Tuesday, May 03, 2005


John Munson, professor at the U of Wisconsin - Stevens Point, is being sued by a local cocktail lounge. The suit doesn't seek financial damages, but just to make him stop certain activities.... A university professor "paying" his students, with extra credit points to circulate petitions in favor of a smoking ban, and to patronize non-smoking restaurants.

I was angry, as are the bar owners who were fighting the smoking ban. I've worked with Minnesotans Against Smoking Bans and I know that big sums of extorted tax money are used by a few people to inflict smoking bans on all of us. I also know that smoking bans have destroyed many small businesses and have a serious negative economic impact that anti-smokers refuse to acknowledge.

Worst of all, I know that the secondhand smoke issue is a total fabrication from a scientific standpoint. For many organizations, it has been a straw-man opponent they could attack and look as if they're doing something of value. They've demonized smokers with lies so that they could enlist the financial contributions of people who don't have the time to discover the truth. Simply put, they've used every trick in the book to SCARE people into believing lies, and they've profited grandly by doing so. Most of those groups have gotten financial funding from corporations who sell stop-smoking products.

Like most things, this professorial action is more complex than it first appears. John Munson teaches several sections of something called "Health Promotions". I don't expect teachers to be omniscient, but it does seem that a professor teaching such a course should make a more diligent attempt than most of us can... to know the truth about health issues. A teacher has a rather serious responsibility to either present a balanced view of contentious issues, or to present scientific evidence when appropriate. It's obvious that Munson didn't do that, because he came down clearly on the side of implementing a smoking ban and penalizing the opposition.

The fact that Munson is a state employee, teaching at a tax-supported state university, complicates his position, because he rewarded his students for taking actions that will harm some of the very people who support his salary. Yes, what he did is illegal, but far more importantly, it is wrong, not just scientifically wrong, but wrong in "bribing" students to take a political position.

Are my expectations higher of Munson because he teaches at a state university? They are, not because I hold state institutions to be a source of truth, but because many students do. From the time they start kindergarten, the supposed beneficience and truthfulness of government is fed to them. THEY expect to hear truth from their government-school teachers, so professors have influence far beyond what they deserve.

By the time I was a college underclassman, I was influenced by what I was taught, and thought that government was the solution to any and all societal problems. Solving problems was only a matter of designing the proper government programs and "making it so". I was, effectively, a socialist. As I've matured, and considered information from non-governmental sources, it has gradually become clear to me that government is not the solution to ANYTHING, it is almost always the source of our problems. In retrospect, it makes me angry that I was misled for so long by people whose word I should have been able to trust. They not only didn't present the truth, but they wasted a lot of my time in disproving and unlearning what they fed me. Many of us don't ever go through that questioning and unlearning process, but spend the rest of their lives in ignorant belief that what they were taught IS the truth. But therein lies the problem:

How can we expect government-paid teachers in tax-supported institutions to teach anything BUT that "government is the solution"? Do we expect government employees to bite the hand that feeds them? To do so is to deny human nature. To expect John Munson to be a maverick and teach freedom of choice instead of governmental repression would be unrealistic.

Government schools are the single biggest means dragging us toward a totalitarian society. They subtly brainwash in favor of government and tend to convince us that we would be helpless without government control. The result has been a never-ending increase in government control over us... government gains power, and we, as individuals, become closer to being mere serfs. It starts in elementary schools, and it obviously continues right up through state universities.

On a brighter note, the voters of Stevens Point rejected the smoking ban.

More here


All that silly stuff about being able to read and write will be ditched soon

Momentum is growing to provide alternatives to California's controversial high school exit exam, which critics say contributes to low graduation rates and discriminates against minority students. The test's opponents in the Legislature sought support Wednesday for two new bills that would rein in the graduation policy, which is a requirement for next year's senior class. Both measures passed committee hearings.

Grass-roots groups, meanwhile, have been mobilizing against the test by lobbying legislators, holding rallies and recruiting new members on high school campuses. "I'm very concerned that students will be discouraged and [question] why they should go forward if their futures rest on one exam," Assemblywoman Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) said before the vote, which fell largely along party lines. "I don't understand why people think that giving an exam magically improves education."

But the test, which students begin taking in their sophomore year and have six chances to pass, is praised by others who say it is an important measure of academic success. They note that research is inconclusive on whether the exam contributes to low graduation rates.

Bass' measure would offer students alternative methods to prove their knowledge of English and math through assessments and projects tied to the state's academic standards. The other bill, in the state Senate, would delay the exit exam requirement until schools demonstrate that they offer access to fully credentialed teachers, adequate books and counselors - educational deficiencies that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has publicly acknowledged.

Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg (D-Los Angeles) said at the education committee hearing that students who fail the exit exam are often victims of classroom deficiencies. The exit exam, she said, "is going to punish the students who were born poor" and attend underachieving schools.

Republicans voiced dissent, saying that an unfettered exit test can motivate learning, promote better standards and ensure that all graduates meet a statewide standard. Assemblyman Keith Richman (R-Northridge), a physician, noted that after medical school he had to take board tests ensuring competency. The state's high school exit exam represents a similar hurdle, Richman said.

If it proceeds with the planned exit exam, California would join 19 other states that require students to pass high school exit exams. The 6 1/2 -hour exam, which includes multiple choice questions and an English essay, is pegged to sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade standards in math, including Algebra I, and to skills through 10th grade in English. Even with the modest expectations, however, state officials delayed enforcement of the exam from the Class of 2004 to the Class of 2006 amid concerns about low passage rates and a desire to give students more time to master the material. So far, 83% of next year's seniors have passed the English portion of the test and 82% have passed math.

As the deadline for the graduation requirement approaches, critics are once again highlighting the need for better preparation and pointing to the specter of more dropouts, particularly among African Americans, Latinos and other groups with the highest failure rates. They note that 78,000 of next year's seniors must still pass the English section, and 59,000 must pass math. Some of the same students could be included in both groups. "I've already seen it demoralizing the ones who haven't passed," said Elizabeth Minster, a teacher at Los Angeles High School and a leader of Coalition for Educational Justice, a grass-roots Los Angeles group.....

More here


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.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

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