeans and Vuori activewear alongside videos of her lip syncing popular songs or performing trending dances.

To Dunne, and many other athletes of her generation, being candid and flirty and showing off their bodies in ways that emphasize traditional notions of female beauty on social media are all empowering.

“It’s just about showing as much or as little as you want,” Dunne said of her online persona.

The athlete compensation and endorsement rules have been a game-changer for collegiate women, particularly those who compete in what are known as nonrevenue sports, such as gymnastics.

Sure, male football players have garnered about half of the overall compensation estimated to be worth at least $500 million, fueled by collectives formed by wealthy supporters who pay male athletes for everything from jersey sales to public appearances.

Women are more than holding their own as earners thanks largely to leveraging their social media popularity. Along with Dunne, other female student athletes have been minted millionaires by the N.I.L. rules, including Haley and Hanna Cavinder, twins who play college basketball at Miami; Sunisa Lee, the Auburn gymnast and Olympic gold medalist at the Tokyo Games; and Paige Bueckers and Azzi Fudd, basketball stars at Connecticut.

But the new flood of money — and the way many female athletes are attaining it — troubles some who have fought for equitable treatment in women’s sports and say that it rewards traditional feminine desirability over athletic excellence.

And while the female athletes I spoke to said they were consciously deciding whether to play up or down their sexuality, some observers say that the market is dictating that choice.

Andrea Geurin, a researcher of sports business at Loughborough University in England, studied female athletes trying to make the Rio Olympics in 2016, many of them American collegians. “One of the big themes that came out is the pressure that they felt to post suggestive or sexy photos of themselves” on social media, Geurin said.

She noted that some of the athletes had decided that making public such imagery wasn’t worth it while others had found it was one of the primary ways to increase their online popularity and earning power.

Scroll through the social media posts from female college athletes across the United States and you will find that a significant through line on many of the women’s accounts is the well-trod and well-proven notion that sexiness sells. Posts catering to traditional ideals about what makes women appealing to men do well, and the market backs that up.


The Root Cause of America's Moral Decay Lies in the Public Schools

Rashad Gibson

I recently came across a study by the Barna Group called “How Concerned Are Christian Parents About Their Children’s Faith Formation?” I must say, the data grieved me.

One of the questions posed was, “As a parent, how concerned are you about your child’s/children’s spiritual development?” Of practicing Christians, 51 percent were very concerned, 33 percent somewhat concerned, 9 percent not very, and 7 percent not at all.

Ponder this: Only half of practicing Christian parents are very concerned about their children’s spiritual growth. This finding alone speaks volumes.

If a good portion of practicing Christian parents is only somewhat interested or apathetic toward their children’s spiritual development, they probably have the same cavalier attitude regarding their own spiritual health.

Do these Christian parents truly understand the importance of regeneration, our fallen nature, the Word of God, intimacy with Christ through prayer, repentance, or how our relationship with Christ plays out in society? Does this finding reflect a lack of value the church places on the spiritual development of adults and children?

The article reveals the dire need for our youth to be discipled to grow in spiritual maturity in Christ. Likewise, although not directly mentioned, it underscores the imperative need for adults to cultivate their relationship with Christ, so the next generation will take their faith in Christ seriously.

Currently, I am planning to start a Christian school in New England with the hopes of planting schools throughout the region. Scripture teaches that parents are primarily responsible for their children’s moral and spiritual development (Deuteronomy 6:4-8, Psalm 78:1-8). The church and Christian schools are supplements that facilitate our children’s spiritual maturity.

Unfortunately, our children face many hurdles and, dare I say, fiery darts aimed at them very early by Satan (Ephesians 6:16). One of which is the public school system.

Let me be very clear: The public school system is designed to undermine Christianity in exchange for the religion of humanism.

In 1930, C.E. Potter, a signer of the “Humanist Manifesto” and an associate of John Dewey (considered the father of progressive education), wrote in “Humanism: A New Religion,” the following:

“Education is thus a most powerful ally of Humanism, and every American public school is a school of Humanism. What can the theistic Sunday schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching. … So very humanistic is modern education that no religion has a future unless it be Humanism. The religion of tomorrow in America and of the day after tomorrow in all the world may not be in all respects identical with the religious Humanism we are advocating in this book, but it will be mightily like it and of the same spirit.”

Potter’s prophetic vision has led to much bad fruit (the sexual revolution, feminism, the LGBT movement, etc.). Many Christians have acquiesced and underestimated the ongoing push of humanism and how it is forced on our children today.

As a result, the Christian faith has been pushed to the margins, and every godless contention has been placed in the mainstream and educational system over the last century.

If Christian parents are not engaged in discipling their children, and Christian leaders do not stand up and stem the tide of humanism by declaring the glorious gospel and the Word of God, Christian influence will remain on the margins. Furthermore, humanism will continue to thrive, and our nation will continue its downward spiral into a tyrannical state.


Mother-of-three claims four-year-old daughter's pre-school is teaching her that 'girls marry girls and boys marry boys

A mother has claimed her four-year-old daughter is being taught 'girls marry girls and boys marry boys' at her kindergarten.

Sarah Game, who is a member of the South Australian upper house, claimed her daughter's pre-school was teaching children same-sex marriage as 'the norm'.

Ms Game, from One Nation, made the claim on Instagram after controversy erupted in the federal Senate over drag queen Courtney Act appearing on the ABC's Play School.

After the debate, Ms Game posted a comment on Instagram saying her four-year-old had returned from pre-school to say ''girls marry girls and boys marry boys'. Her post was then shared by prominent NSW One Nation leader Mark Latham.

