To all those who come by here on this great day
And may all those who recognize Jesus as Lord always walk in his wisdom
JEFF JACOBY GETS IT RIGHT:
"Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney described education reform the other day as "the great civil rights issue of this century." That is shorthand for the appalling racial gap in learning, whereby the average black high school graduate reads and writes at the level of the average white 8th-grader. The problem has been vividly chronicled by Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom in their recent book "No Excuses," and there is little question that black academic unerachievement is a key impediment to racial equality. As long as blacks learn less than whites do, they will continue to accomplish less than whites do, and to earn less, and in many eyes to be regarded as less.
Still, I would disagree with Romney. The great civil rights cause of the 21st century is the same as it was in the 20th: the struggle for a colorblind society. Part of what sustains the wretched learning gap is the glaring double standard of affirmative action. So long as blacks aren't held to the same criteria as whites in the competition for jobs or admission to college -- so long as racial preferences mask the harm caused by the learning gap -- the demand for reform will never boil over. The truest key to black equality is what it has always been: an insistence on seeing each other first and foremost not as members of racial classes, but as individual human beings".
A U.N. curriculum in local schools?
If you have a serious discussion with almost any public school teacher, principal, superintendent or trustee, you are likely to hear about the importance of local control and of protecting school curricula from outsiders who want to promote their particular set of values. Yet a new curriculum gaining steam nationwide, known as the International Baccalaureate program, confirms what critics of public schools have long suspected: a) educators embrace local control only when it suits them; b) they are more than willing to promote particular values, provided they are politically correct values.
IB is an international K-12 curriculum designed to promote world peace, multicultural understanding, environmental sensitivity, human rights and democracy. It sounds like inoffensive pabulum, but such lofty goals conceal troubling agendas. Instead of local control, the curriculum actually is devised by bureaucrats in Geneva, Switzerland, and Cardiff, Wales. Instead of guarding against outside agendas, school officials are inviting into their K-12 school systems a curriculum that, by its own admission, is not about academics but about changing worldviews and molding the minds of impressionable pupils.
There is much debate about IB, but a few things are unquestionably true. IB was originally funded and sponsored in part by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which was once so corrupt and anti-American in its advocacy that the United States withdrew its membership in 1984. Reportedly, UNESCO has improved itself, which has prompted renewed support by the Bush administration, but UNESCO's fundamental philosophy has never changed. IB programs are not academic. The goal is to promote the equality of all cultures, "sustainable" development and pretty much everything else you would expect from a UNESCO-related program. Check it out yourself at www.ibo.org ......
The Earth Charter (www.earthcharter.org) is radical stuff. It ignores the idea of property rights, promotes the notoriously corrupt United Nations as the key instrument of world peace, denounces the "dominant patterns of production and consumption," and promotes universal health care and the "equitable distribution of wealth." The IB curriculum and the Earth Charter are separate, but the charter gives you a good idea of the values that lie at the heart of the IB program. A lot of the IB curriculum is of the "be nice to your neighbor" variety. But a lot of the rest of it is propaganda.
The November issue of IB World magazine, for instance, includes a typical story of a primary school IB program. The students visited an animal sanctuary and took part in a debate organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature, in which they debated whether it is OK to keep animals in captivity. That's a politically charged agenda for grade schoolers, especially since they probably are not offered another side to the animal-rights story. Maybe this isn't that much worse than what kids are taught in U.S. public schools today - a point one Reagan administration official made in the Times article. But I'm astonished by the in-your-face social objectives of IB. Most troubling to me - and this is a fundamental IB doctrine - is the idea of the equality of all cultures.
I appreciate and respect most cultures. But all societies are not equal. America is better than Swaziland, where the life expectancy hovers around 40, or North Korea, which is run by a totalitarian cabal, or Iran, with its fundamentalist Islamic political and legal system. Those nations that value individual freedom are far better and more successful than those that enforce sharia or coddle dictators. Why should kids be taught anything else but that unvarnished truth?....
There's much to value in other cultures, much to be gained by understanding how other peoples view the world. I would never argue that the American perspective is always the right perspective, or that students ought to be indoctrinated with pro-American jingoism, or that problems in America should be sugar-coated or ignored. But students should not be taught that America is prosperous because of some geographic accident. The nation has succeeded because of the decisions of our founders, who created a Constitution that protects individual rights, private property, free markets, the rule of law and limited government.
Those are the true international values, likely to succeed in any nation where they are implemented. They are the values most likely to lead to the worldwide peace, harmony and prosperity that IB says it wants to advance. Why look to international bureaucrats for the right lessons, when they can be found so much closer to home?
For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.
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