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Preview: EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL

EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL



QUIS MAGISTROS IPSOS DOCEBIT? Read THIS before you spend money on education. Moffats, What a school should be I remember how it was -- JR



Updated: 2018-04-20T21:37:44.825+12:00

 



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2018-04-20T00:48:26.636+12:00

Mystery Cambridge University student wins ‘best bum 2017’ and praises her ‘a**e and thighs’A STUDENT known only as Vita has taken out “best bum of 2017”. She puts her success down to her “considerable a**e and thighs”.THIS is the voluptuous winner of Cambridge University’s ‘best bum’ 2017 award — who admits she has a “considerable a**e and thighs”.The undergraduate — named only as ‘Vita’ — believes her win over far slimmer entrants is a victory for “body acceptance”.Her saucy winning shot, leaning naked against an oak tree, won 24.32 per cent of the vote among readers of The Tab student newspaper.“I don’t have the most athletic figure and I have quite a considerable arse and thighs,” she said.“It says a lot about how far the world has come in body acceptance.“I have worked hard to accept my body. I wanted to prove that to myself by doing something I wouldn’t usually do.“I didn’t even expect the photo would be in the top 10 — let alone be the winner.“I’ve never been so proud of something like that. I’m probably more proud of that than getting into Cambridge.”Vita only decided to enter the competition when her friend — a professional photographer — asked her the night before.She said: “During the shoot, it was so cold and my feet were wet. You can’t notice in the photo but the photos were taken near a football pitch during a football match.“I don’t think they saw us — we would have noticed if they had noticed us.“It was also next to the train line and every time a train was about to go by, the photographer threw my coat at me to give me some modesty!”She took victory by a one per cent margin ahead of second place ‘Virginia’, who polled 23.08 per cent with a similar pose in a tree.Now Vita’s curvaceous derrière has become a star on campus with friends commending her for her boldness.She said: “Everyone who has seen my photos has been so positive. I have seen comments online saying that I’m fat but I’m going to ignore the trolls.“I know there are comments saying that Cambridge students are ‘snowflakes’ and not working but I think it’s sad and narrow-minded to call us that!“It’s an old-fashioned point of view — I’m going to focus on the positives.“I can understand why they would concerned but at the same time everyone was young once and quite a few people see their a**e!”Vita added: “When I told my mum, I was really worried because she’s quite conservative but she thought it was hilarious!“She even showed the photo to my old teachers and they thought it was hilarious too.”SOURCE Scotland: Pupils urge their school chaplain to quit in row over gay marriageHundreds of names have been added to a petition by pupils at Carnoustie High School, Angus, against the Rev Mike Goss. The petition demands that the school break its ties with Mr Goss, accusing him of being against gay marriage and claiming that he has stated his dislike for the LGBTQ+ community.Mr Goss, the minister of Barry Parish Church, described the petition as lies and said that the allegations were potentially actionable.He has offered to meet the LGBTQ+ community at Carnoustie High to discuss their concerns. SOURCE South Australia's trial of England's year one phonics check shows why we need it The proposal to introduce a phonics check - employed in schools in England towards the end of year one - into Australian schools has created considerable controversy. It has been said it would prove stressful to young children and is unnecessary, because phonics is already taught adequately in most Australian schools as part of the literacy curriculum.Read more: Explainer: what is phonics and why is it important?The South Australian government commissioned a trial of the utility of the phonics check last year. The results allay many of the reservations about the check and confirm the need for its introduction.The phonics check consists of 40 single words children read aloud to a teacher. There are 20 real words and 20 "pseudo words" - all of which can be r[...]



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2018-04-19T00:58:55.029+12:00

Purdue University Just Froze Tuition for the 7th Straight Year. Mitch Daniels Explains HowPurdue University President Mitch Daniels, the former governor of Indiana and director of President George W. Bush’s Office of Management and Budget, spoke exclusively to The Daily Signal’s Rob Bluey at the Reagan Institute Summit on Education on Thursday. Daniels explained how Purdue has been able to freeze its tuition for seven consecutive years and why free speech is flourishing on its campus in West Lafayette, Indiana. A transcript of his Daily Signal interview is below.Bluey: We’re here at the Reagan Institute Summit on Education. What’s your message to the attendees at this event?Mitch Daniels: I believe that higher education as we’ve known it is in some jeopardy. A lot of institutions, at least, are going to have difficulty persuading sufficient numbers of students and their families in the future that they’re providing value commensurate with the cost that they’re charging.I also suggested that there are big opportunities that we need as a society to have addressed. Large numbers of people who could better themselves in life if they were to complete that degree that they started and didn’t finish, or maybe do one from scratch. We’re going to need new ways and means of reaching them, since many of them are well beyond the stage in life where they can engage in old-fashioned residential education.Transform “Tax Day” into “Freedom Day.” Support the campaign to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent >>Bluey: From a policy perspective, what are some reforms that you would like to see for higher education?Daniels: Government’s not the answer to every question. It’s not the hammer for every nail.There are just as many ways in which government involvement has been a contributor to this problem than it is its solution. Clearly, it could help if student financial aid programs were much less complex than they are today. If it would simply deregulate many of the requirements that have been piled on to schools. It’s part of the cost problem.“Government’s not the answer to every question. It’s not the hammer for every nail.” —@purduemitchWe know that the explosion in federal grants and loans has contributed to driving up the costs. And I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have done it in the first place, only that it needs re-examination as to whether we’re really getting enough value out of it on net.But this is a problem, mainly, for system to solve itself, or someone else will. Or the innovators, or so-called disruptors, will solve it for us.Bluey: Just today, you announced that you were freezing tuition at Purdue University. This is the seventh straight year. That seems remarkable that an institution of your size has been able to do that. How have you been able to do that?Daniels: It’s simpler than some people imagine, really. It was simply establishing this as our priority and asking everybody in the community, Purdue family, to contribute to it.We have a wonderfully diverse community at Purdue. Faculty, students, staff. We disagree about all sorts of things, but one thing that almost everybody agrees with is we want our university to be accessible to students, if they’re up to our standards, from whatever socio-economic background. And so, there’s been a lot of support for doing it.“We disagree about all sorts of things, but one thing that almost everybody agrees with is we want our university to be accessible to students.” —@purduemitchWe’ve grown the student body, and that was part of it. We’ve affected some efficiencies and cost savings, but we can do … believe me, we’ve not done nearly what I think should.By solving the equation for zero, as opposed to first deciding how much to spend and then dialing up the tuition to match, which was the old formula still practiced by some, we have not found it that difficult. It has turned into a selling point for our school.We started out doing it because we thought it was right to do. As we’ve bee[...]



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2018-04-18T00:44:04.492+12:00

The costs, opportunities, and limitations of the expansion of 529 education savings accountsThe Brookings Institution Doesn't like the tax losses involved so downplays the benefitsEXECUTIVE SUMMARYThe Tax Cuts and Jobs Act substantively changed 529 college savings plans. In an effort to promote school choice, the Act expanded the list of eligible 529 expenses to include K-12 private school tuition. This federal change in the definition of qualified expenses will impact many states, particularly those that offer 529 tax deductions and credits. In this paper, we examine the potential impact of the 529 expansion on the distribution of benefits across families, on the promotion of private school choice, and on possible fiscal implications for individual states. Our overall assessment of the likely impact in these three areas is that the 529 expansion to private K-12 schools will primarily benefit affluent families, produce limited incentives for promoting private school choice, and come at a nontrivial cost to states. We discuss some ways that states might respond to promote progressive tax policy and expand private school choice. A simple roll-back of state tax breaks, and/or direct investment in school choice end up as the most straightforward ways to achieve these goals.OVERVIEWThe key benefit of 529 plans is that earnings on contributions are not subject to federal taxes when withdrawn to pay for tuition and other select college expenses. When earnings from 529 contributions accrue over long time periods as they do, for example, when parents establish and fund a 529 plan when their child is young and begin to draw it down when that child enters college, the financial benefit of exemption from federal taxes can be substantial.[1] However, the time period between putting money into a 529 plan and withdrawing it for K-12 tuition will typically be far shorter.  The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimates the loss to the Federal Treasury will be a modest $600 million over 10 years.[2]The federal tax code defines 529s and the expenses they may be used for, but states run the plans. All but two states, Washington State and Wyoming, offer 529 plans. Most importantly, more than 30 states offer state-level tax deductions or credits, which can be claimed on each year’s state tax return, for those who put money into the plans. These immediate state-level tax benefits are what will almost certainly draw more people who are paying private school tuition into 529 accounts – any family paying private school tuition in a state offering 529 tax benefits would be foolish, financially speaking, not to make use of them. The rub is that as more families start claiming the benefits, state revenues will decline.More than two months after the passage of the TCJA, many states are still uncertain as to how they will accommodate this federal change in definition of qualified expenses. Most states will have to respond in some way—by changing state regulations or laws to block or welcome the expansion and by communicating those options to account holders. At last count, of the 34 states with 529 deductions or credits, eighteen automatically conformed or have passed legislation to conform to the federal 529 change, while sixteen have either argued that their state 529 incentives cannot be used for K-12 expenses, despite the federal change, or have yet to determine their course.[3] For some of these states, this could include new legislation that constrains the state tax benefits in their own specific 529 plan The real question for states is whether they wish to use their own tax systems to support spending on private K-12 education through the vehicle of 529 plans. The answer to this question will clearly vary, depending on the political complexion of a state government, financial implications, and broader attitudes towards school choice. We focus on the fiscal implications for states (the cost to tax payers), distributional consequences for families (who will financially benefit mo[...]



