Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Why British students are heading to America for an elite education

At this time of year my Instagram feed fills up with pictures of tearful parents dropping their kids off at university. This would seem normal – if the location didn’t say USA. When my youngest headed to Yale four years ago, he was considered an adventurer. Since then, there has been a 31 per cent increase in British students applying to US colleges: 11,600 British students are now there, according to the Fulbright Commission, which fosters educational exchange between the UK and US.

Up to half of students at Westminster and St Paul’s apply – 41 students from the latter received offers this year. That number is growing thanks to the 600 American universities that offer generous financial scholarships to international students, covering not only the fees, room and board in full but also flights home, laptops and even phone bills. This would be worth in excess of £220,000 per student, says Rowena Boddington, director of advising and marketing at the Fulbright Commission. Its USA College Day – where 150 American universities, including Ivy League institutions, are represented – is held in London on Sept 29 and 30.

Last year queues formed around the corner.  My son’s interest in America was the result of spending summers there – not to mention reading The Great Gatsby. He didn’t want to limit himself to one subject, as the English system stipulates; he wanted to try something new. He is due to graduate next summer with a creative writing major.  “I see our children as the new colonials,” says journalist Deirdre Fernand, whose son Ben won a Hesburgh-Yusko scholarship worth several hundreds of thousands of pounds to Notre Dame, a second-tier college in Indiana with a top ranked football team and hefty endowment. “We used to put them on boats. Now we put them on planes and wave goodbye.”

Having spent a few years in the US herself as the daughter of an academic, Fernand knew that American universities were generous. “Notre Dame has $10 billion to spend. That’s more than some of the Ivys,” she says. Ben is due to graduate next summer with a degree in finance and Spanish.  American universities are gaining ground rapidly among British students for two reasons. The first is financial: though Ivy League fees are eye-watering – Harvard costs $63,000 (£46,000) per year including room and board – they travel the world looking for talented students (whom they lure with lucrative offers).

The Sutton Trust US programme founded by Sir Peter Lampl has, over the past five years, sent more than 270 bright, British state school students on full financial scholarships to institutions including Yale, Harvard, MIT and Princeton. The other reason is level playing fields. Sir Lampl’s decision to promote US university education is based partly on what he believes is an unfair system at Oxbridge (40-45 per cent of the student intake still comes from private schools despite the fact that 93 per cent of British students attend state schools).

However, ironically the most privileged pupils in the country are drawn to the American system for exactly the reverse reason. With growing talk of positive discrimination against privately educated pupils hoping to secure a place at the top UK institutions many from the most elite establishments are thinking about applying to a top university across the Atlantic, assuming, rightly or wrongly that it will be give them better odds than a place at Oxbridge. So, for both disadvantaged students and privately educated ones, then, an American degree is becoming an increasingly attractive prospect. The less rigid structure of US undergraduate courses also appeals. “I like the flexibility of the four-year American programme,” Lampl says.

“In Britain, [students] often end up getting degrees they don’t want because they can’t change”. The American degree system is a bit like a supermarket: after sampling some of the goods, you go to the till with your final selection. It’s this ability to try things (at no great risk) that allows students to either discover their true calling or change their minds.  Allie Hexley, 22, a British student from Birmingham, studied at MIT with a double major in brain and cognitive sciences and physics, and is now beginning graduate studies in neuroscience at Harvard as part of the Sutton Trust US programme.

“It may seem like you know what you want to study, and ultimately do with your life when you are 18 and have been forced to pick subjects to pursue at A-level, but in reality no 18-year-old knows. Having the opportunity to change your major as you go and try things you never would have otherwise tried is incredible,” she says.

American college education is also full-on. “My daughter has been astonished not just at the quality but also at the quantity of teaching at USC [University of Southern California],” says Neil Mendoza, chairman of the Landmark Trust, whose half-American children both study in the US. “She has 14-15 hours of class a week as well as after-hours help.”

Recent research suggests that in the UK, economics students can receive as little as 26 hours’ one-to-one tuition over a three-year course – not a problem across the pond. “If they don’t show up for class, they get an email. In the UK students are left to their own devices,” Fernand says.

Phil Mooney, a 25-year-old banker from Belfast, turned down a place to study German at Oxford to go to Princeton. He wanted to “replicate the adventure” of his gap year, and Princeton also offered diversity: while majoring in German and politics, he also took classes in statistics, Middle Eastern history, and still-life painting. “American college gives you a much broader view of the world,” he says.

Another draw is the tight-knit college community. “Princeton has an extremely strong network,” says Mooney. “My life would have been much easier if I stayed at home: you can keep close to family and close to friends, and you are less likely to lose love over long distance.

But you never explore, never push your own limits, and you’re emptier if you stay.” There is a risk all parents take when their children choose to study abroad, however – they may not return. “It’s the first thing mothers ask,” says Fernand. “‘Are you worried he’ll settle in America?’ Not at all. Why would I be that selfish?”  I worry too, but having seen so many of my husband’s Oxbridge friends transferred to New York, Singapore and Hong Kong for jobs, I think this new “cognitive elite” of globally educated students will ultimately have the upper hand.


Comey convocation address derailed by angry protesters at Howard University

A singularly dumb protest

Noisy protesters shouted and chanted over James Comey on Friday as he attempted to deliver a convocation address at Howard University, forcing him to delay his remarks and then practically drowning out the rest of his speech.

The protest started as soon as the former FBI director took the podium at the historically black college in Washington, D.C.

Protesters raised their right fists in the air and chanted, “We shall not be moved.” They also said, “F--- James Comey” and “No justice, no peace.”

Comey was unable to speak at first due to the disruption. After several minutes, Comey tried to begin. “I hope you’ll stay and listen to what I have to say. ... I listened to you for five minutes,” he said, before pausing again.

After several more minutes of protests, Comey launched into his prepared speech – which, ironically, was about how the rest of the world is often “too noisy” to take time to reflect, whereas Howard University represents an “island.”

Comey had to raise his voice throughout the address as the chanting persisted. The protesters later said they were with the group HU Resist and were protesting “state-sanctioned violence.”

In his remarks, Comey said he appreciated the demonstrators’ “enthusiasm” but wishes they could understand “what a conversation is.”

“At the end of a conversation, we’re both smarter. I am here at Howard to try to get smarter, to try to be useful,” Comey said.

The rowdy scene marked a rough start for Comey at Howard, where he’s joined the faculty as a lecturer.

Comey, who was fired by President Trump earlier this year amid tensions over the Russia probe, has also been in the headlines lately – as Hillary Clinton criticizes him in her newly released campaign memoir, and Republicans on Capitol Hill look to drag him back to Capitol Hill amid concerns over possible discrepancies in his testimony concerning the Clinton email case.

The speech Friday, though, touched on none of the 2016 campaign controversies or the Russia probe he used to oversee.

Instead, he was trying to deliver a message about listening to one another – as he was drowned out by protesters. The irony was not lost on him.

“The rest of the real world is a place where it’s hard sometimes to find people who will listen with an attitude that they might actually be convinced of something. Instead what happens in most of the real world, and… in this auditorium, is that people don’t listen at all,” he said.

He closed his speech by saying: “I look forward to adult conversation about what is right and what is true.”


Anti-School Choice Activist (and Hypocrite) Matt Damon Sends His Kids to Private School

I won't lie, I'm a Matt Damon fan. For the most part, I have really enjoyed his body of work as an actor, particularly the Jason Bourne movies. However, throughout his career, I've also known that he was a rabid leftist, so I kept that in mind while watching his work.

It wasn't until recently that I learned he was also a grade "A" hypocrite.

You see, Damon is the son of a public school teacher and a major proponent of public schools. However, as RedState notes, he's not sending his kids to public school.

According to the  Boston Globe, Damon attended a screening of his film “Backpacks Full of Cash” at Wheelock College in Boston to “a capacity crowd of teachers, activists, and students.” The film was created by documentarian Sarah Mondale, who wanted to bring attention to the funding cuts to public schools, and that a public school system should be created that caters to all students.

According to the Daily Caller, the documentary is a perfect film for anti-school choice confirmation bias, as it bashes charter schools, denounces voucher programs, and basically makes any new ideas just look bad. Meanwhile, the film insists that even more taxpayer dollars need to be thrown at public schools.

Here’s the kicker.

Damon’s preaching for public education from a golden pulpit that allows him to send his own children to a private school.

Damon's argument is that he can't find the kind of progressive education he had growing up for his own children, and thus has no choice but to send his own kids to private school

Isn't that just fascinating?

Throughout this country, there are people who are less than thrilled with the school they find their children assigned to due to where they live. Maybe they live in a great neighborhood for their modest income level but the school they're zoned for is notorious for drugs and violence. Maybe it's just a bad school. Whatever.

Damon would have that hardworking family that only wants what's best for their kids to be forced to attend the bad school with no say in the matter, all while sending his kids to private school because he can't find quite the same "progressive" education he had as a kid. In other words, because he's rich, it's cool for him to be picky about his children's education, but not for the rest of us. No, we have to make due with the hand we're dealt -- right, Matt?

Yeah, I mean, I get it. Who cares if my son or my daughter becomes strung out on drugs or can't get into a decent college because of the poor education they receive at their schools. What really matters to Matt Damon is that he be permitted to send his kids to a "progressive" school.

To be fair, I don't fault Matt for putting his own children before mine. What I do fault him for is his efforts to keep me from putting my kids first.


Monday, September 25, 2017

The campus rape panic is destroying due process and ruining lives

US education secretary Betsy DeVos has hit the headlines again for speaking out on Title IX, the controversial federal law that ensures gender equity in education. Last week, she promised to ‘replace the current approach with a workable, effective, and fair system’. She is getting a lot of flak, especially from feminists, but her comments should be welcomed: it is common knowledge now that Title IX has become, at best, unworkable, and at worst subject to serious abuse.

When it was first passed, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 stated that every educational programme which receives federal funding must give men and women equal opportunities. It was most effective in making sure women were not discriminated against when it came to sports scholarships. In its infancy, it was a mere 37 words.

But since 1972, it has been continually interpreted and stretched so that it now covers far more than making a legal defence against discrimination. It now serves to police students’ private lives on campus, covering everything from misplaced jokes or comments to allegations of rape and physical assault.

The most stark example of this shift came with the Office for Civil Rights’ ‘Dear Colleague’ letter in 2011. The OCR stated that sexual harassment ‘includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and other verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature’. Translated, this meant Title IX could be used to prohibit ‘unwelcome verbal conduct’, which, as many have pointed out, could mean anything. In 2016, at the University of Texas at Arlington, a student faced a Title IX investigation after allegedly criticising another students’ sexuality – the accused denied the incident even happened, and later committed suicide after he was found responsible.

An even bigger problem with the ‘Dear Colleague’ letter’s additional stipulations for Title IX investigations is that universities are now required to work with a ‘preponderance of evidence’ standard, also known as ‘50 per cent and a feather’.

This means that, rather than following due process, Title IX officers can begin their investigations on the assumption that an allegation is true. Even in complaints about rape and serious physical abuse.

One of the most jaw-dropping Title IX cases involved Matt Boermeester, a student at the University of Southern California, who was suspended after an onlooker accused him of abusing his girlfriend, Zoe Katz. Both Boermeester and Katz told investigators they were just ‘playfully roughhousing’ and they tried to get the investigation quashed.

Katz described the mistreatment she suffered when she was summoned to give her testimony to Title IX investigators: ‘I was stereotyped and was told I must be a “battered” woman.’

Boermeester was later suspended and barred from entering campus.   Because of the preponderance of evidence standard, Title IX investigators willingly ignored common sense, punished an innocent man, and put a young couple through a nightmare.

It should never be the job of a university to carry out investigations into serious allegations like rape and sexual assault – especially when cases are seldom clear-cut. The problem with asking college administrators to deal with quasi-criminal investigations is most clear when it comes to drunk sex. Many feminists and PC warriors now believe that even consensual drunk sex should be classed as rape. Former vice president Joe Biden, an open advocate of the expansion of Title IX’s expansion, famously said: ‘If a young woman is drunk, SHE CANNOT CONSENT… She cannot consent, and it’s rape. It’s rape. It’s rape. It’s rape.’

Anyone who’s ever had a glass of dutch courage before a date will know how ludicrous, and insulting, this statement is. But the anti-drunk-sex theory is central to many Title IX cases. Take the case of two students at Occidental College in 2013. They had consensual sex while drunk one night. Both agreed at the time that it was consensual sex. Months later, the woman filed a Title IX complaint against the man, and he was expelled. Why? Because ‘Occidental’s sexual misconduct policy forbids students from having sexual contact with anyone who is “incapacitated” by drugs or alcohol’.

DeVos is right – we need to talk about Title IX. It has become the weapon of choice for those who want to peddle the idea that women are in need of protection. Using Title IX to cover ‘verbal conduct’, outlawing drunk sex and doing away with any notion of due process flies in the face of equality.

Title IX was originally intended to be a short legal stipulation prohibiting discrimination. Now it is used to support the idea that women are more vulnerable, more endangered and less capable than men. The use and abuse of Title IX is becoming increasingly hysterical, notably in the case of professor and author Laura Kipnis, who was subject to a Title IX case simply for writing about another Title IX case.

At the same time, though, we need to recognise that while it’s important to roll back the ‘Dear Colleague’ letter and review Title IX, that alone won’t be the antidote for the panic around sexual harassment in education. The problem lies in a much deeper cultural trend on campus and in society, one which sees women as vulnerable and men as dangerous.

The censorious use of Title IX by feminists is not new: in the 1980s, anti-porn feminists like Catharine MacKinnon encouraged the use of Title IX to police nasty words said to women. Title IX is a tool to pursue cultural prejudices and fears; it isn’t the source of those prejudices and fears.

We need to get serious about busting the myth that university is a dangerous place, and instead champion the idea that women should be trusted to deal with private matters – even unpleasant ones – without the intervention of campus authorities.

So yes, let’s review Title IX. But unless we also tackle the broader, sadly feminism-fuelled view of women as damsels in distress, tinkering with Title IX won’t change much at all.


DeVos rescinds Obama-era guidance on investigating campus sexual assault

Citing a key federal court ruling in a Brandeis University case, the Trump administration on Friday advised college officials across the country to evaluate sexual misconduct claims by the same standard of evidence they use for any other student infractions.

The move by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos could make it tougher to prove allegations of sexual assault at some universities.

DeVos formally rescinded the Obama administration’s 2011 directive requiring colleges to aggressively investigate all sexual assault claims using a relatively low burden of proof. She also offered guidance for universities to handle sexual assault cases while her department develops a replacement policy.

“Schools must continue to confront these horrific crimes and behaviors head-on. There will be no more sweeping them under the rug,” DeVos said in a statement. “But the process also must be fair and impartial, giving everyone more confidence in its outcomes.”

Aimed at ending a “rape culture” on campuses, the Obama-era sexual assault policy required colleges to aggressively investigate all sexual assault claims, or risk losing federal funding. Allegations of schools mishandling such cases triggered hundreds of federal investigations, including at least 26 in Massachusetts.

But the policy also faced criticism from civil libertarians, in particular for lowering the burden of proof from the “clear and convincing” standard used to weigh other types of disciplinary action on campus. Instead, the Obama administration rule called for campuses to consider sexual assault cases on a “preponderance of evidence” — whether the evidence suggests the offense “more likely than not” occurred.

The interim guideline released by DeVos allows colleges to adopt whichever standard they already use in other student discipline cases. In a footnote, she pointed to a 2016 decision that faulted Brandeis University for lowering the standard only in sexual assault cases, calling it “a deliberate choice by the university to make cases of sexual misconduct easier to prove.”

“The lower standard may thus be seen, in context, as part of an effort to tilt the playing field against accused students,” US District Judge F. Dennis Saylor wrote in his decision.

A Brandeis spokeswoman on Friday defended the university’s commitment to taking accusations of sexual assault seriously and treating students fairly.

“When instances of sexual misconduct are reported, we are committed to responding promptly and equitably,” Julie Jette said in a statement. “The Department of Education’s interim guidance will not diminish our efforts in this area.”

In the Brandeis case, a gay male student was found guilty of sexual misconduct, with a note on his permanent record, after his ex-boyfriend of nearly two years claimed he had engaged in sexual misconduct during the relationship. Among the infractions: kissing him in his sleep.

Though the student ultimately withdrew his case without a settlement, the case has been viewed as one of the harshest judicial assessments of a campus sexual assault policy that arose from the Obama administration’s guidance. Under Brandeis’s policy in 2014, students weren’t entitled to know the details of the charges against them, see the evidence, be represented by a lawyer, or cross-examine the accuser or witnesses, according to the ruling.

“There has been a veritable witch hunt in the country, primarily under the Obama administration,” said Harvey A. Silverglate, a civil liberties lawyer from Cambridge and coauthor of “The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America’s Campuses.”

“We’re starting afresh and the Department of Education is showing that it’s got its mind open rather than closed.”

DeVos had announced plans earlier this month to roll back the 2011 policy, though the changes do not affect the underlying law on which the policy was based. Campuses are expected to guard against sexual harassment and gender-based intimidation and violence under Title IX, the 1972 gender discrimination law aimed at protecting students’ rights to an education.

The Obama administration ratcheted up expectations for colleges in 2011 without a regulatory review process, but instead in the form of a so-called Dear Colleague Letter. The Trump administration pledged on Friday it would seek public input in the process of replacing the policy.

“We’ve long held that that’s what they should have done in the first place, that women’s rights advocates have important points that need to be heard, due process advocates have important rights that need to be heard,” said Joe Cohn, legislative and policy director for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a campus free speech organization that Silverglate cofounded.

Interestingly, the policy was changed on Friday via another “Dear Colleague Letter” — this one signed by Candice Jackson, the education department’s acting assistant secretary for civil rights, who is herself a controversial figure in the field of sexual assault.

Politico reported recently that in applying for the education department job, Jackson touted on her resume her work targeting Bill and Hillary Clinton — even accompanying the women who had accused Bill Clinton of sexually predatory behavior prior to a presidential debate last year just after Trump was accused of sexual assault. She also had been quoted dismissing the majority of claims that her office handles as drunken consensual encounters that someone later regretted. That has led many women to question her department’s agenda as it reconsiders sexual assault policy.

“I think that a lot of people are reacting with panic,” said Janet Halley, a Harvard Law School professor and expert on sexual harassment.

Advocates for survivors of sexual assault fear a retreat on years of progress in which they were finally being heard. Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center, said that reversing the policy will have a “devastating impact on students and schools.”

“It will discourage students from reporting assaults, create uncertainty for schools on how to follow the law, and make campuses less safe,” she said in a statement.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, one of 20 Democrat state attorneys general who had urged DeVos to keep the old rule, said Friday that DeVos had “abandoned survivors of sexual assault on college campuses and all students looking to learn in a safe environment free from violence and discrimination.”

