College Entrance Criteria

In an op-ed nominally centered on the failure of affirmative action in college admissions, John Katzman (o Noodle CEO and Princeton Review and 2U founder) and Steve Cohen (co-author of Getting In! The Zinch Guide to College Admissions & Financial Aid in the Digital Age) wrote this.

But the work of admissions officers is more complicated than finding the highest test scores. …. They want to put together an incoming freshman class that has aspiring journalists for the school newspaper, great athletes for all the teams, debaters, musicians, actors, dancers, legacies, and development prospects.

Free Speech at the Universities

Kent Fuchs, University of Florida President, and Glenn Altschuler, Cornell Professor of American Studies, have some…interesting…thoughts on this in their recent Wall Street Journal op-ed.

Public universities that choose to grant access to speakers who are not invited or affiliated with the institution are legally obligated to accept all such speakers. As a result, they may become hostage to Nazis or other extremists—forced to stand by as these groups capitalize on their university’s visibility and prestige to amplify their vile messages.

Fuchs and Altschuler wrote that as if it were a bad thing.  I have to ask: why are they so terrified of a contest of ideas in an open, public forum?

“Fear of Violent Protests Raises Cost of Free Speech on Campus”

That’s the title of Douglas Belkin’s piece in Sunday’s Wall Street Journal.  However, it’s inaccurate.  What is feared by college/university management is the thugs who protest free speech with violence and others who protest free speech with noise and interruptions and venue entrance blockings that prevent the speaker from speaking.

Schools have struggled to come up with a consistent answer to requests to speak, pitting their free-speech ideals against security concerns.

Schools are being disingenuous when they pretend to these concerns, and the WSJ is misunderstanding the problem when it characterizes the schools as having free-speech ideals. The existence of the schools’ trading off security for free-speech demonstrates the lack of ideals regarding free-speech.

A Blow for Standards

And it’s struck by California’s state Supreme Court, yet, which is the controlling factor in setting the passing score, the cut score, on the State’s bar exam which prospective lawyers must pass in order to practice in California.

The Court has decided to keep the cut score at its current level, which is the second highest in the US.  The State’s law school deans are in an uproar over that; they wanted the cut score significantly lowered.  They’re complaining that

many competent graduates will continue to suffer the consequences of not being able to become certified to practice….

Integration

It seems a New Jersey high school, Cliffside Park High of the town of Cliffside Park, has a teacher who insists English—or as she put it, American—be spoken in her classroom.

…men and women are fighting. They are not fighting for your right to speak Spanish. They are fighting for your right to speak American[.]

Of course, she’s being called a racist for insisting that folks assimilate into American culture rather than our culture be bent into the home country’s—every home country’s—culture.

One More Reason

…for charter and voucher schools, this time provided by the Biloxi (public) School District.  They’ve banned Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird from its 8th grade classrooms.  Why?

…some of the book’s language “makes people uncomfortable.”

Never mind that proper education must make people uncomfortable because it challenges their preconceived notions, it makes them think, it makes them think for themselves.  It even confronts students with uncomfortable aspects of our history, like Atticus Finch explaining to his daughter, Scout, the term “nigger-lover.”  Or Tom Robinson referring to himself, ironically, as a nigger.

Projecting

KKK robes are on display as part of Baltimore artist Paul Rucker’s installation entitled “Rewind,” now installed at York College’s Wolf Hall in York, PA. The college barred the public from seeing the art exhibition on slavery, white supremacy and racist violence against blacks, deeming it “potentially disturbing to some.”

York College spokeswoman Mary Dolheimer issued this statement, and she actually was serious:

The images, while powerful, are very provocative and potentially disturbing to some. This is especially the case without the benefit of an understanding of the intended educational context of the exhibit[.]

Due Process and Colleges/Universities

Recall the Department of Education’s 2011 egregious and cynically biased Dear Colleague Letter and its attack on due process and equal protection under law.  Things are being restored to legitimacy under the  Betsy DeVos DoEd via interim guidance just issued.

Colleges can now apply a higher standard of proof when determining guilt in sexual misconduct cases and must offer equal opportunity for the accused and accuser to have legal advisers participate in their hearings, according to interim recommendations issued by the US Department of Education on Friday.

Because

The Education Department on Friday formally rescinded guidelines issued by the Obama administration in 2011 and 2014….

Our Pledge of Allegiance and God

A Detroit teacher is forced onto leave now because she forced a student to stand for the class’ routine recital of our Pledge of Allegiance.  Used to be, such disrespect was handled in exactly this way, and quite properly so.

The boy actually had a good reason, though, even if he misunderstood what the pledge of allegiance is about:

God said don’t worship anything other than me, don’t worship any idols, and pledging to a flag would kind of be like worshiping it[.]

What Else?

Adjunct Professor Michael Issacson at the John Jay College, a part of the City University of New York system and a used-to-be prestigious school has expressed his disdain for and hopes for violence against police officers, tweeting

He then showed he meant it, telling the New York Daily News regarding his tweet,

Oh, that s—?  Everybody dies.

The college management’s response?  President Karol Mason in her press release: