Thursday, December 31, 2015

Oberlin College Students Cry 'Cultural Appropriation' Over Serving Of Undercooked Sushi Rice

Pathetic.  What emotional infants

Students at an American liberal arts college have accused university authorities of “insensitivity” and “cultural appropriation” over the serving of General Tso's chicken, Vietnamese sandwiches and sushi.

A report in the ‘Oberlin Review,’ newspaper of Oberlin College in Ohio, details student angst over the cafeteria’s serving of inauthentic international cuisine, with scholars demanding meetings with campus officials over the outrage.

Complaints against ‘Bon Appétit,’ the college's food management company, include serving undercooked sushi rice, and cooked sushi fish instead of raw; offering General Tso's chicken that was steamed, not fried; selling Vietnamese banh mi with pulled pork rather than grilled and using ciabatta instead of traditional French bread.

“The undercooked rice and lack of fresh fish is disrespectful,” scorned Japanese student Tomoyo Joshi of the sushi bar, decrying the counter as “a culturally appropriative sustenance system.”

“When you're cooking a country's dish for other people, including ones who have never tried the original dish before, you're also representing the meaning of the dish as well as its culture,” she told the newspaper. “So if people not from that heritage take food, modify it and serve it as 'authentic,' it is appropriative.”

The sushi also caused disquiet for student Mai Miyagaki, who called for “collaboration with the cultural student [organisations] before starting new stuff like this [the sushi bar].”

Disgusted that a Vietnamese sandwich was being served with coleslaw instead of pickled vegetables, student Diep Nguyn said: “It was ridiculous… how could they just throw out something completely different and label it as another country’s traditional food?”

College officials told the newspaper the dishes were an attempt at nutritional diversity and they would set up a meeting with students in the coming weeks.


Ban College Level Remediation

So if any presidential candidate is out there looking for ideas–particularly you Republicans–here’s my first proposal:

Colleges and universities have been constantly complaining for 30 years or so that incoming students are in dire need of remediation. These complaints inevitably lead into a conversation about failing high schools, accompanied by fulminations and fuming.

The correct response: Why are remedial students allowed to matriculate in the first place?

It’s not as if the knowledge deficit comes as a surprise. Most students have taken the SAT or the ACT, which most if not all four-year public institutions use as a first-level remediation indicator–that is, a score of X exempts the student from a placement test. Those who don’t make that cut have to take a placement test. Community colleges usually cut straight to the placement test. The most common placement tests are also developed by the Big Two ((Accuplacer is SAT, Compass is ACT).

So why not just reject all applicants who aren’t college-ready?

Private institutions can do as they like, but our public universities ought to be held responsible for upholding a standard.

Most states (or all?) offer two levels of post-secondary education: college and adult education. As colleges have sought to increase access to everyone who can demonstrate basic literacy (and far too many who can’t even manage that), adult education has withered and nearly died.

Pick a level and split them. My cutoff would be second year algebra and a lexile score of 1000 (that’s about tenth grade, yes?) for college, but we could argue about it. Everyone who can’t manage that standard after twelve years of K-12 school can go to trade school or to adult education, which is not eligible for student loans, but we could probably give some tax credits or something for self-improvement.

Adult education could be strengthened by repurposing the funds we now spend on remedial education. The existing community college system could, for example, be split into two tiers—one for actual college level work or legitimate AA degrees, the other for adult education courses, which are currently a weak sister of K-12.

The federal government could enforce this by refusing to back Pell grants for remedial courses in college, as Michael Petrilli and others have called for. State legislatures could arguably just pick a demonstrated ability level and restrict funding to those public universities that ignore it.

Of course, some argue that college is for everyone, regardless of their abilities. This path leads to a complete devaluation of the college degree, of course, but if that is to be the argument, there’s an easy solution. If no one is too incapable for college, then no education is remedial. So give the students credit for remedial courses, let barely functional students get college degrees after 120 credits of middle school work. No?


Diversity on campus: Does it have a future?

Diversity is under threat on college campuses across the land -- from exactly the students cherished for their diversity by admissions committees.

Let us recall that for almost 40 years now, diversity has been the gold standard defense of racial preferences. Racial diversity is said to enhance the classroom (and general social) experience by exposing other students to views purportedly most likely to come from people of color.

Yet it is too little remarked that much of what we hear from black students -- and not only amidst the protests of late but often over decades past as well -- flies directly in the face of the whole diversity argument that university administrators propound so ardently.

For example, at Oberlin, student protesters are demanding not just one but several "safe spaces" for "Africana-identifying" students. It's fair to assume that white students would not be allowed in these spaces, given that the rationale is that here is where black students could catch their breath after the endless sallies of racism that the school's students and environment force upon them daily.

Aside from the obvious problems with this plan, note that students barricading themselves in this way would have pointedly little interest in sharing their experiences as "diverse" people with their fellow white students. Even those who would consider this self-segregation justified will admit that these students are giving a thumbs down to the idea that they are valuable on campus as "diverse" lessons for others.

Trudeau's case for diversity: Because it's 2015
Trudeau's case for diversity: Because it's 2015
Or, in this recent opinion piece in The New York Times, a black physicist tells us that the presence of students of color in university classrooms should not require justification on the basis of the color of their skins.

Now, it's unclear what new strategy she is proposing to ensure a representative number of such students on a campus if they are not singled out for their "diversity." Be that as it may, here is one more person of color arguing against the admissions rationale considered so inviolable in discussions of affirmative action since Justice Lewis Powell created the "diversity" argument (rather briefly) in the Regents of the University of California vs. Bakke decision in 1978.

Finally, for all the appeal of the notion of black students earnestly teaching white students the view from beyond the affluent suburbs, black students quite often don't like being expected to take on that role.

I have lost count of how many times a black student has told me, in question sessions after talks on race I have given, that being required to attest to the "black" view of things is, of all things, one way that college campuses are racist (!). Here is an articulate expression of this kind of complaint, very much commonplace since the '80s. And truth to tell, how many of us would enjoy being singled out in any setting, all eyes upon us, as the one assumed to have intellectually valuable counsel?

Once again, the writer above likely isn't aware that his declaration stands as a rebuke to a justification that likely played an important part in his evaluation for admission. However, it stands as a rebuke indeed.

One might claim that students can teach white ones about their "diversity" in other ways, but prospects for that look glum from further reports one often hears.

Black students don't like being asked questions about where they are "from," about their hair care regimens, or being approached in general as if they belong to a distinct clan of persons, as we have learned from discussions of microaggression over the past few years. OK -- but it's unclear what space is left for these students providing diversity lessons for others.

So: There is the verdict from the very people singled out for their "diversity" by admissions committees. We might add that it's hard to see how diverse viewpoints relate to not just some, but most, of what a college curriculum consists of. The black view of French irregular verbs? Systolic pressure? The usual counterargument here is that white students will benefit from the simple fact of interacting with colleagues of color -- in, say, a lab -- as preparation for interacting with people of color in the work world. On that one, I often wonder just what it is about black people that white students are to learn to watch out for.

A different kind of affirmative action

All this is clearly a mess. Now, one solution is to sigh that it's "complicated" and change the subject. But that's a cop-out we've been settling for for decades, and it's clear that it gets none of us anywhere. We settle for this cop-out nonetheless out of fear that actually taking the issue by the horns will mean turning our backs on seeking social justice. But it doesn't.

Rather, the facts on the ground -- as opposed to in colleges' multiracial publicity photos on websites and brochure covers -- can be taken as support for the growing movement to base admissions preferences at universities on socioeconomics.

The originators of affirmative action policies would find this a familiar and compelling approach, given that until the Bakke decision, the whole policy was founded on a quest for reparation, making up for historic discrimination against black people.

In an America where it is becoming increasingly difficult to see poverty, the "underclass," and historic disadvantage as having solely a black face, restoring affirmative action as an anti-poverty policy is progressive.

Some assail this approach as cluelessly "race-blind," but they're wrong. Fears that hardship-based affirmative action would mean black and Latino students being all but eliminated on college campuses in favor of working-class whites are overblown, as is clear from rigorous treatments such as this one. Rather, letting go of the ever-fragile diversity rationale would, while leaving college campuses with healthy populations of black and Latino students, finally let us exhale.

To wit: no more pretending there is a black take on Jane Austen or differential quotients, or that white students having black students in their classes about these things will teach them something useful for when they meet black colleagues at the law firm they work for after graduation. No more singling out black kids to talk about "the" black experience. No more skirting by the inconvenient fact that an affluent black student is rather insignificantly "diverse" compared to a white one who grew up with one parent in a trailer park.

In a nutshell, quite a few "diverse" students are -- whether unwittingly or not -- opposed to a key rationale for their recruitment and admission, and the whole diversity rationale has always been extremely fragile anyway.

Affirmative action must be preserved, but what we need to affirm in the 21st century is disadvantage. There are those who will insist that such a view is conservative -- yet it is them who will seem backward in the future.


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christ Hidden in Our Schools, While Muhammad Roams the Halls Freely

In the U.S., the media mocks those who make their Christian practices public-such as praying for victims of terrorism or young people committing to abstain from sexual relations until married. Yet that same media attacks those voicing concerns about terrorism's link to Islamic beliefs as being Islamophobic.
In America, we see a nation so intimidated by political correctness that people in positions of responsibility make illogical decisions concerning the observation of a Christian holiday.

Recently, Eujin Jaela Kim, a new principal at Public School (PS) 169 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, New York, decided to prohibit the use of the word "Christmas" or displays of anything related to it including Santa, angels, gift-giving, a star, etc. Not only was Christmas taboo, Kim also mandated the Pledge of Allegiance be eliminated along with references to Thanksgiving Day.

