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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: 2018-01-21T01:56:55.199+13:00

 



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2018-01-21T01:52:29.557+13:00

USC Professor Tells Students that ‘Israeli Zionists’ Are ‘Terrorists’Members of the University of Southern California community are asking the school’s administration to condemn a professor that told students that “Israeli Zionists” are “terrorists.”Professor David Kang of USC has come under fire after students leaked a PowerPoint slide from one of his International Relations courses. In the slide, Kang listed several terrorist groups. Amongst those on the list, Kang listed “Israeli Zionists.” Notably absent from the list were terror organizations such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda.A petition circulating around the University of Southern California calling for the administration to condemn Kang for his inclusion of “Israeli Zionists” on his list of terrorist groups. The petition asks the university to “speak out against the bigotry” that Professor Kang expressed through his list.On October 26, 2017, at the University of Southern California (USC), International Studies Professor David Kang gave a presentation to his class about terrorism where a slide called “Who are terrorists?” equated “Israeli Zionists” to the likes of the “North Korea”, “Tamil Tigers”, “IRA” & other established terrorist groups in history. No radical Islamic countries or terror organizations such as Iran, ISIS, El-Qaeda, Hezbollah or Hamas, made the list.In a statement to Campus Reform, Kang attempted to clarify what he said in the classroom. “I was not labeling any group as terrorists, only making the point that these groups have been called terrorist organizations by others,” Kang said. “The point of the exercise was to get students to think about how and why organizations are labeled as terrorist organizations, and to foster a discussion about who does the labeling and for what purpose.”Despite Kang’s clarification, students from the course claim that Kang did not explain his intentions when he presented the slide to the class. “His class was critical thinking based but in this case he did not make that clear when presenting the slide nor gave any explanation to the historical context as to why Zionists would be a labeled a ‘terrorist’ organization,” the student said. “There were likely many impressionable students in the class who aren’t familiar with the issue who could now associate Zionism with North Korea and Al Qaeda, etc.”Just this week, UCLA student body president Arielle Mokhtarzadeh announced that she had been on the receiving end of anti-semitic vandalism. She reported that someone had destroyed a Mezuzah (a Jewish ornament containing one of Judaism’s central prayers) that she had placed outside of her student government office.SOURCE  Betsy DeVos: Common Core is dead at U.S. Department of EducationU.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos gave a far-ranging speech today in Washington at an American Enterprise Institute conference, “Bush-Obama School Reform: Lessons Learned.”She announced the death of Common Core, at least in her federal agency.DeVos also decried the federal government’s initiatives to improve education. “We saw two presidents from different political parties and philosophies take two different approaches. Federally mandated assessments. Federal money. Federal standards. All originated in Washington, and none solved the problem. Too many of America’s students are still unprepared,” she said.And she touched on a favorite topic, school choice.“Choice in education is not when a student picks a different classroom in this building or that building, uses this voucher or that tax-credit scholarship. Choice in education is bigger than that. Those are just mechanisms,” she said. “It’s about freedom to learn. Freedom to learn differently. Freedom to explore. Freedom to fail, to learn from falling and to get back up and try again. It’s freedom to find the best way to learn and grow… to find the exciting and engaging combination that unlocks individual potential.” SOURCE How the Great Books Are Revolutionizing College Admissions[...]



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2018-01-19T01:56:54.140+13:00

Conn. Supreme Court Sides With State in Education Funding FightCourt refuses to dictate level of funding for particular schoolsThe Connecticut Supreme Court has found families in an education funding lawsuit failed to show disparities in the classroom are tied to unequal state funding.Wednesday’s decision reversed a Hartford Superior Court ruling that the state violated Articles 8, 1 and 20 of the state constitution by allegedly failing to provide minimally adequate and substantially equal opportunity to all students. The court remanded the case to Hartford Superior Court with direction to render judgment for the state.The original lawsuit was filed in 2005 against the state by more than 50 parents and students.While Chief Justice Chase Rogers, who wrote the majority opinion, said the court sympathized with the plight of students in rural communities, she also noted that the plaintiffs in Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding v. Rell, did not make their case.“Although the plaintiffs have convincingly demonstrated that in this state there is a gap in educational achievement between the poorest and neediest students and their more fortunate peers, disparities in educational achievement, standing alone, do not constitute proof that our state constitution’s equal protection provisions have been violated,” Rogers wrote. “The plaintiffs have not shown that this gap is the result of the state’s unlawful discrimination against poor and needy students in its provision of educational resources as opposed to the complex web of disadvantaging societal conditions over which the schools have no control. Indeed, the trial court found that the state is providing significantly more educational resources to schools with large numbers of poor and needy students than to other schools.”Rogers said it’s up to the Legislature, not the courts, to create educational policy.Rogers also noted that the trial court properly found the plaintiffs failed to establish that the state violated the equal protection provisions of the state constitution.Justice Richard Palmer, who wrote the concurrence and dissent along with Justices Richard Robinson and Michael Sheldon, said he believed the families “were not afforded the opportunity to prove their case according to the correct legal standard. … I dissent from that portion of the majority opinion that directs judgment for the defendants. Instead, I would remand the case for a new trial.”Joseph Moodhe, an attorney with Debevoise & Plimpton in New York City, was lead counsel for the plaintiffs. Moodhe did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday. Other attorneys on the case referred questions to Moodhe.Attorney General George Jepsen applauded the ruling.“I am grateful to the Supreme Court for its careful and thoughtful consideration of this important case,” Jepsen said in a statement. “We argued in this appeal that the trial court exceeded its authority and that, therefore, the decision should be overturned. The court correctly determined that Connecticut’s public education system and its public education funding do not violate constitutional standards and that—absent such a constitutional deficiency—education policy decisions rest with the representative branches of government.”Nicholas Mercier, vice chairman of the New Britain Board of Education, said he believes there’s a disparity between urban centers such as New Britain and their suburban counterparts.“It’s a shame this has been dragging out for so long,” Mercier said. “The state clearly needs to do more to fund our poorest school districts, including New Britain. The evidence of that is not only in the state testing, but the fact that they [the Legislature] do not even follow their legislative formula in determining need.” SOURCE  Chan Zuckerberg philanthropy taps UMass Amherst to create AI scientific research toolThis might actually be helpful.  The flood of new academic papers must be hard to navigate.  The methods I used to use [...]



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2018-01-18T01:45:42.112+13:00

Toby Young: once more into the breachOutspoken conservative, Toby Young, was appointed to the Office for Students, a regulatory body, by the British PM.  The Left erupted with rage, causing Toby to give up the job for the sake of peace. The sequel below:I naively thought that if I resigned from the Office for Students, stepped down from the Fulbright Commission and apologised for the offensive things I’d said on Twitter the witch-hunt would end. In fact, it has reached a new, frenzied pitch. The mob’s blood lust is up and it won’t rest until it has completely destroyed me.Things took an ugly turn yesterday when Private Eye published a story saying I had attended ‘a secretive conference’ at University College London last year organised by Dr James Thompson, an Honorary Lecturer in Psychology at UCL. This is an annual affair known as the London Conference on Intelligence. It then went on to summarise some of the more outlandish papers presented at this event in previous years – not in the year I attended, mind ­– such as a paper arguing that racial differences in penis length predict different levels of parental care. It pointed out that in 2015 and 2016 this conference had been attended by someone described by the Southern Poverty Law Centre as a ‘white nationalist and extremist’. It even dug up a blog post by one of the attendees in which he tried to justify child rape. It described all these people as my ‘friends’.Needless to say, this article has led to a deluge of grotesque smears, on everything from the Canary to Russia Today. (The Russia Today article is headlined: ‘Shamed Toby Young ‘attended secret eugenics conference with neo-Nazis and paedophiles’.) More alarmingly, seemingly respectable, mainstream newspapers have followed up these stories – slightly toned down, of course, but with the same implication: that I am a neo-Nazi, an apologist for paedophilia and God knows what else.So here are the facts. Yes, I went to the 2017 London Conference on Intelligence – I popped in for a few hours on a Saturday and sat at the back. I did not present a paper or give a lecture or appear on a platform or anything remotely like that. I had not met any of the other people in the lecture room before, save for Dr Thompson, and was unfamiliar with their work. I was completely ignorant of what had been discussed at the same event in previous years. All I knew was that some of them occupied the weird and whacky outer fringe of the world of genetics.My reason for attending was because I had been asked – as a journalist – to give a lecture by the International Society of Intelligence Researchers at the University of Montreal later in the year and I was planning to talk about the history of controversies provoked by intelligence researchers. I thought the UCL conference would provide me with some anecdotal material for the lecture – and it did. To repeat, I was there as a journalist researching a talk I had to give a few months later and which was subsequently published.Yes, I heard some people express some pretty odd views. But I don’t accept that listening to someone putting forward an idea constitutes tacit acceptance or approval of that idea, however unpalatable. That’s the kind of reasoning that leads to people being no-platformed on university campuses.In an article for the Guardian, the University of Montreal conference, where I did actually speak, is described as ‘similar’ to the UCL conference. Complete nonsense. It was a super-respectable, three-day affair held at the Montreal Neurological Institute. Numerous world-renowned academics spoke at it, including Steven Pinker, the famous Harvard professor, and James Flynn, the political scientist who has given his name to the ‘Flynn effect’. In 2015, the same lecture I gave – the Constance Holden Memorial Address — was given by Dr Alice Dreger, a well-regarded author and academic.You can see the website for the Montreal conference, and the roster of speakers, here. Vir[...]



