Friday, January 13, 2017



Scotland: Parents left baffled and excluded by jargon in school reforms

Parents say they have been left puzzled and excluded by the Scottish government’s school reforms which were intended to give them more power over their children’s education.

They have also rejected John Swinney’s moves to give greater responsibility to head teachers, saying they have not been given any evidence that this works, and called for control to remain with councillors.

The Scottish Parent Teacher Council (SPTC) also says that hundreds of people keen to express their views were baffled by jargon in the Scottish government’s schools consultation.

In its submission to ministers, the organisation questioned many of the assumptions underpinning the education secretary’s proposals, which will involve handing more power to heads, the establishment of school clusters and a funding overhaul.

SOURCE 






UK: New Ofsted chief fires broadside at Brexit and grammars: Amanda Spielman dismisses plans for new schools as a 'distraction'

The new chief of Ofsted yesterday dismissed plans for grammar schools as a ‘distraction’ and voiced fears over the ‘national preoccupation’ with Brexit.

In her first interview since taking up the post as chief inspector of schools in England, Amanda Spielman said efforts to boost school improvement could be sidelined by political debates over the EU and selective education.

The comments will be a blow to Theresa May, who is grappling with negotiations to leave the EU and signalled this week that the UK would pull out of the single market.

The Prime Minister is also planning a wave of new grammars in the neediest areas, overturning a ban imposed by Labour 20 years ago.

The Government believes such schools could improve the life chances of bright working-class children who do not come from aspirational families. But in an interview with the Guardian, Mrs Spielman said she could not see how new selective schools would contribute to improving the system as a whole.

‘For me it’s a distraction from our work,’ she said. ‘I don’t see it as something that has much to do with making the most of every school, of Ofsted making the most of its work and contributing to system improvement.’

She said she expected it would be a relatively small initiative, but said it would have an impact on multi-academy trusts – groups of state-funded schools that are independent of local council control – which may introduce selective elements.

She said: ‘It’s certainly a complication. I hear stuff anecdotally about how they are going to react, I don’t know what will happen in practice.

‘I hear that some are poised and ready to go, and others who say they won’t actually will, and others will keep themselves distant.’ However, in an apparent attempt to distance herself from the debate, she added: ‘It’s not something I want to get involved with.’

Mrs Spielman’s comments follow controversy over the decision in July by then education secretary Nicky Morgan to appoint her to the £195,000-a-year role as head of the education watchdog.

Mrs Morgan forced through the nomination despite opposition from the Commons education committee, whose members said Mrs Spielman lacked ‘vision and passion’. Teachers’ unions were opposed to the appointment because she has no teaching experience.

Mrs Spielman also used her interview yesterday to voice concerns over the impact of the Brexit debate on education policy, although Ofsted sources stressed she was ‘not expressing a view’ on the merits of Brexit itself.

‘The next few years are not going to be an easy time in any of our remits,’ she said. ‘Brexit is obviously a huge, huge – distraction’s the wrong word – national preoccupation. In terms of government thinking and government action, it’s something that’s going to be absorbing so much time and attention that it may be harder to get the focus sometimes that we need.’

Asked if she thought education could be neglected, Mrs Spielman said: ‘Neglected may be putting it too strongly but it may slide a bit further down the priority list.’

Mrs Spielman, 55, was previously chairman of exam regulator Ofqual and policy director at Ark academy chain after spending many years in corporate finance and consultancy.

She has taken over at Ofsted from Sir Michael Wilshaw, a former headmaster with a record of turning around troubled schools. His outspoken views were not always in line with the Government’s.

Mrs Spielman, who has two teenage daughters, was born in Kensington and attended a state school in Glasgow, followed by a boarding school in Dorset. She studied law at Clare College, Cambridge.

A Department for Education spokesman said: ‘This government wants this to be a country that works for everyone, not just for the privileged few, and education lies at the heart of that ambition.

‘Thanks to our reforms, there are almost 1.8million more children being taught in schools that are rated good or outstanding than in 2010. We are building on our reforms, backed by record levels of school investment.

‘We have consulted on proposals to create even more good school places, for more parents, in more parts of the country, by lifting the ban on new selective school places.’

SOURCE 






May God help these cotton wool kids

Kevin Donnelly writes from Australia

IT doesn’t surprise that private schools are spending millions on wellness centres because students are stressed and lack resilience. It also doesn’t surprise that one of the fastest growing activities in primary schools is teaching meditation and mindfulness.

According to the latest Mission Australia survey, close to 22,000 young Australians rank mental health issues among their top three concerns.

And according to Beyond Blue, one in four young Australians aged between 16 and 24 has experienced a mental health issue some time in the past 12 months.

Instead of optimism, confidence and resilience it ­appears that more and more young people are suffering insecurity, anxiety and stress.

Why are so many students and young Australians at risk and unable to cope, and what’s to be done?

The first thing is that parents have to stop wrapping their children in cotton wool. Free-range children are a thing of the past and long gone are the days when kids were allowed to take risks.

Trampolines now have safety nets. Instead of walking or riding a bike to school children are chauffeured by a parent, and reprimanding or punishing a child is now politically incorrect and equivalent to child abuse.

Many children are so spoilt and indulged that at the first sign of not getting what they want, they collapse in tears or manufactured rage. The Asian tiger mums are far from perfect but at least they discipline their children and teach them the benefits of application and hard work.

Progressive, new-age education is also to blame as teachers are told that nurturing self-esteem and making sure all are winners are more important than teaching children to be competitive and to overcome adversity.

For many years it was forbidden in Australian classrooms to grade students 10 out of 10 or A, B, C, D and E (where E meant fail). Instead teachers had to use meaningless ­descriptions such as consolidating, not yet achieved and ­satisfactory.

Instead of optimism, confidence and resilience it ­appears that more and more young people are suffering insecurity, anxiety and stress.

Compared with top performing Asian education systems, where students regularly face high-risk tests and exams, the first time Australian students are pressured is at Year 12. And even then, each year more and more Year 12 students are ­applying for special consideration as a result of the stress and anxiety caused by the fear of being ranked in terms of performance and not doing as well as expected.

Growing up during the ’60s when at primary school we loved to play British Bulldog and Stacks on the Mill. Such games have long since been banned as too dangerous even though they taught us to overcome fear and that there was nothing special about a sprained wrist or a grazed knee.

A number of local councils are also getting rid of monkey bars and swings because of the risk that children might be hurt. Add to that the fact that in many junior sports no one is allowed to keep the score and it’s understandable why many children lack ­resilience and the will to succeed.

The American author ­Joseph Campbell, who helped to inspire George Lucas to produce Star Wars, argues that children must learn about the archetypes, myths and fables that teach how to deal with challenges and loss and how to overcome adversity.

Tales such as the Iliad and the Odyssey, where the hero overcomes fear and doubt, teaches children, especially boys, to be resourceful and brave. Norse legends such as ­Beowulf and stories like Queen Boadicea should also be compulsory reading.

Unfortunately, such traditional legends and stories are now considered old fashioned and students are more likely to be fed a diet of contemporary stories about dysfunctional families, teenage substance abuse and gender confusion and dysphoria.

Even though religion is often sidelined and ignored, it’s also true that Christianity provides an anecdote to anxiety and depression. Stories such as David and Goliath ­illustrate how ingenuity and faith can beat what appear to be insurmountable odds.

Believing in something spiritual and transcendent also counters the emptiness and sterility of secular ­society’s focus on commercialism and self-interest.

No amount of social networking on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram can replace the very human need for a deeper and more lasting sense of fulfilment.

SOURCE

Thursday, January 12, 2017


Australian Senator attacks credentialism -- to gasps of disbelief

The constant march towards more and more schooling for just about everything is mostly pointless.  The jobs concerned are not being performed noticeably better but uncritical people don't ask about that.  Teaching, for instance, was once just an on-the-job apprenticeship.  Now it requires a 4-year college course.  So have educational standards improved?  Quite the contrary. Education standards were MUCH higher in the past.

The one certain thing from it is higher costs to get anything done.  The Lion's Helm ( Senator  Leyonhjelm) is one of the few who are blowing the whistle on the stupidity and gullibility of it all.


The Project viewers were left stunned when Senator David Leyonhjelm described childcare workers’ roles as “wiping noses and stopping the kids from killing each other” in an interview on Tuesday night.

The Liberal Democrat Senator made several comments that outraged and offended childcare workers in an interview on the Channel Ten show about the Federal Government’s new $3 billion childcare reform package.

Senator Leyonhjelm said he would not support the package without amendments, criticising the bill for not reducing subsidies to higher income families.

He then suggested a way to reduce the cost of childcare would be to cut back the required credentials of workers, adding that women didn’t need training to take care of children.

“Apart from the fact you want to make sure there aren’t any paedophiles involved, you have to have credentials these days to be a childcare worker,” Senator Leyonhjelm said.

“A lot of women, mostly women, used to look after kids in childcare centres.”

“And then they brought in this national quality framework and they had to go and get a ‘certificate three’ in childcare in order to continue the job they were doing – you know, wiping noses and stopping the kids from killing each other.”

Senator Leyonhjelm said “a lot of women just quit” because of the introduction of minimum qualifications.

"The ones who got certificate threes said, ‘OK, I want more pay now that I’m more qualified’. All we did was drive up the cost because of this credentialism."

The panel appeared stunned by his flippant description of childcare worker's role.

Seeking to clarify, co-host Peter Helliar told the senator he thought a lot of people in childcare might be offended by his remarks.

"This is a very tough job that they do," Hellier said.

Senator Leyonhjelm maintained that workers did not need the credentials, saying there were no improvements in standards when the minimum standard of training was introduced.

"Yes it is, but there are an awful lot of people who are very good at it, but they didn't need a sheet of paper to say they were very good at it," he said.

"I don't think we corrected any errors, any errors, any problems, any deficiencies adversely affecting the kids when we brought in that national quality framework."

