Thursday, December 14, 2023

The True Antidote to the Rot in America’s Universities

American higher education is reeling from a litany of well-deserved scandals, most recently from the congressional hearing on antisemitism last week, which pulled back the curtain to reveal the world’s oldest hatred cloaked in the language of “diversity” and “inclusion.”

Harvard President Claudine Gay’s hedging when asked to condemn antisemitism during the hearing and her new plagiarism scandal follow years of universities mandating COVID-19 masking and vaccines; the pay-to-play “Varsity Blues” scandal; and a decade of embarrassing scuffles over “microaggressions,” “trigger warnings,” and the cancellation of conservative speakers. The university has abandoned its fundamental purpose: the search for truth in an atmosphere of free inquiry.

America’s colleges and universities deserve opprobrium, and perhaps even a complete uprooting to start over again.

The Marxist ideology pitting the “oppressed” against “oppressors” has ravaged higher education, discarding the wisdom of the ancients in a destructive pursuit of intersectional one-upmanship that is poison not just to the pursuit of truth but to the foundations of the social order and prosperity we take for granted.

The antidote, however, is not a wholesale rejection of higher education but a return to the animating force that gives higher education its value—the artes liberales, or “liberal arts” education. Not liberal in the sense of the Left or the Right, but in the sense of equipping a person with the skills to enjoy and maintain freedom.

What Is Liberal Education?

Oxford professor and theologian John Henry Newman wrote that a liberal education entails a “process of training, by which the intellect, instead of being formed or sacrificed to some particular or accidental purpose, some specific trade or profession, or study or science, is disciplined for its own sake.”

The liberal arts trains students to contemplate the good, the true, and the beautiful, which Aristotle said was the highest end of mankind, and to articulate the truth once it has been discovered. The great thinkers of the West raised timeless philosophical questions that students should ponder, and the Western intellectual tradition laid the foundation for the freedom and prosperity we enjoy today.

Liberal arts involves embracing the roots of our civilization, studying them, questioning them, and learning from them. This kind of education can produce great reformers who are wise enough to know what to change without rejecting our heritage wholesale. It fosters intellectual curiosity, humility, and a resolve to change things for the better.

Even amid the rot of higher education today, diamonds in the rough like my alma mater, Hillsdale College, keep the liberal arts spirit alive, teaching students that pursuing truth is an end in itself and equipping them to learn from the rich tradition of education in the West.

Hillsdale knows better than to discard Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Thomas Hobbes, and John Locke in pursuit of a “racial justice” that sees these luminaries as building blocks in the structure of oppressive white supremacy. Hillsdale students learn from these thinkers, and if students ultimately reject their ideas, they have at least expanded their minds by seriously considering them.

Hillsdale seriously wrestles with the Western tradition and America’s heritage, teaching students to read the original documents and contemplate how they shaped the world around us.

While this kind of education may not be for everyone, it represents a good in itself, and America would be wise to preserve it amid the reckoning in higher education to come.

A Reckoning for Higher Education

Such a reckoning is long overdue. C.S. Lewis highlighted the central problem in his book “The Abolition of Man.” He noted that human beings have to learn to navigate between our animal appetites and our reason, and this requires a well-trained moral compass. Yet modern education teaches the young to debunk morality and follow their own course. Lewis calls these people “Men without chests”—men and women without grounding in a proper response to the way things really are, a foundation that makes it possible to live a good life.

“In the older systems, both the kind of man the teachers wished to produce and their motives for producing him were prescribed by [conscience]—a norm to which the teachers themselves were subject and from which they claimed no liberty to depart,” Lewis explained. “They did not cut men to some pattern they have chosen,” but rather “they initiated the young neophyte into the mystery of humanity which over-arched him and them alike.” It was merely “old birds teaching young birds to fly.”

The new morality is more a form of “conditioning,” forcing students to follow a particular ideology.

In recent decades, the university has become dominated by a Marxist ideology teaching that society is fundamentally oppressive and the oppressed (women, minorities, LGBTQ people) must throw off the yoke of the oppressors (men, white people, straight people). This great revolution justifies tossing out the entire Western heritage and producing people who adhere to a new “woke” morality. It increasingly brooks no dissent, encouraging students to view with suspicion anyone who questions its pseudo-religious tenets.

These ideas themselves represent a threat to liberal education. They aim to transform the sanctuary of learning into a factory of ideological warriors bent on pulling down the very foundations on which it stands.

Americans should vehemently oppose this ideology and demand reform in higher education. Such reform should not aim to abolish the universities but to restore them to their original purpose—the artes liberales.


After Affirmative Action Win Over Harvard, Group Takes on West Point

The group that triumphed in a landmark Supreme Court case that struck down affirmative action policies at Harvard University earlier this year hopes to build on the victory with a lawsuit targeting similar policies at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) filed the lawsuit on Sept. 19 with high hopes, but the organization has strayed into a legal and political minefield as the academy and the Biden administration try to block the lawsuit on the grounds that an institution training military officers isn't subject to the same rules as private universities and that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies help, rather than hinder, effectiveness in combat.

Largely as a result of the perceived disparity between those standards that apply to private colleges and universities and those applicable to entities under federal oversight, the SFFA faces one of the most formidable legal challenges, the outcome of which will have implications for every school and academy in the nation.

Since President Joe Biden took office, a marked cultural shift has been underway in virtually all branches of the military.

The Biden administration has forced through policies that promote DEI at the expense of the traditional criteria of combat readiness and the minimization of U.S. casualties, experts have told The Epoch Times.

President Biden has revised rules put in place by the Obama administration to remake the military even more boldly in accordance with DEI principles and has relied on executive orders, often without public discussion, to force through this agenda.

In December 2022, revisions to the Obama-era Department of Defense (DOD) Instruction 1300.28 altered official DOD vocabulary regarding transgender recruits, made officers more directly liable for perceived offenses against such persons, and gave official approval to cross-dressing on military bases, among other changes.

President Biden’s general DEI stance makes the SFFA litigation one of the most impactful lawsuits so far undertaken against a military institution in modern history.

DOD officials and representatives for West Point didn't respond to a request for comment.

From Triumph to Trial

The Supreme Court handed down its ruling on June 29 in the closely watched legal case of Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, finding that affirmative action policies at Harvard violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The court issued a similar ruling in the matter of Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. University of North Carolina (UNC) on the same day.

In a footnote to its opinion in the Harvard case, the majority explained that its ruling didn't apply to military institutions such as West Point, stating that no military academies were a party in the case.

The court acknowledged a U.S. government brief that contended that "race-based admissions programs further compelling interests at our Nation's military academies."

SFFA's founder, Edward Mr. Blum, now sees an opportunity to redress what he sees as a glaring omission in the Supreme Court's June rulings.

“The SFFA cases have energized the legal community to challenge longstanding policies that have always been illegal. That is happening especially in the employment arena,” he told The Epoch Times.

In the case of West Point, the legal issues are fundamentally the same, Mr. Blum believes—as is the opposing argument from those who want to preserve affirmative action.

