Friday, February 17, 2023

UK: Woke University of Kent comes under fire for telling students not to say 'Christian name' or 'surname' because the terms are ‘offensive’

A woke university has been criticised for trying to stop use of the phrase 'Christian name', claiming it is offensive.

The University of Kent has told students to stop using the term because it claims it only relates to Christians. Instead, it suggests students say 'first name' or 'given name' to avoid being offensive.

The university also took against using 'surname' because it derives from 'sire-name' and was therefore deemed to be patriarchal. Guidelines say the term is permitted but discouraged. University bosses instead said 'family name' would be more acceptable.

The recommendations on what students should say in respect to names is listed on the University of Kent's Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity pages online.

But Tim Dieppe, head of policy at advocacy group Christian Concern, told The Telegraph that the institution was 'displaying an irrational fear of using the term "Christian" as if it is something to be ashamed of'.

He added: 'Christianity has provided the moral and spiritual foundation for Western civilisation. This move to police language is another symptom of the abandonment of Christianity.'

Toby Young, founder of the Free Speech Union, said the guidelines were an example of the 'woke movement' attempting to police language considered offensive, and that the trend was imported from American universities.

He added: 'You might even say we've been colonised. Policing language is a hallmark of every totalitarian society.'

The University of Kent said it wanted to create an inclusive community for its students. A spokesperson said: 'These are guidelines not policies.'


Radical activists try to silence all debate about transgender kids

An elementary school teacher near St. Louis emailed the Washington University Transgender Center at the nearby children’s hospital with a problem: After a fifth-grade student had decided she was trans, a number of her friends decided the same. The teacher didn’t want to “discourage” the children, but suspected there might be “other reasons” the friend group all expressed an interest in switching gender.

The clinic worker was happy to help, emails uncovered by the Daily Mail reveal. It didn’t matter what the teacher’s well-founded suspicions were; she should affirm the choices of all these 10- and 11-year-old children.

Furthermore, anyone who suggested that peer pressure or “contagion” might be an issue in the increase in transgender kids wasn’t “affirming” and “in my personal and professional opinion, invalid.”


That’s become the language of a fringe, radical group of transgender activist who see any questioning of their beliefs, any discussion of momentous societal shifts, as out of bounds. You’re not allowed to even discuss it.

You see it in what’s happening to The New York Times, which had the temerity to publish the most innocuous, basic of articles about transgenderism.

Yet an open letter, addressed to Philip B. Corbett, associate managing editor for standards, and signed by 200 leftist activists, accuses the paper of “editorial bias” in its coverage of the trans population. Somehow The Times is not fair enough about the gender transition pushed on ever-younger children.

What’s preposterous about this letter is that the pieces in question are utterly benign and soft-pedal the issue of kids being pressured to make life-changing decisions about their bodies before they’re old enough to vote.

The Emily Bazelon article “The Battle Over Gender Therapy” came years after Abigail Shrier’s book “Irreversible Damage” first laid out how dangerous pediatric “gender care” had become. Bazelon mentions the book but makes sure to note activists “abhor” it. Bazelon also focuses on the right wing as opponents of children transitioning genders. It’s insane to imagine it’s only the “right wing” who care about permanent damage being done to children in the name of “fixing” their gender identity.

The other article the letter writers find problematic is “When Students Change Gender Identity, and Parents Don’t Know.” Writer Katie J.M. Baker illustrates that parents are upset when their kids are transitioned at school, behind their backs. Well, yes. There’s absolutely nothing controversial about this.

For people who may have felt the issue of children being induced to declare themselves trans was overblown, letters like this expose that it is not.


Cal State Monterey Bay urges students to report ‘race-related stress’ — like not being called on in class

A California university is urging students of color to report incidents that cause “race-related stress” — such as not being called on by their professor in class.

California State University Monterey Bay’s Personal Growth and Counseling Center offers tips on how students can cope with the “burden of race-related stress” that can lead to psychological distress and even physiological health problems.

“It is important to understand that you can experience race-related stress even if you were mistaken that a racist act occurred. Race-related stress reactions only require that a person believes that they were the target of racism,” the center writes on its website.

To deal with such trauma, the university urges students to document “acts of racism or intolerance,” such as reporting teachers for not calling on them and for offering a “racially biased curriculum.”

“Don’t ignore or minimize your experiences, and think broadly about what could be an act of racism. It doesn’t have to be an overt act (e.g., professor consistently not calling on you or minimizing your contributions, curriculum racially biased, etc). Talk to someone you trust, and report it,” the school urges.

Race-related stress can cause psychological symptoms like anxiety, depression, paranoia and self-blame. It can also affect students’ physical health, potentially leading to heart disease, hypertension, and muscle tension, according to the center.

“Students of color who experience stereotype threat may begin to believe that their peers do not regard them as individuals, but as representatives of their racial/ethnic group,” the page reads.

Other ways the school urges students to deal with the stress is to build a support network of friends and family; positive affirmation and good self-care; embrace their spirituality; take classes or join campus groups to develop a positive cultural identity; and become involved in social action.

The example of reporting teachers for not calling on students of color or offering racially inclusive courses was found under the “social action” section of the webpage.

The counseling center also urges students to “call people out when you witness acts of injustice and intolerance,” but not to ” [accuse] another person of being racist” which can shut “them down and end the conversation.”

“Encourage thoughtfulness and dialogue by addressing racist behaviors and language, without escalating into hostility and name-calling,” the website says.

About 46% percent of students enrolled in the fall 2022 semester were Latino, followed by white students at 29%, Asian Americans at 9%, two or more mixed races at 8% and 3% were African Americans, according to school statistics. Just over 7,000 students are currently enrolled.




Thursday, February 16, 2023

British university professor was 'cancelled' for teaching basic facts about Islam

Human rights scholar Steven Greer, 66, effectively went into hiding after Bristol University Law School undergraduates complained that elements of his course were racist and discriminatory.

The Belfast-born academic, who grew a long, bushy beard, wore fake glasses to disguise himself and carried a screwdriver and a 'sturdy' umbrella in case he was attacked, admitted he was more afraid for his life than during the Troubles after he was hounded by 'woke' students.

Professor Greer, who was exonerated of all wrongdoing by an inquiry last year, has now accused Left-wing activists of putting the lives of academics such as himself at risk, and warned a 'Woke Inquisition' could 'dumb down degree courses at many of the UK's finest institutions'.

The grandfather-of-three said: 'Cancel culture is fast becoming the scourge of academia. A climate of fear is already replacing an environment of free, critical inquiry.

'There is a growing risk that many students will leave university with little critical insight, knowledge, or appreciation of the vital importance of intellectual freedom and evidence-based thinking in a healthy democracy.

'Some, wearing self-tied gags and blinkers, will go on to join the next generation of leaders. This does not bode well for the future of our society.'

He said academics were at risk of attacks because of how easy it was for students to make racism allegations 'based on nothing but lies and distortion'.

The professor added: 'Prejudice is deplorable and should rightly be condemned but this is far removed from legitimate academic enquiry. 'Unfortunately, cancel culture fails to see the distinction.

'The issue is compounded by universities. While some remain beacons of intellectual freedom, others are increasingly cowed by members of the cancel culture woke far-Left.

'Not only are students losing out but the reputation of British higher education is also being damaged around the world.

Prof Greer said university bosses need to do more to protect academics from 'intolerant' students.

He said: 'I had until last year enjoyed a wonderful career and I believe I had earned the respect of students, colleagues and peers all over the world.

'Almost overnight my name became synonymous with bigotry, racism and Islamophobia – especially on social media – because of a handful of malicious students who set out to ruin my life. 'I was vilified and my name and reputation were dragged through the mud.

'For my own safety, I was forced to act like a fugitive for including academically authoritative, fact-based information in my course that a few militant students took objection to.

Allegations of Islamophobia were first made against Prof Greer after he used a teaching slide that mentioned the 2015 terror attack on the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a magazine that had published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

The slide was described as having 'Islamophobic rhetoric'.

Additionally, a lecture that included 'well-attested observations' about the inferior treatment of women and non-Muslims in Islamic states and the tough penalties handed out under Sharia law was slated as 'bigoted and divisive'.

A five-month inquiry led by a senior academic at Bristol University found each of the accusations to be baseless. An independent KC appointed during the inquiry also found Prof Greer was not guilty of harassment.

But the 'scurrilous falsehoods by a handful of illiberal students' led to the removal of the material from the course and left him fearing for his reputation and his life.

He was not allocated any further teaching duties upon his return and says he was kept on what he regards as unofficial 'research leave' until his retirement in September 2022.

University bosses also dropped his module on Islam, China and the Far East so Muslim students would 'not feel that their religion is being singled out or in any way "othered" by the class material'.


Subsidizing Higher Education Is Not Creating Widespread External Benefits

President Biden’s student debt relief proposal created a storm of controversy. That is not surprising, since it was a transparent (and apparently successful) attempt to buy the votes of an important Democratic constituency, even though it created a target-rich environment for critics.

