Tag Archives: Public School

Freedom of Religion for ALL or NONE!

AttackonReligion

I recently read a story about a public school that took students on a field trip to a mosque. At first I was outraged, as were many of my fellow conservatives. How dare they spend my tax money to go to such a place of hate and an enemy to Americans, those jihadist-loving Muslims. To top it off, the kids were given Qurans and were forced to listen to Muslim scriptures read from their book!

Then I heard it, that little voice in the back of my head… you hypocrite! Who me? Really? No way! But as I thought about the term “hypocrite”, that’s exactly what those thoughts were, hypocritical.

That’s right. You see, I often talk about freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of worship, but am I only talking about Christians or Jews? I firmly believe this country was founded on Judeo Christian principles and that the majority of our founding fathers were Christian, God-loving men. However, also I believe they gave up everything for the rights we hold so dear. And it wasn’t just for Christians and Jews, it was for everyone!

Whenever we conservatives (especially conservative Christians) even think one of our religious or free speech rights are being trampled on someone’s going to hear about it. And you know the left and the atheists would go out of their minds if there was a field trip to a church where a priest came out, read scripture to the kids, explained what it meant, and then offered the kids a Bible. Every anti-religion group known to mankind would come out to protect those kids from indoctrination! The Freedom from Religion Freaks, Freedom from Religion Association, and ACLU would be up in arms.

But on this one, nothing, not a peep, not a word. That shores up my argument that the attack is on Christianity. But that’s another column.

To my Christian Conservative friends, unless you want ruin any chance to educate children about your belief system, you need to back off!

The way to win this argument is to allow field trips to all places of worship. Buddhist temples, Jewish synagogues, Islamic mosques, Catholic churches, Christian churches, and whatever house of worship atheists and others have.

The left is a huge proponent of “education” and exposing our kids to all aspects of life. Let’s do the same thing! You can win this argument in court. Equal exposure to all aspects of religion for everyone.

Think about some of the songs and words our kids hear around Christmas and the holidays. What displays are put up? They are Christian in nature. We won these battles because we allowed, all songs, all displays to be on campus.

When they are taught about the legal system, they are taught where the basics come from (those pesky 10 Commandments!)

The Gideons give out Bibles near school entrances. These are rights the courts have upheld because we allow them for all religions, not just one.

Kids are permitted to lead student-initiated prayer at the flag pole on the National Day of Prayer and other events.

When you get past the rage and look at the facts, the kids were offered the Quran and a few took them. The kids were not forced to pray or read from the Quran. They weren’t even required to go, it was a field trip.

When the parents asked the principal why they didn’t go on other houses of worship field trips, he replied that it was simply a money issue.

Ok you conservative, Christian parents and business owners, now’s the time to ante up. Collect some funds and make that trip possible for all the kids in class. As your good book tells you, share your faith with all people.

The point is, don’t scream about how bad it is for your kids to visit a mosque and all that goes along with it. It’s about educating and informing people. You do that with information. Teach your kids well, expose them to these kinds of things, and as long as you’re living out what you believe, your kids won’t stray.

I remember reading, “Train up your children in the way they should go and when they are older they won’t depart from it”.

Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face. Freedom of religion is for all or it’s for none!

Progressive Hypocrisy to Make You Sick

To say that there are items that present in the news each day that make me roll my eyes would be to under-state the fact in a dramatic way. But every now and again — and it is beginning to happen with more frequency, much to the detriment of the forces lending themselves to common sense — there presents a story so outrageous, so infuriatingly hypocritical, so blatant in arrogance, that it conjures the forces of anger from within one’s soul. The coverage of Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis’ words to the City Club of Chicago is such a story.

Ever since the 1850s, when a founding faction of the Progressive Movement – an elitist faction consisting of anti-religious bigots – began to call for the government institutionalization of education in the United States, the American education system has “progressively” marched down the road of, not only ideological monopoly, but of political allegiance. Coincidentally, the level of achieved education in the United States has suffered a continuous and steady decline ever since…you guessed it, the 1850s.

