Friday, August 25, 2023

On-Campus DEI Bureaucrats Already Ditching New Loyalty Oaths

Will the last diversity, equity, and inclusion bureaucrat to leave their office on campus please turn out the lights?

On college grounds today, so-called DEI departments are withering as whistleblowers reveal that the offices have promoted racial prejudice and operated with little transparency—and no measurable results—for years.

School officials and lawmakers in states such as Florida, Texas, and Arizona are closing such departments or ceasing universitywide policies that supported them, and so far, DEI administrators have failed to find support for their discriminatory activities.

Various projects are underway to protect individuals from the racial bias of diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.

In Arizona, the Goldwater Institute released a scathing report earlier this year documenting that up to 80% of faculty job listings at Arizona public universities required applicants to submit a “diversity statement” (sometimes called “loyalty oaths”) as part of their employment application.

In a formal statement Tuesday, Goldwater said such loyalty oaths “are increasingly used across academia as a political screening test to enforce intellectual and political conformity in support of left-wing concepts aligned with critical race theory (CRT).”

College administrators reject job applications if they don’t include statements conforming to the prevailing woke orthodoxy, according to Goldwater’s report. This process is not unique to Arizona: An investigation by the Reason Foundation found that 75% of applications to join the faculty of the University of California system were rejected in this way.

Arizona public university officials had used the same methods, but Goldwater noted, but lately new job listings from Arizona State University are missing a requirement to complete a diversity statement.

And last month, Arizona State University officials announced that employees “are not forced to sign diversity statements.” Personnel at Arizona’s public universities seem to be quietly erasing DEI’s footprint.

In Texas, the changes have been more noticeable. State lawmakers adopted a proposal in June to prohibit diversity, equity, and inclusion operations on the campuses of public colleges and universities.

Leaders at one state school didn’t waste any time: Last week, University of North Texas announced the dissolution of its DEI office, saying the vice president in charge of it would retire.

In Florida, after Gov. Ron DeSantis replaced board members at the New College of Florida, the new appointees immediately shuttered the school’s DEI department. DeSantis, a Republican, then signed a proposal prohibiting DEI departments at state universities from using public funds, signaling the end of the offices at most schools.

Lawmakers in South Carolina and Arkansas also considered proposals to abolish offices for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, renamed the state’s DEI office, replacing “equity” with “opportunity,” warning that DEI has “gone off the rails.”

Diversity, equity, and inclusion programs attract critics on both sides of the political spectrum. Research has found that DEI training is ineffective at changing individual opinions; reports in mainstream publications ask whether such training is doing more harm than good.

In the corporate world, businesses are trimming their DEI staff. Some anticipate that the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling against racial preferences in college admissions means that when employees find the same prejudice in corporate DEI programs, they could file lawsuits—or worse.

The Free Press reported that a successful educator took his own life after a DEI “trainer” excoriated him during a session. His crime? Saying that Canada actually is a pretty just society, despite the trainer’s claims that Canada is “a bastion of white supremacy and colonialism.”

The educator had questioned the DEI gospel, and for the next two years he faced ridicule. He was shamed and abandoned, ultimately losing all hope.

State and federal officials have policy ideas at their disposal to protect students and educators from the racial discrimination of diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.

Lawmakers should forbid DEI departments on college campuses from using taxpayer money and expedite their closing. These departments have not demonstrated their effectiveness, yet employ dozens. Some public universities have over a hundred DEI employees.

State policymakers should ban public university administrators from requiring job applicants to complete “loyalty oaths.”

Students and employees are exposing DEI’s biased activities on campus and in the workplace, and lawmakers should close these offices. Americans value diverse opinions—all of them, not just woke ideas.


School District Allowed to Keep Child Gender Transitions From Parents, Court Rules

A federal appeals court ruled Monday that a Maryland school district can continue to keep students’ gender transitions from their parents.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit dismissed a coalition of parents’ lawsuit against Montgomery County Public Schools alleging that the district’s gender support plan, which allows students to change their gender without their parents’ permission, infringes on parental rights.

The court ruled that because none of the parents had children who were transgender or were utilizing a gender support plan, there was no harm that allows the court to act, documents show.

“We agree with the analysis of the dissenting judge that parents have a right to complain about this school policy because it allows the school to keep secret from parents how it is treating their child at school and that such policies violate parental rights,” Frederick Claybrook Jr., the attorney for the plaintiffs, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Parents do not have to wait until they find out that damage has been done in secret before they may complain. Moreover, the policy just by being in place affects family dynamics, as the dissenting judge pointed out. We are actively considering next steps in the legal process.”

Montgomery County Public Schools’ gender support plan was adopted during the 2020-2021 school year to help students “feel comfortable expressing their gender identity,” according to the Monday opinion. The gender support plan allows students to record their change in name and pronouns while also detailing which bathrooms and locker rooms the student will correspond with their gender identity.

“MCPS [Montgomery County Public Schools] was successful in the challenge against our Gender Identity Guidelines,” a district spokesperson told the DCNF. “The appellate court returned the case to the district court and directed that it be dismissed. The case is resolved for now. MCPS supports the determination by the court.”

At least 350 students within the district have filled out a gender support plan over the past three years to change their gender at school, The Washington Post reported. The school district said they were not trying to keep student gender transitions from parents but if the student wanted privacy, “then we honor and respect that.”

“That does not mean their objections are invalid,” Judge A. Marvin Quattlebaum Jr. said in his opinion. “In fact, they may be quite persuasive. But, by failing to show any injury to themselves, the parents’ opposition … reflects a policy disagreement. And policy disagreements should be addressed to elected policymakers at the ballot box, not to unelected judges in the courthouse.”

