Saturday, October 15, 2005

Fighting Against Liberalism in education

(From Stop and Think)

The Alliance Defense Fund is branching out to challenge violations of college students' First Amendment rights of religious freedom, freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The ADF has launched a new website devoted to educating people of injustices occurring on college campuses regarding the violation of First Amendment rights. The ADF is representing students forced to take oaths against their will, to undergo mandatory "diversity" training and victims of religious discrimination.

It seems if you're a liberal in this country you have "rights" whereas if you think along different lines you don't. Why? Has faith in God become anathema to the Americans? We all know that there are hypocrites in religious circles, but hypocrisy rears its ugly head in EVERY facet of life in America. Instead of banning religion why not ban hypocrisy instead? And why "diversity" training as a mandatory requirement to achieve an educational diploma so you can work for a living doing something besides digging ditches or waiting hand and foot on the elite in this country? Why are politics in the classroom in the first place? It sounds like the old Soviet Union to me. It also reeks of the fascism of Nazi Germany and the stink of Red China. Since when has choosing sides on political issues been more important than allowing American citizens the right to an education?

Breaking up the monolith

(The OECD is the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development -- an international economics body)

The OECD'S director for education, Barry McGaw, says public schools should be run more like private schools, with parents and teachers given more say and competition and diversity encouraged. Dr McGaw believes it would help convince parents that public education is worthwhile. As the drift from public to private schools continues, and the number of students of school age starts to decline, education bureaucrats must consider ways to bolster the popularity of public schools if they are to continue to offer a high-quality alternative. The [Australian] federal Education Minister, Brendan Nelson, is so keen on what Dr McGaw has suggested he has hinted he might make it a condition of federal funding for the states. The ideas certainly deserve serious consideration.

The demand for choice is a relatively new pressure for the government school system. In 1971, government schools were the overwhelming choice of parents. Seventy-eight per cent of students were educated at them. By this year that figure had fallen to 67 per cent and it is projected to fall to 64 per cent by 2010. While the advocates of government schools rightly praise the high standard of education available, the centralised uniformity which used to be the government system's great boast has come to be seen as a drawback.

Parents feel wary of the public school system in part because it is so vast, and so hard to change. Last week parents from one Sydney public school felt angry enough about a staffing decision to protest noisily in State Parliament after letters and a petition to the Education Minister, Carmel Tebbutt, proved fruitless. They got nowhere. Ms Tebbutt told them she could not intervene in a staffing matter, and their school had been treated exactly the same as any other. So it had. That is precisely the problem. The parents were perfectly justified in wanting the right to choose. They are concerned - as they have every right to be - about their school and their children, not the bureaucratic needs of an enormous statewide system. Why should it be necessary for honest citizens to invade Parliament House and risk arrest over such a simple matter?

While some state schools involve parents in decisions about staff, it is clearly not mandatory. And if anger and vehement protest cannot change even one recruitment decision, what chance do parents in general have to alter more fundamental trends? One virtue of Dr McGaw's suggestion may be that it would oblige teachers to engage more closely with the concerns of parents, without requiring them to surrender professional control. Any such change would allow individual schools to follow their own paths, and diverge from centrally dictated standards. Some schools would flourish, others might not. There would have to be safeguards to ensure individual schools did not deteriorate through neglect.

The continuing flight to private education shows that parents want choice and are willing pay for it. As things stand, only the relatively wealthy can afford to choose. Why should choice not be available, within the government school system, to all?



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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