Panellist Scott Dooley joked with the senator, asking if his vision for the future of childcare was a "bunch of 30 kids on a leash drinking out of a saucer while a grandpa watches?"

Senator Leyonhjelm said that any dropping of qualification wouldn't see "a reduction in childcare standards".

Following the interview, co-host Gorgi Coghlan commented that the senator's benchmark seemed to be, "'Make sure they’re not a paedophile and then everything from there is OK'."

Coghlan also pointed out that mums feel confident leaving their kids in care when they know they are in qualified hands and more workers wouldn't be attracted to the industry if they weren't valued.

A clip of the interview was viewed on Facebook more than 183,000 times, garnering 1300 responses, mostly of anger and disbelief.

"Disgraceful to say this man is an elected member of the state? What an attitude," wrote one Facebook user.

"This is really quite unbelievable, how can you possibly believe that studying a subject of childcare won't and can't improve the care given to children?" commented another.

One user pointed out how "critical" the first five years of a child life were to their development.

"It takes education - knowledge and skill to learn and understand key child developmental needs to ensure a child grows to their fullest potential. Sure we can have anyone wiping a nose or stopping children from killing each other but is this all that children deserve?" she wrote.

Meanwhile, others agreed with the senator.

"It's childcare. It's not school, it's not college. It's literally group babysitting, and that's all I want it to be. I agree with the Senator's position," one user wrote.

SOURCE






Republicans Should Rethink Plans to Privatize Student Lending

Americans are concerned about rising college prices and student
debt levels, and the Republican Party has proposed a solution: bring the private market back into student lending.

Prior to 2010, most federal student loans were originated by private lenders under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP). But Congress eliminated that program in 2010 and all subsequent loans were originated and administered by the U.S. Department of Education. Since that time, many Republicans have called for a return to market-based federal student lending.

But there’s just one problem with that: FFELP didn’t function at all like a market. Under FFELP, the federal government set the terms for how private lenders were to issue loans. Lenders did not screen borrowers based on creditworthiness and they did not offer better terms to borrowers who were more likely to repay their debts – two hallmarks of competitive lending. Instead, they offered loans to anyone who met prescribed eligibility criteria and offered terms that were dictated by legislation. In fact, the chance of being repaid mattered little to these lenders because the loans were guaranteed by the government such that they were repaid even if borrowers defaulted.

The lenders did all of this in exchange for a fixed payment from the Department of Education. The payment amount, which was pegged to a benchmark interest rate, was also set by legislation. Unfortunately, the payment amount was never quite right, which led to a number of problems so severe that they required a legislative fix.

During the years leading up to the Great Recession, the government payment to lenders yielded such significant profits that some lenders were offering kickbacks to financial aid officers in exchange for sending students their way. These abuses were stopped when the payment was adjusted downward in 2007, but that fix didn’t work for long. By the fall of 2008, FFELP lenders were in Washington asking for more money to keep them in the business of making these loans. The fallout of the early stages of the mortgage crisis led Congress to quickly pass legislation to keep FFELP lenders from quitting the program.

Policymakers that want to inject more market discipline into federal student lending should find better ways to do so than returning to a failed policy that created more problems that it solved. We suggest three such ideas for Congress to consider when it takes up the overdue reauthorization of the Higher Education Act next year.

First, Congress could dramatically scale back the existing federal lending program to focus on undergraduate students. These are the students for whom guaranteeing access to postsecondary education is most important. But out of the roughly $100 billion of loans made by the government each year, $30 billion go to graduate students and another $10 billion to parents of undergraduate students.

Scaling back or eliminating federal lending to graduate students and parents of college students would create an opening for private lenders. This would almost surely reduce lending to students who attend graduate programs that are unlikely to produce a large enough economic return to justify the cost and risk. But such an outcome may be more desirable than taxpayers being on the hook for loans to graduate students that go unpaid or are forgiven under current policy.

Second, Congress could establish a regulatory framework to support innovation in alternative financial products such as income share agreements (ISAs), in which students agree to pay a share of their future income to investors that finance their college tuition. ISAs are likely to remain a niche product, but could play a role in expanding access to higher education financing for some students, such as those who need to borrow more than the federal limits. They could also substitute for federal lending to graduate students if the availability of loans to graduate students was scaled back.

Finally, Congress could improve the market for higher education by increasing the availability of data on college quality. If we want consumers to “vote with their dollars,” then we need to arm them with the information that they need to make good decisions, such as better access to information on the outcomes of previous students who attended particular programs of study. A market without information is no market at all.

SOURCE 







Draining the Swamp to Help American Schools

Among the many hot topics since Donald Trump won the election is America’s education system. Once at the top of the nations of the world in educating its young, America has lost serious ground, and it’s time to rectify that.

Jon Guttman, Research Director of the World History Group, wrote in 2012, “As recently as 20 years ago, the United States was ranked No.1 in high school and college education.” Furthermore, “In 2009, the United States was ranked 18th out of 36 industrialized nations.” He attributes that decline to “complacency and inefficiency, reflective of lower priorities in education, and inconsistencies among the various school systems.”

This despite because of the unifying mandates of No Child Left Behind, Common Core, Race to the Top and whatever other repackaged program statists impose upon our education system. Not to mention trillions of dollars poured into the system.

In 2010 at a Paris meeting of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Barack Obama’s first secretary of education, Arne Duncan, who served from 2009 through 2015, said this:

“Before the 1960s, almost all policymaking and education funding was a state and local responsibility. In the mid-1960s, the federal role expanded to include enforcing civil rights laws to ensure that poor, minority and disabled students, as well as English language learners, had access to a high-quality education.
"As the federal role in education grew,” Duncan continued, “so did the bureaucracy.” In fact, he added, the U.S. Department of Education often “operated more like a compliance machine, instead of an engine of innovation,” and that it concerned itself with the details of formula funding, and not with educational outcomes or equity. The latter terms are leftist double-speak.

Duncan went on to say that the United States needed to challenge the status quo, and to close the achievement and opportunity gaps. Five years later, the U.S. still lagged behind many other countries.

The findings in the 2015 Program International Student Assessment (PISA), which is an international benchmark for education systems, finds the U.S. education system improved since the last assessment in 2012 in the areas of science, math and reading.

However, that alleged improvement still leaves American students ranked behind the students of 24 other countries, among the 72 participating nations. Teens in Singapore, Japan and Estonia led the more than half a million 15-year-olds in the 2015 assessment, the primary focus of which was science, with math as the primary focus in 2012.

Jimmy Carter signed the federal Department of Education into law in 1979, and since it became active the following year, American education has steadily worsened, as measured by these international assessments. President-Elect Donald Trump, like Ronald Reagan before him, has called for abolishing the Department of Education, citing the need to cut spending.

The Founders established only four cabinet level activities: foreign relations through the State Department; national defense through the Department of War (now Defense); taxation and spending through the Department of the Treasury; and enforcement of federal law through the Attorney General (now the Department of Justice).

The increase of federal agencies has arguably produced some benefits, but does their performance justify the costs incurred? They have produced tremendous growth in government control of our lives, and enormous expense, both direct and indirect. Today there are nearly four times as many cabinet level agencies as the Founders thought necessary.

The federal education effort has many sins on its list, but the primary one is the shifting of control of schools to Washington by dangling federal dollars in front of state school officials — dollars they can earn only in return for relinquishing control over their schools. Federal influences also contribute to the infestation of standardized testing, which in moderation can provide benefits, but when a typical student takes 112 mandated standardized tests between pre-kindergarten classes and 12th grade, that is over the edge. Eighth-graders, it is estimated, spend an average of 25.3 hours on standardized testing.

It’s in this context that Trump named Betsy DeVos to become education secretary. Her bio explains that in education she “has been a pioneer in fighting to remove barriers, to enact change and to create environments where people have the opportunity to thrive,” and that her political efforts are focused on advancing educational choices. She currently chairs the American Federation for Children.

Like all of Trump’s cabinet selections so far, the Left portrays DeVos as unqualified and criticizes her lack of experience. One particularly unflattering New York Times tome lamented that she has pushed to “give families taxpayer money in the form of vouchers to attend private and parochial schools, pressed to expand publicly funded but privately run charter schools, and [tried] to strip teacher unions of their influence.”

Perhaps the contrary is true, however. Given the lackluster performance of the Department of Education when run by supposedly qualified people, someone with other strengths just might be able to turn the department into a positive influence — or at least minimize the damage — on what is broadly considered a mediocre education system.

Schools are best operated by those closest to the students, so returning control to states and localities will be a good first step.

SOURCE 


Wednesday, January 11, 2017



Hate Spaces: The Politics of Intolerance on Campus

"Today on American college campuses, there is only one group of students that you are allowed to attack and you can attack at will, and those are Jews," states the narrator in the new film Hate Spaces:  The Politics of Intolerance on Campus.  This latest production from Americans for Peace & Tolerance, the makers of the J Street Challenge, engagingly examines how demonization of Israel's Jewish state is reviving anti-Semitism in American academia.

Hate Spaces extensively documents what has become a nationwide campus "hostile environment" for Jews, according to Susan Tuchman from the Zionist Organization of America.  Student signs at colleges like Columbia University appear in the film with statements such as "Israel is a swollen parasite...the Jews:  Too fat...Too greedy...Too powerful...Fight the Jewish mafia." 

Quoted in Hate Spaces, University of California (UC)-Los Angeles Hillel President Natalie Charney notes an "anti-Israel culture" in which "singling out the only Jewish state creates an environment where it's ok to single out Jewish students."  The film focuses on one of Israel's main campus adversaries, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a leading supporter of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel with deep links to the Muslim Brotherhood.  The film notes SJP members chanting "Allahu Akbar" to celebrate the nonbinding 2013 UC-San Diego student council decision for BDS and a SJP chapter president's 2010 assault upon a Jewish UC-Berkeley student.