Fortunately, when this story broke last week, Kim's boss, School Superintendent Anita Skop, took immediate action. While the Pledge had not been heard since the beginning of the school year at PS 169, it was recited loud and clear a few days after the story was published over the school's public address system by two fifth graders. The Christmas and Thanksgiving bans were also lifted.
Kim is not the only person in the school system trying to drum Jesus Christ out of it by eliminating any celebration of His birth.

After the ACLU took legal action, Concord Community schools in Indiana were prohibited by court order from including any historical account of Christ's birth during its annual Christmas program.

A preliminary injunction was issued, justified on the basis the program "conveys a message of endorsement of religion, or that a particular religious belief is favored or preferred."

Meanwhile, Blaine, Minnesota school officials instruct students to sing a song in their Christmas program saluting the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. The words "Allahu Akbar" are included in the song-words attesting to the greatness of Allah.

Ramadan is a Muslim holiday occurring many months earlier with no connection in timing to Christmas. Clearly, school administrators-who defended their actions on the basis of voluntary participation-lacked knowledge about Islam but nonetheless felt political correctness compelled them to recognize a Muslim celebration of some sort.

School officials at Riverbeds High School in Virginia instructed students, as part of an assignment on learning calligraphy, to write the "shahada"-Islam's statement of faith. One of Islam's five pillars, the shahada declares, "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah."

While a teacher justified this assignment as an opportunity to learn calligraphy, it did not explain why female students were also invited to wear the "hijab" or headscarf.

In Massachusetts, schools have been guilty of undertaking field trips to mega-mosques where students are subjected to Islamic propaganda. This included the false assertion Muslim women were given the right to vote before women in the West were (Muslim women today either have no such right or very limited rights as recently demonstrated in Saudi Arabia). Male students visiting the mosques had to prostrate themselves before Allah alongside Muslim male worshippers.

In a Chicago, Illinois high school, an event dubbed "Walk a Mile in Her Hijab Day" was held ostensibly to give non-Muslim girls a "better understanding of the Muslim faith."

This event was sponsored by the Muslim Student Association (MSA)-which is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which is a group banned in several Muslim countries as a terrorist organization. Additionally, MSA has also been declared by the U.S. justice system as "an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terror-financing trial ever held on U.S. soil."

A former Muslim in Iran and now a Christian pastor, Shahram Hadian, asks the obvious about this group, " is MSA now getting access to our high schools? is that not the state promoting a religion?" Another question arising is where is the ACLU?

Daniel Akbari, also a former Iranian Muslim, is an expert in sharia. He says the hijab is a clear symbol of Islamic law and in no way does wearing it promote humanity. What it does represent, he says, is "support for a hard-line ideology that leads to sharia, honor violence and honor killings."

Outside U.S. borders, Christ is on the run as well. In Iraq-a country that has hosted a Christian population for two thousands years-the religion is doomed.

Meanwhile, Christians living in other Muslim countries run risks attempting to celebrate Christmas.

In oil-rich Brunei, by virtue of implementing sharia last year, the Sultan-for Christians-has become the Grinch who stole Christmas. One who celebrates Christmas "excessively and openly" today could well end up serving a five-year jail sentence.
Somalia recently imposed a similar ban. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, has long had such a prohibition in place-not even allowing churches.

What is it that Muslim governments fear about public celebrations of Christmas or Christians openly practicing their religion.

They fear exposure to other religions might motivate Muslims to leave the nation's official religion of Islam. (Any Muslim leaving Islam would then be subject to death under sharia.)

Under Islam's doctrine of supremacy, it is the dominant religion. Others may only be practiced if non-Muslims pay a special tax known as "jizya" to do so.

The ban in Brunei against Christmas symbols sounds eerily similar to that initially imposed at PS 169 in New York. Fortunately, Principal Kim did not threaten children violating her mandate with jail time.

Many other Muslim countries outlaw Christmas celebrations as well. The heavily Muslim, former-Soviet republic of Tajikistan, bans Christmas trees and gift-giving in its schools.

Situated northeast of Afghanistan, Tajikistan does not even tolerate one festively dressing up as Santa Claus. After a Muslim cleric discouraged his flock to participate in the Christian celebration of the new year, a celebrant who had donned the costume of a Russian Santa was stabbed to death on New Year's Eve in 2011.

Interestingly, while the birthdate of Prophet Muhammad is celebrated on December 12 and 17 by Sunnis and Shiites respectively, in an effort to undermine Christian's celebration of Christ's birth, the UAE has now officially declared December 24 as the day to celebrate Muhammad's birth.

While it is sad enough to see Christian practices outlawed or forced underground in Muslim countries, it is a travesty to see American schools voluntarily doing it. But most disturbing is that educators and political correctness advocates fail to grasp the hypocrisy of eradicating Christian values in our schools while promoting those of Islam.


Bipartisan Achievements: Bigger Government, Worse Schools

"This is an early Christmas present."  That is what a very merry Barack Obama said earlier this month when he signed into law a bill sent to him by the Republican Congress.

The Republicans in Congress entitled it "The Every Student Succeeds Act." They wrote it to replace the "No Child Left Behind Act" - which was sponsored 14 years ago by then-Rep. John Boehner, a future Republican House speaker, and signed by George W. Bush, the last Republican president.

The Every Student Succeeds Act now serves the same function as its predecessor: perpetuating federal involvement in primary and secondary education. Like No Child Left Behind, it also demonstrates that big government is a bipartisan endeavor in Washington, D.C.

In fiscal 2002, when No Child Left Behind became law, the federal government spent $47.036 billion on the Department of Education. That equals $62.053 billion in 2015 dollars. In fiscal 2015, the federal government spent $90.031 billion on the Department of Education.

In the No Child Left Behind era, real annual federal education spending increased 45 percent.  At the same time, achievement scores in reading and math flatlined.

In 2002, public school eighth graders scored an average of 263 out of 500 on the National Assessment of Educational Progress reading test. In 2015, they scored an average of 264 out of 500. In 2002, only 31 percent of American public school eighth graders scored "at or above proficient" in reading, according to the Department of Education. In 2015, only 33 percent did.

In mathematics, public school eighth graders averaged 276 out of 500 in 2003. In 2015, they averaged 281. In 2003, only 27 percent were at or above proficient in math. In 2015, it was only 32 percent.

In the 2001-2002 school year, when No Child Left Behind became law, current expenditures per pupil in the nation's public elementary and secondary schools was $10,890 in constant 2013-2014 dollars. In 2011-2012, it was $11,732.

America's public schools are not failing for lack of money.

But federal involvement in the public schools is also increasing the moral hazard Americans face when they send their children there.

The Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights issued a "guidance" last year declaring that Title IX, the federal law banning sex discrimination in schools that receive federal funding, also bars discrimination against students who claim a "gender identity" different from their biological sex.

Pursuing this principle, the Department of Education and the Department of Justice told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in a brief filed this fall that: "[T]he Department of Education - the agency with primary enforcement authority over Title IX - has concluded that, although recipients may provide separate restrooms for boys and girls, when a school does so, it must treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity.

Doing so is the only way to ensure that the school's provision of sex-segregated restrooms complies with Title IX mandated not to subject any student to discrimination on the basis of sex."

Meanwhile, the new bipartisan education law that President Barack Obama happily declared a "Christmas present" authorizes increased federal involvement in preschool.

"Title IX would house a new federal preschool program authorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act and establish annual funding at $250 million," Lindsey Burke of the Heritage Foundation wrote in the Daily Signal. "The new preschool program would be housed at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and jointly administered by the Department of Education.

"The funding would be made available to states to help coordinate existing government preschool programs, such as those operated by the states and Head Start, and to establish new preschool programs," says Burke. "Although some funding has been appropriated for the preschool program for the past two years, the new Every Student Succeeds Act would codify the new $250-million federal preschool program, creating mission creep in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act."

America does not need the federal government involved in preschools; it needs parents in total control of where their children go to school.

The federal Department of Education should be abolished. At the local level, local governments should take the same amount of money they now spend per pupil in their public schools and give it in the form of a voucher to every parent with a school-age child.

Parents should be permitted to redeem those vouchers at any school they like, period. 


Myth: Individuals learn best when taught in their preferred learning style

It is a myth is that individuals learn best when they are taught in the way they prefer to learn. A verbal learner, for example, supposedly learns best through oral instructions, whereas a visual learner absorbs information most effectively through graphics and other diagrams.

There are two truths at the core of this myth: many people have a preference for how they receive information, and evidence suggests that teachers achieve the best educational outcomes when they present information in multiple sensory modes. Couple that with people's desire to learn and be considered unique, and conditions are ripe for myth-making.

“Learning styles has got it all going for it: a seed of fact, emotional biases and wishful thinking,” says Howard-Jones. Yet just like sugar, pornography and television, “what you prefer is not always good for you or right for you,” says Paul Kirschner, an educational psychologist at the Open University of the Netherlands.

In 2008, four cognitive neuroscientists reviewed the scientific evidence for and against learning styles. Only a few studies had rigorously put the ideas to the test and most of those that did showed that teaching in a person's preferred style had no beneficial effect on his or her learning. “The contrast between the enormous popularity of the learning-styles approach within education and the lack of credible evidence for its utility is, in our opinion, striking and disturbing,” the authors of one study wrote.

