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Archive | Education

CROSS: Blassio’s War on Poor Asian Children

From To make elite schools ‘fair,’ city will punish poor Asians | New York Post:

New York’s specialized high schools, including Stuyvesant and the equally storied Bronx High School of Science, along with Brooklyn Technical High School and five smaller schools, have produced 14 Nobel laureates — more than most countries.

For more than 70 years, admission to these schools has been based upon a competitive examination of math, verbal and logical reasoning skills. In 1971, the state legislature, heading off city efforts to scrap the merit selection test as culturally biased against minorities, reaffirmed that admission to the schools be based on the competitive exam.

But now, troubled by declining black and Hispanic enrollment at the schools, opponents of the exam have resurfaced. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund has filed a civil-rights complaint challenging the admissions process. A bill in Albany to eliminate the test requirement has garnered the support of Sheldon Silver, the powerful Assembly speaker.

And new Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose son, Dante, attends Brooklyn Tech, has called for changing the admissions criteria. The mayor argues that relying solely on the test creates a “rich-get-richer” dynamic that benefits the wealthy, who can afford expensive test preparation.

As Ting’s story illustrates, however, the reality is just the opposite. It’s not affluent whites, but rather the city’s burgeoning population of Asian-American immigrants — a group that, despite its successes, remains disproportionately poor and working-class — whose children have aced the exam in overwhelming numbers.

And, ironically, the more “holistic” and subjective admissions criteria that de Blasio and the NAACP favor would be much more likely to benefit children of the city’s professional elite than African-American and Latino applicants — while penalizing lower-middle-class Asian-American kids like Ting. The result would not be a specialized high school student body that “looks like New York,” but rather one that looks more like Bill de Blasio’s upscale Park Slope neighborhood in Brooklyn.

Ironic?

To modern “progressive” elites, though, the story is intolerable, starting with the hard work. These liberal elites seem particularly troubled by the Asian-American work ethic and the difficult questions that it raises about the role of culture in group success.

While the advancement of Asian students has come overwhelmingly at the expense of more affluent whites, it has also had an undeniable impact on black and Latino students, whose foothold at these schools, small to begin with, has all but vanished.

[...]

Subjective selection criteria also inevitably favor the affluent and connected — as a comptroller’s audit of the screened-school admissions process revealed. The study found that most of the schools examined did not follow their stated selection criteria and could not explain the criteria that they actually did use.

[...]

Critics of the SHSAT will reply that something must be done about declining black and Hispanic enrollment at the specialized high schools. The answer, however, can never be to lower objective standards.

Adopting this cynical approach would do no favors for black and Latino children, while opening the door to discrimination against Asian kids like Ting. It is not the specialized schools’ emphasis on merit, but rather the advocates’ defeatist worldview that is truly — and tragically — wrongheaded.

 

 

 

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DOLLAR: Students Defeat Teacher Unions in California

Writes Campbell Brown in A historic victory for America’s kids  – NY Daily News on the Vergara v. California decision:

The case began with courageous students, because they had to endure the nightmare: grossly incompetent teachers, mainly in poor and minority schools, protected by state laws. And when the court ruling thundered down Tuesday, the impact was profoundly clear: Students, you win.

[...] Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu said the evidence of the deleterious effect of ineffective teachers on students is so compelling that it “shocks the conscience” — a line that instantly gave voice to countless parents.The court found that the nine student plaintiffs and their team had proven both of their points. One, that California’s laws directly cause students to be unreasonably exposed to grossly ineffective teachers. And two, that poor and minority students, in particular, are saddled with those teachers. The ruling was so complete that the judge declared every state law in question unconstitutional:

-California teachers are permitted to earn lifetime employment after a mere 18 months in class, well before they could truly earn that status or even be properly evaluated for it. The upshot, said the judge, is that “both students and teachers are unfairly, unnecessarily and for no legally cognizable reasons (let alone a compelling one) disadvantaged.”

