Archive for the ‘education’ Category

Why the University of Alabama won over the Ivy League

Friday, May 15th, 2015

The exceptionally smart Ronald Nelson makes the right decision: read my article on Why the University of Alabama won over the Ivy League

Bad news for Chile

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Mary O’Grady reports on how Bachelet’s policies have repercussions:
The Chile ‘Miracle’ Goes in Reverse
Investment and growth are falling, and now the government targets private schools.

To understand why the outlook for the Chilean “miracle” is so grim and investment is plummeting, look no further than this government’s obsession with holding back those who would skate ahead of the pack.

Ms. Bachelet has increased tax rates on everything from capital to consumption. One objective is to soak the investor class, making it poorer so that income inequality goes down. But it is more likely that income disparities will go up since the rich have ways to shelter income while the poor depend on job creation from investment to earn their daily bread and build wealth.

Additionally, Bachelt will end school vouchers,

The new law, which passed the lower house last month and now goes to the senate, would prohibit students from using vouchers to attend for-profit schools and prohibit schools that receive public subsidies from charging parents a co-payment. What is more, schools will no longer be allowed to select students because, apparently, it is “unfair” for gifted children to learn at their own speed.

Vouchers make it harder to indoctrinate kids, too.

Chile had a good run.

So much for that.

Coming soon to a school near you, 37,477 illiterate students

Friday, August 15th, 2014

The Hill: Obama prepares schools for migrant kids.

That’s a bit of a stretch; Obama’s playing golf and dancing in Martha’s Vineyard, but,

A total of 37,477 children have been released to an appropriate adult sponsor, usually a parent, relative or family friend, according to the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Those children, who have been settled in all 50 states, would all be eligible to attend public school.

Some of those children may have been schooled in their native countries; none know how to speak, write, or read English.

The onerous burden on all school districts affected is about to start.

But wait! There’s more:
Official: Second illegal immigrant wave of 30,000 coming in September, October

The Obama administration insists that Schools to List Immigrant Kids as ‘Homeless’ for Enrollment Records 

Guidance released Monday by the U.S. Department of Education about the unaccompanied minors also pointed out that unaccompanied minors in the custody of sponsors could be eligible for benefits under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.
. . .
The VDOE memo reiterated the requirement that school divisions “must immediately enroll homeless students” and must do so regardless of whether or not they are able “to produce the records required for enrollment.”

Let me ask a question, are the millions of minority American schoolchildren stuck in substandard and failing schools now able to enroll anywhere regardless of whether or not they are able “to produce the records required for enrollment?

It’s not racism, kid, it’s just plain grammar

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

Ah, for the days of Dean Wormer. . . Students at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information accused a professor of racial discrimination after the professor corrected their grammar:

In a letter sent to colleagues in the department after the sit-in, Rust said students in the demonstration described grammar and spelling corrections he made on their dissertation proposals as a form of “micro-aggression.”

Ponder that:

  • graduate school students
  • in “education and information”
  • who haven’t mastered grammar
  • in their dissertation proposals
  • staging a protest when, maybe for the first time in their lives, they come across  a professor who’s doing them a favor
  • because they feel that not letting them get away with their errors is a form of micro-aggressive racism.


The protestors are upset that Professor Rust also corrected their citations and their bibliographies.

As a Latina, I particularly resent the students’ premise that this constitutes racism. I fully understand that grammar for bilinguals sometimes is tricky. However, all education that is worth its name is rigorous by nature. Deal with it, kids.

(As an aside, spell-check and grammar-check are your friends.)

Indeed, graduate students in Education and Information ought to be embarrassed that their work is substandard. A dissertation is not a quiz: it’s a work that takes months to complete. A dissertation proposal by definition must be carefully drafted, and ought to be subject to scrutiny.

I also suggest that Prof. Rust contact FIRE.

But back to Dean Wormer,

(h/t Weasel Zippers)

Linked by Pirates’s Cove and Da Tech Guy. Thank you!

The Homeland location Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, October 21st, 2013

LatinAmerIs it Puerto Rico, or is it Caracas? Showtime picked a safer location for Homeland than the real-life Tower of David for last week’s episode.

‘Queen Cristina’ facing the end of her reign
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
Politically weakened and physically frail, Argentina’s president Cristina Fernandez Kirchner is facing the end of a decade of a family rule as she recovers from brain clot surgery ahead of key elections

Argentina to pay $500 million to resolve disputes with foreign firms

Will Iran thaw bring justice for AMIA victims?

Argentine Train Slams into Station
An Argentine commuter train slammed into the end of the line Saturday morning at the same station in Buenos Aires where 52 people were killed in a similar crash last year.

Vicuna herded on motorbikes for biennial shearing in Bolivia
Every two years, about a hundred men and women Aymara villagers conduct a frenetic chase to round up wild vicunas for shearing, an event which lasts four days

Brazil’s (and Odebrecht’s) Secret Deals With Dictators

Public finances in Brazil
Going for broke

Brazil army to guard oil rights sale
Union leaders in Brazil attack a decision to deploy troops to guarantee security for a controversial oil exploration rights auction.

Chile men convicted over gay murder
A court in Chile convicts four men for torturing and beating to death 24-year-old gay man Daniel Zamudio in a Santiago park in March.

Ex-President Uribe on course to win 2 million votes

Starbucks to take on Juan Valdez in Colombia

Babalú Exclusive: Cuban footprints across America – Martina the Beautiful Cockroach

Castro police block mother from naming her son after Cuba opposition leader Antúnez

Havana Havana, Your Fountains Are Broken

Cuban dissidents plant a hoax to trap government spies
Cuban dissidents invented a story to flush out infiltrators. A blogger bit, but denied having links to the Cuban government.

Witnesses say U.S. lawyer used fraud in Chevron case in Ecuador

Weak Universities Hurt Latin America, Spain

On a different note…

El Salvador: Where women may be jailed for miscarrying

The most bad-ass doctor ever

Crime in Mexico
Out of sight, not out of mind
Having decided to play down the fight against drug kingpins, Enrique Peña Nieto has yet to come up with a serious alternative

Gunman in clown suit kills senior Mexican drug cartel member


Ibero-American Summit Marked by Notable Absences
Missing from the conference in Panama are nine presidents and Spain’s King Juan Carlos

Peru’s air force reinstates UFO department
Peru’s air force has said it is reviving a department to research anomalous aerial phenomena – in other words, UFO sightings

US gives $100 million to Peru for counternarcotics

It’ll be talk like a pirate day: New John Malkovich series to be filmed in Puerto Rico, adding millions to local economy

The opposition will not be televised

A disabling enabling law

Jaime & Silvia recap the World Cup prelims (in Spanish):

The week’s posts:
Michel Moynihan interviews Vargas Llosa

Chile: Matthei/Parisi vs Bachlet?

Honduras: Zelaya’s baaaack

Mexico: Taxing the fat out of you

Venezuela: Nicolas loses Heinz

Brazil: Biggest Sao Paolo cartel threatens violence at World Cup

Mexico: El Bloombito lobbies against sugary sodas

Paraguay: Guy makes up his mind after 80 years

En español: La terapia intensiva de esta semana

Video: NAFTA and Mexican Agriculture

Garcia, Lee and Rangel lying for Castro?

Cuba & other US-Latin America issues of the week.

Mexico: #EstamosHartosCNTE Fed up with the teachers’ union

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

It happened again yesterday:

As if there wasn’t enough gridlock in Mexico City already, the Striking teachers shut down Mexico City roads

Thousands of striking teachers seized two of Mexico City’s central thoroughfares on a double-pronged march to the president’s residence Wednesday, spawning choking knots of traffic chaos after definitively losing their battle to block new educational reforms less than 24 hours earlier.

The teachers disrupted the center of one of the world’s largest cities for at least the 14th time in two months, decrying a plan that tries to break union control of Mexico’s dysfunctional education system by requiring regular standardized teacher evaluations.

Enough people were angry at the teachers union (CNTE, pronounced CENT-eh) to make #EstamosHartosCNTE trend on Twitter. Estamos hartos means “we’re fed up”. Take a look at some:

“Peaceful demonstrations”,

“The dunces don’t want to be evaluated because they’ll fail” (photo shows misspelled poster),

“Enforce a just law against those enticing violence and general chaos like CNTE” (video shows the damage done to small businesses)

“The CNTE says they have a right to demonstrate, and what about the children’s right to an education?”, with a cartoon mocking the demonstrators who don’t even know what they’re protesting about,

Mexico: How the teachers’ union became so unpopular

Monday, September 9th, 2013

Hostage-taking, gridlock-provoking, and rock-throwing were only the beginning:

Mexicans Take On the Teachers Unions Thanks to reform, teachers can no longer sell their jobs or give them to a family member.

Public disapproval also derives from the growing awareness that the teaching profession is a union racket, not a public service. Much of the credit for this awakening goes to the free press, which has been doggedly exposing corruption for more than a decade. Stories like the one in 2008 about a teachers union leader who was getting ready to award 59 brand new Hummers to top union officials have shocked the nation. Mexicans have also learned that tens of thousands of “teachers” on school payrolls are actually working as professional union activists. These full-time political operatives are trained at Mexico’s teachers’ university where they are indoctrinated in hard-left ideology and are guaranteed a job upon graduation.