That hasn't stopped a lucrative industry from pumping out books and tests for some 71 proposed learning styles. Scientists, too, perpetuate the myth, citing learning styles in more than 360 papers during the past 5 years. “There are groups of researchers who still adhere to the idea, especially folks who developed questionnaires and surveys for categorizing people. They have a strong vested interest,” says Richard Mayer, an educational psychologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

In the past few decades, research into educational techniques has started to show that there are interventions that do improve learning, including getting students to summarize or explain concepts to themselves. And it seems almost all individuals, barring those with learning disabilities, learn best from a mixture of words and graphics, rather than either alone.

Yet the learning-styles myth makes it difficult to get these evidence-backed concepts into classrooms. When Howard-Jones speaks to teachers to dispel the learning-styles myth, for example, they often don't like to hear what he has to say. “They have disillusioned faces. Teachers invested hope, time and effort in these ideas,” he says. “After that, they lose interest in the idea that science can support learning and teaching.”


American textbook writers demonizing Japan

The article “50 Japanese scholars fire back in McGraw-Hill sex slave row” in the Dec. 12 issue about professor Eiji Yamashita’s well-worded and eminently reasonable rebuttal to the American academics’ year-long histrionics over the “comfort women” makes a nice capstone to this disheartening affair.

Throughout this past year, some of the most highly respected professors in Japan have consistently called for a revision of a badly flawed American textbook, and an open and honest public debate on the actual historical facts at issue. In return, they have gotten the obfuscations, insults, and amateurish politicking of the likes of Alexis Dudden. The Japan Times has, regrettably, slavishly followed the American herd — will no one among the academic and journalistic left take up the challenge and respond to the Japanese professors’ enumerated points with sincerity?

Professor Dudden’s latest broadside, in which she likens the Japanese government during the Pacific War to the barbarians in Boko Haram, should put paid to the idea that she has ever been interested in having a real debate.

For those who still think Dudden is an unbiased watchdog willing to call a spade a spade, wherever she finds it, let us wait for her response to South Korea’s recent indictment of Park Yu-ha, whose scholarly, balanced and well-researched book on the comfort women may very well earn her a prison sentence in the same country that also arrested a Japanese journalist just one year ago.

The frustration that the Americans feel over their failure to find even one-sixtieth the amount of evidence for Japanese “war crimes” as for Nazi atrocities is very real. What it really reveals, though, is that the Americans have accused and convicted the Japanese long before they bothered to start looking for the evidence. A professional scholar would have started with an open mind first, and seen what the documentary evidence had to say. But this is not what Dudden has done.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Study: Gov't Subsidies to Blame for Skyrocketing Tuition

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan’s Education Secretary William Bennett took to the pages of The New York Times to opine against the rising cost of higher education. Tuition was increasing beyond the rate of inflation, and the quality of education was little changed. His idea why? The U.S. government and its generous student loan program was at fault. “If anything, increases in financial aid in recent years have enabled colleges and universities blithely to raise their tuitions, confident that Federal loan subsidies would help cushion the increase,” Bennett declared, thus creating what has become known as the “Bennett hypothesis.”

Today, college is viewed as a necessity and priced as a luxury. The situation has gotten so bad that a study found that college loans can affect college-educated citizens' ability to save for retirement. Now, a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research joins the growing body of research that supports Bennett’s hypothesis that the government was at fault for stepping into the college funding game. According to the researchers, “Existing theories can fully explain the increase in net tuition between 1987 and 2010. Our model suggests demand-side theories have the most predictive power. In fact, our results show the Bennett hypothesis can fully account for the tuition increase on its own.” And to think politicians want to “solve” the problem of college availability with more subsidies and more free stuff.


Students need education, not indoctrination

Harvey Silverglate

Harvard’s ‘holiday placemat for social justice’ turns students into missionaries

Upon entering their residential dining halls last week, Harvard undergraduates were greeted not only by silverware and water glasses, but also by what was duly labelled a ‘holiday placemat for social justice’. The Harvard College office for equity, diversity and inclusion, in conjunction with the freshman dean’s office, created the placemat so that students could, while home for the holidays, defend (and presumably propagate) the social and political views that have become accepted truth on campus.

Clearly, university administrators have begun to detect that the ideological positions that reign in their special and increasingly isolated societies might require explaining to the real world outside – a world now perhaps just beginning to view the nation’s universities as places where the totalitarian impulse runs rampant: one where the First Amendment and due process of law are considered tools of oppression rather than attributes of free citizens. Thus did Harvard administrators come up with the idea of arming their students with placemats – tools to advance their efforts as missionaries to the benighted family members at home when they return to visit for the upcoming holidays.

Lest the students have inadequately absorbed the social-justice mantras pounded into their minds – teachings that have become the be-all and end-all of higher education at most US colleges and universities – the mats offered guidance in the way to answer certain hot-button political and social questions. The placemats listed four issues of the day: Yale/student activism; Islamophobia/refugees; housemaster title; black murders in the street; and proposed answers to hypothetical questions that students might be asked:

‘Why are Black students complaining? Shouldn’t they be happy to be in college?’

‘We shouldn’t let anyone in the US from Syria. We can’t guarantee that terrorists won’t infiltrate the ranks of refugees. They’ve already done it in France.’

‘What does a housemaster have to do with slavery? It’s not related to that at all.’

‘Why didn’t they just listen to the officer? If they had just obeyed the law this wouldn’t have happened.’

Proposed answers, according to the reigning student-life bureaucrats, include:

‘When I hear students expressing their experiences of racism on campus I don’t hear complaining. Instead I hear young people uplifting a situation that I may not experience.’

‘Racial justice includes welcoming Syrian refugees.’

‘Given the name [housemaster] is offensive to groups of people, it doesn’t seem onerous to change it.’

‘Do you think the response would be the same if it was a white person being pulled over?’

While ostensibly offering ‘tips for talking to families’ in general, the placemats seemed to be targeted particularly at white students, who have presumably racist/xenophobic relatives back home.

There is, it turns out, a bright side to this otherwise depressing affair. A small group of brave and principled students, who identified themselves as ‘representatives of the Harvard undergraduate council’, made themselves heard and announced their outraged opposition to the administration’s latest experiment in thought control.

A truly diverse array (just judging by last names such as Biebelberg, Ely, Gupta, Kelley, Khansarinia, Kim, Popovski and so forth) wrote ‘to express concern regarding’ the placemat dissemination. ‘Reject[ing] the premise that there is a “right” way to answer the questions posed’, the protesting students affirmed that ‘we should work to foster a climate that is conducive to frank, open discussion – especially among students who disagree’.

The placemat, they complained, ‘gives the impression that the points it articulates are positions endorsed by the college and, more disturbingly, positions that the college thinks students should hold’. College, concluded the students, ‘should engage in the task of helping students to think and speak for themselves, not telling them what to think and what to say’.

In other words, the students were asking to be educated, not indoctrinated.

When confronted by this small but consequential and obviously worrisome revolt, and with the outside world sure to soon learn about the placemat exercise and the students’ response, the student-life bureaucracy went into damage-control mode. The student-life administration wrote to apologise (in an email to the entire undergraduate body) for how the placemat ‘was not effectively presented’ and ‘caused confusion in our community’. There followed the obligatory obeisance to ‘academic freedom’ being ‘central to all that Harvard College stands for’. The dean of student life and the dean of freshmen (who each signed the message) pledged henceforth to ‘support the growth and the development of independent minds’. (But, one might ask, isn’t that the traditional role of the faculty rather than the bureaucrats?)

It was unsurprising to me to discover that this placemat scheme was, in part, sponsored by the freshman dean’s office, which has previously (and continuously) treated its students as impressionable children, requiring training in political and social attitudes. In 2012, the dean of freshmen, Thomas Dingman, attempted to coerce first-year undergraduates into signing a ‘kindness oath’ that would be posted in the lobby of every freshman dormitory, affirming their belief that ‘the exercise of kindness holds a place on a par with intellectual attainment’. Dingman unexpectedly faced push-back from students and faculty, and some unwelcome, unkind publicity. He backed down and resolved instead to deal with kindness at the tendentious orientation sessions held each year for incoming freshmen – a non-public forum protected against the watchful eyes of upperclassmen, the undergraduate council, the news media, and, for that matter, alumni and donors.

The mission creep of the freshman dean’s office’s programming, however, now threatens the legitimate educational mission of the entire undergraduate college, as the students seem to understand better than the administration. And that office, now joined by the newly created and Orwellian-named Harvard College office for equity, diversity and inclusion that signed the placemat, makes the threat especially potent, since ‘diversity’ seems now to be defined as students who look different but think the same.

Resistance to overbearing political indoctrination at Harvard and elsewhere is gradually gaining steam as professors, students, parents, alumni, courts, and other observers of higher education increasingly recognise the destructive potential of administrative assaults on traditional academic freedom (not to mention the feckless submissiveness that administrators have shown to the tyranny of student demands that are incompatible with the whole notion of the liberal arts academy). One thing seems clear: the bureaucrats may engage in tactical retreats when supporters of academic freedom shed their reticence and fight back, but will nonetheless retrench and continue to pursue their agendas, expand their power and retain their bloated numbers and salaries.

Meanwhile, higher-level university officers and trustees will continue to raise gobs of money from alumni and other donors who have little idea how their funds are being spent, while public-relations specialists will continue to spew out glossy publications and upbeat press releases extolling the liberal-arts academy’s educational mission. Today’s campuses are, it seems, increasingly becoming a combination of asylums run by the inmates, and Potemkin Villages designed to hide the truth.


