Jane Shaw of the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy has written a very interesting column about an online college course on government taught here in North Carolina. Her analysis shows a clear leftist bias in the material. Here is an example of what she found.
Week 7, Public Opinion and Participation, included three websites under the category “Politics in Action.” One was Democracy North Carolina, which promotes public finance of electoral campaigns. What about the argument against public financing? Not here.
Another was MoveOn.Org the organization created by billionaire George Soros that uses political action to counter “a political process where big money and corporate lobbyists wield far too much influence.” The third was an article from the Progressive magazine, “Bullies at the Voting Booth, 2004.” The instructor’s description of this article was “Republican dirty tricks,” and, indeed, the article warned that “Republicans may use a variety of tactics to suppress the vote of racial minorities in swing states.”
The academic reading for the week, which had been presented at the 2013 meeting of the International Conference on Web Search and Data Mining, was not partisan, although of dubious value. The paper studied whether the “Twitter political chatter” surrounding the 2011 Republican primary debates reflected national polling data (it didn’t).
“Online readings are selected to provoke discussion. I find most of the discussion from students tends to be from a conservative direction, not that [that] should be of your concern. I think students have the intellectual capacity to make their own analyses. To avoid biasing online discussion, I do not make online comments for this very reason and discussion from students is broad-ranging from all points of view, though I do think conservative comments predominate. I have used explicitly conservative sources, such as Cato Institute, in the past, though I do not select extra readings on that basis. I have not had students comment on bias in the past many years of my teaching this course.”
I take the professor at his word. There are many reasons a student would not comment to a professor who fails to offer a broad range of perspectives for discussion and analysis.
Of equal concern to me are parents. A university professor once told me he is amazed that the vast majority of parents of college kids simply, as he put it, drop their kids off at the beginning of freshman year and then pick them up at graduation, and rarely ask questions or inquire about anything other than where to send the tuition check.
There is much more to Jane’s piece, and I encourage you to read it in its entirety. If we expect students to engage in critical thinking skills, we must also expect that universities function as marketplaces of ideas.
The Washington Examiner notes the incredible ObamaCare bureaucracy created within the IRS to enforce ObamaCare.
They are led by a steering committee that coordinates Obamacare implementation across the IRS. It is led by the agency’s deputy commissioner for services and enforcement, the office linked to the IRS scandal. Ousted acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller recently had that job.
Other branches include three program management offices, four services and enforcement offices, and services and enforcement exchange working teams.
We’re the IRS, and our eight special ObamaCare offices are here to help you.
The legislative effort to provide parents with education choices continues.
Sizzling oratory and stubborn statistics clashed as opponents of a tax-funded voucher bill for private schools squared off against advocates of the opportunity scholarship grants Tuesday morning in the House Education Committee.
House Bill 944 has engendered bipartisan support from black and white lawmakers from rural and urban districts with markedly different political philosophies. It drew a large audience on Tuesday, but will not be voted on for another week.
“Talents are universal, but opportunities are not,” said state Rep. Ed Hanes, D-Forsyth, a recent convert to the voucher system.
“As I thought about where we stand today I came to a simple conclusion, and that is all of our students in public schools do not have equal opportunity at a sound and basic education,” Hanes said. “I firmly believe that it is perhaps the No. 1 civil rights issue of our day, education.”
Thank goodness we have the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) to ensure that these outrageous infringements on the right to free speech on college campuses are not left unchallenged.
The University of Central Florida (UCF) has reinstated Professor Hyung-il Jung three weeks after unconstitutionally suspending him on the basis of an in-class joke. FIRE wrote to UCF President John C. Hitt in April, urging this result and reminding UCF of its First Amendment obligations.
On April 23, Jung, a lecturer in UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management, was leading an exam review session with roughly 25 students in an accounting course when, according to the Orlando Sentinel, he stated: “This question is very difficult. It looks like you guys are being slowly suffocated by these questions. Am I on a killing spree or what?” A student in the review session reported the joke to the UCF administration, which issued Jung a reprimand letter on April 24, suspending him from “all … university duties,” barring him from the Rosen College campus, and prohibiting “contact of any nature, with any students, for any reason.” UCF additionally demanded that Jung undergo a “thorough mental health evaluation” and obtain written certification from a medical professional that he was “not a threat to [himself] or to the university community.”
