Friday, January 06, 2023

Econo-linguism: The correlation between language and wealth

I personally am rather interested in foreign languages. As is my Serbian partner. I have minor qualifications in three of them. But I don't think it is clear that anybody is rich BECAUSE he speaks another language. I think it is more likely that a third factor (such as IQ) is at work: i.e. rich people are the sort of people who are likely to speak another language.

And in any case, the findings below are slim warrant for teaching or studying another language in High School. A much better case could be made to teach another languge in the grade-school years -- when another language is most easily acquired

Do people who speak more than one language earn more money?
When Forbes released its World Billionaire List for 2022, it became apparent that a pattern could be detected: many of the billionaires were able to speak a second language. In fact, we were able to determine that a staggering 32% of the richest people in the world can speak another language.

Establishing this was achieved by focusing on the languages that these billionaires speak, as some seemed to be more popular than others – but why is this? Are some languages more useful when it comes to being financially successful than others? Do job roles asking for bilingual people tend to pay more than those that don’t?

To answer these burning questions, we analysed whether there was a connection between the languages spoken by the richest people in the world and their wealth, as well as utilising Numbeo and The World Happiness Index to see if richer, ‘happier’ countries came with languages deemed useful in the workplace.

We then focused on the top-paying jobs on LinkedIn and Glassdoor to establish whether particular languages are requested for specific job titles, as well as whether they come with healthier salaries. After all of this, we were truly able to determine whether it pays to know a second language.

Do the richest people on the planet speak more than one language?

Unsurprisingly, at the top of the list sits Tesla mogul Elon Musk, with a net worth of a staggering $219,000,000,000 (£181bn). However, despite regularly being the wealthiest person on earth, Elon does not speak a second language. Third on the list was Benard Arnault, chief executive of LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton SE who is worth a whopping $158,000,000,000 (£130bn).

His first language is French, but he can also speak English, German and Italian. With Germany sitting as the third richest country in the world and the UK ranking fifth on the same list, it is not surprising that the billionaire opted to learn these languages. As Italy is hailed as a country that is rich in culture, art and history, learning the native language also makes a lot of sense for the investor and art collector.

Third on the list is Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, with a net worth of $107,000,000,000 (£88bn). While English is his first language, the entrepreneur also speaks Russian. Steve Ballmer, 10th on the rich list, is worth $91,400,000,000 (£75bn) and speaks French as well as his first language, English. A recent article detailed that a speech done entirely in French by the Internet giant left Finance Minister Christine Lagarde ‘impressed’, along with a permanent legal residency in France.

32% of the world’s richest people speak a second language
Mukesh Ambani, director of Reliance Industries Ltd and worth $90,700,000,000 (£75.2bn), comes in at 11th on the list. With Gujarati as his first language, the billionaire has managed to forge immense success – unsurprising as this dialect is spoken by over 46 million people, across India, the United States and the UK. As his second language, he also speaks English.

Michael Bloomberg, 13th on the list and worth $82,000,000,000 (£68bn), speaks English as his first language and Spanish as his second. Our data revealed that the top languages spoken by billionaires on this list were Chinese, French and Spanish – which is unsurprising, as China is the third largest country in the world. Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook and worth $67,300,000,000 (£55.8bn) speaks Chinese as his second language. With so many financial possibilities in this country, it is obvious that billionaires would want to be able to make deals there as efficiently as possible.


CDC Urges Teachers, Administrators, School Nurses to Adopt LGBT Curriculum, Endorse Transgender Identity

Just days after Christmas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention republished a “self-assessment tool” urging teachers, administrators, school health staff, and others to become an “awesome ally” by advocating for LGBT causes in school.

The document cites multiple LGBT activist groups, including a division of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

The CDC did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment about the document, which it originally published in October 2020.

“School administrators: Our LGBTQ inclusivity self-assessment tool can help you quickly gauge inclusivity at your school,” the CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health posted on Twitter on Tuesday. “See your score today and learn ways to increase inclusivity.”

The document, “LGBTQ Inclusivity in Schools: A Self-Assessment Tool,” appears on the CDC’s youth website in a section “For Schools” and under the drop-down “Tools for Supporting LGBTQ Youth.”

“Schools play a critical role in supporting the health and academic development of all youth, including the success of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) youth,” the document states. “Creating and sustaining inclusive school environments, policies, programs, and practices that include LGBTQ youth is one strategy for improving the health and academic success of all youth.”

The document notes that it includes resources from nongovernmental organizations “focused on improving school inclusivity” and that the resources do not represent the CDC’s official opinion. The document further notes that the self-assessment tool is optional, not required, but it touts the document as “a focused, reasonable, and user-friendly approach to identify strategies to increase LGBTQ inclusivity in schools.”

The tool includes four assessments, one each for all users, administrators, educators, and school health services staff. The tool includes three scores: “Commit to Change,” “Beginning to Break Through,” and “Awesome Ally.”

The general self-assessment encourages education leaders to adopt certain mindsets, such as “I cannot assume a student’s gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation,” and urges them to adopt “inclusive” terminology, such as “using individuals’ chosen names/pronouns” and rejecting terms like “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” for “neutral terms” like “partner.”

It also encourages leaders to “advocate for LGBTQ inclusive and affirming materials in all school and classroom environments” and to participate in the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance.

This section also lists resources from activist groups such as GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign, and PFLAG, along with the infamous “Gender Unicorn” graphic presenting biological sex as inherently different from gender identity.

The next section encourages administrators to alter their school health policies to include explicit anti-bullying and nondiscrimination policies for LGBTQ students, to allow “students to use the bathroom/locker room which aligns to their chosen gender,” to allow students to alter their paperwork “to present their chosen name and pronouns, rather than their legal name,” and to allow students “access to age-appropriate LGBTQ content and information.” It also encourages administrators to let teachers “develop LGBTQ inclusive curricula” and to support teachers attending LGBTQ trainings.

The document encourages educators to put up “visual labels” such as “rainbow flags, pink triangles, unisex bathroom signs” marking a classroom as “a safe space for LGBTQ students.” It urges them to teach with “LGBTQ inclusive” content and to attend LGBT trainings.

The document also urges teachers to “describe anatomy and physiology separate from gender (e.g., ‘a body with a penis’ and ‘a body with a vagina’).”

Finally, the document urges health services staff to set up “visual labels” to demonstrate support for LGBT causes in the school’s clinic, to offer intake forms with separate sections for “gender identity and sex at birth,” to use students’ chosen names and pronouns, to offer “LGBTQ-specific health pamphlets” at the school clinic, to “describe anatomy and physiology separate from gender,” and to attend LGBT trainings.

Although the CDC document insists the “self-assessment” is voluntary and does not represent an endorsement of LGBT activist groups, it encourages teachers, administrators, and health staff to endorse LGBT activist symbols, consult with LGBT activist organizations, and change school policies in an LGBT activist direction.

Parents have urged schools to remove certain books from libraries, such as Maia Kobabe’s “Gender Queer: A Memoir.” Although the book includes pictures of sexual acts between a boy and a man, a Fairfax County Public Schools committee defended the book, saying it depicts “difficulties nonbinary and asexual individuals may face.” The committee concluded that “the book neither depicts nor describes pedophilia,” but parents have contested this assertion.

While the CDC document does not reference “Gender Queer,” it does cite Teaching Tolerance, a project of the left-leaning SPLC which has since rebranded itself as Learning for Justice. According to critics, the SPLC brands mainstream conservative and Christian organizations “hate groups,” putting them on a map with chapters of the Ku Klux Klan. In 2012, a man used the SPLC “hate map” to target the Family Research Council in a terrorist attack. He was convicted of terrorism.

As I note in my book, “Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center,” the SPLC fired its co-founder and had its president resign amid a racial discrimination and sexual harassment scandal in 2019. During that scandal, a former SPLC staffer admitted that the organization’s accusations of “hate” are a “cynical fundraising scam” aimed at “bilking Northern liberals.”

The CDC did not respond to questions regarding its decision to cite the SPLC.

The CDC also did not respond to questions about how it might defend the LGBT “self-assessment tool” as a necessary health measure. It also did not respond to questions regarding its apparent endorsement of transgender ideology.

While many national health organizations support experimental transgender medical interventions in the name of “gender-affirming care,” medical organizations both in the U.S. and around the world are reversing course. The Florida Board of Medicine and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine last month approved a new rule banning puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and transgender surgeries for minors.

Karolinska Hospital in Sweden announced in May 2021 that it would not prescribe hormonal treatments to minors under 16. In June 2021, Finland released medical guidelines opposing such drugs for minors, noting: “Cross-sex identification in childhood, even in extreme cases, generally disappears during puberty.” In April 2021, Britain’s National Institute of Health and Care Excellence concluded that the evidence for using puberty-blocking drugs to treat young people is “very low” and that existing studies of the drugs were small and “subject to bias and confounding.”

The CDC also did not respond to concerns that the document represents activism in the name of promoting public health. The agency also declined to comment on whether it would consider promoting alternative materials from organizations that do not endorse LGBT activism.


DeSantis Takes Aim at ‘Diversity, Equity, Inclusion’ Efforts on Florida College Campuses

Florida’s combative Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, a possible presidential contender, is poised to ramp up his battle against so-called woke ideology on college campuses, if a letter his office sent to the bosses of the state’s college and university systems is any indication.

The letter, sent just before the New Year to the state’s education commissioner, Manny Diaz, and to the chancellor of the state university system, Ray Rodrigues, said the governor’s office was preparing budget proposals ahead of the 2023 legislative session and requested data “regarding the expenditures of state resources on programs and initiatives related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and critical race theory within our state colleges and universities.”

The letter requested data on the number of staff attached to such programs, the funding spent by each university to support such programs, and the portion of that spending that comes from state sources. The universities were given until January 13 to turn over the information.

Mr. DeSantis has in the past made no bones about his beef with the leftward drift of Florida’s public schools, at both the primary and secondary levels, and what he calls the “indoctrination” of students in the state. His “Stop Woke” act, which has been challenged in court, was aimed at racial instruction in public schools, and a subsequent Parental Rights in Education Act took aim at sexual instruction and gender ideology in lower grades. Now, he appears to be setting his sights more urgently on higher education.

In his second inaugural speech on Tuesday, the governor made clear his intentions. “We must ensure school systems are responsive to parents and to students, not partisan interest groups, and we must ensure that our institutions of higher learning are focused on academic excellence and the pursuit of truth, not the imposition of trendy ideology,” Mr. DeSantis said.

Florida’s state university system consists of 12 universities spread across the state, among them Florida Atlantic University, Florida International University, Florida State, and the flagship University of Florida at Gainesville. The request for information from his office was also directed at the leadership of the 28 community and state colleges that make up the Florida College System.

The universities alone in Florida’s state system had an operating budget of $14.3 billion for the 2021-22 school year, a number that is expected to increase to $14.8 billion for 2022-23. About $2.7 billion of that budget comes from state sources, according to the Florida Department of Education. How much of that expenditure goes toward programs revolving around diversity, equity, and inclusion is unclear from the publicly available budget documents.

A recent study by the conservative Heritage Foundation, though, made the case that university spending on diversity and related programs has swollen in recent years, to the point that there are now more staff devoted to these programs on many campuses than there are, for example, history professors. At the University of Michigan alone, the study found, there are more than 163 staffers dedicated to the programs.

A scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who has also studied the issue, Max Eden, welcomed the Florida governor’s effort to shed light on the topic. Republicans, he said, are coming around to the notion that “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” is merely a marketing term for “Applied Critical Race Theory.”

“There is no public interest in funding personnel or programs that aim to impose a divisive and intellectually stultifying orthodoxy on institutions of higher education. Hopefully DeSantis’s request is an opening move toward defunding DEI on campus,” Mr. Eden told the Sun. “Republicans should have taken the initiative on this a decade ago, but hopefully DeSantis's leadership will, as it has before, spur copycat efforts in other states.”

Some members of the faculty and staff at the Florida colleges and universities — as well as Democratic lawmakers in Tallahassee — are not on board with Mr. DeSantis’s request, however. The head of United Faculty of Florida, a teachers’ union that has sued to block several of Mr. DeSantis’s measures, Andrew Gothard, called the directive “horrible” and said the union is “deeply concerned” by the precedent.

“Attempts such as these by the governor to chill speech and to intimidate those he disagrees with into remaining silent, altering their curriculum, and silencing their students are an affront to democracy and the American way of life,” Mr. Gothard, a professor at Florida Atlantic University, told the News Service of Florida. “Let those who supported Governor DeSantis in the recent election heed this warning: A man who will silence those with whom he disagrees — in the classroom and beyond — will one day find a reason to silence you as well.”

A Democratic state representative of Jacksonville, Angie Nixon, also attacked the initiative. “In the so-called free state of Florida under Gov. DeSantis, the freedom to run DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) programs at public colleges and universities appears next on the radar for destruction. Nothing is safe and it’s sickening,” Ms. Nixon said on Twitter.




Thursday, January 05, 2023

Do teachers deserve higher pay?

In the article excerpted below, Roger A. Reid, Ph.D. puts up an eloquent argument to say that they do and I guess we would all like to see that. He omits to mention some relevant things, though.

The biggest is that teacher salaries already take a big slice out of state and local budgets. Even a small increase in salaries would therefore add up to a huge hit on the relevant budgets. Multiplying an increase by the large number of teachers makes a salary increase very difficult.

The other thing he overlooks is that a teaching certificate is no guarantee of anything. One hopes that certificated teachers are better at the job than someone who merely has a relevant degree but it is not always true. The school principal should be free to decide that after observing the candidate teacher in action. I must admit a personal interest here. I taught High School with very good results even though I had a degree only, no specific teacher qualification.

So I think the policies adopted by Governor Doug Ducey are reasonable. Not only are eased qualifications reasonable but even the resort to larger class sizes can be reasonable. The research generally shows little correlation between class size and educational outcomes. Putting a large number of pupils before a good teacher can have better resuts than putting smaller classes under mediocre teachers

So, sorry, Roger. You are being too one-eyed about this

The job teachers do today determines the quality and condition of tomorrow’s world.

It’s a foundational component of predicting how well we’ll get along with others. It also influences how many young people decide to pursue a particular profession. And that’s in addition to imparting a minimum level of proficiency with math, reading, and a general understanding of how the world works.

It’s a big responsibility.

And you’d think someone with the credentials, experience, education, patience, vision, and perspective to perform this job would be at the top of the list of professional compensation — similar to a doctor, lawyer, or the CEO of a major company. Because a teacher’s paycheck is more than compensation. It’s an investment that pays future dividends.

But that’s not the reality.

The reality is a sad mix of budget cuts, low salaries, and unsafe working conditions that essentially say, “Why did you become a teacher? We don’t value you or your contribution.”

Why such a discrepancy between the importance of the job and the compensation?

State legislators say they don’t have the money.

That’s a lie. They don’t have money for teachers. Conversely, they have plenty of money for pet projects, political grandstanding, and funding agenda-based projects that buy votes, seniority, and tenure.

The result? Teachers are leaving — walking away from an honorable, vital, and necessary profession because they can’t financially support themselves and their families.

To put that into perspective, let’s compare the compensation of two professional groups. The median compensation for a public school teacher is just over $51,000. By comparison, a family doctor can expect a median income of $ 197,000.

But wait! Certainly, a doctor’s job is much more important than a teacher’s, right?

If you believe that, ask your family doctor what inspired her to pursue a medical career. Ask her how important her teachers were in motivating her to become a doctor.

If compensation is any indication of how much we value the profession, teachers might as well pack it up and hit the road. Because frankly, it’s pathetic — an embarrassing reminder of how much we take teachers for granted.

Seems like a teacher shortage would be enough to motivate legislators to re-consider their budgets for public education. And it has. But not in the way you might think.

The answer coming out of Arizona isn’t in favor of higher wages. No, instead of paying teachers what they’re worth, the intellectual brain-trust that is the Arizona legislature has decided the answer to the problem is to lower the hiring standards — to be less scrutinous when hiring those who perform the most important job in the country.

In a nutshell, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey recently signed legislation that creates exceptions to laws that previously required traditional public school teachers to have a college degree and/or to have completed some form of supervised, in-classroom training.

And that means the current generation of Arizona parents can now anticipate a less qualified individual taking over the responsibility for the education of their children.


With Schools Ditching Merit for Diversity, Families of High Achievers Head for the Door

Alex Shilkrut has deep roots in Manhattan, where he has lived for 16 years, works as a physician, and sends his daughter to a public elementary school for gifted students in coveted District 2.

It’s a good life. But Shilkrut regretfully says he may leave the city, as well as a job he likes in a Manhattan hospital, because of sweeping changes in October that ended selective admissions in most New York City middle schools.

These merit-based schools, which screened for students who met their high standards, will permanently switch to a lottery for admissions that will almost certainly enroll more blacks and Latinos in the pursuit of racial integration.

Shilkrut is one of many parents who are dismayed by the city’s dismantling of competitive education. He says he values diversity but is concerned that the expectation that academic rigor will be scaled back to accommodate a broad range of students in a lottery is what’s driving him and other parents to seek alternatives.

Although it’s too early to know how many students might leave the school system due to the enrollment changes, some parents say they may opt for private education at $50,000 a year and others plan to uproot their lives for the suburbs despite the burdens of such moves.

“We will very likely leave the public schools,” says Shilkrut, adding that he knows 10 Manhattan families who also plan to depart. “And if these policies continue, there won’t be many middle- and upper middle-class families left in the public schools.”

A National Battle Over Merit

The battle in New York City is an example writ large of a high-stakes gamble playing out in cities across the country – essentially a large experiment in urban education aiming to improve the decades-old lag in performance of mostly black and Latino students. By ending screened admissions that segregate poorer performers and instead placing them in lottery schools with higher achievers, the theory goes, all students benefit.

But the research cuts both ways on the academic impact of mixed-ability classrooms, and many New York City parents say they don’t want to roll the dice on their kids’ education. If a large number of families do exit the city’s public schools in 2023, it would mean another financial blow to a system that has already lost more than 100,000 students since the beginning of the pandemic. Yet some of these parents may decide to remain in the public system and augment their kids’ education with advanced after-school classes, a common practice.

“When desegregation policies have been adopted in other cities, some parents who object stick it out and adapt,” says David Armor, a professor emeritus at George Mason University who has extensively researched integration policies. “But I would expect some degree of middle-class flight in New York City given how the lottery is going to change the academic composition of the middle schools.”

Diversity advocates – school educators, local politicians, and progressive nonprofits and parents – dismiss the threat of an exodus as scaremongering while they score wins. In Park Slope, Brooklyn, an affluent, progressive NYC neighborhood, it was parents who led the charge to end selective middle schools several years ago in a prelude to the citywide policy shift this fall. But Park Slope isn’t representative of the more moderate politics of much of the city like Manhattan’s District 2, where most parents at a recent series of community meetings strongly backed selective education.

Nationwide, about 185 school districts and charters in 39 states have adopted integration policies, ranging from redrawing school boundaries to preferential admissions for low-income and black and Latino students, according to the Century Foundation, an advocacy group. A quarter of them have been implemented since 2017.

“Students benefit educationally and socially from racially and economically integrated schools,” says a report from New York Appleseed, an advocacy group that lobbied for the removal of admission screens. “Society and our political systems benefit from the reduction in racial prejudice.”

But advocates don’t win them all, suffering a remarkable setback in progressive San Francisco in 2022. After the Board of Education angered some parents, particularly Asian Americans, by shifting Lowell, the city’s premier selective high school, to a lottery system during the pandemic, a grassroots campaign formed and successfully recalled three members in a landslide vote. The new board voted to keep screened enrollment at Lowell.


SGO Raises $1.7 Million for Students to Attend Christian Schools

Beginning with its launch just nine months ago through the end of 2022, the Ohio Christian Education Network Scholarship Granting Organization (OCEN SGO) raised $1.7 million for student scholarships to attend Christian schools. Thanks to a surge of Ohioans taking advantage of a new state tax credit for a gift to OCEN SGO, thousands of students will receive financial assistance for the 2023-24 school year that provides access to a life-giving education at the Christian school of their choice.

The state tax credit is granted to OCEN SGO donors on a dollar-for-dollar basis up to $750 per individual or $1,500 for a couple filing jointly. So a gift that blesses worthy students essentially costs the donor nothing, as their tax liability is reduced by the amount of their gift.

“When we launched OCEN SGO, we had a vision to make Christian education affordable for every student in our state. The first year of giving toward this vision far surpassed what we had originally hoped for in year one,” said Troy McIntosh, Executive Director of the Ohio Christian Education Network. “The way people across the state generously responded indicates just how strongly they believe in the importance of Christian schools in today’s culture. At OCEN, we believe providing students an education that is rooted in a biblical worldview is among the most powerful strategies to win the hearts and minds of our children for God’s kingdom.”

OCEN SGO plans to make 2023 an even bigger year, with more participating schools, more scholarship funds, and more student recipients. Contributions to the scholarship fund can be made by visiting Donors may select the participating school of their choice to benefit from their gift, and a worthy student attending that school will be the recipient.

“We believe every student in our state should have access to an education that teaches them to frame their thinking with a biblical perspective. The great problems of our day will only be solved by a new generation who knows how to apply Christian thought to those problems,” said McIntosh.



Wednesday, January 04, 2023

General Motors Funds Transgenderism Efforts in Children’s Classrooms

General Motors (GM) provided a grant to a pro-transgender organization that supplies kindergarten and elementary classrooms with children’s books that support its ideology.

The Detroit-based automaker made a donation last year to the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN) “Rainbow Library” Program, according to its 2021 Social Impact Report (pdf).

The pro-transgender organization is known for lobbying school districts to allow boys who have undergone sex changes to play on girls’ sports teams and use female-specific restrooms, Breitbart reported.

The GM report admitted to funding the “Rainbow Library’s” efforts to provide “supportive curriculum materials and book sets that are LGBTQ+ centered, racially diverse, and multicultural to K-12 schools.”

“This innovative program also provides ongoing support and professional guidance for educators to create inclusive, supportive and identity-safe classrooms nationwide,” it continued.

GM did not mention how much money was awarded to the pro-transgender group, but did it provide “$86.7 million in cash and in-kind donations to nonprofits working to help create inclusive solutions to social issues around the world” in 2021, according to the report.

Pro-Transgender Organization Attempts to Change School Curriculum

GLSEN has been accused of allegedly trying to add “trans and non-binary” gender theory into school policies and curriculum.

According to its website, GLSEN provides a list of lesson plans, “educator guides” and professional development training for educators.

Although the GLSEN has no complete list of the titles in their program, the books were selected based on the Stonewall Award and the Rainbow Book List of the American Library Association, according to School Library Journal.

One of the books, which can be found on Amazon, is called “I am Jazz,” about a boy who discovered that he was a girl from the age of two.

Another example from the book list is the sexually explicit “Gender Queer” by Maia Kabobe, which contains depictions of sexual activities and descriptions of fantasies and experiments.

Megan Brock, a parent’s rights advocate, accused GLSEN of attempting to exploit their “Rainbow Library” program to “covertly groom children and influence educational policy,” in a Twitter post.

Brock posted a video of a GLSEN meeting of what appears to be staff discussing the promotion of transgender books to children.

In addition to children’s books, the organization has been trying to influence school math departments with articles like “How Do We Make Math Class More Inclusive of Trans and Non-Binary Identities?”

Schools And Educators Promote Transgender Group’s Agenda
GLSEN created a “Trans Action Kit” (pdf) for students and teachers to engage in pro-LGBT activism and encouraged the construction of pseudo-religious altars for the celebration of its “Transgender Day of Remembrance,” so kids could pray for deceased transgender persons.

Meanwhile, Chevrolet, which is also owned by GM, donated an additional $25,000 to GLSEN, The Post Millennial reported.

“With this latest LGBTQ+ focused partnership, we are building on that history and reinforcing Chevy’s commitment to driving substantive cultural progress,” said Chevrolet’s Vice President of Marketing, Steve Majoros.

Over the past several years, GM said it has been supportive of LGBT workers, according to its website.

“In recent years, GM and Chevrolet have provided grants to GLSEN to support their work to create safe, supportive and LGBTQ-inclusive learning environments for students. This is just one of the many initiatives and causes that GM has supported as the company provides philanthropic grants to hundreds of nonprofits each year,” wrote a spokeswoman for GM and Chevrolet to The Epoch Times.


Masks make a comeback: Hundreds of thousands of students across the US will be forced to wear face coverings when classes go back

Hundreds of thousands of students across the US will be forced to wear face masks in class when schools go back this week as controversial mandates make a return.

Despite Covid infection rates plateauing for months, elementary and high schools in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania have made face coverings a condition of entry for students returning from the holidays.

Education officials claim the policy is to prevent a boom in respiratory illnesses after increased mixing during the first normal Christmas and New Year in years.

But there is little evidence that face masks actually reduce infection rates, and mounting research shows the mandates stunted children's social development and education, and robbed them of vital immunity to other seasonal bugs like flu and RSV.

There are growing concerns that damaging Covid policies could creep back into American life after the US Government announced all passengers from China - suffering a major outbreak - would be tested upon entry, despite no proof that policy works either.

Covid infections in the US are running at around 400,000 per week now compared to 4 million this time last year and 1.3 million the previous year.

Weekly cases have been stable since late summer, which has been attributed to high levels of immunity in populations through vaccination and waves of infections.

Schools in New Jersey are justifying the latest mask mandates due to the state suffering increases in Covid, flu and RSV cases.

It comes as 22 states were recording 'very high' flu activity in the week before Christmas - down from 26 the week prior. Six states were recording the highest levels of transmission, down from eight in early December.

America's flu season came unseasonably early, although cases of both flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cratered for the second straight week just before Christmas — meaning the 'tripledemic' in America could soon reach its end.

Canada joins US in requiring all Chinese travelers to test negative for Covid

Travelers from Covid-stricken China will need a negative Covid test to enter Canada and Australia from this weekend

RSV is also a few weeks ahead of the flu crisis. Cases peaked in November but rates remain very high. Both have led to hospitals, particularly pediatric hospitals, being overwhelmed.

The bacterial infection Strep A is also rising among children and has killed at least two in Colorado. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an urgent advisory message about the infection before Christmas, notifying doctors and public health authorities of the situation.

Paradoxically, masks and lockdowns were blamed for the surge in minors because it prevented them from developing the natural immunity they would have otherwise gained.

Paterson Public Schools in Passaic County and Camden City School District in New Jersey became the latest to enforce masks indoors for students.

Paterson Public Schools' new rule will begin from tomorrow (January 3) and apply to its 25,000 students from pre-kindergarten through to 12th grade.

In a letter to parents, the school district's superintendent Eileen Shafer said: 'I know this is a relief to some, and a frustration to others. No matter what your position may be, I ask for your cooperation.'

She added: 'Please continue to maintain universal masking throughout our buildings and we encourage you to take all other precautions against the spread of the Covid-19, RSV, flu virus including frequent hand washing, avoiding large gatherings, and staying home when sick.'

Camden City School District, which has 75,000 students between kindergarten and 12th grade, will ask anyone entering its buildings to mask up inside for at least two weeks, until January 17.

The school district superintendent said in a letter to families that the move was 'in an effort to be proactive and remain vigilant'.

The school district of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania is also forcing students to wear masks for at least 10 days, starting January 3 and ending January 13 if it is not extended.

Meanwhile, Boston Public Schools (BPS) in Massachusetts announced on Friday that students and staff would be asked to wear face coverings between January 4 and January 13.

BPS said in a statement the temporary masking was an 'ask and expectation' and 'not a mandate', and said no one would be sent home or disciplined if they refused to wear one.

And in Washington state, Wilson Elementary school mandated masks for a week in December due to rising respiratory illnesses leaving roughly 30 percent of its students absent on one day.


Las Vegas parents SUE school district for $50,000 after making daughter, 15, read out X-rated assignment about 'd**ks' and lesbianism in theater class - that was even too explicit to be read aloud at school board meeting

Two Las Vegas parents have sued their daughter's school district after the 15-year-old was made to memorize and read out a sexually-explicit monologue in front of her theater class.

Parents Candra and Terrell Evans filed the $50,000 lawsuit against the Clark County School District and its superintendent, Dr. Jesus Jara, alleging they engaged in 'unlawful grooming and abuse of a minor' over the assignment which they characterized as 'pornographic material.'

They say their unnamed daughter, a student at the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts, was made to perform the monologue written by a fellow student - in which a narrator came out as lesbian and talked about not liking 'd**ks.'

The passage was so lewd that Ms. Evans' microphone was cut off as she read it aloud during a school district board meeting last spring, and she was admonished for violating the board's decorum rules.

The Evans allege that last March their daughter's theater teacher, Kelly Hawes, told her students to write monologues which their classmates would then memorize and read aloud before the class.

The lawsuit said the monologue their daughter was given 'contained explicit, obscene and sexually violent material,' and that Hawes 'helped the other student edit their obscenely violent pornographic monologue knowing that it would then be provided to another student to read, memorize and perform in front of the class.'

The monologue the 15-year-old performed involved a woman telling her ex-boyfriend that she was a lesbian, described how she never like his penis or having sex with him, that she'd begun sleeping with a college roommate.

In addition to reading the monologue aloud, the girl was made to act it out in front of the class.

According to the lawsuit, the monologue the Evans' daughter was made to read was as follows:

'I don't love you. It's not you, it's just (looks down) your d***. I don't like your d*** or any d*** in that case. I cheated Joe. We were long distance and I'm in college and me and this girl, my roommate, started having some drinks and you know, I thought it was a one-time thing but then we started going out for coffee, and started sleeping in the same bed.'

'I never thought it would get this far but God, it was like fireworks, and made me realize that with you it was always like a pencil sharpener that keeps getting jammed. I've tried to look at it from all different perspectives, but the truth is, I'm a f***** lesbian. I'll never love you or any man, or any f****** d***.

'I hope you find a nice straight girl because that's not me, and I'm tired of pretending that it is.'

Ms. Evans learned of the assignment a month after it was performed and raised concerns about it with school administrators. An administrator then told her the school district would handle the issue.

'[The administrator] empathized with them that he would be very upset if he found out that assignment had been given to his daughter,' the lawsuit read. 'He told them that plaintiffs were handling the issue better than he would and that it would not be swept under the rug. He promised he would make sure that it never happened again.

'Further, he agreed that [the teacher] should have stopped [the teenager] as soon as she heard the first line of the monologue.'

The Evans then agreed to let the administrator discuss the assignment with their daughter, but only if a female member of faulty was present. However, during the meeting with their daughter only the male administrator was there.

The parents then called for another meeting with more staff members, who then 'defended the obscene monologue and then blamed [the student] for reading it, stating that she could have said 'no,' but she didn't.'

The lawsuit said some faculty members later 'backtracked and admitted that the assignment was not appropriate for the classroom.'

'At any point, Hawes could have prevented this pornographic material from getting into the hands of children, but she refused,' the lawsuit said. 'When confronted about this, [Las Vegas Academy of the Arts Principal Scott Walker] and CCSD did nothing.'

According to her biography on the Vegas Theater Company website, Hawes is a Massachusetts native who graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

In May, the Evans informed the regional superintendent about the situation, and an official agreed to investigate.

Shortly after they also spoke with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, who told them they needed to file a report with the Clark County School District Police. The lawsuit said the Evans filed a report, but it was falsified by an officer who 'conspired with others.'

Later that month Ms. Evans brought her complaints to a meeting of the Clark County School District board (CCSD), where she tried to read aloud from the monologue before being silenced.

'I am going to read you an assignment given to my 15-year-old daughter at a local high school,' she said at the meeting. 'This will be horrifying for me to read to you but that will give you perspective on how she must have felt when her teacher required her to memorize this and to act it out in front of her entire class.'

As she began to read, her microphone cut and board trustee Evelyn Garcia Morales told her off for using the profane language.

'That you for your comment,' Morales said. 'Forgive me, we are not using profanity. This is a public meeting; I ask for decorum.'

'If you don't want me to read it to you, what was it like for my 15-year-old daughter to have to memorize pornographic material,' Evans replied.




Tuesday, January 03, 2023

High Marks for This Education Policy, but Still Room for Improvement

As a classroom teacher and mother of 10 children, Esther Fleurant knows that every child has different needs. And she knows how important education is for their futures.

“I love for my kids to know more than I did,” says Esther. “Knowledge is powerful. You give that to your kids, and you open the world to them.”

But finding the learning environment that’s the right fit for each child can be tough. Fortunately for Esther, she and her kids live in New Hampshire, where they have access to Education Freedom Accounts (EFAs). This has allowed her family to explore a variety of options, including different private schools and homeschooling.

State lawmakers created EFAs last year to expand access to a wide range of education options. Families earning up to 300% of the federal poverty level ($83,250 for a family of four in 2022-23) can use EFAs to pay for private school tuition, tutoring, textbooks, homeschool curricula, online courses, educational therapies and more.

The EFAs were an instant hit with families. Last fall, more than 1,600 students received EFAs—about 1% of students in the state. This school year, there are more than 3,000 EFA students. Additionally, more than 1,300 students are using tax-credit scholarships—up from last year by about 30%—and about 5,000 students are attending public charter schools.

New Hampshire’s commitment to empowering families with so many education options is one reason the Live Free or Die state fared so well in the Heritage Foundation’s Education Freedom Report Card—a survey of all 50 states in the areas of education choice, academic transparency, regulatory freedom for schools and a high return on investment for taxpayer spending on education.

New Hampshire ranked 19th in the nation for education freedom overall and 15th for its education choice policies.

Studies find that offering children additional public and private learning options results in higher levels of achievement and school attainment, greater civic participation and tolerance, and lower levels of crime. Choice policies even benefit students who remain in the district school system. Of 28 studies of the effects of education choice policies on the performance of district schools, 25 found statistically significant positive effects.

New Hampshire could improve its education choice score by expanding eligibility to its EFAs to all K-12 students.

More parents are choosing how and where their children learn today because watchdogs have found educators are using radical ideas about gender and race in classrooms. Surveys taken around the country find most parents say that the idea that America is systemically racist or that minor-age children can “choose” their “gender” does not reflect their values—nor are such ideas based on facts. New Hampshire lawmakers were among the first in the U.S. to reject the application of critical race theory in K-12 classrooms by adopting a proposal that says no teacher or student can be compelled to believe the theory’s discriminatory concepts. In our report, New Hampshire ranks 13th for academic transparency based, in part, on this provision.

A high degree of transparency enables parents to hold schools accountable directly. The best way to ensure quality is not through top-down regulations and red tape, but rather bottom-up accountability. New Hampshire takes the latter approach, ranking ninth in the nation for regulatory freedom. Schools and teachers have a lot of leeway to operate as they see fit, and parents provide accountability through their freedom to choose the schools that work best for their kids.

Still, there’s room to improve by making it easier for aspiring teachers to enter the profession. Policymakers could do that by opening alternative pathways to teacher certification (or by eliminating teacher certification requirements altogether) and by allowing full reciprocity of teacher licensure with other states.

New Hampshire policymakers also need to do more to get spending under control, particularly at the local level. The average per-pupil expenditure, when adjusted for regional cost of living, is the 10th highest in the nation. High spending combined with a significant unfunded pension liability makes for a low return on investment for taxpayers—43rd in the nation.

One area where policymakers could rein in spending is non-teaching staff. New Hampshire’s district schools employ 12 non-teachers for every 10 teachers. This may help to swell union ranks but does little to keep taxpayer resources in classrooms to help prepare students.

In short, New Hampshire has much to be proud of and much to improve.

As for Esther’s children, she says she can “see how they are growing.” Homeschooling with an EFA has given them “the liberty to try different things. Giving your child a chance to get to know themselves is huge.”

All children should have the same opportunities. As Esther observed: “It’s better when you have choices.”


Why I’m leaving college and choosing education over indoctrination

By CJ Pearson

Higher education isn’t what it used to be; in fact, it’s become the stark opposite of what it was intended to be.

What was once an arena of competing and dueling beliefs with fertile soil for the cultivation of bold and fresh ideas has become a barren desert, occupied almost exclusively by the woke-left agenda.

It’s become an institution more fixated on teaching students what to think than how to think. It’s focused on turning students into perpetual victims, anti-American sympathizers and — if it really hits the jackpot — full-fledged social-justice warriors by graduation.

And that delusion is why I’m leaving — even as a University of Alabama junior, with just three semesters to go.

I no longer have any interest in paying to be told my blackness is a disability and all white people are evil. And asked what my pronouns are when — at least in my opinion — it should be clear as day.

When I made the decision to go to college, it was a no-brainer. It was what I was supposed to do, or at least that’s what I was led to believe.

It felt not only as if it were the right choice; it felt like the only choice. And this wasn’t a feeling unique to me but one shared by many among the millions of students who enter college every single year — and their parents, who more often than not are the ones footing the bill to send them there.

But what if I were to tell you the feeling is rooted in a lie? That, according to a Georgetown University study, there are 30 million jobs paying more than $55,000 a year that don’t require a college degree? That there are six-figure opportunities in careers such as welding, carpentry and even tech that not only don’t require a degree but also don’t come with a prerequisite of hating America?

The woke university implosion — and what comes next
Or what if I were to tell you that this lie — implanted deep into the psyche of our society — is not by accident but by design, as it allows leftist professors to act with near-absolute impunity?

It allows institutions like Stanford University to shamelessly embrace the absurd: labeling words such as “American” and “grandfather” racist and harmful. It allows Rutgers University to declare a war on grammar — casting it aside as racist in an effort to “stand with and respond to” the Black Lives Matter movement. And it’s why places like Berkeley — once heralded as a bastion of free speech — have become symbolic of everything wrong with higher education today.

Colleges and universities act with impunity because they’re guided by the belief that we need them more than they need us. Conservatives must make it clear that’s simply not the case.

Colleges are a business. And it is high time conservatives start making their voices heard using their dollars.

If your college goes woke, help them go broke: Withhold your tuition dollars, suspend your alumni contributions or skip a football game or two. (And if you’re a fan of Stanford University football but not a fan of their new harmful-language guide, it should be especially easy: They went 3-9 this past season!)

All jokes aside, a false dichotomy has existed among conservatives for far too long: that they must accept the status quo of America’s college campuses or forgo their dreams of living a successful and fruitful life altogether.

But this dichotomy is exactly that — false — and conservatives have not just the means to fight back against the woke agenda that pervades our campuses but a moral obligation as well.

I say this all to note that I am not opposed to college.

I enjoyed the vast majority of my time at the University of Alabama, but even in the Yellowhammer State, my campus experience didn’t come without its challenges. In my freshman year, my dorm-room door was plastered with an expletive-laden anti-Trump posting. During my sophomore year, while campaigning for student government, I was targeted by my school newspaper — slandered as a racist, labeled a homophobe and called a threat to our campus’ marginalized communities. The author of that piece is a white male.

I have thick skin, however. And my decision to leave has less to do with my own campus than it does with having a deeply held passion for helping other conservative students in far less-ideal situations hold their own on theirs.

We cannot afford to lose our college campuses to the radical left. That would mean we have lost a generation. And to have lost a generation would mean we have lost our country.


US News & World Report to revamp ‘flawed’ law school rankings: report

US News & World Report is overhauling parts of its controversial law school rankings after deans at more than a dozen top law schools slammed the value of the powerful and closely followed list.

On Monday, US News sent a letter to the deans of the 188 law schools it ranks, saying it would make changes to its criteria, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Specifically, US News said it would put less weight on reputational surveys completed by deans, faculty, lawyers and judges, and it won’t take into account per-student expenditures that favor the wealthiest schools.

As part of the changes, the new rankings, which will be released next year, will count graduates with school-funded public-interest legal fellowships or those who go on to additional graduate programs the same as they would other employed graduates, the Journal said.

US News did not respond to The Post’s request for comment.

The change comes weeks after US News’ rankings team held meetings with more than 100 deans and other law school administrators. The publication was pressured to re-evaluate its rankings system after the perennially No. 1-ranked Yale Law School said in November that it would no longer provide information to help US News compile its list.

“The U.S. News rankings are profoundly flawed,” Yale Law Dean Heather Gerken said at the time. “Its approach not only fails to advance the legal profession, but stands squarely in the way of progress.”

Affirmative action drove Yale, Harvard to leave U.S. News rankings: Vivek Ramaswamy

After Yale’s declaration, Harvard Law School followed suit the same day, and by the end of the week, top law schools Georgetown, Columbia, the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford also moved to skip engaging in the powerful list.

When the dust settled, 12 of the 14 top-rated schools said they wouldn’t provide the publication with any additional information for the rankings. Some law schools that said they would continue to share the requested information also criticized the existing system, the Journal said.

According to the letter, Robert Morse, US News’ chief data strategist, and Stephanie Salmon, senior vice president for data and information strategy, spent most of last month in Zoom meetings with deans, coming to a compromise.

“Based on those discussions, our own research and our iterative rankings review process, we are making a series of modifications in this year’s rankings that reflect those inputs and allow us to publish the best available data,” they wrote in Monday’s letter.

The change in methodology could be due to necessity. The Journal said that while US News gleans much of its data from the American Bar Association and said it would rank schools whether or not they cooperated, the publication relies on schools to provide the spending figures and to complete peer-review surveys.

“If the top 15 schools suddenly drop down to No. 50, the rankings don’t have much credibility,” Russell Korobkin, interim dean of the law school at the University of California, Los Angeles, told the Journal.

The old ranking system used a survey completed by academics, which counted for 25% of its total score, the Journal said. A survey for judges, law firm hiring partners and other attorneys made up another 15% of a school’s score.

US News did not break down what weight those surveys would carry under the new system.

Other issues that were of concern included how US News considers diversity and loan forgiveness and potentially encourages awarding scholarships based on LSAT scores rather than on financial need. In Monday’s letter, the publication said those issues “will require additional time and collaboration to address” so they won’t be overhauled now.

US News also said it plans on offering more detailed profiles of schools moving forward.




Monday, January 02, 2023

In the name of ‘equity,’ companies are now ignoring educational achievement

By David Christopher Kaufman

Today, at least two-thirds of higher education institutions, including Harvard and Stanford, don’t require the SAT for admission. The American Bar Association recently announced it will drop the LSAT as an admissions requirement for law school. And now, some are calling for the prestigious MCAT to be scrapped as the gold standard for medical school admissions — all in the name of racial equity.

