Thursday, January 18, 2024

The SIT, a most remarkable institution

Would you believe a fully accredited college situated at the end of the world that charges no fees, offers degrees up to doctoral level and is headquartered in a town of only 54,000 people? And it even has a respectable score in the world university rankings

Such is the Southern Institute of Technology, headquarterd in Invercargill, New Zealand. Invercargill is about as close as you can get to Antarctica and still live a normal life. As Invercargill is close to the sea, its temperatures are moderated somewhat, nothing like low Canadian extremes

I have family in town at the moment who live in Invercagill so that has sparked my interest in the SIT

The SIT has a number of campuses in addition to the one at Invercargill, notably one at Queenstown and a small tentacle at Christhurch. And all of them are "free" to NZ citizens. They also have around 2,000 overseas students who pay, but mostly not very much -- around $US15,000 per year. The overseas students come mainly from Indonesia and the Philippines, which are warm countries. Invercargil must be a shock

And the SIT has a rank of 400+ in the world university rankings. Not bad when you know that is out of about 11,000 colleges worldwide. The major NZ universities score around 200+ but none are up to the standard of its big neighbour. There are two Australian universities in the top 50 worldwide. I went to one.

The courses listed on the Invercargill campus offer a wide range of technical subjects plus some degree courses. You can become a degree-level nurse, teacher or accountant, for instance

You could certainly do worse than to take courses from SIT. They are fully recognized by the NZ accreditation authorities


Rice University unveils 'Afrochemistry' class that will 'explore the intersection of racial justice and chemistry'

Rice University is offering an 'Afrochemistry' class that promises to analyze science through a 'contemporary African-American lens'.

Marketed as 'the study of black-life matter', a play on words merging science jargon with the Black Lives Matter movement, the course begins this semester.

The course description on the university's website explains students will 'apply chemical tools and analysis to understand black life in the US' and 'implement African American sensibilities to analyze chemistry'.

'Diverse historical and contemporary scientists, intellectuals, and chemical discoveries will inform personal reflections and proposals for addressing inequities in chemistry and chemical education,' it read.

Brooke Johnson, a Rice graduate with a PhD in chemistry from Princeton hired last August as part of the university's DEI department, will teach the class.

Her university bio lists her as a 'preceptor' and post-doctoral fellow who was a former track athlete at Rice until her graduation in 2017.

'Dr Johnson is passionate about the intersection of science and social justice and using her unique experiences to teach, support and inspire diverse students,' it read.

A flyer advertising a preview for the class at the private university in Houston used a cartoon of a student with an afro hairstyle pondering questions the course would address.

They included 'what does it look like to do science on ones own terms?', 'what does justice look like in chemistry?' and 'how does our society shape the science we do?'

The flyer explained the course would 'explore the intersection of racial justice and chemistry'.

'We will approach chemistry using a historical and contemporary African American lens in order to analyze science and its impact,' it read.

'In addition, we will be using chemical concepts to better understand Black life in the US. As we consider not only what science is being discovered, but also ask why, how and by whom, etc.

'This course will empower students to consider approaches to STEM that enhance community impact.'

The class does not give any credits for a chemistry major, but does court towards an African and African-American studies minor.

The description noted 'no prior knowledge of chemistry or African American studies is required' and there is no final exam.

Several commentators online, including at the Wall Street Journal, noted the course was the latest example of questionable classes blending science with identity politics popping up at American universities.

What the class would actually teach in practice was not entirely clear from the description, particularly how much hard science it would involve.

Academics discussed whether the course was likely to be geared towards scientific study or the discussion of racial politics in the field of chemistry, or a mix of both.

Some were concerned the study of science would be diluted by identity politics, but others speculated it could be helpful to get black students studying chemistry.

'While the title of the course is a bit wince-inducing, I don’t think the course will necessarily be a bad thing,' one wrote on an online forum.

'I can imagine there being a number of legitimate scientific issues that might especially impact African-Americans and their environments.'

Another pointed out that as a first generation college student in a field with few black scientists, Dr Johnson was an ideal person to discuss how race affected what was studied in chemistry.

'Whose proposals get grants and funding, and what values are represented? Who is positioned to make these influential decisions? Is the possible impact on society considered in these decisions?' they explained.


Jewish parents in uproar as Ann Arbor school board prepares to vote on resolution calling for Israel-Gaza ceasefire

Parents of young children at a Michigan school are objecting against its decision to vote on a resolution calling for Israel-Gaza ceasefire.

The school board at Ann Arbor Public Schools is set to vote on the resolution today despite parents, taxpayers and community members demanding an immediate withdrawal.

The resolution states that it is 'important for educational institutions to acknowledge global events and their impact on students, staff, and families, especially those from affected regions.'

It also asks that teachers in the school's district begin to conduct 'informed and respectful dialogue about the conflict, aiming to foster a deeper understanding among students and staff'.

Apart from demanding a 'bilateral ceasefire', the resolution also condemns Islamophobia and antisemitism.

Three members of the board said they support the cease-fire resolution, two remain skeptical and the remaining two said they need more time to hear from constituents at the previous meeting.

One of the supportive members is the board president, Rima Mohammad who said that the cease-fire resolution was 'symbolic.'

She said: 'The Israel-Gaza war is definitely something we have to address, especially because I do believe the ongoing conflict abroad is leading to an increase in racism and discrimination locally. The Arabs, Muslims, Jews, Palestinians, Israelis are all hurting.'

One of the board's Jewish members also supports the resolution.

Jeff Gaynor, a retired social studies teacher who wrote his own curriculum on Israeli-Palestinian issues said 'he trusted educators to not venture beyond their expertise'.

But parents such as Sharon Sorkin disagree with the board and say that the school has no role in this.

She said: 'We all want to heal and we all want peace. But I don't believe that a resolution that a local school board passes is going to create peace in the Middle East.

'And what I've seen is that what this board has done this far and it certainly has not created peace in our community. It has actually created a lot of unrest in our community.

'My hope is that we can convince the board no to move forward with it and maybe our community can find its own peace.'

The petition which was launched by Ann Arbor constituents states that the 'board is not the appropriate forum for addressing these international and humanitarian crises'.

It also demand that they return to prioritizing education rather than involve itself in global issues.

The petition clarifies that the proposed resolution is out of the board's scope, creates a dangerous precedent, divisive and is unnecessarily creating a burden on students and teachers.

This comes a month after the University of Michigan prevented student government from voting on several cease-fire statements. The students launched an elaborate pro-Palestine protest in response.

The petition currently has 1,843 signatures out of its goal of 2,500




Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Democrat Rep. Ritchie Torres urges DOE to prohibit ‘indoctrinating students with anti-Israel propaganda’ after classroom map left out Jewish state

A Democratic Congressman is urging the Department of Education to put restrictions in place to prevent “anti-Israel propaganda” in city schools after a Qatari-funded map that left out the Jewish state was found posted in a Brooklyn classroom.

Rep. Ritchie Torres called the use of the map “irresponsible, reckless and dangerous,” especially given the current political climate following the horrific October 7 attacks by Hamas, according to a copy of the letter to the Department of Education obtained by the Post.

“Anti-Israel propaganda has no place in the NYC public school system, which should be free of politics,” Torres said in the letter to Chancellor David Banks on Friday.

“I am calling upon the DOE to put in place policies and protocols that prohibit DOE officials from indoctrinating students with anti-Israel propaganda.

“The DOE should subject to heightened scrutiny educational content from external entities like the Qatar International Foundation, whose program promoted the image of the Middle East where Israel was nowhere to be found.”

The Israel-erasing map was used as part of a program funded by the Qatar Foundation International (QFI), the American wing of the Qatar Foundation, a non-profit owned by the ruling family of the wealthy Arab state.

Since the revelation of the map, the Department of Education has been scurrying to come up with answers, as educators and local politicians expressed disbelief that the display was being used in a public classroom.

“I am deeply concerned about this issue and we are working to determine why this map is on display,” Rep. Dan Goldman, whose district includes the school, said earlier in the week.

The map, which was exposed in an article by The Free Press Thursday, was manufactured by Arab education company Ruman and features Islamic landmarks in each of the countries in northern Africa and the Middle East.

Photos show the map was posted under the heading “Arab World” with hand-drawn labels marking each country, except for Israel which was labeled “Palestine,” at PS 261. The omission was denounced as anti-Israel propaganda that sought to delegitimize the Jewish state.

Twenty-two K-12 public schools and eight academic programs are known to have received grants from QFI across the United States. The Post has reached out to these institutes to see if they are still funded.

The Department of Education has ignored requests from the Post about QFI funding and when initially questioned about the map’s existence failed to see the problem, telling the Free Press it was “referring to Arabic-speaking countries,” despite 20 percent of Israel’s population speaking the language.

According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), there has been a 360 percent surge in antisemitism in the wake of October 7th, with antisemitic incidents rising to levels not seen in four decades.


New Jewish school in Manhattan deluged with applications in wake of October 7 attacks on Israel

A new Jewish school has been deluged with five times the applications it can accommodate in the wake of antisemitism after the October 7 attack on Israel.

Emet Classical Academy — its name is the Hebrew word “truth” — is opening this September on the Upper East Side, and officials say the school had more interest than they have seats.

“Since the announcement a few weeks ago we have received hundreds of admissions inquiries from families with kids … at elite secular private schools, Jewish day schools, public schools and G&T [gifted and talented] programs,” Rabbi Abraham Unger, head of the school for grades 6-12, told The Post.

The school, founded by conservative non-profit religious organization The Tikvah Fund, will accept between 36 and 40 students per grade its first year, according to Tikvah CEO Eric Cohen.

Kira Krieger Senders, 52, has applied for a spot for her 10-year-old son, who is currently in fifth grade at PS6 on the Upper East Side. She told The Post that, while she’s been pleased with her son’s public school promoting shared values, she has concerns as he enters middle school.

“The biggest fear I have is antisemitism. I do fear that my child will be targeted with some type of antisemitic rhetoric or action or sentiment that I don’t want him to have to deal with when he’s in school,” Krieger Senders, who is Jewish, said, adding that she experienced anti-Jewish remarks from a longtime friend following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack.

Emet plans to offer a curriculum rooted in Western civilization and led by Unger, a political scientist and former professor.

“Our laser focus on the core ideas and texts of Western civilization makes us unique in the current educational marketplace — and certainly very different than what is happening in most other New York City public and private schools,” Unger told The Post.

“The goal is simple: to forge citizens who will strengthen American civic life and make great contributions to every field of human endeavor.”

Emet names “the spirit of American citizenship” as one of its seven founding pillars. Students will study Hebrew, Greek and Latin in addition to the arts and sciences, along with “a strong connection to Zionism and modern Israel” and general “military history.”


DEIndividualising australia's universities

Treating people unequally on the basis of race is racism

The NBA is the least ‘inclusive’ employer in the world. Its employees look nothing like the wider American population. Some 90 percent of the league’s players are black whereas the black share of the overall US population is only about 13 per cent. In fact, the whole US Olympic basketball team, made up of NBA stars, is 100 per cent black. This is as it should be because they’re the best players. It’s simple. Professional sports is a meritocracy; it is not a top-down HR-engineered ‘equality of outcome’ world. (I refer to the competitors, not the team executives.) No team owner aims for ‘cosmetic diversity’ in sport. And revealingly, no one on the progressive left argues for more white basketball players, or even more Asians or Hispanics.

You see, sport reveals everything that is fundamentally wrong with DEI; its core undermining of equality and its undercutting of the ability to produce the best possible product. This is so obvious in top-level US sport, and there is so much at stake monetarily, that no one with skin in the game dabbles in the idiocies of DEI thinking in terms of the team they put on the court.

Of course, if you find a smart, hard-working Vietnamese (or any other) immigrant who outperforms white candidates you should hire him (or her). That, however, is not what DEI demands. No, DEI is premised on ‘equality of outcome’, on getting the same statistical percentages of a group into some highly desirable job X (it’s only ever good jobs or emoluments) as they represent in the wider population. Let me be blunt. ‘Equity’ is the polar opposite of equality of opportunity. Drill down and you see it seeks equality of outcome, full stop. That’s the game all variations of affirmative action are playing. It’s just that DEI is one of the most malign and pernicious variants.

In fact, ‘equity’ necessarily presupposes that all differences, everywhere, and all the time, are the result of discrimination and nothing else. That’s why it REQUIRES treating people unequally based on race and other immutable characteristics.

One of the most important battles all conservatives (and classical liberals for that matter) have to fight is to eliminate the HR DEI bureaucracies everywhere. We need them gone from the public service, from the big law firms, from the big corporations, and from the universities. Take the last of these, which I know only too well. A recent report in the US revealed that at just two major US state universities (Ohio State and the University of Michigan) there were over 100 DEI commissars (my term) employed. And they earned over US$10 million per year collectively – at just two of hundreds of US universities.

Now don’t kid yourself. Our Australian universities are also chock-full of these massively overpaid DEI bureaucrats whose core remit is to undermine merit and equality of opportunity. So don’t tell me we don’t have an ideological problem in our unis and that this isn’t a core cause! (The search for cosmetic diversity is also a core cause in the collapse of viewpoint diversity, as an aside.)

Well, at least in a few US states we are now seeing Republican legislators doing something about this. Some are completely defunding the DEI bureaucracies in state universities. There are moves to stop state governments from contracting with big companies that enforce DEI policies. My Lord, my kingdom for an Australian Liberal party that might actually do any of those things! I’ll be blunt. The first step to reforming our wholly broken universities (those rankings of world universities are a complete joke, by the way, as every insider knows) is to completely defund the entire DEI bureaucracies. Because as things stand now does any reader really believe that in today’s universities, a young white male gets equal treatment with non-whites and with women as regards available scholarships, consideration for job openings or for promotions, pick your favourite criterion?

It’s time for our right-of-centre politicians to grow a spine and do something about this. That’s a wish, not a serious expectation.




Tuesday, January 16, 2024

How one college spends more than $30M on 241 DEI staffers… and the damage it does to kids

DEI is Procrustean. It wants to equalize everyone regardless of any harm that may cause

One day after winning the national college-football championship, the University of Michigan was recognized as a leading competitor in another popular collegiate sport: wasteful diversity, equity and inclusion spending.

Having recently embarked on a new five-year DEI plan, UM is paying more than $30 million to 241 DEI staffers this academic year alone, Mark Perry found in a recent analysis for The College Fix.

That represents an astounding expansion of the school’s already-infamous DEI bureaucracy, which had a mere 142 employees last year.

And the price tag accounts for neither the money spent on programming and office expenses nor the hundreds of other employees who use some of their time to assist with DEI initiatives.

These expenditures are a reckless waste of taxpayer money considering the impact of UM’s last five-year plan.

It cost $85 million, and what did it accomplish?

According to the university’s Black Student Union, “85 million dollars was spent on DEI efforts and yet, Black students’ experience on campus has hardly improved.”

Hispanic and Asian enrollments increased, but black enrollment dropped slightly from 4.3% in 2016 to 3.9% in 2021.

And The Chronicle of Higher Education reports, “The percentage of students who were satisfied with the overall campus climate decreased from 72 percent in 2016 to 61 percent in 2021.”

These results are consistent with findings at other institutions.

A Claremont Institute study of Texas A&M University found that despite an annual DEI budget of $11 million, the percentage of students who felt they belonged at the school dropped significantly from 2015 to 2020: Among whites, the number went from 92% to 82%; among Hispanics, from 88% to 76%.

Among blacks, there was an astonishing drop from 82% to 55%.

At the University of California, Berkeley, whose Division of Equity and Inclusion boasts 152 staffers and a $36 million budget, black undergraduate enrollment dropped from 3% in 2010 to 2% in 2021.

The truth is DEI does not work and frequently makes matters worse.

DEI trainings not only fail to achieve their purposes but often exacerbate grievances and divisions by antagonizing people and teaching them to monitor one another for microaggressions and implicit biases.

DEI often leads to illegal activities too.