It is sharply pro-rich at the expense of those far poorer, from a party pretending to stand for the opposite. It is very costly to everyone else (the National Taxpayers Union put the average burden at just over $2500 per taxpayer). The income cutoffs, designed to make it appear it is less pro-rich than it is, are misleading because most affected are in the early parts of their careers, when their incomes are lower, even though their average lifetime incomes (wealth, in present value terms) are likely to be far higher. It will encourage more people for whom the costs of going to college exceed the benefits to go anyway. It will raise the cost of college further, transferring many of the benefits claimed for students to the providers of education.

Oral arguments to Constitutional challenges to Biden’s plan will be heard at the Supreme Court in February, with much at stake.

What I have found surprising, however, is that the arguments and evidence for how ineffective, poorly targeted, inequitable and probably unconstitutional the student debt forgiveness plan is have not gone one seemingly obvious step further—to ask why we subsidize higher education so heavily in America, even without the currently proposed additional debt relief. After all, student loan forgiveness would only be the ex post icing on the cake of very large subsidies of other people’s money that already go to higher education.

Thirty-one years ago, a Congressional Budget Office study found that tuition subsidies alone averaged more than 80 percent of the cost of providing an education at 4-year public colleges and universities. And despite claims by Elizabeth Warren and others that there has been reduced investment of in higher education, the evidence does not support that.

And that is just one part of what Gordon Tullock called “a highly regressive scheme for transferring funds from the people who are less well-off to those who are well-off.” Economists Edgar and Jacqueline Browning put it similarly, in their classic Public Finance and the Price System: “Subsidies to higher education effectively benefit the brightest and most ambitious young people, and this group will on the average have the highest lifetime incomes even without assistance.” So, the question becomes whether the supposed benefits of college attendance to others in society are great enough to justify the huge subsidies. And careful thinking makes that highly doubtful.

As Peter Passell has written:

“The prospect of heavy debt after graduation would no doubt discourage some students from borrowing,” but “that may be the wisest form of restraint. Someone has to finally pay the bill, and it is hard to see why that should be the taxpayers rather than the direct beneficiary of the schooling.”

An important thing to recognize in this situation is that subsidies supposedly going to students increase the market demand for education, so that the incidence (who actually captures the gains from subsidies) is often quite different than claimed. As Adam Smith noted over two centuries ago, education subsidies increase college demand and go in large part to education providers in better wages and working conditions.

Market forces (in addition to serious barriers to entry into becoming an accredited and respected higher education provider) largely transform student aid into education provider aid. The case made for higher education subsidies to the rest of us has also long included a thicket of highly questionable arguments.

Many have argued that subsidizing higher education results in higher productivity, benefiting others. But competitive labor markets mean that higher productivity is captured by the workers in higher compensation, not by others in society. Consequently, it does not justify subsidies from others. It has also been argued that subsidies are justified because they increase the supply of skilled workers, lowering costs. However, the greatest part of that “gain” is actually a transfer from existing workers forced to accept lower wages for their skills than otherwise, not a net gain to society.

Still others have argued that added education provides cultural benefits to society. Again, however, such benefits primarily accrue to the students themselves (e.g., the ability to appreciate art), providing little or no justification for public subsidies from others.

There are other problems with the “external benefits” argument for government provision of education. “Skate” or “Easy A” classes do not provide substantial external benefits because they do not teach much of value. In contrast, law, medical, and dental training may teach a great deal, but as mentioned above, the benefit of such training goes to graduates in higher incomes, not society.

Furthermore, one must confront the fact that courses in some fields actually seem to make students less productive in the eyes of many potential employers. It is hard to see external benefits rather than external costs to others in such areas. Sizable external benefits to others would also require, at a minimum, that schools successfully teach valuable truths and skills and that students retain such wisdom past graduation, yet both conditions frequently go unmet.

There may be some social benefits, though difficult to articulate and measure, that one might argue justifies government higher education subsidies. But most plausible illustrations come at lower levels of education, not college (e.g., learning your ABCs and basic times tables in primary school), with few if any added benefits from higher education subsidies.

And even if there are some benefits to others from further education, those benefits to others would have to be greater than the costs imposed on others to fund the subsidies, a comparison few proponents consider seriously. With current subsidies already very large, before any consideration of loan forgiveness, costs are often far larger than benefits. And given our tax burdens and the vastly expanded future tax burdens implied by the recent explosion of government debt (that will also now need to be financed at much higher interest rates), the arguments for leaving the money in citizens’ hands, where they could always invest in added education if they believed it was the highest valued use of their funds, become even stronger.

Arguments against President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan are plentiful and powerful.

The substantial number of Swiss-cheese arguments long put forward in defense of higher education subsidies also lay bare what is only sensible as an effort to buy millions of votes from what has become a major Democrat interest group.

But those same arguments should also confront the massive higher education subsidies that would remain even in the absence of loan forgiveness. That would also bring us back to the Constitution. Not only does our supposed “highest law of the land” fail to grant the President unilateral executive power to cancel loan debts, nowhere does it enumerate education as a legitimate function of the federal government. We need less government involvement in both dimensions, not more in either.


Australian parents flock to private schools amid public system exodus

Given the chaos at many State schools, any parent who could afford to opt out would want to

Parents are sending their children to the state’s independent schools in record numbers, while the share of students enrolled in public schools has plunged to its lowest level in 15 years.

There were thousands fewer students enrolled in NSW public schools last year as families increasingly opted for a private education.

Official data released on Wednesday showed that 63.7 per cent of NSW students attended public schools in 2022 – a fall from 65.5 per cent five years ago. The proportion of students in independent schools has surged to 15.1 per cent, up from 13.3 per cent in 2017.

Catholic schools have remained relatively steady, with their share of students rising slightly to 21 per cent in 2022.

Families flocking to new housing developments on the city’s fringe are partly behind the surging enrolments in new and low-fee independent schools, according to Helen Proctor, a professor of education at University of Sydney.

“The new private schools are marketing themselves well, and the price point is really attractive to parents. These schools are also heavily subsidised by public funding, unlike the older and wealthier schools,” she said.

The exodus of students from public schools is a longer-term trend that has occurred while the number of private schools with fees between $5000 to $10,000 has grown, said Glenn Fahey, an education research fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies.

“It comes as little surprise to see an increasing flight of parents to private schools. This is a trend that had been going for some time,” he said.

Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said the government supported parents’ freedom to choose which school they enrol their children in. “We also support the growth of low-fee non-government schools in high-growth areas through capital funding,” she said.

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the state’s independent school enrolments grew by 6570 in a year to reach 187,913 – the highest on record.

Association of Independent Schools NSW chief executive Margery Evans said enrolment growth had occurred in low and mid-fee Anglican, Islamic and Christian schools in Sydney’s newer suburbs.

“Demand for places in many independent schools exceeds supply, and schools report having scores of names on their waiting lists and, in some cases, hundreds of students are turned away,” Evans said.

Sydney’s private schools, many of which have increased fees by 4 to 7 per cent this year, have been lobbying to increase student caps, with principals warning restrictive student caps are creating huge enrolment pressures.

The ABS figures reflect a national trend, with independent schools across Australia recording the highest growth rate at 3.3 per cent last year, followed by Catholic schools at 1 per cent. Enrolments in government schools fell for a second year running, down by 0.6 per cent across the country.

Ellouise Roberts, head of education statistics at the ABS, said the proportion of students enrolled in independent primary schools was growing, with about 12 per cent of NSW students in private primary schools.

“This increase in the primary school share for independent schools has been continuing over a few years,” she said, noting that these proportions are much higher for high school, with 18.5 per cent of secondary students in NSW independent schools.

Across all schools, private schools had a lower student-to-teacher ratio (11.7 students to one teacher) than government schools (13.4 students to one teacher) and Catholic schools (13.6 students to one teacher).

Principal Alan Dawson at Richard Johnson Anglican School in Oakhurst said demand was increasing for low-fee private schools in high-growth areas in the city’s north-west. “Our fees are about $6400 for year 12 – parents really see it as value for money,” Dawson said.

“Even just in the past year to this year, we’ve seen a 44 per cent increase in a year at our Marsden Park campus. This is mainly due to a lack of public schools in this growth corridor,” Dawson said.

Leppington Anglican College principal Michael Newton’s school in south-west Sydney opened its doors this year and already has 180 students.

“We’ve got kids who have come from other public schools in the area,” he said. “There are some big open-learning style classrooms – for some parents, their children have found that difficult.”

He said parents who enrolled their children at the $8000-a-year school valued how staff used explicit instruction to explain academic concepts to children and the attention they received from one classroom teacher.

“In our area, parents say they want a disciplined environment,” he said.

Nikki Kapsanis, who lives in Earlwood, chose Rosebank College for her children, Jonas and Alexis.

The Five Dock private school charges $11,400 for year 12. This is significantly below amounts charged at Kambala and SCEGGS Darlinghurst, the most expensive Sydney schools where fees have increased beyond $45,000 for the first time this year.