But Halley who is among the lawyers who have been arguing for years that the system was unfair and needed revision, said DeVos did not signal a reversal of campus rape protections.

Instead, Halley said, DeVos “reaffirmed that colleges and universities have a responsibility to respond robustly to claims of sexual misconduct on behalf of the educational opportunities of all students.”


Campus sexual assault policies are unfair to the accused. This case shows how

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos ignited a firestorm in recent months after signaling that she might pull back Obama administration policies intended to protect victims of sexual assault at college campuses. But amid the intense criticism directed toward DeVos, one lawsuit out of Amherst College demonstrates just how unfairly the Obama policies can operate for students wrongly accused of sexual misconduct.

On a factual basis, the Amherst case — settled out of court this month between the university and an expelled student accused of sexual assault — is one of the most egregious since the Obama administration implemented its policy in 2011. The lawsuit revealed documents that the public almost never gets to see, such as the full investigative file, the transcript of the disciplinary hearing and other material from the campus process.

As a result, this case is perhaps the most comprehensive documentation of any single campus sexual assault adjudication in recent years.

The lawsuit arose out of a sexual assault complaint filed by an Amherst student 18 months after the assault was alleged to have occurred. The complainant claimed that she was forced to perform sexual acts, so the college conducted an investigation and held a disciplinary hearing before three administrators, expelling the accused student. But the hearing failed to include key evidence suggesting that the complaint was false, so the accused student sued the university in federal court.

As laid out in the legal complaint and subsequent filings, the controversy over the investigation has focused mostly on a string of texts that the accuser sent the night of the incident. The texts suggest that she had initiated the sexual encounter and that she was in search of a “good lie” to avoid fallout for having hooked up with the accused student, her roommate’s boyfriend.

Initially, the accuser denied sending any texts relevant to the case. During the college’s disciplinary hearing, however, the accuser appeared to contradict that claim, twice admitting that she had sent relevant texts. Inexplicably, none of the panel members asked her to address the contradiction.

When the accused student eventually learned of the texts, Amherst said he had found them too late, according to the school’s response to the legal complaint. The college later clarified that the timing didn’t matter, since investigators only sought texts indicating “that the incident had been ‘non-consensual.’ ” Exculpatory evidence, it seems, was irrelevant.

The accused student claimed in a suit that the college had violated his Title IX rights, and a federal district judge allowed the case to proceed. After the judge expressed strong skepticism toward Amherst’s investigation, the two sides came to a settlement.

Defenders of the Obama administration’s policies — which re-interpreted Title IX to require all colleges receiving federal funds to use the lowest possible standard of proof when adjudicating sexual assault cases — argue that the change was needed to bring justice to college rape cases. Such crimes often go unpunished because prosecutors rarely try ambiguous campus claims of sexual assault.

But Amherst’s procedures, which typify Title IX tribunals nationwide, show the danger of schools moving too far in the other direction. The college found the student guilty by a preponderance of the evidence — in other words, that more than 50 percent of evidence points to guilt. Amherst denied him and his lawyer the opportunity to directly cross-examine the accuser. It conducted the investigation and the hearing so quickly that college officials never discovered the text messages, the key piece of evidence in the case.

The desire to protect students from sexual assault has produced a system that struggles to determine the truth. Bypassing the criminal-justice system sacrifices the legal power to uncover relevant electronic, photographic or video evidence. Coupled with one-sided campus procedures, students such as the one from Amherst are forced to prove their innocence under conditions that make it virtually impossible to do so.

And there’s no indication that Amherst plans to implement fairer procedures in the future. The college issued a five-word response to the settlement: “The matter has been resolved.”

In recent weeks, accusers’ rights organizations have leveled the most intense criticism of DeVos’s efforts to reform Title IXand have praised the expulsion of the wrongfully accused Amherst student. Certainly such advocates should be commended for standing up for sexual assault survivors. But in their willingness to defend manifestly unfair results, activist groups have been too quick to dismiss concerns that innocent students can be found guilty.

Extremists, of course, exist on both sides of this issue: DeVos has correctly received criticism for meeting with a “men’s rights” group. And for important social and historical reasons, we should sympathize with student survivors of sexual assault.

But due process is all the more important when addressing highly charged issues, especially when schools make life-altering decisions on the basis of wildly incomplete evidence. DeVos can, and should, demand that higher education do better. Undergraduates shouldn’t need to spend years in court to achieve justice from their colleges.


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Despite Affirmative Action, the gaps remain

Steve Sailer details below something that will be zero surprise to anybody familiar with the IQ research.  The failure, despite all efforts, to close the gap in educational achievement between high and low IQ groups is in fact resounding validation that the tests are right.  The tests enabled accurate prophecies and nothing has been able to falsify those prophecies.  Good science enables accurate predictions so it is ironical that the IQ tests have been shown by their enemies to be good science

Affirmative action privileges for blacks and (to a lesser extent) Hispanics have been a near-universal feature of college admissions for what is now approaching a half century.

What have we learned since the late 1960s?

Perhaps the strangest result is that the biggest winners from racial quotas have turned out to be blacks who aren’t descended from victimized American slaves but are instead descended from the slave peddlers, or from whites, or, as in the case of Barack Obama, from both.

On the other hand, some of the early fears have proved to be overblown.

Neoconservative intellectuals in the 1970s, such as social scientist Nathan Glazer in his 1975 book Affirmative Discrimination, often suspected that racial quotas for blacks were in effect an anti-Semitic plot to roll back the huge gains Jewish students had made at elite colleges since the postwar lifting of the 1920s caps on the number of Jews admitted.

But it turned out that there were definite limits on how much affirmative action even the richest college could afford. In the 21st century, the bigger challenge to Jews in winning admissions has come not from affirmative-action-aided blacks, as the neocons feared, but from hardworking, high-scoring Asians.

By 1998, Glazer had recanted his opposition to affirmative action.

Why? The number of blacks capable of fitting in at a highbrow college had proved far more limited than had been expected during the civil rights era. As Glazer said in 1998:

Thirty years ago, with the passage of the great civil rights laws, one could have reasonably expected—as I did—that all would be set right by now.

It was widely assumed in the 1960s that the poor performance of blacks and Latinos must have been due to flaws biasing the admissions process. That blacks did worse on admissions tests was the fault of, say, culturally inappropriate vocabulary questions about the word “regatta.”

“The irony is that today a remarkable fraction of the black beneficiaries of affirmative action are not descended from American slaves.”

Sensitivity committees were hired to scour test questions for bias. Scoring was made easier on the SAT verbal test. Analogies were dumped. A writing test was added and then dropped.

And…nothing much happened. The gap between white and black test scores was slightly blunted, but persisted.

Similarly, it was hoped that race quotas would uncover numerous diamonds in the rough. But it turned out that students let in on racial quotas did about as badly as could be expected.

Harvard, the alpha dog of academia, performed numerous quantitative studies during the 1970s about how far it could push affirmative action, and discovered definite limits (summarized in Robert Klitgaard’s 1985 book Choosing Elites). In particular, black males from underclass backgrounds who had been admitted to Harvard had an alarming tendency to violently victimize their fellow students.

More hardheaded observers in the 1960s assumed that the race gaps were real but transient. Give blacks a generation under post–Jim Crow conditions and they would catch up.

A late example of that outdated optimism came in Sandra Day O’Connor’s controlling opinion in the Supreme Court’s 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger affirmative action case. O’Connor upheld racial privileges, but declared that they wouldn’t be needed in a quarter of a century:

The Court takes the Law School at its word that it would like nothing better than to find a race-neutral admissions formula and will terminate its use of racial preferences as soon as practicable. The Court expects that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today.

In 2017, we are now over halfway to O’Connor’s 2028 end point, but nobody any longer believes that the world will be much different by then.

In fact, O’Connor’s decision concocted the perpetual-motion “diversity rationale” for racial privilege: You see, white students benefit from what quota kids bring to the classroom (such as racial resentment). Since nobody can actually measure the benefits of diversity except through faith, there is no end in sight for racial preferences.

But by 1998, it was clear to Glazer that if blacks had to win admission on their own merits, the top colleges would be only 1 or 2 percent black, instead of the 6 or 7 percent black seen with affirmative action.

Today, little has changed after Glazer’s second thoughts.

Consider an SAT score of 700, which is common for students at strong private universities such as USC or NYU. On the SAT exam in 2016, for instance, I estimate that only about 645 blacks in the country scored 700 or higher on the math portion, compared with 40,000 whites and an incredible 43,000 Asians.

On the reading section of the SAT, about 809 blacks reached the 700s versus 36,000 whites and 17,000 Asians.

At the Harvard-Stanford level of a 750 SAT score, whites outnumber blacks about 72 to 1 on reading and 107 to 1 on math.

Blacks have remained at about 6 percent of elite college freshmen since 1980. Considering the huge increase in Asians and Hispanics due to immigration, that steady state is much better than whites have done over the same time period.

The irony, however, is that today a remarkable fraction of the black beneficiaries of affirmative action are not descended from American slaves. Although quotas are often conceived of as reparations for slavery in America, a huge proportion of the beneficiaries of being black track ancestry either to a white parent or to non-American blacks (often to the triumphant tribes who sold fellow blacks into slavery).

In a 1999 survey by Douglas Massey of Princeton, 41 percent of black Ivy League freshmen had at least one foreign-born parent. At all private colleges, 27 percent of black freshmen were of immigrant background.

In 2011 at the Yale Law School, according to professors Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld, only two of the eighteen students who joined the black students’ association were African-American on both parents’ sides.

