Education May 30, 2018: Harvard remains CWUR World Ranking’s top university in 2018/2019

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EDUCATION

Harvard remains CWUR World Ranking’s top university in 2018/2019

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Photo: Harvard.edu

The first major university ranking of the year released is the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR), who publishes their list way before the start of the new academic year. On Monday, May 28, 2018, CWUR released their ranking of the Top 1000 Universities in the world, where once again Harvard remained the top university, now for the seventh year running.

The CWUR is one of only two major rankings that are not published by a western country in either the United States or the United Kingdom. CWUR is centered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Although the top schools remained the same, the ranking saw a lot of movement especially in the ranking of the countries and their individual top schools representing a changing landscape in the best global universities.

The 2018 edition is the seventh year CWUR has released their rankings; the relatively new listing first started in 2012. It includes their ranking of the Top 1000 Universities and 61 countries, the largest number. After Harvard, the rest of the top three remains the same as last year with Stanford second and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) third. Two British universities round out the top five as last year, with the University of Cambridge in fourth place closely followed by the University of Oxford rounding out the top five.

The second half of the top ten had a lot of movement, the University of California, Berkeley moved up one spot from seventh to sit at the sixth position. Princeton University also moved up, two spots from the ninth to the seventh position. Columbia University moved down two places to the eighth position. Only one university entered the top ten the California Institute of Technology, Caltech moving up from number 11 to the ninth place. While the University of Chicago fell two spot to round out the top ten. Yale University dropped out of the top ten this year to number 11.

The US dominated the CWUR rankings as it does with most other world university rankings; however, there are less American schools in the top 1000, last year there were 225 this year there are only 213. The CWUR ranking shows how preeminent Asian schools are becoming globally, here they follow the US in the most school represented an honor usually reserved for the United Kingdom. This year’s edition there are more schools that are Asian represented, there are 108 schools from China listed, the number keep rising, with 97 in 2017 and 90 in 2016.

The United Kingdom has improved their standing, but and have lowered the number of universities represented, they have 62 schools listed down from 65, but now have the third most schools in the ranking. The UK has consistently two universities in the top ten, and they are the only other country to break American dominance. Only four universities from the 24 that are part of the Russell Group fell in the ranking.

The UK rise in the country ranking has more to do with Japan losing ground that any improvement in their standing. In the past three ranking Japan’s number of schools represented has dwindled. Currently Japan has 56 schools in the list down from 71 in 2017 and 74 in 2016. Still, Japan has the first school to make the global list outside of the US and the UK with the University of Tokyo up one to at number 12, which also the top ranking Asian school.

France this year takes third place in the world with 58 schools featured, and the Sorbonne University as their top school coming in the top 30 at 29 and replacing École Polytechnique for the honor.

CWUR also includes rankings by country, with lists of the best universities in the major countries in all the world’s regions and they correspond to the rankings on the international list. Therefore, Harvard also tops the USA list, while the number four University of Cambridge is the United Kingdom’s top school. The first university ranking from the European continent is Switzerland’s Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, which ranks at 28th down one from last year. In Oceania, Australia has the top school with the University of Melbourne at 57, replacing the University of Sydney for the top place.

Canada is only the fourth country to reach the top 20, with the University of Toronto at 17th place moving up from 28 last year. Overall, Canada is in 10th place with 28 universities on the list, but all their top school moving up; the University of Toronto also remains Canada’ top school again this year. McGill retains their position in second place ranking at 37th up from 41 last year. At their heels is third place the University of British Columbia at number 38 up from 55 in the last edition.

In the Middle East, the Weizmann Institute of Science replaces the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as the Middle East and Israel’s highest-ranking university. The title is hardly a victory, the Weizmann Institute ranks at number 45 down from 39 last year. Hebrew University fell over 30 places from 27th last year to just 61st this year. Hebrew U usually ranks as Israel’s top university. Israel has one other school in the top 100 is the Tel Aviv University at 85. Israel has seven schools represented in the ranking.

The key to their methodology is objectivity; all the seven indicators are backed by solid, quantifiable statistics emphasizing graduate success and faculty research. The seven factors are “quality of teaching, alumni employment, quality of faculty, research output, quality publications, influence, and citations.” This year CWUR revised their methodology with “research now accounting for 70% of the total score.” According to the description of their methodology, “The Centre for World University Rankings (CWUR) publishes the only global university ranking that measures the quality of education and training of students along with the prestige of the faculty members and the quality of their research without relying on surveys and university data submissions.”

Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) top 10:

1. Harvard University (1)

2. Stanford University (2)

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (3)

4. University of Cambridge (4)

5. University of Oxford (5)

6. University of California, Berkeley (7)

7. Princeton University (9)

8. Columbia University (6)

9. California Institute of Technology (11)

10. University of Chicago (8)

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has over a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

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Politics May 26, 2018: Donald Trump considered the least ethical president in recent history

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Donald Trump considered the least ethical president in recent history

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

(Official White House Photos by Joyce N. Boghosian)

According to the news media’s reporting President Donald Trump has long been treated as unethical, now a new Gallup Poll confirms the American public agrees. According to a Gallup Poll released on Friday, May 25, 2018, only 37 percent of Americans believe Trump has “excellent” or “good” ethical standards with a larger number at 40 percent saying his standards are poor. Trump is the only president in modern history to have the public think so little of his ethics, but have a higher approval rating than the ethic rating. Only the scandal-filled presidency of Bill Clinton elicited such low ratings.

According to Gallup’s poll, only 7 percent of Americans think Trump has excellent ethical standards, 30 percent say they are good, 19 percent say not good, while a majority 40 percent saying they are poor. Only his predecessor President Barack Obama had a low rating in 2013, but not as low with 50 percent saying his ethical standard was “excellent” or “good” and with 32 percent saying, it was poor. The results show that that the public is increasingly questioning the ethical standards of their president.

Trump’s presidency has been marred by scandal; first Russian interference in the presidential election and special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into the matter. Trump repeatedly calls the probe a “witch hunt” which he wants to be concluded, but so far, there have been “five guilty pleas.” Then since January, Trump has been faced with mounting questions about his involvement with adult film star Stormy Daniels, his personal lawyer Daniel Cohen, paying her off and forcing her to sign a non-disclosure agreement a month before the election. The question remains whether Trump knew about it, considering he repaid Cohen.

Neither has his cabinet behaved with pristine ethics. Trump has a frequent cabinet and staff turnovers, especially in the last six months. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt and Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin misused government funds, spending too lavishly, however, Pruitt remains in the administration. The recent nominee for Veterans Affairs Secretary former White House doctor Ronny Jackson was forced to withdraw over a question regarding his prescribing medications. Trump has continued support for both Pruitt and Jackson, emphasized his presidency’s questionable ethics. However, Trump did fire his National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who plead guilty to lying to the FBI, a felony charge stemming from Mueller’s probe.

Unlike Trump’s predecessors, who had higher ethics rating than approval ratings, Trump has a higher job approval rating. According to Gallup, President Trump’s approval rating is 44 percent compared to his 37 percent ethic rating. The only other exception was Clinton in January 1994, when his approval rating was 54 percent, but his ethics rating was 43 percent, the closest to Trump’s. Obama in 2013 had a 27 percent approval rating, but a 50 percent ethics rating.

Gallup asked the ethics questions three times in George W. Bush’s presidency from 2002 to 2005, and during that time, his approval rating fell, but his ethics rating remained higher. In 2002, Bush’s approval rating was 69 percent, while his ethics rating was 74 the highest in history, in October 2005 it was 49 to 55 percent. Bush’s polling was the rare exception, with Gallup asking the ethics question in his second term. The question was asked at bookends, in 2002 after his response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, where he had the highest approval rating in modern history, and in October 2005, just after his mismanaged response to Hurricane Katrina, and flooding in New Orleans that killed 971.

Clinton’s second outing with the ethics rating in October 1994 had him with 50 percent approval rating, but a 57 percent ethics rating. George H. W. Bush had a 63 percent approval rating in May 1989, and a 59 percent ethics rating. The first president Gallup asked the ethics question about, was Ronald Reagan, the question was asked three times in his first term from July 1983 through October 1984. Reagan’s ethical standard remains the same; 64 and then 67, while his approval rating went higher from 44 to 58 percent right before the presidential election. Additionally, the majority of recent presidents had ethics numbers above 50 percent. As CNN noted, “The more popular the president, the more likely people are to say that he runs an administration that is rightly focused on ethics.”

Gallup asks this question very few times during a presidency, often earlier in the first term and not while scandals have consumed a presidency mostly in a second term. Trump’s presidency is an exception, where he was elected amid scandal and questions about Russian interference. The only other recent presidency that has commenced with scandal was Clinton’s, and by the first poll, Clinton had allowed a special prosecutor to investigate the “Whitewater real estate controversy.” The prosecutor ended up being Kenn Starr, the author of the Starr Report used as the basis of Clinton’s impeachment.

Only two of the presidents were mired in scandals during their terms. Ronald Reagan managed to escape unscathed from Iran Contra in 1986. Then Clinton whose scandals with women included accusations of sexual harassment, the Whitewater investigation, and the finally the Monica Lewinsky scandal that led to his impeachment and near ouster in 1998. Gallup, however, did not ask the ethic question at the darkest points of the Reagan or Clinton presidencies.

Not asking the ethics questions every year in a presidency at least makes the poll and rating flawed and misrepresenting history and difficult to make comparisons. Either way, Trump’s scandal-filled and mismanaged presidency has definitely affected the public’s view of his ethics, if not the way he performs his duties.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has over a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

News May 21, 2018: Justify wins the 143rd Preakness keeping Triple Crown hopes alive

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Justify wins the 143rd Preakness keeping Triple Crown hopes alive

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Source: Associated Press

Amidst the fog, Kentucky Derby winner Justify fended off seven competitors to win the second jewel of the Triple Crown. On Saturday, May 19, 2018,Justify with jockey Mike Smith won the 143rd Preakness stakes by a half a length on a sloppy rain-soaked track at Plimico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. Justify won the shortest Triple Crown race at 1 3/16-mile and $1.5 million purse. Coming in second was Bravazo followed by longshot Tenfold and derby runner-up Good Magic who battled most of the race nose to nose with Justify until the last turn. Justify finished in 1:55.93 seconds, his fifth win in five starts, Smith had his second Preakness win 25 years later and trainer Bob Baffert ties for most Preakness winners, with all his five derby winners winning both legs of the Triple Crown.

Justify broke out of gate seven and kept to the lead, with the champion 2-year-old Good Magic. For three quarter of a mile and seven eighths, the top two horses from the derby duked it out nose to nose in the deep fog and limited visibility. After the last turn, Justify went ahead with Smith using the whip on him, pushing Good Magic in the rail and behind as they headed towards the finish line.

Justify keeps on breaking history. Baffert ties Robert Wyndham Walden, who won seven Preaknesses between 1875 and 1888. Baffert also ties fellow trainer for D. Wayne Lucas for most Triple Crown race wins at 14. Lucas was also trying for his seventh Preakness win with Bravazo and Sporting Chance. While by winning the Derby, Justify became the only horse since 1882 to win the Derby without running as a two-year-old beating Apollo’s Curse.

Baffert told NBC after winning the race, that Justify, “He’s just a great horse to handle all that pressure and keep on running.” Baffert also remakes, “I’m so happy that we got it done. I’ve never had one run that fast here.’’ Baffert also commented on the duel between Justify and Good Magic saying, It was a nail-bite. They put it to us. It was like they had their own private match race (but I’m) so happy we got it done. Such a great horse to handle all that pressure and get it done.” Meanwhile, jockey, Smith commented on Justify’s performance, “He got a little tired. This is his hardest race that he’s had.’’

On Wednesday after the posts were drawn and announced and Justify became the 2–1 odds favorite, Baffert boasted to the press. The Hall-of-Fame trainer expressed, “I like being the favorite. I don’t want to be 50–1. I like knowing that I have a chance to win. When you come in, and you’re like, ‘Well, I don’t know, we’re going to need the Stanford marching band to interfere a little bit,’ then you don’t feel that well. I just feel that when you know that there’s a chance you can pull this off, and when you can win on the big arena, that’s what it’s all about.”

Baffert has a good record; he won the Derby and Preakness with Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998, War Emblem in 2002 and American Pharoah in 2015, which ended up being the 12th Triple Crown winner after a 37-year drought. Now justify moves on to the last and most difficult leg of the Triple Crown known as the “Test of the Champion” with the Belmont Stakes in New York in three weeks on June 9, hoping to become only the 13th horse to win all three jewels.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education May 11, 2018: London tops QS best cities for students in 2018

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London tops QS best cities for students in 2018

By Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS

University College London, Flickr

Brexit is no longer a liability for British universities. Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), the company behind the World University Rankings, released their fifth annual QS Best Student Cities index on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, with London, England at the top for the first time. London replaces Montreal, Canada, who was the top city in 2017, while in the previous ranking Paris, France was the best city. This year sees a decline in North American cities, especially American ones, where President Donald Trump and his anti-immigrant policies have become a bigger issue than Brexit, Britain’s exit from the European Union.

London is home to 17 universities including high ranking top universities; the Imperial College, University College London, the London School of Economics and King’s College. A cultural and historical city, London has a high concentration of “museums, theatres, restaurants, and cinemas.” The rich cultural aspect is inviting for students but also increases the opportunities for research. Job opportunities are plentiful and as a diverse international city, foreign students feel welcome. Although London ranked high in all factors except one affordability; the city has a high cost of living but one worth for students.

Ben Sowter, Research Director at QS, commented on their new top city, saying, “The 2018 ranking highlights the enduring quality of the student experience available in London. The city benefits from outstanding employment prospects, more world-class universities than any other city, and enviable lifestyle opportunities. These factors mean that the capital remains a great place to study despite eye-watering costs – as more than 50,000 student respondents to QS’s survey have made clear.”

Last year’s best city, Montreal, Quebec fell to fourth place this year but still remains the top and only North American city in the top ten. Montreal is still tops for “best overall in student experience, and best city in which to remain after graduation.” Montreal has four universities and 150,000 students. The Canadian city has consistently been in QS’ top eight cities since the ranking started.

In second place is Tokyo, Japan as Asian universities continue to rank higher in world university rankings; Japan moves up from seven. In third place is Melbourne, Australia, moving up two from fifth place the first of two Australian cities in the top ten. In fifth place is former top student city, Paris; the city of lights continues its descent, where last year it was in second place.

In the second half of the top ten is Munich, German one of two German cities in the top 10. Munich moves up to sixth from ninth. The second top 10 German city is Berlin coming in seventh down only one from last year. In eight place is Zurich, Switzerland, who enters the top ten from number 15, along with ninth place Sydney, Australia, moving up from number 13. Rounding out the top 10 is Seoul, South Korea, which moves down from fourth place in 2017.

Despite only ranking at number 13, Toronto, Canada ranks the best in terms of desirability which consists of safety, pollution, and quality of living. Toronto ranks second in Canadian student cities, behind Montreal. Meanwhile, Vancouver, British Columbia falls even out if the top ten to number 17.

American cities fare the worst, with none in the top ten. This is despite the fact that in QS World University Rankings American universities capture nearly all of the top ten including the top four spots. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) topped the ranking, followed by Stanford University, Harvard University in third and the California Institute for Technology (Caltech) in fourth. Although MIT and Harvard are in Boston, Massachusetts, the only American school in the 2017 ranking it falls this year to 14, while the only other American city in the top 30 is New York at number 18. American cities saw declines across the board in “Affordability, Employer Activity, and Student Mix.”

The methodology to determine the list looks at six factors, university rankings, student mix, desirability, employer activity, affordability. A seventh factor was added in 2017, student view, a global “survey of students and recent graduates.” QS surveys 50,000 students, and looks past 489 universities cities, ranking only the top 100.

QS World University Rankings was originally a collaboration between the education and career company Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) with the Times Higher Education (THE) to create a world university ranking in 2003. For five years their World University Rankings list was published on THE, with QS supplying the data. In 2010, Times Higher Education decided to break off the partnership and pair up with Thomson Reuters to produce their ranking list. The decision was mostly because of the heavy reliance on using peer reviews to determine the rankings. The QS World University Rankings first appeared in its present format in 2010.

Best Student Cities 2018

1. London 3
2. Tokyo 7
3. Melbourne 5
4. Montreal 1
5. Paris 2
6. Munich 9
7. Berlin 6
8. Zurich 15
9. Sydney 13
10. Seoul 4

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Politics May 10, 2018: Town and Country apologizes to Monica Lewinsky for uninviting her to summit over Bill Clinton, is it enough in the #MeToo era?

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Town and Country apologizes to Monica Lewinsky for uninviting her to summit over Bill Clinton, is it enough in the #MeToo era?

By Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS

Flickr

When is an apology enough? A day after former White House intern and anti-bullying advocate Monica Lewinsky “cryptically” announced on Twitter that she had been uninvited to a social change event by a magazine because former President Bill Clinton would be attending, the magazine apologized. On Thursday, May 10, 2018, Town and Country magazine apologized to Lewinsky via Twitter with a short concise message. Lewinsky’s tweets have gone viral with thousands of retweets and likes. The situation exploded so much that Clinton’s press secretary also commented on Twitter. The reprehensible and insulting act by the magazine was so archaic in the age of #MeToo movement that brings about the question was it enough to make amends?

On Thursday, Town and Country gave a quick apology to Lewinsky on Twitter, writing, “We apologize to Ms. Lewinsky and regret the way the situation was handled.” The public has not received the apology very well with many responding to magazine injustice chastising them. In her tweets, Lewinsky did not name there magazine instead, Huffington Post revealed Town and Country was the magazine that snubbed her from their invitation-only philanthropy summit. The apology was hardly enough and from their online publication and Twitter yesterday they were quite excited about having Clinton at their summit. Lewinsky must have agreed it was not enough, because she did not respond on Twitter.

The event, Lewinsky was referring in her tweets to was posh Town and Country magazine’s fifth annual philanthropy summit in New York at Hearst Tower. The magazine described those who were attending as “activists, game-changers, and leaders across the field of philanthropy, education, healthcare, and gun control.”

The magazine tweeted early in the day about Clinton’s attendance, writing, Welcome to the 2018 #TandCPhilanthropy Summit! Watch LIVE as @BillClinton of @ClintonFdn introduces @Emma4Change … https://t.co/IoNfCmwIFU — TOWN&COUNTRY (@TandCmag) May 9, 2018. Clinton introduced March for Our Lives panelists, which included including Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, shooting survivors and gun control advocates students Emma González and Delaney Turr for the panel, “Rewriting the History of Violence.” The magazine has since listed a video of the former president’s introduction.

After trying to separate himself from the scandal that nearly brought down his presidency and led him to be only the second president ever impeached, Clinton quickly had his press secretary Angel Ureña disassociate him from the uninvite. Ureña took to Twitter on Wednesday evening, writing, “President Clinton was invited to address the Town & Country Philanthropy Summit. He gladly accepted. Neither he nor his staff knew anything about the invitation or it being rescinded.” The tweet, however, insultingly failed to mention and acknowledge Lewinsky by name. The most important point was to make Clinton unaware of the situation to the public, reminiscent of when he was president.

On Wednesday, Lewinsky wrote on Twitter, “Please don’t invite me to an event (esp one about social change) and — then after I’ve accepted — uninvite me because Bill Clinton then decided to attend/was invited. It’s 2018. Emily Post would def not approve.” Lewinsky then posted that it was a magazine that disinvited her, adding they offer to let her write an article in their publication. Lewinsky tweeted, “p.s. … and definitely, please don’t try to ameliorate the situation by insulting me with an offer of an article in your mag.” The original tweet has gone viral with over 170,000 likes.

Twenty years later and the whole issue with the disinviting is reminiscent of the bullying in the news when the scandal broke in 1998. Whereas Lewinsky was not believed at first, Clinton retained high poll numbers as she was vilified. Even after Clinton admitted he lied to the American public, he escaped impeachment, while Lewinsky became late-night fodder. She escaped the public eye for years, re-emerging in 2014 as a Vanity Fair contributor, where she wrote about the scandal and subsequent bullying in the article entitled “Shame and Survival.” She has since worked as a writer and anti-bullying advocate focusing particularly on cyberbullying and online harassment because she calls herself “patient zero,” the first to suffer from cyberbullying on a wide scale. In a 2015 TED Talk Lewinsky, expressed, “What that meant for me personally was that overnight I went from being a completely private figure to a publicly-humiliated one worldwide. I was Patient Zero of losing a personal reputation on the global scale almost instantaneously.”

The #Metoo has revisited not only the prevalent sexual abuse and harassment that was pushed under the rug but also the meaning of consent especially when there is a difference in power between the two parties. The lopsided power in employment, at universities, relationships between bosses and employees and professors and students particularly. In light of this, Lewinsky, who persistently claimed it was consensual and she was not a victim, but she is currently reconsidering it in light of the #MeToo movement.

Recently, Lewinsky in a March 2018, Vanity Fair article entitled, “Emerging from the ‘House of Gaslight’ in the age of #metoo” re-examined her relationship with former President Bill Clinton. Lewinsky expressed, “I now see how problematic it was that the two of us even got to a place where there was a question of consent. Instead, the road that led there was littered with inappropriate abuse of authority, station, and privilege. (Full stop.)” It impossible to believe a recent university graduate and former White House intern had a choice in her relationship with the president of the country and most powerful man in the free world. The direction of the relationship was always directed by the more powerful one, no matter what.

Since the #MeToo movement began in the fall of 2017, with the outing of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct, powerful men in all industries; entertainment, journalism, politics academia, and business have seen their stars fall as women came forward accusing them of sexual assault or harassment. Legal vindication came with actor Bill Cosby finally being convicted in April of his sexual assaults. The movement has given women once silenced and their credibility destroyed by these men a voice and power, now a simple accusation is enough to destroy and turn the tables on the men. Somehow, for all the accusations of misconduct, Clinton has escaped this fate and was favored despite his gross abuse of power.

Town and Country’s apology was almost as bad as offering Lewinsky a consolation prize for uninviting her to write in their publication. The #MeToo movement has seen many superficial apologies meant to spare reputations as opposed to genuine ones meant to actually make amends. In general, in this climate, they have not been well received by the victims or the public. Clinton has escaped the leper status and given another chance, not only because of the power of being a former president but because of his apology to the nation on August 17, 1998, where he admitted “I sinned” with his affair with Lewinsky and apologized to her for his actions. Right or wrong, his apology has given him a pass with a majority of the American public and most probably the main reason he was spared from being convicted by the Senate in their impeachment vote, and let him escape being forced to resign from the presidency in 1998.

The #MeToo movement has seen very little similar apologies whether sincere or not, there has been little “genuine repentance” as Clinton said was necessary. To apologize is to admit defeat and that one is wrong, an almost impossible task for powerful men, who always believe they are right and everyone else is wrong. An April 2018 article by the Associated Press asks just that “Can there be forgiveness, second chances in the age of #MeToo?” According to experts there can be if they are genuine and recount exactly what they did wrong to their victims.

The article’s author Michelle R. Smith claims, “Forgiveness must be possible if society wants to reduce instances of sexual misconduct, but experts say, it will take work and willingness to change from both the perpetrators and society at large.” Jennifer A. Thompson, an assistant professor of applied Jewish ethics and civic engagement at California State University also believes it is possible. Thompson explains that in the Jewish tradition, “You have to go to the person you hurt and ask, ‘What can I do to make this right?’” Thompson believes that model of redemption could work in the age of #MeToo.

Lesley Wexler, a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law concurs, and believes in “restorative justice.” Wexler told the AP,“Part of what should be happening here is personal. Making amends to the victim, restoring the victim. And a separate part is acknowledging that the nature of this harm isn’t just the individual, you are a community. That suggests you also need to be public about what specifically was wrong and what you can do better.” The same can apply to Town and Country, they need to genuinely apologize to Lewinsky, they need to do better or else they sound like all the accused men of the #MeToo movement, just looking to save themselves.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Politics May 10, 2018: GOP closing in on Democrats in new 2018 Midterm elections poll with Trump the main issue

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GOP closing in on Democrats in new 2018 Midterm elections poll with Trump the main issue

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Wikipedia Commons

In less than six months before the 2018 midterm elections, the Democrats are losing their poll advantage against the Republicans. In less than four months they lost a significant advantage, that indicates that the election could still go either way. On Wednesday, May 9, 2018, CNN / SSRS released a new poll on the midterm elections, that indicated 47 percent of “registered voters” supported their local Democratic candidate versus 44 percent saying they support the Republican candidate. In February, Democrats had a huge 16 point lead, that shrunk in March to six percent and now is three percent, within a poll’s margin of error. President Donald Trump’s approval rating is partially the cause as Democrats have yet to focuses on an issue to rally voters aside from their opposition to the president.

According to the latest poll, American voters still do not know if the GOP should retain control on Congress; the House of Representatives and Senate. Democrats only have a slight edge when it comes over who “the country would be better off” with 31percent versus 30 percent saying the GOP. While 34 percent saying it does not matter who controls Congress, with nearly half of independent voters 48 percent among them.

Still, more Democrats are very enthusiastic about the election versus Republicans, 50 to 44 percent; Republicans have boosted their enthusiasm factor up from 36 percent in March. As CNN notes, “53% of those who are very enthusiastic about voting say they’d back the Democrat in their district vs. 41% who say they favor the GOP candidate.” Ten percent more of enthusiastic voters want that Democrats to control Congress. Enthusiasm is always an important factor in elections as it brings voters to the polls, the extra incentive is necessary especially in midterm elections.

This year’s midterms are definitely a referendum on President Trump, with 64 percent claiming Trump is a very or extremely important factor in their voting this fall, while among enthusiastic voters that numbers jump to 78 percent. Enthusiastic voters are the ones that oppose the president the most with 51 percent wanting a candidate who opposes his policies, versus 46 percent, who want a candidate that agrees with him. Still, those numbers are down from January, 52 percent of voters would support a candidate who opposes Trump versus 41 who support him, the numbers are now 48 to 43 percent.

Helping the Republicans is that Trump’s poll numbers among all Americans are actually holding “steady” at 41 percent approving and 53 disapproving the same as in the last poll in March. The president’s numbers are far better among voters, with a 44 percent approval rating and a 51 percent disapproval rating. However, he is gaining points in his handling of the issues. Meanwhile, six in ten Americans find the country is going in the right direction, 57 percent up eight points from March. More Democrats find the country is going in a good direction, 40 percent up from 25 in February.

Trump’s numbers are improving because of increased Democratic support, especially on the issues. The economy is the issue where Trump has the best approval rating, at 52 percent up from 48 percent. Eleven percent more Democrats approve of the president’s handling of the economy now with 26 percent. Trump’s number is also improving on foreign trade 43 percent up from 38, and immigration 40 percent up from 36. His approval rating has also improved on foreign affairs to 42 percent up from 39 percent. Some of these numbers are the best since his first 100 days in office.

Trump’s best issue in the polls, the economy seems to be the most important issue to voters with 84 percent calling it extremely or very important, that number has grown from February, where 79 percent felt that way. Taxes is a rising issue with 73 percent saying is important, up from 67 percent. Immigration also remains hot-button issue, 76 percent up from 72 percent of voters calling it important. Gun control remains an important issue, 76 percent of all voters consider it important, only down two points from February, when there was a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. The 15 point divide between the two parties has virtually faded with 79 of Democrats and 76 percent of Republicans calling it an important issue. The rest of the issues have declined in importance; health care down 80 from 83 percent, sexual harassment 58 down from 64 percent, and even the Russia investigation are losing importance 40 down from 45 percent. The changes in importance on issues is mostly partisan based.

The Congressional party leaders in the House on both sides fare worse in their popularity than the president. Only 30 percent view Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi favorably versus 49 percent unfavorable, with only 57 percent of Democrats having a positive view of their leader. Outgoing Speaker of the House Paul Ryan fares better with 38 percent viewing him favorably versus 46 percent unfavorably. Ryan numbers are better mostly from greater GOP support, with 67 percent of the party having a positive view of the speaker. Despite voters feeling about their leaders, the Democratic Party is viewed more favorably, 44 percent to the GOP’s 39 percent.

While voters usually want candidates that share their views, Democrats care about less about this than Republicans, 76 to 67 percent. Democrats have been facing problems trying to decide which issue they should focus on in the midterm campaign. Most, however, agree an anti-Trump campaign will not be enough. Princeton University historian and CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer told The Hill, believes that vagueness on the issues helps the party, “Politically, their preference is to have some agenda items and some broad ideas that the party will fight for, and enough vagueness that it’s hard to be pinned down. It’s literally a document to rally people, and I think the good ones are written that way.”

Writing in an editorial on CNN, entitled “Democrats, focus on midterms — not Trump impeachment talk,” Zelizer cautions “The biggest challenge for Democrats is to avoid letting anti-Trump fervor drown out their own message.” Democrats need 23 seats to gain control of the House and at least a seven-point poll advantage over the GOP, which they lost in this latest poll. Trump’s improved polls numbers are a hamper to any anti-message against him, get is now also no longer the most unpopular president, his poll numbers are similar to Democratic President Jimmy Carter in May 1978, still, not the most promising comparison to the one-term president. With Trump’s numbers in a “Goldilocks zone,” where he can neither harm nor help his party, and Republicans will have it easier as a result to retain power, while Democrats will have to work harder for control of Congress.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Politics May 9, 2018: In the #MeToo era Town and Country magazine uninvites Monica Lewinsky from event because Bill Clinton attends

In the #MeToo era Town and Country magazine uninvites Monica Lewinsky from event because Bill Clinton attends

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Wikipedia Commons

The age of #MetToo is not enough to change the age of old views of sexism and abuse of power. History keeps repeating itself for former White House intern Monica Lewinsky as she yet again is at the receiving end of discrimination because of her past involvement with former President Clinton. On Tuesday, May 9, 2018, Lewinsky took to Twitter to announce she had been disinvited from an event on social change because Clinton would now be attending. Lewinsky tweeted about the incident but did not name the magazine, hosting the event, which is believed to be Town and Country and their philanthropy summit.

The affair and resulting scandal led Clinton to be only the second president impeached. Twenty years later the #MeToo movement has been outing sexual abuse and harassment from men in positions of power who abused it, then silenced these women or tarnished their credibility. It is shocking in this era for this type of preferential behaviors to still occur nevermind past an event on social change.

On Twitter Lewinsky wrote, “Please don’t invite me to an event (esp one about social change) and — then after I’ve accepted — uninvite me because Bill Clinton then decided to attend/was invited. It’s 2018. Emily Post would def not approve.” Lewinsky then posted that it was a magazine that disinvited her, adding they offer to let her write an article in their publication. Lewinsky tweeted, “p.s. … and definitely, please don’t try to ameliorate the situation by insulting me with an offer of an article in your mag.”

The tweet has gone viral, with the original tweet been retweeted over 4,500 times and liked over 27,000 times. The second post was retweeted over 400 times and liked nearly 5,000 times. The comments, however, have not all been supportive, with many taking her issue with her bringing up Emily Post’s rules of etiquette considering her affair with Clinton. The bullying in itself is symptomatic of the era of social media but disregards the change in philosophy the #metoo movement has brought about.

In 1998, almost every time President Clinton was mentioned in the news so was Lewinsky then 24 years old. For over six months from the time Matt Drudge broke news of the Clinton-Lewinsky involvement until mid-August when the president finally admitted to the affair and apologized and then with the September release of the Starr Report, throughout the fall when House of Representatives voted to impeach Clinton for “high crimes and misdemeanors” perjury and obstruction of justice through to early 1999 when the Senate finally acquitted Clinton, one could not read or watch the news without Monica Lewinsky being discussed, analyzed, mocked and ridiculed. Lewinsky became involved with Clinton in November 1995, when she was a 22-year-old White House intern and the “encounters” and affair continued on into 1997. The relationship became public knowledge through the taped revelations of informant Linda Tripp in the midst of the Paula Jones sexual harassment case after Clinton had asked Lewinsky to lie in her deposition for the case about their involvement.

Twenty years later and the whole issue with the disinviting is reminiscent of the bullying in the news when the scandal broke. Whereas Lewinsky was not believed at first, Clinton retained high poll numbers as she was vilified. Even after Clinton admitted he lied to the American public, he escaped impeachment, while Lewinsky became late-night fodder. She escaped the public eye for years, re-emerging in 2014 as a Vanity Fair contributor, where she wrote about the scandal and subsequent bullying in the article entitled “Shame and Survival.” She has since worked as a writer and anti-bullying advocate focusing particularly on cyberbullying and online harassment because she calls herself “patient zero,” the first to suffer from cyberbullying on a wide scale. In a 2015 TED TalkLewinsky, expressed, “What that meant for me personally was that overnight I went from being a completely private figure to a publicly-humiliated one worldwide. I was Patient Zero of losing a personal reputation on the global scale almost instantaneously.”

The event, Lewinsky was referring to was posh Town and Country magazine’s fifth annual philanthropy summit in New York. The magazine tweeted early in the day about Clinton’s attendance, writing, Welcome to the 2018 #TandCPhilanthropy Summit! Watch LIVE as @BillClinton of @ClintonFdn introduces @Emma4Change … https://t.co/IoNfCmwIFU — TOWN&COUNTRY (@TandCmag) May 9, 2018. Clinton was to introduce Parkland shooting survivor and gun control advocate Emma Gonzalez.

Among the other panels at the summit, was “Activism as the New Philanthropy,” “Rewriting the History of Violence,” “The Politics of Patronage,” “The Future of Cancer Care,” “Conscious Capitalism,” and “How to Make Philanthropy a Family Tradition.” Among the attendees and panelists was a mix of advocates and celebrities. According to Town and Country, they consist of “Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda, a Pulitzer Prize, Tony-, Emmy-, and Grammy Award-winning composer, lyricist, and actor will headline the event along with his family. Additional panelists and speakers include model Karlie Kloss, television anchor and O, The Oprah Magazine editor at large Gayle King, actor Bradley Cooper, entrepreneur Sean Parker, and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes.” The magazine also honored “ Chef and food activist José Andrés, the James Beard Foundation 2018 Humanitarian of the Year.”

The #Metoo has revisited not only the prevalent sexual abuse and harassment that was pushed under the rug but also the meaning of consent especially when there is a difference in power between the two parties. The lopsided power in employment, at universities, relationships between bosses and employees and professors and students particularly. In light of this, Lewinsky, who persistently claimed it was consensual and she was not a victim, but she is currently reconsidering it in light of the #MeToo movement.

Recently, Lewinsky in a March 2018, Vanity Fair article entitled, “Emerging from the ‘House of Gaslight’ in the age of #metoo” re-examined her relationship with former President Bill Clinton. Lewinsky expressed, “I now see how problematic it was that the two of us even got to a place where there was a question of consent. Instead, the road that led there was littered with inappropriate abuse of authority, station, and privilege. (Full stop.)” It impossible to believe a recent university graduate and former White House intern had a choice in her relationship with the president of the country and most powerful man in the free world. The direction of the relationship was always directed by the more powerful one, no matter what.

The fact that 20 years later, Town and Country and the social media is still acting the same towards Lewinsky, shows that the #MeToo movement is not advancing women’s plight and credibility as much as they believe. No matter if Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, and other celebrities, politicians, and journalists fall as result; Bill Clinton is still coasting on the power of the presidency. Democratic New York Senator and former Clinton ally Kirsten Gillibrand caused shock waves when this past November when she told the New York Times she believed Clinton should have resigned during the scandal in 1998. She was right, he should not still have the esteem after his treatment of women not only Lewinsky but including an accusation of rape from early his political career.

Clinton, the aggressor is being treated like a victim, needing Town and Country to impose a restraining order to protect him from Lewinsky. The mentality and preferential treatment are reprehensible, not only is it reminiscent of 20 years ago, but in an era long before the feminist movement, and Lewinsky is still bearing the Scarlet Letter A, while Clinton is revered. For the #MeToo movement to truly cause change, situations like this should never occur and all women should oppose it and speak out against such second-class treatments.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Politics May 7, 2018: First Lady Melania Trump’s poll numbers surge as she unveils Be Best initiative

HEADLINE NEWS

Headline_News

POLITICS

First Lady Melania Trump’s poll numbers surge as she unveils Be Best initiative

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

White House Twitter

While her husband’s poll numbers stagnate, First Lady Melania Trump’s polls numbers are surging to heights only in President Donald Trump’s dreams. According to a CNN / SSRS poll released on Monday, May 7, 2018, Mrs.Trump now has a 57 percent favorability rating, up 10 percent from January. Mrs. Trump’s numbers are better than her husband has ever experienced. The good news in the polls comes as the first lady unveiled her “Be Best” child welfare program in a Rose Garden ceremony.

The first lady’s rise in popularity coincides with President Trump’s scandals, particularly the revelation he had an affair with adult film actress Stormy Daniels in 2006 just after the birth of first couple’s son, Barron. First Lady Melania is benefitting from the same surge in public approval from members of all political parties as former First Lady Hillary Clinton did 20-years ago when President Bill Clinton was embroiled in a scandal involving an affair with former White House intern, Monica Lewinsky.

According to the new CNN poll, the first lady has a 57 percent approval rating, while only 27 of respondents have a negative view of her. The numbers have risen because of Democrat approval of the first lady, with 15 percent having a more favorable view of her since January. The numbers have only increased by five percent among Republicans. Despite the increase, still, a majority of Democrats have an unfavorable opinion of Mrs. Trump, 40 to 38 percent.

Melania’s number has risen because of increased support from the nation’s women with an addition of 13 percent, to just seven percent of men. In total, 54 percent of women view the first lady favorably, with only 30 percent not. Melania’s last best polling was in March 2017, when she had a 52 percent favorable rating versus 32 unfavorable. Although first ladies usually have higher favorability than the presidents, the difference between President and Mrs. Trump’s poll rating is more glaring. Trump only has a 41 percent approval rating with a 53 percent disapproval in the same CNN poll.

CNN cites the “sympathy” factor as the main reason Melania’s numbers have increased. Unlike her predecessor, when news emerged of each affair the president had during their marriage, the first lady did not show a united front and did do not stand by her man as Hillary Clinton famously quipped in a 60 Minutes interview during the 1992 presidential campaign. Instead, Melania asserted her independence from her husband. In January, after news of the affair with Stormy Daniels become public, the first First Lady did not join the president on his trip to the economic forum in Davos, Switzerland and she traveled herself to the capital for Trump’s first State of the Union address.

In February, when news broke that the president had another affair with Playboy model Karen McDougal in 2006, the first First Lady chose to travel to Andrews Air Force base to travel with the president. Melania Trump did not want to walk across the White House lawn to Marine One with the president, a photo-op so common in the Clinton era, during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. In between, especially during the recent state visit from France, Mrs. Trump avoided taking her husband’s hand. Through it all, she has not commented or defended her husband as Hillary famously did so in early 1998. Her stoic silence had garnered her sympathy from the American public.

Despite, the bump in favorability, her husband’s image still tarnished Melania and her numbers are not yet reaching her predecessors at this point in their first term. According to a CNN poll from September 2010 poll, Democrat Michelle Obama had a 62 percent favorable rating and only 25 percent unfavorable. Republican Laura Bush fared even better when a May 2002 CNN / Time poll had her with as 67 percent favorable rating, only 8 percent unfavorable, with 25 percent undecided.

Her poll bumps most resembles Hillary Clinton, whose husband President Bill Clinton faced his whole presidency with scandals and accusations. According to the Pew Research Center, Hillary had a 57 percent favorable rating in July 1994, the same point in her husband’s first term, and after her foray into healthcare policy. However, after the Lewinsky scandal broke and impeachment ensued Hillary’s numbers hit a record high. In March 1998, her favorable rating was 65 percent, in October it fell to 58 percent to rebound to 66 percent in December; a term high as impeachment hearing was going on in Congress. At the same time, President Clinton’s numbers fell to 51 percent.

First Lady Melania Trump’s high poll numbers come as she is coming into her own as the first lady. Two weeks ago she planned every aspect of her first state dinner welcoming France’s President Emmanuel Macron and first lady Brigette. Today, she unveiled her initiative “Be Best” in a Rose Garden speech. According to the White House, “BE BEST will concentrate on three main pillars: well-being, social media use, and opioid abuse.” The child welfare program emphasizes the problems children face with their physical and emotional health, drugs particularly the opioid crisis and cyberbullying on social media. Althotheirhere first lady is announcing her initiative 18-months into her tenure, she has spent her time on events concerning children. She announced in one of her rare presidential campaign speeches in 2016 that she would be focusing on cyberbullying as First Lady.

In her 10-minute speech, with her husband present Melania unveiled her program. Mrs. Trump expressed, “As a mother and as the first lady, it concerns me that in today’s fast-paced and ever-connected world, children can be less prepared to express or manage their emotions and oftentimes turn to forms of destructive or addictive behavior such as bullying, drug addiction or even suicide.” The first lady also explained where the initiative’s name originates, “I feel strongly that as adults we can and should be best at educating our children about the importance of a healthy and balanced life.”

The most controversial part of the first lady’s program is cyberbullying. Here again, Melania is showing her independence from her husband. The president is well known for his insults on the campaign trail and especially on Twitter and he is considered the nation’s bully-in-chief. The first lady almost seemed to be schooling her husband discussing the initiative, saying, “As we all know, social media can both positively and negatively affect our children. But too often, it is used in negative ways. When children learn positive online behaviors early on, social media can be used in productive ways and can affect positive change.” That independence from her husband, his scandals, vices, and policies, are why Melania Trump is setting herself apart and gaining the public’s trust.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

News May 5, 2018: Justify makes history beats Apollo’s 136-year-old curse to win the 144th Kentucky Derby

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Headline_News

NEWS

Justify makes history beats Apollo’s 136-year-old curse to win the 144th Kentucky Derby

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Kentucky Derby Facebook

It was a history-making day at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May. On May 5, 2018, the odds-on favorite Justify won the 144th Kentucky Derby. Still, Justify beat the odds stacked against him, winning on the rainiest day in derby history on a muddy track after three inches of rain, while becoming only the second horse in history to win the derby after not running during his two-year-old season. The 2017 champion two-year-old and Eclipse award winner Good Magic came in a surprise second, with Audible coming in third. This is the first year the Kentucky Derby’s purse was doubled to 2 million. While trainer Bob Baffert picked up his fifth derby win, the second most in history.

The undefeated Justify won all three races he ran in 2018, including the Santa Anita Derby, a major Kentucky Derby prep race. Hall of fame jockey Mike Smith, 52 rode Justify to his second derby victory. Breaking from the seventh gate, the 3-1 odds-on favorite, rode in his comfort spot of second place in the backstretch behind Promises Fulfilled. Then Justify went to first at the 3/4-mile marker and never looked back. Early on rival Bolt d’Oro tried to catch up, then fell back. Towards the last turn, Good Magic had a good try, but in the end, barely beat Audible for second place. Even in the steady heavy rain, Justify did not have any mud on his face as he crossed the finished line by two and a half lengths, finishing the 1 ¼ mile race in 2:04.20. He earned $1,432,000, the largest purse for a Kentucky Derby winner.

Justify was one of two horses running in this year’s derby, who did not have their maiden race as a two-year-old, the other was Magnum Moon. There has not been a horse since the gelding Apollo, who won the Kentucky Derby in 1882, to win without starting as a two-year-old. The draught has become known as the Curse of Apollo. In the intervening 136 years, 61 horses have made the attempt and failed. Eight came close, two finished second, while five finished third. ESPN noted, “The best of that lot were arguably Hall of Famers Coaltown (lost to 1948 Triple Crown winner Citation), Forego (lost to Triple Crown winner Secretariat in 1973) and Curlin (lost to Street Sense in 2007).” Justify did not race because he needed to grow into his massive size. Like Apollo, Justify is a chestnut, but with a white blaze.

The curse had practical reasons up until the turn of this century, where horses ran races in the double digits before reaching the derby. Now key races allow horses to accumulate points, and they are given more time in-between races. The last Kentucky Derby winner to have more than 10 starts was California Chrome in 2014, who was a two-time Eclipse award-winning horse of the year. Justify’s three wins are in line with another famed derby winner Big Brown in 2008.

Baffert tried to compare Justify to his other recent great horses, 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and Breeder’s, Pegasus and Dubai World Cup winner Arrogate. Baffert told the press, “Him and American Pharoah and Arrogate, these horses are cut from a different… They are just so great.” Baffert also complimented his champion horse, saying, “I was just in awe of the performance. That’s the best Kentucky Derby-winning performance that I brought up here.” Jockey Smith, who has won 5,000 races including the 2005 derby on Giacomo, also did not mince words of praise. Smith expressed, “I can’t describe how special this horse is, I don’t have the words for it.”

This is the sixth year in a row the favorite has won, the longest stretch in history. If Justify is anything like Baffert’s last derby winner American Pharoah, he might just end up winning the Triple Crown. The next jewel is the Preakness Stakes on May 19, at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, and then the Belmont Stakes on June 9 in Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

May 4, 2018: Quebec has lowest high school graduation rate in North America

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Headline_News

EDUCATION

Quebec has lowest high school graduation rate in North America

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Wikipedia Commons

When a bachelors degree has become the standard to get a good job, one location in the North American continent lags behind in their high school graduation rate. Only 64 percent of public high school students graduate in the Canadian province of Quebec according to The Institut du Quebec studyreleased on Tuesday, May 1, 2018,, in partnership with the Conference Board of Canada and HEC Montréal. Mia Homsy, the director of the Institut du Québec co-wrote the study with economist Simon Savard. While the number only rises to 69 percent when private school students are counted. The study looked at the graduation rates for students that complete their studies within a five-year period divided between public and private schools and overall going back to 2008 through 2015. When looking at the public school numbers Quebec, it has the lowest graduation rate in the entire continent, Canada, and the United States.

Quebec’s high school system is different than anywhere else in Canada and the US. Students start in grade seven or second one and go to grade 11 or secondary 5, a full grade less than us the norm. This is because before entering university in the province, high school graduates are required to attend a junior college called Cegep where they can take either the pre-university stream or a career diploma. Additionally, Quebec’s school system is not only divided by public or private or in the US charter schools but by language where students either go to an English or French system, with the majority in the French as it is the provinces official language. The graduation rates are greatly affected by the language disparities.

The study found that in Quebec that the overall graduation rate was between 68 and 69 percent, with 64 percent graduating within five years in the public school system and nearly 84 percent from private schools. In the last ten years, Quebec’s rates have dropped from 65 to 64 percent, while neighboring province Ontario’s rate increased from 72 to 84 percent. Ontario has instituted a number of reforms that have contributed to their increased rate including starting school at four-years-old while making attendance mandatory until 18 the age of students graduating grade 12 and requiring teachers to continue their education. During high school, they have made it easier for students who fail to redo just a part of the subject with a credit-recovery program. They also have a hands-on learning program and the option to take specialized courses, which keeps students interested. Students are the most at risk of dropping out in grades 9 and 10.

Quebec argues that they have determined their graduation rate is 71 percent for 2014 according to their calculations. They are also objecting to the comparisons with Ontario. One of the reasons is the different marks required to pass in Quebec it is 60 percent versus 50 percent in Ontario. Education Minister Sébastien Proulx was angered by the report. Proulx told the press, “I’m not saying these distinctions justify anything. What I’m saying is that you have to compare apples to apples.”

The overall public high school graduation rate for Canada is 77 percent. The graduation rate in Quebec is 8 percent lower than the next province Saskatchewan, whose rate is 72 percent. In addition to Ontario, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick all have an 84 percent graduation rate. Canada and its provinces all pale to the graduation rates in the US. High school graduation rates in the US have reached an all-time high, in the 2014-15 year, the same last year in the Canadian study, the rate was 83.2 percent for public high school graduates who complete their studies in the normal four-year period. There numbered have been rising in the US for the last five years reported. The highest rate was in Iowa with 90.8 percent, while the lowest was in the District of Columbia at 68.5 percent, which was still four points higher than Quebec’s public school rate. The rate increased to 84 percent in 2016.

Unlike in the United States where graduation rates are determined more by poverty, in Quebec language, gender and disability are the factors that are lowering the rate. Only half of the boys that go to high school graduate. The biggest problem is with male students, where only 51.4 percent graduate within five years as of 2014. Quebec public schools have the largest disparity between the genders, 14 percent, with 71 percent of females compared to 57 percent of males graduating by the time they are 18. The national average in Canada of students, who complete their studies by age 19 since there is a grade 12, is 81 percent of females, and 71 percent of males. While in Ontario, it’s 87 percent of females and 82 percent of males graduating high school.

The numbers shrink in Quebec, when looking at the students graduating on time, to 67 percent of females and only 51 percent of male students. The differences increase when comparing the school language systems. In the Anglophone board, there are the largest graduation rates in the public system with 80 percent of female students and 70 percent of males. Proulx also believes French parents are not emphasizing the importance of education enough which is why students do fare as well in the Francophone schools. The education minister told the press, “We need people to get involved. Historically, on the francophone side, yes we’ve had school dropouts but there is also a parental-dropout problem. It is not valorized enough. We have to look at ourselves in the eye as a society.”

Disabilities is another factor. While only 31 percent of students with disabilities graduate although they represent 30 percent of all students in the province. Special needs students also face a gender disparity with 70 percent being males. One of the problems leading todropouts is the province does not mainstream the students enough.

One of the reasons that the rate is so low in public schools is because the provincial government continues to cut their funding, with 1.5 billion less in the budget from 2010 to 2016. Quebec spends less on its students than Ontario. The teachers’ union Fédération autonome de l’enseignement (FAE) commented to the press, “How could the authors of the report claim that the chronic underfunding of the public school system in Quebec hasn’t hurt Quebec students.” The federation represents 34,000 teachers. The teachers saying they are teaching with austerity measures. This is despite the province investing 1.8 billion to increase the graduation rate to 85 by 2030.

The co-author of the study and the director of the Institut du Québec, Mia Homsy thinks Quebec needs to do more or else they will continue to lag behind. Homsy told the Globe and Mail, “We have to do a better job of following our students, we have to rethink every decision we’ve made in the past decade. Something’s not working but nobody knows what the problem is. It’s a black box. And as long as advanced data are lacking, Quebec’s long-term efforts to catch up will be incomplete.” Among the basic suggestions, Quebec needs to cut class sizes, make kindergarten for four-year-olds olds mandatory, integrate special needs students, and keep better records of data for starters.

Although, high school students in Quebec do not complete their studies in five years, most eventually receive it. Within seven years the graduation rate is 80 percent and among those aged 25 to 34, 89 percent have a degree. Still, Quebec is behind British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, where the provinces have a 93 percent high school graduation rate by 34-years-old. However, the later one completes their studies the fewer opportunities for higher education and reaching one’s earning potential. Quebec has one consolation, the dropout rate has decreased from 20 percent in 1999-2000 to 12 percent in 2015.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.