“For us, the school is up there with the elite schools but not with the cost,“ Kapsanis said. “The co-educational factor was a big plus, and it offers academics, performing and arts. We think the fees are worth it.”

“The kids went to our local public primary school but for high school we wanted a private education. As children get older and they become teenagers, they need discipline.”

ACU senior lecturer and former principal Paul Kidson said there can be a “misguided view” that there is major academic benefit to sending children to private schools. There are many reasons parents select independent schools including social status, religious affiliation and family connections.

“It will be interesting to see what happens with enrolments in low-fee schools as mortgage and cost of living pressures grow,” he said, adding that high-fee schools will be relatively insulated.




Wednesday, February 15, 2023

As Republican states move towards more school choice, don’t forget to hire more teachers

By Robert Romano

Republican-led states including Florida and Utah are moving towards private schools to accommodate growing demand among conservatives, libertarians and Republicans for an alternative to public education systems that have long been dominated by the cultural left and Democrats.

It is little wonder.

A 2016 survey by Education Week found that only 27 percent of teachers were Republicans versus 41 percent Democrat and 30 percent independents. In higher education, the advantage is more like 10 to 1. And the situation is only worsening.

Lack of Republican representation in these professions is nothing new. And it is hardly confined to education. In civil service positions, the Democrats’ advantage is 2 to 1. Democrats have a 3 to 1 advantage in publishing and information technology and 4 to 1 in media production.

George Washington University Professor Jonathan Turley noted in a recent oped to The Hill: “For elementary, middle and high schools, voucher programs may allow parents to speak with their feet. I hope we do not come to that — but the opposition to vouchers is telling. The alarm is based on the recognition that, given a choice, many families would not choose what public schools are offering. This includes many minority families who want to escape from a cycle of education that leaves many students barely literate and lost. They likely would prefer an alternative to a system like Baltimore’s, where a student failed all but three classes and still graduated in the top half of his class.”

Such dominance has reached a breaking point. At the school level, parents have had enough of “diverse and inclusive”, equity-based, critical race programs that have traded away traditional American values like freedom of speech but also equality, color-blindness and civil rights in the tradition of Martin Luther King, Jr. who taught us to treat each other not by the color of their skin, but the content of their character.

But after Covid public school lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 and repeated instances of parents being openly attacked at school board meetings and even having Justice Department investigations of parents arising as a result, now Republican states are springing into action with a renewed push for private education—with public funds, whether in the form of tax credits or vouchers.

But who’s going to teach at these new center-right schools?

College admissions are breaking almost 2 to 1 female, with further breakdowns on partisan affiliation as women tend to vote Democratic and men tend to vote Republican, on the margins. According to the National Student Clearinghouse, in 2020-2021 the breakdown was 59.5 percent female, and 40.5 percent male. And it’s not because of discrimination.

There is a pervasive “no college” message among conservatives that apparently has gotten through loud and clear in recent years, but what it means is that the next generation of jobs including in education but also health, law and the sciences, that require a degree will be more left-wing than ever.

Anecdotally, I was once on track to be an art teacher before the political bug bit in the early 2000s and I changed my major to political science. Just what the world needed, another conservative pundit! But at a younger age, was I impacted by conservative messaging that suggested public schools were dominated by the left? I cannot say with certainty. But I was definitely one less Republican teacher. I still regret it.

Republicans actually need young people to take their places in these institutions, and hopefully achieve more balanced perspectives in education. Men, who disproportionately vote Republican, generally would still need to go to college to get a degree in education to teach in order to get the job at these schools. But fewer men are going to college and may not value the need for education to build the schools conservatives say they want in the future.

Why is there no push in Republican states to become educators? We can do vouchers or tax credits all day long, but if we want balanced education, at least a few of us have to become teachers.

If schools are not good in red states, either, that’s on Republican governors and legislatures for not recruiting better talent and urging at least a few of their kids to get into the profession.

The truth is Republicans have been blasting the quality of K-12 public education for more than 40 years, and yet despite demand for more alternatives, private school enrollment is actually lower today than it was in 1995 even as public school enrollment has steadily risen to more than 50 million. Parents who homeschool are making a sacrifice but it might not be the most efficient solution.

85 percent of Americans, which include Republicans, still depend on public schools, and in charter school cities like New York City, they must resort to lotteries because of limited availability of seats.

So, whether red states opt for public or private school options, the fact is somebody still has to work there. As Republican states rightly pursue these alternatives, they must be aware that they will still have to train and recruit new teachers—and go outside the education degrees as necessary to fill in the gaps—whether they’ll be working in brand new center-right private schools, or we just take back what is ours.


Enraged residents slam 'fraud and corruption' as Baltimore schools hit shocking new low

Days after Gov. Wes Moore, D-Md., declared education a top priority for his tenure, Baltimore reported that zero students in 23 different public schools are proficient in math. Also, 93% of third through eighth graders tested below grade level in the same subject.

Baltimore residents responded by blasting school officials and lawmakers for "fraud and corruption" which they claim is to blame for the low numbers.

"I lay the blame in two places," U.S. Army veteran and Baltimore resident Evie Harris said on "Fox & Friends First" Friday. "I would start with the board of schools commissioners or the Board of School Administrators. And I'm going to also add in some parents… We've been having these results for decades. I am not shocked because we've been having these results. I am angry, and I would lay the blame majorly at [CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools] Sonja Santelises and the Baltimore City School administrators who are absolutely dismissive and arrogant at the results we are seeing here in Baltimore."

First vice chair of the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee Kyna "K.J." McKenzie also weighed in on the report. "I'm shocked. I am frustrated and angry about it. As a parent, I'm a parent. I live in Baltimore City and we've been dealing with this for decades," she said. "And these results are very frustrating."

"Frustrating because we're not able to get to the root cause of what's happening, because everyone the leadership here blames it on racism. We've had Democratic leadership for decades. The people here in power look like me and everything's blamed on racism."

The report came from the Maryland State Department of Education's 2022 state test results known as MCAP, Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program. Data concerning math scores and proficiency came from across various elementary, middle and secondary schools.

On February 1, Gov. Moore touted his administration's investment in public education, noting it is the largest investment in the state's history.

"We can no longer separate our vision for economic prosperity from the duty to make Maryland's public schools the best in the nation," he said during a speech earlier this month.

McKenzie noted that despite the governor's comments, his policies are creating a "prison pipeline," hurting Maryland residents.

"The governor has just put forward a budget and he's cut spending for school choice options for Baltimore City's people, for Marylanders. And that's that hurts us," she explained. "We don't even have the option of taking the money that they pour into these students and money that we're given through this budget to go to other places for better education. And so what we have here is an education to prison pipeline."

"They have two choices here in Baltimore City for kids: You're either going to prison or you're going to take them away in a body bag. You know, this is a real crisis we have here."

Harris argued that school officials are refusing to seek out actual solutions in order to stay "in power."

"They don't want to because not solving the problem keeps them in power. And it also keeps their emotionalism, their guilt tripping and keeps parents ignorant to a degree and keeps parents fearful and not knowing what to do," Harris told host Todd Piro.

In addition to Baltimore education officials, Harris called out Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott for what she argues is failing to hold the city's school board officials accountable.

"There is none. There is not [accountability]," Harris said. "There's only, again, the attitude, the elitism and the constant failure of our children."

Harris argued one practical solution for Baltimore residents is to pull children from the public schools and consider homeschooling or enrolling kids in private schools.

She noted, however, that one "very successful" charter school is under attack from the school board which is trying to shut down the school over a paperwork technicality. She argues this proves officials are more focused on retaining "power and control" than bettering education for children.

"Enough is enough. Parents, we encourage parents to wake up, fight back and tell them, 'no, these are our children. They have meaning and they have a purpose. And you don't get to ruin their lives.'"


Inside the University of Pennsylvania's Precedent-Setting Effort To Revoke Tenure From Its Most Controversial Professor

On September 16, 2019, students at the University of Pennsylvania Law School hosted a town hall with law school dean Theodore Ruger to discuss the "issues" surrounding Amy Wax.

A tenured professor at the law school, Wax had sparked outrage earlier that year when she argued, in a speech at the National Conservatism Conference, that the United States should favor immigrants from countries with similar values to its own. Since those nations "remain mostly white for now," Wax said, her approach implied that "our country will be better off with more whites and fewer non-whites"—even though, she stipulated, the policy "doesn't rely on race at all."

In audio of the town hall obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, Ruger told students that Wax's comments were "racist" and had caused "harm." He also suggested they could be grounds to fire her: It "sucks" that Wax "still works here," Ruger said, adding that the "only way to get rid of a tenured professor" is a "process" that is "gonna take months."

The town hall set the stage for a protracted battle over academic freedom. Since January 2022, Penn has been trying to sanction Wax—potentially by revoking her tenure and dismissing her—for statements the law school alleges violate its anti-discrimination policies. The case is testing the argument, aired by one of Wax's colleagues, that a professor's academic views can be so "offensive" that they "undercut" her ability to teach students and provide a "good case for termination."

