Thursday, March 07, 2024

Is there hope for Harvard? It matters more than you think

By Carol M. Swain [who is black]

Harvard University squandered its brand as a world-class institution dedicated to hiring the world’s best and brightest.

It’s not a problem we can ignore: Ivy League graduates make or break policy in America.

Just look at the ranks of White House staffers.

The state of our nation’s oldest institution is tied to our nation’s well-being, so we must ask: Is there hope for Harvard?

Many of us who have watched Harvard’s handling of the antisemitism on its campus and the steady string of plagiarism cases among its faculty and administrators blame the social-engineer class that’s elevated diversity, equity and inclusion above academic excellence defined by the pursuit of truth.

The brief and controversial tenure of the university’s recently resigned president, Claudine Gay, serves as proof.

Gay confirmed at Harvard Divinity School’s September convocation what we’d all known or suspected for quite some time: Harvard University had “expanded well beyond” the pursuit of truth to the pursuit of social justice.

The irony is not lost on me, one of the victims of her career-long use of plagiarism to secure the coveted title of “first black president” of the university last summer.

But by December, Gay’s plagiarism was found out.

It was the unspoken rules of the very world the social-engineer class crafted for her that opened her up to the scrutiny prompting her downfall.

It all unraveled quickly following her disastrous congressional testimony.

Rep. Elise Stefanik gave Gay multiple opportunities to offer moral clarity about Harvard’s disciplinary procedures for those harassing Jewish students with chants of “From the river to the sea” or screams of “Intifada,” which is a call for their deaths.

Yet Gay’s dedication to the relativism that social justice demands left her unable or unwilling to state any penalties for threatening Jewish students.

While onlookers were reeling from her shocking testimony, bold reporters gave Gay an embarrassing caveat to her coveted title of “first black president”: Some embraced my “serial plagiarist” phrasing.

No fewer than 47 instances of pilfering other people’s work made her worthy of that description.

Despite Gay’s serious moral failings, Harvard retained her as a faculty member with about the same pay — $900,000.

To cut her loose completely would further embarrass the once-world-class institution: It would be even clearer she was hired in the shortest presidential search in Harvard’s illustrious history with relaxed standards that did not include an examination of her scholarship.

Gay is not Harvard’s only DEI disaster — City Journal’s Chris Rufo identified two other Harvard administrators who plagiarized their dissertations or other scholarly publications: Chief Diversity Officer Sherri Ann Charleston and Office for Gender Equity Title IX Coordinator Shirley Greene.

Unfortunately, these women also happen to be black women.

But Harvard has had plagiarists of other races, and some remain in their positions.

Does the school have any clear standards for enforcing its own prohibitions against plagiarism?

When Gay stepped down, the university issued a puzzling statement that mocked academic integrity and contradicted its motto: “First and foremost, we thank President Gay for her deep and unwavering commitment to Harvard and to the pursuit of academic excellence.”

Harvard’s motto is “Veritas,” Latin for “Truth.” Certainly, there was no truth in Harvard’s statement and its subsequent decision to describe Gay’s actions as merely “duplicative language.”

That’s entered the lexicon as an excusable offense less egregious than old-fashioned plagiarism.

To add insult to injury, both Harvard and Gay blamed racism and right-wing extremists for her transgressions.

Gay made seven corrections to three of her published works, per the latest reporting.

That still leaves 40 instances of duplicative language that haven’t been touched, including her pilfering of my ideas in her dissertation and early work on black representation in Congress.

Harvard’s brand suffers because Gay and other plagiarists remain on the faculty instructing students and interacting with the campus community.

What will it be like to take Gay’s African American Studies courses?

Can she teach her students anything about academic integrity and standards that will help prepare them for the positions of power Harvard graduates have historically enjoyed?

No, I am afraid the students will be fed the standard fare of black victimization and systemic racism.

High-achieving black and Hispanic students will suffer the most, at first, from the lowered academic standards and social engineering at the root of Harvard’s decline.

Then all the rest of us will suffer, more than we have already, unless Harvard and other Ivy League institutions correct course.\


Manhattan College cuts spark protest against president: ‘He even fired the nuns’

Riverdale’s beloved private Catholic liberal arts university is facing drastic cuts to its staff and course offerings amid on-going financial struggles. Last June, Milo Riverso, a former CEO of an engineering and construction management firm, was appointed president. In the months since, he’s laid off 63 faculty members — nearly 25% of the staff. The most recent round of brutal staffing cuts, which occurred in January, included two nuns, Sr. Remigia Kushner, 82, and Sr. Mary Ann Jacobs, 69.

“If you are committed to the Catholic mission, why would you fire two of its most important guardians?” asked Maeve Adams, 46, an English professor who has been teaching at the school for more than a decade.

“Sr. Remigia Kushner, was on every committee — she’s 82. It was totally shocking to her. Marlene Gottlieb, a Spanish professor and former chair of the languages department who was also laid off in January, told The Post. “She was a fixture at the college. She did all the graduate work for the educational program.”

The small college, which has 3,495 students, most of them undergrad, counts former New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly and novelist James Patterson among its alumni. Patterson has been a vocal and active supporter of its liberal arts program, but some of of the cuts have been particularly devastating to those offerings.

In November, it was announced that the college’s six schools – Engineering, Business, Education, Liberal Arts, Health Professions, and Continuing and Professional Studies – would be merged into three to cut costs. Under the new restructuring, Education, Liberal Arts and Health Profession will now be grouped together as the Science and Liberal Arts school. Even more drastic, in January the school nixed 20 majors and minors including religious studies and French, Italian, Arabic, Chinese and Japanese languages — without consulting any faculty chairs or curriculum committees.


Wesleyan University Faces Federal Investigation Over Anti-Semitism Complaint

The Department of Education opened an investigation into Illinois Wesleyan University over its response to anti-Semitism on campus since the Israel-Hamas war began on October 7, 2023.

The complaint, filed by Campus Reform Editor-in-Chief Dr. Zachary Marschall, accuses the university of not responding to anti-Semitism on campus.

An investigation by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights was opened on Tuesday into Illinois Wesleyan University.

The complaint cites Campus Reform coverage of a “Free Palestine” display at Illinois Wesleyan University which justified Hamas “rockets” and compared Israel to a “rapist.”

