University drops sonnets because they are ‘products of white western culture’

https://www.thecollegefix.com/university-drops-sonnets-because-they-are-products-of-white-western-culture/

University drops sonnets because they are ‘products of white western culture’

By Margaret Kelly

May 18, 2022

The form has appealed to major poets for five centuries

The University of Salford, a public university in Greater Manchester, England, removed sonnets and other “pre-established literary forms” from a creative writing course assessment, The Telegraph reported.

Course leaders of a creative writing module titled “Writing Poetry in the Twenty-First Century,” removed an exam section that required students to write the traditional forms, including sestinas and sonnets, according to the newspaper.

The sonnet, a poetic form that likely originated in Italy in the 13th century, has been taken up by writers such as Petrarch, Shakespeare and John Donne, according to Britannica.

“The sonnet is unique among poetic forms in Western literature in that it has retained its appeal for major poets for five centuries,” the encyclopedia stated.

A University of Salford slideshow shared with staff stated that teachers have “simplified the assessment offering choice to write thematically rather than to fit into pre-established literary forms…which tend to the products of white western culture,” according to documents cited by The Telegraph.

The slideshow affirmed the change as an example of best practice in “decolonising the curriculum.” The Telegraph defined “decolonising” as “a term used to describe refocusing curricula away from historically dominant Western material and viewpoints.”

Instead, the course will incorporate “inclusive criteria” that better “reflect and cater for a diverse society,” according to internal training materials review by The Telegraph. The materials also showed that the courses could be upgraded by utilizing “a choice of assessment methods” allowing students to be tested “in a way that suits them.”

British historian: assuming sonnets alienate non-white students is ‘hugely patronising’

The Telegraph quoted Oxford-trained historian Zareer Masani’s statement that the course overhaul was “outrageous.”

“It is hugely patronising to assume non-White students would be put off by Western poetic forms,” he said. “Poetic forms vary widely across the world, but good poetry is universal.”

Scott Thurston, leader of the creative writing program at Salford, said the course was “often updated to take account of new trends and development in contemporary writing,” according to The Telegraph.

Thurston said that teachers would still instruct creative writing students in traditional forms in their first year and give them exercises in writing them. However, the curriculum would also include creative experimentation with students’ “own forms.”

May 20, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Books, Cancel culture, Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors, War against achievement. Leave a comment.

Washington D.C. schools spent more per pupil than any state but had the lowest scores in the nation

https://thebullelephant.com/washington-d-c-schools-spent-more-per-pupil-than-any-state-but-had-the-lowest-scores-in-the-nation/

Washington D.C. schools spent more per pupil than any state but had the lowest scores in the nation

By Hans Bader

May 14, 2022

“D.C. Public Schools Spent $31,843 Per Pupil; But D.C. 8th Graders Had Lowest Math and Reading Scores in Nation,” reports CNS News. Washington, DC spent more per student than any of the 50 states:

The public schools in Washington. D.C., spent a total of $31,843 per pupil in fiscal year 2020…Meanwhile, the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests administered in 2019 showed that only 23 percent of the eight graders in D.C. public schools were proficient or better in reading and only 23 percent were proficient or better in mathematics.

The average reading test score for D.C. eighth graders was lower than the average for eighth graders in any of the 50 states. The average math score for D.C. eighth graders tied with the averages for eighth graders in Alaska and New Mexico for lowest in the nation.

By contrast, Utah spent only $9,424 per student — less than a third as much as D.C. — yet its students performed above average. The Washington, DC schools have been spending more than any state for years, even as its students lag behind the students of all other states on tests, according to the National Center for Education Statistics:

In 2019 …. eighth graders in D.C. public schools had an average score of 250 out of 500 in the NAEP reading test. That was a lower average than any of the 50 states.

That same year, according to NCES, D.C. public school eight graders had an average score of 269 out of 500 in the NAEP mathematics test. That tied D.C. eighth graders with those in New Mexico and Alabama for the lowest average mathematics score in the nation.

You can find all this data and more in reports from the National Center for Education Statistics.

May 15, 2022. Tags: , , , . Dumbing down, Education. Leave a comment.

Judge rules against school that had lowered its admissions standards in order to admit more black students

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Bcgl11-9bNcJ:https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2022/02/25/judge-thomas-jefferson-high-admissions/+&cd=12&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Judge calls Thomas Jefferson High admissions changes illegal

The prestigious Fairfax school ‘disproportionately deprived’ Asian Americans of a level playing field, according to the ruling

By Hannah Natanson

February 25, 2022

A federal judge ruled Friday that a new admissions system for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, a prestigious magnet program in Fairfax, discriminates against Asian American applicants and must end.

U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton concluded that an effort to boost African American and Latino representation at TJ, as the school is known, constitutes an illegal act of “racial balancing.” He added that the school board’s alterations to the admissions process — including eliminating a notoriously difficult test and a $100 application fee, and choosing instead to evaluate students on “experience factors” such as socioeconomic background — took place in a rushed, sloppy and opaque manner.

Hilton wrote that “emails and text messages between Board members and high-ranking FCPS officials leave no material dispute that, at least in part, the purpose of the Board’s admissions overhaul was to change the racial makeup to TJ to the detriment of Asian-Americans.”

“The proper remedy for a legal provision enacted with discriminatory intent is invalidation,” Hilton wrote, before issuing a stark order: “Defendant Fairfax County School Board is enjoined from further use or enforcement of” its revised admissions system.

An attorney for Fairfax County Public Schools, John Foster, said Friday that he believes “the ruling is not supported by law.” He said Fairfax “will consider asking a federal appeals court to review the decision.”

Foster said officials were studying what the ruling will mean for how the school conducts admissions for the next cycle of TJ applicants, those destined for the Class of 2026.

The plaintiff, the Coalition for TJ — a group of TJ parents, students and alumni that formed to oppose the admissions changes — celebrated Friday afternoon. Asra Nomani, who is co-founder of the coalition and parent to a TJ student who graduated in 2021, said in a statement that Hinton’s ruling is thrilling.

“Today’s decision is a victory for all students, all families and the United States of America,” she said. “It is victory for equality under the law, merit education and the American Dream.”

The case, filed in March of last year by the Coalition for TJ, was supposed to go to trial Jan. 24. But Hilton chose to issue a ruling and avoid a trial because, he said, no facts were in dispute.

The Fairfax school board voted to revise admissions at Thomas Jefferson in 2020, a move meant to boost diversity at the school, which has long enrolled single-digit percentages of Black and Hispanic students.

The new admissions system is a “holistic review” process that, in part, judges students on four “experience factors”: their income status, their English-speaking ability, whether the applicant has a disability and whether the applicant comes from a historically underrepresented high school.

In 2021, the first year the admissions changes took effect, officials at TJ enrolled the most diverse class in recent memory. The TJ Class of 2025 includes far more Black, Hispanic and low-income students than any class in recent memory. But Asian American representation dropped from roughly 70 percent to around 50 percent of the class.

The changes were controversial from the start; they inspired two swift lawsuits. In November 2020, a group of parents sued to stop the revisions, arguing that they violated a Virginia law. That suit, filed in Fairfax County Circuit Court, is ongoing.

In March 2021, members of the Coalition for TJ — some of whom were also plaintiffs in the November lawsuit — sued in federal court over the admissions changes. They are being represented pro bono by the Pacific Legal Foundation, a California-based conservative legal group that opposes affirmative action.

The coalition claimed that the TJ admissions changes were specifically designed to drive down the number of Asian American students. As proof, the lawsuit cited presentations, documents and comments given or made by the superintendent and school board in the months leading up to the admissions changes.

Fairfax officials denied every allegation. Foster repeated those denials Friday: “The new process is blind to race, gender and national origin and gives the most talented students from every middle school a seat at TJ,” he said. “We believe that a trial would have shown that the new process meets all legal requirements.”

But in his 31-page ruling Friday, Hilton, a Ronald Reagan appointee, sided with the Coalition for TJ on almost every count.

He wrote that throughout the revision process, Fairfax school board members and the superintendent made clear that their goal was “to have TJ reflect the demographics of the surrounding area, described primarily in racial terms.” Hilton wrote that this aim amounts to “racial balancing for its own sake,” and as such is “patently unconstitutional.”

He pointed to text messages and emails exchanged between school board members and some of the highest-ranking school officials in the Fairfax district. These communications, he wrote, prove that the school system’s goal was always to decrease the percentage of Asian American students enrolled at TJ — to increase the number of Black and Hispanic students.

“The discussion of TJ admissions was infected with talk of racial balancing from its inception,” Hilton wrote.

What’s more, Hilton said, Fairfax’s use of racial data and attempt to consider the racial composition of TJ’s student body demonstrates “discriminatory intent.”

“Discriminatory intent does not require racial animus,” he wrote. “What matters it that the Board acted at least in part because of, not merely in spite of, the policy’s adverse effects upon an identifiable group … The Board’s policy was designed to increase Black and Hispanic enrollment, which would, by necessity, decrease the representation of Asian-Americans at TJ.”

He also criticized the revisions process more broadly, writing that the changes were rushed and that the decision-making process lacked transparency. School officials, he charged, did not properly engage the public.