Now, the latest standard on the chopping block are colleges themselves, as a recent job posting for a director position demonstrates.

A LinkedIn posting by HR&A Advisors, the TriBeCa-based real estate consultancy, asked applicants for the $121,668- to $138,432-a-year position to remove “all undergraduate and graduate school name references” from their résumés and only cite the degree itself. A quick spin through a few other HR&A job postings confirmed that this policy extends company-wide as part of their “ongoing work to build a hiring system that is free from bias and based on candidate merit and performance.”

At a time when equity and inclusion policies have become corporate must-haves, efforts to ignore educational bona fides for new hires are hardly surprising. After all, as colleges and even the military (which no longer requires a high school diploma) drop the most basic entry requirements, why shouldn’t the private sector follow suit?

There’s no doubt that access to fancy schools and pricy education has historically shut out racial and economic minorities from many employment arenas — particularly at the highest ends of the earning spectrum. But obscuring education histories won’t solve these inequities. It simply creates new ones.

For one thing, education still matters to companies like HR&A. If it didn’t, they would ask candidates to entirely remove schooling from their CVs, not just school names.

Secondly, education also matters to job applicants. Many have worked hard and taken out loans to acquire college degrees that, they think, mean something to the HR&As of the world. Many have also devoted hours to the college sports teams, academic societies and other extracurricular activities that are both resume-building and deeply rewarding.

I myself attended universities (Brandeis, NYU) that were far above my family’s affordability level precisely because I knew they were investments in my long-term earning potential as well as a way to keep me on the straight and narrow in high school. Sure, as with many Americans — particularly African-Americans like myself — I took on student debt. But the quest for academic success not only helped me avoid (most) teenage troubles, it also helped me secure a career with good pay and a strong sense of self-worth and satisfaction.

Policies like HR&As are not just punitive, they’re downright lazy. Telling young people —particularly the young people-of-color this “school-blind hiring” purports to benefit—that academic prestige doesn’t matter literally reinforces the worst stereotypes of minority cultures. It says academic prestige doesn’t matter to them.

Furthermore, for HR folks and recruiters, ignoring educational bona fides — while appearing benevolent—is a missed opportunity to truly learn, as they say in woke-speak, about the “lived experiences” of the diverse workforce they are so desperate to attract.

Many black students (like my own grandparents, for instance) have attended Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). These are not just places of learning, but integral components of their graduates’ identities. HBCUs mean something: they matter. And yet, these well-intentioned initiatives, led mostly by white liberals, completely erase that meaning.

This is why school-blind hiring feels so frustrating — and phony. In this period of quiet-quitting and mass resignations, it offers already unmotivated workers one less task to tick off while burnishing their anti-bias credentials for literally doing nothing.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that graduates of schools less costly or “lower ranking” than my own should be denied a chance at the American Dream. Rather, hiring teams need to work harder to figure out how to get them there without erasing the educational achievements of others.


Federal appeals court backs Florida school district that blocked transgender student from using boys bathroom

A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of a Florida school district’s policy that separates school bathrooms by biological sex.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals announced its 7-4 decision on Friday, ruling that the St. Johns County School Board did not discriminate against transgender students based on sex, or violate federal civil rights law by requiring transgender students to use gender-neutral bathrooms or bathrooms matching their biological sex.

The court’s decision was split down party lines, with seven justices appointed by Republican presidents siding with the school district and four justices appointed by Democratic presidents siding with Drew Adams, a biological female, who sued the district in 2017 after not being allowed to use the boys restroom.

A three-judge panel from the appeals court previously sided with Adams in 2020, but the full appeals court decided to take up the case.

Judge Barbara Lagoa wrote in the majority opinion that the school board policy advances the important governmental objective of protecting students’ privacy in school bathrooms. She said the district’s policy does not violate the law because it’s based on biological sex, not gender identity.

Judge Jill Pryor wrote in a dissenting opinion that the interest of protecting privacy is not absolute and must coexist alongside fundamental principles of equality, specifically where exclusion implies inferiority.

Two other federal appeals courts have ruled that transgender students can use bathrooms that accord with their identities.

Friday's decision increases the likelihood that the U.S. Supreme Court will take up the issue.

"This is an aberrant ruling that contradicts the rulings of every other circuit to consider the question across the country," Tara Borelli, a spokesperson for LGBT advocacy group Lambda Legal who provided aid to Adams, told Fox News Digital in a statement. "It is also lengthy. We will be reviewing and evaluating this distressing decision over the weekend and will have a fuller response next week."


Pandemic learning loss could cost students thousands in income over their lifetime: study

A Stanford University study showed that learning loss suffered by students during pandemic restrictions could result in lower incomes throughout their lifetime.

"The pandemic has had devastating effects in many areas, but none are as potentially severe as those on education," the study's author, Eric A. Hanushek, wrote in its conclusion. "There is overwhelming evidence that students in school during the closure period and during the subsequent adjustments to the pandemic are achieving at significantly lower levels than would have been expected without the pandemic."

The study, entitled "The Economic Cost of the Pandemic," analyzed National Assessment of Educational Progress data and found that between 2019 and 2022, test scores in math and English dropped an average of eight points across the country. The drastic drop came after nearly two decades of progress, the study noted, erasing all the gains in test scores made between 2000 and 2019.

Hanushek notes that while most policymakers and the media have focused solely on the pandemic's impact on test scores, the loss in student achievements could have severe economic repercussions. According to the study, students enrolled in schools during pandemic restrictions will face an average of a two to nine percent drop in lifetime earnings, resulting in states facing a 0.6 to 2.9 percent drop in total GDP.

"At the extreme, California is estimated to have lost $1.3 trillion because of learning losses during the pandemic. These losses are permanent unless a state’s schools can get better than their pre-pandemic levels," the study reads.

Unless schools are able to make up for the declines, students enrolled in schools during the pandemic will enter the workforce with lower cognitive skills needed to succeed in a constantly evolving economy.

"Extensive research demonstrates a simple fact: those with higher achievement and greater cognitive skills earn more," the study reads. "The evidence suggests that the value of higher achievement persists across a student’s entire work life."

The study notes that the "United States rewards skills more than almost all other developed countries," something that will hamper current students' ability to navigate a "technologically driven economy where workers are continually adjusting to new jobs and new ways of doing things."

Hanushek concludes that while the responsibility for the losses does not solely fall on schools, it will be up to them to lead the effort towards recovering lost skills. However, the study warns that efforts so far have been insufficient to make up the gap.

"Efforts to date have not been sufficient to arrest the losses," the study concludes. "If the schools are not made better, there will be continuing economic impacts as individuals and the nation will suffer from a society with lower skills."




Sunday, January 01, 2023

AZ to Require Parental Permission For Schools to Refer to Students As Different Pronouns

State senator-elect John Kavanagh (R-AZ) introduced a proposal that would require parental permission for schools to refer to students' desired pronouns that are opposite their biological sex.

“An employee or independent contractor of a school district or charter school may not knowingly address, identify or refer to a student who is under eighteen years of age by a pronoun that differs from the pronoun that aligns with the student’s biological sex unless the school district or charter school receives written permission from the student’s parent,” Kavanagh’s proposal read.

