Tag Archives: education

Motor-City Madness-Half of Detroit’s Adults are Illiterate

A recent study by the National Institute for Literacy says that nearly half (47%) of adults living in Detroit, Michigan lack the reading, writing, speaking and computational skills to function in everyday life situations. They are considered illiterate. They can’t fill out basic forms for things like job applications, welfare paperwork, driver’s licenses, etc. Also noted is the lack of reported “speaking skills.” If you can not write a letter or email to your electric company explaining why your payment will be late, most people would just pick up the phone and call the electric company and ask for an extension, yet many adults do not even have the speaking skills to do that today in Detroit. Talk about breeding a dysfunctional society! This leads to all government agencies having to hire extra people just to help the illiterate adults fill out any basic paperwork required. That leads to a bigger, more expensive local government that then becomes a financial drag on the rest of the State of Michigan. This is the vicious cycle of  a combination of education system failures and the career welfare mentality that is so prevalent in Detroit. The once great Motor City, the automotive capitol of the world, has been reduced to a dysfunctional, illiterate, crime-ridden example of everything that ails America today. I was raised in Northern Michigan and lived in Detroit in the 80’s, and it saddens me to see what it has become today.

Many people want to blame the teachers union for the high illiteracy rate in Detroit. Are the teachers so underpaid that they just do not feel it is their duty to make sure their students get a decent education? Apparently, this isn’t the case as we see by fact that the Detroit Federation of Teachers has the city dumping $15,945 dollars a year on every student today as opposed to $10,259 dollars per student just three years ago. DFT President Keith Johnson says it is not the job of the teacher’s union to make sure every Detroit student can read, and points to the lack of attendance standards as the root cause of the illiteracy problem in Detroit today. Mr. Johnson has a valid point there, as the average student in Detroit schools missed 46 days during the 2008-2009 school year! It is kind of hard to teach students anything when they are not attending classes.

According to Detroit’s school attendance policy, students are required to attend 92% of classes and not miss more than 14 school days per year. The problem is that there are no real consequences for school children, or parents, that do not make their children attend school. Here is a simple solution to help Detroit improve school attendance. If a child is missing too many school days, report it to the welfare office. Then make it mandatory that the parent(s) come in for a review and explain to them that no school will mean no welfare check the following month. This will also prove to the taxpayers and businesses paying for the welfare and education these children that the city of Detroit means business in cleaning up it’s dysfunctional illiteracy and school attendance problem. Let the parents find no welfare check in the mailbox a few times and watch how school attendance improves dramatically. Then, when  student attendance improves, Detroit’s well-paid teachers will not be able to use poor attendance as an excuse, and the City could then weed out the bad teachers, fire them, and keep the best teachers available. That would be a win-win situation for the children of Detroit and the taxpayers alike. My only question for the Mayor and School Superintendents of Detroit, is whether or not anyone has the courage to take the measures necessary to improve literacy in Detroit, or will they continue to let it sink to the levels of a dysfunctional, illiterate, third world ghetto ?

When I was raised in Michigan, being raised in the ghetto, or other dysfunctional welfare neighborhoods and subsidized housing projects, was something to be ashamed of, not something to be proud of. This is not the case in Detroit today, with rap groups and gangs names containing the word ghetto like it is something to be proud of. The taxpayers, loyal businesses, and good citizens that have had the courage to stay in Detroit should demand stiff reforms in education attendance and welfare reform. Until then, they are as big a part of the problem as the very politicians that are dragging this once great city down.

 

 

Taxpayers are paying People Millions to Teach Stupidity

I have absolutely come to believe that I live in a nation where millions of American citizens must be voluntarily taking stupid pills. There can be no other explanation for the allowance of all the stupid ideas and idiotic practices that are being tolerated or, worse yet, accepted by many American taxpayers. From this country’s liberal political arena, to many of this country’s “places of higher learning” (i.e., colleges and high schools) stupid is being tolerated on unprecedented levels.

In what is supposed to be our Nation’s hallowed halls of Congress, politicians are doing anything but what is hallowed—and many people in this country have no problem with that! Now I understand that this nation has always had some “loony-tunes” in the political arena. And I also understand that there have always been a few citizens on the fringe who have supported these political weirdoes. The problem we are having today in this nation is that there are a lot of people who are blindly supporting the liberal ideologies that have permeated many aspects of American life.

In many of our nation’s colleges and high schools professors/teachers are allowed to teach (i.e., spew out) things that would have been considered “crazy-man talk” (by a vast majority of Americans) in days gone by. Some of the most ridiculous philosophies imaginable are being passed off as higher learning in many of America’s schools.

This nation has way too many socialistic college (and even high school) teachers pushing and forcing (not truthfully teaching) ridiculous political or philosophical babblings without being held accountable for their absurdity. We have literally thousands of professors in colleges who are promoting (not teaching) socialism, communism, fascism and even terrorism as though they are a good thing. A professor at a Brooklyn College was recently fired for promoting openly Palestinian bombers in his classroom.

A dentist or doctor who teaches, promotes or practices dangerously stupid medical ideas is arrested and has their medical license revoked. A semi-driver who teaches, promotes or practices dangerous driving procedures is stopped from being allowed to not only drive but liable for teaching or promoting unsafe driving practices. An airplane pilot who teaches and/or practices unsafe flying procedures soon loses his license, and is definitely not allowed to teach others in an educational environment. And yet we have a nation full of college professors who are not only teaching young, naïve, vulnerable college students many stupid (and sometimes dangerous) anti-American philosophies and ideologies, they are openly practicing them without really being held responsible. Occasionally you hear or read of some fruit-cake professor being fired for not be correct or factual for something they taught, but that is the exception rather than the rule.

True-blooded American Patriots need to put a stop to all this taxpayer supported “educational” foolishness. Just as we need to end taxpayer supported abortions, things done in the name of “art” and “public” (i.e., liberal) television and radio. Below is a partial list of the some of the idiotic things that we the taxpayer are “supporting” through our tax monies.

Literature and Language

These courses will help you learn to do a wide variety of things, from conversing with the elves of Lord of the Rings to analyzing the deeper meanings of zombies and vampires in popular literature.

  • Arguing with Judge Judy: Popular “Logic” on TV Judge Shows: Ever felt like the plaintiffs on TV judge shows have some pretty questionable logic? This class addresses that subject directly, allowing students to pull apart courtroom excuses just like Judge Judy. [University of California, Berkeley]
  • The Adultery Novel In and Out of Russia: Who doesn’t love a good tale of adultery? This class asks students to consider it as a literary theme, however racy or immoral it may be. [University of Pennsylvania]
  • The Vampire in Literature and Cinema: The growing popularity of vampires in popular media should make many students out there pretty jealous they can’t take this class focusing on the infamous bloodsuckers. [University of Wisconsin]
  • Invented Languages: Klingon and Beyond: You don’t have to be a sci-fi nerd to appreciate the subject matter in this course at the University of Texas focusing on the reasons, rules, and social realities of created languages. [University of Texas, Austin]This course was taught by the world’s foremost expert on this language, who was even a consultant to the makers of the films. While not practical, it certainly speaks to super fans of the series. [University of Wisconsin]
  • Harry Potter Lit: If you want to appreciate the Harry Potter novels as more than just a fun read, head to The Ohio State University to spend good money exploring the larger themes within the seven book series. [The Ohio State University]
  • Those Sexy Victorians: While sexy usually isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of an era shocked by the sight of ankle, this course delves into the interest in sexual matters behind the prudish exterior during the Victorian era. [Ole Miss]
  • The Living and UnDead: An Inquiry into Zombies in Cinema and Literature: While you might often feel like a zombie stumbling to your early morning classes, this course takes a deeper look at what is so fascinating and horrifying about these brain-craving monsters. [Ole Miss]

History

Learn about the aspects of history that are often overlooked in these courses:

  • The Phallus: Explore the role this part of the male body has played in society from the early, often sexist, works of Freud to newer feminist theories. [Occidental College]
  • American Degenerates: Learn more about the relationship between writers and early Americans and their sense of personal identity in this course. [Brown University]
  • Comparative History of Organized Crime: While the streets may be education enough for real gangsters, this course aims to teach students about the history and culture of the mafia around the world. [Williams College]
  • European Witchcraft: While so-called witches are still around today, you can learn about the origins of what people thought were witches and the often extreme and illogical measures they took to get rid of them. [Oneonta College]
  • Sex, Rugs, Salt, & Coal: Not only does this course have a snappy name, it also is full of topics students find compelling, including sex, slavery, money, and more. [Cornell University]
  • Age of Piracy: Johnny Depp’s kooky but sexy Jack Sparrow has gotten many students interested in learning more about the pirating arts, and this course offers them the chance to take a look at the much less appealing, real-life lives of pirates. [Arizona State University]

Sociology, Psychology, and Anthropology

Gain a deeper understanding of social and cultural issues through these courses on often touchy subjects:

  • The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil: This course examines a question that many people ask themselves–how can good people do bad things? [Massachusetts Institute of Technology]
  • Border Crossings, Borderlands: Transnational Feminist Perspectives on Immigration: Here you can understand what feminists think about immigration. [University of Washington]
  • The American Vacation: Study your vacation time more closely with the knowledge this historical and social course offers. [University of Iowa]
  • Mail Order Brides? Understanding the Philippines in Southeast Asian Context: As off-putting as it sounds to most people, mail order brides are a real thing, and students at this prestigious university can learn why the phenomenon exists and is so prevalent in the Philippines through this course. [Johns Hopkins University]
  • Whiteness: The Other Side of Racism: This course teaches students about their role as white members of society and has been much criticized for promoting guilt about students’ race. [Mount Holyoke College]
  • Alien Sex: Explore the weird, wild and depraved aspects of sex between humans and monsters alike. [University of Rochester]
  • Daytime Serials: Family and Social Roles: Students in Wisconsin can take this course that explores the familial relationships of characters on soap operas–essential for those who just can’t get enough of their programs. [U of Wisconsin]
  • It’s the End of the World as We Know it (And I Feel Fine): While we all hope the world won’t be ending anytime soon, this course explores the variety of Armageddon scenarios out there and why we’re so obsessed with the end of it all. [Alfred University]
  • Purity and Porn in America: Through this course, students can learn about the role between sexuality and modesty–taking a hard look at the way it’s dealt with in modern society. [Alfred University]
  • UFOs in American Society: If you’re the Fox Mulder type, then you’ll be jealous of students at Temple University who get to learn more about the role of UFOs in popular culture in this course. [Temple University]
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Revolting: You might think you know what is revolting and what’s not, but this course offers to teach you what it really means to be disgusting, shameful, and pitiful–among other things. [Alfred University]

Science

Make your science education a little more interesting with these courses that draw on sexuality, garbage, and fiction for inspiration:

  • The Science of Superheroes: While it might sound like fun and games, this course takes superheroes as a means to teach students real lessons about physics. [University of California, Irvine]
  • The Science of Harry Potter: Unicorns and magical spells might not be real, but this course addresses the magical happenings of the Harry Potter series through a scientific lens, applying physics to things like quidditch. [Frostberg State University]
  • Joy of Garbage: While it might sound like an ideal course for clutter bugs, this course is actually designed to teach students how to manage garbage and encourage them to make less waste and recycle more. [University of California, Berkeley]
  • “Far Side” Entomology: The much-beloved Far Side comics form the basis for this course that addresses the relationship between people and insects. [Oregon State University]
  • Facial Reconstruction: This course isn’t so much ridiculous as it is weird, being one of the few in the country that teaches students how to puzzle together the bones of the face to help figure out the identity of recovered remains. [University of Montana]
  • The Amazing World of Bubbles: No, this course isn’t about bubble baths or even bubble wrap. Instead, it explores the energy potential of the bubble. [California Institute of Technology]
  • Fem-Sex: Women of all ages and orientations enrolled in this course, teaching women about different definitions of sex, orgasms, sexual norms, and even taboos like incest. [Carleton College]

With all the ridiculous stuff that is being taught in many of America’s colleges these days it is absolutely the grace of God which has been keeping this country from becoming a hell-bent, hedonistic country. A hundred years ago these anti-American, anti-God, anti-morality college professors would have been arrested for treason. Two hundred years ago many of them would have been hunted down for promoting and practicing witchcraft-like philosophies. I truly believe that if the Founding Fathers had the ability to see the future there would have added an addendum to the Amendment dealing with freedom of speech which would have limited freedom of speech for anti-American, anti-constitutional liberals who teach, promote, or support the likes of communists, Marxists, fascists, socialists and even terrorists.

And what is really sad is the fact that not only do all these anti-capitalistic, anti-American (i.e., unpatriotic) pro-Marxist/fascist/communist/socialist professors and students spew out their political rhetoric in many college campuses paid for with Capitalistic (i.e., taxpayers) monies, many of these students are only in college because of the financial donations of big, rich capitalistic business owners.

Conservative American taxpayers not only need to put a stop to supporting all these anti-American, anti-constitutional college philosophies with their tax dollars, Americans must unite and simply put an end to these types of anti-American teachings all-together—especially if they are supported by the our tax money. Americans who love this country need to seriously start cleaning house. Instead of allowing logical truth and moral and political absolutes to determine right from wrong, we have allowed political correctness to determine right from wrong, and good from evil. I believe we need to start calling out these anti-American, anti-constitutional, tree hugging, whale saving, baby killing professors and teachers for what they are; people purposely trying to destroy the very moral fiber (God and His ways) that this country was founded on.

“The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”
-John Quincy Adams 6th US President and son of John Adams

 

 

The Reality Of The Situation In This Country

It appears that we have hit a new low in America. I just read an article via The Blaze that says according to the search engine results over the last couple of days, teenagers do not know who Osama Bin Laden is. I wish I could say this surprises me, but it doesn’t.

I remember in the months before the 2010 mid-term elections there was a “man on the street” style interview with different people and the majority of them interviewed had no idea who anyone in politics was, outside of Barack Obama. There were even people who didn’t know who Joe Biden was.

However, you show them a picture of “The Situation”, and oh my goodness! They knew immediately who he was! In fact, if I remember correctly, one woman even talked about how “hot” he is.

Ironically, I had not a clue who “The Situation” is before that segment! I had to look it up and when I found out he is a reality show star I was appalled!

The reality of the situation in this country is very disturbing.

So the question comes down to this: Who do we have to blame?

The answer to this question is wide and varied, I’m sure.

Obviously, education starts at home. Unfortunately, too many parents see the TV as their babysitter, so from a very young age our children are sat in front of an electronic box spewing mostly garbage. And our children are soaking it up like a sponge!

As they get older they are usually allowed to watch things that children have no business watching. They are being educated alright, but they are being educated about things they shouldn’t know until much later. And though they may be watching TV, or being on the internet as they get a bit older, the thought of checking out the news is foreign to them.