'When I challenged her, she pointed to a poster she made in class with pictures and it was clear to me that she wasn't aware of the more mainstream side of the story,' she said in the post.

Ms Game, who is a mother of three, wouldn't share the poster with Daily Mail Australia and said she hadn't contacted the school about her concerns.

However, she said it wasn't appropriate for the school to be teaching young children about marriage mores.

'Kids this young shouldn't be taught such concepts at school. Leave it up to parents - who know best - to decide,' she said.

'I believe parents should be front and centre of teaching children moral and ethical issues, not teachers,' she said.

'Primary school children need to be taught love and acceptance of others, which is enough detail for their age.'

Education department guidelines issued to all South Australian schools and pre-schools state that 'diversity is valued' and they must provide 'an inclusive learning environment where intersex and gender diverse children and young people know they belong'.

The department says schools must support children and young people who 'might want to affirm a gender identity that is different from their assigned gender at birth'.

Ms Game told South Australian parliament on Tuesday that she had met with multiple parents 'who have a child on this journey' of gender reassignment and had been left 'distressed'.

'They feel excluded from investigating anything other than an affirmation pathway,' she said.

In the 'Gender diverse and intersex children and young people support procedure' guidelines it states decisions around supporting a child's 'gender affirmation' are to be made by 'site leaders'

A 'site leader' is a principal, preschool director, care setting manager or co-ordinator, or their delegate.

The document states there will be situations where a parent and child disagree about their 'gender affirmation' and when this occurs, the site leader must determine what is in the 'young person's best interest'.

If the site leader decides a different gender affirmation is in the child's interests, even against the wishes of the parent, they are told to 'make support arrangements for them'.

Site leaders also determine whether parents should be told of what their children are doing based on the child or young person's capacity to 'make an informed decision and their gender affirmation and the consequences of their actions'.




Thursday, November 10, 2022

UK: Music school in trans row after telling students to 'report' women who oppose the ideology

An elite music college has been forced to issue an apology after telling students to ‘report’ women who oppose transgender ideology.

The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance (ICMP) put up a sign claiming female students who wanted single-sex spaces were ‘transphobic’.

It said there was a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach to ‘Terfs’ – a derogatory term which stands for ‘trans-exclusionary radical feminists’. And it included a QR code so that students could use their smartphones to report such women to an official university complaints website.

The ICMP offers degrees in the music business and alumni have gone on to work with artists including Stormzy, One Direction and Radiohead. The sign appeared on a television screen at the college’s north London campus this term and was shared yesterday on social media, prompting a backlash.

Maya Forstater, of campaign group Sex Matters, said: ‘Staff or students at ICMP who face harassment because of your gender-critical views: Put this on page one of your tribunal bundle.’ Simon Fanshawe, a Stonewall co-founder who is now critical of some in the trans lobby, called it ‘an affront to academic freedom and the exchange of ideas’.

The ICMP has now removed the sign and yesterday issued an apology from chief executive Paul Kirkham on its website, admitting ‘we got it wrong’.


DeSantis-Endorsed School Board Candidates Win in Florida

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, won reelection by almost 20 points, and all six of the school board candidates he endorsed have prevailed Tuesday. DeSantis had previously endorsed 24 candidates in school board races, all of whom won.

While school board races are historically nonpartisan, parents’ outrage over critical race theory, transgender activism, and COVID-19 lockdowns in schools have galvanized a parental rights movement that Republicans largely support and Democrats largely oppose. The parents rights group Moms for Liberty also endorsed many of the candidates DeSantis backed.

“Governor Ron DeSantis shattered election records and produced a win for the ages,” a DeSantis spokeswoman told The Daily Signal on Wednesday. “He also led a coalition of parents to establish students-first, parents’ rights school board governance across the state. The DeSantis Education Agenda was on the ballot and the voters made their voice clear: we want education, not indoctrination.”

“The results tonight prove that 2022 is the year of the parent,” Moms for Liberty founder Tina Descovich told The Daily Signal. “We are thrilled to have so many new school board members that will finally put students first and respect the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children.”

Descovich said Moms for Liberty endorsed 12 candidates in total, two of whom lost.

DeSantis endorsed six school board candidates in the runoff elections Tuesday and all of them won. Moms for Liberty endorsed 12 candidates. Florida Democrats endorsed 20 candidates ahead of the general election, racking up six wins and 10 losses, with two races not fully counted.

DeSantis appears to be the first Florida governor to endorse school board members.

Jacqueline Rosario, who enjoyed endorsements from DeSantis, Moms for Liberty, and the 1776 Project, won her reelection bid in Indian River County. She won with 55.27% of the vote, according to unofficial election results, defeating Cindy Gibbs (44.73%), whom Democratic governor candidate Charlie Crist endorsed.

Cindy Spray, endorsed by DeSantis and Moms for Liberty, won with 53.13%, according to unofficial results in Manatee County, defeating Democrat-endorsed Harold Byrd (46.87%).

Al Hernandez, who enjoyed endorsements from DeSantis and Moms for Liberty, won with 65.1% in Pasco County, according to the Tampa Bay Times. He defeated Democrat-supported James Washington.

Jamie Haynes, endorsed by DeSantis and Moms for Liberty, won with 58.5% of the vote in Volusia County, defeating Democrat-endorsed Albert L. Bouie.

Stephanie Busin, who also enjoyed endorsements from DeSantis and Moms for Liberty, won by a mere 13 votes in Hendry County.

Sam Fisher, whom DeSantis and Moms for Liberty endorsed, also won her race in Lee County, with 51.75% of the vote, according to unofficial results. She defeated Democrat-endorsed Kathy Fanny.

