Friday, June 21, 2024

40 years later, our schools are at greater risk

School's out for the summer, so now it is time to examine the state of our education system.

By any objective measure, our school performance is fair or poor for most children. Math scores hit a 20-year low. ACT scores dropped to a 30-year low last year. In dozens of schools throughout the country, not one child is reading or practicing math at grade-level proficiency. Not one!

Some of this poor performance is due to the unforgivable mistake of shutting down our schools during COVID-19 -- despite children being less vulnerable to the virus.
But our schools were in long-term decline before the pandemic.

One of the world's top education scholars, Eric Hanushek, recently issued a report on the 40-year anniversary of the famous federal study published in 1983 called "A Nation at Risk." That study famously warned that "if an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war."

But tragically, nobody listened or paid attention to the warning. The unions kept pushing for more money with no accountability. Schools were turned into social welfare agencies instead of factories for learning. So they started to pursue both missions -- poorly. In more recent years, educators decided their job was to teach about social justice, climate change radicalism, LGBTQ issues and "systemic racism."

Betsy Devos on falling test scores: 'This is appalling' Video
In many public schools, patriotism and love of country gave way to a "blame America first" narrative. Math, reading and science took a backseat.

But the taxpayer money poured in as if from a firehouse. Hanushek notes that, adjusted for inflation, per-pupil spending since 1960 quadrupled. Since 1980 the funding per student has doubled.

Yet over the past several decades, there isn't much evidence of improvement (if any). In most school districts, the reverse is true.

The feds have kicked in hundreds of billions too. Yet there is virtually no evidence that Uncle Sam's spending has added much value. Mostly it's added more red tape. Test scores haven't budged.

Still, President Joe Biden's plan is to spend hundreds of billions more -- mostly because the teacher unions are the strongest force in the modern Democratic Party. Unions. Not parents.

Finally, after 40 years of failure, parents are taking notice and taking action. The parental choice movement is gaining steam -- especially in red states. Some 13 states in the last two years have added programs to allow education dollars to follow the kids -- that means lower-income parents are provided the funding to send their kids to charter schools, Catholic schools or other alternatives.

This should hopefully provide incentives for the public schools to compete and improve.

One of Hanushek's key conclusions provides some glimmer of hope. He finds "some evidence that spending more money can improve student learning in public schools." But he adds conditionally that the dollars need to be tied to "rewarding performance."

For example, incentivizing teacher excellence through pay for performance and getting rid of bad teachers -- by eliminating or reforming tenure -- can improve schools and throw a lifeline to kids.

Here's the problem: the teacher unions are adamantly opposed to anyone measuring their performance.They can grade the students, but no one dares to grade the teachers.

Back in 1983, the warning was that our schools had slipped into a cesspool of "mediocrity." Here we are over 40 years later, and in too many cities and states, mediocrity would be a vast improvement.

Reforms are coming -- but will they get here soon enough? We certainly can't wait another 40 years.


Louisiana Expands Education Choice to All

Education freedom is on the march.

Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry on Wednesday signed legislation making the Pelican State the 16th state in the nation to enact K-12 Education Savings Accounts and the 11th to offer education choice to every K-12 student, following Alabama earlier this year.

The legislation creates the Louisiana Giving All True Opportunity to Rise—LA GATOR—Scholarships, which families can use to choose the learning environments that align with their values and work best for their kids.

As with other ESA policies, parents can use the LA GATOR Scholarships to pay for private school tuition, textbooks, curricular materials, special-needs therapy, and more.

“The LA Gator Program puts parents in the driver’s seat and gives every child the opportunity for a great education. When parents are committed to the value of their child’s education, government should never get in the way,” said Landry, a Republican. “School choice is now a reality in the state of Louisiana!”

Most students will be eligible for scholarships worth about $5,200 annually, which is just over a third of the average per-pupil spending at Louisiana district schools. Students with special needs and children from low-income families can receive higher scholarship amounts.

The scholarships will initially be limited to students who are switching from a district or charter school, are entering kindergarten, or who are from families earning no more than 250% of the federal poverty level. In the second year, families earning up to 400% of the federal poverty line will be eligible, and in the third year, the scholarships will be open to all K-12 students in Louisiana.

More than a quarter of K-12 students nationwide are currently or soon will be eligible for a publicly funded education choice policy. Including privately funded tax-credit scholarship policies, more than 36% of students nationwide are eligible for a private education choice policy.

The new scholarship policy is an example of how the school choice movement has moved in a more free-market and family-centric direction. Instead of relying on bureaucrats to provide top-down accountability, the new policy trusts parents to provide bottom-up accountability.

The LA GATOR Scholarships will replace the state’s overregulated school voucher program, which produced the nation’s first negative results in a random-assignment study on the effects of a school choice policy on participating students’ academic performance.

“Equalitarian” regulations intended to guarantee access and quality—such as open admissions requirements, price controls, and mandating the state test—backfired by chasing away high-performing private schools.

Fortunately, Louisiana lawmakers have learned from their state’s own mistakes, as well as the success of states such as Arizona and Florida, which have shown that a free-market approach to education does a better job of providing a high degree of access and quality.

The new scholarship policy eschews the harmful regulations of its predecessor.

Louisiana’s embrace of universal school choice also shows the success of efforts by conservatives to channel parents’ frustrations over “woke” ideology in traditional public schools into public support for policies that empower parents to choose schools that align with their values.

“Our people seek government that reflects their values,” said Landry during his Jan. 8 inauguration. “They demand that our children be afforded an education that reflects those wholesome principles, and not an indoctrination behind their mother’s back.”

The same week that the Louisiana Legislature gave the green light to the LA GATOR Scholarships, it also approved legislation curbing the ability of “woke” teachers to indoctrinate students in radical gender ideology behind parents’ backs.

Similar to Given Name Act policies in other states, Louisiana’s HB 121 would prohibit public school employees, including teachers, from referring to children by pronouns that are inconsistent with their sex, or any name other than the student’s legal name or common derivatives thereof.


War College: How a Berkeley Professor Inspired and Engineered Anti-Israel Protests/b>

Echoing the Muslim prophet Muhammad, Professor Hatem Bazian, a University of California, Berkeley lecturer, told his fellow Muslims: “The Day of Judgment will never happen until you fight the Jews.”

At the Santa Clara conference sponsored by the American Muslim Alliance, Bazian exhorted the crowd: “They are on the west side of the river, which is the Jordan River, and you’re on the east side until the trees and the stones will say, ‘Oh Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me. Come and kill him!’ And that’s in the Hadith [the sayings and deeds of Muhammad] about this. This is a future battle before the Day of Judgment.”

Bazian’s threatening prophecy from 1999 might be lost to history but for the central role he has been playing in the anti-Israel protests that have erupted at college campuses. Two groups he helped create, Students for Justice in Palestine and American Muslims for Palestine, have been instrumental in organizing the demonstrations. In recent months he has visited the encampments from coast to coast, exhorting students to condemn Israel for launching counterstrikes in Gaza after marauding Hamas terrorists attacked and slaughtered more than 1,200 Israelis in October and took hundreds of others captive, including several Americans. Bazian has urged students to call on administrators and national leaders to protect Palestinian civilians in Gaza, whom he claims are victims of a “genocide” carried out by the Israeli government.

Although many opponents of Israel’s war against Hamas deny that their movement is tied to antisemitism, critics say Bazian’s deep involvement in the protests and his long history of inflammatory rhetoric against the Jewish people puts that claim in doubt. “The campus unrest is being driven by people with a very troubling past,” said Jon Schanzer, a former U.S. Treasury counterterrorism official. “They’re trying to legitimize Hamas.”

Drawing on a wide array of public records, RealClearInvestigations found that Bazian has been agitating against Jews and Israel on college campuses for decades. His 1999 exhortation of Holy War between Muslims and Jews was part of a larger pattern of words and deeds in which he sought to radicalize young Americans against the Jewish people. Bazian’s history – and the top place he holds in the ongoing turmoil – also reveal the key role he’s long planned for America’s institutions of higher learning to play in mainstreaming and spreading ideas that many people consider hateful.

A Palestinian immigrant, Bazian was born in the West Bank town of Nablus and attended high school in Jordan. He graduated from San Francisco State University and then moved to Berkeley, where he chairs the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project.

Upon arriving at Berkeley in 1993, Bazian helped start the first college chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine – whose national organization says it supports more than 350 “Palestinian solidarity organizations.” In 2006, he co-founded its umbrella organization, American Muslims for Palestine. “We support campus activism through Students for Justice in Palestine,” AMP states on its website.

“AMP is directly involved in the campus chaos,” Schanzer said, by helping coordinate protests at colleges where its SJP outposts operate. AMP provides funding and guidance for the chapters for, among other things, holding anti-Israel “teach-ins,” erecting pro-Palestinian tables, crafting media “talking points,” and creating flyers and placards for the campus encampments and occupations that demonize Israel and sanitize Hamas atrocities as “resistance.”

As AMP’s chairman, Bazian has visited several encampments, including at the University of Pennsylvania, San Diego State University, UC-San Diego, University of San Francisco and UC-Berkeley, where his acolytes have set up a “Gaza Solidarity Camp.” RCI’s review of videos posted on social media of his encampment talks reveals he’s instructed students not to be “nice” while protesting, because he said being polite won’t get the attention of college administrators or President Biden, whom he demands divest from Israel and pressure Israel to withdraw from Gaza.

Meanwhile, his organization, which employs a full-time campus outreach coordinator, is under both federal and state investigation for ties to Hamas, and is also a defendant in a major new lawsuit brought by survivors of the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack.

A Richardson, Texas-based lawyer representing Bazian and AMP did not reply to requests for comment. After also reaching out to Bazian directly, RCI’s messages went unanswered. Bazian has a history of seeming to endorse, or even call for, violence, and then denying doing so. In 2004, while Hamas was leading a deadly resistance, or “intifada,” in Israel that included suicide bombers, Bazian reportedly called for an “intifada” inside America while addressing a largely Muslim crowd at an anti-Iraq war rally.

“Are you angry? Are you angry?! Well, we’ve been watching intifada in Palestine,” Bazian shouted. “How come we don’t have an intifada in this country?”

“They’re going to say [I’m] some Palestinian being radical – well, you haven’t seen radicalism yet,” he added. “It’s about time we have an intifada in this country!”

He later claimed his remarks were meant to incite only a “political intifada” inside this country, not violent revolt. Last month, while rallying protestors at a University of San Francisco encampment, Bazian again called for “intifada,” asking students, “Can you all say intifada?”

“Intifada!” protesters shouted back.




Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Wall Street turns its back on Ivy League universities and activist students

For decades, the narrow path to an entry-level job at an elite Wall Street firm typically has begun with an Ivy League degree. However, attitudes are shifting among bosses.

These bosses once had fierce allegiances to Ivy League institutions including Harvard and Yale and so-called target schools such as Stanford that put them on track to running some of the world’s most powerful companies.

Blackstone, the $US1 trillion ($1.5trn) asset manager run by Stephen Schwarzman, a Harvard alumnus, has adapted its recruitment strategy from focusing on about nine universities in 2015 to more than a thousand this year.

Goldman Sachs, the investment bank, has started interviewing entry-level candidates from hundreds more institutions after shifting to doing first-round interviews virtually.

Bank of America said it worked in partnership with 34 community colleges on a “readiness curriculum” for careers in financial services and had hired thousands of people from such institutions.

McKinsey & Company, the consultancy led by Bob Sternfels (Stanford), has more than doubled the number of American universities from which it recruits and is now a vocal supporter of the “paper ceiling” movement, which strives to take the stigma out of not having a degree.

“When we look for talent, we look at the whole person, not just degrees or institutions,” Blair Ciesil, McKinsey’s leader of talent attraction, said.

“We find that students flourish as whole people when they pick a school environment suited to them, not simply the one that’s highest-ranked.”

The shine has come off elite institutions in the past year amid allegations of anti-Semitism and co-ordinated pro-Palestine campus protests.

Johnny C Taylor Jr, of the Society for Human Resources Management, said there was a concern “that if you recruit from a school that is known for its activism, that those students don’t magically stop being activists when they show up at your workplace.

“They’ve been trained for four, six years in this activist mindset. Then when they come here and you say, ‘I want you to come back to work in the office’, they are like, ‘no, we are not going to do that,” Taylor said.

“And we are going to boycott – as you saw at Google – we are going to take over and boycott the divisional president’s office. We are going to walk off the job.’ Is this the type of employee that we want?”

In April Google dismissed 28 workers who had staged sit-ins at its offices in New York and California in protest at a contract with the Israeli government.

Taylor said human resources professionals could recruit from state institutions such as the University of Florida, where the person at the top of their class would be “really smart” as well as having the right “mindset” compared with an applicant from a top university who could “make it difficult for us to get our work done and to turn a profit”.

Brett Bruen, a former diplomat who now runs Global Situation Room, a crisis communications agency, said: “There is no doubt that the last several months have taken some of the shine off the Ivy League diploma.

“In part it is due to how the administrators handled some of these protests and it reinforced concerns about how out of touch and out of step some professors and administrators are with the realities in the business world and on main street,” Bruen said.

“They may be particularly effective on educating on the most elusive and esoteric theories; they are not giving a great education in some cases in the school of hard knocks and the school of how the world really works.”

Taylor said there had been a broader cultural shift in the past two decades, which he linked to low unemployment rates after the 2008 financial crash and a gradual awakening to the idea that elite universities “didn’t have a lock on smart people”.

Non-Ivy League universities and colleges had become smarter at working with big employers to ensure that students hit the ground running on day one, he said.

Luis Romero, managing partner at Romero Capital, a New York-based private equity fund, said that a “talent war” was under way between finance, technology, start-ups and entrepreneurship.

“Private equity firms are looking for intelligent, overachieving, competitive, hungry kids who take action and solve problems. These candidates are ten out of ten and Stephen Schwarzman, founder of Blackstone, only hires tens. And there is a shortage of tens.”

