Tuesday, January 17, 2017

University of Lethbridge goes to human rights commission over prof accused of anti-Semitism

The University of Lethbridge says it is lodging a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission about a longtime professor accused of espousing anti-Semitic views.

Anthony Hall was suspended without pay in October following comments he made in online articles and videos suggesting there was a Zionist connection to the 9/11 attacks and that the events of the Holocaust should be up for debate.

The university says its board of governors reviewed whether a complaint was warranted and justifiable.

"From the findings of that assessment, the board has decided to proceed with a complaint to the Alberta Human Rights Commission against Dr. Hall for publishing statements, alone and in collaboration with others, that could be considered hateful, contemptuous and discriminatory," it said in a statement Monday.  (more...)

Hmmmm... a nativist pagan? That's the alt-right alright.

Chris Spence pleads for second chance after losing teaching licence for plagiarism

Chris Spence says he’s “still reeling” over being stripped of his teaching licence a month ago because of plagiarism, and that he has already paid “a heavy price” for his mistakes.

The former director of education with the Toronto District School Board also says he believes his very public disgrace that began four years ago could be a lesson for kids on how to face mistakes and “the ability to get back up after you’ve been knocked down.”

“I am a work in progress, I’m a flawed human being,” Spence, 54, told the Star Monday, a month after the Ontario College of Teachers removed his licence.

“The fact of the matter is in life everyone’s going to face failure and defeat. And I’m staring it right in the face right now. And I want to demonstrate to all those kids that you can overcome adversity and you can get back up and you can make contributions. And it really starts by taking ownership.”  (more...)

More coverage:

Truth is, Chris, thousands of kids imprisoned in that system think it's hell, too.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Stark inequality: Oxfam says 8 men as rich as half the world

DAVOS, Switzerland - The gap between the super-rich and the poorest half of the global population is starker than previously thought, with just eight men, from Bill Gates to Michael Bloomberg, owning as much wealth as 3.6 billion people, according to an analysis by Oxfam released Monday.

Presenting its findings on the dawn of the annual gathering of the global political and business elites in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, anti-poverty organization Oxfam says the gap between the very rich and poor is far greater than just a year ago. It's urging leaders to do more than pay lip-service to the problem.

If not, it warns, public anger against this kind of inequality will continue to grow and lead to more seismic political changes akin to last year's election of Donald Trump as U.S. president and Britain's vote to leave the European Union.

"It is obscene for so much wealth to be held in the hands of so few when 1 in 10 people survive on less than $2 a day," said Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International, who will be attending the meeting in Davos. "Inequality is trapping hundreds of millions in poverty; it is fracturing our societies and undermining democracy."  (more...)

Hundreds of university students find sugar daddies online, negotiate average $2,700 a month allowance

Facing staggering debt, hundreds of Alberta post-secondary students are logging on to a website connecting them with “sugar daddies” who can provide them with a monthly allowance and gifts in exchange for negotiated relationships.

But student advocates warn such arrangements can be fraught with peril, exposing them to potential exploitation or abuse with few avenues to disentangle themselves from a bad situation.

Matchmaking website Seeking Arrangement this week released its rankings of Canadian universities that have had students sign up in search of financial aid. Equating relationships to a business deal, the company said clients hammer out financial arrangements with benefactors ahead of time, leaving the expectations of such an accord between them.

In 2016, the University of Alberta topped the list for new sign-ups in Canada, with 138 new students logging on. The boom in new members at the Edmonton school brings its total number of members (determined by those using their university emails) to 422, ranked the seventh most of all Canadian post-secondary institutions.  (more...)

Grant for needy kids should be used as intended

TDSB director of education John Malloy
Last year, the Ontario government gave the Toronto District School Board about $144 million in grants to help level the academic playing field by providing supports to kids least likely to succeed: those from low-income or single-parent families, immigrants and others at increased risk of not graduating.

This kind of investment has the potential to have an enduring impact. The evidence that demographic factors shape educational outcomes is overwhelming. If governments are going to even begin to break the cycle of poverty and ensure equality of opportunity, investments like Ontario’s Learning Opportunities Grant, which is meant to fund breakfast programs, homework clubs and other educational interventions, are essential.

Assuming, that is, the money is used as intended. But a new report from Social Planning Toronto, a non-profit community organization, shows that in Toronto, that’s no safe assumption.

A significant portion of the grant money, some $61 million, was diverted away from at-risk TDSB students last year to other budgetary needs of the cash-strapped school board. As so often happens, in a time of scarcity, it’s the most vulnerable who are being asked to wait.  (more...)

Darwin has no place in the classroom.
Further commentary:

And, out in the hinterland:

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Carnal classroom capers rampant

Sexually-tormented teachers seemed to unleash their lust by the barrelful last year.

Across the globe, teachers were intent on breaking one of society’s most absolute taboos: educators shalt not have sex with students.

Particularly if they’re underage.

Toronto sex therapist and television host Rebecca Rosenblat told the Sun that today’s sexualized culture might be to blame — or it could be something deeper.

“In a nutshell, we’re breaking taboos and fuzzing out the lines, regardless of their impact,” Rosenblat said. “Another point could be trauma re-enactment — where an individual re-enacts what happened to them — it’s conceivable that many of these people experienced something similar and normalized it.”

Nevertheless, teaching temptresses are on the rise.

Here are some of the teachers charged or convicted for having sex with their students in 2016.  (more...)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Media and Disinformation: Herman, Hunter, Stockwell

Edward Herman, Jane Hunter, John Stockwell speak on a panel at the Institute for Media Analysis conference at Harvard.

Edward Herman is an economist and media analyst. He is professor emeritus at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of many books, including The Myth of the Liberal Media. He is author with Noam Chomsky of Manufacturing Consent, one of the most important books on the media ever written.

Jane Hunter is the author of the book Israeli Foreign Policy: South Aftica and Central America and the editor of Israeli Foreign Policy Journal.

John Stockwell is the highest-ranking CIA officer to go public. During his 13-year tenure at the Agency, he was involved in operations in the Congo and Vietnam. As Director of the Angola Task Force, he ran the secret war in that country. He is the author of In Search of Enemies and The Praetorian Guard.