Sunday, October 22, 2017



Florida: Libertarian student says college is suppressing her speech

A libertarian student says she has repeatedly had her First Amendment rights suppressed by Flagler College in a free speech battle that has been going on for several months.

Administrators recently told Kelli Huck that she could not roll a free speech ball around campus without being sponsored by an official student group.

Months earlier, however, student government rejected her request to start a YAL chapter based on opposition to YAL's "political agenda."

A libertarian student has repeatedly had her First Amendment rights suppressed by Flagler College in a free speech battle that has been going on for several months.

Most recently, student Kelli Huck was prevented from holding a free-speech ball demonstration on campus because she had failed to register the event ten days in advance.

"I wanted to let Flagler students exercise their right to free speech, but the man is keeping me down."   

“You didn’t reserve the space ten days prior to an event with a recognized student organization,” an unidentified administrator informed Huck, suggesting that she “team up with another group that kind of shares the same views,” particularly recommending the Student Government Association (SGA).

However, as Huck responds in a video of the encounter, the SGA has actually denied Huck’s request for official recognition of her Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) chapter, thus preventing her from reserving space in the first place.

In fact, Campus Reform reported in March that Flagler’s administration threatened to cancel the same demonstration after the student government denied YAL’s recognition for a second time, accusing the group of “trending towards one certain political agenda.”

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) later sent two letters to the school, urging SGA and the administration to reverse course.

“Unfortunately, the threat to freedom of speech posed by the SGA’s actions has cascaded into yet another violation of Flagler students’ expressive rights, as YAL’s unrecognized status has now been used as a basis to deny its members the right to engage in expressive activity in the outdoor areas of campus,” FIRE wrote in a March letter. “The actions of both the SGA and the Flagler College administration violate the college’s stated commitment to freedom of expression and must be reversed immediately.”

Huck, however, has yet to be granted official recognition, remarking in a recent Facebook post that just wanted to “advocate civil and economic liberties.”

“I wanted to let Flagler students exercise their right to free speech, but the man is keeping me down,” she wrote. “I got asked to leave campus after having my third free speech ball. [It’s] ridiculous when I just want to advocate civil and economic liberties.”

SOURCE 






Time to End Obama-Era DOE Suspension Discrimination

New study shows that poverty and disability are the biggest factors for student suspension, not race

Recall in 2014 Barack Obama’s Education Department instituted a policy aimed at “equalizing” suspension rates between white and black students. As the Associated Press reported at the time, “Black children represent about 18 percent of children enrolled in preschool programs in school, but almost half of the students suspended more than once.” In instituting the new nationwide policy Obama’s DOE argued that it was needed in order to “dismantle what is commonly named the ‘school-to-prison pipeline.’” In fact, the policy was race-based at its heart, with the DOE communicating that it would interpret the “disparate impact” of disciplinary suspensions by race as discriminatory even if there was no evidence supporting such a conclusion.

A 2015 poll showed that 59% of teachers were opposed to the new policy guidelines. (We’re guessing the other 41% were 10% true believers and 31% too afraid to speak up.) And the reason was obvious, as one teacher explained, “There’s nothing going to happen, and the kids know it. It’s hard to keep order in a classroom when the kids know there is no consequence to misbehavior.” As any teacher knows, it’s not a student’s race that gets them in trouble, rather it’s their misbehavior.

Now a study of the policy’s impact on the state of Wisconsin has recently been released. The study reveals that overall school suspension rates have declined, but the highest percentage of suspension rate decline by race was, interestingly, among white children. The study also found that the factors of poverty and disability had the greatest impact on suspension rates, not racial background.

Will Flanders, the study’s author, stated, “I think what we see is that the factors that are impacting suspension rates differ at the district level. We see some districts where maybe there is a racial factor. We see other districts where poverty and disability seem to be the driver.” Flanders argued that the Obama-era policy should be rescinded, saying, “We really shouldn’t be instituting a national policy that we need to be focused on disparate impact, that we should be reducing suspension. What instead we should do is encourage the ‘dear colleague’ [Obama policy] letter to be reversed, and to restore to the school districts themselves, and to the states, the power in determining what policies work best for their school district.” Imagine that.

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What These 2 Ohio Lawmakers Are Doing to Kill Colleges’ Censorship

The storm of censorship on college campuses continues to swirl around the country.

In just the past two weeks, students in Texas sought to shout down an invited speaker, and Oregon students silenced their own college president.

But on college campuses and in state legislatures, defenders of free speech are pushing back. With some adjustment, a new proposal in Ohio looks promising.

Last week, Ohio lawmakers assigned a bill to committee to help preserve free speech on Ohio’s public college campuses. Sponsored by state Reps. Wesley Goodman, R-Cardington, and Andrew Brenner, R-Powell, the proposal prohibits state-funded schools from disinviting campus lecturers based on the content of their expression.

The proposal maintains that public colleges and universities must commit themselves to being bastions of free speech:

It is not the proper role of a state institution of higher education to shield individuals from expression protected by the United States … including, without limitation, ideas and opinions that the institution finds unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.

The Goodman-Brenner bill draws on ideas from the Goldwater Institute’s Campus Free Speech Act, which serves as a legislative template for state lawmakers to use in protecting free expression on public college campuses.

The Goldwater model, designed with Stanley Kurtz of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, says that state universities should allow anyone who is lawfully present on a public campus to demonstrate or protest in public areas, like sidewalks and spaces outside of buildings.

It also says colleges should make clear during freshman orientation that they are in favor of free speech and eliminate restrictive speech codes and so-called “free speech zones” on campus.

North Carolina lawmakers passed a law this summer based on the Goldwater model, and two weeks ago, the Wisconsin state university system governing board voted in favor of similar policies.

State representatives in Louisiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, California, Tennessee, and Virginia have considered similar legislation this year.

Recent activity in courts of law demonstrates that the threat to free speech on Ohio college campuses is real. In 2012, a federal court struck down portions of the University of Cincinnati’s speech code, arguing that the school’s restriction of protests to free speech zones violated the First Amendment.

Today, Ohio State University has a restrictive speech code in the form of a “Bias Assessment and Response Team.” This part of the school’s code allows individuals to anonymously accuse others of “bias acts,” which are defined as acts that “contribute to creating an unsafe, negative, or unwelcome environment.”

Campus officials can pursue investigations based on these anonymous tips.

More than 200 colleges and universities across the country have bias response teams. Their activities are both ridiculous and frightening.

Earlier this year, the University of Arizona announced it would pay students for secretly reporting on their peers. (The university later removed the job posting and said it would change the title of the position after media reports criticized the school’s actions.)

The University of Michigan announced a new position to coordinate the school’s bias response team activities, which included “cultural appropriation prevention activities.” That job listing has also since been removed.

The Ohio proposal begins to address restrictive speech codes like this, but it is missing key provisions meant to stop free speech violations. Legislators should include consequences, including suspension and expulsion, for individuals that block others from expressing their ideas.

Such measures date back to at least the 1970s, when a Yale University commission recommended sanctioning students for violating the First Amendment.

The Goldwater model includes language to accomplish this, along with due process protections for those accused of violating someone else’s free speech. It is vital that these provisions be included along with sanctions.

Students who are accused of materially and substantially infringing on other people’s rights to free expression should be informed of the charges against them, given adequate notice of when hearings on their case will be held, and given the ability to find representation.

Free speech is the cornerstone of a free and civilized society. It should not be controversial, especially on college campus.

State lawmakers and university officials should protect all students’ rights to express themselves. They shouldn’t have to wait until the rumblings of censorship are at their door for policymakers to act.

SOURCE 

Friday, October 20, 2017



There are limits to what schools can accomplish

A new study shows that families act on insufficient information when it comes to figuring out where to enroll their children.

… A new working paper titled “Do Parents Value School Effectiveness?” suggests that parents similarly opt for schools with the most impressive graduates rather than figuring out which ones actually teach best. The study joins a body of research looking critically at what it means for a school to be successful.

Take the work of Erin Pahlke, for example. The assistant professor of psychology at Whitman College saw research showing that girls who attend school only with other girls tend to do better in math and science. The trick, she said, is that those studies didn’t analyze “differences in the students coming into the schools.”

As it turns out, those who end up in same-sex schools tend to be wealthier, start out with more skills, and have parents who are more proactive than students who attend co-ed institutions. In a 2014 meta-analysis, Pahlke and her colleagues reviewed the studies and found when examining schools with the same type of students and same level of resources—rather than “comparing [those at] the public co-ed school to [their counterparts at] the fancy private school that’s single-sex down the road”—there isn’t any difference in how the students perform academically.

Single-sex schooling also hasn’t been shown to offer a bump in girls’ attitudes toward math and science or change how they think about themselves. In other words, it often looks like single-sex schools are doing a better job educating kids, but they aren’t. It’s just that their graduates are people who were going to do well at any school. They’re running on high-octane gas.

So too are high schools widely thought to be “life-changing”—the elite ones that students must test into. In a 2014 Econometrica paper titled “The Elite Illusion,” the economists Atila Abdulkadiroğlu, Joshua Angrist, and Parag Pathak wrote that while students who attend extremely competitive public schools like Stuyvesant High School in New York City clearly excel, that may not mean the schools provide an education that’s superior to their less competitive counterparts.

The researchers looked at a group of borderline kids, the last few eighth-graders who made the cut-off to go to an elite school and the first few who didn’t; that meant there was little if any academic difference between them when they started their freshman year. If a school like Stuyvesant were more effective—that is, taught more material and produced better outcomes—than the less competitive public school, the economists would expect to see a difference in how those kids performed academically four years later.

But when the researchers analyzed indicators of success, such as AP exam scores and state standardized tests, they saw no difference between the borderline kids who got to attend Stuyvesant and the borderline ones who didn’t. And yet, said Pathak, a professor of microeconomics at MIT, “these are massively oversubscribed schools. People would give an arm and a leg to send their child to a school like Stuyvesant.”

On the other hand, there’s a Noah Baumbach movie from about 10 years ago in which all the other characters think Jack Black’s character is a complete idiot until he happens to mention he went to Stuyvesant, causing them to re-evaluate his intelligence upward.

Anyway, it’s been apparent since the 1966 Coleman Report that it is fairly difficult to find overwhelming evidence of any schools dramatically improving student performance. I’m not saying it hasn’t been done, just that the default is that the outputs of most schools correlate with the inputs in terms of student quality more than they correlate with inputs like budgets.

But, perhaps it is time for social science researchers to look for the mirror image situation: schools that do much worse than their inputs would suggest. If it’s hard to do much better, maybe we should focus more on not doing much worse?

And I’ve got a sizable candidate school system to study as an anti-role model of terrible performance: Puerto Rico’s public schools.

SOURCE 





Wyoming school district apologizes for Trump answer on quiz

Some parents are upset that "shooting at (President Donald) Trump" was offered as a possible answer on a multiple-choice, online English test.

The quiz involved George Orwell's 1945 novel "Animal Farm" and asked why a character in the book orders that a gun be fired.

Parent Jim McCollum says he was surprised when his son, a junior, came home and showed him a screenshot of the quiz.

McCollum says the potential answer on Trump was completely out of line.

The Jackson Hole News and Guide reports Jackson Hole High School English teacher Carin Aufderheide told the Jackson Hole Daily: "While I did not write the quiz questions and answers, it was my responsibility to proofread it; had I done so I can assure you I would not have distributed the quiz without first changing the offensive answer."

Teton County School District No. 1, which previously confirmed the quiz was administered Thursday in Aufderheide's sophomore English class, will not say who wrote it.

The district won't confirm whether Aufderheide is on leave or if any disciplinary action will be taken. Sources say Aufderheide was not at school Monday.

SOURCE 




Florida: Radical individuals and groups force school administrators to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars to protect a constitutional right

White nationalist Richard Spencer's speaking engagement at the University of Florida in Gainesville has Florida Gov. Rick Scott declaring a state of emergency over security concerns.

Gov. Scott's declaration on Monday comes just a few days before the infamous Spencer is set to arrive on the Florida campus.

This is Richard Spencer's second attempt to speak at the public university as Spencer's last request was denied by the school administration due to security concerns. This time around, $500,000 is being spent on security to protect those who are willing to listen to Spencer's lunacy as well as protect those who are coming to protest.

As was seen in Charlottesville, Virginia, when white nationalists and counter-protesters clash, a crisis can quickly erupt, violence ensues, and lives can be lost.

The sheriff of Alachua County, Sheriff Sadie Darnell, requested an Executive Order from Gov. Scott to ensure that the necessary resources would be provided to law enforcement so they can maintain public safety.

In a press release, Gov. Scott reiterated that every American has the right to speak, but also said there is no room or excuse for violence. The governor also voiced his willingness to help Sheriff Darnell in any way he can.

"We live in a country where everyone has the right to voice their opinion, however, we have zero tolerance for violence and public safety is always our number one priority. I have been in constant contact with Sheriff Darnell who has requested this Executive Order to ensure that county and local law enforcement have every needed resource. This executive order is an additional step to ensure that the University of Florida and the entire community is prepared so everyone can stay safe.
According to the order, to ensure the necessary money and resources are going to law enforcement, the governor has the power to waive budgetary concerns. The Executive Order states:

Section 7.
A. Pursuant to section 252.36(1)(a), Florida Statutes, the Executive Office of the Governor may waive all statues and rules affecting budgeting to the extent necessary to provide budget authority for state agencies to cope with this emergency. The requirements of sections 252.46 and 120.54(4), Florida Statutes, do not apply to any such waiver issued by the Executive Office of the Governor."

Spencer's arrival on the campus is going to grab headlines and stir up trouble and there will undoubtedly be white supremacists and Antifa members looking for any reason to start a riot. It is both a shame that the likes of Richard Spencer abuse their freedom of speech to sow discord and hate rather than unity and that radical individuals and groups force school administrators to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars to protect a constitutional right.

SOURCE 

Thursday, October 19, 2017



A Boise State professor was besieged after publishing articles and research that challenged campus transgender orthodoxy

A Boise State University professor recently learned what happens when you challenge left-wing social narratives on college campuses.

Scott Yenor, a tenured professor, has been under siege on campus after publishing articles with The Heritage Foundation and The Daily Signal about feminism and the transgender movement.

In those articles, Yenor explained the similarity in philosophy between the early feminists and modern transgender movement and how they aim at undermining traditional family values.

