Archive for the ‘education’ Category

Happy Days Are Here Again

by Dr. Robert Owens on Friday, July 18th, 2014

So long sad times
Go long bad times
We are rid of you at last

Howdy gay times
Cloudy gray times
You are now a thing of the past

Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So let’s sing a song of cheer again
Happy days are here again

Can you believe it the Bush recession has been over for five years, unemployment is down, the stock market is up, and everything is coming up roses.  There is a flat screen on every wall, a smart phone in every hand, and flying cars just can’t be that far away.  The Bush wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have either been won or soon will be or as the winning slogan said, “GM is alive and Osama is dead.”  The Arab Spring has toppled tyrants and the glory of the administration’s foreign policy savants have ricocheted from the faculty lounge to the UN.  Doesn’t it just feel like another American Century?

The Fed keeps pumping and the Big Board keeps jumping.  The NSA watches us all without a warrant, and the man who tells us about it is a traitor. Congress has to sue the President in an attempt to get him to enforce laws unless of course he wants to change a law unilaterally.  The Court strikes down unconstitutional move after unconstitutional move by the adjunct instructor in the Oval Office.  The IRS is used to suppress the votes of Conservatives, its leaders either lying to Congress or pleading the Fifth while the Attorney General refuses to appoint a special prosecutor just as he refused in Fast and Furious and Benghazi.  Of course if you want to require a photo id to vote you’re a racist attempting to suppress the vote while you need a photo ID to get into the DNC. There’s nothing to see here move so along.

Common Core is poised to take our educational system to higher heights.   After more than 100 years of Progressive Education and generations of Federal intrusions into local school boards America now successfully spends more per capita on education than any other country.  The self-esteem of our students ranks as the highest in the world even as our grades slide.  In other words our students are doing poorly, but they think they are doing well.  It reminds me of a foreman in a factory who was in one of my management classes.  He shared an incident in his shop.  A young man was hired as a material handler who wore his pants down around his knees.  He constantly had to use one hand to hold up his pants while using the free hand to handle material.  When the foreman asked him, “Don’t you think you could get more done if you used both hands?”  The young man answered, “No I’m doing all right.”  The job may not get done but at least he feels good about what he’s doing.  Is this is the American Way in the New Normal?

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How Intelligent are Americans?

by Alan Caruba on Thursday, July 10th, 2014

This is article 254 of 254 in the topic Education

By Alan Caruba

The segments when Jay Leno would take to the street to ask Americans questions about things that one would expect them to know and those when Jesse Watters of the O’Reilly Factor on Fox News does the same thing invariably suggest that those interviewed are appallingly stupid. But how representative are they of the population?

The voters who reelected President Obama despite a first term that included all his policies that put the nation at jeopardy apparently made no connection between those facts and his competence. Voters who stayed home demonstrated indifference.

On July 3, following the latest U.S. Department of Labor June unemployment report, the Job Creators Network responded by noting that “We have more than 3.5 million young adults between 20-24 who don’t have a job, don’t attend school, and don’t have any degree better than a high school diploma—and astonishingly low literacy rates.” The official rate of unemployment was cited at 6.1%, but the Network calculated the real unemployment rate for June at 12.1%. Suffice to say that government data is so politically skewed that it is useless.

In contrast to the view that Americans don’t understand what is actually occurring Rasmussen Reports on July 3rd released the results of its latest poll. “Optimism in the future job market in America is down this month, as fewer Americans believe the unemployment rate will go down over the next year.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 23% of American Adults think, a year from today, unemployment will be lower than it is today. That’s the lowest level of optimism since December 2011. Thirty-two percent (32%) think unemployment will be higher in a year, a new high for the 2014. Just as many (35%) think it will stay about the same. Ten percent (10%) are not sure.” The reality has not escaped just under a quarter of the likely voters polled and two-thirds have a dim view of the year ahead.

A new Reason-Rupe study and survey of 2,000 Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 finds 66 percent of millennials believe government is inefficient and wasteful – a substantial increase since 2009, when just 42 percent of millennials said government was inefficient and wasteful.

This suggests that there is a difference between the kind of intelligence measured in IQ tests and the kind Americans apply to the world around them and to their own lives. I was the director of publications for the New Jersey Institute of Technology in the 1970s and it was evident to me that having a PhD degree was no guarantee of the latter kind of intelligence, often called common sense.

We have seen this in the way so many “experts” with degrees continue to assert that the Earth is warming (now called climate change) when it has been in a cooling cycle of some seventeen years. Recent polls indicate the public no longer assigns any credit to global warming/climate change.

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What Has Happened to Protests in America?

by Alan Caruba on Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

This is article 190 of 190 in the topic Marches/Protests/Riots

Murrietta, CA protest against dumping of illegal aliens by feds

The U.S. began with protests that evolved into a full scale rebellion we call the Revolution. Throughout our history, there have been many protests and those against slavery evolved into the Civil War. War—whether for or against it—has been a prime generator of protests.

On the evenings of Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday Megyn Kelly of Fox News interviewed Bill Ayers, the leader of the Weather Underground, a group he cofounded in 1969 as a self-described communist revolutionary group. These days he calls himself “a Communist with a small ‘c’”

During the early 1970s the group engaged in bombings to protest the war in Vietnam. During the interview, Ayers insisted that he and others only bombed property and did not kill anyone, although at one point a group he described as breakaway was planning to kill officers, their wives and girlfriends attending a dance at a military base, but instead they were killed when their bombs went off in a New York townhouse. Neither Ayers nor his wife, Bernadine Dohrn ever served time for their bombings. Both entered academia. Ayers taught at the University of Illinois for many years.

As Jerome R. Corsi reported in his 2008 book, “The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality”, he noted that when Alice Palmer, an Illinois state senator decided to run for Congress, “she went out of her way to name Obama as her handpicked successor.” Palmer was a dedicated Communist and admirer of the then-Soviet Union. In 1995, “To get Obama’s state senate race off to a good start, Palmer arranged a function for a few influential liberals in the district, at the Hyde Park home of Weather Underground activists, Ayers and Dohrn.”

Corsi wrote, “Palmer would never have introduced Obama to the Hyde Park political community at the Ayers-Dohrn home unless she saw an affinity between Ayers and Dohrn’s radical leftist history, her own history of far-leftists politics, and the politics of Barack Obama.” Ayers and Obama would serve together on the board of the Woods Fund for three years, beginning in 1999, the year Obama joined it.

Megyn Kelly did not explore the Obama-Ayers relationship. When he campaigned in 2008, it was brushed off as their just being “neighbors” in Hyde Park and it was pointed out that Obama was about eight years old when Ayers was bombing in the name of his leftist revolution. Between then and when he met Ayers in 1995 Obama had grown up in a family of far-leftists and had been mentored in Hawaii by Frank Marshall Davis, a card-carrying member of the Communist Party USA.

It did not surprise me to hear Bill Ayers say on Wednesday evening that he was not proud to be an American and did not consider it an exceptional nation. In both cases, he was reflecting the result of a recent Pew Research poll that indicated that self-described liberals expressed these views.

I recall the bombings of the 1970s. There were lots of them, along with massive marches in Washington, D.C. to protest the Vietnam War. I recall the Civil Rights movement that used marches and other non-violent means to achieve their goals. Earlier the suffrage movement and secured the vote for women.

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States Push Back Against Common Core in Their Schools

by Alan Caruba on Thursday, June 26th, 2014

This is article 253 of 254 in the topic Education

It’s vacation time for the nation’s school kids and, while they play, states are beginning to push back against the latest effort of the federal government to exert total control over the nation’s schools; Common Core, whose curriculum standards and content rapidly revealed it to be a nightmare.

As I frequently note, the word “education” does not appear in the U.S. Constitution because the Founding Fathers knew full well that education was the job of localities and states to ensure quality and the opportunity that it provides everyone willing to learn the basics and beyond. From its earliest days, Americans would create a town, build a church, and follow up with a school. Until liberals complained about it, school days began with a prayer.