-The dismissal process for grossly ineffective teachers in California is so complex and costly that it does not work; many districts do not even bother trying. That leaves thousands of underperforming teachers knowingly remaining in front of students. The judge blasted the system as so problematic that it turned dismissal into an illusion.

-California’s “last-in, first-out” law gives top priority in a time of layoffs to ineffective teachers if they have seniority while better teachers with fewer years are sent packing. The judge called that a lose-lose situation, supported by logic that was “unfathomable.”

[...]

It should never have come to this: Students taking on the powerful governments and teachers unions, all to challenge laws that inexplicably and directly lead to a worse public education.

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DOLLAR: Documentary Sheds Light on Common Core

By having central government bureaucrats dictate how, what and why students learn, the innovation, entrepreneurship, and diversity of a “grass roots” education (i.e., Montessori, i.e., Home Schooling) — where education is tailored to the needs of the student as directed by the parent — will be eliminated. This is the key political argument against the so-called “common core” initiative.

In “Building the Machine” viewers receive a “big picture” overview of the Common Core States Standards Initiative (CCSSI) and its effects on their children’s education. “Building the Machine” compiles interviews from leading educational experts, including members of the Common Core Validation Committee. Find out more about the Common Core: http://www.hslda.org/CommonCore

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David Allen: Five Things To Optimize your Focus

According to David Allen in When Office Technology Overwhelms, Get Organized we need “a system that creates space to think, to reflect, to review, to integrate and to connect dots” to put ourselves into “a productive state — the feeling that you’re doing exactly what you should be doing, with a sense of relaxed and focused control?” This allows us to sort out the “chaos of the workplace” and stay “focused on the most important things, as they relate to your goals, direction, values and desired outcomes. You must constantly recalibrate your resources to generate the best results, and to say “not now” to what’s less important.” However points out Allen, we must learn how to do this by following a “sequence of five events to optimize your focus and resources“:

Capture everything that has your attention, in your work and your personal life, in writing. Maybe it’s your departmental budget, a meeting with the new boss, an overdue vacation, or just the need to buy new tires and a jar of mayonnaise. For the typical professional, it can take one to six hours to “empty the attic” of your head. It may seem daunting, but this exercise invariably leads to greater focus and control.

Clarify what each item means to you. Decide what results you want and what actions — if any — are required. If you simply make a list and stop there, without putting the items in context, you’ll be stuck in the territory of compulsive list-making, which ultimately won’t relieve the pressure. What’s the next action when it comes to your budget? The next step in arranging your vacation? Applying this simple but rigorous model puts you in the driver’s seat; otherwise, your lists will hold your psyche hostage. And keep in mind that much progress can be made and stress relieved by applying the magic two-minute rule — that any action that can be finished in two minutes should be done in the moment.

Organize reminders of your resulting to-do lists — for the e-mails you need to send, the phone calls you need to make, the meetings you need to arrange, the at-home tasks you need to complete. Park the inventory of all your projects in a convenient place.

Regularly review and reflect on the whole inventory of your commitments and interests, and bring it up to date. As your needs change, what can move to the front burner, and what can go further back? Make these decisions while considering your overall principles, goals and accountabilities. Schedule a two-hour, weekly operational review, allowing space to clean up, catch up and do some reflective overseeing of the landscape, for all work and personal goals, commitments and activities.

• Finally, deploy your attention and resources appropriately.

Remarks Allen, “I have never seen anyone apply these practices, with some degree of commitment and application, and not find significant improvement in focus, control and results. The technology, the organizational goals, the quirkiness and turbulence of external realities — these become things to manage, not a hoped-for source of productivity itself.”

Read the full article.

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New York City Objectivist Mini Conference — November 4, 5, 6

The New York Objectivist Society has announced a weekend mini-conference in New York City for the first weekend in November. Early discount deadline is September 25.