The University of Washington recently revealed, for example, its psychology department actively discriminated against faculty candidates based on race, elevating a lower-ranked candidate for a position over others because of a desire to hire a black scholar.

In another case, a former assistant director of Multicultural Student Services at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire recently filed a lawsuit alleging that despite exemplary performance reviews, she was harassed and discriminated against until she resigned simply for being white.

“We don’t want white people in the MSS office,” a student reportedly said during an open house.

Even with the failures and the excesses, Michigan is not the only school ramping up its DEI expenditures.

Another College Fix analysis found that Ohio taxpayers are spending $20.38 million annually on DEI salaries and benefits at UM’s famous rival, Ohio State University, where the number of DEI bureaucrats has grown from 88 in 2018 to 189 in 2023.

Oklahoma’s public universities spent $83.4 million on DEI over the last 10 years.

Florida’s public universities reported spending $34.5 million during the 2022-23 academic year.

The University of Wisconsin was poised to spend $32 million over the next two years.

Why not use all that money to give students a much-needed tuition break? Or why not fund need-based scholarships for promising students instead of giving cash to bureaucrats who are actively damaging our higher-education institutions?

Fortunately, some states are taking action. Florida and Texas passed laws eliminating DEI bureaucracies, and Wisconsin lawmakers recently curbed DEI in the state university system by compelling the board of regents to agree to DEI staff cuts and a hiring freeze.

Many other state systems have ended the use of DEI statements in hiring, recognizing they are used to screen out heterodox thinkers when studies show ideological diversity is beneficial to the search for knowledge, which is a university’s core purpose.

And that points to the greatest cost of DEI: While the financial waste is appalling, the price of expecting everyone on campus to conform to an ideology that undermines free expression and excludes intellectual diversity, two foundational values of the academy, is one we should be unwilling to pay.


Charter schools have attracted growing number of Black, Hispanic students as parents seek better options

Black and Hispanic families have been flocking to charter schools in recent years, the National Alliance For Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) said on Thursday.

Debbie Veney, who is the senior vice president of communications and marketing of NAPCS and the co-author of the report, said charter schools have made significant gains since 2019, in an interview with Fox News Digital.

"Particularly, Hispanic families and Black families are really big consumers of charter schools," Veney said.

Veney's comments came after the NAPCS revealed last month new data analysis showing charter school enrollment grew 2% while district enrollment plateaued. The report said charter schools enrolled nearly 10 times the number of new students compared to district schools in the previous school year.

Veney added that earlier research about parent satisfaction with school systems showed a tendency of "Black parents, low-income parents, and Hispanic parents" to report that their neighborhood schools "weren't great." "But they just didn't have choices," Veney said.

"You see those polls where they're asking, oh, what do you think? How would you grade public education? Most people say, oh, you know, I think my school around me is pretty good, but Blacks and Hispanics didn't say that. They're like, 'I know my school around me isn't very good.' And we know that they've been looking for options that are better."

Charter schools saw an increase in student enrollment between the 2019-20 and 2022-23 school years in nearly every state, particularly among Hispanic students, as they accounted for half of charter school enrollment growth. Charter school enrollment for Black students also increased since 2019.

The NAPCS report found that since 2019, charter schools gained more than 300,000 new students while district public schools lost around 1.5 million students at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Public schools haven't rebounded in the past few years.

Veney pointed to how charter schools have more flexibility and control over what happens at the school compared to the public school that operates under a more centralized structure.

"Charter schools have the flexibility to control a lot of things at the site level that a district public school can control, like extra time on task. So, if you've got kids coming into the fifth grade, and they're on a second-grade reading level, maybe 45 minutes of instructional time and reading isn't going to be enough to get them caught up, and the charter school has the ability to be able to jigger with that and to say, well, I want to put more time on tasks--also to have a longer school day," she said.

Veney added that a charter school is free to do "site-based hiring and firing."

A recent Stanford study showed that charter school students outperformed public school peers in reading and math.

Most states restrict parents to schools within their zip code or the school district that presides over their residential area, yet, charter schools allow parents an option to send their kids to a different school. When charter schools are neighbors to public schools, they compete for per-pupil funding as parents are allowed to opt out of sending their child to the neighborhood public school.

Opponents of charter schools say they siphon off funding from traditional public schools, thus decreasing the resources available to increase teachers' salaries, invest in facilities, and recruit more teachers.

Teacher unions often lobby against charter schools and sometimes make an effort to restrict their expansion. More recently, President Biden's Department of Education released new regulations on how charter schools qualify for federal grants, which proponents of charter schools said would make it more difficult to obtain these federal grants.

In August, a coalition of charter schools filed a lawsuit against the Department of Education over the regulations.

"Why would people try to keep people who need access to get education from having it? I would say that it has to be something that is a separate set of interests that are not about kids and not about families," Veney said. "A lot of times adults are more concerned with adult interests, like maintaining structures, like maintaining certain positions, like having budget control, rather than being able to focus in on what families really need."


‘F’ for Failing to Train Our Future Teachers Properly

The Australian education system is in crisis. It is failing at a most basic level, which is to teach young Australians how to read and write.

All you have to do is look at this year’s NAPLAN results to see how bad things really are in Australian schools.

One-in-three Australian students are not meeting the basic standards of numeracy and literacy. In contrast, just 15 percent of students are exceeding expectations.

The majority of Australia’s Year 9 students use punctuation at a Year 3 level. To put that into perspective, 15-year-old teenagers have the writing ability of 8-year-olds.

