Sunday, December 31, 2023

Democratic elites hate charter schools BECAUSE they perform better and give disadvantaged kids a chance

By Adam B. Coleman

We like to tell ourselves failure isn’t an option, but for decades, failure has been the status quo for the education of children of the working class and poor.

Failure was always on the table when it was those “other kids” who would suffer the consequences of mismanaged and corrupt local-government-run schools, and many fought to ensure that bureaucracy would keep their destiny one of destitution.

But when we give those castaway children a chance to excel in alternative institutions like private and charter schools, they quickly prove to us the only ones who failed were the adults who forced them to remain in educational squalor for so many years.

The New York Charter School Center just examined the latest assessments of third- to eighth-grade students and found charter schools outperformed their traditional public-school counterparts — especially in educating minority kids.

Students who attended city charter schools scored 7 percentage points higher on the English language arts exam, with 59% passing versus 52% in city Department of Education-run schools, and 13 percentage points higher on the math exam, with 63% passing versus 50%.

Black charter-school students outperformed their district counterparts by 19 percentage points in English and 27 percentage points in math.

Similarly, Hispanic charter-school kids beat their public-school peers by 16 percentage points in English and 25 percentage points in math.

With 90% of enrolled charter-school students being black and Hispanic and 80% of them coming from low-income families, New York charter schools have provided the children who were once forgotten in underachieving public schools an opportunity to experience economic mobility despite the efforts of pro-teachers-union Democrats.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen such results.

Last year, a State University of New York Charter Schools Institute analysis found the largest disparity of educational excellence in The Bronx, which has dozens of alternative schools.

The number of students at SUNY-approved charters there who reached proficiency in English was 28 percentage points higher and in math 35 points higher than in neighboring public schools.

At the Academic Leadership Charter School, 84% of students were proficient in English, compared with just 31% in surrounding schools in District 7. The school is in Mott Haven, a neighborhood with a median income of $25,325 a year that’s 72% Hispanic and 24% black.

The elitists who plague the Democratic Party can only see as far as the landscaped shrubs at the entrance of their cul-de-sacs and refuse to acknowledge that the excellence in their local public school is not a reflection of what’s happening on the other side of the tracks.

They cannot comprehend the far-too-frequent situation of a child graduating from a public high school illiterate — because minimum standards of being capable of reading and writing are nearly guaranteed where they’re from.

We live in the land of the free but tell certain children that they shouldn’t be free to choose anything other than what isn’t working in education.

The Democrats in power claim to care about the lives of all children, but most do everything possible to uphold a system that puts union interests before a child’s hope.

They have no idea what it’s like to be a child who attends a school that ultimately doesn’t care if you pass legitimately or not and is too inept to rescue a child who is struggling to stay afloat.

I do, because I was this child.

I was never diagnosed in school, because no one cared enough to pay attention to what was obvious, but I displayed signs of dyslexia, which made my high-school learning experience horrendous and demoralizing.

In the last three years of high school, I failed and had to take summer classes to pass through the next grade and graduate.

I remember returning to school after my summer classes and finding nothing had changed. And no one cared about why I kept ending up in this circumstance.

As an adult, I now know why: These educators’ objective is to project an illusion of success, even if it means pushing stragglers like me across the finish line, to uphold the institutional status quo.

I wonder how many other children are like me, left behind because their struggles are an inconvenience for the people who place platitudes over results.

How many of us see these children who are raised in undesirable environments and view their existence as such as well?

If it’s American to strive for freedom of choice, then it’s anti-American to prevent our children from having a choice.


Missouri School District Offers Coloring Pages on Preferred Pronouns, Gender Expression to Kindergartners

A Missouri school district is providing elementary-school teachers with coloring pages, asking children as young as kindergartners to choose their pronouns and draw the corresponding hair and clothing.

Webster Groves School District Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Shane Williamson emailed administrators a resource list of “Gender Identity and Expression Activities” in October 2022 in honor of LGBT History Awareness Month, according to public documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and shared with The Daily Signal.

“I believe it would be good to start our own resource sheet that provides ideas and activities that can help affirm and support our elementary students around the topic of gender identity and expression,” Williamson said in the email.

Williamson started the list and allowed others to add more activity resources. She did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment.

The list includes two “Playing with Pronouns” coloring pages from the Gender Wheel website for kindergarten through fifth grade and links to Welcoming Schools resources on gender-expansive classrooms and Advocates for Youth’s K-12 sexuality curriculum.

The “My Personal Style” coloring page asks children to draw themselves in the “style that feels the most like you.” The page features a gender-neutral child in the middle surrounded by both boy and girl options for clothing, hairstyles, and jewelry.

The other “Playing the Pronouns” coloring page includes a maze with a child of uncertain sex at one end and a text bubble saying, “Help Dylan find their baseball hat” at the other end, with “their” in lieu of either “his” or “her.”

“The Gender Wheel reminds us that we must see gender and bodies in a nonlinear continuum, and not in isolation,” according to the Gender Wheel website, which makes the claim that gender stereotypes have no basis in nature.

Jay Greene, a senior education fellow at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Education Policy, told The Daily Signal the coloring pages used by the St. Louis-area school district are inappropriate for young children.

“Asking kindergartners in a Missouri public school to reimagine their gender identity and list their pronouns is simply not age-appropriate and almost certainly inconsistent with the priorities of families in that community,” Greene said. “Even if we think certain topics can lead to productive discussions, not all topics are appropriate for all ages of children.”

The Welcoming Schools lesson plans, which the Webster Groves resource list designates as age appropriate for kindergarten through eighth grade, aim at “creating classrooms and schools that are free of gender stereotypes and gender norms that limit all children,” according to its website.

The “Lesson Plans to Create Gender Expansive Classrooms and Support Transgender and Nonbinary Students,” produced by the far-left Human Rights Campaign, include LGBTQ children’s book downloads, such as “I Am Jazz,” the story of transgender-identifying biological male Jazz Jennings; “Julian Is a Mermaid,” the story of a boy who wants to dress like a female mermaid; “Jacob’s New Dress,” about a boy who wears a dress to school; and “They, She, He, Easy as ABC,” a child’s guide to “inclusive pronouns.”

“A key focus of our program is to provide comprehensive resources for educators to teach about transgender and nonbinary people and to affirm all students’ identities across the gender spectrum,” the Welcoming Schools website says.

Other book recommendations for children kindergarten age and older include “Born Ready: The True Story of a Boy Named Penelope”; “They, She, He, Me, Free to Be!”; and “Introducing Teddy: A Gentle Story About Friendship and Gender.”

A winter-related lesson available for download about a “Gender Snowperson” for third through fifth grades asks children to draw their gender identity, sexual orientation, gender expression, and so-called sex assigned at birth.

Children learn about nonbinary butterflies in another lesson designated as appropriate for kindergarten to second grade classrooms.

“Introducing students to animals that are nonbinary, as opposed to the ‘female and male’ gender binary, helps them to understand that there are many genders and that nature displays great diversity,” the lesson plan says.

Martin Bennet, secretary and treasurer of the St. Louis County Family Association, which submitted the FOIA request, said the Webster Groves lessons are indicative of what’s happening in public schools in Missouri and elsewhere.

“The inappropriate lessons that are occurring in public education, along with the continual slide in academic performance, is why the Missouri Legislature and Gov. [Mike] Parson must make school choice a reality for parents in Missouri,” Bennet told The Daily Signal.

K-12 lesson plans from Advocates for Youth feature elementary lessons on “Thinking Outside the (Gender) Box,” different kinds of families, gender roles, and understanding that “there are some body parts that mostly just girls have and some parts that mostly just boys have.”

A lesson on pregnancy lists abortion as a pregnancy option. Teachers are to show the students a video on options, then say, “Let’s take a closer look at these three options and identify what a person should consider with each option. For example, with the option of abortion, a person should consider if abortion is available in their local area or would require them to travel.”

Optional homework outlined in the lesson plan undermines crisis pregnancy centers, more commonly referred to as pregnancy resource centers or pregnancy help centers.

“Research the phrase Crisis Pregnancy Center, which are centers that aim to block a pregnant person’s access to a safe abortion,” the lesson plan says. “Identify three key facts about crisis pregnancy centers that set them apart from health care centers.”

Advocates for Youth’s use of “pregnant person” implies that pregnancy is not exclusive to women.

Abortion is defined as “when a pregnant person decides to end the pregnancy by accessing a safe medical procedure or medication to remove the pregnancy from the person’s uterus.”

Webster Groves School District did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment.


Texas Public University Closes DEI Office to Comply With New Law...But Here's What It Did Next

The University of Texas-San Antonio has closed its Office of Inclusive Excellence ahead of a law taking effect Jan. 1 that bars Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion offices at public universities.

But in an email to the campus community, UTSA President Taylor Eighmy announced a new office has been created using the same staff.

“I’m writing today to share a new path ahead that upholds the law while still advancing our core values to ensure a welcoming, collaborative and supportive environment where all faculty, staff and students can thrive,” Eighmy wrote.

As you know, Senate Bill 17 goes into effect on January 1, 2024 and charges college and university governing boards with ensuring that diversity, equity and inclusion offices are not maintained or upheld. As a result, effective January 1, UTSA's Office of Inclusive Excellence will be closed.

A new office—the Office of Campus and Community Belonging—will be established to enhance our university’s mission and create unique opportunities for faculty, staff and students. The new office will focus on three pillars: ADA & Accessibility, Campus Climate, and Community Partnership Bridges.

The office’s first pillar, ADA and Accessibility, will serve as the university’s focal point to coordinate and connect established campus-wide systems, programs and processes designed to support accessibility for our community members. The second pillar, Campus Climate, will take a proactive approach to maintaining a welcoming environment to enhance the student, staff and faculty experience. Lastly, the third pillar, Community Partnership Bridges, will work to increase access to higher education for community members across San Antonio. A plan to support this pillar will be implemented in the coming year.

The president said the new office will be staffed with those from the Office of Inclusive Excellence, though in “new roles with updated responsibilities.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed SB 17 in June. The measure says an “institution of higher education may not establish or maintain a diversity, equity, and inclusion office or hire or assign an employee of the institution, or contract with a third party, to perform the duties of a diversity, equity, and inclusion office.”

Whether the university respects the law with the new office remains to be seen.

“I would be shocked and dismayed were they to seek to circumvent the DEI bans,” Texas Public Policy Foundation's Thomas Lindsay told The College Fix.




Thursday, December 28, 2023

A Failing Grade for Harvard’s Claudine Gay

It says a lot about the unending Leftist obsession with race that they could put such a mediocrity into such a senior position

Anyone who listened to the college presidents defending calls for the genocide of Jews with condescending smirks in their Dec. 5 congressional testimony could see they were insufferably smug. But then we got evidence that Ivy League universities may not have selected the best and brightest to lead them.

Consider Harvard President Claudine Gay, who evinced no ability to think on her feet or even adjust wording undoubtedly scripted for her by lawyers. Yet despite her brilliant display of dullness, Gay grinned as though she were the cleverest in the room.

This was, perhaps, understandable. Gay is, after all, president of Harvard University. Typically, you get to be president of Harvard only if everyone knows that you are very, very smart. After her shameful performance, however, it should come as no surprise that Gay rose to this post despite a shockingly unimpressive scholarly record.

Manhattan Institute senior fellow Christopher Rufo has since produced convincing evidence that Gay plagiarized parts of her dissertation. Failing to properly quote source material either can be a sign of carelessness or a symptom of struggling to generate original ideas. Her academic output since then suggests it was the latter.

Over about two decades, Gay has written 10 journal articles and no books. This is about half the average rate for a political science professor, even at a middling university. By comparison, Amy Gutmann—who, like Gay, is a political scientist and until early last year served as president of the University of Pennsylvania—has published more than a dozen books and well over 100 articles.

Some academics make their name by developing one profound insight into an important question. Others make their reputation by offering consistently interesting insights on a range of questions. Gay has done neither. She has authored only a handful of articles offering uninteresting insights on the narrow question of African-American political opinion and representation.

In her last article, published six years ago, titled “A Room for One’s Own?,” Gay found that Democratic governors direct federal housing subsidies to supportive constituencies when they have the discretion to do so. Amazing!

In “Knowledge Matters,” Gay found that political ignorance is a key reason why African Americans support Democrats despite policy disagreements. Who knew?

In “Seeing Difference,” Gay found that African Americans resent economically successful Hispanic neighbors. Wow!

How did Gay rise so far despite such a mediocre academic record? You already know how, or at least part of how. Gay is a woman of color, and within the liberal ivory tower of Harvard, it’s impermissible for a white professor to accuse a woman of color of being intellectually mediocre. Only a black professor could possibly do that.

It’s interesting, then, that Gay’s institutional rise was marked by a pattern of destroying the careers of genuinely brilliant black scholar who had the stature to point out her mediocrity.

Harvard economist Roland Fryer, for example, has published more in a single year than Gay has in her entire career. But while serving as the dean of faculty, Gay led the charge to strip Fryer of almost all of his academic privileges on trumped-up charges of having run an office with a hostile work environment.

As documentary filmmaker Rob Muntz put it, “Fryer was the victim of a coordinated professional assassination. And … the chief architect of that assassination was none other than Claudine Gay.”

Another target of Gay’s character assassination was Ronald Sullivan, a black professor at Harvard Law School. In addition to being an accomplished law professor, Sullivan was dean of Winthrop House, one of Harvard’s residence halls. After Sullivan agreed to serve as an attorney to help defend Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein against rape charges, several Winthrop House students complained that they no longer “felt safe.”

When she realized that it would be impossible to remove Sullivan for providing legal representation, Gay launched a witch hunt to find a pretext for his removal. Despite a decade of leading Winthrop House without incident, Gay insisted that he had presided over a hostile environment.

Gay’s appointment as Harvard president felt like an “emperor has no clothes” moment. If academics can’t admit or even think that someone is an affirmative action pick, then Harvard just pretended that she was robed in the finest scholarly garb. What harm could come to Harvard from picking Gay as its president? As it turns out, quite a lot.

Although one doubts that Harvard’s newfound institutional commitment to free speech would extend so far as to permit speaking obvious truths, the truth is now abundantly clear not only on campus but also across the country. Everyone paying attention knows that Harvard picked its president because of her immutable characteristics, despite her lack of scholarly accomplishment.

The country also can reasonably suspect that Harvard is refusing to fire its president despite her manifest failure to respond properly to the current wave of antisemitism on campus and despite credible allegations of plagiarism because of her immutable characteristics. Perhaps the Harvard board of trustees will act with integrity, but we rather doubt it.

It seems more likely that Harvard will be stuck being led by an academic whose alleged early plagiarism could not plausibly be redeemed by the merit of her later scholarship. Play DEI games, win DEI prizes.


Saying ‘Gender Is Binary and Cannot Be Changed’ Got an Award-Winning California Teacher Fired

A gay fifth grade teacher in Glendale, California, is suing the Glendale Unified School District after he was suspended and then fired for condemning transgender ideology at a school board meeting in April.

Ray Shelton, a 25-year veteran teacher, spoke at a Glendale Unified school board meeting amid concerns over the district’s promotion of LGBTQ+ curriculums to elementary students, including by an administrator stating that all children were naturally “socialist” and “queer,” The Daily Signal reported.

Parents also have alleged that the school district allows boys who claim to be transgender to share locker rooms with girls.

Glendale, a city in the San Fernando Valley, is part of Los Angeles County. Its school system has 32 schools and 25,000 students, according to the district’s website.

Shelton, who taught at Mark Keppel Elementary School, was named the Glendale school district’s “Teacher of the Year” twice, and earlier this year won the PTA’s Golden Oak Award. He attended the April school board meeting wearing a T-shirt that said “Make Biology Great Again.”

He told The Daily Signal that he was supposed to have been given three-to-five minutes to speak at the board meeting, though he was only given 60 seconds before he was cut off.

Two plus two equals four. The world is not flat. Boys have penises; girls have vaginas. Gender is binary and cannot be changed. Biology is not bigotry. Heterosexuality is not hate. Gender confusion and gender delusion are deep psychological disorders.

No caring professional or loving parent would ever support the chemical poisoning or surgical mutilation of a child’s genitalia.

Transgender ideology is anti-gay, it is anti-woman, and it is anti-human. It wants to take away women’s sports, women’s rights, women’s achievements. It is misogyny writ large.

And I can also say this as a gay man, the gay people …

At that point, Shelton’s microphone was muted and a board member informed him that his time was up. Shelton sat down amid applause from the audience.

Glendale Unified prevented Shelton from returning to his classroom afterward. The next day, April 19, Shelton was visited in his classroom at 8 a.m. by Keppel Elementary Principal Kristine Tonoli and a Glendale district administrator.

Shelton told The Daily Signal that he was given a letter informing him that he was being placed on paid leave pending investigation after “several complaints” were lodged against him. He was subsequently fired.

But, the teacher said, all of the emailed complaints shown to him by the Glendale school district were made after he had been put on leave, not before, suggesting either that Glendale didn’t provide Shelton with earlier complaints or that Tonoli lied to him about why he was being suspended.

All of the emailed complaints provided to The Daily Signal originally were sent after the meeting, at 8 a.m. April 19, according to time stamps.

After that classroom confrontation on April 19, Shelton was escorted to the edge of school property and told not to return unless accompanied by someone from the Glendale Unified human resources office.

Since those events, Shelton has been attacked by liberal activist groups. Media Matters on June 13 called Shelton a “swastika-wielding teacher” in a misleading headline for an article slamming Fox News and Shelton for what it called a “hate-filled tirade.” Media Matters writer Jane Lee didn’t cite Shelton’s comments to the school board or what role the swastika played in the situation.

Shelton’s “swastika,” seen in a photo in the tweet, is an internet meme combining four Pride/Progress flags into a swastika, mocking the transgenderism and “diversity, equity, and inclusion” movement as authoritarian, discriminatory, and dangerous, he explained to The Daily Signal in a Tuesday interview.

Applying Nazi imagery to political opponents, such as by drawing a Hitler mustache on photos, has been a popular method of demonizing and discrediting the Left’s opponents for decades.

But now, a law firm is suing on Shelton’s behalf for what it claims was retaliation against his First Amendment rights. The lawsuit states:

As a result of Defendants’ retaliatory, unconstitutional actions against Mr. Shelton, he was never allowed to return to his classroom or watch his students graduate, something he looked forward to every year.

Mr. Shelton suffered personally and professionally because of the damage inflicted on him by Defendants’ punitive actions.

He filed this action to restore his name and to vindicate not only his rights, but the right of all Americans, to speak freely without being burdened by the oppressive yoke of government censorship.

Asked what he hoped to gain through the lawsuit, Shelton said he hoped a legal victory would help strengthen free speech precedents.

“Once the principle [of free speech] is broken,” he said, “people can be silenced through fear—then that’s the end of our civilization.”


DEFUNDING DEI: Wisconsin Lawmaker’s Tactics Show Way to Kill Radical University Programs

Napoleon said that to master the art of war, you must “read over and over again” the campaigns of history’s most successful generals.

The same advice applies if you want to master the art of legislating: You must study the strategies of the most successful legislators.

To that end, any lawmaker that wants to thwart diversity, equity, and inclusion programs needs to study the skillful maneuvers of Robin Vos, the speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly. As National Review reports, Vos has succeeded—in a divided government, where Republicans control the Legislature, while a Democrat holds the governor’s mansion—in destroying DEI programs throughout the University of Wisconsin system, which includes 13 campuses.

Here’s how he did it.

First, he surveyed the battlefield. Behind him and the Republican-controlled Legislature was a supportive electorate that wanted him to abolish DEI on college campuses. In front of him were university administrators and a governor who were deeply entrenched in their support for DEI programs.

A frontal assault—a bill simply abolishing or defunding DEI programs—would go nowhere unless Vos could shift them out of their entrenchments.

Like a smart general, Vos knew that to do that he’d have to threaten something even more valuable to them than their DEI programs. But campus zealots seem to love nothing more than to put students into identity boxes and then segregate and discriminate on that basis. They want to do these things with an almost religious zeal.

Yet Vos figured out that they love something even more; namely, money.

He knew that campus zealots would never willingly destroy their own DEI apparatus. But he also knew that they would never say no to giving themselves a pay raise. So, he pitted those two interests against each other.

He passed a budget that included pay raises for university employees and funding for new buildings. The budget also eliminated all DEI positions and cut $32 million from the university system’s budget—the amount that the system spent on DEI programs.

The governor, Tony Evers, howled about the bill, but Vos had outflanked him. Evers couldn’t sacrifice raises for everyone in the system to save DEI programs, even as much as he cherished them. So, Evers surrendered and signed the bill.

He did, however, line-item veto the part of the bill that eliminated the DEI positions. That meant that the university system could redeploy $32 million from other programs to keep its beloved DEI staffers paid.

But Vos had anticipated that move.

Before the pay raises could take effect, a committee in the Legislature had to approve them. Vos told the University of Wisconsin that the pay raises would be approved once the system voluntarily abandoned its DEI programs.

As he had done to Evers, Vos had outflanked University of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman. Despite Rothman’s support for DEI, he knew that his position was untenable, so he, too, surrendered and agreed to cut the DEI programs.

Specifically, he agreed that the university system would freeze all DEI hiring, move all DEI staffers to other positions, stop using diversity statements in student applications, and stop discriminating based on race, sexuality, and other identity characteristics in faculty hiring.

Vos got even more.

Rothman agreed that the Madison campus would create a professorship for the study of conservative thought and that all campuses would offer a course on free speech for undergraduates. Finally, the university system would elevate academic merit by automatically giving admission to all Wisconsin students who graduated in the top 5% of their high school classes, regardless of his or her race.

Despite Rothman’s agreement, the deal still had to make it through the liberal-controlled university board of regents, which rejected it. The regents thought that Vos’ attack was just a feint, and that he wasn’t serious about blocking the pay raises and building funds.

But Vos’ attack was serious.

“We are not changing one thing in this deal,” Vos said, before inviting the regents to walk away from it. They surrendered four days later and approved the whole deal.

Their love of money trumped their commitment to DEI. Vos saw this, and like an expert general, exploited it to secure an astonishing victory. It was a victory all the more astonishing, given that Vos’ Republican Party does not have complete control of the state government.

That was the art of legislating at its finest. Opponents of DEI in other statehouses should take note and—like Napoleon did of history’s greatest commanders—study and emulate it.




Wednesday, December 27, 2023

School Choice Is Under Siege in Chicago

School choice is very popular among Chicagoans. In fact, more than 60 percent of Windy City residents support school choice programs. On the other hand, only 33 percent of Chicagoans are satisfied with the city’s public schools.

With this being the case, one would assume that Chicago’s leaders would support measures to increase access to school choice, especially among the city’s minority population, who tend to be stuck in the city’s worst-performing schools.

However, the exact opposite is occurring.

Earlier this year, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson teamed with public school teacher unions to kill Illinois’ lone school choice program: The Invest in Kids Act.

In 2017, the Illinois Legislature passed the Invest in Kids Act, which granted more than 50,000 private school scholarships to households that have incomes below 300 percent of the federal poverty level. Most of the students who have received scholarships resided in Chicago. More than half were black or Hispanic. In other words, the Invest in Kids Act was specifically designed to lend a helping hand to families living in poverty-stricken neighborhoods, where local public schools are failing to keep students safe and academic achievement is lagging.

According to a recent poll, 63 percent of Illinois voters supported the Invest in Kids Act, including 67 percent of Independents and 60 percent of Democrats. Nearly seven in 10 black and Hispanic voters also supported the program, which will end at the close of 2023.

After the Invest in Kids Act was officially axed, the Chicago Teachers Union applauded the decision, calling it “a significant milestone in the fight for anti-racist, gender affirming, pro-immigrant, equitable and fully funded public schools.”

Then, Johnson and his teacher union allies set their sights on the last remaining school choice option for Chicagoans: The Selective Enrollment Program (SEP). In a nutshell, SEP “aims to provide high-achieving students with a challenging academic experience and admit students based on prior academic performance,” according to the University of Chicago.

Presently, approximately 10,000 minority students and more than 7,500 low-income students are enrolled in Chicago’s SEP. They can attend 11 high-performing high schools.

Katie Milewski, who has children enrolled in SEP, told NBC News Chicago, “The selective enrollment schools are one of the shining stars of CPS. They are actually something that CPS has done right. And it needs to be supported.”

Unfortunately, the SEP is also on the chopping block. On December 14, the Chicago Board of Education passed a resolution “that it will be embarking on the development of a new five-year vision.” Oh, great. Five-year plans always work out well.

Essentially, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) seeks to eliminate selective enrollment based on the ridiculous notion that “selective admission criteria… ultimately reinforces, rather than disrupts, cycles of inequity.” That is absolutely ludicrous. In truth, selective enrollment does the total opposite by allowing high-achieving minority students from low-income households to attend some of the city’s best public schools.

CPS’ new five-year plan is designed to demolish school choice by basically forcing all low-income Chicago families to attend the school CPS wants them to attend. This is all about power.

As CPS admits in the resolution, it aims to move away “from a model which emphasizes school choice to one that supports neighborhood schools by investing in and acknowledging them as institutional anchors in our communities, and by prioritizing communities most impacted by past and ongoing racial and economic inequity and structural disinvestment.”

After reading the entire resolution, I cannot help but notice the hyper-focus on non-academic, social justice-oriented crusades like the Equity Framework initiative, which aims to “create anti-racist solutions that address systemic disinvestment.”

Gee, how about focusing on teaching students to read, write, and perform basic math, which CPS has failed to do for decades? For far too long, CPS has been derelict in its duty to properly educate the next generation. Even worse, Chicago public schools are notoriously unsafe.

There is a reason why Chicagoans overwhelmingly favor school choice, and that is because the public education system is failing across the board. It seems to me that CPS is desperate. They see the writing on the wall, which emphatically says more and more Chicagoans desire school choice over the status quo. Of course, CPS, the teacher unions, and others will fight tooth-and-nail to maintain the status quo. However, it would certainly behoove politicians like Mayor Brandon Johnson to lend an ear to the people who voted him into office. Mr. Mayor, the people of Chicago want more, not less, school choice. ?


'Satan Club' approved at Kansas high school

A high school in Kansas is embroiled in controversy after a "Satan Club" was approved despite a petition being brought against it.

Olathe Northwest High School, a school in a suburb of Kansas City, has been given the green light to establish a Satan worship/Satan Templist Club, according to Fox 4 Kansas City.

An Olathe Public Schools spokesperson stated, "the club application met the criteria to establish a student-initiated club and is now recognized as a student-initiated club at Olathe Northwest High School."

According to the school district, there was criteria the club had to meet before the application was approved.

One of the terms of the application was that the application itself had to be signed by at least ten students interested in forming the group, while additional signatures needed to come from a student representative and faculty supervisor.

The students that would be the leaders of the club were also expected to make a presentation to administrators about what the group would bring to the high school.

A federal law, known as the Equal Access Act, prohibits public schools from discriminating against a student-initiated group based on a message that is philosophical or religious.

A spokesperson for the district told Fox 4 KC that this means if the school allows one club, it allows all clubs if the application process is complete and the group meets the guidelines for recognition.

In response to the school's announcement, a concerned student created a petition online called, "Stop The Satan Worship Club at Olathe Northwest," in early December.

"This deeply troubles me and many others in our community as we believe that schools should be places of education and growth, not platforms for satanic indoctrination or controversial practices," Drew McDonald, the creator of the petition wrote in a post.

As of Tuesday, the petition had gained 81 new signatures, bringing the total to nearly 7,800. However, it was not enough to keep the group from being approved by the school.

"As an Olathe resident, taxpayer, and Christian, I am appalled that something of this nature was even considered for a Olathe public school. The administrators, executives, teachers that allowed this to happen do not have the children's best interest in mind. This needs to be expunged immediately," one person commented on the petition.

"We urge the relevant authorities in Olathe, KS - school administrators, district officials and local representatives - to reconsider this decision. We believe it is not in the best interest of our children or community," McDonald wrote.

The Kansas high school is now the latest school to create a club like this.


Australia: Northern Territory Chief Minister Eva Lawler lashed over schools

Two of the Northern Territory’s most experienced educators are calling on new Chief Minister Eva Lawler to fix the schools crisis she failed to resolve when she led the Education Department, warning she was seen as a “same horse, different jockey” leader and had “no credibility” with Indigenous teachers and parents.

The former schoolteacher surprised Territorians last week when she was elected unanimously as Chief Minister by the Labor caucus, after Natasha Fyles quit over undisclosed shares in a mining company.

But The Australian previously revealed, during her time as education minister, one in five children was effectively unfunded, the majority of students failed to meet minimum standards of literacy and numeracy, and attendance rates were as low as 18.7 per cent.

Yipirinya School principal Gavin Morris said there was a “real danger” in the new NT leadership promoting the “same message” on education, particularly nine months before an election when the government’s focus tended to become shortsighted.

“It feels like we’ve got the same horse but a different jockey with Eva Lawler as Chief Minister,” said Dr Morris, also a councillor at Alice Springs Town Council. “Don’t just throw a different jockey on there and expect a change in results, it’s not going to happen.

“Given the state of education in the Territory, what’s the problem with the horse and why aren’t we addressing the underlying problems with the education system?”

The Australian’s NT Schools in Crisis series revealed an annual funding shortfall of $214.8m for Territory schools, with less than half of the NT Education Department’s $1.2bn budget going directly into school spending.

Dr Morris pointed to the “total ballsing up” of the $40.4m federal funding in the 2023-24 budget to improve Central Australian school attendance and education outcomes, of which, he said, they had “not seen a single cent”.

“The minister for education was totally left out of that conversation, and there’s been a disconnect between the NT government and the commonwealth, and we’ve had a huge fallout in terms of education … There’s no respect and recognition for the voice on the ground,” he said.

“Now that we’ve got an ex-school teacher and ex-minister for education in the top job, that whole sector needs to be held to higher standard … Ms Lawler needs to ensure that doesn’t happen again.”

Dr Morris said there needed to be more innovation in Central Australian schools to deal with disengagement, anti-social behaviour and youth crime. “Go and talk to people on frontlines who are innovating – Yipirinya is humbly one of those – and address the barriers to education and why kids are refusing to go to school in Central Australia,” he said.

“Also, resource schools appropriately to deal with that. One school councillor for every 500 students 20 years ago was acceptable, today that’s negligence.”

Gary Fry, who spent 23 years as a principal in the Northern Territory before he moved into academia in Queensland, said he didn’t hold much hope that Ms Lawler could turn around the “depressingly sad state of affairs” in education as Chief Minister.

“Labor has no depth if it’s seeking to elevate someone to Chief Minister of the most underperforming jurisdiction and the most educationally backward system in Australia, who denies that there’s even a problem in the education system,” he said. “Someone who has not acknowledged the true state of First Nations children in both urban and remote areas around the Territory.”

He referred to an interview on ABC Radio ­Darwin in September in which Ms Lawler, then education minister, said the Territory had a “very strong, very robust education system”. “Lawler doesn’t have any credibility for Aboriginal people in town, and people like me … She presided over the failed state of education and the economy,” Mr Fry said.

He said while one part of the story related to funding, the other was ideological. “How do you take children that are struggling and how can the education system liberate them so that they see the pathways in their life.”

Mr Fry, however, said appointing Mark Monaghan as Education Minister was positive and hoped he could “embark on an agenda of inclusive education, which means including Aboriginal people in decision-making, policy and program design”.

NT Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro said: “Eva Lawler’s mismanagement of the education system has resulted in an alarming decline in school attendance rates since 2016 under the Labor administration … The dire state of affairs continues with a concerning number of teacher injuries, unrecorded police callouts to schools, a high rate of student suspensions, and an alarming number of school break-ins.”




Sunday, December 24, 2023

NYC HS principal reassigned weeks after ‘radicalized’ students rioted over Jewish teacher attending pro-Israel rally

The principal of a Queens high school has been reassigned in the wake of a student riot against a Jewish teacher who had attended a pro-Israel rally, The Post has learned.

In a letter to staff and families, Hillcrest High School principal Scott Milczewski said he is leaving the Jamaica school for a new job in the city Department of Education bureaucracy.

“It is with mixed emotions that I inform you that I have been offered, and accepted, the position of Director of Teacher Development and Evaluation within the Division of Teaching and Learning,” he wrote.

The New York City Department of Education did not immediately comment on Milczewski’s reassignment.

Milczewski’s exit from the school comes in the wake of a riot where hundreds of kids rampaged through the halls of the high school last month, forcing the pro-Israeli teacher to hide in a locked office as the mob searched for her.

A Queens councilman called the students “intolerant and radicalized,” but teens said most classmates joined in the protest just for the fun of it. Four students who organized the riot were suspended.

The chaos ensued after the teacher’s Facebook profile photo showed her at a rally in Queens on Oct. 9 holding a poster saying, “I stand with Israel,” following the slaughter of 1,200 in the Jewish State by Hamas.

It took about 25 NYPD cops to put an end to the incident and place the school on lockdown, with Milczewski garnering criticism for failing to tackle the tensions being built up in the school over the Israel-Hamas war.

One teacher told The Post that Milczewski’s ouster was a positive outcome for the school.

“Hillcrest needed change. Hopefully, the new principal will address the needs of the faculty and students and bring us together as a community,” the teacher said.

Along with November’s riot, Milczewski’s tenure has been marred by controversy, with the former principal accused of dragging his feet to address an incident where swastikas were scrawled on student lockers back in February.

Earlier this month, Hillcrest had seen more swastikas pop up, along with graffiti saying “F–k Palestine,” which were quickly removed.

While Milczewski joined the school in 2019 after his predecessor, David Morrison, was ousted over allegations of misconduct. Milczewski will be leaving the high school after criticism from staff.

A no-confidence survey from the Hillcrest faculty reported that 87% of employees believed Milczewski has “created a toxic environment,” and put his ambitions over the needs of students and staff.

Despite the disapproval, Milczewski touted his work during his brief four years at the school and wished all the best to his students and coworkers.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity to have worked alongside you in support of our students and will remember and cherish my time as part of the Hillcrest family,” Milczewski wrote.


University Demoted Staffer From Diversity Position Over Her Race, Lawsuit Claims

A staff member at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire sued her employer claiming that she was demoted from her position in the school’s diversity office for “being white.”

According to the New York Post, staff member Rochelle Hoffman was previously promoted to interim director of the university’s Multicultural Student Services office. After this change occurred, allegedly, the school’s former Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Student Affairs Olga Diaz was told by students that a white woman should not be in the position (via NYP):

“You hired a white woman as the Interim Director?” one student was cited in a federal complaint against the university.

Per the complaint, another student asked, “Do you personally feel white staff can do as effective a job as a person of color, within a space for people of color?”

Hoffman said she felt compelled to resign last year after eight months of intense hostility and staff questioning her “legitimacy” after being promoted to interim director of the campus’s Multicultural Student Services office, the complaint states.


“Despite Hoffman’s exceptional qualifications, however, students, faculty and staff opposed her appointment to Interim Director of MSS solely because she was white,” the complaint claims. “It was exclusively Hoffman’s identity as white that was the issue; criticism was about her race and color, not her qualifications.”

In a statement to Fox News, the university said: “As is the case with all pending litigation, UW-Eau Claire will not offer a statement or comment on the lawsuit. UW-Eau Claire does not discriminate based on race in any employment decisions.”

According to Wisconsin Public Radio, Hoffman worked at the university's Bluegold Beginnings for six years before the promotion. The office served “underrepresented, low-income and first-generation college students.”

"The affinity model that had been in use at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire was premised on the idea that for a student to be well served, they needed to be assigned a coordinator of the same ethnic background and that a white person could not adequately support a student of color," the lawsuit reportedly claims. And, she allegedly faced retaliation after filing an earlier complaint with the university.

Hoffman reportedly “pleaded her case” with Republican state Sen. Patrick Testin.

"I think it is important for good educators to bring light to some of the blatant actions of racial discrimination against white folks that are happening at UW Universities — and contributing to the current hostile environment around the UW System,” she wrote. Hoffman now works as an academic advising coordinator for the university.

"This experience dragged out over 10 months and irrevocably damaged my career," Hoffman added. "On a regular basis there are great educators that are told they shouldn't occupy multicultural space, to check their white privilege, passed over for jobs for an outside candidate of color, and reminded they are 'inherently racist' because they are white."


Nation mourns Prague university shooting victims as more details emerge about killer David Kozak

Flags on public buildings flew at half mast and masses were scheduled across the Czech Republic for a day of national mourning after a deadly shooting at Prague’s Charles University – the worst in the country in decades.

Shooter David Kozak, a 24-year-old student, opened fire at the Faculty of Arts on Thursday, killing 13 people and then himself. Another person died later in hospital.

The gunfire sparked frantic scenes of students running from the attack.

The government asked Czechs to observe a minute’s silence at noon on Saturday and bells were due to ring on churches across the EU and NATO member country.

“It is hard to find the words to express condemnation on the one hand and, on the other, the pain and sorrow that our entire society is feeling in these days before Christmas,” said Prime Minister Petr Fiala.

Tearful students lit thousands of candles at makeshift memorials at the Faculty of Arts and the university headquarters near by.

The school, families and friends have also started to publish the names of the victims, students and teachers alike.

“This is extremely cruel news for us all,” the Institute of Musicology said on Facebook after learning its 49-year-old director Lenka Hlavkova, a mother of two, was among the victims.

Other victims included Finnish literature expert Jan Dlask and student Lucie Spindlerova.

The gunman also wounded 25 people including three who were hit by bullets in the street as he fired from a balcony.

A Dutch national and two citizens of the United Arab Emirates were among the wounded.

Interior Minister Vit Rakusan said there was no link between the shooting and “international terrorism” and that the perpetrator acted on his own.

But police have since detained four people either for threatening to copy the attack or for approving it.

Police guards at selected sites, including schools, will be in place at least until January 1, said Interior Minister Rakusan.

Police chief Martin Vondrasek said the gunman, previously unknown to the police, had a “huge arsenal of weapons and ammunition”.

He added that inspecting the crime scene was “the most shattering experience” in his 31 years of police service.

Kozak is suspected of randomly killing of a man and his baby in a dry-run of the Christmas massacre that left at least 13 dead and 25 injured. Fears are mounting the death toll could rise as the seriously wounded fight for survival.

As chilling footage emerged of a Prague hero drawing Kozak’s fire by yelling “Shoot here you f**ker”, police revealed Kozak was the prime suspect in the seemingly random murder of a 32-year-old and his two-month-old daughter a week earlier.

“We are working very seriously with the version, which is very real at the moment, that today’s attacker is also responsible for the two victims killed last Friday at Klanovice forest,” said Police Chief Martin Vondrasek

Authorities are also investigating comments on a Telegram account of a man with the same name saying he was inspired by a 14-year-old girl who carried out a school shooting in Russia on December 7.

Kozak began his massacre by killing his father before shooting dead another 12 in the centre of Prague and turning the weapon on himself.

Pictures and footage showed terrifying scenes of students hanging from ledges to hide and people on the street fleeing for their lives as the shooter is seen stalking victims from the roof of the campus.