Liberals know that whoever controls schools controls the future. Dictatorships of all descriptions in particular place heavy emphasis on raising new generations with the kind of indoctrination that only the early years in school can impart. It should come as no surprise that the last failed liberal President, Jimmy Carter, ushered in the creation of the U.S. Department of Education

Still largely unknown to the general public is the control of the Department by teachers unions, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, and their support of the Democratic Party. This accounts for much of the well documented decline of education in America. The union’s chief concern is higher pay and benefits for teachers, not the welfare of the children in their care. Their focus is on politics, not teaching.

In March, the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom issued a new study on “Academic Performance and Spending over the Past 40 years” which revealed that “the average state has seen a three percent decline in academic performance despite a more than doubling in inflation-adjusted per-pupil spending.” Sometimes the spending increases are astonishing as in the case of New York State in which spending rose by 115%. California and Florida are not far behind with an increase of 80%.

Common Core has rapidly become a political hot potato as parents have let their state governors and legislators know how bad it is. Writing in the Heartland Institute’s May edition of its newsletter, School Reform News, Joy Pullmann, its managing editor, reported that Indiana Gov. Mike Pense was the first to sign a bill in March rejecting Common Core national standards, “but the parents and curriculum experts whose criticism led to the change also criticized the first draft of replacement standards for looking very similar to the Common Core mandates it is meant to replace.”

In a Heartland booklet, “The Common Core: A Bad Choice for America”, Pullmann notes that “States may not change Common Core standards, must adopt all of them at once, and may only add up to an additional 15 percent of requirements. The standards themselves have no clear governance, meaning there is no procedure for states to follow to make changes they feel are necessary. It is highly unlikely individual states would control or greatly influence any such process.”

At the very heart of the debate concerning Common Core is the notion that every single school in America should teach the exact same thing in the exact same way.

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More Obama lawlessness: using executive action to unilaterally rewrite student loan legislation

by John Lott on Thursday, June 19th, 2014

This is article 252 of 254 in the topic Education
Who needs congress when the president can just rewrite the laws himself?  From the Boston Globe:

. . . The dual strategy — taking executive action while urging Congress to finish the job — has become Obama’s signature playbook this year. Stymied by gridlock as Congress marches toward the midterm elections, he has repeatedly sought ways to go around Congress with modest steps.
Under an income-based repayment plan created by Congress, the maximum monthly payment is already set to drop from 15 percent of income to 10 percent in July 2014. But that plan only affects new borrowers. Obama’s ‘‘Pay as You Earn’’ plan uses another part of existing law to offer similar benefits to people who already borrowed to finance their education.

In previous Obama budgets, the White House has predicted that making the plan retroactive would cost the federal government billions of dollars in the early years. Asked about the costs Monday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the administration won’t know how much it will cost until they go through the rule-making process to put the expansion in place.

‘‘We actually don’t know the costs yet,’’ Duncan said. ‘‘We’ll figure that out on the back end.’’
Republican leaders in Congress have faulted Obama’s steps on loan repayments for failing to address the root cause: college costs that are too high. . . .

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The Problem Isn’t Inequality, It’s Subsidized Equality

by Daniel Greenfield on Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

This is article 251 of 254 in the topic Education

On Monday, two millionaires showed off their latest inequality talking points as Obama used Elizabeth Warren’s student loan bill to bash congressional Republicans.

“If you’re a big oil company, they’ll go to bat for you,” Obama sneered. “If you’re a student, good luck.”

Good luck indeed. Warren’s bill cynically piggybacks on a lower interest rate plan from last year that the House passed 392 to 31. The Republicans, who only care about oil companies, unlike Obama who doled out billions in Green Energy loans to the companies of his donors, voted for it almost en masse.

Unlike it, Warren’s bill isn’t really about student loans and isn’t meant to pass. Like her Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act, it’s political theater by a lifelong fraud who began her career as a fake Indian, was a fake Republican and is now a fake Socialist. It would be easier to find a garden spot on Mars than a single honest moment in the long career of Elizabeth Ann Herring.

Warren’s bill is cynical manufactured outrage trying to link two unconnected things, supposed tax breaks for the rich to student loans, so that her equally corrupt colleagues can hold on to their fiefdom in the Senate by dragging out the overexploited youth vote for the midterm elections.