He concluded by noting that Asian American students have been “disproportionately deprived of a level playing field” in competing for a spot at TJ.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R), who said during his campaign last year that he would work to undo the new admission system, tweeted Friday evening to praise Hinton’s ruling. He posted that “today’s decision reaffirms that TJ’s admissions should be based on merit.”

But another school advocacy group — the TJ Alumni Action Group, which supports the admissions changes — criticized Hilton’s ruling Friday. In a statement, the group said “this decision will make TJ less accessible once again for underrepresented students, including Asian American students who are low-income or English Language Learners.”

April 21, 2022. Tags: , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors, War against achievement. Leave a comment.

San Diego’s largest high school eliminates advanced English, advanced history, and advanced biology, and says it’s because of “equity”

https://web.archive.org/web/20220410124259/https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/education/story/2022-04-10/san-diegos-largest-high-school-quietly-eliminated-several-honors-courses-parents-are-outraged

San Diego’s largest high school quietly eliminated several honors courses.

Parents are outraged.

Principal wanted to eliminate stigma of non-honors courses, but parents say their kids need the courses for a competitive edge.

By Kristen Taketa

April 10, 2022

SAN DIEGO — Pamela Broudy was set on enrolling her eighth-grade daughter at Patrick Henry High School this fall. Her older son, a junior, is already enrolled there, and the school has done well for him — he’s enrolled in five AP classes and he has been in the school’s gifted program.

Then Broudy learned last month that the high school’s principal had quietly eliminated several advanced courses from the school’s catalog, including advanced English, advanced history and advanced biology, according to the school’s course listings.

If the principal doesn’t bring them back, Broudy said, she will enroll her daughter at a private school instead.

“My daughter’s coming from a private school who didn’t have learning loss (during the pandemic), and now she’s going to be bored to tears,” she said.

Broudy is one of many parents who are up in arms after they found out Patrick Henry High School’s principal, Michelle Irwin, has been cutting several honors, advanced and gifted education courses without their knowledge or input.

Irwin cut the courses for equity reasons, according to an email she wrote to parents. She told parents she wanted to move away from “stratifying” classes and remove the stigma from non-honors courses. She has also cited racial disparities in honors course enrollment — a problem that is mirrored nationwide.

But parents question whether cutting honors courses is the right solution.

The controversy has rattled Patrick Henry, a racially diverse school in the middle-class neighborhood of San Carlos that is also San Diego’s largest high school, with more than 2,500 students.

Parents emailed complaints to the principal, San Diego Unified School District leaders, journalists and school board members. They created a Facebook group that now has 300 members to exchange information. Some parents, like Broudy, said they are planning to leave Patrick Henry for a charter or private school, which parents say may cause a “brain drain” of high-achieving students from the campus.

“Parents who have the means to send their kids to another school are going to do so … because they’re losing faith that their kids will be prepared to be successful,” said Happy Feliz Aston, a parent of a fourth- and sixth-grader in the Patrick Henry High School cluster.

Parents are concerned that the course cuts will hurt their children‘s chances of getting into their preferred colleges. Honors courses boost grade point averages with a weighted credit, and college admissions officers consider how many advanced courses a student has taken.

“Unilateral decisions to eliminate these classes unfairly disadvantage the students at Patrick Henry because their competition around the nation, not just in California, is having these classes,” said Lauren Hotz, a parent of two Patrick Henry sophomores.

Irwin and district officials argued that the advanced and regular classes share a curriculum and are essentially the same, so district officials said it was disingenuous to have one class labeled “advanced” and another labeled “regular.”

While advanced classes may cover the same material as regular classes, advanced courses typically go at a faster pace and often cover more material or go more in-depth into the content.

Irwin didn’t ax all of Patrick Henry’s advanced courses. There are still honors and advanced math and science classes, according to the school’s course catalog. The high school also offers more than 20 Advanced Placement classes, plus several dual-enrollment community college classes, all of which offer weighted GPA credit.

But parents argue it’s still important for the school to offer a range of honors courses because they provide a less-overwhelming alternative to AP classes and still give students weighted GPA credit. They say honors courses are also a stepping stone that can prepare ninth and 10th graders for the rigors of AP and college classes.

And some of the advanced courses that were eliminated are prerequisites for AP classes, parents noted.

Some parents argue that it’s not equitable to cut the courses when students at other San Diego high schools, like La Jolla and Crawford, still have access to them.

“If this is about equity, then it seems to fly the face of that argument because your zip code shouldn’t determine your access to classes, and in this case it appears to do so,” Aston said.

San Diego Unified School Board Trustee Richard Barrera said that in the district’s efforts to address inequities, the district is not taking anything away from students — it’s not watering down curriculum, it’s not lowering standards and it’s not taking away chances for students to earn weighted GPA credit, he said.

“We believe in expanding access to opportunities for all of our students, and when we expand access … that doesn’t mean that we’re taking anything away from students who have already had access to those opportunities,” Barrera said.

“I understand parents are worried about that, and when they hear we’re making a change from … decades of existing stratification, and if your students are part of the higher stratification … of course you’re gonna be concerned about that. But that’s not what we’re doing.”

A problem of representation

Experts have long known that honors, gifted, Advanced Placement and other selective academic programs enroll disproportionately lower numbers of students of color.

Latino students made up 54 percent of California’s public school students in 2017 but they represented only 43 percent of students who were enrolled in at least one AP course, according to the U.S. Civil Rights Data Collection. Black students made up 6 percent of the state’s enrollment but just 4 percent of students who were enrolled in at least one AP course.

A similar trend is happening at Patrick Henry, according to limited data presented by Irwin at a school council meeting earlier this year. White and Vietnamese students made up a disproportionately higher percentage of enrollment in Honors American Literature and Honors U.S. History, while Latino students were disproportionately lower, according to Irwin’s data.

The underrepresentation is a problem because enrollment in advanced courses is associated with a host of academic benefits, such as better attendance, fewer suspensions and higher graduation rates. Participation and success in honors and AP courses are also key factors considered in college admissions.

Experts say the disparity in enrollment is not because Black and Latino students are less capable, but because educators often enforce prerequisites, such as a teacher’s recommendation, for honors courses that end up shutting out students of color due to bias.

“A lot of times it happens … because of the implicit or explicit biases of the adults who are making decisions about either who to enroll in these courses or who to encourage to enroll in these courses,” said Allison Socol, assistant director of P-12 policy at Education Trust, a nonprofit that focuses on education equity.

San Diego Unified leaders have not recently announced any system-wide policy changes on honors and advanced classes. But in recent years they have taken other steps that move away from the classification of students.

For example, the district has cut classes specifically for gifted students, and enrollment in the district’s gifted programs has shrunk over time. And the district rolled out a new math initiative called “enhanced math,” which is meant to make general math instruction more rigorous for all students without using an “honors” or “accelerated” label.

District officials said they are wary of labels such as “honors” and “advanced” that could be excluding students of color.

“Now whether … it’s labeled in a certain way, that’s a question of, is that label getting in the way of expanding opportunities of access to more students?” Barrera said.

But some parents said it seems like the district is cutting programs that cater to students’ different needs, and is instead trying to put all students of different learning styles in the same classroom.

San Diego Unified officials said the district expects all of its educators to differentiate their teaching to cater to all students’ needs within the same class. But some parents said it’s unrealistic for all teachers to do that.

“If you put everybody in the same class, your distribution of needs of the students is going to be wider and one teacher is going to have to address those needs — which they can’t,” Hotz said.

Expanding access

Patrick Henry parents suggested other ways to address inequities in course enrollment besides cutting classes.

Hotz said she wants to see the school invest more in counseling and tutoring, while Aston suggested that Patrick Henry enroll more students in AVID, a program that helps underrepresented students hone study skills and prepare for college.

“How about we up the actual representation in those classes, and give students options?” Hotz said. “Killing the classes … it’s actually a disadvantage to the entire population.”

Education Trust recommends expanding eligibility to advanced courses, adding advanced courses to schools that serve the most Latino and Black students, and providing more support to prepare students for advanced courses.

“In general, what we want to see is more access to rigorous, engaging, culturally relevant courses that prepare students for college and meaningful careers,” Socol said.

April 19, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Equity, Racism, Social justice warriors, War against achievement. Leave a comment.

VMI will change honor system that expels Black cadets at disproportionate rates

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:w2r3GFRr3jwJ:https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2022/02/05/vmi-honor-court-reforms/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

VMI will change honor system that expels Black cadets at disproportionate rates

By Ian Shapira

February 5, 2022

Virginia Military Institute will make changes to its student-run honor court to make the system fairer to cadets accused of lying, cheating, stealing or other transgressions that can lead to expulsion.

VMI detailed the reforms in a progress report Friday in response to a state-ordered investigation into racism and sexism at the nation’s oldest state-supported military college.

The 70-page report, which the college gave to General Assembly members and the Virginia secretary of education, describes initiatives approved, enacted or begun last year, including mandatory diversity, equity, and inclusion training for administrators and members of VMI’s Board of Visitors, and changes to the Lexington school’s one-strike-and-you’re-out honor court system.

