Sunday, February 13, 2011

School Daze

Texas Governor, Rick Perry, wants state-school bachelor's degrees to cost no more than $10,000.
"My answer is I have no idea how," McKinney, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, told the Senate Finance Committee. "I'm not going to say that it can't be done."
Tuition, fees and books for four years average $31,696 at public universities in Texas, according to the Higher Education Coordinating Board. Sul Ross State University Rio Grande College is the cheapest, at $17,532. 
The governor's call for low-cost degrees comes as legislative budget writers and the governor himself have proposed deep cuts in higher education funding — cuts that would put pressure on governing boards to raise tuition, not lower it. 
But officials of some university systems — whose governing boards are fully populated by Perry appointees — nevertheless struck an upbeat tone, or at least a neutral one. As McKinney, a former Perry chief of staff, put it: "If it can be figured out, we've got the faculty that can figure it out." 
A spokesman for the University of Texas System said, "We look forward to reviewing details of the governor's proposal."

Meanwhile, BitTorrent and Khan University have partnered to freely distribute educational videos.
“We’re honored to support the Khan Academy’s vision of bringing knowledge and education to the world,” said Shahi Ghanem, chief strategist at BitTorrent. “The Khan Academy App is a perfect example of why we created our App Studio platform: to help content creators connect with our global user base.” 
“In this instance we also enjoy the benefit of empowering a partner to provide tens of millions of people with free access to world-class educational content. This is a truly worthy cause. We look forward to continuing our work with the Khan Academy and other socially conscious content creators as we foster new content distribution models.”

And hidden cameras in British Muslim schools have documented beatings...
In just two days of filming in December 2010, the camera recorded the teacher hitting children as young as six or seven at least ten times, in less than three hours of lessons.From what we could see, every ¬single blow was pretty much unprovoked. We soon realised that the beatings were routine. The behaviour of the boys, the way they flinched and backed away when he approached, indicated that they were long-accustomed to being hit and kicked as they studied.
...along with less-than-tolerant lesson plans.
We found children as young as 11 learning that Hindus have ‘no intellect’ and that they ‘drink cow p***’. 
And we came across pupils being told that the ‘disbelievers’ are ‘the worst creatures’ and that Muslims who adopt supposedly non-Muslim ways, such as shaving, dancing, listening to music and – in the case of women – removing their headscarves, would be tortured with a forked iron rod in the afterlife. 
In 2009 this school was praised by Government-approved inspection teams for its interfaith teachings. The report said that ‘pupils learn about the beliefs and practices of other faiths and are taught to show respect to other world religions’.

Unfortunately, even education is political. 

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