The bill also protects those who have moral and religious obligations. It states that a school district or charter school may not require staff to refer to a person that differs from their biological pronoun if it contradicts their religious or moral convictions.

“Under my bill, you can call a person by a different pronoun or you can even call the person by a name associated with the opposite biological gender, so long as the parents have given permission,” the Republicans said.

Kavanagh added that this will help students who need help, find it.

“Transgender students are often under psychological stress… in fact, there’s a term called gender dysphoria and that type of condition needs parental assistance and perhaps even medical attention that the parents refer the students to. This cannot happen if the school keeps the parents in the dark,” he continued.

However, newly-elected governor Katie Hobbs (D-AZ) could potentially throw the bill away.

“I’m not willing to assume that Gov. Hobbs would want to keep parents in the dark, especially when the children have a condition that results overall in higher suicide rates,” Kavanagh said, adding, “I think parents need to know, they need to get help for the children and counseling. I’m not going to assume the governor would oppose that.”


‘Voice in the Wilderness’ Mounts Run for Harvard Board

One of Harvey Silverglate’s first cases was defending protesting students who took over Harvard’s University Hall in 1969. The long-time lawyer has now found a new front for his fight for civil rights: a bid for Harvard’s Board of Overseers, its governing body tasked with supervising the university’s “overarching academic mission.”

The crusading outsider, who founded the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, is making a move for the inner circle. He promises to shine a light into the “dark crevices” of a university he feels has lost its way.

Mr. Silverglate, a Harvard Law graduate who lives at Cambridge, calls himself a “voice in the wilderness” and a “dissident” who aims to bring a new perspective. He argues that the way “Harvard is run is absurd,” and castigates the “suppression of free speech and thought” that has taken root at the 386-year-old school.

Asked about Harvard’s new president, Claudine Gay, Mr. Silverglate observes that she is “very bad news for Harvard” and finds it unfortunate that the school chose someone from the “inside.” Ms. Gay previously served as dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, a post that gave her purview over Harvard’s factitious faculty.

Mr. Silverglate asserts that Ms. Gay is “super politically correct.” He suggests that her predecessor, Lawrence Bacow, was undone by an administration staffed by bureaucrats “over which he had no control.” Mr. Bacow is stepping down after five years at the helm.

The lawyer, who has represented Michael Milken, Leona Helmsley, and the Church of Scientology, sees “administrative bloat” as a national malady. “Deans need something to do,” he laments, and the result is less free speech and impoverished due process rights for students. He says that he would fire the majority of Harvard's administrators.

Mr. Silverglate, described in the New York Times as an “old-fashioned civil libertarian,” is the author of “The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America’s Campuses.” He avers that “affirmative action has been a disaster” and anticipates that the Supreme Court will hand Harvard a legal loss and end the practice when it rules on its constitutionality this June.

This is Mr. Silverglate’s second bid for a seat on the Board of Overseers, and he is working to garner the requisite signatures to secure a spot on the ballot. He says the number of signatures needed to do so has been raised 10-fold from the number required when he first ran for overseer, to 3,000. Members are elected to the body via a vote of Harvard’s alumni, who will cast their ballots between the first of April and the 16th of March.


The decay of the universities

Left-wing indoctrination, administrative bloat, obsessions with racial preferences, arcane, jargon-filled research, and campus-wide intolerance of diverse thought short-changed students, further alienated the public—and often enraged alumni.

Over the last 30 years, enrollments in the humanities and history crashed. So did tenure-track faculty positions. Some $1.7 trillion in federally backed student loans have only greenlighted inflated tuition—and masked the contagion of political indoctrination and watered-down courses.

But “gradually” imploding has now become “suddenly.” Zoom courses, a declining pool of students, and soaring costs all prompt the public to question the college experience altogether.

Nationwide undergraduate enrollment has dropped by more than 650,000 students in a single year—or over 4% alone from spring 2021 to 2022, and some 14% in the last decade. Yet the U.S. population still increases by about 2 million people a year.

Men account for about 71% of the current shortfall of students. Women number almost 60% of all college students—an all-time high.

Monotonous professors hector students about “toxic masculinity,” as “gender” studies proliferate. If the plan was to drive males off campus, universities have succeeded beyond their wildest expectations.

The number of history majors has collapsed by 50% in just the last 20 years. Tenured history positions have declined by one-third to half at major state universities.

In the last decade alone, English majors across the nation’s universities have fallen by a third.

At Yale University, administrative positions have soared over 150% in the last two decades. But the number of professors increased by just 10%. In a new low/high, Stanford recently enrolled 16,937 undergraduate and graduate students, but lists 15,750 administrative staff—in near one-to-one fashion.

In the past, such costly praetorian bloat would have sparked a faculty rebellion. Not now. The new six-figure salaried “diversity, equity, and inclusion” commissars are feared and exempt from criticism.

Since 2020, the old proportional-representation admissions quotas have expanded into weird “reparatory” admissions. Purported “marginalized populations” have often been admitted at levels greater than percentages in the general population.

Consequently, “problematic” standardized tests are damned as biased and antithetical to “diversity.”

To accommodate radical diversity reengineering, the only demographic deemed expendable are white males. Their plunging numbers on campus, especially from the working class, are now much less than their percentages in the general population—regardless of grades or test scores.

At Yale, the class of 2026 is listed as 50% white and 55% female. Fourteen percent were admitted as “legacies.” In sum, qualified but poor white males without privilege or connections seem mostly excluded.

Stanford’s published 2025 class profile claims a student body of “23% white.” Fewer than half of the class is male. Stanford mysteriously does not release the numbers of those successfully admitted without SAT tests—but recently conceded it rejects about 70% of those with perfect SAT scores.

In fact, universities are quietly junking test score requirements. Ironically, these time-honored standardized tests were originally designed to offer those from underprivileged backgrounds, or less competitive high schools, a meritocratic pathway into elite schools.

At Cornell, students push for pass/fail courses only and the abolition of all grades. At the New School in New York, students demand that everyone receives “A” grades. Dean’s lists and class and school rankings are equally suspect as counterrevolutionary. Even as courses are watered down, entitled students still assume that their admission must automatically guarantee graduation—or else!

Skeptical American employers, to remain globally competitive, will likely soon administer their own hiring tests. They already suspect that prestigious university degrees are hollow and certify very little

Traditional colleges will seize the moment and expand by sticking to meritocratic criteria as proof of the competency of their prized graduates.

Private and online venues will also fill a national need to teach Western civilization and humanities courses—by non-woke faculty who do not institutionalize bias.

More students will continue to seek vocational training alternatives. Some will get their degrees online for a fraction of the cost.

Alumni will either curb giving, put further restrictions on their gifting, or disconnect.

Eventually, even elite schools will lose their current veneer of prestige. Their costly cattle brands will be synonymous with equality-of-result, overpriced indoctrination echo chambers, where therapy replaced singular rigor and their tarnished degrees become irrelevant.

How ironic that universities are rushing to erode meritocratic standards—history’s answer to the age-old, pre-civilizational bane of tribal, racial, class, elite, and insider prejudices and bias that eventually ensure poverty and ruin for all.