In 2004, black Harvard professors Henry Louis Gates and Lani Guinier pointed out that only about one-third of Harvard’s 530 black undergraduates were the descendants of four African-Americans. With the rise of Barack Obama later that year, however, Gates and Guinier prudently dummied up on this interesting question of why American institutions are granting racial privileges to individuals with no claim to be hereditary victims of slavery or Jim Crow.

It just doesn’t seem like the kind of question that occurs to white people in these increasingly racialized days. For example, Dana Goldstein’s “When Affirmative Action Isn’t Enough” in The New York Times on 9/17/17 focused on Elvis Kahoro, an illegal immigrant who was admitted to posh Pomona College in Claremont, Calif.:

To lure Mr. Kahoro, who was born in Kenya, Pomona went to extraordinary lengths. It flew him to campus during the fall of his senior year, paying for all his travel expenses. After he was accepted, financial aid covered close to the full cost of attendance, and he has never had to take out a loan; the college even gives him extra money for textbooks and cross-country trips to visit his family.

As with President Obama, Mr. Kahoro’s ancestors presumably sold many blacks into the slave trade. But that doesn’t matter in America in 2017: Elvis is racially entitled, even if recruiting him away from other colleges desperate for minimally qualified blacks is an expensive zero-sum game.

Here’s one important question that the superior performance of Africans and West Indians raises: Is something radically wrong with African-American culture? Why aren’t black Americans doing better than blacks from much poorer countries? Is our American culture of inculcating racial resentment causing African-Americans to lag behind their distant cousins from abroad? Should we stop allowing so many foreign blacks to immigrate?

Another relevant question: Do immigrants who get drafted into ameliorating American academia’s black lack eventually come down with the same bad habits as African-Americans?

Although the NYT article celebrates Pomona College for its costly success in attracting underrepresented minorities, Pomona and the other Claremont colleges, such as Claremont McKenna and Harvey Mudd, have suffered major nervous breakdowns in 2017 by black and Hispanic students who are thrown in over their heads. In August, the NYT profiled the spate of childish meltdowns in Claremont this year under the apt headline: “More Diversity Means More Demands.”

After a half century of America obsessing over theoretically overlooked blacks, where is the actual ignored talent?

Caroline M. Hoxby of Stanford and Christopher Avery of Harvard have been studying who are the high-potential high school students who don’t think about applying to, say, Stanford or Harvard.

These ignored students tend to be not the more fashionable ethnicities, because our society has been fixated upon recruiting blacks and Latinos for a half century now, but, typically, white boys in flyover states. The most disregarded students today are the same kind of people who got us to the moon in 1969.


Scotland's education minister pledges to measure progress on school attainment gap

Why are Leftists always tilting at windmills?  The poor will ALWAYS show lower educational achievement.  The poor are DUMBER!  Charles Murray set out the IQ findings on that decades ago

John Swinney has pledged to devise a string of new measures to assess his success in closing the school attainment gap between rich and poor within a decade.

Scotland’s education secretary and deputy first minister said a consultation would be published within weeks, after he faced criticism for admitting he did not know how the government would be judged against what it has earmarked as its number one priority.

Speaking at the Scottish Learning Festival in Glasgow, he said the stubborn gap in academic achievement between those born into rich and poor families had blighted Scotland for his entire life and revealed that a series of criteria would be introduced to assess progress.


Why Australia needs the Phonics Check

Jennifer Buckingham

The 'Simple View of Reading' conceptualises reading as having two key components -- word identification and language comprehension. Children need to know how to decipher the words on the page, and have a store of vocabulary, factual and conceptual knowledge to give the words meaning. A deficit in either one of these areas means that reading is difficult or impossible.

Pretty much all educators acknowledge that phonics is an essential element in learning to read and write. Phonics is both a body of knowledge and a skill: children need know which letters represent which sounds and vice versa -- and they need to be able to use that knowledge to read and spell.

All children can and should know how to use phonics to decode words. Unfortunately there is good reason to believe many children are not acquiring this fundamental knowledge and skill, thus hampering their ability to become proficient readers.

It was for this reason that the advisory panel I chaired recommended a Phonics Check for Year 1 students -- a simple, five minute, teacher-delivered assessment based on the Phonics Screening Check used in all primary schools in England since 2012. The Phonics Check would identify children who are struggling with decoding at this critical stage in learning to read, and provide schools and systems with immediate detailed data about strengths and weaknesses in phonics instruction that would allow them to respond accordingly.

Objections to the Phonics Check came in thick and fast when the advisory panel's report was released earlier this week, but many were misinformed about the nature of the assessment and the rationale underpinning it.

The loudest protestations against it have been that teachers are already assessing phonics and that 'another test' is unnecessary. However the panel found that -- while all state and territory government schools and all non-government schools are conducting literacy assessments to varying extents -- none of the systemic assessments had a strong phonics component. The phonics assessment items were either too few or were poorly designed. In some cases items listed as 'phonics' were measuring a different skill: phonemic awareness. The best assessment was in the Northern Territory, which is making significant in-roads in phonics.

It is now up to the state and territory education ministers to carefully consider the recommendations of the panel, without being unduly influenced by the teachers unions and a few professional associations that seem to be very worried about what a Phonics Check might reveal. If we can put politics aside and get phonics right in the early years, we may finally see a reduction in the number of children struggling with reading.


Friday, September 22, 2017

New Middlebury College Speaker Policy Basically Encourages Their Students to Make Threats Against Speakers

Last school year, Middlebury College, an elite private school in Vermont, attempted to host controversial author and scholar Charles Murray before a mob stepped in and violently ended the event before it could begin. No charges were filed against the student protestors, despite the fact that a professor was left with a serious neck injury and a concussion in the melee. Now, hoping to prevent a repeat of these events, Middlebury has announced a new interim speakers policy: the school will simply cancel all speakers if there's a "credible threat" made against them.

While the first two points of the new policy are fairly standard (three weeks notice for reserving rooms, please make any note of any security concerns), the final four give significant pause. I've highlighted the questionable policies below:

Requests to schedule an event will be reviewed weekly by staff from Student Activities, Event Management, and Communications to identify any events that are a likely target of disruption, threats, violence, or other acts of intimidation, or are likely to draw unusually large crowds.

In the event of a credible likelihood, based on prior incidents or current evidence, that an event is likely to be the target of threats or violence, the Threat Assessment and Management Team will conduct a risk assessment of the event, consulting with local law enforcement as needed, in order to advise the administration.

Representatives from Public Safety/Campus Security and Risk Management will review the risk assessment and determine resources or measures that might be necessary to ensure that the event can proceed without undue risk to the speaker and/or members of the community. This review will include a consideration of Middlebury Emergency Preparedness Plan and Emergency Operations protocols.

In those exceptional cases where this review indicates significant risk to the community, the president and senior administration will work with event sponsors to determine measures to maximize safety and mitigate risk. Only in cases of imminent and credible threat to the community that cannot be mitigated by revisions to the event plan would the president and senior administration consider canceling the event.

Gee, I can't imagine a scenario where this could backfire, can you? This new policy effectively encourages student groups to make plans to protest and to threaten speakers that they don't want on campus. This is not something that Middlebury should want more of on their campus. While I'm sure Middlebury had the best intentions in creating these policies, this is not behavior that should be egged on.

Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, who graduated from Middlebury in 1982, described the interim policy as one that will "legitimize heckler's veto."

Instead, the school should crack down on those making the "credible threats" against the speakers, rather than canceling the event altogether. Nobody wins in this scenario. College is a time to be exposed to uncomfortable ideas and to learn new things. (Or, if a person doesn't like the speaker at the event, they could always do something else with their time.) It's absurd for Middlebury--or any college--to seriously propose this kind of policy. It's a disservice to its students.


How to Give the Public Confidence in Charter Schools 

A couple of policy tweaks could restore voters’ sinking support for charters

Last month, 17 young men and women began their final year at Success Academy Charter Schools, the largest of the many stunningly successful charter networks operating in New York City. The first ever seniors at Success, these students have gained a lot of peers during their eleven years of study — both within their own school network and at charter schools around the country. Since 2006 the number of American students in charter schools has more than tripled, rising to an estimated 3 million for the 2016–17 school year.

    It’s no shock that the rise of charter schools has spurred nationwide opposition from teachers’ unions, which are losing their vise grip on salary and benefits negotiations as independently managed schools spread. It is alarming, however, that the campaign against charters may be starting to gain ground. A poll released last Friday by the nonpartisan journal Education Next shows that public support for charter schools has declined by more than 10 percentage points just in the past year, with the rising doubts spread evenly across party lines.

    There are many possible explanations for the increasingly negative perception of charters among the American public. But school-reform advocates should take the news as an urgent call to rebut the slander being heaped on charters and to address the deficient policies that actually have held back their success in some regions.

    In the realm of slander, left-wing advocacy groups appear to be racing to outdo each other. The NAACP called for a freeze on all new charters last fall, alleging that independently operated schools siphon resources from needy public-school students. Then, when the group reiterated its stance in July, American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten piled on by condemning charters as the “cousins of segregation.”

    These two intermingled charges don’t stand up to the evidence. If there is one area in which charter schools have excelled, it has been in delivering results for poor black and Hispanic students. Just like its previous nationwide study in 2013, the latest report from the Center for Research on Educational Outcomes showed that charters improved performance in reading and math at a higher rate than traditional public schools among low-income minority students. Accusations of discrimination have likely stoked public fears about charters, but frankly, the positive results in classrooms across the country will continue to speak for themselves over time.

