Archive for the ‘education’ Tag

Reoccupation of the Wyndford

London Metropolitan University under occupation

Campaigners have occupied London Metropolitan University in protest at plans for restructuring. The planned changes involve the sacking of large numbers of staff and closing of departments and facilities throughout the university.

The occupiers have released the following statement:

This is part of the campaign against London Metropolitan Universities plans to restructure. Read here for more

London’s biggest university- London Metropolitan University- is in the grips of a massive financial crisis threatening the entire future of the university.

1- The Government recently found that London Met had claimed that it had 7,000 more students than it actually did.

2- Every university receives an amount of money as funding PER STUDENT, so London Met had received millions of pounds too much.

3- Not only has London met been ordered to pay back the money (which it doesn’t have), but the budget has also been cut by £15 million a year.

4- To attempt to recover the money, London Met plans to impose devastating cuts- ONE IN FOUR members of staff are being made redundant, ALL BUT TWO libraries are to be closed (one City, one North), the Nursery will be closed, and many modules and courses are being closed.

5- In short, those who are not responsible for the financial problems are being punished for them- the staff and students.

6- The university is being run as a business, yet if it is a business then we the students are the customers, so why have the management not informed us and ACTIVELY LIED to us about the crisis and the cuts?

7- By losing OVER HALF OF OUR STAFF on some courses, we will not be able to continue receiving the standard of education we have been. The University cannot survive these cuts.

8- There is good news- YOU can help save the university. Everyone can. Any student or member of staff willing to get up and do something about this can stand up and fight.

9- It is a lot easier to help than you think [see below]. Let those who have already done so much for the campaign and have already started turning things around be your example.

10- We have received enormous media coverage and over 50 MPs have expressed deep concern at our situation.

A demonstration has been called by the UCU and UNISON trade unions in support of the occupation. More information and updates can be found at

Psychic Patricia Putts to be tested today for the JREF prize

Psychic Patricia Putts to be tested today for the JREF prize

Patricia Putts, a woman who thinks that she can find out personal details about people by simply being near them and listening to their voices will do a preliminary test which may lead to her winning the coveted 1 million dollar JREF prize.

The idea for the JREF prize comes from the brain of world-renowned magician and paranormal investigator James Randi, a Toronto native who lives in Florida. This prize is awarded:

to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event.

The idea behind the prize is a simple one. A large number of people believe in paranormal powers. Scientists have tried to find these powers for decades now and they have all been disillusioned. Yet, many people continue to believe in them. By making the amount so high, these tests -which do usually not interest the general public- becoming more exciting, leading to more publicity and a larger audience. This ensures that more people will learn of the success or failure of these tests, leading to a better educated, wider public.

Patricia Putt, a well-known psychic, had contacted the James Randi Educational Foundation a while ago in order to be tested for the million dollar prize.

Texas Rep. Leo Berman: let the Institute for Creation Research grant masters degrees

Texas State Representative Leo Berman has proposed a bill which would allow the Institute for Creation Research – a creationist think tank – to issue academic qualifications:

A Texas legislator is waging a war of biblical proportions against the science and education communities in the Lone Star State as he fights for a bill that would allow a private school that teaches creationism to grant a Master of Science degree in the subject.

State Rep. Leo Berman (R-Tyler) proposed House Bill 2800 when he learned that The Institute for Creation Research (ICR), a private institution that specializes in the education and research of biblical creationism, was not able to receive a certificate of authority from Texas’ Higher Education Coordinating Board to grant Master of Science degrees.

Berman’s bill would allow private, non-profit educational institutions to be exempt from the board’s authority.

“If you don’t take any federal funds, if you don’t take any state funds, you can do a lot more than some business that does take state funding or federal funding,” Berman says. “Why should you be regulated if you don’t take any state or federal funding?”

HB 2800 does not specifically name ICR; it would allow any institution that meets its criteria to be exempt from the board’s authority. But Berman says ICR was the inspiration for the bill because he feels creationism is as scientific as evolution and should be granted equal weight in the educational community.

“I don’t believe I came from a salamander that crawled out of a swamp millions of years ago,” Berman told “I do believe in creationism. I do believe there are gaps in evolution.

The bill in question can be found here.

See Bad Astronomy for more info.

Kingston University Files Action to Silence Whistleblower

Kingston University Files Action to Silence Whistleblower

Kingston University has engaged the services of a London Top 50 law firm to press its complaint to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) against a former staff member, Dr Howard Fredrics, after he registered the domain name, Although the domain has been in active use for more than two years, the University has only recently taken action to wrest control of the domain name from its owner, after the website, posted documentary evidence of alleged wrongdoing by the University and a number of staff members, including, Sir Peter Scott.

The site, which has received over 300,000 hits, was the first to reveal recorded evidence of senior staff members in the Psychology Department at the University presurizing students to falsify their 2008 responses to the National Student Survey in order to raise Kingston University’s standing in the League Tables, a ranking system developed by the UK Government that is linked with levels of funding and which has become an important public relations and marketing tool for many UK universities.

