Friday, September 16, 2016

Homeschooling Has Come a Long Way

As children head back to school, an increasing number of their homeschooled peers will be starting their academic year as well. Homeschooling in the United States is growing at a strong pace.

Recent statistics indicate that 1.5 million children were homeschooled in the United States in 2007. This is up significantly from 1.1 million children in 2003 and 850,000 children in 1999.

The homeschooling movement first emerged in earnest during the 1980s. Back then it was largely led by evangelical Christians. But as the movement has grown, it has also changed.

In my own research, I have seen how diverse homeschoolers now are. This diversity challenges any simplistic understanding of what homeschooling is and what impact it will have on the public school system.

So how do we understand this evolution in American education?

Early Trends

In fact, homeschooling was common up until the late 19th century. Most children received a substantial part of their education within the home. In the late 19th century, states started passing compulsory attendance laws. These laws compelled all children to attend public schools or a private alternative. In this way, education outside the home became the norm for children.

It was in the 1970s that American educator John Holt emerged as a proponent of homeschooling. He challenged the notion that the formal school system provided the best place for children to learn. Slowly, small groups of parents began to remove their children from the public schools.

By the 1980s, homeschooling families had emerged as an organized public movement. During that decade, more than 20 states legalized homeschooling. For the most part, evangelical Christians led these battles. Organizations such as the Home School Legal Defense Association, founded in 1983, provided the necessary legal and financial backing for these families.

At the time, homeschooling was seen to be in conflict with secular school systems. Religious parents came to define the public face of the homeschooling.

Reasons for Homeschooling

Today, homeschooling is becoming part of the mainstream. It is legal in all 50 states. In addition, a growing number of states are making attempts to engage the homeschooled population for at least part of the day.

For example, 28 states do not prevent homeschooled students from participating in public school interscholastic sports. At least 15 more states are considering “Tim Tebow Laws” – named after the homeschooled athlete – that would allow homeschoolers access to school sports.

The overall homeschool movement is also much more diverse. For example, sociologists Philip Q. Yang and Nihan Kayaardi argue that the homeschool population does not significantly differ from the general U.S. population. Put another way, it is not really possible to assume anything about the religious beliefs, political affiliations or financial status of homeschooling families anymore.

Data from the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) provide further corroboration. In 2008, the NCES found that only 36 percent of the homeschooling families in their survey chose “the desire for religious or moral instruction” as their primary reason for their decision to homeschool. At the same time, other reasons, such as a concern about the school environment, were just as important to many homeschool families.

Changing Face of Homeschoolers

Discussions about whether homeschooling is good for children can be emotionally charged. Some scholars are critical about the increasing number of homeschoolers, while some others view homeschooling in a different light.

They believe that homeschooling families are more responsive to a child’s individual needs and interests. They may be better at taking advantage of learning experiences that naturally arise in home and community life.

Indeed, in my own work as a teacher educator, I have come across parents who have chosen to homeschool their children for reasons that are not entirely religious. These include two public school teachers with whom I work. Reasons for parents could range from concern over food allergies, special needs, racism or just that their child might be interested in a career in athletics or the arts.

Given all these changes, it may be time for public educators and policymakers – both so desperate to increase parental participation – to reassess who and what represents the homeschooling movement of today.


'Racism' Blamed for High College Costs; Like Southerners Draining Public Swimming Pools

A liberal advocacy group is promoting the idea that the high cost of college is the result of "racism."

Writing to fellow members on Sept. 3, Heather McGhee, the president of a "progressive" think tank, asks, "What if I told you that one of the main reasons that college costs are so high for everyone -- plunging students into decades of debt -- is racism?"

She notes that in the 1970s, public colleges such as UCLA were affordable -- until states started cutting spending, forcing students to make up the gap with loans.

"Why did this happen?" she asks. "Racism. Or more specifically -- racism used as a political weapon to undermine the very idea of supporting anything public that might include people of color.

"It's like when Southern towns preferred to drain their public swimming pools after courts ordered them integrated. But in this case, the public pool was the affordable college system that used to be the envy of the world -- yet another example of how when racism wins, we all lose."

McGhee says the nation "can afford to reinvest in our state college system and rebuild the pathways to the middle class for the largest, most diverse generation in American history."

She is urging her fellow liberals to "fight the racism in our politics."


Corrupt Academics and the Media

By Walter E. Williams

Some are puzzled by the dishonesty, lack of character and sheer stupidity of many people in the media. But seeing as most of them are college graduates, they don't bear the full blame. They are taught by dishonest and irresponsible academics. Let's look at it.

"A Clash of Police Policies," a column written by Dr. Thomas Sowell, presents some readily available statistics: "Homicide rates among black males went down by 18 percent in the 1940s and by 22 percent in the 1950s. It was in the 1960s, when the ideas of Chief Justice (Earl) Warren and others triumphed, that this long decline in homicide rates among black males reversed and skyrocketed by 89 percent, wiping out all the progress of the previous 20 years."

Academics and the media blame poverty and discrimination for today's crime. No one bothers to ask why crime was falling in the 1930s, '40s and '50s, when blacks faced far greater poverty and discrimination.

The 1960s riots were blamed on poverty and discrimination. Poverty and discrimination were worse in the South than in the rest of the country, but riots were not nearly so common there. Detroit's deadliest riot occurred at a time when the median income of black families in Detroit was 95 percent of their white counterparts, plus the black unemployment rate was 3.4 percent and black homeownership was higher than in other major cities.

Academics teach that the breakdown of the black family is the legacy of slavery and discrimination. They ignore the following facts. In 1950, 72 percent of black men and 81 percent of black women had been married. Also, only 17 percent of black children lived in single-parent households; today it's close to 70 percent. Every census from 1890 to 1950 showed that black labor force participation rates exceeded those of whites. During the late 1940s, the unemployment rate for black 16- and 17-year-olds was less than that for white teens.

According to the 1938 Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, that year 11 percent of black children and 3 percent of white children were born to unwed mothers. Before 1960, the number of teenage pregnancies had been decreasing; both poverty and dependency were declining; and black income was rising in both absolute and relative terms to white income. As late as 1965, 75 percent of black children were born to married women. Today over 73 percent of black babies are born to unwed mothers. Again, so much for the "legacy of slavery" argument.