The events begin with a fundraising dinner for the Ayn Rand Institute on Friday November 4, 2011. This will be followed by two full days of lectures on Saturday and Sunday November 5 and 6, 2011. Saturday and Sunday attendees will be immersed in an intellectual universe created by some of the best minds in their respective fields:

  • Andrew Bernstein will speak on “Villainy: An Analysis of the Nature of Evil.”
  • Harry Binswanger will speak on “Psycho-Epistemology: How the Mind Operates the Subconscious.”
  • Yaron Brook will speak on “Ayn Rand’s Free market Revolution: How the Ideas of Atlas Shrugged Can End Big Government.”
  • Eric Daniels will speak on “The Virtue of Judicial Engagement.”
  • Shoshana Milgram will speak on “Ayn Rand’s Top Secret: An Inspiring Original Screenplay about the Development of the Atomic Bomb.”
  • Jean Moroney will speak on “How Understanding Your Emotions Helps You Think Logically.”

The event will be held at the InterContinental New York Barclay Hotel (111 E. 48th St.).

Full details including lecture descriptions are at:
http://www.newyorkobjectivistsociety.org/www.newyorkobjectivistsociety.org/NYOS_Conference_2011.html

To enroll, first RSVP by sending an email to info@newyorkobjectivistsociety.org. Your next step will be to send a check made to New York Objectivist Society, Inc. Cost before September 25, 2011 is $500. After September 25, 2011 the price goes up to $600, based on availability. All payments will be due by October 15, 2011.

NYOS CONFERENCE 2011
InterContinental New York Barclay Hotel
November 4,5,6, 2011
$500 if paid by September 25, 2011
$600 if paid after September 25 but by October 15, subject to availability.

RSVP to: info@newyorkobjectivistsociety.org
Make your check payable to: New York Objectivist Society, Inc.
Mail it to:

NYOS c/o A. Benlian
P.O. Box 939
Bronxville, NY 10708

Again, full details including lecture descriptions are at:
http://www.newyorkobjectivistsociety.org/www.newyorkobjectivistsociety.org/NYOS_Conference_2011.html

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Thinking Tactics Workshops in Washington DC (5/7), New York (5/14), and Ft. Lauderdale (7/9)

 Jean Moroney has announced she will give her workshops on Thinking Tactics in several cities in the upcoming months:

  • Washington DC Area, Saturday, May 7, 2011 ($100 early-bird discount ends March 25)
  • New York City, Saturday, May 14, 2011 ($100 early-bird discount ends March 25)
  • Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Saturday, July 7, 2011 ($100 early-bird discount ends May 1)

Thinking Tactics offers attendees a mental toolkit for tapping their own knowledge banks to solve problems faster, make better decisions, and communicate more effectively. During class, everyone test drives the tactics on their own issues.

The course is targeted to a general professional audience of “knowledge workers”–people who think for a living, such as managers, entrepreneurs, writers, and engineers. Objectivists interested in psycho-epistemology find the class particularly interesting, as all the teachings derive from the Objectivist view of the relationship of the conscious mind to the automatic functions of the subconscious.

Ms. Moroney is a graduate of the Objectivist Graduate Center’s full-time, 2-year program (1996). Details on the course and registration information are at: http://www.thinkingtactics.com

8-page brochure: http://thinkingdirections.com/TTBrochureSpring2011.pdf

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Part 2 of Lisa VanDamme’s Response to “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior”

Lisa VanDamme takes the Wall Street Journal Article “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” to task methodologically, exposing that it is premised on a false dichotomy. Is our choice only to be high-handed or hands-off? Domineering or deadbeat? Abusive or permissive? Or is there another alternative?

Click here for the first video: Lisa VanDamme Slams WSJ Article “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior”, Part 1

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Lisa VanDamme Slams WSJ Article “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior”

Lisa runs the VanDamme Academy, a private school that provides a quality private education for elementary and middle school students, with a Montessori environment for 5 to 7- year – olds. This is the first of several videos in which Lisa VanDamme shares her thoughts about the Wall Street Journal Article “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior.”In this video, Miss VanDamme implores listeners to consider the question on which the whole issue depends: By what standard do we say a child is “successful”?

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WOW! You can read some of her CapMag articles here. You can visit Lisa’s video blog here.

UPDATE: See Part 2 here where Lisa answers the critics of Part 1.

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