Secular Achievement Gap
Like many other ills that afflict society, it now appears that the so-called “achievement gap” between white and black students is also a byproduct of secular progressive policies. “Using analyses of the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS) and meta-analysis, I present data that indicate that in religious, mostly Christian, schools, the achievement gap between white and minority students, as well as between children of high- and low-socioeconomic status, is considerably smaller than in public schools,” William H. Jeynes states.
Jeynes published his findings in the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion this year. “One of the most notable findings that emerges from this study is that using the NELS dataset, when African-American and Latino children who are religious and come from intact families are compared with white students, the achievement gap disappears,” Jeynes writes. “Other findings indicate that religious schools have more racial harmony, fewer drug problems, and a more demanding curriculum than do public schools, features that probably help to explain the smaller achievement gap.”
Jeynes completed his research while at California State University at Long Beachin the university’s Department of Education, hardly a right-wing think tank. He is also a non-resident research fellow at the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion.
Not Ready for College Players
When contrarian commentator Charles Murray said recently that only a quarter of the population, max, could benefit from a college education, he may not have been that far off the mark. “While most high school teachers across subject areas believe that meeting their state’s standards prepares students for college-level work, most postsecondary instructors disagree,” the ACT found.
“High school teachers believe state standards are preparing students well for college-level work; however, roughly 65 percent of postsecondary instructors responded that their state’s standards prepared students poorly or very poorly for college-level work in English/writing, reading and science,” according to the ACT. “This finding strongly suggests that a gap still exists between what colleges believe is important for college readiness and what state standards are requiring teachers to teach.”
When asked, “How well do you think your state’s standards prepare students for college-level work in your content areas?” those who answered “well” or “very well” on the ACT survey included:
• 33 % of postsecondary instructors of English/Writing
• 36 % of postsecondary instructors in Reading (Shouldn’t they have this one nailed before they get to college?)
• 42 % of postsecondary math teachers and
• 32 % of postsecondary science instructors.
Clinton Rehab Fails
Despite their best efforts, academics cannot whitewash the stigma attached to America’s 42nd first lady and, by extension, her husband who famously declared that voters were getting “two for the price of one” in electing the couple. “More than one in five Democrats (22.1%) believe Hillary Clinton is either ‘very corrupt’ or ‘somewhat corrupt,’” according to Judicial Watch, “39.3 % of self described political independents believe Hillary Clinton is ‘very corrupt’ or ‘somewhat corrupt.’”
The group released its findings at the National Press Club earlier this month. And here’s the kicker: “46.4 % of self-described political liberals strongly agree that bigger government leads to more corruption,” JW found.
Ironically, the current occupant of the White House, whom academics demonize, has been something of an angel to his predecessor and his bride whom most professors voted for. President Bush has derailed all attempts by federal investigators to investigate corruption in the Clinton White House, JW chairman Tom Fitton pointed out in the National Press Club meeting.
Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.
Billion Dollar College
At a time when the newly seated U. S. Congress is moving to increase federal aid to higher education, one way or another, yet another college has broken the one-billion-dollar mark in its endowment cache—George Washington University. “When University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg assumed the presidency in 1988, GW had an endowment of about $200 million,” Brandon Butler reported in the GW Hatchet. “Over the last 19 years, the endowment has grown by more than $800 million.”
This comes to about an endowment equal to about $75, 000 per student, Trachtenberg calculates. Trachtenberg argues that, comparatively speaking, this is a paltry sum:. Princeton’s endowment per student, he notes, is about $200 million. Berkeley SG Says Yes to Drug Convictions
“You can never get to the point where you have enough,” Trachtenberg says. “All of us in higher education are in the pursuit of perfection, and there is never enough financial aid; you are never paying the faculty as much as you want to and you can always find a way to make your library and computer systems that much better.”
For some, the restrictions on federal student aid are too loose. For others, they are way too tight. “Last week the student government at the University of California, Berkeley created a school-funded scholarship for students who are unable to receive federal financial aid under a law that renders them ineligible because they have drug convictions,” Tom Angell reports. “Nationwide, nearly 200,000 aspiring students have been stripped of their aid since the penalty was added as an amendment to the Higher Education Act in 1998.”
Angell serves as Campaigns Director for Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP). Observers might view their take on the law as inverted.
“While the aid elimination penalty is intended to reduce substance abuse, it actually causes more drug problems by blocking access to education,” according to Kris Krane, executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy in Washington, DC. “While we’re pressuring Congress to do the right thing by overturning the penalty, students at Berkeley and other colleges are taking action to help their peers stay in school where they belong.”
How many others? “UC-Berkeley joins four other schools—Yale University, Hampshire College, Swarthmore College, and Western Washington University—that have created scholarships for students with drug convictions,” Angell reveals. “More than 125 other student governments have passed resolutions calling on Congress to overturn the aid elimination penalty.”
Blackboard Jungle Redux
In the inappropriately named Los Angeles Unified School District, the Me Decade never ended, and badly needed school reforms never began. “In the fall of 2003, I was a Spanish teacher at Dorsey High School,” Nachum Shifren remembers. “My classroom was burned to the ground; I had a death threat, physical assaults, and constant accusations of racism.”
“I endured countless demeaning ‘parent conferences’ where lack of student comportment and academic achievement was inevitably spun into my ‘lack of classroom management and insensitivity to the needs of a diverse student population.’” Rabbi Shifren taught in the LAUSD from 1991 until 2005.
“Dorsey was beset with riots over the issue of Exit Exams, the standardized state levels of minimum performance required in order to graduate from high school,” Rabbi Shifren remembers. “For several hours, hundreds of students were marauding through the campus, causing a school-wide lockdown.”
“The LAPD [Los Angeles Police Department] was out in force, helicopters flew overhead. No one was allowed out of their classrooms for hours, not even to go to the bathroom.”
The Rabbi has pulled together his memories in a book entitled Kill Your Teacher: Corruption and Racism in Los Angeles City Schools, which was excerpted in the Eagle Forum’s December 2006 issue of the Education Reporter. “The students know they’re dumbed down and failing,” the Rabbi concluded. “They know, as do their parents, that if they were forced to prove their competence in academic skills, they would fall short of the measure.”
“In my two years at Dorsey, not once was staff development focused on these vital concerns. One activist bemoaned students being taken to task for poor language skills, calling English the ‘language of the oppressor.’”
Anti-Semitism Abating At Yale?
We have reported on some of the alarming incidents of anti-Semitism at Yale. Recently, Steve Lipman reported in The Jewish Week (New York City), the Ivy mainstay has made a concerted effort to reverse that trend, most notably through The Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism.
“Spurred by reports in recent years of growing anti-Semitism internationally, especially in Europe and the Middle East, the Initiative since September has sponsored a series of lectures by leading authors and scholars, hosted visiting researchers and served as a resource for journalists and politicians,” Lipman writes. “Future plans, says Charles Small, founding director, include hosting academic conferences, issuing curriculum materials and publishing periodicals and reports.”
“Reflecting the more tolerant mood on campus, the Initiative’s work has not drawn any anti-Semitic threats or vandalism, Small says.”
Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.