Academics teach that school integration is a necessary condition for black academic excellence. Blacks, their logic implies, cannot achieve academic excellence unless they go out and capture a white kid to sit next to their kids. Public charter schools such as those in the Knowledge Is Power Program, or KIPP, and Success Academy Charter Schools are having some successes without race mixing. Sowell points out that only 39 percent of students in New York state schools who were tested recently scored at the "proficient" level in math, but 100 percent of the students at the Crown Heights Success Academy scored at that level in math. Blacks and Hispanics are 90 percent of the students in the Crown Heights Success Academy.

More than 43,000 families are on waiting lists to get their children into charter schools. Teachers unions are opposed to any alternative to public education and contribute to politicians who place obstacles and restrictions on the expansion of charter schools. The NAACP, at its 2016 national convention in Cincinnati, voted to support "a moratorium on the proliferation of privately managed charter schools."

It's easy to understand why the NAACP is against any alternative to public schools. Many of its members work in public education. However, many of those people do want alternatives for themselves. In Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, 25 percent of public-school teachers send their children to private schools. In Philadelphia, 44 percent of teachers send their children to private schools. The percentages are similar in several other cities: Cincinnati, 41 percent, Chicago, 39 percent and Rochester, New York, 38 percent. This demonstrates the dishonesty, hypocrisy and arrogance of the elite. They effectively say, "One thing for thee and another for me."


Thursday, September 15, 2016

City teaching-training effort didn’t have state approval

For many aspiring teachers, it seemed too good to pass up: The chance to run their own classrooms while earning a teachers license through a new program that the Boston Public Schools was starting up this year.

Nearly 500 fledgling teachers applied for spots in the Boston Teaching Fellowship program, which promised that successful candidates could earn an “initial license,” a highly desirable credential for new teachers, in just one year.

But just two weeks before the program was set to begin in June, the school system notified the more than three dozen fellows who were accepted into the program that it would not be able to award the licenses because the state had not approved the program.

The stumble represents a setback for a new program with the goal of increasing the diversity of Boston’s teaching force. School systems nationwide have been creating their own licensure programs because teacher colleges are turning out low numbers of graduates who are black or Latino.

About half the applicants who were offered slots in the Boston program self-identified as a person of color. The Boston Teaching Fellowship is designed for aspiring teachers with deep roots in the city who never attended a teacher college.

The school system appears to have violated state guidelines that prohibit would-be licensure programs from enrolling candidates before receiving state approval, a rule established in the spirit of consumer protection.

The lack of state approval means the candidates will move on a slower path in securing an “initial license,” which indicates a certain mastery of teaching methods and is one step below a professional license, a state requirement after 10 years of teaching.

The school system defended its handling of the recruitment and enrollment of candidates into the program while approval was pending with the state.

“This status was made clear to candidates throughout the application and enrollment period, which included a prominent note on the fellowship’s website, and a few participants left the program when this information was shared,” the department said in a statement.

Boston plans to reapply for state approval next year. If the state grants the request, the applicants can earn the initial licenses within two years instead of one. If the state rejects the application again, Boston will pursue backup plans, such as giving applicants grants from AmeriCorps, a community service organization, so they can earn their initial licenses at a teachers college.

In the meantime, the applicants have been taking part in a scaled-back version of the program that includes classes and teaching assignments in summer programs, and the waiving of tuition. That kind of teacher preparation program does not require state approval because it is not awarding licenses, according to the state.

The applicants also have been taking the state teacher licensing exams, with most of them passing, enabling them to secure preliminary licenses from the state, which can be obtained without going through state teacher-preparation programs. Those licenses are considered less desirable than initial and professional licenses, which require formal training.

Of the 39 fellows who began the Boston program, 33 successfully completed it and 21 landed full-time teaching positions. Another was hired as a paraprofessional.

The school system said the numbers signal a success.

“We were able to bring in a diverse cohort of new teachers and get them ready on a pretty ambitious timeline to be really competitive for jobs across BPS,” said Thomas Maffai, director of special projects for the school system’s Office of Human Capital.

But some applicants criticized the quality of the program. For instance, they said applicants training to teach students who speak English as a second language were placed in summer programs for students with mild to moderate disabilities and were not provided appropriate training.

Schools were short on paper, pencils, markers, and other basic supplies, prompting some applicants to buy their own, they said.

“It was frustrating,” said one, who asked not to be identified for fear of losing a chance of getting a permanent job in the system.

The school system disputed those assertions, saying the applicants were provided the necessary amount of training and time with the kinds of students they would be teaching. They also said the schools had enough supplies.

The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, in rejecting the school system’s application in May, cited “significant deficiencies,” including a failure to demonstrate an overall understanding of the training that would need to be provided in order to license teachers in Massachusetts, according to a copy of the state review.

The state also questioned the financial sustainability of the program after a federal grant that is helping to fund it expires.

“Finally, and most significantly,” the review stated, “there was a lack of evidence to demonstrate that candidates would receive the necessary preparation and support in order to be successful during the program as well as in employment.”

However, the state did agree with Boston that a need exists for such a program in Boston.

The school system is running the program in partnership with TNTP, a national nonprofit that used to be called The New Teacher Project. Funding is being provided through a $137,000 grant over three years.

Boston received 490 applications for the teaching fellowship program.

Despite the findings by the state, Maffai said, the state told the school system it could enroll candidates as long as it was clear that it did not have state approval yet to award initial licenses.

“The practical impact for those teachers is nonexistent,” Maffai said. “In the end, it doesn’t change anything for them in the short run and we are committed to supporting them in the long run and hopefully we can do that through our own program.”


Why Universities Are Failing

“For some families, sending a child to a private university now is like buying a BMW every year—and driving it off a cliff.” So writes Charles Sykes, a senior fellow at the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, in the introductory chapter to his new book, Fail U.: The False Promise of Higher Education. The BMW in his example not only serves as a useful metaphor for the cost of putting a student through a year of college, but for the collective sanity of American higher education. Indeed, the antics of the ivory tower denizens detailed in Sykes’ book often seem about as sensible as driving one’s newly-purchased luxury vehicle over a cliff.

Just 44% of faculty spend nine hours or more per week teaching, down from 63% twenty years ago.

Academia has become a bubble ready to burst, as Sykes’ thesis goes. Populating its ranks are professors who teach fewer students and publish more unread research, administrators who undertake expensive vanity projects, and students who obsess endlessly over trigger warnings, microaggressions, and other unwieldy portmanteaus. All of it is subsidized by the taxpayer with little regard for value or cost.

Less Teaching, More Administrative Costs

Particularly alarming are the chapters on college professors’ flight from teaching. Not only do professors frequently contrive to lower their teaching loads, but administrators and academic departments encourage them. Just 44% of faculty spend nine hours or more per week teaching, down from 63% twenty years ago. Teaching assistants or poorly-paid adjuncts replace the absentees in the classroom; the professors themselves have cranked up the volume of their research output. However, up to half of published articles are never read by anyone (save editors, and sometimes not even then), and up to 90% never receive a single citation.

Compensating for the lack of teachers in the classroom, at least, is the ever-increasing amount of resources devoted to nonacademic expenses. Shiny new dorms, state-of-the-art gyms, and expensive athletic programs have popped up on campuses nationwide.

One student in a level 3 Swahili course was not able to say the word “hello” in Swahili.

Sykes brings attention to what he terms the “law of more,” which is referred to by economists as the “revenue theory of costs.” Essentially, institutions of higher education are economically unique in that they have no good way to measure unit costs, and can theoretically spend limitless amounts of money in the name of providing an education. Give a college access to more money, and it will find a way to spend it. Governments that subsidize higher education have not yet caught on to the if-you-give-a-mouse-a-cookie economics of college campuses, and so the bloat continues.

Scandals and Political Correctness

Guaranteed to make your blood boil is the chapter concerning the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill “fake classes” scandal. The school’s African-American Studies department allowed students to enroll in “classes” which they were not in fact required to attend. One student in a level 3 Swahili course was not able to say the word “hello” in Swahili. Yet students were virtually guaranteed As and Bs regardless. Lest UNC-Chapel Hill be considered an isolated incident, Sykes cites evidence of comparable (albeit less extreme) scenarios occurring at Duke, Stanford, and beyond.

Low-cost, easily-accessible MOOCs have the potential to give the college establishment a run for its money.

Readers will alternately laugh and cry between Sykes’ descriptions of the politically correct “trigger warning” culture on many college campuses and the startling zeal with which administrators and federal regulators enforce the new normal. One anecdote describes a tenured professor at Marquette who was threatened with termination for defending a student’s right to oppose same-sex marriage in the classroom. A professor at Northwestern faced a Title IX inquisition for…writing a column critiquing Title IX.

Competition From MOOCs

Sykes places his hope for the future of higher education in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), or, as he calls them, “Netflix U.” “Almost no institution in the modern world has proven to be more impervious to reform than the modern university,” he writes, but low-cost, easily-accessible MOOCs have the potential to give the college establishment a run for its money.

These concluding chapters are where Sykes could have laid out a more detailed roadmap for higher education in the future. MOOCs will certainly have their place, but I doubt they will ever replace all or even most of the current college system. Other innovations will—and should—complement the MOOC. Sykes alludes to ideas such as a three-year bachelor’s degree, but misses some opportunities to lay out a positive agenda for change in higher education.

Fail U. is a startling rebuke to the higher education status quo. While many will not agree with all his conclusions, the evidence Sykes lays out should make every college administrator, professor, student, and trustee stop and think about what they can do to improve their schools. Higher education cannot ignore its problems forever—similar to the rest of the economy, it too must innovate, or fail.


It’s not a dorm, but school rules apply

The new six-story building on Commonwealth Avenue wasn’t built to be a dorm. But during the last week, 180 Boston University students have moved in.

The arrangement is part of a two-year deal BU made with the building’s developer to lease out the space as student housing. It’ll be like any other dorm, complete with RAs and university housing rules, while BU renovates its Myles Standish Hall in Kenmore Square. Once those upgrades are complete, the plan is for 1047 Commonwealth Ave. to go back on the city’s rental market.

Emerson College is eyeing a similar deal in the Fenway while it renovates a dorm downtown. And Boston College this summer converted an apartment tower it owns in Brighton into a dorm, part of a plan to make up for student housing it’s tearing down for a new recreation center.

Call it a side effect of Boston’s student housing boom.

As schools get to work on the 3,500 new dorm rooms the Walsh Administration has approved in the last two years, construction is knocking some of their existing dorms out of commission. So they’re cutting deals with developers and landlords to put students in regular apartments, for now at least.

It’s a temporary fix, they promise, but one that has some housing advocates nervous in a city where the rental market is so tight that every apartment seems precious.

“This neighborhood doesn’t need any more student housing,” said Rich Giordano, a community organizer at the Fenway Community Development Corp., which is opposing Emerson’s plan. “We’d much rather see that building used as mixed, open-market housing.”

Off-campus student housing isn’t unusual in one of the nation’s biggest college towns. BU has long put students in hotels when its dorms overflow. A handful of schools rent a few dozen apartments here and there. But taking large buildings, whole, would be a new development.

At 1047 Commonwealth Ave., on the western edge of BU’s campus in Allston, Cambridge-based developer Urban Spaces LLC just finished converting an old office building into 180 “micro-units” — 300- to 400-square-foot studios each with a full kitchen and hardwood floors. Their plan, said CEO Paul Ognibene, had been to market the apartments to graduate students, young professionals, and others who wanted a place in the city but couldn’t quite afford new buildings downtown.

Then BU came calling.

The university needed a place to put students during the two-year update of Myles Standish Hall, and knew the Commonwealth Avenue building was set to open this summer.

“It dovetails nicely with our schedule and beginning the project at Myles Standish,” said BU spokesman Colin Riley. “We can do construction on half the space there and house students who are displaced.”

It works for the developer, too. Filling a new building with rent-paying tenants often takes a year or more. And every month apartments sit empty is money the developer never sees. But a university can rent the whole thing all at once.

“It’s great swing space for them. And it’s a great deal for us,” Ognibene said on a recent tour. “This place is going to fill up immediately.”

Neither party would disclose how much BU is paying for the dorm, where students will hand over as much as $17,160 to live for the school year. Riley called the deal “a win-win situation” for both the university and Urban Spaces. When the two years are up, there’s an option to extend for another two years.

“It’ll be interesting to see what happens after two years,” Ognibene said. “But our plan is to return it to market-rate housing.”

For some other projects, there’s fear the arrangement could become permanent.

Emerson College is asking the Boston Redevelopment Authority for permission to rent a 56-room building on Hemenway Street in the Fenway. It’s now a hostel, and Emerson would turn it into a dorm for two years while it renovates and expands its 748-bed Little Building residence hall downtown.

But Emerson’s plan faces pushback from neighbors who worry it could turn the building into a de facto dorm for good, taking another piece of the neighborhood essentially off the market.

“The Fenway is currently being squeezed in an economic vise, which is squeezing affordability and vibrancy from the neighborhood and driving out longtime residents,” 10 Fenway residents wrote in a recent letter to the BRA.

That’s not Emerson’s intent, said Peggy Ings, the college’s head of government and community relations. The college wants to uphold its housing commitments to the city, she said, and settled on the Hemenway building after more than a year of scoping out apartment buildings and hotels downtown.

“We’re not an institution that wants to turn our back on the city and our students and let these 115 kids go out on their own,” she said. “That’s not what we’re about.”

City officials say they’ll weigh the neighborhood concerns against the need for more student housing. Each case is a little different, said former BRA spokesman Nick Martin.

“It’s kind of a push and pull situation,” said Martin, in an interview before he recently left the BRA. “Generally we want schools housing more students on campus. But you can’t really do that without having places for students to live temporarily during construction.”

The key word is temporary, said Sheila Dillon, chief of housing for Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the point-person on his dorm push. As long as the schools’ deals with private buildings have an end date, she said, the city is generally OK with them.

“We have assurances that [1047 Commonwealth Ave.] goes back into apartments,” when the work on Myles Standish is done, she said. “That’s kind of an important piece of this.”


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Grammar school opponents are 'in denial about the social mobility benefits they brought', says leading private head

People who dismiss grammar schools outright are guilty of the ‘British embarrassment with intellect’, a leading private school headmaster has said.

Andrew Halls, headteacher of King’s College School in Wimbledon, said the problem with grammar schools had been that there were too few so they became ‘the only schools people wanted to go to’.

He said the shortage of grammars had left pupils with the choice of secondary moderns, which were seen ‘as bear pits’ – ‘not always fairly’ – and technical schools, which were ‘as rare as hens teeth’.

Mr Halls said he would support the creation of new grammars as long as the point of entry was ‘well managed’ and at least as much investment was put into their alternatives.

He told MailOnline: ‘Those who dismiss grammars outright are in denial about the social mobility benefits they brought.

‘Survey after survey shows that from the 1980s, when the last grammar school cohorts dropped out of the system, England echoed to the sound of ladders being pulled up.

‘So many comprehensive schools at the time were not fit for purpose that working class families had no way to help their children out of poverty.'

Mr Halls said the closure of grammar schools had left England as one of the only developed countries where the older generation is more literate and numerate than their grandchildren.

He added: ‘This is why in 21st-century England you are more unlikely than at any point in the last fifty years to rise above the social background you were born into.’

Theresa May recently announced a plan to overturn the ban on selective schools and allow existing grammars to expand and new ones to open with quotas for poorer pupils.

Mr Halls, who attended Shenley Court School, a Birmingham comprehensive, said it was wrong to assume that bright children would succeed regardless of what school they attended.

He added: ‘There is an English embarrassment with intellect and the assumption that being bright is a lucky attribute and that you will land on your feet wherever you go. ‘In reality, being bright can be crucifying if no one thinks as you do.’

King’s College School, which charges nearly £20,000 per year, was named The Sunday Times independent school of the year in 2014.

Mr Halls stressed the need for better-funded technical colleges where less academic children could learn a trade.

And he called for a modern generation of grammar schools with more flexibility around the year of entry than had existed previously. ‘We need a 21st-century version of grammar schools with more flexibility around years of entry, perhaps Year 9 in addition to Year 7.

‘And you could not possibly reintroduce them without investing even more in technical colleges.

‘An acceptance of the value of an academic education is a great step forward, but only if we also cure the British disease of disdain for a vocational education.’


How This Progressive Educator Laid the Groundwork for Big Government

How did America’s political and economic system change from limited government and capitalism early in our history, to the unlimited government and welfare statism of today?

From about 1880 to the end of World War I, America went through a period of radical change. New political and economic principles were introduced by a group of academics, activists, and politicians known as progressives.

Progressives proposed replacing the system of limited government, natural rights, and capitalism bequeathed to us by the Founders, with an unlimited government that closely regulates the economy and redistributes income.

As I explain in my recent Makers of American Political Thought essay, “Richard T. Ely: Progressive Educator, Political Economist, and Social Gospel Advocate,” no progressive reformer worked harder to bring about this radical change than the political economist and social gospel advocate Richard T. Ely.

Progressive Educator

Born in Fredonia, New York, in 1854, Ely graduated from Columbia College and then received his Ph.D. in political economy in Germany in 1879. His German professors taught him that natural rights are a myth, that capitalism needs to be curtailed, and that the government should redistribute income to assist in the positive development of each individual.

Ely returned to America and taught these ideas to a generation of progressive reformers, first at Johns Hopkins University and then at the University of Wisconsin. Ely was a very influential professor, and among his more important students was Woodrow Wilson. He also informally taught Theodore Roosevelt.

Political Economist

Ely attempted to convince Americans that capitalism was unjust. In his view, wealthy businessmen imposed hard terms on exploited workers, who were then forced to accept low wages and bad working conditions if they were to avoid starvation. Ely wanted government intervention in the economy to protect workers from alleged capitalist injustices.

But despite the great influence of this critique of capitalism, Ely’s description of working-class suffering seriously misstated the condition of the American worker. In fact, ordinary workers in his day enjoyed prosperity and opportunities unheard of in prior eras.

Social Gospel Advocate

Besides being an important and influential political economist, Ely was also one of the most important social gospel figures of the 19th century. The social gospel was a Protestant reform movement that understood the primary task of a Christian to be the redemption of the earth rather than, as traditionally understood, the redemption of one’s own soul.

Ely wanted the earth to be redeemed by means of social and economic improvements aimed at solving a broad range of human problems in areas such as education, housing, poverty, and employment. Ely believed that social science could provide us with the tools to analyze and solve any number of human problems and thereby perform our full Christian duty to others.

Ely combined his two great passions into what he saw as a seamless whole. Social gospel teachings would provide the moral direction and impetus for human progress, while the science of political economy would provide the means by which social gospel goals were to be achieved.

Despite the high hopes he placed in social science, Ely had chosen a tool of very limited utility, one incapable of solving the problems he placed before it. Moreover, his understanding of Christianity was out of step with the traditional Christian view that counseled moderated expectations of life on earth. Ely asked too much of this world and too much of science.

His Legacy

Ely lived long enough to witness the Great Depression, and he was offended by the economic incompetence and demagoguery of so much of the New Deal. But fairness requires that he share in the blame for New Deal missteps.

By arguing against natural rights and limited government, Ely thought that he was preparing the country for rule by enlightened, scientific-minded managers. In fact, he helped to break down important restraints that kept people from reaching for the property of others. The result was demagogues promising to redistribute property.

Ely’s legacy is seen today in our weakened attachment to limited government, private property, and capitalism, and our too-willing acceptance of government intervention, welfare statism, and social science. We are very much still living in the world that Ely helped to shape.


Danish school starts separating students by ethnicity: As migrant pupil numbers reach 80% teachers act to make sure ethnic Danes aren't outnumbered in classes

A Danish school has come under fire for separating students into different classes by ethnicity in a bid to prevent ethnic Danes being outnumbered.

The Langkaer upper secondary school outside the city of Aarhus said its first-year students had been divided into seven different classes, out of which three classes had a 50 percent limit on the number of ethnic minority students.

The remaining four classes consisted only of students from an immigrant background.

The school had seen the number of students who are migrants or the children of migrants rise from 25 per cent in 2007 to 80 per cent of this year's first-year students.

The school's headmaster, Yago Bundgaard, denied allegations that the practice amounted to discrimination and said that the aim was to encourage integration by preventing a dwindling number of ethnic Danes from leaving the school.

'For real integration to take place in a class there has to be sufficient numbers from both groups for it to happen,' he told public broadcaster DR.

Describing it as 'the least bad solution', Bundgaard said that the ethnic minority students had been picked based on whether they had 'a Danish-sounding name', but admitted that it was a 'fluid' distinction.

Turkish-born commentator and former lawmaker Ozlem Cekic said she would report the school to Denmark's Board of Equal Treatment.

'When a headmaster isolates the brown children from the white in an upper secondary school, he is part of sending a signal that the whites must be protected from the brown,' she wrote on Facebook.

Human rights lawyer Nanna Krusaa also told broadcaster TV 2 that 'placing students solely based on race or ethnicity is in my clear view illegal'.

Danish Education Minister Ellen Trane Norby said that she had requested a report from the school to ensure that the law was being upheld, but that she was also looking at introducing legislation to make upper secondary schools in Denmark more ethnically mixed.

'The fundamental problem is that we in Denmark have... schools with a too high ratio of students with a different ethnic background than Danish,' she wrote on Facebook.

'Sorting students by ethnicity, nationality, and religions violates Danish law and the international conventions which Denmark has signed,' said Jette Møller, the president of the nongovernmental organization SOS Against Racism, according to the Washington Post.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Is Segregation Now OK?

At California State University, Los Angeles, segregation has come full circle. No, this isn’t 1950s Alabama, but 2016 California, a bastion of “progressivism.” The university is justifying dormitory segregation on the basis of it being the best way to combat “microaggressions” and “racially insensitive remarks.” CSLA opted for this newly “inclusive” racially segregated housing at the request of the CSLA’s Black Student Union. Evidently, “separate but equal” isn’t considered segregation if it’s requested by black students.

A similar story has arisen on the campus of Northern Kentucky University where a poster for “Welcome Black Week” was parodied by a “Welcome White Week” flier. The parody flier advertised such events as “White Lives Matter vs. Black Lives Matter” and “Pizza Party for Tolerance.” The “Welcome Black Week” is an event that has been established on several campuses across the nation in recent years. Its objective is to help introduce incoming freshman to the black experience. Of course, the parody flier has prompted cries of racism and intolerance, so the NKU administration has dutifully launched an investigation to root out those responsible. Which leaves one to wonder: Is promoting racial segregation now the hip new trend for leftists?


Minnesota Students and Parents File Lawsuit Against Obama’s Bathroom Mandate

A group of students and parents from Minnesota filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the federal government and their school district for allowing a transgender student who was born male but identifies as female into the girls’ locker rooms, showers, and restrooms.

The lawsuit is the latest in a series of challenges to the Obama administration’s bathroom mandate issued in May that requires public schools and universities nationwide to give transgender students full access to school facilities based on their gender identity instead of their biological sex. Schools that do not comply with the administration’s guidance could face legal action or loss of federal funding.

The lawsuit was filed by the conservative nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom representing concerned parents and students who formed a group called Privacy Matters. The group is suing over Minnesota’s Virginia Public Schools’ policy for transgender students, arguing that the current policy is an invasion of personal privacy.

According to the complaint, a transgender student in Duluth, Minnesota, was allowed to enter the girls’ locker room and would dance “in a sexually explicit manner—‘twerking,’ ‘grinding,’ and dancing like he was on a ‘stripper pole’ to songs with explicit lyrics, including ‘Milkshake’ by Kelis.”

“On another occasion,” the complaint noted, “a female student saw the male student lift his dress to reveal his underwear while ‘grinding’ to the music.”

“School policies should promote the rights and safety of every student, but that’s not what Virginia Public Schools is doing—and it’s certainly not what the departments of Education and Justice are doing,” said Gary McCaleb, a lawyer with Alliance Defending Freedom.

“No child should be forced into an intimate setting, like a locker room, with someone of the opposite sex,” he added. “Telling girls that their privacy and modesty don’t merit a private and secure changing area is an attack on women. The school district should rescind its privacy-violating policies, and the court should order the [Department of Education] and [Department of Justice] to stop bullying school districts with falsehoods about what federal law requires.”

The group, Privacy Matters, is suing the Education Department, the Justice Department, and Minnesota’s Virginia public school system.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, argues that the Obama administration unlawfully redefined the meaning of Title IX to provide transgender students protection against discrimination based on their gender identity.

The issue of whether Title IX applies to gender identity has divided the country, with liberals arguing that access to private facilities in accordance to a student’s gender identity is a basic civil right, while conservatives say opening bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers to students of the opposite biological sex would violate the safety and privacy rights of the rest of the student body.

Title IX is the federal statute that bans discrimination on the basis of sex in any educational institution that receives government funding.

In August, the Supreme Court signaled an interest in weighing in on the issue, allowing a school system in the state of Virginia to temporarily keep its bathrooms separated by biological sex until lawyers for the school district file their appeal asking the Supreme Court to hear their case. Later that month, a U.S. District judge in Texas followed suit, arguing the Obama administration did not follow proper rulemaking procedures when mandating that public schools open their restrooms, locker rooms, and showers to transgender students based on their gender identity instead of their biological sex.

A total of 24 states are challenging the Obama administration’s bathroom directive, in addition to the private lawsuits being brought by students and parents in different school districts across the country.


How to Talk School Choice and Win

“Choice” always seems to be a winning argument for the left, except when it comes to education. Liberals repeatedly cry foul as soon as someone champions school choice at (what they perceive to be) the expense of public education.

Conservatives claim the opposite is true—school choice empowers students by giving their families educational options.

So, it seems like we’re at an impasse with no middle ground in sight. Not true. As we’ve talked about these past several weeks, there are points of agreement to acknowledge, examples to use, and words to help frame your argument.

School choice is a nuanced and controversial topic, but not one that can’t be addressed.

1. Common Ground

Whether someone supports school choice or not, everyone wants quality education for kids.

This plot of common ground is also why the debate can get so heated—education is an important component of society and the key to opportunity.

As the discussion continues on how to achieve ideal educational reforms, remember that the person you’re debating most likely agrees that children should have access to quality education regardless of ZIP code or parental income. Start there.

2. Examples

Once you express common ground, the best way to win the “school choice” argument is by illustrating its successes, so show examples of how and where it’s worked.

Tell the story of District of Columbia charter schools. Since school choice was established in 2004, more than 6,000 students have graduated at levels well above the public school average. Then transition to your community—how many kids in your neighborhood/city/state wait in line to walk through metal detectors because they’re placed in an unsafe public school? If a safer environment exists outside their ZIP code, give them the opportunity to attend. Only good comes when kids are allowed to learn in a safe environment.

Tell the story of exceptional kids who are disadvantaged if they’re made to fit into the one-size-fits-all public school down the block. Every student is different, so the educational experience should be best tailored to him/her. A violin prodigy will be better served by attending a fine arts high school; a child with health needs may be better served by learning online.

And here’s the kicker—if  you think America’s public schools need reform, then you should champion school choice. It’s been proven time and again that public schools improve when school choice is allowed in the community.

3. Words

This is an emotional topic, and liberals love to emphasize words like “choice” and “opportunity” and “fairness” in reference to education. But we say, STEAL THEIR WORDS.

School choice offers “choice” and “opportunity” to kids stuck in failing schools. What’s “fair” is to give all kids a chance regardless of their ZIP code. Be emotional, not economic; make your argument about the people involved rather than the cost to the taxpayer.

By stealing their words, you’ll also prove that school choice more effectively and efficiently achieves the goals liberals think failed big-government policies should.

Bottom line: find common ground, use examples, insert the right language, and you’ll be a champion in the fight to make sure every kid receives a quality education.


Monday, September 12, 2016

My debt to grammar [selective] schools: Theresa May's very personal crusade to give 'every child a chance' as she attacks fee-paying schools for being 'divorced from reality'

Theresa May today vows to defy critics of her education revolution because of the debt she owes her grammar school past.

In an exclusive article for the Daily Mail, she says she will press ahead with new grammars until every child has the same ‘opportunities that I enjoyed’.

The Prime Minister writes that her educational experience made her the woman she is today. Her radical blueprint lifts a long-standing embargo on setting up selective schools.

Yesterday it provoked a barrage of criticism from union leaders, opposition MPs and Tory former education secretary Nicky Morgan.

But Mrs May says she is driven by a desire to fix the ‘manifest unfairness’ in the current system and wants to give parents a choice of every type of school.

‘I was incredibly lucky when I was a young girl growing up,’ she writes. ‘My education was varied: I went to a grammar school that became a comprehensive – and for a short time I attended a private school.

‘I know too that my teachers made me the woman I am today. I want every child to have the kind of opportunities that I enjoyed. I want every parent to have the peace of mind that comes with knowing their children will get the chance to go to a great school.

‘And I want every teacher and every school to have the resources and the capacity to deliver on those promises. I know these things will not just happen overnight. They require bold decisions and a lot of hard work, and no doubt there will be opposition to overcome.

‘But I am determined that we will build a school system that works for everyone. That is a hallmark of a truly meritocratic Britain.’

Her top-to-bottom shake-up of the education system, unveiled yesterday, includes:

Allowing children to gain admission into grammar schools aged 11,14 or 16 – removing the cliff-edge nature of the 11-plus;

Forcing private schools to open or sponsor a local state school or risk losing charity tax breaks worth £700million a year;

Letting new faith schools select wholly on the basis of religion;

A guaranteed £50million every year to fund grammar expansion across England.

Mrs May has stunned the education establishment – known as The Blob – with the scale of her reforms.

In a sign of the bitter battles that lie ahead, Mrs Morgan, who was sacked from the education brief in July, warned that increased selection by ability would be ‘at best a distraction from crucial reforms to raise standards and narrow the attainment gap’. In a sign that MPs close to David Cameron would revolt against the plans, ex-independent school pupil Mrs Morgan said the reforms ‘at worst risk actively undermining six years of progressive education reform’.

Ofsted’s chief inspector of schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, said the idea that poor children would benefit from a return of grammar schools was ‘tosh’ and ‘nonsense’.

He said: ‘My fear is by moving to a grammar and secondary modern system – because, let’s face it, that’s what we’ll have if you divide at 11 –we will put the clock back, and the progress we have made over the past ten to 15 years will slow.’

But, in her first major policy speech since entering No 10, Mrs May batted away the criticism. She said: ‘I want Britain to be the world’s greatest meritocracy.’

In a direct appeal to the blue collar workers who put Margaret Thatcher in office, she added: ‘This Government’s priorities are those of ordinary working class people.’

She promised a range of measures to ensure the new selective secondary schools help the disadvantaged. New grammars or schools which convert will have to take a fixed proportion of poor pupils or run non-selective schools nearby, to serve those who do not get in.

Most significantly, she said there would be a new test – likely to be based more on IQ – that wealthy parents would not be able to pay tutors to help their children with.

And, in a major move, she said pupils would be able to enter the new grammars at ages 11, 14 and 16. A key criticism of the existing regime is that youngsters face a ‘cliff edge’ aged 11, with late developers being denied the chance to get a grammar school place.