Black students at VMI were expelled by the honor court at a disproportionately high rate, according to data obtained by The Washington Post for the three academic years between the fall of 2017 and the spring of 2020. Though Black cadets made up about 6 percent of the student body, they represented about 43 percent of those expelled for honor code violations. Twelve out of the 28 VMI students dismissed in those three academic years were Black. When students of color were included in the count, the number of expelled rose to 15, or about 54 percent of the total, even though minorities made up about 21 percent of the student population in that three-year period.

Barnes & Thornburg, the law firm hired by the state to investigate racism and sexism at VMI, recommended in its final report that the college “consider changing” its policy of allowing convictions without unanimous verdicts by student juries.

But VMI, which received $21.6 million in state funding for the 2021-2022 academic year, reported Friday that it will keep allowing student prosecutors to win cases with non-unanimous verdicts. The school did make one major concession: The student juries will expand in size and guilty verdicts will require nine out of 11 jury votes instead of five of seven votes.

The move, the college said in its progress report, “increases the Court’s burden of proof and further reduces the potential (real or perceived) of forcing a guilty verdict based on insufficient or circumstantial evidence.”

Another key honor system change will allow cadets to use pro bono attorneys during their trials. VMI used to allow lawyers to represent cadets during the proceedings, but stopped about a decade ago because of complaints that the professional litigators prosecuted the system itself and that only affluent students could afford them.

Now, VMI will draw up a list of pro bono lawyers willing to work with cadet defendants and their “defense advocates” — typically VMI faculty or staff members — before and during trials. But the attorneys will be allowed only to observe and consult their client or their defense advocate during the hearing, not argue the case themselves.

The college also said it will begin retaining “key demographic data” to “monitor the fairness of the system.” VMI’s chief diversity officer, Jamica Love, the report said, will help “facilitate annual reviews” of the honor system.

All of the new honor court changes will go into effect in August 2022, at the beginning of the next academic year.

Though there has been intense resistance from some alumni, students and parents to VMI’s cultural makeover, the progress report chronicled the college’s efforts to “temper” its links to the Confederacy.

The 182-year-old school sent many of its cadet to fight for the South during the Civil War. More than 250 cadets fought at the Battle of New Market in May 1864, and 10 were killed in battle or died later from wounds. Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson taught physics at VMI before the Civil War.

The reported noted the school’s decisions to remove many of the tributes to Jackson, including his 108-year-old statue that stood at the campus’s center, plus his name that was emblazoned on the student barracks.

But VMI is still deciding whether to preserve many more Confederate tributes, including an award and another monument partially named after and honoring Jackson, and a bronze statue of its first superintendent, Francis H. Smith, who enslaved nine people and served as the commander at abolitionist John Brown’s execution in December 1859.

The progress report noted that VMI’s new commandant, retired Col. Adrian Bogart III, has instituted an “open-door” policy on Fridays that the school hopes will encourage students of color “to discuss participation in any activity that has the potential to stir cultural or other demographic sensitivities.”

The school also detailed numerous trainings for cadets meant to crack down on racist jokes, slurs, misogyny and sexual violence.

VMI’s chief diversity officer, Love, has also begun training freshmen on “inclusive excellence” and will educate the remaining students later this academic year.

According to a survey the college conducted on the sessions, three-quarters of the freshmen were “mostly or completely satisfied” with the program; 88 percent found that it helped “connect them with their peers;” and 94 percent said the activities “helped initiate dialogue about inclusivity.”

Much of the racism and sexism at VMI is also found online, especially via the social media app Jodel, where cadets anonymously denigrate one another day-in, day-out. The report said the school’s communications and marketing team monitors Jodel’s traffic and said that “there has been a noticeable decrease” in inflammatory posts on the app and an uptick in “corrective or regulating” posts when provocative comments surface.

“Both the Superintendent and the Commandant have clearly and publicly – on numerous occasions and in various venues – expressed to the Corps of Cadets and the greater VMI community what is and is not acceptable behavior,” the report said. “These incontrovertible statements by VMI leadership establish straightforward expectations for moving VMI forward to a more diverse and inclusive environment that is also a physically and emotionally safe place of higher learning.”

VMI completed the progress report at the behest of Barnes & Thornburg. In its final investigative report, released in June, the law firm the said that school suffered from an “overall racist and sexist culture.”

Barnes & Thornburg said the college should issue these reports every quarter for three years to its Board of Visitors, the General Assembly and the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, an agency that makes higher education policy proposals to the commonwealth’s lawmakers.

“VMI will likely follow through on its promised reforms only if it is forced to do so,” the Barnes & Thornburg report said. “For the betterment of the school, VMI must be held accountable to its promises and plans to change the current culture.”

March 27, 2022. Tags: , , , , . Education, Military, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

This person is “so confused” by the concept of compound interest

https://www.marketwatch.com/picks/im-so-confused-im-a-school-nurse-who-took-out-about-30k-in-student-loans-but-over-the-years-they-have-ballooned-up-to-96k-how-could-this-even-happen-and-what-can-i-do-about-it-01646747369

‘I’m so confused.’ I’m a school nurse who took out about $30K in student loans — but over the years they have ballooned up to $96K. How could this even happen and what can I do about it?

March 9, 2022

Question: I’d like to obtain advice on tackling student loan debt. I do not have private loans, and I owe approximately $96,000. I’m so confused because initially my loans were less than $30,000, but I think the rest of it comes from interest. I’m not sure what I am looking at with my loans. My loans have been in forbearance, and I want to investigate loan forgiveness options. I am a school nurse and support my family, so my income is limited. Can you provide direction? It would be greatly appreciated.

March 9, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , , . Education, Math. Leave a comment.

Top female scientist canceled over 13-year-old ‘Michael Jackson’ Halloween costume

https://www.thecollegefix.com/top-female-scientist-canceled-over-13-year-old-michael-jackson-halloween-costume/

Top female scientist canceled over 13-year-old ‘Michael Jackson’ Halloween costume

By Jennifer Kabbany

March 7, 2022

‘UW Medicine is helping to ruin a woman who devoted her career to finding a cure for HIV’

Highly decorated virologist Julie Overbaugh has been forced out of a position of leadership at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and resigned her faculty affiliate position at the University of Washington School of Medicine due to accusations of racism and investigations involving her decision to wear a Michael Jackson costume to a Halloween party in 2009.

A picture of the 13-year-old incident, in which she is accused of wearing “blackface,” has prompted peers to accuse her of racism despite the fact that her research has focused on aiding Africans for the last three decades.

“Overbaugh has devoted her professional career to studying viral pathogens that cause HIV. But amid publishing papers, running her own research lab, and flying back and forth from Kenya, she has also pursued another professional passion: mentoring. Overbaugh is one of two recipients of this year’s Nature Award for Mentoring in Science, which is awarded to select scientists in one country or region each year,” a 2016 report in GeekWire reports.

Last year, Overbaugh was elected to National Academy of Sciences.

“I am really happy to see gender balance in this year’s elected members and hope this signals a future trend,” Overbaugh said at the time. “In my field, HIV, which is a very large field, there have only been a couple of women elected — hopefully, there will be more in the future.”

But Overbaugh’s accomplishments during an age in which female STEM recruitment and retainment is a social justice priority apparently could not outweigh the 2009 incident of emulating the King of Pop at a party that was reportedly themed after Jackson’s famous “Thriller” album.

Members of the Overbaugh lab apparently enjoy celebrating Halloween and have posted pictures of its themed parties every year. In past years they have dressed as emojis, bumble bees, fish — and even as “Binders of Babes” — a riff on Republican Mitt Romney’s gaffe while running for president.

The picture from the year 2009 is conspicuously missing from the webpage.

“The act depicted in the photo is racist, offensive and hurtful, and we offer our sincere apologies to anyone who has experienced pain or upset because of the act or this photo,” the cancer center announced in mid-February, adding Overbaugh was put on administrative leave and placed under investigation.

“Dr. Overbaugh has stepped down from her senior vice president role at Fred Hutch. She will continue working in her lab and will take a hiatus from her leadership duties in the Office of Education & Training. During this time, she will engage in an intensive education and reflection process.”

The Federalist reports:

Though the incident didn’t occur at UW Medicine, its CEO and equity officer also waded into the faux controversy. UW Medicine CEO Dr. Paul Ramsey and Chief Equity Officer Paula Houston notified UW Medicine staff in an email that Overbaugh was punished for engaging in the “racist, dehumanizing, and abhorrent act” of “blackface.” During a separate formal review process for UW faculty, the email confirmed, Overbaugh resigned from her UW affiliate faculty member appointment.

Overbaugh released a short statement to me. “I did not know the association of this with blackface at the time, in 2009, but understand the offense that is associated with this now,” she said. “I have apologized for this both publicly and privately and beyond that have no other comments.”

Ramsey and Houston claim that the UW Medicine community was “harmed” by the 13-year-old photo that most staff didn’t know existed until reading about it in the Feb. 25 email. “We acknowledge that our community has been harmed by this incident and the fact that 13 years elapsed before action was taken,” they wrote. “We are convening a series of affinity group meetings in the next few weeks to provide spaces for mutual support, reflection, and response.”

