Friday, March 03, 2023

University of North Carolina moves to ban ‘diversity, equity and inclusion’ statements in anti-woke backlash

The University of North Carolina (UNC) moved against encroaching woke culture and voted to ban diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) statements and politically preferential hiring.

UNC voted to ban DEI statements and compelled speech from admission, hiring, promotion and tenure at its Board of Governors meeting Thursday.

The board stated the university "shall neither solicit nor require an employee or applicant for academic admission or employment to affirmatively ascribe to or opine about beliefs, affiliations, ideals, or principles regarding matters of contemporary political debate or social action as a condition to admission, employment, or professional advancement," according to the resolution. An employee or applicant also can't "be solicited or required to describe his or her actions in support of, or in opposition to, such beliefs, affiliations, ideals, or principles."

"Practices prohibited here include but are not limited to solicitations or requirements for statements of commitment to particular views on matters of contemporary political debate or social action contained on applications or qualifications for admission or employment included as criteria for analysis of an employee's career progression."

Kenny Xu, President of Color Us United, which advocates for a race blind society told Fox News Digital that his organization has been leading a campaign to remove DEI from medical education practice, but he believes the move by UNC will have implications for higher education across the country.

"We believe in a race blind, meritocratic society with high standards and that's what has traditionally produced excellence in the United States," Xu told Fox News Digital. "When we saw wokeness and DEI infiltrating the medical profession, that's when we became concerned because medicine is the one place where everybody knows, liberals, conservatives, independents, that you need the most qualified doctor to get the best outcome."

"When diversity, equity and inclusion says ‘No, you need doctors of a certain race’ or ‘No, we need to be teaching things from the lens of social justice rather than the biological practice of medicine,’ that's when we got concerned," he added.

Color Us United wrote a petition to get the Dean of the UNC Medical School to denounce DEI, which required diversity statements in the hiring and promotion process.

The medical school's Guidelines for Appointment, Promotion and Tenure (APT) previously declared that "A statement for each area is required as part of the C.V." and "should outline depth and breadth of efforts in each area, including but not limited to impact of work, philosophy and style, team-based projects, and mentee interactions."

Dr. Nche Zama, a cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital who also ran for Pennsylvania governor in 2022, described the move by the UNC board as a "pivotal decision" that will be "applauded by some and rejected by others."

"In the final analysis, it is a decision that is in the best interest of all our children who will come to appreciate that EXCELLENCE (not phenotypes or ethnicity) should be the ultimate standard in their lives," he told Fox News Digital.

"The catastrophic failures in our educational system are predicated in many ways on a decades-old absence of a banner of excellence in the collective and individual learning experiences of many of our children who sadly, live in a cultural milieu that fosters a diabolically pervasive psychology, promoting self-hate, entitlement, and mediocre aspirations," he added.

He said he believes this education climate has "ushered in the recent cataclysmic push for quick-fix solutions in the guise of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity, along with an antiquated time-tested placebo called affirmative action, instead of designing sustainable solutions that bring sustainable value."

Earlier this month, UNC announced its plan to combat woke ideology on its campus with a new School Civic Life and Leadership School that a board member described as a way to "level" the playing field for discourse on campus

Trustee Marty Kotis said that "when one side is represented and the other side is suddenly allowed to speak up, it may seem like we're taking aim - but really we're just trying to create a level playing field."

"We are working to support a culture of respect, debate, and discovery. It won’t be easy and will often feel simply uncomfortable," Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz said in a message announcing the school. Yet these are the skills our students, and we as citizens, need to be stewards of our democracy."


Florida International University adopts radical DEI program that condemns US as a system of 'white supremacy' while also separating students by race

Florida International University in Miami adopted a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) program that teaches students that the US was built on a system of 'white supremacy' while also training them in left wing protest tactics.

The radical DEI program was revealed thanks to a Sunshine Law records request from Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Chris Rufo.

Rufo, a conservative activist, claimed in a blog post that starting with the police murder of George Floyd in May 2020, officials at the school began issuing statements 'condemning the United States as a system of "white supremacy."'

He goes on to say that the school went on to hold discussion programs that was segregated along racial lines. The result of those discussions was to teach students that 'blackness is inherently noble, and whiteness inherently corrupt.'

The school also published materials that instructs students how to prepare for protests. 'Bring a bandana to cover nose and mouth,' one such piece of literature reads. Another section reads: 'Download a messaging app that has end to end encryption.'

In 2022, it was announced that Florida International University received a little over $77 million in public money.

The use of DEI programs in hiring has caused controversy more widely. Critics say that favoring underrepresented groups is unfairly detrimental to others, while proponents say such efforts are needed to help give traditionally marginalized groups equal footing.

At FlU, college officials justified the use of racially segregated meetings as a means to help people of color to heal and 'discuss the unique impacts of systemic racism,' Rufo alleges.

After the Black Lives Matter protests of the summer of 2020, the college went on to publish an 'Inclusive Language Guide.' Words that were considered taboo according to the guide included 'husband,' 'wife,' 'mother,' 'father,' 'she' and 'he.'

Acceptable replacements included 'spouse,' 'parent,' as well as 'they/them.'

Rufo, a graduate of Harvard Extension School, describes the content of the programs being offered by FIU as 'pure left-wing activism.' He accuses the school of promoting the Black Lives Matter movement and of describing life in the United States as a system of 'power, privilege and oppression.'

Trans and non-binary as well black people are defined as the oppressed and Christian holidays are 'cultural imperialism.'

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis would gain more influence in the state's public university system, and majors involving gender studies or critical race theory would be eliminated if a bill filed this week wins support from the Republican-controlled legislature.

The new measure, which largely reflects a legislative agenda announced by DeSantis in January, would also ban consideration of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in hiring of faculty.

It would require each institution's board of trustees to approve hires, giving DeSantis greater influence over those decisions because the governor appoints a significant number of board members.

The wide-reaching legislation represents a new front in the Republican war against the 'woke' agenda many conservatives believe liberals are trying to push on public education across the country.

DeSantis, who is expected to launch a presidential bid after Florida's legislative session ends this spring, has positioned himself as a leader in that fight.

'In Florida, we will build off of our higher education reforms by aligning core curriculum to the values of liberty and the Western tradition,' DeSantis said in January.

The legislature, which has a clear Republican majority, convenes for its regular session in March.

Asked about the bill on Friday, a spokesman for the governor, Jeremy Redfern, said DeSantis would decide whether to sign it after seeing a final version passed by lawmakers.

Academics, free speech advocates and students condemned the measure. Jeremy C. Young, senior manager of free expression and education at the writers' organization PEN America, tweeted that it would be the 'central battleground for the soul of higher education.'

'It would virtually end academic freedom, shared governance and institutional autonomy at all Florida colleges and universities,' Young said in a statement in February.

Florida's public university system includes 12 universities with an enrollment of more than 400,000 students.

Last month, Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott told state agencies and public universities that such practices violated labor laws. The University of Texas system's board of regents on Wednesday said it had paused all new DEI policies in its hiring.

The Florida bill would also prohibit spending on programs or campus activities that promote DEI and what it calls 'Critical Race Theory rhetoric.'

Programs required for compliance with federal regulations and some other assistance programs would be exempted.

The measure states that general education core courses taught at public universities 'may not suppress or distort significant historical events or include a curriculum that teaches identity politics, such as Critical Race Theory, or defines American history as contrary to the creation of a new nation based on universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence.'

