The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

Archive for May 7th, 2011

Prof. Niall Ferguson: school history lessons ‘lack all cohesion’

Posted by iusbvision on May 7, 2011

Niall Ferguson is one of my very favorite academics. He creates narratives based on verifiable evidence and will not hesitate to rhetorically unravel anyone who skews history or what is obvious due to ideology or partisanship. Niall Ferguson is a site to see in a debate. Former professors of mine who thought I was too rough on people for displaying inexcusable ignorance, wait till you get a load of this man :)

Here is an example:

Interesting that Niall takes the same position that several on talk radio have (Limbaugh, Beck), as well as this web site has, that the Muslim Brotherhood is not a pro-democracy movement at all as the “establishment” insists and that is merely the organizations smiley front face. This video was from early last February. The Muslim Brotherhood is taking power, this is tantamount to 1979 in Iran and they want to break the peace treaty with Israel and impose Sharia, which will devastate their economy even more and create more instability. Notice what he says at the end, “This is a high probability scenario and the President is not even considering it.” He called it.

The Guardian:

Historian says too few pupils are spending too little time studying history, particularly in state schools.

The Harvard academic Niall Ferguson has warned that too few pupils are spending too little time studying history – and what they do study lacks a sweeping narrative.

He offers his own lesson plan to remedy what he says is a lack of cohesion, in which pupils place six “building block” events, including the Reformation and the French revolution, into the right order.

His plan aims to give pupils an overview of the years 1400 to 1914, and encourage them “to understand and offer answers to the most important question of that period: why did the west dominate the rest?”

Ferguson, who has been invited by the education secretary, Michael Gove, to play a role in overhauling the history curriculum, directs the teacher to show their class a map of the world circa 1913 “showing the extent of the western empires”.

The class then divides into groups to defend the merits of six ingredients of western success, ranging from “competition” to – perhaps more controversially — “the work ethic”.

Ferguson, who works as a consultant for a software developer that creates history-based games, encourages the class to play five rounds of the multi-player game Commerce, Conquest and Colonisation, as a supplementary activity. The plan is aimed at a mixed-ability class in year 10, the first year of a history GCSE course.

In an article for the Guardian’s education supplement, Ferguson disagrees with a recent Ofsted survey that praised history teaching in secondary schools. While Ofsted criticised “disconnected topics” in the primary history curriculum, it said that provision was good or outstanding in most secondaries they visited.

Ferguson says: “Clearly, all last year’s talk by Michael Gove, Simon Schama, myself and others about the urgent need for reform was mere alarmism, doubtless actuated by some sinister political motive.”

Ofsted’s report said it was a “popular and inaccurate myth” that students at GCSE and A-level only studied Hitler. Students were required to study a range of topics, including a substantial amount of British history, the school inspectors said.

Ferguson’s fellow celebrity historian Simon Schama has agreed to advise ministers on an overhaul of the national curriculum intended to restore a narrative “island story” of Britain.

Ferguson writes: “History is emphatically not being made available to all in English schools. Too few pupils, especially in the state sector, spend too little time doing it. And what they study lacks all cohesion.”

The academic criticises “an unholy alliance between well-meaning politicians and educationalists” for reshaping history teaching to focus more on skills such as analysing sources while neglecting facts.

“The challenge for the education secretary, Michael Gove, is to make sure that he is not the latest in a succession of politicians to see his plans for reform subverted by an educational establishment – here exemplified by Ofsted – that is still in deep denial about the damage its beloved new history has done.”

Ferguson laments the fact that England is the only country in Europe where history is not compulsory after the age of 14, and expresses concern that design and technology is a more popular subject at GCSE.

He quotes a survey of first-year undergraduates that found that around two-thirds did not know who was monarch at the time of the Armada, while 69% did not know the location of the Boer war. The survey was a quiz set by an economics lecturer at Cardiff University, which tested first years’ historical knowledge over a three-year intake.

Ferguson writes: “Such evidence should make us very sceptical indeed about Ofsted’s claim that history is ‘a successful subject in schools'”.

The historian approves of a passage in Ofsted’s report, which highlights a lack of narrative in primary school history teaching.