The Heartland Institute’s president, Joe Bast, recently spoke about the state of American education at the Eighth Annual Wisconsin Conservative Conference. During his talk he touched on the topic of, “How the Left Destroyed Schooling in America,” of which he noted:

“Once they had succeeding in kicking the Catholics out of K-12 education they campaigned to ban public funding for all religious schools. They placed Blaine amendments on the constitutions of 37 states, including Wisconsin.

“‘Progressives’ and communists then joined the religious bigots to call for ending all public funding of private schools in America and to make schooling in government schools tuition-free. Teachers got on board because they saw it as a way to improve their wages and job security, and they were right, it did. Unions saw it as a way to make organizing teachers easier, and they were right, too, it did. Politicians saw it as a way to build a huge patronage army, and boy were they ever right.

“The adults who are paid to educate kids got what they wanted. The result is the system we see today: nearly all public money goes to government schools. Government owns the buildings, hires the teachers, dictates the curriculum, writes the tests, and even gets to decide whether or not it’s doing a good job. It sets the standards.

“Not surprisingly, this system evolved in ways that benefitted the adults who are employed by the system – administrators and teachers – and not students. Teachers get tenure. Certification requirements erect barriers to entry, and pay becomes based on tenure and degrees rather than classroom performance. Kids are assigned to schools based on where their parents live because that’s easier for the adults to know how many will enroll in a particular school next year.

“Control is centralized because that makes it easier for politicians and bureaucrats to enforce the rules on teachers, but it’s not good for kids…or teachers.”

It is important to note here that Mr. Bast speaks – or at least I believe he speaks – of the bureaucracy that the American education system has become, and, specifically, those haughty bureaucrats who rise to the top of this ideologically and politically charged apparatus. One cannot argue against the facts as they present, and one of the obvious facts is that the education system has become so bureaucratized that in many locations there are just as many “administrators” and staff as there are classroom teachers. This means more eyes looking over a teacher’s shoulder, more “litmus test” evaluations focusing on theory instead of best practices, and an almost constant fear among teachers about their chances for retention. To wit, it is next to impossible for a good teacher to teach, when they feel they have to satisfy the unnecessary demands of bureaucrats over concentrating exclusively on the education of their students.

For the record, and this is an important point, there are many good teachers in the United States who would like nothing more than to be left alone to teach their students. But the system, being what it is, creates roadblocks and cumbersome administrative work that most often has nothing to do with the actual education of the child. To Mr. Bast’s point, the “adults” got what they wanted…and what they wanted was good things for themselves; the child’s education taking a backseat to community organizing and political agendas.

So, for almost 200 years the elitist bureaucrats of the American education system – the same system that bestows honors on radical domestic terrorists like Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn; a system that awards collegiate positions to their fellow Weather Underground members; the same system that allows children to advance from grade to grade without the mastery of core curriculum because it may harm the child’s “self-esteem”; the same system that demonizes those who respect God and country – the elitist bureaucrats who cheer all of the above have been in control. And in a day when taxpayers facilitate over $10,560 per-pupil per-year nationally (New York, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia spent more than $15,000 per-student per-year on average in 2011), we still have one-percenter Progressive bureaucrats demanding more for the government trough – more for themselves, while blaming everyone but themselves for the disaster they themselves have created; a system that stands uniquely and exclusively responsible for the dumbing-down of America.

So, you can understand why I became irate when I read the words of Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis. The Daily Caller reports:

“In a scathing speech on Wednesday, the president of the Chicago Teachers Union charged that racism and ‘rich white people’ are to blame for the immense financial crisis facing the Chicago Public Schools.

“‘Members of the status quo — the people who are running the schools and advising the mayor on how to best run our district — know what good education looks like because they have secured it for their own children in well-resourced public and private institutions,’ the Dartmouth graduate charged.

“‘When will there be an honest conversation about the poverty, racism and inequality that hinders the delivery of a quality education product in our school system?’ Lewis also asked in the speech. ‘When will we address the fact that rich, white people think they know what’s in the best interest of children of African Americans and Latinos–no matter what the parent’s income or education level.’”

If Ms. Lewis were altruistic, I would have tempered by ire. But Ms. Lewis is a hypocrite of the highest order.

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed writes:

“So how come Lewis’ salary is so secret?

“Explanation: Sneed inquired last week about her salary and was told ‘I don’t know,’ by top Lewis spokeswoman Liz Brown. Her salary is not publicly listed, and Sneed was told, ‘She doesn’t have to do so.’”

This arrogant, ignorant, pathetic, race-baiting, disgrace of a human being collected — for a partial year’s work — a salary of $71,330 as Chicago Teachers Union president. And because her predecessor commanded a salary of $211,119 annually, we must assume that Ms. Lewis’ annual compensation is upwards of that amount.

Additionally, for 2012, Lewis also collected $64,157 from the IL Federation of Teachers, as well as $68,000-plus for her alleged teaching position. All told, for 2012, Ms. “Race-Baiter” Lewis pocketed $202,487-plus, putting her in the top 2% of all US earners.

Regular readers understand full well that I abhor name-calling, so I would like to explain that the above has nothing to do with name calling, rather, it has to do with brutal honesty.

Ms. Lewis is ignorant for not recognizing the damage that the system which she champions does to the children; for not recognizing that the system she defends puts “the adults” before the children.

Ms. Lewis is arrogant for her need to find a scapegoat, for her need to blame anyone but the bureaucrats themselves for a system that has been constructed to be vulnerable to bureaucratic largess, and perverted – with her assistance – from a quest to educate children into a teacher-destroying ideo-political organism hell-bent on preserving employee benefits – even as municipalities go broke under the strain of their demands – above the needs of their charges.

And Ms. Lewis is pathetic and a disgrace to humanity, for the abuse of her position in advancing the epidemic that is race-baiting in the United States today. Chicago schools have had financial and performance issues long before Ms. Lewis came to be the mouthpiece for her labor union. Chicago public schools had issues with finances and performance under white mayors, a female mayor and two black mayors. Chicago schools have even had finance and performance issues with City Councils that have been all White, predominantly Black and otherwise diverse in culture. In fact, the only commonality found in the command-and-control bureaucratic apparatus of the Chicago Public School System – or in the Chicago political system which oversees the Chicago Public School system, for that matter – is that those elected to public office, as well as the school boards, have all been Progressives and Liberal Democrats. That is a fact that cannot be denied. And for this grotesque dishonesty, Ms. Lewis is a pathetic, race-baiting disgrace, unworthy of the charge that is the education of our children.

Dante has a special circle for race-baiters. He also has a special circle for those who abuse and use children for gain and satisfaction. But I really, don’t know if Dante even wants to contemplate a circle for Ms. Lewis. And that says quite a bit.

School Rocked by Sex Abuse Scandal Closes as Third Teacher Implicated

Image courtesy of KTLA in Los Angeles

A third teacher has been implicated in the sex scandal that just keeps on going at Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles County.  Two teachers have already been arrested on charges of lewd conduct with children.  Mark Berdnt is accused of 23 lewd acts on minors, including blindfolding his students and feeding them his own semen while photographing each encounter.  Martin Bernard Springer was also a Miramonte teacher was arrested earlier in the week for lewd conduct with minors as well.  Now it seem a third teacher was involved in these disturbing acts.  Although the name has not been released, a representative for 5 of the victims says this third teacher was female who shared a door with Berdnt’s classroom.  This teacher allegedly funneled students from her classroom to Berdnt’s classroom, and investigators are currently looking into whether she did the same for Springer.  They are also exploring a link between Springer and Berdnt – they may have been very close friends and aided each other in their misconduct.

