Education Archives

Friday Link Wrap-Up

I may start doing this more often.  I collect links during the week, some I comment on here, and some just languish in Google Bookmarks.  Normally I’m going to save it all until the end of the week, but this installment will be a bit longer than others since I’ve got some aging links here that really want to see the light of day.  So here they are, usually, but not always, in reverse chronological order:

Coattails?  What coattails?  "Some Democrats on the campaign trail have hit upon a winning campaign tactic: Run against President Obama and his agenda — especially the health care overhaul."

Seeking asylum in the US for … homeschooling persecution?  "A German Christian family received asylum in Tennessee after being severely penalized for illegally homeschooling their children in Germany."  I’ve covered this particular situation before; here, here, here, here, here and here.

California, parts of which are boycotting Arizona for it’s new immigration law, which just enforce existing federal law, should take a look at it’s own lawbooks first.  They might find something familiar.

The economic meltdown in Greece should be a wake-up call to politicians of both parties in the US.  Otherwise, it may turn out to be, rather, a coming attraction.

ObamaCare(tm) is predicted to increase the crowding in our hospitals’ emergency rooms.  "Some Democrats agree with this assessment. Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) suspects the fallout that occurred in Massachusetts’ emergency rooms could happen nationwide after health reform kicks in."  But he still voted for this snake oil anyway.

"Economic Woes Threaten Chavez’s Socialist Vision"  Only on NPR would this be news.  For the rest of this, it’s a redundancy.

Comedy Central stands on the bedrock of free speech and will mock anyone, just as long as there’s no chance of getting beheaded for it.  "The show in development, "JC," is a half-hour about Christ wanting to escape the shadow of his "powerful but apathetic father" and live a regular life in New York."

Green energy falling by the wayside in Europe.  Seems the massive subsidies for this alleged cost-saving energy are too much for governments going through financial troubles.  Should we (will we) take note?

Finally Looking at Secular Sexual Abuse

If you only read the newspapers and watched the TV news shows, you’d think that sexual abuse of children was limited to the Catholic church, and was worse now more than ever.  You’d be wrong, on both counts.  And The Anchoress notes something eye-opening.

In New York, Queens Assemblywoman Margaret Markey routinely presents a bill which seeks to open a year-long “window” into the statute of limitations on child sex-abuse cases, allowing victims whose cases may go back as far as 40 years to bring suit for damages.

Because the bill has -until now- always been limited by Markey to impact the churches, exclusively, it always either failed or been shelved. It is difficult to pass a bill that essentially finds some sexual abuse victims to be more worthy of redress than others.

Markey seems to have figured that out; her new bill includes suits against secular institutions, and the previously silent civil authorities, among others, are reeling.

Pointing fingers is so much easier than self-examination. But "credible allegations" of abuse dropped to 6 last year.  The public school system only wishes they had a record that good.

Priest Child Abuse Cases: Some Perspective

Jim Finnegan, writing in the Naples (Florida) News, was responding to some folks who had commented on his original article on the Catholic Church priest child abuse cases.  Apparently, some folks read his words and though he was saying something directly opposite to them.  In his follow-up, he first had to give the obligatory disclaimers that he’s not excusing anyone, but he quoted some information that puts this all in perspective.

Charol Shakeshaft, a researcher of a little remembered 2004 study for the U.S. Department of Eduction [sic] on the physical sexual abuse of students in schools, pointed out " the physical sexual abuse of students in schools, is likely more than 100 times the abuse of Priests." I am sure this is easy to Google for the entire study should you wish.

Shakeshaft also pointed out that "nearly 9.6% of students are targets of educator sexual misconduct sometimes durin [sic] their school career." Creditable accounts of Priestly abuse occured [sic] from but 1.7% of the total Priests in the U.S. Thankfully, Shakeshaft’s study is now being revisited by news commentators seeking to restore some sense of proportion to the media’s aggressive coverage of the Catholic Church.