UK schools snapping up Australian teaching graduates

Few Brits want to teach in British "Comprehensives" because they know how bad they are.  Student indiscipline and lots of red tape are not attractive to anybody who actually wants to teach

Shahrzad Amjadi only had to wait a matter of days between finishing her final teaching placement and being offered a full-time job in a school.

But her success is virtually unheard of and the University of Notre Dame teaching graduate has had to move 17,000 kilometres for the position or face competing with 44,000 others who are waiting for a permanent teaching position with the NSW Department of Education.

The newly trained primary school teacher will start next month at Heathrow Primary School, a government school west of London.

Unlike Australia, which has a worsening oversupply of teachers, Britain is struggling to meet demand and figures suggest that a fall in the birth rate in the late 1990s will mean a "steady decline" in the population of 21-year-olds until 2022.

This means the overall pool of graduates is likely to fall and result in fewer trainee teachers, according to the UK's Association of School and College Leaders. Schools have also been forced to spend £1.3b on temporary staff as a result of the chronic shortage of teachers.

But in NSW, the education department's latest figures reveal that only 1.6 per cent of all teachers are aged 20-25 and it warns that by 2021 there will be a "more than adequate supply of primary teachers in all geographical locations" and an "adequate supply of secondary teachers".

Ms Amjadi, 23, who has been working in early childhood and nannying while completing her degree, said she was attracted to working overseas because it would provide her invaluable experience when she returned to Australia.

"I might have been able to get some casual work in Sydney, but I would have had to put in 110 per cent just maybe to get a couple of days," she said.

"I am really excited because I love the sound of the school [in the UK] and I got along really well with the principal in the interview and he really seemed to have a vision for the school so I think it is going to be a great experience for me."

An international education recruitment consultant, Mitch Jones, said young teachers had been travelling to Britain on working holiday visas for many years but the demand for Australians was now much higher as Britain battles with its shortage of teachers.

"In the UK, there are not the same amount of people going into teacher training and that means we can't keep up with demand for Aussie teachers over there," Mr Jones, from Protocol Education Australia, said.

"There is also the professional development side of things because if you are applying for a job, 250 CVs can look quite homogenous but if you have something different, like experience overseas, that can really help in a teacher-saturated market."


Monday, December 28, 2015

Busing in Boston made segregation worse

Another failure of Leftist authoritarianism.  The article below is written from a Leftist perspective so sees nothing wrong with the fact that it was only when whites had little opportunity to flee that there was a degree of desegregation.  The rightness of forcing people to do things is unquestioned below.  And Leftists call Republicans Fascists!

Today, the concept of court-ordered busing to desegregate schools has few champions. Conservatives look back on busing in Boston as an outrageous overreach of government powers. Liberals look back on it as a policy that didn’t go far enough. It didn’t last long enough. It didn’t reach deep enough into the wealthy suburbs.

It’s a shame that busing has gone out of style at the very moment we’ve gotten a better understanding of why it failed — and where it worked.

It’s important to remember that busing did achieve success in places other than Boston. Bigger school districts, which encompassed both city and suburb, saw lasting gains. For instance, in Louisville, Ky., where the school district is 400 square miles.

Older civil rights activists in Boston blame racism for the fact that so many whites left the city in the aftermath of busing, robbing them of the gains that would have been achieved by integration. But the size of the district — and the availability of so many high-performing school districts nearby — probably mattered just as much. That’s a big reason school desegregation was more successful in the South, where school districts are larger and there are few neighboring districts. There, the percentage of black students in intensely segregated schools has dropped from 80 percent in 1968 to a little more than 30 percent today, according to a report by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA.

In the Northeast, which has so many alternative school districts where whites and middle-class families can flee, the results are far more discouraging: The percentage of black students who attend “intensely segregated” schools has actually risen, from 43 percent in 1968 to more than 50 percent today.

We know now that Boston “did not have the right conditions” for the kind of busing desegregation plan that Judge W. Arthur Garrity Jr. ordered, said Sarah Reber, associate professor of public policy at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs.

The plans that saw the best long-term results were the ones that made the most gradual changes, had the smallest number of blacks, and imposed the least inconvenience on whites.

For instance, Volusia County — which covers Daytona Beach, Fla. — managed to achieve long-term success by scattering a small number of black students across a large number of white schools. Few whites were reassigned.

But here in Boston, Garrity ordered white students in Southie to go to black schools in Roxbury that he had just condemned. Half of all white students failed to show up for school, according to Christine Rossell, a Boston University professor who helped implement Garrity’s order in the 1970s and later became one of the nation’s most outspoken opponents of court-ordered busing.

Rossell changed her mind about busing when it became clear that white flight had offset any integration that had been achieved. “Boy, were we naive,” she said.

In 1974, 62 percent of black students in Boston attended schools that were more than 70 percent black, according to Garrity’s ruling. Today, about 80 percent of black students attend schools that are more than 70 percent black or Hispanic.

Statistics like these are one reason that court-ordered busing gave way to school choice programs and magnet schools across the country. Today, there’s a nationwide trend to return to neighborhood schools.

Perhaps the biggest mistake we made back in the 1970s was to frame school desegregation as a battle between racists and the righteous, rather than a public policy puzzle, full of trade-offs, that had to be solved. Today, in the era of Donald Trump and Black Lives Matter, we’re back to that same polarization. It’s as if we’ve learned nothing at all.


New softball rules for handling unruly students in Massachusetts public schools

Expect a lot of teacher resignations and maybe union action as defiant students become uncontrollable

Regulations that take effect Jan. 1 will limit how children can be physically restrained in Massachusetts public schools, at a time when alleged violations at a Holyoke school have shone a spotlight on the use of force to control unruly students.

The new rules, approved by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education late last year, are the first update to state policies on the use of restraint since 2001.

The regulations will add restrictions on how unruly students can be held down for their protection, and bar the use of devices or medication to subdue an agitated child — two tactics that previously were permitted with the consent of a parent and a doctor.

The rules also require for the first time that students assigned a “time out” to calm down be continuously monitored by school staff and that principals grant approval for any “time out” lasting longer than 30 minutes. In addition, principals must approve restraints lasting longer than 20 minutes.

Most students who are subjected to physical restraint are children and teens with behavioral or emotional disabilities. Advocates are lauding the upcoming changes.

Most of the alleged physical abuse was inflicted upon children in the school’s Therapeutic Intervention Program for students with emotional and behavioral disabilities.

Rick Glassman, director of advocacy for the Disability Law Center, said it is particularly helpful that the regulations allow a student to be pinned to the ground face-down — called a “prone restraint” — only when rigorous standards are met.

Those conditions include parental consent, the failure of other attempts to subdue the student, a documented history of behavior endangering the student or others, and the absence of medical conditions that could be worsened, such as asthma, heart conditions, obesity, or seizures.

“Basically, any floor restraint is dangerous, but prone restraints have been shown to be especially dangerous,” Glassman said. “There’s a lot of clinical literature showing . . . . an increased risk of injury or death from positional asphyxia as a result of using prone restraints.”

The law center issued a report this month alleging that workers hired to calm students with emotional and behavioral disabilities at the Peck Full Service Community School in Holyoke instead berated, slapped, tackled, and physically restrained the children, violating existing regulations on the use of force.

Sergio Paez, who was superintendent during the time the abuse allegedly occurred, has repeatedly defended his handling of reports of abuse that crossed his desk.

Another significant change in the new regulations, advocates say, is the requirement that any use of restraint be reported quickly to the school’s principal and to parents, and that principals review individual student data on restraints each week and schoolwide data each month.

The rules will also require that all uses of physical restraint be reported to the state. Previously, schools were required to report restraints to the state only if a student or school staff member was injured or the student was restrained for more than 20 minutes.

“Reporting can be particularly important . . . . so the parents know what’s going on and whether a child has suffered an injury as a result of a restraint, and why,” Glassman said. “Reporting is important for schools so that school supervisory personnel know what’s going on in the classroom.”

Programs around the state that work with special education students have been training employees this fall to prepare for the new regulations, said James V. Major, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of Approved Private Schools, which represents private, state-funded, special education schools.

He said the changes are prompting some schools to update their own policies in ways that are even more restrictive than required by the new rules.

“Even though prone restraints are allowed under restricted circumstances, I think most of our members will be moving away from using them at all,” Major said.

In pacifying children who are out of control, he believes, schools will elect to hold them in place while standing or pin them to the floor facing up. Both techniques require an additional staff member.

“Schools and providers are going to have to figure out how to get the additional staff,” he said. “That’s going to mean more money and additional changes in staffing patterns. There’s also a potential for increased injury to staff, which is why they were using prone in the past.”

With proper training, Major said, staff should be able to avoid injury.

The new reporting requirements will also require additional staff time, but they will provide schools with better information about their own procedures and how to avoid situations that escalate to the point that a child needs to be restrained, Major said.

Because the new requirements impose greater rigor, he said, they could ultimately affect enrollment policies for schools serving children with special needs.

“I think there may be an unintended consequence of tightened admission criteria and procedures as schools really scrutinize their ability to meet the needs of students,” Major said. “There might be some students that will find it more difficult to get appropriate placement.”


War on Christmas at Cornell

As anyone with half a brain knows "Jesus is the reason for the season." Christmas may be incredibly commercialized, but the imagery of what has become a largely secular Christmas season across the country is inspired by the Christian celebration of the birth of Christ. Santa Claus himself - "Jolly old St. Nick," arose out of the legend of St. Nicholas, scourge of the heretic Arius  and secret giver of gifts.

