Friday, December 30, 2022

Fury as University of Warwick issues 'racism' trigger warning for Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe over 'offensive' depictions of black slaves and Arab Muslim captives

I think I read all of his novels whren I was a kid. Good stories

A descendant of legendary novelist Sir Walter Scott has slammed a university's decision to slap trigger warnings on his historic works and branded them 'cowardly'.

The celebrated Scottish writer, who penned his epic Ivanhoe in 1819, has seen his work branded 'disturbing' by academics at the University of Warwick.

Critics have said Scott's historical novel could be 'offensive' to modern audiences because of its treatment of racial minorities, which includes black slaves and Muslim captives, who along with other characters in the work are prejudiced against Jews.

But the author's great-great-great-great-grandson, Matthew Maxwell-Scott, defended his ancestor's work and was left saddened that Ivanhoe was branded potentially upsetting.

He told the Telegraph: 'Attacking those who cannot defend themselves has always been a coward's charter.

'Today, social media and the growth of academia provide new playgrounds for the modern bully. Long-deceased artists are a particular target. Often exhibiting the hated traits of maleness, paleness and, to some eyes at least, staleness, it is open season.'

The events of Ivanhoe, published in 1819, follow England after the Third Crusade with the protagonist Sir Wilfred Ivanhoe and the raging conflict between Anglo-Saxon and Norman nobles.

The university's English department warns students who are to study the novel: 'Amongst the aspects readers might find disturbing, this text includes offensive depictions of people of colour and of persecuted ethnic minorities, as well as misogyny.'

In common with dozens of universities, Warwick uses such warnings to alert students to sensitive material, such as racism, homophobia and violence, so they can prepare themselves for a potentially unpleasant experience.

Mr Maxwell-Scott, a trustee of his ancestor's residence at Abbotsford and a Conservative councillor, said the university's trigger warning was 'disappointing'.

He added: 'All manner of titles can face this as we seem to have lost the ability to appreciate any artistic output as a product of its time.

'Scott, the father of the historical novel, used his meticulous research to transport readers of Ivanhoe to a different moral landscape, one alien to the Enlightenment world he was forged in, let alone that of today.

'Seeking out theoretical faults rather than identifying the many positives is a shame. Consider Scott's contribution to our language. He is the third most-quoted source in the Oxford English Dictionary.'

Warwick, one of 24 members of the elite Russell Group of British universities, began using trigger warnings in 2019, but had received several complaints in recent years about the content of its literature and drama courses.

A spokesman from the University of Warwick said: 'We believe students should be exposed to challenging ideas, stories and themes through their studies and view it as an essential part of learning and understanding different perspectives. That's why the university does not ask departments to issue content guidance notices for course materials.

'However, a small number of departments and academics choose to do so, making their own judgment and rationale for deciding on what guidance they feel may be needed for the coursework they set.

'We fully respect our colleagues right to exercise their academic freedom in this way, but the practice remains rare within the university with less than one per cent of our overall curriculum including any content guidance.'

Born on August 15 1771, Sir Walter Scott was became fascinated by the oral traditions of the Scottish Borders.

He overcame a bout of polio in his childhood and launched his literary career at 25, beginning to write professionally and translating many works from German.

Dubbed 'The Wizard of the North', Scott was praised by his descendants as an 'early advocate for mindfulness, an environmentalist and a devoted family man'.


A battle over charter co-location reveals how deeply progressives are wrong

The war against excellence reared its ugly head again at a city Panel for Educational Policy meeting Wednesday night — this time as a verbal brawl between charter-school supporters, who sought approval for a co-location in a Sheepshead Bay school, and those who opposed it. Success Academy won its permission, but the battle revealed how deep the anti-academic fervor is inside New York City public schools.

Students both for and against the co-location spoke, and the supplied talking points were quite obvious as many repeated the same ideas using the same words, but some ventured to share their own opinions. What emerged from most of the opponents was a clear distaste for having Success — or any school that’s unapologetically academic and focused on student achievement — in the midst of their school buildings, as if something unsavory would rub off. Why? Why does a school that relentlessly promotes and celebrates student academic success provoke such anger in those who should be doing the exact same thing?

