Category Archives: Education

Avoiding making eye contact or asking where someone is from are signs of racism says Oxford University

microaggressions

From Daily Mail: Avoiding making eye contact with someone or asking where they are originally from have been deemed as racist micro-aggressions in a newsletter issued by Oxford University.  The institution’s Equality and Diversity Unit states these two common behaviours could potentially cause the listener ‘mental ill-health’. 

The Trinity term newsletter claims asking someone where they are ‘originally’ from implies that the questioner does not believe they are British.  The Trinity term newsletter also mentions ‘not speaking directly to people’ and ‘jokes drawing attention to someone’s difference’ as possible forms of everyday racism.

It says people doing these things are often ‘well-meaning’, but insists they are still reinforcing negative stereotypes and making people feel like they ‘do not belong’.

But Professor Frank Furedi, author of What’s Happened To The University, said the advice was ‘Orwellian’ and called on Oxford to ‘wake up to reality’.  He told MailOnline: ‘To go from simply stating someone is racist based on what they say to assume they are unconsciously racist is a very Orwellian turn. Microaggressions empower the accuser to say that it doesn’t matter what you intend by that look, I just know by the look of your eyes you are racist.

‘It is a very insidious way of thinking. Universities used to understand the reality that humans are complex.  It would be nice if Oxford could wake up to reality.’

Oxford University said the advice was part of an attempt to fight discrimination and encourage equality of opportunity. Students at the university recently took part in a campaign called ‘I, too, am Oxford’, to raise awareness of unconscious racism.

At one college, Pembroke, students are advised by their representatives to report ‘macro and microaggressions’ to a welfare officer. She will then deal with the issue by ‘mediation with the other party’ or ‘through the harassment policy’.

Professor Furedi said giving advice on avoiding microaggressions happens at ‘virtually every’ university in the USA, but is fairly new to the UK. The Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Kent University urged British students to resist the trend, adding: ‘A minority of students make it their own cause. ‘But there are usually a lot of people who think it is stupid but they acquiesce to it and eventually the influence of these ideas becomes more prominent.’

An Oxford University spokesman told MailOnline: ‘The Equality and Diversity Unit works with University bodies to ensure that the University’s pursuit of excellence goes hand in hand with freedom from discrimination and equality of opportunity.

‘The newsletter is one way of advising and supporting staff towards achieving these aims.’

The row comes two months after a Cambridge college was accused of ‘cultural misrepresentation’ by students after serving ‘Jamaican stew’ and ‘Tunisian rice’.  Students argued the dishes served at Pembroke College were not authentic to countries they were described to be from, The Sunday Times reported.

The original complainant said: ‘I’m used to as a minority student being constantly invalidated when flagging up specific issues but if people feel their cultures are misrepresented they have the right to address this. Micro-aggressions are a reality of the everyday exist­ence of many people of colour.’

DCG

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Weinstein Co. to Challenge MPAA’s R Rating of Transgender Teen Drama

3 generations movie

Actors Fanning, Watts and Sarandon

Because it would be a “tragedy” if high school students couldn’t see this film.

From Hollywood Reporter: The Weinstein Co. (TWC) will challenge the MPAA’s decision to assign an R rating to its upcoming transgender drama 3 Generations. TWC was told that the film, which stars Elle Fanning, Naomi Watts and Susan Sarandon and was directed by Gaby Dellal, received the rating due to language and some sexual references.

In its bid to downgrade the R rating to a PG-13, TWC has enlisted attorney David Boies, who is the company’s go-to lawyer for high-profile cases (Boies also represented TWC in its battle with Warner Bros. over the use of the title The Butler).

The MPAA offered a statement in response to TWC’s promise to fight the 3 Generations rating. “Under the Classifications and Ratings Administration (CARA) rules, the ratings board and appeals board maintain confidentiality and do not comment publicly about the process for movies under review,” MPAA spokesperson Chris Ortman said. “Any filmmaker who objects to the given rating can choose to go to the appeals board.”

TWC has a long history of challenging the MPAA’s ratings, sometimes successfully. The Michelle Williams-Ryan Gosling starrer Blue Valentine initially received an NC-17, but it was knocked down to an R. The company’s best picture Oscar winner The King’s Speech also received an R, which remained in place, but TWC managed to get a PG-13 rating for an alternate version.

Boies helped get the rating changed on the documentary Bully. Initially given an R for reasons similar to 3 Generations, TWC challenged the rating because it wanted the film to be more accessible to its intended teen audience. The film eventually received a PG-13.

“This film is a beautiful and touching story about family and identity,” said Watts, who stars in the film as the mother of the protagonist Ray, played by Fanning, and who also is an executive producer. “It is important for teenagers to see it and the R rating doesn’t reflect today’s society. 3 Generations doesn’t have a bad bone in its body. It’s an expression of love, acceptance, strength and honesty — values that could not be more necessary right now.

Added TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein: “Gaby, Naomi, Susan and Elle made this movie to share its message of acceptance and inclusion with all generations. The fact that an R rating would prevent high school students from seeing this film would truly be a travesty. The MPAA and I were able to come to an agreement on Bully, and I am confident that we will be able to do so again.”

The film follows Ray, a teenager who has struggled with the body assigned to him at birth and is determined to start transitioning. His single mother Maggie must track down Ray’s biological father (Tate Donovan) to get his legal consent to allow Ray’s transition. Dolly (Sarandon), Ray’s lesbian grandmother, is having a hard time accepting that she now has a grandson. The film follows their journey as each character confronts his or her own identity and learns to embrace change while ultimately finding acceptance and understanding.

“3 Generations is an important movie for everyone to see, especially transgender youth who are feeling isolated or fearful and their families,” said Sarandon. “It’s ridiculous to have an R rating, which would prevent this audience from seeing the film.”

Added Dellal: “As a mother and a filmmaker, I want to speak to kids, to parents and to grandparents everywhere in a common language of love and inclusion about a subject matter that is not only real and complicated, but one that is important and alive today. There are kids all over this country that are still too fearful to speak out and to step out; they’re too alone to fight, lacking the kinds of support that would let them feel free to be themselves. Our story wants to humanize this family experience, and to take the mystery out of the secrets. I hope the MPAA will reconsider this R rating and encourage children to see this story and feel connected.”

DCG

The problem with today’s generation…avoidance of learning a real life skill

They believe the key to acting like a grown up is purchasing roadside assistance coverage instead of actually learning how to change a flat tire. Ugh…

DCG

A third of American millennials live with their parents, US Census report finds

pajama boy

From Fox News: Most U.S. millennials believe that education and economic security are key for becoming an adult. But fewer than half are achieving those goals, according to a study released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau, which determined that more than one third of American millennials still live with their parents.

The report, entitled “The Changing Economics and Demographics of Young Adulthood: 1975-2016,” focuses on the shift in attitude and belief of today’s millennials versus their counterparts four decade ago. This report marks one of the first times the Census Bureau has paired economic and demographic data with social surveys.  The report looks at a “snapshot” of the young adult population, defined by the Census Bureau as those between the ages of 18 and 34 years old.

According to the report, more young people today live in their parents’ home than in any other living arrangement. One in three young adults, or about 24 million, lived in their parents’ homes in 2015, with the highest percentage in the nation occurring in three northeastern states: About 47 percent in New Jersey; about 42 percent in Connecticut; and about 41 percent in New York.

“Living arrangements are tied with economic characteristics, which is why we looked at the numbers by state and region,” Jonathan Vespa, the author of the report, told Fox News. “We know that there is not one national trend. The numbers vary by state.”

Vespa said one of the biggest trends in his findings was the attitude that young adults have about adulthood. “There is a big difference in what today’s young Americans believe,” Vespa said.

Most millennials believe finishing college and being employed full-time are accomplishments that are “extremely important” to be considered an adult, while parenthood and marriage are somewhat put on the back burner, with millennials today ranking those milestones as “not very important.” The data correlated with the rise in student loan debt for young families. In 2013, 41 percent of young families had student debt, compared to 17 percent in 1989.

“But several young adults are missing the bar and have not yet accomplished what they want to by the age they believe they should,” Vespa said. “The ideal age most Americans believe they should be financially independent from their parents is 21, but only 28.9 percent are actually reaching that goal.”

The report looks at the “ideal age” for millennials to four goals: concluding formal schooling; becoming employed full-time, becoming financially independent and moving out of their parents’ homes. While those goals are set for the age of 25 or younger, less than half of millennials are actually reaching that goal for each category.

“In 1975, there was one predominant adult milestone — family formation — that people largely experienced during their 20s. Today, while the milestone has remained the same, the pathways are more diverse,” the report reads. “That young people wait to settle down and start families tells us about their behavior, but not how they feel about their experiences.”

The report concludes that most American millennials believe that education and financial independence should happen before marriage. The report calls marriage a “capstone experience,” meaning that it comes after young people feel financially secure. Vespa said that only 12 percent of millennials think that marriage is an “extremely important” part of being an adult.

While young people are delaying marriage, most still, eventually, tie the knot. In the 1970s, eight in 10 Americans were married by the time they turned 30; now eight in 10 millennials are married by the time they turn 45.

The report determined that there was a “complexity” for millennials. “Taken together, the changing demographic and economic experiences of young adults reveal a period of adult-hood that has crown more complex since 1975,” the report says. “A period of changing roles and new transitions as young people redefine what it means to become young adults.”

DCG

Give nursery children lessons about same-sex relationships, say UK teachers

serious

Teaching nursery children about homosexual relations is now “age appropriate.” One word:  HOMESCHOOL.

From Daily Mail: Nurseries should teach toddlers about same-sex relationships and transgender lifestyles to reduce hate crime, say teachers.

The National Union of Teachers voted yesterday for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) matters to be taught to children aged two to four.

They want nursery teachers to deliver ‘age-appropriate content’ on the subject and to challenge homophobia and transphobia. However, critics say the subject would simply confuse toddlers.

It was revealed last month that primary schools are likely to be legally obliged to teach about same-sex couples as part of new compulsory relationships education. But the NUT believes the new law does not go far enough and wants children to be made aware of the issues at an even younger age. They also want teenagers in secondary schools to be taught more about safe sex between gay and bisexual couples including how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.

General secretary Kevin Courtney said it was important children get ‘well-balanced, age-appropriate information’ on relationships. ‘The alternative is many pupils being isolated, bullied or misinformed and, for many, there is an impact on health and wellbeing that can last well beyond school years,’ he told the union’s annual conference.

From 2019 all primary school pupils will learn about safe and healthy relationships as part of a new mandatory curriculum to prepare them for modern life. All secondary school pupils will also have compulsory sex education.

These classes will have to comply with the Equality Act, which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation – so same-sex relationships will be included.

The content will be ‘age-appropriate’ and it is understood younger children will simply be taught about stranger danger and inappropriate contact with adults, as well as healthy relationships.

Nurseries are not obliged to teach sex and relationships education, but because the NUT has nursery school members yesterday’s motion could see them introducing it voluntarily.

The NUT also resolved to provide training to members on how to teach about LGBT matters and challenge discrimination. However Laura Perrins, co-editor of the Conservative Woman website, said: ‘Parents send their children to nursery to be cared for – not to be confused by this transgender nonsense pushed by a minority of activists who care nothing for the needs of young children.’

DCG

Cost triples, delays mount for University of California computer system upgrade

20070227_napolitano_3

UC president Janet Napolitano

Shocker, not.

From Sacramento Bee: The timeline for a massive upgrade to the University of California’s payroll and personnel system was extended again twice in the past two months, further delaying a project now expected to cost more than three times its original budget.

In February, the university pushed back its launch date at a first wave of sites to December from August; two subsequent phases of the rollout were then moved the following month, to July 2018 and December 2018, respectively.

That would ultimately put the payroll system, UCPath, more than four years behind schedule – longer that it was originally supposed to take.