Then there is the education system. They are too busy teaching our children about Earth Day, being “green”, that capitalism is “evil”, new math which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, and all the other various junk that they have no time for actual education of facts. Therefore, discussing news and world events that are actually relevant are ignored, all the while they shovel in the propaganda that is now classified as “news” but simply serves to further the leftist agenda.

And then there is our current administration. While I must say President Obama gave the best speech of his entire presidency Sunday night, he speaks out of both sides of his mouth. In January of 2009, President Obama said that it was “no longer necessary to kill Osama Bin Laden”. To his credit, he did say at that time that it would be his preference to “capture or kill him”, but it was no longer “necessary”.

Add in the fact that our President refuses to acknowledge that these are terrorists with ties to the Muslim religion, and up until very recently refused to even say it is terrorism, choosing rather to make it all sweet and mushy by  renaming  it “man-made disasters”. It is no wonder why most of this younger generation coming up has no clue what is going on and why killing Osama Bin Laden is news worthy all over the world!

The ever famous quote by poet and philosopher George Santayana should be a lesson to us. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

America, we have allowed our schools to be taken over by the leftist agenda. We have allowed a box to teach our children right from wrong, and the boxes right is more often than not our wrong! If this news story does not wake us up then I don’t know what will. What can we expect? We’ve become so complacent as a nation!

It has been not quite ten years ago that the attack of September 11 happened. Yes, in respect to capturing and killing the man who orchestrated these attacks, 10 years is a very long time for him to be free. However, ten years is nothing in the scope of history. If our kids do not know current history, how in the world do we expect them to know the history of this great nation?

We are indeed doomed to repeat our past if we do not take this seriously immediately and make the necessary changes to prevent this from happening! While there are many bright and beautiful things in our nation’s past, there are also some very dark times as well. Unfortunately, it appears as though we will more than likely repeat the darkest part of our past if things don’t make some drastic changes fast!

America, it’s time to wake up! I don’t know how many more warnings we are going to get!

Nuggets of Freedom

Last week, I asked my friend’s children “What do you think freedom means?” Her four-year old answered “It means eating chicken nuggets.” While her big brother found this answer hilarious, she is actually not that far off. Everywhere we look, the government is trying to tell parents what they may and may not feed their children.

The government has been consistently crossing the line in this, Michelle Obama’s pet project, her fight against obesity.  The first major step over this boundary happened in November of last year, when the San Francisco Board of Supervisors banned McDonald’s Happy Meals. The measure created nutritional requirements, and any meal which did not meet these requirements could not provide a toy with the meal. In addition, restaurants would haveto provide fruits and vegetables with any meal that came with a toy.

Supervisor Eric Mar, sponsor of the issue, said “We’re part of a movement that is moving forward an agenda of food justice,” Food justice? How about justice for parents who want to make decisions for their children?

Deep Fried Freedom

Now they’re looking at a similar ban in New York City. New York City Councilman Leroy Comrie’s bill would have similar nutritional guidelines, and would include a fine for restaurants that continue to provide toys without meeting these standards.  Mason Smoot, VP and GM of McDonald’s in the NY metro area said “We provide options for our customers and trust them to make the decisions that are right for their families. Politicians should too.” I can’t help but agree.

One of the big problems with this kind of state interference is that it begins to tiptoe further and further into our daily lives. First, we had the government telling parents what they could not feed their children: Aside from the fast food issue, schools banned sugary drinks, then any drinks at all (they would provide water), and desserts. Now we a have the government telling parents what they may feed their children. Little Village Academy, a public school in Chicago, we are seeing parents loose all options at all. Students at LVA are no longer allowed to bring a lunch from home, unless they have a medical excuse.

How do they justify this? Principal Elsa Carmona said that “Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school. It’s about the nutrition and the excellent quality food that they are able to serve (in the lunchroom). It’s milk versus a Coke. But with allergies and any medical issue, of course, we would make an exception.” It’s up to the parent to make an exception, not the principal. This is not a Chicago Public Schools mandate, it is up to each individual school’s principal.

1941 Poster from an Oklahoma School

CPS Spokeswoman Monique Bond wrote in an email “In this case, this principal is encouraging the healthier choices and attempting to make an impact that extends beyond the classroom.” Honestly, nobody finds this alarming? If that were the case, why not offer optional nutrition classes for parents, or send recommendations home with students who bring a packed lunch? This doesn’t provide the students or parents with the information to make good choices, it takes away the choice all together.

This policy requires all children who do not qualify for free meals to pay for lunch, which is yet another public intrusion into private wallets. “We don’t spend anywhere close to that on my son’s daily intake of a sandwich (lovingly cut into the shape of a Star Wars ship), Goldfish crackers and milk,” education policy professor Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach wrote in an email. “Not only would mandatory school lunches worsen the dietary quality of most kids’ lunches at Nettelhorst, but it would also cost more out of pocket to most parents! There is no chance the parents would stand for that.”

Some parents, of course, are happy to hand over responsibility to the government. Miguel Medina likes the policy. “The school food is very healthy,” he said, “and when they bring the food from home, there is no control over the food.” Why in the world should the government have “control” over the food your child eats? If you want to abdicate that responsiblity, sign them up for school lunches.