Critical race theory is an academic concept that asserts that racism is woven into the US legal system and ingrained in its primary institutions.


5th-Grade Student Suicidal After Teacher Allegedly Forces Her to Use Name 'Leo', Male Pronouns

Remote learning during the pandemic awakened many parents to what their children were being taught by activist teachers.

It might be time to consider forcing schools to offer parents a means to monitor what is going on inside classrooms in real time now that kids are back in class and at the mercy of the American left’s political and social agendas.

A teacher in New York is accused of encouraging a 10-year-old girl to identify as a boy throughout the 2021-2022 school year.

According to a lawsuit from the child’s parents, she was failed by the school system at every level as administrators made a concerted effort to leave them in the dark about it.

The family of the girl is suing Debra Rosenquist, a teacher at Terryville Road Elementary School in Port Jefferson Station on Long Island.

According to an attorney representing the family affected by the teacher’s alleged actions, the child had never expressed a desire to explore a different “gender identity,” but became tormented after her fifth-grade teacher began to refer to her by male pronouns and the name “Leo.”

That was part of a pattern where vulnerable children were encouraged to “try being gay,” or to identify as boys if they were girls or girls if they were boys, according to the lawsuit.

In addition to the teacher, the suit names as defendants the school itself, principal Annemarie Sciove, the Brookhaven-Comsewogue School District and Superintendent Jennifer Quinn.

The family alleges Rosenquist was so unrelenting in her quest to force gender and sexuality on children that their daughter soon began to experience “suicidal ideations.”

“As a result, [the student] became confused as to her gender,” the lawsuit says. “Despite knowing about Rosenquist’s conduct… it took the District, Quinn, and Sciove months to inform [the child’s parents] about it.”

The lawsuit is descriptive in its accusations about Rosenquist, who is not surprisingly still employed by the district.

“Rosenquist pursued her own agenda outside the curriculum, which included persuading her 5th-grade students to try ‘being gay’ or being another gender even when they were not,” the lawsuit says. “To further her agenda, Rosenquist read and provided her students graphic books about gender and sexuality which were not on the curriculum.”

Officials with the Brookhaven-Comsewogue School District met with the girl’s parents and were told the teacher was using non-approved books that covered topics such as gender transition surgery and hormone therapy, the lawsuit says.

One such book told the story of parents who had apparently failed their daughter by assigning her a female gender at birth.

Being told she was not a girl was so harmful to the student allegedly targeted by Rosenquist that she wanted to die, the lawsuit says.

In January 2022, the teacher’s alleged depravity led the student to draw a picture of a girl and to write the words, “I wanna kill myself.” She also wrote, “I feel sad like a lot.”

The family’s attorney, Debra Wabnik, told Fox News that Rosenquist “manipulated a pre-teen female into changing her gender identity when the child did not feel any inclination to do so.”

“The parents did not learn about what Rosenquist was forcing upon their daughter until it was discovered that the child had suicidal ideations,” Wabnik said.

“The psychological and social damage Rosenquist caused this child and her family was immense. Incredibly, the District still has Rosenquist in the classroom where she can similarly harm other innocent children,” she said.

The attorney said in a statement to the New York Post that the student is female and prefers being female. “At no point did she identify as male,” Wabnik said.

The district said actions were being taken against Rosenquist but did not elaborate any further.

Quinn also offered a bland and sterile statement that portrayed the Brookhaven-Comsewogue School District as one that cares deeply for children.

Yet the district was allegedly aware one of its teachers had gone rogue and was working to undermine the identities of defenseless children with confusing ideas that are built on the lie one can change their gender.

That led to an innocent child expressing a desire to die.

There is no telling how many other classrooms this is happening in, but anyone with children enrolled in government schools ought to monitor what their kids are being told by morally corrupted individuals with teaching degrees.

As a country, we must demand accountability for instructors who do this to children and swift justice for those who let them get away with it.




Thursday, March 02, 2023

Discredited Research Cited in Legal Briefs for Supreme Court’s 2 Racial Admissions Cases

Sometimes a narrative is just too good to give up, even when the facts don’t support it. This seems to be the reason why some supporters of racial preferences in college admissions keep citing bad research in legal briefs before the Supreme Court.

In the two cases challenging the race-based admissions practices of Harvard College and the University of North Carolina, more than a dozen briefs cite “The Shape of the River,” a 1998 book by William Bowen and Derek Bok, to support such race-based admissions.

That research, however, largely has been discredited. The authors of the briefs citing it either haven’t done their research or think they can pull a fast one on the Supreme Court as the justices consider the two cases, Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina.

“The Shape of the River” hit bookshelves in 1998 to great fanfare in liberal media outlets because it purported to prove that racial preferences in higher education help black students to make more money after graduation. Indeed, it claimed that racial preferences were responsible for the growth of the black middle class, and that without those policies, blacks would suffer.

The book also purported to disprove the “mismatch effect”—the documented phenomenon that lowering admissions standards for racial minorities actually reduces the number of minorities entering academia and high-paying professional jobs.

But the book did no such thing.

The authors, Bowen and Bok, studied the graduation rates and post-graduation careers of students at 28 colleges, concluding that racial preferences were a great benefit to black students. In fairness to them, their study did prove one thing: Racial preferences favored black applicants at the expense of white and Asian applicants. That was a big deal because up to that point, many liberals denied this result.

But from there on out, the book’s major conclusions weren’t reliable. Its core claim—that the mismatch effect didn’t exist—was based on several serious mistakes.

First, the authors failed to separate black students admitted to elite institutions because of academic merit from those who were admitted under racial preferences. The authors could have disaggregated that data, but they didn’t. As a result, the study didn’t include data about the specific group at issue—an error that made the study, in the words of economist Thomas Sowell, “the statistical equivalent of ‘Hamlet’ without the prince of Denmark.”

Second, the authors looked only at students’ SAT scores and considered no other academic credentials. Is a student at Penn State with a score of 1200 as academically advanced as a student at Princeton with a 1200? Probably not.

Students are more than a single test score—Bowen and Bok argued as much before they wrote “The Shape of the River”—so we learn little, if anything, by assuming that two students with the same test score are the same.

Third, Bowen and Bok didn’t even compare students with the same SAT scores; they compared scores in broad bands. As professor Gail Heriot, a leading expert on racial preferences explains, comparing bands “is what statisticians do when they set out to muddy the waters.”

This error meant that Bowen and Bok didn’t actually test the mismatch hypothesis that they claimed to disprove. The hypothesis, to quote Sowell again, is that “the larger the differential in academic qualifications between black and white students at a given institution, the larger the racial differential in failure to graduate tends to be.”

To test this hypothesis, Bowen and Bok would have needed to look at the data from individual institutions. Instead, they looked at aggregations of data from institutions with different students and different SAT levels.

Incidentally, another study, “America in Black and White,” actually did look at data from individual institutions, and it confirmed the mismatch effect.

It gets worse for Bowen and Bok, however, because their own data demonstrated the mismatch effect despite their efforts to hide it.

Another study, “Reflections on ‘The Shape of the River,’” looked at Bowen and Bok’s report and found some shocking hidden conclusions. For example, Bowen and Bok reported that 8 of 10 black students in the study collected a diploma—a number well above the national average.

However, flipped on its head, this same statistic tells a different story. Whereas 2 of 10, or 20%, of black students failed to graduate, only 6% of white students failed to graduate. In other words, Bowen and Bok’s own report showed that even at elite institutions, the dropout rate for black students is 3.3 times that of white students.

One wonders what other revelations might be hidden in Bowen and Boks’ raw data. Researchers are unlikely ever to know because, in bold defiance of academic transparency, the authors refuse to make their raw data publicly available.

These are only a few of the errors in “The Shape of the River.” So many studies have done so much damage to it that serious researchers of affirmative action won’t rely on its claims about the mismatch effect.

And yet, the book remains a favorite citation for ideologues and activists. In the current cases at the Supreme Court, more than a dozen amicus briefs cite “The Shape of the River” in defense of racial preferences.

This looks like a commitment to narrative over facts.

The great irony of this wrongheaded commitment is that it actually harms the black students it claims to want to help. If not for racial preferences, we’d have more black doctors, engineers, and professors than we have today, as Heriot explains here.

It’s no good that this commitment to a false narrative is winning out over reality, at least for some people. But for others with more open minds, it provides an important warning: Beware of experts peddling statistics that confirm your beliefs; doubt them always, and double-check their work.


Anti-Trumper at University of Virginia

Former Republican congresswoman Liz Cheney has accepted a teaching position at the University of Virginia after Wyoming voters threw her out of office last year.

Cheney spent her last term not representing them, instead focusing on exacting a political vendetta against former President Donald Trump while serving as a prominent member of the partisan Jan. 6 House select committee.

The former high-ranking House Republican joined her Democratic Party cohorts when she tried to convince everyone she and they were saving the world.

Voters in the Cowboy State did not feel like they needed to be saved by her and her new friends — or from the former president.

People who were concerned by actual issues replaced her with Rep. Harriet Hageman, and most everyone seems happy with the new arrangement.

But without a pulpit from which to shout her message that democracy is in danger of being replaced by the ghost of Hitler, Cheney has no audience.

According to a statement from the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, she will now be able to force her message onto impressionable young people.

Not only can Cheney tell young people how to feel about democracy and Trump, but she can do it while remaining near the swamp that is Washington, D.C.

“We’re thrilled to share [Cheney] will be joining us as a Professor [of] Practice,” the school said on Twitter after Politico first reported the news.

Cheney predictably used the words “our democracy” in her statement to UVA. “There are many threats facing our system of government, and I hope my work with the Center for Politics and the broader community at the University of Virginia will contribute to finding lasting solutions that not only preserve but strengthen our democracy,” she said.

The message was on-brand, so at least the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney is consistent. There is something to be said about that.

Some people who came across the school’s announcement on Twitter pointed out UVA’s proximity to Washington, while one offered a perfect course suggestion for Cheney: “Orange Man Bad 101.”

The title of teacher might not come with the same prestige and megaphone as Cheney’s old job, but it is sure to give her a little bit of clout with the only people she seems to care about: Democrats and establishment Republicans who are obsessed with pleasing them.


Delaware lowers passing score on bar exam in push for racial diversity: 'Not supposed to be a barrier'

The Delaware Supreme Court lowered the passing score on the state's bar exam amid other changes reportedly intended to increase racial diversity among the state's lawyers.

The 200-question multiple-choice exam will be offered twice instead of once a year beginning in 2024 – and its passing score will be lowered from 145 to 143, according to local outlet WHYY.

The number of essays on the exam will be decreased from eight to four, and the number of essay topics will be reduced from 14 to 10.

The clerkship requirement is also being lowered from 21 weeks to 12 weeks, and the mandatory list of 25 legal proceedings that potential lawyers must attend has been shortened to 18 out of 30 possible items.

The late application fee for law school graduates and attorneys admitted in other states has also been decreased.

In the court's announcement of the changes, Chief Justice Collins J. Seitz Jr. pushed back against any assertion that they reflect a "lowering of standards" and referred to them as a "modernization" of the admission process aimed at aligning with the standards in other states.

Seitz, who began the diversity project that led to a report that suggested changes to the exam, maintained that such revisions will enhance competitiveness in attracting legal talent to the state that serves as a hub of business litigation, according to Reuters.

"Delaware is the only state to hold the bar exam just once a year," Seitz said. "This can frustrate applicants because if they fail to pass the exam, which may be required for them to keep or land a job in Delaware, they have to wait a full year before they can try again."

"The bar exam is not supposed to be a barrier to entering the profession but is supposed to be a test of an applicant’s ability to successfully practice law in Delaware, and I believe these reforms will help better reflect that purpose," he added.

Chuck Durante, who serves as president of the Delaware State Bar Association, praised the changes, according to WHYY.

"These changes are designed to remove certain unnecessary impediments to applications to the Delaware bar, to rip some barbed wire from the welcome mat, some traditional barriers that had developed into something quite artificial," he said.

Durante further noted that "attitudes must continue to evolve in Delaware," according to the outlet.

"White people generally who have their antennae up, who understand what is happening in society, have learned the meaning of microaggression. They’ve learned the meaning of how to be welcoming, how to be professional, how to make this community better suited for diversity in its professional class, including its lawyers," he said.




Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Catholic School Suspended Student Who Spoke Out Against Transgender Bathroom Policy

A 16-year-old boy who was suspended indefinitely from a Catholic high school in Canada for objecting the school’s trans-inclusive bathroom policy.

The student, Josh Alexander, spoke to EWTN News Nightly about the experience. He attends St. Joseph’s Catholic High School in Renfrew, Ontario. The school reportedly allows biological males who identify as girls to use the women’s restroom.

In the interview, Alexander said that after he began attending the Catholic school, was was “informed by female students that male students were using the female washrooms.” At one point, the issue came up in a classroom debate.

“I quoted some Scripture, I said that there’s only two genders. And apparently, because there’s transgender students in the class, that was considered bullying,” he said, adding that he “took it to the office, and I said, ‘Ok, this is an issue. There’s female students that are uncomfortable. Something needs to be done.’ And I was ignored. A female student made the same complaint I did, and they ignored her as well. So at that point, I decided to organize a protest outside my school. Two days before the protest, they suspended me indefinitely.”

Alexander was first suspended from school for “bullying” in November, according to Catholic News Agency. When he tried to return to school earlier this month, he was suspended a second time and arrested for trespassing. He is forbidden to attend classes at the school through the remainder of the year.

“One of the allegations being held against me until this day is that I said ‘male breastfeeding is pedophilia,’” Alexander said.

“I do sympathize with the confused transgender students,” Alexander explained to EWTN, “because they’ve been wronged by their parents and by society and by the education system that has pushed this indoctrination on them. But at the same time that doesn’t mean I’m going to condone their wrongful behavior, especially when it’s a violation of my female peers’ privacy.”

“My issue wasn’t with the individual students,” he clarified. “I have an issue with the system that is going to encourage this form of misbehavior.”

Alexander plans to file a complaint in violation of his religious freedom, he said.

“As of right now, I don’t really have much of an education. They’ve offered me some online stuff. But, I was actually the organizer of the student walkouts across Canada during the freedom convoy against the online learning and against the mask mandates and all that. So, I’m certainly not going to accept this form of inferior education,” he said.

In a statement, the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board said: “Bullying behavior that creates an unsafe space for our students is not tolerated … A trans person should not be required to use a separate washroom or change room because others express discomfort or transphobic attitudes, such as, ‘trans women are a threat to other women’” and cited the Ontario Human Rights Code, the same code a separate school district in Canada used to defend a teacher who wears “z-size” prosthetic breasts to school, which Townhall covered.


A Christ-filled university

WILMORE, KENTUCKY, is the kind of quaint town (population 6,027) you might drive through and forget. Perhaps if you stop at the intersection of Main Street and Lexington Avenue you may notice a white Presbyterian chapel and a redbrick Baptist church on opposite corners—reminders of a bygone era when America was staunchly Christian. But over the past two weeks this sleepy town has turned into a pilgrimage site for tens of thousands of people who believe God’s presence has descended on the campus of Asbury University, a private Christian school where students have been worshipping nonstop for days. They are calling it a spiritual revival.

To an outsider the scenes inside Asbury may seem perplexing. Students are crying, jumping, praying, shouting and singing. News of an unending worship service on campus went viral online. On Tiktok, a so­cial­media app, the hashtag #asburyrevival has been posted nearly 100m times. Joel Podeszwik, an insurance salesman and a lay minister from San Diego, California, travelled to Wilmore to see it with his own eyes. “I wanted to be in a place where God is pouring his spirit,” he says. An Asbury spokesperson estimates that up to 70,000 people from across America and even overseas have come to experience the numinous air inside the university’s chapel.

Generation Zers—those born between 1997 and 2012—are not known for their piety. A third are non­religious and nearly one in five are agnostic or atheist, the most of any generation. They grew up in less devout homes and start questioning their beliefs at a younger age, according to the Survey Centre on American Life, part of AEI, a think­tank. But it would be premature to conclude they are giving up on faith. The Barna Group, a research firm, reports that over half of Gen Zers aged 13­17 say they want to learn more about Jesus. Another survey, by the American Bible Society, a religious outfit, found that over 70% of Gen Zers express interest in the Bible. And the Pew Research Centre found in a poll published in 2020 that four in ten teenagers believe in God with “absolute certainty”.

Kevin Brown, Asbury’s president, thinks younger folk prize authenticity above all else. He says they are not asking, “What do you believe?”, but “Does this work?” Research from a global study of Gen Zers by the Barna Group backs his hunch: respondents were more likely to say they wanted to see Jesus’s teachings promote good than know whether they were true.

Take the revival at Asbury, which began on February 8th. The service that preceded it was “unremarkable”, says Mr Brown. The volunteer preacher who spoke that night confessed he had “totally whiffed” the sermon—a sports term for missing the mark. The music is simply vocals, a piano and acoustic guitars. There is no programme, no one calling the shots—a point Asbury’s spokespersons stress. The revival seems the opposite of organised religion.

In some ways, it is also a rebuttal of religious politics. When Tucker Carlson, a popular Fox News host, requested permission to visit the campus, the university declined. What is happening on campus is purely spiritual, a university spokesperson told Mr Carlson’s crew. “Jesus doesn’t care about politics,” says Alexandra Presta, a senior at Asbury and editor of the university’s newspaper. “He just wants you no matter who you are, and he loves you no matter what political party you identify as.”

Younger Christians, though conservative, seem tired of their parents’ culture wars—polls suggest they rate LGTBQ issues, a hot topic among Republicans, lower than gun violence and racial justice. They have witnessed moral failures of church leaders and the rise of extremists who identify as Christians. Ryan Burge, who studies religious trends, says Gen Zers have grown wary of institutions, and reckons this is why so many are religiously unaffiliated.

After two weeks the university has decided to move services off campus. The revival, Mr Brown believes, will continue elsewhere. (Students at other colleges are reported to be trying to start revival meetings.) Some curmudgeons say this is prematurely ending a movement from God. Ms Presta disagrees: “We can’t stop something we didn’t start.”


Washington teacher says schools must do more to keep students' info secret from 'Christo-fascist' parents

A Washington teacher complained on Friday that many schools’ "guidelines and laws" haven’t helped them keep students' information secret from "Christo-fascist" parents.

A tweet shows Auburn School District 408 teacher Karen Love responding to another that urged parents to check their school district’s policy regarding keeping info about their child’s secret from them.

"Parents-check your school districts’ policy regarding keeping info about YOUR child secret from you. There are some scary policies out there. Schools should not have a right to keep info about your child from you unless abuse by you is suspected. There I said it and mean it," a tweet written by "The Principle’s Office" reads.

Love responded, "I cannot disagree with this more. So many students are not safe in this nation from their Christo-fascist parents. And our guidelines and laws haven’t caught up with this."

The Twitter thread of Love and the other users was reposted as a screenshot by Ian Prior, a senior advisor at American First Legal. "Teacher in Washington State thinks schools don’t go far enough to keep secrets about their students because they ‘are not safe in this nation from their Christo-fascist parents,’" Prior tweeted.

Love responded to another tweet that claimed "few" educators know deeply about the history of racism and oppression. "It’s absolutely wild to me how few educators have a working knowledge of the history of racism and oppression in this nation," SwaggyG tweeted.

Love replied, "Because many of them are perpetrators of it– 80% of teachers are white women. And at least statistically, over 50% of them vote for upholding white supremacy and patriarchy."

Several others reacted to Prior’s thread, blasting the teacher and filing a public records request to Auburn School District to obtain emails of Love that contain any words regarding transgender, gender and a plethora of other related terms.

"I wonder how far DOES she think the school should go to keep secrets from parents? There’s a public records request for that," senior fellow with Independent Women's Forum Nicole Solas tweeted, showing a screenshot of her email to the Auburn School District requesting public records about Love.

Another Twitter user responded to Prior, "Librarians think exactly this. Full on religious discrimination. And to defend school kids getting graphic child [porn] as school books. #AASL23 will be loaded with such groomers and @ALALibrary will be training more. All taxpayer supported, of course. #parenting #moms #dads"

"Until we enact laws that allow removal of these people from teaching positions, this will continue. The forfeiture of their teaching licenses is appropriate," another tweeted.

The teacher's comments underscore the phenomenon of parents across the country paying closer attention to school boards by challenging progressive curricula and contesting books they deem inappropriate.

The issue of education has become a top concern among voters. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, school board meetings have oftentimes become battlegrounds between parents and school board officials, reigniting the debate on how much control parents have over their children's education.




It’s Now or Never for School Choice Everywhere

Stephen Moore (below) is a good economist but a poor sociologist. The idea that you could dump the products of failed schools into successful schools and get a good result from that is naive. It would just destroy the successful schools. What is needed -- classroom discipline -- would be hard to achieve but there is no other generally effective solution to the problem of low educational achievement

This story could bring tears to your eyes. In Baltimore, Maryland, there are 23 schools in which not one single student tested “proficient in math.”

Can we all agree these are schools that aren’t proficient in teaching math — or just about any course, for that matter?

A Fox News investigation calculated that Baltimore spends an average of $21,000 per student. How could the teachers unions possibly spend that much money and accomplish almost no learning?

With a dreadful record like this, it would be natural to think Baltimore must have the worst schools in the nation. Maybe not.

It turns out things may be worse in Illinois.

According to data from the Illinois State Board of Education reviewed by Wirepoints, an investigative journalism center, there were 30 schools last year, 22 of which are in the Chicago area, that failed to lift even one student to grade-level reading.

Wait, it gets worse. The state has more than 50 schools in which not a single student had achieved grade-level math.

Wouldn’t the proper response be to shut down these schools that are robbing children of an education?

Not in Illinois. In fact, the state educators rated the performance of several of these abysmal schools — are you ready for this? — “commendable.” This takes grade inflation to a whole new level of absurdity.

Of course, the decision by teachers unions and education administrators to shut down the schools for a year or more didn’t help. Yet the test results in many of these schools weren’t much better before the pandemic.

And don’t blame a shortage of money. Many of these Chicago schools are spending up to $30,000 per child.

What we have here is a case of widespread educational child abuse.

All over the country, our public schools are delivering failing results. Last year, test scores nationally reached a several-decade low. The schools that had by far superior test scores to the public schools in almost every state were Catholic schools.

Now, think about this for a moment. If we really cared about the future of our children, wouldn’t we just contract out the nation’s thousands of rotten school systems to the Catholic dioceses around the country? Or throw in Jewish schools, charter schools, Montessori schools, home schools — or whatever works?

In most highly populated inner-cities where public schools are especially deficient, the mostly minority children can receive a better education in Catholic schools — at roughly half the cost of the public schools.

If there is a silver lining here, it is that there are some states that have rapidly expanded their school choice programs, allowing the education dollars to follow the students wherever their families choose to send them.

Arizona, Florida, Iowa, and West Virginia have already done so, with Texas, Tennessee, and Utah considering bold moves toward universal school choice for families that can’t afford private alternatives.

Some 40 years ago, a famous national study on the condition of America’s schools warned of a “crisis of mediocrity” in education. Today, things have deteriorated so much that mediocrity would be an improvement and is considered “commendable.”

University of Chicago economists have estimated that the loss of education just from the Covid shutdowns will cost the nation trillions of dollars of lost income and productivity from the diminished earning potential of our children throughout their whole lives.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste. And our public schools are wasting millions of minds week after week while they spend billions upon billions of dollars on Lord knows what.

It’s time for bold new approaches. There are thousands of private and religious schools that have proven they know how to teach children, and instead of achieving 0 percent reading and math proficiency, they reach nearly 100 percent.

Education reform is simple: Put our children, our nation’s greatest assets, in these schools.


Florida Republicans seek to remove Leftist propaganda from what’s taught in higher education institutions

Bill, if passed, would ban colleges from offering majors or minors in Critical Race Theory, Gender Studies, or Intersectionality.

A new bill introduced by Florida Republican Representative Alex Andrade seeks to shut down diversity, inclusion, and equity programs in state colleges and universities. HB 999 prohibits state colleges from funding or supporting any “programs or campus activities” that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion or Critical Race Theory.

The bill would also require state colleges to remove majors or minors related to Critical Race Theory, Gender Studies, or Intersectionality. It would also ban the presentation of American history that contradicts the “creation of a new nation based on universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence” and any coursework that features “identity politics, such as Critical Race Theory.”

The bill features “breathtaking control of viewpoint and content throughout all academic activity in the entire Florida system,” according to Julian Davis Mortenson, a professor of law at the University of Michigan who specializes in constitutional and international law. Mortenson says that the bill prohibits colleges from spending “any money to fund pedagogy, programming, or activities” related to diversity, equity, and inclusion and changes who is allowed to hire university faculty and complete post-tenure reviews.

The bill is part of a broader effort from Florida Republicans to restrict what’s taught in higher education. Earlier this year, Gov. Ron DeSantis introduced a budget that would block state universities from using funding to support diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

The bill also comes after a controversy between DeSantis and the College Board over an AP African American Studies course. DeSantis rejected the course, saying it imposed “a political agenda.” DeSantis then announced plans to “ensure Florida’s public universities and colleges are grounded in the history and philosophy of Western Civilization,” which included prohibiting diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as so-called “Critical Race Theory.” Much of DeSantis’ outline, such as points forbidding colleges from supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion activities and programs, are reflected in HB 999.

As of now, it is uncertain whether the bill will pass or not. DeSantis’ office said that the governor would “decide on the merits of the bill in final form if and when it passes.” If passed, the bill would have far-reaching implications for academic freedom in Florida’s colleges and universities.


Court Gives Conservative 'Mama Bears' the Last Laugh, Brutally Punishes School Board Trying to Keep Porn Stash Hidden

A school district in Georgia was forced to pay $100,000 in legal fees to a group of mothers who were barred from conducting out loud readings at school board meetings of the porn-infested books the board had approved for kids to see on school library shelves.

A federal court ordered the Forsyth, Georgia, County School District to pay the legal fees of the group calling themselves the Mama Bears, who sued the district when officials barred them from reading from the disgusting books during board meetings, according to Atlanta NBC affiliate WXIA.

The group claimed that the school board violated their First Amendment rights in order to hide the disgusting, inappropriate content of the books from the public. And a federal judge agreed, ruling that the board’s efforts to shut the mom’s group down was unconstitutional.

The lawsuit against the district was brought by parents Alison Hair and Cindy Martin who attempted to read aloud at a board meeting passages of board-approved books that she feels are pornographic in nature. Hair and other members of Mama Bears group were barred from reading the passages, a policy the women claimed is illegal.

The women’s group sued the school district in a federal lawsuit and won. Fox News added that the district was ordered to pay the Mama Bears nominal damages of $17.91 and their attorneys fees of $107,500.

The court also told the district they were prohibited from barring the plaintiffs or any “current or future FCS speakers entitled to speak at an FCS school board meeting, from reading or quoting verbatim from the text of any book or written works available in an FCS library or classroom, while addressing the school board during the public-comment period at school board meetings.”




Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Trump says federal government will directly oversee discipline in schools if he is re-elected

Donald Trump has announced he will “end the leftist takeover of school discipline and juvenile justice” and allow the federal government to oversee discipline in schools if he is elected president next year.

The former president, in a video message posted by his team on Twitter, said “troubled youth” were “going wild” by indulging in criminal activities.

He said he will push for the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Education (DOE) to take over school discipline of students.

“Many of these carjackers and criminals are 13, 14 and 15 years old. I will order the education and justice departments to overhaul federal standards on disciplining minors,” the former president said in his address video.

“So when troubled youth are out of control, they’re out on the streets and they’re going wild, we will stop it. The consequences are swift, certain and strong, and they will know that.”

He also hit out at Democrats who raise calls to “defund the police”, claiming they turned once-great American cities into “cesspools of bloodshed and crime”.

Mr Trump claimed his plan to restore law and order involves signing a record investment in hiring retention and training for police officers nationwide.

He also said vital liability protections for officers will be increased and alleged Democrats wanted to take such protections away from the police.

The one-time president said he wanted the police to do their jobs right and that they need to have the necessary support and protection to do so.

In another video message on Truth Social, Mr Trump painted a grim picture of the US, referring to the country as being in “serious decline” and argued that another four years with him as president would fix the situation.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump’s campaign announced the hiring of key staff in Iowa, where the GOP’s first 2024 caucus is set to take place. He is one of two declared candidates so far.


Welcome to America’s Racialized Medical Schools

Knowledge is being replaced by propaganda

Earlier this month, the White House announced a five-year plan for redressing racial inequality. It is essentially the Biden administration’s version of a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) plan, like those issued by nearly every major university, only at a vastly larger scale. The policy aims to “advance an ambitious, whole-of-government approach to racial equity and support for underserved communities” by embedding equity goals in every aspect of the government.

From the highest offices of the state down to the smallest local bureaucracies, DEI now pervades almost all levels of American society. And while it was once thought that the fringe racial theories that animate the DEI agenda could be confined to small liberal arts campuses, it is clear that is no longer the case.

Increasingly, medical schools and schools of public health are enthusiastically embracing the values of DEI and instituting far-reaching policies to demonstrate their commitments to the cause. To many in the universities and perhaps in the country at large, these values sound benign—merely an invitation to treat everyone fairly. In practice, however, DEI policies often promote a narrow set of ideological views that elevate race and gender to matters of supreme importance.

That ideology is exemplified by a research methodology called “public health critical race praxis” (PHCRP)—designed, as the name suggests, to apply critical race theory to the field of public health—which asserts that “the ubiquity of racism, not its absence, characterizes society’s normal state.” In practice, PHCRP involves embracing sweeping claims about the primacy of racialization, guided by statements like “socially constructed racial categories are the bases for ordering society.”

These race-first imperatives have now come to influence the research priorities of major institutions. Perhaps no better case study exists than that of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), an institution devoted exclusively to the medical sciences, and one of the top recipients of federal grants from the National Institutes of Health. Last May, UCSF took the unprecedented step of creating a separate Task Force on Equity and Anti-Racism in Research, which proceeded to make dozens of recommendations.

That task force builds on layers of prior DEI bureaucratic expansion, spanning nearly a decade. This programming includes the “UCSF Anti-Racism Initiative,” started after the summer of 2020, which established dozens of new institutional policies throughout the university, such as “evaluating contributions to diversity statements in faculty advancement portfolios.” The School of Medicine, meanwhile, has published its own Timeline of DEI and Anti-Racism Efforts, which documents such steps as adding a “social justice pillar” to the school’s curriculum and creating an anti-racist curriculum advisory committee.

The policies often promote an idiosyncratic and controversial understanding of concepts like diversity and racism. Through its Difference Matters initiative, the medical school created a document titled “Anti-Racism and Race Literacy: A Primer and Toolkit for Medical Educators”—which is filled with eyebrow-raising assertions. Racism, the guide asserts, “refers to the prioritization of the people who are considered white and the devaluation, exploitation, and exclusion of people racialized as non-white.”

Anti-racism, meanwhile, involves directly shifting power from those who are white to those who are Black. “Anti-racism examines and disrupts the power imbalances between racialized and non-racialized people (white people), to shift power away from those who have been historically over-advantaged and towards people of color, especially Black people.” Of course, when applied to the allocation of lifesaving medical care, these ideals can carry weighty consequences. During the height of the COVID pandemic, New York, Minnesota, and Utah issued guidance for allocating monoclonal antibodies that heavily prioritized racial and ethnic minorities.

While this hyper-racialized approach has long been the norm in humanities departments, it now appears to have fully crossed over into the hard sciences as well, with medical schools leading the charge. Med schools across the country have aggressively embraced DEI programming, often instituting policies that promote a narrow vision of social justice. In 2021, the University of Michigan Medical School created its Anti-Racism Oversight Committee Action Plan, making a set of new policy recommendations that had won the endorsement of the medical school’s leadership. That action plan called for a new curriculum to help inculcate a “demonstrated increase in understandings of DEI, antiracism, and intersectionality concepts in medical students and residents.” For medical residents, the plan stipulated that the curriculum should be based on Ibram X. Kendi’s book Stamped from the Beginning.

Some of these initiatives create obvious issues of academic freedom. In 2020, the UNC School of Medicine created a “Task Force for Integrating Social Justice Into the Curriculum,” issuing a report with dozens of recommendations. One called for faculty to adhere to “core concepts of anti-racism,” listing several of these required “concepts,” including “race is not a set biological category” and “specific organs and cells do not belong to specific genders.”

The task force also called for students to “be trained in core advocacy skills”—even listing a number of political causes that it deemed important for students to embrace. These causes, which the report labeled “health realms,” included “restoring U.S. leadership to reverse climate change,” and “achieving radical reform of the US criminal justice system.” The school initially listed every recommendation as “On Time” on an online implementation tracker, though it eventually walked back some of the more controversial requirements.

All of this comes under the broad umbrella of “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” illustrating how the term is both far more radical and more deeply entrenched than its defenders often claim.

Shorn of any context, the principles of diversity and inclusion strike many people as unobjectionable, and even laudable. But in practice they are used as a shorthand for a set of divisive ideological dogmas and bureaucratic power grabs. Under the banner of DEI, medical institutions that are supposed to focus on protecting human life are being sacrificed on the altar of the racialist ideology.

Because of the ideological project associated with DEI initiatives, critics often highlight their effect on curriculum and teaching. But the more potent effect, in the long run, could end up being on scientific research and scholarship.

For the UCSF Task Force on Equity and Anti-Racism in Research, the stated goal is to transform the university’s research enterprise. “To truly rectify the entrenched, structural harms from racism in research,” the task force report notes, “we must start from its foundations in the way that we privilege knowledge, methods, and people. The overarching changes required to mitigate racism in research is a philosophical shift in the mindset of those in power and those who produce research.”

Although the policies listed in the report are only recommendations, some have already been implemented, and many are likely to be in the future. The report’s first recommendation, for example, calls for a new vice chancellor for DEI in research. In September, UCSF announced the role was given to Tung Nguyen, co-chair of the task force. The report—referred to by Nguyen as a “labor of love and trauma”—states that the recommended policies will show that “anti-racism” is “centered in all aspects of the way we work and function as a research enterprise.”

That includes emphasizing diversity statements even more strongly in the promotion and tenure process, and evaluating university leadership along such lines as their “record of hiring women and members of historically excluded populations.” Not necessarily the qualities that people suffering from serious illnesses would look for in their medical care providers.

The task force calls for inserting similar DEI requirements into its research enterprise and adding “scoring criteria on equity and anti-racism” to UCSF’s internal grant programs. It recommends expanding UCSF’s existing anti-racism research grant program—something Nguyen has emphasized since taking his new role. The report itself links to UCSF’s “Pilot for Anti-Racism Research” program, which funds small research projects within the university.

That program provides perhaps the clearest articulation of what UCSF means by “anti-racism research.” It borrows the language of UCSF’s “Anti-Racism and Race Literacy” guide, noting: “Anti-racism examines and disrupts the power imbalances between racialized and non-racialized people, to shift power away from those who have been historically over-advantaged and towards people of color.” It later adds, “Anti-racism research uses approaches such as the Public Health Critical Race Praxis for applying Critical Race Theory to empirical research.”

In other words, under the new ideological regime that has taken power both inside the federal bureaucracy and in institutions like UCSF, even medical research has become yet another front in a larger ideological battle. Tomorrow’s doctors and medical experts are being selected and trained on the basis of their willingness to “disrupt power imbalances between racialized and non-racialized people.”

Much of the report raises obvious concerns. Some, for instance, might reject the task force’s assertion that racism pervades all areas of the university—especially in such a progressive bastion as UC San Francisco. It is telling that the university seems to actively encourage this assumption in research, but also unsurprising—after all, the “ordinariness of racism” is one of the tenets of public health critical race praxis, which is now being pushed by Nguyen under the guise of anti-racism research.


Free the charters: The right choice for New York’s families is obvious

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s plan to allow about 100 more charter schools to eventually open in the city should be a no-brainer,

In all too many neighborhoods, especially lower-income minority ones, the only good public-school option is a charter. But many ’hoods still lack that option, because state law prevents new charters from opening by “capping” the number in the city.