Despite confirmed reports that University officials, including its Vice-Chancellor, were informed of this widespread practice at the University, Sir Peter Scott issued repeated public denials that he was aware that this incident was anything more than a one-off. The Higher Education Funding Council of England (HEFCE) later found Kingston guilty of the alleged offense and ordered the University’s Psychology Department removed from the 2008-09 League Table results.

New York University occupied

Students at NYU have occupied their campus in solidarity with student occupations around the world and have issued a list of demands, covering union issues, student problems, solidarity with Gaza, and the activities of the university itself. Their demands were issued alongside this solidarity statement:

We, the students of Take Back NYU! declare our solidarity with the student occupations in Greece, Italy, and the United Kingdom, as well as those of the University of Rochester, the New School for Social Research, and with future occupations to come in the name of democracy and student power. We stand in solidarity with the University of Gaza, and with the people of Palestine.

Last night a solidarity demonstration resulted in clashes with the police as the occupation continued to grow in numbers. For more updates visit

Glasgow Uni liberated for Gaza!

Glasgow Uni liberated for Gaza!

At 2pm yesterday, Glasgow University became the 24th Uni in the UK to be occupied by students in solidarity with the people of Gaza.



We Demand…

1. Written confirmation that there will be no disciplinary, academic or legal repercussions for anyone involved in or supporting the occupation

2. That those involved in the occupation are guaranteed respect for their fundamental rights, including freedom of assembly, expression, and movement in and out of the occupied space

3. That the occupation is given uninterrupted access to electricity, water, internet access (including appropriate wifi passwords) and other amenities as appropriate

4. That the principal meet those involved in the occupation at the occupied space to discuss our substantive demands

Further information can be found at

Origin of the Specious: Race, lies and stereotypes in Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophy

Origin of the Specious: Race, lies and stereotypes in Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophy

Creationism is not the only enemy of science in today’s classroom. Within the self proclaimed “fastest growing school movement in the world”, Steiner Waldorf schools foster their belief system with a deception which is quite chilling.

Anthroposophy – the word is not even in the dictionary, and my spell-checker is foxed by it – the pseudo religion/science which lies at the heart of Steiner education (and also biodynamic agriculture, anthroposophical medicine, and cosmetics – Weleda and Dr. Hauschka) is the guiding force within these classrooms, and yet in the schools the word is barely heard, let alone explained. Schools are cagey and evasive at the mere mention of the word, and swiftly move on. It is deliberately buried. This is a religion which recruits by intentionally not setting out its beliefs. Surely this is the behaviour of a cult?

Most people think of Steiner schools as gentle places – a creative pedagogy, where every toy is wooden, and phrases like “free to learn” and “natural” are used with abandon. Only occasionally do their more ludicrous beliefs get a mention: the supernatural, the occult, belief in karma, demons, angels, Atlantis, medieval temperaments, spirit worlds, astral forces and… gnomes!

The schools routinely champion themselves as a radical alternative to the mainstream, their websites drawing people in with vague and general terminology and gushingly self-congratulatory advertisements for Steiner and the movement. But they invariably make one huge omission: that “anthroposophy” guides their every move, and that anthroposophy’s central tenet is “racial hierarchies”.

Texas Board of Education votes against teaching evolution weaknesses

Texas Board of Education votes against teaching evolution weaknesses

AUSTIN – In a major defeat for social conservatives, a sharply divided State Board of Education voted Thursday to abandon a longtime state requirement that high school science teachers cover what some critics consider to be “weaknesses” in the theory of evolution.

Under the science curriculum standards recommended by a panel of science educators and tentatively adopted by the board, biology teachers and biology textbooks would no longer have to cover the “strengths and weaknesses” of Charles Darwin’s theory that man evolved from lower forms of life.

Darwin’s theory has long been widely accepted in the scientific community, although proponents for a biblical explanation of the origin of humans continue pointing to what they say are flaws in evolution theory.

Occupations spread around the UK

The wave of university occupations against the war, blockade, violence and repression in Gaza has continued to grow. Students in Leeds, Oxford, Nottingham and Mancester have occupied buildings and issued demands.

The London wing of the International Solidarity Movement, which sends activists to Palestine for non-violent direct action and solidarity work, has issued a statement supporting the occupations:

ISM London offers support and solidarity to the numerous student occupations and sit-ins around the UK in recent weeks. This response to the most recent Israeli onslaught on Gaza has been one of the most important initiatives in the movement. Generating pressure on our higher education establishments to take a stand against Israel and the war crimes it commits is vital. We stand in solidarity with the many Palestinians, students, activists, academics and members of the public who are now being more and more vocal about the boycott of Israel as a means of both exerting international pressure on the Israeli apartheid system, and standing in solidarity with the resistant Palestinian people.

For further information: