Promoting Yourself: 52 Lessons for Getting to the Top . . . and Stayin

The Behavioral Aspects of Poverty
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We don't have a vendetta against homosexuals and we respect the Act. One father at the school, whose six-year-old daughter attends the school, said his wife wanted to leave the country rather than let her daughter attend the lessons. The man, who did not want to be named, said: 'My daughter has been asking questions my wife did not know how to answer. A family who live near me have already returned to Pakistan because of it. Some of the parents said Islam did not accept homosexuality, while others said they were not against it, but accused the teacher of promoting 'personal beliefs'.

Parents and children demonstrate outside the Parkfield Community School in Birmingham.

Mr Moffat said he tried to meet parents, but stopped when they became 'personal and aggressive'. He has described receiving threats from parents online. He told the BBC: 'I have felt very threatened Currently, Year Five children, aged nine and ten, are taught about puberty and reproduction. Some of the protesters at the school in Birmingham said Islam did not accept homosexuality.

The Government is, however, bringing in new compulsory 'relationships' education which will include teaching tolerance of same sex couples and transgender people.

Parkfield Community School has said it wants pupils to be 'accepting and to welcome anybody'. In a statement it said it was 'disappointed' by the protest but had 'no plans' to drop the 'successful' No Outsiders programme. The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. Share this article Share. Full text of leaflet handed out to parents outside Parkfield School 'Brothers and sisters, is it OK for your children to be gay? Comments Share what you think. View all.

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Steve Webb Vanessa called home, looking for reassurance. Her mother had always been so supportive, but now she sounded doubtful about whether Vanessa was really qualified to succeed at an elite school like the University of Texas. But it felt like that was maybe the reality of the situation.

You know, moms are usually right. I just started questioning everything: Am I supposed to be here? Am I good enough? There are thousands of students like Vanessa at the University of Texas, and millions like her throughout the country — high-achieving students from low-income families who want desperately to earn a four-year degree but who run into trouble along the way. Many are derailed before they ever set foot on a campus, tripped up by complicated financial-aid forms or held back by the powerful tug of family obligations.

Many are overwhelmed by expenses or take on too many loans. And some do what Vanessa was on the verge of doing: They get to a good college and encounter what should be a minor obstacle, and they freak out. When you look at the national statistics on college graduation rates, there are two big trends that stand out right away. The first is that there are a whole lot of students who make it to college — who show up on campus and enroll in classes — but never get their degrees. If you include community-college students in the tabulation, the dropout rate is more than half, worse than any other country except Hungary.

The second trend is that whether a student graduates or not seems to depend today almost entirely on just one factor — how much money his or her parents make. When you read about those gaps, you might assume that they mostly have to do with ability. Rich kids do better on the SAT, so of course they do better in college. But ability turns out to be a relatively minor factor behind this divide. Take students like Vanessa, who do moderately well on standardized tests — scoring between 1, and 1, out of 1, on the SAT. If those students come from families in the top-income quartile, they have a 2 in 3 chance of graduating with a four-year degree.

If they come from families in the bottom quartile, they have just a 1 in 6 chance of making it to graduation. The good news for Vanessa is that she had improved her odds by enrolling in a highly selective college. It may seem counterintuitive, but the more selective the college you choose, the higher your likelihood of graduating.

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But even among the highly educated students of U. An internal U. So Vanessa was caught in something of a paradox. According to her academic record, she had all the ability she needed to succeed at an elite college; according to the demographic statistics, she was at serious risk of failing. But why? What was standing in her way? This year, for the first time, the University of Texas is trying in a serious way to answer that question. You also need to address their doubts and misconceptions and fears.

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To solve the problem of college completion, you first need to get inside the mind of a college student. The person at the University of Texas who has been given the responsibility for helping these students succeed is a year-old chemistry professor named David Laude. He is, by all accounts, a very good college professor — he illustrates the Second Law of Thermodynamics with quotations from Trent Reznor and Leonard Cohen and occasionally calls students to the front of the class to ignite balloons filled with hydrogen into giant fireballs. But he was a lousy college student.

As a freshman at the University of the South, in Sewanee, Tenn. And I was tremendously bad at studying.

Everything was just overwhelming. He figured out college, then he figured out chemistry, then he got really good at both, until he wound up, 20 years later, a tenured professor at U.

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Perhaps because of his own precarious college experience, Laude paid special attention as a professor to how students were doing in his class. They got it. To many professors, this pattern simply represents the natural winnowing process that takes place in higher education. That attitude is especially common in the sciences, where demanding introductory classes have traditionally been seen as a way to weed out weak students. But Laude felt differently. The students who were failing were mostly from low-income families.

Many of them fit into certain ethnic, racial and geographic profiles: They were white kids from rural West Texas, say, or Latinos from the Rio Grande Valley or African-Americans from Dallas or Houston. And almost all of them had low SAT scores — low for U.

Promoting Yourself: 52 Lessons for Getting to the Top . . . and Staying There

The default strategy at U. And no wonder. They were outsiders from the beginning. He invited them all to apply to a new program, which he would later give the august-sounding name the Texas Interdisciplinary Plan, or TIP. But rather than dumb down the curriculum for them, Laude insisted that they master exactly the same challenging material as the students in his larger section. In fact, he scheduled his two sections back to back. So he supplemented his lectures with a variety of strategies: He offered TIP students two hours each week of extra instruction; he assigned them advisers who kept in close contact with them and intervened if the students ran into trouble or fell behind; he found upperclassmen to work with the TIP students one on one, as peer mentors.

Even Laude was surprised by how effectively TIP worked. This cohort of students who, statistically, were on track to fail returned for their sophomore year at rates above average for the university as a whole, and three years later they had graduation rates that were also above the U. Two years ago, Laude was promoted to his current position — senior vice provost for enrollment and graduation management. His official mission now is to improve U.

The best way to do that, Laude decided, was to take the principles and practices that he introduced 15 years earlier with TIP and bring them to the whole Austin campus. One complicating factor for administrators at the University of Texas — and, indeed, one reason the school makes for such an interesting case study — is that U. After U. Austin has grown more popular over the last decade, the criterion for automatic admission has tightened; Texas high-school seniors now have to be in the top 7 percent of their class to earn admission.

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Automatic admits — Vanessa Brewer among them — make up about three-quarters of each freshman class. At high schools in the wealthier suburbs of Dallas, the top 7 percent of students look a lot like the students anywhere who go on to attend elite colleges. They are mostly well off and mostly white, and most of them rack up high SAT scores.

What sets U. The good news about these kids, from U.

The question is, can we do something for those students in their first year in college that can accelerate them and get them up to the place where they can be competitive with the affluent, advantaged students? Before he could figure out how to help those disadvantaged students, though, Laude first had to find out exactly who they were. This was relatively simple to determine in a single chemistry class, but with more than 7, students arriving on campus each year, finding the most vulnerable would be a challenge.

Like every big university, U. Laude wanted something that would help him predict, for any given incoming freshman, how likely he or she would be to graduate in four years.