And the majority of those teenagers are struggling to be able to put a sentence together, let alone insert a comma or an apostrophe correctly.

As adults, these Australians will struggle to get jobs or manage their finances. It renders them unable to perform simple tasks such as accurately filling out vital forms, following maps, or reading instructions on a packet of medication. An illiterate and innumerate society is a non-functioning society.

These are truly shocking statistics. And it’s not happening because of a lack of funding for schools.

Every single Australian should be asking why, given state and federal governments are throwing more money than ever at the problem, the 2023 NAPLAN results reveal a system in steady decline.

Each year, all levels of government spend around $120 billion on education.

Australians should know that one of the central causes of this decline is what future teachers are being taught during their training at university.

A new report by the Institute of Public Affairs, “Who teaches the teachers?” has found that—instead of being taught how to master core academic curriculum such as reading, writing, mathematics, history, and science—teachers are being trained by their university lecturers to be experts in identity politics, critical race theory, radical gender theory, and sustainability.

The teaching of woke ideology accounts for 31 percent of all teaching subjects, which is equivalent to one-and-a-quarter years of a four-year Bachelor of Education degree. Meanwhile, fewer than 1-in-10 teaching subjects are focused on literacy and numeracy.

Future teachers are spending far more time talking about gender fluidity, climate change, and how racist Australia is, than they are things like phonics, mathematics, and grammar. It is no wonder that young Australians are hopelessly lacking in basic skills but very good at going to protests.

Universities are not only failing to equip teaching graduates with the knowledge and skills required to effectively teach core curriculum subjects, but they have replaced core skills and knowledge with woke ideology and political activism, which in turn produces legions of poorly educated child activists. And it looks like a lot of trainee teachers do not want this either.

Currently, the average completion rate for students in a teaching degree at universities is 50 percent, while the average attrition rate across all courses is 17 percent. Moreover, 20 percent leave the profession in their first three years as a teacher.

The system is clearly failing both trainee teachers and the students they go on to teach. It is a system in urgent need of reform.

Under the federal government’s “back to basics” plan, there will be a new accreditation regime for teaching degrees.

This means that it will be mandatory for universities to instruct trainee teachers in evidence-based reading, writing, arithmetic, and classroom management practices, based on the proven educational science about what works best to promote student learning.

While the “back to basics” concept is a step in the right direction, it will not solve the related problem of teachers being schooled in woke ideology.

As long as these subjects continue to dominate teaching degrees, the nation’s teachers will continue to be ill-prepared for the classroom.

This does a disservice both to them and their future students.




Monday, January 15, 2024

Snobby Harvard professor issues groveling apology for insulting college's extension school students whom she teaches

Extension is Harvard University's part-time, open-enrollment program, intended to offer courses equivalent in academic rigor to traditional Harvard programs

Hochschild received her undergraduate degree from the frantically Leftist Oberlin College. If Yiddish, her surname means "high shield"

A Harvard professor has apologized for insulting students of the college's extension school where she teaches after discovering that the activist who toppled Claudine Gay is an alumnus.

Jennifer Hochschild was slammed by her students after stating that the Harvard Extension School HES as 'not the same' as the main college.

Her comments came as she attempted to discredit conservative activist Chris Rufo, who was instrumental in exposing plagiarism claims which toppled former president Claudine Gay.

The Professor of Government and African and African American Studies claimed that Rufo had misrepresented his degree from HES.

'On Rufo: what do integrity police say about his claim to have "master’s degree from Harvard," which is actually from the open-enrollment Extension School?' Hochschild wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

'Those students are great - I teach them- but they are not the same as what we normally think of as Harvard graduate students.'

She added: 'Rufo could have proudly and honorably said, "I pulled myself up by bootstraps to prove it I have master's degree from Harvard extension school, along with other smart and gutsy students."

'Instead he used weasel words to try to attach himself to Ivy status and prestige. Insecurity??' she continued.

But days later she was forced into an embarrassing climbdown amid furious backlash from her students and the HES student association.

'I was asked to clarify, and am glad to do so: HES courses are Harvard U courses (often the same as in FAS, as for my courses),' Hochschild wrote.

'HES bachelor’s and master’s degrees are Harvard U degrees. HES is a school in Harvard U analogous to other schools. HES students are Harvard U students.

'On this maelstrom, mainly to HES students/staff: I regret that you got dragged into a dispute with nothing to do with you, that caused distress.

'I endorse and admire HES’s promotion of an inclusive, engaged, ambitious student body. I'm sorry my writing seemed to suggest otherwise. '

However her apology was rejected by Rufo in a response to the post on X.

'This still isn't an apology,' he replied. 'Try this: "I apologize for denigrating HES in a petty, botched attempt to discredit Christopher Rufo. I was angry that Mr. Rufo scalped my friend Claudine Gay. I shouldn't have reacted this way. I had the facts wrong and I'm sorry".'

Rufo was among the most vocal opponents to Gay in the final days of her tenure during which she was dogged by plagiarism allegations and claims she was not doing enough to protect Jewish students on campus amid clashes between Pro Israel and Pro Palestine supporters in the wake of the October 7 attacks.

Gay stood down from the position on December 2 amid the furor and following a disastrous Congressional hearing where she failed to state that calling for the genocide of Jews would be deemed hate speech on her campus.

Hochschild's apology came after HES's student association said it was 'deeply concerned and disappointed' by Hochschild's remarks.