Miramonte Elementary is currently closed until Thursday.  Los Angeles School Superintendent John Deasy has announced that the entire staff at the school will be replaced from the top down in order to avoid “any more surprises” and re-build trust among parents.

All well in good, but this problem goes deeper than just a few bad apples.  Current union rules make it nearly impossible to fire bad teachers.  Both of the accused men have been racking up complaints of sexual misconduct against their own students for decades, but each one was brushed under the rug and students were transferred rather than fire the teacher. On top of that, California law makes each of these wackos eligible to receive their full pensions until the day they die, regardless of any criminal convictions – even if those convictions are for molesting or raping their own students. This problem goes deeper than one school. Its time to be honest about what the unions have wrought on our children.

 

crossposted at kiradavis.net

Intentional Ignorance – Why the Public Schools Must Die, Part 1

I just read this sentence in a “Study Guide” for taking the public school certification test in middle school Social Studies, “The Constitution DEMANDS UNQUESTIONED respect and SUBSERVIENCE to the federal government by all states and citizens.” (emphasis mine).

WHAT??!! Unquestioned? Subservient?

We have a built-in questioning system by way of a national voting procedure every 730 days! MY Constitution starts with the phrase WE THE PEOPLE! This is the kind of crap being programmed into teachers so it can be shoved down our children’s throats!!

Let’s delude the kool-aid here for a minute.

I, like a small minority in this country, have actually read the Constitution. In fact, I make it a practice to take the 22 – 30 minutes to read it through, several times per year. Not once does this precious document DEMAND anything of the sort. The only “demands” in the Constitution are located in and around that pesky Bill of Rights; and if you really want to address to whom the demands are directed, take a look at the first word: CONGRESS.

CONGRESS shall make no law… nor shall CONGRESS prohibit the free exercise thereof. For those who need a further interpretation, Congress IS the federal government, at least in terms of what the framers intended in regards to the center of power – not the end all, be all, but the center.

Subservient? Wrong again! Under the Articles of Confederation, the federal government was subservient to the states! Admittedly, the states recognized the need to reform the Articles, hence the convention. Can one really fathom a situation where these states just would have voluntarily bowed their knees to the great and powerful Federal Government? There are several little ditties written during the time called the Federalist Papers that show clearly how tough of a sell the new Constitution was to the states. The ONLY reason that it was ratified is because the states were satisfied that they would NOT be subservient to the feds.

The “Federalist” system by definition is one that appoints responsibilities to each level, but operates under the pretext that these levels run independent of each other, and in harmony. The Constitution NEVER says that the federal government is supreme. Article six states, “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States …. shall be the supreme Law of the Land.” It says the Constitution and the (constitutional) laws of the U.S. are supreme – that is NOT the same as the federal government! The mere fact that so many checks and balances established in the Constitution (of which the multi-tiered federalism plan is a part of) should be an indication that the founders and framers would have never consented to a top-down only style of governance (that’s called a unitary system), let alone 13 independent states just chomping at the bit to abdicate their power to Washington D.C.

For those of you who like to run around quoting Jefferson, you should realize that he didn’t particularly care for the Constitution in its initial form and, had he been in country, probably would have lobbied against it. He and the other “anti-federalists” of the time were only assuaged when the promise that a Bill of Rights would be one of the first items on the agenda of the new Congress.

Yet this is being systematically programmed into a generation of kids (and even scarier, a generation of teachers) day by day. We have become a “take my word for it” 30-second sound byte society that is slowly giving away our freedoms. The genius of our Constitution is that it cannot be over-ridden unless by a conscious and deliberate series of acts that culminates in an amendment. This can only be done by the people. Fortunately, the ignorant masses (made that way on purpose) cannot take away the supremacy of the Constitution. What they can do is to continue to appoint people into authority positions every 730 days who will work to circumvent these rights, OUR rights; and this can really only be done through ignorance – willful ignorance.

One more reason why the public (government run) schools should die.