Pictures of the display obtained by Campus Reform contain a sign which states: “BLAMING HAMAS FOR FIRING ROCKTS IS LIKE BLAMING A WOMAN FOR PUNCHING HER RAPIST.”

Illinois Wesleyan University didn’t appear to initially comment on the display.

Weeks after the October 7, 2023 attack, students at the university protested at Illinois Wesleyan University’s campus, making chants of “Free, free Palestine” and “From the river to the sea,” according to The Pantagraph.




Wednesday, March 06, 2024

Why grants to students primarily benefit colleges

Econ 101 instructors take note—a new illustration of the important microeconomic concept of incidence just dropped. Economists emphasize that there is a world of difference between legal and economic incidence. Legal incidence specifies who, on paper, has the right to claim a benefit or the obligation to bear a liability. Economic incidence analyzes which party receives a benefit or bears a cost in actuality. Who gets to command more or fewer resources?

Here’s how Art Carden and I discuss the incidence of a subsidy in a forthcoming book manuscript:

Subsidies follow the same logic. Whether the subsidy lands on the buyers or sellers is irrelevant. It sticks to whoever is the less price-sensitive side. Subsidies to corn consumers, for instance, often end up in corn growers’ pockets because they raise corn demand. Food stamps raise demand for approved foods: browsing for foods people can buy with funds from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), we find Corn Flakes, Corn Chex, Corn Nuts, Corn Pops, corn chips, corn tortillas, cornmeal cornbread mix, corn salsa, canned corn, creamed corn, and popcorn, plus all sorts of other corn derivatives like corn syrup-sweetened soft drinks and candy corn (first ingredient: sugar. Second ingredient: corn syrup). The loud part of the food stamp program is that it helps poor people buy food. The quiet part is that it passes the taxpayers’ money to corn farmers through the pockets of the poor. It’s no accident that the Department of Agriculture administers SNAP while Congress funds it through the Farm Bill.

Economic incidence was also unintentionally illustrated via a recent Time article on the fortieth anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Grove City College v. Bell. Grove City, my alma mater and employer, had long sought complete independence from government entanglement with higher education. When Title IX was passed, as Time puts it, “complications arose.”

The Time article reads, “On four occasions between 1976 and 1977, Grove City College refused to sign an Assurance of Compliance form needed for students to receive Basic Educational Opportunity Grants (BEOGs) and Guaranteed Student Loans (GSLs). It contended that students received federal aid, not the college.”

The government responded by saying the quiet part out loud: Legal incidence is not synonymous with economic incidence.

The Time article continues, “The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW, later ED), argued that the college was the ultimate beneficiary of the federal funds and needed to sign the compliance for students to receive those fund as of 1977.”

In other words, the federal government admitted what economic analysis already knew: Student loans are “ultimately” a handout to colleges and universities. More concretely, the loans increase the incomes of college administrators, faculty, and other employees.

Yes, subsidies pass through the “pockets” (legal incidence) of students, but they end up in the “bank accounts” (economic incidence) of schools. Put another way, student loans increase the demand for higher education, ultimately increasing its sticker price.

In the long run, once the dust has settled, some students pay more, some pay less, resources flow to higher ed (what’s the opportunity cost?), taxpayers’ wealth falls, and society overall is poorer. A benefit to some (e.g., higher ed employees) is not a benefit to all—and in this case it’s not even necessarily a boon to students themselves.


Rhode Island School District Sends 8,800 Pages of Emails to Leftist hate site

When concerned mom Nicole Solas requested all emails from her Rhode Island school district to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the request turned up more than 8,000 pages of communications, and the district told her it would cost $6,629.25 for it to process the SPLC documents.

A brief refresher: The SPLC began as a civil rights nonprofit, but has morphed into a far-left fundraising machine and smear factory. As I wrote in my book, “Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center,” it weaponized its history of suing KKK groups into bankruptcy to smear its political and ideological opponents, placing mainstream conservative and Christian groups on a “hate map” alongside Klan chapters.

Solas, a Rhode Island mother, had briefly enrolled her daughter in kindergarten in the South Kingstown School District. She withdrew her daughter after the school district sued her on account of Solas’ multiple public records requests to reveal whether the district taught kids the principles of critical race theory, a lens that teaches kids to view white people as oppressors and black people as oppressed.

Solas told The Daily Signal that she requested “emails sent by [South Kingstown School District] employees” to “weed out spam emails automatically sent by SPLC to schools.”

The SPLC runs an education program long known as “Teaching Tolerance.” In 2021, after the George Floyd riots in Minneapolis, the SPLC apparently decided that “tolerance” wasn’t woke enough, so it rebranded the program to “Learning for Justice.” The program has advocated for lessons that inculcate critical race theory, transgender identity, and pornographic books in schools. Last year, the SPLC added parental rights groups, including Moms for Liberty, to its “hate map,” in part demonizing those groups for opposing sexually explicit books in school libraries.

The SPLC has bragged that it sent “over 400,000 educators” the “Teaching Tolerance” magazine, “reaching nearly every school in the country.” This language disappeared from the website, however, as more Americans look critically at the SPLC.

The SPLC hides its radical agenda behind benign-sounding initiatives such as celebrating diversity and inclusion. Many on the Left have adopted its rhetoric.

The SPLC’s “hate map” has caused real-world harm. In 2012, a terrorist targeted the Family Research Council for a mass shooting using the “hate map.” He told the FBI he aimed to kill everyone in the building, but the building manager prevented the slaughter, in the process sustaining bullet wounds. The shooter pleaded guilty to terrorism charges and is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence.

Early in the 2000s, the SPLC began branding some activist groups that opposed illegal immigration “anti-immigrant hate groups” and putting them on the “hate map.” The SPLC maintains that hatred drives the movement calling for the enforcement of immigration laws, even as the Biden administration sets new records for the number of illegal aliens encountered at the southern border.

In the past two weeks, the SPLC has demonized Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, for attempting to close the border when the Biden administration refuses to do so. Abbott is attempting to enforce federal laws that President Joe Biden will not enforce, yet the SPLC claims Abbott is seeking to establish “state supremacy over the border.”

The SPLC noted Abbott’s attempts to install razor wire between Shelby Park in Eagle Pass, Texas, and the southern border, the Biden administration’s decision to cut the wire, and the Supreme Court ruling allowing the Biden administration access.

“This is part of Abbott’s broader anti-immigrant agenda, which includes an attempt to stop a supposed ‘invasion’ of Texas by migrants,” SPLC’s Caleb Kieffer and Rachel Goldwasser wrote. “Claims of ‘invasion’ have become a trope among right-wing lawmakers and the hard right despite dangerous similarities to the racist ‘great replacement’ conspiracy theory.”

The SPLC did not acknowledge that border agents encountered a record 3.2 million illegal aliens in fiscal year 2023 (a number larger than the combined populations of Hawaii, Alaska, and Vermont), nor that Democratic mayors are requesting help to deal with the large numbers of aliens in the country. This isn’t a “great replacement conspiracy theory”; it is a blatantly obvious fact that millions of illegal aliens are taking root in the U.S., and the SPLC’s move to dismiss critics as racist in the face of that fact should set off alarm bells across America.

The SPLC also demonized the effort to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for failing to enforce immigration law and prevent mass hordes of aliens from entering the country. In an article focused on a militia group’s efforts to take border enforcement into its own hands, Goldwasser claims the militia’s action represents “a product of the anti-immigrant environment produced by the xenophobic posturing of hate groups and politicians, and the controversial impeachment of Alejandro Mayorkas, the first Latinx and immigrant to lead the Department of Homeland Security.”

Goldwasser suggested that Mayorkas faces an impeachment effort not because he has failed to enforce immigration law and prevent the border crisis, but because he is the first Latino to head the Department of Homeland Security. She used “Latinx,” a transgender neologism, in order to avoid the clear masculine ending in Spanish for “Latino.”

The SPLC did not reserve all its vitriol for Republicans, however. Kieffer and Goldwasser noted that Biden has supported a Senate bill that included minor border security measures and changes to the asylum process in exchange for funding to Ukraine in its defense against Russia’s invasion.

“The bill worried immigration advocates, who viewed it as being extremely harsh and out of step for the needs of border communities,” they wrote. “The Senate relief package debacle shows the same anti-immigrant animus undergirding impeachment of Mayorkas and the standoff in Eagle Pass.”

It seems the SPLC’s partisan attacks against pro-enforcement groups have so unmoored the organization from reality that it is unwilling to accept the blatantly obvious truth. Recent polls have showed former President Donald Trump, who currently leads in the Republican presidential nominating proces, ahead of Biden in key swing states. Americans give Biden poor marks on the border, which helps explain the president’s belated support for some immigration restrictions. Biden knows he has to make up ground on this issue, and he’s furiously working to make it seem like the border crisis is Republicans’ fault.

Yet the SPLC hasn’t gotten the memo. It’s so focused on branding as “hateful” anyone who dares to speak the plain truth about the border crisis that it turns against Biden, the very president the SPLC brags about influencing and with whom SPLC leaders have met at least six times personally.

The SPLC’s radical agenda of critical race theory, transgender lessons, and apparent hatred for the very idea of national borders has no place in America’s classrooms. Solas is right to demand answers from her Rhode Island school district, and parents across the country should be on the lookout for the SPLC’s influence in schools.


"Accord" proposals won’t do anything to fix Australia's universities


Through the years I have become something of a dab hand at reading government reports. They are almost always far too long, badly argued and littered with carefully chosen photographs. I figure I can save my readers the trouble of wading through these tomes by simply cutting to the chase.

The final report of the Australian Universities Accord, at around 400 pages, is dubious and unhelpful. It is built on a highly unconvincing premise and works its way from there. On the basis of a bit of arm-waving by a consultant and asking around, the panel concludes the tertiary education attainment rate must rise from its current figure of about 60 per cent to at least 80 per cent of the workforce by 2050. For those aged 25 to 34, the proportion with a univer­sity education must rise from 45 per cent to 55 per cent by 2050.

Let’s face it, other guesses are equally plausible. After all, artificial intelligence is about to cut a swath through the workforce, meaning many university-educated workers may be out of jobs as machines replace their roles. And just in case you think it’s simply those who undertake repetitive, low-level jobs who are in the firing line, it seems AI can be highly creative and solve problems, to boot.

There is also the important issue of credentialism. It’s not as though jobs always require a university education – or indeed completion of school. But university education creates its own momentum by giving a head start to other applicants without qualifications. It doesn’t actually add to productivity, it simply alters the pecking order. To the extent that this is the case, the government – aka taxpayer – shouldn’t be investing even more in university education, particularly certain courses.

The accord makes much of the lack of equity in the admission to universities. Those from poor socio-economic backgrounds, those from regional areas and First Nations students are much less likely to go to university, let alone complete a course, relative to their better-off city-based cousins. Reflecting the backstory of federal Education Minister Jason Clare, who was the first in his family to attend university, the panel makes several suggestions to “expand opportunity to all”.

But here’s the rub: many students simply are not suited to university study and it is selling them a pup to suggest university is the best post-school pathway for them. I once taught economic statistics to university students with low entry scores – it was a nightmare. Most of them struggled, many lost self-confidence and a reasonable chunk failed. My advice to many of them was to consider alternative opportun­ities, such as becoming a tradie.

We have had a recent experiment with allowing universities to enrol any student they deem to have the necessary qualifications – the so-called demand-driven system of enrolments. Of course, “necessary qualifications” is a rubbery concept and allowing self-serving universities to set the entry standards is really akin to handing the keys to the chook house to the fox.

It is clear what happened when the demand-driven system was in full flight: the participation in higher education of marginal groups increased but the rate at which they completed courses was significantly below those with higher marks. According to higher education expert Andrew Norton, “students with ATARs (year 12 ranking) below 60 are twice as likely to drop out of university as students with ATARs over 90”. He estimates that those who fail to complete a university course are, on average, stuck with a debt of $12,000 to pay off.

Working backwards from the accord’s arbitrary targets, students with an ATAR as low as 45 will now be expected to go to university. And this in the context of sliding school performance across the past two decades.

Rather than accept that most of these students simply are not suited to university study, the panel wants additional funding, foundation courses, study hubs and the like. On the face of it, this just looks like a waste of resources given there will be plenty of jobs in the future that don’t require a university education.

Is someone with a bachelor of arts in cultural studies really more qualified than a plumber?

The one recommendation of the report that gave me a good laugh deals with the establishment of a higher education future fund. At this rate we’ll have future funds for everything. The source of funds will be a tax on our best universities – probably the Group of Eight – with the federal government matching their contributions. It’s a bit like how the Australian Football League operates: penalise the top teams to level out the competition. It’s really a form of socialism.

While this might make some sense for a football code, it makes no sense for a university system that should be focused on attaining global excellence. Why would we want to tax the best universities to spray money around with unknown outcomes? If I were heading up one of the Go8 universities I would be objecting in the strongest and loudest terms.

As is the case with most government reports, there are suggestions for more reviews and new bureaucratic agencies. There should be a centre of excellence in higher education and research (refer to previous paragraph); a survey on the prevalence of racism in higher education; and a First Nations-led review of higher education.

The most significant is the proposal to establish an Australian tertiary education commission, “a statutory, national body to plan and oversee the creation of a high quality and cohesive tertiary education system to meet Australia’s future needs”. You will be pleased to know one of the functions will be to negotiate “mission-based compacts for universities”, whatever that means.

The reality is we have had such agencies in the past and they haven’t worked well. Where does the minister sit in all this, let alone the federal Department of Education? The appointed commissioners often get ahead of themselves and the outcomes are often extremely disappointing.

Don’t get me wrong here: I think there is plenty wrong with the Australian university system.

Many of our universities are too big; they are clones of each other but of highly variable quality; and many offer a very poor offering to domestic students. The links with vocational education are patchy at best.

But the 400-page accord report is not the path to fixing these problems: indeed, most of the recommendations would make them worse and cost the taxpayer a small fortune. Obviously, the notion of opportunity cost has not been front of mind to the panel. The government would be ill-advised to spend even more money on a bloated, poorly performing sector based on made-up targets.




Tuesday, March 05, 2024

Antisemitic teens terrorizing Jewish teacher with Hitler jabs, death threats as NYC school refuses to discipline them

Mainly Muslim students at work, it seems. Islam is a religion of hate

A Brooklyn high school has become a haven for Hitler-loving hooligans who terrorize Jewish teachers and classmates, The Post has learned.

On Oct. 26, just three weeks after the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre of 1,200 Israelis, 40 to 50 teens marched through Origins HS in Sheepshead Bay waving a Palestinian flag and chanting “Death to Israel!” and “Kill the Jews!” staffers said.

The hateful procession was shocking even for Origins, a school rife with bias and bullying, insiders told The Post.

“I live in fear of going to work every day,” said global history teacher Danielle Kaminsky.

According to interviews with multiple staffers, and a Jewish student’s safety transfer request, recent hate incidents include:

A student painted a mustache on his face to look like Hitler, and banged on classroom doors. When someone opened, he clicked his heels and raised his arm in the Nazi gesture, security footage shows.

Three swastikas in one week were drawn on teachers’ walls and other objects, a manager found.

A 10th-grader told Kaminsky, 33, who is Jewish, “I wish you were killed.”

Another student called her “a dirty Jew” and said he wished Hitler could have “hit more Jews,” including her.

Students pasted drawings of the Palestinian flag and notes saying “Free Palestine” on Kaminsky’s classroom door. One scribbled note that said simply, “Die.”

The teen tormentors have so far faced no serious discipline under interim acting principal Dara Kammerman, who has done little beyond contacting parents in an effort to practice “restorative justice,” staffers said.

“She is perpetuating an antisemitic environment and a school of hate,” said Michael Beaudry, campus manager of the Sheepshead Bay building that houses Origins and three other schools. “The students continue these behaviors because they know there won’t be any consequences.”

In response, the city Department of Education said it will launch a probe: “There is currently no evidence that these claims are true, but we are investigating the claims.”

Teachers allege that interim principal Dara Kammerman perpetuates antisemitism by not disciplining students.
In a disturbing instance in late January, a group of boys came into Kaminsky’s classroom at the end of the day, and cornered her, laughing, she said.

“Miss Kaminsky, do you love Hitler?” one asked.

“I was so taken aback,” she said. “I did not respond, and they all gave the heil Hitler sign.”

Frightened, Kaminsky quickly left her classroom.

One boy waved to his friends to chase her inside the building, a scene captured on security footage, Beaudry said.

Kaminsky immediately reported the harassment to the acting principal — who refused to suspend the boys because she found they did nothing wrong, records show.

“We can’t do anything because the students claimed they were trying to have an ‘academic conversation,’” staffers quoted her as explaining.

Antisemitism at Origins HS has festered for several years, Kaminsky and Beaudry said.

At Kaminsky’s request last March, Kammerman arranged for a group of students to visit the Museum of Jewish Heritage, which had a new program to educate students about antisemitism and the Holocaust.

The museum, in Battery Park City, first sent two female interns to Origins to prepare the teens for what they would see.

Several boys nearly brought the young women to tears with rude and appalling comments, according to emails with the museum and staff accounts.

One student wrote “die” on Kaminsky’s classroom door.
One teen said he would have sex with a dead Jewish woman.

Another said he would “take money from the dead Jewish people’s corpses.”

Others made derisive remarks like “Who cares about the Jews?”

The museum canceled the visit.

When another group of Origins kids went later that year, some stuffed trash in the donation box.

The museum omitted a meeting with a Holocaust survivor because some kids were so disrespectful.

About 40% of Origins students are Muslim. DOE stats list 22% as Asian, 22% Black, 17% Hispanic and 32% white.

The school has many students in families from Middle Eastern nations such as Yemen, Egypt, and Palestine who identify as white, along with those from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in Central Asia.

Several Jewish students bullied because of their religion have fled Origins since last year. In that time, the school’s enrollment of 508 has plummeted to 445.

Currently, no more than a dozen Jewish kids attend Origins, staffers say.

In one case, a Jewish sophomore found three swastikas scribbled on his laptop charger when he returned from the restroom, he wrote in a safety transfer request obtained by The Post.

“I feel like in history class I’m always targeted and it’s hard for me to take,” the student wrote,

He also said he heard that a classmate called Hitler “the G.O.A.T.”

Kaminsky, who joined Origins in 2017 after working four years in Long Island, has experienced antisemitism only at the DOE school, she said.

Kaminsky is pro-Israel, but aims for neutrality in lessons and at cultural events, she said: “As history teachers, we know how to discuss controversial and sensitive topics while looking at all points of view, and encouraging kids to become critical thinkers.”

It’s widely known among students that Kaminsky is Jewish, though she doesn’t make a point of it, she said.

Her students routinely draw swastikas next to their names on classwork, engrave the Nazi symbol on their desks, and scribble them on bulletin boards, she said.

An Israeli flag – one of nearly 200 from countries around the world that Kaminsky hangs in her classroom – was ripped down in the spring of 2021. A group of girls told her it was taken across the street and burned.

“I’ve been yelled at, followed, taunted,” Kaminsky said. “I report everything to the principal. I’ve been to a school safety committee. I’ve told my union, the UFT. I’ve told my superintendent,” Brooklyn South high schools chief Michael Prayor.

They’ve offered little help. “Nothing has made me feel safe going to school,” she said.


Brooklyn Catholic school teacher accused of locking terrified 3-year-old in closet and warning ‘Grinch’ was coming for him

A Brooklyn Catholic school teacher allegedly put a 3-year-old student in a cardboard box inside a locked closet, and threatened the terrified child that the “Grinch” was coming for him, The Post has learned.

Alexis Breeden, the lead 3-K teacher at St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Academy in Windsor Terrace, was arrested on Feb. 28 and charged with unlawful imprisonment and endangering the welfare of a child, four weeks after allegedly imposing the twisted timeout, according to a criminal complaint.

“Simply put, there are no imaginable circumstances where this can be called anything but child abuse,” said John Elefterakis of Elefterakis, Elefterakis & Panek, which is working with the family of the child, who have requested anonymity.

“This incident is extremely troubling, and we intend to fully investigate and force accountability,” Elefterakis said.

On Feb. 2, the school nurse witnessed Breeden holding the handle of the storage closet door shut as a child cried inside, according to a complaint filed with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office.

The nurse told Breeden to open the door and when Breeden unlocked it, the nurse observed “a 3-year-old child crying inside the closet in a large cardboard box,” the complaint stated.

The nurse reported the disturbing discovery and the K-3 program was immediately shut down as the city Health Department and NYPD began probes of child-abuse allegations.

The tax-payer-funded, city-run Universal 3-K program, which is located on Prospect Park West behind Holy Name of Jesus Church, reopened Tuesday.

Breeden, of Castleton Corners, Staten Island, was fired soon after the incident. She was charged with unlawful imprisonment and endangering the welfare of a child, according to the district attorney’s office. She pled not guilty and was released on her own recognizance, according to court records.

The Brooklyn diocese says it “took immediate action upon learning of a safe environment code of conduct violation,” according to the Catholic newspaper The Tablet.

“The child did not sustain any injuries and out of respect for the student, we will not provide any additional details about this incident,” a diocesan statement said.

The $6,600-a-year-tuition Catholic school serves about 280 students.

The shocking incident was allegedly not the only case of alleged bullying toward children at the school, which touts its nurturing parochial environment, according to Elefterakis.

“Unfortunately, our initial inquiry has revealed that this is not the first instance at this school where helpless children were subject to abusive behavior,” he said.

Parents bashed the school in online reviews for a pervasive “culture of bullying” among students and staff, teachers that make kids cry and a harsh “disciplinarian” principal, Stephanie Ann Germann.

Parents tell The Post that there have been concerns about Breeden since she started in 2020.

“It’s just outrageous and unacceptable that this could have happened in the first place,” said one parent, who pulled her son from the school last year over safety concerns. “The principal has been warned about this teacher’s behavior for years now.”

“We’ve had concerns since the beginning of the year,” another parent told The Post. “All the kids in her class started acting differently. They weren’t their usual 3-year-old selves anymore.”

Her 3-year-old is now on a waiting list for another school.

Another class parent said the scenario since February has been “horrific” and will have “lasting psychological consequences.” “It goes beyond one bad apple,” she wrote in a parent Facebook group.

“The school has completely ignored the parents in the affected class,” she added.


Incorrectness of ham sandwiches in Australian schools

How ridiculous can you get?

With one in four Australian children classified as overweight or obese and an Australian state limiting the amount of ham sold in schools, what's on offer at the tuckshop is again in the spotlight.

What is sold in state school tuckshops or canteens is governed, or at least guided, by policies set out by state and territory government departments.

Queensland's is called Smart Choices and is run by the state's education department.

In New South Wales it's the Healthy School Canteen Strategy run by NSW Health and South Australia employs the Right Bite Food and Drink Supply Standards developed by its department for education.

What's central to them all is a "traffic light" system that classifies foods and drinks into green, amber and red categories.

According to most policies, red items like pies, pizzas and pastries should only be supplied twice per school term.

Amber items like burgers, muffins and lasagne shouldn't dominate menus, and green items like fresh fruit, vegetables and reduced fat dairy products should make up most items available.

Debate about healthy eating at school often flares up in term 1, but this year it's been helped along by Western Australia's review of its traffic light system which has resulted in ham being shifted into a new red category.

The Queensland Association of School Tuckshops (QAST) said it's time the Sunshine State's policy, which was written in 2007 and updated in 2016 and 2020, was also reviewed.

Ms Wooden said a QAST audit in 2022 examined the menus of more than 250 school tuckshops and found none were fully compliant with Queensland's traffic light system.

"At the moment, we know that the policy is not being implemented the way it should be [and] there's no incentive or mechanism to make sure that it is."

Principle nutritionist with Health and Wellbeing Queensland Matthew Dick said Western Australia's new rules on ham at school tuckshops were in line with expert advice.

"They want to limit it to two times per week, which is exactly the same message we as nutritionists are giving," Mr Dick said.

"Don't rely on ham all the time. It's okay as an occasional filling in your sandwiches but relying on processed foods like ham, bacon and sausages can start to become a problem."

Mr Dick said ham and processed meats were often high in fats, salt and additives and are considered carcinogens by the World Health Organisation.

"Long-term consumption of processed foods can contribute to cancers in people and that's one of the real concerns with them."




Monday, March 04, 2024

Yale University Employs Nearly One Administrator Per Undergrad

Yale University employs more than three administrators and support staff for every four undergraduate students – roughly one administrator per undergrad, according to a College Fix analysis.

Over the last decade, Yale added 631 administrators and support staff to its payroll, according to data provided by administrators to the federal Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.

As the university embraced new DEI efforts, the number of administrators and support staff increased by 13 percent, from 4,942 to 5,573, between 2013-14 and 2021-22, the analysis found.

During this period, the number of full-time undergraduates at Yale increased by about 20 percent, from 5,424 to 6,532. Meanwhile, the number of teaching and instructional positions compared to students decreased by about 6 percent, from 403 per 1,000 to 379 educators per 1,000.