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2018-04-17T00:57:29.976+12:00

College Student Poses With Gun for Graduation Photo, Firing Up TwitterA student at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga used her senior photo shoot to showcase support for the Second Amendment right to bear arms, but not everyone is happy about it.Brenna Spencer, 22, tweeted out a picture of herself lifting up a pink T-shirt slightly to reveal a handgun in her waistband. The shirt reads: “Women for Trump.”“I wanted my graduation photos to be personal and to be about my journey,” Spencer told The Daily Signal by text Wednesday night. “So with me loving the Second Amendment and conservative politics, it’s what inspired me to take and post the photo.”Despite the backlash she has received from the Twitterverse, Spencer told Fox News Channel she has no regrets about tweeting out the photo.She told The Daily Signal it was a “helpful” experience despite the negative reactions. “I believe standing up for what I believe in and trying to empower women to protect themselves is helpful,” she said. One tweet suggested that Spencer take down the picture if she ever wants to be employed.“You realize employers will see this right? Hope you enjoy living with Mom and Dad,” tweeted Lisa Simpson, who goes by Lisa Simpson Democrat on Twitter.Spencer works at Turning Point USA, a nonprofit focused on conservative activism on college campuses. [Disclosure: The reporter of this story is president of Turning Point USA at Michigan State University.]Co-workers were quick to point out that her employer supports her and the photo. The founder of Turning Point USA, Charlie Kirk, applauded Spencer in a tweet for exemplifying “real feminism”:Another employee, Alana Mastrangelo, tweeted out a similar photo with the message: “Here I am in solidarity with Brenna, also carrying in public.”The comments on Spencer’s tweeted photo range from GIFs, brief video clips, and memes suggesting she get some counseling.One person called Spencer an “attention grabbing” young woman, while another wrote that she broke the law by bringing her gun near a building with a no-weapons policy. The photo was taken outside the Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, which bans firearms inside.One Twitter user, Victoria Silva, alerted police by tagging the Chattanooga Police Department.“Per the thread, this young female is taking a photo [with] a firearm, in an area [with] a posted ‘no-weapons’ policy,” Silva tweeted. “This showboating behavior is irresponsible, reckless, and potentially dangerous. Signed, A concerned citizen.”But Spencer told The Daily Signal that she doesn’t see the photo shoot that way. “My goal was to empower women to protect themselves, [so] yes, I think it was successful,” she said.SOURCE BOOK REVIEW: "The Case against Education. Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money"By Bryan CaplanWhy we need to stop wasting public funds on educationDespite being immensely popular --and immensely lucrative—education is grossly overrated. In this explosive book, Bryan Caplan argues that the primary function of education is not to enhance students' skill but to certify their intelligence, work ethic, and conformity —in other words, to signal the qualities of a good employee. Learn why students hunt for easy As and casually forget most of what they learn after the final exam, why decades of growing access to education have not resulted in better jobs for the average worker but instead in runaway credential inflation, how employers reward workers for costly schooling they rarely if ever use, and why cutting education spending is the best remedy.Caplan draws on the latest social science to show how the labor market values grades over knowledge, and why the more education your rivals have, the more you need to impress employers. He explains why graduation is our society's top conformity signal, and why even the most useless degrees can certify employability. He advocates two major policy responses. The first is[...]



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2018-04-16T00:49:56.918+12:00

2,000 Veterans, Relatives Back Education Savings Accounts for Military FamiliesMore than 2,000 military veterans, spouses, and other family members have signed a letter in support of a bill creating federally funded education savings accounts for military families to provide more choices and flexibility in schooling the children of those in the armed forces.The signers “are writing to express our strong support for the Education Savings Account for Military Families Act of 2018,” they say in the letter released Tuesday by Heritage Action for America, the lobbying arm of The Heritage Foundation.The letter—sent to the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Armed Services committees—supports a bill introduced March 7 by Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind.The legislation would establish a new kind of education savings account that military families could use to increase school choice options by paying for certain expenses.Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. But this can't be done alone. Find out more >>“According to a survey conducted by Military Times, 35 percent of readers, largely active-duty military families, say that dissatisfaction with their children’s education was a significant factor in their decision to remain or leave military service,” the letter says.In a statement provided to The Daily Signal, Banks said the number of signatures on the letter shows the importance of the issue to military families.“It’s clear that military families want more choice on how to best educate their children,” Banks said. “Every single one of these families has made tremendous sacrifices to serve our country, but their child’s education should not be one of them.”The bill, currently before the House Education and Workforce Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee, would cover options such as private, online learning programs, private school tuition, individual classes and extracurricular programs at public schools, computer hardware, textbooks, and curriculums and other instructional materials, according to a report from The Heritage Foundation, which has supported the idea.“Families who serve in the armed forces move from duty station to duty station with little choice in where they live or what schools their children attend,” the letter says. “Military-connected children are too often assigned to the district schools closest in proximity to military bases, regardless of whether those schools meet their needs. More than half of all active-duty military families live in states with no school-choice options at all.”Sens. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., and Tim Scott, R-S.C., introduced a companion bill in the Senate on March 7.“This bill lets parents customize their kids’ education, letting them find the opportunities that fit their family’s needs,” Sasse said in a written statement. “All of us should want to make sure that the decision to defend our freedom doesn’t mean kids miss out on the best education options available.”The signers of the letter ask lawmakers to consider including the Banks legislation in the National Defense Authorization Act, which sets policies and spending priorities for the Defense Department.“As you consider adding new policies in this year’s NDAA,” they write, “please consider including Rep. Banks’ Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act of 2018 to help strengthen the military and better serve military families.”SOURCE Fed-Up AZ Supreme Court Hits Dreamers with Costly Bad News in Blowout RulingFormer President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program created something of a legal limbo for a select class of illegal immigrants, shielding them from deportation without granting them legal status. Now, some of the program’s enrollees could quite literally be paying for that uncertainty.According to The Washington Times, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that DACA recip[...]



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2018-04-15T00:51:53.243+12:00

Fox anchors come under fire after they call a Houston teenager who was accepted to 20 colleges 'obnoxious'Such exceptional results do speak of affirmative action, which is inherently obnoxious as a form of racism.  His apparently unhumble response was also in poor form.  So that would most likely be what drove the adverse commentsAnchor Holly Morris and contributor Sarah Fraser were having a discussion on April 3 about Michael Brown, the high school senior who was accepted into every school he applied to, including several top universities.The two women criticized Brown for applying to so many universities, saying that he was depriving other hard-working students of spots at the schools.'It's a little ridiculous that this kid applied to 20 [colleges] taking away a spot and basically wait-listing another kid,' Fraser said.Morris replied: 'It's a little obnoxious because you can only go to one. You can only take one full ride, and you are taking a spot from someone else who worked really hard.'Seventeen-year-old Brown has a 4.68 GPA at Lamar High School was accepted into Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Northwestern, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford, Georgetown and Vanderbilt, receiving full-ride scholarships from them and every other school he applied to. A NowThis video criticizing the piece - and cutting the anchor’s reaction with with Brown’s excitement upon learning of his acceptances - has been viewed more than 7.83 million times.Fraser apologized for her comments on Saturday in a tweet and said had 'learned a lesson'. 'I don’t feel that way. I have apologized to Michael and he accepted my apology. Michaels [sic] accomplishments aren’t up for debate. I have learned a valuable lesson,' she wrote.However, Morris remained more defensive and said that race had nothing to do with her opinion on the matter.'I also said he is an amazing young man. This is not a racial issue. I would have the exact same opinion if the boy was white,' she wrote on WednesdaySOURCE Slutty sheep: Veteran academics warn college students are going off the railsSTEUBENVILLE, Ohio – Today’s college students are “situationally confused.” They have no room in their schedules for “intellectual curiosity.”And their sexual promiscuity is practically the only part of their lives that their colleges refuse to police.Two veteran academics who have diagnosed different plagues in modern higher education have little optimism for young people entering college for the foreseeable future, judging by their presentations to a conference this past weekend at Franciscan University of Steubenville, a conservative Catholic institution.College students have no passions today and “aren’t trained to pay attention to the things they feel connected to,” former Yale English professor William Deresiewicz told the gathering on the “crisis” in American higher education at the Veritas Center for Public Ethics.In fact, higher education has become “profoundly unintellectual” and student life has become about “accumulating gold stars,” said Deresiewicz, who publicly disavowed Ivy League education several years after leaving Yale.The author of Excellent Sheep, which fleshes out his views on the failure of elite education, told the Franciscan crowd that most students nowadays think that being intellectual simply means getting good grades.Deresiewicz explained that most students now engross themselves so much into learning the structural parts of their classes that they “don’t have time for intellectual curiosity.”Students “can’t think for themselves because they don’t have time,” he said.He began assigning A-minus grades to students whose papers simply checked all the necessary boxes for an A but didn’t add any real insight, while working with those students to help them find their own intellectual voice.Deresiewicz recounted how a student once told him “‘I hate all my activities, I ha[...]



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2018-04-13T00:41:50.673+12:00

School District: Pro-Life Walkout Not 'Viewpoint Neutral,' Anti-Gun Walkout 'Viewpoint Neutral'The Rocklin Unified School District in California where Rocklin High School student Brandon Gillespie has organized a pro-life walkout for April 11, said it would not officially sanction the event because it does not meet the school's criteria for special events and "is not viewpoint neutral," unlike the March 14 National School Walkout, which it said was a "remembrance activity" and "was considered viewpoint neutral."However, the Rocklin school district also said, in a statement, that students who participate in #prolifewalkout on Wednesday would not face "disciplinary consequences," as long as they followed school rules.Back on March 14, the youth arm of the Women's March organized a nationwide walkout at schools to remember the students and teachers killed on Feb. 14 at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. by shooter Nikolas Cruz.  The #NationalSchoolWalkout was designed to remember the victims for 17 minutes. But it was also orchestrated, as the group states, "to demand Congress pass legislation to keep us safe from gun violence at our schools, on our streets and in our homes and places of worship."The #NationalSchoolWalkout also issued demands that included banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and expanding background checks on to all gun sales. The organizers also opposed concealed carry reciprocity (allowing people to carry guns in any state). The walkout was very popular, with about 3,000 schools and 1 million students participating in the event.Brandon Gillespie, 17, organized the pro-life walkout, he told CBS 13 Sacramento, "To honor all the lives of aborted babies pretty much. All the millions of aborted babies every year." He also made it clear that he wanted to see if the school would be fair: It allowed the anti-gun walkout, so would it allow the pro-life walkout?"I would like to see if there really is a double standard and what will come of that," said Gillespie. The website for the April 11 walkout, which takes place at 10AM (in all timezones), states that student participants "will walk out of our classes for 17 minutes of silence and prayer. We will stand silently outside honoring the 10 children who will violently die during that time at a Planned Parenthood abortion facility. We will rally and demand the end of Planned Parenthood's taxpayer funded empire. We will kneel and pray for the end of legal abortion in our nation." The website lists dozens of high schools and colleges where students reportedly will participate in the walkout. CNSNews.com asked the Rocklin Unified School District if the students at its schools had permission to join in the pro-life walkout. In a statement from the chief of Commications and Community Engagement, Diana Capra, the district said, "Several students at Rocklin High School have requested permission to conduct a pro-life walkout and to receive the same accommodations as those given to students who participated in the remembrance activity on March 14th. Rocklin High School approved the March 14th event since it was organized as a remembrance activity which was considered viewpoint neutral, and it was a show of unity for students as part of a national conversation concerning school safety. This met the school district’s policy for assemblies and special events.""The request to hold a pro-life walkout during instructional time does not fall under the school district's policy for assemblies and special events as it is not related to school and is not viewpoint neutral," said the district.  "However, if students choose to engage in a protest or a walk out they will be allowed to do so without disciplinary consequences, as long as they conduct themselves according to school rules."The district further said, "Background: School officials have a duty to ensure a safe and co[...]



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2018-04-12T00:46:40.136+12:00

UMass Boston feels snubbed after Mount Ida dealI don't know why UMass administrators privilege UMass Amherst over UMass Boston but I suspect that it is because UMass Amherst is twice as white (majority white at Amherst versus minority white at Boston). Heh!UMass Boston students and professors are livid after learning that UMass Amherst will buy a new campus in Newton for its students, while Boston is forced to keep cutting people and programs to make ends meet.To them, the university system trustees’ approval of Amherst’s plan reinforces a longstanding belief on the Dorchester campus that the University of Massachusetts Boston is considered second-best.“The board just really doesn’t care about Boston,” said Katie Mitrano, president of the UMass Boston undergraduate student body.“This is going to starve us even more. It’s going to put us into competition with our sister campus,” said Lorna Rivera, a women’s studies professor at UMass Boston.“There is a lot of neglect of the Boston campus within the UMass system in a way that we can only link to socioeconomic discrimination,” said Charla Burnett, a UMass Boston PhD student and graduate student employees union representative.Attorney General Maura Healey said over the weekend she would look into the situation to see if Mount Ida students could possibly qualify for relief from their college loans and to help determine what transfer options are available.Under the UMass plan, Mount Ida students have the chance to automatically enroll at UMass Dartmouth or apply to transfer to another UMass campus.Amherst intends to use the campus for its students to complete internships and academic collaborations with Boston-area colleges and businesses. Amherst officials said the 72-acre facility, which comes with dorms, laboratories, and sports fields, will also help fund-raising by having a facility closer to alumni in the city.The purchase will be financed by the Amherst campus with $37 million in tax-exempt bonds, plus other borrowing. All UMass campuses have separate budgets, and their borrowing abilities depend on how much debt a campus has in relation to its operating revenue.The Boston campus has struggled acutely over the past year with an operating deficit at one point projected to reach $30 million. The deficit was caused, in part, by millions of dollars in delays and overruns on various construction projects on the campus, as well as decades of general financial mismanagement, according to the results of an audit released last fall.As a result of the budget challenges, UMass Boston has cut course sections, laid off employees, imposed a hiring freeze, closed an on-campus day care center, and even instructed students to cut back on printing and copying.Rivera, the women’s studies professor, also runs the Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development & Public Policy, one of 17 centers and institutes at UMass Boston that will lose funding from the university.  “It makes one wonder, . . . of all the campuses why is UMass Boston consistently excluded and shamed and marginalized from the whole system?” she said. ‘This is going to starve us even more.’The Amherst deal is not final. The state Board of Higher Education is required to approve Mount Ida’s plan for how students will complete their degrees. Its next meeting is scheduled for April 24.In addition, although UMass trustees approved Amherst’s plan to buy the campus, a UMass system office spokesman said on Monday that the deal is still subject to more research.SOURCE Nation’s ‘Report Card’ Shows Federal Intervention Has Not Helped StudentsWhen President Lyndon Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act into law in 1965, he vowed the unprecedented new federal intervention in K-12 education would “bridge the gap between helplessness and hope” for “educationally[...]



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2018-04-11T00:45:53.222+12:00

Austria's government plans to ban girls from wearing headscarves in kindergarten and primary schools to combat 'parallel Muslim societies'Austria's right-wing government has announced plans to ban girls in kindergarten and primary schools from wearing Muslim headscarves.Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who rules in coalition with the far-right Freedom Party, said the proposed anti-hijab law would aim to combat what the government sees as a threat to Austrian mainstream culture from some Muslims.If any such plan became law it would apply to girls of up to around the age of ten, however as most Muslims who wear the hijab only begin doing so from puberty, it is not known how many people the 'ban' would affect. Austria took in more than one percent of its population in asylum seekers during Europe's migration crisis, an issue that helped Chancellor Kurz's conservatives win an election last year by taking a hard line on immigration.'Our goal is to confront any development of parallel societies in Austria,' Kurz told ORF radio, using a term he and the Freedom Party (FPO) favour to describe what they see as a threat posed by some Muslims to mainstream culture. 'Girls wearing a headscarf in kindergarten or primary school is of course part of that.'Kurz, at a news conference with Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache of the FPO, said they believed there was a problem in schools though they produced no figures to support this.'What I can tell you is that it is a growing phenomenon. A few decades ago we did not have this in Austria and now it occurs primarily in Islamic kindergartens but also here and there in public establishments of Vienna and other cities,' Kurz said.He said a bill would be drawn up. Austria's main Muslim organisation was not immediately available for comment.The previous coalition of Social Democrats and Kurz's conservatives, passed a law banning face coverings including Muslim full-face veils in public spaces, but women and girls are free to wear regular hijab.It considered banning teachers from wearing headscarves but that plan was dropped after a debate over religious symbols in schools such as the Catholic crosses that still hang on many classroom walls.For any headscarf ban to come into force in kindergartens, which are run by Austria's provinces, the government would need a two-thirds majority in parliament and therefore the support of either the Social Democrats or the liberal Neos party.While the Social Democrats said they wanted a broader package of measures, they did not rule out cooperation. The Neos said they would examine the text drawn up by the government.SOURCE Parents Stage Walkout Over Planned Parenthood's Graphic, Violent Sex Ed in Public SchoolsSex education in public schools has gone off the deep end. Gone are the days of handing out birth control and practicing putting condoms on bananas. These days your kid is more likely to come away from school with more sexually deviant knowledge than single gay dudes in New York City, thanks to Planned Parenthood's comprehensive sex ed program that has somehow made it into public school curriculums. These programs teach dangerous and violent practices like BDSM, asphyxiation, gender-bending, anal sex, and let's not forget "rimming," which can saddle your kid with nasty parasitic infections.Planned Parenthood has already been caught on video by Live Action advising a girl they think is 15 years old to allow her boyfriend to beat, whip, and gag her. These are the same people that taxpayers want educating their kids in schools? I can't imagine why anyone would want this, and neither can a group of fed up parents who have organized a walkout later this month."On April 23rd, parents around the nation will be pulling their children out of school for the day in protest of dangerous and graphic sex education and uniting at various locations to hold[...]



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2018-04-10T00:47:24.865+12:00

The Real Source of Teachers’ StrugglesStriking teachers in West Virginia recently made headlines in their efforts to increase their pay and benefits, which are among the lowest in the country. Teachers in Oklahoma, Arizona, and Kentucky have followed suit with similar protests. The dominant narrative, pushed by Democrats and their allies in the labor movement, presents these protests as part of a larger struggle between underpaid educators and miserly state Republicans more concerned with cutting taxes than with investing in children. While politically convenient, this story is largely a red herring distracting us from the real reason teachers in West Virginia and elsewhere are currently underpaid and unlikely to see substantial pay increases any time soon.The problem is fiscal capacity. This is the ability of governments to raise enough revenues for the provision of basic public goods. Some states have greater total taxable resources (income, wealth, natural resources, etc.) than others. Typically, social scientists discuss fiscal capacity in regard to the inequality that results from the ability of rich suburbs to spend more on education than poor urban areas. While reformers have made great strides in reducing the disparities between urban and suburban school spending, they have paid almost no attention to disparities among states. It is impossible to address the teachers’ grievances without addressing limited fiscal capacity among poor states.Comparing West Virginia and New Jersey helps us understand the underlying problem. Each state dedicates the same proportion of its resources to spending on education salaries and benefits — about 3.5 percent of its GDP. In other words, they are putting in the same effort. The crucial difference is that New Jersey is a very rich state, which gives it more fiscal capacity. West Virginia, on the other hand, is a very poor state, which severely limits its fiscal capacity.The difference in fiscal capacity translates into about $5,800 more per pupil for teacher salaries and benefits in New Jersey relative to West Virginia ($15,203 versus $9,409). If you want to know why the average teacher salary in West Virginia amounts to only 65 percent of the average teacher salary in New Jersey ($45,701 versus $69,623), then look no further than the fact that per-pupil spending in West Virginia amounts to only 62 percent of per-pupil spending in New Jersey.Some of this gap can be attributed to regional differences in the cost of living. A $45,701 salary gets you more bang for your buck in West Virginia than in New Jersey. But when it comes to student learning, New Jersey ranks near the top of the National Assessment of Student Progress while West Virginia ranks near the bottom. Like any other service, you get what you pay for when it comes to education.Critics contend that Republicans could simply raise taxes to pay teachers better. This misses the fundamental problem with West Virginia’s limited fiscal capacity. In order to attain per-pupil spending on par with New Jersey’s, West Virginia would need to substantially increase the tax burden on its already poor residents far above and beyond that of any other state. Even if West Virginia introduced a trendy new millionaire tax, it would not raise anything close to the necessary revenue because the state ranks near the bottom in terms of millionaires per capita.The only way to ensure that underpaid teachers in poor states receive the pay raises they deserve is to directly address disparities in fiscal capacity across states. The most effective way to do this is through a federal equalization block grant targeting states with below-average fiscal capacity. An equalization grant would enable poorer states to provide the same level of public services afforded to residents in richer states without add[...]



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2018-04-09T00:45:06.562+12:00

Australia: Grandparents' education gives year 3 students huge boostThe Leftist morons below have just rediscovered IQ but don't know it.  IQ is a huge influence on educational success and is strongly inherited genetically.  So of course high achieving people will tend to have high achieving children and grandchildren.  The various "explanations" put forward below for the relationship are therefore supererogatory and pointless, though they may have some marginal explanatory power.Most amusing is the apparent belief that schools can somehow make up for a disadvantageous ancestry.  Since there is not yet any known way to genetically engineer a high IQ, the expectation is not so much optimistic as plain stupid.  Leftism  is a terrible blight on the brainA student's year 3 NAPLAN scores can be significantly impacted by their grandparents' level of education, with new evidence showing that educational disadvantage is multi-generational.Having four family members with university degrees can place a student 1.4 years ahead of their peers who have no family members with high attainment by year 3.The study, which looked at the NAPLAN numeracy and reading scores and family background of 5107 infants aged between three and 19 months and 4983 children aged between four and five in 2004 over a decade, found that "grandparent educational attainment is associated with grandchild test scores independent of parent education" where both grandparents have high attainment.Lead author of the study, Kirsten Hancock, a senior research fellow at the Telethon Kids Institute, said the findings have implications for both schools and families."It has implications for the current generation of parents, knowing that what they're doing now not only affects their own children but also generations down the line," Ms Hancock said."Not everyone's going to go to university but valuing education and supporting their kids is really important."Ms Hancock said the study also "helps to show what schools are dealing with"."There is a wide range of backgrounds that kids come to school with and it's difficult for schools to overcome that," Ms Hancock said."Something like 20 per cent of a child's waking hours are spent at school each year, so what happens there has to be pretty good to offset all these other things."The study found that grandparents can contribute to their grandchildren's education directly through financial or other support, or by promoting the value of education within the family and providing access to useful networks.It also found that grandparents' ability to contribute differs by country, and that Australian grandparents have plenty of opportunities to provide a financial boost by helping with school fees and costs or supporting extracurricular activities."Enrolment in private education is also substantially higher in Australia than in other countries, with almost 40 per cent of students attending non-government schools compared with an OECD average of 15 per cent," the paper states."Grandparents may also help parents to secure housing in the catchment areas of desirable public schools, either by providing financial support, or by providing free childcare that enable parents to generate more income and have greater choice with respect to housing."The advantage provided by well-educated grandparents and parents tends to be concentrated in some families, with people with high educational attainment likely to partner with people who have similar levels of attainment."Such a concentration of human capital may contribute further to educational inequalities in subsequent generations," the paper states.Ms Hancock said: "We haven't had the data to prove this in Australia before now. "For children who come from these strong educational backgrounds, they'[...]



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2018-04-08T00:55:07.919+12:00

Concealed Carry on Campus Is More Common, and Useful, Than You ThoughtRecent tragedies have put a spotlight on the issue of firearms in schools, particularly whether there should be more or fewer armed personnel protecting students in the classroom.What many do not realize is that students and teachers at some colleges and universities have for years been able to arm themselves on school property.Which States Allow Guns On Campus, Under What CircumstancesSeveral states have statutes that explicitly protect the right of licensed individuals to carry concealed firearms at public colleges and universities:Utah—In 2007, Utah became the first state to explicitly allow concealed weapons permit holders to carry firearms on public college campuses.Colorado—The Concealed Carry Act of 2003 clarified the state’s concealed carry permit process and established statewide uniform standards establishing carrying restrictions. Then, in 2012, the Colorado Supreme Court determined the University of Colorado system could not prohibit concealed carry permit holders from carrying on campus.Mississippi—In 2011, the state passed a law prohibiting public universities from enforcing firearms bans on persons with “training-endorsed” firearms permits.Kansas—In 2013, the state passed a law that allowed for the carrying of concealed handguns on the state’s public university campuses and in university buildings, beginning July 1, 2017.Idaho—In 2014, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter signed into law a bill that allows enhanced concealed carry permit holders to carry concealed firearms on public university campuses.Texas—As of 2016, all state four-year colleges and universities must permit individuals with concealed handgun licenses to carry loaded, concealed firearms on campus. This statute took effect for all state two-year and junior colleges in 2017.Tennessee—As of 2016, full-time employees of state public colleges and universities with concealed carry permits may be armed on campus. Students are still prohibited from carrying firearms on campus.Arkansas—As of Sept. 1, 2017, individuals 21 or older with concealed carry permits may apply for an enhanced permit to carry on college campuses.Georgia—In 2017, the state passed a law permitting any person with a valid weapons license to carry concealed firearms on the grounds of public college and university campuses.Most colleges and universities in states that protect the right to carry concealed weapons on campus have policies prohibiting firearms from being carried in certain sensitive areas and buildings.For example, the University of Georgia prohibits the concealed carrying of firearms at athletic events, in Greek or university housing, or within “disciplinary action locations.”Similarly, the University of Texas at Austin allows faculty members to declare their offices as “gun-free zones,” and students are not permitted to keep their weapons stored in their dorm rooms.Some Universities Refuse to CooperateIn several more states, the law on the books is complicated by administrative rules from noncooperative colleges and universities.In Oregon, for example, the law protects the right of individuals to carry concealed firearms on public college and university campuses, and the state’s Court of Appeals in 2011 struck down an institutional policy prohibiting the possession of firearms on campus.This has not stopped state universities and colleges from continuing to post guidelines purporting to prohibit the concealed carry of firearms on campus, even as county attorneys publicly state these policies cannot be legally enforced under state law.The state of the law in Wisconsin is even more uncertain.In 2011, Gov. Scott Walker signed Wisconsin Act 35, which makes it lawful for persons wit[...]



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2018-04-06T00:46:10.586+12:00

University event aims to combat ‘Christian Privilege’George Washington University diversity workshop to be held four days after EasterJust four days after Easter, George Washington University will host a training session for students and faculty that teaches that Christians — especially white ones — “receive unmerited perks from institutions and systems all across our country.”The April 5 diversity workshop is titled “Christian Privilege: But Our Founding Fathers Were All Christian, Right?!”Hosted by the university’s Multicultural Student Services Center, the event will teach that Christians enjoy a privileged, easier life than their non-Christian counterparts, and that Christians possess “built-in advantages” today, according to its online description.The workshop will also discuss how Christians receive “unmerited perks from institutions and systems all across our country.”The “Christian Privilege” workshop is one of 15 “free training opportunities” offered through the center to “equip students and staff with the necessary skills to promote diversity and inclusion in the different environments,” according to its website.Other workshops offered through the center focus on “heteroesexual privilege,” “cisgender privilege,” “abled-bodied privilege,” “socio-economic privilege,” “unconscious bias,” and more.Efforts by The College Fix to reach a campus spokesperson, the multicultural center and the host of the Christian privilege workshop were to no avail Monday afternoon.The Christian privilege event aims to make people aware of the privileges that Christians have and “what is meant by privilege overall and white privilege specifically,” the event description states. Furthermore, the event will try to educate those of the “role of denial when it comes to white privilege” and the difference between “equality and equity.”By the end of the training, the organizers want participants to be able to name “at least three examples of Christian privilege” and “at least three ways to be an ally with a non-Christian person,” the website states.Organizers also want the participants to be able to describe words like: “privilege, Christian privilege, denial, quality, equity, Christianity, bias, unconscious bias, micro-aggression, ally,” the website states.The workshop will last 90 minutes and will feature a PowerPoint presentation and Q&A.It will be hosted by Timothy Kane, the interim associate director for inclusion initiatives at George Washington University, according to his biography page. As interim associate director, Kane works to expand the diversity and inclusion efforts at GWU, specifically the LGBT community. He did not respond Monday to a request for comment.Kane, who has a master’s degree in divinity and theology, is “dedicated to ensuring that all types of diversity at GW are celebrated and meant to feel included in campus culture and student life.” Being a “proud gay member of the LGBT community” at the university, he hopes to “promote this kind of solidarity amongst the LGBT community, and work towards celebrating the richness of diversity here at GW,” his online bio states.Kane also hosts the “heterosexual privilege,” “cisgender privilege,” “abled-body privilege,” and “socioeconomic privilege” workshops. White privilege is a specific focus in each of these training sessions, according to the multicultural center’s website.SOURCE No men allowed: UVM hosts women-only debate championshipThe first rule of a North American debate tournament to be held in Vermont this weekend: No men allowed. Some 150 debaters from 18 schools across the U.S. and Canada will compete in the special tournament,[...]



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2018-04-05T00:49:08.031+12:00

GENES APPEAR TO EXPLAIN MOST OF THE SUCCESS OF SELECTIVE SCHOOLSMatt Ridley below acknowledges his indebtedness to the iconoclastic Toby Young.  Read more of Toby hereThe good news is you can save on school fees. A new study finds that selective schools add almost nothing to the exam results of students, because the advantages teenagers come out with are mainly ones they arrived with, and are for the most part genetic. The bad news is that this implies genetic stratification of society is happening, and more than we thought. But then that is bound to happen in a meritocracy. If you make everything else equal, differences will be increasingly determined by genes.The new study comes with impeccable credentials, from a team led by Robert Plomin, a professor at King’s College London and the acknowledged leader in the genetics of intelligence. Co-authors include the researcher Emily Smith-Woolley and the prominent school reformer (and social media witch-hunt victim) Toby Young, whose father coined the word “meritocracy” 60 years ago.It is no longer controversial that genes influence intelligence. Studies of twins repeatedly show that in typical western society, measures of general intelligence derived from IQ tests have about 30 per cent heritability (that is, 30 per cent of the variation between people can be explained by their genes) in childhood, 40 to 50 per cent in adolescence and 60 per cent in adulthood. This increasing heritability with age may appear paradoxical but it makes sense: adults are free to find their own intellectual level, whereas children can be forced by pushy parents and good schools, or by bad friends and bad schools, into seeming less like they really “are” deep down.The politics of this are also paradoxical. The left has tended to downplay the role of genes in intelligence, while the right has welcomed it. Yet if you argue that nurture is everything and nature is nothing, then you effectively condemn people who went to poor schools to being second-rate and irredeemable; if you think nature matters, then it follows that there are gifted people in bad schools who the system should discover and rescue through affirmative action. Professor Plomin’s own talents were recognised after an IQ test: he came from a home with no books and neither parent went to university.Likewise, when scientists began speculating about whether homosexuality had a genetic contribution, about 20 years ago, some commentators were surprised to realise that gay people generally liked the idea, because it implied that being gay was not a “choice” but inherent to who they were.Transgender activists have also welcomed recent work implying a genetic contribution to transgender identity. It supports the notion “that transgender is not a choice but a way of being”, as one geneticist put it. The same switch to thinking that genetics tends to be on the side of the progressives has not yet occurred with respect to intelligence.Knowing that genes matter is not the same as knowing which genes matter. For a long time it was impossible to match intelligence to any particular genes. That has changed thanks to the ability to detect the influence of many hundreds of genes, each of small effect, in large samples of genotyped people. The resulting “genome-wide polygenic scores” (GPS), are measures of which gene combinations are present. Those with a high score proved twice as likely to go on to university as those with low.So it is now possible to see whether good schools get good results because of good teaching or good selection. The new study looked at a representative sample of 4,814 students in non-selective state schools, selective state schools (grammars) and selec[...]



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2018-04-04T00:55:51.697+12:00

Toxic Progressivism Champions Toxic MasculinityMany progressives support the symbolic castration of American males, promulgated as "toxic masculinity."Seven states — California, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, Montana, Oregon and Wisconsin — have laws in place requiring the chemical castration of men convicted of violent sex crimes. Oklahoma is attempting to become the eighth state to enact a similar measure. Time magazine characterizes these laws as “controversial” and Oklahoma’s ACLU chapter spokeswoman Allie Shinn insists such laws may violate the Eighth Amendment prohibition of “cruel and unusual” punishment. No doubt most progressives would heartily agree. Yet many of those same progressives support the symbolic castration of American males, promulgated as “toxic masculinity.”Unsurprisingly, college campuses are leading the charge. “Duke University is famous for its science and engineering programs, as well as its dominance in college basketball,” Fox News reported in 2016. “Now, it may also become known as a great place for men to gather and contemplate why they’re such horrible people.”The Campus Women’s Center launched the project, targeting “male identified” students and subjecting them to discussions about “male privilege, patriarchy, ‘the language of dominance,’ rape culture, pornography, machismo and other topics,” Fox adds.The term “male identified” is a window into this poisonous mindset, one that first denies biological and chromosomal reality and then presumes that the default position for any man or boy who refuses to abide progressive assertions of gender “fluidity” is toxic.And like every leftist effort to promote their odious agenda, a full-scale, coordinated propaganda campaign is an essential part of the mix. “The term ‘toxic masculinity’ has crept into the lexicon in the past 12 months, having appeared in mainstream news articles, popular feminist blogs and, as of November, the crowd-sourced online repository of slang words, Urban Dictionary,” columnist Hayley Gleeson explained in 2017. “Generally used to denote how some aspects of masculinity — such as entitlement, homophobia and sexual aggressiveness — can harm women and families and cripple men’s own health, toxic masculinity, at its most extreme edges, has been linked with acts of violence like mass shootings and university campus sexual assault.”Cue the tie to the Parkland shooting. “As I read about [the assailant’s] passion for guns, I was not surprised,” declares columnist Ziad Ahmed. “As an American teenage boy, the gross glorification of violence, weapons, and arms in our culture is not the least bit surprising. In fact, it’s deeply entrenched into the idea of American masculinity, beginning as early as in elementary school.”Really? American masculinity per se is at best entitled, homophobic and aggressive, and at worst homicidal? Such pernicious garbage can only be asserted by one almost wholly ignorant of American history. Boys were once allowed to embrace their natural rambunctiousness, but that now constitutes “abnormal” behavior requiring life-altering drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall to treat the nearly one in five children between the ages of four and 17 — overwhelmingly boys — who have been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).As for guns, Spokane Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said it best: “When I was in high school, every one of those rigs in the high-school parking lot had a gun in the gun rack. Why? We went hunting on the way home. None of those guns ever walked into a school, none of those guns ever shot anybody. … Did the gun change or did y[...]