Muslim, Roman Catholic, and Greek Orthodox Christian parents sued Montgomery County Public Schools in May after the school board alerted parents that it would no longer be notifying families of gender identity lessons and that parents would be unable to opt their children out of such lessons.

The parents allege that the school district’s policy that prohibits them from opting their child out of LGBTQ lessons violates their religious beliefs and their ability to raise their kids.


Is Anyone Vetting Teachers?

If you've been paying attention for at least five minutes to the overall tone of today's society, you may have noticed that fundamental morality and a basic sense of right and wrong have been on a rapid decline.

Among the many questionable positions that directionless people have adopted as rational is that of abandoning our responsibility to protect children and their innocence. Some folks see no reason to shield kids from people who would inappropriately break boundaries with them or intentionally cause emotional and/or physical harm.

Yet somehow, perhaps in the name of "progressivism," there are individuals and groups that view protection of the innocent as oppressive and outdated. As articulated within gender ideology and queer theory, any boundaries regarding the interactions between adults and children are a social construct that unnecessarily oppress children. The protocols that most of society have acknowledged as imperative for the safekeeping of the most vulnerable are believed by these activists to be doing more harm than good.

On the list of safety procedures being abandoned by today's "progressive" movement is the vetting process by school administrators of the individuals they hire for the specific responsibility of teaching children, as well as guiding their academic success and social development.

A glaring example of this abdication of responsibility by administrative staff came to light when Homer Community Consolidated School District was put on blast by the infamous X (Twitter) account Libs of TikTok. It was revealed that the district had hired an elementary teacher who had publicly posted about a personal battle with psychosis and mania, which sometimes led to episodes of violence and harm.

This person ranted: "I am NOT my disease. I am ME! And I know ME! And I LOVE ME!" That was directly above an image depicting symbols that would indicate a predilection for satanism.

Just a few days following the public exposure by Libs of TikTok, a vote was conducted during a school board meeting for the district, and the individual was fired.

The questions that need to be answered are as follows: Why was this person hired in the first place? Had widespread attention not been shone on this person's deeply concerning social media posts, where parents were able to demand the removal of this teacher and force the school board to respond? How long would these students be under this person's care? And what would the consequences have been?

It is understandable that not every potential negative scenario can be considered and planned for in the hiring process. However, in the age of oversharing and the addiction to validation in the form of social media "likes" and followers, there is a lot that can be easily discovered with a simple sweep of Facebook, Instagram, X, and TikTok that could expose these crucial red flags that there is no excuse to miss.

Teachers have become more brazen in vocalizing their contempt for parents, laws, and boundaries. They are not shy when it comes to creating videos in which they demonstrate their intention to break any rules that might stop them from indoctrinating children into their brand of activism, regardless of what parents want. And they often find it amusing to add a dance or costume to their message, as if to let parents know that they are not concerned about any potential backlash.

Another post on the Libs of TikTok account showed a librarian of a Tulsa Oklahoma Elementary School dancing toward the camera with the message, "POV: teachers in your state are dropping like flies but you are still just not quite finished pushing your woke agenda at the public school."

Hopefully, a vote on the fate of her job will be carried out soon, and the appropriate determination will be made.

These are just the incidents that have been exposed, but this is happening in every school district in the country to some extent.

Schools are abandoning parents, and if we are not the ones demanding and enforcing a vetting process for those who spend hours every day with our children, it looks like no one will.




Thursday, August 24, 2023

Combatting Academic Hucksters in the Sciences

I can see the temptation to this. I got a whole lot of papers published precisely because I had ideas new to the discipline. My conclusions tended in a conservative direction so were generally unpopular but the fact that I had something new to say got them published. So in the absence of new confirmable ideas, it must be tempting to make stuff up

If recent reports are to be believed, academic crimes are on the rise. In a world with shrinking enrollments and many underemployed professionals with PhDs, the temptations to cheat and lie to get published are intense. We are in an academic world in which an article in the Journal of Last Resort is often, somewhat sadly in my judgment, worth more than a slew of teaching awards and a devoted following of students.

A recent (July 18) article in Nature by Richard Van Noorden suggests that some observers believe “at least one-quarter of clinical trials might be problematic or even entirely made up.” Writing in the Guardian on Aug. 6, Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus argue, “There’s far more scientific fraud than anyone wants to admit” and add that “the academic world still seems determined to look the other way.”

My own analysis of the “success rate” for grant applications to the National Institutes of Health or the National Science Foundation is consistent with this: for every grant application accepted, typically two to four others are rejected. For some scientists, rejection literally means job loss or, minimally, a significant income reduction.

This issue received new levels of prominence recently, leading to the resignation of the president of Stanford University. Long-time president Marc Tessier-Lavigne, himself a prominent research scientist, resigned after an outside review of his work concluded that it did not meet standards of “scientific rigor and process” and he failed to correct the record when notified of the problems.

The problem extends far beyond the hard sciences. I think of my own decades as a researcher in economics and some of the issues associated with asserting that some relationship is a “truth” or “economic law” that others can replicate and ultimately teach both students and the broader public. In the hard sciences, strict laboratory controls make it possible to rather precisely replicate the work of other researchers, but in the social sciences, which operate outside a controlled laboratory environment, many things are constantly changing, making “proving” a relationship difficult if not impossible.

From my own research, I see how easy it is for researchers trying to proclaim a novel idea worthy of publication or promoting a congenial ideological position to be manipulating the results. Let me give a hypothetical but quite plausible example.

Suppose I believe that lowering state and local income taxes increases the rate of economic growth, measured by changing personal income per capita. Suppose I gather some different data sets and use econometric testing of 25 models. Some of the models include some seven to eight additional variables besides the income tax measure of special interest (e.g., spending on education, the number of heating degree days in a year, or the proportion of the population working in manufacturing). Some of the models use time series data (looking at data relationships over time), others use cross-sectional data (comparing different states within one geographic area, such as the United States, or even different nations).