Elizabeth Warren, a tenured celebrity professor who jumped into politics, and Barack Obama, an untenured law school instructor, who made it big in politics, know exactly why student loan debt is so high and why their measures do nothing to address its real causes.

Harvard Law paid Warren $350,000 to teach a single course. When Scott Brown brought it up during a debate about student loans, she protested. “I want to talk about the issues. Senator Brown wants to launch attacks.”

But Warren’s outrageous compensation is the issue. Harvard pays the adjuncts who teach many of its undergraduate classes an average of $11,037. Elizabeth Warren, who likes comparing the salary of a company’s employees to its CEO’s, isn’t comparing the $429,981 that Harvard paid her before she ran for office to an adjunct’s salary. And unlike a CEO, all Warren did was show up for a little bit and then go back to her real business as a lawyer and government consultant.

The untenured Obama was making a more modest $69,287 for teaching three courses. He was politically connected, but had yet to become a celebrity. After leaving the White House, he can expect to easily pull down a small fortune for showing up to teach a brief seminar at any college.

The price of celebrity professors is paid for by student loans. The successful celebrity professors go on to a career in politics condemning Republicans for not caring enough about student loans.

But while it’s easy to blame Warren’s ridiculous salary for the student loan problem, we didn’t get to a trillion in student loan debt because of her or Clinton’s former Labor Secretary turned inequality campaigner Robert Reich who pulls in $235,791 a year from a public university at UC-Berkeley to teach a course on “Wealth and Poverty” making him one of the highest paid state employees.

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by Burt Prelutsky on Friday, June 6th, 2014

This is article 250 of 254 in the topic Education

As most of you know, I am often pointing out the problems I have with liberal arts colleges. I am bothered by the cost of their tuitions, by the radical politics of their professors and by the craven cowardice of their administrators.

Taken in order, there is no good reason why parents and students should have to go into debt. The price of books hasn’t increased to such an extent that an education that used to run a few thousand dollars now runs to six figures. Next, if there is any place where freedom of thought and expression should be encouraged, it’s on college campuses. But, thanks to an ever-vigilant academic gestapo, conservatives are persona non grata, both on the faculty and in the student body.

Finally, in short order, we have seen one notable guest speaker after another being uninvited to have their say at Smith, Brandeis, Haverford and Rutgers. People as diverse as ex-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; Robert Birgeneau, the former chancellor of UC Berkeley; Christine Lagarde, the first female head of the International Monetary Fund; and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, upon whose head the Islamists have placed a fatwa because she has dared to speak out about the atrocities visited on females in the Muslim world; have all been publicly insulted by the pinheads of academia.

I used to wonder why I was never invited to speak sense to the young grads. Who better to point out to the young narcissists that they’re not the be-all and end-all of the human race? But these days, the real honor is in being uninvited. However, proof that cowardice pays is to be found in the salaries of college presidents, nine of whom currently rake in over a million dollars a year, with scores of others not far behind.

But all is not lost. Hillsdale College in Michigan has long been a beacon of light. Because of the college’s refusal to accept federal grants, Hillsdale attracts an open-minded faculty and, therefore, a student body that isn’t indoctrinated by over-paid pinheads promoting such moronic beliefs as redistribution of wealth, a world governed by the U.N. and global warming.

Another exemplary institution is Missouri’s College of the Ozarks. It collects no tuition. Instead, the 1400 students work their way through college by helping to run the school’s power plant, museum, lodge, fire station and dairy farm or by cooking, cleaning and providing campus security. Those found to be goldbricks get the old heave-ho.

Perhaps some of you who regularly donate to your alma mater might consider making out those checks to colleges that actually reflect your values. Perhaps you might even consider endowing a few more such colleges, thus providing conservative professors with a few places other than McDonald’s and White Castle where they could actually find employment.

The brouhaha over Jill Abramson being fired at the NY Times, allegedly because she wasn’t being paid the same salary as her male predecessor, reminds me that liberals often talk a much better game than they play.