Wax's views are undeniably controversial. She said in a 2017 interview that black law students "rarely" finish in the top half of their class. She has argued that black poverty is self-inflicted and, in the context of immigration policy, expressed a preference for "fewer Asians," citing their "indifference to liberty" and "overwhelming" support for Democrats. She even invited Jared Taylor, a self-described "white identity" advocate, to speak to her class on conservative thought, saying his views were "well within the subject matter of the course."

But tenure is intended to protect provocative speech. It came about in the 1920s after many professors were fired for endorsing then-controversial ideas like evolution, atheism, and free love. Robust job security meant academics could speak and teach freely about charged subjects, even if doing so was considered blasphemous.

That's why Wax's case has raised alarm about the future of academic freedom and the power of tenure to protect it. Unlike Princeton University's Joshua Katz, whom the school sacked ostensibly over his consensual relationship with a former student, Wax is under the microscope only for what she's said. Her dismissal would set a new precedent, signaling that tenured professors can be booted for airing views that students or administrators deem offensive.

"This is a game-changer, because it's a pure case of speech," Wax told the Free Beacon. "If they succeed in punishing me for that, it will eviscerate academic freedom as we know it."

Faculty across the political spectrum echo that warning. Wax's defenders include the conservative Princeton professor Robert George and the liberal Harvard Law professor Janet Halley, both of whom say Penn is playing with fire. "Statements on issues of law and public policy"—and the act of "inviting a controversial speaker" to class—are "unquestionably protected by academic freedom," Halley wrote in July on behalf of the Academic Freedom Alliance, a nonprofit that defends faculty speech rights.

George, who cofounded the alliance, said that punishing Wax for either would have a chilling effect. "The message to faculty and students alike will be clear," he said. "You had better not defy the campus orthodoxies, because if you do, the consequences could be severe."

The law school has maintained the case is about fairness rather than free speech. Ruger told Penn's faculty Senate in June that Wax's comments had led "reasonable students" to conclude that she would grade them "based on their race"—despite the law school's blind grading policy—and implied she had sabotaged the job prospects of minority students. She therefore deserved "major sanctions," a term defined by Penn's faculty handbook to include suspension and termination.

With that statement, Ruger triggered a disciplinary process that has been used just a handful of times in the university's history: The last time Penn axed a tenured faculty member, it was because he killed his wife.

This report—based on emails, memos, and recorded meetings—provides a window into Penn's efforts to oust its most controversial professor. It sheds light on tactics that, if successful, are likely to be employed against other tenured dissidents, including the concealment of evidence and the use of surreptitious probes. Penn, for example, ignored the results of an outside investigation that found "no evidence" Wax had treated students unfairly—then launched a second investigation, without disclosing it to Wax, and kept the results of both probes secret for months.

The opacity has alarmed the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, another free speech watchdog defending Wax, which told the Free Beacon that it would compound the case's chilling effect. "Anything less than total transparency," said Alex Morey, the group's director of campus advocacy, "sends the message that administrators will find a way to punish controversial academics at any cost."

Ruger, the dean of the law school, did not respond to a request for comment.

Penn's crusade against Wax is something of an about-face for the university, which as recently as 2015 awarded her its top teaching prize. But Wax, who holds Ivy League degrees in law, biophysics, and neuroscience, has always been an intellectual bomb-thrower: Her most explosive position may be that racial disparities have more to do with group differences in IQ than with racism, a belief she has defended in books, law review articles, and popular essays,

That view set the stage for an official complaint against Wax, filed in April 2021 by eight law school alumni, alleging that her "derogatory remarks" had harmed students. The complaint seized on her 2017 statement that black students rarely finish in the top half of their class, which, it said, had caused minority students to "reasonably assume" she had violated the school's anonymous grading policy.

Rather than adjudicate the complaint internally, Penn asked Daniel Rodriguez, a professor and former dean at Northwestern University law school, to serve as an outside investigator and determine whether there was any merit to the complaint. In August 2021, Rodriguez presented Penn general counsel Wendy White with a 45-page summary of his findings, based on interviews with 26 alumni.

The report, a copy of which was obtained by the Free Beacon, found that the most serious charges against Wax were baseless. There was "no evidence" she had "breach[ed] the anonymity of exams," "graded minority students differently," "denied them access to professional opportunities," or "singled them out for special ridicule," Rodriguez wrote.

Rodriguez did find that Wax made a number of off-the-cuff remarks—such as telling a black student she was admitted "because of affirmative action" and saying "Hispanic people don't seem to mind" loud neighborhoods—that were "harmful" or "derogatory." (Wax denies having made the comment about affirmative action.) But he also found that students had omitted the context of other remarks, making them sound worse than they really were. It seemed to be "the content and shape of her very controversial views"—rather than any sort of discriminatory conduct—that had troubled alumni, he said.

If Penn does sanction Wax, she has indicated that she will file a lawsuit. Though as a private school Penn is not bound by the First Amendment, its official policies do promise faculty academic freedom—and Wax could sue for breach of contract.

The stakes of that lawsuit would be high. If Wax won, the resulting precedent would make it harder for all universities, not just Penn, to fire tenured dissidents. If she lost, it would give schools legal cover to axe them.

"Universities are just spoiling to purge dissidents like me," Wax said, "the few of us left who are standing in the way of a complete woke takeover. That's why this case is so important."




Tuesday, February 14, 2023

A girl bullied to death - and her grieving dad smeared by HER school! From suicide, to rape, to gender madness...

The disgusting Triantafillos Parlapanides has now resigned

To watch the video of 14-year-old Adriana Kuch being brutally assaulted in the hallway of her own high school — to see her crouching in the fetal position as she's swarmed and dragged and pummeled by three other students while another student off-camera yells, 'F**k her up! F**k that b*tch up!' — is to see the confidence of bullies in present-day America.

Once upon a time, kids like this would attack off-campus, in secret, no witnesses. Now they attack openly in cafeterias and classrooms, school buses and social media, secure in the knowledge that administrators won't do a thing.

After Kuch was assaulted — and it took 40 seconds for an adult to intervene, these brazen kids punching away regardless — her attack was posted on social media: TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram.

Two days later, Adriana committed suicide. A message sent just hours before mocked her for 'dripping' blood and getting 'whooped.'

This poor young girl already had a host of stressors and risk factors — her mother, who battled addiction, had died when she was little, and her father had been concerned about Adriana vaping marijuana. But it seems that this beating, and the endless social media humiliation that followed, broke her young spirit.

'She was so embarrassed that they jumped her,' said her father, Michael Kuch. 'She would say, 'I don't want to be made fun of.' It was like she was attacked twice. It used to be you'd go to school, get bullied and then you left. But now you come home and you keep getting bullied — they still keep picking at you at home.'

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, the school suspended the bullies involved but did not call the police. Instead, Michael Kuch brought his daughter – beaten and bloodied – to the police station himself.

After Adriana's suicide made headlines, the school superintendent, Triantafillos Parlapanides, posted to social media that in this case, 'there are two sides to every story.'

This is an adult entrusted with the education and care of teenagers? This is appalling. No wonder bullies at his school beat and crush and slap and insult with impunity. No wonder the bullied feel even more helpless — the adults in charge won't stand up for the victims!

On Friday, the day of Adriana's wake, Parlapanides sent a series of emails to in which he seemed to blame Adriana and her father for this tragedy. Responding to a question about whether the school had offered Adriana any services — as it's believed she had been bullied for quite some time before her suicide — this craven, blame-shifting, cowardly deflector wrote: 'After her mother's suicide since her father was having an affiar [sic] at the end of her 6th grade. Her father married the woman he had an affair with and moved her into the house. Her grades and choices declined in 7th and 8th grade. We offered her drug rehab and mental services on 5 occasions but father refused every time.'

Wow. The fish, as they say, rots from the head. This guy should be fired immediately and never allowed to work with children again. He violated Adriana's private health information and essentially blamed her father for her mother's suicide.

As of Thursday, the four girls allegedly involved in the attack at New Jersey's Central Regional High School have been charged; three with fourth degree assault, and one with disorderly conduct. Prior to that, her father said, the school did next to nothing: No investigation. No monitoring of social media.

It's fair to assume that Central Regional, like far too many schools across America, has no real rules against cyber-bullying. Why would they? There's no federal law against it, even as the CDC reported in October 2022 that one in five high school students reported being bullied on campus the previous year. More than one in six reported cyber-bullying. Self-reports are highest in middle schools at 33%, then high schools at 30%.

Where are our educators? Our administrators? Our elected officials?

Make no mistake: Cyber-bullying among children and adolescents is a public health crisis, just as the angry young American male is, just as the school shooter is, just as the post-COVID learning and socialization gap is, just as the woke orthodoxy that every boy or man who questions their gender should have access to women's and girls' bathrooms, locker rooms, shelters, prisons — whether or not girls and women feel safe — is as well.