Under the analysis, administrators and support staff include management, student and academic affairs divisions, IT, public relations, administrative support, maintenance, and legal and other non-academic departments.

The growth of administrators and support staff at Yale can be linked in some part to its efforts to grow DEI on campus. Yale’s DEI diversity initiative included a hiring program that aimed to diversify the campus by creating faculty search committees and hosting implicit bias workshops.

“The percentage of Yale managers and professionals from historically underrepresented minority groups has more than doubled in the past decade,” President Peter Salovey wrote to the campus community in October 2020.

But Salovey pledged to do more, and the campus continued to grow DEI efforts after the university pledged $135 million for a diversity initiative in 2020 and moved forward with implementing DEI offices in schools across the campus in 2022.

For example, in 2021, the Yale Child Study Center created a chief diversity officer position. In 2022, the Yale School of Art created a new position: Director of Sustainable Equity and Inclusion. In 2023, Yale’s Cancer Center hired a DEI director to increase efforts to hire faculty of color.

Yale’s Interim Vice President for Communications Karen Peart did not respond to emails from The Fix over the last two months asking how many new administrators and support staff the university hired to support its DEI initiatives.

The Fix found 94 named DEI officials across 10 of Yale’s 19 schools. Numbers varied widely, with only one DEI official reported at the School of Architecture but 45 DEI officials at the School of Medicine’s Diversity Advisory Council.

Yale employs one DEI official in its public health school, three in its music school, three in its environment school, four in its nursing school, four in its divinity school, and 11 in its drama school. Yale also employed five university-wide DEI officials and 17 at its undergraduate school.

The Diversity Advisory Council has five vice chairs for DEI as well as a director of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion; an associate dean for gender equity and deputy chair for DEI; an associate dean for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging; a faculty director of workforce development and diversity; three directors of DEI; a vice chief for DEI; a chief diversity officer; and a departmental director for DEI.

The remaining members of the Diversity Advisory Council have no DEI-specific titles but help the council in its mission of “disseminating DEI-related best practices . . . and enabling department chairs to implement the YSM Diversity Strategic Plan.”

Asked for comment on Yale’s DEI hiring, conservative scholar Heather Mac Donald* said that adding more bureaucrats, diversity or otherwise, will not solve a non-existent racism problem at the school, but it will drive up its “already exorbitant” tuition.

“Faculty bias does not stand in the way of greater black and Hispanic representation among the Yale professoriate,” she said via email. “The dearth of qualified minorities in the hiring pipeline is the problem, whether in STEM or in the hard social sciences.”

“Every college in the country is desperately chasing the same small pool of competitively qualified black and Hispanic Ph.D.’s,” she said. “There is an arms race in salary offers; part of Yale’s latest gargantuan diversity allocation will go to outbidding other schools for the same inadequate supply of satisfactorily diverse faculty faces. This is a grotesque waste of money.”

But, she added, the growth of DEI bureaucrats is not the only problem.

“Conservative critics of higher education risk overstating the importance of official DEI bureaucrats in creating today’s left-wing campus orthodoxies. The faculty, curriculum, and the students themselves are equally to blame,” she said.

“A university’s mission is not to fight alleged racism or other claimed social ills; it is to pass on a cultural inheritance and to create new knowledge through the rigorous testing of hypotheses and evidence,” she said. “Such testing can occur only in an environment of epistemological openness, not in one of ideological conformity. Yes, DEI bureaucrats can enforce such conformity, but so can other actors within a university.”


The Battle To Eliminate DEI in Higher Education Has Just Begun

Proponents of the diversity-equity-and-inclusion ideology may be down, but they’re not out.

Yes, the Supreme Court has forced the practices of race-based college admissions underground. Yes, some state legislatures, most notably Wisconsin, have tied universities’ access to public funding to reductions in DEI staffing. Yes, some wealthy alumni have curbed their giving. And yes, three of DEI’s avatars—the presidents of Harvard, Penn, and MIT—performed so badly at a Congressional hearing about campus antisemitism that two lost their jobs and the third is under a microscope.

But no one should be naïve enough to think that the defeat of DEI in our universities is somehow imminent or inevitable. In fact, in the wake of the developments listed above, many schools have doubled down on DEI.

The University of Michigan, for example, just launched a new DEI program that increases the number of DEI employees from 142 to 500 and increases DEI payroll from $18 million to $30 million. Princeton University, meanwhile, issued a report celebrating the expansion of its DEI programs, grants, lecture series, and administrative positions.

But even if these programs are cut, DEI will still be strong on campuses because DEI bureaucracies are no longer necessary for its propagation.

All that’s necessary is that a critical mass of professors and administrators adhere to it. And they do. More than that, this critical mass uses all sorts of tactics to retain control and silence dissenting voices.

At many schools, the whole process of hiring is soaked through with DEI.

For example, Suffolk University is looking for a professor of Civil Rights at “the intersection of law and race, gender, and sexual orientation” and asks candidates to explain how they’d advance the school’s “commitment to diversity and inclusion through their teaching, scholarship or service.”

Syracuse is looking for a director of “academic & bar success,” whose emphasis is on cultivating “Diversity and Inclusive Excellence” within a school that affirms that “diversity [is] a core value not just in vision but in practice.”

UCLA Law is looking for professors whose prior experience “supports equality and diversity” and includes “significant experience mentoring underrepresented students.” And of course, the school wants an official “statement of contributions to diversity.”

At NYU Law, the Center for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging, seeks a scholar whose entire job is to “lead a new Defending DEI Initiative.” One of the qualifications is a commitment to the “core values” of DEI.

And the University of Washington, in a throwback to the old days of explicit race hatred, refused to hire the #1 and #2 ranked candidates for a professor of psychology for no other reason than that they were white and Asian, respectively.

Diversity statements, ideological screening, and plain racial discrimination are the bluntest instruments in schools’ arsenals. They have more delicate ones, too, like “citational justice.”

Citational justice is the practice of citing the works of scholars simply because the scholar checks an identity box and refusing to cite the works of scholars with “problematic” ideas.

Academia uses citations as a proxy for quality of scholarship, which affects promotion and tenure decisions. A non-white scholar might produce something totally unoriginal (Claudine Gay, for example), but if her work is widely cited, she’s likely to get promoted anyway. But a scholar who produces high quality work that undercuts liberal narratives can be denied promotion if liberal scholars refuse to cite her work.