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2018-04-03T01:00:07.090+12:00

Gobbledegook in English Literature studieswritten by S. A. DanceLike any responsible book collector, I’m often forced to decide which books deserve a spot in my limited shelf space. During these purges, one type of book always gives me pause. These are the books I acquired during the two years I was a graduate student in comparative literature; books unheard of by most people outside of academia but, to many inside, akin to scripture; books by Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Giorgio Agamben, György Lukács, and Slavoj Žižek, to name just a few from the pantheon. I’ve held on to some thinking one day I might return to graduate school to complete a PhD, and what would a graduate student be without his copy of The Origin of the German Tragic Drama? But with a tenured teaching position, two kids, and a mortgage, I no longer entertain such fantasies. Now I’m free to finally make a confession: I never knew what these books were talking about.The demands of my bourgeois existence grow with each passing year, and I didn’t want this little secret to metastasize each time I crossed paths with a true initiate or cracked open Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia to finally figure out “how anti-production appropriates the productive forces.” I realize that in making my confession, I may only prove my own obtuseness, but so be it. It has been quite cathartic so far.My last book purge found me deciding the fate of Slavoj Žižek’s Tarrying With The Negative, a book I read in a class on Shakespeare and political theory. Žižek is known for threading pop culture, German idealism, Marxism, and psychoanalysis into a confounding tapestry. His pop culture references include kitsch like Kung-Fu Panda, and they lend his thoughts an air of accessibility. That air quickly dissipates, however. As a high school teacher, I know students understand a text if they can summarize its main point in a few sentences. I imagine a house guest surveying my bookshelf and, impressed by my erudition, asking, “What’s this Slavoj Žižek book about?” In a panic, I try to muster a coherent sentence about dialectics, Hegel, ideology, or something, but nothing comes. I quickly thumb through the book, looking at my copious annotations. Still nothing.Turning to a random page reveals one reason I found it impenetrable: “In Reading Capital, Louis Althusser endeavored to articulate the epistemological break of Marxism by means of a new concept of causality, ‘overdetermination’: the very determining instance is overdetermined by the total network of relations within which it plays the determining role.” The first five words alone posed a significant barrier. I had never read Althusser’s Reading Capital and I had never read Marx’s Capital, which, perhaps, guaranteed my floundering in grad school given the pervasiveness of Marxist thought in the humanities. If my professors expected me to engage in any significant way with neo-Marxist theorists, they must have assumed I was intimately acquainted with Marx himself. I was not. I went to graduate school because I found studying literature exhilarating and fulfilling. In my undergraduate honors thesis I analyzed the significance of Herman Melville’s allusions to the Book of Job in Moby Dick. I wanted to do more of that: studying and understanding the great works of literature. Instead I was asked to understand how “The Althusserian ‘ideological interpellation’ designates the retroactive illusion of ‘always-already;’ the reverse of the ideological recognition is the misrecognition of the performative dimension.”Since I couldn’t read Žižek to understa[...]



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2018-04-02T00:50:57.643+12:00

A Quiet Win at the U.S. Department of EducationIt’s been a tough stretch for Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. DeVos looked overmatched in a big 60 Minutes interview just when memories of her abysmal confirmation hearing were fading. She was rebuffed by a Republican Congress in the new federal budget, and she has struggled to make her case in heated debates over student discipline and school safety. The ensuing cascade of negative coverage has been unfortunate, not least because it obscures some of the quieter things that have gone right on DeVos’s watch.In a noteworthy development, DeVos’s team this month radically revamped the collective-bargaining agreement (CBA) that governs the 3,900 employees at the U.S. Department of Education. The new CBA, between the department and Council 252 of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), includes big changes from the 2013 agreement negotiated under the Obama administration.The new agreement doesn’t address compensation or benefits, of course, since those are governed by federal law, but it does include a raft of sensible, taxpayer-friendly changes.The new CBA eliminates the set-aside of “official time” for union business. Under the old agreement, designated union representatives were free to work on union business during normal, government hours — all on the taxpayers’ dime. The old CBA stipulated that “no fewer than 75” (!) union stewards across the country could work up to 40 hours a year on “official time,” while another three union officers would devote 100 percent of their time to union business. Henceforth, union business will be done on union time, rather than on the taxpayers’.Under the old agreement, department employees were given only a solitary 48-hour window each year in which they could opt out of union membership; miss that, and they were automatically enrolled. Henceforth, employees who wish to be in the union each year will be free to do so, and they will have an extended period in which to enroll — but they will have to actively choose to join.The revamped accord also removes the requirements for “pre-decisional consultation.” Under the previous CBA, the department was required to consult the union before every agency-wide decision that could be construed as affecting the work of employees (such as transferring employees from one office to another, or even shifting employees from one project to another within the same office). Now, the department needs only notify the union of such decisions.Under the new CBA, the union will be charged “fair-market rent” for the use of government office space and federally furnished equipment to conduct union business. Under the Obama-era accord, taxpayers were required to provide space and equipment to the union free of charge.More generally, the new agreement removes a number of provisions that added burdensome procedural directives above and beyond statutory requirements when it came to things such as telework and grievance procedures.Now, the story isn’t yet finished. AFGE Council 252 has filed a complaint with the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA), alleging that the department improperly moved to unilaterally impose the new CBA. However, a senior Department of Education official familiar with the negotiations dismisses the claim as unfounded.The senior official explains that the Education Department was able to adopt the new agreement because the union has consistently refused to sit down at the negotiating table, forfeiting its standing under federal law. In October 2016, while President Obama was still in office, the department’s [...]



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2018-03-29T01:39:16.115+13:00

Florida Becomes First State to Offer Student Safety Scholarships Florida is now the first state in the country to offer students scholarships to attend safer schools.Last week Governor Rick Scott signed legislation creating the Hope Scholarship Program, which offers scholarships to public school students victimized by an array of safety incidents, including:“Every child in Florida should have the opportunity to get a great education at the school of their choice so they can achieve their dreams,” said Gov. Scott upon signing the bill into law (HB 7055).The Hope Scholarship Program also stands out for its unique funding mechanism.Unlike publicly-funded voucher programs, such as federal Pell grants and 26 state-level K-12 programs, Hope Scholarships are privately financed by car buyers who may donate up to $105 of their registration fee to the program. In return, donors receive a dollar-for-dollar credit against their car purchase sales tax. Non-profit scholarship funding organizations (SFOs) administer donations and scholarships, report to the state education department, and participate in annual audits by the auditor general.Students transferring to another public school outside their current district may receive Hope Scholarships worth up to $750. Scholarships for students transferring to private schools will average around $6,800.Tallahassee mother of five Alyson Hochstedler praised the new law, stating that “When the conflict is not resolved for the safety and welfare of the child, having another recourse like the Hope Scholarship becomes just that ... hope.”Hochstedler added that a Hope Scholarship would have benefitted her son, who was tormented at his previous public school from third to fifth grade. Bullies punched him, slammed him into lockers, and even threatened to stab him. Yet school administrators did little to improve the situation.Thankfully, another Florida choice scholarship program for low- and moderate-income families enabled Hochstedler to transfer her son, now 15, to a safe private school where he is “thriving.”But not everyone supports the Hope Scholarship Program.Deborah Temkin, senior program area director for Child Trends, insists that “bullying is a school climate issue, which isn’t solved when the child leaves the school.”Well, school climate isn’t “solved” by keeping victimized students trapped schools that are unsafe for them, either.Lead sponsor of the Hope Scholarship legislation Rep. Byron Donalds (R) recognizes this reality noting, “What we are trying to do is with these students who are subject to these outrageous acts of violence or abuse is to give them a path to continue their education.”Current estimates (pp. 173-177) suggest that if just 10 percent of car buyers participate, their donations could fund scholarships for roughly 5,800 students—approximately 12 percent of the reported 47,000 students bullied annually in Florida.The Hope Scholarship Program represents an important stride toward ensuring no child is victimized at school. And, combined with Florida’s existing and recently expanded choice programs, it increases educational opportunities for even more students statewide.Importantly, the Hope Scholarship Program introduces powerful pressure for administrators to stop school bullying or risk losing victims to other schools—a practice that improves school safety for all students.Florida’s progress stands in stark contrast to California.Ten years ago California lawmakers also attempted to give student victims a path to safer schools.Under the California Constitution all public schoo[...]