Meanwhile, meritocracy is becoming a buzzword. Alexandr Wang, the chief executive of Scale AI, an artificial intelligence company based in San Francisco that works with companies such as General Motors, published an “MEI”, or “merit, excellence and intelligence”, hiring policy this month.

He said the policy meant “we hire only the best person for the job, we seek out and demand excellence and we unapologetically prefer people who are very smart”.

In June the Supreme Court found it unconstitutional to consider race in university admissions. Taylor said companies used to be able to use race as a proxy for disadvantage, but must now find candidates who represent all types of diversity.

Young professionals are sceptical, however, that the Ivy League is losing its grip on Wall Street.

An associate at a private equity firm in her thirties who did not go to an Ivy League university said that her background was far from the norm.

“You can make it, but it’s much harder,” she said.

Members of the C-suite, including at her firm, organise recruiter days at institutions that they themselves attended, perpetuating the phenomenon, while some banks have dedicated representatives at Ivy League campuses to advise students on interviews and resumes.

She said she knew of finance professors with links to Wall Street firms who ran maths challenge competitions and then referred winning students for interviews and internships, opportunities that are not common at lower-ranking institutions.

Kaleb Davenport, 23, a software engineering manager from Tennessee who was rejected from Ivy League colleges and decided not to pursue a degree, does not think his decision not to go to university would prevent him from working for a company such as Google.

“I think it’s more the middle layer of the economy,” he said. “I think it’s like the Wells Fargos, the places that are good companies but not culturally significant and they just use whatever default process was put there before them.”

Wells Fargo said it hired from a “variety of talent sources” and that its 2024 internships class had come from more than 250 public and private schools throughout the United States.

Davenport has found himself excluded from alumni networking events in New York, such as the Duke University founders meet-up. Sometimes he shows up anyway, but the reception can be frosty if he is not an official alum.

The important thing, he said, was to acknowledge that your career path will be more challenging without the advantages that come with an elite education and to build your own network. “When you have a different hand, you must play it differently.”


How craven Cambridge University has fallen to the woke mob


Britain’s universities are now ruled by fear. Fear of associating with the wrong people, saying the wrong thing, even being said to think the wrong thing — the paranoias are stifling our institutions.

This can make life extremely unpleasant for many ­students, who find ­themselves trapped in a ­hostile environment where a cadre of intolerant bullies can dictate what the rest are or are not allowed to do.

This noisy, ignorant ­minority is even able to ­disrupt crucial exams, as pro-Palestine protesters at Oxford did last week.

But most terrified are the university authorities. Rather than stand up to the woke mob and their sloganeering on climate change, colonial legacy or gender identity ­politics, the administrators are cravenly giving in to any and all demands.

This week, leaked papers from a council meeting at King’s College Cambridge revealed the university plans to bar investment with Barclays and Lloyds banks, over ‘financing of fossil fuels’.

Most of Cambridge’s 31 colleges are believed to bank with either Lloyds or Barclays. The latter has a history with the university going back more than 200 years.

Those links are now threatened because the vice-chancellor, Professor Deborah Prentice, and her management team are afraid to confront the protesters. Rather than act like adults, they are behaving like a bunch of immature first-year students, and handing responsibility to whoever shouts loudest.

Cambridge is an august seat of learning with a history spanning more than 800 years. If it caves in so easily to infantile pressure politics, no other university, scientific establishment or arts organisation is likely to resist.

The university officials are in thrall to a pressure group, Banking Engagement Forum (BEF). Its chief financial officer, Anthony Odgers, proclaims its goal is, ‘finding financial services products that do not contribute to the expansion of fossil fuels — in particular, new coal and gas-fired plants which lock in demand for decades’.

In fact, Barclays and Lloyds can both claim to pass that test. Barclays said in 2022 it would cease direct funding of new gas and oil projects.

Lloyds is seen as one of the more ‘progressive’ banks in this regard... and last year, Leeds university actually switched to Lloyds, reasoning that it ‘has the lowest fossil fuel investments of any of the major UK banks’.

This hasn’t stopped student activists from staging ­childish protests, including a ‘die-in’ by pro-Palestinian demonstrators at a Barclays branch in January. Chanting slogans including, ‘Israel is a terrorist state,’ they accused the bank of funding arms manufacture for the Israeli army.

One activist said the demo included making a paper chain, ‘with lots of messages to Barclays for all the harm they’re causing’, plus some anti-war origami.

Student pacifism has a long tradition, and these young people have every right to exercise free speech. But it’s ridiculous that Cambridge university authorities are running scared of protesters whose tactics are more suited to a nursery school.

My own experience shows how timid the leadership has become. Seven years ago, when I began to attract criticism for my studies of the British Empire and its ethics, a senior member of staff at Oxford invited me for a chat.

When we met in a cafe, he insisted we sit behind a screen where we wouldn’t be observed together. Though he assured me that the university backed my work and would resist bids by some of my colleagues to have the research project shut down, he was clearly petrified of being seen with me.

Since then, no senior figure in the university has shown any interest in hearing about my experience and what it implies about the threats to free speech, teaching and research in our universities.

My problems have been minor compared to those of some dons, such as Professor Kathleen Stock, who was driven to resign her post at the University of Sussex ­following a sustained ­campaign against her by both students and staff.

Her offence as a philosopher was to hold gender-­critical, feminist views — to insist people with male genitalia are not women, however much they might wish it.

The hounding of isolated academics has consequences far beyond the damage done to individual lives. One cancellation can deter thousands from speaking their minds. They see how Professor Stock has been abandoned and betrayed by her former university and they decide to keep quiet.

Freedom of speech, a ­fundamental of universities until now, has been abandoned with sickening haste.

Last month, I was asked to speak at the Cardiff Academic Freedom Association’s inaugural meeting. The city’s university refused to fund security arrangements, no doubt hoping that this inconvenient offshoot of democracy would wither and die.

The event went ahead after the Free Speech Union paid, but we were forced to move to a different venue. An organiser admitted to me that the lack of support by the university would make him think twice about staging a public meeting again.

All over Britain, small but impassioned groups are being silenced by the same illiberal, anti-democratic trend. The Hay Festival of Literature & Arts was a ­victim this month when ­virtue-signalling celebrities, including comedian Nish Kumar and singer Charlotte Church, urged a boycott.

A Corbynist pressure group called Fossil Free Books attacked a festival sponsor, investment group Baillie Gifford, on the grounds that it holds shares in some oil and gas companies. They also accused it of being complicit in ‘Israeli occupation, apartheid and genocide’ in Gaza.

A spokesman for the group said: ‘We do not want our ­literary life to come at the expense of human rights in other countries.’

Organisers of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, another beneficiary of Baillie Gifford sponsorship, pointed out that their funding provided free tickets and books for children. ‘Without their contribution, this crucial work simply will not happen,’ they said.

In fact, without generous sponsors, countless small arts and book festivals, science fairs, theatre productions, painting exhibitions and musical events will cease to exist — to the impoverishment of education in Britain.

It is particularly invidious that so many activists waging these facile protests are well-off and highly privileged, as investigations by the Mail have shown. Insulated by family wealth from the damage they create, they pretend to be ‘saving the world’ while ignoring the harm they do to others all around them.

There’s an ethical parallel between a barricade on a motorway by Just Stop Oil, and the blockade of a university end-of-year exam. In both cases, ordinary people are victims of arrogant, self-serving poseurs who don’t care what chaos they inflict, as long as they enjoy a smug feeling of moral superiority.

Where the activists are young, they at least have the excuse of being immature, naive and ignorant. The authorities at Cambridge University have no such defence. They are the adults in the room and should start behaving as such.


Bush-Appointed Judge Blocks Biden’s New Title IX Rule in 6 More States

A Kentucky federal judge blocked the Biden administration Monday from implementing its Title IX expansion for LGBTQ+ students in six states.

Bush-appointed U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves sided with Kentucky Attorney General Russell Coleman’s lawsuit against the United States Department of Education in blocking the Biden administration’s new Title IX rule in Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia, according to the court documents. The new Title IX rule, set to take effect on Aug. 1, 2024, expands protections for LGBTQ+ students by preventing discrimination based on “gender identity.”

The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and it alleges “the Department has used rulemaking power to convert a law designed to equalize opportunities for both sexes into a far broader regime of its own making.” Reeves limited the injunction to the six plaintiff states.

“The new rule contravenes the plain text of Title IX by redefining ‘sex’ to include gender identity, violates government employees’ First Amendment rights, and is the result of arbitrary and capricious rulemaking,” Reeves states in the court ruling.

Reeves siding with Coleman’s lawsuit follows in the same steps of Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge Terry A. Doughty blocking President Joe Biden’s Title IX rule in four Republican states last week.

Biden’s Education Department has suffered a string of losses over the expansion in recent weeks, with Trump-appointed Doughty blocking the rule in four Republican states on Thursday.

Title IX, created in 1972, “protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance,” according to the Education Department. “Title IX applies to schools, local and state educational agencies, and other institutions that receive federal financial assistance from the Department.”

“We are reviewing the ruling. Title IX guarantees that no person experience sex discrimination in a federally funded educational environment. The Department crafted the final Title IX regulations following a rigorous process to realize the Title IX statutory guarantee. The Department stands by the final Title IX regulations released in April 2024, and we will continue to fight for every student,” an Education Department spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“It would have been hard to find any who thought that discrimination because of sex meant discrimination because of sexual orientation—not to mention gender identity, a concept that was essentially unknown at the time,” Reeves said in the court ruling.

Biden’s rule expansion doesn’t mention transgender athletes, an issue that has spurred contentious debate in localities across the country.




Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Beating the odds: How students stand out and get into Harvard

If you think a perfect GPA and a 1600 score on the SAT will guarantee a spot for your child at Harvard or Stanford — think again. Grades and test scores alone are not enough to earn a student a place at a coveted Ivy League university anymore.

In reality, top schools and Ivy League colleges could fill incoming classes multiple times over with students with perfect academic stats. As a result, it’s critical for applicants to stand out from their peers. Top-tier colleges want to admit students who have made an impact in their community, followed their passions, and gained real-life experiences through internships and jobs.

Rather than only selecting high-achieving students, colleges seek to build well-rounded classes composed of students with distinct passions, dynamic interests, and singular focus.

Suppose a student intends to become such an applicant. In that case, they must start exploring and tailoring their passions early in their high school career so that they can engage in meaningful experiences that convey their depth of engagement with their defining interest.

Seeking to share his admissions discoveries and story with other aspiring students and help families navigate the changing landscape of elite college admissions, Christopher Rim founded Command Education to empower students to identify their passions and articulate their accomplishments, interests and experiences to top schools.

Why trust Rim? He was accepted into Yale University with a 3.7 to 3.8 unweighted GPA — almost unheard of when discussing Ivy League admissions — thanks to his extracurricular activities that allowed him to stand out.

“I just followed my passions and my interests,” said Rim, 26. “That authentic story is what I think resonated with admissions officers.”

Rim’s theory rings true, as he was the only student out of 18 other applicants at his high school accepted into Yale. To top it off, Rim had the lowest grades out of all of them.

What Is Command Education?

Since the creation of Command Education in 2015, Rim has worked with dozens of students from Horace Mann, Trinity, Collegiate, Brearley, and Riverdale — and parents pay him upwards of $1,500 per hour to help their teenagers get into sought-after Ivy League schools.

“The entire purpose of [Command Education] is to help students identify and develop their passions and interests,” Rim told The Post. “It has to be authentic and cannot be manufactured.”

Rim further explained that curating genuine interests aims to help students stand out. After all, almost all students applying to Ivy League schools have near-perfect grades and test scores. This makes extracurricular activities, research and projects vital to landing a spot on an admissions roster.

To enhance each student’s opportunities, many Command Education clients start the process in grade nine; however, some begin as early as grade seven. This is because “you can’t go back in time,” and “everything counts towards the college application process,” he says.

Best of all, when students join Command Education, they are matched with one mentor throughout their college admissions process to aid in tutoring and guidance. This mentor is a full-time employee of Command Education and is a graduate of an Ivy League or top-tier college. Clients receive 24/7 access to them through email, phone calls, texts, and meetings.

This interpersonal, passionate and academic-led program juxtaposes many other college admissions services, as others serve as “more of a checklist,” according to Rim.

Does Command Education Work?

Aside from Rim and Command Education’s success, one may still wonder: “Does Command Education really work?”

Considering that a staggering 100% of students that applied to Harvard in 2021 with the help of Command Education were accepted, over 9 out of 10 students who applied got into at least one of their top three schools and that the company has guided nearly 1,000 teens with a 90% direct referral rate, we say yes.

Pleased parents of happy students are also proof that Command Education is worth it — even with the high price point of $85,000 to $120,000 per academic year.

“We’ve hired virtually every tutor and counselor for [Command Education student] Brooke prior to working with Chris, but no one was able to get through to her like Chris and his team,” said a mother of a former Riverdale Country School student. “Command Education put her in a position to succeed like no one else she’s ever worked with.”

Another happy Command Education parent said, “Chris and his team were the buffer my husband and I needed. I let them handle everything with Mark [Command Education student]. I fully put my trust in Chris, and not only did [our son] Mark get into Wharton, but I think he totally saved our marriage!”


Chicago Teachers Union president raises eyebrows with claims about conservatives

Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) President Stacy Davis Gates told a news radio host that conservatives do not want Black children to read, adding that it is "part of the oath they take to be right wing."

In an interview published on WBBM News radio’s site on Sunday, the station’s political editor, Craig Dellimore, spoke with Davis Gates on "At Issue," about the union’s contract demands.

Some of the demands included social justice issues.

During the interview, Dellimore asked Davis Gates about the teacher union contract proposals that drew criticism from conservatives for being "too big," and raising concerns that too many elements are not directly concerned with education.

"Conservatives don’t even want Black children to be able to read," Davis Gates said. "Remember, these same conservatives are the conservatives who probably would have been championing Black codes, you know, during reconstruction or thereafter. So, forgive me again if conservatives pushing back on educating immigrant children, Black children, children who live in poverty, doesn't make my anxiety go up. That's what they're supposed to say. That is literally a part of the oath that they take to be right wing."

The teachers’ union is in the process of negotiating a new teacher’s contract with the public school system, which calls for an extra $50 billion in funding. The massive increase is being proposed to cover wage hikes as well as other demands. For instance, the money would be used to provide fully paid abortions for its members, new migrant services and facilities and a host of LGBTQ-related requirements and training in schools.

Last year, the total base tax receipts for the state of Illinois was $50.7 billion.

The incredible demands are being made despite its members delivering underwhelming results for its students. Only 21% of the city’s eighth graders are proficient readers, according to the Nation’s Report Card, which provides national results about students’ performance.

Terry Schilling, the president of the American Principles Project and a conservative school choice and education advocate, told Fox News Digital that if conservatives did not want minority kids to know how to read, they would not protest.

"They would allow and support the teachers union and give them everything they want, because right now in Chicago public schools, only 20% of minority students can read at grade level," he said. "Whatever the conservative goals are, I disagree with what she was saying. I want every kid to know how to read and write. I think that our country’s a lot better off when everyone’s literate, when everyone knows how to do math."

Schilling is a father of seven who lives in Fairfax, Virginia. During the pandemic, he pulled all of his kids out of public schools because he felt the academics were terrible.

He explained that he got to see firsthand what his kids were learning and found out that only about 36% of the students in Fairfax County Public Schools could read at grade level.

So, when looking at one of the wealthiest and best-funded schools in the country and finding out less than half the kids could read at grade level, "it was a no-brainer," he said.

Davis Gates touted having her children in public schools in 2022. She said it helps to "legitimize" her position within the union and that she could not advocate on behalf of public schools if that were not the case, according to NBC Chicago.

However, in 2023, Davis Gates placed her teenage son in a private Catholic high school in the city.

"She is the poster child for what it means to be part of the teachers union," Schilling said. "They’re all hypocritical. The leaders of the teachers' unions, almost none of them, send their kids to public schools, and they know that these are failing public schools and putting their kids in these schools means that they won’t be that smart. They want the best for their kids, but not for our kids."

He continued by saying the leadership of the district is important, and who the leader is trickles down to everyone below.

"If your leadership is corrupted at the top, then everything else is going to follow suit below," he said. "And that's what we're experiencing with Chicago public schools: it's rotten from the top down."


Australia: Dire warning childcare centres are indoctrinating your kids and turning them into 'activists' after woke change to curriculum

A think tank has warned toddlers could be indoctrinated into activism and identity politics due to the federal government's new childcare teaching curriculum.

The Institute of Public Affairs has sounded the alarm claiming many parents would be unaware of the ideology being promoted in the Early Years Learning Framework.

Analysis by the conservative think tank found diversity, inclusion and equity is mentioned 149 times, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and reconciliation is mentioned 96 times, and mother, father or parent is not mentioned at all.

Dr Bella d'Abrera, who is director of the Foundations of Western Civilisation program at IPA, said parents should be concerned.

'These centres should be where children play in sandpits, draw with crayons and have afternoon naps, not be ­inducted into the cults of social justice, identity politics and sustainability by activist educators,' she said.

'Parents should be very concerned that the federal government supports young children being exposed to very adult themes such as gender, sexuality, race, culture and the environment, years before it is appropriate.'

The federal government's childcare regulator, the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority, oversees applying the Early Years Learning Framework, which is titled 'Belonging, Being and Becoming'.

The regulator suggests children perform a daily Acknowledgement of Country and that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags are displayed in childcare centres.

Learning materials recommended by the regulator include ideas that children should be 'understanding and exploring gender' and that 'colonial understandings' should be 'disrupted'.

'Similar to the National Curriculum, Australia's early learning framework begins the process of indoctrination by introducing infants and toddlers to radical gender and social justice theory, rather than allowing children to simply be children,' Dr d'Abrera said.

'As Australia's education system has shifted away from the acquisition of knowledge towards activism and social justice, results have continued to slide compared to other ­nations.

'By focusing on division rather than age-appropriate, fact-based education, we are setting another generation up for failure.'

A childcare insider told the Herald Sun there was no backlash within the sector to the framework and individual centres had room to apply the principles as they see fit.

'Some services in inner Melbourne will have a very different interpretation of what is needed compared to those in regional communities,' the insider said.

The Belonging, Being and Becoming framework, introduced in 2009, was updated in 2023 and made compulsory for 2024.

A spokesman for the federal Department of Education said approved learning frameworks had 'always included respect for diversity and the ongoing learning and the sharing of ­Aboriginal and Torres Strait ­Islander cultures'.




Monday, June 17, 2024

British teachers are quitting in droves to double their money abroad

British teachers are quitting their jobs in droves in search of the good life abroad, enjoying less stress, more money and a better lifestyle - as a classroom crisis looms back home.

Teaching vacancies are at a record high and recruitment firms are cashing in on the shortage, making millions by placing 'unqualified' supply teachers or 'cover supervisors' into classrooms on rates even lower than full-time teachers would earn.

One senior state school secondary teacher with 15 years' experience who recently moved to a job in a private school in the Far East told how 'cost of living, workload, challenging behaviour from children and a massive amount of stress' were factors in driving teachers away from the profession in the UK.
'The pandemic changed things for many parents and children and you've ended up with some children who just aren't socialised because they missed out on key stages of learning to get along with their peers.

'Their development is impaired. 'In some cases you've also got parents who expect teachers to take on some of the roles which rightly should be theirs. And if you don't do it, who else is going to?'

Social media is full of images of teachers showing exotic lifestyles in Dubai, Australia and the Far East.

'I felt I was giving everything to the job and getting nothing back while working hours I'd be paid a fortune to do in industry,' said the 46-year-old teacher from the south of England.

'I wanted to save money to buy a house for me and my family but it was never going to happen while working in a state school in England.

'But it's not just money. At the weekend you can go off and snorkel-dive with turtles. We couldn't even afford swimming lessons for the kids in Britain.

'My children can go to the same private school where I teach, which we could never afford back home.'

Former teacher Ruth Harron, 44, from Belfast, worked in a school in the UAE between 2008 and 2010, then set up her own business, recruiting others, called Teachers in UAE.

'They love the Brits and the Irish and we get 50 strong candidates enquiring each week, with many of them recruited throughout the year', she said.

With tax-free incomes, most teachers will receive double their UK salaries each month, often with rent-free accommodation, paid utility bills and flights home.

But Ruth says it's not just the money or the climate that lure people there.

'The push factors include overwork and stress in the UK, the cost of living and sometimes a lack of respect for teachers from students and parents,' she said.

'Teachers in the UK aren't allowed to say boo to a goose when they are faced with challenging behaviour, but in the UAE, you're backed up by colleagues if you're faced with difficult classroom management situations – and it just doesn't happen as often.