Thursday, December 21, 2023

Missouri School District Assigns Roommates Based on Gender Identity Rather Than Biology

A Missouri school district’s procedure on overnight trips stipulates that students will be assigned to room with others of the sex they identify with, meaning that biological males who identify as female will be assigned to sleep in the same room as girls.

Room assignments for field trips should be same-sex, with sex being “determined by how the student identifies,” Webster Groves High School Assistant Principal Dwight Kirksey said in an email, according to public documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and obtained by The Daily Signal.

Shane Williamson, director of the school’s diversity, equity, and inclusion office, asked Kirksey how to handle the room assignment for a student whose “gender identity and sex assigned at birth do not match” for an overnight trip to retreat center Camp Wyman in September 2022.

Webster Groves School District, located in the suburbs of St. Louis, has taken students on trips to Camp Wyman in Eureka, Missouri, for 75 years. The retreat center provides a “DEI Word Bank” on its website with terms including “antiracist,” “intersectionality,” “unconscious bias,” “homophobia,” and “transgender.”

Camp Wyman did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment.

Other school districts with similar rooming policies have led to male and female students being told to sleep in the same bed. Jefferson County Public Schools in Colorado assigned an 11-year-old girl to share a bed with a male student who identifies as a transgender girl while on a cross-country school trip. Her parents filed a lawsuit on Dec. 4.

When asked about the practice revealed in the emails, Webster Groves Communications Director Derek Duncan told The Daily Signal the district seeks to maximize inclusivity.

“We do not have a policy regarding situations such as that, but we have processes in place that prioritize inclusivity while respecting personal privacy,” Duncan said. “Our goal is to create a safe and supportive environment for all students.”

Webster Groves School District, which enrolls almost 4,500 students, applied its room assignment policy in February 2023 regarding a high school trip abroad.

Social studies teacher Betty Roberts said in an email that she spoke with Kirksey about the sexual identity-based policy, but she wondered how to know how students identify.

“I am looking for guidance on how to know how students identify, how to collect that information, and how to protect student privacy in the process,” she said in the email to Kirksey and Williamson.

Williamson replied with suggested wording for a Google form to determine students’ preferred sex to room with.

“I reworded the gender identity question because I do not want transgender students to feel like they will be forced to stay based on their gender identity,” Williamson said.

Questions on the revised roommate questionnaire include “Student last and first name,” “Preferred name,” and roommate requests. Williamson’s recommended form asks students to “Please share your gender identity because this information is also taken into consideration for room assignments.”

Kirksey and Williamson did not respond to The Daily Signal’s requests for comment.

Webster Groves has no board-approved policy on transgender roommate assignments, so most parents are not aware that biological males and females could be forced to share a room on an overnight field trip.

Martin Bennet, secretary and treasurer of the St. Louis County Family Association, the education advocacy nonprofit that conducted the Freedom of Information Act request, told The Daily Signal that parents should be alarmed about the district’s policies.

“Most any parent does not want their child sleeping with a child from the opposite biological sex and would recoil at the thought,” he said. “I advise parents to no longer assume that commonsense practices prevail in suburban schools since many suburban school districts have fully embraced critical theory and social justice ideologies.”


Chicago Schools Choose Mediocrity

“It is far easier for governments to handicap the proficient than it is to better the circumstances of people who, for whatever reason, struggle through life.”

So said National Review’s Noah Rothman as he observed “the perversity of the ‘equity’ agenda and its hostility toward” American exceptionalism, in this case in the Chicago public schools.

Unlike cities such as Baltimore, which is known for its failing schools, Chicago allows gifted students to submit applications to a group of 11 selective-admission high schools intended to support academic achievement via the city’s robust school choice menu. Selective admission is part of an overall school choice program that began three decades ago and was intended to serve as a method for seventh graders who did well enough on standardized testing and their grades to enroll in a school that focused on academic achievement. Indeed, three of these selective high schools rank among the top 60 achieving schools in the country. Yet any student in the Chicago Public School system, no matter how poor and wretched their upbringing, has an opportunity to be part of these schools via a competitive process, much like the best colleges. Imagine the joy felt by a single mom — a mom who’s fighting against the temptations that gang life has for her son — when she finds out that her young man made the grade for a school that could get him out of the ‘hood.

Unfortunately for students coming up the middle school ranks, that’s been deemed unfair by Chicago’s aptly named Mayor Brandon Johnson. Despite his campaign promise to keep those schools in operation, his appointed school board — along with the teachers union whispering in its ear every step of the way — voted for a proposal to eliminate the successful gifted and talented program. Instead, students who make it to high school will be automatically enrolled in the school serving their home district in order to reverse the “stratification and inequity in CPS” that “drive(s) student enrollment away from neighborhood schools.”

“This moment,” said CPS Board President Jianan Shi, “requires a transformational plan that shifts away from a model that emphasizes school choice to one that elevates our neighborhood schools to ensure each and every student has access to a high-quality educational experience.” This despite the fact that caring parents had a tried-and-true system to advance their child and perhaps break the cycle of poverty plaguing them. Neighborhood schools have had decades to be “elevated,” but since they could not or would not do so, parents voted with their child’s enrollment: More than three-fourths of high school students in Chicago attend a high school outside their district.

Shi’s “progressive” solution — to end the pursuit of individual excellence in favor of the pursuit of mass mediocrity for the district’s 330,000 students — seems almost insidious, especially given that the district’s makeup is 90% minority. Born in Communist China, Shi seems to have brought the proletariat teachings of Karl Marx and Mao Zedong to one of our nation’s largest school districts.

While the Johnson administration desires “equity,” it’s likely this change will have the opposite effect. “It’s poor students who are academically gifted and rely on their grades, coursework, and standardized test scores to rise to the top who will be limited,” states Zachary Faria at the Washington Examiner. “Those students also happen to be racial minorities, meaning Chicago is only going to make its racial inequity worse as it drags those students down.”

This is yet another example of how elections matter. Back in May, Chicago ousted former Mayor Lori Lightfoot in a jungle primary, leaving a choice between Johnson and fellow Democrat Paul Vallas. The latter was an interesting choice as a “law and order” Democrat who was also a former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, but he lost as Johnson scored 51.4% of the vote in the runoff. There’s no guarantee that a Mayor Vallas would not have done the same thing with the selective admission schools, but having run CPS, he probably knew how well the program worked at improving the lives of those whose parent(s) cared enough to make them mind their academics.

Instead, the city will further mediocrity in the name of “equity,” and the youth — who already run a significant risk of being innocent victims in Chicago’s continuing (yet all but ignored by the national media) crossfire of gang-related youth violence — will have one more strike against them.


Australia: Schools and the politics of envy

One of the defining moments of the 2004 federal election was Mark Latham’s hit list of wealthy non-government schools and John Howard’s success in describing the ALP policy as the politics of envy. Jason Clare, the Minister for Education, is making the same mistake.

In response to a recently released report titled Improving Outcomes For All commissioned by Clare, he argues, ‘The growing gap between the rich and poor, largely as a result of segregation, based on wealth into government and non-government schools was unacceptable.’

Based on the argument that poor students are always disadvantaged, Clare also argues ‘we have one of the most segregated school systems in the OECD. Not by the colour of your skin, but by the size of your parents’ pay packet’.

Based on the assumption that school choice, where parents have the right to decide where their children are educated, is inequitable and unjust, Clare’s report offers 10 interventions calculated to level the playing field and ensure all schools, especially non-government, embrace socio-economic diversity and difference.

Reforms include legislated quotas ‘with penalties for noncompliance’, stopping non-government schools from charging fees and forcing them into the state system, stopping schools from selecting students on academic ability, and offering incentives to ‘quality educators’ to teach in disadvantaged schools.

After admitting there is no one solution to solve the issue of segregation the report argues all schools, government and non-government, must be involved to ensure all students, regardless of postcode or wealth, ‘have pathways to enrol in high-quality schooling’.