In a statement, UC spokesman Ricardo Vazquez said the university postponed the initial launch again because “Additional testing was needed in the most complex part of the work, which involves converting data from the old payroll systems into UCPath.”

“Though the conversion cycle itself typically lasts only five weeks, the time needed for this extra test cycle pushed the project close to the university’s annual Open Enrollment cycle” for health insurance, he said, “which would have added complexity and risk to this deployment effort.”

UCPath – which stands for payroll, academic personnel, timekeeping and human resources – was formally launched in September 2011, with a 36-month timeline to combine UC’s 195,000 employees into a single system. Budgeted at $156 million, university officials argued it was a necessary upgrade to outdated, 30-year-old payroll technology and would eventually save them more than $100 million per year.

But deadline after deadline has come and gone as UC struggled to integrate the business processes of its 10 campuses, five medical centers and central administration. Though 1,800 employees in the Office of the President have been receiving paychecks through the system since January 2016, UCPath has yet to go live at any of the other sites.

With the latest revision to its schedule, Vazquez said, the project is estimated to cost $504 million, including a $26 million contingency “to accommodate any unexpected large expenses in the final year of the project budget” that may not be used. The university has spent $327 million so far.

“Now that design has been completed and UCPath is into the testing phase, the university’s ability to accurately project the total cost has improved,” Vazquez said, citing additional staff as the primary contributor to the increase.

Michael Krigsman, an IT industry analyst at CXOTalk.com, said it’s better for UC to delay the payroll system than be stuck unable to issue paychecks for months. But he questioned how the university had gotten so far off track and what it would do in the future to avoid repeating those mistakes.

“A project that is three times its original size either rests on very shaky foundation or they changed the plan along the way, which indicates a poor understanding of the problem it was trying to solve,” he said. “That’s a pretty lame excuse.”

DCG

Billionaire George Soros fuels Democrats’ push to lower voting age to 17

George Soros walking dead

The meddler who will not go away…

Legal capacity not an issue when it comes to getting an abortion or a kid to vote demorat. But owning a gun?  Fuhgeddaboutit.

From Washington Times (March 9, 2017): Stung by recent election defeats, Democrats are leading the charge to lower the voting age to 17, with a little help from liberal billionaire George Soros.

In California, Democratic legislators introduced this week a landmark bill, ACA 10, that would give the Golden State the nation’s youngest statewide voting age by lowering the threshold from 18 to 17 in the name of reversing the slide in voter turnout.

“Young people are our future,” said Democratic Assembly member Evan Low, the measure’s sponsor. “Lowering the voting age will help give them a voice in the democratic process and instill a lifelong habit of voting.”

The proposal comes as the most ambitious of a host of efforts to chip away at the 18-year-old voting age as Democrats seek to bring into the fold younger voters, who traditionally support more liberal causes and candidates than do their elders.

Mr. Soros is on board: His Open Society Foundations is among the left-wing philanthropies backing FairVote, which has pushed to allow 17-year-olds who will turn 18 before the general election to vote in presidential primaries and caucuses, a policy now on the books in 21 states and the District of Columbia.

Also gaining popularity is preregistration. Twenty states and the District of Columbia allow certain minors, ranging in age from 16 to 17 years and 10 months, to register to vote before turning 18, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla appeared Thursday at John F. Kennedy High School in Los Angeles to announce the state’s online preregistration system for 16- and 17-year-olds, joined by the program director of YVote.

The group, which had advocated for preregistration, also has a Soros connection. YVote is a project of the Movement Strategy Center, which receives donations through the Funders for Justice, whose work is funded by left-wing philanthropies including Open Society.

In November, voters in Berkeley, California, took it a step further by lowering the voting age for school board elections to 16. Two Maryland cities — Takoma Park and Hyattsville — have in recent years allowed 16-year-olds to participate in municipal elections.

Proponents argue that the 18-year-old threshold is unfair and arbitrary, but there is little doubt that lowering the voting age disproportionately benefits one side of the aisle, and it’s not the right.

Read the rest of the story here.

DCG