Someone should tell that to the good people at Cornell University, who are trying to purge their campus of all Christian imagery, just in time for Christmas:

The folks over at Cornell University are worried about “inclusive seasonal displays.” That’s academic code for Christmas decorations.

Cornell warned students that some “winter holiday displays” are not consistent with the university’s “commitment to diversity and inclusiveness.”

Among the items on their naughty list are Nativity scenes, angels, crosses and mistletoe.

I’m not quite sure why they frown upon the mistletoe – unless they want to discourage young fraternity men from spreading Christmas cheer among the Sorority girls.

So for the sake of inclusion Cornell University recommends ditching the Baby Jesus and hemiparasitic plants.

Let this serve as your daily reminder: liberalism is an incredibly boring ideology built around denial of the Judeo-Christian ideals that merged with the ideas of the Enlightenment to make America the greatest country in the history of the world.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Can a good teacher be bad for you?

In asking the above question, I am suggesting a paradox.  And I think the answer is mostly No.  But I want to give a small story about when good teachers were bad for someone I know.

He went to a private school and private schools usually have the best teachers.  Why?  Because private schools are more orderly and have brighter students, two things which are not unconnected.  Why are the students brighter?  Because you need a fair bit of money to send a kid there and people with more money generally have more brains too -- as the much execrated Charles Murray pointed out two decades ago. And brainy parents tend to have brainy kids

No teacher however likes to spend most of his/her time getting the students to sit down and shut up, so most would prefer to teach in a private school, where students have the willingness to listen and the ability to learn.  So private schools have the pick of the teachers and mostly manage to hire good ones.

And part of that is that private High Schools are often able to put before their students that rare breed, a MALE teacher.  And that does help male students, who tend to get put down and disrespected by female teachers.

So the lad I have in mind went to a private school where the mathematics teachers were male (funnily enough!) and who were very enthusiastic about their subject.  And they enthused the boy.  Which was something of a pity.  Because he became a mathematician. He spent 8 years at distinguished universities studying it.

But he wasn't in fact very good at it. He could do it all but he was not good enough for it to lead to his heart's desire:  A good job.  And that showed up in his performance on ability tests.  He was brilliant at verbal tasks but only in the top third for mathematics.  Any guidance counsellor would have steered him away from mathematics and into something more verbal.

So were the 8 years he spent on mathematics wasted?  Not really.  Most people remember their time at university as a good time in their lives and he had 8 years of that, which he did enjoy.  And coming from an affluent family he did not have fees or loans to worry about.

But it all worked out in the end.  After he gave up on mathematics, he studied computer programming for a year.  And he found his niche there. He did use his verbal ability, but in a non-obvious way.  He was soon hired as a computer programmer.  And he loves doing it.  He gets paid a lot of money to do what is for him fun.  And why is it fun?  Partly  because it is easy for him but also because it is like a puzzle that you always manage to solve.  As a former FORTRAN programmer myself, I can vouch for how rewarding it is.

Programming is basically an exercise in being relentlessly precise and logical so it seems a bit odd that it should be associated with verbal ability but it seems to be. My strengths too  are mostly verbal rather than mathematical and I almost got to the stage where I could write FORTRAN in my sleep.  FORTRAN dreams?  They can happen, though they don't lead to usable code

But the point is that a computer language is a language, if I can be tautological. A language like FORTRAN or C is a way of talking to a computer and telling it to do things -- so that is how it seems to work.  The commands in a computer language are in fact mostly in English:  DO, IF, SWITCH, WRITE etc.  It's a reminder that computers are another great gift to the world from the English-speaking people -- people whom the Left scornfully refer to as "Dead white males".

So the lad was derailed for 8 years by good teachers. He spent 8 years doing something that was hard for him and which led nowhere -- but needed only one year of studies to reach his Elysium.  He could have reached it much earlier.

Home schooling of 20,000 children across Britain will be reviewed amid fears they are being 'radicalised by parents'

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has called for a review of home schooling amid concerns that thousands of children are being radicalised by their own parents.

It is unclear how many children and young adults are being home schooled but it is thought to be in the region of 20,000 to 50,000.

Parents do not have to inform their council that they are educating their children at home, leaving the government in the dark about the number of kids at risk of radicalisation through education at home. 

'There has always been the freedom in this country for people to educate their children at home. Many people do it very well,' a senior government source told the Independent on Sunday.

'But we need to know where the children are and to be certain that they are safe.

'For every parent doing a brilliant job, there may be someone filling their child's mind with poison. We just don't know. We don't have reliable figures,' the source said.

The Education Secretary's new approach comes after the announcement of an investigation into the activities of unregistered schools and madrassahs.

Concerns have been made about the teaching in some madrassahs with concerns that religious extremists are using an inappropriate curriculum.

Ofsted’s chief schools inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw has previously spoken about the 'serious and growing threat' of unregistered Islamic centers.

'We have provided Ofsted with extra inspectors to eradicate extremism in education,' a Department of Education spokesman said.

'We are working with them to address their concerns about home education being exploited, while safeguarding the rights of parents to determine how and where to educate their children.' they said.

Labour’s shadow Education Secretary, Lucy Powell has called for urgent action against the threat of extremist content being used in home school curriculums, calling the failure of action 'completely unacceptable.'

'It is vital that action is taken to ensure that all children, whether in school or taught at home, are given the knowledge and skills to succeed, not taught a narrow curriculum of hate and bigotry.'

'Yet, just last week it was revealed that the Government had let children remain in illegal, unregistered schools for weeks, where they were exposed to narrow curriculums, misogynist, homophobic and anti-Semitic material. This is completely unacceptable.'


Reality vs. 'Mismatch': Becoming Unhinged at Justice Scalia Over Race

Defenders of racial preferences are good at two things: ignoring the real-world consequences of their policies, and attacking anyone who notices the consequences.

At the recent argument in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, Justice Scalia asked a question that illustrated that the victims of racial preferences in college admissions include not only the people denied admission because they are not the preferred race, but also the people preferences are designed to help.

At oral argument, Justice Scalia said:

    "There are those who contend that it does not benefit African-Americans to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well. One of the briefs pointed out that most of the black scientists in this country don’t come from schools like the University of Texas".

Justice Scalia pointed out something known as "mismatch." It is the common-sense notion that if you are admitted to a school where you would not have been accepted except for your skin color, you might not do as well as the other students who were admitted on credentials alone.

Mismatch is an outcome consistent with life. Were I to be handed a slot in the 2016 Masters, I would finish in last place by dozens of strokes.

If common sense alone isn't good enough, data support the mismatch theory. Gail Heriot details some of the research on the subject, and has her own paper published by the Heritage Foundation explaining mismatch in greater detail.

In essence, when applicants are thrown into a college or law school where they wouldn't otherwise qualify, they do worse and drop out at greater rates. This means fewer, not more, minority doctors, lawyers, and engineers. Mismatch also conveniently creates a culture of grievance on campus, where a segment of the student population struggles in substantial part because of racial preferences.

That Justice Scalia mentioned this troublesome fact caused the racial grievance industry to become unhinged. They did what they do whenever someone questions the policy of government treating people differently because of the color of their skin: they attacked. As my friend Hans von Spakovsky (and co-author Elizabeth Slattery) noted:

    The Left has whipped itself into a frenzy, but as these comments demonstrate, Scalia’s critics have deliberately missed the point. Rather than look into the research Scalia was citing, they have launched scurrilous and false claims of racism. It’s easier to engage in racial demagoguery than to address the problem head on, and Scalia highlighted a real problem -- academic mismatch.

The often vulgar Paul Campos at Salon ran with this headline:

    "Scalia’s raging hypocrisy: Encroaching senility, raging racism, or does he no longer give a f*ck?"

Chauncey Devega gets a two-fer at Salon by disparaging Justice Scalia and Donald Trump at the same time:  "Is Justice Antonin Scalia auditioning for a job as Donald Trump’s ghostwriter?"

Devega calls the data on mismatch "pseudo scientific racism."

The racialist left like Devega and Campos cannot tolerate anyone questioning their orthodoxy, because there is too much money and power to be had by treating people differently based on skin color. Those who don't want to hear about mismatch are too busy conducting diversity training consulting for major corporations and earning fat salaries at 501(c)(3) organizations sowing racial grievance on campus.

I am reminded of an odd gathering from when I attended law school at the University of South Carolina a quarter-century ago. Some of us began to notice that groups of first-year black law students would gather without fanfare at the school at night in classrooms. Teaching at the front of the classroom was a third-year white law student who was on the law review.

After some discreet inquiries, we came to learn these were race-based tutoring sessions provided by the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Whites need not apply for help, even if they wanted it.

The sessions were almost certainly illegal, and were likely a byproduct of the mismatch that Justice Scalia alluded to in the Supreme Court last week. The tutoring sessions were designed to overcome the effects of mismatch by helping these students get through a very demanding first year of law school. Naturally, those of us without the right skin color organized our own study sessions without the benefit of the government provided tutors.

Some might think that a state law school in South Carolina had a special obligation to enhance the crop of minority lawyers 25 years after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Perhaps. But the mismatch created by race preferences were something the law school did not wish to be discussed, and something in 2015 many still don't want to be discussed. The nasty reaction to Justice Scalia demonstrates how damaging the truth can be to years of treating people differently because of their race.


Hapless graduates sue their former universities in shockingly high numbers

IT WAS supposed to be easy. Clark Moffatt would put in the work and study hard, and one day be rewarded with his dream job as a lawyer working in the America criminal justice system. But nearly a decade after graduating, he has yet to land a job in the profession

With a wife and two kids to support — and more than $230,000 in student debt — he made a desperate move which has, ironically, placed him in the courtroom, but in a role he didn’t wish to play.
Mr Moffatt is suing his law school, claiming it intentionally misled students and exaggerated postgraduation employment figures and future salary expectations.