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2018-03-28T01:44:12.294+13:00

These are not schools, they are Stalinist indoctrination campsIt has been almost a week since the “student” walkout over school safety. After studying the event and the aftermath, it has become increasingly clear the walkout was nothing more than a political stunt. It had nothing to do with safety; it had nothing to do with allowing students to voice their opinions, it was all about progressives in national politics and the schoolhouse using children as political props. This begs the question, why are we funding these political indoctrination camps?The students didn’t walk out over cellphones and driving. The students didn’t walk out over bullying which leads to thousands of teen suicides each year. No, the students walked out over the Second Amendment which the progressive left has been trying to eliminate for decades. Following the horrendous events in Florida, progressives seized on the opportunity to use the children to get what they wanted. A few examples across the nation show just how political the walkout was.A student in Hilliard, Ohio made the decision he did not want to get involved in the politics of the anti-gun debate. He chose to stay in class. The student should be celebrated for wanting to concentrate on education instead of skipping class time for a political reason. Not so in today’s education system. The student was suspended for not partaking in political speech.What type of message does that send? What kind of bullies run a school system that force students to participate in political speech?The bullies in Ohio must be the same type in California. Julianne Benze, a teacher at Rocklin High School in Rocklin, California, was a victim of this bullying. Before the student walkout, Benze discussed the situation with her class. The teacher asked the question, “[If] a group of students nationwide, or even locally, decided ‘I want to walk out of school for 17 minutes’ and go in the quad area and protest abortion, would that be allowed by our administration?”This was too much for the administration; no one is allowed to stray from the progressive dogma. Benze was suspended for the imagined infraction, not the students that skipped class. Seems hypocritical for school administrators to bully a teacher for not adhering to progressive ideals while hosting anti-bullying campaigns themselves.Perhaps the most crystal-clear example of the children being used as political pawns comes from Baltimore. Just this past January the Baltimore Teachers Union sent a letter to the CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools, Sonja Brookins Santelises, complaining about the lack of heat in many classrooms. The teachers called the conditions “inhumane.”But apparently, there is plenty of money to pull children out of school for the day and send them to Washington D.C. to participate in political activities. It is estimated the city spent $100,000 to send the children to protest. Is that really the best use of taxpayer money? The people of Baltimore believe their schools are in disrepair, but the administration somehow finds money for political events.The actions of the teacher’s unions, progressive leftists, and education officials are not surprising. The most disturbing event to take place involving politics and schools didn’t happen with this walkout; it happened when Chicago teachers walked out on their students in 2012. The highest paid teachers in the country didn’t think they were earning enough and went on strike.They marched through the streets chanting the usual union slogans, but the shirts they were wearing stole t[...]



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2018-03-27T01:59:23.251+13:00

Pennsylvania school district that gave students buckets of ROCKS to defend themselves in mass shootings say they will now use armed guardsThe Pennsylvania school district that stocked its classrooms with a bucket of stones last week has announced that they will replace the rocks with armed guards. Blue Mountain School District put a five-gallon bucket of river stones - which are smooth and used for landscaping - in the closet of every elementary, middle and high school classroom on Friday. But on Sunday, David Helsel, the superintendent of the district, wrote on Facebook that the district will be putting armed guards in schools in a letter addressed to parents, students and staff. 'As all of you are aware, recently there has been a great deal of media attention brought to Blue Mountain School District. 'This attention was due to social media posts that took comments out of context and misrepresented our actual planned response to armed intruders (particularly with the planned use of stones),' the post read. 'This unfortunate circumstance has increased our concern regarding the possibility that something may happen because of the media attention. Starting tomorrow [Monday] and into the near future, we have arranged for additional armed security for our buildings. Helsel said the district will continue to reevaluate the situation moving forward.   On Friday, the district stocked every classroom with a bucket of stones so students as young as four could use them to fight off shooters. Students were encouraged to arm themselves with a stone and get out of the shooter's line of sight rather crawl under their desks, which the president of the district believes makes them more vulnerable.Helsel told ABC News: 'We've been trying to be proactive just in case. 'We wanted to provide some type of last response to an intruder... rather than crawling under a desk and getting shot.'Hesel said he still advises teachers evacuate their students if an armed shooter gains access to a school building.But if the intruder gets near a certain class, they should bolt the door and arm themselves with one of the stones. These can be used if the shooter gains access, he said, adding: 'How can you aim a gun if you're being pelted with rocks?'While I don't like that we need to do this, this response is better than doing nothing.' Blue Mountain School District has 2,700 students and is located 90 miles northwest of Philadelphia.SOURCE How This College Conservative Counters Liberal Intolerance on Massachusetts CampusesThe leader of Republican groups at Massachusetts colleges says the position is rewarding because it allows him to support fellow students, such as the one who felt attacked by a professor who openly derided President Donald Trump.The episode occurred last fall at Bridgewater State University, where Jason Ross is a senior.“It wasn’t a class I was in, it was actually a girl I know [and] a class she was in,” Ross, 22, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. “The professor, he posted on Facebook, ‘F— Donald Trump and f— anyone who voted for Donald Trump, you are not welcome here.’”“And that Facebook [page] was something he would use to promote things for the class as well,” Ross added.Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. But this can't be done alone. Find out more >>Ross, who is chairman of the Massachusetts Alliance of College Republicans, said his friend was reluctant to speak with the English professor who posted such statements.“She didn’t know how to approach it. I [...]



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2018-03-26T01:44:17.919+13:00

Cut off research funding to Fascist universitiesIn recent years, the foundational values of free speech and open inquiry have increasingly come under assault at the nation's colleges and universities. Every week, it seems, there is a story concerning campus speech codes being imposed, speakers being silenced, or faculty members being assailed for wrong-think. In response, some have proposed reforms intended to compel colleges and universities (public ones, at any rate) to honor academic freedom and free inquiry. Some critics have called for cutting off all public funds — including student aid — to institutions judged to limit protected speech.While the impulse is understandable, the problem is that such measures threaten to give public officials extraordinary power over colleges and students. One needn't possess much imagination to envision how quickly that kind of authority could go awry. The challenge, then, is to identify how policymakers might promote academic freedom and free inquiry in a manner consonant with the university's fundamental mission and independence.One promising response is also straightforward. Colleges and universities are not just places of learning; they are also research enterprises. Indeed, in the years after World War II, the federal government began using the nation's universities as subcontractors — farming out big-dollar research in medicine, defense, energy, and more. Universities conducted the work, used the dollars to fund faculty and students, and collected overhead at hefty rates. This win-win relationship was always marked by concerns that federal funding could interfere with free inquiry. Historically, this resulted in measures designed to protect research from federal interference. Today, however, a new risk is posed by the myriad universities no longer invested in securing free inquiry. It is both reasonable and appropriate to insist that federal funds no longer support research at institutions that choose to circumscribe speech and thought. If this stance winds up exerting a healthy influence in favor of open inquiry, so much the better.      Colleges and universities constitute a crucial thread in America's civic fabric. In his 1818 plan for the University of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson recounted the "benefits & blessings" of higher education, on which "public prosperity, & individual happiness are so much to depend." Higher-education institutions train young minds and produce the research and knowledge that help sustain and enrich a free society.That distinctive public purpose is why Washington disburses upward of $150 billion each year in federal grants, student loans, work-study funding, and education tax benefits to support higher education. Like all institutions that receive federal funds, colleges and universities are required to adhere to copious policies, regulations, and guidelines. And while discussions about federal funding for higher education tend to focus on student aid and student loans, there is another, quite substantial, source of revenue that tends to fly under the radar.Since World War II, the United States has consciously made higher education a pillar of the nation's approach to research and development. The National Science Foundation reports that Washington spent almost $130 billion in fiscal year 2015 on R&D, nearly $38 billion of which went to higher-education institutions. These funds include more than $20 billion from the Department of Health and Human Services (i[...]



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2018-03-26T01:45:40.628+13:00

Australian Teachers' union backs call for comprehensive approach to education This is another shot in the long war between those who want education to lead to jobs versus those who see education as a general cultural experience.  It seems clear to me that if the taxpayer is paying for it, it should be useful in some way.  I see only three options there: education for jobs, education for citizenship and English language education, where that includes instruction in reading and writing, which in turn includes spelling and grammar. Education for citizenship should cover primarily history and how the political system works.I see no role for literary education or foreign language education.  Literature and language can be left to adult education courses and other evening courses.  There are already in the country people of many ethnic origins who grow up bilingual so foreign language education seems particularly uselessThe Independent Education Union of Australia NSW/ACT Branch has welcomed comments from NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes calling for a balanced approach to education, with no extra emphasis on any one discipline.Stokes said on Wednesday that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects must not be preferred over the arts, sports or social sciences.IEUA NSW/ACT Secretary John Quessy said providing a comprehensive education was the best strategy to create adaptable and employable adults.“All disciplines, whether it be languages, sport, arts or science can and do contribute to greatness in Australian society,” Quessy said.“It is important that teachers from all disciplines are supported and provided with professional development that enhances the education they can provide to students.“While we totally support and understand the need to encourage the study of STEM subjects, students should never be discouraged from studying other disciplines.“Everyone needs to be allowed to find their niche and be given a chance to shine.”Media release sue@ieu.asn.auIggy the Crusader Victimized by a Misguided Crusade  A liberal, the old joke attributed to Robert Frost goes, is someone too broad-minded to take his own side in a quarrel.Something similar is going on with Catholics. Just ask Iggy the Crusader, who for years served nobly as the mascot of the College of the Holy Cross.Holy Cross is throwing Iggy under the bus.This was a necessary step in the larger effort to purge the school of any association with the Crusades. “The visual depiction of a knight, in conjunction with the moniker Crusader, inevitably ties us directly to the reality of the religious wars and violence of the Crusades,” the Rev. Philip Boroughs, president of Holy Cross, explained in a statement.This is all ludicrous.Let’s start with poor Iggy. Knights are not synonymous with the Crusades. There are knights in “Game of Thrones.” Do you immediately think of the sacking of Jerusalem when you watch that show? How about when you play any of a gazillion video games, or even the old-school Dungeons and Dragons? How about when you watch King Arthur movies? Or when you listen to “Knights in White Satin,” Giorgio Moroder’s disco homage to the Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin”?Maybe you do. But if that’s the case — if you see a knight in shining armor and immediately think of “the reality of the religious wars and violence of the Crusades” — well, that’s on you.Let’s be honest: If you’re the sort of person who can[...]