    In the long run, expanding the practices that boost charter schools’ performance will be more important for sustaining such schools’ popularity than merely squashing thin left-wing criticisms. There are several states and regions in which charters have indeed lagged — rarely to the point of significantly underperforming neighboring public schools, but enough to make parents skeptical about the promises of the model. Fortunately, some of the differences between regions where charters flourish and ones where they flounder are clear, and could be corrected by shifts in state policy.

    The first big difference-maker in charter-school outcomes by region is the presence of authorizers that actively shut down underperforming schools. States such as Florida and Arizona, where charters are finally managing to reduce the achievement gap between their white and black students, are also among the leaders in closing low-performing schools: both closed more than 5 percent of their charters in 2015–16 alone. To ensure that poor-performing schools are held to account, regional authorizers must have both the power to close schools and the incentive to do so. Confoundingly, many charter-school authorizers are compensated based on the number of schools in their portfolios. In Michigan, where charters still outperform traditional public schools by a slight margin, a recent New York Times Magazine feature was nonetheless right to point out that the cash-strapped colleges and school boards that accredit charters have often hesitated to close schools and hurt their own bottom lines.

    A second, even clearer difference between regions where charters succeed and regions where they struggle is the balance of independent versus network-affiliated schools. Headlines often tout the fact that urban charters fare better than suburban ones, but much of this trend can be chalked up to the fact that charter schools in cities are likelier to belong to networks. These networks reduce the administrative costs for each of their schools and provide invaluable know-how for teachers and administrators at newly opened locations. Although the network model is already spreading to some sparsely populated areas, states could attract more power players like the Knowledge Is Power Program and Great Hearts Academies to their suburbs with tailored tax incentives.

    Since the first charter opened in 1991, school reformers have argued that the charter model would allow states and individual schools to test innovative methods of education. A quarter century of trials has proved these reformers right, with charter schools producing unmatched benefits for their students in most but not all cases. Now, the charter movement — like many of the graduates it has produced — is coming of age, ready to apply the best practices of its early years on a more consistent basis. Of course, maturity for charters shouldn’t mean an end to “experimenting.” But to restore public confidence, and spread the success of the charter model to every region in the nation, those states who haven’t yet done so should move quickly to create the conditions under which it has been proven most effective.


Anti-political correctness professor to speak at University of Regina

Gad Saad says political correctness is killing freedom of speech on school campuses

A visiting professor who believes that political correctness is killing the free exchange of ideas on campuses will be speaking at the University of Regina on Monday.

Dr. Gad Saad is a Concordia University marketing professor and creator of the popular YouTube channel, 'The Saad Truth,' where he explains his stances on evolutionary biology and concerns that freedom of speech is becoming increasingly restricted by so-called lunacy on campuses.

His arguments have been met with controversy. For example, he believes that while trans people should not face discrimination, people should not be forced to refer to them by preferred genderless pronouns like ze and zir.

Saad was part of the recently cancelled panel discussion titled, The Stifling of Free Speech on University Campuses, at Ryerson University, which also featured former Rebel Media personality Faith Goldy and University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson, who made headlines for refusing to use gender neutral pronouns.

"I guess the irony is lost on those folks," Saad told CBC Radio's The Morning Edition, calling those who rallied to shut down the event "domestic terrorists."

"If we think of terrorism as people flying planes into buildings and we restrict it to something as grand as that, then yes it is hyperbole. But if we recognize that the intrusion on our rights, our most fundamental right as citizens of Canada is to have the right to speak freely and once someone actually shuts that down, I mean it almost can't be a greater societal crime than that."

He's appearing at the school as part of the president's deliberation and debate speaker series.

School president Vianne Timmons said she knows some of Saad's views are controversial, but said a committee of six faculty members recommended him for the speaker series because his thoughts will stir debate, which is the point of the event.

"He may have views that are not shared by everyone on campus, but the whole idea of a university is to present views that are unique and different and have people think and contemplate and critique and learn."

Timmons said two people — one faculty member and one student — have voiced concerns that some of Saad's views may be offensive, but she doesn't know of any planned demonstrations.

Regardless, she said security has been put on alert for the event.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Evergreen professor at center of protests resigns; college will pay $500,000

Professor Bret Weinstein was a vocal critic of an Evergreen State College event that asked white students to leave campus for a day as part of Day of Presence/Day of Absence. A group of students, in turn, confronted Weinstein and called him a racist, and the video went viral.

Bret Weinstein and his wife, Heather Heying, resigned from their faculty positions effective Friday. The couple filed a $3.85 million tort claim in July alleging the college failed to “protect its employees from repeated provocative and corrosive verbal and written hostility based on race, as well as threats of physical violence,” according to the claim.

Weinstein had criticized changes to the school’s annual Day of Absence after white students who chose to participate were asked to go off campus to talk about race issues. He called the event “an act of oppression,” according to emails obtained by The Olympian. Weinstein later appeared on Fox News and wrote an Op-Ed in The Wall Street Journal.

The incident led to protests and threats over allegations of racism and intolerance, pulling Evergreen into a national debate over free speech on college campuses. The campus was closed for three days in June and graduation was moved to Cheney Stadium in Tacoma.

In an email to faculty and staff sent Friday about 6:40 p.m., Evergreen officials wrote that the college will pay $450,000 to the couple and $50,000 toward the couple’s attorney fees.

“In making this agreement, the college admits no liability, and rejects the allegations made in the tort claim. The educational activities of Day of Absence/Day of Presence were not discriminatory. The college took reasonable and appropriate steps to engage with protesters during spring quarter, de-escalate conflict, and keep the campus safe,” according to the email.

In a statement, Evergreen spokesman Zach Powers said the settlement was in the college’s best interest.

“Years of expensive litigation would drain resources and distract from our mission to provide an outstanding education at reasonable cost to the veterans, first-generation college students, creative thinkers and future leaders who study at Evergreen,” he said.

Messages to Weinstein and the couple’s lawyer were not immediately returned Saturday.

Weinstein taught biology and Heying taught anthropology at Evergreen. College officials said they will work with students whose coursework is affected by the resignations.


Appeals Court: Rolling Stone Must Face Defamation Lawsuit Over Rape Story

In unfortunate timing for Jann Wenner, who just put Rolling Stone up for sale, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has revived a defamation lawsuit over the magazine's infamous story about the gang rape of a freshman identified as "Jackie" at a University of Virginia campus fraternity.

For that since-retracted article from author Sabrina Erdely, Rolling Stone has faced several lawsuits including one by University of Virginia associate dean Nicole Eramo, which went to trial and was later settled for $1.65 million.

Another lawsuit came from members of Phi Kappa Psi, but in June 2016, U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel granted a motion to dismiss, finding "the article's details about the attackers are too vague and remote from the plaintiffs' circumstances to be 'of and concerning' them."

In an opinion (read here), Judge Katherine Forrest, sitting on the 2nd Circuit panel by designation, decides the lower court prematurely rejected claims from George Elias and Ross Fowler while correctly rejecting those from Stephen Hadford.

"[W]hile it is a close call, we conclude on balance that the complaint plausibly alleged that the purportedly defamatory statements in the Article were 'of and concerning' Elias and Fowler individually," she writes. "At this stage of the litigation, Plaintiffs need only plead sufficient facts to make it plausible—not probable or even reasonably likely—that a reader familiar with each Plaintiff would identify him as the subject of the statements at issue. With regard to the Article, Elias and Fowler have met this burden."

As far as Elias, he alleged to have been identified in the story because he was a fraternity member on the night in question and was known to live on the second floor where the rape was reported to have occurred. His claims were initially dismissed upon the observation that the article contained no details about the bedroom, but his suggestion of having the only bedroom at the fraternity house large enough to fit the description of the rape is deemed by the appeals court as being enough at this stage.

Fowler gets the benefit of the doubt on his claims because of two main allegations. One, that he was the rush chair for the fraternity. And two, that he regularly swam at the university's aquatic center. The article describes how Jackie met one of the fraternity brothers at a pool and suggested that the rape was related to the fraternity's initiation process.

Unlike those of the other two, Hadford's own individual claims don't survive scrutiny. He may have been a member of the fraternity, but the fact that he rode a bike on campus isn't enough of a connection to the article's statement that Jackie had seen "one of the boys riding his bike on the grounds."

According to the opinion, "there is no allegation that it is unusual for UVA alumni to bike through campus such that a reasonable reader familiar with Hadford’s biking habits would conclude that the Article plausibly referred to him."

However, quite notably, the 2nd Circuit accepts a group defamation theory.

Forrest writes that the size of the fraternity does not present an obstacle because 53 members of Phi Kappa Psi is "sufficiently small." Under New York law, a plaintiff is more likely to succeed in a group defamation when the community is small enough that individual members are readily associated with the group.

The lower court agreed in that regard, but also came to the conclusion that the article didn't expressly or impliedly state that the fraternity required all initiates to participate in a rape.

"The District Court erred by evaluating the Article’s various allegations against Phi Kappa Psi in isolation, rather than considering them in the context of the Article as a whole," states the opinion. "Taking the allegations in the Article together, a reader could plausibly conclude that many or all fraternity members participated in alleged gang rape as an initiation ritual and all members knowingly turned a blind eye to the brutal crimes. Indeed, Erdely suggested such an interpretation in her Podcast interview."

Forrest articulates.

"Consider first the description of Jackie’s purported rape," she writes. "Not only did nine men associated with the fraternity participate in the alleged offense, but several made comments—'Don’t you want to be a brother?' and 'We all had to do it, so you do, too'—implying the event was part of an initiation ritual."


More dumbing down coming for California colleges

California State University officials want more undergraduates to earn their degrees and do so more quickly. Yet their “solution” could compound the more fundamental problem that too many students are graduating without being prepared.

CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White issued an executive order last month that changes policies affecting entering freshmen’s knowledge assessments and course placements. One change is allowing remedial English and math classes to count as credit-bearing courses toward a degree. To help avoid remedial courses altogether CSU plans to use multiple measures to determine course placements not just scores on tests taken during students’ junior or senior years of high school. These measures will include high school course grades and GPAs.

Yet these changes are risky, as Thomas D. Elias explains in The Orange County Register.

The 23-campus California State University system knows it must somehow speed up graduation beyond today’s pace, which sees just 19 percent of entering freshmen graduate within four years. The low rate is at least partly because more than a third of frosh need some remedial work. ...

The problem with giving academic credit for remedial classes that essentially provide students with knowledge or skills they should have picked up in high school is that it threatens to dumb down degrees from Cal State campuses from the North Coast to San Diego.

He concludes that in spite of CSU officials’ quality assurances, “Still, it may not be possible to turn a cow into a racehorse just by calling it something different or painting it a different color.”

Elias is right, and there’s reason to believe that a similar sort of paint job’s been happening for years in the form of inflated high school performance.

Last fall, the mean high school GPA for students in CSU remedial classes was a 3.2.

How on earth do students with GPAs that would qualify them for the high school honor roll wind up in remedial classes?

Along with remedial students’ high school GPAs, California’s reported annual graduation rates are also high. This spring State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that California’s high school graduation rate increased for the seventh consecutive year to a new record-high, 83.2 percent in 2016 up from 74.7 percent in 2010. In fact, rates were up across almost every student socio-economic group. Torlakson attributed the graduation rate increases to better academic standards, additional funding for schools, and more engaging classes, as he did last year when he made a similar announcement.

But the U.S. Department of Education (ED) isn’t convinced. It’s initiated an audit to determine whether California schools are accurately calculating and reporting high school graduation rates. (See pp. 9 and 17; and also here and here. As of this writing, the results of that audit aren’t available.) According to ED rules that were updated in 2008, the states were supposed to have adopted a uniform method for calculating high school graduation rates that was “more honest” no later than the 2010-11 school year.

The biggest problem with reported graduation rates like these is that no matter how states calculate them, they amount to false advertising about students’ actual preparation for college-level work or a career (see here and here).

According to the latest results from California’s Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) test, the percentage of 11th graders deemed college-ready by the state is alarmingly low (defined as Level 4 or exceeding the state standards).

In English language arts, just 39 percent of non-economically disadvantaged 11th graders are ready for college, dropping to 16 percent for economically disadvantaged students. In math, only 22 percent of non-economically disadvantaged 11th graders are ready for college, plummeting to 6 percent for economically disadvantaged students.

Yet California is hardly the only culprit when it comes to inflating graduation rates. (For state-by-state rates, see here).

For all ED’s emphasis on “more honest” figures, there’s lingering suspicion that its new reporting method isn’t all that honest, either.

Starting with the 2009-10 school year ED announced that the American high school graduation rate had reached a 30-year historic high of 78.2 percent. Each school year thereafter the rates kept climbing to new record-breaking highs:

79 percent in 2010-11
80 percent in 2011-12
81 percent in 2012-13
82 percent in 2013-14
83.2 percent in 2014-15 (the latest year available)

“This increase,” according to President Obama’s press office last October, “reflects important progress schools across the country are making to better prepare students for college and careers after graduation.”

Not everyone’s so sure.

Once the country’s high school graduation rate surpassed 80 percent, alarm bells started going off. NPR advised taking it with “a big grain of salt.” Even Education Week was doubtful about the newest record-high rate. But my favorite response of all came from Robert Pondiscio, senior fellow and vice president for external affairs at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. In his blistering article titled “The Phoniest Statistic in Education,” Pondiscio gets right to the point: “Let’s just stop pussyfooting around and say it out loud: The ‘historic’ peak in the country’s high school graduation rate is bullsh*t.” [edited]

Such skepticism seems warranted. Since 2009, proficiency rates of American 12th graders on the Nation’s Report Card in reading and math have barely budged and remained shockingly low. For students not considered low-income, less than half score proficient or better in reading (45 percent), dropping to less than one-third in math (32 percent). Results for low-income 12th graders are even worse. Less than one-quarter of low-income students are proficient or better in reading (23 percent), and barley more than one in 10 are proficient or better in math (11 percent).

As it is, remedial education costs Californians up to $14 billion annually. There is no good reason high school graduates should be unprepared for entry level college English and math classes—much less expect taxpayers to pay twice to educate them by counting remedial classes as credit-bearing courses.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

CNN Debuts Documentary Teaching High Schoolers About Anal Sex, Transitioning

CNN ran a story Monday about a new video documentary created by the network that contains scenes of teaching high schoolers about anal sex, performing oral sex, and transitioning to a new gender.

The documentary, titled, “This Is Sex with Lisa Ling,” features a segment titled, “Sex 101.”

In the video, CNN’s Lisa Ling sits in a classroom with high schoolers, listening to a lesson where a teacher quizzes students on the proper term for a woman receiving oral sex, among other graphic questions.

Other topics taught in this classroom include how to use condoms for anal sex between same-sex couples, after which the CNN host characterizes teaching this as “inclusive.”

The teacher also states that she has students transitioning genders, and that she asks them their preferred pronouns. She also discusses how California passed a new law on sex ed that is creating these discussions in the classroom.

This comes after CNN host Brooke Baldwin was so offended by an offhand reference to “boobs” that she shut down an entire segment.


26 Boston schools at risk of being declared ‘underperforming’

More than two dozen schools in Boston with low standardized test scores are at risk of being declared “underperforming” by the state, an action that can lead to the removal of principals and teachers, according to a School Department analysis.

The 26 schools are spread across nearly every neighborhood, from East Boston to West Roxbury. Officials are expected to learn the fate of each school when the state releases the latest round of MCAS data at the end of October.

If the state orders any of the schools to overhaul their programs, they would have three years to boost student performance or they could face a state takeover. Nine of Boston’s 125 schools are already designated as underperforming, while two others are in receivership, a more dire classification.

“There is no silver bullet to this,” Superintendent Tommy Chang said Friday, noting that urban districts nationwide are struggling to turn around their lowest performing schools.

He added that the school system needs to push ahead with urgency because many of the most marginalized students are in these schools. The schools that have been singled out represent 20 percent of those in the system, educating about 12,000 students.

The analysis, which officials presented to the School Committee last week, offers greater insight into the state of the city’s school system as Mayor Martin J. Walsh runs for reelection this fall.

Walsh, while praising the system for pushing more schools into the two highest-ranking categories in the state accountability system and boosting graduation rates to historic highs, said he and the district are committed to improving schools at the bottom.

“This year’s budget includes an additional $16 million for our lower-performing schools and it’s important that we continue to provide focus and supports to the schools and students that need them most,” Walsh said in a statement.

The analysis underscores the reality that many schools need more attention and resources in order to thrive.

Chang’s team produced the analysis at the request of the School Committee, which wanted a better understanding of how many schools are at risk of being declared underperforming and what steps the system is taking to help prevent that.

Since then, the analysis has slowly circulated among the affected schools, raising questions about their future and fueling debate about whether the data accurately reflect the quality of education being delivered.

The analysis flagged 11 schools for being at the greatest risk of being declared underperforming because their MCAS scores rank very low in comparison to other schools statewide. One of those schools is Roxbury’s Mendell Elementary School, which has been increasingly popular with parents and students.

Some parents said the data do not jibe with their experience, noting the school has expanded its arts programs and introduced robotics and it educates students with disabilities alongside other classmates in traditional classrooms.

Many former Mendell students are now landing spots at the city’s prestigious exam schools.

“I’m baffled by that news,” said Flavia Graf Reardon, whose son is in the fourth grade and whose daughter moved on to Boston Latin Academy. “In my mind, the Mendell is a gem. There are fantastic things happening there. I think this school has been a haven for a lot of different families.”

Also appearing at the very bottom is Blackstone Innovation School in the South End, which highlights the extraordinary difficulty of sustaining school turnaround efforts. The Blackstone had been tagged as underperforming in 2010 but climbed its way out of that designation three years later after getting a new principal, replacing almost all of its teachers, and extending its school day.

But since then, the Blackstone has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal school-improvement grants, forcing it to cut back on academic interventions. More than 90 percent of the students have been classified by the state as “high needs” because they lack English fluency, have disabilities, or live in households receiving welfare benefits.

Bill Wolff, president of the Friends of Blackstone School, said it wouldn’t be helpful for the school to be reclassified as underperforming, noting it just got a new administrative team and has many talented and dedicated teachers.

“It would put more hardship on the school,” Wolff said.

The nine other schools flagged for having the very lowest MCAS performance are Chittick Elementary in Hyde Park; Perkins Elementary in South Boston; the McKinley Schools, a special-education program with multiple locations; Holmes Elementary and King K-8 in Dorchester; West Roxbury Academy and Urban Science Academy in West Roxbury; and Ellis Elementary and Timilty Middle School in Roxbury.

It’s far from certain that all of the schools identified in the analysis would be designated as underperforming. The state identifies only a handful of schools each year as underperforming and would probably consider schools outside of Boston as well.

There is a limit on the total that can be declared underperforming statewide — 4 percent. The state is well below that limit.

As of last fall, 33 schools were designated underperforming statewide, or 2 percent of all schools. And since that time, at least one of them — Mattahunt Elementary in Boston — has shut down.