He wrote in a Daily Signal article on Aug. 2:

"Transgender rights activists are seeking to abridge parental rights by elevating the independent choices of young children. Respecting the sexual and gender “choices” of ever-younger children erodes parental rights and compromises the integrity of the family as an independent unit"

In response, students, activists, and even staff members at Boise State are now waging a relentless campaign to get Yenor fired or shut down.

A petition to have Yenor fired—which has now gained thousands of signatures—has been passed around on campus. Activists have posted flyers attacking him, and some have called for other faculty to come out and officially condemn him.

Despite these calls, Boise State has said it will not fire Yenor, according to The College Fix.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy sailing for Yenor, who continues to be lambasted and isolated.

In an interview with The Daily Signal, Yenor explained how the crusade against his work and others that challenge left-wing orthodoxy on campus is undercutting free speech at our colleges and universities.

The result of the reaction to his work, Yenor said, is that “there has been a very chilling effect on not only my speech, but those who would speak in defense of me both on the substance, and on the principle of academic freedom.”

The blowback came in earnest, according to Yenor, when the School of Public Service posted his article on its Facebook page. The dean received immediate negative reactions and anger from students and LGBT activists.

The dean, Corey Cook, then posted a statement on Facebook saying that while Yenor had a right to publish, his work violated the university’s aspirations of diversity and civility.

This didn’t stop the waves of attacks that would soon come upon Yenor.

The campaign against him became a “cause célèbre” for the new student diversity and inclusion hire, Francisco Salinas, according to Yenor.

In August, Salinas wrote an article condemning Yenor and tying his work to the recent events in Charlottesville and to Nazism.

And at an Aug. 29 faculty senate meeting, Boise State professor Lynn Lubamersky said that while she believes in free expression, she thinks that because of the opinions expressed in The Daily Signal article, Yenor “violated clear policies that govern our institution, our statement of shared values, and the State Board of Education policy regarding academic freedom and most important, our concern for our students.”

“The majority of our university is made up of women and transgendered people,” Lubamersky continued. “[Yenor’s] public statements published with the byline: Boise State University (BSU) professor of political science, a real violation of the rights of women and transgendered students.”

Lubamersky said:

When someone expresses bigoted, homophobic, and misogynistic views as a representative of a university, I think that we do have the right and responsibility to at least make a statement that we do not share these values and they are not represented of our university.

Since Yenor published the Daily Signal article in August, he received a constant stream of criticism and calls for his work to be shut down.

“The position seems to be that anyone who would do research in areas that don’t affirm the contemporary views, should be shut down,” Yenor said.

Boise State student Ryan Orlando called for his school to “part ways” with Yenor in an article he penned for The Odyssey.

“There are a multitude of morally reprehensible notions in Yenor’s writing which constitute a dangerous ideology that warrants separation from the university,” Orlando wrote.

“In our belief, this is hate speech, and it’s alienating a lot of folks in this Boise State community,” said Joe Goode, a member of the Boise State Young Democrats, according to KTVB.

“We want to show that our university stands for more than hate, we are a community of equality and inclusivity.”

While he has received withering personal attacks over his research, Yenor said that few have engaged with the ideas or have seriously attempted to refute his arguments.

Yenor said the personal attacks don’t bother him, but he worries about the long-term impact on people worried that their views will not be argued with, but simply attacked on campus.

“That’s been one of the most disappointing things,” Yenor said. “Everyone in academia could live with having a debate about ideas, but a debate has to start with an understanding what the other person is arguing.”

“It strikes me that there has really been, first of all, no effort to first understand what I’m arguing, and second of all, to get anywhere beyond name-calling and labeling,” Yenor said.

Yenor said only a handful of students have come out to publicly defend him or even make the simple argument that he should be allowed to speak on his views without getting fired, though he has received a lot of private support.

Yenor said he’s made new friendships, especially among those who privately share his views or actually want to understand what he has to say.

Nevertheless, he said he now feels like an “alien” on campus.   “There’s a kind of feeling that there’s a mob,” Yenor said. “And you don’t run across a mob.”

What’s been worst about all the flak he’s received on campus, according to Yenor, is this larger impact on speech.

While Yenor said he will not back down about writing about gender and other areas that he studies, he is worried about what the attacks mean for free speech and others who are afraid to have their careers derailed.

“The problem with what is happening is that the idea that I’m in violation of the campus civility policies is intended to have a chilling effect on my speech and the speech of anyone who would agree with me,” Yenor said. “That is the bottom line with how I’m being injured.”

This, according to Yenor, will damage institutions of higher learning.

“What is primarily at stake in my case, I think, is the development of a culture of victimization on campus or a social justice framework for understanding education,” Yenor said in a follow-up email.

SOURCE 






Toronto School District to Remove "Chief" from Job Titles because It's a microaggression against indigenous peoples                         

KATHERINE TIMPF   

I’m all for sensitivity, but this? This is stupid.

The Toronto District School Board has announced that it will remove “chief” from all job titles out of concern that the word is a microaggression against indigenous peoples.

    Now, if you were thinking, “Wait . . . ‘chief’? That word didn’t even originate as an indigenous word!” then you’d be correct. “Chief” is actually an Old French word meaning “highest in rank or power; most important or prominent; supreme, best,” originating from the Latin word “caput.” In other words: Not only is “chief” not an indigenous word, but also, none of its original meanings even had anything to do with indigenous peoples or their leaders.

    “[‘Chief’] may not have originated as an Indigenous word, but the fact is that it is used as a slur in some cases, or in a negative way to describe Indigenous people,” school spokesman Ryan Bird said, according to an article in the College Fix. “With that in mind, as it has become a slur in some cases, that’s the decision the administration has made to be proactive on that.”

    If a word is being used offensively, then of course you should be against that usage. No good person wants to hurt anyone else. But honestly, I just have to ask: What in the hell is the point of stopping people from using a word in a way that is not offensive — seeing as it is, you know, not offensive?

    “Chief” can mean all kinds of things; it can mean “most important.” (As in: “Will and Grace reruns are the chief reason I stayed home all weekend.”) Is “most important” offensive? No. Oh, I also call my dad “chief” sometimes. Is that offensive? No, he thinks it’s funny, and the only potentially offensive thing about what I just wrote is that I sort of took credit for that nickname when really my little brother came up with it.

    It’s all pretty ridiculous, but what might bother me most about this whole debacle is the district spokesman’s idea that we need to be “proactive” about these sorts of things. As in, no one needs to actually be offended by a word to ban it, we need to just figure out what words might be offensive ahead of time, and then ban them preemptively. It may sound nice, but it’s actually an incredibly dangerous idea that threatens to eradicate all sorts of language from our vocabulary.

    Think about it: Pretty much every word in history has probably been used in an offensive way at one time or another. For example, I’ve been called “princess” in a derogatory, sexist way many times — should I be phoning up the royal family in England and trying to force them to change the way they refer to any daughter of the queen? Hey, it may just be that it’s being used as a title and not as a slur in that case, but it could potentially offend people like me who have heard it other ways, so I should probably call them up and try to convince them to change it, right?

    But no. I’m not going to do that. Not only because I don’t have any of their numbers, but also because I’m not an insane person. Unfortunately, however, some people seem to have become so insane that I’m a little concerned I may just have given someone an idea.

SOURCE 






UK: Muslim schools must not segregate boys and girls, says Court of Appeal in landmark ruling

Religious schools that segregate girls and boys have been told that they are breaking the law, but a landmark court judgment has given them time to change their regime.

Three Court of Appeal judges ruled unanimously that the mixed al-Hijrah school in Birmingham was unlawfully discriminating on the ground of gender with its rigid segregation policy. Girls and boys have separate classes, are banned from mixing at lunchtime or during any activities and use separate corridors.

Ofsted said that this failed to prepare pupils properly for modern British life and it placed the school in special measures last June.

SOURCE 




Wednesday, October 18, 2017






Why cheating has become the norm

The rise of ‘essay mills’ reflects the commodification of university.

Here we go again. The UK government has once more discovered that cheating is flourishing in the university system. Earlier this year, the Department for Education warned that it was considering implementing a crackdown on students buying essays online. Not only would it fine students who submitted commercially produced essays as their own work — it was also considering giving them criminal records, too. Nothing happened. Now, this week, universities minister Jo Johnson is demanding new guidelines to prevent ‘unacceptable and pernicious’ cheating.

As usual, Johnson and other policymakers are focusing their energy on the most trivial dimension of the problem of cheating in universities. In this case, the professional essay mills. Essay-mill websites, which market ‘original’, professionally produced essays, allow students to circumvent their university’s plagiarism-detection system. In effect, these businesses help well-off students to purchase a degree. However, they play a minor role in the culture of cheating in higher education.

Plagiarism was growing long before the invention of essay-mill websites. Instead of acknowledging the corrosive impact of cheating, university administrators, academics and the National Union of Students have always found an excuse to diminish the scale of the problem. According to the NUS, students cheat because they are facing unprecedented economic pressures. Amatey Doku, NUS vice-president for higher education, has claimed that some students are turning to essay mills because the pressure to get the highest grades is often ‘overwhelming’ now that students face debts of £50,000 or more.

But why should economic pressure turn students into cheats? In any case, it is not the poor but the affluent who can afford to fork out hundreds of pounds to pay for an essay.

From time to time academic experts point the finger at overseas students, who, it is said, have no inhibitions about copying other people’s work. They claim that international students come from a different educational culture where reproducing other people’s work is considered the norm. Another frequently cited excuse is the internet: the practice of copying and pasting that students adopt in school is used to explain its continuation in higher education.

However, none of these excuses explains why cheating has become an increasingly acceptable practice in higher education.

The source of the problem is to be found within the university system itself. The academy does little to promote norms that affirm the intrinsic integrity and value of education. When the pursuit of knowledge and the importance of ideas are not taken seriously, students adopt a pragmatic and instrumental approach to their work. What is really disturbing is not that students cheat, but that they do not believe they have done something that is fundamentally wrong. As far as they are concerned, they are playing the system. They are acting in accordance with the instrumental values they have internalised in school and in higher education. The idea that the goal of education is to get a good grade and get on in life has helped lift the stigma attached to cheating.

Universities have taken to treating their students as customers. They should not be surprised that, as a result, values associated with academic integrity have lost their influence over undergraduates. Students today tend to regard their relationship with academics as a commercial transaction, rather than as an intellectual relationship. Like all customers, many students are looking for a good deal. But don’t blame them. They’ve merely adopted the role assigned to them by successive governments. If universities continue to treat education like a financial transaction, cheating will become even more normal.

SOURCE 





Mississippi school district removes To Kill a Mockingbird from middle school lesson plan because it 'makes people uncomfortable'

The N-word again

A school district in Mississippi is removing To Kill a Mockingbird from a middle school reading list. 

The Sun Herald reports that Biloxi administrators pulled the novel from the eighth-grade curriculum this week. School board vice president Kenny Holloway says the district received complaints that some of the book's language 'makes people uncomfortable.'

'There were complaints about it,' she said. However, the school board did not vote on the decision

Published in 1960, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Truman Capote
Harper Lee deals with racial inequality in a small Alabama town.

A message on the school's website says  To Kill A Mockingbird teaches students that compassion and empathy don't depend upon race or education. Holloway says other books can teach the same lessons.

The Sun Herald received a email that said the decision was made 'mid-lesson plan, the students will not be allowed to finish the reading of To Kill A Mockingbird .... due to the use of the 'N' word.'

The reader said: 'I think it is one of the most disturbing examples of censorship I have ever heard, in that the themes in the story humanize all people regardless of their social status, education level, intellect, and of course, race. It would be difficult to find a time when it was more relevant than in days like these.'

The book remains in Biloxi school libraries.

The decision to remove the book from the curriculum set the internet ablaze in anger. 'To Kill a Mockingbird should be required reading. This is insane' one user wrote.

'Until I saw To Kill a Mockingbird I couldn't visualize how someone's lie could get a person killed. This should be required reading' another said.

'You know what makes me uncomfortable? Censorship. That's what makes me uncomfortable. Say NO to book banning!' A Twitter user posted.

'If To Kill a Mockingbird makes you uncomfortable you should probably be reading To Kill a Mockingbird' one person pointed out.

SOURCE 





White nationalist Richard Spencer gets the go-ahead for a speech at the University of Cincinnati sparking fears of violence

The University of Cincinnati says it will allow white nationalist leader Richard Spencer to speak on campus, while Ohio State University says it can't accommodate a rental request for a Nov. 15 speech but is considering alternatives.

UC president Neville Pinto said in an email that the university is finalizing details of Spencer's visit and promises to make safety a priority.

Pinto said in the university-wide email on Friday that Spencer's 'ideology of hate and exclusion is antithetical' to the university's core values but that as a public institution it had to allow Spencer to speak because of his constitutional right to free speech.

'It is the power and promise of (our) diversity to change the world for the better that has the hate-filled so unsettled,' Pinto said. 'We ask for your patience, support, and understanding as we prepare for a trying time for our community.'

The director of Ohio State's legal office, Christopher Culley, said in a letter that it couldn't accommodate a request for Spencer to speak on Nov. 15 'without substantial risk to public safety' but expects to decide if there are 'viable' alternatives by the end of next week.

An attorney for Spencer's associates, Kyle Bristow, said in a press release that he would hold off on suing the schools after earlier writing emails saying they had until Friday to agree to make campus space available for Spencer or face a lawsuit.

Both universities were contacted last month about allowing Spencer to visit but had delayed making final decisions.

'I imagine similar reviews are not required of politically left-wing events on campus, and your 'review' is therefore unconstitutionally discriminatory in and of itself,' Bristow wrote to the universities at the time.

Bristow is the founder of a law firm dedicated to legal advocacy on behalf of a loose collection of white nationalists, white supremacists and anti-immigration populists called the alt-right.

The Ohio universities are the latest targeted for appearances by Spencer since he participated in an August white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that led to deadly violence.

The Charlottesville rally left universities across the U.S. bracing for more clashes between right-wing extremists and those who oppose them.

It also left schools struggling to ensure campus safety in the face of recruiting efforts by white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups while balancing concerns over freedom of speech.

Spencer is scheduled to speak Oct. 19 at the University of Florida. That university's president is urging students to stay away from Spencer's appearance and to speak out against 'hate and racism.'