“The only thing wrong with this observation is that Ofsted seems to think it applies only to primary school pupils, whereas it could equally well be applied to those in secondary school – and students at a good few universities, too.”

The “long arc of time” has been replaced by “odds and sods”, Ferguson says.

Niall Ferguson’s history lesson plan is available to download from the Guardian Teacher Network.

Posted in Campus Freedom, Indoctrination & Censorship, Chuck Norton, Click & Learn, Niall Ferguson | Leave a Comment »

Indiana University (Bloomington) Eliminates (Illegal) Discriminatory Funding Policy Against Religious Groups

Posted by iusbvision on May 7, 2011

This is a good note to read, especially for you pinheads on the Academic Senate who went after Chancellor Reck for not kicking Chick-Fil-A off campus again (that’s right, I am defending Una Mae).

The first thing the “Academic Senate” needs to do is read is the entire IU Code of Conduct, which states that the university will abide by all laws and respect the constitutional rights of all. To economically punish Chick-Fil-A because a franchisee has a Christian point of view (who demonstrated it by donating some sandwiches to a religious activist group) is illegal. It is discrimination on the basis of religion (creed), and viewpoint discrimination against a religious point of view which is a violation of federal First Amendment case law.

The IU Code of Conduct and its nondiscrimination policy must be interpreted within the bounds of the law, and the fact is that the law does not recognize a right for anyone to get married and that includes gays. Just because some may want the non-discrimination policy to apply to the marraige issue does not mean it does. IU is NOT in the marraige business and it does not discriminate against gays in hiring or who gets approved as a student etc. The non-discrimination policy cannot be construed as to be used as a weapon to censor, nor can it be used to punish people (Chick-Fil-A) for innocent associations and/or a religious/cultural point of view that is 100% constitutionally protected.

The fact that the Academic Senate took the action it did tells us several things. The most obvious is what history has shown us time and time again, like most faculty and administrators, they do not know the IU Code of Conduct worth a darn and/or simply do not care what it says and wish to push their agenda because of malignant narcissism or blind hate for Christians (until one has spent some time on campus and realized what a warped and often subversive culture it is do not discount what I just said); or they are simply intellectually incapable of reading it for context and have taken a position that cannot withstand 10 minutes of intellectual scrutiny out of ignorance amplified by an unwillingness to challenge ones own assumptions (do not discount that one either as while many professors are well educated, many are rather poor critical thinkers).

Read carefully, and that goes double for you in Student Government, who are abusing it by utilizing it as a platform for partisan/divisive ideological ends, in a complete reversal of what student government’s mission is (and where is the student life director who should be helping student government protect itself from its own foolishness).

www.thefire.org:

The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) reports today that Indiana University-Bloomington (IUB) has eliminated a policy that had prevented the Christian student group Impact Movement from receiving student activity fee funds to help pay for its attendance at a national conference. Previously, groups at IUB had been excluded from receiving funds for activities that involve “religious proselytizing” or for “sectarian events.”

According to ADF’s press release:

In December of last year, Impact Movement sought activity funding to send some of its members to its national conference. The university permits partial funding of conference attendance for members of registered student groups and had approved funding for Impact Movement in previous years. Nevertheless, the IU Student Association Funding Board denied Impact Movement’s request for 2010, citing the university’s Student Organization Funding Guidelines. The director of student activities upheld the decision.

ADF wrote to the university pointing out that such discrimination is unconstitutional, citing a recent United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit decision in favor of a group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that had been similarly discriminated against.

We’re glad to see this reversal at IUB.

FIRE, meanwhile, continues to fight another unconstitutional funding policy in force at Northern Illinois University, which also falls under the Seventh Circuit’s jurisdiction. At NIU, all groups classified as “religious” or “political” in nature are prevented from receiving funds from student activity fees, while groups committed to “social justice” or “advocacy” are not. In light of the Supreme Court cases Rosenberger v. University of Virginia (1995) and Board of Regents v. Southworth (2000), and especially in light of the Seventh Circuit’s recent ruling in this area, NIU’s unconstitutional position on student group rights is thoroughly untenable, and the university would be wise to follow IUB’s example immediately.

Posted in Academic Misconduct, Campus Freedom, Indoctrination & Censorship, Chuck Norton, Culture War | 1 Comment »