'Teachers are held in some esteem in the UAE, and they're treated well.

'There's extra pay if you organise after-school activities and you're encouraged to do your planning work during gaps in the day when the children learn Arabic and Islamic studies, so you don't have much work to take home.'

Among others extoling the virtues of working in Dubai is primary teacher and YouTuber Thomas Blakemore, 27.

He told his 48k subscribers how his main reason for leaving the UK was for a better lifestyle, but also cited politics and parents.

Some parents wanted him to 'be a parent, rather than a teacher and that's not my job.'

He also told of the frustrations of applying for education, health and care plan for three children in his class only to have two of them rejected 'multiple times,' despite gathering huge amounts of evidence.

Other ex-pat teachers display their enviable situations on social media, such as Jennifer Connor, seen on a boat trip in the Gulf. The Liverpool Hope University graduate has worked in the UK and Dubai with 15 years of experience in teaching.

British teacher Laila Ahadpour posts scenic shots of herself in Dubai on Instagram under the handle Diary of a Dubai Teacher. She’s been teaching Foundation Stage 2 children there aged between four and five for the last six years.


AI lab at Christian university aims to bring morality and ethics to artificial intelligence

A new AI Lab at a Christian university in California is grounded in theological values — something the school hopes will help to prevent Christians and others of faith from falling behind when it comes to this new technology.

"The AI Lab at Biola University is a dedicated space where students, faculty and staff converge to explore the intricacies of artificial intelligence," Dr. Michael J. Arena told Fox News Digital.

Arena, who has been the dean of the Crowell School of Business at Biola University since April 2023, was formerly vice president of talent and development at Amazon Web Services. The AI Lab is located in the building of the Crowell School of Business on campus.

The lab is meant to "be a crucible for shaping the future of AI," Arena said via email, noting the lab aims to do this by "providing education, fostering dialogue and leading innovative AI projects rooted in Christian beliefs."

While AI has been controversial, Arena believes that educational institutions have to "embrace AI or risk falling behind" in technology.

"If we don't engage, we risk falling asleep at the wheel," Arena said, referring to Christian and faith-centered institutions.

He pointed to social media as an example of how a failure to properly engage with an emerging technology with a strong approach to moral values has had disastrous results.

"The rise of [social media] has produced a sharp decline in face-to-face social engagement, particularly among teenagers — exacerbating feelings of loneliness," Arena said, noting that nearly three-fourths of Gen Z individuals "acknowledge experiencing loneliness at times."

"Without proactive involvement in guiding AI's development, there's a risk that we will replicate this story," he said.

The AI Lab at Biola University is unique in that it "places emphasis on moral and ethical discernment," rather than technical skills, Arena said.


Australia: Queensland Labor shelves reforms to stop faith-based schools discriminating against gay teachers

A rather mournful report from the Guardian below

The Queensland government will renege on its promise to pass new anti-discrimination laws before the October state election – a move advocates say will leave women fleeing domestic violence, people with disabilities and members the LGBTQ+ community at risk.

Guardian Australia revealed on Monday that the state government was considering watering down reforms proposed by a review of the 33-year-old act.

State cabinet has approved a new plan that involves passing some measures – the parts that are a priority of the union movement – which mimic the federal “respect at work” bill, including placing a positive duty on workplaces to prevent discrimination or harassment.

It remains unclear whether other elements of the proposed reforms will be included in the new bill – due to be tabled on Friday – and which will be shelved until after the election.

The most controversial recommendation – to scrap the so-called “genuine occupational requirement” clause that has enabled faith-based schools to discriminate against teachers based on their sexuality, pregnancy, relationship status and gender identity – will not be passed during this term of government.

Other measures also likely to be delayed include proposals to scrap exemptions that allow accommodation providers to lawfully discriminate against sex workers; employers to discriminate against gender diverse or trans people when working with children; and IVF providers to discriminate against people on the basis of sexuality.

In a statement, the attorney general, Yvette D’ath, said the government remained committed to all of the reforms but that further work was needed to ensure new laws aligned with the federal approach to a March report by the Australian Law Reform Commission calling for the removal of exemptions for religious schools.

“This is a complex issue and many in the community have differing opinions,” D’ath said. “We need to make sure we get these legislative reforms right.”

Advocacy groups said this week they are concerned that a delay until after the election – with Labor well behind in published opinion polls – would put unfinished reforms at risk.

Alastair Lawrie, the director of policy and advocacy at the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, said there was “no justification” for Queensland to stall on the basis of the ALRC report.

“Indeed, the stance of the commonwealth government, which is currently refusing to introduce its own legislation without bipartisan support that is unlikely to be forthcoming, places more rather than less pressure on the Queensland government to act,” Lawrie said.

“The current ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ approach under the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act does not work and does not protect the rights of workers who should be employed on the basis of their skills and experience, not their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Matilda Alexander from Queensland Advocacy for Inclusion said splitting the reforms would create a “chaotic and siloed” series of protections.

“It’s incredibly frustrating to hear that the Anti-Discrimination Act changes will not be going ahead,” Alexander said.

“Queenslanders have said conclusively what we think respect at work looks like in Queensland. We need the government to listen.

“And what we have comprehensively and completely told them is a respectful workplace in Queensland is one where all forms of discrimination are unlawful.

“We understand that the commitment was to repeal and replace the Anti Discrimination Act, which is now more than 30 years old. It’s outdated. It’s not fit for purpose. It can’t be tinkered with, it needs to be repealed [and] these changes need to happen now.”

Nadia Bromley, the chief executive of the Women’s Legal Service Queensland, said the reforms included measures to protect women experiencing domestic and family violence from discrimination.

“A woman who was fired for being the victim of domestic and family violence cannot sue for discrimination in Queensland,” she said. “They can also be denied access to housing by a landlord afraid of having their rental accommodation damaged.

“The bill’s been 33 years in the making already. It’s a really disappointing decision.”

Labor sources have said the government was “not up for a fight” with religious groups who had criticised draft legislation as “a betrayal of all faith communities in Queensland”.

The government needs to table the new bill by Friday for it to pass the parliament before the election.




Sunday, June 16, 2024

Woke plan to 'decolonise' philosophy 'erasing achievements of West'

So much hate!

Academics have become embroiled in a furious scrap over a university's decision to sideline philosophers such as Aristotle and Socrates in favour of 'decolonising' classroom learning by getting rid of 'dead white men'.

A new toolkit for schools and universities was produced by SOAS University of London, formerly the School of Oriental and African Studies.

New-age thinkers who are being recommended instead include an Indian-American feminist, a Nigerian 'gender theorist' and a Japanese zen expert.

The toolkit dismisses the study of classical Greek thinkers Aristotle, Plato and Socrates as 'armchair theorising'.

But the guidance produced by SOAS academics aimed at 'decolonising' philosophy has been eviscerated by anti-woke academics, who said that it erased 'the identity and extraordinary achievements of Western civilisation.'