Neither Ramsey nor Houston explained how the photo “harmed” anyone. Indeed, beyond one confirmed complaint, it’s unclear if anyone even cared about the old photo.

The full memo from UW Medicine was republished by journalist Jesse Singal on his Twitter page. The memo notes that Overbaugh resigned her post at the university once administrators began their own probe into the incident.

Her faculty bio is no longer on the UW School of Medicine website, although its Department of Global Health has, as of Monday afternoon, yet to strip her from its webpage.

“A U. Washington doctor who has dedicated her career to fighting HIV in Africa, including research w/sex workers, is having her reputation and career incinerated because she dressed up as Michael Jackson, in blackface, once in 2009,” Singal noted.

https://twitter.com/jessesingal/status/1497289911996760064

“Just to situate everyone, the event in question happened several years before the most recent instance of 30 Rock airing blackface-oriented comedy to tens of millions of people. What she did was a bad idea but at the time was obviously not seen as too risque even for network TV,” he added.

Writing for The Federalist, Jason Rantz points out that “UW Medicine is lashing out against Overbaugh to show its wokeness and earn social currency.”

“That UW Medicine is helping to ruin a woman who devoted her career to finding a cure for HIV is immaterial to its leaders. To progressive activists, highlighting one’s virtues is more important than curing a deadly disease.”

March 8, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Cancel culture, Dumbing down, Education, Equity, Health care, Political correctness, Racism, Science, Sexism, Social justice warriors, War against achievement. 1 comment.

Instead of banning the teaching of critical race theory in schools, we should give equal time to the opposing point of view from black conservatives

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

February 7, 2022

Many people on the left want to teach critical race theory in schools.

Many people on the right want to ban the teaching of the subject in schools.

I propose that we teach critical race theory in schools, with the three following guidelines:

First, it should be age appropriate. High school, yes. Kindergarten, no.

Second, it should be taught under the proper context. Social studies class, yes. Math class, no.

And third, we should give equal time to teach the opposing point of view from black conservatives such as Winsome Sears, Candace Owens, Thomas Sowell, Brandom Tatum, Star Parker, Walter E. Williams, Mia Love, Larry Elder, Josephine Mathias, Deroy Murdock, Herman Cain, and Ben Carson.

February 7, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Black lives matter, Cancel culture, Education, Equity, Racism, Social justice warriors. 1 comment.

Speech Therapist: 364% Surge in Baby and Toddler Referrals Thanks to Mask Wearing

https://summit.news/2022/01/27/speech-therapist-364-surge-in-baby-and-toddler-referrals-thanks-to-mask-wearing/

Speech Therapist: 364% Surge in Baby and Toddler Referrals Thanks to Mask Wearing

Young children developing cognitive problems due to widespread use of face coverings.

By Paul Joseph Watson

January 27, 2022

A speech therapist says that mask wearing during the pandemic has caused a 364% increase in patient referrals of babies and toddlers.

Jaclyn Theek told WPBF News that before the pandemic, only 5 per cent of patients were babies and toddlers, but this has soared to 20 per cent.

Parents are describing their children’s speech problems as “COVID delayed,” with face coverings the primary cause of their speaking skills being seriously impaired.

As young as 8 months old, babies start learning how to speak by reading lips, a thankless task if parents and carers smother themselves with masks to comply with mandates.

“It’s very important kids do see your face to learn, so they’re watching your mouth,” said Theek.

The news report featured one such mother, Briana Gay, who is raising five children but having speech problems with her youngest.

“It definitely makes a difference when the world you’re growing up in you can’t interact with people and their face, that’s super important to babies,” said Gay.

According to Theek, since the pandemic, autism symptoms are also skyrocketing.

“They’re not making any word attempts and not communicating at all with their family,” she said.

As we previously highlighted, Forbes deleted an article written by an education expert who asserted that forcing schoolchildren to wear face masks was causing psychological trauma.

A study by researchers at Brown University found that mean IQ scores of young children born during the pandemic have tumbled by as much as 22 points while verbal, motor and cognitive performance have all suffered as a result of lockdown.

Michael Curzon noted that two of the primary causes for this are face masks and children being atomized as a result of being kept away from other children.

“Children born over the past year of lockdowns – at a time when the Government has prevented babies from seeing elderly relatives and other extended family members, from socialising at parks or with the children of their parent’s friends, and from studying the expressions on the faces behind the masks of locals in indoor public spaces – have significantly reduced verbal, motor and overall cognitive performance compared to children born before, according to a new U.S. study. Tests on early learning, verbal development and non-verbal development all produced results that were far behind those from the years preceding the lockdowns,” he wrote.

Perhaps all the virtue signalers who think of themselves as such morally upstanding people for wearing masks will change their behavior given they are literally contributing to causing major cognitive problems in children.

Or maybe they simply won’t care, given that the mask is now a political status symbol above anything else.

January 29, 2022. Tags: , , , . COVID-19, Dumbing down, Education. Leave a comment.

Black Mothers Launch Microschools to End School-Prison Pipeline

https://www.yahoo.com/news/black-mothers-launch-microschools-end-121500237.html

Black Mothers Launch Microschools to End School-Prison Pipeline

By Marianna McMurdock

January 26, 2022

In the Arizona desert, a new school model has Black parents driving across city lines to drop their children off each morning.

Frustrated with what they say is their public schools’ failure to provide quality education and nurturing environments for Black children and fearing the persistent school to prison pipeline, a group of mothers, many public school teachers, have created a network of their own schools.

Launched mid-pandemic just one year ago, the mothers’ goal is to grow the seven micoschools into 50.

“We could be advocating 24/7, and still not make the impact that we wanted to see. So, what do you do, do you go charter? Do you try to keep working in the public school system? Nope, nope, not us. We said, well, we can do it ourselves,” said Debora Colbert, executive director of the Black Mothers Forum, a Phoenix-based parent advocacy group.

In mixed-grade classes, students learn at their own pace and are guided by two teachers. Restorative discipline techniques, not punitive strategies, are the norm.

The Forum’s approach to learning has caught the attention of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey in a state where high school graduation rates hover about 8 percent below national averages and less than half of the graduating class went on to college in 2020.

With little to keep them there, students who do go onto higher education often leave the state and don’t look back, Colbert said.

In Phoenix-area churches, nonprofits and shared school buildings, 42 students comprise the first microschools launched last January with preliminary guidance from national microschool giant Prenda. The Forum’s sites have since made the transition to public charter schools within local network EdKey Sequoia Choice. (Arizona’s attorney general reportedly opened an investigation last year into Prenda’s operations with a separate, online EdKey school. Prenda lawyers say the investigation has since closed. The Attorney General’s office did not respond to repeated requests for comment.)

Many of the Forum’s teachers, dubbed “learning guides” per the Prenda model, are religious leaders and parents from the community — many of whom left their placements in traditional schools for the opportunity.

Founders of the schools hope to change perceptions of the community they’ve so often heard from young people: “There’s nothing to keep me in Arizona, or Phoenix, to realize my dreams and my goals,” said Colbert.

“That’s not okay. We’re on a mission to kind of track where our children are, where they’re going, whether they are successful, and how to keep them connected to their communities,” she said.

Gov. Ducey has committed nearly $4 million in the last year to help grow its network of microschools to 50.

The forum has advocated for school reform since 2016, after nationwide violence against Black children and a series of high-profile police brutality cases involving Black Americans. Their mission became eliminating low expectations for Black children and school discipline policies that often end with Black children funneled into prison.

While the learning pod movement swept across the country’s white, affluent areas during the pandemic, outrage grew as the pandemic afflicted Black communities more than any other group and academic gaps grew along racial lines.

The moment became an opportunity for the Black Mothers Forum to formally launch and recruit for their own schools in January 2021.

Forum teacher and mother Tiffany Dudley believes having teachers who “looked like” her children at the microschools have made all the difference for her sons, Xavier, 7, and Jeremiah, 10.

“I kind of underestimated how much of a difference my child, being in an environment where he had people with the same skin color… how much of an impact mentally that had on him,” said Dudley.

Dudley often got calls from Xavier’s previous schools’ teachers about the “little things,” like how he played with his shoe laces instead of participating in a group activity. Mornings used to bring protests because he hated going to school.

After four months of microschooling, Xavier calls his out-of-state grandparents to recap school projects.

“Just literally being there in that environment changed how he perceived learning, and changed how he saw himself,” Dudley said.

Now a learning guide for a third through eighth grade cohort, Dudley said the student to teacher ratio, 10:2, is critical to help students transition from traditional schools.

There’s no hiding behind a dozen other peers who may be more vocal in the classroom, for example. Instead students are asked to problem solve, with support from teachers like Dudley:

“‘Okay, did you try this? How about we ask a friend?’ We’re just giving them strategies to teach them how to think critically to be able to solve problems because they are very used to being spoon fed answers,” she said.

The smaller classes allow their “connect, redirect” model, a complete departure from the no-excuses disciplinary policies many other charters adopted, to be the norm. When a student disrupts class or has trouble with an assignment, one guide talks with the child to uncover what might be affecting them. They then connect them to time, space, a venting session, food, counseling.