The city’s traditional public schools — the base camp of the teachers unions — have over the last many years focused their efforts on something called SEL: social-emotional learning. There are no tests for SEL, nothing that can let you know if a student has mastered the subject or if a teacher is doing a great job, a mediocre job or nothing at all.

SEL is all about feelings and behaviors. Words like “microaggressions,” “oppression” and “gender identity” come up a lot during SEL workshops and teacher trainings. Grades, tests and achievements, not so much.

De-emphasizing academics and student achievement is, unfortunately, not just a New York City trend — it is a national phenomenon. Asra Nomani, a reporter and education activist who has fought the anti-merit attacks on her child’s once famously rigorous Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Virginia, described this week how the school sought to downplay and ignore its National Merit Scholars by not properly notifying students or families in a timely and public manner.

Will Hochul let union pawns keep strangling charter schools?
A school administrator explained, “We want to recognize students for who they are as individuals, not focus on their achievements,” adding that the school didn’t want to “hurt” the feelings of non-scholar students.

What if you’re a really smart kid who takes pride in your academic achievements? What if the answer to “Who am I as an individual?” is “the best mathematician in my class,” “aspiring scientist” or “National Merit Scholar”? How can that be hard for schoolteachers and administrators to understand?

The supporters of Success Academy’s co-location application included students, parents and even alumni who each took hours out of their Wednesday night to listen to an hours-long Zoom meeting and offer up two minutes of testimony about how Success positively shaped their lives. They were pleading for the opportunity to site a K-4 school in an inconveniently located building that already contains two high schools, one a transfer high school. They were begging for crumbs.

The South Brooklyn Success Academy locations have growing waitlists because city public-school families want what Success is known for — rigorous academics and a focus on student achievement. Success Academy students outperform their city district-school peers, with proficiency rates for black and Hispanic students up to triple those for district peers.


Student Parents Need Online Learning Options to Succeed

As colleges and universities work to bounce back from a pandemic that drastically changed the way most people view higher education, many students are hoping some changes stick around – especially many college students who are also parents. Millions of students over the last few years experienced a complete shift to virtual learning, forcing higher education institutions to become more flexible to meet student needs. But with COVID concerns waning, many colleges have rushed to bring students back on campus, rolling back the virtual infrastructure that made it easier for so many students, particularly non-traditional students, to succeed.

Frankly, many students do not want to return exclusively to the classroom. A recent report found preferences for course modalities rapidly shifted over the course of the pandemic with mostly face-to-face classes dropping from 30% of respondents to 12% while completely online courses jumped from 5% to 20%, suggesting students are starting to prefer the flexible benefits of virtual education options over in-person.

This sentiment is certainly shared by student parents who are often overlooked when it comes to student needs, yet they represent more than one in five (22%) of the overall undergraduate population. While many share similar struggles with other students, they also have to contend with the high cost of childcare and the difficulty of staying enrolled in a system that was not built with their needs or experiences in mind.

Over the last two years, we have seen that while virtual learning is not perfect, it does allow student parents to stay home with their children while taking classes online. When coupled with the ability to complete various exams and assignments at times that are convenient for them, this learning environment can be extremely beneficial for student parents who have more demands on their time than their non-parenting peers.

The annual cost of childcare can average close to $10,000 a year for one child. These costs can be difficult for dual parents with stable incomes, let alone a single parent trying to juggle the costs of school tuition and childcare.

While universities alone can’t be expected to cover all the costs of childcare, many have cut their own childcare programs over the years, leading to a 14 percent decline in on-campus childcare from 2004 to 2019. The trend is even worse among community colleges where most student parents are enrolled and are experiencing a steeper reduction of 17 percent. The federal government has made efforts to help reverse this trend by more than tripling its childcare grant funding to schools in 2018 from $15 to $50 million to serve low-income students with children. Despite this increase, estimates show the program only reaches about 11,000 of the 4.8 million total student parents.

The gap between childcare needs and availability is unlikely to be fixed in the near future given the scale of the issue across all industries, but it makes clear the need to provide parents with more opportunities, like virtual learning, to help them balance their busy lives.