In May of 2021, a 15-year-old boy raped a female classmate in a trans-friendly school bathroom. He assaulted that young girl in a bathroom stall. A teacher later testified that she saw two pairs of feet under the stall door but did nothing.

Scott Smith, the girl's father, said she had been held down on the floor and attacked in that stall. Why was a grown teacher afraid to knock? To yell 'What's going on in there?' Or 'Get out of there now and let me see what you're doing!'?

That school superintendent, Scott Ziegler, also did nothing. In fact, he claimed there was no record of that assault — or a similar sexual assault committed by the same boy, against another teenage girl, later that same year in another Virginia school.

For agitating for justice, for demanding that the school board tell the truth about sexual assaults in girls' bathrooms and what transgender policy may have to do with them, Scott Smith was arrested at a school board meeting, dragged on the ground till his shirt rolled up to his chest, winding up with a bloody mouth.


That's what fathers standing up for young female students in America get today — shamed as anti-trans, bigots, MAGA or MAGA-adjacents, idiots who can't comprehend liberal nuances.

Michael Kuch, speaking out after his daughter was bullied and committed suicide, gets smeared by the school superintendent, who took it upon himself to air their private family matters.

And look at the non-coverage of whistleblower Jamie Reed in much of liberal media. Here is a 42-year-old who identifies as 'a queer woman, politically to the left of Bernie Sanders' — married to a trans man — who worked for four years at The Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children's Hospital.

She's the first American gender clinic worker to come forward and say children are being harmed by medical gender transition.

You would think her explosive essay, published yesterday in the Free Press, would make headlines everywhere. Not so, despite her dire warnings.

'What's happening to children,' Reed wrote, 'is morally and medically appalling.' With little more than claims of gender confusion and two visits with an in-house therapist, these children, she says, are placed on puberty-blockers that can result in lifelong sterilization or increased risks for cancer or who knows what — because we have no longitudinal studies. The teenagers Reed saw, most of them virgins, were approved for surgeries that many come to regret. They had no idea what their minds and bodies were in for, but they trusted the adults at this facility.

Reed reprinted an email from one angry parent:

'Please be advised that I'm revoking my consent for this course of medical treatment. Grades have dropped, there's been an in-patient behavioral health visit and now he's on five different medications . . . [Redacted] is a shell of his former self, riddled with anxiety. Who knows if it's because of the hormone blockers or the other medications. I revoke my consent.'

For alerting us to this public health emergency, Reed says she expects to be shamed and unemployable. 'I am putting myself at serious personal and professional risk,' Reed wrote. 'Almost everyone in my life advised me to keep my head down. But I cannot in good conscience do so.'

The children of America need more adults like Jamie Reed and Michael Kuch and Scott Smith: Willing to stand up for the most vulnerable, the most at-risk, to push back against this ultra-woke world in which black and white, right and wrong, are increasingly archaic ideas. We cannot abide bullies, be they kids in class or teachers who look the other way or school shooters whose aberrant behaviors give plenty of warning — our most recent a six-year-old who intentionally shot his teacher — or trans activists who equate concern and questioning with prejudice and hate.

We are failing our children. It's long past time for the adults in the room to grow up.


DeSantis Camp Calls Out 'The View' Host for 'Dishonest and Incorrect' On-Air Claim: 'Stop Lying'

A representative for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called out purported Republican Alyssa Farah Griffin after she charged on ABC’s “The View” Thursday that the governor is “erasing history” for black students by banning critical race theory in classrooms.

Griffin falsely claimed DeSantis had hijacked the curriculum on the subject of black history in order to censor topics such as slavery and the civil rights movement.

In a response to the governor’s recent ban of an AP black history course that was CRT in disguise, she made an accusation that was not supported by the facts.

“You’re literally talking about erasing history,” she said on “The View.”

“This is straight up saying we’re not gonna learn about slavery, we’re not going to learn about the Civil War. That’s much more dangerous,” Griffin continued.

The AP black history course in question had been appropriately flagged as a trojan horse for Marxist ideals and will not be taught in Florida classrooms in its original form.

DeSantis took issue with its focus on black history as “queer theory” and also its literature on “abolishing prisons,” among other topics.

None of that was mentioned on “The View,” and so DeSantis’ press secretary, Bryan Griffin — no relation, apparently — called out the ABC host and CNN contributor online after her comments aired.

“@Alyssafarah stop lying,” Bryan Griffin tweeted. “Florida has extensive requirements to teach black history. But @GovRonDeSantis will not allow ideologues to utilize black history as a vehicle for a political agenda in FL’s classrooms.” He later told Fox News that Griffin’s claims were “both dishonest and incorrect.”

Columnist David Marcus also reacted to her comments on “The View.”

“This is incredible lying, but I think Whoopi at least believes it,” Marcus tweeted. “Alyssa Farrah Griffin knows damn well that CRT is implemented in the schools but is too afraid to say so.”

In his tweet, DeSantis’ press secretary shared a link to the state’s approved curriculum on the subject of African American History.

According to the Florida Department of Education, students will learn about the history of “African peoples before the political conflicts that led to the development of slavery; the passage to America; the enslavement experience; abolition; and the history and contributions of Americans of the African diaspora to society.”

“Students shall develop an understanding of the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping on individual freedoms, and examine what it means to be a responsible and respectful person, for the purpose of encouraging tolerance of diversity in a pluralistic society and for nurturing and protecting democratic values and institutions,” the department clearly states.

But it also clearly states that theories on race intended to stoke racial division will not be permitted in classrooms for the purpose of poisoning young people against one another.

“Instructional personnel may facilitate discussions and use curricula to address, in an age-appropriate manner, how the individual freedoms of persons have been infringed by slavery, racial oppression, racial segregation, and racial discrimination, as well as topics relating to the enactment and enforcement of laws resulting in racial oppression, racial segregation, and racial discrimination and how recognition of these freedoms has overturned these unjust laws,” the guidelines say.

The website adds that classroom instruction and curriculum “may not be used to indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view.”


Washington University says it is 'alarmed' by whistleblower allegations against its transgender center and vows to 'ascertain the facts'

Washington University is 'alarmed' by the allegations of a whistleblower who worked at its transgender clinic at the St Louis Children's Hospital and has vowed to 'ascertain the facts'.

Jamie Reed, a former employee at the Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children's Hospital, said that working there was like working 'in a cult' and that what is being done to kids is 'morally and medically appalling'.

After the article was published, Missouri's Attorney General Andrew Bailey confirmed his office was launching an major probe into the clinic following Reed's allegations, which he characterized as 'disturbing.'

Bailey said his primary goal was to make sure children were not harmed by 'individuals who may be more concerned with a radical social agenda than the health of children.'

In her affidavit, Reed said in one instance a girl was prescribed cross-sex hormones because she did not want to become pregnant.

'There was no need for this girl to be prescribed cross-sex hormones. What she needed was basic sex education and maybe contraception,' she said, adding that a basic assessment of her case would have revealed that.

'But because the doctors automatically prescribe cross-sex hormones or puberty blockers for children meeting the bare minimum criteria, this girl was unnecessarily placed on drugs that cause irreversible change to the body.'

She alleged that in another instance, a patient asked for their breasts to be removed and was given the surgery at St. Louis Children's Hospital - but just weeks later, the woman asked for them to be 'put back on.'

Reed draws the conclusion that proper assessment was not taken, and the patient was not properly informed that the changes were irreversible, according to the document.

The former employee added: 'Three months later, the patient contacted the surgeon and asked for their breasts to be "put back on." Had a requisite and adequate assessment been performed before the procedure, the doctors could have prevented this patient from undergoing irreversible surgical change.'

The whistleblower, who first came forward in The Free Press, included a list of outlandish requests children came into the center with, which she alleged doctors listened to and then prescribed cross-sex treatment for.

She said: 'Children come into the clinic using pronouns of inanimate objects like mushroom, rock, or helicopter. Children come into the clinic saying they want hormones because they do not want to be gay.

'Children come in changing their identities on a day-to-day basis. Children come in under clear pressure by a parent to identify in a way inconsistent with the child's actual identity.

'In all these cases, the doctors decide to issue puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones.'

Reed alleged the hospital's public claims that it did not perform gender transition surgeries on minors was a lie.

'The Center regularly refers minors for gender transition surgery,' she said. 'The Center routinely gives out the names and contact information of surgeons to those under the age of 18.

'At least one gender transition surgery was performed by Dr. Allison Snyder-Warwick at St. Louis Children's Hospital in the last few years,' Reed alleged.

In another shocking claim, Reed alleged that one 17-year-old patient was brought into the clinic by a man - who he was not related to. The teenager was living with the man.

The teenager started hormones 'as soon as they turned 18.' But the patient's mental health very quickly deteriorated - and Reed claims it was soon revealed the man who initially bought the child to the clinic was sexually and physically abusing him.