'We urge the community, particularly HES faculty, to reflect on the far-reaching impact of their words,' the group said in a statement.


Bipartisan Congress wants to defund colleges over legacy admissions — it’s about time

Time could finally be up for legacy admissions, thanks to a bipartisan bill being considered on Capitol Hill.

“The fact that your parents or grandparents happened to have a sheepskin [diploma] from a particular college on the wall should in no way influence your ability to get into that college,” Senator Todd Young told me.

Young is a co-sponsor of the MERIT Act (Merit-Based Educational Reforms and Institutional Transparency) introduced in Congress last November.

The legislation would ban colleges and universities that receive federal funding from considering applicants’ legacy status in the admissions process.

It’s about time that hard work, determination and excellence are valued over wealth, privilege and special considerations in the admissions office.

“My motivation was to restore what most Americans believe in: meritocracy — work hard, play by the rules, develop your talents, and you ought to be able to get ahead,” Young said.

The Indiana senator, who is a Republican, is co-sponsoring the bill with Democrat Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia.

“This is non-ideological, nonpartisan and highly popular among the American people,” Young said. “Republicans, Democrats, independents, liberals, conservatives — all agree with the notion that rich people shouldn’t be able to buy their kids’ and grandkids’ [way] into elite colleges.”

The MERIT Act would amend the Higher Education Act, which provides federal money to colleges and universities, by changing the accreditation standards.

It would ban any “preferential treatment” in the admissions process in order to receive federal funds.

Scrutiny of legacy admissions practices was renewed last year, when the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in college admissions.

If race can’t be considered in the admission process, why should other factors out of an applicant’s control — like how much money your family has or who your parents are — play a role? Legacy admissions is, effectively, affirmative action for the privileged.

Although Young, who himself is a graduate of the highly selective University of Chicago, had already taken an interest in eliminating legacy admissions before the Supreme Court ruling this June, he says the judgment inspired him to introduce the bill.

“I already decided that this was a wrong that needed to be righted, and I felt like there was an opportunity for success in this area… after the Supreme Court decision,” he said.

Legacy admissions is widespread in academia. According to Education Reform Now, about half of schools considered legacy status in the admission process as of 2020. And the practice is most common at elite colleges — 80% of them consider legacy status

Harvard has come under particular scrutiny for its practices, and rightfully so.

A 2019 analysis of Harvard’s admissions data from 2009 to 2014 by the National Bureau of Economic Research reveals just how much of a leg up connected applicants have in the admissions process at elite universities.

While the overall admissions rate at Harvard was just 6%, 33.6% of legacies were accepted and 42.2% of those on an “interest list,” which often denotes a relationship to a donor, got in.

The researchers also found that 43% of white students at Harvard were legacies, children of faculty, donor relatives or recruited athletes — and that 3 in 4 of those students would likely not have been otherwise accepted.

“”There’s a sense that so many of our institutions are rigged in favor of entrenched interests,” Young said. “And in this case, the entrenched interests would be wealthier individuals who are effectively writing checks to their alma maters to get their children, grandchildren or friends of the family in.

“They’re basically overriding considerations of merit,” he added.

If the MERIT Act takes effect, it would jeopardize Harvard’s federal funding. Despite having a $50 billion endowment, the university received $625 million in federal dollars in 2021 — representing two-thirds of its sponsored revenue for the year.

But the tides are turning. Education Reform Now also found that 100 schools eliminated legacy admissions considerations between 2015 and 2022.

Highly selective schools like Johns Hopkins, Amherst College and Wesleyan University have nixed the practice. And MIT has never considered legacy status or donor relationships in its admissions process.

Local lawmakers across the country have also taken aim at legacy admissions.


Big switch: The Sydney suburbs rejecting public education

Parents want to avoid the chaos of government schools

More Sydney parents are pulling their children out of the public education system at the end of year 6 and enrolling them in private high schools compared with a decade ago.

The growing exodus of students to private schools comes after years of sustained public focus on teacher shortages and debates over education funding.

Department of Education enrolment figures, which track the progression of public pupils through each year of their schooling, show more than 9000 year 6 students left the public system between 2021 and 2022, equating to 21 per cent of the year 6 cohort.

When schools in the rest of NSW were included, the exodus grew to more than 12,000 pupils in 2022, the latest year for which data is available.

In Sydney, the local government areas Canada Bay, Bayside and Cumberland recorded the biggest declines, with the number of students attending public high schools falling by more than 50 per cent between year 6 in 2021 and year 7 in 2022.

NSW Secondary Principals’ Council president Craig Petersen said public schools perform just as well as private schools in the HSC and other academic tests after socio-economic effects are considered.

“Parents are choosing to send them to the non-government sector because there is a mistaken belief they will get better results, but it is a fact that our public schools perform at least as well as non-government schools,” he said.

Grattan Institute education program director Jordana Hunter said it was important for the state system to make the case to parents that public schools can provide a high-quality education.

“Parents choose school for a range of reasons, one of them is the peer group they’re selecting for their children. Parents from more advantaged backgrounds can seek out schools with children from similar social groups,” she said.

“The consequence of that is the increased concentration of children from disadvantaged backgrounds in public schools, that can create challenges in terms of teaching and learning.”

Anglican Schools Corporation chief executive Peter Fowler, whose organisation oversees 18 schools in Sydney, said successive state governments had not built public schools in growing areas on the city’s fringes.

“There is not as broad a choice for parents, so they’re looking at what the independent schools have to offer,” he said.