Many years ago, when I had my first job, as a copywriter at the Carson-Roberts Advertising Agency, I made it my policy to find out what other people were being paid.

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Latest Progressive Buffoonery: “Hurt Feelings” Trump Excellence!

by John Lillpop on Sunday, June 1st, 2014

This is article 189 of 194 in the topic Liberalism

Competition and excellence are as American as baseball and apple pie. The idea is that one should take optimum advantage of God-given talents and abilities by striving to be the best possible so as to achieve important goals and objectives.

That notion, so the story goes, will help prepare one for the rigors and challenges of the real world where one’s abilities and performance are carefully scrutinized in order to select the “best candidates” for employment and for promotion and salary opportunities.

Indeed, when employers look to hire, the object is to find the most qualified prospective employee.  Scant little time is spent in HR offices or corporate board rooms fretting over “hurt feelings” or exclusivity discrimination.

The business of professional sports is an excellent example. Baseball scouts search high and low for young players who can run the fastest, throw the ball the furthest, and whom can hit a baseball with the greatest power and accuracy.

Rarely does a big-league baseball manager take a budding superstar aside and counsel the young man: “Your batting average and home run production is depressing to some of the other players with more average talents.  You should strike out more often, hit with less power, and stop running so damn fast! Do it for the team!”

Likewise, a high-tech team leader in Silicone Valley is unlikely to say the following to “techies”  assigned to develop an innovative, new product line:

“Folks, of course we want to be # 1 in sales, quality, and profit. Still, we have a moral obligation to guard against “hurt feelings” among our competitors. So, when you are inventing gadgets and technological miracles for the future, consider how your innovation will impact the feelings of your counterparts working for competitors!”

Of course, these are silly, outrageous examples.

Unfortunately, this sort of progressive buffoonery is creeping into our education system.

For instance, concerns about the “exclusive nature” of the annual honors night at Archie R. Cole Middle School in Rhode Island have caused school officials to scrap the tradition.

Instead, students who would normally be recognized at the annual spring tradition will be honored during team-based recognition ceremonies and graduation.

Thus, out-of-touch liberals at the school have implemented the progressive worship of mediocrity and equality, especially at the expense of excellence.

Parents with children who attend Archie R. Cole Middle School should move, with haste, to transfer their offspring to schools that will encourage and reward excellence.

Perhaps equality-driven progressives could level the playing field a bit by having a “Hurt Feelings” awards ceremony for the less accomplished students?  Call it a gathering of “Future Democrats!”

John W. Lillpop
San Jose, California

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The data-mining body monitors in our schools

by Michelle Malkin on Saturday, May 31st, 2014

This is article 249 of 254 in the topic Education

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 7.59.29 AM
Gwendolyn’s BMI report card

The data-mining body monitors in our schools
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2014

Like millions of other American parents, my husband and I received a warning letter from the BMI police last week. Our active, healthy 8th-grade daughter is “very lean,” according to her school-administered “Fitnessgram.” The national student body monitors think this is a public health problem.

The obesity report card lectured that because our daughter’s body-mass index is “very low,” we “should make certain” that she “is eating a healthy diet that includes the appropriate number of calories.” Thanks, geniuses. We had no idea such measurements were taking place, and we wondered whether we were alone in objecting to this unsolicited Nanny State dispatch. We’re not.

In New York, mom Laura Williams blew the whistle on how her perfectly healthy daughter Gwendolyn was branded “overweight” by her Fitnessgram. City schools sent the reports home to nearly 900,000 students in their backpacks. Gwendolyn showed the assessment to the New York Post last week, exclaiming: “I’m 4-foot-1, and 66 pounds, and I’m like, what?!”

Thanks to the Williams family’s whistleblowing and a huge public backlash, Big Apple schools will now change the way the fitness reports are distributed to families. But changing the delivery route doesn’t address the expansive government encroachment on our children’s health based on dubious science.

Gwendolyn’s absurd classification exposes the unreliability of BMI ratings, which many public health scientists admit are inadequate health predictors. The Centers for Disease Control itself says that “the accuracy of BMI varies substantially according to the individual child’s degree of body fatness” and doesn’t distinguish between “excess fat, muscle or bone mass, nor does it provide any indication of the distribution of fat among individuals.”