Despite learning of the alleged abuse of power, the center did not stop the gender transition treatment, the affidavit claims.

Reed worked at The Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children's Hospital and was responsible for patient intake between 2018 and November 2022.

Reed said she took the job at the center with the intention of 'saving' trans kids, but that she believes what is happening amounts to 'permanent harm' on young, vulnerable children.

After four years, she says she became convinced the clinics were harming kids and families, whose understanding of the realities of the medical side-effects involved was scarily poor.

Doctors acted as though they were more entitled to make decisions than parents, says Reed, and only one parent's consent was required in cases involving minors.

Reed cites examples of a 17-year-old girl's birth canal allegedly being 'ripped open' when she had sex while taking testosterone to transition to male, unaware that the drug would cause her to bleed extensively if she had intercourse.

In other scenarios, she claims teenage girls were terrified when their clitorises turned into micro-penises while they took the drugs.

Some psychiatrically 'disturbed' children from juvenile detention centers were also presented because they had 'at some point' expressed an interest in changing gender.

The doctors I worked alongside at the Transgender Center said frequently about the treatment of our patients: 'We are building the plane while we are flying it.' No one should be a passenger on that kind of aircraft.'

Among those patients, according to Reed, was a boy who'd been sexually abusing dogs. 'Somewhere along the way, he expressed a desire to become female, so he ended up being seen at our center.

'The way the American medical system is treating these patients is the opposite of the promise we make to "do no harm."

'Instead, we are permanently harming the vulnerable patients in our care... what is happening to scores of children is morally and medically appalling.'

She describes seeing a sudden, sharp uptick in the number of young girls 'demanding testosterone', sometimes presenting themselves as 'clusters' from the same schools.

Reed perceived a 'lack of formal protocol' at the center, and that doctors ignored the fact young girls lied about having other illnesses and prescribed them hormones.

She reveals that in order for a young girl to start transitioning to male, all she needed to do was see a clinic-recommended therapist once or twice and obtain a letter of support for their decision.

That therapist was often given a template for the letter that was written by the clinic, according to Reed.

'Frequently, our patients declared they had disorders that no one believed they had.

'We had patients who said they had Tourette syndrome (but they didn't); that they had tic disorders (but they didn't); that they had multiple personalities (but they didn't).

'Clinics like the one where I worked are creating a whole cohort of kids with atypical genitals - and most of these teens haven't even had sex yet.

'They had no idea who they were going to be as adults. Yet all it took for them to permanently transform themselves was one or two short conversations with a therapist,' Reed writes.

She says the doctors at the hospital treat the issue of transitioning among teens as an 'experiment'.

'Experiments are supposed to be carefully designed. Hypotheses are supposed to be tested ethically.

'The doctors I worked alongside at the Transgender Center said frequently about the treatment of our patients: 'We are building the plane while we are flying it.'

'No one should be a passenger on that kind of aircraft.'




Monday, February 13, 2023

Combatting Woke tyranny: can science be saved?

Joseph Forgas

The takeover of universities and scientific associations by radical Woke activists seeking to impose an ideological strait jacket on academia has now reached alarming proportions. Compelled speech, compulsory DEI declarations, de-platforming, and worst of all, the hounding and cancellation of anyone accused of departing from politically correct dogmas, have become hallmarks of coercion in academia.

The totalitarian objectives of Woke activism are directly traceable to Marxist-Leninist conflict ideologies, something I was forced to study for several years in my youth while living in a communist society. Strangely, the Woke academic revolution is not a movement by the dispossessed, but rather, is driven by secure upper middle-class activists who infiltrated powerful institutions, straining to outdo each other in vacuous moral posturing and virtue signalling.

The dispassionate pursuit of truth and free speech cannot coexist with such blind ideological activism in our universities and scientific associations. Much damage has already been done by the creeping take-over by zealots of our institutions. This happened while the silent majority remained silent and did nothing to prevent the destruction of some of our most important universities, research institutions, and scholarly associations.

A case in point now worth revisiting is the major recent scandal in psychological science when the executive of the Association of Psychological Science (APS) summarily terminated Prof. Klaus Fiedler, the Senior Editor of their flagship journal, Advances in Psychological Science. Fiedler was accused of racism by racial scholar Steven Othello Roberts [who is black], who was offended by critical reviews by four distinguished scientists (Hommel, Stanovich, Stroebe, Jussim) of his paper on Racial Inequality in Psychological Research. The Spectator Australia also covered this disgraceful incident at the time.

Rather than responding rationally to critical comments, as academic authors must do when getting negative feedback, Roberts published a denunciation of Fiedler and his critics, insinuating that as they were, to quote: ‘All senior White men.’ This illustrates his point that ‘…systemic racism exists in science. There is a racialised power structure that marginalises research by (and about) people of colour.’

Within days, an internet lynch mob was formed demanding Fiedler’s dismissal, while Fiedler was given limited opportunity to present his case. To its indelible shame, the Association of Psychological Science obliged.

Following the time-honored pattern of Woke activism and attendant moral outrage, the Woke warriors specifically demanded that APS should ‘empower and fund your Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee to … address racism’, to ‘conduct remedial training for all editors on … anti-racism’, and ‘give Dr. Roberts the option to have his outstanding and important commentary published in PoPS, with the four other articles in question available only as supplementary online material … and grant him any additional reparative action he might deem necessary’.

This is a complete mockery of how science, and refereed publications in particular, are supposed to work. Woke activists now define what truth is and decide what should or should not be published. Freedom of speech, evidence, and rational discourse are summarily dispensed with, and political pressure is exerted to exact revenge on those declared as ideological enemies. And our scientific associations go along with this.

These are the same Orwellian strategies that oppressive tyrannical regimes have employed throughout history. The carefully constructed institutional edifice of universities and scientific associations exist precisely to resist ideological tyranny – but these institutions have largely failed us in recent years. It could be argued that the only racially-charged rhetoric in this sorry saga came from Dr. Roberts, who did not argue his case in the journal as invited by Fiedler, and resorted instead to publicly accusing Fiedler and his critics.

However, there are some incipient signs that a kind of resistance to Woke tyranny in science may be slowly forming. Recently, over 130 psychological scientists sent a strong letter of protest to APS demanding that the Association revisits Fiedler’s termination. The letter was signed by such influential academics as Steven Pinker, Jonathan Haidt, Robin Dunbar, and Roy Baumeister, among others. Perhaps this rare reaction is due to Fiedler’s widely recognised qualities as an eminent scholar with a highly respected editorial track record for several major journals, also explicitly acknowledged by APS at the time of his appointment.

Once criticisms of the APS decision surfaced, and five out of six associate editors as well as numerous academics resigned in protest from the Association, APS then disingenuously claimed that Roberts’ allegations of racism had nothing at all to do with Fiedler’s termination. This lame explanation lacks credibility.

APS can now be fairly accused of compromising the values of scientific integrity and transparency they are obliged to represent. Their claim that Roberts’ incendiary allusion to racism had nothing at all to do with Fiedler’s termination is unlikely. As Fiedler argues, ‘The APS action was prompted by widespread disquiet about ‘racism’, not editorial practices. A disquiet was triggered by a misconceived and unfounded accusation, as the unreported evidence shows’.

Claims by disgruntled authors against editors would never succeed if it was not for the Woke mob baying for retribution. The spineless activism of APS, the wanton destruction of the career and reputation of a decent and highly respected scientist, and the feeble and dishonest protestations amount to a complete betrayal of APS’ mission that has brought shame and disrepute on the field.

The real issue is that in addition to many university administrations, independent scientific associations like APS have been taken over by ideologues, for whom social activism is more important than defending truth and scientific integrity.

APS is not alone in betraying their foundational values. Numerous scientific associations and conference organisers now impose an absurd requirement that scientific papers must be prefaced by regurgitated statements about how the work promotes diversity, equity, and inclusiveness, a policy reminiscent of the well-honed coercive ideological practices of totalitarian regimes.

Just such Woke activism is also ripe in the STEM disciplines like physics and chemistry, as documented at a recent meeting on free speech and academic freedom at Stanford University.

As the Economist recently noted, many academic job advertisements mandate elaborate statements about an applicant’s commitment to DEI principles, and scientific merit often comes second to political correctness and activism as a selection criterion. Some job ads explicitly exclude white males from applying, all in the name of social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusiveness.

Academic institutions are also eliminating objective tests in the name of improving inclusiveness and equity. Good luck with going to a doctor next time who has not been selected on merit…

Woke ideology sees entire disciplines, such as mathematics, as racist that must be de-colonised because it insists that there can only be one correct answer to a mathematical problem – thereby privileging white supremacy, and denying the legitimacy of alternative ways of ‘knowing’. Once reputable institutions such as the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation go along with such bizarre nonsense, and California has a proposal to do away with advanced math programs in schools because they are considered racist.

