Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Segregation at Harvard

Two days before Courtney Woods dresses in a cap and gown for Harvard’s traditional commencement, she will don a stole made of African kente cloth and address the crowd at a somewhat different event: a graduation ceremony for black students.

Student organizers said the event, called Black Commencement 2017, is the first universitywide ceremony for black students at Harvard and is designed to celebrate their unique struggles and achievements at an elite institution that has been grappling with its historic ties to slavery.

More than 170 students and 530 guests have signed up to attend the ceremony, which will be held May 23 at Holmes Field, near the Harvard Law School campus. The event will feature speeches by black students, alumni, and administrators.

“I can only imagine how special I will feel when I walk across that stage and be able to honor my identity and my struggle at Harvard,” said Woods, who is completing a master’s degree at the Graduate School of Education. “I know this is exactly what students like me need to be inspired as we leave this place as emerging global leaders.”

Similar ceremonies have been held for Harvard undergraduates as well as for students at Stanford, Columbia, Temple, and other campuses. On May 23, Harvard will also hold its third annual graduation ceremony for students of Latin American descent.

The ceremony for black students was created during a period of heightened activism related to racism on college campuses and in the country at large — from the Black Lives Matter movement to the increased focus on “micro-aggressions,” passing comments that seem to trivialize or marginalize the experiences of minorities.

At Harvard, the campus has also undergone a season of soul-searching.

Last year, Drew Faust, university president, and Representative John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat who is a civil rights icon, unveiled a plaque commemorating four slaves who had been owned by Harvard presidents. The university also agreed to redesign the Harvard Law School shield, which was modeled on the family crest of an 18th-century slaveholder.

Woods said the black graduation ceremony will recognize that history, as well as the challenges that black students face today, including what she called a lack of social, emotional, and academic support. In 2015, 5 percent of the 7,595 degrees that Harvard awarded went to black students.

“Your parents, your colleagues, and those who are there in the audience are there to celebrate you because they know your common struggle,” Woods said. “There’s a shared history, there’s a shared struggle, there’s a shared identity.”

Black graduation events have sometimes sparked criticism that they are divisive.

But the ceremony is “not about segregation,” said Michael Huggins, president of the Harvard Black Graduate Student Alliance, which is organizing the event. Students of all racial and ethnic backgrounds may attend, he said, and the black students taking part in the ceremony also plan to attend the university’s official commencement on May 25 in Harvard Yard.

“The primary reason we wanted to do this is we really wanted to come together to celebrate Harvard black excellence and brilliance,” said Huggins, who is graduating from the Kennedy School. “This is really an opportunity for students to build fellowship and build a community.”

Every graduate at the event will receive a stole made of kente cloth, as a symbol of their African heritage. And while there will be tributes to the students’ successes, some of the speakers also plan to bluntly confront the challenges facing the black community, said Jillian Simons, a law school student who is incoming president of the Harvard Black Graduate Student Alliance.

“There’s an element of celebration and a very somber tone to it because of the things we’ve had to overcome,” she said.

Planning for the event started last July. The administration has been supportive, organizers said, and many of the graduate schools have donated money to help pay for the ceremony. The students said they have raised $27,000 so far.

While most of those attending are graduate students, organizers said they hope to expand the event to include more undergraduates next year. Black students make up just under 14 percent of the students accepted into Harvard’s undergraduate class of 2020.

“This is an opportunity to tell everyone that we’re here and we’re an important part of the culture at Harvard,” Huggins said. “And if you want to learn more about that, then come.”


Parents slam Ohio middle school after they suspended their seventh grade son for 10 DAYS because he 'liked' an Instagram photo of an airsoft gun

A seventh grader in Ohio was suspended from his middle school for 10 days after liking a photo of a gun on Instagram.

Zachary Bowlin was given the harsh punishment from staff at Edgewood Middle School in Trenton after he liked the social media post showing an airsoft gun that shoots pellets with the caption: 'Ready'.

'I liked it, scrolling down Instagram at night about 7, 8 o'clock I liked it,' Zachary told WXIX. 'The next morning they called me down (to the office) patted me down and checked me for weapons.'

He told WCMH, 'I don't think I did anything wrong... Then, they told me I was getting expelled or suspended or whatever.'

The middle school student was sent home with a note to his parents about the cause of his suspension Thursday.

The letter said he was suspended for 'liking a post on social media that indicated potential school violence.'

His father, Martin Bowlin, said he was upset when his son came home.  'I was livid,' he told WCMH. 'He never shared, he never commented, never made a threatening post … [he] just liked it.'

His mother, Cindy Martin, took to Facebook to express her frustration with the situation. 'This sickens me! Not anywhere on the boys Instagram post did it say anything about taking a gun to school. This is a bunch of s*** if I ever seen any....... SMH,' she wrote.

'People wake up and teach your children right from wrong and teach them not to blow s*** out of proportion. 'Now 2 innocent harmless boys got in trouble over some pansy cry bag making s*** up!'  