While justified in terms of equity and fairness by forcing schools to enrol students from a diverse range of home backgrounds, the report denies school choice, reduces all schools to the one level of mediocrity and state control, and stops schools charging fees and controlling who they enrol.

Since the heady days of the late 1960s, schools have been a key target in the cultural-left’s long march through the institutions. Drawing on the sociology of education movement, the argument is schools are complicit in reproducing capitalist hierarchies and concepts like meritocracy are social constructs reinforcing privilege.

Drawing on cultural-Marxism, prominent academics argue schools must be captured if the socialist dream of ‘from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs’ is to be achieved.

Victoria’s Premier, Joan Kirner, argued at a Fabian meeting, schools must be ‘part of the socialist struggle for equality, participation and social change rather than in instrument of the capitalist system’.

The Australian Education Union for decades has characterised Australian society as riven with social injustice and inequality, argued Catholic and independent schools don’t deserve funding, and government schools serving low socioeconomic communities must be given priority.

The flaws in Minister Clare’s attack on so-called wealthy and privileged parents who choose non-government schools are manifest. International covenants and agreements endorse parental choice and argue parents must not be discriminated against because of where they enrol their children.

Given the Woke, extreme secularist nature of government schools and education departments pushing neo-Marxist inspired gender and sexuality theories, climate alarmism, critical race and postcolonial theories, plus identity politics, it is especially vital religious parents are free to choose.

Underlying the billions of dollars wasted as a result of the Gonski funding review, proven by international and NAPLAN tests results either flatlining or going backwards, is the myth a student’s socioeconomic background is the key determinant explaining success or failure.

While promulgating the SES myth fits the socialist belief society is structurally classist and investing more in schools serving disadvantaged communities will remedy the problem, the reality is the opposite.

Research undertaken by one of Australia’s leading education experts and psychometricians Gary Marks concludes SES accounts for 10-16 per cent when explaining outcomes. Analysis undertaken as part of the PISA test makes the same point when concluding SES contributes 15 per cent to test results.

More important factors include disciplined classrooms and setting high expectations, having a rigorous and teacher friendly curriculum, ensuring what happens in the classroom is effective and that teachers are subject experts supported by parents.

Contrary to the myth parents’ wealth is the major factor, research proves student ability and motivation are also keys to educational success. Research puts the impact of genetic inheritance at between 50 to 67 per cent and explains why working-class students are not always destined to under achieving.

Attacking Catholic and independent schools also fails the financial literacy test. On average while government school students receive $20,940 in government funding the figure for students attending non-government schools is $12,442.

Parents paying non-government school fees save state, territory, and commonwealth governments billions each and every year plus their taxes also support government schools. Proven by year 12 results, it’s also true non-government schools, with the exception of selective schools, consistently outperform government schools.

The Albanese government’s record of electorally disastrous polices include the Indigenous Voice, rocketing energy prices caused by climate alarmism, unacceptable rates of immigration and holding small businesses to account with its union-friendly industrial relations regime. Add school choice and school funding to the list.




Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Previous Allegations of Plagiarism Against Harvard's President Just the Tip of the Iceberg

Just another lamebrain affirmative action beneficiary. Prominent Blacks seem to have a problem with plagiarism. Martin Luther King and Barack Obama did too

Harvard President Claudine Gay may have thought she was through the worst of the storm brought about by her disastrous testimony before House lawmakers in a hearing on antisemitic incidents on campuses and amid allegations of plagiarism in her scholarly work, but a new complaint is again casting doubt on her ability to continue leading the formerly great institution of higher education after Harvard Corporation released a statement standing by its embattled lead.

As it turns out, the previous claims of plagiarism by Gay may have been just the tip of the iceberg, and a new complaint received on Tuesday alleges a total of more than 40 cases of plagiarism in publications comprising "almost half of her scholarly output."

Our friends over at the Washington Free Beacon reviewed and independently verified the new complaint against President Gay, as well as the identity of the person who lodged the new allegations: "a professor at another university...who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation."

More from WFB's Aaron Sibarium:

The new allegations, which were submitted to Harvard's research integrity officer, Stacey Springs, include the examples reported by the Washington Free Beacon and other outlets, as well as dozens of additional cases in which Gay quoted or paraphrased authors without proper attribution, according to a copy of the complaint reviewed by the Free Beacon. They range from missing quotation marks around a few phrases or sentences to entire paragraphs lifted verbatim.

The full list of examples spans seven of Gay's publications—two more than previously reported—which comprise almost half of her scholarly output. Though the Harvard Corporation said earlier this month that it initiated an independent review Gay's work in October and found "no violation of Harvard's standards for research misconduct," that probe focused on just three papers.

"[I]t is impossible that your office has already reviewed the entirety of these materials," the complaint reads, "as many … have not been previously reported or submitted."

All allegations of faculty plagiarism must be reviewed by Harvard's research integrity officer, according to the school's official policies, and if deemed credible are referred for further investigation. A guilty finding can result in a range of consequences—including "suspension," "rank reduction," and "termination of employment."

The 37-page complaint can be viewed here and includes some eyebrow-raising allegations that were previously unreported, including one example that appears to show Gay plagiarizing language from someone else's dedication to use in her own dissertation's dedication.

Carol Swain, one of the scholars whose work was allegedly plagiarized by Gay and whose work is again referenced in the new complaint, wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed after the initial round of allegations came to light that "[t]enure at a top-tier institution normally demands ground-breaking originality; her work displays none."

"Harvard can’t condemn Ms. Gay because she is the product of an elite system that holds minorities of high pedigree to a lower standard," Swain continued. "This harms academia as a whole, and it demeans Americans, of all races, who had to work for everything they earned."


The Indoctrinated Generation

The latest Harvard/Harris poll should be setting off alarm bells EVERYWHERE. In Congress, in faith communities, in corporate boardrooms, in newsrooms, in academia and in living rooms across the country.

The poll found that young Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 are rabidly anti-Israel and anti-Semitic, and have largely accepted some of the worst narratives of the left. Bizarre stuff that most of us would just laugh off, they have to believe as “true.”

For example:

79% supported the ideology of critical race theory (CRT) and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) that defines all white people as “oppressors” and gives preference to non-white people for university admission and employment as a result of white “oppression.”

67% of young Americans said that Jews were “oppressors” and should be treated as such.

When asked about the future of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, 51% said that Israel should be ended and given to Hamas.

These young Americans are embracing nation-ending ideologies — and I’m not just referring to the nation of Israel. America will not survive this either.

There should be serious top-level meetings of business executives, political leaders and religious leaders who care about there being a place called “America” in the future.

America is being “deconstructed” right in front of our eyes. We need a plan to defeat this neo-Marxist indoctrination now!

Being for CRT and DEI means you disagree with the fundamental idea that America is built on merit and that you achieve success based on what you are able to add and produce.

Yes, there were times when we didn’t always do that fairly because of racism. Well, overt racism has been illegal for a long time now. But the left is teaching that whites must be discriminated against now because of past racism.

That’s exactly what Ibram X. Kendi teaches. Sadly, many young Americans are soaking up this poison.

As a result of this ideological extremism, many parents are likely ashamed of what their children think about Israel and Jews. Our high schools and colleges would make Adolf Hitler proud.

We won World War II, but the National Socialists (Nazis) have won America’s classrooms.


British Schools no longer have to use transgender pupils' preferred pronouns

Teachers and pupils will not be pressure into using preferred pronouns and parents will be told if their child is socially transitioning, new government guidance has said.

The Department for Education said parents should not be excluded from a school’s decision relating to children asking to change names, pronouns and clothing.

Schools and colleges in England have also been told there is no general duty to allow children to change their gender identity.

The long-awaited draft guidance, which will be subject to a 12-week consultation, says teachers should still be able to refer to children collectively as girls or boys.

It adds schools should provide separate toilets for boys and girls aged eight and above, and changing rooms and showers for boys and girls who are aged 11 years or over.
The guidance says: ‘All children should use the toilets, showers and changing facilities designated for their biological sex unless it will cause distress for them to do so.

‘In these instances, schools and colleges should seek to find alternative arrangements, while continuing to ensure spaces are single-sex.’

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: ‘This guidance puts the best interests of all children first, removing any confusion about the protections that must be in place for biological sex and single-sex spaces, and making clear that safety and safeguarding for all children must always be schools’ primary concern.

‘Parents’ views must also be at the heart of all decisions made about their children, and nowhere is that more important than with decisions that can have significant effects on a child’s life for years to come.’

Kemi Badenoch, minister for women and equalities, said: ‘This guidance is intended to give teachers and school leaders greater confidence when dealing with an issue that has been hijacked by activists misrepresenting the law.

‘It makes clear that schools do not have to accept a child’s request to socially transition, and that teachers or pupils should not be pressured into using different pronouns.’




Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Students rejecting early Harvard acceptance as antisemitism stigma plagues Ivy League institution

A place at Harvard used to be something to boast about — now students fear it’s a stigma.

Early applicants who received acceptance letters from the university last week are considering applying elsewhere, The Post has learned.

Some are citing concerns about experiencing campus antisemitism, while others worry a Harvard degree could hurt job prospects as employers pledge not to hire its graduates because of the university’s handling of anti-Israel protests.

This year, the school reported a 17% drop in early applications, representing a four-year low. And their acceptance rate creeped up to 8.7% from 7.6% last year.

One driver, according to college admissions consultant Christopher Rim, is students concerned that they may get tainted by the storm around the college’s antisemitism problem.

“I think it’s current events at play,” Rim told The Post. “They’re getting the worst PR ever right now.”

Thirty Harvard student groups sparked outrage in October by signing a letter saying Israel was “entirely responsible” for the October 7 attacks, while the university’s president Claudine Gay has faced pressure to resign after she testified to Congress about campus antisemitism and was forced to apologize afterwards for her disastrous performance.

Rim, who is the founder and CEO of Command Education, says every single one of his clients who applied early to Harvard this year were accepted — but that not all of them are satisfied.

“Normally, once you get into Harvard, my team and I are done. We’re like great, it’s a success, congratulations, goodbye,” Rim said.

But one particular client’s family wasn’t celebrating. Instead of taking their offer from Harvard, the student is now scrambling to send applications to the remaining Ivy League schools, Stanford, MIT, and Emory.

The student, who is not Jewish, is applying elsewhere over concerns that going to Harvard might hurt employment prospects.

Rim was shocked: “I was like, ‘Why would you do Emory if you’ve already gotten into Harvard?’”

The student cited billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman’s tirade against Harvard over antisemitism — as well as dozens of CEOs’ commitment not to hire Harvard Students who blamed Israel for Hamas’s attack.

Similarly, a boutique law firm halted on-campus recruiting at Harvard, and even Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy pledged not to hire a Harvard graduate ever again.

“This was the first time this concern has ever come up with a client,” Rim said. “They told me, ‘I just don’t like that attention on Harvard if it’s going to hurt my child’s chances of getting the right job in the future.’”

But, even though the school is losing applicants, Rim says Harvard seems to be spinning the news as a positive.

“Harvard really touted the increased acceptance rate…,” he said. “I think they want to distance themselves from their image as stuffy, elitist and selective because of all the bad press they’ve been getting.”

While Harvard hemorrhages applicants, other schools are absorbing the overflow.

This year early college applications soared by 41%, as compared with the 2019 admissions cycle.

Yale saw its lowest early acceptance rate in over 20 years. Meanwhile, Rim reports Duke, in Durham, North Carolina, and Emory, in Atlanta, Georgia, are popular with students seeking alternatives to the Ivy League.

Duke reported 1,000 more applicants than any previous early decision round, a remarkable 28% increase from last year.

“The second tier schools are becoming even more viable options, so their acceptance rates are going to continue to drop,” Rim projected.

Several of Rim’s own clients changed up their early applications in the wake of campus antisemitism.

One who decided not to apply early to Cornell after a student made violent threats against Jewish classmates just received an admissions offer from Stanford, where they applied early instead.

Another client submitted his binding early decision application to Cornell before the October 7th attacks took place. He just got a binding acceptance but has already contacted Rim to discuss transfer options for next year.

“It’s a binding contract, so the student is stuck,” Rim explained. “How was he supposed to know all of this would happen?”

But some other students are wishing they had applied to Harvard early now that the school appears to be getting less selective.

Rim says multiple clients have expressed regrets that they didn’t capitalize on the 17% drop.

That’s why he anticipates Harvard’s early application numbers will probably recover — especially since Harvard offers a non-binding early action application.

“I do think there are going to be more applications [next year],” Rim suggested. “If you feel like you have a better chance, why not go for it?”


This year, give the gift that keeps on giving — a real education for our kids

Admit it. Unless you received a big-ticket item for Christmas last year — such as a car — you likely have forgotten what was under your tree. Most gifts wear out, break or are given or thrown away at some point.

What if you could give a gift that would literally keep on giving and continue to influence the lives of others for generations to come?

Would that be worth more than material stuff?

Such an opportunity exists through the Children’s Scholarship Fund, which has been helping especially low-income parents have a choice and children a chance to have a better education and a better life.

I am a regular contributor to CSF and have seen the difference it has made in the lives of children, many of whom were locked in failing public schools thanks to certain politicians and teachers unions that oppose school choice for strictly political reasons while some hypocritically send their kids to private schools.

Illinois recently and cynically refused to continue funding a popular school-choice program in the state that was benefiting 9,600 low-income kids. It expires Dec. 31.

CSF is showing positive results.

President and CEO Darla Romfo says during just the current academic year scholarships are being provided to 33,945 students nationwide.

In New York City alone, CSF is providing scholarships to more than 7,000 children this year.

They are attending more than 200 low-tuition private independent and faith-based schools in all five city boroughs.

The graduation rate for scholarship recipients beats those from public schools.

Romfo notes 96.2% of CSF alumni in New York report graduating high school on time.

I would argue they likely receive a better education than the 83.7% of public-school graduates.

With the exception of Illinois, school choice is sweeping the nation.

Just this year 10 states expanded or passed new education-savings-accounts programs, allowing money to follow a child to a private school, home school or micro-school or to be used for education expenses such as tutoring.

Letters from grateful parents are heartwarming.

Here are just two of hundreds.

Amanda, the mother of CSF Scholar Matthew, wrote this: “When Matthew and I talk about how much we appreciate this award, I use the opportunity to remind him that as a recipient, we are grateful that he will be offered the opportunities to reach his full potential. But most importantly, I remind him that one day . . . he will be able to help someone else and make a difference and an investment in their — and our — collective futures.”

And this from Laticia, who wrote to tell about her daughter, Laya: “I would like to say thank you for believing in my daughter and giving her an opportunity for a better chance at life. We will not let you down. . . . It means the world to our family.”

What gift could mean more to the receiver and the giver than this?

Having the opportunity to change a life for the better now and for many years into the future beats anything you can buy in a store or online that will soon be gone and forgotten.


Pennsylvania School District Does Damage Control After Memo to Bus Drivers Goes Viral

A Pennsylvania school is attempting to do damage control after issuing a memo instructing bus drivers to remove Christmas decorations from their vehicles, stop wearing anything related to the holiday, and avoid playing Christmas music.

“If you have decorated your bus with anything specific to the Christmas Holiday or any other decorations relating to a specific religion, please remove them immediately,” read the Dec. 15 memo from the Transportation Supervisor at the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District. “In addition, employees are instructed not to wear clothing related to Christmas or any other religious holiday.”

District offices and bus drivers are also “to refrain from playing Christmas music” or any music connected to a particular religion.

Libs of TikTok pointed out the district took a different attitude toward “Pride Month.”

After the memo went viral, the district tried to claim the memo was a misunderstanding, telling Fox29 the message was "not clear." Holiday displays are not banned, their statement to the outlet said, emphasizing that employees should strive to create an "inclusive environment."