Friday, April 21, 2017

School Forced to Cut More Than 20 Classes in Order to Pay Labor Union

The University of Massachusetts, Boston is cutting more than 20 summer courses as the school desperately attempts to manage a $30 million operating deficit that is due in part to a project labor agreement that requires unions to be the “sole and exclusive” source of job-site labor.

The university has been plagued by controversy, ranging from declining enrollment to lackluster fundraising, but the project labor agreement is one reason why the university must now cut classes in the summer, and into the fall, reports The Boston Globe.

The university system’s building authority approved a 10-year master plan that called for $750 million in construction with a union work requirement. The requirement effectively excluded the 80 percent of Massachusetts construction workers that are not members of a union. The project labor agreement means less competition, fewer bidders, and higher costs, The Boston Globe reports.

The school’s [black] chancellor, J. Keith Motley, announced last week that he would step down at the end of the year, but defended his 10-year record full of multimillion-dollar construction projects.

“I have no regrets because if the creator blesses me to walk on this campus three years from now and you walk it with me, I know you’ll see an incredible institution,” Motley told the university system’s board of trustees Tuesday.

The warning signs were out there as early as 2011, when UMass Boston’s 2011 strategic planning team warned that rapid growth would be expensive, and that they would have to find efficiencies wherever possible. In 2014, Ellen O’Connor, the former vice chancellor for administration and finance, warned Motley about the exorbitant construction costs.

“We are running out of money,” O’Connor said to Motley in 2014. It is unclear as to who else was made aware of the concerns, but university officials continued to move forward with ambitious expansion.

Despite the multiple warnings, construction on new facilities continued, with costs running well over budget and behind schedule. For example, The UMass Boston science center was projected to cost $155 million, but ended up running $28 million over budget and two years behind schedule. A new classroom building ran $17 million over budget and a year behind schedule, according to The Boston Globe.

In order to make up for the massive budget deficit, adjunct faculty have been laid off, course offerings have been reduced, and database subscriptions in the school’s library have been canceled


Ann Coulter's speech at a California public university was canceled because of "security concerns."

Apparently the lesson University of California, Berkeley learned from the violent protests surrounding writer Milo Yiannopoulos’ speech earlier this year was … you shouldn’t let controversial figures give speeches.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that commentator Ann Coulter’s upcoming speech had been canceled “for security concerns.”

“UC Berkeley officials say they were ‘unable to find a safe and suitable’ venue for the right-wing provocateur who was invited to speak by campus Republicans on April 27,” the AP report added.

This shouldn’t be acceptable.

UC Berkeley canceled Yiannopoulos’ Feb. 1 speech. The level of violence and destruction that greeted Yiannopoulos—who was rightly condemned shortly after the Berkeley violence for remarks he made months earlier about teens, adults, and sexual relationships—was astonishing.

No doubt it’s quite a headache for a university to figure out how to cope with thugs who are willing to act like this, just because they want someone silenced. Although the fact that UC Berkeley appears to have arrested only one person in the aftermath of the protests suggests a lack of seriousness about holding protesters accountable for their actions.

(Update: In an email to me received after publication, Sgt. Sabrina Reich, a public information officer at University of California, Berkeley Police Department, wrote: “To date, there have been two arrests and one student is facing school discipline … but the investigative efforts continue.”)

The point is, no college should reward violent protesters by refusing to allow controversial speakers to appear.

Because this isn’t really about Coulter or Yiannopoulos or author Charles Murray, who was greeted by violent protests when he arrived to speak to Middlebury College in Vermont.


Legal Foundations Call for Repeal of Obama-Era Race-Based School Discipline Guidance

Two legal foundations are calling for an end to federal pressure on school districts to adopt racial quotas in suspensions. And rightly so: It is wrong for an agency to pressure regulated entities to adopt racial quotas, or make race-based decisions, even if the pressure does not inexorably lead to a quota.  (See Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod v. FCC, 141 F.3d 344 (D.C. Cir. 1998)). I earlier discussed at length how Obama-era rules, issued without notice and comment in 2014, pressured school districts to adopt racial quotas in suspensions, which violated the Constitution; misinterpreted Title VI of the Civil Rights Act; and ignored judicially-recognized limits on disparate-impact liability.

On March 29, Roger Clegg, president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, sent an email to the Justice Department asking the Trump administration to withdraw these rules, which are contained in the Obama administration’s January 8, 2014 letter to America’s schools, known as the “Dear Colleague letter: Racial Disparities In The Administration Of School Discipline.” Clegg urged “the withdrawal of the January 8, 2014 ‘Dear Colleague’ letter,” which was issued by the Obama Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights. He called this letter “unsound as a matter of both law and policy,” citing “a variety of sources that have criticized the letter, again from both policy and legal perspectives.” Clegg is a former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division, where he served from 1987-1991.

On April 3, the veteran constitutional lawyer who heads the Mountain States Legal Foundation, William Perry Pendley, sent a letter requesting the rules’ repeal. The letter quotes my March 29 letter to the editor in The Wall Street Journal, including the following language:

“The Obama administration’s rules wrongly pressure schools to have racial quotas in suspensions, and the Education and Justice Departments should now rescind them …The Obama administration’s 2014 ‘guidance’ told the nation’s schools to do something about the disparity in which black students are suspended from school at a higher rate than whites. But as the federal appeals court in Richmond noted, when it comes to suspensions ‘disparity does not, by itself, constitute discrimination,’ and the idea that a school system ‘should have a disciplinary quota is patently absurd.’ The fact that 66% of suspended students were black did not show discrimination in that case, Belk v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education (2001). Similarly, in 1997 the federal appeals court in Chicago struck down as an unconstitutional racial quota a requirement that schools not ‘refer a higher percentage of minority students than of white students for discipline’ [in People Who Care v. Rockford Board of Education (1997)].”
Pendley cited the harm caused by the Obama administration’s pressure in places such as Oklahoma City, where the school district entered into a settlement with the Obama administration designed to lower minority suspension rates. The resulting curbs on suspensions have apparently resulted in more fighting and classroom disorder. Quoting The Wall Street Journal, Pendley noted that a teacher in Oklahoma City said that referrals to the principal’s office “‘would not require suspension unless there was blood.’”

The accompanying April 4 press release from Mountain States Legal Foundation notes:

“William Perry Pendley, president of Mountain States Legal Foundation, in a letter delivered today to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos urged voiding of a directive—styled a ‘Dear Colleague’ letter—sent to State and local public school officials across the country by senior officials in the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education.  The ‘Dear Colleague’ letter (titled, ‘Dear Colleague Letter on the Nondiscriminatory Administration of School Discipline’) warns recipients that the federal Departments of Justice and Education will ‘initiate investigations’ over ‘racial disparities in student discipline’—in some cases, even when the disparity merely reflects the fact that minority students ‘are engaging’ in specified misconduct ‘at a higher rate than students of other races.’

“According to Mr. Pendley, the ‘Dear Colleague’ January 8, 2014, letter violates federal law, misinterprets Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and pressures recipients to violate the Equal Protection Clause.  In addition, the ‘Dear Colleague’ letter constitutes illegal rulemaking in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, promotes a policy that has a horrific record when used by local school districts, and has been the subject of almost universal condemnation by knowledgeable experts.  In St. Paul, Minnesota, for example, the results of using racial equity rules to discipline students were nothing short of disastrous, specifically ‘violence and chaos.’ Because ‘kids … consider themselves untouchable [w]e are seeing more violence and more serious violence.’  ‘[A]t many elementary schools, anarchy reigned.’

“Jason Riley, in an op-ed entitled, ‘An Obama Decree Continues to Make Public Schools Lawless,’ Wall Street Journal, March 22, 2017, at A19, questions why, two months into the Trump administration, the ‘Dear Colleague’ letter is still official policy.  Referencing a newly released study (‘School Discipline Reform and Disorder:  Evidence from New York City Public schools, 2012-2016,’ by Max Eden, Manhattan Institute, March 14, 2017), he notes that more than half of the nation’s 50 largest school districts have reduced suspensions ‘to the dismay of those on the front lines.’

“That the ‘Dear Colleague’ letter was issued illegally, that similar policies have yielded disastrous results for students, teachers, and even the intended beneficiaries (allowing students to avoid any responsibility for their actions, said one teacher, means they are destined to go ‘from the school house to the jail house’), and that it earned the condemnation of public policy experts should spell its doom,” said William Perry Pendley…Please withdraw the ‘Dear Colleague’ letter as soon as possible.”
Unlike some other civil rights statutes, Title VI does not itself ban “disparate impact,” as the Supreme Court made clear in its 2001 decision in Alexander v. Sandoval. The Obama administration argues that even if the Title VI statute itself does not reach disparate impact, regulations under it can and do (an idea that the Supreme Court characterized as “strange” in footnote 6 of its Sandoval ruling).  But even if Title VI disparate-impact regulations were generally valid, they would be subordinate to, and could not override, the Title VI statute itself, which bans racial quotas, as does the Constitution’s equal-protection guarantee.  (See, e.g., People Who Care v. Rockford Board of Education, 111 F.3d 528, 538 (7th Cir. 1997) (striking down as unconstitutional a provision that forbade a “school district to refer a higher percentage of minority students than of white students for discipline unless the district purges all ‘subjective’ criteria from its disciplinary code,” because that constituted a forbidden racial quota)).

Even if disparate-impact liability applied under Title VI, the Obama-era guidance fails to take into account non-racial factors (such as poverty and coming from a single-parent household) in determining whether a meaningful disparity exists to begin with, as courts require (and as I previously explained.)

Hans Bader practices law in Washington, D.C. After studying economics and history at the University of Virginia and law at Harvard, he practiced civil-rights, international-trade, and constitutional law.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

The University of Virginia’s Fight to Protect Free Speech

According to some observers, college campuses are facing a “free speech crisis.” From author Charles Murray, who faced violent protests at Middlebury College, to Manhattan Institute scholar Heather Mac Donald, who was shouted down by students at Claremont McKenna College, controversial free speech cases arise on college campuses almost weekly.

But amid the chaos, some college and university administrators are working harder than ever to protect the First Amendment. The Daily Signal traveled to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, which has faced its own campus protests in recent weeks, to find out how difficult—and costly—it is in today’s political environment to stand up for free speech.


University Students Vote to Make American Flag 'Optional'
Students at the University of California, Davis proved you don’t need a Bic lighter to desecrate Old Glory — you just need a majority vote.

The UC Davis Student Senate passed legislation revoking a long-standing rule that required the American flag “stand visibly” at every senate meeting.

“It shall not be compulsory for the flag of the United State (sic) of America to be displayed at the ASUCD Senate meetings,” the new legislation declares.

Ironically, the author of the anti-American bill is a student who recently became a naturalized citizen.

“The concept of the United States of America and patriotism is different for every individual,” Itmar Waksman told the CBS news affiliate in Sacramento.

Under the new rules, any senator who wants to display Old Glory must file a petition.

“It will then be at the discretion of the Senate Pro Tempore whether to approve, reject or set the decision to a vote of the Senate,” the bill reads.

Sadly, there are plenty of young people at UC Davis who share Mr. Waksman’s sick and twisted ideology. One student explained her rage against the flag in a Facebook post:

“Why do you feel that advocating for the U.S. flag that represents a history of genocide, slavery, and imperialism is more important than stuff that actually matters like I don’t know, the violence against our LGBTQ Brown and Black students, rising tuition, resources for our students without homes,” she fumed. “What a waste of time.”

A waste of time?

Try telling that to the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces who put their lives on the line every day so that perpetually offended snowflakes can spit on America.

Try telling that to our wounded warriors whose arms and legs were blown off fighting for our freedom. Without their sacrifice we would not be the land of the free or the home of the brave.

But concepts like duty and honor and courage — God and Country — are lost on many of the perpetually offended generation.

UC Davis student Michael Gofman understands those concepts. His parents fled the Soviet Union so their family could have a better life. Michael was one of the few students to oppose the flag bill.

He told Fox 40 in Sacramento that “every student on this campus owes a lot to this country whether they know it or not, and that creating a bill that takes steps to ban he flag is a slap in the face.”

And there are some patriots around campus who agree with this courageous young man. One supporter responded to those posting hateful messages about our nation.