Tonight on the Dark Side w/Kira Davis

AP Photo

Tonight, December 4th 2011

Will this be the last night we ever devote to Herman Cain? Does America have Cain Fatigue? Where will Cain’s votes go? Will this cursed, wretched, rot-gut process we call election season ever come to an end?  Also, your feel-good public school stories just in time for Christmas and I’ll make my totally accurate, completely scientific predictions for the upcoming week.  Don’t miss it - 10 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. Pacific. BYOC – Bring Your Own Cookies.

California State University 9% Tuition Increase Meets Reverse Action From California For-Profit University

ANAHEIM, Calif., Nov. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Tuition at public and private universities across the nation has been increasing steadily over recent years as marked by the November 16thapproval by the California State University Trustees of a 9% tuition increase for the 2012-2013 academic year – the ninth increase in nine years.   The increase set off raucous student protests, however, the university system had little choice due to continuing cuts in state funding.

Private university students have also been hit by ongoing tuition hikes.  At four-year private universities, total costs (including room and board) rose 4.3% to an average of $36,993 according to College Board’sTrends in College Pricing 2010 report.  This is double the 2.1% annual inflation rate reported in February of 2011.

It is believed by many in higher education today that we are headed for the collapse of the student loan system as we know it.  Many experts believe that the student loan bubble could be even more significant than the Subprime mortgage crisis that the country is still recovering from.  The obvious solution is affordable education that students can pay for as they pursue their studies without going into debt.

California’s for-profit Anaheim University is endeavoring to be part of this solution.  According to AnaheimUniversity Chief Communications Officer David Bracey, “The Anaheim University Board of Trustees has initiated an across the board tuition increase freeze and the University’s Administration is working with the Board of Trustees to implement a Tuition Relief Program that would reduce tuition by as much as 50% over the next 5 years.  This is part of Anaheim’s mission to make world-class education accessible to students around the world.”

At a 2010 Technonomy conference Bill Gates suggested that technology could reduce the cost of a post-secondary school education down to $2,000.  Bracey stated, “Through real-time webcam technology, the highly qualified faculty of Anaheim University can give more attention to students in small classes at a lower cost than a bricks and mortar institution that carries with it the burden of operating a large and costly campus with extremely high overhead.  We fully agree with Bill Gates and his insight has motivated us to move in that direction,” said Bracey.

What’s In A Name?

 

Education is on the list of topics to cover by every politician hitting the campaign trail. It’s one of those topics we hear more ideas and theories about than actual solutions that are effective. Some say we need to coddle the students, others believe all students should attend a boot camp style school, and then there are many other views that vary somewhere between the two.

Dallas Independent School District recently unveiled their latest school. The new school is an all-male public school starting with grade six and going to grade nine with plans to add grades all the way through grade twelve. The school is to focus on college preparation courses.

You might be asking yourself, “What’s the big deal? Sounds like a good idea”.

I think it is a good idea also, but the name floored me.

The Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy.

Yes, you read that right. Your eyes are not deceiving you.

Naming a school after a sitting president that has been controversial from the time he started his campaign for the White House. Under his “leadership” (for lack of a better term) we have endured failed bailouts, inflation, larger government and an administration with total disregard for the United States Constitution, just to name a few things.

Before someone asks, yes, the school is in a predominantly African-American area. The school board could have at least chosen a leader that has been good for this country. There’s Colin Powell, Clarence Thomas, or even Allen West. These are just a few African-American men that have proven their leadership abilities.

Just because Obama is the first person with black skin to be elected president does not make him a leader.

Governor Scott Signs Legislation to Strengthen, Expand Charter and Virtual Schools

Orlando, Fla. – Keeping his promise to make Florida the state with the best-educated workforce, Governor Rick Scott today visited Hope Charter School in Ocoee to highlight education reforms that expand and strengthen charter and virtual schools and increase scholarship opportunities that empower parents to choose schools best suited to student needs. Later today, Governor Scott will visit St. Petersburg Christian School and charter school North Broward Academy of Excellence.