Yet some school districts have pushed to incorporate BMI results in physical fitness grades, and dozens of states have adopted the BMI-snitching Fitnessgrams, which are marketed by an outfit called the Cooper Institute. The group contracts with New York, Texas, California and a total of nearly 70,000 schools across the country to provide training, administration, data collection and dissemination of its reports. Big Brother is big business.

One of the Cooper Institute’s most prominent members of its board of directors: Big Government Republican Mike Huckabee, who spearheaded mandatory student BMI reports in 2003 while he was governor of Arkansas. Huckabee has sided with first lady Michelle Obama’s meddling initiatives on childhood obesity — which he calls an “issue of national security.” Public health bureaucrats use exactly such hyperbolic rhetoric to justify increasing their powers, budgets and control.

Riding the manufactured obesity-crisis wave, BMI report card promoters are pushing for far more radical data-mining intrusion. A little-noticed study published in the journal Health Affairs a few years ago on “state surveillance of childhood obesity” proposes getting around federal family privacy protections by declaring obesity a “public health threat” at every state level. This would allow agencies to invoke “public health protection powers” to allow unfettered sharing of student BMI data.

These obesity police also advocate circumventing legislative debate by “simply adding a new function to state-run registries and databases” and slipping height and weight monitoring into immunization information-gathering systems.

Exploiting the captive student population for childhood obesity health research, grants, contracts and new tech boondoggles is yet another method of fattening Fed Ed’s overstuffed coffers.

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San Francisco taxpayers fund professors’ trip to meet terrorist leaders

by Jim Kouri on Saturday, May 31st, 2014

This is article 519 of 520 in the topic Government Spending

California taxpayers, especially Jewish-Americans, were shocked to discover that San Francisco State University (SFSU), which recently increased its students’ tuition, paid more than $7.000 for a trip to the Middle East for two of the university’s professors to meet with convicted terrorists, according to a number of sources on Friday, including police counterterrorism expert, Jennifer Sackman.

The details of the trip surfaced when Jewish-American organizations obtained funding documents using the state’s California Public Records Act.

The two professors, Rabab Abdulhadi and Joanne Barker, took a trip to Jordan and the West Bank after obtaining the necessary funding, and once there they met with two known jihadists with links to Palestinian terrorist groups such as Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

“These are two groups designated as terrorist organizations by the United States State Department and yet the powers-that-be at SFSU gave two of its faculty members not only permission to meet with them, but also the money that’s sucked out of the pockets of taxpayers to fund their liaison with Islamic terrorists,” said Ms. Sackman.

According to news reports, Abdulhadi, a professor of ethnic studies, had already gained a reputation as a controversial figure at SFSU long before the meeting with terrorists. In the past she helped to organize anti-Israel programs and event and she had served as the faculty adviser to a student who was expelled from school his Internet posting of a picture of himself holding up a knife with the caption: “I want to stab an Israeli soldier.”

During their trip in January 2014, Abdulhadi and Barker met with iconic Islamist Leila Khaled, who in the past was convicted of hijacking an airliner and a proud member of the PFLP, a group that’s perpetrated scores of terror attacks and is believed to be responsible for the deaths of more than 20 U.S. citizens who were visiting Israel.

The two educators also met and talked with Sheikh Raed Salah, who had been convicted of funding Hamas and was once imprisoned on a charge of inciting violence.

Abdulhadi allegedly lied about the funding. initially stating the purpose of her trip participate in an academic conference at the American University in Lebanon. However, Abdulhadi failed to inform her superiors at SFSU that she was dropped from the conference several weeks before she was scheduled to arrive in Beirut.

“On at least four official university documents signed by several SFSU and CSU administrators, including SFSU President Wong and CSU [California State University] Chancellor White, Abdulhadi concealed the fact that the true purpose of her trip was political activism, as well as the fact that she had planned to meet with individuals affiliated with organizations on the U.S. State Department’s list of Designated Terrorist Organizations,” the Jewish groups stated in their letter to university officials.

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