Here’s How Bad Left-Wing Antics on Campus Were in 2017

A frequent point I have made in past columns has been about the educational travesty happening on many college campuses.

Some people have labeled my observations and concerns as trivial, unimportant, and cherry-picking. While the spring semester awaits us, let’s ask ourselves whether we’d like to see repeats of last year’s antics.

An excellent source for college news is Campus Reform, a conservative website operated by the Leadership Institute. Its reporters are college students. Here is a tiny sample of last year’s bizarre stories.

Donna Riley, a professor at Purdue University’s School of Engineering Education, published an article in the most recent issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Engineering Education, positing that academic rigor is a “dirty deed” that upholds “white male heterosexual privilege.”

Riley added that “scientific knowledge itself is gendered, raced, and colonizing.”

Would you hire an engineering education graduate who has little mastery of the rigor of engineering? What does Riley’s vision, if actually practiced by her colleagues, do to the worth of degrees in engineering education from Purdue held by female and black students?

Sympathizing with Riley’s vision is Rochelle Gutierrez, a math education professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In her recent book, she says the ability to solve algebra and geometry problems perpetuates “unearned privilege” among whites. Educators must be aware of the “politics that mathematics brings” in society.

She thinks that “on many levels, mathematics itself operates as Whiteness.” After all, she adds, “who gets credit for doing and developing mathematics, who is capable in mathematics, and who is seen as part of the mathematical community is generally viewed as White.”

What’s worse is that the university’s interim provost, John Wilkin, sanctioned her vision, telling Fox News that Gutierrez is an established and admired scholar who has been published in many peer-reviewed publications.

I hope that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s black students don’t have the same admiration and stay away from her classes.

Last February, a California State University, Fullerton professor assaulted a CSUF Republicans member during a demonstration against President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration. The students identified the assailant as Eric Canin, an anthropology professor.

Fortunately, the school had the good sense to later suspend Canin after confirming the allegations through an internal investigation.

Last month, the presidents of 13 San Antonio colleges declared in an op-ed written by Ric Baser, president of the Higher Education Council of San Antonio, and signed by San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and 12 other members of the council that “hate speech” and “inappropriate messages” should not be treated as free speech on college campuses.

Their vision should be seen as tyranny.

The true test of one’s commitment to free speech doesn’t come when he permits people to be free to make statements that he does not find offensive. The true test of one’s commitment to free speech comes when he permits people to make statements he does deem offensive.

Last year, University of Georgia professor Rick Watson adopted a policy allowing students to select their own grade if they “feel unduly stressed” by their actual grade in the class.

Benjamin Ayers, dean of the school’s Terry College of Business, released a statement condemning Watson’s pick-your-own-grade policy, calling it “inappropriate.” He added:

Rest assured that this ill-advised proposal will not be implemented in any Terry classroom. The University of Georgia upholds strict guidelines and academic policies to promote a culture of academic rigor, integrity, and honesty.

Ayers’ response gives us hope that not all is lost in terms of academic honesty.

Other campus good news is a report on the resignation of George Ciccariello-Maher, a white Drexel University professor who tweeted last winter, “All I Want for Christmas Is White Genocide.” He said that he resigned from his tenured position because threats against him and his family had become “unsustainable.”

If conservative students made such threats, they, too, could benefit from learning the principles of free speech.

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In a Harsh New Hampshire Winter, Passage of Education Savings Accounts Is a Breath of Spring

As New Hampshire hunkers down for another brutal January, lawmakers are giving families something to look forward to once the snow melts: namely, more opportunities.

The state House of Representatives on Jan. 3 voted in favor of an education savings account proposal, which would give families and students more options for where and how a child learns. The proposal has already cleared the state Senate.

With an account, the state deposits a portion of a child’s funds from the state education funding formula into a private account that parents can use to buy educational products and services for their children. Lawmakers in Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, Nevada, and North Carolina have enacted similar laws.

These accounts allow families to hire a personal tutor for their student, find educational therapies for children with special needs, or pay private-school tuition, to name a few possible uses.

Students cannot use an account and attend a traditional public or charter school full-time, though they can purchase public school services, including public school classes in some states. Some account laws allow families to save unused funds from year to year and prepare for college expenses.

New Hampshire already allows students from families with incomes at or below 300 percent of the poverty line (approximately $72,000 for a family of four) to apply for private school scholarships, but the accounts would provide students with more options than just a private school. Parents can customize their child’s education with multiple learning services at the same time.

Families in Arizona are using accounts to hire a tutor and pay for education therapists. Some Florida families are buying textbooks and other curricular materials to educate their children at home. More than 12,500 students are using the accounts across the country.

Under the New Hampshire proposal, and similar to laws enacted in other states, 95 percent of an eligible child’s funds from the state formula would be available to students in an education savings account (approximately $3,600).

Changes to the bill in December made children with special needs and low-income students eligible to apply, along with students who were denied a private-school scholarship or charter school enrollment due to space limitations.

But district school supporters have criticized the proposal, claiming the accounts will put children with special needs at a “disadvantage relative to their peers” and take money from public schools.

Yet research from other states with account laws finds high levels of parent satisfaction among families of children with special needs. In fact, two surveys of Arizona families using the accounts find consistently positive results.

 

(Photo: The Heritage Foundation.)

Furthermore, the legislature appears to be ready to give school districts additional money (called “stabilization grants”) when students choose an education savings account. This gives the opposition less to grouse about, and those opposing more educational opportunity should explain to taxpayers why they should fund empty seats in public schools.

Andrew Cline, interim president of the Josiah Bartlett Center, explains that “[e]ven using opponents’ most dire prediction, in which 5 percent of New Hampshire students take advantage of [education savings accounts] to pursue educational opportunities outside of their assigned district, districts hold on to more than 98 percent of their funding.”

New Hampshire taxpayers and policymakers should look to states that already have education savings account laws to find ways to reduce the taxpayers’ burden. For example, according to Arizona legislative analysts, the state’s account laws save taxpayers $1,400 for each child with special needs whose parents choose an account.

Opponents to education savings accounts are trying to prevent children and families from having more opportunities in education—adding bitter political winds to an already snowy New England winter. Instead, lawmakers should continue to push for ways to give more children the chance to succeed.

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University Offers ‘Problem of Whiteness’ Class, Again

The University of Wisconsin-Madison will reintroduce a class this spring that teaches students why being white is a bad thing.

The “Problem of Whiteness” course—part of the African Cultural Studies program—makes its mission to help students “understand how whiteness is socially constructed and experienced in order to help dismantle white supremacy.” The class will also investigate how white people “consciously and unconsciously perpetuate institutional racism and how this not only devastates communities of color but also perpetuates the oppression of most white folks along the lines of class and gender.”

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The course aims also to teach students about what an ethical white identity entails, as well as what it means to be woke.

“Student feedback was overwhelmingly positive—students said they found it valuable to examine majority cultures and how power imbalances are created, sustained, and challenged in societies around the world,” a University of Wisconsin-Madison spokesperson wrote in an email to The College Fix.

“The problem of racism is the problem of whites being racist towards blacks,” the course’s professor, Damon Sajnani, told The College Fix in a 2016 phone interview. Sajnani is also a rapper who writes songs about the problems of whiteness.

Not everyone is happy about the course, however, including multiple state lawmakers who loudly expressed their displeasure over the university’s course offering. “I am extremely concerned that UW-Madison finds it appropriate to teach a course called, ‘The Problem of Whiteness,’ with the premise that white people are racist,” state Rep. Dave Murphy, R-Greenville, wrote in a statement after the course was first announced in 2016.

“Even more troubling, the course is taught by a self-described ‘international radical’ professor whose views are a slap in the face to the taxpayers who are expected to pay for this garbage,” Murphy continued. Despite Murphy’s and others’ objections, the university continues barreling forwarding and has no plans to retract the course for spring 2018.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison did not reply to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment in time for publication.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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The Low Academic Quality of Too Many Teachers

My recent columns have focused on the extremely poor educational outcomes for black students. There’s enough blame for all involved to have their fair share. That includes students who are hostile and alien to the educational process and have derelict, uninterested home environments.

After all, if there is not someone in the home to ensure that a youngster does his homework, has wholesome meals, gets eight to 10 hours of sleep, and behaves in school, educational dollars won’t produce much.

There’s another educational issue that’s neither flattering nor comfortable to confront. That’s the low academic quality of so many teachers. It’s an issue that must be confronted and dealt with if we’re to improve the quality of education. Most states require prospective teachers to pass a certification test. How about a sample of some of the test questions.

Here’s a question from a recent test given to college students in Michigan planning to become teachers: “Which of the following is largest? a. 1/4, b. 3/5, c. 1/2, d. 9/20.” Another question: “A town planning committee must decide how to use a 115-acre piece of land. The committee sets aside 20 acres of the land for watershed protection and an additional 37.4 acres for recreation. How much of the land is set aside for watershed protection and recreation? a. 43.15 acres, b. 54.6 acres, c. 57.4 acres, d. 60.4 acres”.

The Arizona teacher certification test asks: “Janet can type 250 words in 5 minutes, what is her typing rate per minute? a. 50wpm, b. 66wpm, c. 55wpm, d. 45wpm.”