When it comes to teaching their students, public charter schools overall do a far better job than the regular public system. In 2018-19 (the last pre-COVID school year), 62% of charter students citywide scored proficient on statewide math tests, vs. 45% at Department of Education schools. In reading, the gap was smaller but still substantial, 57% vs. 47%.

And that’s despite the fact that charters enroll few kids from higher-income families, and far fewer white children, who are usually more “privileged.”

Charters mainly enroll children from black and Hispanic lower-income families, though that could change as efforts (in the name of “equity”) to lower standards in the regular system drive ever-more white and Asian-American parents to seek alternatives.

If the cap continues to deny them that possibility, they may well leave the public schools (and even the city) entirely: DOE enrollment is already falling drastically, with no end in sight.

When it comes to special-needs students and English Language Learners, charters do an exceptional job of addressing learning disabilities and actually teaching English, so that these kids are far more likely to be genuinely “mainstreamed” than if they’re condemned to the regular public schools.

“I have to say, I really feel that [first] charter school saved my life and my daughter’s life,” says Marcia Ward-Mitchell, whose daughter Kimana, who has autism and ADHD, is now 14 and thriving at her third city charter school.

“She can read,” says Azalia Lopez Volpe, “she can read. Like, she can read!” of her daughter Violetta, diagnosed with dyslexia in first grade and only getting the help she needed after switching to Bridge Preparatory Charter School on Staten Island, the city’s first public school that caters specifically to students with literacy disorders.

Sure would be nice to have such schools in all five boroughs — but the state’s current “charter cap” for the city prevents it.

On top of everything else, charters are also safer than DOE schools, because they have the freedom to put kids in time out, suspend them, separate them — that is, to ensure that one misbehaving student doesn’t bring down a whole class, and so reduce misbehavior because kids learn actions have consequences.

Charters excel despite getting less than half the per-pupil funding. All by itself, that disproves the lie that they “steal resources” from DOE schools.

Hochul’s plan simply does two things: 1) Permits about a dozen charter allowances “used up” by schools that closed to be re-used by new ones. 2) Removes the NYC-only cap on total charters allowed so that the 100 or so still available in the rest of the state can be issued in the five boroughs.

Of course, after two decades when the Empire State’s “experiment” with allowing charters has proved a huge success, any policy reason for capping them at all vanished long ago.

Yet the Legislature resists, thanks solely to the power of the teachers unions — the city United Federation of Teachers and New York State United Teachers — which hate charters because they’re mainly non-union.

The UFT and NYSUT are elephants in Albany, spending millions in members’ dues to buy support and mounting hefty get-out-the-vote operations that are key to many legislators’ re-elections. Somehow, lawmakers normally obsessed with race ignore the fact that the overwhelmingly white unions fight furiously to prevent new hope for mainly minority families that want better futures for their children.

We pray that the governor stands strong, not using the charter issue as a bargaining chip to be traded for some other part of her agenda. And that enough lawmakers listen to their consciences, not to this special interest, and stand with the children.

The right choice couldn’t possibly be more clear.




Sunday, February 26, 2023

ChatGPT could be an effective and affordable tutor

Imagine a private tutor that never gets tired, has access to massive amounts of data and is free for everyone.

In 1966, Stanford philosophy professor Patrick Suppes did just that when he made this prediction: One day, computer technology would evolve so that “millions of schoolchildren” would have access to a personal tutor. He said the conditions would be just like the young prince Alexander the Great being tutored by Aristotle.

Now, ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot with advanced conversational abilities, may have the capability to become such a tutor.

ChatGPT has collected huge amounts of data on a wide range of topics and can pass graduate school exams.

As a researcher who studies how computers can be used to help people learn, I think ChatGPT can be used to help students excel academically. However, in its current form, ChatGPT shows an inability to stay focused on one particular task, let alone tutoring.

Philosophy, engineering and artificial intelligence scholars envisioned using the computer as an “intelligent tutor” well before the internet became a global commercial network in the 1990s.

I believe lessons from developing those early tutoring systems can offer insight into how students and educators can best make use of ChatGPT as a tutor in the future.

Computers as tutors

Suppes – the Stanford philosophy professor – was a pioneer of a field called “computer-assisted instruction”.

He developed some of the earliest educational software. That software provided individual instruction via computer and led students to have better test results than those who didn’t use the program. I worked for Suppes in developing software and other online programs from 2004 to 2012.

Since then, experiments in building “intelligent tutors” to help students have driven advances in artificial intelligence, social networks and computer hardware.

And today, the abilities of ChatGPT to write essays, answer philosophical questions and solve computer coding problems may finally achieve Suppes’ goal of truly personalised tutoring via computer.

In 1972, a new personalised learning system called PLATO – Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations – made its debut. It was the first widely available personalised learning system of its kind.

Created by Don Bitzer, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Illinois, PLATO allowed up to 1000 students to be logged onto a mainframe computer simultaneously.

Each student could complete different online courses in foreign languages, music, maths and many other subjects while receiving feedback from the computer on their work.

PLATO enabled students to reach the same level of achievement as in-person classes in less time. And most students preferred this mode of instruction over sitting in a large lecture class. Yet, the system was too expensive to be used by many colleges and universities.

Each computer terminal was marketed at over $US8000 – about $58,000 today – and schools were charged additional fees every time a student used the system. Still, PLATO’s success with students inspired a number of companies to create software that provided a similar kind of tutoring, including the College Curriculum Corporation, which was co-founded by Suppes.

Popular personal computer brands, such as Apple and Commodore, advertised the availability of educational software as a reason for families to invest in a home computer.

Early versions of personalised learning
By 1985, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University were designing software using advances in artificial intelligence and cognitive psychology.

They claimed the current technology had advanced to a level that enabled computer systems to be designed to serve as effective as human tutors.

However, even though there were over 10,000 pieces of educational software available at the time, much of it was of fairly low quality and did not provide real tutoring.

Although the more advanced designs of the educational software developed at Carnegie Mellon enabled students to learn significantly more than students in traditional classrooms, they were not widely used in schools.

In the 1980s and 1990s, a school would need a sizeable number of expensive, high-powered computer workstations for students to use an intelligent tutor. Today, the computers are much more powerful and much less expensive.

And early intelligent tutors were used primarily in maths, science and technology courses, which limited their appeal.

Students could not ask the software programs a question. However, students could get feedback on answers to quizzes and tests.

In 2001, the next generation of intelligent tutoring systems was able to have conversations with students in written English.

These systems, early chatbots, used advances in natural language processing to have dialogues with students about a range of subjects. Each system was designed specifically for one subject, such as physics. Adding another subject, like English, would require its own specialised tutoring system.

The next few years brought three developments, which enabled a forward leap in achieving the dream of computerised tutoring.

One was the availability of broadband internet, which was faster than the dial-up connections of the 1990s.

The second was the lower cost of more powerful computers.

The third was investment by technology companies and government funding for university research in artificial intelligence, which led to the development of what we now call chatbots.

The first chatbots

By 2007, early AI chatbots provided tutoring by talking students through their answers to questions.

Research showed these chatbots supported learning outcomes similar to the effects of human tutors. Even so, using chatbot technology to provide tutoring was primarily experimental.

During the 2010s, social networks and advances in artificial intelligence dramatically changed the way people interact with technology.

Chatbots are integrated into many parts of our lives and are no longer experimental. People now talk to their phones, to their cars and their home appliances. Many people have virtual assistants at home. They can ask Alexa, Siri or Google for directions or the answers to simple homework questions.