In three other races, candidates endorsed by Moms for Liberty defeated their Democrat-endorsed opponents.

In Pinellas County, Stephanie Meyer defeated Brian Martin and Dawn Peters defeated Keesha Benson. Gene Trent defeated Erin Dunne in Brevard County.

“We saw huge victories in Florida, with now all 30 school board candidates endorsed by Governor DeSantis being elected,” Bridget Ziegler, director of school board programs at the Leadership Institute and a school board member herself, told The Daily Signal. “We also saw huge victories across the country with conservatives winning hundreds of seats, many flipping school boards to a conservative majority.”

DeSantis signed the Parental Rights in Education law in March, which opponents infamously branded the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. After Disney attacked the law, DeSantis signed a bill revoking Disney World’s special status as an independent special district in what many conservatives saw as a key win against “woke capitalism.”


Big reversal by Sydney University over exam

The University of Sydney has torn up a law exam after a student complained that she had been depicted as an HIV-positive, fanatical conservative who ran over a “socialist” in a car in a bizarre legal scenario.

Law student Freya Leach, 19, said she was horrified when she discovered her criminal law final assessment featured a “right-wing” woman named Freya and received dozens of messages from classmates who recognised the character to be her.

Students completing criminal law take-home exam will be required to complete a new assignment after the original was withdrawn out of a desire to preserve the sandstone university’s “academic integrity”.

In the colourful legal scenario, Freya runs over a man in a Mercedes to give “that chardonnay socialist a fright” and has unprotected sex while HIV-positive.

Ms Leach – who is active in the Young Liberal Club and the University of Sydney ​Conservative Club – said she believed she was being targeted by the paper and has written to the Dean of the law school asking for an apology.

Sydney University has confirmed to The Australian that students were told via their online portal that the paper had been withdrawn and apologised to those who had “dedicated a substantial amount of time” to working on the existing assessment.

Sydney University Law student Freya Leach has expressed outrage after an assignment question included a…
READ MORE:‘Shocked’: Student depicted in exam as HIV positive
“We understand that many students have already dedicated a substantial amount of time to the short release assignment, and sympathise with and understand your frustration,” the message to students said.

“However, the university and the law school set a high value on the integrity of assessments, which are crucial to preserving the good standing of our qualifications for graduates, the legal profession and society.

“Regrettably, we feel that there are no alternatives to withdrawing and replacing the short release assessment that would ensure academic integrity.”

Ms Leach said she believed she was being singled out by the left on campus after she spoke out against “zoom bombing”, a form of industrial action in which students intentionally disrupt online lessons as part of a push by the National Tertiary Education Union for better pay and conditions.

“So it is almost inconceivable to think it’s an accident, given my name is not common and everyone has been able to piece it together and identify it as me,” Ms Leach said.

“I think it’s really concerning that faculties think they can abuse their power to single out students for political beliefs.”

Sydney University has denied the character portrayed in the exam was based on real students and said the similarities were “entirely a coincidence” as the name had been in usage before.




Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Military recruits receive full-tuition scholarships to ROTC schools at New York Jets game: ‘Truly grateful’

Four students are surprised with U.S. Army Minuteman scholarships at New York Jets game

Army Reserve CSM Andrew Lombardo shares Minuteman scholarship details with Fox News Digital as recipients Sad'e Webb and Faustina Afrim react to the big surprise.

Some of the newest members of America’s military are receiving a great shot at success.

Young warriors ready to get to work for our nation include four soldiers-in-training — and the four had no idea they'd be receiving a big thanks for their commitment.

At the New York Jets' annual Salute to Service football game at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on Nov. 6, 2022, the recruits were presented with major college scholarships to schools of their choice.

The U.S. Army Minuteman Scholarship covers full tuition and fees between two and four years, or $10,000 per year toward room and board, at any college or university served by an Army ROTC program.

Scholarship recipients will also be granted an annual book allowance of $1,200 and a monthly stipend of $420 during their college attendance.

In an interview with Fox News Digital, U.S. Army Reserve Command Sgt. Major Andrew Lombardo explained that the Minuteman scholarships for the Reserve Officers Training Corp are given to citizen service members.

These soldiers work both in their community and part time, in either the Army National Guard or Army Reserve.

Scholarship recipients are guaranteed placement in the Army Reserve after graduating.

"It’s an awesome opportunity to recognize the talents of the people of America," he said.

"To be able to pay for their university experience and, at the end of it, they commission as an officer — so they get to pursue dual pursuits — I think that’s pretty cool."

"You never think something like this would happen to you."

"Overall, the experience was very overwhelming — and I am truly grateful for this," she said.

"You never think something like this would happen to you, especially at [age] 17," she said.

Along with running track, Webb is a member of the National Honor Society and Student Council at her high school.

Webb received a total of $225,000 to attend St. John’s University in Queens, New York. There, she hopes to build a future for herself in the military and make an impact.

The recruit shared her relief at not having to worry about paying off student loans or bearing an enormous financial burden. Instead, she can focus on academics.


Most British schools facing ‘unavoidable’ redundancies due to funding crisis, poll finds

Most schools will be forced to make redundancies next year due to a funding crisis, according to a huge poll of leaders.

Headteachers have been raising the alarm over what they say is a widening gap between school budgets and spiralling costs due to rising energy bills, soaring inflation and unfunded pay rises.

In its largest poll of 11,000 school leaders in England, the education union NAHT survey revealed that most schools said they would have to make cut jobs next year.

Two-thirds said teaching assistant numbers or hours would have to be cut, while half said the same for teachers.

Vic Goddard, a secondary school headteacher in Essex, told The Independent: “Redundancies are definitely unavoidable with no change in funding. Already done it twice. Not sure what I’ve got left to restructure.”