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2018-01-17T01:30:54.204+13:00

Special-Needs Program So Popular It Has Exhausted All FundingThe Gardiner Scholarship Program, Florida’s education savings account (ESA) program for students with special needs, is so popular it has exhausted all funding for the 2017­–18 school year. Already the largest ESA program in the country (based on enrollment), there are now roughly 10,150 students receiving a scholarship. The state legislature appropriated $107.4 million for the program in 2017–18.According to Step Up For Students, the largest of the state-approved nonprofit organizations that helps administer the program, there are another 1,270 students who have been approved for a scholarship but will not be able to receive their money due to a lack of funding. These students will be placed on a waiting list and will have first priority for any increase in funding for the 2018–19 school year.“We have definitely exhausted every last dollar, every last penny,” Step Up for Students’ Vice President of Operations, Gina Lynch, told redefinEd. “There is healthy demand for the program.”The popularity of ESAs in the Sunshine State means the time has arrived for the state to expand on the success of the Gardiner Scholarship Program with the creation of a new universal ESA program that would be open to all K–12 students. William Mattox, director of the J. Stanley Marshall Center for Educational Options at the James Madison Institute in Tallahassee, has suggested this scholarship program be named after Mary McLeod Bethune, a child of slaves and civil rights icon.“Adopting a Bethune Scholarship would give every Florida child a K-12 education tailored to meet his or her unique needs,” Mattox concluded in an article he wrote about the proposed scholarship program. “It would pay tribute to a courageous Florida educator and carry forward her faith-informed belief in each child’s unique worth and dignity. More than anything, adopting a Bethune Scholarship would ensure that every child in the state of Florida – every child – has the opportunity to receive a K-12 education tailored to his or her unique needs, interests, aptitudes, and learning style.”The overwhelming majority of the available empirical evidence makes it clear educational choice offers families improved access to high-quality schools that meet their widely diverse needs and desires, and it does so at a lower cost while benefitting public school students and taxpayers. Just as important, education choice programs are broadly popular because they allow parents to exercise their fundamental right to direct the education of their children.ESA programs are not a silver-bullet solution to every problem plaguing Florida’s school system, but they certainly allow families much greater opportunities to meet each child’s particular education needs. The goal of public education in the Sunshine State today and in the years to come should be to allow all parents to choose which schools their children attend, require every school to compete for every student who walks through its doors, and make sure every child has the opportunity to attend a quality school.SOURCE  Public School Kids Get Assembly on Sex ChangesA Northern Virginia public school held a school-wide assembly before Christmas break featuring transgender crusader Amy Ellis Nutt.George Mason High School in the City of Falls Church brought in Nutt, a Washington Post reporter, to lecture students on her book Becoming Nicole, about a boy who “identified” as a girl as a toddler, had his puberty suppressed as a child, and was castrated as a teenager.Nutt’s lecture hit all the usual notes. Your gender is “assigned at birth” by people who might get it wrong. Toddlers can be transgender. Moray eels change sex and female reef fish produce sperm when there are no males. “Gender is a spectrum,” everyone must get “comfortable” with new gender language that is “changing every day.” Asking a biological boy to use the teachers’ rather[...]



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2018-01-16T02:05:25.726+13:00

Teaching in Britain is HARDThe writer below is right to condemn the blizzard of red tape that benights teachers but treads lightly on the biggest problem:  Pupil indiscipline.  That is extremely stressful and destructive of all that a teacher tries to do. That needs to be recognized and dealt with  -- but there's no sign of it.  It's "too hard" to do anything that might upset the little petals. Britain’s teachers are overworked, underpaid and put under so much stress that a small army of them leave the profession every year for another job. Assuming, that is, they are well enough to secure alternative employment. Last year some 3,750 of them were signed off on long-term sick leave due to pressure, anxiety, and mental illness. That number came via a freedom of information request submitted by the Liberal Democrats.The figures show that one in 83 members of the profession is now out of action for the long haul, which is up 5 per cent on last year. All told, 1.3 million sick days were taken for reasons relating to stress and mental health over the past four years, including 312,000 in 2016-17. Numbers like that will come as a surprise only to people who have no experience of living with and/or around members of the teaching profession. As someone who has that experience, I can testify that the average figure of a 55-hour working week for classroom teachers, 60 hours for school leaders, actually looks to be a little on the low side. Contrary to popular belief, teachers do not knock off at 3.30, or shortly after whenever the gates at their particular schools shut. Nor do they start a few minutes before they open. They spend many hours before and after their pupils have left engaged in meticulous and detailed lesson-planning, form-filling, data collection, marking, assessments and dealing with whatever crap Whitehall mandarins dream up to dangle under the nose of the latest Education Secretary so they can make it look like they’re doing their jobs before they knock off early. Thanks to the desperate desire of a succession of Education Secretaries – from both major parties I’m sorry to say – to be seen as “reforming” and “dedicated to improving standards”, today’s children undergo a blizzard of assessments. Schools frequently have one or another of their teachers spending half their time not teaching but collating and processing data. Every child is transformed into a mass of data points with a granularity that would surprise all but the most diligent of forensic accountants.And those holidays that radio talk show hosts and callers find so bothersome? They’re mythical. No teacher I know gets anything like the 13 weeks per year during which schools don’t hold lessons. They’d never get everything done if they took all that time off. All this comes on top of, you know, attempting to educate classes full of 30 kids or more, which is a challenge most Britons would find quite beyond them. I know I would. I know most cabinet ministers would, although I’d dearly love to see Boris Johnson trying to keep control of a class full of stroppy 15-year-olds at an inner city comp. It might inject a much needed dose of humility into the corpulent buffoon that masquerades as Britain’s Foreign Secretary. Now imagine trying to teach a class of 30 kids when you’re knackered, having spent half the previous night filling in forms. It makes me shudder just thinking about it. More to the point, it’s not good for our children. It really isn’t. I don’t know about you, but as a parent I want my kids’ teachers to be relaxed and rested when they hit the classroom because that’s when people typically do their best work.I’m not against pushing people to give their best, and I’m not against high expectations, and I’m not even against a bit of stress, which can help guard against complacency and keep everyone’s eyes on the ball. But what we have now is people trying to do a demanding j[...]



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2018-01-15T02:00:06.203+13:00

Campuses Going Nuts: Why Civility and Truth MatterHow do you talk with someone who thinks talking itself is an attack? That’s a question that Americans need to ask of our institutions of higher learning.One great way to worsen our already gaping political divisions is to engage in what Internet chatroom denizens call “nutpicking.” That is, the deliberate search for the “nuts” on either side of the political aisle to use as unflattering representations of opponents.It should go without saying that nutpicking is unfair and dishonest. After all, we Christians don’t like it when those in the media portray Westboro Baptist members as typical churchgoers. Picking out “nuts” only reinforces false prejudices and makes us less likely to give those we disagree with a fair hearing.But when it comes to many American college campuses, the nuts seem so plentiful, you practically need a bushel basket—even in the heartland. And they’re peddling ideas that directly contradict what education itself should be.Take an example: the two professors from the University of Northern Iowa, who recently published an article attacking what they dub “whiteness-informed civility.” These professors claim that civility, as practiced and expected in American higher education, is “a racialized, rather than universal, norm,” and it represents a form of white privilege that “functions to erase racial identity” and exclude people of color.In other words, treating others with decency and common courtesy is racist. To quote the inimitable Dave Barry, I’m not making this up.Steve Salerno points out in the Wall Street Journal that this type of nuttery has become all-too-common, especially in the world of collegiate debate. Not just the rules of decorum, but the requirements that students use evidence and reason are increasingly coming “under siege as manifestations of white patriarchal thinking.”He tells of a formal academic debate final at Towson University in 2014 in which students ignored the resolution on foreign policy to instead give a profanity-laden rant about racism in American society—and they won. Others have won by disregarding time limits, or even challenging the “format, goals and ground rules of debate itself…”Now, lest we inflame our nut allergies, it’s important to note that a number of influential voices on the left are—thankfully—calling out this silliness. Writing in the New York Times, Frank Bruni, who is no one’s conservative and openly identifies as gay, urged “soul-searching” from his fellow liberals on this issue of civility:“We’re in a dangerous place,” he wrote, “when it comes to how we view, treat and talk about people we disagree with.” “Madonna fantasizes about blowing up the White House, Kathy Griffin displays a likeness of Trump’s severed head”—and so-called “protests” at UC Berkeley, Evergreen State and Middlebury colleges erupt into violence and property destruction. Over and over during the last two years, places dedicated to civil debate and discourse have transformed into virtual bonfires.Just last month, Bruni bemoaned an opinion piece that ran in Texas State University’s main newspaper, in which a student wrote to white people, “I hate you … you shouldn’t exist.”“What has happened to our discourse,” Bruni asks, “and how do we make necessary progress—when hate is answered by hate, prejudice by prejudice, extremism begets extremism and ostensible liberalism practices illiberalism?”These are all very fair questions. And the answer is clear: We can’t. And things will only get worse and our political divides only deepen until we learn to speak with each other again.This means that Christians must give up our favorite partisan hobbies, especially nutpicking. It means committing to see those around us as fellow creations of God in need of reconciliation and restoration, not as enemy combatants. A[...]