While visiting, Governor Scott discussed how parents best understand their children’s needs and should have the right to choose the schools that meet those needs.

“One of the critical components of creating jobs and turning Florida’s economy around is to make sure our state has the best educated workforce, ready to work in our 21st century economy,” Governor Scott said. “The legislation I sign today moves our state closer to having world-class schools that graduate students ready for those jobs.”

Earlier this year, the first bill Governor Scott signed into law was the Student Success Act. It empowers principals to keep the best teachers and use merit pay to compensate them more, while also replacing low-performing teachers.

“Florida will now be able to recruit and retain the best educators for our schools,” Governor Scott said. “Children should not be locked into going to a failing school just because of where they live, and families should have the right to choose an education best suited to their children.”

The bills Governor Scott highlighted today are as follows:

  • · Senate Bill 1546, Charter Schools – Charter schools will now have the opportunity to duplicate their success and grow to serve more students. Charter schools that earn an “A” twice in three years have the opportunity to earn a “high-performing” status, so they can increase enrollment and open more schools.
  • · House Bill 7197. Virtual Education – Expands the Florida Virtual School to offer full-time instruction to K-12 students and part-time for grades 4-12. District virtual schools will be able to offer part-time instruction in grades 9-12 to more students. Charter schools can also now offer online instruction, either as a virtual charter school, or combined with traditional classroom learning.
  • · House Bill 1331, Opportunity Scholarships – This bill empowers parents to choose a better school for their students assigned to chronically low-performing schools. It expands the definition of a failing school from those that earn an “F” two years in a row, to those that earn two “Fs” in the past four years.
  • · House Bill 1329, McKay Scholarships – Students with special learning needs will be eligible for McKay Scholarships to attend private schools. Parents with children who receive specialized instructional plans must be notified every year of each student’s options, including the McKay Scholarship.
  • · House Bill 965, Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program –The tax credit scholarship program is updated to help encourage more businesses to participate in the program, thereby helping more students attend the school best suited to them.

Chris Christie: None of Your Business

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tells a constituent that it’s “none of your business” when she asks why he sends his kids to private school.

Gov. Chrisitie nails the voter in a 3 point argument:

Christie pays property taxes for a system he doesn’t even use

Gov. Christie and his wife pay $38,000 annually in property taxes but don’t use the services. He helps fund the system and therefor has a say in how they function – whether he uses them or not. This is the argument for school vouchers so that parents could choose whatever kind of school they want and use the money they pay into the system (or not) to fund it.

Christie and his wife want religion in their children’s education

Christie chose a private parochial school because they wanted their children to have their faith involved in their schooling.

Governor Christie is the Governor of the Whole State

Chris Christie has to make the right decisions for all children in the state, not just his own. What if he had no kids? Would that make him unqualified to make decisions on how best to fund the public school system?

The constituent was going for a gotcha moment and got gotcha’d by the governor. Perhaps a teacher herself, or at a minimum a liberal, she didn’t think her point all the way through. A governor (or any executive) makes decisions that impact the entirety of their office. Does he have to be a truck driver to sign legislation on trucking safety? Does he have to be a manufacturer to entice factories to come to his state? No. He also does not have to have children in public school in order to improve the decaying system. In fact, his exposure to private schools might bring new ideas to a 1960’s era system that is stuck in a mode of abject failure.

Charter Schools: A First Impression

For the first four years of his schooling, my son has been in a traditional public schools. At first, we had considered private schools. We visited several and even applied to one, but we also took the time to interview the principal and tour the school.

Initial Experience With Traditional Public Schools

The principal during his first 3 years really ran the place as a student-focused, parent-friendly facility. Her door was always open, the faculty turn-over wasn’t an issue and we always felt welcome to come see our kids in their learning environment any time we liked.

We volunteered to help, my wife became the class Mom for both of our kids and I helped with events and such when I could. This school was more like the private schools we had visited than the public schools I remembered -until the principal changed.

When our School Turned Into a Real Traditional Public School

This last year, the school has been the proto-typical traditional public school. Parents are almost discouraged from being in the classroom, the principal is available by appointment only, faculty turn-over is nightmarish and it seems like little – if any – learning is happening in the classroom.

In the current school year, our son has had FOUR different teachers. His first two years he had one. Each new teacher brings a new style, different expectations and introduces instability into the classroom. Won’t the kids detach from the teacher if they think he or she will be somebody else in a few weeks or months?

We had become used to being the reinforcement mechanism in his first few years at that school. He would come home knowing a basic math or reading concept, have homework to do, and we’d help him with the tougher examples. This last year, he flat out told us that the teachers really didn’t explain how to do whatever the basic technique was so we had to first figure out what the teacher wanted him to learn by looking through the homework, then we would create a lesson, teach him, then help him with the homework. My wife and I are not educators and we may not be doing this as well as someone with all the right tools in their bag, but right now, those persons are doing a disservice to the children.

Our son gets great grades. It is expected of him. We help him whenever the need arises, that is expected of us. His current school is not living up to either his, nor our expectations and it became time to leave it behind – and we soon found that many other parents from this school were doing the exact same thing.

Getting Into a Charter School

During the year, we filed an application to a science-focused charter school. Our son loves math and science so between this or the performing arts charter school, this academy made the best sense.

We knew that if he didn’t get selected in the lottery (1,500 kids didn’t) we would be putting him in private school and cutting back some things at home to pay for it.

Last week we got the call – he’s in. We were invited to an introductory event at the school and we both attended leaving the kids with a baby sitter.

The first 5 minutes of the principals opening speech told us that this was the kind of learning experience we wanted for our children.

What is a Charter School

According to The Center for Education Reform a charter school is different that traditional schools in several ways:

  • Choice: Charter schools give families an opportunity to pick the school most suitable for their child’s educational well-being. Teachers choose to create and work at schools where they directly shape the best working and learning environment for their students and themselves. Likewise, charter sponsors choose to authorize schools that are likely to best serve the needs of the students in a particular community.
  • Accountability: Charter schools are judged on how well they meet the student achievement goals established by their charter contract. Charter schools must also show that they can perform according to rigorous fiscal and managerial standards. If a charter school cannot perform up to the established standards, it will be closed.
    Check out CER’s Accountability Report: Charter Schools for more.
  • Freedom: While charter schools must adhere to the same major laws and regulations as all other public schools, they are freed from the red tape that often diverts a school’s energy and resources away from educational excellence. Instead of constantly jumping through procedural hoops, charter school leaders can focus on setting and reaching high academic standards for their students.

The first bullet point, “choice”, I believe is the key. Because parents can choose to go to the charter school and also choose to leave it, the school can’t take a local population for granted. A charter school must be superior to surrounding traditional public schools to attract students – which is the only basis for the school’s funding.

Why We Chose a Charter School

The first few minutes of the principals speech told us almost everything we wanted to know.

  • Children are expected to exceed state requirements, not meet them
  • Students will be taught critical thinking skills so that they understand how to learn, not just what to learn
  • The curriculum is taught through projects. A goal-oriented approach to learning subject matter. A test is not the final objective of the learning experience.
  • Parents are expected to help out in the class room
    • as teacher’s assistant
    • as lunch monitors
    • on field trips
    • during events
  • The school does not take on costs that have nothing to do with learning
    • No buses
      • parents will have to work out their own transportation
    • No cafeteria
      • parents will have to make lunches for their kids (much different that those schools that won’t even allow homemade lunches)
  • The dress code reflects the real-world, professional work environment
    • No denim, sweats or athletic wear in the classroom
    • Shirts with collars are required
    • No tight-fitting clothes

Then the teachers spoke. They genuinely seemed to love teaching in this atmosphere. They feel supported by the parents, respected by the kids, and free to teach instead of jumping through bureaucratic hoops. We were also surprised to learn that the school actually had competitive athletics – championship caliber competitive athletics. Why wouldn’t we put our kids into this school?