The California Basic Educational Skills Test asks the test taker to find the verb in the following sentence: “The interior temperatures of even the coolest stars are measured in millions of degrees. a. Coolest, b. Of even, c. Are measured, d. In millions.” A California Basic Educational Skills Test math question is: “You purchase a car making a down payment of $3,000 and 6 monthly payments of $225. How much have you paid so far for the car? a. $3225, b. $4350, c. $5375, d. $6550, e. $6398.”

My guess is that these are questions that an eighth- or ninth-grader with a good education ought to be able to answer. Such test questions demonstrate the low bar that states set in order for one to become a certified teacher. Even with such low expectations, college graduates have failed these and similarly constructed teacher certification tests. Recently, New York, after being tied up in court for years, dropped its teacher literacy test amid claims of racism.

A 2011 investigation by WSB-TV found that more than 700 Georgia teachers had repeatedly failed at least one portion of the certification test they were required to pass before receiving a teaching certificate. Nearly 60 teachers had failed the test more than 10 times, and one teacher had failed the test 18 times. There were 297 teachers on the Atlanta school system’s payroll who had failed the state certification test five times or more.

With but a few exceptions, schools of education represent the academic slums of colleges. They tend to be home to students who have the lowest academic test scores—for example, SAT scores—when they enter college. They also tend to have the lowest scores when they graduate and choose to take postgraduate admissions tests—such as the GRE, the MCAT, and the LSAT. Professors at schools of education tend to have the lowest level of academic respectability. American education could benefit from eliminating schools of education.

You might ask: Without schools of education, how would teachers be trained? I think that we ought to adopt a practice whereby teachers are hired according to their undergraduate major.

I learned this talking to a headmistress of a private school. She said she doesn’t hire education majors. She said that if she hires a teacher to teach chemistry, math, English, or any other subject, the person must have a bachelor’s degree in the discipline. Pedagogical techniques can be learned through short formal training, coaching, and experience.

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College Republicans Say Conservative Speaker Was Treated ‘Unfairly’ at Southern New Hampshire University

Conservative activist Matt Walsh came to Southern New Hampshire University at the request of the SNHU College Republicans and the Young America’s Foundation, but Walsh and College Republicans believe his speech was not treated fairly.

Walsh is a conservative columnist for the Daily Wire, a news website run by Ben Shapiro.

As the day of the event approached, events occurred, for which Walsh apologized to his audience at the end of his remarks.

Walsh described the actions taken that undermined the event. He claimed that the staff turned attendees away, that protesters tore down nearly all of the posters and advertisements for his speech, and that a professor lectured Walsh about being a “white privileged male”—then walked away when he sought to respond.

Walsh issued his full statement on his official Facebook page:

The Daily Signal reached out to Ruby Murphy, the executive director of the SNHU College Republicans and a senior studying justice studies and forensic psychology.

Murphy issued this statement regarding the incident:

At Southern New Hampshire University, there are many events that occur daily across our campus. Most of our events are free; however, it’s a common practice to reserve a “ticket” online to ensure your spot.

Most events end up having plenty of space for students who haven’t signed up, and those students are warmly welcomed into those events.

The SNHU College Republicans hosted a free, private event featuring our guest speaker, Matt Walsh. Prior to this event, the time slot for the opportunity to reserve a ticket was minimal and was closed out more than 24 hours before the event occurred.

The SNHU College Republicans hung up flyers across campus advertising Matt Walsh coming to speak to our students. Many of these flyers were ripped down by other students.

The SNHU College Republicans’ executive board asked our school for reimbursement for the money that was spent on printing the flyers. We were turned down.

The only factor that differentiated this event from all other events on our campus is that students of our university were turned away from available seats.

Students who were genuinely interested in our event, who even presented their student ID, were turned away at the door because they never reserved a ticket.

The College Republicans’ executive board even tried to compromise with [the campus public safety office] by offering to hold onto those students’ IDs until the event ended, in case the students caused a disruption.

This idea was also turned down. It is unclear why the SNHU College Republicans’ event has been treated unfairly, compared to all other events that take place on our campus.

The university and the SNHU College Republicans have since then held a reconciliatory event with New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican, to help resolve the issue.

 

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Student Debt Is a Symptom of Our Broken Education System. This Bill Would Spark a Change.

We are facing an education crisis in this country.

While the value of continued education after high school is undeniable, our nation’s singular focus remains on the necessity of traditional four-year degrees, which come at a soaring cost to students and their families.

For many students, a classic bachelor’s degree earned at a brick-and-ivy university is a worthwhile investment that provides the necessary knowledge to succeed in their given field post-graduation. But that is certainly not the case for all students.

Estimates suggest that a quarter to nearly half of college graduates are underemployed, and often work in jobs that do not require a college degree. And college tuition does not come cheap—the amount of student loan debt held by the American people is now higher than credit card debt.

There has to be a better way to give our students the opportunities they deserve while helping drive down the astronomical educational costs that are burdening working-class families.

I recently introduced the Higher Education Reform and Opportunity (HERO) Act, a bill that would foster innovative solutions to the process of higher education accreditation and would essentially put choice and affordability back into the hands of students.

Our country’s burgeoning student loan debt has been driven, in part, by the accrediting agencies that accredit higher education bodies and decide who is worthy of government funding by way of student loans.

The regional accreditation bodies, the universities, and the Department of Education essentially act as a cartel that controls who can enter the system. This impede the innovation that is needed to tackle high costs, lack of school choice, and the decline of value in four-year degrees.

The HERO Act aims to break up that cartel, opening up higher education to more Americans by empowering individual states to develop their own systems of accrediting educational programs. All accredited programs would then be eligible to receive federal student loan money.

The HERO Act would enable our post-secondary education system to become as diverse and nimble as the industries that are looking to hire.

States would be able to accredit non-traditional education options, such as single courses or vocational programs, to meet the particular needs of their local economy. Students would be able to use federal loan money to put toward single learning courses, online opportunities, and apprenticeships in skilled trades.

Freeing up states to decide how they wish to accredit education options would spark a new era of competition. Trade schools and non-traditional organizations could directly compete for funding, making their appeals to students who have a variety of interests and seek a return on their investment.

Florida could decide to accredit specialized mechanics apprenticeship programs to cater to our robust flight industry, while California might empower Silicon Valley companies to teach coding programs to students who do not necessarily need a four-year degree.

Not only would the HERO Act allow states to fulfill the educational needs they have identified, but it would give students far greater flexibility to tailor their education to their needs. With the fast pace of innovation and an ever-changing economy, workers can often find themselves in need of educational programming mid-career.

Under the reforms proposed by the HERO Act, students could take shorter courses catered to their specific educational needs rather than leave the workforce completely to go back to school.

It is important to note that this bill would not alter current federal accreditation systems. Federal agencies would, however, have to recognize that individual states are on equal footing to know where the current system is failing, and to accredit programs that will fill this void.

Greater competition would force colleges and universities to reassess their federally subsidized pricing practices and help break the cycle of government subsidies that contributes to rising tuition rates. Some students may no longer choose time-consuming and costly four-year degrees if another educational opportunity at a lower cost could impart the necessary knowledge and skills.

Additionally, the HERO Act would require institutions to publish information regarding student success, to prove that they are fiscally accountable, and to ensure schools are held accountable for student loan defaults.

The HERO Act would expand higher education opportunities to millions of Americans who are underserved by our current system. We cannot allow the iron triangle that currently controls accreditation to stifle innovation and shut out potential students from accessing higher education in a manner that works for them.

Simply put, receiving a four-year degree is not the only means of achieving career success, and our federal education policy should reflect that truth.

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Teacher Offers to ‘Rip’ Ben Shapiro’s ‘Shoulder Out of His Socket’ for Charity

A lecturer at University of California, Merced declined to debate conservative author Ben Shapiro, but offered to fight him, according to an audio recording.

Fernando Cortes Chirino, a sociology lecturer at the Merced campus, addressed Shapiro’s upcoming visit and suggested he would enjoy “ripping this fool’s shoulder out of his socket” in a charity fight, reported Campus Reform.

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“I wouldn’t debate him, because being in the same room as that fool is putting this nonsense fascist ideologue on equal footing with me, using my real degree to legitimize garbage politics that are at best nonsensical,” Chirino said, according to the audio recording released Wednesday.

“Gladiator? You should pass this around,” the lecturer told students. “While I won’t debate this fool, why don’t you all set up some sort of an MMA [mixed martial arts] thing between me and him? And then, the winner can take those $40,000 and give them to whatever charity they want … gladiator, my a–.”

“The recording of a University of California lecturer stating how they would enjoy inflicting harm upon Ben Shapiro deeply disturbs the College Republicans at UC Merced,” Harry Duran, president of College Republicans on the campus, told Campus Reform. “Shapiro, [along with] all members of the UC Merced College Republicans, were repeatedly called ‘white supremacists’ and ‘fascists’ during Fernando Chirino’s lecture.”

The Daily Caller News Foundation sought comment from Chirino and the University of California, Merced, but didn’t receive a response in time for publication.

Another professor at Merced, Ross Avila, made headlines in 2016 for insisting that white men account for 90 percent of terrorists in America.

The university’s fraternity and sorority life staff coordinator also asserted in 2016 that using the term “Greek life” to describe fraternities and sororities was “cultural appropriation.”

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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