“It is the same failed argument that the government made about ‘leadership’ and ‘diversity’ in the Harvard and UNC cases,” he told The Epoch Times.

But West Point and the Biden administration don't see matters that way.

In a Nov. 22 memorandum filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams and colleagues set forth a number of defenses of West Point's admissions policies.

They charge that the plaintiff, in extending the reasoning from the Harvard and UNC cases to this one, “ignores critical differences between civilian and military universities” and has failed to establish legal standing to weigh in on a matter that falls under federal jurisdiction.

The government lawyers also argue that the Army's “operational interests” require the training of officers who can build a “cohesive rapport with subordinates,” and that, in “an increasingly diverse nation,” that goal isn't achievable without affirmative action.

But it isn't clear if arguments in court will even get far enough to consider that last issue


Australia: Final High School results 2023: Wake-up call for school leavers as the income gap between low and high achievers is revealed

This is an expected result but caution about causation is needed. School exam performance is highly correlated with IQ so the high ATAR scorers would be brighter -- and that alone tends to lead to economic success. ATAR scorres will mainly be an indicator, not a cause of future success

Students who achieve a high ATAR score will earn up to $33,000 more than their peers by the time they reach their 30s, new research has revealed.

The findings, unveiled during the week when year 12 students receive their ATAR scores, indicate a strong correlation between the attained ATAR level and income levels by the age of 30.

'Individuals with a higher ATAR are more likely to earn a higher income,' said Dr Silvia Griselda from e61 Institute, one of the authors of a new study said.

The e61 paper 'What's in an ATAR? How can university admission scores predict future income?' used data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics that draws a link between income levels taken from tax returns and ATAR scores.

At the age of 30, Australians with an ATAR below 70 will have a median annual income of approximately $70,000 in 2022 dollars.

Those with an ATAR between 70 and 80 earn slightly above $75,000.

A score in the 80-90 range correlates with a median salary just surpassing $80,000.

For ATARs falling between 90 and 95, the median salary increases to nearly $90,000, while scores in the 95-98 range leads to a median salary of almost $95,000. ATARs exceeding 98 are linked to a median salary close to $105,000.

In comparison, 30-year-old Aussie workers without a degree earn a median salary of just under $60,000 a year.

The research found people who choose not to pursue a university education and enter the workforce directly from high school typically see an initial rise in income.

However, these advantages tend to diminish by the age of 25.

Dr Griselda said school-leavers who achieve a high ATAR often receive priority admission to esteemed academic programs, particularly in fields such as medicine, finance, and law, boosting their earning potential compared to their peers.

Analysis by the e61 Institute found those who got an ATAR score over 98 will earn a median salary of $33,000 more by age 30 than those with a score below 70

She also noted that the careers of high achievers also benefited from networks they gained through their parents and expensive schooling.

While the link between a high ATAR and a high income is unmistakable, it's important to note a considerable income variation within each ATAR band.

For example, among 30-year-olds with ATARs above 95, the top 10 per cent of earn annual income surpassing $156,000, whereas the bottom 10 per cent in that band earn less than $30,000 per year.

This income disparity is also notable among 30-year-old workers without university degrees. Despite having a median income just under $60,000, the top 10 per cent in this group earn over $115,000 each year.

It comes as 67,234 high school graduates received their HSC marks via text at 6am on Thursday morning, with ATAR results following at 9am.

Year 12 applications through the University Admissions Centre are currently at the lowest level in a decade as fewer school leavers pursue a degree.




Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Florida School Punished for Allowing Boy in Girls’ Sports

A Florida high school has been fined and placed on administrative probation for violating the state’s bylaws by allowing a biologically male student to participate on a female sports team, The Daily Signal has learned.

The move appears to be the first time that a public school has been punished for violating state laws protecting fairness in women’s sports.

“Thanks to the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida passed legislation to protect girls’ sports and we will not tolerate any school that violates this law,” Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. said in a statement to The Daily Signal. “We applaud the swift action taken by the Florida High School Athletic Association to ensure there are serious consequences for this illegal behavior.”

In a letter sent Tuesday morning, the Florida High School Athletic Association informed Monarch High School and its principal, Moira Sweeting-Miller, that the high school “permitted a biological male to participate on the girls volleyball team during the 2022-2023 and 2023-24 Girls Volleyball seasons,” thereby violating FHSA Bylaw 8.6.2 and Florida Statute 1006.205(3)(c).

Florida’s bylaw 8.62 states that “biological males may not participate on a female team in any sport,” the letter reminds Monarch High School. Policy 16.11.6 states that the “use of an ineligible student when self-reported, may subject the school to a monetary penalty of a minimum of $100 per contest and/or other sanctions.”

F.S. 1006.205(3)(c) states that “athletic teams or sports designated for females, women, or girls may not be open to students of the male sex.”

That male student played in over 30 games, according to the letter, and the athletic association has not “received any corrective actions from Monarch High School.”

As punishment, the association officially reprimands Monarch High School with a letter that becomes “a permanent part of the school’s membership record.”

The association also places the school on “Administrative Probation” through Nov. 20, 2024. In this one letter, the school has been reprimanded, fined, and served notice that it is in a “period of warning for a minimum calendar year.”

The letter additionally states that Monarch High School owes a monetary penalty of $16,500 ($500 per contest, in accordance with Policy 16.11.6), and Monarch High School representatives will be required to attend one of the association’s Compliance Seminars in both 2024 and 2025. The high school will also be required to host association staff for an “eligibility and Compliance Workshop” no later than June 30, 2024.


New Zealand To Axe Gender Ideology From National Curriculum In Schools

New Zealand’s tri-party coalition government has agreed to overhaul the existing gender, sexuality, and relationship guidelines in schools, aiming to shift the focus towards academic achievement rather than ideology.

This decision will include the removal and replacement of the relationships and sexuality-based guidelines.

This agreement has gained a mix of support and criticism from various sectors, including parents, educators, members of the LGBTQ community, and advocacy groups.

Support for the decision comes from Resist Gender Education (RGE), a group advocating for factual and age-appropriate education.

RGE argues that the current Relationships and Sexuality Education Guide (RSE Guide) is scientifically inaccurate, promotes an ideology not held by a majority of parents and caregivers, and is not age-appropriate in places.

There is also concern that certain concepts being taught, such as the spectrum of sex and the fluidity of gender identity, are more ideological than factual and potentially confusing for young students, and can promote body dissociation in young children.

With topics like 'gender identity' being introduced to children as young as five, RGE also believes it is too early for such complex discussions.

RGE stated that schools are currently teaching children that sexist stereotypes are what determine their sex.

"As a consequence, would-be lesbian and gay children are learning that if they don’t conform to feminine or masculine stereotypes, their bodies ought to be medically altered,” RGE said in a media release, on Nov. 25.

Instead, RGE sees the need for education about consent and healthy relationships, but as a non-biased approach to the content of Relationship and Sexuality Education lessons.