Suppose I get 24 sets of results showing the expected negative relationship between income tax burden and economic growth, but one that shows a positive relationship, however statistically significant, at only a 90 percent level of confidence. Suppose 16 of the 24 expected negative relations are believable with a 99 percent level of confidence, five with a 95 percent level of confidence, two with only a 90 percent level of confidence, and one with only a 75 percent level of confidence (meaning there is a 25 percent probability the observed positive relationship does not exist). What do I report to the reading public?

What I typically would do is report several (possibly all) of the results, typically summarizing the 25 regressions by saying that “the predominance of evidence suggests there is a negative relationship between income taxes and economic growth.” Another researcher much more ideologically hostile to that finding might conclude “the evidence is decidedly mixed on the tax-growth relationship.” And some pro-tax highly progressive researcher might even claim, based on one study, that “results show that higher taxes actually increase growth,” ignoring both the low level of confidence in that result and, more importantly, the other 24 tests contradicting this conclusion. That novel result actually might also have a higher probability of journal acceptance because it contradicts most other studies, making it provocative. Moreover, it reaches a progressive policy conclusion that most academics would like. In other words, outside the laboratory sciences, the interpretation of results is highly manipulable.

As standards of morality and a respect for the rule of law decline generally, so too they apparently decline in academia. It is very sad to say, but I would be very suspicious about buying a used car from many academics these days.


New Data: High School Boys Twice as Likely to Identify as Conservative as Liberal

According to a large survey of high school graduates, the share of young men identifying as conservative is rapidly increasing compared to previous decades. The left loves to trumpet their successes with “the youth vote”, but the reality is there is a growing gender gap that will have broad-reaching political implications for decades to come.

New research from the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future survey of 12th grade high school students shows just how vast the gender partisan gap has grown among young men and women.

The survey reveals data going back as far as 1975 tracking the political ideology of young men and women entering the voter pool, and the results are startling. Since approximately 2010, the share of young men identifying as conservative has skyrocketed, while the share identifying as liberal has dropped to the lowest point on record.

Today, young men are twice as likely to identify as conservative, with about a quarter of male 12th graders saying they are conservative or very conservative, while a mere 13% say they are liberal or very liberal.

This marks a notable transformation in the political perspectives of boys. While the share of boys identifying as liberal has been mostly declining since the 1970’s, there was a brief spike in liberal identity among young men in 2010 under President Obama and in 2016 just as Trump took office, but otherwise young men identifying as liberal has steadily fallen.

For young women, an opposite scenario has played out, with 12th grade women reaching the highest proportion of self-identified liberals on record in 2020, and that number declining incrementally in 2022.

The survey shows the share of 12th-grade girls who identify as liberal rose 11-percentage points from 19% in 2012 to 30% in 2022. The share of young women who identify as conservative sat at just 11% in the 2022 survey, down ever so slightly from 2020. The data shows the peak of young women identifying as conservative occurred in 2005 under George W. Bush and has been dwindling since then.

However, the largest group of high school boys and girls declined to share their political views, something that is not surprising in the age of censorship and cancel culture.

Regardless of those unwilling to share or unsure of their political views, there is a growing gender gap among young people that does not appear to be declining.

Gallup Polling reveals that 44% of women aged eighteen to twenty-nine now align themselves with liberal views, marking the highest figure in twenty years.

In contrast, only a quarter of young men between eighteen and twenty-nine embrace a liberal identity. The proportion of young men identifying as liberal has experienced fluctuations over the past 25 years, showing an overall decline. Meanwhile, the percentage of young women identifying as liberal has consistently risen.

Data from a 2022 Meredith College poll also reveals that while Gen Z may embrace more liberal viewpoints on issues like abortion and LGBTQ+ issues, young men exhibit notably less liberal perspectives compared to women. While nearly half of Gen Z wants to expand abortion access, this stance is predominantly driven by young women. In contrast, Gen Z men are less inclined to support such an expansion.

The Meredith College findings also reveal that a considerable portion of Gen Z men adhere to traditional notions of gender roles. More than 40% of young men expressed a preference for a male political leader, compared to 35% of Gen Z women favoring a female political leader. Among all age groups, Gen Z men exhibited the highest preference for a male political leader. Professor David McLennan, who directed the Meredith poll, noted:

“The results from our work suggest there is a strong conservative element within Gen Z on policy issues…a shift to more traditional views among the male population.”

Democrats lost four points with voters under thirty between 2018 and 2022, so their edge is declining. However, the gender gap is an important variable to watch in the next presidential election, considering President Biden has been struggling with young voters overall. Recent NYT/Siena polling shows Biden’s lead over Trump has shrunk 14-percentage points compared to his lead in 2020 exit polls, indicating Biden will have an uphill battle recouping young voters. If the growing body of research on gender and ideology is any indication, Biden will struggle most with young men.


Australia: Teacher made to apologise for giving child ‘improvement strategies’ (!!)

A teacher who had recently started at a new school was asked to give one student some improvement strategies. The child went home and complained. The principal asked that teacher to apologise to the parents for making that student feel “stressed”.

Australia’s classrooms are ranked among the worst in the world when it comes to discipline and the responsibility for that should not fall solely on teachers, education experts have told a federal senate inquiry into disruptive classrooms.

The story of the teacher asked to apologise was recounted to the inquiry by Dr Paul Kidson, senior lecturer in educational leadership at the Australian Catholic University, who said parents and students had too often been given a free pass in the schooling system.

“There is no likelihood that there is going to be significant improvement in the achievement of a community where that behaviour is characterised as normal,” he said

Kidson said a combination of poorer mental health of students, a nationwide teacher shortage and schools’ inability to give high-need students adequate support meant behaviour had become a “wicked problem”.