Lack of affordable, reliable childcare is one of many obstacles that student parents face and that disproportionately impacts their academic careers. It’s less often the academic rigor of college that makes it difficult to stay enrolled and more often the lack of financial resources and having to navigate policies that further exclude them. For example, students with children are often forced to take semesters off or to transfer schools because they can’t afford to stay in school or their childcare is interrupted. As a result, policies that limit transfer credits or federal Pell Grants that expire after six years can force student parents to retake classes with even less financial support. One way to help parents catch up is through online education resources that include study guides, practice questions, writing assistance, and detailed descriptions of how to solve complex math problems. For these students who often cannot make it to office hours, online resources provide a vital lifeline to help students learn at a pace and time that works with their busy schedules.

According to a recent report by Chegg, an online educational resource company, 55% of student parents have considered dropping out of school due to the demands of parenting while 73% of student parents who have children in middle school or below have missed work or class because of childcare arrangements. Colleges must identify ways to be more inclusive of parenting students in campus life and an institution-wide lens that considers the needs of student parents in the implementation of all of its services.

Studies show that student parents are 10 times less likely to achieve a college degree in five years compared to those without kids. Colleges and lawmakers must work to ensure students are not unfairly locked out of the higher education system because they are raising children. Embracing the virtual and hybrid learning opportunities we have developed over the course of the pandemic, along with supportive online resources that can help student parents study on their own schedule wherever they might be, will help ensure all students have a fair shot at earning a degree.




Detroit School Board Removes Ben Carson’s Name from School for His ‘Crime’ of Serving Under Trump

David Sokol

The Detroit school board recently voted to remove world-renowned neurosurgeon and native son Dr. Ben Carson’s name from its Benjamin Carson High School of Science and Medicine magnet school. The reason: Carson served in the Cabinet of President Donald Trump.

Before it was scrubbed, the school’s website glowingly stated why it was named after Carson:

The school is named in honor of the acclaimed Detroit-born, African-American pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson. As a pediatric neurosurgeon formerly on the staff of Johns Hopkins Hospital, Dr. Carson was honored with the 2008 Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contributions.

The school aims to honor the contributions Dr. Carson has made not only to the global medical community, but also as a role model for Detroit students with aspirations and interests in science and medical fields.

The website also pointed out that “over 99% of our students graduate” and that the school “is a safe school with a strong college-going culture.”

While COVID-19 lowered the 2019-2021 average graduation rate at the school to 89.5%, it still significantly outperformed the Detroit public schools average graduation rate of 64.5%.

So, what has caused such an underperforming school district to remove the name Benjamin Carson from its best-performing high school? Wokeness and cancel culture, plain and simple.

Was Carson accused of committing a crime? Did he make some outrageous statements? Of course not. His sole offense, as stated by former and current Detroit school board members Lamar Lemmons and Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, is that he had the audacity to agree to be the secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under Trump.

Think about that. Volunteering to serve your country in the important role of a Cabinet secretary negates all of your prior accomplishments, disqualifies your name from being on a school building, and erases you as a role model to disadvantaged youth.

This insane decision explains why the Detroit school district ranks among the worst-performing districts in America. Detroit school board members would rather play politics and be woke than focus on the urgent need to teach the district’s young men and women reading, writing, and arithmetic.

The Detroit Free Press in a May 18, 2021, article pointed out that “Detroit Public Schools’ students recently won the award of the worst math scores in the National Assessment of Educational Progress’ 40-year history.”

Parents who actually care about their children’s education must retake the school board, or else students will continue to receive an inferior education.

Any school district in America should welcome the opportunity to have such an amazing American as Carson serve as a role model for their students. He and his brother were raised by a single mother who was a domestic worker in the poorest part of Detroit. She emphasized to her boys the importance of a good education, hard work, and determination.

From the humblest of beginnings, Carson became a world-renowned neurosurgeon, and his brother became an accomplished physicist. His mother kept them focused on achieving their American Dream and rejecting the victimhood being spewed by charlatan black politicians.

Dr. Ben Carson is among the kindest, gentlest, and most well-intentioned people whom I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. This slight by the Detroit school board demonstrates just how harmful cancel culture and wokeness truly can be—harmful not only to the target of that cancel culture but to all the children who would benefit if the school board focused its energy on providing a quality education rather than on being woke.


Independent Institute Research Vindicates DeSantis Ed Reform

A recent National Review article, on education reforms implemented by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, praised original research by the Independent Institute. Independent’s report titled “Better than Common Core: Florida’s New K-12 Standards Raise the Bar” demonstrated that the state’s new English language arts and math standards are now the strongest in the country and suggested they could serve as a model for the rest of the nation.

In 2020, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis implemented significant curricular reform, replacing the controversial Common Core standards with new, high-rigor reading and math standards. Florida’s new “Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking (B.E.S.T.)” standards shed the mechanistic skills-oriented approach favored by Common Core and restored, for example, classic literature to the English curriculum. These reforms made Florida likely the only state to have rid itself of Common Core after fully adopting it.

As National Review stated:

You can read about DeSantis’s replacement of the failed Common Core in a 2020 report from the Independent Institute called “Better than Common Core: Florida’s New K-12 Standards Raise the Bar.” The report says that Florida’s English language arts and math standards truly do depart from Common Core. More, it calls them “the strongest [reading and math standards] currently in use in the United States.” The report adds that with some slight tweaks, the Florida standards “can stand as a new model for the country.”


Parents’ Rights Activists Turn to Courts To Block ‘Radical’ Ideologies in Classrooms

Across the country, parents are springing into action to defend what they insist are their rights to oversee the education of their children.

These so-called parental rights activists, animated by prolonged school closures during the Covid pandemic, are challenging the supremacy of the educational bureaucracy in their children’s schools. These parents are calling attention to left-leaning curricular material and literature in classrooms, and are protesting the “gender ideology” and “critical race theory” they say are being taught in schools.

It’s a movement that catapulted Glenn Youngkin to the governorship of Virginia and helped lift Governor DeSantis of Florida to his prominent spot on the national stage. It has galvanized parents to show up in hordes at what were once poorly attended school board meetings, and even propelled some to run for school boards themselves.

Now, parents are turning to lawsuits in an attempt to curb policies they see as discriminatory, harmful, invasive, and even in violation of their constitutional rights. These lawsuits, however, could put conservative parents on a collision course with conservative jurists, including Associate Justice Clarence Thomas.

As the battle for parents’ rights moves to the federal courthouse from the ballot box, it raises a question: Does our Constitution enshrine parents’ rights?

A lawsuit filed in Iowa by one of the most prominent parents rights groups, Parents Defending Education, alleges that a new policy enacted by the Linn-Mar school district, in a suburb of Cedar Rapids, violates the Constitution. The policy allows students to use new pronouns at school and begin social transition — using the bathrooms, playing on sports teams, and rooming on school trips with the gender of their preference — without parental consent or information.

“Everybody from kindergarten on would be able to have a gender support plan,” the president and founder of Parents Defending Education, Nicole Neily, tells the Sun. “Then beginning in seventh grade, the child’s decision takes precedence over parents’ decisions.”

In a recent study by transgender advocates at Princeton, the majority of children — about 60 percent — who socially transitioned between ages three and 12 began a hormone altering regimen within five years.

The lawsuit alleges that the new policy “plainly violates parents’ rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.”

“Nearly a century of Supreme Court precedent makes two things clear: parents have a constitutional liberty interest in the care, custody, and control of their children,” the initial complaint says, adding that the policy also violates the students’ First Amendment rights by way of “compelled speech.”

The 14th Amendment, though, makes no mention of parents or children in its text. Yet the court filings claim that the new policy violates the parents’ constitutional right “to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control,” citing not the text of the Constitution itself, but a 1925 Supreme Court case, Pierce v. Society of Sisters.

The existence of such a right hinges on whether one accepts the legal principle of substantive due process, which has long been the subject of ire from conservative jurists.

Pierce, along with Meyer v. Nebraska, established a 14th Amendment principle that education law not infringe upon the rights of parents to choose their child’s education. Pierce overturned an Oregon law requiring all students to attend public schools, while Meyer overturned a Nebraska ordinance prohibiting foreign language instruction.

In Pierce, the court ruled that “the child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.”

The 14th Amendment’s guarantee that no “State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” includes — or so say advocates of substantive due process — both the right to procedural due process (a fair trial, in other words) and substantive rights to “life, liberty, or property.”

“The view is that the 14th Amendment, which has a provision that says that no one can be deprived of liberty without due process of law … has a procedural component,” a professor of law at Villanova University, Michael Moreland, told the Sun. “There are basic norms of fair procedure, like how a trial was conducted, and so forth.”

“But it also includes a substantive component of certain liberties that are so fundamental that the government may not infringe upon them,” Mr. Moreland explained. “There’s basically no due process of law that could ever result in their abolition or infringement in a certain way.”

It is the principle of substantive due process that in the past century has been used as a foundation for rights such as abortion, contraception, and gay and interracial marriage. The Supreme Court has noted that rulings based on substantive due process can be a “treacherous field,” and a high standard must be set for the fundamental liberties derived from the 14th Amendment.

The Supreme Court holds that any rights derived from the 14th Amendment must be “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition” and “essential to our Nation’s scheme of ordered liberty.”

In the recent Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, which overturned Roe v. Wade’s claim to a substantive due process right to abortion, the court ruled that the right to an abortion was not so “deeply rooted” as to merit constitutional protection. The overturning of Roe has led many to question whether all substantive due process precedents may be in danger.

The rights of parents in their child’s education, however, would likely hold up under the historical scrutiny applied in the Dobbs decision, Mr. Moreland of Villanova says — even though he notes that today’s parental rights movement is asking for more than precedent might guarantee.

“Pierce and Meyer were about prohibiting private schooling, prohibiting foreign language instruction, things like that. I think courts are going to be a little cautious about trying to manage school district curricula through litigation,” Mr. Moreland says. “I think the question now is, what are the real limits of that kind of state regulation, and when and to what extent does it infringe on parental liberty?”

These questions are relevant unless one rejects substantive due process altogether, as Justice Thomas has suggested he’s prepared to do. In past opinions, the justice has had harsh words for a principle that he sees as a “legal fiction.”

Justice Thomas — alone among the Nine in his complete rejection of the principle — has referred to substantive due process as an “oxymoron that lacks any basis in the Constitution” based on a “demonstrably incorrect reading of the Due Process Clause.”

Even if Justice Thomas demurs on substantive due process, he — and jurists like him — could flip the question on its head: do children have constitutional rights outside the purview of their parents?

In a lone dissent in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, which ruled children have First Amendment rights to purchase violent video games without parental consent, Justice Thomas made an originalist argument that the First Amendment “does not include a right to speak to minors (or a right of minors to access speech) without going through the minors’ parents or guardians.”

“The history clearly shows a founding generation that believed parents to have complete authority over their minor children and expected parents to direct the development of those children,” Justice Thomas wrote in 2011.




Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Adnan Syed of ‘Serial,’ Newly Freed, Is Hired by Georgetown University

Adnan Syed, who was freed in September after he spent 23 years in prison fighting a murder conviction that was chronicled in the hit podcast “Serial,” has been hired by Georgetown University as an associate for an organization whose work mirrors the efforts that led to his release, the university has announced.

Syed, the subject of the 2014 podcast and pop-culture sensation that raised questions about whether he had received a fair trial after being convicted of strangling his high school classmate and onetime girlfriend Hae Min Lee in 1999, will work for Georgetown’s Prisons and Justice Initiative.

Syed, who was 17 at the time of Lee’s death in Baltimore, has steadfastly maintained his innocence.

The university said Syed, now 41, will help support programs at the organization, such as a class in which students reinvestigate wrongful convictions and seek to “bring innocent people home” by creating short documentaries about their findings. The program, founded in 2016, “brings together leading scholars, practitioners, students and those affected by the criminal justice system to tackle the problem of mass incarceration,” according to its website.

Georgetown University, which is in Washington, said that in the year leading up to his release, Syed was enrolled in the university’s bachelor of liberal arts program at the Maryland prison where he was incarcerated.

“To go from prison to being a Georgetown student and then to actually be on campus on a pathway to work for Georgetown at the Prisons and Justice Initiative, it’s a full circle moment,” Syed said in a statement. “PJI changed my life. It changed my family’s life. Hopefully I can have the same kind of impact on others.”

He added that he hoped to continue his education at Georgetown and go to law school.

In October, prosecutors in Baltimore dropped the charges against Syed after DNA testing on items that had never been fully examined proved Syed’s innocence, officials said.

Lee’s family filed an appeal with the Maryland Court of Special Appeals after prosecutors dropped the charges.

On Nov. 4, the court said in an order that the appeal could be heard in court in February.