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2018-03-23T01:47:29.194+13:00

Leftist penetration of the service academiesA commander in chief can bypass Congress on many of his executive branch agendas — he just issues marching orders to cabinet secretaries and that becomes policy. Yes, Congress has some ability to object by way of vetting nominations and budgets, but the Left’s social devolution agendas bypass those checks and balances.As those agendas go, perhaps the most harmful implementation was between 2009 and 2017, the years Barack Obama was able to install military leaders who would carry out his social agenda across service branches – particularly his homosexual agenda. There has been and still is much degradation in the ranks as a consequence of his deep-state residuals among military “leaders.”There was no better place to implement those destructive agendas than in our nation’s military service academies, where future officers are taught military doctrine. Despite the fact their principal obligation is “to support and defend” our nation’s Constitution, they are now expected to support and defend leftist social doctrines.Last fall, I highlighted the case of an overtly communist cadet at West Point. His anti-American rants were known by USMA commanding officers, who, despite his violation UCMJ regulations, were unwilling to take action. That case was not so much about the cadet as it was about the failure of military leadership.However, as service academies go, it is the Air Force Academy that became the primary target for implementing Obama’s social agenda, because it was the most faithful and conservative of the institutions. In 2013, The Patriot Post uncovered and halted an effort by the Obama administration to remove “so help me God” from military oaths, starting with the USAFA cadet and officer oaths.Obama’s parting shot at USAFA was his elevation of Kristin Goodwin to take over as commandant of the U.S. Air Force Academy. BrigGen Goodwin has sufficient qualifications for the post, and most military officers would dutifully say that if she has the skillset, that is what matters most. But the qualification that most interested Obama was not her skillset, but the fact that she has a “wife.” Despite concerns registered with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis last year, neither the Trump administration nor Congress were going to object to Goodwin’s appointment at risk of offending the largest block of “gay” sympathizers, women voters.Once Goodwin arrived at USAFA, it did not take long for the effluent of her appointment to emerge. At USAFA’s 25th National Character and Leadership Symposium this month, the theme was “Ethics and Respect For Human Dignity.” Nobody is against that!. But what that translated into under Goodwin was as described: “This year’s NCLS speakers’ stories will focus on the value and importance of ethics and respect for human dignity across personal and professional cultures. The challenges of a multicultural world require individuals to cast aside their own overt or covert biases towards gender, racial, religious, or sexual identities in order to create an environment that facilitates ethical leadership and decision-making as well as personal and professional respect for their fellow human beings.”In other words, among the symposium’s featured presenters were gender-confused military personnel and Marxists, selected to model the “ethics and character” military officers need to adopt, once they “cast aside their own overt o[...]



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2018-03-22T01:54:14.495+13:00

An Officer With a Gun Saved Students' Lives TodayAn armed resource officer shot and killed a Maryland assailant.A 17-year-old student opened fire this morning at Great Mills High School in St. Mary’s County, Maryland. (Caveat — details on these things are always sketchy this early.) He wounded a 14-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl, whom was his target, and she remains in critical condition. The school resource officer, a local deputy sheriff, confronted, fired on and killed the assailant. Having an armed officer on campus saved lives today — but only because he was willing to respond, unlike the Parkland, Florida, deputy and other officers who failed to do so.Following the adolescent Second Amendment puppet protests last week, and ahead of this weekend’s March for Our Lives — another puppet protest, it’s worth noting that the demands of these leftist political props includes this policy objection: “Any legislation that would aim to fortify our schools with more guns.” Again, as in many other assaults in so-called “gun-free zones,” students in this case survived because the Maryland school was fortified with an armed officer. Food for thought for any teens honest about saving lives instead of serving as political pawns.SOURCE Race riot at Minneapolis schoolAnd all the authorities did was talk.  You can't punish blacks, you knowSafety concerns arise as violence continues to escalate at Southwest High School.On top of an already failing administration, Southwest High School staff are struggling to maintain peace between students. Last Friday, March 2, multiple fights broke out during the school’s second lunch period. Despite attempts to sweep the issue under the rug and downplay the violence, persistent students and parents forced the administration to address the situation. Videos of the fight posted online forced the administration to hold an emergency meeting.The highly anticipated fight between two students who have been off-and-on friends for years became physical during lunch last Friday. According to school officials, they knew of the impending conflict at least a week prior. The day of the incident, the administration claims that they reached out to the students “every hour” before the fight broke out. Unfortunately, the efforts were not successful and the violence erupted anyway. The fight was not limited to the two students, who were reported by classmates to be a Somali-American and an African American. Over 20 students joined the chaos soon after the first punches were thrown and the original videos that surfaced were titled “Somalis vs. Blacks.” The original videos have been taken down due to pressure from school administration. The school’s resource officer was present in the cafeteria. In an attempt to control the situation, school officials put the cafeteria into lockdown for 15 minutes after the allotted 30-minute lunch period, keeping any students from leaving or entering, including the ones not involved. All staff members that were not otherwise occupied were called to action. The police were not called, but 15 student resource officers from other schools were called for backup. In an eyewitness video taken by a student, the administration’s inability to diffuse the skirmish in a timely, appropriate, and safe manner was made clear.As punishment for the students’ actions, hall passes were banned for the rest of the week, bathrooms were locked, st[...]



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2018-03-21T01:40:59.801+13:00

Teacher on Leave After Questioning Whether School Would Let Pro-Life Students Walk Out, TooRocklin High School in Rocklin, California, placed a teacher on paid administrative leave after she let students discuss the politics of the National School Walkout, which took place around the country yesterday morning.Julianne Benzel told CBS13 that she suspects she got in trouble for suggesting that schools administrators who condoned the student walkout might be practicing a double standard."And so I just kind of used the example which I know it's really controversial, but I know it was the best example I thought of at the time," said Benzel. "[If] a group of students nationwide, or even locally, decided 'I want to walk out of school for 17 minutes' and go in the quad area and protest abortion, would that be allowed by our administration?"Her students saw her point, and the discussion—which took place last week—was fruitful, according to Benzel. But on Wednesday, the teacher received a call that she had been placed on leave.Officials did not specify what the problem was, but offered the following statement:"A Rocklin High School teacher has been placed on paid administrative leave due to several complaints from parents and students involving the teacher's communications regarding today's student-led civic engagement activities"Students' free expression rights should vastly outweigh the state's interest in locking kids up all day, and letting them peacefully protest gun violence seemed like the right call to me. But if it's OK to protest, it should also be OK to have a discussion about the protest. As long as no student was unjustly disciplined for political speech, it seems to me like there's little reason for parents to complain or for Benzel to be in trouble.SOURCE Houses Passes STOP School Violence ActIn a vote of 407 to 10, the U.S. House on Wednesday passed a school safety bill aimed at preventing school shootings by providing training to law enforcement, school personnel, and students.H.R. 4909, the STOP School Violence Act, amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to revise and reauthorize through FY2028 the Secure Our Schools grant program.The measure would create a grant program to train students, teachers, school officials, and local law enforcement on early identification and intervention when signs of violence arise. It calls for the creation of a coordinated reporting system and implements FBI & Secret Service-based school threat assessment protocols to prevent school shootings before they occur.It was introduced by Rep. John Rutherford (R-Fla.), a former sheriff of Jacksonville, Fla. He said the bill focuses on prevention of school shootings.“We must prevent it before it occurs, and so that’s what this bill does. That’s the goal of this bill is to provide prevention within our schools,” Rutherford said during a GOP press conference after the bill’s passage.“If there is any place our children can feel safe, it should be our schools. The STOP School Violence Act takes a multi-faceted approach that will help prevent school violence before it takes place,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement.“It gives law enforcement, school officials, and students the training, technology, and resources they need to identify and prevent threats. This is a common-sense approach to combatting senseless violence. I want to thank She[...]