However, he said there had also been an increase in the “overmedicalising of the normal human condition”. Last year there was a 30 per cent jump in prescriptions for drugs used to treat anxiety in children, the biggest annual increase seen in a decade.

‘[Young people] will expect things just to go their way. And if it doesn’t go their way, somebody else is to blame.’

“Facing academic challenges, an increasing number of students are claiming anxiety disorders or trauma in ways that minimise the seriousness of clinical, medical or psychological conditions experienced, sadly, by too many,” he said.

“That suggests to me that we are not building the resilience for a number of young people and, when they move into more independence, they will expect things just to go their way. And if it doesn’t go their way, somebody else is to blame.”

An OECD report earlier this year said the disciplinary climate in Australia was among the least favourable compared to other member nations while Australian teachers felt less capable when it came to dealing with disruptive students.

Literacy instruction provider Multilit chief executive Robyn Wheldall said simply creating engaging lessons would not resolve behaviour problems. The physical environment of the classroom had an effect on behaviour: she said arranging desks so students faced one another in small groups in primary school might seem to create a “nice” collaborative environment but was not always conducive to learning.

“If you wanted someone to do something social, like have a dinner party, you would sit around a table and chat. But if you’re in a classroom and you want kids to pay attention to you, the teacher, first of all, you don’t want half of them with their backs to you,” she said.

Her research had shown that teachers gave positive feedback when it came to a student’s academic progress – they are three times more approving rather than disapproving of students’ progress with schoolwork– but that ratio was reversed when it came to behaviour.

“They are more than three times disapproving of social behaviour than of approving. That means the teacher is talking a lot about, ‘Don’t do that, sit down, concentrate, don’t disturb’. All of these things are not going to change the world in terms of disruption or violence, but they create interruptions to what the teacher is trying to do and disturb other kids,” she said.

Ensuring teachers provide specific praise for behaviour like they did academic work coupled with the creation of consistent disciplinary environments within schools and educating teaching graduates at university about behaviour management could counter disruption in classrooms.

“There is a wealth of evidence from research and practice that we can draw on to bring about positive changes in classrooms, with relatively simple but effective methods,” she said.




Wednesday, August 23, 2023

School district’s new ‘equitable grading’ practices won’t penalize late work or issue zeros, even for cheating

A Portland, Oregon, school district recently issued new “equitable grading” practices that will require teachers to accept late work without penalty and refrain from giving students zeros, even if they are caught cheating, according to documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

A new district handout titled “Portland Public Schools Equitable Grading Practices Summary” highlights the district’s “rationale” for implementing a so-called “equitable” approach to grading students’ class performance.

“Historical data shows that there are racial disparities in our pass/fail rate in multiple subjects in both middle grades and high school,” the district’s handout stated. “During the pandemic we adjusted our grading to accommodate for some of the inequities in access to curriculum and instruction. This caused many teachers to begin the journey towards equitable grading but has led to a mosaic of grading practices across schools and across the district that is confusing to students and families. We need to organize and consolidate our efforts towards common policies to more consistently and better support students and families with equitable grading.”

The district explained that its new grading practices would be based on Joe Feldman’s book, “Grading for Equity,” which provides a framework based on three pillars — “accurate, bias-resistant, and motivational.”

The PPS handout described the equitable grading practices as “accurate” because they are “based on calculations that are mathematically sound.” Those practices include never giving students a grade of zero. Instead, teachers are told to “provide a minimum grade greater than or equal to 50% for work that does not meet expectations, is incomplete, or is missing.” This guideline also applies to students caught cheating.

Educators are also asked to abandon a 0-100 grading scale and replace it with a 0-4 scale, which it stated is “more mathematically accurate.” Students’ grades will be weighted against their most recent performance instead of assessed over the entire semester.

To combat educators’ “implicit bias,” homework will not be graded. Teachers cannot penalize late work or provide extra credit. Students will be allowed the opportunity to retake tests and redo assignments. “Non-academic factors,” including attendance, performance, effort, attitude, and behavior, will also not be included in students’ grades.

The new guidelines are expected to be implemented districtwide by 2025.

Parents Defending Education’s outreach director Erika Sanzi told the Washington Free Beacon that the district’s framework would harm students. “These equitable grading policies, however well intended, are a disaster for the students who struggle most and for the students who need accelerated coursework,” Sanzi said.


A Catholic school district in Massachusetts has ruled that its 5,000 students must use the names and pronouns they used at birth, in the latest clash between the church and radical gender ideology.

The ruling from the Diocese of Worcester and approved by Bishop Robert McManus is set to affect 21 schools in and around the central Massachusetts city and start when students got back to class for the fall semester.

Under the new guidelines, students must conduct themselves in a manner 'consistent with their biological sex,' including the bathrooms they use and the sports teams on which they compete.

David Perda, superintendent of Catholic Schools for the diocese, said some schools already had rules in place but that 'individual situations' had 'underscored a need for a single policy which clearly states church teaching.'

Whether students can change their name or identity in class has become a hot-button issue dividing progressives and conservatives. Massachusetts and other left-leaning states have been much more tolerant of gender fluidity.

Under the new guidelines, which were released on August 15, any bullying, harassment or violence directed against students because of their sex, sexual orientation or gender identify will 'not be tolerated.'

But, they continue, a student's biological sex takes precedence over any chosen identify.

That covers 'school athletics; school-sponsored dances; dress and uniform policies; the use of changing facilities, showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms, titles, names, and pronouns; and official school documents.'

For names and pronouns, there may be 'rare exceptions only on a limited, case-by-case basis,' to be decided by a school's principal.

The rules also call for 'modesty in language, appearance, dress, and behavior,' and also prohibit expressions of same-sex attraction that cause 'confusion or distraction' at school.

The policy is linked to Pope Francis, who has spoken repeatedly about the dangers of new-wave gender ideology and how it blurs the distinction between men and women.

It refers to statements from the pontiff that we should not 'accept ideologies that attempt to sunder what are inseparable aspects of reality.'

The pope has also said children who identify as trans should be helped to 'accept their own body as it was created.'

'We must always respect the sacred dignity of each individual person, but that does not mean the church must accept the confused notions of secular gender ideology,' says the statement from the diocese.

The policy comes as the Roman Catholic Church's stance on rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) has left some onlookers confused.

Pope Francis has said both that homosexuality is 'not a crime' but that also it is a 'sin.'

LGBT groups in Worcester have criticized the bishop's move.

Joshua Croke, who heads the nonprofit Love Your Labels, called it 'harmful' by encouraging students to 'stay in the closet' and feel ashamed.

Croke told The New York Times that he has a 'a long history of anti-LGBTQ. practices and positions.'

Last year, Bishop McManus courted controversy when he ordered a mostly black Catholic middle school in Worcester to take down its Black Lives Matter and Pride flags.

When the school refused, Bishop McManus declared that the school was no longer Catholic.

The row in Massachusetts comes ahead of the start of another school year in which teachers, parents, and students must navigate gender, identity, and sexuality at schools on the front lines of America's culture wars between liberals and conservatives.

Kansas, North Dakota and Wyoming have passed new laws that prevent transgender girls from playing on girls teams at their K-12 schools.

A Missouri law takes effect at the end of this month, bringing the number of states with restrictions to 23.

North Carolina could enact a ban later this month, and Ohio could follow in the fall.

A few laws, including ones in Arizona and West Virginia, are on hold because of federal lawsuits.

They're part of a larger wave of legislation across the US to limit transgender rights amid fears of rising numbers of young people, especially girls, coming out as trans, some of them opting for cross-sex hormones and even surgeries.


Australia's schools are failing – this is why

Kevin Donnelly

The news earlier this year that the Labor government in Victoria will use schools to promote a ‘Yes’ case for the Voice to Parliament should not surprise. Neither should it surprise that some Australian school students, instead of saluting the Australian flag and taking the oath of allegiance, are told to memorise the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

There is nothing new or unusual about schools being used as vehicles to indoctrinate students with neo-Marxist-inspired cultural-left ideology. It’s been happening over the last 30 to 40 years. As I wrote in Why our schools are failing (2004), instead of viewing education as something objective and impartial, Australian schools have been pressured to adopt ‘an ideologically driven approach that defines education as an instrument to radically change society and turn students into politically correct, new-age warriors’.

While the expression ‘the long march through the institutions’ has become clichéd, it does not alter the fact the phrase, attributed to the German student radical Rudi Dutschke and before him to the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, very much describes what has occurred in education since the late 1970s.

At a Fabian Society meeting held in Melbourne in 1983, Joan Kirner, who later became Victoria’s Minister for Education and then Premier, argued education had to be reshaped as ‘part of the socialist struggle for equality, participation, and social change, rather than an instrument of the capitalist system’. In the same speech, Kirner argued schools must be used as ‘a catalyst for system change rather than the legitimisation of system maintenance’.

Kirner’s socialist beliefs explain her mantra of ‘equality of outcomes’ instead of ‘equality of opportunity’ and her campaign to replace the then Higher School Certificate with the Victorian Certificate of Education. Given its academic focus and competitive end-of-year examinations where students are ranked in terms of performance, Kirner argued the HSC unfairly favoured privileged students attending wealthy non-government schools.

The Australian Education Union (previously named the Australian Teachers Federation) has, over the last 40 years, argued that Australian society is riven with inequality and injustice and that teachers, in the words of a teacher training resource popular at the time, must decide whose side they are on.

The union’s 1985 curriculum policy paper condemns Australian society for its ‘pronounced inequality in the distribution of social, economic, cultural and political resources and power between social groups, which restricts the life development of many’. Teachers were told the purpose of education was to reveal to students ‘the role of the economy, the sexual division of labour, the dominant culture and the education system in reproducing inequality’.

In order to improve equity and overcome disadvantage, the Australian Education Union has consistently spoken against Year 12 certificates, standardised tests like the National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN), and what is described as the competitive, academic curriculum. This curriculum is apparently guilty of reinforcing capitalist hierarchies and disadvantaging at-risk, low socio-economic status (SES) students.

The Union’s 1998 curriculum policy paper states:

‘Reliance on competition is a primary cause of inequalities of educational outcome because students from certain social groups are advantaged by competitive selection methods. Competitive selection also sets students against each other rather than encouraging co-operative learning methods.’

Once again, the primary target are Catholic and Independent schools that generally achieve the strongest academic results as measured by the Year 12 Australian Tertiary Entrance Rank (ATAR).

Other examples illustrating the wider cultural-left’s ideology and opposition to the belief education should be impartial and unbiased include denouncing the Howard government’s involvement in the Iraqi war and suggesting students are entitled to strike in protest; arguing it’s okay for students to wag school to attend climate change demonstrations; telling teachers they must embrace a neo-Marxist inspired LGBTQ+ agenda, and arguing non-government schools should not be funded.

Given the AEU’s history of cultural-left activism, it should not surprise that the teacher union is a strong supporter of the Indigenous Voice to Parliament. In its submission to the ‘Indigenous Voice Co-Design process’ the union argues:

‘The AEU strongly supports The Uluru Statement and Voice. Treaty. Truth. Specifically, the AEU wishes to emphasise the importance of Truth-telling in schools through and in the curriculum and in the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.’

As I detail in the chapter on school education in Cancel Culture And The Left’s Long March, subject associations have also been instrumental in radically reshaping the curriculum and what happens in the classroom. Some of these groups also oppose standardised tests like NAPLAN (in relation to literacy) on the basis such tests stifle creativity by privileging correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and standardised English instead of the language students bring to the classroom.

Drawing on the work of the Brazilian Marxist educator Paulo Freire, who toured Australia in 1974, and the concept of critical literacy, one teaching association argues that the purpose of teaching English is to liberate and empower students by enabling them to critique texts and to discover how language is employed to reinforce what Louis Althusser terms capitalist society’s ideological state apparatus.

In an editorial in the 2004 edition of English in Australia published by the AATE, it is argued that the re-election of the Howard-led government demonstrated teachers had failed to properly teach critical literacy and, as a result, they had to redouble their efforts as so many young people had voted the wrong way. ‘What does it mean for us and our ability to create a questioning, critical generation that those who brought us balaclava-clad security guards, Alsatians, and Patrick’s Stevedoring could declare themselves the representatives of the workers and be supported by the electorate?’

Critical literacy and a rainbow alliance of cultural-left theories including postmodernism, deconstructionism, radical feminist gender, and post-colonial theories have also had a profound impact on how literature is taught in the English classroom. Australia contains teaching associations that condemn the concept of a literary canon involving those enduring works that are well crafted and have something profound to say about the human condition. Instead of acknowledging the moral, emotional, and aesthetic value of literature students are made to deconstruct texts in terms of power relationships and how the voices of marginalised groups, including women, people of colour, and LGBQ+ people, are ignored and silenced.




Monday, August 21, 2023

Ending medical-school affirmative action will be a plus for patients

Yes, indeed. I have seen mention of blacks refusing to see black doctors in public hospitals because they don't trust "black" qualifications. Embarrassing! But who can blame them?

The US Supreme Court effectively prohibited university admissions officers from giving preferential treatment to applicants based on their race this summer.

Many medical-school leaders decried the high court’s ruling, claiming the ban will lead to less diversity within their student bodies, a less diverse crop of physicians and worse outcomes for minority patients.

But it’s not clear diversity within the physician workforce improves patient outcomes — which ought to be the primary objective of medical education.

In fact, there’s evidence affirmative-action policies can harm patients as well as aspiring doctors themselves.

It’s an article of faith among affirmative action’s defenders that a more diverse physician workforce benefits patients.

In her dissent from the majority’s ruling, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that affirmative action helps increase “the number of students from underrepresented backgrounds” who become doctors, which in turn “improves ‘healthcare access and health outcomes in medically underserved communities.’”

The Association of American Medical Colleges echoed Sotomayor, saying it was “deeply disappointed” in the majority’s ruling, which “demonstrates a lack of understanding of the critical benefits of racial and ethnic diversity.”

“This decision will hasten the deaths of Black people in this country and we already die prematurely,” Advancing Health Equity founder and physician Uché Blackstock blasted.

They’re referring in part to a handful of studies showing black Americans post better health outcomes when treated by black doctors.

But researcher Ian Kingsbury recently examined those studies’ methodologies and concluded that “systematic reviews” have “found ‘no relationship’ or ‘mixed results’ between race/ethnicity and quality of communication and ‘inconclusive’ evidence for patient outcomes.”

Admissions officers’ obsessive focus on race often causes them to ignore applicants’ academic and clinical aptitude — with dire consequences for the applicants themselves and ultimately the patients they treat.

Affirmative-action policies seek to give underrepresented groups a leg up in the admissions process. By design, that means admitting applicants who likely would have been rejected based on their test scores and grade-point averages alone.

From 2013 to 2016, 56% of black applicants and 31% of Hispanic applicants with below-average Medical College Admission Test scores and undergraduate GPAs were admitted to medical school, compared with just 8% of white applicants and 6% of Asian applicants with similar scores and GPAs.

It has been exhaustively documented that undergraduate “GPAs and MCAT total scores are strong predictors of academic performance in medical school through graduation,” as one study from the Association of American Medical Colleges itself put it.

In other words, affirmative action might help underqualified applicants get into med school. But it won’t necessarily keep them there.

Black medical school students drop out, citing academic problems, at a rate 10 times higher than white students.

It’s cruel — not compassionate — to admit students who aren’t qualified for the intellectual rigors of medical school.

It sets them up for failure, saddles them with debt they could have avoided and wastes resources that could have gone towards training qualified applicants who will actually practice medicine.

Worst of all, admitting underqualified students ultimately hurts patients.

“MCAT scores are predictive of student performance” on both Step 1 and Step 2 of the US Medical Licensing Examination, concluded one 2016 study.

Those licensing exams, in turn, are indicative of students’ skill at treating patients during their clinical rotations.

“USMLE scores have a positive linear association with clinical performance as a medical student,” noted a 2019 study, “even after correcting for gender, institution, and test-taking ability.”

The relationship holds after students graduate, complete residencies and become practicing physicians.

A 2014 study of US-licensed doctors who trained overseas found that “after adjustment for severity of illness, physician characteristics, and hospital characteristics, performance on Step 2” had “a statistically significant inverse relationship with mortality. Each additional point on the examination was associated with a 0.2% decrease in mortality.”

The purpose of medical school is not to maximize diversity.

It’s to transform America’s best and brightest students into the most competent physicians possible, no matter their race, gender or any other demographic consideration.


College has become a government-subsidized rip-off. It’s good that fewer people go


It’s August. Many young people head off to college. This year, fortunately, fewer will go.

I say “fortunately” because college is now an overpriced scam.

Overpriced, because normal incentives to be frugal and make smart judgements about who should go to college were thrown out when the federal government took over granting student loans.


Because our government basically vomits money at everyone who applies.

If private lenders gave out the loans, they’d look at whether they were likely to be paid back. They’d ask questions like: “What will you study? You really think majoring in dance will lead to a job that will pay you enough to allow you to pay us back?”

Government rarely asks these questions. Bureaucrats throw money at students. Many don’t benefit. Many shouldn’t even be going to college. Today, nearly half of the students given loans don’t graduate even after six years.

Many feel like failures.

College is good for people who want to be college professors or who major in fields like engineering and computer science that might lead to good jobs. But that’s not most people. Government loans encourage everyone to go to college, even if they’re not very interested in academics.

Government’s handouts also invite colleges to keep raising tuition. Over the past 50 years, college cost rose at four times the rate of inflation. Four times!

Years ago, I reported how colleges were suddenly wasting money on luxuries like fancy gyms and even day spas. Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that it’s gotten worse: The University of Oklahoma bought a monastery in Italy for study abroad students! The University of Kentucky built a theater where students play video games.

“Why not raise tuition?” asks the typical college president. “Uncle Sam pays the bill!”

When I went to Princeton, tuition was $2,000. Now its $60,000.

Colleges have little incentive to cut costs or innovate. Princeton still “teaches” by having professors lecture. Super boring. I slept through many.

Although today, I guess I should thank Princeton because its tedious lectures inspired me to try to find better ways to present information. That made me successful on TV.

Today, student loan borrowers owe tens of thousands of dollars. Last year, the president announced he would cancel up to $20,000 of that debt per person.

Indebted students loved that! A group named the Student Debt Crisis Center called that “a major win for many.”

But it would be a major loss for many more! Canceling debt is unfair to the people who work hard and pay off their debts.

Fortunately, Biden’s plan was struck down by the Supreme Court, which said only Congress has the right to cancel student debt. Congress didn’t.

Now Biden’s trying again. The administration announced they will forgive debt for anyone who’s been making payments for more than 20 years. That’s better, but still bad. Maybe courts will stop this handout, too.

College students take on loans and spend decades in debt because they believe they must get a degree to be hired. But that’s no longer true. IBM, Accenture, Dell, Bank of America, Google and other big companies, recognizing the uselessness of many undergraduate degrees, recently dropped college-degree requirements. So have state governments in Maryland, Utah, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Alaska, North Carolina, New Jersey and Virginia.

Good jobs in the trades, like welding and plumbing, don’t require a college degree. Trade school programs often take less than two years and cost much less than college.

To have a good life or get a good job, you don’t need fancy dining halls, video game auditoriums or a college degree.

College has become a government-subsidized rip-off. It’s good that fewer people go.


One State Will Not Allow Credit for Controversial AP African American Studies Course

Earlier this year, Townhall covered how the College Board announced it would revise its Advanced Placement African American studies course following criticism from 2024 presidential candidate and Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration.

Since he assumed office, DeSantis has said that he would not allow public schools to offer the course over its “woke” and “radical” indoctrination concepts. This week, another state announced that it would scrap credit altogether for the course.

The Arkansas Education Department removed course credit for an Advanced Placement African American Studies course, according to multiple reports. This occurred just before the start of the 2023-2024 school year. The course will not be eligible for early college credit, Kimberly Mundell, the department’s communications director, confirmed to NBC News.

"The department encourages the teaching of all American history and supports rigorous courses not based on opinions or indoctrination," Mundell said in a statement.

In March, GOP Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed the LEARNS Act. One of the components of the law banned teaching on “gender identity, sexual orientation, and sexual reproduction” before fifth grade. In addition, the legislation banned lessons that would “indoctrinate students with ideologies, such as Critical Race Theory,” according to ABC News.

Reportedly, Mundell told local outlet KHBS-TV that the class was being piloted at some schools and still undergoing major revisions.

“Arkansas law contains provisions regarding prohibited topics,” she reportedly said. “Without clarity, we cannot approve a pilot that may unintentionally put a teacher at risk of violating Arkansas law.”

According to The New York Times, students at Central High School in Little Rock had already enrolled in the course before it was revealed that they would not receive early college credit for it. They were also told that the course “may not meet graduation requirements.”

The class reportedly first emerged in the state in February, one month before Sanders signed the LEARNS Act.

Last month, in Florida, the board of education approved new standards for how black history would be taught in schools, which Townhall covered. The updated standards advise schools to teach that enslaved people in the United States “developed skills” that “could be applied for their personal benefit” and teach that there were “acts of violence perpetrated against and by African Americans,” according to The Washington Post.

“In Florida we are taking a stand against the state-sanctioned racism that is critical race theory,” DeSantis said in a statement in December. “We won’t allow Florida tax dollars to be spent teaching kids to hate our country or to hate each other. We also have a responsibility to ensure that parents have the means to vindicate their rights when it comes to enforcing state standards. Finally, we must protect Florida workers against the hostile work environment that is created when large corporations force their employees to endure CRT-inspired ‘training’ and indoctrination.”




Sunday, August 20, 2023

‘It’s Almost Everywhere,’ Scholar Says of China’s Infiltration of America’s K-12 Schools

China’s infiltration of American K-12 schools is “almost everywhere,” according to Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars.

“That is, in every state that we’ve looked at, we have found instances of it, but I would say it’s concentrated in the feeder schools to elite education, which means mostly West Coast and East Coast, but not exclusively those,” Wood says.

“The effort here is, China’s not just spreading around its resources promiscuously across the land. It’s looking for places where buying influence will yield results in the long term,” he adds. “So, it’s widespread, but much more prevalent here on the East Coast and California.”

In April, The Heritage Foundation awarded the National Association of Scholars its Innovation Prize, which “is intended to spark creative disruption in the conservative movement as we strive to ensure the future of American self-governance.” (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)

Wood joins today’s episode of “The Daily Signal Podcast” to discuss some of the concerns surrounding the Chinese Communist Party’s influence in our education system and some of the other work the National Association of Scholars has been doing in addition to digging into China’s infiltration of and influence in K-12 schools.