In a separate announcement that infuriated some independent schools, she also said they had become ‘divorced from normal life’ – ordering them to help run state schools for the less privileged or lose charitable status worth £700million a year.

The Independent Schools Council hit back by saying they were already working to promote social mobility and they were part of the ‘solution not the problem’.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party would try to block the proposals at every stage.


University offers segregated housing to shield black students from ‘microaggressions’

Segregated housing will now be available to black students at California State University Los Angeles as a means of combating “microaggressions” and “racially insensitive remarks.”

School officials have honored requests by CSLA's Black Student Union and will offer “housing space delegated for Black students” at the Halisi Scholars Black Living-Learning Community.

CSLA spokesman Robert Lopez told education watchdog the College Fix on Tuesday via email that its segregated housing will also focus on “academic excellence and learning experiences that are inclusive and non-discriminatory.”

Mr. Lopez declined to tell the website how much of CSLA’s 192-room residential complex were available for segregated housing. University officials, members of the Black Student Union, and other campus staffers also declined to comment for the website’s piece.

Some of the demands issued by CSLA's Black Student Union include a $30 million dollar scholarship endowment to assist black students, a new anti-discrimination policy and cultural competency course for faculty and students, the College Fix reported.


Finnish Education Fantasies
Steven Schwartz, writing from Australia

As a call to action, "Let's imitate Finland" is unlikely to stir many hearts. Yet, for some critics of Australian schooling, it's a rallying cry. To them, Finland is an educational nirvana with high paid teachers delivering excellent outcomes despite short school hours, an aversion to homework, the absence of external assessments and no annoying school league tables.

If Australia would only ditch NAPLAN (our external assessment program), erase the My School website (which contains information about school performance), shorten the school day and forget about homework (and pay teachers more, of course), we could become an educational powerhouse -- just like Finland.

Ironically, the reason that critics choose Finland as a model is because it performs well on external standardised tests. Specifically, Finland scored highly on tests conducted by the OECD's international Program for International Student Assessment, widely known as  PISA.

As Jennifer Buckingham notes, Finland is an unlikely model for Australia. Its entire population is not much larger than Sydney's. It has little cultural or racial diversity, few disadvantaged schools and a widely shared social consensus about what children should learn and how they should be taught. In other words, Finland is very different from Australia. In addition, its PISA status is slipping. In 2012 (the latest scores available), Finland did not make it into the top 10.

Today's top PISA performers are all Asian -- Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Macau, and Japan. Like Finland, these places are culturally homogenous, but this is where the similarity ends. In most other ways, their educational cultures are the opposite of Finland's. They have long school days, lots of homework, rigorous national assessments, public accountability and plenty of competition among schools.

Predictably, educators are now urging us to emulate Asia.  This is no more sensible than imitating Finland. We can learn from other places, but we cannot just impose their ways on our much more diverse population. Our students deserve an educational system designed specifically for Australian students, schools, and culture.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

British PM's new wave of grammar schools under threat as Nicky Morgan and Ofsted chief lead revolt

May: I want Britain to be the great meritocracy of the world
A former Conservative education secretary has hit out at Theresa May’s plans to introduce a new generation of grammar schools, fuelling concerns they will struggle to get through Parliament.

Nicky Morgan, who was in charge of schools policy until July when she was sacked by Mrs May, said the plans were a “distraction from crucial reforms to raise standards”.

There was also opposition from other senior figures in the education sector such as Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw, who accused Mrs May's of trying to "put the clock back" and halt momentum towards better results in the state system.

The Prime Minister unveiled proposals to lift the long-standing ban on new or expanded grammars - with a £50 million annual Government subsidy to support new places - in a speech outlining her ambition to make Britain "the great meritocracy of the world".

Mrs Morgan – who was education secretary from 2014 to 2016 - warned that increased selection by ability would be "at best a distraction from crucial reforms to raise standards and narrow the attainment gap and at worst risk actively undermining six years of progressive education reform".

Mrs May should instead build on the academy and free school reforms pursued under former Prime Minister David Cameron, which were creating "a truly comprehensive school system in which every child is able to achieve excellence", she said.

Mrs Morgan's comments follow expressions of concern from other influential members of Mrs May's own Conservative party, including Commons Education Committee chairman Neil Carmichael and Health Committee chairman Sarah Wollaston, in an indication of the difficulty Mrs May may face forcing her radical reforms through Parliament.

The reforms require a change in law to reverse a ban on new grammars which was introduced by former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair in 1998 and then supported in office by Mr Cameron.

There will be intense speculation about whether Mr Cameron backs the changes when they are put to a vote of MPs.

Mr Cameron's opposition dated back to early 2006, a month after he became Tory leader when he said: “The prospect of bringing back grammar schools has always been wrong and I’ve never supported it. And I don’t think any Conservative government would have done it.”

Labour have also pledged to fight the grammar school plans “every step of the way”, while Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron predicted the “out-of-date, ineffective approach” would be defeated in the House of Lords, where Mrs May does not enjoy a majority.

The plans are particularly vulnerable in the House of Lords because they were not included in the 2015 Tory manifesto, denying Mrs May powers to overrule peers.

The Salisbury Convention ensures that major Government Bills can get through the Lords when the Government of the day has no majority in the Lords.

This means in practice that peers do not try to vote down at second or third reading, a Government Bill mentioned in an election manifesto.

Sir Michael Wilshaw - the chief inspector of schools who is due to retire at the end of this year - told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We will fail as a nation if we only get the top 15 per cent to 20 per cent of our children achieving well.

“We've got to - if we’re going to compete with the best in the world - get many more children to achieve well in our schools.

“My fear is that by dividing children at 11 and by creating grammars and secondary moderns - because that's what we'll do - we won't be able to achieve that ambition.”


College students are told they can't say 'you guys' because it might be sexist and they can't ask Asian strangers for help with math

The denial of human differeces grinds on

Freshmen at a college orientation event have been told not to address other students with the phrase 'you guys' because it could be interpreted as excluding women.

Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, has hired a chief diversity officer, Sheree Marlowe, who has directed students on how to avoid subtle insults known as 'microaggressions'.

The trained lawyer who is 'committed to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education' recently told freshmen at Clark they should avoid asking a black student if he plays basketball.

They should also not badger an Asian student they don't know for help with their math homework, The New York Times reports.

The term 'microaggression', coined by Columbia professor Derald Sue, refers to the 'brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities' that 'communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color'.

One example of a 'microaggression', that Marlow presented to an audience of around 525 first-year students at Clark, was to imagine what it feels like to see their race or gender not represented on a 'wall of fame'.

'On your first day of class, you enter the chemistry building and all of the pictures on the wall are scientists who are white and male. If you're a female, or you just don't identify as a white male, that space automatically shows that you're not represented,' she said.

However, not everyone thinks training students in watching out for 'microaggression' is a good idea.

Conservative commentator John Podhoretz said on Twitter: 'Sheree Marlowe, the voice of the new totalitarianism.'

Clark University one of many colleges trying to clamp down on racial tensions and sexism on campus.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison has put together a programme to tackle such incidents after a racist letter was slipped under a black student's door last year.

Earlier this month it emerged students at Rutgers University have been advised to use language that is 'kind' and 'necessary' and avoid offensive terms such as 'retarded' and 'that's so ghetto' so that they don't commit 'microaggressions'.

A bulletin board, titled 'Language Matters: Think', has been put on display in at least one hall of residence on Rutgers campus, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, telling students to question whether their choice of words is 'true', 'kind', 'helpful' and 'necessary'

Last year Professors at the University of California were urged not to use a number of  'offensive' phrases, such as describing America as a 'melting pot' or the 'land of opportunity'.

The phrases were included on a list of 'microaggressions' faculty members have been advised not to use, fearing they could be deemed sexist or racist.

'There is only one race, the human race' and 'I believe the most qualified person should get the job,' are also soundbites academics are not allowed to say, in the eyes of administrators.


Dead to History

Comment from Australia

As Marc Antony put it, 'the good is oft interrèd with their bones' and so it is at Melbourne University, where a gaggle of clamorous sooks and attention-seekers is demanding the name of a long-dead medico be erased from the institution he helped to build

A movement to censor our history is forming at Australian universities. Students and academics are campaigning for buildings and lecture halls to be renamed because of their association with ‘offensive’ historical figures. They no longer feel comfortable confronting, or even acknowledging, the past— instead, they want to expunge it altogether. Their first target is the renaming of the Richard Berry building at the University of Melbourne.

Richard Berry revolutionised the teaching of anatomy in Melbourne. He wrote the standard anatomy textbook used by students for some twenty-five years. As dean of medicine he advocated for the placement of a hospital near campus that could work closely with the university, a dream that became a reality after his departure. Berry’s contributions to teaching, as well as an administrator, were so outstanding that when a new anatomy building opened, which he designed, it was only natural to name the building after him.

Sadly, despite his capabilities, Berry, along with John Maynard Keynes, George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, and Winston Churchill, advocated for the patently racist and discredited eugenics movement of the early 20th century. Eugenicists sought to promote certain genetic traits, and discourage others, by manipulating sexual reproduction. This supposedly scientific theory was used by the Nazis to justify their atrocities.

He also advocated for sterilisation of Aboriginals, people with a disability, and other groups he viewed as inferior. Student union president Tyson Holloway-Clarke says the existence of a building named after him is ‘confronting and alienating situation for Indigenous students.’

The move to wipe Berry’s name from the building he designed follows in the footsteps of similar campaigns on British and American campuses. Oxford University students unsuccessfully advocated for the destruction of a Cecil Rhodes. However, their campaign failed to appreciate Rhodes’ positive legacy. The Rhodes Scholarship has provided extraordinary educational opportunities to thousands from the developing and developed world, people who would otherwise never have had the opportunity to attend such a prestigious institution. It has helped train the leaders of countless countries, including our own prime ministers Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Abbott and Bob Hawke.

Yes, Rhodes’ legacy, just like Berry’s, is deeply flawed. It is vital, however, that we acknowledge both the virtuous and vile in our history. Our past is neither good nor evil, rather, it reflects the varying shades of grey that make up the complexities of human character. It reflects our constant drive towards progress and developing a more compassionate society. It is vital we remember and attempt to fully understand the complexity, not seek to censor our past.

We must be careful to not project modern ideas, which simply did not exist at the time, onto history. The speed of human progress has led to an extraordinarily rapid change in cultural understandings, political values and scientific theories. The essence of historic analysis is gaining a full understanding of these changes, and the world in which historic figures lived. The alternate, applying today’s values to the past, makes it almost impossible to find any respectable historical figures for admiration or study.

It would require Labor to rename their think-tank, the Evatt Foundation, because Doc Evatt brandished a letter in Parliament from Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov falsely claiming there was no Soviet spying in Australia—a letter written by the same individual who signed the Soviet-Nazi Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Liberals would have to stop celebrating Robert Menzies because, in the height of the Cold War, he advocated for the illiberal policy of banning a political party, the Communist Party of Australia. Americans would have to abandon their constitution and bill of rights because two-thirds of the founding fathers owned slaves.

If we actually want to understand, not simply abandon, the past we must comprehend the world in which these people functioned, the threats that motivated them, and the cultural values of their time. We must understand that Evatt was motivated by a theory, albeit false, of conspiracy between the government and the security establishment to discredit Labor. We must understand that Menzies believed, based on the stated aims of Australian communists, that there was a serious clandestine threat to our democracy. And we must understand that the American founders lived in a time when slave ownership was common across the world. We can, and should, criticise their views and actions, but it is ahistorical to apply today’s values to figures living in a different time.

Censoring the past also hinders the educational mission of universities. These statues, buildings, and lecture halls provide an important opportunity to confront our history. Renaming buildings allows past injustices to be forgotten, to be wiped off the public memory. Leaving them in place is a good reminder and educational opportunity. Rather than rename the Richard Berry building, making him float away into the abyss of history book footnotes buried in the basement of a campus library, it would be appropriate to place a prominent plaque near the entrance of the building explaining both his contributions and abhorrent views. This would allow students to understand the fact that this person did exist, and what he actually did. It also prevents the university from taking the relatively easy step of wiping out a dark part of their history.

Ironically, the University of Melbourne has previously hosted a disability support services unit in the Richard Berry building. Some have claimed that this placement is insulting. However, the opposite is in fact true. The best way to show just how wrong Berry’s ideas were, and to display how far we have come as a society, is to act in the completely opposite manner. It is to celebrate that students from all backgrounds roam freely in the corridors of the Richard Berry building. This allows us to not forget the complexities of our past, and delivers a far more nuanced understanding of what is right and wrong.