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2018-01-14T01:54:48.017+13:00

In British education, the central issue is class, not ethnicityKenan Malik below has a point -- that there are class and national differences between brown people too -- but his desire to avoid mentioning the white working class will go nowhere.  It's a very large elephant in the roomThe arguments about white culture are dangerous because they legitimise racist attitudes and ignore social marginalisationThe white working class. It’s a phrase that has become so commonplace that few recognise the sheer oddness, and indeed odiousness, of the concept. It denotes both pity and contempt. On the one hand, it is a description of the “left behind”, sections of the population that have lost out through globalisation and deindustrialisation. On the other, it is shorthand for the uneducated and the bigoted, people who support Donald Trump or Brexit, and are hostile to immigration and foreigners.The discussion reveals how differently we imagine white and non-white populations. Whites are seen as divided by class, non-whites as belonging to classless communities. It’s a perspective that ignores social divisions within minority groups while also racialising class distinctions.All this can be seen in the debate that has sprung from an interview Angela Rayner, Labour’s shadow education secretary, gave to the Spectator’s Fraser Nelson last week. Rayner, writes Nelson, believes that “focusing on ethnic minorities and women’s agendas … has had a ‘negative impact’ for white working-class boys ... Culturally, we are not telling them that they need to learn and they need to aspire.”The statistics seem to bear out Rayner’s argument. With the exception of Roma and Traveller children, white working-class boys perform the worst of any group in British schools. A multitude of organisations from the Centre Forum to the Sutton Trust have raised the alarm. We have, however, been here before. Before the panic about white working-class boys was the panic about black boys. “Available evidence suggests that the inequalities of attainment for African-Caribbean pupils become progressively greater as they move through the school system,” observed a 2000 Ofsted report, Mapping Race, Class and Gender. The reason for the failure of black boys was seen as a combination of a black culture that discouraged aspiration and a school system that did the same. Many prominent figures, including Trevor Phillips, who became head of the Commission for Racial Equality in 2003, called for black boys to be educated in separate schools.Then, as now, the picture was more complicated than the debate suggested. Black pupils were not alone in performing badly, nor did they all perform badly. Three ethnic groups lagged behind – African-Caribbeans, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. Three groups fared better than the average – Chinese, Indians and Africans. The differences were not simply ethnic. African-Caribbean, Pakistani and Bangladeshi migrants to Britain have come largely from working class and peasant backgrounds. Indians, Chinese and Africans tend to be more middle class.Racism undoubtedly played a part in the poor performance of children from certain minority groups. So did class differences. So fixated, however, were academics and policymakers by ethnic categories, that they largely ignored the latter. The 2000 Ofsted report, for instance, demonstrated that the impact of social class on school performance was more than twice as great as that of ethnicity. Yet, it disregarded its own data and focused on the problems posed by ethnic differences.Class differences persist. In secondary schools, children of Bangladeshi and Caribbean background are three times as likely to be receiving free school meals (a proxy for social disadvantage) as Indian and Chinese pupils, and twice as likely as white ones. The performance of disadvantaged minority pupils has, however, over the past two decad[...]



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2018-01-12T01:50:11.620+13:00

Dirty College SecretsWalter E. Williams     A frequent point I have made in past columns has been about the educational travesty happening on many college campuses. Some people have labeled my observations and concerns as trivial, unimportant and cherry-picking. While the spring semester awaits us, let’s ask ourselves whether we’d like to see repeats of last year’s antics.An excellent source for college news is Campus Reform, a conservative website operated by the Leadership Institute. Its reporters are college students. Here is a tiny sample of last year’s bizarre stories.Donna Riley, a professor at Purdue University’s School of Engineering Education, published an article in the most recent issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Engineering Education, positing that academic rigor is a “dirty deed” that upholds “white male heterosexual privilege.” Riley added that “scientific knowledge itself is gendered, raced, and colonizing.” Would you hire an engineering education graduate who has little mastery of the rigor of engineering? What does Riley’s vision, if actually practiced by her colleagues, do to the worth of degrees in engineering education from Purdue held by female and black students?Sympathizing with Riley’s vision is Rochelle Gutierrez, a math education professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In her recent book, she says the ability to solve algebra and geometry problems perpetuates “unearned privilege” among whites. Educators must be aware of the “politics that mathematics brings” in society. She thinks that “on many levels, mathematics itself operates as Whiteness.” After all, she adds, “Who gets credit for doing and developing mathematics, who is capable in mathematics, and who is seen as part of the mathematical community is generally viewed as White.” What’s worse is that the university’s interim provost, John Wilkin, sanctioned her vision, telling Fox News that Gutierrez is an established and admired scholar who has been published in many peer-reviewed publications. I hope that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s black students don’t have the same admiration and stay away from her classes.Last February, a California State University, Fullerton professor assaulted a CSUF Republicans member during a demonstration against President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration. The students identified the assailant as Eric Canin, an anthropology professor. Fortunately, the school had the good sense to later suspend Canin after confirming the allegations through an internal investigation.Last month, the presidents of 13 San Antonio colleges declared in an op-ed written by Ric Baser, president of the Higher Education Council of San Antonio, and signed by San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and 12 other members of the HECSA that “hate speech” and “inappropriate messages” should not be treated as free speech on college campuses. Their vision should be seen as tyranny. The true test of one’s commitment to free speech doesn’t come when he permits people to be free to make statements that he does not find offensive. The true test of one’s commitment to free speech comes when he permits people to make statements he does deem offensive.Last year, University of Georgia professor Rick Watson adopted a policy allowing students to select their own grade if they “feel unduly stressed” by their actual grade in the class. Benjamin Ayers, dean of the school’s Terry College of Business, released a statement condemning Watson’s pick-your-own-grade policy, calling it “inappropriate.” He added: “Rest assured that this ill-advised proposal will not be implemented in any Terry classroom. The University of Georgia upholds strict guidelines and academic policies to promote a culture of academic rigor, integrity, and honesty.[...]



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2018-01-11T01:57:17.859+13:00

CAIR's Terror Ties an Issue in San Diego School LawsuitTerror ties and "hostility toward Israel" are directly relevant to a civil suit challenging the Council on American-Islamic Relations' (CAIR) work with San Diego public schools, plaintiff's attorneys argued in court papers filed Friday.CAIR helped the San Diego Unified School District develop an anti-bullying program. But five local families and two community groups sued last spring, claiming the program elevated Muslim students above others. The school board agreed to stop working with CAIR in July, acknowledging that CAIR is a religious group and the partnership may cross the line on church-state separation.The ligation continues, however, and the school board asked the court last month to strike references to CAIR's anti-Israel positions and its connections to Hamas from the case, saying they were irrelevant.The Anti-Defamation League, which took over the anti-bullying program after the board broke with CAIR last summer, has cited CAIR's "long record of anti-Israel activity," a response filed Friday by the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF) said. CAIR and its founders were part of a Hamas-support network in the U.S. during the 1990s, records seized by the FBI show.The school district knew about CAIR's history before it was sued and had opportunities to disavow the organization, the FCDF response said."Contrary to what Defendants would have this Court believe, there is ample evidence demonstrating CAIR's harmful influence within the District, including its manipulation of instructional materials to advance their sectarian agenda," the FCDF wrote.None of the cases the school district cited to justify removing the references to Israel or extremists "addresses a situation like this one, where a religious organization with an internationally reprehensible reputation functions as the ministerial arm of a government institution," the FCDF said.Proselytizing is part of CAIR's religious mission, and it has chosen to use public schools as a forum for spreading its religious message under the cover of an anti-bullying program, the FCDF argued."Indeed, Nihad Awad, CAIR's National Executive Director, testified that 'informing the American public about the Islamic faith is a religious obligation and educational exercise,'" the FCDF said.SOURCE  http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/detail/cairs-terror-ties-an-issue-in-san-diego-school-lawsuit?f=must_readsConnecticut parents pull kids from school as Ivanka Trump visits First daughter and presidential adviser Ivanka Trump made a surprise visit to a Connecticut high school—prompting some parents who oppose President Trump’s agenda to yank their kids from classes Monday.Trump appeared at the Norwalk Early College Academy to talk to its students about the importance of career education.“To see the passion and enthusiasm for bringing real life skills into a classroom environment but then coupling it with real life experience through internship creates this really beautiful virtuous angle,” she said, News 12 New Jersey reported.Parents say they didn’t know that Trump was scheduled to speak to their kids—information they suspect was withheld due to security concerns.Ivanka Trump needs to step up to protect working women“This should have been brought to our attention, although I do understand security reasons,” parent Karey Fitzgerald told News 12. “I think we should have had the choice to send our child to school or keep them home.” she added.Not all parents were opposed to the visit.Parent Angela Yaneth Guzman replied to a photo from Trump's visit on Facebook, and thanked her for speaking to her son."My son Nicolas Guzman is a NECA student and you talked to him today and he's so excited about it. It's something He will never forget. Thank you Ivanka," she wrote.Eminem envisio[...]