Lois Lerner, the head of the exempt organizations division of the IRS, won’t answer questions about what she knew about the improper screening – or why she didn’t reveal it to Congress, according to a letter from her defense lawyer, William W. Taylor 3rd.
Lerner was scheduled to appear before the House Oversight committee Wednesday.
“She has not committed any crime or made any misrepresentation but under the circumstances she has no choice but to take this course,” said a letter by Taylor to committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa, R-Calif. The letter, sent Monday, was obtained Tuesday by the Los Angeles Times.
This is going to get very interesting as the search for the truth continues into who gave the order to target groups aligned with the Tea Party movement and a belief in limited, constitutional government.
Parents and other proponents of education reform have long urged lawmakers to enact tax credits or other means of financial assistance for parents who send their children to nonpublic schools. This session, North Carolina lawmakers are considering House Bill 944 which would create Opportunity Scholarships to help empower parents to chose the school that will best meet the needs of their children. While HB944 is still in committee, opponents are claiming, rather inaccurately, that the scholarship program violates the First Amendment. Critics of such reforms, like the proposed opportunity scholarship program, condemn them as voucher programs; many maintain scholarship and tax credit programs violate the First Amendment because students often use the funds to attend religious schools.
Doran’s paper refutes the critics’ claim.
JLF’s Director of Education Studies, Terry Stoops, refutes other claims by critics of school choice here. Among them:
3. “Currently, North Carolina spends about $8,400 per student in public schools, which ranks us 48 nationally in per-pupil spending. Now the proponents of this bill are saying our kids can be educated for half that amount?”
Well, it is not quite “half that amount,” but it is still a fraction of the public school average. Indeed, the average private school in North Carolina spends considerably less than the state average expenditure to educate our children.
Recently, Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina surveyed (PDF) 700 private schools in North Carolina. PEFNC concluded, “When looking at average tuition rates for North Carolina’s private schools, including the aforementioned higher-priced schools, the average tuition is $6,235 a year. When excluding the top 10 percent of highest-priced tuition schools, the average tuition is $4,901 – a figure that is more reflective of the majority of North Carolina’s private schools.”
Wall Street Journal Columnist L. Gordon Crovitz weighs in on the scandals engulfing the Obama administration, and efforts to control and spin the information. He concludes:
As the nation’s chief executive, President Obama is accountable for the IRS, State Department and Justice Department. His longtime adviser David Axelrod last week blamed a too-big government for the scandals: “Part of being president is that there’s so much beneath you that you can’t know because the government is so vast.”
Messrs. Obama and Axelrod helped create that problem, but the argument against big government rings especially true in an era when not even the government can control information.
Public hearings are ahead for Wake County’s 2014 budget proposal from manager David Cooke.
Under it, total spending would rise by $44 million, or about 4.7 percent, with education and public safety each getting $9 million of the increase. Some $17 million of the increase would go pay for capital projects and debt service.
For the fifth year in a row, Cooke holds the property tax rate at 53.4 cents.
Kathleen McGrade and her husband, Brian Collinsworth, have pleaded not guilty in this alleged $60 million scheme.
A federal investigation of former State Department contracting specialist Kathleen McGrade has uncovered a treasure trove of luxuries allegedly acquired with the proceeds of a multimillion-dollar contracting scam: a Steinway piano; sculptures; sapphire, emerald and diamond jewelry; and a 41-foot yacht bearing the name of the company she and her husband formed, Sterling Royale.
As prosecutors see it, McGrade, 64, steered heating, ventilation and air conditioning work at embassies around the world to the Sterling Royale Group (SRG), all while keeping her relationship with her husband secret from co-workers.
An October trial is scheduled on the felony charges that include wire fraud and conspiracy. If convicted, prison time could be in their future.
Michael Barone weighs in on the many scandals engulfing the Obama administration, including the treatment by the IRS of pro-life groups.
Anti-abortion groups were asked to pledge that they would never picket Planned Parenthood clinics. Organizers were asked numerous personal questions, including what they said in their prayers. If that’s not chilling, I don’t know what is.
Indeed. One can only imagine the outrage from the Washington elite if pro-abortion groups were asked to pledge they would never picket a pro-life event.