“That flag represents the freedom you have to make such a comment,” the supporter wrote. “Try going to North Korea and expressing those kinds of opinions about the state. You won’t get far. The United States is by no means perfect in anyone’s eyes. I think we can all agree on that point. But that flag by far represents the freest nation on Earth. That is a privilege you should honor, not trash.”

We have two courses of action. First, you should contact the UC Davis Alumni Association. Encourage them to withhold donations until this unpatriotic bill is reversed.

Second, revoke federal student loans for every senator who supported the bill. It’s hypocritical for the young lawmakers to take taxpayer money from the very nation and government they despise.

As for Mr. Waksman, we are honored to welcome people from other nations — those willing to come here legally, those yearning to breathe free. But it’s incredibly impolite to disrespect the nation that gave you refuge.

So, Mr. Waksman, if you have a problem with the red, white and blue, I would encourage you to go back to wherever you came from.


Students Demand Administrators ‘Take Action’ Against Conservative Journalists

In an open letter to outgoing Pomona College President David Oxtoby, a group of students from the Claremont Colleges assail the president for affirming Pomona’s commitment to free speech and demand that all five colleges “take action” against the conservative journalists on the staff of the Claremont Independent.

The letter, written by three self-identified Black students at Pomona College, is a response to an April 7 email from President Oxtoby in which he reiterated the college’s commitment to “the exercise of free speech and academic freedom” in the aftermath of protests that shut down a scheduled appearance by an invited speaker, scholar and Black Lives Matter critic Heather Mac Donald, on April 6.

“Protest has a legitimate and celebrated place on college campuses,” Oxtoby wrote. “What we cannot support is the act of preventing others from engaging with an invited speaker. Our mission is founded upon the discovery of truth, the collaborative development of knowledge and the betterment of society.”

In their open letter, the students sharply disagree.

“Free speech, a right many freedom movements have fought for, has recently become a tool appropriated by hegemonic institutions. It has not just empowered students from marginalized backgrounds to voice their qualms and criticize aspects of the institution, but it has given those who seek to perpetuate systems of domination a platform to project their bigotry,” they write.

“Thus, if ‘our mission is founded upon the discovery of truth,’” the students continue, citing Oxtoby’s letter, “how does free speech uphold that value?”

The students also characterize truth as a “myth” and a white supremacist concept.

“Historically, white supremacy has venerated the idea of objectivity, and wielded a dichotomy of ‘subjectivity vs. objectivity’ as a means of silencing oppressed peoples,” they explain. “The idea that there is a single truth–‘the Truth’–is a construct of the Euro-West that is deeply rooted in the Enlightenment, which was a movement that also described Black and Brown people as both subhuman and impervious to pain. This construction is a myth and white supremacy, imperialism, colonization, capitalism, and the United States of America are all of its progeny. The idea that the truth is an entity for which we must search, in matters that endanger our abilities to exist in open spaces, is an attempt to silence oppressed peoples.”

In reference to the protests of Mac Donald, the open letter explains that engaging with Mac Donald’s speech would have amounted to a debate not “on mere difference of opinion, but [on] the right of Black people to exist.”

“Heather Mac Donald is a fascist, a white supremacist, a warhawk, a transphobe, a queerphobe, a classist, and ignorant of interlocking systems of domination that produce the lethal conditions under which oppressed peoples are forced to live,” the letter claims. “Why are you [President Oxtoby], and other persons in positions of power at these institutions, protecting a fascist and her hate speech and not students that are directly affected by her presence?”

The open letter concludes by insisting that Oxtoby apologize for his April 7 email and issue a new message that the college “does not tolerate hate speech and speech that projects violence onto the bodies of its marginalized students and oppressed peoples.”

The students also demand that the Claremont Colleges “take action” against the staff of the Claremont Independent for their “continual perpetuation of hate speech, anti-Blackness, and intimidation toward students of marginalized backgrounds.” Taking a step further, they call for “disciplinary action” against conservative journalists from the Claremont Colleges.

“We also demand that Pomona College and the Claremont University Consortium entities take action against the Claremont Independent editorial staff for its continual perpetuation of hate speech, anti-Blackness, and intimidation toward students of marginalized backgrounds,” they write. “Provided that the Claremont Independent releases the identity of students involved with this letter and such students begin to receive threats and hate mail, we demand that this institution and its constituents take legal action against members of the Claremont Independent involved with the editing and publication process as well as disciplinary action, such as expulsion on the grounds of endangering the wellbeing of others.”

The letter’s signatories, of whom there are more than 20 at the time of publication, request a response by the afternoon of April 18.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Pushing Communism on Children

As that old cliché states, the definition of insanity is to repeat the same thing over and over again expecting different results. However, when applied to those who promote the Marxist ideals of communism, this becomes a truism. It’s quite simply intellectually and historically dishonest to suggest that communism has ever produced a more just society, let alone anything even remotely resembling the utopia its advocates so exuberantly promise. And yet leftist proponents of the fatally flawed system repeatedly argue for its acceptance on the basis of it being in principle a perfect system — you know, if it weren’t for a history of failed implementations.

Which brings us to those at MIT Press who just can’t resist the temptation to push for communism’s acceptance with the next generation. MIT Press recently released a children’s book entitled “Communism for Kids” — a propaganda tract written by a German political theorist who specializes in “queer politics.” The plot synopsis of the book reads as follows: “Once upon a time, people yearned to be free of the misery of capitalism. How could their dreams come true? This little book proposes a different kind of communism, one that is true to its ideals and free from authoritarianism.”

The book, according to MIT Press, “unfolds like a story, with jealous princesses, fancy swords, displaced peasants, mean bosses, and tired workers — not to mention a Ouija board, a talking chair, and a big pot called ‘the state.’” Clearly it should be found in the children’s fantasy section of the book store. Chapter titles of the book include, “What is communism?”, “What is capitalism?”, “How did capitalism arise?”, “What is work?” as well as “What is to be done?”

A portion of the book states, “Communism names the society that gets rid of all the evils people suffer today in our society under capitalism. There are lots of different ideas about what communism should look like. But if communism means getting rid of all the evils people suffer under capitalism, then the best kind of communism is the one that can get rid of the most evils.” The problem is that kind of communism is simply non-existent, for communism itself fundamentally rejects one of the most obvious and basic foundational truths of human nature: People are selfish.

In the increasingly godless circles of the leftist elites, the opiate of Marxism is as enticing as it has ever been.


Former Choate teacher fired in 1999 for 'anally raping' a student in a resort swimming pool KEPT teaching at other schools and became a high school principal after nobody reported the allegations

A prestigious boarding school says a Spanish teacher it fired in 1999 after two students accused him of sexual assault was able to continue his education career for the next 18 years at several other schools that weren't notified of the allegations.

Jaime Rivera-Murillo is among 12 former faculty and staff members at Choate Rosemary Hall named in a report the Wallingford, Connecticut school released Thursday, accusing them of sexual misconduct with students over the past several decades. Rivera denies the allegations.

Rivera just last week resigned as principal of Wamogo Regional High School in Litchfield after its school superintendent was notified by Choate officials about the allegations. His teaching career spanned at least two other high schools in the 18 years he was fired from Choate.

The explosive allegations stem from an incident in October of 1999, when Rivera was a Spanish teacher for Choate.

He was leading a fall semester study abroad program in San Jose, Costa Rica, when he led a group of students on a weekend excursion.

Late on a Friday evening, Rivera and five students were 'hanging out' at a resort swimming pool and nearby bar, the students recalled in interviews with investigators.

As the night went on, Rivera 'became overly friendly' and 'touchy-feely' with one 15-year-old female student, placing his hand on her leg and groping her breast, according to a memo of the investigation conducted less than 24 hours later.

Later, in the pool with a 17-year-old female student, Rivera got even more personal.

'I have these problems. I am a man,' he told her, adding that he and his wife were separated, according to the memo.

The student said that Rivera kissed her, put his hand on her underpants, and moved her into a dark area of the pool, which had an island in the center of it.

Rivera then 'removed his shorts,' and 'entered her anus with his penis,' memo says.

Another student claims he found Rivera in the midst of 'thrusting' into the young girl, and yanked the teacher away from the girl.

Interviews this year with the students involved substantially correspond to the contemporaneous accounts, with the exception that the 17-year-old now says that Rivera was trying to penetrate her when he was interrupted.  

Rivera denied the claims at the time and in a 2017 interview with investigators, saying that he simply had some 'local moonshine' and returned to his room.

But the Spanish teacher was fired from Choate for 'just cause' after the school investigated the assault allegations.

The incident seems to have never been reported to any authorities, and Rivera retained his ability to teach.

The report indicates that he taught at Henry Abbott Technical High School and Newtown High School in Connecticut, as well as Harrison High School in New York.

Rivera could not be reached for comment on Friday.

No current faculty or staff members at Choate have been implicated in the misconduct claims and there are no reports relating to any current students.

The report notes that in some cases the school acted quickly in response to the alleged sexual misconduct, but in other cases it did not.

Police were never notified and in some cases teachers were allowed to resign and then given letters of recommendation. The school has issued an apology.

The posh boarding school counts JFK and Ivanka Trump as former students. New York attorney Nancy Kestenbaum had been hired to investigate claims that staff had sex with their students at the institution.

Parents pay boarding fees of up to $56,000 for their children to attend.

It has taught generations of the upper-classes in New England, including the former president and others related to the American political elite.


Who's Unsafe on Campus?

Springtime may be in bloom, but snowflakes never go out of season at America's most prestigious colleges and universities.

Quivering students at the University of Notre Dame launched a protest last week against the school's decision to invite Vice President Mike Pence as commencement speaker. Activist Imanne Mondane told the campus newspaper that she and her peers felt "unsafe" and threatened by "someone who openly is offensive but also demeaning of their humanity and of their life and of their identity."

In other words: The mere presence of a public official whose policy positions veer from acceptable left-wing norms is a public safety hazard.

At Wichita State University, the student government voted to refuse official recognition of the libertarian Young Americans for Liberty group because it supports — gasp! — the First Amendment. Since other chapters of the group across the country have invited controversial conservative speakers to their campuses, the Kansas safe-spacers argued, it would be "dangerous" to allow them to operate in Kansas.

And at Duquesne University, students have now declared that welcoming a Chick-fil-A on campus would put their "safe place" at "risk" because the founders of the fast-food company defended traditional marriage.

What the cluck? These millennial chicken littles have grown softer than the insides of waffle fries.

While they hype the existential dangers of exposure to discomfiting ideological dissent, the bubble-wrapped brigade ignores the real menaces in the academy.

Take vengeful Fresno State professor Lars Maischak. He's been on the loose on social media, tweeting earlier this year that "Trump must hang." Just to be clear, he added: "The sooner and the higher, the better." In retaliation the administration's crackdown on illegal immigration, Maischak proclaimed, "two Republicans" should be "executed" for "each deported immigrant."

Using the hashtag "#TheResistance," Maischak tweeted: "Has anyone started soliciting money and design drafts for a monument honoring the Trump assassin, yet?"

The unhinged academic also tweeted a photo of a bullet with the caption: "Finally discovered! A cure for racism. Take one, administered straight to the cranium."

I can't say "lock and load" or do the "Charlie's Angels" finger gun pose without being accused of inciting violence. But this assassination-obsessed loon can tweet his twisted heart out on Twitter with impunity. (Where's that Twitter Safety Council when you need it?) Of course, Maischak denies harboring any hatred and claims he's the innocent target of a "digital lynch-mob."

Meanwhile, real mobs set fire to U.C. Berkeley to protest speaker Milo Yiannopoulos, injured a professor at Middlebury College while hounding conservative speaker Charles Murray off campus, and assaulted conservative speaker and Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes at New York University.

As Manhattan Institute scholar and "The War on Cops" author Heather MacDonald recounted in City Journal, she became "the target of such silencing tactics two days in a row last week" at Claremont McKenna College and UCLA. Baying protesters chanted, "We are here to shut down the f—-ing fascist" and "From Oakland to Greece, f—- the police." She was forced to livestream her talk from an empty room while agitators pounded on the windows outside. Then she was whisked away in an unmarked Claremont Police Department van.

Who's unsafe on campus? The social justice mobsters play victim but wield bloodied brass knuckles in the ivory tower against any and all who threaten their orthodoxy and power.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Students out lying principal — How did she get past the school board?

These teen journalists were assigned to do an introduction piece for their new principal Amy Robertson. After they did some investigating, however, their published article led to the principal’s resignation only days later.

The students working for the Booster Redux publication at Pittsburg High School in southeastern Kansas didn’t plan on outing Robertson as a phony when they started writing the piece. But once they started looking into her credentials, they discovered a lot of discrepancies.

 After Robertson was appointed on March 6th, the students reached out to the principal in a conference call on March 16th. For starters, Robertson claimed to have received her master’s and doctorate degrees from Corllins University. When the young journalists tried to look up the school, they found that the Better Business Bureau had stated that Corllins was not BBB-accredited. Another resource said that “the physical address of Collins was unknown”.

Despite Robertson having claimed that she did most of her schoolwork online, she said she had still visited the Corllins campus in Stockton, California. A quick call to the City of Stockton’s Community Development Department told them that the school was essentially nonexistent. Robertson was also reportedly unable to provide a copy of her transcripts.

The students compiled this information along with their other findings into an article that was published in the Booster Redux on Friday. On Tuesday, Robertson handed in her resignation, which was accepted by the Pittsburg Community Schools’ Board of Education.

The six students who put the article together were launched into the media limelight for their impressive reporting. The teens even got a shoutout from Todd Wallack of the Boston Globe Spotlight Team.

“I honestly thought they were joking at first,” 17-year-old Connor Balthazor told the Washington Post concerning the praise. “It was awesome to know that such respected members of the journalism community had our backs.”

The students were recognized and thanked by school officials for their thorough investigating. Though they may still be in high school, it seems pretty safe to say that this will look good on their resumes in the future.


The Cancer Eating Away at College Campuses

The average American has little knowledge of the extent to which our institutions of higher learning have been infected with a spreading cancer.

One aspect of that cancer is akin to the loyalty oaths of the 1940s and ’50s. Professors were often required to sign statements that affirmed their loyalty to the United States government, plus swear they were not members of any organizations, including the Communist Party USA, which sought the overthrow of the United States government.

Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down loyalty oaths as a condition of employment in 1964.

Today we’re seeing the re-emergence of the mentality that gave us loyalty oaths, in the form of mandating that faculty members write “diversity statements,” especially as part of hiring and promotion procedures. They are forced to pledge allegiance to the college’s diversity agenda.

For example, the University of California, San Diego requires that one’s “Contributions to Diversity Statement” describe one’s “past experience, activities and future plans to advance diversity, equity and inclusion, in alignment with UC San Diego’s mission to reflect the diversity of California and to meet the educational needs and interests of its diverse population.”

George Leef, director of research at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, has written an article titled “Loyalty Oaths Return with Faculty ‘Diversity Statements.’”

His article documents the growing trend of mandated faculty diversity statements—such as that at Virginia Tech, in which “candidates should include a list of activities that promote or contribute to inclusive teaching, research, outreach, and service.”

College diversity agendas are little more than a call for ideological conformity. Diversity only means racial, sex, and sexual orientation quotas.

In pursuit of this agenda, colleges spend billions of dollars on offices of diversity and inclusion, diversity classes, and diversity indoctrination. The last thing that diversity hustlers want is diversity in ideas.

By the way, the next time you hear a college president boasting about how diverse his college is, ask him how many Republican faculty members there are in his journalism, psychology, English, and sociology departments.

In many cases, there is none, and in others, the ratio of Democrats to Republicans might be 20-to-1.

Nearly 100 percent of political campaign contributions from liberal arts faculty go to Democrats. At Cornell University, for example, 97 percent of contributions from faculty went to Democrats. At Georgetown University, it was 96 percent.

A study by my George Mason University colleague Daniel B. Klein, along with Charlotta Stern, titled “Professors and Their Politics: The Policy Views of Social Scientists,” concluded:

The academic social sciences are pretty much a one-party system. Were the Democratic tent broad, the one-party system might have intellectual diversity. But the data show almost no diversity of opinion among the Democratic professors when it comes to the regulatory, redistributive state: They like it. Especially when it comes to the minimum wage, workplace-safety regulation, pharmaceutical regulation, environmental regulation, discrimination regulation, gun control, income redistribution, and public schooling.

The fascist college trend that we are witnessing today is by no means new. As early as 1991, Yale University President Benno Schmidt warned:

The most serious problems of freedom of expression in our society today exist on our campuses. The assumption seems to be that the purpose of education is to induce correct opinion rather than to search for wisdom and to liberate the mind.

What diversity oaths seek is to maintain political conformity among the faculty indoctrinating our impressionable, intellectually immature young people. Vladimir Lenin said, “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.”

That’s the goal of the leftist teaching agenda.

You might ask, “Williams, what can be done?” Parents, donors, and legislatures need to stop being lazy. Check to see whether a college has diversity mandates for faculty. Check to see whether campus speakers have been disinvited.

College administrators have closed minds about their diversity agenda, but there’s nothing more effective in opening up closed minds than the sound of pocketbooks snapping shut.


Liberal snowflakes literally ‘fear’ new Chick-fil-A on college campus

Liberal students at Duquesne University are protesting bringing Chick-fil-A to campus because they’re worried its presence will threaten gay students.

You can’t make this stuff up:

    "Niko Martini, a student senator at the Pittsburgh university, filed a petition with the student government asking the school to reconsider the inclusion of Chick-fil-A in its Options Food Court.

    “Chick-fil-A has a questionable history on civil rights and human rights,” Mr. Martini said in a statement to the student newspaper, The Duke. “I think it’s imperative the university chooses to do business with organizations that coincide with the [university’s] mission and expectations they give students regarding diversity and inclusion.”

If Mr. Martini is so concerned about upholding his university’s “mission,” perhaps he should do some research. Duquesne is a Catholic university, and despite all the progressive proclamations of Pope Francis the church still teaches that all homosexual acts are “intrinsically evil.”

Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Kathy never called homosexuality evil. He just said that he supports “the biblical definition of the family unit.”

Here’s some more head-scratching ridiculousness from one of Duquesne’s liberal minds:

    "Rachel Coury, president of the Duquesne gay-straight alliance, said she fears Chick-fil-A will roll back efforts to create a safe environment for gay students on campus.

    “I’ve tried very hard within the last semester and a half to promote this safe environment for the LGBTQ+ community,” Ms. Coury told The Duke. “So I fear that with the Chick-fil-A … maybe people will feel that safe place is at risk.”

    She said it would mean a lot to the LGBT community “if someone could make a statement to eliminate the fear of being marginalized by having this business on campus.”

If you legitimately believe that the presence of a chicken sandwich will threaten your safety, then you don’t need a petition — you need a psychologist.


Monday, April 17, 2017

How Federalism Can Give Head Start a New Start

Rep. Jim Banks below is making a brave try but it will do no good.  Academic aptitude is almost entirely inherited.  You can't make an Einstein out of a gangbanger. The results mentioned below are pretty good proof of that.  Nothing works when you are up against genetics

Wherever one sits on the ideological spectrum, we all agree that our children deserve access to a high-quality education.

The American economy will not grow without qualified workers and our democracy will not thrive without an informed citizenry.

This is critical to the very idea of America—everyone should be free to reach as high as their talent and work ethic will take them, regardless of where one begins in life.

Too often, underprivileged families lack the opportunity to enroll their children in pre-kindergarten programs, and many students from these families begin their education behind their peers.

A common fear is that this initial achievement gap may never be closed during the child’s education and the student may never reach his or her full potential.

The Head Start program, created in 1965, was intended to close this gap. One of the pillars of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, Head Start attempts to alleviate the education gap between low-income children and their peers by providing comprehensive early childhood education services.

The program also provides medical and nutritional services while engaging parents in their child’s education.

Funding and enrollment in the program have skyrocketed since its inception. In fiscal year 2015, Head Start had nearly 1 million enrollees and received $8.6 billion in federal funding.

Unfortunately, despite the best of intentions, these investments have failed to improve academic achievement for far too many low-income students.

A recent long-term study of the Head Start program by the Department of Health and Human Services tracked 5,000 three- and four-year-old children from pre-K to third grade and found no improvement in language skills, literacy, math, or overall school performance by the time enrollees entered third grade.

The study demonstrated similar non-effects in socio-emotional development, health, and parenting outcomes.

This report concluded:

… there were initial positive impacts from having access to Head Start, but by the end of 3rd grade there were very few impacts found for either cohort in any of the four domains of cognitive, social-emotional, health and parenting practices. The few impacts that were found did not show a clear pattern of favorable or unfavorable impacts for children.

It is clear that Head Start needs a new start, and we need a new approach to early childhood education. To do that, I am introducing the Head Start Improvement Act.

The bill would give states full control of how they spend Head Start dollars and is a companion bill to legislation introduced by Utah Sen. Mike Lee.

If our bill were enacted, states would be free of the strings that always accompany money earmarked for federal programs, and they would have the flexibility to ensure pre-K dollars flow to where they will be used most effectively.

State legislators in Indiana and across the country support this concept.

Indiana state Sen. Luke Kenley, a leading voice on education issues in my home state, recently shared with me that “turning these funds into a block grant would be a benefit to both state and federal budgets, and a tremendous step forward in providing a good pre-K program to the children of Indiana.”

Federal regulations and mandates have not improved education outcomes for low-income children. Putting more money into central planning will not lead to better outcomes for these kids.

Instead, we need to empower the laboratories of our democracy, the states. They are in the best position to know how to design and fund pre-K programs for their unique populations, and we will only see successful pre-K policy if they are given the flexibility they need to succeed.


Muslim professor Areej Zufari, who lied about and persecuted Christian student, resigns

The intensely bigoted and fraudulent Professor Areej Zufari has resigned.

The Muslim professor who was accused by one of her students of asserting that Jesus’ crucifixion never took place and that Christ’s disciples did not believe he was God has resigned from Rollins College.

Rollins College President Grant Cornwell told the Orlando Sentinel that Professor Areej Zufari “resigned this semester because of the hateful threats and emails and phones messages she was getting. I think it’s a terrible injustice, but I do respect her decision.”

Zufari was at the center of a national controversy over the suspension of student Marshall Polston, 20, a Christian student in her class who challenged her claims — so much so that she took to accusing him of harassment. She filed a police report against him and told officials he made her feel unsafe, after which Polston was suspended.

According to the March 24 suspension letter, handed down right after Zufari’s police report was filed, Polston’s unspecified “actions have constituted a threat of disruption within the operations of the College and jeopardize the safety and well-being of members of the College community and yourself.”

Campus officials then reviewed Polston’s case after a weeklong battle over what Polston called “unfounded allegations” and he was reinstated. Polston’s lawyer said at the time the college should investigate wherever Zufari should remain at the school, given her “malicious assassination” of his client’s character.

Zufari remains a full professor at Valencia College, the Sentinel reports. Her past connections with radical Islam, meanwhile, have become a point of concern among some watchdog groups.

As for Polston, now President Cornwell tells the Orlando Sentinel that Polston’s suspension had to do with some unrelated “vulgar” and “mean-spirited” social media comments he made to a fellow student.

Polston balked at that assertion, writing on Facebook the same morning the Sentinel published its story: “The Orlando Slantinel is FAKE NEWS and full of lies!”

The young man’s attorney, Kenneth Lewis, also rejected the college’s reasoning, telling the Sentinel the Facebook post was “nothing” and “a total joke” and the classroom dispute was the real reason for the suspension.


Australia: Schools program promoting homosexuality to be dumped by NSW Government

THE controversial Safe Schools program is set to be axed with the NSW government replacing it with a ­broader anti-bullying program.

To be implemented in the third term, the proposed new resource will equip teachers with tools to target all kinds of bullying and discrimination, while also empowering vulnerable students from becoming radicalised.

State Education Minister Rob Stokes has already sounded out stakeholders, including in the Catholic Schools sector, about the design of the new program that will be peer reviewed over the coming weeks.

Unlike the sexual diversity and gender fluidity focus of the Safe Schools program, the new resource will aim to equip teachers with tools to target all kinds of bullying.

A government source said the shift to a broader-based program was being done in recognition that homophobia was not the sole cause of bullying in the playground. “The new program is about stopping all kinds of bullying,” the source said.

“It could be bullying ­because someone is overweight, or wears glasses, or is transitioning sex, but the overwhelming message is that it is not OK (to bully). The program will include lesson plans and material that can be tailored by teachers as required.”

Dedicated funding for the anti-bullying strategy is ­expected to be put aside in the next state Budget, with federal funding for Safe Schools due to run out on June 30.

Still in draft form, the NSW program will be peer reviewed by child psychology experts such as Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, retired school principals and various education stakeholders.

However, the State government faces a battle with the Commonwealth government, with federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham understood to have refused to decommission the Safe Schools website.

The move to a broader anti-bullying program in NSW comes as the Victorian government expands on the existing Safe Schools models for continued use in its schools.

The Victorian model retains the focus of the original program of ensuring schools are safe places for all students, ­“including LGBTI students”, and are “free of homophobia and transphobia”.

The Safe Schools program was widely condemned for the appropriateness of its teaching material, such as The Gender Fairy story where primary schoolchildren as young as four were advised that only they could know whether they were a boy or a girl.

Supporters of the Safe Schools program accused its critics of being “homophobic” and “transphobic”.

Mr Stokes declined to comment last week.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Unbelievable: I was censored at Berkeley

David Horowitz

The freedom to speak is inseparable from the freedom to hear. The UC Berkeley administration is hostile to both these freedoms.

I know this by personal experience. The College Republicans invited me to speak at Berkeley on April 12. I had hired bodyguards and was ready to go into the lion’s den. But in a death of a thousand bureaucratic cuts, UC administrators placed such harsh restrictions on the event that it had to be cancelled the day before my appearance.

The administration feared a repeat of the February leftwing riot on campus when masked leftwing thugs prevented Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking, and caused $100,000 property damage as well as physical violence to bystanders. The UC Police Department did nothing to stop or arrest the rioters who as a result would not have to think twice before rioting again, at my event or at Ann Coulter’s which is scheduled to take place at the end of the month. The UC administration used their own cowardice at the Yiannopoulos event as an excuse to silence me.

Everyone is by now familiar with the left’s desire to gag its political opponents. The university is the left’s playground because it can count on administrators like UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor Stephen Sutton, desperate for what all appeasers seek — peace in his time — to place crushing burdens on conservative students who want to hear other opinions.

In my case, the administration insisted that the speech take place at 1 pm, when most students are in class, and at a site a half mile away from the campus itself. But that wasn’t enough. UC Campus Police Chief Yao, in a moment that called up Lewis Carroll as well as Kafka and Orwell, told me that College Republicans could announce the event but not tell people where it would take place.

But the administration wasn’t through. Two days before the event, the College Republicans were summoned to a meeting with Vice Chancellor Sutton and UCPD Captain Yao to be told that in addition to the other burdens their club was going to be charged $5,778 for “security” and an additional $2,000 for rental on the room that was half a mile from campus.

The birthplace of the Free Speech Movement once again spit in the face of free speech.

This entire episode is another disgraceful chapter in the nationwide story being written every day of the university’s sycophantic capitulation to the totalitarian left and its collaboration in the left’s attack on ideas it doesn’t agree with.

At the same time UC Berkeley and universities like it gag me and other conservatives, they open their arms to racist organizations like Black Lives Matter and anti Semitic hate groups like Students for Justice in Palestine, providing them with offices and money and ample opportunities to present their rancid ideas at the times and places of their choosing.

I know the reason that the Berkeley bureaucrats killed my speech was that they knew I would attack their criminal policy of providing a “sanctuary” for illegal immigrants, thus putting our students and our society itself at risk. And they knew I would attack too their support for Students for Justice in Palestine, a front group for the Hamas terrorists. The cowardly UC administration believed it was more important to appease leftist thugs it has given free reign than it was to protect and defend the principle of free speech and a true diversity of ideas on campus.

I will continue to appear universities across the country and I will continue to embarrass administrations like UC Berkeley’s that degrade our constitution by trying to silence me.

Via email


Three recent reports below

New York making state colleges tuition-free for middle class, poor

New York will be the first state to make tuition at public colleges and universities free for middle-class students under a state budget approved by lawmakers Sunday.

The plan crafted by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo will apply to any New York student whose family has an annual income of $125,000 or less. To qualify the student would have to meet certain class load and grade point average restrictions, and room and board would not be covered.

“College is today what high school was 50 years ago,” Cuomo said on a radio interview Sunday on AM 970 in New York City. “If you’re a young person who wants success and a career, a college education is necessary.

The initiative is included in a $153 billion state budget proposal that passed the state Senate late Sunday after being endorsed by the Assembly a day earlier. The budget was due by April 1, but difficult negotiations delayed passage.

The tuition plan will be phased in over three years, with families making $100,000 or less annually eligible in the fall of 2017, with the threshold rising to $125,000 in 2019. Cuomo’s office says some 940,000 families will qualify. The initiative also includes $19 million for a new tuition award program for students at private colleges.

The governor’s office estimates that the program will cost the state $163 million.

When asked by CBS New York if he feared an exodus of students to free state schools, Robert Gilmore, who handles admissions at Manhattanville College, replied, “I really kind of am.”

Private educators are framing their concerns in terms of protecting choice.

“I do think we need to take a breath,” Dr. Joseph Nyre, president of Iona College, remarked to CBS New York. “I do think we need to hit the pause button and think hard about, how do we support choice?”

The governor’s office estimates the program would bring new students into higher education, and that fewer than 2 percent would be transfers from private institutions.

The budget approved Sunday also includes provisions allowing the ride-hailing apps Uber and Lyft to expand upstate and a juvenile justice reform known as “raise the age” that would raise the age of adult criminal responsibility from 16 to 18.

After years of failed attempts, Uber and Lyft finally would be able to move into upstate cities such as Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester and Albany. The ride-hailing apps have been limited to the New York City area but are expected to begin service upstate 90 days after the budget is approved.


The True Costs of New York’s ‘Free College’ Program

On Friday, New York decided to become the first state to offer four years of tuition-free public college to its residents.

Starting in the fall of 2017, any student from a family who is making less than $100,000 annually can qualify for free tuition, under certain conditions, such as a requirement to maintain a minimum grade point average and commit to living and working in New York for four years after graduation.

Like all tuition-free proposals, this policy kicks the can down the road, leaving taxpayers and future generations with the bill.

As Education Secretary Betsy DeVos aptly reminded Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., during her confirmation hearing, “There’s nothing in life that’s truly free.”

Providing students four years of tuition-free college does not mean that professors have generously decided to forgo their salaries and academic buildings now come rent-free. In fact, it does not even mean that universities have a plan to cut administrative bloat to focus more of their efforts on academics.

Indeed, offering free college to students means that someone else is now paying for it: New York taxpayers, many of whom do not hold bachelor’s degrees themselves and will likely earn less in the future than their college-going counterparts for whom they are now footing the bill.

Recent history has shown that removing any financial responsibility from the student to pay for their degree does more harm than good. Economists have found that virtually unrestricted access to federal student aid encourages colleges and universities to raise their tuition prices.

When universities are not directly accountable for their prices to consumers, tuition can gradually increase without jeopardizing the loss of significant numbers of students. However, American taxpayers feel this tuition increase quite a bit when students default on their loans.

The proposed budget plan for New York couples the state taxpayer-funded grants with federal Pell Grants, which has been shown to increase tuition as much as 40 cents on the dollar.

Creating a state grant for higher education, coupled with federal grants, will likely lead to further increases in the cost of higher education. The program is slated to be phased in over three years and is expected to cost taxpayers $163 million.

Additionally, in response to concerns from private universities that tuition-free public universities will affect their enrollment, private universities will also see an increase in state funding, although more modest.

New York’s taxpayer-financed tuition boondoggle will also likely crowd out private universities, who must now compete with the artificially “free” public system.

Overall, New York’s tuition-free plan puts taxpayers on the hook for college costs that will only go up. Setting this plan in motion with nothing in place to put downward pressure on costs is fiscally irresponsible.

Furthermore, New York’s plan feeds the narrative that no matter who you are or what career you want to pursue, a four-year bachelor’s degree is the only way to achieve your goals.

For many students, spending four years at a university, often studying material that does nothing to contribute to their future earnings, is not the best option.

Instead, policymakers should look toward innovating and diversifying the higher education sector and offering more options to students who may want to streamline their degree toward a specific skill set.

Repealing Obama-era regulations that limit the ability of for-profit technical schools to operate would be a great first step in achieving that goal.

Policymakers are right to want to offer students relief from high college costs. However, offering free tuition ignores true drivers of tuition inflation, and in fact exacerbates them.

If we truly want to make college more affordable and accessible for all Americans, policies should be geared toward limiting federal involvement in higher education and repealing regulations that stifle new and innovative ways of teaching students.


Free tuition is still no guarantee of employment

New York is truly Hillary Clinton’s home state; which is why it is no surprise the state became the first in the country to adopt a full tuition scholarship to provide essentially “free” college attendance for students living in the state, similar to what Clinton had proposed nationally on the campaign trail. This ambitious effort passed through the New York state legislature provides full funding for tuition at state two-year and four-year colleges and universities based on income; however, while New York claims to be expanding opportunity in education, they’re using artificial wealth to drown their economy.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed the Excelsior Scholarship in the state’s $153 billion budget plan, to cover tuition costs provided families earn less than $125,000 a year. Families earning up to $100,000 a year would be eligible in the scholarships first year of implementation, and by the third, the threshold will increase and stabilize at $125,000 a year.

According to the Governor’s office, “Based on enrollment projections, the plan will cost approximately $163 million per year once fully phased in.”

Cuomo defended the plan, explaining, “Today, college is what high school was — it should always be an option even if you can’t afford it. With this program, every child will have the opportunity that education provides.”

College attendance has expanded, but access is not the problem — if anything over-access is a much greater problem Cuomo is prolonging.

By creating more artificial demand for a college degree, it becomes less valuable to the millions of Americans already in the labor force. College degrees are no longer preparing students for success in the current economy, they have lost their value because of their expansion.

Millennials are now the largest and the most college educated generation in history, yet more and more are leaving the labor force. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows labor participation for 25-34 year olds has dropped from an annual, unadjusted average of 84.6 percent in 2000 to 81.6 percent, accounting for 1.3 million millennials who never entered the labor force on a net basis if labor participation had remained at the same rate.

Bloomberg’s Richard Vedder explains how the drop in labor participation this cripples our overall labor field and the ability for students to succeed. Vedder writes, “the number of new college graduates far exceeds the growth in the number of technical, managerial, and professional jobs where graduates traditionally have gravitated…we have a new phenomenon: underemployed college graduates doing jobs historically performed by those with much less education. We have, for example, more than 100,000 janitors with college degrees, and 16,000 degree-holding parking lot attendants.”

Massive incentives to attend college, like Cuomo’s, only perpetuate the idea that everyone should go to college, and that is simply untrue. Expanding funding for college education does not allow underprivileged children the opportunity for a genuine education, it offers them an artificial degree Cuomo has told them they “should” have but is increasingly failing to secure career prospects.

Regenerating the mentality that college is the new high school transmits the idea that college is for everyone, ignoring the economic and individual value of alternate paths like entering the workforce.

As students flood into their now free colleges, college costs will continue to rise and Cuomo will fall into a similar trap as Clinton’s plan.

Tuition has an average growth rate of 6.61 percent since 1970; similarly, public university enrollment has grown over time as well, with an average annual growth rate of 1.34 percent.

As columnist Andrew Kelly explained in an Oct. 2015 report, colleges inflate tuition prices when they receive greater government aid. Under Cuomo’s plan university enrollment will boost and universities will be forced to expand to accommodate, continuing to raise costs over time.

Universities will experience even greater trials as they are forced to keep these students longer than just four years. The National Center for Education Statistics’ most recent numbers show, only about 34 percent of students at public institutions even graduate in four years. With an increase in the number of students going to school while struggling with work and childcare responsibilities, these programs will pay for students’ educations for significantly longer than just four years even if these students attend four year institutions.

As Kelly warned, “The exact relationship between aid and tuition increases — whether it causes or enables — is actually less important from a policymaking perspective because the end effect is the same: more aid, higher tuition prices. That’s why simply pouring more aid into the system won’t create affordable college. To get there, we need reforms that actually change the incentives for colleges.”

Tuition free college does not fulfill a dream of adequate access, it simply devalues the degree and raises costs for everyone. College is meant to prepare students for the real world, it is not Cuomo’s holding cell for students while the economy and their own personal growth fail.