Pepe Di’Iasio, who runs a secondary school in Rotherham, said schools were “between a rock and a hard place” at the moment with funding pressures.

“Headteachers are having to look at every possibility given the current funding situation,” he told The Independent. The headteacher said redundancies had to be considered but stressed they were a “last resort”.

Paul Whiteman, the NAHT general secretary, said schools were being hit by a “perfect storm of costs” with energy bills, the price of resources going up and an unfunded pay rise for staff.

“With no fat left to cut following a decade of austerity, many thousands of schools are now looking at falling into deficit unless they make swingeing cuts. Education is truly in a perilous state,” he said.

His union’s poll also found 43 per cent of schools – with responses mainly from primary schools – were predicting having to cut back on admin or non-classroom staff numbers or hours next year.


Australia: Cultural training for teachers branded a ‘form of racism’

Aboriginal senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price has branded “cultural training” for teachers a form of racism.

In Senate estimates hearings on Thursday, the Coalition senator criticised an “Indigenous cultural competency report’’ produced by the Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership, warning that it ­assumed Aboriginal students could not learn like other ­children.

“I’m surprised by the extensive work that’s been done around cultural competency and cultural safety,’’ she said. “I can’t see it as being of great educational benefit to students, and it seems to make life kind of difficult for teachers at the same time.

“I’d like to see AITSL use its resources to give teachers pedagogical competency rather than fixate on this separatist idea of cultural competency, which seems to imply that Indigenous students don’t learn the same as non-Indigenous peers.

“To me that sounds a bit like, well, racism.”

Senator Price, a former deputy mayor of Alice Springs, said she was struck by the report’s statement that the “legacy of colonisation’’ undermined the rights of Indigenous students to a fair and just education, and that “Australian education systems were never designed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’’. “Can you please elaborate specifically on how colonisation is undermining Indigenous students’ education?’’ she asked AITSL executives.

The AITSL representatives took the question on notice.

Senator Price was referring to an AITSL report on Indigenous cultural competency, released in June as part of its Building a Culturally Responsive Australian Teaching Workforce project.

The report recommends teachers connect with Aboriginal families in their communities, rather than expecting them to meet at school, and includes a suggestion that Indigenous children be tested in their home languages, rather than English.

“For many, education is the means through which dreams and aspirations are realised,’’ the report states. “For others, though, education is something to be ­endured for little or no gain.

“The legacy of colonisation has undermined Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students’ access to their cultures, identities, histories and languages.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students have not had access to a complete, relevant, and responsive education.’’

The report recommends that teachers and principals be made more “self-aware’’ of their attitudes and assumptions towards Indigenous students, and be given “self-reflection tools to support them to increase their awareness of the assumptions underlying their personal identity in culture’’.

“The cultural responsiveness of the teacher is ultimately a function of their world view and implicit biases,’’ it states.

The report cites an anonymous submission calling for Indigenous students to be tested in their first language. And it calls on teachers to work with families “beyond the school gate’’ instead of expecting them to meet “on school grounds’’.

“Building relationships is a necessary part of being an active member in any community and, crucially, a lack of relationships and trust will often lead to students not attending school and becoming disengaged from education,’’ it states.

“Teachers need to engage with students and their families beyond the school gate to understand their world and what they bring with them to school instead of the expectation to meet on school grounds.’’

Indigenous teenagers are four times more likely to drop out of high school before finishing Year 10, census data shows.




Tuesday, November 08, 2022

UK: The Oxbridge war on private schools doesn’t help the poor - it punishes families who put education before houses and holidays

You can be privileged in Britain but only if you have the brass neck to pretend that you aren’t. Increasingly, parents who strain their budgets to the limit to pay private school fees are being punished for their thrift and responsibility.

Their children are rejected for Oxbridge university places and jobs for which they are well qualified. Applicants from state schools are preferred for political reasons, as if this was a People’s Republic. What began a few years ago as an elusive trend has now become very hard to ignore.

A recent Freedom of Information survey of 50 leading private schools found that their pupils’ overall chance of getting an Oxford or Cambridge offer has fallen by one third in five years. The change followed soon after the two ancient universities – which deny that they are discriminating against private school pupils – began to use ‘contextual’ selection methods.

Yet Professor Stephen Toope, who has just stepped down as head of Cambridge University, has said: ‘We have to keep making it very, very clear we are intending to reduce over time the number of people who are coming from independent school backgrounds into places like Oxford or Cambridge.’

Whatever is actually going on, egalitarian zealots applaud and encourage this behaviour. The Labour MP and Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy once said: ‘The upper classes have a vice-like grip on Oxford admissions that they will not willingly give up.’

This sort of talk treats the suburban middle class as if they were privileged billionaire aristocrats rather than men and women who work and save, and put schooling before big houses, holidays and expensive cars and clothes.

It is in line with the modern idea of ‘social mobility’ which has much more to do with punishing the conservative middle class than with helping the poor. And it means that universities and employers are urged to shun applicants with obvious middle-class backgrounds, even if they are better qualified.

The new regime snubs and rejects well-educated young men and women who have in many cases come from homes where the parents made major sacrifices for the sake of their education.

Despite this, the country remains as privileged as it ever was, with the new noisily Left-wing elite well versed in the methods needed to come out on top. The actual poor are still terribly treated, as they have been since state grammar schools, which selected on merit rather than money, were almost all destroyed in the 1960s.

Try this story, as an example. You would have thought it was bad enough that Anthony Blair sent two of his sons to a totally exceptional state school, the London Oratory, miles from where he lived. By doing so, he tacitly accepted that the local comprehensive schools were not good enough for him. As so often, some are more equal than others. But, in 2002, he did something even more shocking. He hired teachers from the hugely expensive private school, Westminster, to give his boys extra tuition for their A-levels.