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2018-01-10T01:48:44.098+13:00

Bankruptcy court settlement could bring relief to some ITT students     Thousands of students nationwide who attended the now-defunct ITT Technical Institute would have nearly $600 million in loans canceled under a proposed court settlement, a significant win for consumers in Massachusetts and elsewhere who have long claimed that the for-profit chain defrauded them out of money and an education.The settlement, which must be approved later this month by an Indiana federal bankruptcy court judge, also acknowledges that students who attended the college between 2006 and 2016 have a $1.5 billion claim against ITT. That means if any money is left over from the school’s assets after its bankruptcy, students could receive a share. Students who continued to pay their loans to ITT, even after the bankruptcy, will also get almost all of their $3 million back.The settlement is “a victory for former students who were defrauded by ITT,” according to a letter sent to former ITT students by Harvard University’s Project on Predatory Student Lending, which represented consumers in the bankruptcy case. “However, we know that the student class still faces billions of dollars of federal and private student loans from ITT, and we will continue fight for all ITT-related debt to be canceled.”Officials with the predatory lending project declined to comment since the judge has yet to sign off on the terms of the agreement.The trustee in the ITT bankruptcy also declined to comment. However, in documents filed in federal court on Wednesday, trustee Deborah Caruso described the settlement as, “fair, equitable . . . and well within the range of reasonableness.”Since ITT abruptly shut down its nearly 140 campuses nationwide and declared bankruptcy in the fall of 2016, students have been seeking financial relief. In Massachusetts, more than 560 students, many of them low-income or veterans, attended ITT campuses in Norwood and Wilmington when the school closed. Across the country, ITT had an estimated 35,000 students enrolled in classes.Last January, a group of students led by the Harvard project, filed a lawsuit claiming that they had a right to ITT’s remaining assets, like any other creditor of the bankrupt institution. They claimed that ITT employed aggressive tactics to recruit them and then deceived or misled them on multiple fronts, including about the cost of attendance, the school’s accreditation status, the experience of instructors, and the likelihood of job placement and salaries they would earn after graduation.On social media, where former ITT students have shared their challenges and struggles with student loans, news of the settlement was greeted with relief.  “This is an amazing start,” said one student on a Facebook page.  “Progress,” another student wrote.But many also acknowledged the settlement is still limited.The nearly $600 million in debt cancellation only affects loans made directly to students by ITT and still held by the school. Those loans tended to be smaller amounts, usually a few thousand dollars, and were meant to close any gaps in funding, between what students could pay out of pocket for tuition and fees and what was covered by their much larger federal loans.ITT also sold millions of dollars in its private loans to an organization formed by seven credit unions, including Workers Credit Union in Fitchburg, that are not part of the settlement.“It is at least admitting they owe us,” said Alyse Zachary, 33, from Florida who attended ITT from 2008 to 2010.Zachary said she was already attending ITT classes when the school told her she needed to take out a $14,000 private loan to continue. She still has the debt, and it has affected her credit and prevented her from getting jobs at a bank and for the federal government.Ma[...]



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2018-01-09T01:48:59.633+13:00

Book Title:  The Education Invasion: How Common Core Fights Parents for Control of American KidsAuthor: By Joy Pullmann; Reviewer: Sandra StotskyLibraries cannot set out politically balanced displays of books on the Common Core project because advocates and critics of it are far from evenly distributed. Most books on the subject do not consider the project a desirable reform (i.e., they do not favor workforce preparation for all students in place of optional high school curricula and student-selected postsecondary goals). Nor have parents lauded Common Core’s effects on their children’s learning or the K–8 curriculum. Indeed, few observers see anything academically worthwhile in the standards funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and promoted by the organizations and foundations it has subsidized for that purpose (e.g., the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Educational Excellence), with aligned tests funded by the Obama-led U.S. Department of Education (USED) and guided by Arne Duncan’s and John King’s many appointees still in the USED, despite the change in administration after January 2017.Joy Pullmann’s book helps us to understand why there is so little on the advocacy end of a library bookshelf holding works on Common Core.Pullmann’s purpose is to explain what Common Core is and how it got to be implemented in almost every public classroom in almost every state in a remarkably short period of time (less than five years). She does so chiefly from the perspective of the many parents and teachers she quotes. Organized in seven chapters, her book describes how the Gates Foundation promoted and continues to promote one extremely wealthy couple’s uninformed, unsupported, and unsupportable ideas on education for other people’s children, even while their own children are enrolled in a non–Common Cored private school. It explains how (but not exactly why) the Gates Foundation helped to centralize control of public education in the USED ; why parents, teachers, local school boards, and state legislators were the last to learn how the public schools that their local and state taxes support had been nationalized without congressional knowledge or permission; and why they were expected to believe that their local public schools were now accountable to a distant and faceless bureaucracy for what they taught, how they taught, and how it was graded, not to the local and state taxpayers who fund the schools or to locally elected school boards. Overnight, teachers discovered they were accountable to faraway anonymous bureaucrats for students’ scores on tests that these teachers had not developed or reviewed before or after their administration. In some cases, teachers were accountable for the achievement of students they had never taught. Yet, amazingly, the Common Core project was presented to state boards and school administrators as “state led” (see, for example, Ashley Jochim and Patrick McGuinn, “The Politics of Common Core Assessments,” Education Next 16, no. 4 [Fall 2016]: 44–52) even though it was not accountable to the states despite the fact that the federal government pays for only about 8 to 10 percent of the costs of public education on average across states.The complex story of how sets of English language arts and mathematics standards (and, later, compatible science standards) created by nonexperts selected chiefly (so far as we know) by Bill Gates got adopted legally by math- and science-illiterate state boards of education (most state board members in most states do not understand the content and sequence of a K–12 math and science curriculum, to judge by the absence of documented questions on Common Core’s math standards at the time they wer[...]



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2018-01-08T01:49:42.702+13:00

LePage Spending Welfare Dollars on After-School ProgramsMaine Republican Gov. Paul LePage is spending $1.7 million of federal welfare dollars on after-school programs.The Bangor Daily News reports over a dozen nonprofit organizations received funding this year from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families grant.Since 2015, Maine's asked such after-school programs to show how they help prevent out-of-wedlock pregnancies and encourage two-parent families. Such goals are outlined under federal law, which lets states use welfare grants with few restrictions.More than 80 percent of the funds were awarded without using a competitive bidding process. The Department of Health and Human Services says it's part of a push to fund programs outside of southern Maine.The number of Maine families with children receiving cash assistance has fallen from nearly 12,800 in 2012 to 4,200 in December.SOURCE  Choosing a School Should Be as Easy as Choosing a Hair SalonThink about all the things you spend money on in life. Why do you pick one product or service provider over another? Is it because government told you to?As I was getting my hair cut the other day, I struck up a conversation with the beautician, who told me about being certified as a “Paul Mitchell Master Stylist.” Paul Mitchell is a network of beauty schools and salons that trains stylists. To become a “master stylist,” a salon employee must provide a certain dollar amount of services in a month, which proves he or she has reached a high level of competency and has built up a clientele.The conversation got me thinking, as I often have, about how naturally and effectively many parts of the private sector set standards – as well as how government, particularly when it comes to education, stinks at it.Think about all the things you spend money on in life. Why do you pick one product or service provider over another? Is it because government told you to? Unless there’s a tax incentive, probably not. But in the case of education, we are often told one school is better than another by government, which sets its own historically horrendous standards by which to judge its own schools. What an absurdly flawed system!The Market Helps Consumers ChooseI didn’t choose the salon I went to because it’s Paul Mitchell certified (though I had heard of the brand), but I would be inclined, after having a satisfactory experience there, to choose another Paul Mitchell salon in the future over a non-affiliated salon, if I had a choice. That’s how the free market works.Many people swear by AAA-approved auto repair shops and will only have their cars serviced at facilities the American Automobile Association labels “high quality.” Similarly, while growing up, I went on a lot of road trips with my family. We stayed at numerous campgrounds and learned that when we saw the “Good Sam” seal of approval, the campground would be top-notch.People who become personal trainers have loads of options as to what type of certification they earn, and some are recognized to be more highly rated and well-regarded than others, meaning you’ll be more likely to land a better-paying job. It’s the same with college. Everyone used to know if you attended an Ivy League school (the reputation is becoming less accurate all the time), you were likely smart, well-educated, and capable of a high-level career.Yelp!, Angie’s List, Michelin stars, and product reviews on Amazon all do the same thing. They inform us which products and services are the best. I could go on listing hundreds of examples of ways in which people trust the free market to make informed decisions about economic choices every day. When it comes to education, though, few have a choice, and the “choices” government makes for u[...]



