Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Lessons Not Learned in Publik Skools

If our modern-day government re-education camps, otherwise known as public schools, actually taught our kids about our nation's founding history, perhaps they would come across this quote by Thomas Jefferson: "A person once surrendering reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous." Government schools, especially those embracing "zero tolerance policies," have completely surrendered reason in their operations. Let me give you just three recent examples of "absurdities the most monstrous."

* In DeKalb County, Georgia, two high school honor roll girls were suspended for ten days for using a kitchen knife to cut a birthday cake brought in for a fellow classmate. They girls posed no threat to anyone, yet a teacher ratted them out for possession. As a result, they were barred from participating in their schools baccalaureate ceremony.

* In Bend, Oregon, a 14-year-old girl was given detention for giving her boyfriend a hug in the hallway of her Middle School. A spokeswoman for the school district assured the world that school officials weren't trying to be "the hug Nazis," but said the school had to be careful that students didn't make other "people uncomfortable."

* And in Frederick, Maryland, an 18-year-old senior was barred from attending her prom for being quoted in a local newspaper as saying she might drink alcoholic beverages at a party after the prom. Note: She wasn't barred for actually drinking; she was barred for thinking about and talking about drinking.

And these are just the tip of the "absurdities most monstrous" iceberg being foisted on our children by education apparatchiks in public schools these days. Everybody knows the public schools suck rotten eggs; however, the biggest problem is that white folks in the 'burbs think it's only the public schools in the ghettos which turn out modern-day Forest Gumps. "Their" public schools are different. Their kids can read and write (sort of). Why, their public school is ranked in the Top Ten compared to all the other schools in the area, don't you know. Well, here are two major problems with that line of thinking, and the republic is in serious jeopardy until parents wake up to these realities.

1.) Like it or not, for better or worse, our kids live in a global community today. Kids in Omaha aren't just competing with kids in Chicago any longer. They're competing with kids in England, Japan, Korea, China, Germany...and maybe even France. And not only are our kids failing to measure up against these developed-nation competitors, they're lagging behind kids coming out of many third-world countries, as well. It's one thing to compare your baseball team to the Bad News Bears. It's another thing altogether to be thrown up against the New York Yankees. Fortunately, our kids still lead the world in one category: self-esteem. They may stink in math and science, but at least they feel really, really good about themselves.

2.) It's not just learning how to read, write and add two-plus-two (the correct answer is four, no matter how good you feel about yourself) which make up an education - though it'd be nice if the government schools could at least reach that level of competence. It's learning HOW to learn. How to think critically and independently. How to use common sense. And dare I say it, how and when to challenge authority - especially government authority when Big Brother gets too big for its britches. But as you can see from just the three examples stated earlier, those are decidedly NOT the lessons being taught to our youth in government schools today. Instead, kids are being indoctrinated to submit willingly and meekly to authority. Not to step out of line, not even one little bit. To follow the rules without question. To forsake any notion of independent thought or action.

Our government schools today aren't about mind development. They're about mind control. Sure, many of the kids coming out of public schools in the 'burbs can, write a complete sentence. But that sentence will likely only express ideas pre-approved my the Ministry of Politically Correct Thought. And that is the true danger of government-run schools - be they in the ghetto or the suburbs.

Private school choice, including home-schooling, is no longer an option. It's an imperative. Perhaps then, and only then, will our kids learn about our founding history and the "radical" ideas held by our Founders which made the United States the greatest and freest nation in history. Perhaps then they'll learn of Thomas Jefferson proudly proclaiming, "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." In America today, such tyranny is being perpetrated on our youth by government schools, which more than deserve a little eternal hostility. Perhaps even a revolution.



Two Los Angeles-based radio talk show hosts almost put their finger on the problem with the public school system and why those who try to reform it run into brick walls. Here's how one of them put it: "It's like the only thing that matters is what's good for the adults, and not what's good for the kids." Bingo. It always comes back to this: the competing interests of the adults who work in the school system with those of the students supposedly served by that system.

The trouble was that the radio jocks - John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou - didn't go far enough in advancing that argument. Instead, they got hung up on what got them talking about education in the first place: a newspaper story about the $250,000 annual salary of a school superintendent in Southern California. It bothered the hosts that the superintendent was pulling down this hefty salary while students were being squeezed into portable classrooms.

Here's what should have bothered them: It's not just money, it's that this habit of putting adults first spills into everything. It helps explain why educators are quick to dig in and fight off any proposed reform, from testing to merit pay to fixing special education. You name it, and the reason that it's creating friction or meeting resistance is because it pits the interests of adults against those of children. And in the public school system, the adults run the show. I heard the same thing about 10 years ago during a frank and honest exchange with a Mexican-American school superintendent in Central California. He told me that the way the educational system was set up, everything is done - or, in case of reform efforts, often not done - to serve the adults who depended on that system for their livelihoods.

And I heard the same thing from departing San Diego Unified School Superintendent Alan Bersin, a hard-charging reformer who resigned recently after losing a shoving match with teachers unions and their allies on the school board. The thing is, Bersin is no pushover. A former U.S. attorney, he's a tough guy who has prosecuted corporate criminals and drug dealers and organized crime figures. You would think that, in him, the unions who barter and trade on what President Bush calls "the soft bigotry of low expectations" would have finally met their match. Think again. The more Bersin tried to hold schools accountable and set performance goals for students, the more the unions made him a target. He drafted a "blueprint" on how to raise student performance, and the unions leveled so much criticism against it - and against him - that before long, he was black and blue. Eventually, he lost favor with a majority of the five-member school board, and then it was only a matter of time before he was forced out.

Now Bersin is headed to Sacramento, having been appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to serve as California secretary of education. Recently, Bersin met with the editorial board of The San Diego Union-Tribune and shared some lessons he picked up from locking horns with those who fight for the status quo. Americans have to decide what they want from schools, he said. "Is public education going to be an enterprise that gives adults what they want for their jobs, or is it to be something that serves children?" he asked.

One thing that helps tip the balance in favor of the first option is the fact that teachers unions have their fingers in school board elections. I first heard about this insidious practice about a year ago when I spoke to a group of school board members about the federal education reform law, No Child Left Behind. After my talk, one of the members approached me and, trying to explain why the reaction had been so hostile, revealed that school board candidates often get contributions from teachers unions, which strongly oppose No Child Left Behind.

Bersin acknowledged that the unions contribute to school board elections in San Diego, though he said they were merely taking advantage of an "opportunity that the system provides them." That is too kind. Here's the drill. The unions scratch the backs of school board members, who reciprocate by scratching the eyes out of reformers like the superintendent - thus easing the pressure on teachers. That part of the education system isn't so complicated. In fact, it's as easy as ABC - as in Absolutely Broken & Corrupted.



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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