After five years in office, chanting ‘Education! Education! Education!’, he was accepting the truth that all informed people know. Comprehensive state education is a disaster, especially for the poor. Even at its top end it cannot do the job properly. As a result many (though not all) of the private schools hugely outperform most state comprehensives, and so do the few remaining state grammar schools.

But the future Sir Tony was not admitting it openly, just in his actions. Shouldn’t he have used the schools he said he wanted all others to attend, if they were so good? But, of course, he knew they were not good. So instead he used the Oratory, officially a comprehensive. Is it really one? When I once suggested it wasn’t, the Blairs came after me, until I agreed to say that it was a comprehensive in the same way that 10 Downing Street is an inner-city terrace house.

This is always the way socialist utopians behave. When their utopia does not work, they find ways to escape it for themselves, leaving the rest of us to cope with the mess. The English state school system is, in fact, crammed with secret privilege, for those in the know, who have the money to pay for it and the sharp elbows to exploit it.

The Sutton Trust and Teach First, neither of them organisations of the Right, have produced research showing that the best ‘comprehensives’ are in fact highly socially selective. There is also no way of knowing how many of the exam results of the better ‘comprehensives’ in well-off areas are achieved by private tuition, Blair-style. Nobody is obliged to record it.

In 2017 the Sutton Trust reported that more than 85 per cent of the highest-performing state schools took in fewer disadvantaged pupils than they should have for their catchment area. They also found there was a ‘house price premium’ of about 20 per cent attached to living in the right area for a successful, highly rated comprehensive school. A typical house in such a catchment area at that time cost about £45,700 more than the average property in the same local authority.

Teach First reported in the same year that 43 per cent of pupils at England’s outstanding state secondary schools were from the wealthiest 20 per cent of families. Poorer pupils were half as likely as the richest to be heading to outstanding secondary schools.

Blair, in the days when he hired private tutors for his boys, was head of the Labour Party, the same party which had imposed supposedly equal comprehensive education on England, Wales and Scotland. His government made it illegal to open new state grammar schools, so ensuring that there was almost no escape – for most people – from the comprehensive disaster.

Most do not have the skills or the money to navigate the ‘comprehensive’ system as elite Leftists so often manage to do. No wonder so many parents, who could not really afford it, went private. But now their children suffer for their parents’ sacrifices.

To make things worse still, Blair’s Chancellor and future successor, Gordon Brown, picked a foolish quarrel with Oxford’s Magdalen College in 2000, for rejecting a state-school-educated candidate, Laura Spence. He alleged, without real evidence, that this showed prejudice against state school applicants. But despite the poverty of his arguments, his action may well have succeeded in scaring Oxbridge academics into a real prejudice against private schools.

A-level marks have been so telescoped by falling school standards that they are not much of an objective guide, failing to distinguish between the excellent and the merely good. This makes it far easier to select on ‘contextual’ grounds rather than hard grades.

You may be sure that the children of the liberal elite, while they rail against supposed private school privilege, are doing all that they can, by professing strong religious faith or moving into costly catchment areas, or by hiring tutors, to put their own children on the magic carpet to Oxbridge, via state schools which are comprehensive only in theory.

Privilege, in decline in the great days of the state grammar schools in the 1960s, is back with a bang.


Professor settles lawsuit with college called 'epicenter of censorship in Texas'

On Thursday, Collin College, a public institution in the Dallas area, agreed to settle a case initiated by education professor Suzanne Jones, fired by the institution last year for protected speech. Jones will be reinstated to her post.

According to the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), Jones' representatives in the lawsuit, the college cited three incidents that led to Jones' firing.

In 2017, she signed her name and college affiliation in an open letter in the Dallas Morning News supporting the removal of Confederate monuments. In 2020, Jones used the name of Collin College on a website associated with the Texas Faculty Association, a statewide faculty union Jones helped organize at Collin College. Finally, Jones, who sat on the Collin College Faculty Council, publicly supported the council’s proposed plan regarding campus reopening amidst the pandemic.

Despite calling Jones an "excellent faculty member" with positive reviews and extensive service to the college, Collin College administrator Toni Jenkins joined President Neil Matkin to authorize the non-renewal of Jones’ teaching contract — against the recommendations of three senior faculty members.

The settlement follows the Aug. 25 decision of federal Judge Amos Mazzant, denying the college's motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity, which protects government officials from suit "unless their conduct violates a clearly established constitutional right." The motion was denied, and the court ruled that the two named administrators, Jenkins and Matkin, could be held personally and financially responsible.

Instead of going to trial, the college agreed to a two-year, $230,000 teaching contract with Jones and to pay $145,000 in attorneys’ fees.

"I am happy to be back at Collin College and I am thankful to FIRE for helping me," said Jones in a press release. "This is a huge victory — not only for Suzanne, but for every single professor around the country who hesitates to speak up because an administrator wants to silence them," said FIRE attorney Greg H. Greubel. "Censorship is un-American."

Jones is only one of three professors recently terminated by the college who have sought legal recourse. Last January, history professor Lora Burnett prevailed in her First Amendment case against Collin College, being awarded more than $70,000 in damages plus attorney's fees. Burnett was fired for tweets critical of former Vice President Mike Pence and the college's administration.

The third, history professor Michael Phillips, has a case which is still working its way through the courts. Phillips explained to Fox News Digital that he was fired for various protected speech acts that Collin College took issue with.