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2018-01-07T01:52:16.077+13:00

Education in 2018 - Three major challenges facing America's schools and studentsNow that President Trump has signed tax cuts into law to strengthen our economy, there’s much more to be done, starting with education reform. Three glaring problems need fixing: our underperforming K-12 schools, our politicized universities, and the enormous student debt burden.Candidate Trump promised to revive the American Dream – the idea that whoever you are, you can get ahead, and that your kids will have it better than you did. If the dream is broken, our schools are a big reason.We throw more money at our schools than just about any other country, and what do we get? For our K-12 school system, an honorary membership in the Third World.Not so long ago, we had a superb public school system, but now we trail most countries. In math, we’re 38th in the world among developed countries in terms of how15 year-olds perform. And it’s getting worse, not better.Our public schools don’t lack for defenders in the Democratic Party and the mainstream media, but the defenders can’t explain away our mediocrity.The problem is not that we spend too little, and it’s not because of what are delicately called our “demographics.” Instead, that problem is what you would expect when an educational blob resists state-support for private schools and for schools run by religious groups.Government funding for non-public schools plays a large part in the educational success of students in other countries, but our nation has refused to emulate the practice, even though other countries are beating the pants off of us when it comes to student performance.Government funding for non-public schools plays a large part in the educational success of students in other countries, but our nation has refused to emulate the practice, even though other countries are beating the pants off of us when it comes to student performance.The Democrats who tell us they’re the party of equality have thrown in their lot with teachers unions who are the main obstacle to reform. Cruel hypocrites!Happily, President Trump has called school choice the great civil rights issue of our time. At the 2017 Value Voters Summit the president told religious conservatives that “my plan will break the government monopoly and make schools compete to provide the best services for our children. The money will follow the student to the public, private or religious school that is best for them and their family.”The budget President Trump submitted to Congress called for $1.4 billion to be allocated to voucher programs that parents could use to pay for tuition at private or religious schools. And in time, this might be ramped up to a $20 billion program.In another area, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has reversed one of the more idiotic “Dear Colleague” letters that President Obama’s Education Department sent to university administrators. In a 19-page missive, the department forced universities to comply with a detailed code of quasi-criminal procedure to respond to the “deeply troubling” atmosphere of sexual misconduct and violence.The letter encouraged the appointment of compliance officers and lowered the standard to proof of misconduct to a preponderance of evidence. It was so tilted towards prosecutions, and so very intrusive, that college administrators began to hope for a Republican administration. When DeVos rescinded the letter, even the New York Times recognized that President Obama had gone too far. That’s a good start, but it’s time for a few new “Dear Colleague” letters. At too many colleges, conservative faculty, students and speakers are bullied and shouted down. Real education has taken a back seat to the most oppressive forms of p[...]



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2018-01-05T01:55:02.038+13:00

World Language Classes Vanish From Many Oklahoma High SchoolsThis is good. As few as 98% of American students get any use out of a language learnt at school.  Only Spanish is of some use, for obvious reasons. Learning another language is hard and the effort is more fruitfully deployed elsewhereA fourth of high schools across the state have eliminated world language classes over a decade, erasing the chances for thousands of students to acquire skills that could better prepare them for college and the job market.The number of high schools without a single world language class has nearly quadrupled, from 39 in 2006 to 149 in 2016, according to an Oklahoma Watch analysis of data collected by the state Office of Educational Quality and Accountability. That means a third of Oklahoma high schools now don’t offer a single course.A national study released in June by the American Councils for International Education found that 12 percent of Oklahoma students were enrolled in a world language course in 2014-15. (The term used to be foreign language.) That was below the national average of 20 percent and the seventh lowest rate in the country.The trend has particularly hit rural areas.Nearly all Oklahoma schools without world language classes have fewer than 300 students and are located in rural areas, indicating a significant divide in language education between rural and urban and suburban schools, where the most robust language programs are located.To become proficient in a language, students require advanced-level courses, such as honors level, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate. But those classes are increasingly concentrated in the state’s urban areas, with a few exceptions.In 40 of the state’s 77 counties, no schools offer an advanced-level world language class. That’s up from 27 counties a decade ago.Oklahoma, like most states, doesn’t require students to take a world language class to graduate.SOURCE  Opposition to new black charter school in CaliforniaFAIRFIELD — The Solano County Central Democratic Party and the teachers association for the Fairfield-Suisun School District oppose the petition for the Elite Charter School.But the proposal goes before the board for the Solano County Office of Education on Jan. 10 with two board members saying the “opportunity gap” the charter school cites must be addressed.Ramona Bishop, the former Vallejo City School District superintendent who is the lead petitioner for Elite, advised the board of education at its Dec. 13 meeting to do its homework.You’ll see somebody who understands managing programs and finances, Bishop said.Perhaps more significantly for the fate of the controversial charter school proposal, county education board members Dana Dean and Amy Sharp said the opportunity gap for African-American and Latino students that Elite seeks to counter has to be addressed.If Elite isn’t the application that will address the opportunity gap, asked Dean, what will?For the Fairfield-Suisun Unified Teachers Association, which opposes Elite, the question seems to be what will happen to public education if the county board approves Elite’s petition?“For the first time in a long while, we have an active threat of a non-public charter school seeking approval at the Solano County Office of Education,” said the website for the teachers union. “Public education is being invaded in Solano County.”A non-public charter will drain away funds from public education – less money to use in existing public schools – and must be provided a facility by the school district, according to the teachers association.“They do not have their own governing board and do not have to respond to the Fairfield[...]



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2018-01-04T01:44:19.456+13:00

Studies Shed Light on Merits of Montessori EducationThese findings are similar to what we see in programs to boost IQ.  Kids benefit initially but the differences fade out by the late teens.  One interpretastion is that teachers in any sort of "special" program tend to be more motivated -- and that is the only thing having any effectMontessori schools have many loyal devotees and they're certainly rising in popularity among American parents. But are they any better than traditional schools, or other progressive teaching philosophies?You'd think we'd know the answer to that question by now. Montessori schools have been around for more than a hundred years, dating back to Maria Montessori's first school for poor children in Rome in 1907. In recent years, there's been a surge in new Montessori schools in the United States, fueled, in part, by new state laws that are expanding the numbers of publicly funded, but privately run charter schools.Today there are some 500 publicly funded Montessori schools across the United States, up from fewer than 300 in 2000, according to the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector. The number of private Montessori schools, estimated to be around 4,000, is rising too. (Full disclosure: my daughter attends a Montessori school and I went to a Montessori kindergarten.)Yet there's been very little rigorous research to prove that children learn more in Montessori schools than they otherwise would have. The main problem is that you can't randomly assign some students to Montessori schools and study how they do compared with students at traditional schools. Parents get to make these choices, and it's quite possible that the parents who choose Montessori schools are more academically inclined than those who don't.Thanks to the expansion of publicly funded Montessori schools, with lotteries and waitlists to get in, researchers are now able to study the matter more rigorously. That's because lotteries are, in effect, a random assignment machine. Some kids win a seat in a Montessori school. Others don't. And you can compare the achievement of the lottery losers with the lottery winners.Recently, two peer-reviewed studies were published using this methodology. The results are mixed: promising for preschool, not so promising for older students in high school.In the October 2017 preschool study, published in Frontiers in Psychology, six researchers looked at two Montessori schools in Hartford, Connecticut. Both were established by the state as public "magnet" schools, designed to be very high-quality Montessori programs that would attract wealthy families from the suburbs to low-income neighborhoods in Hartford. Some of the students who attended the public Montessori schools had family incomes as high as $200,000 a year. The students who "lost" the lottery all ended up at some other sort of preschool. Half of them attended a private school; others went to a federally funded Head Start program.The researchers tested approximately 140 students at the start of the preschool and found that both the Montessori and non-Montessori kids began at age three with similar achievement scores. The 70 students who went to the Montessori schools advanced more rapidly on math and literacy tests over the next three years. At the end of kindergarten, when this study ended, the Montessori kids had significantly higher achievement. (Softer skills, such as group problem-solving, executive function and creativity were not better for Montessori kids. The two groups did about the same on those measures, or the differences were not statistically significant.)To be sure, high-income kids outperformed low-income kids regardless of the sc[...]