While Priestly sex abuse can never be mitigated by these figures, they do point out the gross imbalance, and bring question to the motives of the news media that are pouring resources into digging up decades old dirt on the Church. Sadly,the nerative [sic] that has been constructed is often less about the protection of the young (for whom the Catholic Church is, by empirical measure now the safest environment for young people in America today

Aside from Finnegan’s need for a spell checker, this does point out a stark double standard in play, by both liberals and the media (apologies for the repetition).  Just going by numbers, you’d think there would be more coverage about abuse in schools, which (if you don’t homeschool) have a mandatory attendance requirement, vs. church, which is entirely voluntary.  Not to mention the fact that the school abuse continues while…

The facts show that Priestly sex abuse is a phenomenon that spiked in the mid 1960’s into the 1980’s. This at the time that the "anything goes" sexual revolution began. These are the old cases that the media has chosen to resurrect in their recent attacks on the Church.

Again, none of this should be construed as excusing anyone of these horrible deeds.  But a little perspective is in order, and the media, since it goes against "the narrative", is simply not providing it. 

Spring Break Catch-up

I was on Spring Break vacation with the family last week, so other than my post-dated blog posts, I didn’t write much … well, anything.  But I did surf the web and kept track of some articles I wanted to highlight when I came back.  Here they are, in mostly chronological order of when I found them.

Amnesty International decided that jihad was not antithetical to human rights so long as it’s "defensive". 

The bump in polling numbers after passing health care "reform" was supposed to go to Democrats.  Instead, while it’s just a measure of emotion at this point in time, you’d think that all the promises of the bill would give Democrats a few higher point.  Instead, they’re at an 18-year low.  It’s quite possible that people are only now understanding what they supported all along, because the "free" stuff isn’t materializing right now.

What was the point of the resurrection on Easter?  Don Sensing has (had) some thoughts.

The Tea Party’s ideas are much more mainstream than the MSM would like you to believe.  And Tea Partiers are much more diverse that the MSM realized.  Turns out, they did some actual journalism and found out the real story.  Imagine that.  Has the liberal slant of the press become a problem of corruption, especially with, first, the willful ignoring of the Tea Party story, and second, the willful misreporting of it?

Toyota cars have killed 52 people, and got a recall for it.  Gardasil, a cervical cancer vaccine, has had 49 "unexplained deaths" reported by the CDC and it’s still required in some states.

Changing the names to protect the guilty, the words "Islam" and "jihad" are now banned from the national security strategy document.  When the next terror attack Islamic jihadists happens, it’ll be interesting to find out how they describe it.

Cows have been exonerated of helping to cause global warming.  No, really.

Rep. Bart Stupak’s reversal of his principles is having the proper effect; he’s decided not to seek re-election.  Likely, he couldn’t get re-elected anyway, after betraying his constituents, but let this be a lesson about trusting "conservative" Democrats too much.

And finally, media scrutiny of church vs. state (click for a larger picture):

Media scrutiny

Oh, that liberal media.

Parental Consent

A teen can’t get her ears pierced without parental consent, but in more and more places they can get surgery without it.

San Diego school officials have upset pro-life advocates by adopting a new policy making it so teenagers no longer need parental consent for a host of activities, including abortion. The new policy makes it so teens can go on their own for confidential medical appointments without parental involvement.

The San Diego Unified Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday night to revise the policy without any opposition or debate.

Pro-abortion voices are, of course, thrilled at putting this sort of responsibility on children.

Vince Hall of Planned Parenthood told the television station he supports the change.

"Every day that the old policy was in effect, every day that the old policy guided people who work in the schools was a day that teens were really being put in danger," he claimed.

Teens were in danger because they had to get their parents’ permission to kill their unborn child?  On a daily basis?  Really? Hyperbole, anyone?

The only thing in danger was PP profits.  Follow the money.

Child Abuse: Getting Some Perspective

From George Weigel at First Things:

The sexual and physical abuse of children and young people is a global plague; its manifestations run the gamut from fondling by teachers to rape by uncles to kidnapping-and-sex-trafficking. In the United States alone, there are reportedly some 39 million victims of childhood sexual abuse. Forty to sixty percent were abused by family members, including stepfathers and live-in boyfriends of a child’s mother—thus suggesting that abused children are the principal victims of the sexual revolution, the breakdown of marriage, and the hook-up culture. Hofstra University professor Charol Shakeshaft reports that 6-10 percent of public school students have been molested in recent years—some 290,000 between 1991 and 2000. According to other recent studies, 2 percent of sex abuse offenders were Catholic priests—a phenomenon that spiked between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s but seems to have virtually disappeared (six credible cases of clerical sexual abuse in 2009 were reported in the U.S. bishops’ annual audit, in a Church of some 65,000,000 members).

Yet in a pattern exemplifying the dog’s behavior in Proverbs 26:11, the sexual abuse story in the global media is almost entirely a Catholic story, in which the Catholic Church is portrayed as the epicenter of the sexual abuse of the young, with hints of an ecclesiastical criminal conspiracy involving sexual predators whose predations continue today. That the vast majority of the abuse cases in the United States took place decades ago is of no consequence to this story line. For the narrative that has been constructed is often less about the protection of the young (for whom the Catholic Church is, by empirical measure, the safest environment for young people in America today) than it is about taking the Church down—and, eventually, out, both financially and as a credible voice in the public debate over public policy.

I guess one question would be, if the Pope’s fair game, why not the US Secretary of Education?  If not, why not?

Funding Failures, Suffocating Successes

In one of the McCain/Obama debates, candidate Obama promised this:

So there are some — some things that we’ve got to do structurally to make sure that we can compete in this global economy. We can’t shortchange those things. We’ve got to eliminate programs that don’t work, and we’ve got to make sure that the programs that we do have are more efficient and cost less.

OK then, how about the Head-Start program?  Does it work?  Not according to HHS.

“Head Start,” the flagship pre-kindergarten program introduced in 1965, has been a $166 billion failure. That’s the upshot of a sophisticated multi-year study just released by the Department of Health and Human Services.

An earlier iteration of the study, published in 2005, had found a few modest improvements in the language skills of participating students while they were enrolled in the program. But by the end of the first grade, even those few effects have disappeared, according to the follow-up released this month. Out of 44 separate cognitive tests given to former Head Start students at the end of the first grade, only two showed even marginally significant effects. The other 42 showed no statistically significant effect at all.

But even that overstates the case for Head Start. That’s because, on each of the 44 separate tests, there is a 1 in 10 chance of a false positive: a test result that appears to show a positive impact but is really just a random fluke. With so many test results, we’d expect to see at least a few false positives. Statisticians have ways to control for this problem, and when the authors themselves applied such a control, they found that the two apparently “significant” effects vanished.

What’s more, this applies to all the non-cognitive tests administered to students as well. After controlling for the likelihood of false positives, the study’s authors found no “socio-emotional” benefits and no “parenting practice” benefits either. No benefits to Head Start of any kind at the end of first grade. None.

Government education programs just give liberals the warm fuzzies, but we’ve spent half a century dumping money down this particular drain and no Democrat worth his NEA card would dare touch it.  Certainly President Obama won’t; he increased funding by more than a full one-third last year, and he shows no sign of stopping.

We’re not getting our money’s worth with Head Start, so how about funding another program that shows demonstrable results?

But President Obama and Congress have already had a golden opportunity to show that they will heed their own scientific evidence, supporting what works and what is efficient: the D.C. private school voucher program. The latest Department of Education study revealed that after attending private schools for three years, voucher-receiving students were reading more than two grade levels ahead of the randomized control group who had remained in public schools. What’s more, the average voucher value was a mere $6,600, compared to D.C. per-pupil education spending of over $28,000.

What did Congress do to the program that has proven itself dramatically more effective and many times more efficient than D.C.’s public system? They decided to sunset its funding, effectively killing it. What did President Obama do to save it? Nothing. He let it die despite having previously said that “if there was any argument for vouchers it was, ‘Let’s see if the experiment works.’ And if it does, whatever my preconception, you do what’s best for kids.”

Or not.

Don’t listen to what they say, watch what they do.  Democrats kill education programs that work and pour money into those that don’t.  The voucher program is a classic conservative, free-market approach to education, and it works.  We need more policies like it.