For example, like Jones, Phillips signed his name and affiliation on the open letter calling for the removal of Confederate monuments in Dallas. "The administration was unhappy that the letter mentioned my place of work even though that is easily discoverable through Google and identifying your workplace is an almost universal practice when scholars speak on matters of public concern," explained Phillips to Fox News Digital.

Phillips also criticized the college for terminating his colleagues' employment.

Responding to a Fox News Digital request for comment on all 3 cases, Collin College administrator Steve Matthews affirmed the institution's commitment to freedom of expression and academic freedom.

Phillips, however, disagreed with the state of affairs at the institution. "I've worked as a professor and scholar at [University of Texas at] Austin and at [Southern Methodist University] in Dallas. No college illegally restricts free speech and so frequently as Collin College," he said.

According to Phillips, the two prior cases litigated by FIRE represent a victory but also a real tragedy.

"Students lost the opportunity to be taught by two of the best educators and scholars in the country and Collin County taxpayers had to cough up a total of $130,000 in the Burnett case and $375,000 in the Jones case because President Matkin and the elected board of trustees refuse to respect the First Amendment," Phillips said.


UK: Academics hit out at plans to 'decolonise' maths at universities and say degrees are being 'politicised'

Maths degrees are being 'politicised' because of demands to decolonise the curriculum, top academics have warned.

They accuse the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), an independent charity that checks on standards in the university sector, of engaging in 'tokenistic anti-racism efforts'.

The watchdog has published proposed guidance which states that 'the curriculum should present a multicultural and decolonised view' of mathematics.

The subject benchmark statement, which has been put out for consultation, adds that students 'should be made aware of problematic issues' in the history of mathematics.

It means mathematicians at risk of being 'decolonised' include British statistics pioneer Karl Pearson, who founded the first statistics department at UCL in 1911, but also believed in the existence of 'inferior races'. Sir Isaac Newton was a shareholder in South Sea Company that traded in slaves.

In their letter of protest, shared with Times Higher Education, 12 leading mathematicians said: 'We struggle to imagine what it would mean to decolonise, for example, a course on the geometry of surfaces.

'For the most part, the concept of decolonisation is irrelevant to university mathematics, and our students know this.

'If we engage in obviously tokenistic anti-racism efforts, we will simply be sending a signal that we do not take racism seriously.'

Signatory John Armstrong, a lecturer at King's College London, said that although many of the subject requirements 'might be very reasonable', it was facile to insist 'absolutely every single maths course to cover these same things'.

Dr Armstrong said he felt the guidance should be concerned only with what the basics of a mathematical curriculum might be, adding that a centralised description of content 'reduces the academic freedom of mathematicians to deliver the courses they wish to deliver'.

Eight Royal Society Fellows have signed the letter, including Sir John Ball, professor of mathematics at Heriot-Watt University, Philip Dawid, emeritus professor of statistics of the University of Cambridge, and Mary Rees, emeritus professor of mathematics at the University of Liverpool.

The Daily Mail has previously highlighted how universities have been 'decolonising' their business, chemistry and even thermodynamics courses to mollify woke activists.

A QAA spokesman said: 'Subject benchmark statements don't prescribe or mandate set approaches to teaching, learning or assessment. 'They are created by the subject community for the subject community, to be used as a tool for reflection when designing new courses or updating existing courses.'




Monday, November 07, 2022

UK: Must not criticize transgender movement

Invited speaker says there are only 2 sexes. Academics disagree and try to stop speaker being heard. Donors disagree with the academics and support the realist speaker

Cambridge donors have warned they are considering pulling their funding after a college master boycotted a panel discussion with a 'gender-critical feminist', whose views she described as 'offensive, insulting and hateful'.

Some Cambridge alumni are threatening to stop donating to Gonville and Caius and have said they will urge their children not to attend the university after the college became embroiled in a free speech row, the Telegraph has reported.

It came after the head of the college Professor Pippa Rogerson and senior tutor Dr Andrew Spencer wrote to students telling them they would be avoiding a debate on gender ideology that was being attended by Helen Joyce.

Helen Joyce, an author and former Economist journalist, believes biological sex is binary and immutable and wrote a book entitled Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality which criticises the transgender rights movement.

The debate, hosted by professor of philosophy Arif Ahmed, sparked outrage among students, some of whom accused Dr Joyce of being a Terf (trans exclusionary radical feminist). Around a hundred protested outside the talk chanting 'trans rights are human rights'.

It was also condemned by the student union, who argued that the event would do nothing but 'contribute to the further alienation of trans students, to whom the university has a duty of care'.

But it was the intervention of Prof Rogerson and Dr Spencer, who described Ms Joyce's views as 'offensive, insulting and hateful to members of our community who live and work here', that has left some Cambridge donors feeling 'embarrassed, appalled and absolutely disgusted'.

One alumnus, Nick Sallnow-Smith, 72, who graduated from Gonville and Caius in 1973, told the Telegraph: 'With people like that in charge I will never donate again.'

The event, which was held last Tuesday, was also criticised by Cambridge's sociology faculty, who apologised for distressing students by circulating the advert.

A Cambridge University spokesperson said: 'The Department circulated a notice notifying students about the talk. The head of the Department later received complaints from some students opposed to the views of the speaker.

'An email was subsequently sent out to make it clear that the Department was neither actively endorsing or promoting the contents of the talk. There was never any attempt to either persuade or dissuade people from attending.'

In her book Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality, Dr Joyce argues that the trans lobby is trying to 'supplant biology', equating the movement to a 'new state religion, complete with blasphemy laws'.

However, Prof Ahmed defended the planned talk, saying Dr Joyce would be 'discussing important questions to do with sex and gender'.

He said: 'These are matters of great public interest on which it is very important that there is free and open debate. Anyone who would like to learn about Helen Joyce's views and her reasoning, and to discuss them with her, should feel free to come along. Everyone is welcome.'

He claimed that he had to smuggle students into the lecture hall where Ms Joyce was talking because they were 'afraid of ostracism by their student peers'.


This Election Day, make every Democrat who harmed our kids’ education pay

As the pandemic moves further into our rearview mirror, there are some voices that want everyone to simply move on.

We will. But not quite yet.

Election Day Tuesday is the first real opportunity to hold accountable all the people who caused so much damage to everyone, all across society — but to children in particular.

Writing in The Atlantic, Emily Oster called for “pandemic amnesty,” arguing, “Reasonable people — people who cared about children and teachers — advocated on both sides of the reopening debate.”

This is simply not true. Those opposed to reopening schools were neither reasonable, as no amount of actual evidence could persuade them that schools were largely safe, nor caring about children.

At the top of the list of people deserving blame for the academic destruction we’re now uncovering is president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten. She treated our public schools as her personal fiefdom, and Democrats let her get away with it.

That last part is so important. Anti-child special-interest groups couldn’t have hurt kids the way the teachers unions did without the support of Democratic elected officials. They kept schools closed, and we will be feeling the repercussions of that for years. These politicians chose Weingarten over the children, and there’s no guarantee whatsoever they won’t do it again.

There were real villains of the pandemic, and none of those villains has apologized or repented in any way. So Oster’s “amnesty” for those who were so wrong for years is just not possible.

What is possible is electoral punishment. Every Democrat who listened to Weingarten as if she were some kind of authority and not just a thug using a calamity to collect riches for her members should be held responsible Tuesday. Every politician who urged lockdowns past spring 2020, when we knew their pointlessness and damage, has to be voted out.

Every elected official who forced masks on children while pooh-poohing the scarring it would invariably cause has to go. As late as last month, New York City children who hadn’t gotten the COVID vaccine could not participate in sports. Anyone who supported this barbaric targeting of kids must be held liable.

Oster’s piece served as a very timely reminder of what happened to our children. It brought up all the feelings of rage over the damage done to our kids. Forgive without anyone taking responsibility or apologizing? No.

On Election Day, parents should carry into the voting booth the anger they’ve felt for the last two years and take it out on the people responsible. Every Democratic governor who either kept schools closed or pretended it was out of their sphere of influence (a lie) has to go.

But it doesn’t end Tuesday. As every parent knows, punishment doesn’t work without accountability. If Republicans do manage to win the House and the Senate, they must hold hearings. The National Assessment of Educational Progress showed reading and math scores plummeted. We can’t just move on to other topics while our kids stay struggling like this.

Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser, said in February 2021 that schools couldn’t open unless President Joe Biden’s spending plan passed. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky — on the White House’s orders — allowed Weingarten to craft school-opening policies. All this has to be investigated and put on the record so that we never listen to any of these people ever again and take steps to keep them from power.

It starts with voting out every Democrat from top to bottom. Do it for the kids.


'Stanford Hates Fun': Student group wants to sue school over restriction of free speech after displaying banners during a football game protesting the ban on collegiate fun like Greek life

A group of students at Stanford University say they plan to take legal action over the school's alleged suppression of free speech.

The potential lawsuit comes from a group that goes by 'Stanford Hates Fun,' which claims they were refused entry and had signage confiscated at Saturday's game over signs they were bringing into the stadium.

The group claims that the school implemented a 'significantly higher' number of security guards for the game and confiscated signs made by the student and even making some take off clothing with their battle-cry.

The security guards were also specifically placed at the student entrance of the stadium, they said in a press release shared by OutKick.

'On Saturday, November 5, Stanford Students were restricted from entering the football game with signs and banners saying Stanford Hates Fun, regardless of size and format,' the group said.

'Security also made the bizarre request of asking students to partially remove their shirts to confirm that they weren't carrying any signage under their shirts, most of whom had no signage or awareness,' the group claimed.

The students say that they specifically consulted the approved and permitted items list and signage was not against the rules.

When they were turned away or had their signs taken, they say they received 'different answers from different staff' over why they were being restricted.

'We therefore have reason to believe that these signs were prohibited specifically because of their content,' the group wrote.

'If it is the case that signs were prohibited based on content, we believe that to be a violation of Stanford's free speech responsibilities under California's Leonard Law.'

An article from the Stanford Daily, posted in May 2020, called the law a 'controversial' statute that 'extends some First Amendment protections to students at private colleges in the state.'

The group, who have previously brought signs to games, say that it was the university's desire to censor them.

Video of students holding up a sign that managed to slip through security's cracks show security guards descending upon the group.

The guards allegedly tried to tear the banner down but were unable to get through the students who were in support of the message.

At a game earlier in the season, Stanford's iconic Tree mascot was seen holding up the now-infamous sign alongside bandmembers who covered their instrument's with similar messaging during a halftime performance.

Earlier this week, officials announced that the student who dons the costume was suspended from the role until January.

Jordan Zietz was suspended by the Band Executive Committee 'because of his use of the platform for personal benefit without going through or inquiring about appropriate processes,' according to officials.

That handling of the Tree's message prompted many students to don 'Free the Tree' shirts to Saturday's game versus Washington State.

Additionally, some bandmembers reportedly decided to sit out of Saturday's halftime show after the decision made by the governing committee.




Sunday, November 06, 2022

Fifth of bar staff went to university fuelling fears modern-style degrees are worthless in the world of work

One in five bar staff are now graduates and experts say it is because university leavers find it increasingly hard to find professional work.