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2018-01-03T01:55:24.228+13:00

UK: Toby Young's appointment to board of higher education watchdog sparks criticismThe former right-wing journalist and free schools advocate will sit on the board of the Office for Students (OfS), which will help lead the Government’s drive to apply market forces to higher education. New laws are set come into force that will regulate universities in the same way as gas or water utilities.Education Secretary Justine Greening said the OfS will look to ensure the “world class reputation” of the UK’s universities is maintained but the appointment of Mr Young has been met with criticism. Mr Young has a history of outspoken remarks and in a column for The Spectator complained about “ghastly inclusivity” of wheelchair ramps in schools. He also described working-class grammar school boys who secured places at Oxford as “universally unattractive” and “small, vaguely deformed undergraduates”. Writing about class in a book called The Oxford Myth, Mr Young recounted how the arrival of “stains” – as working-class students were known – had changed the university. Mr Young said: “It was as if all the meritocratic fantasies of every 1960s educationalist had come true and all Harold Wilson’s children had been let in at the gate.”SOURCE  Judge disallows law banning Mexican-American studies in Arizona public schoolsAn Arizona law banning Mexican-American studies from schools has been quashed.A federal court says the law, which took aim at classes that state school officials said promoted "revolution against the American government," violates students' constitutional rights.One program affected by the law was Tucson Unified School District's Mexican-American Studies (MAS) program Arizona, which state lawmakers said were "designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group."Richard Martinez, the attorney who represents a group of Mexican-American students who attended Tucson schools, said the students sued shortly after the law was passed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer."This was their curriculum that was intended to be responsive to them...culturally, linguistically, educationally," Martinez said. "The program had a very strong effect on students' achievement... in fact, most of the students finished high school and matriculated to college, which was unprecedented at Tucson Unified School District."Arizona education officials have not commented on the ruling but many have weighed in on the Mexican-American Studies programs in the past. Indeed, Tucson's program drew negative attention from officials at the stae's Department of Education. Tom Horne, the former superintendent of public instruction, said the program was "'extremely anti-American" because it promotes "essentially revolution against the American government."Closing the gapAccording to court documents, the program was established in 1998 and included courses like art, government, literature, and history focusing on "historic and contemporary Mexican-American contributions." It was meant to help Mexican-American students engage and relate to their studies and to "close the historic gap in academic achievement between Mexican-American and white students in Tucson."The MAS program was a success, U.S. District Court Judge Wallace Tashima noted, writing that "one would expect that officials responsible for public education in Arizona would continue, not terminate, an academically successful program."According to court documents, Horne never attended a class from the program to see what was being taught there and yet recommended the program be canceled. When the Tucson Unified School District didn't accept his recommendation, Horne "began[...]



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2018-01-02T01:43:39.492+13:00

Australia: Feminist Push to make childcare unaffordableThe Leftist IEU (Independent Education Union) have issued the call below.  Government "quality" mandates, including high staff numbers and sweeping  educational requirements for child-minders, have already pushed up the costs of child-minding to the point where most working mothers spend a large slice of their earnings on child care. The union wants a leap in pay for child minders that could push many working mothers out of the workforce altogether.  So I support the call. Young children need their mothers at home, as the research by Erica Komisar has shownThe claim that a university education is an important qualification for becoming a child minder is absurd and I would like to see the evidence for the claim.  Some education could no doubt help but why university?The IEU lodged evidence and submissions to support its pay equity claim for early childhood teachers just before Christmas. This is the latest step in the IEU pay equity case that has been running before the Fair Work Commission since 2013.  The Union is seeking pay rises for university qualified teachers in preschools and child care centres.  "The claim is based on comparisons with male employees  male teachers in primary schools and male engineers.  At present, teachers in early childhood, who are almost all female, can earn tens of thousands of dollars less than teachers in schools. For example the top award rate for a teacher in a child care centre is less than $70,000 whereas a teacher in a primary school earns close to $100,000" says Carol Matthews, Assistant Secretary of the NSW/ACT Branch of the IEU. "We are certainly not seeking rates of $156,000 as some media outlets have claimed," she added. "The top rate for a teacher in a child care centre under our claim would be just over $100,00". The claim only affects a small proportion of the overall number of staff in services and the Union calculates the impact on costs would be relatively small. "Parents would not necessarily bear the brunt of these increases. The sector is already funded by state and federal governments to the tune of billions of dollars.  Governments should also fund fair pay rates for university qualified teachers as they are so important to children's development". The Union states the importance of university qualified teachers to improved learning and social outcomes has been known for decades and is a central plank of the federal government strategy for early childhood education and care. Via emailHigher Ed’s Low MomentNYT article below.  The problem is that elite campus humanities and social science programs--with their postcolonial structural identity-obsessed tumblr-grade nonsense--are dragging everything else down with themWhen all was said and done, the tax overhaul that President Trump signed into law a little more than a week ago didn’t beat up on higher education to the extent that earlier drafts of the legislation did. Americans who were deducting interest on student loans will still be able to do so. The tuition waivers that many graduate students receive won’t be treated as income.But that doesn’t change the fact that those facets of the tax code, meant to promote and reward advanced learning, were up for debate. Or that the House of Representatives initially passed a bill that would have eliminated such incentives for the acquisition of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Or that the law ultimately did create new taxes on the endowments of the richest schools.Or this unsettling, dangerous paradox: At a time when a colle[...]



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2018-01-01T01:50:31.721+13:00

Feminist rubbish about British schoolsKids shouldn’t be exposed to the moral panic about misogynyAccording to a newly published report from the National Education Union (NEU) and UK Feminista, sexism in schools is ‘endemic’. From their first days in uniform, girls apparently run a daily gauntlet of unwanted touching, name-calling and up-skirt photos. In the classroom they face a barrage of misogynistic language and sexist attitudes. Sexual harassment, sexist stereotyping and sexist language are all, apparently, ‘highly prevalent’. To quote the report’s title, when it comes to sexism in schools, ‘It’s just everywhere’. But it is worth asking a few questions before teachers are packed off for re-education, playgrounds are policed, and boys and girls segregated for their own protection.According to the report, over a third (37 per cent) of female students have personally experienced some form of sexual harassment while at school. Of course, any such incident is unacceptable. But do these figures really demonstrate that sexual harassment is ‘highly prevalent’ and ‘endemic’? The label ‘female students’ encompasses young girls in infant schools right up to 18-year-old young adults. Yet there’s a world of difference between playground kiss-chase, the antics of hormonal teenagers, and young adults negotiating first-time relationships. The report fails to differentiate, however; all are lumped together.NEU and UK Feminista conflate sexual harassment and sexism. Their report sets out to reveal ‘the voices of girls around the country who are being subjected to sexual harassment and sexism’. Sexism and sexual harassment are not the same thing. Sexual harassment can encompass serious incidents of groping and sexual assault. Sexism, on the other hand, is today used to describe a teacher asking for ‘a strong boy’ to help move some furniture, having different uniforms for boys and girls, or separating boys and girls for PE lessons. The report assumes sexism leads to harassment and that presenting girls as different from boys legitimises sexual assault. What a misanthropic view of young people.Sexism, according to the report, is endemic. But the sexism described is difficult to pin down. It is described as ‘prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex’. It seems to be primarily a feature of language: we’re told that ‘30 per cent of female students in mixed-sex schools have personally been described using language they felt was sexist, compared to 18 per cent of boys’. But when even referring to pupils as ‘boys and girls’ is considered by some to be a dangerous form of gender stereotyping, it is only surprising that as few as 30 per cent of girls report being victims.The report moves rapidly from sexism to misogyny. We’re told ‘the use of misogynistic language is commonplace in schools’. This blurring of misogyny, serious sexual harassment and everyday sexism serves a purpose: it teaches all girls that they are victims of boys’ bad behaviour. We’re told that 66 per cent of female students and 37 per cent of male students in mixed-sex sixth-forms have experienced or witnessed the use of sexist language in school. By a sleight of hand, an already small sample size is narrowed further, and, by focusing on sixth-formers, reported events stretch back over a 14-year period. If an 18-year-old claims that once, when she was seven, she heard a boy shout across the playground that ‘boys are better than girls’, then that is recorded as an experience of sexist language.The report also[...]



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2017-12-31T01:51:11.550+13:00

'Controversial' professor who was sent death threats after blaming the Las Vegas massacre on 'white patriarchy' resigns from Philadelphia UniversityA Pennsylvania college professor who received death threats after linking the Las Vegas and Texas massacres to 'white supremacist patriarchy' and 'whiteness' has resigned.Associate professor George Ciccariello-Maher said in a statement that he was leaving Drexel University as his situation had become 'unsustainable' due to harassment and death threats.Ciccariello-Maher, 38, said the threats had come from 'right-wing, white supremacist media outlets and internet mobs' in the wake of his tweets about the terror attacks. Writing in a statement on his Facebook, The political science and global studies professor writes: 'This is not a decision I take lightly.'After nearly a year of harassment by right-wing, white supremacist media outlets and internet mobs, after death threats and threats of violence directed against me and my family, my situation has become unsustainable.'Staying at Drexel in the eye of this storm has become detrimental to my own writing, speaking, and organizing.'He also highlights the legitimization of white supremacy in the U.S. during the Trump presidency, saying 'the forces of resurgent white supremacy have tasted blood and are howling for more.He added: 'In the face of aggression from the racist Right and impending global catastrophe, we must defend our universities, our students, and ourselves by defending the most vulnerable among us and by making our campuses unsafe spaces for white supremacists.' Ciccariello-Maher, was put on leave by Drexel in October, after a series of tweets about the Las Vegas massacre, which saw 58 people killed and 546 injured.He posted a tweet reading, "It's the white supremacist patriarchy, stupid." That tweet was followed by a series of similar statements.Writing in an op-ed for the Washington Post, he that threats had started coming in after conservative media outlets highlighted his tweets.A few weeks later, when 26 people were shot and killed at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, he claimed in an interview that 'white' entitlement' was a factor in the killings.Speaking to Dailymail.com at the time, he further explained: 'Many white males are raised with a double sense of entitlement, since being both white and male are structures of power and dominance over (non-white and female) others.'When that power is perceived to be threatened, as Donald Trump and other racist misogynists encourage people to believe, the results can be incredibly dangerous,' he added.  The 38-year-old has found himself mired in controversy several times in recent years.In 2016, he tweeted that all he wanted for Christmas was 'White genocide.'  He was also heavily criticized after posting that he was 'trying not to vomit or yell about Mosul' when he witnessed someone relinquish their first-class seat on an airplane for a soldier earlier this year. The incident occurred two days after American forces accidentally killed 200 civilians after bombing the Iraqi city.SOURCE  Keep the Federal Government Out of School Choice School choice has many benefits. It frees people to select the type of education that will best serve their families. It makes educators accountable to the people they are supposed to work for. And study after study proves it typically leads to improved academic outcomes. But despite these advantages, that does not mean the federal government should push choice in a nationwide program. The dangers may be too great.The Trump[...]



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2017-12-29T01:54:27.921+13:00

Wisconsin middle school caught brainwashing young adolescents into guilt with 'privilege test'They didn't do anything wrong, but they promise they won't do it again.  Not as blatantly, at least.  Another government school has been caught brainwashing its charges at a vulnerable age.  West Bend, Wisconsin, a city of 31,000 that is 95% white, has a history of parental resistance to efforts by the alt.sex establishment that dominates our educational and cultural institutions to propagandize their children using taxpayer dollars.  But that didn't deter Badger Middle School from administering a 55-question "privilege test" to 150 young adolescents who read To Kill a Mockingbird.An optional test given to some eighth graders in West Bend is sparking controversy and prompted the district to cancel the questionnaire altogether. ...This wasn't the first year for the test. District officials say they would have done things differently, but they stand behind the idea of the exercise.They don't admit to doing anything wrong, but they promise they won't do it again.  That means they have to be less blatant in their indoctrination efforts. Parents were furious that their children were being compelled to face sexual and behavioral issues beyond their level of maturity:"Some of the language in the questionnaire I can see why, as a parent of a 13, 14-year-old eighth grader, some people may feel as though those are topics that should be discussed in the home and not the classroom," said Badger Middle School Principal Dave Uelman.Another question, "I have never been catcalled," bothered Goldman. "My child doesn't know what that means and she's 13," said Goldman. "This is the age they're teaching it? She doesn't know what being catcalled means."In a prosperous city whose African-American population is less than one percent, a city where many people work in manufacturing and blue-collar trades, something has to be done about attitudes that do not conform to the multiculturalist orthodoxy.  There were questions like, "I have never tried to hide my sexuality" or "I have never been called a terrorist." ...Lots of questions suggest topics a 13-year-old might not be ready to deal with and plant suggestions:"I never doubted my parents' acceptance of my sexuality.""I have never tried to hide my sexuality.""I feel comfortable with the gender I was born in."The educrats believe that it is their duty to enlighten the vulnerable young minds whose care has been entrusted to them by the state.  Adolescence is a time of identity formation for adulthood and is full of insecurity and pain, hard enough without being pushed into thinking of yourself as the guilty victimizer of people you've never met.  But such worries do not trouble the school authorities:"If we want our students to be successful when they go out into their careers in the future, they have to understand that not everyone is like them," said Assistant Superintendent, Laura Jackson.The presumption here is that people with degrees from an education school have absolute knowledge of the correct ways to think about sex and race, so they should be in charge of deciding what values our children should hold and how they should regard themselves as they forge adult identities.  That's the theory our taxpayer money is backing, and it is resulting in continued brainwashing.SOURCE  Top Execs Continue To Flee Clinton-Linked Education provider No more big donors now Hillary lostThe most prestigious board member of Laureate Education has announced h[...]



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2017-12-28T01:43:21.202+13:00

Senate Democrats Target Homeschool Families in Last-Minute Tax Reform TantrumLeftists hate home schooling.  It takes kids out of their powerAs the Republican Party edged closer to passing historic tax reform, Democrats in the U.S. Senate used a last-minute procedural protest to attack homeschool families. Their petty complaint struck the short title of the tax reform bill, one provision of the endowment tax, and the extension of college savings plans to homeschool expenses.The homeschool attack proved particularly revealing. The Republican tax bill would extend the use of 529 tax-advantaged saving plans — originally intended to foster saving for college tuition — to K-12 public and private schools, as well as homeschooling. Rather than complaining that 529s should only be for college, the Democrats struck the homeschool provision, leaving the K-12 school extension in place.Make no mistake: this was a disgusting attack on the families of approximately 1.5 million American children who are educated at home, perhaps in an attempt to privilege teacher's unions.On Tuesday night, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) issued a joint statement in a last-ditch attempt to halt the passage of the tax reform bill. Ironically, they blamed Republicans for breaking the rules, in the very act of applying the rules as a bludgeon against homeschool families."In the mad dash to provide tax breaks for their billionaire campaign contributors, our Republican colleagues forgot to comply with the rules of the Senate," Sanders and Wyden said. "We applaud the parliamentarian for determining that three provisions in this disastrous bill are in violation of the Byrd rule."The Byrd rule lays out six criteria deemed "extraneous" in any reconciliation bill. Presence of these "extraneous" parts of legislation would increase the threshold for a bill to pass the Senate — 60 senators, rather than just 50, would be required to vote for it.Sanders and Wyden admitted their intent in pushing the Byrd rule: "It is our intention to raise a point of order to remove these provisions from the conference report and require the House to vote on this bill again."Ironically, the Democrats attacked the Republicans for supporting the wealthy and corporations — in the very act of eviscerating aid to homeschool families, a likely move to reward their teachers' union donors. "Instead of providing tax breaks to the wealthiest people and most profitable corporations, we need to rebuild the disappearing middle class."The upshot of this particular tantrum, however, will not help the middle class against the wealthiest corporations — it will slam homeschool families and one particular college in Kentucky. This complaint also engaged in the petty revision of the tax bill's short title, as if the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" is an attack on the poor.Senate Democrats "Slander" Hillsdale College in Attacking "Hillsdale Exemption" in Tax ReformThe Republican tax reform bill added a new tax on the endowments of wealthy private colleges. This new tax inspired a similar Democratic tantrum, when Wyden himself pushed a special amendment to make sure colleges that reject federal funding would not get a pass from the tax.In this version, Wyden's tantrum involved striking the words "tuition-paying" from the tax. This minor complaint would bring Kentucky's Berea College under the tax.Berea College is a "work college." It enrolls mostly low-income students and charges no tuition. Berea enrolls slightly more than 1,600 students, with[...]



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2017-12-27T01:52:32.937+13:00

Rolling Stone Reaches Final Settlement After Botched UVA Rape StoryRolling Stone magazine, the legacy music and culture publication spanning 50 years, has reached its final settlement stemming from the infamous 2014 “A Rape on Campus” article that subsequently ended up mostly unsubstantiated.The article centered on an alleged gang rape of a freshman girl named “Jackie” by fraternity brothers at the University of Virginia. The article was later retracted after multiple aspects of Jackie’s story appeared inconsistent or entirely contrived.The magazine settled a defamation lawsuit Wednesday, brought by members of the Alpha chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, where the alleged rape took took place. The fraternity’s claims were initially dismissed by a federal judge, but the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to hear the case in September. Instead of going forward, the two parties agreed to a settlement.Wednesday marked the third settlement in the aftermath of the article, written by Sabrina Rubin Erdely. The first settlement went to the University of Virginia’s former associate dean, Nicole Eramo, because Erdely wrote that Nicole “silenced” and “discouraged” Jackie from reporting her alleged rape. Eramo received $3 million in court, but eventually settled with the magazine after an appeal was granted.Phi Kappa Psi’s Virginia chapter also received a $1.65 million settlement in June, a significant drop in the $25 million in damages that was initially sought.The third and final settlement comes at an interesting time for Rolling Stone. On the same day the settlement was announced, the magazine disclosed that cofounder Jann Wenner was selling his stake to Jay Penske, the owner of Variety magazine and Penske Media. The deal reportedly valued Rolling Stone at $100 million.SOURCE  What is an example of American culture being dumbed down?Susan Bertolino, Lecturer of Instruction in Intellectual Heritage, former classroom teacher, gives her answerI have several examples, as I teach college undergraduates, plus I used to teach in public schools. I deal with it daily, and please know I am not some highbrow elitist.In general, reading has become a lost art. Those of us who still read constantly are seen as geeks or just weird. Reading is not perceived as an enjoyable activity.Why don’t people like to read? The elementary education experience takes all the fun out of it. You have to memorize quotes, study certain words, go into literature circles with bullies that taunt you. Then you get wrong answers if your view doesn’t correspond with the answer book. Huh? Reading is about interpretation. Yes, give the students tools on reading to learn. Teach them what is a metaphor, symbolism, round characters, flat characters, plot versus story. Test them on that, and if they get it wrong, they need to learn the terms. Don’t mark an answer wrong because a reader may think Katniss from The Hunger Games is annoying. Don’t mark an answer wrong because a student decides that Voldemort does not epitomize evil as much as privilege and selfishness. Let people see characters and stories as they appear to them. Interpretation isn’t fun when there is only one answer. Grrrr!Look hard for a bookstore in America. Borders no longer exists. Most independent bookstores got swallowed up by Barnes and Noble, which is as much a trinket store selling Starbucks lattes as it is a bookstore. Once people spent hours in bookstores, getting lost in all the beautiful c[...]