However, in this case, there may be additional forces at play. The federal government pays the school district for each free or reduced-price lunch served, and the caterer gets a fee for each lunch they provide. It makes me wonder if Rahm Emmanuel owns the school’s catering service.

Winning the Future in Florida: Scott signs Students Success Act.

Governor Scott signs Student Success Act

Jacksonville, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott signed Senate Bill 736, the Student Success Act, into law at the charter school, KIPP Impact Middle School in Jacksonville . The historic bill puts in place part of the Governor’s 7-7-7 Plan by requiring merit pay for Florida’s public educators based on student achievement.

“I am proud that the first bill I sign is this important legislation that will give Florida the best educated workforce to compete in the 21st century economy,” Governor Scott said.  “We must recruit and retain the best people to make sure every classroom in Florida has a highly effective teacher.”

Sponsored by Senator Stephen Wise and Representative Erik Fresen, the legislation changes how teacher performance is evaluated, including the following:

  • · Teachers will be evaluated using a scale of four levels for performance (highly effective, effective, needs improvement and unsatisfactory), instead of being evaluated as either satisfactory or unsatisfactory.  In 2009, 99.7 percent of teachers earned a satisfactory evaluation.
  • · At least half of an educator’s evaluation will be based on student learning gains for classroom teachers, 30 percent for non-classroom personnel and 40 percent for school administrators, instead of 100 percent of the evaluation being based on principal or peer review.
  • · Teachers in hard-to-staff subject areas, like math and science, will earn more money, instead of paying all teachers – regardless of subject taught – using the same scale.
  • · After July 1 of this year, new teachers will work on annual contracts, instead of receiving tenure after three years of satisfactory evaluations, which is essentially an employment contract for life.

What People Are Saying About the Student Success Act:

“This landmark bill recognizes that teachers are the most important factor in schools when determining a child’s success,” said StudentsFirst Founder and CEO Michelle Rhee. “We applaud Florida for its adoption of bold and comprehensive education measures that put students first.”

“The action taken today recognizes that quality teachers are the fundamental component of a first-rate education,” said CFO Jeff Atwater.  “Exceptional teachers will now be distinguished, celebrated and rewarded for their dedication and skill to impart knowledge that inspires our students.”

“The passage of Senate Bill 736, ‘The Student Success Act,’ would not have been a success without the months of collaborative committee work and public input from teachers, administrators and parents,” Senator Stephen Wise said.  “I’m thankful for the cooperation from the many groups and individuals who contributed to the discussion on instructional quality, along with the dedicated committee members.  Our teachers are incredibly influential and important to the success of our children and our future as a State.  I believe this bill will attract top-quality educators to Florida and foster a student-centered, world-class education system.”

“This is a momentous occasion for our state’s education system,” Representative Erik Fresen said.  “Excellent teachers are the driving force behind student success and this bill provides for a system that recognizes those highly effective educators and rewards them appropriately.”

Thank you Governor Scott for ensuring that all future schoolchildren will get the best education possible.

Arne Duncan and the Dept. of Education are Failing Our Kids

FoxNews.com published an article titled “America is Losing Science Brainpower Advantage”.  Where the author, Devin Powell, discussed a report that outlined the condition of our children’s ability to compete in the global markerplace.

The United States’ ability to compete globally in science and technology is on a “perilous path,” said a new report delivered Sept. 23 on Capitol Hill to a bipartisan group of policymakers, industry leaders, and academics.

American students continue to perform poorly in math and science compared to their counterparts abroad, the report claims. Though the United States is still a leader in innovation and produces a disproportionate share of the world’s wealth, other countries such as China are investing heavily in research and education and, according to the new report, threatening America’s competitiveness.

While many say that more government spending is needed to help our students become competitive, nothing could be further from the truth.  Government spending on education has outpaced the growth of the country, but the quality of education that the government is providing is slipping.

  • In 1980, federal, state and local government spent $152 Billion dollars on education which was about 5.5% of GDP
  • In 2010 usgovernmentspending.com is estimating that the government will spend $1.03 Trillion federal dollars on education or about 7.2% of GDP
  • Current projections have 2015 spending at $1.4 Trillion
*Source: http://usgovernmentspending.com

Spending has been rising since there has been spending on education.  Has education improved?  No.  Why would we continue to spend more?  Because we have been given no choice.

In a striking example of why government-paid employees should not be allowed to collectively bargain, teacher’s unions are bilking tax payers for money that should be going to actual education.  Most union labor agreements require that teachers get annual raises regardless of their performance – so-called “step raises”.  Did you get a raise this year simply because no one fired you?  Where is the incentive for teachers to become better teachers?  Other than the ludicrous step raises, a teacher’s best way to improve their salary is to become an administrator.  Wonderful, our kids will certainly become much better scientists and engineers as the education bureaucracy gets more top-heavy.

Teacher’s unions are negotiating with elected officials who will need the teacher’s unions to support them in the next election.  The elected officials will either give the unions what they want or face losing their positions to a new candidate that the union now sees as friendly.  It’s a scam and it’s your money.  Unionization of public employees is a conflict-of-interest.  Union support of elected officials is a conflict-of-interest.  Both practices must be abolished immediately.

Enter the “Disclose Act”, because it makes clear who is supporting whom, correct?  Not if the gigantic, tyrannical collection of supporters are .. you guessed it – Unions.  Unions are specifically given a pass in the disclose act.  They can continue strong-arming our elected officials into gifting them ridiculous salaries and benefits at our cost and a cost to our children’s education without any disclosure.

Homeschooling has grown 36% between 2003 and 2007, according to this article on Right Truth.  Parents have figured out the sham.   Americans are increasingly finding public education an oxymoron and are taking the matter into their own hands.   Private or Independent schools are certainly an attractive option, but considering the recession and Obama’s failure to support a voucher program, they can be a very expensive one.  Instead, parents are forced to pay the school taxes AND pay tuition at an independent institution – as if that weren’t the Department of Education’s plan all along.

So public education costs too much, the teacher’s unions have too much power, and our kids are now getting the worst education ever.  What is the department of education focused on?  Private education.  Arne Duncan’s troop of misfits is trying to shut down private education while the public sector is failing to perform its task.  Of course, we have to “follow the money”.  Private teachers are typically .. non-union.  Private education is not regulated in the same manner as public.  How long until they make private education unaffordable through over-regulation or make homeschooling illegal?

Even Obama admits that public schools are failing to properly educate our children.

In an appearance Monday morning on NBC’s “Today” show, Obama was asked by a woman in a television audience whether a public school in his home city could measure up to the standards of his children’s private school.

“I’ll be blunt with you: The answer is no right now,” the president replied. The D.C. public schools, he said “are struggling.”

Arne Duncan pushing the Stimulus Act in NY

Arne Duncan pushing the Stimulus Act in NY

At some point, someone has to be willing to re-do the public education system from the ground-up.  Unions need to be taken out of our kids’ classrooms.  Just like the economy, things in education are not getting better.  Obama has been summarily dismissing his economic and political staff.  Now, since Arne Duncan is pushing the status quo, President Obama, it’s time for him to go too.

Between the Lines of Obama’s Welcome Back To School Speech

Today Obama welcomed students back to school via a nationwide broadcast from Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School, a 2010 National Blue Ribbon School in Philadelphia. Masterman is a magnet school, attended by the daughter of Philly’s Mayor, Michael Nutter.

It is interesting that he chose a magnet school, where nearly all of the students are not only on track to graduate with excellent grades, but to attend good colleges. Though the text of the President’s speech was much a repeat of last year’s mantra to stay in school and work hard, but reading between the lines this year says much more than ever before:

Obama managed to steer clear of partisan politics, but he had no qualms at all about mentioning war, the recession and our children’s role in working hard to help America succeed. If you listened in, perhaps you heard some of what I heard.

His praise of Masterman and its hardworking students and his mantra that “Your future is in your hands. Your life is what you make of it. And nothing – absolutely nothing – is beyond your reach. So long as you’re willing to dream big. So long as you’re willing to work hard.” was an inspiring lead in to a mention of our world wide competition for excellence. He, of course, never mentions that he doesn’t think that America is exceptional, no matter how hard our citizens work.

He tells these children that hard work is essential for success, but doesn’t tell them that their success will bring about demonizing and targeting by those in lower classes at the behest of his Administration and those who believe that the successful are obligated to support the not so successful. He encourages giving to the community without telling them that they will be mandated to do so via bailouts, exploding entitlement programs and mandatory product purchases. He inspires by saying he will speak at their commencement if they prove they are the kind of class that can work hard, prepare for college and career and give back to community and country but doesn’t tell them that there are no jobs to be had and that his own economic advisor says they are not coming back any time soon.

Finally, our President tells these children and their gathered teachers, parents and administrators in this cream of the crop school, that while we need to take responsibility for ourselves, we must also take responsibility for others and help others reach their potential.  He says that America is a country that gives each of its sons and daughters the same chance to succeed, but he doesn’t tell them that the hard work he is pushing them to do will benefit those who don’t care about that opportunity, those who are not sons or daughters of America, and gain them nothing more than the government thinks they should have. America will succeed in the 21st century with their continued hard work, absolutely, but will they? At what cost?

I am glad I kept my kids home.

Ironically, this is from a Philly Food Stamp Service Ad.

“Indoctrination” is Such an Ugly Word

I recently read a Time Magazine article on youth indoctrination involving privately held utility companies and their involvement in teaching the importance of private ownership in public school via propaganda and donations. Accusations of youth indoctrination have been around since the dawn of time, but have you ever really looked up the definition? In definition, indoctrination differs from education in that those being supplied with information via indoctrination are not to question that information. Education, on the other hand, is supposed to encourage thought and even discourse. But, “indoctrination” is such an ugly word! There is another.  Perhaps you have heard it. Maybe in your children’s school as they are parting out classes. That word, the one so much more accepted, is “socialization”.