“They’re not going to be punished — this is an opportunity to figure out what’s going on … giving them that sense of ownership in that redirection, they are part of this process, that takes time,” Black Mother’s Forum Founder Janelle Wood said. “That’s why we need two learning guides in the space. If one child is having a problem, all of them may not be having the same problem. They can continue on with what they’re doing, but this one child may need some extra attention.”

In crafting schools with Black families at its center, the Forum also reimagined their physical locations. Instead of operating out of a family living room or garage, schools and community organizations were more realistic because their families didn’t have the extra space to host classes.

Renting church and nonprofit space provides added benefits, too: kids stay connected to Phoenix, and community groups that lost revenue during the pandemic are supported financially.

And since last school year, they’ve added an hour of instruction to each school day. The extra time preserved their morning wellness circles — students start each day by talking through their emotions — and independent reading, with which many struggle.

In perhaps the starkest intentional departure from traditional schools, students learn via the mastery approach in blended classrooms of students of different ages and grades, separated into K-2 and 3-8.

Through online learning tools like Zearn and iReady, some work grade levels ahead, others spend necessary time with foundational concepts like multiplication, as guides check in one-on-one.

Wood recognized their efforts had “to start at the school level, because that’s where our children, Black and brown children, are being negatively impacted at the highest level.”

Raina Chamblee, now a third grader at one of the microschools, recalled how her former Wisconsin public school was a particularly negative experience.

Diagnosed with ADHD, a new medication she was trying made her drowsy. She’d fall asleep in class, taunted and teased by classmates — behavior left unchecked by the teachers.

Once, a teacher lashed out at her directly.

“I colored a pink polar bear and then one of my teachers crumbled it up and threw it in the garbage,” Raina said.

Dudley said some of the difficulties Black children experience in school stems from the assumption that “‘this is a behavior problem’ […] instead of looking deeper to see, really see, the child.”

It’s why, she said, the miscoschools’ personal approach and connect-redirect models are necessary.

Detailing the last few months in Phoenix, Raina said her new school has made a difference in her learning. New teachers “push” and “help,” she said.

Her mother, Kylie Chamblee, noticed a difference in her ability to teach, too. She’s making deeper connections with her students.

When a student needs extra time with reading comprehension and is ahead in geometry, she can work with them more freely.

“That’s what I really like about our model for kids,” said Chamblee. “Because it can be challenging but then it can also be rewarding, because they’re getting what they need.”

January 28, 2022. Tags: . Education. Leave a comment.

Student debt forgiveness should be funded by fraudulent colleges that sold worthless degrees, instead of by innocent taxpayers

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

January 17, 2022

Democrats think that innocent taxpayers should be forced to pay off student debt.

I think this is a horrible idea.

I’m a Libertarian, which means that I am against punishing innocent taxpayers.

It also means that I, unlike Democrats, understand the horrible incentives that would be created if innocent taxpayers were forced to pay off student debt. Such a policy would encourage colleges to raise their tuitions even more than they already have, and would also encourage future students to borrow even more money than what had been borrowed by past students. This would make the problem of student debt worse, not better.

By comparison, my proposal would not do these harmful things. On the contrary, my proposal would cause colleges to think very hard before they encourage their students and potential students to borrow money. It would also encourage colleges to reconsider their current policy of offering worthless majors that cause their graduates to end up working at Starbucks.

January 17, 2022. Tags: , , . Economics, Education. 5 comments.

What an idiot: “I have $131K in student loans and can’t afford my life, despite making $110K a year…. I didn’t care what the cost was – I didn’t even look at what I was signing”

https://www.marketwatch.com/picks/it-doesnt-seem-fair-she-has-131-000-in-student-loans-and-cant-afford-her-life-despite-making-110-000-a-year-how-she-and-other-borrowers-can-get-out-of-student-loan-debt-faster-01632845888

‘It doesn’t seem fair’: I have $131K in student loans and can’t afford my life, despite making $110K a year. How to get out of student-loan debt faster

By Brienne Walsh

December 29, 2021

Question: I’m now 39, and in a better place in my life than I was roughly 10 years ago, when I decided to take out over $100,000 in student loans to attend a food policy and nutrition master’s program. The program was the only master’s program I got into, and I didn’t care what the cost was — I didn’t even look at what I was signing.

Now, in total, between my undergrad and grad loans, I owe $131,000. Some of the loans are federal and some of them private; one of those companies charges an interest rate of 6%. Though most of my loans are on pause now (thanks to the federal government), I’m worried about what will happen when that stops. The loan payments are too expensive, even though I’m now a nutrition and public health consultant who works on a contractual basis, and I make a good salary — $110,000 a year.

But our mortgage costs $1,100 a month; daycare is about the same, and car payments are $400. Otherwise, I feel we live very frugally: We even bathe our son in a Tupperware tub because our bathroom needs to be renovated, but we don’t have the money for it! We can’t even afford, as it is, to contribute to retirement or pay for some much-needed dental work. I honestly don’t know what we are going to do when my loans become unfrozen. How can I get out of debt faster? — Erin

Answer: First up, you’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed by student loan debt, and you’re doing some things right, like “limiting the mortgage and the car loan,” which are both “well within your range for your income level,” says Mitchell C. Hockenbury, a certified financial planner at 1440 Financial Partners in Kansas City. But, Hockenbury says, with your low mortgage and other seemingly reasonable expenses, you should see if there is more money to put towards debt payments. Even if there’s not, once the daycare stops, you will have that money to more aggressively pay down debts.

The next question is whether to refinance loans to save money. But first, consider that right now your federal loan payments are on pause through May 2022, and that you should be careful about refinancing a federal loan into a private loan as you will lose some of the federal loan protections, such as income-based repayment and forgiveness options. (You can get details on how much a refinance could save you here). But Ethan Miller, the founder of Washington, D.C.-based financial planning firm Planning for Progress, says Erin should likely refinance some of her private loans, as rates are pretty low right now (see the lowest fixed student loan refinance rates you can qualify for here). “If you feel confident in your income, and you know you’ll have a job for many years, this is the best option,” says Miller.

There are other options as well, says Hockenbury: “Is there a possibility to take a cash-out refi?  Interest rates are low, housing prices have soared.  Perhaps she could use the cash to pay down some debt,” he says. Though, of course, she needs to be sure she can repay that or she risks losing her house.

Though for some borrowers, student loan forgiveness may be an option, it does not sound like Erin would qualify for a loan forgiveness program like the Public Student Loan Forgiveness Program, as she’s a contractor at a government agency, not a full-time employee, explains Miller. (See details on loan forgiveness, cancellation and discharge here to see if you might qualify.) But if she looks at her budget, she may find extra money to pay down her debt faster; refinancing at least some of her loans at today’s low rates could make the payments more manageable, and a cash-out refi on her home may be another option. Best of luck, Erin!

December 30, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , , . Dumbing down, Economics, Education. Leave a comment.

VIDEO: Journalist Reads Filthy Porn Book from School’s Library at FL School Board Meeting – Board Members Call Police to Have Him Forcefully Removed for Reading Obscene Content Aloud

https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/10/video-journalist-reads-filthy-porn-book-schools-library-fl-school-board-meeting-board-members-call-police-forcefully-removed-reading-obscene-content-aloud/

VIDEO: Journalist Reads Filthy Porn Book from School’s Library at FL School Board Meeting – Board Members Call Police to Have Him Forcefully Removed for Reading Obscene Content Aloud

By Jacob Engels

October 27, 2021

https://twitter.com/gratefulAC19/status/1453174598380441603

In Orange County, Florida on Tuesday, this Gateway Pundit contributor attended the Orange County Public Schools board meeting to document the discussion on their illegal mask mandate, which is in violation of Governor DeSantis’ executive order banning such mandates on students.

The Orange County School Board is one of a handful of Florida’s 67 county boards that have flouted the governor’s order, even as the courts have sided with the DeSantis administration pending current litigation of the matter.

However, shortly before the meeting, this journalist was approached by two concerned parents about a sexually explicit book, which has garnered national attention, that their child found featured prominently in the library of Boone High School on a bookstand promoting the LGBT community during Pride Month.

The book, Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe, a graphic novel with drawings that explains in lurid detail the sexual interactions between two young men, has been inserted into high school libraries across America, despite it violating guidelines against pornography or sexually explicit materials being provided to minors and paid for with our tax dollars.

Gender Queer includes countless images of male-on-male sexual encounters, accompanied by words that one would expect to find inside literary works at adult pornography shops or gay sex clubs and bathhouses. Even so, this book was purchased and pushed by school officials at Boone High School in Orlando, Florida, despite it clearly violating county guidelines.

Jonathan Farrant, who showed up with his wife to express his outrage over the book being made available and given special promotion by Boone High School Staff, told TGP the following in a joint statement with his wife Alicia.

“We are completely disgusted at this evil and how the OCPS School Board, Principal, Librarian and others would have the audacity to allow this type of pornographic filth in our schools. It is time to raise up an army of people and parents that are willing to stand for the morality of our educational system,” stated the Farrants. 

When public comment commenced ahead of the listed agenda items during Tuesday afternoon’s meeting, this GP journalist used his allotted time to alert OCPS Board Members of the situation by reading some of the more graphic passages from Gender Queer.

After reading aloud a portion of just one section, which included the characters in Gender Queer discussing the use of strap-on dildos and performing oral sex on one another, OCPS Chairman Teresa Jacobs demanded this journalist cease reading the passage. After refusing to do so, she instructed OCPS police officers to eject this journalist from the meeting by force.

With no children present at the meeting, it is unclear why OCPS Chairman Teresa Jacobs did not want parents to be made aware of the explicit nature of Gender Queer, especially as it violates the district guidelines she was elected to uphold. This same school board claims to be interested in “protecting” children by forced masking, but their concern for the moral and ethical well-being of those same children who are being exposed to pornographic material, seems to be non-existent.

Parents sitting in the front row were outraged over the removal and excuse by OCPS Board Chair Teresa Jacobs, who claimed she had “no idea” the book was in the classroom, to which the parents replied “that’s the problem.”

Brevard County Public Schools, which neighbors Orange County, immediately pulled the book from schools after they were made aware that students had access to it, for violating district guidelines. School Board districts in Virginia have also recently pulled Gender Queer for similar reasons.

State Representative Anthony Sabatini, who is running to represent Orange County in the United States Congress in Florida’s 7th congressional district, is calling on the OCPS School Board to resign immediately in wake of the news about Gender Queer.

“The entire Orange County School Board must resign immediately. This absolutely disgusting and potentially criminal decision to put these pornographic materials in the schools is disturbing. It’s a shocking new low, even for Orange County,” Sabatini explained via text. 

The content is so abhorrent, that Virginia TV stations have refused to air an ad from a group called Independent Women’s Voice showing images of the illustrations in Gender Queer, according to a report from Yahoo News.

The OCPS School Board took no immediate action during Tuesday’s meeting. County officials and represenatives of Boone High School did not respond to requests for comment.

October 28, 2021. Tags: , , , . Education. Leave a comment.

Images Available in Virginia School Libraries Deemed Too Sexually Explicit for TV

https://news.yahoo.com/images-available-virginia-school-libraries-200244407.html

Images Available in Virginia School Libraries Deemed Too Sexually Explicit for TV

By Brittany Bernstein

October 26, 2021

Local Virginia TV stations including ABC, CBS and NBC have refused to air an ad depicting sexually explicit materials that are widely available to students in school libraries in the state, citing federal law which prohibits airing pornographic images.

“It’s shocking that images, and even some words, that federal law prohibits TV stations to share with adults are the same images being shared with Virginia students with no accountability,” said Victoria Coley, vice president of communications at Independent Women’s Voice (IWV), which created the ad.

The 30-second ad, titled “Worth 1,000 Words,” includes a full screen spread from Gender Queer by Maia Kobae, a book that was available in schools in several Virginia districts, including Fairfax, Loudon and Arlington, according to IWV.

IWV attempted to air the ad after 11 p.m. to show adults the shockingly explicit materials that students have access to in schools, but was told that federal law prohibits sharing pornographic images on air, even if they are aired late at night and for news purposes.

“Independent Women’s Voice has been told to stand down—that we are trying to push out inappropriate materials that violate federal regulations—when we are simply highlighting wildly inappropriate books in Virginia schools,” said IWV vice president Carrie Lukas. “All we want is to make sure that parents and citizens know what is happening in the schools they are paying for and trusting with their children.”

IWV has since submitted a second ad with the sexually explicit material blurred out.

The ad notes that Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, who served as governor of Virginia from 2014 to 2018, vetoed a bill permitting parents to block sexually explicit books in school during his time in office.

Last month, during a debate with his Republican opponent, Glenn Youngkin, McAuliffe argued that parents should not tell schools what to teach.

The comment came in response to Youngkin’s remark that parents should be more involved in the decisions of local school districts during the second and final debate of the race.

“What we’ve seen over the course of this last 20 months is our school systems refusing to engage with parents,” Youngkin said. “In fact, in Fairfax County this past week, we watched parents so upset because there was such sexually explicit material in the library they had never seen, it was shocking.”

Youngkin noted that McAuliffe “vetoed the bill that would have informed parents that they were there.”

“You believe school systems should tell children what to do. I believe parents should be in charge of their kids’ education,” the Republican said to his opponent.

The former governor replied that parents would have “had the right to veto books” under the bill he vetoed.

“I’m not going to let parents come into schools, and actually take books out, and make their own decision,” McAuliffe said.

“Yeah, I stopped the bill that I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” he added.

October 28, 2021. Tags: , , , . Education. Leave a comment.

Loudoun County Forces Parents To Sign NDA-Style Form To View CRT-Inspired Curriculum

https://dailycaller.com/2021/10/25/loudoun-county-parents-sign-nda-form-critical-race-theory-curriculum/

Loudoun County Forces Parents To Sign NDA-Style Form To View CRT-Inspired Curriculum

By Chrissy Clark

October 25, 2021

Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) is requiring parents to sign a form comparable to a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to view a portion of the district’s new curriculum inspired by critical race theory, according to documents reviewed by the Daily Caller.

As part of LCPS’ broader equity agenda, the district spent approximately $7,700 to become a “licensed user” of Second Step Programs, a branch of the left-leaning non-profit organization Committee for Children. According to a copy of the NDA-style form reviewed by the Daily Caller, “eligible parents” at LCPS must sign the document to view the Second Step curriculum.

Curriculum presentations can only be given in person and parents cannot broadcast, download, photograph, or record “in any manner whatsoever.” Downloadable files of part of the curriculum are available on LCPS’ website, per Second Step’s copyright policy.

“I understand that the Authorized Presentation of Second Step Materials I am about to view is not a public event, and that copying, broadcast or recording of any kind is not permitted,” the form reads. “I agree to comply with the terms of the above Special License.”

NDA-Form

According to the district’s agreement with Second Step obtained by the Daily Caller, the curriculum is not subject to traditional Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) laws.

Scott Mineo, ring-leader of Loudoun County’s Parents Against Critical Theory (PACT) organization, told the Daily Caller that he finds the copyright laws suspicious as similar curriculum packages are readily available for parents to review.

“LCPS is partners with Southern Poverty Law Center, Racial Equity Tools, and Learning for Justice (SPLC), all of which have copyrighted material, however, LCPS freely provides access to these materials,” Mineo said. “Why is there such a double standard when parents want to review Second Step SEL material in its entirety?”

Loudoun County Public Schools did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.

Second Step’s programming revolves around the concept of “social-emotional learning,” which is linked to the core tenets of critical race theory. According to Committee for Children, the non-profit behind Second Step curriculum, SEL is “fundamental to achieving social justice.”

The non-profit is also dedicated to “diversity, equity, and inclusion” and becoming an “anti-racist organization.” Part of Second Step’s curriculum addresses “anti-racism,” a term coined by activist Ibram X. Kendi. It also creates a “common language” to “create lasting systematic change.”

“When we all use the same words — for emotions, situations, and behavioral dynamics — it promotes empathy and understanding between students, teachers, staff, parents, and the community,” the curriculum reads. “Second Step provides a shared emotional vocabulary that can create lasting systemic change.”

Second Step curriculum borrows from Learning for Justice, the education arm of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as well. In July 2020, an LCPS spokesman told the Washington Free Beacon that Learning for Justice resources would be “optional” in the district.

According to a newly released PowerPoint from LCPS, the district will require all elementary schools to implement SEL in the classroom by 2022. Images in the PowerPoint link directly to Second Step curriculum. The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has also been working to institute SEL into the curriculum state-wide.

Second Step is used in a slew of other districts nationwide including in Toppenish, Washington, Chicago, Illinois, Tooele, Utah, Austin, Texas, Lee County, Florida, Denver, Colorado, Lexington, Kentucky and more.

Parents in Loudoun County are worried about the new curriculum as SEL emphasizes the moral, ethical and emotional development of students over their academic success. The push for such a curriculum led the VDOE to explore ending advanced degrees, according to Fox News.

A Utah music teacher, who resigned his position with Draper Park Middle School after being required to teach Second Step’s SEL programming, gives the public a brief insight into the curriculum. Teacher Sam Crowly said in his resignation that he could not “in good conscience” present material that “teaches students that their parents are ‘roadblocks’ to their goals; material which contains propaganda, and encourages students to become activists.”

Second Step Program did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comments.

October 26, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , , . Education, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Racists at this Minnesota middle school are dumbing down the academic standards for black students

https://www.foxnews.com/us/untraditional-grading-scale-implemented-at-minnesota-middle-school

Minnesota middle school will eliminate ‘F’s to combat ‘systemic racism’

The system, announced during the 2021-22 school year, does not include 0-49.9 percentiles for students

By Pilar Arias

October 1, 2021

A YouTube video posted by Sunrise Park Middle School in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, details a new grading scale that lacks the letter “F.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9LYheOKda0

The system, announced during the 2021-22 school year, does not include 0-49.9 percentiles for students.

“Our whole intent is to ensure that grades focus on the process of learning,” Principal Christina Pierre said in the video. “Therefore, grades will not include behaviors, attitude, tardiness to class, whether the assignment was turned in late or on time. There’s other ways that we can communicate those things to parents.”