Yup, the much-reviled (by the Left) program to teach kids to refrain from sex before marriage, rather than just avoiding pregnancy, seems to work.

Sex education classes that focus on encouraging children to remain abstinent can persuade a significant proportion to delay sexual activity, researchers reported Monday in a landmark study that could have major implications for U.S. efforts to protect young people against unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

Only about a third of sixth- and seventh-graders who completed an abstinence-focused program started having sex within the next two years, researchers found. Nearly half of the students who attended other classes, including ones that combined information about abstinence and contraception, became sexually active.

The findings are the first clear evidence that an abstinence program could work.

"I think we’ve written off abstinence-only education without looking closely at the nature of the evidence," said John B. Jemmott III, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania who led the federally funded study. "Our study shows this could be one approach that could be used."

Critics do have a point.

Several critics of an abstinence-only approach said that the curriculum tested did not represent most abstinence programs. It did not take a moralistic tone, as many abstinence programs do. Most notably, the sessions encouraged children to delay sex until they are ready, not necessarily until married; did not portray sex outside marriage as never appropriate; and did not disparage condoms.

"There is no data in this study to support the ‘abstain until marriage’ programs, which research proved ineffective during the Bush administration," said James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth.

However, this is certainly a step in the right direction.  As Rush Limbaugh has often said, abstinence works every time it’s tried, and the more this message gets to the kids, the better.  The moral reasons for it can be left to the parents.

CDC Says Sex Ed Better Than Abstinence Ed, But…

they won’t release the data from which they drew that conclusion, nor the analysis showing how they got there.  They say they have their reasons…

A spokeswoman from the CDC told that it is standard procedure for the agency not to release the complete data used by the task force to make recommendations on a range of issues, including adolescence health.

“Before CDC releases information to the public, it must go through the CDC’s scientific clearance process to ensure not only that the underlying data are accurate, but also that 1) it is presented in a manner that is clear and not prone to misinterpretation, and 2) any inferences drawn from the data are defensible,” spokeswoman Karen Hunter said.

She also said that all of the data will eventually be released when it is published in a “peer-reviewed journal,” which can take as long as one year.

Which begs the question, helpfully asked by CNS News:

When asked by how recommendations can be made before the data are proved to be “accurate” and “defensible,” Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding, chairman of the task force and county director of Public Health, and health officer for the county of Los Angeles Department of Health Services, said he is “very comfortable” with the recommendations.

Well that make me feel better, or comfortable, eh?

There are a couple of folks on this 15-member task force, however that don’t support the findings.  They’ve come out against the non-release of the data and the methodology.

“We are concerned that the study averaged together the results of [Comprehensive Sex Education] programs that were very different from each other, such as programs in STD
clinics and programs in school classrooms, without identifying which kind of programs were effective,” [Irene] Ericksen told

“Doing this had the effect of glossing over the lack of results for the CSE programs in the schools, which is the setting where most teens receive sex ed,” Ericksen added.

“These programs did not significantly increase condom use, or reduce teen pregnancy or STDs,” Ericksen said. “To avoid comparing apples and oranges, a more meaningful study would have been a meta-analysis of school-based programs.”

This is almost like ClimateGate with doctors instead of climate scientists.  No transparency, just findings. 

A Cult of Personality

"Big Hollywood" documents the latest in a long line of videos showing children singing Obama’s praises.  The videos get more and more fawning, and the kids get younger, as you move down.  Unfortunately, some of the videos have been removed, but the transcripts are still there.  Words like:

Michelle wants her daughters to think their own things. She doesn’t want their colors to do it instead. The 44th President of the USA because he beat Senator John McCain. Obama in charge of the oval office. He told Bush and his cabinet to get off this. A – a-a-a-aay. Obama is President of the USA-aaaay. Tomorrow’s a new day – ay – ay- ay- ay. And we’re living our life.

And these 11(!) videos are just the latest they’ve been made aware of.  You expect this sort of thing out of China and North Korea.  (But, thanks to George W. Bush, not from Iraq anymore.)

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