The university says the approach should 'help empower students to think of themselves as active participants in curriculum and assessment design'.

Dr Paul Giladi, one of the co-creators, said: 'Thinking back to my own years at university, I saw that my philosophical training had been blind to, even uninterested in, the wealth of wisdom from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and Indigenous communities.

'Why it was blind was something I couldn’t fully explain as an undergraduate.

'Only later in my academic career was I able to recognise that the learning environment shaping my training was not designed to promote critical thinking.

'Learning was orientated towards obeying and reproducing an already agreed philosophical tradition that we are not meant to challenge.'

But Christopher McGovern, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, blasted 'woke' academics for rolling out the new toolkit.

He told MailOnline: 'This new toolkit is part of the aggressive Woke imperialism that is subjugating our universities.

'Decolonising the philosophy curriculum is "code for" erasing the identity and extraordinary achievements of Western civilisation.

'The reason why certain philosophers are more central than others is to do with the profundity of their understanding of the human condition.

'When the Oracle of Delphi announces that Socrates was the wisest of all men he responded by saying that he knew nothing but that, unlike other philosophers, he knew that he knew nothing.

'The new "toolkit" for decolonisation has all the arrogance and certainty that was highlighted by Socrates.'

Lashing out at the move, Exeter University historian Prof Jeremy Black told MailOnline: 'This is a totally juvenile approach by staff and students alike - one that fails to understand that issues of quality and scholarship trump those of flag waving on behalf of particular groups.'

Among the 'new voices' suggested by the guide is Nishida Kitaro, a Japanese philosopher whose multicultural school of thought is said to 'challenge eurocentrism'.

Also included is Uma Narayan, an Indian scholar of philosophy who 'criticises culture-reductionist forms of postcolonial feminism'.

And African philosophers Kwasi Wiredu - developer of 'conceptual decolonisation' - and Nkiru Nzegwu, a leading African theorist of gender are also recommended.

The toolkit is being made available on the SOAS website as an online platform for education providers.

It was produced by four undergraduate student interns and four academic philosophers at SOAS, the Times reported.

The guide describes how mainstream curriculum teaching is 'predominantly focused on canonical western philosophers offering in-depth retrospections of their own experiences'.

The toolkit adds: 'A lot of the epistemological discourse also involves "armchair theorising".'

The authors recommend a curriculum which does include Plato but also adds works with titles such as Knowledges Born in the Struggle, Conceptualising Epistemic Oppression, On Being White: Thinking Towards a Feminist Understanding of Race and Race Supremacy and Knowledge Sovereignty among African Cattle Herders.

They also suggest teachers should better understand their role in 'racist systems'.

The guidance adds: 'Without this intellectual insight, it is impossible to even find the root of the problem, let alone begin to address it.

'The teacher in a decolonial classroom must learn to learn from the perspectives and knowledge systems of the students and to unlearn their own colonially mediated assumptions and background knowledge.

'Unlearning means stopping oneself from always wanting to correct, teach and enlighten. Rather, the teacher should be prepared to forgo a singularly authoritative role and be a facilitator of, and participant in, good learning.'

Also proposed is an end to exams, pen-and-paper tests and essays - said to unfairly hinder students who are neurotypical or from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Blogs, podcasts, exhibitions, case studies and infographics are suggested as potential alternatives for assessing philosophy pupils.

SOAS, where more than half of the intake is from ethnic minority backgrounds, describes itself as having 'an exceptionally diverse student body' and says its mission is to 'recruit and teach diverse students'.

Alumni include Myanmar politician Aung San Suu Kyi, journalist and screenwriter Jemima Khan, Labour's shadow foreign secretary David Lammy and the late US singer and activist Paul Robeson.


How a Pro-Refugee Lobby Group Embedded Itself in England’s Schools

I have written previously about the prevalence of woke ideology in schools, notably the promotion of intersectionality via the teaching and promotion of Critical Race Theory. Over the last year, I have been monitoring a peculiar element to this ideological trend that is gaining traction: a pro-refugee movement called Schools of Sanctuary, which is effectively the education wing of the City of Sanctuary movement and whose overall objective is political and cultural change to facilitate pro-refugee policies and legislation. Aside from GB News’s coverage in October 2023, which involved Nigel Farage reporting on it, and Toby Young’s commentary in episode 59 of the Weekly Sceptic, there has been limited scrutiny of it. There is evidence that this organisation, either directly or indirectly, politicises education under the facade of charity. In doing so, it places schools in breach of existing legislation and guidance and undermines political impartiality.

The requirements and obligations of schools when dealing with political issues are quite clear. Section 406 of the Education Act 1996 forbids the “pursuit of partisan political activities” and the “promotion of partisan political views”. However, according to section 407 of the Education Act 1996, controversial political topics can be taught provided they are done so in a balanced way. The Department of Education’s guidance on political impartality in schools published 2022 recognises that pupils should have “an understanding and respect for legitimate differences of opinion”. It reaffirms the Education Act 1996 by stating schools “must prohibit the promotion of partisan political views” and insists pupils be given a “balanced presentation of opposing views on political issues”.

The 2022 guidance also draws on the definition of “partisan” as established by Dimmock v Secretary of State for Education and Skills (2007) and defines partisan activities as “one-sided” with the intent to “further the interests of a particular partisan group, change the law or change government policy”. Rather importantly within the context of this article, the 2022 guidance also recognises that charitable organisations can be politically partisan. Schools of Sanctuary tries to justify some of its political activism by invoking the Equality Act 2010. While that legislation means it is unlawful for a school to discriminate against its staff or pupils on the basis of their “protected characteristics”, it does not oblige schools to actively campaign for a political cause. And some of the aims, ideological foundations and resources of Schools of Sanctuary, and the behaviour of those schools that have engaged with the organisation, appear to be in breach of the Education Act 1996 and the 2022 guidance.

The background of some of City of Sanctuary and Schools of Sanctuary’s trustees and the content of its materials and resources suggest a political objective and an adherence to identity politics. The trustees of City of Sanctuary include the chair, Yusuf Ciftci, who completed a PhD on immigration policy and the ways to influence changes in said policy. Much of this appears to have influenced the general strategy of City of Sanctuary. One of the trustees, Alice Mpofu-Coles, has been a Labour councillor for Whitley Ward, Reading, since 2021. She describes herself as “a passionate advocate for social justice” and a “tireless activist”. She is also a trustee of Alliance for Cohesion and Racial Equality Ltd, a charity that aims to address “imbalances in power and bring about change founded on social justice, equality and inclusion”.

According to its trustees’ report of 2022, City of Sanctuary is seeking “big political change” and intends to build a “strong and widespread movement” that will “translate into public support for changes in policy and practice”. With a General Election just a few weeks away, there is an opportunity for City of Sanctuary and Schools of Sanctuary to pursue that objective. The Illegal Migration Act 2023, in particular, is being targeted by City of Sanctuary and Schools of Sanctuary, as demonstrated by School of Sanctuary’s “useful” General Election door hanger, which urges people to repeal the Act. These aims clearly point to a political objective and thereby run counter to the Department of Education’s 2022 guidance.