The Compromises

Charter schools may not be for everyone. Having no taxpayer-supported busing system helps the school contain non-classroom costs, but working parents will have to figure out how to drop-off and pick-up their children or pay for before and after-school care provided by the school or another facility. The lack of a cafeteria may be an issue for some families as lunches will have to come from home. These and other expenses are distractions from actual learning and expenses that all schools don’t need to take on.  For some families it will be too much of a burden, for us, it’s a time cost that is well worth an education-focused learning facility. This also might explain why charter schools spend $4,000 per student less than traditional schools.

Summary

As we go through our first year, I’ll write from time-to-time to let you know how the experience has lived (or not) up to the expectations set by the staff.

We know why the NEA and teacher’s unions fight against these kinds of schools, now I hope to present the case for why we should each be fighting for them – by going into the system personally.

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

 

 

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.

U.S.D.A. Bans Wake County From Using School Lunch Data for ‘Diversity Busing’

The controversial policy of using socio-economic information to place students into schools in North Carolina ran into a brick wall last week when the U.S.D.A. blocked Wake County from using its data.

Department of Agriculture officials had informed Wake Country School District that it can not use confidential and private information from school lunch programs to re-assign students to other schools.

Without that data Wake County would either have to ask for parents to volunteer their income information or abandon the idea of forcing kids into schools outside of their neighborhoods solely based on how much money their parents make.

Wake County is one of the few remaining school districts to hold on to this backwards and ineffective policy, but the NAACP is going to do what it can to keep it in place. In a news release, the President of the North Carolina NAACP, Rev. Barber, announced that the NAACP has filed a federal complaint over the U.S.D.A. decision.

“The N.C. NAACP believes the USDA’s position regarding the use of Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL) data in school assignment is a misinterpretation of the law,”

Barber has been a highly-visible personality at the forefront of the anti-neighborhood schools movement within the state.

 

Having Kids Learn Math and Reading in School “Wildly Unrealistic”

School SignThe Associated Press released an alarming statistic today.

The number of schools labeled as “failing” under the  No Child Left Behind Act could skyrocket dramatically this year, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Wednesday.

The Department of Education estimates the percentage of schools not meeting yearly targets for their students’ proficiency in in math and reading could jump from 37 to 82 percent as states raise standards in attempts to satisfy the law’s mandates.

The public education establishment has failed to teach kids to read and do math – the only mandates in the Bush era law. The law states that educators should have all students proficient in reading and math by 2014. The associated press then adds, “..a standard now viewed as wildly unrealistic.“[1]

So it’s not challenging, hard, difficult or near impossible – its wildly unrealistic to expect our kids to come out of the federally-regulated public schools and actually .. read.

In a confusing swirl of trying to fix what they broke, Obama’s Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan and members of Congress from both sides of the aisle first admitted that the law was broken, then fought over how they could really fix it this time. Of course, the Obama administration couldn’t possibly resist one more chance to blame Bush for another failure

“No Child Left Behind is broken and we need to fix it now,” Duncan said in a statement. “This law has created a thousand ways for schools to fail and very few ways to help them succeed.”[1]

..

Both Republicans and Democrats agree the law needs to be reformed, though they disagree on issues revolving around the federal role of education and how to turn around failing schools.

The truth is .. the federal government can’t and should not be doing this. Regulation after regulation, standardized test after standardized test and the kids aren’t doing better. We bus them around to try and make it look like the worst schools are getting better while brining the top performers down to the lowest common denominator.

It’s time to let charter schools show the big government failures how to teach kids the basics of reading and math- they just might also be taught real history and critical thinking. Than again, perhaps if our educators weren’t spending all their time protesting for the far left-wing extremist agenda, more than 18% of schools wouldn’t fail.


sources:
[1] http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gPmjfDMN5nHOpeSIZYLwkVfKAHGQ?docId=c7dc0757afd54b5ca2836c00de44535f

« Older Entries