Former SJP member and current "pro-Israeli Muslim" Rezwan Ovo Haq notes that "SJP largely masquerades behind the human rights issue" of support Palestinians as part of a broader human rights agenda.  Yet in SJP he was "slandering Israel and I had deep-seated hatred for Israel."  Corresponding to this ugly reality, a University of Tennessee SJP member once tweeted:  "What is the difference between a Jew and a pizza?  The pizza leaves the oven."

Eminent law professor Alan Dershowitz notes in a film interview that "antisemitism used to come mostly from the right, now it's coming mostly from the hard left."  Hereby "one of the strangest alliances on university campuses today is between the hard left" of minorities like blacks and Islamist groups like SJP.  Accordingly, San Diego State University student journalist Anthony Berteaux discusses once identifying with SJP as a gay, Asian man.

Wall Street Journal editor Bret Stephens wonders at such leftwing "useful idiots of the twenty-first century."  "Why is it that the liberals and progressives who espouse a certain set of values are so intent on demonizing and de-legitimatizing the one country that shares their values" in the Middle East, he asks.  By contrast, past African-American civil rights leaders such as W.E.B Dubois, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and Bayard Rustin "have been Zionists, from socialists to liberals to conservatives," notes African-American Zionist Chloe Valdary.

Faux progressive condemnation of Israel, Dershowitz notes, arises largely because "there is no subject today in the world which has more distortion, more lies, more dissembling, than discussion about Israel."  Hate Spaces shows women from Israel's Arab minority joining Israel's parliament and winning the Miss Israel beauty contest, belying a sign in the film condemning Israel as the "Fourth Reich. 

During speaking engagements, Dershowitz challenges listeners "to name a single country in the history of the world faced with threats comparable to those threats faced by Israel both internal and external that have had a better record of human rights."

Israeli-American political commentator Caroline Glick discusses the "pathology of anti-Westernism."  Various commentators in the film note that leftists quick to condemn Israel and the wider Western world often have little concern for the human rights of black slaves, women, or homosexuals in Muslim-majority countries.

"A lot of intellectuals are playing out this sort of colonial guilt thing...by sacrificing Israel to what is in fact the most ferocious imperialist, colonialist force.  Islam is a colonialist, imperialist enterprise," historian Richard Landes states.

Film segments such as "Privileged Hatred" examine double standards concerning Israel in academia, as political commentator Melanie Phillips notes on C-Span that "those promoting free speech have ended up banning speech across our campuses." 

Glick explains that "if you are part of the oppressor group, then obviously your victim has the moral right to do to you whatever he deems fit because as a victim he essentially cannot be judged."  

Therefore anti-Israel student protesters reject appeals to evenhandedness with "what's the other side to Hitler... any support of Israel is hate speech...allowing free speech is allowing free speech to the rich and powerful."  "This event is shutdown," screams one student disrupter of a pro-Israel event, who slanders that Israel and its supporters "have turned Palestine into a land of prostitutes, rapists, and child molesters."

Hate Spaces segments "Tenured Hatred" and "Schools of Ideology" explore Israel's pariah status in American faculty lounges.  While Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates contributed over $1 billion to American universities in the years 2009-2015, "for at least 50 years the faculty of most universities has been besotted by the philosophy of tyrants," Stephens notes. 

The film demonstrates the results of such factors with leftist icon Noam Chomsky absurdly pontificating that the "policies of Hamas are more forthcoming and more conducive to a peaceful settlement than those of the United States or Israel."

Against Israel's fanatical foes in the Ivory Tower, Glick issues a clear clarion call, stating that "you can't cohabitate a university campus with these people because they aren't there to coexist with you; they are there to destroy you." 

Accordingly, "if you are not willing to fight fire with fire and go after them as the hate groups that they are, then you are going to lose your voice on college campuses." 

Knowing the enemy is essential to victory, Chinese military theorist Sun Tzu once recognized, and a good place to start with defeating Israel's campus enemies is watching Hate Spaces.

SOURCE 





British Universities are being nationalised by stealth

While it’s right to smash the closed shop in higher education, these reforms are essentially a Whitehall power grab

The government’s higher education bill will run a gauntlet of opposition starting today in the House of Lords, where many members are chancellors, fellows or other panjandrums of the grander universities. Some criticisms will be self-serving and wrong: the bill has good features. But in one central respect, critics are right. This is nationalisation. The bureaucrats of the Department for Education have long wanted to get more control of universities and this bill finally grants their wish.

Britain has some of the world’s best universities, second only to America. The chief reason is that they have been almost as autonomous as the great private universities of the Ivy League. This is for three historical reasons. First, thanks to the Bill of Rights of 1689, they escaped the centralised control that continental universities experienced from first the church and then the Napoleonic or Bismarckian state.

Second, in 1919 when they faced financial ruin and were rescued by the government, British universities were nonetheless allowed an unusual degree of self-government: public money normally brings far more central control. Third, the fees revolution has brought at least some consumer pressure to bear. The OECD says fees have made British universities successful without damaging social justice.

The key problem the bill sets out to solve is the closed-shop nature of the higher-education sector, which is indeed an issue. A cartel of institutions, paying their vice-chancellors huge salaries, is generally untroubled by competition from upstart new entrants. The plate-glass novelties in the 1960s were supposed to introduce a wave of radical experimentation. Instead they aped the older institutions, faithfully copying their faults as well as virtues.

The incumbents often behave badly towards new entrants. For instance, the London College of International Business Studies has become a good higher-education institution with a degree top-up programme validated by a Swiss university. But it has searched in vain for a British university to validate its degree programmes since 2011. In one case it completed a successful Quality Assurance Agency review only to be jilted at the altar by a newly appointed pro-vice-chancellor. Le Cordon Bleu, the world’s leading culinary institute, offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in other countries, but cannot do so here.

These are just two examples; I don’t rest my case on them, but they are illustrative of the many institutions that would invigorate the higher-education sector if allowed in; it is mostly snobbery that keeps them out. The Ucas system inevitably directs students towards members of the cartel.

Yet the Department for Education has chosen to gloss what is in effect a power grab as a liberal move. The new system of registration will be the first time the DfE has regulated the entire higher education sector, whether or not an institution receives public funding. The new Office for Students (which will surely soon be known as Ofstud) was described by Lord Waldegrave — mixing Hindu and Judaic metaphors as only a fellow of All Souls can — as a centralised behemoth of a regulator in a juggernaut of a bill. It will be able to abolish any university: Cambridge, say. Seriously. At present these powers would doubtless be in safe hands; but do we really want such a hostage to fortune lurking on the statute books? As Baroness Wolf points out, just having that power will enable the quango to put pressure on an institution.

The justification for central control is that if we are to let new entrants into higher education, then we must have the power to abolish fake universities. We don’t want Trump U here. But mission creep is inevitable. Ofstud will evolve, as Ofsted did in schools. Just as the principal anxiety in a head teacher’s life is the Ofsted inspection, and how to game it, so vice-chancellors will obsess about gaming the new Teaching Excellence Framework.

A quango with this power means mission creep is inevitable
It already happens with the Research Excellence Framework. Universities begin planning for the next REF as soon as the last one is finished, and while some of this planning is desirable — pressing low-quality researchers to do better or leave — academics are often seconded to work almost full-time for several years on the REF. As Lord Hennessy put it at the second reading of the bill, academics already spend too much time on the plumbing, rather than the poetry, of scholarship. And much of this plumbing isn’t even connected to anything as useful as a drain or a water supply. It’s plumbing for plumbing’s sake.

This reform will not address the deeper problems afflicting higher education, which are intellectual rather than administrative. It may make them worse. Yes, new entrants will ginger things up in some areas; and yes, it is right to recognise good teaching as well as good research, but Ofstud’s invention is unlikely to help students identify where brilliant courses taught by inspired professors lie concealed within generally mediocre universities. As Ofsted shows, certification tends to obscure differences between institutions.

Moreover, the bigger problem is that universities are losing touch with real life, as they did (except in Scotland) in the 18th century. They have pockets of genius, especially in the hard sciences, but they are also inflexible, navel-gazing, self-serving, not politically diverse and antithetical to free speech. Many creative thinkers are now not in universities.

University bosses regularly cave in to “snowflake” student demands for “no-platforming”, “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings” against “micro-aggressions” (such as teaching Plato). Ranking universities on their attitudes to free speech is not in Ofstud’s remit; rather, with it measuring “student satisfaction”, the problem may get worse. Two years after the bloody attack on free speech on Charlie Hebdo in Paris, both Bristol and Manchester universities’ student unions have forbidden the satirical magazine from being sold on campus, lest it fail the “safe-space” policy. So much for “Je suis Charlie”.

Nor will Ofstud do anything to combat the ideological purging of universities, chronicled by Professor Jonathan Haidt of New York University, founder of the Heterodox Academy. He says that as recently as 1996 in psychology departments left-wing/progressive professors outnumbered those with right-wing/libertarian views by four to one. Today the ratio is 17 to one. “Very few people know just how radically the professoriate has changed in the last 20 years,” he said in a recent lecture. “Undergraduates are exposed to less political diversity than any other generation, except in the 18th century when universities were divinity schools.”

SOURCE 






South Australian Schools Force Children To Follow Transgender Agenda

A new Education Department policy has, for the first time, explicitly detailed how public schools should accommodate transgender students in line with their legal responsibilities. An extreme move has taken place, that echoes cultural Marxist ideology being pushed on our youth, with an aim of exploiting them with values that go against commonsense, logical thinking, morals, and to put it simply, are un-Australian. The contents of this program are extremely dangerous as it promotes and encourages a mental disorder, rather than finding ways to help these individuals, in the same way other illnesses are treated.

This policy enforces that transgender students can use their preferred first name and pronoun, such as she, he, zhe, xhe, or they. The problem with this is that it teaches our children a falsehood, in that there are more than 2 genders, which through DNA has proven that isn’t the case. The policy also enforces that transgender students can choose whatever uniform they would like to wear. This will confuse other students into thinking one can choose to be whichever gender they wish on any particular day, rather than knowing the fact, that one is born and will always remain either male or female. This is further enforced with the option given to these students in choosing which toilet and change rooms they wish to access.

Anyone can see the problems that will be encountered by having people with different genitalia in the same bathroom or change room. Not only from a moral aspect, but also that sexual assaults have occurred due to these changes, with FTM transgenders facing assaults and MTF transgenders conducting assaults on others. Furthermore these problems will also increase now that these students can share sleeping quarters on school camps with the gender they identify as. They can also take part in Physical Education lessons and sports according to the gender they choose. Imagine how unfair a contest between a MTF transgender person and a female would be. The former will enjoy an advantage that has been proven time and time again when these measures have been introduced into sport.

As extreme as this policy may seem, the department said the policy would ensure “consistent, clear” treatment of transgender pupils by school leaders. Executive Director of Statewide Services and Child Development Ann-Marie Hayes said, “the difference is that this clearly articulates what we require from schools. We had a number of queries from schools and parents, and we needed to make it very clear what our legislative requirements were and how schools enact them — supporting principals in particular but also families in what they can expect from schools.” Ann-Marie Hayes also played the SJW victim card in saying, “this is a particular group that we know get quite bullied and harassed, the message we are giving to peers here is we don’t support homophobia and transphobia in a school setting.” Homophobia and transphobia will be the least of her concerns when the consequences of deviating from the natural order and promoting confusion are manifested.

This policy follows many that we have seen come into fruition over the last couple of years. It all started with the Safe Schools program, that taught young children how to cross-dress into what they felt comfortable in, how to look up fetish and gay clubs, search porn on the internet, be told that gender isn’t confined to male or female, and that all of these extreme measures should be accepted due to tolerance. Then we saw the Respectful Relationships program that taught students about male privilege, and how they have an unfair advantage especially if white and straight, and how they are constant abusers of women. Then we saw the Building Belonging program that enforces cultural diversity by attacking Australian values. These programs have all been pushed by the same people, and are doing so due to their Marxist ideology, rather than it being programs aimed at tackling bullying, domestic violence, and racism.

Shine SA, which delivers the controversial Safe Schools program in South Australia, backed the policy. Chief executive Jill Davidson said bullying of gender diverse students had “a significant impact on well-being, school attendance and educational outcomes”, and the policy would ensure students “receive a quality education in a safe, supportive and inclusive environment”. She also said, “schools have been looking for support in this area and it is great to have formal policies that provide them with direction and guidance.” It seems as though she is oblivious to the disastrous consequences of this policy, that will actually result in worse outcomes for students.

Roslyn Phillips, the former national research officer for Family Voice Australia, however shares the views of the silent majority of Australians. She said the vast majority of young people who felt they should be the opposite sex “grow out of it” if schools and doctors did not encourage it. “It’s a real problem to single out these children and treat what they think (they are) as real,” she said. This affirms the crucial point that gender dysphoria is a mental disorder that should be treated and cured, rather than something that should be celebrated and promoted. These people are suffering with these conditions, and there are many that acknowledge that it is a disorder they have, but then we have Marxist politicians trying to enforce that what they have is normal and that they should embrace it rather than cure it. How damaging must it be for these people to be told untruths, and to not receive treatment all because extremists have decided that it is politically incorrect and too offensive to fix such issues.

Another underlying issue that needs to be discussed is that policies such as this continue to give the state more power over our children, and at the same time strip away responsibilities from parents. Ms Hayes said that it would be “highly unlikely”, regarding a child wanting to be transgendered, that they would go against the wishes of parents unless it was an “absolute last resort” such as a suicide risk. The problem is who determines what constitutes a suicide risk, it’s quite easy for people to exaggerate purposefully for the sake of an agenda. Also, Ms Hayes contradicted herself by saying that if the wishes of transgender students to “affirm their identity” clashed with those of their parents, the policy allowed schools to “assess the best interests of the child to ensure their physical and psychological safety and well-being”.

By that statement it is quite clear that they are positioning themselves to play the role of a parent, therefore stripping the responsibilities and duties that parents have in providing their children with the right values. They know that parents would never teach such degeneracy to their children, which is why they have taken it upon themselves to take over that role, in teaching the moral guidelines that the state deems fit rather than teaching our children how to read, write, and learn all of the necessary subjects to equip them for their future.

The Education Department’s policy is due to receive a huge backlash from the community, so they have put so called “alternatives” in place, in an effort to show that they are able to work with families in the community. With regards to the use of toilets and change rooms, they said “some possible alternative options may include use of disability or staff facilities.” With regards to the accommodation arrangements for transgender students at school camps, they said “the ideal situation will be for a student to access sleeping quarters that correspond to the student’s gender identity if they choose…if this is not possible or appropriate then private or separate sleeping quarters can be considered.”

One needs to understand that this rhetoric in the name of progress is continually changed and altered in order to secretly allow the Marxist agenda to be realised. When we first heard about the push for gay marriage, the Labor Party said that it wouldn’t strip away religious freedoms from churches who refused to conduct such a service. Then Bill Shorten came out and said that this no longer applies and that having religious freedom was causing discrimination. The left can not be trusted when it comes to providing what is best for our children.

The left have slowly but dramatically in the last 50 years attacked the family unit, with an aim of imposing a one world Communist and Marxist utopia. They have been successful in turning society 180 degrees, in that whatever used to be considered taboo and degeneracy is now considered good, and whatever used to be considered good is now labelled evil and bigoted. There has been several polls released on this issue of whether it is a good policy to allow transgenders to choose their pronouns, bathrooms, uniforms, sleeping arrangements, and sports. Shockingly in the Adelaide Advertiser it is a dead heat with just under 47% voting both for or against, with another 6% in the other columns. Likewise in the 7 News Australia Facebook poll it was a 50% draw to both groups for and against the changes.

This means that if the polls are legit and haven’t been tampered with, we are in a lot of trouble. Not long ago it would of been unheard of that 50% of people would support such changes, and indicates that the propaganda and brainwashing that the left have been successfully pushing through TV programs like Q&A, The Project, and in most of the mainstream media, has worked. They have been able to transform a nation from a moral, family focused, common sense society, into a degenerate, immoral, Marxist one, all in the name of a flawed understanding of love and tolerance in an effort to justify one’s insecurities.

SOURCE





Hate Spaces: The Politics of Intolerance on Campus

"Today on American college campuses, there is only one group of students that you are allowed to attack and you can attack at will, and those are Jews," states the narrator in the new film Hate Spaces:  The Politics of Intolerance on Campus.  This latest production from Americans for Peace & Tolerance, the makers of the J Street Challenge, engagingly examines how demonization of Israel's Jewish state is reviving anti-Semitism in American academia.

Hate Spaces extensively documents what has become a nationwide campus "hostile environment" for Jews, according to Susan Tuchman from the Zionist Organization of America.  Student signs at colleges like Columbia University appear in the film with statements such as "Israel is a swollen parasite...the Jews:  Too fat...Too greedy...Too powerful...Fight the Jewish mafia." 

Quoted in Hate Spaces, University of California (UC)-Los Angeles Hillel President Natalie Charney notes an "anti-Israel culture" in which "singling out the only Jewish state creates an environment where it's ok to single out Jewish students."  The film focuses on one of Israel's main campus adversaries, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a leading supporter of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel with deep links to the Muslim Brotherhood.  The film notes SJP members chanting "Allahu Akbar" to celebrate the nonbinding 2013 UC-San Diego student council decision for BDS and a SJP chapter president's 2010 assault upon a Jewish UC-Berkeley student.

Former SJP member and current "pro-Israeli Muslim" Rezwan Ovo Haq notes that "SJP largely masquerades behind the human rights issue" of support Palestinians as part of a broader human rights agenda.  Yet in SJP he was "slandering Israel and I had deep-seated hatred for Israel."  Corresponding to this ugly reality, a University of Tennessee SJP member once tweeted:  "What is the difference between a Jew and a pizza?  The pizza leaves the oven."

Eminent law professor Alan Dershowitz notes in a film interview that "antisemitism used to come mostly from the right, now it's coming mostly from the hard left."  Hereby "one of the strangest alliances on university campuses today is between the hard left" of minorities like blacks and Islamist groups like SJP.  Accordingly, San Diego State University student journalist Anthony Berteaux discusses once identifying with SJP as a gay, Asian man.

Wall Street Journal editor Bret Stephens wonders at such leftwing "useful idiots of the twenty-first century."  "Why is it that the liberals and progressives who espouse a certain set of values are so intent on demonizing and de-legitimatizing the one country that shares their values" in the Middle East, he asks.  By contrast, past African-American civil rights leaders such as W.E.B Dubois, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and Bayard Rustin "have been Zionists, from socialists to liberals to conservatives," notes African-American Zionist Chloe Valdary.

Faux progressive condemnation of Israel, Dershowitz notes, arises largely because "there is no subject today in the world which has more distortion, more lies, more dissembling, than discussion about Israel."  Hate Spaces shows women from Israel's Arab minority joining Israel's parliament and winning the Miss Israel beauty contest, belying a sign in the film condemning Israel as the "Fourth Reich. 

During speaking engagements, Dershowitz challenges listeners "to name a single country in the history of the world faced with threats comparable to those threats faced by Israel both internal and external that have had a better record of human rights."

Israeli-American political commentator Caroline Glick discusses the "pathology of anti-Westernism."  Various commentators in the film note that leftists quick to condemn Israel and the wider Western world often have little concern for the human rights of black slaves, women, or homosexuals in Muslim-majority countries.

"A lot of intellectuals are playing out this sort of colonial guilt thing...by sacrificing Israel to what is in fact the most ferocious imperialist, colonialist force.  Islam is a colonialist, imperialist enterprise," historian Richard Landes states.

Film segments such as "Privileged Hatred" examine double standards concerning Israel in academia, as political commentator Melanie Phillips notes on C-Span that "those promoting free speech have ended up banning speech across our campuses." 