DeSantis Delivers Another Blow to Teachers Unions

Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is taking on the teachers unions by asking the legislature to eliminate automatic union dues reductions from educator paychecks.

"Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida promised Monday to sign a bill into law that would increase teacher pay by a record amount — but he also wants to clamp down on teachers' unions. The plan DeSantis outlined at a school board retreat in Orlando would have teachers send a check to their unions every month rather than automatically deduct the dues from their paychecks,"

Business Insider reports. "DeSantis' plan would create a new hurdle for organized labor in Florida, whose "Right to Work" status is already enshrined in the state constitution. Under current law, Florida workers can opt out of joining a union, which in turn restricts unions from collecting dues from employees who benefit from negotiated worker protections."

In addition, DeSantis is touting Florida as a state respectful of parental rights in education.


Australia: Low-fee private schools rival expensive counterparts in final exams

At Alpha Omega College, a co-ed school in a suburban office block, students don’t wear uniforms, teachers are called by their first names and there is no bell to round up pupils to class.

“It’s not a normal school,” says deputy principal Wesam Krayem. “We do things differently and it makes students feel like there are fewer barriers. We also open the school on weekends and holidays for extra tutoring sessions.”

The western Sydney college is one of multiple lower-fee private schools across NSW that had similar — or better — HSC success rates than schools where fees tip over $20,000 a year, a Herald analysis has found.

Catholic schools that charge fees of about $6000 a year or less — including Randwick’s Brigidine College, Hurstville’s Bethany College and Parramatta Marist High — had a similar or a higher portion of students achieving band-six HSC results as St Joseph’s in Hunters Hill and the Scots College in Bellevue Hill, where parents pay about $40,000 for year 12.

St Clare’s College in Waverley — which charges about $7000 for year 12 — was the highest-ranked systemic Catholic school at 31st out of the 143 top private schools analysed, based on the past two years of HSC results. It had a success rate similar to Barker College and St Ignatius College Riverview, where final-year fees are more than $32,000.

Former chair of NSW Education Standards Authority Tom Alegounarias said fees did not necessarily correlate with consistently high academic performance.

“Results likely reflect all sorts of dynamics beyond the socio-economic backgrounds of students. It could be about the relative effectiveness of the school, and if there is healthy competition among staff and students. Schools might be focusing on academic achievement and the rigours that are needed to get those results. Band sixes are also only one indicator, and are not a reliable indicator of range achievement in schools,” Alegounarias said.

At Auburn’s Alpha Omega College there is an intense focus on academic results and a strict no mobile phone policy for the 500-odd students at the school.

“There is a ‘never give up attitude’ ... students get constant feedback on how they are going. The school is open on some weekends for study groups and algebra workshops,” said Krayem. Parents pay about $13,000 for year 12 at the school.

The Herald’s analysis compared fees with HSC success rates — the ratio of band six results at a school compared to the number of students that sat exams. It used this year’s fees published on school websites, and if these weren’t available took the most recent fees and charges reported or used data from the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority to estimate fees.

Authorities only release the names and schools of students who achieve in the top band of their subject. Private school sectors have previously suggested the NSW government release more data to reflect the efforts of all students, not just the top achievers.

Fees at Al Noori Muslim School in Greenacre and Al Faisal College are roughly $3000 a year, and those schools had a similar portion of students in the top HSC bands as Knox Grammar and Kincoppal Rose Bay.

Chief executive of Catholic Schools NSW Dallas McInerney said the sector aimed to provide choice for parents through a system of low-fee comprehensive schools.

“HSC results do not account for socio-economic background, fees or enrolment policy, therefore the results of these schools and students are really an against-the-odds story,” he said.

‘We set the bar high’: How Reddam House blitzed HSC maths
Robyn Rodwell, the principal of Catholic systemic school Bethany College, said the school had high expectations of the girls.

“Before we teach a new topic we do pre-testing to find out what they already know, and that way after we’ve taught the unit you can see how much they’ve grown. We also invest in really solid teacher development programs,” she said.

Head of the Association of Independent Schools of NSW Geoff Newcombe said the median fee collected for private schools in NSW was around $5200 a year. “These schools are not selective, and their regular success reflects the commitment of the students, their families, teachers and principals to strong academic outcomes at all levels.”