“We are a non-partisan and non-religious group who advocate for the right of children to be their authentic selves without discrimination, labelling, or medical intervention to 'fix' them,” RGE said.

The Pushback

Critical of this removal and rewrite proposal, Education Professor Katie Fitzpatrick from the University of Auckland has been public in her warning that removing these guidelines could result in regressive schooling.

Ms. Fitzpatrick, a lead writer in the 2015 documents for sexuality education, argues that omitting these topics could be seen as withholding essential knowledge and education from young people.

New Zealand's largest Education Union, the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI), echoed the sentiment, urging the government to consider teachers’ and parents' views before implementing any radical educational policies.

"My initial reaction was dismay," said NZEI's president Mark Potter, a Wellington-based primary school teacher.

"The one thing our children don't need is less education in the area of relationships and health."

The recent results of the Programme For International Student Assessment (PISA) which assesses the knowledge and skills of 15-year-old students and insights into educational systems, showed contributing background factors such as rising rates of food insecurity and anxiety among students.
NZEI wants to see the government write policies that support student well-being and a sense of belonging, rather than cherry-picking parts of the curriculum for political agendas.


Australian universities set to lose millions of dollars in international student crackdown

Universities and private colleges considered at high risk of recruiting international students to Australia to work rather than study stand to lose tens of millions of dollars in revenue under the government’s new migration strategy.

Victoria University and Federation University in Victoria and Wollongong and Newcastle universities in NSW are among those whose ability to easily recruit international students is in jeopardy, according to confidential independent ratings seen by The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

Meanwhile, the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia, which represents hundreds of private colleges, described the new migration strategy as “reckless” and said Australia’s broken visa processing system was to blame – not students.

“There is a real risk that it will diminish Australia’s reputation as a high-quality [educator of] international students,” ITECA chief executive Troy Williams said on Tuesday.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil and Immigration Minister Andrew Giles on Monday released the federal government’s migration strategy, which plans to halve immigration numbers within two years. Australia’s net migration reached a high of 510,000 in the year to June 2023.

The strategy is designed to weed out people using the student visa system as a back door to the job market, aiming to cut new arrivals by targeting universities and colleges considered the highest risk of accepting students coming to Australia to work rather than study.

A new process to be introduced before the end of the year by the Department of Home Affairs will result in swift processing of student visa applications only for low-risk providers.

A spokesman for O’Neil said it had been put in place to protect the integrity and quality of Australia’s international education sector. “If providers are doing the wrong thing, they will face slower processing times,” he said.

The strategy will leave Australia’s most established and richest universities such as the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney largely untouched, while other universities and private colleges with a track record of recruiting non-genuine students will be targeted.

“Higher risk providers will experience slower processing times as visa decision makers consider the integrity of a provider, as well as individual student applicants,” the strategy said.

A table of university risk ratings produced by a firm working in international education based on confidential Home Affairs data – seen by this masthead – placed Victoria’s Federation University as the riskiest university for students entering Australia to work rather than study.

Universities with the best record are ranked tier one. Federation University was the only institution rated at the worst level, tier three.

A Federation University spokeswoman said it had been “disproportionately impacted by a sharp increase in visa refusals from India by the Department of Home Affairs earlier this year, which has now been addressed”.

“We are confident that following ongoing consultation with the Department of Home Affairs that we will return to a tier two rating for 2024,” she said.

Private colleges with higher risk ratings will also have their student numbers cut by the strategy.

ITECA said in a statement that the new migration strategy was “highly problematic, based on broad and often inaccurate generalisations about quality [in private colleges], and data from a broken visa processing system”.

“The language in the migration strategy is reckless,” Williams said. He warned of a potential “massive overcorrection” that would hurt the entire international skills training sector.

Visa grant rates had already begun to fall in recent months amid controversy over visa rorting, students moving to lower-cost courses, ghost colleges that act as shopfronts for so-called students to access the jobs market, corrupt agents and the exploitation of students.

Among the measures to be put in place to reduce student numbers are a tougher English language test and a new “genuine student test” – although it is unclear how this will differ from the existing “genuine temporary entrant” statement that prospective students must complete now.

The strategy also stops international students who enrol at an Australian university from dropping out of that course after six months and switching to a cheaper vocational college.

And it winds back the post-study work rights available to tens of thousands of students, with temporary student visas available at present for stays of up to eight years.

Students who are working in Australia on a “temporary graduate visa” will also be blocked from staying in the country for years more by enrolling in a new course once their graduate visa ends.

Not everyone in the sector believes the new strategy will slash international student numbers.

Associate Professor Peter Hurley, a director of the Mitchell Institute policy research group within Victoria University, said it was unlikely the new migration strategy would drastically change things.

“There are 860,000 international students and their families now in the country,” he said. “The students I think the government is targeting in this migration strategy are those in private colleges, along with those who have finished their course [and who have post-study work rights].”

Hurley said the migration strategy would simply cut back the growth of student numbers, rather than actively reducing them.

“This is the story of international migration policy over the past two decades: we have a big boom, we change the settings so numbers fall a little, and then the increase starts again,” he said.

Hurley said that England and Canada were also reining in their growth in post-study work rights because “post-pandemic, student numbers just exploded in those countries as well”.

He said Australia’s growth in international students, though, had been remarkable since the emergency phase of the pandemic had ended. “In two years, we have added about 450,000 people to the population – about the same population as Canberra – as international students returned to Australia.”




Tuesday, December 12, 2023

UPenn president Liz Magill RESIGNS after disastrous anti-Semitism hearing where she refused to condemn campus protests calling for Jewish genocide

She just had no moral anchors: No instinct of horror at the truly horrible. She is an ethical vacuum

The president of the University of Pennsylvania has resigned from her post following fierce backlash to her controversial congressional testimony over antisemitism on campus.

Liz Magill, alongside the president's of Harvard and MIT, was summoned before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday by lawmakers concerned by reports of a rise in antisemitism at leading universities.

They faced heated questioning from committee chair Congresswoman Elise Stefanik but failed to assert that calls for genocide against Jews on campus would definitively constitute harassment.

Following international outcry, including more than 70 lawmakers calling for her resignation, Magill stood down on Saturday.

Pressure is now growing for the president's of Harvard and MIT whose testimony largely mirrored Magill's, with congresswoman Stefanik writing 'One down. Two to go' on X.

'This is only the very beginning of addressing the pervasive rot of antisemitism that has destroyed the most 'prestigious' higher education institutions in America' Stefanik wrote on Saturday evening.

Adding: 'Harvard and MIT, do the right thing. The world is watching.'

Just minutes after Magill's statement the chair of the Upenn's board of trustees, Scott Bok, also resigned.

Bok's Vice Chair, Julie Beren Platt, has been named interim chair of the board.

In a statement issued Saturday evening Magill wrote: 'It has been my privilege to serve as President of this remarkable institution.

'It has been an honor to work with our faculty, students, staff, alumni, and community members to advance Penn's vital missions.'

In his own resignation statement Bok defended Magill as a 'good person' who is 'not the slightest bit anti-Semitic' but had made a 'misstep' after 'months of relentless external attacks.'