Glick explains that "if you are part of the oppressor group, then obviously your victim has the moral right to do to you whatever he deems fit because as a victim he essentially cannot be judged."  

Therefore anti-Israel student protesters reject appeals to evenhandedness with "what's the other side to Hitler... any support of Israel is hate speech...allowing free speech is allowing free speech to the rich and powerful."  "This event is shutdown," screams one student disrupter of a pro-Israel event, who slanders that Israel and its supporters "have turned Palestine into a land of prostitutes, rapists, and child molesters."

Hate Spaces segments "Tenured Hatred" and "Schools of Ideology" explore Israel's pariah status in American faculty lounges.  While Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates contributed over $1 billion to American universities in the years 2009-2015, "for at least 50 years the faculty of most universities has been besotted by the philosophy of tyrants," Stephens notes. 

The film demonstrates the results of such factors with leftist icon Noam Chomsky absurdly pontificating that the "policies of Hamas are more forthcoming and more conducive to a peaceful settlement than those of the United States or Israel."

Against Israel's fanatical foes in the Ivory Tower, Glick issues a clear clarion call, stating that "you can't cohabitate a university campus with these people because they aren't there to coexist with you; they are there to destroy you." 

Accordingly, "if you are not willing to fight fire with fire and go after them as the hate groups that they are, then you are going to lose your voice on college campuses." 

Knowing the enemy is essential to victory, Chinese military theorist Sun Tzu once recognized, and a good place to start with defeating Israel's campus enemies is watching Hate Spaces.

SOURCE 





British Universities are being nationalised by stealth

While it’s right to smash the closed shop in higher education, these reforms are essentially a Whitehall power grab

The government’s higher education bill will run a gauntlet of opposition starting today in the House of Lords, where many members are chancellors, fellows or other panjandrums of the grander universities. Some criticisms will be self-serving and wrong: the bill has good features. But in one central respect, critics are right. This is nationalisation. The bureaucrats of the Department for Education have long wanted to get more control of universities and this bill finally grants their wish.

Britain has some of the world’s best universities, second only to America. The chief reason is that they have been almost as autonomous as the great private universities of the Ivy League. This is for three historical reasons. First, thanks to the Bill of Rights of 1689, they escaped the centralised control that continental universities experienced from first the church and then the Napoleonic or Bismarckian state.

Second, in 1919 when they faced financial ruin and were rescued by the government, British universities were nonetheless allowed an unusual degree of self-government: public money normally brings far more central control. Third, the fees revolution has brought at least some consumer pressure to bear. The OECD says fees have made British universities successful without damaging social justice.

The key problem the bill sets out to solve is the closed-shop nature of the higher-education sector, which is indeed an issue. A cartel of institutions, paying their vice-chancellors huge salaries, is generally untroubled by competition from upstart new entrants. The plate-glass novelties in the 1960s were supposed to introduce a wave of radical experimentation. Instead they aped the older institutions, faithfully copying their faults as well as virtues.

The incumbents often behave badly towards new entrants. For instance, the London College of International Business Studies has become a good higher-education institution with a degree top-up programme validated by a Swiss university. But it has searched in vain for a British university to validate its degree programmes since 2011. In one case it completed a successful Quality Assurance Agency review only to be jilted at the altar by a newly appointed pro-vice-chancellor. Le Cordon Bleu, the world’s leading culinary institute, offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in other countries, but cannot do so here.

These are just two examples; I don’t rest my case on them, but they are illustrative of the many institutions that would invigorate the higher-education sector if allowed in; it is mostly snobbery that keeps them out. The Ucas system inevitably directs students towards members of the cartel.

Yet the Department for Education has chosen to gloss what is in effect a power grab as a liberal move. The new system of registration will be the first time the DfE has regulated the entire higher education sector, whether or not an institution receives public funding. The new Office for Students (which will surely soon be known as Ofstud) was described by Lord Waldegrave — mixing Hindu and Judaic metaphors as only a fellow of All Souls can — as a centralised behemoth of a regulator in a juggernaut of a bill. It will be able to abolish any university: Cambridge, say. Seriously. At present these powers would doubtless be in safe hands; but do we really want such a hostage to fortune lurking on the statute books? As Baroness Wolf points out, just having that power will enable the quango to put pressure on an institution.

The justification for central control is that if we are to let new entrants into higher education, then we must have the power to abolish fake universities. We don’t want Trump U here. But mission creep is inevitable. Ofstud will evolve, as Ofsted did in schools. Just as the principal anxiety in a head teacher’s life is the Ofsted inspection, and how to game it, so vice-chancellors will obsess about gaming the new Teaching Excellence Framework.

A quango with this power means mission creep is inevitable
It already happens with the Research Excellence Framework. Universities begin planning for the next REF as soon as the last one is finished, and while some of this planning is desirable — pressing low-quality researchers to do better or leave — academics are often seconded to work almost full-time for several years on the REF. As Lord Hennessy put it at the second reading of the bill, academics already spend too much time on the plumbing, rather than the poetry, of scholarship. And much of this plumbing isn’t even connected to anything as useful as a drain or a water supply. It’s plumbing for plumbing’s sake.

This reform will not address the deeper problems afflicting higher education, which are intellectual rather than administrative. It may make them worse. Yes, new entrants will ginger things up in some areas; and yes, it is right to recognise good teaching as well as good research, but Ofstud’s invention is unlikely to help students identify where brilliant courses taught by inspired professors lie concealed within generally mediocre universities. As Ofsted shows, certification tends to obscure differences between institutions.

Moreover, the bigger problem is that universities are losing touch with real life, as they did (except in Scotland) in the 18th century. They have pockets of genius, especially in the hard sciences, but they are also inflexible, navel-gazing, self-serving, not politically diverse and antithetical to free speech. Many creative thinkers are now not in universities.

University bosses regularly cave in to “snowflake” student demands for “no-platforming”, “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings” against “micro-aggressions” (such as teaching Plato). Ranking universities on their attitudes to free speech is not in Ofstud’s remit; rather, with it measuring “student satisfaction”, the problem may get worse. Two years after the bloody attack on free speech on Charlie Hebdo in Paris, both Bristol and Manchester universities’ student unions have forbidden the satirical magazine from being sold on campus, lest it fail the “safe-space” policy. So much for “Je suis Charlie”.

Nor will Ofstud do anything to combat the ideological purging of universities, chronicled by Professor Jonathan Haidt of New York University, founder of the Heterodox Academy. He says that as recently as 1996 in psychology departments left-wing/progressive professors outnumbered those with right-wing/libertarian views by four to one. Today the ratio is 17 to one. “Very few people know just how radically the professoriate has changed in the last 20 years,” he said in a recent lecture. “Undergraduates are exposed to less political diversity than any other generation, except in the 18th century when universities were divinity schools.”

SOURCE 






South Australian Schools Force Children To Follow Transgender Agenda

A new Education Department policy has, for the first time, explicitly detailed how public schools should accommodate transgender students in line with their legal responsibilities. An extreme move has taken place, that echoes cultural Marxist ideology being pushed on our youth, with an aim of exploiting them with values that go against commonsense, logical thinking, morals, and to put it simply, are un-Australian. The contents of this program are extremely dangerous as it promotes and encourages a mental disorder, rather than finding ways to help these individuals, in the same way other illnesses are treated.

This policy enforces that transgender students can use their preferred first name and pronoun, such as she, he, zhe, xhe, or they. The problem with this is that it teaches our children a falsehood, in that there are more than 2 genders, which through DNA has proven that isn’t the case. The policy also enforces that transgender students can choose whatever uniform they would like to wear. This will confuse other students into thinking one can choose to be whichever gender they wish on any particular day, rather than knowing the fact, that one is born and will always remain either male or female. This is further enforced with the option given to these students in choosing which toilet and change rooms they wish to access.

Anyone can see the problems that will be encountered by having people with different genitalia in the same bathroom or change room. Not only from a moral aspect, but also that sexual assaults have occurred due to these changes, with FTM transgenders facing assaults and MTF transgenders conducting assaults on others. Furthermore these problems will also increase now that these students can share sleeping quarters on school camps with the gender they identify as. They can also take part in Physical Education lessons and sports according to the gender they choose. Imagine how unfair a contest between a MTF transgender person and a female would be. The former will enjoy an advantage that has been proven time and time again when these measures have been introduced into sport.

As extreme as this policy may seem, the department said the policy would ensure “consistent, clear” treatment of transgender pupils by school leaders. Executive Director of Statewide Services and Child Development Ann-Marie Hayes said, “the difference is that this clearly articulates what we require from schools. We had a number of queries from schools and parents, and we needed to make it very clear what our legislative requirements were and how schools enact them — supporting principals in particular but also families in what they can expect from schools.” Ann-Marie Hayes also played the SJW victim card in saying, “this is a particular group that we know get quite bullied and harassed, the message we are giving to peers here is we don’t support homophobia and transphobia in a school setting.” Homophobia and transphobia will be the least of her concerns when the consequences of deviating from the natural order and promoting confusion are manifested.

This policy follows many that we have seen come into fruition over the last couple of years. It all started with the Safe Schools program, that taught young children how to cross-dress into what they felt comfortable in, how to look up fetish and gay clubs, search porn on the internet, be told that gender isn’t confined to male or female, and that all of these extreme measures should be accepted due to tolerance. Then we saw the Respectful Relationships program that taught students about male privilege, and how they have an unfair advantage especially if white and straight, and how they are constant abusers of women. Then we saw the Building Belonging program that enforces cultural diversity by attacking Australian values. These programs have all been pushed by the same people, and are doing so due to their Marxist ideology, rather than it being programs aimed at tackling bullying, domestic violence, and racism.

Shine SA, which delivers the controversial Safe Schools program in South Australia, backed the policy. Chief executive Jill Davidson said bullying of gender diverse students had “a significant impact on well-being, school attendance and educational outcomes”, and the policy would ensure students “receive a quality education in a safe, supportive and inclusive environment”. She also said, “schools have been looking for support in this area and it is great to have formal policies that provide them with direction and guidance.” It seems as though she is oblivious to the disastrous consequences of this policy, that will actually result in worse outcomes for students.