Is there a way back from such lunacy? Some scholars at Stanford University’s forum on free speech argued that the situation is beyond redemption. As many faculties in the arts, humanities, and social science are now exclusively staffed by like-minded ideologues, even if free speech was miraculously restored, there is nobody left to voice alternative views. After decades of hiring faculty based on ideology and Woke principles rather than merit, entire disciplines may be doomed. The only solution may be to start new institutions and new associations explicitly committed to heterodoxy. Within psychology, just such an initiative is now in progress so that disgraceful episodes like Fiedler’s cannot re-occur.

Recent protests in the Fiedler case may offer a faint hope that things might be slowly turning. But this will only happen if all scientists, and all concerned citizens consistently speak up against the kind of injustice committed by the APS.


How to promote academic freedom in America

WHEN SEEKING a job to teach in the University of California system, academic excellence is not enough. Applicants must also submit a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) statement, explaining how they will advance those goals. That sounds fair enough, except that a promise to treat everyone equally would constitute a fail. Meanwhile in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis and the state legislature are trying to ban the teaching of critical race theory, an approach to studying racism with which they disagree. While this has been going on, a row has broken out (also in Florida) over a new pre-college course in African-American studies. These three developments have one thing in common: they are attempts to win arguments by controlling the institutions where those arguments take place.

Threats to academic freedom in America can come from many directions. Students sometimes object to being exposed to ideas they deem troubling. Some even try to get faculty members fired for allowing such ideas to be voiced. Donors occasionally threaten to withdraw funding, which has a chilling effect on what can be taught. Speakers can be banned. Academics may self-censor, or succumb to groupthink. Occasionally American society demands restrictions on academic freedom, as when professors in the 1950s were asked to take loyalty tests to prove they were not communist sympathisers.

All these threats still exist. Plenty of people have rightly worried about academic freedom in America in the past. And yet one of the things that is distinctive about this moment is that the warring parties have determined that the best way to win the argument, and the most thorough way to stifle debate, is to remake institutions according to their preferences.

DEI statements may seem innocuous enough, and their intentions may seem laudable. Yet if they are used as a filter for hiring, they will filter out anyone who fails to toe the campus-progressive line, and anyone who objects on principle to ideological litmus tests.

In Florida, Mr DeSantis seems to be hoping that left-wing professors in state colleges will go to work somewhere else, creating openings for more conservative professors. The Stop WOKE Act, now law in Florida, bars teaching about systemic racism unless this is done “in an objective manner”—a qualifier which is rather subjective. Academics who cross the line will be threatened with dismissal.

As for that course on African-American history, a draft version was denounced from the right as dangerous woke nonsense and then, when it was revised, denounced from the left as a whitewashed version of black history. The notion that students might look at contradictory ideas and judge their merits was too terrifying to contemplate.

Partisans on both sides seem indecently eager to create separate institutions for liberals and conservatives, where the liberals would never have to hear wrongthink (a category that would include some of Martin Luther King’s ideas, were they proposed by a less revered speaker), and the conservatives would never have to encounter the works of Derrick Bell (who has as good a claim as anyone to have developed critical race theory).

No doubt this would make both ideological tribes happier. But it would be a disaster for the country. Democracy depends on citizens who can find compromises. Liberalism depends on taking an opponent’s argument seriously and learning from it. America needs institutions that can have these debates, rather than monocultural incubators of mutually exclusive ideologies. DEI statements could even be repurposed to this end: rather than asking applicants what they have done to further racial diversity and equity, institutions of higher learning might start asking how they plan to further real diversity of thought


How ‘Diversity’ Policing Fails Science

At Texas Tech University, a candidate for a faculty job in the department of biological sciences was flagged by the department’s search committee for not knowing the difference between “equality” and “equity.” Another was flagged for his repeated use of the pronoun “he” when referring to professors. Still another was praised for having made a “land acknowledgment” during the interview process. A land acknowledgment is a statement noting that Native Americans once lived in what is now the United States.

Amidst the explosion of university diversity, equity and inclusion policies, Texas Tech’s biology department adopted its own DEI motion promising to “require and strongly weight a diversity statement from all candidates.” These short, written declarations are meant to summarize an academic job seeker’s past and potential contributions to DEI efforts on campus.

The biology department’s motion mandates that every search committee issue a report on its diversity statement evaluations. Through a Freedom of Information Act request, I have acquired the evaluations of more than a dozen job candidates.

To my knowledge, these documents—published in redacted form by the National Association of Scholars—are the first evaluations of prospective faculty DEI contributions to be made publicly available. They confirm what critics of DEI statements have long argued: That they inevitably act as ideological litmus tests.

One Texas Tech search committee penalized a candidate for espousing race-neutrality in teaching. The candidate “mentioned that DEI is not an issue because he respects his students and treats them equally,” the evaluation notes. “This indicates a lack of understanding of equity and inclusion issues.”

Another search committee flagged a candidate for failing to properly understand “the difference between equity and equality, even on re-direct,” noting that this suggests a “rather superficial understanding of DEI more generally.” This distinction arises frequently in DEI training, always as a markedly ideological talking point. According to the schema, equality means equal opportunity, but, to use the words of Vice President Kamala Harris, “Equitable treatment means we all end up in the same place.” Somehow, failing to explain that distinction reflects poorly on a biologist.

The biology department’s search committees also rewarded fluency in the language of identity politics. An immunology candidate was praised for awareness of the problems of “unconscious bias.” “Inclusivity in lab” was listed as a virology candidate’s strength: “her theme will be diversity, and she will actively work to creating the culture—e.g. enforce code of conduct, prevent microaggressions etc.” Another candidate’s strengths included “Land acknowledgement in talk.”

Many critics rightly point out that diversity statements invite viewpoint discrimination. DEI connotes a set of highly contestable social and political views. Requiring faculty to catalog their commitment to those views necessarily blackballs anybody who dissents from an orthodoxy that has nothing to do with scientific competence.

The Texas Tech documents show how DEI evaluations can easily seek out these contestable social and political views. The search committees espouse a narrow definition of diversity, encouraging a myopic fixation on race and gender—a definition over which reasonable people can disagree. “Some of us were surprised that there was limited mention of BIPOC issues,” one evaluation notes, using a DEI acronym for “black, indigenous and people of color.” For another candidate, “Diversity was only defined as country of origin and notably never mentioned women.” Of course, many scholars actively seek to avoid a fixation on race and gender, preferring to promote diversity of thought and equality.

Throughout these reports, the search committees displayed an eagerness to find breaches of DEI orthodoxy. One cell biology candidate was given a “red flag” for alleged “microaggressions towards women faculty.” The report names two examples: “assuming one junior faculty was a graduate student” and “minimizing the difficulties of women in the US by comparing to worse situations elsewhere.”

The evidence shows that diversity statements function as political litmus tests, but it’s worse than that. Heavily valuing DEI while selecting cell biologists, virologists and immunologists constitutes a massive failure of priority. This is an issue of academic freedom, and it is a degradation of higher education.




Sunday, February 12, 2023

Students protest after New Hampshire school district bans urinals

Students walked out of a New Hampshire school in protest of the district banning the use of urinals and shared spaces in locker rooms, according to a report.

On Friday, about 150 students walked out of Milford High School and middle school in protest of the new bathroom restrictions.

The protest came after a lengthy debate by the board of education over whether to separate school bathrooms and locker rooms at the school by the sex assigned at birth and not gender identity, The Boston Globe reported.

The students demonstrated for about 45 minutes, according to Superintendent Christi Michaud.

One student who participated in the walkout told a local television station that students were not consulted about the new policy.

“Nobody that I know – ask anyone here – no one requested this change,” student Jay Remella told WMUR during the walkout. “It was solely made by the school board and a parent complaint.”

Board of education member Noah Boudreault proposed the urinal prohibition as part of a “compromise,” that was accepted by a 4-1 vote on Monday.

The ban replaced an earlier proposal from vice chair Nathaniel Wheeler to separate bathrooms and locker rooms strictly on students’ gender assigned at birth — which was criticized by LQBTQ students, according to The Globe.

Wheeler’s proposal would have offered separate, gender-neutral single-stall restrooms, effectively ending the district’s current policy of allowing students to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with.

At Monday’s board meeting, parents supportive of Wheeler’s proposal donned yellow smiley-face stickers that said “Support Parental Rights,” according to The Globe.

But a majority of the audience wore rainbow flags and condemned the policy as discriminatory during a public speaking portion of the meeting.

Nick Romeri, a 16-year-old transgender sophomore, said the policies could have a negative impact on the mental health of the district’s LGBTQ students. He said he and other queer students just want to be treated the same as cisgender high school students.

“I want my high school experience to be just like everyone else’s, like getting my license, taking biology class, and figuring my life out, not fighting for it,” he said.

Romeri urged concerned parents not to react out of fear.

“I see all these scared people on both sides not knowing what to do yet wanting to help their children in different ways,” he said. “The best way you can help your children is not discriminating against their peers, but listening and helping your child grow. That is all we want.”

He later told The Globe that he was happy that a compromise was reached, but felt the ban on urinals was unnecessary.

Under Boudreault’s proposal, students would be required to change for gym class inside stalls instead of in shared locker room spaces.

While changing, the capacity of each bathroom will be capped at the number of stalls it has — meaning only eight girls could change at a time in the girls’ high school locker room and only three boys at a time in their locker room.

Boudreault told The Globe that his main concern was safety and that his job as a board member is “to mitigate risk.”

He said he does not view LGBTQ students as dangerous, but said that something had to be done to address the concerns of both parties so the school could deal with other pressing issues it is facing, such as students vaping in the bathrooms.

“My proposed solution took care of a myriad of other issues that the school district is experiencing, so instead of fighting the gender fight, I decided to fight the larger fight,” he told the newspaper.

Superintendent Michaud raised concerns that the new directive could jam up bathrooms and take away from instructional time.

The school is reviewing if the policy is legal under New Hampshire’s plumbing code which demands schools offer one “water closet” per 30 students, according to The Globe. The school has about 1,200 students between middle school and high school.

The number of stalls is not evenly distributed between both schools and genders, with most stalls being in girls’ bathrooms.

Michaud said installing bathroom stalls in place of urinals throughout the school could potentially cost tens of thousands of dollars.

The bathroom discussions began last fall when a transgender girl began using the middle school girls’ locker room, Michaud told The Globe.

“Nobody asked for this,” student Autumn Diveley told WMUR during Friday’s walkout. “Nobody but the few parents who complained to the school board asked for this.”

According to The Globe, a similar contentious debate regarding bathrooms is ongoing in nearby Concord as New Hampshire state lawmakers consider bills that could affect transgender students.


Radicalized sex-ed: A telling tale of how NYC educrats shut out parents, even on Community Education Councils

I recently listened to our school’s sex educator proudly exclaim that she teaches her entire puberty course without saying “boy or girl, man or woman once” because she was committed to “inclusivity.” I was mystified.

No one had told parents, even those on the Community Education Council, that this would be how such courses would be taught. But it’s all-too-typical of how the Department of Education treats these councils. And parents.

Five years ago, this same educator taught my eldest children in the same elementary school about puberty, explaining to the boys what would happen as they became men and to the girls what would happen on their journey to womanhood.

She did this in sex-segregated classrooms, because all the adults, including her, agreed 9- and 10-year-olds were most comfortable learning about the soon-to-happen changes to their bodies in sex-specific groups, where they’d be more likely to ask questions.

In fact, our parent coordinator, a DOE employee, wrote to fifth-grade parents in 2019 that “two [of four classes] will be with students separated by gender. This is more comfortable for the boys and girls when discussing certain topics and issues.”

Yet I was now listening to a parents-only Zoom presentation about the upcoming course — taught by the same sex educator at the same school — and the changes from just a few years ago made it unrecognizable.

Boys and girls are no longer segregated for sex-ed classes but all take the class together, for starters. And the educator told parents she follows DOE guidance on subject matter: “It is so important to them that we are discussing gender identity and sex assigned at birth at every opportunity so that no kid ever feels othered.”

She gave parents a “Gender & Sexuality Glossary for Parents & Caregivers,” which uses the word “gender” 27 times but never defines it other than to say that the “gender binary” is “the cultural concept that male (masculine) and female (feminine) are the only genders.”

Yet “gender-fluid” is defined; it’s a person who “identifies with multiple genders.” As is “gender identity”: “a person’s internal sense of their gender — who they are in their heart and mind relating to their gender.”

How, I wondered, did a sensible, reasonable puberty course transform itself into a radical gender-ideology indoctrination session? One thing I knew for sure: Kids are the losers.

In 2019, when my daughter had this very puberty-education program, she loved it. She was separated into a girls-only classroom for half the sessions. The girls could ask questions, and did. Recently I asked her if she thought anyone would have asked questions if there were boys in the room. “I doubt it,” she replied.

Bizarrely, DOE’s sex-segregation rules only apply to health classes. My son’s high school currently offers a financial literacy club open only to girls and non-binary students. Boys need not apply.

No one has suggested kids have changed. Or that girls now feel comfortable asking about tampons or bras in front of boys, or that boys won’t be embarrassed hearing about erections in front of girls.

The NYC DOE Guidelines on Gender would shock most parents if they knew about them. Yet despite one of the most expansive (and expensive) elected parent-leader systems in the country, parents were never given an opportunity to weigh in on the Gender Guidelines, which also allow boys who identify as girls full and mandatory access to girls bathrooms and sports teams and prohibit educators from saying things like a “boy’s penis.”

The guidelines were created by DOE’s first “LGBTQ liaison,” Jared Fox, an unelected man from Iowa with no kids and apparently no need to consult with city parents before radically changing how our kids are taught.

DOE is now holding biannual elections for its Community Education Councils. It pays great lip service to “elevating parent voice” and pays millions to advertise these elections in many languages. But why should parents run and devote hours away from their families to influence school policy when the agency adopts enormous changes, like the Gender Guidelines, without ever mentioning the proposed changes to elected parent leaders?

I can’t say I’d be surprised by low interest in these elections. I served as president of Manhattan’s largest school district’s Community Education Council, 2017-2021. I was also a member of my kids’ elementary School Leadership Team, 2016-2022. Despite both positions overlapping with the development of the Gender Guidelines, never once did anyone from DOE, my school principal or district superintendent ever inform us about these guidelines or solicit feedback from parents.

If DOE wants parents to run and serve as parent leaders, it should commit to a real partnership with parents, and that starts with a real seat at the table and a real opportunity to be heard.


‘Undeniable trend’: Australian boys’ schools feel the pressure to go co-ed

Next year Knox Grammar – one of the state’s largest schools – will have educated boys at its upper north shore campus for a century.

In that time, the private school has expanded from a single Federation-era house to vast and manicured grounds spanning almost 10 hectares. But the school’s motto “virile agitur” – a Latin phrase that translates to “do the manly thing” – has stayed the same.

Founded as a Presbyterian boys’ school with about two dozen students, it now has more than 3120 enrolments. Knox’s major expansion gathered pace in the early 2000s when it overhauled its boarding centre, “great hall”, 500-seat aquatic centre and the senior school.

But even under the weight of its all-boys history, principal Scott James acknowledges Knox “cannot be a standalone institution”, and “must provide opportunities for boys and girls to socialise and integrate”.

“Single-sex schools compared with co-educational schooling is an important educational conversation we have at Knox,” James said. “There is an abundance of research showing both pros and cons for each type of educational model.”

Establishing relationships with nearby girls’ private schools – Ravenswood, Pymble Ladies College and Abbotsleigh – has been key in allowing the school “to provide supervised activities that offer co-educational learning experiences”.

“We are now looking at shared study sessions with Abbotsleigh,” he said.

Eight years ago, The Armidale School famously became the first of the elite Athletic Association of Great Public Schools (GPS) to open their doors to girls. A former principal described the move as part of “an almost unstoppable wave”, after seeing a shift from single-sex to co-ed in all but the oldest schools in Britain.

Britain’s Winchester College, the 640-year-old alma mater of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, has now joined the pack. Girls can enrol at the $78,000-a-year Hampshire school in sixth form, and Queenwood’s principal Elizabeth Stone will become head of the school this year, the first woman to lead the college.

Across Sydney, the pressure for boys’ private schools to look to admit girls is rising, and parents and alumni are making their voices heard.

A push by tech billionaire Scott Farquhar for Cranbrook to go co-ed was heavily backed by a group of former students who said private boys’ schools foster attitudes and behaviours that are no longer acceptable in broader society.

While that school’s final decision to admit girls by 2026 was not achieved without pain, one school council member believes will be the first of many eastern suburbs schools that will eventually make the co-ed leap.

Scandal hasn’t helped the case for private boys’ schools. Prominent Sydney schools such as Knox, Trinity and The King’s School all featured in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Knox – which charges fees up to $37,600 – most recently hit headlines after 20 students were expelled or suspended after sharing racist and homophobic videos, messages and rantings on violent misogyny via an online chat group.

In the past year alone, Waverley College expelled six students over bullying that involved “assault and humiliation-type behaviours”, the incident sparking an external investigation and calls for a cultural audit at the school; while Cranbrook was forced to undertake a detailed internal review after reports of anti-Semitic bullying.

At Newington College, a possible shift to co-ed is also on the table, with the school putting the idea to its community last February. In a message to parents in November, the school’s chairman Tony McDonald said no decisions had been made.

“Council has delved into research and looked further at other schools both here and overseas,” McDonald said. “We have commissioned independent experts to distil strategic opportunities ... and we are also deep in the process of interrogating foundational operational questions.”

The debate is unfolding against a backdrop of decline in single-sex schools: the number of private single-sex schools fell in the past decade even as the number of independent schools rose. There are now 68 private single-sex schools, down from 79 in 2012.

Data from the Association of Independent Schools NSW shows all-boys schools made up 7 per cent of the 511 private schools across the state last year.