On school tours, parents were less interested in the buildings and more interested in the culture and what classes were like. “They liked to speak to existing students about their experiences, they wanted to hear about that, not the facilities in the school,” he said.

Demographer Mark McCrindle said the shift to the private system, replicated around Australia, was in part driven by older millennials (born from 1981 onwards), who were increasingly opting for faith-based schools for their children, despite a declining percentage of Australians identifying as religious.

“They’re not churchgoers or mosque attenders – they’re saying, some of the values which come from that particular educational foundation does work,” he said.

Catholic Schools chief executive Dallas McInerney said his sector had its strongest growth in more than a decade in the past year. “We’re welcoming more and more families from non-Catholic families. It is a vote of confidence in Catholic schools,” he said.

A St Paul’s Grammar School in Cranebrook, which is a non-denominational Christian school in Sydney’s west, principal Ian Wake said parents who were not particularly religious were drawn to the focus on mental wellbeing for their child.

“Across the board, there has been an increase in mental health issues and anxiety. We have appointed a coordinator of wellbeing and a wellbeing framework throughout the school … that appeals to parents,” he said.

Mother of three Liz Henry from Cremorne sent her daughters to the local public primary school. “My experience of public school has been very positive,” she said.

However, she decided to send them to a religious school for their secondary education. She had attended a single-sex private high school and wanted a school for her daughters that went beyond academics.

“It was important to me and to us as parents that there was a code of conduct or a set of values which were going to be instilled into our children … It didn’t have to be religious but there had to be some guiding principles,” she said.

A NSW Department of Education spokesman said there were currently 800,000 students enrolled in public schools– meaning the majority of school-aged children were educated in public schools.

“Through our new plan for NSW Public Education, we are explicitly aiming to make NSW public schools the first choice for young people and their families,” he said.

That plan, released in November, said the Department was addressing staffing shortages in public schools by giving teachers pay rises of up to $10,000 and would bolster student wellbeing via whole-of-school approaches. Success in some areas would be measured via “increasing community confidence in public education”.

“We have taken strides to ensure public schools continue to be the first choice for the majority of families, such as the recent historic pay rise for over 95,000 teachers, making them some of them the highest-paid public school teachers in the nation,” he said.




Missouri college president is put on leave over claims he bullied female colleague to SUICIDE

Candia-Bailey was black so there may have been a culture clash involved. An emotionally warm woman with an austere white boss would not be a happy combination

A complication not mentioned below is that Lincoln college is historically black. But Moseley has had many years in such colleges so should be alert to cultural issues. He was a great booster for the college so was he simply pushing too hard?

A Missouri college president is facing backlash over allegations he drove a female colleague to kill herself, after she cited him in a final letter calling him a 'bully' with a 'callous and evil soul.'

Dr John Moseley, the president of Lincoln University since January 2022, was voluntarily placed on leave this week amid an investigation into the death of Dr Antoinette 'Bonnie' Candia-Bailey, his vice president of student affairs who killed herself on January 8.

The educator's loved ones told HBCU Buzz that her suicide was the result of 'bullying and severe mistreatment' at the hands of Moseley, and their relationship allegedly deteriorated due to his reaction to her anxiety and depression.

Protests erupted across the campus in the wake of Candia-Bailey's suicide and students have demanded Moseley's resignation, with the president put on leave while a third-party review of the incident is carried out for several weeks.

Lincoln University did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Family sources alleged that Candia-Bailey made repeat efforts to call out Moseley's alleged behavior, but was left 'unsupported, disregarded and abused' in her role.

This included a final email written by Candia-Bailey on the day she took her own life, sent at 6:15am, where she reportedly said Moseley had caused 'enough harm and mental damage.'

She claimed that he joked about her struggles with mental health, and outlined a 'series of issues' with the university's leadership including misconduct by the Moseley's advisory council and a toxic work environment.

Feeling she was being 'intentionally harassed and bullied', Candia-Bailey said Moseley 'ignored requests' when she raised issues, and 'when face-to-face, danced around the topic.'

It was also alleged that when Candia-Bailey made complaints about her treatment to the Board of Curators, the board president brushed off her struggles, and merely responded: 'Please be advised the Board of Curators does not engage in the management of personnel issues for Lincoln University and will not be taking further action related to this issue.'

Documents seen by KRCG also detailed her declined requests for Family and Medical leave, in which she reportedly cited issues with anxiety and depression worsened by her relationship with Moseley.

As he takes a voluntary leave, Dr. Stevie Lawrence II, currently the university’s provost and vice president of academic affairs, is set to be interim president.

Those that knew the administrator told the outlet that she was a generous and loving person, with close friend Monica Graham, who knew Candia-Bailey from their time at Lincoln University, saying she 'always smiled and was always positive.'

But after she took on the vice president position in May 2023, Candia-Bailey's loved ones said she noticeably went downhill.

'I was literally just with her at homecoming and she was like ‘I’m just trying to make it through,'' said Shaunice Hill, another close friend of Candia-Bailey's.

'Her whole demeanor had changed. Yes, she was still smiling, but you could tell that something was off - something was different.'

Lincoln University students have reacted with fury after the allegations emerged, forming demonstrations on campus and rallying on social media using the hashtag #FireMoseley.

The students are far from alone in calling for Moseley's resignation, as president of the Lincoln University Alumni Association, Sherman Bonds, wrote an open letter to the Board of Curators urging them to make a change of leadership.