Roslyn Phillips, the former national research officer for Family Voice Australia, however shares the views of the silent majority of Australians. She said the vast majority of young people who felt they should be the opposite sex “grow out of it” if schools and doctors did not encourage it. “It’s a real problem to single out these children and treat what they think (they are) as real,” she said. This affirms the crucial point that gender dysphoria is a mental disorder that should be treated and cured, rather than something that should be celebrated and promoted. These people are suffering with these conditions, and there are many that acknowledge that it is a disorder they have, but then we have Marxist politicians trying to enforce that what they have is normal and that they should embrace it rather than cure it. How damaging must it be for these people to be told untruths, and to not receive treatment all because extremists have decided that it is politically incorrect and too offensive to fix such issues.

Another underlying issue that needs to be discussed is that policies such as this continue to give the state more power over our children, and at the same time strip away responsibilities from parents. Ms Hayes said that it would be “highly unlikely”, regarding a child wanting to be transgendered, that they would go against the wishes of parents unless it was an “absolute last resort” such as a suicide risk. The problem is who determines what constitutes a suicide risk, it’s quite easy for people to exaggerate purposefully for the sake of an agenda. Also, Ms Hayes contradicted herself by saying that if the wishes of transgender students to “affirm their identity” clashed with those of their parents, the policy allowed schools to “assess the best interests of the child to ensure their physical and psychological safety and well-being”.

By that statement it is quite clear that they are positioning themselves to play the role of a parent, therefore stripping the responsibilities and duties that parents have in providing their children with the right values. They know that parents would never teach such degeneracy to their children, which is why they have taken it upon themselves to take over that role, in teaching the moral guidelines that the state deems fit rather than teaching our children how to read, write, and learn all of the necessary subjects to equip them for their future.

The Education Department’s policy is due to receive a huge backlash from the community, so they have put so called “alternatives” in place, in an effort to show that they are able to work with families in the community. With regards to the use of toilets and change rooms, they said “some possible alternative options may include use of disability or staff facilities.” With regards to the accommodation arrangements for transgender students at school camps, they said “the ideal situation will be for a student to access sleeping quarters that correspond to the student’s gender identity if they choose…if this is not possible or appropriate then private or separate sleeping quarters can be considered.”

One needs to understand that this rhetoric in the name of progress is continually changed and altered in order to secretly allow the Marxist agenda to be realised. When we first heard about the push for gay marriage, the Labor Party said that it wouldn’t strip away religious freedoms from churches who refused to conduct such a service. Then Bill Shorten came out and said that this no longer applies and that having religious freedom was causing discrimination. The left can not be trusted when it comes to providing what is best for our children.

The left have slowly but dramatically in the last 50 years attacked the family unit, with an aim of imposing a one world Communist and Marxist utopia. They have been successful in turning society 180 degrees, in that whatever used to be considered taboo and degeneracy is now considered good, and whatever used to be considered good is now labelled evil and bigoted. There has been several polls released on this issue of whether it is a good policy to allow transgenders to choose their pronouns, bathrooms, uniforms, sleeping arrangements, and sports. Shockingly in the Adelaide Advertiser it is a dead heat with just under 47% voting both for or against, with another 6% in the other columns. Likewise in the 7 News Australia Facebook poll it was a 50% draw to both groups for and against the changes.

This means that if the polls are legit and haven’t been tampered with, we are in a lot of trouble. Not long ago it would of been unheard of that 50% of people would support such changes, and indicates that the propaganda and brainwashing that the left have been successfully pushing through TV programs like Q&A, The Project, and in most of the mainstream media, has worked. They have been able to transform a nation from a moral, family focused, common sense society, into a degenerate, immoral, Marxist one, all in the name of a flawed understanding of love and tolerance in an effort to justify one’s insecurities.

SOURCE




Tuesday, January 10, 2017


Higher education at the precipice

A straight-A student at Kansas State University has boldly proclaimed that the college emperor has no clothes and bidden a public farewell to what he calls a “scam.”  This could be a sign of what lies ahead for the left-wing propagandists who have taken over our colleges and universities.

An entirely predictable cataclysm awaits the American higher education sector.  Having jacked up their prices at roughly triple the rate of inflation for at least five decades, college education is no longer affordable without crippling debt for all but the richest families.  The sole justification for spending a quarter of a million dollars on a child’s education at a full-price private school is that a prestige degree is the gateway to upper-middle-class work status.

Yet in tandem with higher education’s putative lock-grip on career prospects has come an intellectual death spiral into ideology and irrelevance.  Baristas with prestigious baccalaureate degrees are now a clich√©, but the underlying fact is that a bachelor’s degree in grievance studies (most of the humanities and social sciences are now little but propaganda on the evil of America) does not equip one for useful work.

All of these facts are well known but have yet to influence a significant enough segment of the market, with a few exceptions.  Instapundit and the University of Tennessee’s Glenn Reynolds has ceaselessly been writing about the coming Higher Education Bubble for years now.  And he has chronicled the market and ideological forces already closing in on the nation’s law schools, as automation and a changing market mean fewer jobs for new graduates.  (Latest news: Charlotte Law School students suing and claiming problems not disclosed.)

But until the smart kids start saying that they don’t need college, that it just isn’t worth it, higher education can keep on running toward the cliff.  Well, it is starting (hat tip: Instapundit).  Scott Jaschik of Inside Higher Education (a trade journal) reports:

Billy Willson finished his first (and his last) semester at Kansas State University this week -- and in so doing has set off a debate there and beyond on the value of college and of general education in particular.

In a Facebook post, he announced that he was dropping out, despite having earned a 4.0 grade point average. He said that he would start his own business and learn more from that experience than anything he could hope to achieve at Kansas State or any college. He ran a photo of himself giving the finger to Kansas State, although he's since said he really wants to be doing that to all of higher education. (snip)

"YOU ARE BEING SCAMMED," Willson wrote on Facebook. (The wording, grammar and capitalization quoted here and later in this story are verbatim from Willson's and others' social media posts.) "You may not see it today or tomorrow, but you will see it some day. Heck you may have already seen it if you've been through college. You are being put thousands into debt to learn things you will never even use. Wasting 4 years of your life to be stuck at a paycheck that grows slower than the rate of inflation. Paying $200 for a $6 textbook. Being taught by teacher's who have never done what they're teaching. Average income has increased 5x over the last 40 years while cost of college has increased 18x. You're spending thousands of dollars to learn information you won't ever even use just to get a piece of paper."

He added: "Colleges are REQUIRING people to spend money taking gen. ed. courses to learn about the quadratic formula (and other shit they will never use) when they could be giving classes on MARRIAGE and HOW TO DO YOUR TAXES."

His complaints are not political, which really helps spread the discontent.  He can't be dismissed on this basis as a crazy rightie.  Willson’s own first plan, a t-shirt business, will be only a stepping stone.  But if this angry young man focuses and starts to acquire online education on demand, as is now possible, he can learn every skill he will need.  I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and am exposed to numbers of Millennials working in the tech sector.  Some have computer science degrees; others do not.  All are pulling in enviable wages, and all of them are constantly acquiring new skills online.  That is the nature of life today for techies.

For this life, an online degree in computer science would be helpful, but a young person like Willson can simply pick up a skill set and get hired without ever paying outrageous tuition.

The marks are wising up.

SOURCE 






British Universities warned over 'snowflake' student demands

Universities will be forced to pander to the demands of "snowflake" students if controversial changes to the ranking system are approved, education leaders have warned.

The Government faces a cross-party revolt in the Lords this week over proposed reforms to higher education, which include placing student satisfaction at the heart of a new ranking system.

It is feared that this will lead to a "fantastically dangerous" culture where authorities will give in to student demands, however unreasonable they may be.

"Safe space" and "no platform" movements have swept across campuses including a campaign to ban Germaine Greer from giving a speech over her "offensive" comments.

Baroness Wolf, a professor at King’s College London (KCL), warned:  “Universities are increasingly nervous about doing anything that will create overt dissatisfaction among students because they are being told that student satisfaction is key.

“It has had a real effect on the willingness of universities to stand up to student demands which in the past have been removing statues, safe spaces and no-platforming. This whole movement is a direct threat to academic standards and the ability of universities to stand up for freedom of speech.”

She added: “The student satisfaction measure is fantastically dangerous. The way to make students happy is not asking them to do any work and giving them a high grade.

“This will reduce standards and undermine quality.  I just think this is totally mad, and destructive of everything universities stand for.”

Professor Julia Black, interim director at London School of Economics, Baroness Wolf, Baroness Deech, a former senior proctor at Oxford University, and Gill Evans, an emeritus professor at Cambridge University told The Telegraph of their concerns.

The Higher Education and Research Bill, championed by Universities Minister Jo Johnson, will reach committee stage in the Lords on Monday, where is expected to be subject to a barrage of criticism.

Sir Keith Burnett, Vice Chancellor of the University of Sheffield told The Sunday Telegraph: “It is clear that members of the House of Lords are deeply concerned about the long term future and sustainability of universities, and this is true across parties.”

The bill outlines the proposed Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), where universities will be awarded gold, silver or bronze medals on the basis of a range of factors including student satisfaction, teaching excellence and preparation for the world of work. Universities are currently ranked based on quality of research output.

Gill Evans, emeritus professor of Medieval Theology at Cambridge University, said the new criterion will lead to an attitude among university authorities of “bother the kids but we had better give in as we stand to suffer more for fighting it out”. It will lead to a feeling of “if in doubt, give in”, she added.

Baroness Deech, a cross-bench peer who formerly held the highest office dealing with student complaints, has tabled two amendments to the bill dealing with free speech, which she said are “integral to academic freedom”.

“One is requiring universities to protect freedom of speech within the law, so that lecturers on unpopular subjects are not shut down, so that "safe space" and "trigger warnings" do not impede scholarship,” she told The Telegraph.

“The other amendment requires universities to take steps to stop illegal speech, for example invited extremist speakers calling for discrimination and worse against gays, women and Jews, or inciting terrorist activity.” She said that while provisions for both already exist in the law, they are “widely flouted”.

“You should always engage with students, but their experiences change the whole time,” she said. “Universities do have to challenge students and students may find that to be an uncomfortable process. It is beholden on universities to make sure students feel supported through that challenge.”

Vice chancellors have been accused by senior academics of being “needlessly spineless” in their opposition to the bill. In order to raise tuition fees in line with inflation and recruit international students, they must sign up to the proposed teaching excellence framework (TEF).

One Vice Chancellor told the Sunday Telegraph that in terms of opposing the bill, this “leaves universities between a rock and a hard place”.

A senior academic said: “They are terrified at the idea that they might lose fees. They did not need to be so needlessly spineless. ”

A Department for Education spokesman said: "We want more young people to have the opportunity to access a high-quality university education, and the measures proposed in the Higher Education and Research Bill are critical to making this possible.

"The new Teaching Excellence Framework will help raise the quality of teaching and almost all English universities, including those in the Russell Group [24 leading UK universities], have confirmed that they intend to take part in the second year."

SOURCE 






British government declares war on school cyber-bullies: Teachers to be trained on how to spot the signs under plans to tackle the scourge of mental illness

Teachers are to be trained to spot pupils affected by cyber-bullying and eating disorders under plans to tackle the scourge of mental illness, Theresa May will announce today.

The Prime Minister will use a wide-ranging speech on social reform to unveil a new fight against the 'burning injustices' suffered by those suffering mental health problems.

Warning that failure to tackle mental health problems quickly 'destroys lives', Mrs May will vow to end the stigma that has led to millions of people suffering in silence.

A key part of the package will be funding to train teachers in every secondary school in England in mental health 'first aid'.

Teachers will be taught how to spot problems such as depression, anxiety and eating disorders, and offered help in identifying and talking to those at risk of self-harm and suicide. Reports have warned that rising numbers of young people are suffering from mental health issues such as anxiety and stress because of an 'extraordinary range' of pressures.

Among them is the rise of modern technology, which has facilitated cyber-bullying and left many children anxious about their appearance or their social lives.

In her speech today, Mrs May will warn that mental illness 'too often starts in childhood and that when left untreated, can blight lives, and become entrenched'. The Prime Minister developed an interest in mental illness and its consequences during her six years as home secretary, where she was struck by how much police time is taken up dealing with the issue and the prevalence of serious mental health conditions among prison inmates.

Today she will identify it as a key priority in her vision of creating a 'shared society' in which no-one is held back unfairly. She will vow to 'employ the power of government as a force for good to transform the way we deal with mental health problems right across society'.

Mrs May will say support for mental health sufferers should be offered not just in hospitals 'but in our classrooms, at work and in our communities'. She will add: 'This is a historic opportunity to right a wrong, and give people deserving of compassion and support the attention and treatment they deserve.

'And for all of us to change the way we view mental illness so that striving to improve mental wellbeing is seen as just as natural, positive and good as striving to improve our physical wellbeing.

Theresa May's package of measures to tackle mental illness also includes:

Trials to allow vulnerable youngsters to receive fast-tracked care from the NHS;

New guidelines for employers to help staff suffering from depression or other problems to return to work;

Investment in new 'crisis cafes' across the country to offer support for those who do not want NHS help in dealing with their problems;

The expansion of digital diagnosis services that allow people to have their symptoms assessed more quickly online;

Moves to end the scandal that can see people already plunged into debt by their problems charged up to £300 by GPs for proof they have mental health issues

'This starts with ensuring that children and young people get the help and support they need and deserve – because we know that mental illness too often starts in childhood and that when left untreated, can blight lives, and become entrenched.'

Today's package has a strong emphasis on early intervention in schools, where problems such as cyber-bullying, 'sexting' and eating disorders have added to anxiety about exams to place youngsters under intense pressure. Staff at 1,200 secondary schools will be offered training in 'mental health first aid' this year, with those in the remaining two-thirds of secondary schools following in the next two years.

Trials will also be held to strengthen links between schools and local mental health trusts to ensure faster referrals for those with problems.

The Government will also launch a review on the services on offer to help vulnerable youngsters in school, at university and in the home. Speaking yesterday, Mrs May said work was already under way to tackle the 'stigma' faced by mental health sufferers seeking help from the NHS, including a £1billion package announced in January last year.

But she is determined to also tackle the problem in wider society.

She said: 'I was talking to somebody today and they made the point that in the workplace if you break your arm and you go in with your arm in plaster and in a sling, people will come up and talk to you about it. If you have a mental health problem people are more likely to try to avoid you. We must get over this stigma.'

SOURCE 



Monday, January 09, 2017



Betsy DeVos: Opening The Hearts And Minds Of America
 
by Paul Hannosh
  
President-Elect Donald Trump’s new Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, is the best pick in the history of the Department of Education since its inception, in this veteran teacher’s opinion. With her school choice prescription, she is just the medicine that a failing educational system needs to restore it to health. Her long time support of the Charter school movement is one key reform element, but the one that will be transformational will be vouchers or tax credits for any private school a parent decides to send their child to.

The public school monopoly, headed by the National Education Association, is the greatest impediment to competition and reform and will fight tooth and nail to protect their turf and the view that children ultimately belong to the state rather than the parent. America is one of the few western nations that does not give aid to private k-12 religious schools, only to religious colleges. Betsy DeVos can change that oversight with the 20 billion dollar block grant that Trump has proposed to increase school choice. The one size fits all approach to education could become a thing of the past.

DeVos is also an advocate for the biggest trend in education, online learning and homeschooling, which can cater to a student’s individual needs from the convenience of their own home. In a Philanthropy interview, DeVos noted, “in the Internet age, the tendency to equate ‘education’ with ‘specific school buildings’ is going to be greatly diminished.” Betsy DeVos is a breath of fresh air in a stagnant swamp of educational decline where the purpose of education has been lost to modern notions of nihilism. It remains to be seen whether her reforms can re-excite the search for the good life and a certainty in knowledge that past cultures have provided for us. Author Ronald Nash, Closing of the American Heart, has diagnosed our educational problem as not financial or necessarily of the mind, but at its root it is a problem of the heart.

At a recent Charter school convention in San Diego, Dr. Howard Gardner, the author of Multiple Intelligences (the idea that intelligence is relative) was asked a question about whether truth is relative. Surprisingly, he soundly rejected the idea, stating that those who fall for the idea that truth is relative are really giving up on civilization.

Incorrectly, people accept relativism as being linked to tolerance and an open mind. On the other hand, if you believe that truth is not always just an opinion, but can be proven, you are looked at as narrow-minded. Allen Bloom, author of The Closing of the American Mind, points out that “Today’s students have come to believe that the ‘true believer’ is the real danger . . . the point is not to correct mistakes (of the past) and really be right; rather it is not to think you are right at all.”

Students can’t defend relativism when challenged because they have been indoctrinated. “What right do I have to say one culture is better than another?” This is not a true oppenness but a false one that has closed the American mind to the truth as it extinguishes the search for “the good life” and replaces it with nihilism. Relativism is nothing new. The Greek philosopher Gorgias stated that it is impossible to ever prove anything to be true. Gorgias was exposed as a sophist, but today the peddlers of sophistry are mainstream.

Even though this is the prevailing thought on most universities, it is an irrational belief system that commits logical suicide. If there is no truth then is that statement true? Even the relativist must appeal to some form of absolute truth. In the schools with hard science, this relativist notion is not as popular, but one thing a professor can count on is that almost every student believes that truth is relative.

In contradiction to the prevailing paradigm, truth is not just to be found in science but also also in morality. For example, the Soviet Union murdering millions of its own defenseless citizens was an absolute evil, not up for debate by any rational people. In fact, secularism and the totalitarian societies it has spawned have been the greatest threat to humanity beginning with the Enlightenment and the French Revolution and moving through the disaster of Nazism and Russian and Chinese Communism. In comparison to other historical catastrophies, only the Plague beats out secularism for total number of deaths.

As Russell Kirk points out, “The great end of education is ethical. In the college, as at all other levels of the education process, the student comes to apprehend the differences between good and evil. It is this humane tradition and discipline which makes us true human persons and sustains a decent civil social order.” Our failed education system has given us several generations of culturally and morally illiterate students. The Education industry will deny the first but are actually proud of the second achievement. The secularists have won the war against religious traditional views and are standing in front of the school doorway to prevent reform.

Over the years, we have seen a deterioration of curricula and watering down of essential courses. Today the University of Wisconsin has replaced the classics of Western Civilization with such trivial classes titled, “The Problem of Whiteness” and other such comic book pop culture fads where students don’t learn the difference between love and sex, beauty and ugliness, and good and evil. Meaningless jargon invented by PHD’s, Political Correctness, focus on socialization and a moral emptiness of college life has replaced an appreciation for beautiful art, virtue and ancient truths.

The “neutral religion” of secularism has been substituted for the moral and religious values that once infused America’s public schools and thus the new religion has impoverished their souls. The Greeks understood that only educating the mind would simply produce an educated menace to society. Conservatives have slept while the enemy planted weeds in our wheat fields and today we have a crisis of the heart and mind.

One thing that Betsy DeVos can do to end the “politically correct sharia” that dominates the university is to insist on freedom of speech and advocate for more tolerance of conservative ideas. It used to be that schools gave tenure to professors so unpopular speech could be expressed. Instead modern Academia bans free speech in order to protect the “fragile egg-shell” minds of the students.

Suing the pants off of these close minded schools that violate the 1st amendment is one such strategy to correct the liberal bias on campus. Greg Luckianoff of FIRE (Foundational for Individual Rights in Education) is representing Haydon Barnes who was kicked out of school for criticizing a parking garage structure on his Facebook page. He was awarded nearly one million dollars which will help at least that school to take academic freedom more seriously as other college thought police take notice.