Associate Principal Norman Bell went on to elaborate that students are encouraged to retake/revise tests, quizzes, papers, projects and have a 10-day window to do so from the date the grade is posted.

Sunrise Park Middle School serves students in grades sixth through eighth in the White Bear Lake Area Schools, ISD 624. It is located in a suburb of St. Paul. 

Fox News reached out to the district to see if the grading scale would be implemented at middle schools district wide, which only includes one additional campus, but has yet to hear back.

The district’s superintendent, Wayne Kazmierczak, was named Minnesota Association of School Administrators 2021 Superintendent of the Year.

The school website discussing the award details how the district conducted an “equity audit,” which showed grading disparities among students of color.  

“Grading can be one of the largest areas in which systemic racism and inequities are perpetuated. Dr. Kazmierczak and WBLAS believe grades should be a measure of what a student knows and has mastered in a given course. Grading should not be a behavior punishment and should not be a measure of how well a student can survive stress at home,” the website reads. 

October 1, 2021. Tags: , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors, War against achievement. Leave a comment.

Racist UCLA wants lower academic standards for black students. This professor had the courage to oppose this racist policy. UCLA fired him for it.

https://justthenews.com/government/courts-law/professor-removed-refusal-grade-black-students-easier-after-george-floyd

Professor removed after refusal to grade black students on a curve sues UCLA

Gordon Klein claims he lost $10 million consulting business after UCLA said he violated its “core values.”

By Greg Piper

September 29, 2021

A lecturer removed from the classroom after refusing to grade on a racial curve is now suing UCLA and his dean for costing him at least $500,000 in consulting contracts in just the past year — and an estimated $10 million long term.

Gordon Klein also accused the public university, where he’s taught accounting since 1981, of retaliation by halting his long string of merit-pay increases after his email response to a student went viral.

It has ignored his requests for security escorts in light of “serious physical threats,” including anti-Semitic death threats he reported as recently as March, Klein alleges. He said a psychiatrist diagnosed him with PTSD last summer. 

UCLA and its Anderson School of Management engaged in a “disingenuous publicity stunt to promote that it was at the forefront of rooting out racism” and to chill the speech of Klein and other faculty, the state lawsuit alleges. 

Klein claims breach of contract, violation of privacy, retaliation and “negligent interference with prospective economic advantage,” and is seeking both compensatory and punitive damages. 

Student activists had been threatening harassment against faculty in multiple UCLA schools if they didn’t offer black students preferential treatment, including “no-harm” final exams, following the death of George Floyd in May 2020.

(more…)

October 1, 2021. Tags: , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors, War against achievement. Leave a comment.

Western Washington University establishes separate housing for ‘diversity of Black and African American’ people

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/university-western-washingtion-black-affinity-housing

University establishes separate housing for ‘diversity of Black and African American’ people

By Luke Gentile

September 28, 2021

A Washington university established a housing program for black students to examine their culture separate from the influence of other races, according to the program’s description on the school’s website.

Western Washington University transformed the fourth floor of its Alma Clark Glass Hall into Black Affinity Housing, the website states.

“The program explores and celebrates the diversity of Black and African American people and culture , with historical and contemporary context,” its description reads.

The Alma Clark Glass Hall was chosen for Black Affinity Housing because it was named after the first black student to attend the university .

“All Western students residing in the program help foster a warm and vibrant community supporting social, personal and academic success,” the website states.

Residents of Black Affinity Housing can expect to engage in intermittent community programming, according to the website.

September 29, 2021. Tags: , , , . Education, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Leaked documents show Baltimore high schoolers perform math, reading at grade school level

https://foxbaltimore.com/news/project-baltimore/city-high-schoolers-performing-math-and-reading-at-elementary-level

Leaked documents show Baltimore high schoolers perform math, reading at grade school level

By Chris Papst

June 2, 2021

Baltimore (WBFF) – An alarming discovery out of Baltimore City Schools. Project Baltimore has obtained student assessment data that North Avenue does not release publicly. That data shows some students who could soon graduate, are performing at an elementary school level, academically.

Project Baltimore, over the years, has heard from many parents who say their children are being pushed through Baltimore City Schools without getting the education they need. Julie Gaskins told us back in 2018 that her seventh grader was doing math and reading at a second-grade level.

Project Baltimore also spoke with Gregory Gray, a Baltimore City Schools father, back in 2019.

“My son is really in desperate need of tutoring in math,” Gray told Project Baltimore. “And, how did my son pass if he didn’t know none of this math?”

Now, Project Baltimore has obtained student assessment scores from just one class, in one high school, that show how widespread the problem appears to be.

iReady is a system schools use to measure at which grade level a student is performing. In Baltimore City Schools, iReady assessments are given in math and reading, three times a year, to measure a student’s progress. The scores we obtained show some students are performing 10 grade levels below their age.

Fox45 News is not disclosing the school or the class to protect student identities. But we can report the iReady scores are for 11th graders in math and reading. Nine students completed the reading assessment, but only two scored at a high school level. One scored at a seventh-grade level. The other six scored at an elementary school level. In math, seven students completed the assessment. Two scored at a high school level. The rest, who are high school juniors in Baltimore City Schools, scored at an elementary level, including one student doing math at a first-grade level.

According to Education.com, a first-grade math worksheet includes simple addition and subtraction, like 2 plus 3 and 9 minus 7. First graders also do connect-the-dot puzzles where they draw lines in numerical order to create an image. The iReady assessments done by North Avenue, show that for at least one student, this is highest level of math they can do, yet that students made it to 11th grade in City Schools.

“They were passing students on who couldn’t read, who couldn’t compute,” said Carl Stokes, a former City Council member and charter school operator. “I know principals in schools who say, it happened to me, who said, ‘I can’t pass this student to the next grade. They’re not ready.’ North Avenue refused to allow us to fail the students without a fight. And we fought because we knew we would be hurting the kid.”

Stokes said at his charter school, which closed last year, about 90 percent of his incoming sixth graders, every year, were not reading or doing math at grade level. Ninety percent had iReady scores below the grade the students were in at the time.

“That’s the deal we have here. We have thousands of kids who are not getting an education, who get out of school or quit school and they have no skillset to sustain themselves. They can’t. They can’t get a decent job. They can’t live well,” said Stokes.

The iReady scores we have are for just 16 students in one class at one school. Project Baltimore has filed a public records request with City Schools for additional iReady scores, minus any personally identifying student information. We reached out to Baltimore City Schools for this story but did not receive a response.

August 13, 2021. Tags: , , , . Dumbing down, Education. Leave a comment.

Oregon Democratic governor Kate Brown signs bill to end reading and math proficiency requirements for high school graduation. Her spokesman, Charles Boyle, said this will help “Black, Latino, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and students of color.”

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

August 11, 2021

Oregon’s Democratic governor, Kate Brown, just signed a bill that eliminates the reading and math proficiency requirements for high school graduation in Oregon’s government-run schools.

Brown’s spokesman, Charles Boyle, said this will help “Black, Latino, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and students of color.”

Of course I totally disagree with Boyle. This will not help those students. On the contrary, it will hurt them.

I support high academic standards for students of all races and ethnicities. I hope the parents in Oregon will remove their children from these abominable, dumbed down government-run schools, and send their children to private schools. Not all private schools are expensive. Montessori schools, Marva Collins schools, and Catholic schools have a long term, proven track record of providing an excellent education to minority students, and they do so at a dollar cost that is far less, per student, than what the government-run schools spend on their dumbed down education.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/oregon-bill-ending-reading-and-arithmetic-requirements-before-graduation

Oregon governor signs bill ending reading and math proficiency requirements for graduation

By Kaelan Deese

August 10, 2021

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown privately signed a bill last month ending the requirement for high school students to prove proficiency in reading, writing, and arithmetic before graduation.

Brown, a Democrat, did not hold a public signing or issue a press release regarding the passing of Senate Bill 744 on July 14, and the measure, which was approved by lawmakers in June, was not added into the state’s legislative database until more than two weeks later on July 29, an unusually quiet approach to enacting legislation, according to the Oregonian.

Secretary of the Senate Lori Brocker’s office is responsible for updating the legislative database, and a staffer tasked with dealing with the governor’s office was experiencing medical issues during the 15-day time frame it took the database to be updated with the recently signed law, Brocker said.

SB 744 gives us an opportunity to review our graduation requirements and make sure our assessments can truly assess all students’ learning,” Charles Boyle, a spokesman for the governor, said in an email to the Washington Examiner. “In the meantime, it gives Oregon students and the education community a chance to regroup after a year and a half of disruption caused by the pandemic.”

The bill, which suspends the proficiency requirements for students for three years, has attracted controversy for at least temporarily suspending academic standards amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Backers argued the existing proficiency levels for math and reading presented an unfair challenge for students who do not test well, and Boyle said the new standards for graduation would aid Oregon’s “Black, Latino, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and students of color.”

The requirement for students to demonstrate proficiency in essential subjects on a freshman to sophomore skill level in order to graduate was terminated at the start of the pandemic as part of Brown’s Stay Home, Save Lives order in March 2020.

Democrats largely backed the executive order and argued in favor of SB 744’s proposed expansion, saying the existing educational proficiency standards were flawed.