At some point, education moved from an imparting of history, practical knowledge, mathmatics, and scientific fact and theory and the concept of self thought to a culture of socializing information to shape the community view of children. A role that was previously held by family, neighbors, churches and real life experiences. Now, you can expect that your child will be offered, from the very beginning of their formal education,  nearly endless opportunities to “improve their school” and “help their community” in ways that do not offer individual growth or viewable results, but by participating in some form of “peace” ritual to solve school yard disputes and in fundraising to “help the poor”.

Parents who argue for this type of socialization in schools often do so because they are too busy to take on the job themselves. Imparting problem solving skills, confidence, compromise, and a love for community were all once the heart of family life and establishing a place in the community. It is easy to argue that some of the role of parenting needed to be handed off to school since economy often “requires” the absence of both parents to the workplace, but it would be a justification for relinquishing the most basic of parental obligations. The “socialization” of information via the public education system has created a much bigger monster than anyone could have ever imagined : the complete dependence of entire generations on each other, on the common good, and the lack of  individual voice in the face of wrongs done in the same of the very same “common good”. In other words, a lack of individual importance, ability and individual priorities and a sense of guilt to any child who thinks in terms of self or personal achievement.

Imagine, if you have a moment, the six year old who comes home with a brochure touting her school’s commitment to helping the poor. Imagine her gathering her pennies from her piggy bank and asking her parents for all that they can spare. Imagine that little girl, who has spent an hour in assembly listening to her educators tell her of her importance in helping these destitute masses who have not enough food, or clothing, and most certainly no toys and her innocent drive to donate the MOST pennies! And then, imagine her guilt when her parents must tell her that she must not donate her pennies and that there are none to spare from her parents because it went to her own family’s food, or home, or education fund for her future. Imagine her shame when she returns to school with no pennies, when the teacher proudly calls each student to turn in their donations and she has none. Now that you can see this eager child crushed and ashamed, imagine it happening every month, every week. Imagine each fundraiser she cannot participate in because there is no money at home, or because the money that is there has gone to other family priorities. Imagine the ice cream parties she misses and the class movies that do not happen because she did not help her class raise the most money or bring in the most canned goods. Imagine, at six, that she carries the weight of the poor, the disappointment of a classroom, and the feeling of not being able to help ANYONE, when so many need her.. already.. at the age of six.

By the way, the Time article I mentioned, was from 1928. The only thing that has changed is the word, because “indoctrination” is such an ugly one. “Socialization” sounds so much more… important and helpful to all.

U.S. Education System Snobbish, Stuck in the 1950's

The American education system isn’t the envy of the world.  It’s not even the prize of  U.S. citizens who are becoming more disenchanted with the archaic system the longer it continues.  It is a fine example of why the government is not the answer to what ills us.

This is an open thread that starts with some ideas on how it might be improved.  The purpose of this thread is to connect the thoughts from as many contributors as I can into a single presentation.  Comments to this article (or email submissions if that’s more comfortable) will be combined into a single presentation.

Americans are growing angry over many things the government is failing to do.  One of those things is basic education.

The anger isn’t with the teachers – they work hard and teach what they’re asked to teach.  Parents aren’t always to blame as they vary from over-bearing “helicopter parents” to nearly non-existent.  But there is anger.  Anger at the system itself.  A system that graduates just 77% of it’s students from secondary education (high school), lower than most developed countries.  Though graduates can read,write, do math, and recite some really basic history, they don’t have any real life or job skills after 13 years in the system.

Kids don’t just drop-out due to grades, sometimes it’s due to feeling like school isn’t teaching them anything useful.  In many cases, they may be right.

There are numerous proposals to reform education by putting more money into higher-technology tools, paying for tutors, buying better books, etc.  Throwing money at the problem has always been the politician’s and administrator’s answer and it has never worked.

A set of reforms based on American values and understanding the individual could be put in place that would help all students, not just the ones that want to be doctors, lawyers or MBAs:

  1. Privatize more of the system and increase charter school caps (yes, government limits the number of charter schools).  This system is suffering from a lack of competition.  Everyone realizes that private schools tend to be better, but not everyone can afford them.  Charter schools compete for students and are on par with private schooling.  Perhaps all schools should compete for students (and therefor, education/tax dollars).  If the parents don’t feel their kids are being educated effectively, they should be able to move them.  Today’s draconian system of borders that dictate a child’s school by their address is a fundamental flaw.  The school will have students no matter how mediocre it is and therefor has little reason to excel – mediocre is good enough.
  2. Diversify the education ecosystem.   Not everyone is going to be the next President, and most don’t even want to.  High-schools should be more accommodating of students that want to work with their hands (industrial arts) and realize that not all students need or want so many courses to “round them out”.  Trade craft should not be lower on the totem pole.  The German system has a singular curriculum up until 5th grade at which point the students abilities, desires, and character will position them for one of three next level schools.  Maybe the German’s figured out what we haven’t: not all people are the same and not all should be taught the same things.   Even those that don’t make it to academic greatness have a chance at vocational greatness.  Not everyone wants an A in English lit, but everyone wants to be good at something.
  3. Teach real-life skills.  Spend more time discussing how to put a savings plan together, why borrowing too much is bad, how credit really works, taking care of finances, crafting a budget, buying a house, setting up a computer, maintaining a car, etc.  That way we don’t have to have the travesties of people losing their houses because they say they didn’t understand the contract or process.
  4. Teach the kids how to learn, not just what to learn.  The current model is focused on wrote memorization, probably to get the student ready for all the government tests the school needs them to pass
  5. Change the message: College is not the only acceptable path to success.  A brilliant electrician needs zero college to be successful and doesn’t need to feel subhuman because he doesn’t want to go or can’t afford to go.  A piece of paper does not make someone successful.  If the trade requires post-secondary education then so-be-it.  Doctors, lawyers, engineers and the like need something past high-school.  Colleges need to understand their purpose and refocus.
  6. College needs an overhaul.  The desire to balance the student has overtaken the need to ready the citizen.  If they are studying to be an aerospace engineer, that class in music history, archery, or modern basketry is useless.  They may wish to take it on their own, but making it mandatory is snobbery at it’s finest.  Most college degrees don’t prepare the student for their actual career much better than two or three well-written text books could.  Technical schools should be the focus, and perhaps public universities should refocus their schools around actual career needs.

NEA Endorses Saul Alinskey

WorldNetDaily posted that the NEA has put Alinskey in the forefront for aspiring educators.   Considering the NEA is a labor union.. I suppose this is par for the course.  This could certainly drive more Conservative parents to consider the non-union Charter schools to avoid overarching socialist messages in school.

The National Education Association has made a glowing assessment of radical socialist community organizer Saul Alinsky and is enthusiastically recommending American public school teachers read two of his books, including one dedicated to Satan.

On its website, the NEA dubs Alinsky “an inspiration to anyone contemplating action in their community! And to every organizer!”

It recommends Alinsky’s “Reveille for Radicals,” a 1946 book about the principles and tactics of “community organizing,” and “Rules for Radicals,” a 1971 text that articulated a socialist strategy for gaining political power to redistribute wealth from the “haves” to the “have-nots.”

The NEA, the largest labor union in the United States, represents public school teachers, college and university faculty, retired education employees and college students preparing to become teachers.

The association describes Alinsky as a “master political agitator, tactical planner and social organizer” who wrote a “guidebook for those who are out to change things.”

Obama Education Policy Review

School busBarackobama.com published the President’s three-part vision for education: Improve K-12, expand access to higher education, and preparing children for kindergarten.   Is this more talk from a blow-hard or is this at least one area where Obama has put some substance behind his style?

The website says that K-12 will be improved through aggressive recruiting of new teachers, new ways to reward effective teachers, and by lessening the severity of actions against schools that fail to meet standards.  20% of existing teachers are expected to retire in the next five years.  While several news articles talk about things like scholarships for “Teacher Service” and “Teacher Residency Programs”, no bill has been enacted that would provide for them.   Another portion of Obama’s teacher recruitment/retention strategy is merit pay.  However, the idea of financially rewarding good teachers does not resonate with the National Education Association (NEA) and the powerful group seems to have prevented Obama from accomplishing this portion of his plan.  Barack would also like to send teachers to lower-income areas as stipulation of subsidizing their college costs.  It is my opinion that a teacher that is forced into an area where he/she does not want to live and work will surely get them to retire quickly.  As an aside, the President’s budget for 2010 also cuts funding for classroom technology by $169 million.  Grade on k-12: all style – no substance: F.

So how is Obama doing on his push to make higher-education more accessible?  The President’s budget does have provisions to increase funding of Pell grants.  Barack’s plan will increase Pell grant maximums from $5,350 to $5,550 and indexing the grant maximum to inflation.  There is controversy in how the President intends to pay for the increase in grants.  The administration is going to cut-off subsidies to lenders that provide student loans.  The reason the subsidy is necessary is government regulations that make the student loans bring in less money than it takes to administer them.  This will most-likely result in the government take-over of the student loan market.  While the grant increase will make education more-accessible to low-income households, it will also have the affect of making college less-affordable for middle-class families that rely on student loans to finance the trip through a University.  Grade on higher-education access: he’s taken action, but appears misguided: D.

Obama also intends to improve the preparation of pre-k children for school.  The President would like to reform No Child Left Behind (NCLB).  Other than speeches on the campaign trail, speeches from the White House, and speeches by other members of his administration, there appears to be no action on this part of the Obama plan.  Barack felt that NCLB was underfunded and put too much emphasis on preparing students for standardized tests.  No mention is made in the President’s budget about NCLB, instead it talks about creating a new program based on the “Harlem Children’s Zone” initiative.  This new “Promise Neighborhood” program does not appear to have funding in the budget, so it is unclear how or if it will even be implemented.  Grade on pre-k: all talk, no walk: F

So far, all we have seen is the Obama administration doing what has been done by every previous one – throw more money into a failing system.  $8.6 Billion was given to California alone to make up for education budget shortfalls, but no new programs came with the money and no new behavior has resulted. Obama’s final grade: D-.

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