'Today, following the resignation of the University of Pennsylvania's President and related Board of Trustee meetings, I submitted my resignation as Chair of the University's Board of Trustees, effective immediately,' he said in a statement.

'While I was asked to remain in that role for the remainder of my term in order to help with the presidential transition, I concluded that, for me, now was the right time to depart.'

The hearing also saw widely criticized testimony from MIT president Sally Kornbluth

He acknowledged that Magill had made an error during her disastrous Congressional testimony and described it as a 'dreadful 30-second sound bite'.

Bok added: 'Former President Liz Magill last week made a very unfortunate misstep—consistent with that of two peer university leaders sitting alongside her—after five hours of aggressive questioning before a Congressional committee.

'Following that, it became clear that her position was no longer tenable, and she and I concurrently decided that it was time for her to exit.'

He wished Magill 'well in her future endeavors' and praised her as a 'good person and a talented leader who was beloved by her team'.

He continued: 'She is not the slightest bit anti-Semitic. Working with her was one of the great pleasures of my life.

'Worn down by months of relentless external attacks, she was not herself last Tuesday. 'Over prepared and over lawyered given the hostile forum and high stakes, she provided a legalistic answer to a moral question, and that was wrong.'

Magill was slammed for her testimony, in which she said that reprimanding students who call for a Jewish genocide was not paramount - but 'context' specific.

She was asked a 'yes or no' question on whether calls for the genocide of Jews counted as hate speech, and repeatedly said it depended on the context.

On Wednesday she attempted to clarify her comments, but the damage was done: a wealthy alumnus withdrew a $100 million donation, and her remarks were roundly condemned by the ADL, the White House and politicians across the board.

Magill issued a groveling video statement attempting to explain her failure to condemn calls for the genocide of Jewish people on campuses.

She said she was not 'focused' on the issue, and said she wanted to 'be clear' that calls for genocide were 'evil, plain and simple' - although she said the blame lay with her university's policies and the constitution, rather than with her.

Magill said: 'There was a moment during yesterday's Congressional hearing on antisemitism when I was asked if a call for the genocide of Jewish people on our campus would violate our policies.

'In that moment, I was focused on our university's long-standing policies - aligned with the U.S. Constitution - which say that speech alone is not punishable.


Charter Schools Must Avoid the DEI Blunder

A key reason many parents are fleeing the traditional public system is the concern that schools are indoctrinating students in radical “woke” ideology.

Public school enrollment has dropped by more than 1 million students nationwide since the COVID-19 pandemic. District school leaders expected students to return after the pandemic abated, but enrollment has continued to decline as trust in public schools has hit an all-time low . Policymakers and leaders in the charter school sector must avoid making the same mistakes that led to the district school disaster.

A key reason many parents are fleeing the traditional public system is the concern that schools are indoctrinating students in radical “woke” ideology. Parents are watching as the left-wing ideologies clothed in the mantra of diversity, equity, and inclusion spread like wildfire across America's schools. Unfortunately, one prominent organization is working overtime to ensure that public charter schools embrace the very same ideologies from which parents seek to escape.

The National Association of Charter School Authorizers is a publicly subsidized kingmaker in the charter school world. NACSA consults with and produces best practices for charter school authorizers, the entities charged with determining when charter schools should be opened, expanded, or closed.

NACSA believes that it is the true “expert” in determining what’s best for children, so it favors a regulatory approach that prioritizes its own judgment over parents' in deciding when charters should be opened, expanded, or closed.

Enforcement of DEI principles in charter authorizing is an integral part of NACSA’s technocratic agenda. This commitment is touted through its social media channels , which repeatedly refer to “closing the DEI gap” in authorizing. A lengthy toolkit published by NACSA on the same topic makes vague, ideologically charged suggestions such as “building cultural competence” through “confronting bias and developing awareness of our own privilege and prejudices.”

More specific guidance endorses authorizer partnership with DEI “experts” and exclusively highlights one authorizer’s contract with Pacific Educational Group, a consulting firm that, as the parental rights group Parents Defending Education discovered , encourages schools to adopt the use of critical race theory and racial affinity groups.

Unsurprisingly, the political principles that charter authorizers are pressured to avow manifest in charter school practices and culture. A Heritage Foundation report found that charter schools in states with the more technocratic charter ecosystems that NACSA favors signal stronger adherence to liberal politics. The phenomenon remains true even after statistically controlling for political partisanship (as measured by voting outcomes) across states.

Compelling schools of choice to adopt DEI principles is a bad policy on its merits. Parents, rather than “experts,” should be entrusted to determine what is best for their children. But it’s even worse when considering that DEI orthodoxy (e.g., racial fixation and racial separatism) consistently operates at odds with the things that DEI purports to foster. In K-12 schools, pandemic-era racial achievement gaps were larger in districts that employed chief diversity officers . Most recently, DEI officials at universities across the country have been silent or complicit while students and faculty celebrate violence against Jews.

NACSA’s pursuit of DEI does not even achieve its supposed aims. Peer-reviewed studies have found that NACSA’s policy recommendations disproportionately prevent black aspiring school leaders from receiving authorization to operate charter schools. The recommendations also disproportionately result in the closure of charter schools that serve a higher proportion of black students.

While NACSA’s influence and insistence on DEI ought to be a source of alarm, champions of educational freedom need not despair. Arizona has mostly eschewed NACSA’s recommendations and has been rewarded with an innovative charter sector that paces the nation in student academic growth, including among low-income and racial minority students. Leaders in states such as Florida and Texas , which embrace educational freedom and eschew woke indoctrination, should follow in Arizona’s footsteps.

NACSA’s attempt to compel charter schools to adopt liberal politics is also a stark reminder that not all models of school choice are created equal. Education savings accounts allow public funds to be used for a host of expenses, including private school tuition, books, online instruction, tutoring, and more. ESAs are comparatively permission-less and do not mediate the relationship between parents and education providers beyond processing payments or reimbursement claims.

ESAs allow all parents, no matter their worldview, to choose the learning environments that align with their values. That means liberal parents can select schools that emphasize DEI while other parents can avoid it. In a system of education freedom, the choices of some parents do not limit or infringe upon the legitimate desires of others.

A NACSA director once tweeted , “School choice for school choice’s sake is completely misguided … social justice and equity are the GOAL not some political tactic.” NACSA’s insistence on technocracy and DEI demonstrate why choice for choice’s sake must, in fact, be the goal.


Education destroyed by self-serving educrats

Such is the parlous and substandard state of Australia’s education system, if those in charge managed a major corporation like Qantas, Optus, or Woolworths they would either be investigated by the ACCC, be removed from the board, or have their salaries and bonuses docked.

Not so for those career educational bureaucrats, academics, subject experts, and carpetbaggers who have played a central role in the nation’s dismal collapse in educational standards over the last 30 to 40 years.