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2017-12-24T02:04:36.498+13:00

Suspension Reform Is Tormenting SchoolsUnder an Obama-era directive and the threat of federal civil rights investigation, thousands of American schools changed their discipline policies in an attempt to reduce out-of-school suspensions. Last year, education-policy researchers Matthew Steinberg and Joanna Lacoe reviewed the arguments for and against discipline reform in Education Next, concluding that little was known about the effects of the recent changes. But this year, the picture is becoming clearer: discipline reform has caused a school-climate catastrophe. Philadelphia is the latest city to fall into crisis, according to a new study conducted by Lacoe and Steinberg. The Philly school district serves 134,000 students, about 70 percent of whom are black or Latino. In the 2012–13 school year, Philadelphia banned suspensions for non-violent classroom misbehavior. Steinberg and Lacoe estimate that, compared with other districts, discipline reform reduced academic achievement by 3 percent in math and nearly 7 percent in reading by 2016. The authors do report that, among students with previous suspensions, achievement increased by 0.2 percent. But this only demonstrates that well-behaved students bore the brunt of the academic damage.Lacoe and Steinberg report another small improvement among previously suspended students: their attendance rose by 1.43 days a year. But again, this development was more than offset by the negative trend in the broader student body. Truancy in Philadelphia schools had been declining steadily before the reform, but then rose at an astonishing rate afterward, from about 25 percent to over 40 percent.Perhaps students were staying at home because they were scared to be at school. Suspensions for non-violent classroom misbehavior dropped after the ban, but suspensions for “serious incidents” rose substantially. The effort to reduce the racial suspension gap actually increased it; African-American kids spent an extra .15 days out of school.What in the world was going on inside these schools? Fortunately, Steinberg and Lacoe’s quantitative studies are complemented by qualitative research from the University of Pennsylvania’s Consortium for Policy Research in Education. The researchers’ conclusions are bleak: the district has taken away a disciplinary tool that teachers believe in, and made meager efforts at training teachers in an approach that they don’t find credible. Despite five years of hearing from their overseers that suspensions don’t work, more than 80 percent of teachers believe that suspensions are essential to send a message to parents about the seriousness of their child’s misbehavior, ensure a safe school environment, and encourage other students to follow the rules. About two-thirds of teachers believe that suspensions deter further student misbehavior.Early in 2014, Arne Duncan, President Obama’s education secretary, accused teachers who suspended unruly kids of “racial discrimination” and threatened their superintendents with federal investigation if their districts didn’t reduce suspensions. Duncan declared that schools needed to shift to “evidence-based” discipline, such as the Department of Education–backed “Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports” (PBIS.) PBIS is a multi-tier, whole-school approach to instilling socially appropriate behavioral norms. Regarding discipline, “the emphasis is on the use of the most effective and most positive approa[...]



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2017-12-21T01:53:12.836+13:00

State ESAs: The Gold Standard for School ChoiceThe tax bill heading for a final vote would greatly expand tax-advantaged education savings programs. Under current law, these Section 529 plans (named after the enabling provision in the IRS code) can be used only to pay college expenses, but the new legislation would permit tax-exempt savings for K-12 education spending—up to $10,000 a year for tuition at private or parochial schools. This is great news for those families who can afford to sock away money for their children’s education. However, the expansion of 529 plans is no substitute for creating K-12 education savings account programs with universal eligibility. State ESAs remain the new gold standard for school choice.ESAs help parents pay for their children’s private education—11,000 kids in Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, and Tennessee already participate in them. ESA legislation was also introduced to 21 other states in this year, according to Independent Institute Research Fellow Vicki E. Alger in an op-ed for the Washington Times. Most ESA programs fund the child’s accounts using public money that other otherwise go to his or her local public school, but Arkansas, Missouri, New Hampshire and Wyoming are considering programs that are privately managed or funded, much like a tax-credit scholarship program.“California could readily enact this kind of ESA Program,” Alger writes. “It has nearly 190,000 tax-exempt charitable organizations, along with a well-established regulatory and oversight infrastructure.” Not only does it have the groundwork already in place, but as Alger first showed in her 52-page report Customized Learning for California, a tax-credit ESA program could be structured to pay for itself even if as few as one or two percent of California’s K-12 students participated. More importantly, it would vastly improve the educational opportunities for children in the nation’s most populous state.SOURCE  Perverse Sex Ed in the UKSecondary schools in the United Kingdom will soon be required by law to teach sex education using a now-undefined, government-mandated curriculum.The curriculum has yet to be defined but is likely to incorporate homosexuality and transgenderism. The new sex education curriculum will take effect in September 2019. It will include so-called "relationship education" for primary schools and an updated sexual education curriculum for secondary schools. The current curriculum standards have gone largely unchanged for almost 20 years. This has caused some on the Left to trash the curriculum, with one report calling it "'too biological' at the expense of a focus on children's rights, equity, emotions and relationships — and too negative and risk-focused, at the expense of the affirmative and positive aspects of relationships and sexuality." A Sky News report explains, "The update to statutory guidance follows concerns that current advice, last set in 2000, is out-of-date and does not address 'sexting,' online safety and cyber-bullying, as well as mental well-being and LGBT issues." The report quotes U.K. Secretary of State for Education Justine Greening as saying, "I think we need to speak to parents and teachers in particular. And of course, young people." She also claimed, "I met with some young people in Parliament about a month ago, and they were staggered that no government has updated the guidance since 2000, so I think there is a general c[...]



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2017-12-20T01:42:47.414+13:00

When School-Discipline ‘Reform’ Makes Schools Less SafeProgressive education experts don’t seem to care that the policies they advocate are hurting the students who need the most help. Last week, a new analysis of Philadelphia public schools found that the district’s move to reform school discipline by embracing “restorative justice” had led to a raft of unfortunate results. The decision to eliminate suspensions for classroom “conduct” led to skyrocketing truancy, serious misbehavior, and declining achievement. Truancy had been steadily declining, but increased sharply after the new policy was adopted. Compared with other Pennsylvania school districts and after controlling for demographics, the district’s math and reading achievement declined substantially after the adoption of the new policy. And, ironically, students were actually suspended more often, because even as suspensions for minor offenses fell, suspensions for major offenses rose. The progressive education wonks who championed Philadelphia’s school-discipline reforms were remarkably unbothered by these alarming results. They didn’t even really challenge the data. Instead, they asserted that the reforms could work and should work. Education Week ran a story titled, “In Discipline Debate, Two Groups Draw Different Conclusions About the Same District.” See, a second group of researchers, from the University of Pennsylvania, had taken a qualitative look at Philadelphia’s schools. The takeaway there for EdWeek readers was that it is “possible for the district to see improvements” because the disciplinary changes showed hints of promise in schools that were “wealthier and more white.” That’s cold comfort, of course, given that the policy made things worse in the city’s poorer, less white schools — the struggling ones it was intended to help. Such tales are painfully familiar to those who track the world of school reform. There’s a rhythm to it: Progressive reformers have an idea that they think should work; the idea doesn’t work; reformers claim to see hints of promise and explain that the problem is one merely of “implementation” . . . and then the cycle repeats. Meanwhile, teachers and parents are left to pick up the pieces. Consider the Common Core. Reformers were alarmed that state standards weren’t high enough. So they cheered as the Obama administration bribed and coerced states to adopt new, “higher” standards. Parents complained, but reformers dismissed their assorted complaints as a combination of know-nothingism and fringe kookery. When a report found that 85 percent of K–8 teachers thought the Common Core harmed parents’ ability to help their kids with math because they could no longer understand the assignments, reformers yawned. When the dust settled, nationwide achievement had broadly declined for the first time in years, but reformers saw hints of promise — and explained that the problems were simply a matter of implementation. After all, they said, high standards are important. Powered by Consider teacher evaluation. Reformers were alarmed that old systems rated 99 percent of teachers as effective. So the Obama Department of Education bribed and coerced states to adopt new evaluation frameworks tied to tests teachers had never seen. Teachers complained, but reformers dismissed their concerns as know-nothingism and self-interested carping. When t[...]