UF says it expects to spend $500,000 on security for the event. It said as a public institution it is legally obligated to allow the expression of many viewpoints by external groups, such as Spencer's National Policy Institute.

SOURCE 


Tuesday, October 17, 2017



UK: Peace campaigners accused of 'indoctrinating' children, as teaching union promotes white poppy scheme

Peace campaigners have been accused of “indoctrinating” children, after Britain’s largest teaching union promoted a scheme to sell white poppies ahead of Remembrance Sunday.

The Peace Pledge Union (PPU), a pacifist organisation, will this week formally launch a new campaign for schools across the country to endorse white poppies.

It comes after the PPU exhibited for the first time at this year’s National Union of Teachers (NUT) conference, where it signed up over 100 teachers to its inaugural teacher network.

The PPU, which grew out of the conscientious objectors movement in the First World War, aims to challenge what they see as the “glamorisation” of war through the sale of red poppies.

But Colonel Richard Kemp, the former commander of the British Forces in Afghanistan, criticised the sale of white poppies in schools as “misguided”.

He told The Sunday Telegraph: “I think it is perfectly reasonably for schools to discuss different political perspectives, but they should not be indoctrinating children with a left wing political agenda.”

The PPU has sold around 100,000 poppies each year for the past three years - peaking at 110,000 in 2015 - and it is now looking to step up its activity in schools through its newly established teacher network.

They have developed a white poppy school pack, which costs £60 and contains 100 poppies as well as leaflets, educational resources and posters.

“The white poppy aims to foster an understanding that there are alternatives to armed force, and rallies support for resistance to the growing militarisation of society”, explains the leaflet.

Ahead of the formal launch on Monday, teachers have already started ordering the packs directly from the PPU, and peace activist groups have also purchased packs to distribute at local schools.

“Some parents don’t understand and think it is an insult,” Symon Hill, co-ordinator at the PPU said.

“The key thing we get across is that white poppies represent all victims of all wars, civilians, ambulance drivers, and those who fought for a different country.

“We are a pacifist organisation, we make no apology for that. We share a commitment for working for peace, rejecting militarism and attempts to glamorise war.”

He said: “The last thing we want to do is indoctrinate children or impose our views on them. We want young people to have the chance to consider a range of views.”

Mr Hill said that generally schools which sell white poppies also sell red ones so that pupils have a choice, adding “we don't have a problem with that”.

However, Col Richard Kemp said that state schools should not be spending taxpayer money on promoting white poppies to pupils.

“If teachers are getting involved in school time or using their professional position, paid for by our taxes, to indoctrinate children in this movement, that is wrong,” the ex-army chief said.

“It is right to share and discuss but wrong to encourage children to sign up to this or any other political agenda.”

Col Kemp, who previously led a campaign to recognise the sacrifice of British troops killed and wounded in action, added: “The red poppy, Remembrance Sunday and everything around it - these are institutions of the state and that is our tradition. It is right that schools should sell red poppies and take part in this.

“The poppy is not a political hobby horse; it is a means of raising money for the welfare of soldiers and for the families of soldiers who have been  killed, it has a specific purpose which is not political.

The red poppy should be respected as opposed to another fringe political movement.”

The PPU, which formed in the 1930s, also produces teaching resources for schools aimed at challenging army recruitment aimed at young people.

Mr Hill said: “Increasingly armed forces are going into schools - we are not saying children shouldn’t hear from them. But they should hear an alternative point of view.

“If they present life in army as glamorous and fun, and having to obey orders without questioning them when they go against your own conscious – that is very one-sided.

“We have resources that will encourage young people to think through the nature of the armed forces and the nature of war. We are also campaigning on a political level about armed forces recruitment.”

The NUT - which has now merged with the Association of Teachers Teachers and Lecturers - said that they do not have a former partnership with the PPU, but added that they only allow stalls to exhibit at their conference if they agree with their objectives.

SOURCE 





Expensive St. Louis School Teaching Students and Staff to 'Witness Whiteness'

Once upon a time, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial and said that he looked forward to the day when people would be judged by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin. When he said that, we were a long way from that ideal. Now, almost 55 years later, we're probably even further away from it than we were then.

That's largely because of the number of people trying to push racial identity as being something people should be constantly aware of. One of the latest examples is an expensive private school in St. Louis for kids from kindergarten through eighth grade. From The College Fix:

Thanks to the “Witnessing Whiteness” program, the $17,500 per year College School actually starts the racial consciousness in  pre-kindergarten, with teachers pointing out to students, for example, how “few specific shades [of crayons], ranging from beige to brown” can be used as “the skin colors of figures in their drawings.”

According to The St. Louis American, the program is part of the “school’s approach to addressing race at every educational level.” For teachers and staff, they get to participate in discussions designed to get them to “rethink” how they view race.

The approach is based on the book by Shelly Tochluk described on Amazon.com as “invit[ing] readers to consider what it means to be white, describes and critiques strategies used to avoid race issues, and identifies the detrimental effect of avoiding race on cross-race collaborations.”

Here's the problem that I don't think anyone in favor of this is thinking about. If we continue to teach kids about "whiteness" and make it an issue, some of them are going to take that teaching in a completely different direction than intended. If you want someone to consider what it means to be white, that consideration may yield an individual who embraces white-identity ideology or similar white-supremacist nonsense.

You cannot tell people to consider their skin color at all times, then act surprised that people are doing just that. You can't control what that consideration yields, after all. People have minds of their own, and unless you have complete control over the indoctrination process--something impossible in this day and age--those minds will reach their own conclusions.

Of course, the fact that people are paying $17,500 for this kind of racist indoctrination--and even if it's not teaching white supremacy, it's still racist, let me assure you--for their kids is even more mind-boggling. However, if that's what parents want to waste their money on, so be it. The market provides what people will pay for.

SOURCE 





Australia: Inquiring about the elephant in the classroom

It is easy to understand why people find the idea of inquiry learning so appealing. It’s a lovely notion that children can and will learn important concepts and knowledge simply by being given an opportunity to discover them for themselves.

This is allegedly the education of the future — a future in which children need only to learn how to find what they need at the time they need it.

But is it true that children learn best by inquiry? You would think so if you listened to Andreas Schleicher, the Director of the OECD Education Directorate, which runs the Program for International Assessment (PISA).  Professor Schleicher was in Australia recently, giving interviews and speaking at events and forums. Disappointingly, he did not mention the pedagogical elephant in the room — that OECD reports show that inquiry learning is strongly negatively associated with PISA scores.

A deeper analysis of the PISA scores by McKinsey and Co found that the ideal balance is for almost all lessons to be teacher-directed with a small number of inquiry-based lessons. This fits well with the cognitive science-informed framework in which novice learners need more highly structured, explicit teaching, with a gradual shift to independent inquiry as they consolidate their knowledge and develop expertise.

The PISA data is supported by numerous other studies showing that explicit, teacher-directed instruction is more effective than inquiry learning.

Strangely, however, the more evidence stacks up against inquiry learning, the more it seems to take on a mythical status of being unassailably superior.

This week the long line of heavy weights endorsing inquiry learning included the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers, and a German maths professor who happily acknowledged that her version of inquiry learning is not based on cutting edge research but on a centuries-old theory that was refined in the 1920s and popularised in the 1960s.

Inquiry learning can be useful when administered in the right doses at the right time in the learning process. It is not a miracle cure for a new age.

SOURCE


Monday, October 16, 2017




New College Student Survey: Yes, Speech Can Be Violence

Results like these are just as troubling as the high-profile incidents dominating the news

If you follow free-speech controversies for any length of time, you’ll understand two things about public opinion. First, an overwhelming percentage of Americans will declare their support for free speech. Second, a shocking percentage of Americans also support censoring speech they don’t like. How is this possible? It’s simple. “Free speech” is good speech, you see. That’s the speech that corrects injustices and speaks truth to power. That other speech? The speech that hurts my feelings or hurts my friends’ feelings? That’s “hate speech.” It might even be violence.

    A new survey of college students demonstrates this reality perfectly. Conducted by McLaughlin & Associates for Yale’s William F. Buckley, Jr. Program, the survey queried 800 college students attending four-year private or public colleges, and the results were depressingly predictable.

    First, the “good” news. Students claim to love free speech and intellectual diversity. For example, 83 percent agree that the First Amendment needs to be “followed and respected.” A whopping 84 percent agree that their school should “always do its best to promote intellectual diversity,” including by protecting free speech and inviting controversial speakers to campus. Similarly, 93 percent agree that there’s value in listening to and understanding “views and opinions that I may disagree with.”

    But that’s not good news at all. It’s simply evidence that in the abstract students will claim to be open-minded. They’ll claim to value different views — right until the moment they really get offended. For example, 81 percent agree with the statement that “words can be a form of violence.” A full 58 percent of students believe that colleges should “forbid” speakers who have a “history of engaging in hate speech.”

    And what is hate speech? The definition the students liked was staggeringly broad. Two-thirds agreed that hate speech is “anything that one particular person believes is harmful, racist, or bigoted.” They further agreed that hate speech “means something different to everyone.”

    Given these realities, it should come as no surprise that large numbers of students believe that interruptions or even violence are appropriate to stop offensive speech. Almost 40 percent believe that it’s “sometimes appropriate” to “shout down or disrupt” a speaker. A sobering 30 percent believe that physical violence can be used to stop someone from “using hate speech or engaging in racially charged comments.”

    It’s a small consolation that a slight majority of students say that they have not felt intimidated out of expressing their views — but this means that, in institutions allegedly dedicated to critical thinking and open inquiry, almost half the student respondents indicated they were indeed intimidated.

    Survey findings like this should serve as an alarm bell every bit as important as the shout-downs and attacks that dominate the headlines. Naysayers and defenders of the status quo on campus will argue that the censors represent a mere fringe, that our campuses are still more free than critics suggest. That may be true on some campuses, but these poll numbers indicate that the so-called radicals are perhaps more mainstream than we’d like to admit.

    Just at the moment when we need a concerted, bipartisan effort to defend a culture of free speech, our national polarization stands in the way. It becomes more important to win news cycles or to defeat a hated opponent than it is to defend an enduring civilizational value. We care only when our friends suffer censorship, and we sometimes even take a measure of glee when our opponents twist in the wind. Last week leftist protesters blocked an ACLU representative from speaking at William & Mary. Conservatives should find that every bit as outrageous as an effort to censor my friend Ben Shapiro. We should treat the president’s calls to punish kneeling football players with the exact contempt that we’d treat progressive calls for reprisals against a praying athlete.

    In other words, it’s time to remember that we can strongly disagree with expression — as I disagree with the decision to kneel — while still protecting the right to dissent. Even more, it’s time to remember that the impulse to censor is often more offensive than the content of the targeted speech. After all, a kneeling football player doesn’t threaten our constitutional order. Campus speeches don’t threaten our individual liberty. But when presidents forget their constitutional role — or when campus administrators capitulate to the demands of the angry mob — we incrementally lose respect for the values that truly make America great.

    Long after even the memories of modern feuds fade, the First Amendment should still stand. We should still fight for the rights of others that we’d like to exercise ourselves. But if we lose the culture, we’ll eventually lose the Constitution, and when that happens America will fundamentally and perhaps irrevocably change. When it comes to the fight for free speech, the stakes are exactly that high.

SOURCE 






‘Feminist Economics’: Coming to a College Campus Near You

Just another call for socialism

If you haven’t yet heard of “feminist economics,” get ready, because liberal economists, policy organizations, and activist groups are pushing the concept as the next battleground for women’s rights.

Because condemning catcalling and “toxic masculinity” in cultural terms isn’t enough, they’re now targeting government policies and institutions they contend are oppressive and discriminatory toward women.

In order to level the playing field, feminist economists are calling for a massive expansion in government benefits, from universal child care to universal health care plans that cover abortion, birth control, sterilization, fertility, and surrogacy.

What Is ‘Feminist Economics’?

In order to understand “feminist economics,” you must first understand what those on the left side of the aisle call the “economics of misogyny.”

The economics of misogyny describes “how these anti-woman beliefs are deeply ingrained in economic theory and policy in such a way that devalues women’s contributions and limits women’s capabilities and opportunities,” explained Kate Bahn in an article for the liberal Center for American Progress. “[D]espite the central role of women in the economy throughout history, our economic policy and government institutions often treat women’s diverse needs and capabilities as an afterthought to ‘real issues’ in the ‘real economy.’”

The topic was discussed at length last month at a Center for American Progress event, “The Economics of Misogyny.” Scholars and economists gathered from a handful of top colleges and universities from around the nation for panel discussions on “The Intersection of the Family and the Labor Market” and “The Economics of Bodily Autonomy.”

One of the goals behind feminist economics is to put a monetary dollar to the cost of the work women traditionally do for free, such as child, elderly, or sickness care. By ignoring the monetary value of this work, they suggest, women themselves are being undervalued and held back.

How It’s Happening and What to Do About It

Discrimination against women in the labor market has a long history, explained Nina Banks, an associate professor of economics at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. And central to it is the concept of intersectionality—the idea that categories such as race, class, immigration status, and gender are all connected. An African-American woman, for example, is more disadvantaged than a white woman.

Intersectionality explains the “grand narrative about work that is framed around the labor market experiences of white women, primarily white, married women,” she said. “It’s a white-centered bias when we look at these experiences. That’s a problem.”

Building on this idea, Michelle Holder, an assistant professor of economics at John Jay College of the City University of New York, suggested that government policies that encourage marriage should be abolished, because the black community has significantly lower marriage rates than white Americans. (According to a study on marriage patterns performed by the National Institutes of Health, black women, compared with white and Hispanic women, “marry later in life, are less likely to marry at all, and have higher rates of marital instability.”)

“Most African-American women aren’t a part of a couple, [so] I think it’s problematic to privilege couples, whether they are same-sex or different-sex couples,” Holder said. “I think we need to redefine unpaid work around these different kinds of family structures.”

Conservatives generally disagree and have long supported government policies that encourage—or “privilege”—marriage, because couples who get married prior to having children are far more likely to flourish financially.

Panelists didn’t just want to remove policies that encourage marriage, however. They also proposed subsidizing “care labor”; meaning, instead of working with your husband, wife, or the surrounding community to raise children and take care of sick or elderly family members, the state does it for you.

“Women doing unpaid care work creates particularly difficulties for women in the economy,” said Randy Albelda, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and director of the College of Liberal Arts.

In order to address this “discrimination and occupational segregation,” Albelda proposed helping families “by providing the care work through a collectivized way that most countries do.” For example, she said:

Universal education and care, which I actually think would probably be the most important policy for all women, particularly low-income women in this country … It’s sort of a no-brainer … . If economists were really concerned about efficiency … they would be on top of this in a flash, because it is such a waste of all sorts of things. It increases our poverty rate. It reduces women’s labor force participation. It generates more inequality. Early education and care is one of the biggest engines of inequality in the United States.

Judith Warner, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, floated the idea that the hours a mother spends caring for her children or family could be factored “into someone’s Social Security payments down the line.”

“That’s a great point. It’s not just symbolic value; it’s actual production,” responded Joyce Jacobsen, an economics professor at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. “We used to talk about strikes of household workers—that you would actually lose a huge amount of production if … people just refused to take care of their children, refused to take care of their sick parents, refused to do housework. It would be chaos. It’s not even just symbolic.

“We can come up with actual dollar amounts for the loss of productivity, and I think that’s, again, where economists can be of great help in pointing out that there are methods to do those calculations.”

‘The Economics of Bodily Autonomy’

It’s not just care work that feminist economics strives to monetize. They contend that “bodily autonomy” also plays a crucial role in women’s ability to fully engage in the economy.

“Targeted regulation for abortion providers, mandatory waiting periods, limitations on late-term abortions, all these things are happening in a much bigger group of states,” said Adriana Kugler, a professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. “And actually, we find, really limit labor market opportunities and economic opportunities for women.”

Until the government provides universal health care plans that cover unrestricted access to abortion, birth control, sterilization, fertility, and surrogacy, women will never truly be equal, she contends.

Conservatives—and conservative women, in particular—say the abortion industry itself undermines women’s rights.

“The abortion industry not interested in abortion clinic regulations that are crafted to protect women’s health and safety, or informed consent requirements that include scientifically accurate information about the unborn child and information about the risks and alternatives to abortion,” said Melanie Israel, a research associate at The Heritage Foundation focused on the issue of life. “And the abortion industry is certainly not interested in a health care system that empowers women to obtain a plan that both meets their needs and reflects their religious and moral values.”

Furthermore, Israel said, “Telling women that the path to success requires destroying the life inside them presents a false ‘choice.’”

The reality is, ensuring that both mom and baby are able to thrive is not an either/or endeavor. That’s why across the country, the pro-life community, and life-affirming pregnancy resource centers strive so hard to offer women services, education, supplies, counseling, and compassionate options to women experiencing a tough pregnancy.

Another area where economics plays into bodily autonomy, the panelists argued, is the national debate over transgender individuals and public restrooms.

Lee Badgett, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, cited the so-called “bathroom bill” in North Carolina, which mandated people use bathrooms and locker rooms in schools, public universities, and other government buildings based on the gender listed on their birth certificates, as an example of a government policy regulating bodily autonomy.

These regulations, she argued, can hold women—and all people, for that matter—back.

“There was an exodus of businesses who were thinking of investing in Charlotte, and the other areas of North Carolina … so who’s hurt the most? It was actually, probably … hereosexual people. They’re the ones who would mainly have had those jobs, and they’re not having them. So I think it’s a way … we all have an incentive to have an inclusive society for everybody.”

An “inclusive society,” according to liberal groups such as the Center for American Progress, takes the form of government mandating society to use certain pronouns, teach transgender ideology to children, and open public restrooms to people based on their gender identity. But if transgender-friendly bathrooms made good economic sense, one might think there’d be no need for a law forcing businesses—public or private—to adopt these policies.

In North Carolina, however, it wasn’t just the government that got involved. Big businesses and special-interest groups stepped in, attempting to use their influence and economic power to impose their liberal values via bullying and boycotts.

Ryan T. Anderson, a Heritage Foundation senior fellow and author of “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment,” calls this “textbook cultural cronyism” at “the expense of the common good.”

The Future of ‘Feminist Economics’

The role of “feminist economics” in our political conversation is still young. And with Democrats arguing Ivanka Trump’s paid family leave proposal doesn’t go far enough, it’s likely to continue. As the Center for American Progress put it: “Feminist economics provides a starting point to developing a broader understanding of how women’s varied lives and complex needs interact with the economy.”

At its heart is one idea: Women are better off with government as our husbands, fathers, caretakers, and moral arbiters. Anything short is discriminatory against women.

SOURCE 




Radicalised Muslim students will be BANNED from Australian classrooms

Radicalised and violent students could soon be banned from the classroom in a major overhaul of school safety laws.

Legislation is expected to be introduced into the New South Wales parliament this week which will force students who pose a 'significant risk' to enrol in distance education.

Under current laws, principals are unable to take action against any pupil who commits a crime away from school grounds and outside school hours.

A student at a Sydney high school who was recently stopped from flying to Syria where he planned to fight for ISIS was allowed to continue attending classes because his actions weren't related to the school, The Daily Telegraph reported. 

The proposed changes will see principals given the power to ban violent or radicalised pupils from attending class - whether the student's criminal behaviour took place in or outside school.

NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes said the major shake-up is designed to bring the three-decade-old Education Act in line with modern-day threats.

'These are common sense changes to the Education Act that bring us into line with other jurisdictions,' Mr Stokes said, according to the paper.

'It's a sensible solution to dealing with modern-day problems that were not anticipated when the Education Act was drafted almost 30 years ago.

'The measures in this Bill are being put in place to uphold the public's ­expectation that schools remain safe, secure and collegial environments for both students and staff.'

The announcement has been met with a mixed reaction on social media, with many suggesting the proposed changes are well overdue. 'It's about time,' one wrote, while another said: '30 years too late'.

Others argued the proposal will only serve to further alienate students prone to radicalisation. 

SOURCE


Sunday, October 15, 2017



83% Of America’s Top High School Science Students Are The Children Of Immigrants

Mostly Indians.  Were any of them Muslims or Hispanics?  They  would have said if there were

What would we lose if immigrants could no longer come to America? Surprisingly, one of the most important things America would lose is the contributions made by their children.

A new study from the National Foundation for American Policy found a remarkable 83% (33 of 40) of the finalists of the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search were the children of immigrants. The competition organized each year by the Society for Science & the Public is the leading science competition for U.S. high school students. In 2017, the talent search competition was renamed the Regeneron Science Talent Search,  after its new sponsor Regeneron Pharmaceuticals,and a new group of 40 finalists – America’s next generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians – are competing in Washington, D.C., from March 9 to 15, 2017.

Both family-based and employment-based immigrants were parents of finalists in 2016. In fact, 75% – 30 out of 40 – of the finalists had parents who worked in America on H-1B visas and later became green card holders and U.S. citizens. That compares to seven children who had both parents born in the United States.

To put that in perspective, even though former H-1B visa holders represent less than 1% of the U.S. population, they were four times more likely to have a child as a finalist in the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search than were parents who were both born in the United States.

Parents who were international students were more likely to have a child as a finalist than native-born parents. A total of 27 of the 40 children – 68% – had a parent who came to America as an international student. That means if international students cannot remain in America after graduation (through Optional Practical Training and improved visa policies) it will also deprive America of the potentially substantial contributions of their children.

Three of the finalists, or 7.5%, had parents who came to America as family-sponsored immigrants (although the number is four parents, or 10%, if one counts the family-sponsored immigrant who married an H-1B visa holder).

Among the 40 finalists of the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search, 14 had parents both born in India, 11 had parents both born in China, and seven had parents both born in the United States. People of Indian and Chinese birth represent only about 1% of the U.S. population each, according to the Pew Research Center.

SOURCE 






Anti-white racists drive out anyone who questions them

Meet the Reed student driven out of college for questioning a protest

The photograph on the college website shows a confident, happy, young African-American woman using a bullhorn to address more than a hundred overwhelmingly white students holding protest signs. It was taken at a Black Lives Matter protest at Reed College, my alma mater, in September 2016. It was a beautiful day in Portland, Oregon, and the students were parading through campus, accompanied by drums and anything else that could make a sound. One of the cardboard signs in the crowd behind her said: ‘Brown People for Black Power.’ Another said: ‘1 out of 2 black students at Reed do not graduate.’

The demonstration marked the beginning of a year-long series of confrontations that turned the historically leftist college inside out. The young woman in the photo was responsible for organising most of them. I’ll call her Amanda, not her real name, because I don’t want her to be hounded by right-wing trolls.

At most schools, demonstrations tend to flare up once or twice a year during a visit from a controversial right-wing speaker. At Reed, Amanda managed to create protests that occurred three days a week for most of the academic year.

Before Amanda, the Black Lives Matter movement hadn’t gained much traction at Reed. Although its students have been ranked as the most liberal in the Princeton Review’s survey of the top 382 liberal-arts colleges, only about three per cent of the student population is black. The school has had a hard time attracting them, in spite of a ‘fly-in’ programme that distributes free airline tickets to prospective black students.

But in September 2016, on the heels of a national debate on race, the school got behind the movement, letting demonstrators set up an afternoon rally in the quad and allowing sympathetic professors to cancel classes, hold extra sessions and adjust assignment deadlines.

Hunter Dillman agreed to meet me on campus before we went to lunch in a barbeque joint a few blocks away. He was 6’2”, drove a beat-up black pickup and had pale blue eyes and blond hair parted in the centre. He was eager to talk to somebody who wanted to hear his story in detail, somebody who didn’t believe he had simply fucked up his freshman year. He told me his father was a construction worker who owned a farm and raised cows and chickens on the side. Hunter had taken four advanced placement (AP) science courses his senior year, getting all fives, and planned to get a degree in chemistry.

At the beginning of the first semester, as he was going to dinner with a friend, he read a Facebook post from the leader of a Latina group who wrote that her group planned to ‘Stop Trump’ and asked fellow students for support in a school funding survey. He was curious and considered getting involved. After he asked her a couple of times to be more specific about how the group planned to stop Trump, she accused him of being a racist for challenging a Latina student support group. He responded that if her group called people racist just for asking questions, he had no intention of voting to fund it.

A few minutes later, when the Latina activist happened to meet him waiting in line at the dining hall, she continued her accusations and called him a ‘little white boy’. Shaken, he took his food back to his room and tried to eat as he watched in horror as comment after comment about him appeared on Facebook, denouncing him as a bigot.

The next day, as he was walking across campus, a student screamed ‘Racist!’ at him. The accusers never came up to talk to him, but the online abuse kept coming. Many of the people he thought were friends dropped him. And although a few said they sympathised, no one was willing to stand up for him. The fact that he was 25 per cent Native American only made things worse. ‘How dare you use your Native American identity to justify your racism?’, his Native American peer counsellor asked him.

When Bruce Smith, the dean of students, called him into his office to get his side of the story, Dillman assumed the Latina student had filed a formal complaint against him under the school’s Honor Principle. Later, when the head of the peer-mentoring programme suggested he face his accusers in a meeting of fellow minority students, he declined. ‘It would have been me versus everybody else in the same room. Hell no!’

While Dillman managed to do well the first semester, the second semester, he said, he went into ‘a dark place’. He slept all day. His grades slipped. He wanted students to see him as a human being, a student just like them, but ‘People wouldn’t let me. I knew what happened to me wasn’t justified. I thought, “How shameful”.’ But in the end the shame was too great.

After he filled out the forms to drop out mid-semester, the dean of students met with him again. At the end of the hour-long meeting, when the dean failed to mention the outcome of the Honor Principle case, Dillman finally inquired about the outcome. Only then did the dean tell him that nothing had come of it. (Reed College officials declined to be interviewed.)

Hunter went back home to Oregon City and moved into a trailer on the edge of his parents’ farm. Gradually, he got back on his feet. Today he’s making $20 an hour as a carpenter, framing houses. ‘I was the first person in my family to go to college’, he said. ‘My father told me that when I got accepted to Reed, it was the proudest moment in his life. That was my best shot. I could have been someone who got an awesome education. Now I’m a construction worker.’

Looking back, he was still trying to make sense of what happened to him. His accusers, he said, ‘seem to be angry at the world and each other and wanted to focus on that. They have a lot of misplaced indignation and they need some source to take it out on.’

Dillman had moved into his own apartment and planned to take some community college classes while working full-time. He told me he’s trying to stay upbeat but he’s no longer interested in pursuing a career in science. ‘I’ve changed’, he said. ‘I’m more into randomness.’

Hunter Dillman plans to take a class in welding this fall to boost his pay.

SOURCE 






Florida School District That Blamed Third-Grade Girls for Being Molested by Teacher to Pay $3.6 Million Settlement

On Wednesday, the Sun Sentinel reported that the Palm Beach County School District is expected to approve a $3.6 million settlement of a 12-year-old lawsuit in which a group of girls (adults at this point) accused elementary school teacher Blake Sinrod of fondling them in their classroom in 2005.

The Sentinel cited court documents filed in response to a 2006 civil suit brought by the girls’ parents (the students were in third grade, around nine years old at the time of the attacks), that infuriatingly claim the victims were “old enough to appreciate the consequences of their actions” and “conducted themselves in a careless and negligent manner.” Now that is fucking horrifying.

Dale Friedman, an attorney who has worked for the defense since 2006, told the Sentinel that the district’s outrageous claim was used in an effort to reduce potential damages the district might have to pay out, a tactic she referred to as “comparative negligence.” Friedman insists, “We have never blamed the girls or given them the appearance of holding the girls responsible for what their teacher did.”

However Jeffrey Herman, a lawyer who represents clients with sexual abuse claims, told the Sentinel he’d never before witnessed the use of such a defense and cautioned that, “The real problem with this [defense] is it revictimizes victims…. There’s meaning and impact when you file things. It’s forever part of the permanent record that the School Board is blaming these third-graders.”

According to the Sentinel, when the parents of the four students filed a civil suit in 2006, their lawyer at the time, Charles Bechert, said that the parents believed their children were preyed upon in part because they were immigrants—perhaps the teacher thought their parents would not know how to report the crimes, or feel comfortable doing so.

Sinrod (that really, really is his name) was fired from that job at Coral Sunset Elementary in 2006, and his teaching license was revoked in 2008.

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