Whether we look at international tests like PISA – where today’s 15-year-old students are a year behind their year 2000 counterparts – university courses being dumbed down due to first year students being unable to cope, or employers complaining about illiteracy and innumeracy, Australian education is going down the gurgler.

Despite the additional billions of dollars invested as a result of the Gonski funding review, multiple national reform agreements over the last 30 years, and countless government-sponsored curriculum and assessment inquiries and reviews, generations of students have been, and still are, destined to failure.

There’s nothing new in the latest 2022 PISA results highlighting Australia’s descent into mediocrity. In 2004 I wrote about why our schools are failing and cited evidence from tests and surveys carried out in 1975, 1995, and 1996 concluding that nearly 30 per cent of primary students failed basic literacy tests.

When detailing why Australia under-performs and why standards have declined so dramatically, the usual suspects include ineffective classroom practice, a superficial, substandard curriculum, lack of discipline, failure to set high expectations, and parents abrogating their responsibilities.

Rarely identified is the major systemic problem infecting Australia’s education system. A problem centred on the fact those responsible over the last 30 to 40 years have failed dismally in their responsibility to provide students with a challenging, enriching, and worthwhile education.

Beginning in the early 1970s, those tasked with training teachers jettisoned the more traditional approach based on teacher authority and teacher-directed lessons, rote learning, and memorisation in favour of a range of progressive, new-age innovations and fads.

Open classrooms, community schools, student-centred learning, the whole word ‘look and guess’ approach to reading, as well as diagnostic, descriptive reporting, and assessment based on the belief ranking and failing students was bad for their self-esteem dominated.

Professional bodies, including the Australian Council for Educational Research, the Australian Curriculum Studies Association, and the Deans of Education all imbibed the educational Kool-aid committing generations of students to failure.

The Australian Education Union, not surprising given its cultural-left leaning, argues the competitive, academic curriculum must be overthrown as it reinforced capitalist hierarchies. Ignored is that forsaking meritocracy especially punishes disadvantaged but bright working class students.

In 2005 the Head of the AEU boasted such had been the success of the union’s long march through the education system ‘the conservatives have a lot of work to do to undo the progressive curriculum’.

The Australian Association for the Teaching of English is also responsible for falling standards as measured by international tests. Drawing on the neo-Marxist-inspired concept of critical literacy, the AATE has long argued teachers should forsake teaching standard English and grammatically correct language in favour of empowering and liberating students by emphasising student agency and creativity.

Proven by the publication in 1998 of Going Public: Education policy and Public Education in Australia, the Australian Curriculum Studies Association is also responsible for Australia’s dumbed down, ineffective curriculum.

The book argues in favour of ‘social democratic values that lie at the heart of progressive aspirations about public education’ and argues fears about falling standards are ‘alarmist and negative’, spread by conservative politicians and a subservient media to undermine public education.

Against what is condemned as ‘reactionary policy development’ ACSA calls for schools and teachers to redouble their efforts to teach an emancipatory and liberating view of education calculated to indoctrinate students with its Woke ideology.

Commonwealth, state, and territory education departments and bodies like the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority cannot escape blame for turning Australia’s education system into an intellectual wasteland.

In addition to multiple national education reform agreements proving ineffective and costly, government and bureaucratic intervention has drowned school leaders and teachers in needless red-tape and mindless busy work contributing to burnout and high attrition rates.

Even more disturbing, based on the principle of promoting people to their least level of ability, those educrats responsible for destroying what was once a successful and rewarding education system are either promoted or recycled as members of yet another inquiry or review.

Like the old industrial relations club, those responsible for Australia’s educational decline are a self-serving, inward-looking coterie more concerned with power and prestige than raising educational standards.

The alternative is a market-driven system of education based on subsidiarity and parental choice represented by autonomous community schools and school vouchers.




Monday, December 11, 2023

UK: Schools admit white working-class pupils ARE rapidly being left behind

White working-class pupils are rapidly falling behind other children and are the group that top school leaders are the 'most concerned' about, according to a new Government report.

The bosses of the top academy trusts, which run nearly 300 schools across England, were surveyed by Department for Education (DfE) chiefs for a new study about how to improve results for groups of ethnic-minority children.

But the discussions revealed that the bosses' main worry was the dire progress of poorer white pupils, rather than their non-white classmates, according to the report.

It said: 'For the majority of trust and school leaders to whom we spoke, the group of pupils about which they were most concerned was white British working-class pupils. This message was consistent across trusts and schools working in ethnically diverse areas, where white British pupils did not represent the majority of pupils, and for schools and trusts where the majority of the pupils were from white British working-class.'

The report said these pupils were hit by a 'combination of issues linked to deprivation, inter-generational poverty, attitudes to and experiences of education, and aspirations'.

The study echoes the findings of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, which was blasted by anti-racism activists when it was published in 2021.

The 'Left Behind' inquiry by MPs also questioned the concept of 'white privilege' when data shows that white boys eligible for free school meals are getting the worst grades. GCSE results show that white students were outperformed by all major ethnic groups on the proportion achieving at least grade 4 in maths and English last year. For the first time ever last year, official data revealed that white students were the cohort least likely to attend a top university, following a national drive to make intakes more diverse.

Last night, Professor Matthew Goodwin, from Kent University, said: 'White working-class pupils have consistently been overlooked or ignored outright by much of our education establishment. It is good to see, finally, some in the sector taking this challenge seriously.'

Steve Chalke, chief executive of Oasis Community Learning academy trust, which runs more than 50 schools, warned some white working-class families had histories of educational failure going back generations.

He contrasted the troubled Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey in Kent, where the vast majority of pupils are white and where bad behaviour has prompted some teachers to go on strike, with Oasis schools in more ethnically diverse areas of inner-city London, where pupils get better grades across the board.

'It's wrong to say that all white, working-class pupils are struggling but the problems on the Isle of Sheppey go back 50 to 70 years,' he told The Mail on Sunday.

'There is inter-generational unemployment, poverty, family breakdown and neglect.' A spokesperson for the Harris Federation, which runs 54 schools in London and Essex, said that it had hundreds of examples of students from white British working-class backgrounds progressing to elite universities.

A DfE spokesman said: 'We are focused on closing the disadvantage attainment gap and supporting all children to succeed through high-quality teaching, a knowledge-rich curriculum and targeted support.'


UK: A school trust has backed down and apologised over plans to introduce a transgender education programme for children as young as four – after a huge backlash from parents

The Golden Thread Alliance Trust, which runs nine academies across Dartford and Gravesend, was spearheading the pilot scheme at Meopham Community Academy before rolling it out to other schools in the trust.

Youngsters from the ages of four to eleven were set to learn about terms such as transgender, non-binary, and assigned sex when they returned to school after the Christmas break.

Children in Years 1 and 2 were to be taught how to combat negative gender stereotypes, while those in Years 5 and 6 were to learn about issues relating to transgenderism and gender identity – and look at understanding, identifying, and defining different sexual orientations.

But the trailblazing scheme met considerable resistance, with some parents threatening to take their children out of lessons.

One parent hailed a decision to back down as a ‘triumph for common sense and parent power’.

The mother, who spoke to MailOnline on the condition of anonymity, said: ‘This is on the Golden Thread Alliance Trust, not the poor school or the classroom teachers.

'The school is part of our community and we want to love it and nurture it, but felt this was being pushed on us from above against our will, staff, parents and students’ will by the Trust. At least a hundred parents were against it, if not more.’

Parents first heard about the plans in a ‘heated’ online forum between parents and school leaders held over Zoom last Thursday.

They were introduced to Pop ‘n’ Olly, an external provider and one of the UK’s leading LGBTQ+ educational resources which was due to come and provide the teaching in the school.

The Pop ‘n’ Olly characters feature in a book which teaches children that a person’s sex is ‘assigned’ to them at birth by a doctor.

Copies of What Does LGBT+ Mean? also claims that gender is a ‘sliding scale between male and female’ and that a doctor or nurse ‘looked at our body and gave us a label based on what they could see’.

After the forum there was a Q&A session. ‘Apart from one parent who agreed with the scheme, and who was from the LGBT community, all the other parents were strongly against the scheme,’ said the mother.

‘I don’t think Pop ‘n’ Olly were prepared for the response, they kept reverting to "well it’s the Government guidelines" and then abruptly ended the meeting even though parents asked for it to continue.’

She claimed a video link of the meeting intended for parents unable to attend was then edited to remove some of their views.

‘We are not anti anything. We just feel as parents our primary-age children do not need exposure to this. I don’t want my child confused and thinking about things that they don’t need to worry about. Ultimately I, as a parent, should have the final say on what my children learn.

‘It is not age appropriate to be teaching children about LGBTQ+ matters, my children still play with soft toys and colouring-in, they are not ready for adult matters.

‘This is a form of indoctrination of false gender ideologies and changing the social norms for young children. The material is not based on scientific evidence but presented as fact.

‘Our children are behind due to Covid so they should be putting their energy and resources into helping their academic lessons. I really think the leadership team should resign, their positions are untenable.’

The Golden Thread Alliance Trust, headed by Garry Ratcliffe, today retreated and issued a grovelling apology to parents.

‘Through the Parent Forum and the discussions yesterday we have heard many different views both from those strongly in support and from those who have significant concerns. We want to assure you that we are absolutely listening and determined to get this right.

‘To be clear, there will be no further teaching of Sex Education or LGBT+ content within the RSE curriculum at MCA until after the consultation period.

‘I would like to apologise for the upset the pilot has caused. It was absolutely our intention to open the conversation to ensure you, as parents and carers, are part of the decision making process and ensure you are well informed not to cause any anxiety or upset.’


How Were the Universities Lost?

Americans knew previously they were intolerant, leftwing, and increasingly non-meritocratic.

But immediately after October 7 — and even before the response of the Israeli Defense Forces — the sheer student delight on news of the mass murdering of Israeli victims seemed akin more to 1930s Germany than contemporary America.

Indeed, not a day goes by when a university professor or student group has not spouted antisemitic hatred. Often, they threaten and attack Jewish students, or engage in mass demonstrations calling for the extinction of Israel.

Why and how did purportedly enlightened universities become incubators of such primordial hatred?

After the George Floyd riots in 2020, reparatory admissions — the effort to admit diverse students beyond their numbers in the general population — increased.

Elite universities like Stanford and Yale boasted that their so-called “white” incoming student numbers had plunged to between 20 and 40 percent, despite whites making up 68-70% of the general population.

The abolition of the SAT requirement, and often the comparative ranking of high school grade point averages, have ended the ancient and time-proven idea of meritocracy. Brilliant high school transcripts and test scores no longer warrant admissions to so-called elite schools.

One result was that the number of Jews has nosedived from 20-30% of Ivy League student bodies during the 1970s and 1980s to 10-15%.

Jewish students are also currently stereotyped as “white” and “privileged” — and thus considered as fair game on campus.

At the same time, the number of foreign students, especially from the oil-rich Middle East, has soared on campuses. Most are subsidized by their homeland governments. They pay the full, non-discounted tuition rates to cash-hungry universities.

Huge numbers of students have entered universities, who would not have been admitted by the very standards universities until recently claimed were vital to ensure their own competitiveness and prestige.

Consequently, they are no longer the guarantors of topflight undergraduates and professionals from their graduate programs.

Faculty are faced with new lose/lose/lose choices of either diminishing their course requirements, or inflating their grades, or facing charges by Diversity/Equity/Inclusion commissars of systematic bias in their grading — or all three combined.

The net result is that there are now thousands of students from abroad, especially from the Middle East, far fewer Jewish students, and student bodies who demand radical changes in faculty standards and course work to accommodate their unease with past standards of expected student achievement.

And, presto, an epidemic of antisemitism naturally followed.

In such a vacuum, advocacy “-studies” classes proliferated, along with faculty to teach them.

“Gender, Black, Latino, feminist, Asian, Queer, trans, peace, environmental, and green”-studies courses demand far less from students, and arbitrarily select some as “oppressed” and others as “oppressors.” The former “victims” are then given a blank check to engage in racist and antisemitic behavior without consequences.

Proving to be politically correct in these deductive gut-courses rather than pressed to express oneself coherently, inductively, and analytically from a repertoire of fact-based knowledge explains why the public witnesses faculty and students who are simultaneously both arrogant and ignorant.

At some universities “blacklists” circulate warning “marginalized” students which professors they should avoid who still cling to supposedly outdated standards regarding exam-taking, deadlines, and absences.

All these radical changes explain the current spectacle of angry students citing grievances, and poorly educated graduates who have had little course work in traditional history, literature, philosophy, logic, or the traditional sciences.

Universities and students have plenty of money to continue the weaponization of the university, given their enormous tax-free endowment income. Nearly $2-trillion in government-subsidized student loans are issued without accountability or reasonable demands that they be repaid in timely fashion.

Exceptions and exemptions are the bible of terrified and careerist administrators.

Faced with an epidemic of antisemitism, university administrators now claim they can do little to curb the hatred. But privately they know should the targets of similar hatred be instead Blacks, gays, Latinos, or women, then they would expel the haters in a nanosecond.

What is the ultimate result of once elite campuses giving 70-80% of their students As, becoming hotbeds of dangerous antisemitism, and watered-down curricula that cannot turn out educated students?

The Ivy league and their kindred so-called elite campuses may soon go the way of Disney and Bud Light.

They think such a crash in their reputations is impossible given centuries of accustomed stature.

But the erosion is already occurring — and accelerating.

At the present rate, a Stanford law degree, a Harvard political science major, or a Yale social science BA will soon scare off employers and the general public at large.

These certificates will signify not proof of humility, knowledge, and decency, but rather undeserved self-importance, vacuousness, and fanaticism — and all to be avoided rather than courted.




Sunday, December 10, 2023

Let's Vow to Defeat Our New Oppressors: Higher Education

We know from history that Jew-hatred, the world's oldest and once again most fashionable form of bigotry, is the chameleon of all hates -- forever taking on new hues to suit the scapegoating needs of the day. It has always been thus, and it will always be thus. This is a cancer for which there is sadly no cure.