“The testing that we’ve been doing in the past doesn’t tell us what we want to know,” Democratic Sen. Lew Frederick told a local ABC affiliate in June. “We have been relying on tests that have been, frankly, very flawed and relying too much on them so that we aren’t really helping the students or the teachers or the community.”

Supporters of the measure said the state needed to pause the academic requirements, which had been in place since 2009, so lawmakers could reevaluate which standards should be updated, and recommendations for new graduation standards are due to the Legislature and Oregon Board of Education by September 2022, the Oregonian added in its report.

Republicans criticized the proposal for lowering academic standards.

“I worry that by adopting this bill, we’re giving up on our kids,” House Republican Leader Christine Drazan said on June 14.

Still, the measure received some bipartisan support, with state Rep. Gordon Smith, a Republican, voting in favor of passage. The state House passed the bill 38-18 on June 14, and the state Senate voted 16-13 in favor of the measure on June 16.

While some lawmakers argued against standardized testing for skill evaluation, the state of Oregon does not list any particular test as a requirement for earning a diploma, with the Department of Education saying only that “students will need to successfully complete the credit requirements, demonstrate proficiency in the Essential Skills, and meet the personalized learning requirements.”

“Senate Bill 744 does not remove Oregon’s graduation requirements, and it certainly does not remove any requirements that Oregon students learn essential skills,” Boyle said, adding it is “misleading” to conflate the subjects of standardized testing with graduation requirements.

The Washington Examiner contacted the Department of Education but did not immediately receive a response.

August 11, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors, War against achievement. 3 comments.

Social justice organization asks white liberals to avoid sending their children to “any Ivy League School or US News & World Report Top 50 School so that position at that school is available for people of color”

Original: https://www.dallasjustice.org/college-pledge

Archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20210725160619/https://www.dallasjustice.org/college-pledge

Dallas Justice Now

An Open Letter to Wealthy White Liberals of HPISD from DJN

To Our White Allies:

Talk is not enough. Commit yourself towards taking action and making sacrifices to correct centuries of injustice. Open up spaces for Black and LatinX communities by refusing to send your kids to Ivy League and US News & World Report Top 50 schools and encourage friends, neighbors, and family members to do the same. Imagine if those hundreds of thousands of spots at these institutions were occupied only by marginalized communities. Imagine the opportunities. We can achieve true equity within our lifetimes but only if white folks are willing to sacrifice their privileges.

The Dallas Justice NOW College Pledge:

As a white person with privilege both from my whiteness and my neighborhood I recognize the need to make sacrifices for the purpose of correcting hundreds of years of murder, slavery, discrimination, and lack of educational and economic opportunities perpetrated upon people of color. I understand that access to top schools is a key component in economic and social advancement. Therefore, I commit that my children will not apply to or attend any Ivy League School or US News & World Report Top 50 School so that position at that school is available for people of color to help correct historical wrongs.  If I do not have children under 18 then I will commit to encouraging my white privileged friends, neighbors, and family members with children to sign the pledge and holding them accountable until they do so.  

Have you been asked to take the pledge? Don’t be a racist hypocrite. Sign the pledge today!

Sincerely,

Dallas Justice NOW 

 

July 26, 2021. Tags: , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Defund Columbia: Federal loans for high-cost, low-value graduate schools have enabled the Ivy League master’s-degree racket to thrive.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2021/07/defund-columbia/

Defund Columbia

By Preston Cooper

July 13, 2021

Federal loans for high-cost, low-value graduate schools have enabled the Ivy League master’s-degree racket to thrive.

Columbia University is among America’s most elite schools. Many believe that a graduate degree from Columbia or another Ivy League school will lead to financial security for life. But a recent investigation by Wall Street Journal reporters Melissa Korn and Andrea Fuller shows that this perception, so eagerly cultivated by universities, is a fiction.

Master’s-degree students at Columbia and many other elite schools take on hundreds of thousands of dollars in student-loan debt. Yet after they graduate, too many find that the degree did not open the doors promised. The existence and scale of these subpar graduate programs is tied to irresponsible federal lending practices, which extend unlimited lines of credit to graduate students with no regard to their ability to repay.

Students in Columbia’s Master of Fine Arts in film program typically accumulate $181,000 in federal debt, according to the report. But when they enter the labor market, their median salary is just $30,000 — less than one-sixth of the debt they took on. Few, if any, of those students will fully repay what they borrowed from taxpayers.

“There were 55 students in my incoming class at Columbia’s MFA Film program,” says former student James Stoteraux. “Only 4 of us ever managed to make a career out of it. . . . Columbia traded on its reputation to sell them big dreams that it could never deliver.”

Fueled by federal aid, master’s-degree programs have become profit centers for elite universities. Ivy League schools coast off their selective undergraduate programs, which earn the schools top spots on the U.S. News & World Report college rankings. They leverage this prestige to churn out graduate degrees that would make many for-profit colleges blush.

The strategy has paid off. During the 2019-20 academic year, Columbia collected $268 million in federal loans on its graduate programs. The undergraduate schools, on which Columbia built its reputation, only supplied $16 million in federal loans.

Columbia officials have even admitted to the scheme. The school’s vice provost for academic programs says that master’s degrees “can and should be a revenue source,” according to the Wall Street Journal report. The cost of that business model falls on students, who are responsible for paying off the debt, and taxpayers, who inevitably will be stuck with part of the bill when the government forgives the loans that students can’t pay.

There’s only one way to solve this problem: Defund Columbia and other elite institutions guilty of this practice. End the federal loans for graduate schools that have enabled the Ivy League master’s-degree racket to go on for so long.

Congress originally created the federal student-loan program to help low-income students afford college. But student loans have transformed into a welfare program for rich universities. Graduate loans now account for two in five loan dollars issued by the federal government. That has not happened by chance; it is the result of deliberate policy changes.

Created in 2006, the federal Grad PLUS program allows graduate students to borrow an effectively unlimited amount from the federal government, provided they attend an accredited college or university. After taking on the debt, students are allowed to pay it back through income-based plans, where payments average just $154 per month. Ten or 20 years after a borrower starts payments, any remaining debt is canceled.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 60 percent of the loans issued in 2021 and repaid in this manner will eventually be forgiven. Internal Education Department documents suggest that over $400 billion of the federal government’s loan portfolio will not be repaid. To be sure, students themselves will be responsible for paying a lot as well. But colleges and universities are running away with the profits.

Congress could put an end to this with one simple policy change: Stop supporting graduate programs with federal loan dollars.

There’s a reasonable economic justification for federal lending to undergraduate students, since most have no credit history to speak of and might need government help to get a loan. But that argument generally does not apply to graduate students, who are in their 20s and 30s. The economic rationale for a federal graduate-loan program is nonexistent.

Indeed, there was a thriving private market for graduate loans — one that could be engaged once more — before Grad PLUS arrived on the scene. Students who needed to borrow large amounts for a high-value degree, such as medical students, could almost always secure private funding, and usually at a lower interest rate than the federal government offered.

But programs with outrageous tuition costs and meager earnings payoffs would have a hard time pocketing funding from a private lender that cannot simply pass losses on to taxpayers, as the federal government can. Only the presence of federal graduate loans, with their heavy implicit subsidies, makes high-cost, low-value programs possible on a large scale.

Problems are best solved by removing their root causes. Defunding Columbia and other graduate schools is the most effective way to rescue graduate students from unaffordable debt and taxpayers from the burden of cleaning up the mess.

July 13, 2021. Tags: , . Education. Leave a comment.

Spoiled college students with designer clothes and expensive phones say the U.S. is horrible and they are oppressed. But when asked to name a better country, they can’t.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6tBQRslg14

July 4, 2021. Tags: , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Professors declare correct grammar is racist

https://www.campusreform.org/article?id=17695

Profs declare correct grammar is racist, no such thing as standard English at symposium

Towson University hosted a virtual symposium to discuss anti-racist teaching practices.

One professor argued that “correct grammar” and “standard language” only “reinforce master narratives of English.”

By Ethan Khaldarov

June 25, 2021

Speakers at Towson University’s virtual “Antiracist Pedagogy Symposium” criticized university writing curriculum and programs for being racist and perpetuating Whiteness. 

The event occurred on June 17.

April Baker-Bell, associate Professor of Language, Literacy, and English Education at Michigan State University, argued that idea of Standard English among teachers is used to maintain racist assumptions about “Black language.”

Bell stated it is evident that “anti-Blackness that is used to diminish black language of Black students in classrooms is not separate from the rampant and deliberate anti-black racism and violence inflicted upon black people in society.”

“Teacher attitudes include assumptions that Black students are somehow linguistically, morally, and intellectually inferior because they communicate in Black language,” said Bell.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania English professor Cristina Sánchez-Martín stated that her efforts are designed to contribute to “undoing Whiteness” in university students’ writing. 

“The repeated references to ‘correct grammar’ and ‘standard language’ reinforce master narratives of English only as White and monolingualism and a deficit view of multilingualism,” said Sánchez-Martín. 

June 28, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Bill Maher talks about college

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_x5SeXNabd8

June 28, 2021. Tags: , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education. Leave a comment.

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