Better Believe It......Because They Actually Happen(ed) Collection 11

A third of male university students say they would rape a woman if there no were no consequences

A significant proportion of men who said they would force a woman to have sex did not recognise it as rape

By Jon Stone

Roughly one third of male university students who took part in a study would rape a woman if there were no consequences, according to a new scientific study.

The research, published in the scientific journal Violence and Gender, presented mostly white male American participants a questionnaire on how they would act in certain sexual situations.

Amongst other questions they were asked how they would act in a situation where they could have sexual intercourse with a woman against her will “if nobody would ever know and there wouldn’t be any consequences”.

31.7% of all men participating in the study would force a woman to have sexual intercourse in such a “consequence-free situation” – which is rape.

Worryingly, most men who indicated that they would commit rape did not even recognise their actions as such.

Full story at The Independent (January 2015)

School for LGBT pupils planned for Manchester

School will teach 40 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students who are struggling in mainstream education.

Manchester is set to have the first British school for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people. Photograph: Chris Thomond for the Guardian

By Amelia Hill

The first school in Britain for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people could open its doors within the next three years. Based in the centre of Manchester, the specialist state school plans to take 40 full-time students from across the area and will offer up to 20 part-time places for young people who want to continue attending a mainstream school.

“This is about saving lives,” said Amelia Lee, strategic director for LGBT Youth North West, the youth work charity behind the plans. “Despite the laws that claim to protect gay people from homophobic bullying, the truth is that in schools especially, bullying is still incredibly common and causes young people to feel isolated and alienated, which often leads to truanting and, in the worst-case scenarios, to suicide.”

Last September 14-year-old Elizabeth Lowe hanged herself in a Manchester park because she feared telling her parents that she was gay. “Lizzie felt the only option was to kill herself. There was another girl with a similar story in Bolton,” said Lee. “This is not about making a little, safe enclave away from the real world: we work with 9,000 mainstream pupils and 1,000 teachers a year to help educate them about homosexuality. In addition, the support this new school will offer to part-time pupils could happen in their mainstream school, if that’s what they want,” she said.

“But we have an education system that sets up 5%-10% of pupils to fail through fear and structure, because it routinely fails to recognise and incorporate the needs of young people struggling with their identities. We can either hope every school is going to be inclusive, or we can recognise we are not there yet and so, for the moment, we need more specialised schools,” she added.

The school will be specifically designed for LGBT young people who are struggling in mainstream schools, but will be open to other children, including young carers, young parents and those with mental health problems. “It will be LGBT-inclusive, but not exclusive,” said Lee.

A £63,000 feasibility study into the plan is under way thanks to a grant from the Department for Communities and Local Government (see second footnote). The charity has also been involved in discussions with Manchester city council about how it can provide an alternative education for LGBT children in the area.

Full story at The Guardian (January 2015)

The man behind Common Core math

Jason Zimba, one of the writers of the Common Core, waits while his daughters play

Written By Sarah Garland

Every Saturday morning at 10 a.m., Jason Zimba begins a math tutoring session for his two young daughters with the same ritual. Claire, 4, draws on a worksheet while Abigail, 7, pulls addition problems written on strips of paper out of an old Kleenex box decorated like a piggy bank.

If she gets the answer "lickety-split," as her dad says, she can check them off. If she doesn't, the problem goes back in the box, to try the following week.

"I would be sleeping in if I weren't frustrated," Zimba says of his Saturday morning lessons, which he teaches in his pajamas. He feels the math instruction at Abigail's public elementary school in Manhattan is subpar — even after the school switched to the Common Core State Standards.

But Zimba, a mathematician by training, is not just any disgruntled parent. He's one of the guys who wrote the Common Core.

And four years after signing off on the final draft of the standards, he spends his weekends trying to make up for what he considers the lackluster curriculum at his daughters' school, and his weekdays battling the lackluster curriculum and teaching at schools around the country that are struggling to shift to the Common Core.

Zimba and the other writers of the Common Core knew the transition would be tough, but they never imagined conflicts over bad homework would fuel political battles and threaten the very existence of their dream to remodel American education.

When Zimba was first hired to help write a new set of K-12 math standards in 2009, the groups behind the Common Core — including representatives from 48 states — set very ambitious goals. The tough new guidelines would match the expectations set for students in higher-performing rivals like Singapore and South Korea. The standards would not only catapult American students ahead of other developed nations, but would also help close the gaps between low-income students in the U.S. and their wealthier counterparts.

Full story at WBEZ91.5 (December 2014)

Australia: student visa fraud at all time high

By Katie Duncan

The number of student visas cancelled by the Australian government has more than tripled in the last two years as instances of falsified test results and/or financial documents have soared within a new streamlined visa system.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has identified around 1,000 course hopping international students, who arrived using SVP, but later moved to unaccredited colleges.

Figures obtained by The Australian reveal that student visa cancellations more than doubled from 1,978 in 2012 to 4,940 in 2013, rising again to 7,061 in the last financial year.

The alarming-sounding statistics are, to some extent, a result of the change in system to Streamlined Visa Processing (SVP) that is available for some education providers. SVP means “reduced evidentiary requirements (similar to the current Assessment Level 1) regardless of the applicant’s country of origin”.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has also identified around 1,000 course hopping international students, who arrived using the streamlined visa process (SVP), but later illegally moved to unaccredited and often cheaper colleges.

Last year SVP was also extended to VET colleges, which Rod Camm, CEO of the Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET), believes has opened up more entry routes for bogus students looking for an easy way into the country.

Full story at The Pie News (January 2015)

Colleges Reinvent Classes to Keep More Students in Science

By Richard Pérez-Peña

Catherine Uvarov, a chemistry instructor at the University of California, Davis, has adopted an experimental approach to teaching an introductory course.

DAVIS, Calif. — Hundreds of students fill the seats, but the lecture hall stays quiet enough for everyone to hear each cough and crumpling piece of paper. The instructor speaks from a podium for nearly the entire 80 minutes. Most students take notes. Some scan the Internet. A few doze.

In a nearby hall, an instructor, Catherine Uvarov, peppers students with questions and presses them to explain and expand on their answers. Every few minutes, she has them solve problems in small groups. Running up and down the aisles, she sticks a microphone in front of a startled face, looking for an answer. Students dare not nod off or show up without doing the reading.

Both are introductory chemistry classes at the University of California campus here in Davis, but they present a sharp contrast — the traditional and orderly but dull versus the experimental and engaging but noisy. Breaking from practices that many educators say have proved ineffectual, Dr. Uvarov’s class is part of an effort at a small but growing number of colleges to transform the way science is taught.

To engage students, Dr. Uvarov will tell them to work in small groups to solve a problem..

“We have not done a good job of teaching the intro courses or gateway courses in science and math,” said Hunter R. Rawlings III, president of the Association of American Universities and a former president of Cornell University and the University of Iowa. “Teaching freshman- and sophomore-level classes has not had a high enough priority, and that has to change.”

Multiple studies have shown that students fare better with a more active approach to learning, using some of the tools being adopted here at Davis, while in traditional classes, students often learn less than their teachers think.

Full story at The New York Times (December 2014)