It might sound like sour grapes but he is just the latest in a growing number of graduates in the US suing universities in an effort to recoup their tuition fees as the lofty promises once held by higher education come crashing down.

“It’s both frustrating and, to a degree, humiliating,” Mr Moffatt, who now lives in a mobile home and uses food stamps to help feed his family, told Business Insider.

He, along with 11 other graduates from San Diego’s Thomas Jefferson School of Law, have filed two separate legal complaints against the university.

They claim the law school promoted employment figures among graduates that topped 90 per cent. But they did not disclose that those figures included part-time and nonlegal work including a pool cleaner and a sales clerk at Victoria’s Secret. The figures were also derived from a very small sample of graduates.

Another plaintiff in the complaint, Nikki Nguyen, left a $US69,000-a-year job at Boeing in 2006 to pursue a law degree at the university. She too has struggled to find a job after graduating and watched her student debt blow out to more than $240,000.

“Schools are setting up a lot of people to fail,” Kyle McEntee, executive director of Law School Transparency, a non-profit legal education policy group told the Associated Press this month.

Mr Moffatt is currently a full-time Uber driver and uses the money to support his children and his wife who is terminally-ill with cancer.

“For the longest time, I just thought I was unlucky — life had dealt me a crap hand post-graduation,” he said of his job search. “(But) I came to the realisation maybe I wasn’t just unlucky. Maybe there was something bigger afoot.”

And talking to other graduates from the San Diego university, he found out he wasn’t alone.

It has been a rather tumultuous environment for the for-profit education sector in America as of late. Many for-profit schools have been accused of aggressively recruiting students with a focus on depositing their federally backed student loans rather than providing them with a quality education.

But with scores of graduates finding out their prospects aren’t as rosy as they were led to believe, many are fighting back. A dozen similar law suits have been filed in recent years against universities including the University of San Francisco School of Law, New York Law School and the Florida Coastal School of Law.

While the sense of betrayal is felt among graduating students across the country, as the Wall Street Journalpoints out, most of the suits have so far been unsuccessful.

It’s not just law students displaying a proclivity to pursue litigious retribution. The Medieval Literature department at Harvard University, the Greek Studies department at the prestigious Cornell University and the Philosophy department at NYU have all been the target of class action lawsuits from hapless graduates.

New York woman Trina Thompson was one of the earlier graduates to sue her former school when she sought to have her $US72,000 tuition costs reimbursed in 2009 after her bachelor of business administration degree in information technology failed to get her employed.

Some grievances are more valid than others. Such as the 13 graduates who filed a lawsuit against the University of Minnesota in October alleging fraud and misrepresentation by the school meant they didn’t receive standard teaching licenses upon graduating.

But, regardless of the complaint, it is clear there is a growing disenchantment felt among a generation of educated Americans who feel ripped off by the system.


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Do mathematics matter?

Every so often, articles like this one appear, which seem to show that the American education system is, to use the term in the article, mediocre. What the article shows is that regardless of socioeconomic status, American students score below most developed nations in mathematical ability.

The problem with statistics like these is that most people do not need a great deal of mathematical ability to be productive citizens, or to be educated citizens. Mathematical ability is important for scientists and engineers, but people can be productive in sales, marketing, plumbing, auto repair, and really, in most professions without a great deal of mathematical ability. Entrepreneurs, corporate CEOs, and even accounting and finance professionals do not need to be math wizards. Curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking are more important in most settings, even those where math skills are important.

Surely less than ten percent of all jobs require anything beyond just basic math skills, so a better statistic to examine (and one I never see reported) would be how the top ten percent in the US compare with the top ten percent elsewhere. That’s what really counts: the mathematical ability of those who are actually using higher math.

Another test of the quality of American education is the market test. People from all over the world come to the United States to attend college and graduate school. Korea and Japan rank at the top in the article cited above. I see lots of Korean and Japanese students at American universities, but not many people from other countries go to Korea or Japan for a college education. The market test indicates that, at least at the university level, the American educational system is among the best in the world.

It makes little sense to judge the educational system based on the average student’s mathematical ability, because superior math skills are of little use to most people. It makes a lot of sense to do international comparisons by looking at where in the world people actually choose to go to school.


UK: Don’t blame Oxbridge for state schools’ failings

This week, a report by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission heavily criticised Oxford and Cambridge for the low number of places they grant to pupils from state schools. The report shows that although only seven per cent of British children attend a fee-paying school, the privately educated make up 39 per cent of Cambridge undergraduates and 43 per cent of Oxford undergraduates. Politicians and pundits have insisted that more be done to help state-school pupils gain entry to elite universities.

This is a familiar criticism. Educational and political elites have been obsessed with social mobility over the past decade. However, it appears that equality of opportunity has not prevailed at Oxbridge – access still appears to be restricted to the privileged few.

There are reasons for this. Private schools are better equipped to help children attain a place at an Oxbridge college. More Oxbridge-educated graduates, as well as those with postgraduate qualifications, are attracted to teaching in the independent sector, rather than the state sector. This gives those lucky enough to be privately educated access to a wealth of knowledge that may not be as readily accessible in the state sector.

However, as Julia Hartley-Brewer argued in the Telegraph, there are perfectly valid reasons why Oxbridge recruits far more students from the independent sector. For example, private-school pupils may only account for 15 per cent of all A-levels taken, but they achieve 30 per cent of all A grades and 33 per cent of all AAA grades. This means that while only one in 14 children is privately educated, the independent sector accounts for one in three of the pupils who achieve the grades required to get into Oxbridge.

In addition, applicants from the state sector are more likely to apply for oversubscribed courses, such as politics, philosophy and economics (PPE), medicine and law. They, therefore, have a statistically lower chance of gaining entry.

Beyond this, private schools offer a wider range of social experiences for their pupils. While independent schools might not be as diverse in terms of ethnicity and class, they offer their pupils the opportunity to meet interesting alumni and people of importance. As seen recently on the ITV documentary School Swap, pupils at Warminster School, a £27,000-a-year boarding school, attend formal dinners several times a year at which they engage in intellectual conversations with adults, many of whom attended Oxbridge. This gives privately educated children a major advantage in the interview process, insofar as they have the confidence and knowledge to engage with academics.

It’s easy to sit back and blame Oxford and Cambridge for not expanding their intake of state-educated students. But it’s far more difficult to explain why this is the case. It’s not that there are secret pacts between Oxbridge and private schools. Rather, it’s that the state sector is unable to offer opportunities to bright, ambitious pupils. It’s not Oxbridge that is failing; it’s the state-education system.


The New Left's "Free" College Scam Isn't Smarter Than A Fifth Grader

A friend of mine was recently pulled over for running a red light, it was an honest mistake, just a fluke moment out in the country where he wasn't paying attention. As the police officer pulled him over and asked why he ran the red, my friend could have very easily said, "I thought red means go!" Obviously, it doesn't, but imagine for a moment that a good segment of the population was running red lights and were giving the same excuse, does that mean the red light really means go?

This "red means go" analogy is a simplified way of understanding democratic-socialists' -- the "New Left," as I will call them -- definition of "free." Here is the hard truth, in government nothing is free; there is also no such thing as "government money" either. All money obtained by the state had to be taxed or confiscated from Americans, all Americans including the poorest of the poor to the richest of the rich. Recently an article from the Chronicle of Higher Education published a piece entitled "Nobody Should Have to Pay to Go to College," where they spoke of the issues facing America's college students and the policies proposed by Democrats such as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. In the article they brought up one major fact:

Student debt has filled the gap between flat household earnings and surging college costs. Total outstanding student-loan obligations now exceed $1 trillion, and the sum continues to rise at an alarming rate. Student debt is the only form of consumer debt to have increased since the recession of 2008, now ranking second only to home mortgages.

Apart from the obvious observation of the current rate of student debt, the rest of the article, along with anyone else that says that college should be free, is intellectually brain dead. The argument is childish and dead in the water not simply for the reason that the New Left has a severely misplaced sense of compassion, but because they fail to identify the true definition of the word "free," and while I'm at it, "labor."

Wise and selectively spoken, President Calvin Coolidge once said, "[C]ollecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery." In trying to understand the foundations of our fragile republic, what is obvious for conservatives and others inclined to liberty is that the function of government in civil society is to protect your life and your property.

Sadly, from FDR to Johnson and Nixon, all the way to the current Obama administration, our government has exploded out of its constitutional boundaries. The government that was supposed to protect your right to life and your right to private property was now the government offering to coddle you cradle to grave. The biggest offense to the American institution is this idea that higher education can be "free," not because the promise alone is ludicrous, but more so because it's college graduates who actually think the plan is sound. Someone please shred, bury, and set their diplomas on fire, because these "intellectuals" fail to define something a fifth grader understands.

A military phrase for breaking down complex ideas is to "break it down Barney style," and for the "free" college crowd, this may be an appropriate phrase to use to continue further. Nothing in the world is "free," from your food stamps, government housing, public schools, libraries, etc. it all comes at a very real price. The price of your "free" stuff is covered by the American taxpayer, which ultimately means you.

Everyday hard working Americans must work and labor to earn a wage based on their skills in the market. From there, the government comes in and takes a part of your income, along with taking more and more from your wallet as they see fit. The initial argument against the free college fallacy was made in a previous article of mine discussing why there is no such thing as free college. Regarding the New Left's definition of "free," they can learn a thing or two from the Daily Signal's Edwin Feulner:

The problem, to put the matter very plainly, is that there’s no such thing as something for nothing. All money, goods and services — every last dollar of it — must be created through someone’s hard work. Remember, government has no money on its own. It produces nothing, so it earns nothing. Government has only the money it takes from taxpayers or borrows against the payments of future taxpayers. Everything government “gives” to one person or organization must be taken from another person or organization. Every dollar that government redistributes to someone, it must first take from someone else, and then deduct carrying costs before passing it on.

Plain and simple, nothing is free and the cost is very real, the only option left on the table is to decide whether or not you want to accept the false definition of "free" and live with a never ending national debt, or accept reality and fight for the principles of real free markets and limited government.

Bottom line, if you think anything the government gives you is for free, you're not smarter than a fifth grader.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Blatant racism: Despite the 14th Amendment, many universities openly admit to judging people by the color of their skin

The excuse that they need "diversity" is very thin indeed.  The most important sort of diversity for a university is surely intellectual diversity -- yet they have virtually none of that. They are Leftist monocultures where all conservative thought is thoroughly kept out.  Clearly, they don't in fact care a fig for diversity.  They are just carrying on the old Leftist obsession with race

A 19th century political poster

Boston-area universities are closely watching a Supreme Court case that could derail the use of race in admissions, a practice that several universities, including Harvard and MIT, say is fundamental to creating a diverse student body.

If the high court rules that it is unconstitutional for public colleges to consider race as a factor in admissions, it could have the biggest impact on the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the state’s flagship public college, which is trying to create a more diverse campus even as it becomes more selective and uses race as a factor in admissions decisions.

But legal scholars say a broad ruling by the court could also force private colleges to stop using race, even though they are not generally subject to constitutional rulings.

The case was brought by Abigail Fisher, a student who says the University of Texas rejected her because she is white. Oral arguments this month reflected the charged debate over affirmative action, with conservative justices sharply questioning its place in higher education

Harvard, MIT, and Yale are among the private colleges that have filed friend-of-the-court briefs in support of using race as a factor in admissions.

“It would be wholly antithetical . . . to ignore a facet of an applicant’s identity that may, to that individual, play an essential role in shaping his or her narrative and experience,” says a brief filed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and 12 other elite colleges, including Brown and Dartmouth.

The Fisher case is making headlines at a time when racial tensions have roiled college campuses across the country, and many students say their concerns about diversity and discrimination deserve more attention.

Several Boston-area schools said they use an array of factors to attain a more heterogeneous class.

They recruit from a diverse group of high schools and consider applicants’ socioeconomic background, among other strategies.

“Not necessarily any one criterion is being used to shape or attain any goal,” said Sundar Kumarasamy, vice president for enrollment management at Northeastern University.

Tufts University and Boston University officials said they think race is an important factor but they don’t believe a ruling against its use will undermine their ability to field a diverse student body.

“We believe strongly . . . that the future viability of higher education will hinge on recognizing and dealing with the challenges and opportunities of accessibility, diversity, and inclusion,” said Tufts spokeswoman Kim Thurler.

In its friend-of-the-court brief, Harvard argued that the benefits of a diverse student body are “more important now than ever.”

“Universities play a unique role in helping to bridge the divides that threaten to prevent the nation from achieving its highest democratic ideals,” said the Harvard brief, written by university general counsel Robert W. Iuliano and other attorneys.

UMass Amherst looks for students who come from low-income families, who are the first in their family to attend college, or who are from underrepresented ethnic groups, said Jim Roche, associate provost for enrollment management.

“We also try to determine if the student is likely to contribute to and benefit from the critical thinking and diversity of ideas that are so important to the mission of a public research university,” Roche said.


Segregation in Boston

THE MARGARITA MUÑIZ Academy in Jamaica Plain has only been around four years, but it already looks an awful lot like the future of education in this country. Eleventh-graders listen to lectures about Che Guevara in Spanish. Then they learn about Malcolm X in English. Their math teacher can explain pre-calculus in either tongue. Muñiz, one of only two bilingual high schools in the city, expects every student to master both languages.

“Language is an asset,” said headmaster Dania Vázquez. “Not a deficiency.”

With rising test scores and more than 400 students applying each year for 80 seats, Muñiz is obviously doing something right.

But there’s one uncomfortable statistic about this innovative public school: 90 percent of the students here are Hispanic.

Vázquez says she’d like to see a more diverse student body in the future. “Our students don’t want to segregate themselves,” she said.

But Muñiz is just one of a growing number of schools in Boston with such an ethnically lopsided student body. Four decades after a federal judge desegregated Boston Public Schools, the Donald McKay School in East Boston, for instance, is 90 percent Hispanic. The Curtis Guild in East Boston is 84 percent.

That’s partly a function of demographics. Forty-one percent of all public school students in Boston are Hispanic. The larger a minority group grows, the more difficult integration becomes. In California, where 55 percent of public school students are Hispanic, 8 percent attend majority-white schools. In Boston, 2 percent do.

That has led some to decry the “re-segregation” in America’s schools.

Yet history suggests that Hispanics don’t dream of integration the same way that blacks do. In the 1960s and ’70s, as black families fought to integrate schools, Hispanic activists clamored for the opposite. They wanted their kids clustered in bilingual education programs that could celebrate their heritage, ease them into English, and counter the high drop-out rate.

In 1971, they won a huge victory: Massachusetts became the first state in the country to mandate that students be taught in their native tongue.

Those new bilingual classes were just gearing up when Judge Arthur Garrity ordered Boston to desegregate schools in 1974. At first, his ruling was a setback for Hispanics, who were reassigned away from bilingual classrooms to random schools that weren’t equipped to teach them.

But Hispanic parents petitioned for relief from the court, and Garrity agreed with them. For years, his oversight of the school system gave Hispanic activists the upper hand in negotiations over hiring more Spanish-speaking teachers. Thanks to Garrity — and the fear of another big lawsuit — the Boston School Committee grudgingly agreed to things they would never have entertained before.

But bilingual programs were costly, especially as more students arrived, speaking Mandarin, Cape Verdean Creole, and Khmer.

“It’s about money,” said Alan Rom, the lawyer who negotiated on behalf of Hispanic parents.

But critics also fretted that bilingual education was “un-American.”

In 2002, a referendum requiring that public school students be taught in English won in a landslide. Although the law made an exception for two-way bilingual schools like Muñiz, other kinds of programs must get waivers from the state.

That’s a shame. As the percentage of Hispanics grows from 17 percent to 30 percent nationwide in 2050, the demand for bilingual education is going to grow. We’re also going to have to rethink our ideas about segregation and civil rights: How will we protect the civil rights of minorities when everybody is a minority? What will “integration” mean when there is no more mainstream?


UK: Mary Beard raps zealots in Oxford Rhodes row

CLASSICIST and TV historian Mary Beard has railed against zealots at Oxford University who want to tear down two memorials to Cecil Rhodes but ‘go on using his cash’.

The Cambridge professor said students cannot ‘have their cake and eat it’ by ‘whitewashing’ him from history while still benefiting from his legacy.

Last week Oriel College agreed to remove a plaque featuring the 19th-century politician and ‘consult’ on the removal of his statue after students claimed it was racist.

They said that making ethnic minority students walk past it amounted to ‘violence’ as he was a colonialist in what is now South Africa.

However, Rhodes left vast sums of money to the university, with numerous foreign students benefiting from prestigious Rhodes scholarships.

Writing in her blog for the Times Literary Supplement, Professor Beard said: ‘I really don’t think you can have your cake and eat it – you can’t whitewash Rhodes out of history, but go on using his cash.

‘And his cash has done a huge amount of good in bringing foreign students to this country.

‘Wouldn’t it be better to celebrate what we have managed to achieve with Rhodes’s money, whatever his views.

‘If he was bad, then we have certainly turned his cash to the better and maybe, to give him for a moment the benefit of the doubt, if he had been born a hundred years later even he would have thought differently.’

The classics professor, who has been announced as a host of a new series of the BBC’s Civilisation documentary, said students were failing to see Rhodes in his historical context – and pointed out that Victorian ‘worthies’ in other statues probably ‘held views as bad or worse’.

She said: ‘A great statue cull, based on twenty first-century values, would leave few in place.‘Much more important is to look history in the eye and reflect on our awkward relationship to it, and what we are actually beneficiaries of, not simply to photoshop the nasty bits out.’

She said she had some sympathy with the idea that ethnic minority students might dislike the image of Rhodes, but said ‘we get nowhere if we try to conceal the past was aggressively not like us’.  The academic added: ‘The battle isn’t won by taking the statue away and pretending those people didn’t exist.

‘It’s won by empowering those students to look up at Rhodes and friends with a cheery and self-confident sense of unbatterability – much as I find myself looking up at the statues of all those hundreds of men in history who would vehemently have objected to women having the vote, let alone the kind of job I have.

‘It’s not the job of the present to tick the past off, but to get off its backside and do better!’

The student campaign, called Rhodes Must Fall Oxford, says Rhodes paved the path to apartheid by introducing discriminatory land ownership and voting rules. He was one of the era’s most famous imperialists, with Rhodesia – now Zimbabwe and Zambia – named after him.

Yesterday South African student Ntokozo Qwabe – one of the chief anti-Rhodes campaigners – was accused of ‘hypocrisy’ after it emerged that he had a Rhodes scholarship himself, money critics said he should now give back.  But he insisted: ‘There is no hypocrisy in taking back money that was looted from your people.’

He added: ‘We are finally raffling [sic] the fragile feathers of colonial glorification and apologism - which prop up British/European/Western neocolonialism and imperialism all over the world! Oh what a time to be alive.’

Yesterday, author Bidisha SK Mamata, who has presented BBC radio programmes, piled in to support the campaign and called for the Rhodes scholarship to be renamed.


Why These High School Girls Don’t Want a Transgender Student in Their Locker Room

Speaking out, they knew, could make them the public face of a very private issue.  It could lead their classmates to call them “bigots,” “insensitive,” and “homophobes.”

But after seeing their high school back down to threats that the U.S. Department of Education would strip away federal funding, and watching school officials overrule their parents, a group of six high school girls in Cook County, Ill., decided to speak out.

On Dec. 7, before a crowded school board meeting packed with news media, they would tell the world why they don’t want a high school student who was born male, but identifies as a female, to use the girls’ locker room.

They would tell the world why allowing a transgender student to see them in a state of undress would be an invasion of their personal privacy.

They would explain why, at 15 and 16 years old, changing alongside biological women is already hard enough.

“It is unfair to infringe upon the rights of others to accommodate one person,” the six girls, in a joint statement, told an audience of at least 500.

“Although we will never fully understand your personal struggle,” they said, addressing the transgender student, “please understand that we, too, all are experiencing personal struggles that need to be respected.”

Palatine, a well-off suburb of Chicago, is the first district in the country to be found in violation of civil rights laws on transgender issues.

By forcing the transgender student—known in the media as “Student A”—to use a separate locker room, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights ruled that Township High School District 211 had discriminated against the student “on the basis of sex.”

The finding came as the result of a lengthy investigation, triggered by a lawsuit filed by Student A’s parents.

To resolve the findings—and to avoid the Department of Education’s threats of losing federal funding—the school board changed its policies to allow Student A into the girls’ locker rooms, so long as the student changed behind newly installed “privacy curtains.”

Those curtains, the six girls said, shield Student A from personal insecurities, but they leave the rest of them uncomfortably exposed.

According to the Department of Education’s investigation, Student A began transitioning to a female in middle school.

The student was diagnosed with gender dysphoria and currently receives an “ongoing course” of hormone therapy.

But some girls at the high school say Student A has not fully transitioned, which makes some of them uncomfortable sharing a locker room.

“What bothers me is the fact that this student is still anatomically a male,” a 16-year-old sophomore told The Daily Signal on the condition of anonymity. “If the student had already undergone surgical procedures, this would be another story entirely, but as it stands I just don’t feel comfortable with it.”

A 15-year-old told The Daily Signal “it just doesn’t feel right.”

“I know Student A poses no harm to me, but it just doesn’t feel right knowing someone with male anatomy is in the bathroom with me,” she said, adding:

I have nothing against Student A and would be her friend if I knew her better, but when it comes down to it, I don’t feel right changing in the same room as a transgender student. The locker room is already filled with so much judgment, and I barely feel OK changing in front of my naturally born girl peers.

A third student, a 16-year-old sophomore, expressed frustration.

“[W]e are supposed to accept this and feel like nothing really is happening, but the fact of the matter is that this did get pretty big and now we have someone with male genitals in our girls’ locker room when we are changing,” she said.

The Daily Signal spoke with five girls who attend the same high school as Student A, four of whom oppose the student’s use of their locker room and one who supports it.

The Daily Signal also spoke with parents and the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents Student A in the lawsuit.

What became clear is that neither side is pleased with the final agreement the district reached with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, suggesting that public schools are not sure how best to deal with the difficult issues surrounding transgender students’ use of gender-specific facilities.

Privacy in the Locker Rooms

The Department of Education’s investigation into alleged discrimination found that “the district honored Student A’s request to be treated as a female in all respects except her request to be provided access to the girls’ locker rooms.”

This included granting the transgender student “unlimited” access to the girls’ bathrooms and allowing the student to play on the girls’ sports teams.

In lieu of granting access to the girls’ locker rooms, the school at one point installed a bank of lockers in a private bathroom and encouraged the student to invite friends who were comfortable changing there to move their lockers. This was meant to avert Student A from being forced to change alone.

Student A wasn’t happy with the setup and sought equal access to the locker area because “she wanted to be a girl like every other girl,” the Department of Education’s report said.

But on this front, the school administration wouldn’t budge.

The school originally held its ground based “not only on Student A’s rights and needs, but on the privacy concerns of all students,” the Department of Education noted in its report.

That all changed Nov. 2, when the school received the report saying if it did not change its policies to allow Student A into the girls’ locker rooms, the government could suspend or terminate the school’s federal education funding for violating Title IX regulations.151216_trans_quote3

Title IX is the federal law that bans discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program. Experts disagree whether the law applies to transgenders’ use of separate facilities, although courts in Pennsylvania and Virginia ruled it does not.

Both those cases are being appealed.

To avoid charges of discrimination, District 211 reached an agreement with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. In it, the school promised to provide Student A access to the girls’ locker room throughout the duration of the student’s time there.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, District 211 receives more than $5 million in federal funding each year.

The federal agency and Illinois school district reached the deal “based on Student A’s representation that she will change in private changing stations in the girls’ locker room,” the report said. Since Student A’s use of the privacy curtains is non-binding, legal experts say it is not clear what would happen if the student decided to change out in the open.

But even if Student A does abide by the arrangement, those who oppose the student’s use of the girls’ locker rooms say they’re still uncomfortable with the settlement.

“When she’s walking in and out of the privacy curtain, what happens when you’re in a state of undress?” a sophomore on the lacrosse team asked rhetorically, adding:

Then she is fully exposed to everything in the locker room. That was my main concern with the privacy curtain. It’s not like there’s a curtain around her face, it’s not like she’s not looking at everything around her.

To accommodate girls who “wish to be assured of privacy while changing,” the district agreed to install additional private changing stations inside the locker rooms.

Those critical of the compromise say the school is giving Student A “special treatment.”

“I will always be respectful to Student A and will treat her like I would anyone else I know,” the 15-year-old sophomore told The Daily Signal. “We all have to deal with inconveniences that we have to deal with, and I don’t feel as though someone should gain special treatment over me and all other naturally born girls.”

“I can’t say that I understand [Student A’s feelings], but there are so many other people that you have to consider despite yourself,” another student added.

When the school board voted 5-2 in favor of the agreement, members made clear that the deal applies only to Student A and is not a district-wide policy.

To accommodate Student A during off-campus sporting events, the Department of Education will require District 211 to provide access to girls’ locker rooms “in a manner consistent” with the home high school.

If locker rooms don’t already have them, this could mean installing privacy curtains inside all those locker rooms.

Lauren Gregory, a 17-year-old attending the same high school as Student A, sees the situation differently. Gregory, who had no qualms going public with her name, said she believes those against Student A’s use of the girls’ locker rooms are more concerned with the “principle of being transgender rather than the locker room thing.”

“I know a lot of people are talking about privacy, and there’s been a lot of talk about anatomy … [but] the things that we value most in life are not physical,” Gregory said, adding:

Everyone tells your kids when you’re growing up, don’t worry how you look, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. I think I really carry that with me still, and I think that if someone feels a certain way and they feel like they’re in the wrong body, then I don’t have a problem with it. I think they have the right to become whoever they should be.

Gregory agreed that girls already feel uncomfortable changing in the locker rooms—some even change in bathroom stalls to prevent other girls from seeing their bodies, she said.

But Gregory believes that transgender students face similar insecurities and therefore are “not going to flaunt it or use it for bad things.”

“I know that these people who want to change their gender, they truly do not like the way that they are—the way that they were born—they don’t like the anatomy that they have, and they’re not going to flaunt it or use it for bad things,” she said. “They don’t even want it. They want to change it.”

In an interview with The Daily Signal, Ed Yohnka, director of communications and public policy for the organization, said the girls who spoke out deserve “a lot of credit” for attempting to be “sensitive and yet show their concerns the best way they could.”

However, Yohnka said, “The concern that is being raised on the part of these students is not the concern that actually arises in the use of the locker rooms.” He suggested that girls don’t fully disrobe for physical education and sporting events.

“This is not an instance in which she intends to be immodest or provocative in any way, shape, or form,” Yohnka said of Student A. “If one actually reads the findings from the [Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights], what they reveal is that, despite the reputed claims of the administration, students don’t fully disrobe in the locker rooms that she’s seeking access to.”

Multiple girls who spoke with The Daily Signal disputed that, saying they undress in the locker room for various sporting events, including lacrosse. They added that most sports teams share the same locker room.

“It’s a misguidance people have about high school girls not changing their entire clothes,” the lacrosse player said.

Students say showering hasn’t been an issue in this case because of the way the PE and sports programs work, although the school has a swim requirement that could affect future cases.

The ACLU’s Yohnka said the concern about Student A’s anatomy is simply “hysteria” created by the school administration.

“This administration has gone on television and talked about our client’s anatomy,” Yohnka, criticizing the school’s decision to go public with the negotiations, told The Daily Signal. “If they had done this to any other student in this district, the parents would be there lynching the board.”

Reached by The Daily Signal, a spokesman for District 211 officials said they would let previous statements and actions speak for themselves.

In October, when Superintendent Daniel Cates went public with the complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Right, he put out a statement defending the administration’s original position of limiting Student A’s access to the girls’ locker room.

In a message published in a newsletter, Cates wrote: “District 211 has supported—and continues to support—transgender students and their families while always balancing the rights and concerns of all students we serve.”