Chang said that he is hoping the Mendell will avert any sanctions and that he expects to see dramatic increases in its test scores, noting it recently adopted a rigorous curriculum for its upper grades.

In an effort to provide the schools at the bottom with the best supports possible, Chang brought in an outside evaluator last year to diagnose areas of weakness and strength for each school in the bottom fifth percentile.

“We need to make sure . . . that every single school in the Boston Public Schools is a school that parents want to send their children to,” Chang said.

Jessica Tang, president of the Boston Teachers Union, said she was pleased the school system was taking a proactive approach with the schools at risk of state mandated-actions. But she faulted the state’s accountability system for the predicament of many schools, arguing it over-emphasizes standardized test scores and takes funding away from schools too quickly after showing some improvement.

“The accountability system itself is not an accurate measure of student performance and growth,” Tang said. “If you visit some of the schools, you’ll see there are amazing things happening.”

The other 15 at-risk schools identified by the School Department, which have only slightly better performance than the other 11, are Condon Elementary in South Boston; Edwards Middle School in Charlestown; Frederick Pilot Middle School and Community Academy for Science and Health in Dorchester; Hennigan Elementary and Mission Hill K-8 in Jamaica Plain; Irving Middle School and Sumner Elementary in Roslindale; Higginson-Lewis K-8 and Mason Pilot School in Roxbury; Tobin K-8 in Mission Hill; East Boston High School; Charlestown High School; and Lyon Upper School and Winship in Brighton


Australia: Students to undergo literacy and numeracy tests from YEAR ONE as part of new national assessment plan

There have always been assessments of one sort or another done in all years so I see no problem with them being nationally co-ordinated

A new national assessment will see students in the first grade undergo literacy and numeracy tests so they don't 'fall between the cracks.'

At present the NAPLAN system tests children from years three, seven and nine on their reading, writing and mathematics skills but there isn't a national standard for students younger than those year groups.

Minister for Education Simon Birmingham explained that Australia's results in primary and secondary academics had declined and was hoping a new system could prevent errors learned in the earlier years from carrying forward, the Herald Sun reports.

At the moment the idea of a nationwide check hasn't been developed but there are reports it could be integrated into the syllabus by 2019.

A panel of researchers and experts advised the Minister that a 'light check' on school students that age could help bolster results in the long term.

'By identifying exactly where students are at in their development early at school, educators can intervene to give extra support to those who need it to stop them slipping behind the pack.'

Instead of being a test conducted in anxiety-inducing school halls the year one 'check' would be far more relaxed and be administered by teachers known to the students.

An online system would then tally up the child's score and release the information to the principal and parents alike.

Mr Birmingham said he would hold discussions with state and territory leaders and education authorities over a trial and implementation roll out.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

We've turned Australian universities into aimless, money-grubbing exploiters of students (?)

As an economist, Ross Gittins often has substantial things to say.  But as a Leftist he is also a compulsive moaner.  So the points he makes below are cogent but most of them are disputable.

The one area wherein I agree wholeheartedly with him is his condemnation of relaxed assessment standards for overseas fee-paying students.  This practice is, I think, still a minority one but will surely be a big negative eventually when our universities send home to Asia students whose knowledge and skills don't match what is on the pieces of paper we give them.  It devalues our degrees.

Gittins may also have half a point in saying that Lecturers are poorly paid.  In my day we were paid well above average and there does seem to be some slippage from that.  But with salaries closing in on $100,000 pa it's still a long way from  poverty.  Many junior software engineers get about that and they are undoubtedly bright sparks.

And Gittins again has half a point in saying that tenure is now harder to get.  I was appointed with tenure, a rare thing nowadays. But there has to be a balance.  Tenure protects divergent thinking but it also promotes laziness. Once you can't be fired, why work?  I suspect that the delayed granting of tenure that we now see is not a bad balance.  It ensures that for at least a large part of one's academic life we do some work.

But his other points are contentious.  Recorded Lectures are bad?  I would think they are wholly good.  They relieve students of the pressure to take notes, though they can still take notes if they want or need to.  There was only one course I did in my undergraduate days in which I took notes.  Otherwise I concentrated on listening instead. And I am sure I learnt far more that way.  My grades certainly did not suffer from it.

"Overcrowded" lecture halls?  I don't know what he is talking about.  A lecture hall is not a high school classroom.  In my academic career I often fronted up to a lecture in an auditorium with 1,000 or more students in front of me.  And I was able to allow students to interrupt with questions.  So I would think it was a poor lecturer who couldn't handle that.

He says that universities put too much pressure on academics to do research.  I would say that they do too little.  There are now whole tertiary institutions which devalue research.  And many lecturers in all institutions do little of it. But it is only by doing research that you get a real hold on knowledge in your selected field.  You cannot be at the cutting edge without doing your own research.  Otherwise you are just reading the conclusions of others.

But in the end, Gittins's big beef is that the present system of running our universities amounts to a sort of "privatization", which is of course anathema to Leftists.  I think he should throw off those ideological blinkers and look at what is actually happening.  He looks at that so far only "through a glass darkly"

Of the many stuff-ups during the now-finished era of economic reform, one of the worst is the unending backdoor privatisation of Australia's universities, which began under the Hawke-Keating government and continues in the Senate as we speak.

This is not so much "neoliberalism" as a folly of the smaller-government brigade, since the ultimate goal for the past 30 years has been no more profound than to push university funding off the federal budget.

The first of the budget-relieving measures was the least objectionable: introducing the Higher Education Contribution Scheme, requiring students – who gain significant private benefits from their degrees – to bear just some of the cost of those degrees, under a deferred loan-repayment scheme carefully designed to ensure it did nothing to deter students from poor families.

Likewise, allowing unis to admit suitably qualified overseas students provided they paid full freight was unobjectionable in principle.

The Howard government's scheme allowing less qualified local students to be admitted provided they paid a premium was "problematic", as the academics say, and soon abandoned.

The problem is that continuing cuts in government grants to unis have kept a protracted squeeze on uni finances, prompting vice-chancellors to become obsessed with money-raising.

They pressure teaching staff to go easy on fee-paying overseas students who don't reach accepted standards of learning, form unhealthy relationships with business interests, and accept "soft power" grants from foreign governments and their nationals without asking awkward questions.

They pressure academics not so much to do more research as to win more research funding from the government. Interesting to compare the hours spent preparing grant applications with the hours actually doing research.

To motivate the researchers, those who bring in the big bucks are rewarded by being allowed to pay casuals to do their teaching for them. (This after the vice-chancellors have argued straight-faced what a crime it would be for students to be taught by someone who wasn't at the forefront of their sub-sub research speciality.)

The unis' second greatest crime is the appalling way they treat those of their brightest students foolish enough to aspire to an academic career. Those who aren't part-timers are kept on serial short-term contracts, leaving them open to exploitation by ambitious professors.

However much the unis save by making themselves case studies in precarious employment, it's surely not worth it. If they're not driving away the most able of their future star performers it's a tribute to the "treat 'em mean to keep 'em keen" school of management.

But the greatest crime of our funding-obsessed unis is the way they've descended to short-changing their students, so as to cross-subsidise their research. At first they did this mainly by herding students into overcrowded lecture theatres and tutorials.

An oddball minority of academics takes a pride in lecturing well.

Lately they're exploiting new technology to achieve the introverted academic's greatest dream: minimal "face time" with those annoying pimply students who keep asking questions.

PowerPoint is just about compulsory. Lectures are recorded and put on the website – or, failing that, those barely comprehensible "presentation" slides – together with other material sufficient to discourage many students – most of whom have part-time jobs – from bothering to attend lectures. Good thinking.

To be fair, an oddball minority of academics takes a pride in lecturing well. They get a lot of love back from their students, but little respect or gratitude from their peers. Vice-chancellors make a great show of awarding them tin medals, but it counts zilch towards their next promotion.

The one great exception to the 30-year quest to drive uni funding off the budget was Julia Gillard's ill-considered introduction of "demand-driven" funding of undergraduate places, part of a crazy plan to get almost all school-leavers going on to uni, when many would be better served going to TAFE.

The uni money-grubbers slashed their entrance standards, thinking of every excuse to let older people in, admitting as many students as possible so as to exploit the feds' fiscal loophole.

The result's been a marked lowering of the quality of uni degrees, and unis being quite unconscionable in their willingness to offer occupational degrees to far more people than could conceivably be employed in those occupations.

I suspect those vice-chancellors who've suggested that winding back the demand-determined system would be preferable to the proposed across-the-board cuts (and all those to follow) are right.

The consequent saving should be used to reduce the funding pressure on the unis, but only in return for measures to force them back to doing what the nation's taxpayers rightly believe is their first and immutable responsibility: providing the brighter of the rising generation with a decent education.


British schools break law on religious education, research suggests

More than a quarter of England's secondary schools do not offer religious education, despite the law saying they must, suggests research given to BBC local radio.

The National Association for RE teachers obtained unpublished official data under Freedom of Information law.

It says that missing the subject leaves pupils unprepared for modern life.

But the main union for secondary head teachers said many schools covered religious issues in other lessons.

"They might be teaching through conferences, they might be using citizenship lessons, they might be using assemblies," said Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders.

By law, RE must be taught by all state-funded schools in England, with detailed syllabuses agreed locally.

NATRE says the FOI data, gathered by the Department for Education in 2015 but not published until now, showed that, overall, 26% of secondaries were not offering RE lessons.