Today, ChatGPT has advanced abilities that enable more complex conversations and can provide individualised tutoring much like what Suppes predicted in 1966.

I asked ChatGPT why it would be a good tutor, and it responded: “I am a good tutor for a student because I am able to understand and respond to a wide range of questions and prompts, and I can provide detailed and accurate information on a wide range of subjects.

“Additionally, I am able to communicate this information in a clear and easy-to-understand manner, making it accessible for students of all levels of understanding. Because I am a machine-learning model, I can also provide a large amount of information quickly and efficiently, which can be especially helpful for students who are trying to learn a lot of new material in a short amount of time.”

By contrast, Siri said, “Hmm … I don’t have an answer for that. Is there something else I can help you with?”

Recent research in using chatbots in college courses shows that how chatbots are used is important in encouraging students to learn more deeply. For instance, AI chatbots enabled significant improvements in learning in a graduate course on cloud computing at Carnegie Mellon.

These learning gains occurred when these chatbots asked students to build on an existing argument or to provide more information about a claim they had made. In this case, the chatbot asked the student a question, rather than vice versa.

Many educators are worried about students learning less with ChatGPT since it can be used to cheat on assignments and papers. Others are worried about ChatGPT giving wrong answers or spreading misinformation.

Yet the history and research of intelligent tutors show that using the right design to harness the power of chatbots like ChatGPT can make deeper, individualised learning available to almost anyone.

For example, if people use ChatGPT to ask students questions that prompt them to revise or explain their work, students will have better learning gains.

Since ChatGPT has access to far more knowledge than Aristotle ever did, it has great potential for providing tutoring to students to help them learn more than they would otherwise


'Bloated bureaucracy has got to be slashed:' UVA board member launches 'battle royale' against 'incessant' highlighting of slavery

Newly released text messages have shed new light on the unfiltered opinions of a controversial University of Virginia Board of Visitors member who was recently appointed by Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin.

The text messages released Thursday through a public records request show board member Brett Ellis railing against UVA faculty and students for highlighting the school's historical connection to slavery.

Ellis declared a 'battle royale for the soul of UVA' and slammed attempts to distance the school from Thomas Jefferson, the third US president and UVA's founder, over Jefferson's enslavement of black people, according to Washington Post.

An Atlanta businessman and UVA alumnus, Ellis has faced stiff backlash from UVA faculty and staff since Youngkin appointed him last summer, in part due to a 2020 incident in which he tried to remove an anti-slavery sign outside a dorm.

Ellis freely admitted in an open letter that he had carried a 'small razor blade' to cut down part of the sign that read 'F*** UVA' but was halted by two university staffers, who warned him it would be consider criminal property damage.

Though Ellis has been vocal about his views in defending Jefferson, the text messages reveal his behind-the-scenes rants to other members of the Board of Visitors, which oversees UVA's long-term planning, budget and policies.

The messages were obtained through Virginia's Freedom of Information Act by Richmond-based author Jeff Thomas, who specializes in analyzing the state's political culture.

In one message, Ellis slammed Academic Outreach Vice Provost Louis P. Nelson, who is also a professor of architectural history who has studied buildings connected to slavery in Africa and the US.

'Check out this numnut who works for [Provost Ian] Baucom and has nothing to do but highlight slavery at UVA. This bloated bureaucracy has got to be slashed,' wrote Ellis in a message to two other Youngkin appointees to the board.

In another message to a fellow Youngkin appointee, Ellis wrote: 'We have to raise hell with the BOV about this whole "Get Jefferson" movement by the CD [Cavalier Daily student paper] and the super liberal faculty...'

In a statement to the Washington Post, the university said: 'These text messages demonstrate a disappointing disregard for the hard work of UVA faculty and staff, as well as the University’s core values of civil discourse and honor.'

'It is important to note that the messages were sent before these members attended their first Board meeting, and that they have since had many opportunities to witness firsthand the many ways this institution, and its employees, contribute to the Commonwealth of Virginia, our nation, and our world,' the university added.

Ellis is one of four board members appointed by Youngkin last year, and confirmed by the Virginia state Senate earlier this month. The others are Stephen P. Long, Amanda Pillion, and Doug Wetmore.

Still, appointees by Youngkin's Democratic predecessor, Ralph Northam, retain a majority on the 19-member board.

Ellis leads the Jefferson Council at University of Virginia, which has sought to protect the founder's legacy as well as other traditions.

His appointment to the school's board of visitors has significantly amplified the group's voice.

The influence of the new appointees seemed apparent in a statement the board's chairman, known as a rector, issued during a a meeting in September, affirming the university's connection to its founder Jefferson.

'We are a University founded by Thomas Jefferson, and honoring his legacy and his contributions to our nation has, and will always be, an indelible part of what it means to live, learn and work here,' UVA Rector Whittington Clement said in remarks at the meeting.

'That is the policy and the position of this institution and it will not change under our leadership or that of President Ryan or his team.'


UK: Teachers told my 15-year-old daughter to cover her ANKLES because they were sexually attractive

Teachers told a 15-year-old schoolgirl she needed to cover her ankles because they might be sexually attractive.

Olivia Williams, 15, a pupil at Trinity Academy Cathedral school in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, was told her trousers should not be tight and she had to cover her ankles to avoid 'drawing sexual attraction'.

Schoolmasters at the academy rated as 'outstanding' by Ofsted have banned pupils from going to the toilet unless they have a special pass, or a pink pass for girls on their period.

Although the NHS says periods can last for up to a week, the Academy's pink passes are reportedly taken away from the girls after only four days.

Olivia was suspended for two days after she organised a protest against the rules yesterday.

Her mother Katie McLoughlin, 35, told MailOnline: 'It's ridiculous. Who looks at ankles and thinks they are attractive?

'All the children have got toilet passes. The girls have got pink passes. Everybody knows what it means. 'After four days the passes have been taken from the girls.'

Although Katie was shocked at the school's new rules, she said she was 'overwhelmed' and 'so proud' of her daughter for standing up for what she believed in.

Olivia told MailOnline that the stringent rules made her feel 'embarrassed'.

Even though Olivia was suspended she went to protest again today but was told she would be expelled if she continued demonstrating against the draconian measures.

In a letter to parents, the school's principal Rob Marsh said: 'Student toilets are open before school, between lessons, at breaktimes, lunchtimes and after school.

'Students are allowed to go to the toilet at any point during these times. We understand that at times, some students may need to attend the toilet more frequently. 'For this reason, we have a toilet pass system. 'We also grant access to girls who need to attend toilets at specific times.

'Our uniform rules have not changed for quite some time and are standard for a secondary school.

'We have been in contact with parents of those students involved [in protests] throughout the day.

'The first contact was largely about trying to encourage support to get students back into school. 'We will be in touch again regarding sanctions and next steps.'

It came as protests broke out over similar rules at schools across the country this week.

The demonstrations have turned into a TikTok trend that is causing chaos at schools.

In a letter to parents, one headteacher said pupils had 'decided to imitate a trend relating to school protests' on social media and that similar protests were taking place at 'numerous schools throughout the country'.

At Penrice Academy in St Austell, Cornwall, told parents that 'due to a social media post yesterday evening, some of our students took the decision to protest'.

Protests took place at schools in Cornwall, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Essex with videos of furious children rebelling being shared on social media.