DEI adherents have ways of dealing with the few heterodox faculty members who snuck through the diversity traps and won’t remain dutifully silent.

Consider David Porter and his employer North Carolina State University. Porter, a tenured statistics professor, raised concerns over his department’s use of DEI-based criteria in course evaluations and faculty hiring. He also criticized his discipline’s drift towards a social-justice agenda. Porter’s colleagues did not defend their decisions; perhaps they assumed the value was self-evident and beyond criticism. Instead, they resorted to administrative sanctions.

Administrators recharacterized Porter’s criticisms in human-resources verbiage: his words were bullying, violations of collegial norms, a cause of discomfort to a small but always vocal subset of students. The department head demonstrated her own collegiality by removing Porter from his academic program, restricting him from advising PhD candidates, and setting him firmly on the descent towards professional irrelevance.

Porter sought help from the courts, and four different federal judges heard his case. Only one thought Porter had viable First Amendment claims against the state university.

Although the Supreme Court has rejected racialized university admissions, legal redress remains elusive for DEI’s victims in the faculty ranks. The result is that the few dissenters who slip past DEI’s gatekeepers are forced into silence.

There are plenty more examples of this.

Although some progress has been made against DEI on campuses, it’s only a beginning. All who oversee schools, including legislators, should continue efforts to defund DEI bureaucracies, but as long as faculty and administrators overwhelmingly support DEI, they will enforce its orthodoxies even without vast bureaucratic apparatuses.

The fight against DEI on campus must expand to replace closed-minded commissars with open-minded educators committed to teaching and training successive generations to bravely pursue the truth.


Sydney University abandons maths prerequisites in diversity push

I think this is a step in the right direction. I was always bad at maths at school but became a capable computer programmer using a demanding language called FORTRAN, which literally means "formula translation". A line of FORTRAN code looks very much like a line of algebra. And I did write programs requiring up to 5-dimensional matrices.

So I was good at something maths-related that would normally have required a maths prerequisite. But I would have been blocked by such a prerequisite these days. Prerequisites are simply too rigid to account for varying patterns of abiity in students

The University of Sydney is ditching the advanced mathematics prerequisites for scores of degrees in response to the declining number of HSC students taking the subject.

Vice chancellor Mark Scott said maths teacher shortages meant too many students could not study the subject in year 12, providing a barrier for diverse students to study at the university.

“Mathematical skills and knowledge are vital for students to succeed at university and thrive in the workplaces of the future,” he said.

“Yet through no fault of their own, many students don’t have the opportunity to take advanced mathematics at school, a situation exacerbated by ongoing maths teacher shortages that affect some schools more than others.”

The prerequisite change, to begin next year, is a reversal of much of the changes brought into effect in 2019 that introduced two unit maths prerequisites for 62 degrees.

That was supposed to address falling enrolments in maths and lift academic standards at the university.

However, the latest data from the NSW Education Standards Authority shows there were almost 10 per cent fewer students taking advanced maths in 2023 compared to 2018.

Scott, a former NSW Education secretary, said the university would provide “bespoke mathematics support” which would include tailored assistance and advice, preparatory workshops and bridging courses to catch students up.

The change will mean degrees including commerce, science, medicine, psychology, veterinary science and economics will no longer require students to have undertaken advanced maths in year 12.

Degrees in engineering, advanced computing and pharmacy will retain the mathematics prerequisite.

From next year, year 12 students who achieve a Band 3 or higher in advanced mathematics will also be eligible to receive an additional point towards their selection rank under the university’s Academic Excellence Scheme.

University of Canberra University associate professor Philip Roberts, a rural education specialist, said a lack of access to advanced mathematics was a huge issue, particularly in regional and low SES areas.

“Our research shows that schools which have larger numbers of low SES students are not studying advanced maths at the same rate as schools which have higher SES students,” he said.

He said teacher shortages were making the issue worse, but that it was also driven by a perception by students they would score better in general maths.

Roberts said even when universities did not have calculus-based mathematics prerequisites, students who did not take HSC advanced maths were still behind their peers who had once they started their degrees.

“Advanced maths also contributes more to their overall ATAR, so a lack of access limits their opportunities of getting into uni,” he said.

University of Sydney deputy vice chancellor (education) Professor Joanne Wright said it was clear it was harder for some students to access higher-level mathematics simply because of where they are from.

“Schools in regional and remote locations are significantly less likely to offer advanced and extension mathematics,” she said.

“Our new approach responds to these realities of the student experience today and ensures we’re better equipping students for their university studies and careers.”

She said new tools were being developed to identify gaps in students’ knowledge, including a pilot of a diagnostic tool designed to match students with the most appropriate learning support services when they enrol.

“Regardless of their starting point, all our students will have the opportunity to complete their studies with the same level of mathematics skills and knowledge,” Professor Wright said




Sunday, March 03, 2024

NYC public school officials grilled about plan to comply with controversial class-size law

This old, old class size fetish is ridiculous. There are plenty of instances of kids in large classes doing well.

It is teacher quality that matters and good teachers are largely born, not made. There are only so many good teachers around regardlesss of what teacher-training courses they undergo, so class size limitations can cause a lot of barely competent teachers to be hired, thus HARMING, not helping the education of the kids.

Below are links to some of my old posts on the matter that give more detail:

City Department of Education officials were grilled Thursday about their plan to comply with a controversial state law that requires Big Apple public schools to reduce class sizes across the board by 2028.

The City Council hearing on the issue came as the legislative body’s education committee introduced legislation that would require the DOE to report data twice a year on the actual size of classes at all schools and special programs.

“Here’s my issue, the people that are making the decisions have never taught in New York City public schools,” Committee on Education Chair Rita Joseph told the panel of DOE officials during the hearing.

“You must apply the law,” added the council member, a veteran educator, challenging the DOE’s argument that it needs more funding to hire more teachers in order to comply with the mandate.

Mayor Eric Adams and Schools Chancellor David Banks have called on lawmakers to provide $1.4 billion to $1.9 billion — the projected cost of hiring between 10,000 to 12,000 educators — to help the city comply.

According to DOE’s “Class Size Reduction Plan” update, nearly half of all classes currently fall under the size caps set by the law. But the department’s plan noted that more work will be required

DOE Deputy Chancellor Emma Vadehra said the administration supports the goal to lower class sizes but reiterated that more work needs to be done in the 2025-26 school year and beyond to meet the requirements.

“In brief, we are currently fully in compliance with the class size legislation. In the coming years, however, we do have work and we will face some difficult choices to maintain compliance,” Vadehra told the education committee.

The department’s First Deputy Chancellor Dan Weisberg, NYC School Construction Authority President and CEO Nina Kubota and District 23 Superintendent Khalek Kirkland made up the rest of the panel speaking to the committee.

“Our work is not complete without New York City planning to make these changes and enact those changes,” Jackson said.

Liu said he doesn’t “begrudge” Adams and Banks over the mandate being fiscally difficult to deal with, but maintained a plan for compliance needs to be made transparent.

“The reality is, they’re in control of the public schools, and even though they did not make this problem, this problem they inherited, it is their responsibility to fix it,” he stressed.

Gov. Kathy Hochul and the state legislature — under intense lobbying from the United Federation of Teachers union — approved the law in 2022.

It states that grades K-3 must have a maximum of 20 students, with 23 students in grades 4-8 and 25 students in grades 9-12 by the 2027–28 school year.

Earlier, Joseph held a rally with parents, educators, advocates and elected officials on the steps of City Hall in support of the law.

“The DOE has an incredible opportunity to change the educational lives of students by implementing class laws,” said Michael Sill, the UFT’s assistant secretary, who was at the rally.

“Sadly, the DOE’s engagement thus far has been typified by inflating cost estimates and inventing excuses for not doing what needs to be done,” Sill told The Post.

“While revenues are up, the reserves are overflowing, and the state has invested in New York City’s young people, the city continues to push a false austerity narrative that is designed to frighten the public.”

UFT President Michael Mulgrew claimed the DOE was “trying to sabotage the law.”

“Parents want this. Educators want this. We challenge the DOE to identify the schools that have the space right now to make this change and get started,” he told The Post.

“We ask the City Council to help us hold the DOE accountable.”


University of Florida eliminates DEI office, will put its $5M toward recruiting faculty

The University of Florida on Friday closed its diversity office and fired 13 full-time staffers to comply with a new state law that bans Sunshine State schools from spending on such ideologies.

“The University of Florida has closed the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer, eliminated DEI positions and administrative appointments, and halted DEI-focused contracts with outside vendors,” the memo issued by the university provost, the general counsel, and the vice president for human resources read.

The $5 million allocated for diversity, equity and inclusion will now be redistributed to faculty recruitment, it added.

The announcement comes in light of a 2023 statute prohibiting the university from spending state or federal funds on DEI initiatives, reported the Alligator, the school’s paper.

The statute was approved in its final form by the Florida Board of Governors on Jan. 24, the outlet added.

Employees whose positions were eliminated will receive 12 weeks of pay and will be encouraged to apply for other positions at the state university, according to its statement.

The memo did not touch on the future of the Center for Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement, which received over $400,000 in the 2022-2023 UF operating budget – 85% of which came from the state, the Alligator noted.

The center includes officers for LGBTQ+, black, Asian and Hispanic student groups, according to its website.

Those who do seek new jobs at the university within the next three months will have their interviews fast-tracked.

“The University of Florida is — and will always be — unwavering in our commitment to universal human dignity,” the memo read.

“As we educate students by thoughtfully engaging a wide range of ideas and views, we will continue to foster a community of trust and respect for every member of the Gator Nation.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, who passed the law banning DEI in state schools, cheered the announcement on X. “Florida is where DEI goes to die,” he wrote.


US Education Dept. opens probe into nonbinary teen Nex Benedict’s Oklahoma school district

The US Education Department is launching an investigation into the Oklahoma school district where a 16-year-old nonbinary student was beaten by bullies in a bathroom one day before dying.

The probe was opened Friday following multiple complaints filed by the Human Rights Campaign alleging that Owasso Public Schools had “failed to respond appropriately to sex-based harassment that may have contributed to the tragic death of Nex Benedict.”

Nex, who used he/them pronouns, died Feb. 8, the day after getting into a fight with a group of girls who allegedly smashed the teen’s head into the floor until they blacked out.

In a video taken after the fight, the sophomore told a school resource officer that the girls had been “antagonizing” them and their friends in the days before over the way they dressed — bullying that the school allegedly knew about but did not address.

The probe was opened Friday following multiple complaints filed by the Human Rights Campaign alleging that Owasso Public Schools had "failed to respond appropriately to sex-based harassment that may have contributed to the tragic death of Nex Benedict."

Okla. schools chief says death of nonbinary student Nex Benedict is being exploited by ‘radical leftists’

“Their death is a gut-wrenching tragedy that exposes the chilling reality of anti-transgender hatred spreading across the United States, and that the Department must investigate as part of Owasso High School’s failure to address harassment and discrimination on its campus beginning in the 2023 school year,” HRC President Kelley Robinson wrote in a plea last week.

“Schools have an obligation to provide equal educational opportunities, including safe and affirming learning environments for the well-being of all students. We are deeply concerned about the failure of Owasso High School to address documented instances of bullying, violence, and harassment against Nex.”

The federal DOE notified the HRC Friday that it would be opening an investigation into the complaint, and would be namely probing whether the school district “failed to appropriately respond to alleged harassment of students” within the requirements of Title IX and the Americans with Disabilities Act

Okla. schools chief says death of nonbinary student Nex Benedict is being exploited by ‘radical leftists’
Owasso Public Schools confirmed to The Post that they recieved a notice for the investigation Friday.

“The district is committed to cooperating with federal officials and believes the complaint submitted by HRC is not supported by the facts and is without merit,” the district said in a statement.

Although an official autopsy report has not been released, officials said preliminary results indicate Nex did not die from trauma, but have not yet ruled out whether the bathroom brawl may have contributed to their death.

From their hospital bed the day before their death, Nex recounted to an officer the events leading up to the brawl, stating they had squirted water on the group of girls because they were fed up with the bullying.

Friends and family of the teenager have since said the relentless tormenting Nex faced because of their gender identity was an open secret at the school that administrators and faculty allegedly turned a blind eye to.

Nex’s family has opened their own investigation into the teen’s death, stating they are seeking “to hold those responsible to account and to ensure it never happens again.”

The family said some facts about the case have not been released and were “troubling at least” – and called on “school, local, state and national officials to join forces to determine why this happened.”