Among academies, which make up the majority of secondary schools, more than a third (34%) were not offering RE to 11 to 13-year-olds and almost half (44%) were not offering it to 14 to 16-year-olds.

The Coopers Company and Coborn School in Upminster, Essex, is an academy which bucks the trend. As part of a GCSE in RE, students have been studying religious festivals and teacher Joe Kinnaird believes the subject is vital. "RE in schools provides the best and the perfect opportunity to explore those issues which students see in in the wider world," he said.

"RE and philosophy provide students the chance to explore fundamental questions such as what happens after we die, does God exist, how do we cope with the problem of evil? "These questions are both philosophical and ethical and the RE classroom is where we can explore these issues."

His pupils agree, with one, Lisa, saying: "Not being religious myself, I think it's really interesting to learn about other religions, other cultures, I feel like it can be vital in life to understand other religions."

Her classmate, Benjamin, said that not being taught about religion could result in people being "heavily influenced by what they find on social media".

Fellow pupil Luke added: "Once you're educated about a certain religion you actually know the true meanings of it.

While for Nicole, better religious education could help cut the number of racially and culturally motivated crimes.

"Religion affects politics, so you have to think of it that way. It's really important to know the diverse cultural traditions of other people because it's really relevant today," she said.
Not religious

Fiona Moss of NATRE said too many schools were "breaking the law", resulting in pupils "missing out on religious education".  "It means they are not religiously literate," she said.

"They don't have the opportunity to learn about religions and beliefs, to learn what's important to people or to have the chance to develop their own ideas, beliefs and values.

"It's going to be important for them to understand what people believe they think and what encourages them to behave in the particular ways that they do.

"We're not teaching people to be religious. We're teaching children about religions and beliefs that exist in this country.

Ms Moss said the data showed a shortage of specialist RE teachers throughout the state system.

"If you are an academy, there's a freedom about how you can teach RE and I think some schools struggle with that freedom and think they don't have to be as committed to RE. "They're under financial pressures and maybe this is an easy loss."

Different faiths

But Mr Barton called the idea that schools were deliberately breaking the law "a real oversimplification".

"It might result from the report trying to find a very traditional delivery model of RE. Or it could that they find it hard to recruit an RE teacher, for example, and most head teachers would agree they'd prefer to have provision which is better quality, taught by other people in different ways, if they can't get specialist staff."

A Department for Education spokesman said the government firmly believed in the subject's importance.

"Good quality RE can develop children's knowledge of the values and traditions of Britain and other countries, and foster understanding among different faiths and cultures.

"Religious education remains compulsory for all state-funded schools, including academies and free schools, at all key stages and we expect all schools to fulfil their statutory duties," said the spokesman.


Increasingly, foreign students are choosing Canada over US

Melanie Backal grew up in the bustling capital city of Bogota, Colombia, but for college she wanted to try something new. Her parents told her she would have a chance at a better future if she went to school abroad, and she agreed. She wanted to apply to Harvard.

Then Donald Trump got elected president. Suddenly the United States didn’t seem so appealing.

“All the things he said about Latinos, and everything that’s going on there, I decided to not take a risk,” said Backal, a first-year student at the University of Toronto.

The United States has long been the top destination for foreign students who go abroad for college, but a record number are now choosing Canada instead.

Some reasons are longstanding — fear of gun crime in the United States and cheaper tuition up north. But the 2016 election, and with it Trump’s travel ban and what many see as the demonization of foreigners and immigrants and a new wave of racism, has created a post-Trump surge at Canadian colleges.

At the University of Toronto, the number of foreign students who accepted admissions offers rose 21 percent over last year, especially from the United States, India, the Middle East, and Turkey. Other universities across the country also saw record increases in the last year.

“If you look at the trajectory, clearly Brexit, Trump, things that have been happening in the last year or two — that sense of instability — it’s contributed,” said Richard Levin, the registrar at the University of Toronto, Canada’s most elite university.

The increase is not all because of Trump. Canada has made international student recruitment a national goal to spur economic growth. It now has 353,000 international students and wants 450,000 by 2022. But the political uncertainty in the United States — as well as in the United Kingdom — has given Canada’s effort an unexpected boost.

Overall, the number of international students in Canada has grown 92 percent since 2008. They now make up 1 percent of the country’s population.

By comparison, the United States has about 1 million foreign students and a population ten times that of Canada.

The number of foreign students in the United States has been growing for years, but last year it grew at the slowest rate since 2009.

It is not necessarily the idea of Trump as president that dissuades foreign students from studying in the United States, but the tumultuous climate his election ushered in. High school students in Bangladesh, Ecuador, Iran, and beyond are reading articles about the country and it concerns them.

“I didn’t feel like it was a welcoming atmosphere anymore for an international student,” said Christian Philips, a first-year Toronto student from Egypt. “I wasn’t thinking about Trump or other politicians — I was thinking about people’s perception of me.”

Even before foreign students arrive in Canada, many find it more welcoming than the United States. The paperwork to obtain a study permit is simpler, they said, and unlike in the United States, they can stay and work in Canada for three years after graduation. They also have access to the country’s national health care system.

Once the students arrive, they tend to feel at home in diverse Toronto, a city of 2.8 million where half the population was born outside Canada.

It’s normal to see people in head coverings or hear people speak with an accent. Real estate prices in Toronto are skyrocketing, but neighborhoods of all socioeconomic levels are ethnically diverse.

Located in the geographic heart of the lakeside city, the University of Toronto campus mirrors that diversity.

“My English isn’t the best,” said Backal, the Colombian student, standing in a group of Canadian first-years at a hamburger truck on a recent Friday. “People don’t laugh at me; they help me, they correct me in a friendly way.”

Philips, from Egypt, said he hasn’t felt the subtle hostility in Canada that he has experienced in the United States or the United Kingdom, the kind he says is hard to describe but present nonetheless.

Students from abroad now make up about 20 percent of the University of Toronto’s 71,000 undergraduates. The school wants to keep that percentage steady but diversify the countries they come from. Right now, two-thirds are from China.

Cost is another reason students choose Canada over the United States. International student tuition is much higher than the bargain rates Canadians pay, but it’s often still cheaper than in the United States or the same price for a more prestigious program. Canada also allows some students with Canadian family members to pay local rates.

An engineering undergraduate program, for instance, costs about $11,707 (in US dollars) per year at the University of Toronto for Canadian students. A nursing degree is around $7,033. Political science is about $5,240. Those same degrees cost about $41,574, $38,446, and $36,842, respectively, for foreign students.

The costs do not include housing. A dorm plus a meal plan in Toronto costs $8,000 to $15,000. By comparison, a year of tuition plus room and board at Boston University costs about $67,000. BU is also ranked 11 spots below Toronto on the US News world rankings.

Admissions criteria can also make Canadian universities a more appealing option than US schools. Students are not required to submit essays or references or do interviews. The school admits them based only on high school grades and test scores. Most international students from outside the United States do not have to take the SAT.

Many international students also have parents with Canadian citizenship or an aunt or uncle in the country, making the international transition easier.

That was the case for Maryam Hosseini and Dorsa Fardaei, two first-year Toronto students from Shiraz, Iran. They know the stellar reputation of US colleges, but they have negative perceptions of the country.

“I feel like it’s really unsafe,” Hosseini said, sitting on the steps outside the campus’s main lecture hall with her friend, on a break before their linear algebra class. “This is pretty exaggerated, but I feel like if I go in the [US] streets, I feel like someone is going to take out a gun and shoot someone.”

Hosseini completed her last two years of high school in Canada, and in 11th grade she competed in an international math competition in Pennsylvania. She planned to compete again in 12th grade, but by then Trump had been elected and she heard on Canadian radio about hostility toward Muslims in the United States. She stayed home instead.

As Hosseini told that story, Fardaei piped up. She has her own US anecdote. Once she was in a New York City airport with her family and some friends. The friends told them to stop speaking Persian so no one would suspect them of being terrorists.

“That was really bad,” she said. In Toronto, meanwhile, she said her friends ask her to teach them Persian words.

The university has specific strategies to help students adjust. During the first week of school this month, the Centre for International Experience led campus tours for international students, to show them where to sign up for health insurance, where to get study help, and where to find a place of worship or a cheap restaurant. The center’s lobby was lined with students who came to sort out glitches that inevitably arise with visas, health insurance, or class registrations.

The day before fall classes started, students paraded through the city streets decked in school colors, then swarmed the campus’s central green for an activities fair with an ice cream truck, bouncy room, and dunk tank.

Students from afar were crowded in with those from Canada, all the subject of enthusiastic recruitment for the Mahjong Society, the Immunology Students’ Association, the Korean Outreach Volunteering Association, and other clubs.

The scene resembled something from a state school in Florida or Michigan, but at the same time blissfully removed from the tense atmosphere felt on some US campuses.

While the Canadian government has seized on recruitment of foreign students — and encouraged them to work in Canada after graduation — as a way to strengthen its economy, US universities have felt compelled to issue public statements assuring such students that they still have a place on their campuses.

“We respect people from all nations, cultures, background, and experience and welcome them to join our community,” the president of Bunker Hill Community College wrote in a letter signed by the leaders of all the state’s community colleges last month.

Higher education experts in the United States have noticed students avoiding the country, and they are worried.

“This has been one of our concerns,” said Esther Brimmer, CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, an organization of educators and recruiters who work to bring international students to the United States.

Brimmer sees a direct connection between Trump’s rise and the loss of foreign students. When students go elsewhere, she said, the country loses not just financially but also culturally and intellectually.

“We cannot be complacent,” she said. “We have to push back against measures from the executive branch that would make the US less welcoming.”