An ideological imbalance in Schools of Sanctuary is implicit elsewhere in its literature and resources. A resource pack from Schools of Sanctuary suggests as much as it says there is an “increasingly hostile environment for people seeking sanctuary in the U.K., feeding anti-immigrant sentiment, racism”. Elsewhere on its website, Schools of Sanctuary claims there is “widespread hostile – and often inaccurate – rhetoric in the public and in the media driving increasingly cruel immigration policies and encouraging attitudes of distrust and hate”. It asserts “the challenges that people who are seeking sanctuary experience often intersect with racism”. This organisation seems to think immigration can only ever be positive and beneficial. Any concerns, criticism, challenge or opposition to immigration are by implication racist and unjustified.

Such beliefs inevitably necessitate a filtering of factual evidence. With the upcoming General Election, Schools of Sanctuary has issued guidance on having “courageous conversations” as part of its push to get people to “step up” This guidance states it “isn’t about debating the other person” and instead emphasises the strategy of emotional persuasion, of encouraging individuals to “speak from the heart” rather than relying on facts. This is a convenient strategy to use with many children, since it dispenses with the need to find, analyse and evaluate tangible evidence. This is essentially derived from the concept of “lived experience” and avoids the troublesome problem of contending with data which does not fit an established narrative.

And where Schools of Sanctuary does stoop to mentioning facts, it does so selectively. Take, for example, the assertion that asylum seekers only receive £49.18 per week which “must cover all food, transport, hygiene items, phone data and clothing”. To be sure, this specific figure is not incorrect. But it certainly lacks context and overlooks a considerable number of other facts, such as the ability of refugees to access Universal Credit, Child Benefit (both of which can be backdated to the date of an asylum claim) and NHS services with free prescriptions and dental care. None of this is mentioned by Schools of Sanctuary and it is not surprising since recognising such facts would undermine the organisation’s agenda. Besides not being objective and impartial, this filtering of information is not exactly consistent with City of Sanctuary’s self-proclaimed belief in “high standards of honesty and behaviour” either.


Adults who skipped college urge high school grads to follow suit, say rewards are ‘immeasurable’

Young trade workers on why they chose trade school over college
Concerns about the rising cost of tuition and university campus culture are driving a significant number of Americans away from higher education, and entrepreneurs who skipped out on a four-year degree are urging others to follow suit.

Guitar Chalk editor Bobby Kittleberger told Fox News Digital he actively encourages his kids not to attend college.

"I like to put it this way: You never see a dude pull up in a Ferrari and think, 'Oh, I bet he has a college degree!' So, I tell my kids, why would you walk a path that by design does not lead to wealth and prosperity?" he said.

Kittleberger, who also works as a web designer and SEO consultant, has several reasons for pushing his kids away from a traditional university path. Although he graduated with a computer science degree, one of the highest-paying majors right out of college, Kittleberger said his diploma has been "completely irrelevant" to his real-world work and career path.

Alternatives to college education

In his opinion, the price of a degree has a terrible return on investment. The recent costs of higher education have led many of his friends to work jobs they could have achieved with a high school degree, such as real estate, trading and insurance.

According to the Education Data Initiative, the average cost of attendance for a student living on campus at a public in-state institution is $108,583 over four years. Out-of-state students will pay an average of $182,832 in the same time frame.

Private colleges can be notably higher, with some charging $250,000 or more over four years in tuition and fees. For instance, Kenyon College in Ohio charges more than $71,000 in tuition a year, not including board fees.

Kittleberger said that if someone wants to become a doctor, lawyer or any other profession that requires a degree, college is almost always the best course of action. But for many fields, he said it is absurd to try and learn to make money from professors who have likely never run their own business.

He plans on encouraging his children, especially his two boys, to enter the labor market and learn crucial financial skills.

"These days, we have so much information at our fingertips. You can learn almost any discipline on your own and make yourself incredibly valuable without paying a dime," he added.

According to a 2023 Gallup poll, confidence levels in colleges and universities recently dropped to just 36%, down from 48% in 2018. In 2015, the confidence level in higher education was 57%, based on those surveyed.

Undergraduate enrollment dropped from 18.1 million students in 2010 to 15.4 million in 2021. While enrollment increased slightly in 2023 following the COVID-19 pandemic, higher education experts have worried that rising college costs and a declining birth rate could drive more Americans away from campuses.

23-year-old Mikey Fieldman is an entrepreneur in Illinois. He said he has never clocked in a day in his life and has been self-employed since he was 14.

In middle school, he started his first business with an iPod touch and made a profit that was not often seen by a 20-year-old. He briefly attended college but soon realized it was not for him. He wishes he had never attended in the first place.

Fieldman spent seven years growing social media accounts that amassed over 7 million followers. He later used the money he earned from social media to start a sports cards and memorabilia business called Field of Cards. Today, he owns his third company, a junk removal business in the Chicago area.

In his view, college and entrepreneurship both have unique advantages and disadvantages that cater to an individual's unique mindset and traits. Colleges, for example, give young adults access to experts in a variety of fields who are there to answer questions and mentor.

"Having that in your back pocket is an advantage," Fieldman said. "You can never know too many smart people."

He also said college provides a unique experience for young adults, as they are surrounded by other people their own age in their formative years. That social setting and the relationships made along the way, he noted, can have tangible value for many people.

Why one college's enrollment is booming

On the other hand, he said a young person who directly enters the labor market can still go to college campuses and visit friends on the weekend to make up for that.

He noted that blue-collar workers with no degree will likely have little to no debt and can make significant money in a trade right away, often rivaling the salary of entry-level positions for recent graduates.

"If you go into something and then don't pursue it, I feel that's even worse, even if it's the same amount of debt. Like, I know personally, I would feel worse about myself adding that much debt if I wasn't doing anything with my degree," he said.

Fieldman said blue-collar jobs also offer many opportunities for side gigs. However, he stressed that this work can often be hard on the human body.

As the CEO and founder of Premier Staff, Daniel Meursing said he wholeheartedly understands the appeal of sidestepping college to pursue alternative entrepreneurial avenues of growth and fulfillment.

"In a world where traditional education is no longer the sole gateway to achievement, the decision to dive into the labor market early can open doors to invaluable experiences and opportunities," he told Fox News Digital.

Like many young adults, Meursing was at a crossroads upon completing high school. He opted to skip the well-trodden path of college to pursue modeling. There, he found a penchant for finance and transitioned into the mortgage industry as a loan officer.

"The decision to forgo college was not without its challenges. However, each obstacle presented an opportunity for growth and self-discovery. Navigating the intricacies of the mortgage industry and later, the event staffing world taught me invaluable lessons in adaptability, problem-solving, and the art of building meaningful relationships," he said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the event staffing industry ground to a halt, and Premier Staff was in peril. Rather than succumb to despair, he embraced the challenge as an opportunity to regroup and emerge stronger.

Today, his company works with renowned brands such as Bentley, Ferrari, Louis Vuitton, Netflix, the BET Awards and the Oscars.