But as we also know, Am Yisrael Chai -- the people of Israel live. There is no more appropriate time on the calendar to double down and to more fearlessly embrace our peoplehood than this festival of Chanukah -- which, contra the predictable blather about abstract "freedom" or "justice," commemorates the military victory of the defiant, particularist Maccabees over the submissive, universalist Hellenizers. The message of Chanukah, which began Thursday evening, is a simple one: Choose authentic Judaism, not assimilation and appeasement.

But in the aftermath of Tuesday's astounding congressional hearing with the presidents of Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, during which the demonic triumvirate smirked their way through rigorous bipartisan questioning and repeatedly failed to condemn calls for genocide of the Jewish people as contrary to their universities' codes of conduct, we must make another related commitment. This Chanukah, modern-day Maccabees and like-minded fellow defenders of our Western heritage must commit to razing to the ground today's Hellenizers: American higher education.

Hellenistic paganism was a civilizational threat to the Jews back then; woke-ism, and specifically the regnant "Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion" (DEI) regime, is a civilizational threat to the Jews (and Christians) today. That our foes now wear pantsuits instead of Greco-Roman armor, and that our terrain is now one of cultural clout and fiscal support instead of a literal cavalry-speckled battlefield, is hardly relevant.

For hours, Claudine Gay, Liz Magill and Sally Kornbluth, the leaders of three of America's most "prestigious" educational institutions, steadfastly refused to stipulate that calls to annihilate the Jewish people violate either First Amendment norms or their own universities' codes of conduct, which generally prohibit "intimidation" and "harassment." Instead, through awkward pauses and supercilious half-grins, they regurgitated lawyerly talking points: "it might," "it depends," "I'd need to see the context," and so forth.

These moral midgets have made plain their disdain for the Jews. They have poured tremendous fuel on a raging conflagration, and they should all resign in disgrace.

We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the ladies erred because the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. felt compelled to post a not-so-subtle message Wednesday on Twitter/X: "Opposing calls for genocide against Jews shouldn't be difficult or controversial." As one Twitter/X wag dryly noted: "Do you know how badly you have to mess up to be subtweeted by a Holocaust museum?"

Harvard and Penn have since tried to walk back what Gay and Magill said -- or, more, refused to say -- under oath. But the damage is done. Memes have been circulating online of a T-shirt adorned with Harvard's iconic red shield and the slogan, "Hamas University: The ISIS of the East."

Higher education in America has become worse than a blight; it is a debilitating cancer corrupting countless impressionable minds, destabilizing countless once-venerable institutions and impairing the common good. The universities are the leading incubators, promulgators and disseminators of the DEI catechism, which (in classic Marxist phraseology) divides society into "oppressor" and "oppressed" classes to which varying bundles of rights and privileges affix. "Oppressed?" Good for you: You get the most rights, privileges and sympathies! "Oppressor?" What a pity: You get bupkis -- and the "oppressed" people's eternal ire, to boot!

If you guessed that the Jews, the most oppressed people in human history, count as "oppressed" according to our DEI overlords, guess again.

Our universities truly are the enemies of the people, and in their current state they are wholly unworthy of receiving even a single penny of taxpayer support. Indeed, one of our formidable tasks now is to reorient incentive structures in the precise opposite direction slowly: Employers should not hire from these schools and professional schools should not admit applicants who completed their undergraduate studies at these schools.

Perhaps most importantly, parents must reject paying tuition to send their children to these schools, no matter how gifted their children are and no matter how enticing the "lay prestige" of a school like Harvard may be. Weimar-era Germany had plenty of "prestigious" institutions, too. How did that work out?

Recapturing the institutions from the talons of our treacherous, woke-besotted ruling class is arduous work. It begins by refusing to bend the knee to our would-be conquerors, and by instead telling the world: "We are here, and we are staying true to our people and our way of life."

In other words, it means being a Maccabee.


New York City asset management giant says he's withdrawing $100 MILLION donation to UPenn over president's comments at anti-Semitism hearing

A wealthy University of Pennsylvania alumnus has withdrawn a $100million donation following the school president's lack of response to antisemitism on campus.

Ross Stevens, the founder and CEO of New York-based Stone Ridge Asset Management, said he was appalled by Penn's response to the anti-Jewish hate.

Stevens, who graduated from Penn in 1991, gave his alma mater millions in funding in December 2017 to help towards a new center for innovation in finance - which is named after him.

Former Penn president Amy Gutmann - a Jewish woman, who is now the US Ambassador to Germany - said when the Stevens Center was opened in 2019: 'We are so grateful to Ross for his visionary leadership that will enable Penn and Wharton to continue to innovate at the vital intersection of finance and technology.'

But in light of the new president Elizabeth Magill's lackluster attempt to discipline students who call for the genocide of Jewish people, Stevens has withdrawn his gift.

In Stevens' letter, first published by Axios, he claims Penn violated the terms of their agreement - including its anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies.

He said he was 'appalled' by the university's stance on antisemitism.

Stevens added: 'Its permissive approach to hate speech calling for violence against Jews and laissez-faire attitude toward harassment and discrimination against Jewish students would violate any policies of rules that prohibit harassment and discrimination based on religion, including those of Stone Ridge.'

The wealthy financier is known for his philanthropic flair. Earlier this year, he donated another $100million to University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, where he completed his PhD in 1996.

Stevens was heralded by the school's dean as 'exceptionally generous' and an alumnus who 'brings focus and clarity of thought regarding how the multiplier effect of educational excellence, economic liberty and free markets can transform lives.'

This comes just hours after Congress launched a full-scale investigation into Penn, Harvard, and MIT for their responses during the hearing on Tuesday.

The House Education and the Workforce Committee will probe the elite schools with the 'full force of subpoena power,' after presidents Claudine Gay, Sally Kornbluth, and Liz Magill's astonishing words and actions this week.

Earlier on Thursday, the University of Pennsylvania's Board of Trustees held an emergency meeting as president Magill faces calls to resign - but according to sources, 'nothing' happened.

The hastily-arranged meeting started at 9am and was held virtually - following a percussive flood of calls, from students and donors alike, for the president of the Ivy League college to be sacked.

This is the latest sign of the mounting pressure on Penn to remove its president after she told Congress that reprimanding students who call for a Jewish genocide was not paramount - but 'context' specific.

Magill, a lawyer by trade, smirked and smiled as she refused to categorize calls for the genocide of Jews as harassment or a breach of the school's code of conduct.

The House Education and the Workforce Committee will probe the elite schools with the 'full force of subpoena power,' after presidents Claudine Gay, Sally Kornbluth, and Liz Magill's astonishing words and actions this week

Scott L. Bok is the Chair of Penn's Board of Trustees. He is also the CEO of Greenhill & Co., a boutique investment bank in New York.

The Vice Chair, who also attended the meeting, is Jewish banker Julie Beren Platt.