The reform is only a start,

Plenty of pitfalls remain. Mexicans are still waiting for a transparency law that would force unions to make their financing public. And opponents of transparency managed to remove the requirement that teacher performance evaluations be made public. The education-advocacy nongovernmental organization Mexicanos Primero points out that this makes it “practically impossible” for citizens to verify whether the teacher is doing the job.

A first big step in the right direction.

Mexico: Senate approves education reform

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Mexican Senate Passes Controversial Education Bill

The education-sector overhaul includes the creation of a new, federal Institute of Evaluation, which will prepare the exams and evaluate the performance of teachers at least once over a four-year period. The first round of exams is expected in July of next year.

The reforms also seek to curb the power of unions. In some states, sections of the union decide who is hired and fired, and some teaching positions are essentially granted for life, and can be passed on to relatives or even sold.

Lauren Villagran at the Christian Science Monitor analyzes the bundle of reforms Peña Nieto is after:
Mexico’s Peña Nieto scores early political wins – but can he sustain support?
President Peña Nieto said Mexico’s made big progress on education and telecom reform. But observers say the real hurdles lie ahead.

An education reform and another that would increase competition in the telecommunications industry, which is heavily dominated by a single company, have won legislative approval. And progress has been made on others, including one reform that would bolster access to credit by small businesses. But observers say some of the most contentious challenges lie ahead, especially energy and tax reform.

The teachers were protesting yesterday (video below the fold),

Mexico: Will the teachers imperil reforms?

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Mexico Girds for Education Standoff After Contentious Bill Passes
President Peña Nieto Vows to Press on With Overhaul Plans, Urges Lawmakers to Ignore Pressure as Teachers Clamor in Street
. Key point:

Passing the education bill was crucial for Mr. Peña Nieto. If pressure from the street demonstrations had blocked the passage of the bill, the rest of Mr. Pena’s reform agenda, which includes a tax revamp to boost the country’s revenue, could have been jeopardized.

Peña Nieto’s reform agenda is called “the pact for Mexico”, and the teachers’ protest put Mexico’s reform agenda at risk

Mexico’s political establishment, the president’s foes, the media, and the international community are watching carefully whether Peña Nieto will defend the pillar of his education proposal in the face of fierce resistance. Unless he musters the courage to salvage his reforms, he will embolden the populist left, demoralize advocates of reform, and undermine his plan for building a more competitive Mexico — particularly the modernization of the energy sector.

Frankly, the legacy of Peña Nieto’s six-year mandate hangs in the balance.

Mexico could pass Brazil as top LatAm economy in 10 years

Mexico could become a ‘jaguar’ economy, similar to the fast-growing ‘tiger’ economies of East Asia, if its newly-elected government succeeds in kick-starting lackluster growth with ambitious economic reforms, Nomura said.

There’s a huge protest scheduled for tomorrow. The fate of our hemisphere hangs on how this is resolved.

Mexico: Striking teachers dig in their heels

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Strikes by Mexican Teachers Challenge New President

Teachers in Guerrero, one of Mexico’s poorest states, are defying Mr. Peña Nieto’s administration by opposing the education measure signed into law in February, which for the first time requires teachers to be evaluated by an autonomous body. Those that fail the evaluation can be dismissed.

Last week, tens of thousands of teachers, some armed with metal bars and Molotov cocktails, marched in Guerrero’s capital, Chilpancingo. They again blocked for hours the highway that connects Mexico City with the Pacific port of Acapulco, hurting a key economic and tourist hub. The demonstrations have been held sporadically since the overhaul bill was signed.

Since this is affecting some 42,000 students, parents are holding lessons in parks, public squares and restaurants, which in itself may be hazardous,

Initial plans to start the lessons Monday were put off for fear of reprisals from striking teachers, and the parents association is working with state authorities to guarantee safety for the classes, he added.

The lessons would be conducted like summer-school workshops, with hundreds of children expected to attend the first classes, Mr. Castro said. The idea is to teach grade-school students mathematics, Spanish and other basics, and the parents association is trying to get local education authorities to give credit for completed work.

For now,

Mexico consistently ranks near the bottom among the members of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development in education indicators such as average years in school and student skills, including reading.

The photo in the WSJ article is captioned, “Protesting teachers on Thursday forced their way into the Congress building in Chilpancingo where lawmakers were debating education legislation.”

What I see is masked men breaking into a door. Thugs hired by the teachers’ union? Or are they really teachers?