If we limit speech to only what people are comfortable with, then you wind up shutting down meaningful discussion and the whole purpose of higher education: to have a free exchange of ideas. One of the most transformational minds of western civilization, Socrates, today would have been banished as a threat to our youth for getting them to question the false orthodoxies prevalent on campus.

SOURCE 





IT’S TIME TO RECLAIM AMERICA’S LEADERSHIP IN EDUCATION

Stanley S. Litow

WHEN THREE FEMALE African-American mathematicians—Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson—became unsung heroes at NASA during the 1960s space race, the US was engaged in a fierce competition to become the world leader in science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM. As told in the recently released movie Hidden Figures, the trio’s groundbreaking calculations for rocket trajectories required programming a complex, first-of-a-kind IBM computer that helped put astronaut John Glenn in orbit. Skip ahead 54 years, and the US is a world leader in scientific innovation and advanced technologies.

But in order for the US to remain at the forefront of innovation and not lag behind, we must address the disconnect between the skills required for 21st century jobs and young people’s ability to acquire those skills. Fixing this will require us to evolve our approach to public education and training. The latest results of the PISA exam, which assesses science, math, and reading performance among 15-year-olds around the globe, show American students noticeably behind in math scores (below the international average), with science and reading scores remaining flat. This is not a small problem.

In one way, Congress took a bold, bipartisan step toward reversing this downward trend and closing America’s skills gap last fall, when the House of Representatives voted 405-to-5 to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act, which had languished since 2006. The Perkins Act provides more than $1 billion in funding for career and technical education across the US. The bill aligns career and tech education programs with actual labor market demands. Updating this important legislation can and should be an early win for the 115th Congress and the incoming administration.

The House bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support because leaders from both sides of the aisle recognize the urgent need to better prepare students to succeed in college and career. Backed by hundreds of business, labor, education, and civil society leaders, this much-needed reform will enable the country to invest wisely and prepare America’s young people to fill the hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs that already exist, and that do not always require a four-year college degree. These new collar jobs for holders of two-year degrees do not need to be created or brought back. They’re ready to be filled today by people with the right skills, and early action by Congress is essential.

But many of our young people lack the relevant skills or support to move from school to college to career. Too many of our traditional vocational training programs do not prepare students for meaningful careers. It’s time to link career and technical education to where the high quality jobs are now and where they will be in the future.

Passage of the Perkins Act can ensure that our nation’s essential career and technical education programs will equip graduates for current and future high-wage, high-growth jobs. A revised Perkins Act will help better meet the demands of the 21st century workforce by giving employers the ability to align education directly to needed skills, and blend experiential learning with academic training. The bill also calls for concrete performance metrics to reward success. Such an investment in America’s young people will yield long-lasting returns.

An innovative new educational model called P-TECH lets students earn both a high school diploma and an associate degree in a STEM field. Launched by IBM (where I am a vice president) along with education partners in 2011, P-TECH is a rigorous program that aligns strong STEM curricula with essential workplace skills such as problem solving, writing, and critical thinking. Located mostly in underserved communities and requiring no admissions testing or additional spending, P-TECH schools are already delivering tangible results. The program has expanded to 60 schools in urban, suburban, and rural communities, and IBM is working with states to create 20 more P-TECH schools over the next year. P-TECH’s measurable results prove that it can and will help thousands of youth achieve success.

In Crown Heights, Brooklyn, for example, nearly 35 percent of students from the first P-TECH class are completing their “six-year” program in five years or less, moving directly into good new collar jobs, four-year college degree programs, or both—without the need for costly, non-credit remedial courses. With these kinds of results, it’s not far-fetched to envision skilled and motivated P-TECH graduates playing essential roles in America’s next moon shot.

If we are to enable a brighter future for American youth through innovative technical education programs, Congress must act quickly and send the Perkins bill to the President’s desk for early signature. This fundamental and sorely needed alignment is a win-win for our country. It puts our students on a path to success, and positions our businesses to compete and win in the global economy. Given support and opportunity, our young people can and will succeed.

SOURCE 






Programs smooth college path for foreign students

Like many Chinese students, Snowy Chen had no intention of going to college in China. She dreams of working at a fashion magazine, Vogue maybe, so she set her sights on the United States.

But Chen,a bubbly 18-year-old, worried about her English skills and how she would manage in an American classroom, with its unfamiliar teaching style and baffling cultural norms. So Chen did what a growing number of foreign students are doing — two years ago she enrolled in something called a pathway program, which guaranteed her admission to Northeastern University if she passed intensive English classes mixed with some academic courses.

In the past five years, these programs have sprouted up on college campuses across the United States as a gateway for foreign students who might otherwise be rejected because they lack English proficiency. Third-party companies run many of the programs and admissions requirements are typically lower. Students can score much lower on English proficiency exams, and many programs do not require students to take the SAT or GRE. Some do not require teacher recommendations or essays.

If students earn high enough grades or pass an exam at the end of program, they can enroll in the university as a regular undergrad or graduate student, often with some college-level credits from the course.

Companies that operate the programs bill them as a win-win for colleges, yet, like many facets of the lucrative international student industry, they are controversial.

Some districts are turning to international testing for a perspective on how well programs are preparing students for college and beyond.

On one hand, the programs guarantee schools a steady stream of international students who diversify the campus and usually pay full tuition.

But they also allow schools to admit students with lower qualifications, and there is little outside research to show whether pathway programs are effective at bringing students up to speed.

All the while, the outside companies make money through a variety of arrangements, usually by taking a cut of the tuition students pay during the time they are in the pathway program.

Critics say such programs encourage colleges to lower their standards simply for the profit international students bring, but others say the programs widen access to equally bright students who simply lack English skills.

“It is intentional, actually, to lower some of the standards, so you can expand the pool of students,” said Rahul Choudaha, a researcher for NAFSA Association of International Educators, who is preparing a first-of-its-kind study about these programs.

Six companies dominate the market, including Kaplan, the well-known test prep company that also recruits students overseas and runs independent language schools in Boston and other cities.

For at least seven years, Kaplan ran Northeastern’s pathway programs, but now the university is in the process of assuming full oversight, administrators said. Northeastern said 7 percent, or about 800, of its current 12,000 international students came through its pathway programs, which cost about $24,000 per year.

Chen participated in a special pathway program, also run in part by Kaplan, in which her first year of Northeastern courses were taught in China. The university participates in a similar program in Nigeria, allowing students to come to the Boston campus once they successfully complete two semesters of the pathway program in their home country.

Students who attend the pathway programs on the Boston campus may live in the dorms and have access to other university services such as the gym and dining hall.

At Wheelock College, a small, financially struggling school in the Fenway, students need only score a 60 out of 120 on the TOEFL English-language exam, a test required by most schools for all international students, to join the program, and they are not required to submit an SAT score, personal statement, or letters of recommendation, according to its website. Annual tuition and other fees for that program total $49,000 for the year.

The Wheelock program, run by the British company Cambridge Education Group, brings about 60 students a year to the school annually thanks to its global network of 150 recruiters, the company said.

Students take most classes separate from other Wheelock students, then continue either at Wheelock or transfer to one of several local colleges with which the program has agreements.

“We give them so much support in their transition to American higher education,” said Kimberly Sizelove, center director of the Wheelock program, called On Campus Boston.

Such programs have become popular with mid-tier schools because the companies assume responsibility for recruiting foreign students. Northeastern, on the other hand, has now developed its own network of recruiters and doesn’t need Kaplan.

“[Smaller schools] really need international students, and they don’t have the resources to find them themselves,” said Lisa Besso, who formerly worked for the pathway company Study Group and is now a private consultant.

The University of Massachusetts hosts pathway programs on its Boston, Dartmouth, and Lowell campuses that are run by the multinational company Navitas. The Boston program enrolled 236 undergraduates and 50 graduate students this fall, according to the school.

In that arrangement, Navitas collects about 70 percent of the tuition, which for undergraduates is about$32,000 annually, according to a copy of the contract obtained by a public records request.

But although schools and companies boast about the high success rates of the programs and how seamlessly students transition into the university afterward, students and a professor interviewed for this story expressed concern that isn’t always the case.

The professor, who asked not to be named because she still works in the field, said more than a few students flunked out of the Northeastern program and some who did not earn a passing grade on the exit exam were able to appeal and enter the university anyway.

Students said some of their pathway classmates saw the program as a way to skirt regular entrance requirements.

“For those people who are not good at English, the only reason they take the pathway program is they don’t want to take the TOEFL [English exam] because they know they won’t get a good score,” said Chen, the Chinese student who is now a third-year student at Northeastern living with three American roommates and studying journalism and theater.

Many pathway students go on to study business, science, or art, but many also matriculate into Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies, a school originally designed for working professionals. It has lower entrance requirements and costs than other Northeastern colleges.

Sundar Kumarasamy, Northeastern’s vice president for enrollment management, disputes the idea that pathway programs allow the university to admit students who aren’t qualified. The program’s exit requirements prevent that, he said.

“Their performance is on par with any international student who is coming in,” he said in a phone interview.

Northeastern and UMass declined requests to visit a pathway class.

In addition to English, many pathway programs teach students about the norms of an American classroom, such as how to give presentations or complete group projects, which are uncommon in other countries, especially in Asia. Students said more than anything, those skills were useful to learn.

Still, many said they regret having paid the high costs of the program. One said it would have been cheaper to have re-taken the English exam multiple times to try for a better score, rather than pay around $12,000 per semester for the pathway program.

Letty Lei, an ambitious 36-year-old Northeastern student from Taiwan, completed the graduate student pathway program in Boston. She graduated last month with a master’s degree in leadership from the College of Professional Studies, with a concentration in project management.

“My suggestion is maybe you can try to just attend one semester” in pathways, Lei said. “You don’t need to spend so much time and so much money, but you can take advantage of this program.”

SOURCE