Nineteen per cent of bar workers went to university, compared with 3 per cent 30 years ago, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found.

The research, based on data from 6,000 workers, also found that 17 per cent of waiters are graduates, compared with 2 per cent three decades ago.

The same is true of 14 per cent of retail staff, 15 per cent of care workers and 24 per cent of security guards.

It comes amid growing fears that many youngsters are taking ‘Mickey Mouse’ degrees, which do not properly prepare them for professional work. Around half of young people now study for a degree.

Lizzie Crowley, of the CIPD, said: ‘Successive governments’ focus on boosting the supply of higher-level qualifications to the labour market has failed to create nearly enough of the high-skill, high-wage jobs that the country needs.’

She said: ‘While graduate-level qualifications are undoubtedly essential in many roles and industries, the significant growth of graduates in non-graduate jobs is damaging for individuals, employers and the economy.

‘A growing number of graduates are stuck in low-skilled jobs, while employers find it harder to motivate and retain overqualified graduates, undermining workplace productivity.

‘Successive governments’ focus on boosting the supply of higher-level qualifications to the labour market has failed to create nearly enough of the high-skill, high-wage jobs that the country needs.’

The research found overqualified graduates have lower job and life satisfaction.

Just over half - 54 per cent - of overqualified graduates report being either very satisfied or satisfied with their current jobs, compared to nearly three-quarters - 72 per cent - of well-matched graduates.


College students say Connecticut university removed their US flags with Thin Blue Line and Gadsden symbol from housing for being 'offensive' - while BLM and LGBTQ flags were allowed to stay up

Two Trinity College students say the school removed their US flags with the Gadsden symbol and the Blue, Green, Red Line flag - representing police, military and first responders - for being 'offensive.'

The Connecticut college, however, allowed other student's pride and Black Lives Matter flags to stay up.

Finn McCole and Lucas Turco hung up two versions of the American flag outside their dorm windows on the Hartford campus after noticing others had hung flags up too.

'They had LGBTQ flags, they had transgender flags, BLM flags, which we have no problem with any of those flags hanging,' Turco told Fox News' Jesse Watters, who went to the school.

'We believe everyone has the right to their opinion and their own beliefs, and that everyone should be able to put their flags up and so me and Finn thought: "Why don't we put up some flags we personally believe in?"'

Turco said they had the Don't Tread On Me flag up to symbolize their 'love of equality for all people' and the line flag 'to show our reverence for first responders, our family members, our firemen, and police officers.'

'They said that the reason they were taken down was that some people viewed the flags as offensive and I think it's an absolute shame that those flags can be offensive,' Turco said on the show.

Turco said: 'We believe everyone has the right to their opinion and their own beliefs, and that everyone should be able to put their flags up and so me and Finn thought: "Why don't we put up some flags we personally believe in?"'

'It's a sad state of affairs,' McCole agreed. 'From our conversations with the dean, they seemed very open to apologizing [to] us, but it doesn't change the fact what you saw in the video.'

University president Joanne Berger-Sweeney sent an email to students about the situation, writing: 'The removal of two flags outside a Trinity College student residence hall window last week has sparked a conversation across social media about freedom of speech at Trinity.

'As I understand the matter, an apology was issued on the same day of the removal to the students who own the flags for the manner in which the policy was enforced. We will work harder to ensure greater awareness and consistent compliance moving forward.'


Australia: Queensland schools data reveals private school enrolments growing

As private schools go from strength to strength, Queensland state school enrolment numbers are crashing due to the low birth rate in 2017, homeschool popularity and interstate migration.

Samford Valley Steiner School, an independent school offering Prep-Year 12, has experienced significant growth, so much so they have this year opened six new classrooms.

“We are growing the school from the bottom up,” enrolments manager Joan Weir said.

“I’ve seen the migration trends (with the school’s enrolments), particularly out of Victoria.”

From 2018-2020, state school enrolments increased on average 10,000 ayear. But this growth slowed in 2021 and decreased by almost 4000 in 2022.

From 2018-2022, secondary enrolments have continued to increase, but primary enrolments have shrunk since 2019, with the decline becoming sharper every year.

Education Minister Grace Grace said Covid-related international and state border closures in place until the end of 2021 created a lag in new enrolments.

“We have also seen a rise in home schooling as some families chose to keep vulnerable children at home during a health pandemic,” she said.

“There were also one-off factors like the fact that back in 2017 Queensland had a lower birthrate than usual, which has flowed through now in lower numbers starting prep in 2022.”

Independent school enrolments climbed by 4.8 per cent in 2020-21, which was a 10-year high, and followed this up with a 4.1 per cent jump in 2021-22.

Independent Schools Queensland chief executive Chris Mountford said enrolments were at all-time high across the sector.

“A key factor in this growth over recent years is the increase in in-migration to the sector throughout the pandemic. This could be students coming from interstate, overseas, or the state or catholic sectors,” he said.

“From 2019–2022, net in-migration enrolments at Queensland independent schools jumped, on average, about 50 per cent to 4350 students.”

The Catholic sector enjoyed consistent growth in the past five years, boosting enrolment numbers by more than 10,000 in total, at a yearly average of 1.2 per cent.

“Nine new Catholic schools have opened in Queensland since 2018 to meet the demand in high-growth areas,” Queensland Catholic Education Commission executive director Dr Lee-Anne Perry said.

“These schools have been in high demand with initial enrolments exceeding expectations and, in some cases, requiring additional classes to be offered.”

From 2018-2022, the number of state schools in Queensland grew from 1240 to 1258.

The state government plans to build 11 new state schools in 2023-24 – including five in Ipswich, three in Logan, one on the Sunshine Coast and one in Redland City.