'I find myself standing in the state of hopelessness,' Bonds wrote. 'Therefore, my appeal to you and the Board of Curators is to find a resolution that restores that consciousness of peace and healing.

'The university’s institutional care has been breached. The present administration has become a liability to the mission and health of the institution.'


Harvard students file anti-Semitism lawsuit claiming school is a 'bastion of hatred'

Six Jewish students from Harvard University are suing the school, claiming it has become a 'bastion of antisemitism and hatred' with descriptions of how they have been bullied since the university's president Claudine Gay resigned.

The lawsuit, filed this week in Massachusetts, alleges that President Claudine Gay's congressional comments about campus antisemitism are just the tip of the iceberg of the school's problem.

Gay stepped down on January 2 after sparking fury and threats of a donor boycott with her remarks. By then, she had also been accused of plagiarism.

The school stood by her, refusing to accept that it had an antisemitism problem. In her resignation letter, Gay said she had been the victim of racist threats because she is a black woman.

The lawsuit, filed by student Alexander Kestenbaum and five unnamed others from Students Against Antisemitism, describes how Gay's student supporters bullied them and other Jewish kids after her resignation.

In internal chat rooms, Jewish students were labeled 'pedo loving Zionists', according to the lawsuit.

Some pro-Palestine students said they also supported Hamas' attack and considered it a 'moment of decolonization.'

The students say the issue existed before Hamas' attack on Israel on October 7, but became more 'severe' afterwards.

They are now asking for students who have threatened them to be expelled, and for anti-Israel professors to be fired.

They single out Professor Marshall Glanz who, they claim, told them they could not refer to Israel as a 'democracy' in a class project because it would 'offend other students'.

'Mobs of pro-Hamas students and faculty have marched by the hundreds through Harvard’s campus, shouting vile antisemitic slogans and calling for death to Jews and Israel.

'Those mobs have occupied buildings, classrooms, libraries, student lounges, plazas, and study halls, often for days or weeks at a time, promoting violence against Jews and harassing and assaulting them on campus.

'Jewish students have been attacked on social media, and Harvard faculty members have promulgated antisemitism in their courses and dismissed and intimidated students who object.

'What is most striking about all of this is Harvard’s abject failure and refusal to lift a finger to stop and deter this outrageous antisemitic conduct and penalize the students and faculty who perpetrate it,' their attorneys said in their 79-page complaint.

The university's lawyers have not yet responded to the complaint.

Claudine Gay has been temporarily replaced by Provost Alan Garber. He was among Harvard faculty who supported Gay at the congressional hearing, and nodded as she delivered her remarks.


Make Australian civics education great again

The 2019 National Assessment Program Civics and Citizenship (NAP-CC) results, published in 2021, indicate that only 53 per cent of Year 6 students and 38 per cent of Year 10 students (notably, girls outperformed boys in both year levels) met the benchmark in civics and citizenship education.

This trend is alarming, especially considering Year 10 is the last year civics is taught in schools.

The decline in civic understanding among young Australians underscores the need for education resources that are not only informative but also engaging.

The history of bipartisan efforts in civics education in Australia is noteworthy.

For instance, the Hawke government’s establishment of a parliamentary committee led to the recommendation of incorporating civics and citizenship lessons into history and social science curricula.

Following the 1993 election, Paul Keating initiated the Civics Expert Group to enhance young Australians’ political understanding and engagement.

Subsequently, John Howard introduced the ‘Discovering Democracy’ program in 1997, which extended beyond traditional school settings to higher education and vocational training.

These government measures demonstrate the cross-party commitment to strengthening Australian civic knowledge and participation since the 1980s.

In this context, prime ministerial libraries situated within or affiliated with Australian universities play a pivotal role. Housing rich collections of historical documents and personal letters, these libraries provide tangible connections to the past, making the study of political history more relatable and engaging for young learners.

Such libraries surpass their role as mere archives, functioning as dynamic hubs of education and civic interaction. By hosting exhibitions, conferences, and fostering scholarly publications, the libraries bring historical documents to life, connecting past political decisions to contemporary discussions and learning.

Last month’s 5th anniversary of the official opening of the John Howard Prime Ministerial Library at Old Parliament House underscored the critical role of these institutions in public education.

Other prime ministerial libraries, like the John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library at Curtin University, the Whitlam Institute at the University of Western Sydney, the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre at Adelaide University, and the Robert Menzies Institute at the University of Melbourne, act as gateways to Australia’s recent past.

They are more than repositories; they are vibrant educational platforms. Yet, their full potential in engaging new generations in political history remains largely untapped.

Expanding their reach and impact, particularly in making historical knowledge accessible and engaging to a broader audience – including younger Australians – is crucial.

At the very least, they could provide a wealth of teaching resources with a simple online search.

This expansion requires a holistic approach involving a solid national framework, substantial support from both government and private sources, and strong leadership.

Only with unwavering backing from all parties – including national cultural institutions – can these libraries truly thrive and fulfil their mission.

Despite the longevity of civics education in Australia since Federation, its relegation to the back corner of a classroom is a serious oversight.

Neglecting this fundamental aspect of education raises a real risk of depriving future generations of the skills needed for informed democratic participation.

As emphasised by UK educator and political biographer Sir Anthony Seldon, an understanding and respect for the past are vital for making better decisions and fostering better individuals.

This principle is essential for imparting a comprehensive understanding of Australia’s political heritage and its ongoing relevance to the younger generation.