She is a philanthropist who has also served as the chair of the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Federations of North America since 2022 - which helps distribute $3 billion to non-profits each year.

Beren Platt, who is now based in Los Angeles, graduated from Penn with a bachelor's degree in 1979. She is the mother to prominent Hollywood actor Ben Platt.

In her charitable career, Beren Platt was one of the first people to sign the Jewish Future Pledge - a campaign encouraging Jewish people to give to good causes.

William P. Lauder, the billionaire chairman of The Estée Lauder Companies, Andy Rachleff, co-founder of Wealthfront, and Bonnie Miao Bandeen, a former Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, are also among Penn's Trustees.

Insurance magnate Alan D. Schnitzer, venture capitalist Theodore E. Schlein, and Stacey G. Snider, the former CEO of 20th Century Studios, are also on the board.

Amy Gutmann - who was the longest-serving president of the University of Pennsylvania from 2004 to 2022 - is Jewish, and her father escaped Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

On October 19, she wrote on social media: 'My father, Kurt Gutmann, who escaped Nazi Germany, taught me to stand up and speak out against all forms of hatred. Everywhere. Always. #NeverAgainIsNow.'

Scott L. Bok is the Chair of Penn's Board of Trustees. The Vice Chair is Julie Beren Platt

Meanwhile, a petition calling for Magill's resignation has grown to more than 12,300 signatures by Thursday morning.

Magill attempted to rectify the situation on Wednesday, by releasing a video message on Penn's social media. She stopped short of apologizing.

In the video, she said she was not 'focused' on the issue, and said she wanted to 'be clear' that calls for genocide were 'evil, plain and simple' - although she said the blame lay with her university's policies and the constitution, rather than with her.

She said that as she sat with the presidents from MIT and Harvard, she was 'focused on our university's longstanding policies aligned with the U.S. Constitution, which say that speech alone is not punishable.'

Magill said Penn would evaluate and clarify the university's policies on antisemitism.

During the shocking hearing, MIT's Sally Kornbluth and Harvard's Claudine Gay gave equally deplorable answers when quizzed about their colleges' code of conduct.

All three colleges - considered the best academic institutions in the world - have witnessed a slew of unregulated anti-Israel protests since Hamas' October 7 attack.

When Magill was nominated to take over as Penn's president in 2022, she ran on the ticket flexing her 'passionate commitment to academic excellence, diversity, equity, and inclusion.'

She pledged to promote free speech at the Philadelphia institution.

Part of that 'free speech,' it has transpired since Magill's astonishing words in front of Congress, includes the lack of discipline for Penn students who call for the genocide of the Jewish people.

Magill has been an academic and visiting professor at the University of Virginia, Cambridge University in England, Harvard Law School, and Princeton University.

She started her education at Yale, completing a History degree in 1988.

Before joining Penn, Magill was the Dean at Stanford Law School for seven years. Her legacy at the West Coast college was 'expanding and redesigning student life initiatives' with her 'strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion.'

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro slammed Magill's comments. He said: 'That was an unacceptable statement from the president of Penn. 'Frankly, I thought her comments were absolutely shameful. 'It should not be hard to condemn genocide.'

Senator Doug Mastriano called for Magill's immediate resignation on Thursday.

He wrote: 'Your answer, combined with your demeanor (the smirk you wore on your face while delivering it) raised serious concerns about your personal commitment and the university's willingness and ability to enact and advance policies to prevent antisemitic activity at the University of Pennsylvania.'

Senator Bob Casey said in response to Magill's congressional appearance: 'President Magill's comments yesterday were offensive, but equally offensive was what she didn't say.

'The right to free speech is fundamental, but calling for the genocide of Jews is antisemitic and harassment, full stop.'

Senator John Fetterman also described the testimony as 'a significant fail.'

He wrote: 'There is no 'both sides-ism' and it isn't 'free speech,' it's simply hate speech. It was embarrassing for a venerable Pennsylvania university, and it should be reflexive for leaders to condemn antisemitism and stand up for the Jewish community or any community facing this kind of invective.'

Alex Immerman, who attended Penn's Wharton Business School and is now a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, said that he demanded his 2023 donation back from the college.

He wrote: 'Yesterday I called Penn and asked for a refund on my 2023 donation. I have loved Penn for as long as I can remember.

'It prepared me for my career and gave me lifelong friends, my wife, and incredible memories. But I can no longer support the moral bankruptcy of its leadership.'


MEF Campaign Success: Oberlin Ousts Iranian Professor Accused of Prisoner Massacre

Oberlin is fantically Leftist so this would have been painful for them

PHILADELPHIA – December 7, 2023 – The Middle East Forum (MEF) played a pivotal role in the months-long campaign to oust Professor Mohammad Jafar Mahallati from his tenured position at Oberlin College. Partnering with Iranian American activists, MEF combined exclusive reporting and relentless advocacy to pressure Oberlin's administrators into placing Mahallati on "indefinite administrative leave."

Oberlin informed MEF that Mahallati had been removed from the campus on Nov. 28, his office vacated, and references to him scrubbed from the college's website.

"Mahallati's suspension punctuates the combined efforts of MEF and its dedicated Iranian-American partners who held protests, circulated petitions, and galvanized lawmakers," said Benjamin Baird, director of MEF Action.

Mahallati's ouster provides some small justice to family members of the Islamic Republic's 1988 prison massacres in which Mahallati had a key role, a fact that Oberlin College administrators repeatedly dismissed. The professor's suspension also follows a case, first revealed by MEF's coalition, concerning Mahallati's sex-for-grades relationship with a Columbia University graduate student.

MEF joined the Alliance Against Islamic Republic of Iran Apologists (AAIRIA), an anti-regime committee of former political prisoners and surviving family members, in efforts to build public opposition to Mahallati. MEF organized an Iranian American lobby at the Ohio Statehouse and convinced members of the U.S. Congress to send a letter to Oberlin College requesting answers about the school's hiring practices.

MEF's reporting exposed Mahallati's ongoing links to Iran's regime, his part in an Office of Civil Rights investigation into charges that the professor taught students "support for Hamas," and his calls for the destruction of Israel. Most recently, MEF unearthed court documents from a 1997 lawsuit accusing Mahallati of forcing a graduate student into an "emotionally abusive" sexual relationship in exchange for "academic benefits" while serving as an adjunct professor at Columbia University.

"Mahallati's suspension brings a profound sense of justice and accountability, not only to the victims' families, but to all those who have supported the tireless campaign for his removal as an educator," said Gregg Roman, director of MEF. "This long-awaited decision attests to the commitment of all those involved to safeguarding national security within the academic sphere and ensuring that educators act in the best interests of their students."

MEF now calls on Oberlin College to clarify the circumstances behind Mahallati's suspension and to initiate an independent inquiry into the school's hiring practices. Furthermore, Oberlin administrators must deny Mahallati future opportunities, pensions, or favorable references stemming from his work at Oberlin College.

MEF will continue to closely monitor developments in this case and advocate for responsible academic conduct