Russ Fussnecker, the superintendent of Edgewood City Schools released a statement to WXIX that said: 'Concerning the recent social media posting of a gun with the caption "Ready", and the liking of this post by another student, the policy at Edgewood City Schools reads as follows:

'"The Board has a 'zero tolerance' of violent, disruptive, harassing, intimidating, bullying, or any other inappropriate behavior by its students."

'Furthermore, the policy states: "Students are also subject to discipline as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct that occurs off school property when the misbehavior adversely affects the educational process."

'As the Superintendent of the Edgewood City Schools, I assure you that any social media threat will be taken seriously, including those who "like" the post when it potentially endangers the health and safety of students or adversely affects the educational process.'

Administrators at the school agreed to lift Zachary's suspension after speaking with his parents and he was allowed to go to school on Monday.

Cindy shared another post on Facebook after the suspension was lifted and wrote: 'Just wanted to let everyone know that the matter we been dealing with over our son 'liking' a picture on Instagram has been resolved. 'Zach is not in any trouble whatsoever, nothing of this matter will be on his school record, it will be like it never ever happened. 'He got to go back to school, he gets to attend his dance and all other school functions.

'I want to say THANK YOU so much to all of our family, friends and all of you who shared our son's story, thank for all of your support, suggestions and kind words, with​ all of you by our side it made things so much easier to get through!'


UK: The Marxist Revolution is alive and well - in your child's school

What are they teaching your children? Are they teaching them how to think – or what to think? Worse, are they monitoring you by trapping your children into answering intrusive questions about your private opinions?

Do you know? You may think that the crazy ideas of the hard Left are safely contained in Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, or the Guardian newspaper.

But some recent disturbing letters from parents of school-age children made my stomach lurch. I saw in these accounts the gradually solidifying shape of a nasty new intolerance, state-financed and more or less unavoidable by anyone with school-age children.

First of all, for a flavour of the ideas encouraged in our schools, look at a recent competition for ‘gifted pupils’. Let’s say this was ‘somewhere in Southern England’. Its theme was ‘2016: A Pivotal Year In History’, which might seem harmless. But what were the 15-year-olds involved actually doing?

The competition brief allowed for a wide range of topics to be covered. Wide? Well, the winners discussed ‘prejudice in 2016’. What prejudice was that? ‘Incidents of hate crime after Brexit, Islamophobia and the media portrayal of these events.’ They also dealt with, yes, ‘gender, religious and racial equality’.

Can we really be planning to send more troops to Afghanistan, the most foolish and futile military and political mistake of modern times? It’s just for training, apparently. Well, last time it was going to happen without a shot being fired, until the sad convoys of flag-wrapped coffins began to come back.

Another team in this competition ‘highlighted’ the way in which David Bowie and Prince ‘made people start to question social convention on gender identity’. Others tackled ‘biased slants from certain media corporations’ by which I doubt they meant the BBC, and, of course, ‘climate change’ and immigration, those two tests of correctness and acceptability among the modern Left. Do you see a theme here? You should.

For not far away, in a different part of Southern England, another parent tells me that his daughter recently came home from primary school bearing a decorated poster with ALLAH across the middle. That parent says: ‘I have yet to see a similar poster with GOD or JESUS across it.’

His son, at a secondary school, is about to visit a mosque. So far there have been no visits to Christian churches. But it goes further than that.

At a recent parent-teacher meeting, which discussed ‘refugees’, the head teacher spoke of ‘these dark days’ since the EU referendum.

The boy has recently come home from school and – with a note of disapproval in his voice – asked his father: ‘Dad, why do you read the Daily Mail?’ It turns out that a teacher had asked the pupils how their parents had voted for in the referendum, and when one of the pupils said ‘Brexit’, this teacher had responded, in a disapproving tone, by asking: ‘Why did they vote for that?’

Let’s not exaggerate. These teachers are not (yet) reporting politically incorrect parents to the authorities. But what worries me is that all the preconditions for surveillance and indoctrination are there. Socially and morally conservative opinions are treated as phobias and heresies. Parents who hold such views are undermined by their children’s teachers.

Already, on the excuse of discouraging Islamic extremism, schools are licensed to probe into the minds of their pupils. Once you’ve allowed this for one supposedly ‘extreme’ opinion, it’s not a big shift to move on to others.

In the meantime, might these attitudes affect such things as the grading of coursework, job and university applications? I don’t doubt it.

Governments come and go, supposedly Left-wing and supposedly Right-wing – though the supposedly Right-wing ones usually turn out to be nothing of the kind. But in the schools, the universities and most of the public sector, the wild Marxist Cultural Revolution quietly continues its long march through the institutions.


Scotland: ‘Shameful’ figures reveal decline in school literacy

Standards of reading and writing in Scotland’s schools have fallen to “shameful” levels under the SNP, according to critics reacting to the publication of a damning official survey of literacy.

Just half of S2 pupils are now hitting or exceeding the expected level in writing, a significant decline compared to four years ago when almost two thirds were doing well or better.

Alongside the poor performance in writing, the proportion of pupils who can read well dropped in P4 by six percentage points and in P7 by two points between 2012 and 2016.

The findings of the Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy (SSLN) also suggest that no progress has been made in tackling a deep attainment gap between pupils from rich and poor families


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