Back to What Type of School?

As millions of children return to public school, it's a good idea to again examine what they are being taught and what is being left out. It also offers an annual opportunity for parents to ask if their kids are being educated or indoctrinated.

At the recent convention of the National Education Association in Orlando, Florida, reports told of delegates waving rainbow signs proclaiming: "freedom to teach" and "freedom to learn." The demonstrators oppose parental concerns over what they regard as pornography in certain books, an opposition that has tarred them as "book banners." Peculiar how it's "academic freedom" to introduce books that promote behavior and ideas many parents oppose, but "censorship" to object to them.

The NEA adopted two amendments supporting "reproductive rights" for women. "Forced motherhood is female enslavement" read a second amendment. This is appropriate for prepubescent children, or students of any age? The delegates continue to favor the LGBTQ-plus agenda, which professes to advocate for sexual and gender equality under the law. They also approved a measure supporting "asylum for all."

How is any of this preparing children to compete with China and other nations in math, reading, and science?

It is not. The New York Times reported last October: "U.S. students in most states and across almost all demographic groups have experienced troubling setbacks in both math and reading. ... In math, the results were especially devastating, representing the steepest declines ever recorded on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as the nation's report card, which tests a broad sampling of fourth and eighth graders and dates to the early 1990s."

It hasn't always been this way. Joel Belz, a columnist for World magazine, recalled in 2006 a 1924 education pamphlet designed to prepare eighth graders for high school. It had the lengthy title "Stephenson's Iowa State Eighth Grade Examination Question Book." Belz thinks most high school seniors today would find the questions challenging.

They include arithmetic: "A wall 77 feet long, 6 1/2 feet high, and 14 inches thick is built of bricks costing $9 per M. What was the entire cost of the bricks if 22 bricks were sufficient to make a cubic foot of wall?"

Grammar: "Define five of the following terms: antecedent, tense, object, conjugation, auxiliary verb, expletive, reflexive pronoun."

Civil government: "Name three township, three county, and three state officers and state what office each person holds..."

I'm betting not many students today could name their members of Congress, much less local officials.

Other categories were geography, physiology ("beginning with food in the mouth, trace the course of digestion, naming the juices with which the food is mixed and the results. What is the reason that spitting on the street is dangerous to the health of a community?"), history, music, and reading. These were supported by a daily salute to the American flag and other expressions of patriotism.

Who decided these subjects and practices were unnecessary to a well-rounded education and equipping children to become good citizens and lead prosperous and healthy lives? Is it the teacher's unions and other activists who see schools not as places for educating the next generation, but as indoctrination centers for their secular-progressive worldview?

Some parents have begun moving away from public schools. Increasing numbers are homeschooling their children or taking advantage of school choice programs.

For the rest, get them out now while you are still able to save their minds, spirits and the country.


Law lecturer sacked after 'objecting to curriculum that indoctrinated students in gender identity theory' at Open University

A law lecturer has claimed she was let go from the Open University after raising concerns about teaching gender identity theory. Almut Gadow, 43, says that she questioned curriculum requirements including teaching diverse gender identities and encouraging students to use offenders' preferred pronouns.

She maintains that her role was 'to present facts' and says that she was sacked for questioning the need to 'indoctrinate students in gender identity theory' after changes were made to the curriculum in the 2021/22 academic year.

Gadow stressed the perceived importance of not allowing offenders 'to dictate the language of his case in a way which masks relevant facts', adding that she felt the new requirements 'distorted equality law and normalised child sexual exploitation'.

But the professor said she was told her forum posts on gender identity were deemed 'serious insubordination' and that persistent comments on identity, paedophilia and sex offending were judged 'serious bullying and harassment'.

Gadow was ultimately let go from the institution in November for gross misconduct after 'almost ten years' with the institution, and now seeks to raise funds to support a legal battle.

Writing on a fundraising page, Gadow said: 'When I raised these questions, in an online forum for law tutors to discuss what they teach, management had no answers. 'Months later, they were cited as reasons for my dismissal.

'Managers spuriously alleged that my 'unreasonable questions' had created an environment which 'isn't inclusive, trans-friendly or respectful', thus violating the transgender staff policy and codes of conduct.

'In fact, I had broken no lawful rule by probing the academic soundness of what I was expected to teach.'

She claims that 'some treated 'minor attraction' as part of the 'diverse sexualities and gender identities' Open University law teaching now seeks to 'centre'', alleging that the criminal law module featured an assignment in which students had to discuss a relationship between an adult and a minor.

She said that describing the child and adult as each other's 'boyfriends' would yield marks, and that students would lose marks for considering 'whether the adult was grooming the child or committing a sexual offence'.

When she asked for clarification, she says her appeals were 'described as further misconduct'.

On CrowdJustice, the lecturer has so far raised £16,690 of £70,000 in a campaign to support an employment tribunal claim against the university.

£70,000, she says, will cover the cost of the preliminary hearing, disclosure of documents and preparation of a trial bundle.

She alleged that she has 'been unfairly dismissed, harassed, and discriminated against because I reject gender ideology and believe in academic freedom.

'My case raises complex points of human rights, academic freedom, free expression and equality law.'

Gadow plans to argue that 'valuing academic freedom is, in itself, a protected belief under the Equality Act' - the central piece of legislation legally protecting people from discrimination in the workplace and wider society.

Writing on her fundraising page, she said: 'I see free speech as a distinguishing feature between democracy and totalitarianism, not a battleground between left and right.

'My family has seen both German dictatorships, the fascist and the socialist, right and left, suppress speech and purge academia of dissent and dissenters.

'I hope my daughter can one day go to a university that does not eliminate wrongthink(ers).'