Monday, July 23, 2007

Schools should be protected from unreasonable searches

The 4th Amendment reads: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized"

As an attorney, I believe that government schools should be unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment ban of unreasonable searches. The recent police-state raid in Goose Creek, South Carolina is another in the growing list of proofs.

Government schools have a special exemption under the 4th Amendment, a lowered standard that promotes police-state raids. A raid was caught on videotape when gun-toting police burst into a high school, ordering students to lie flat on their stomachs in hallways as they searched for drugs at Goose Creek, South Carolina on Nov. 7, 2003. Police handcuffed anyone who apparently didn’t comply quickly enough. The tape showed police waving their guns and searching lockers. Worse still, the media reports that the school maintains constant video surveillance of students through various cameras available to police.

During my legal career, parents have asked me if it is wise (or constitutional) for government to control everyone’s education. Government schools create milquetoasts in the same way that Cuban schools create socialists. That is why parents subject their own children to government schools with constant video surveillance and police-state tactics. Government schools in the U.S. are different only in degree from schools in the former USSR

The 4th amendment should be improved to specifically include “schools” with the same high standard given to homes. Of course, the only real solution is to end government schools. Many parents have already rescued their children from government schools in favor of the many better alternatives. The U.S. did not have government schools when the Fourth (and First) Amendment was written. If the authors of the Constitution had foreseen the government’s education monstrosity then the Fourth Amendment would have included government schools, and the First Amendment would have banned Congress from the establishment of religion and education.

The Constitution should be amended to include “education” next to “religion.” The separation of school and state is as important as the separation of church and state. And for the same ideological reasons. The proposed constitutional amendment is discussed in detail at

Even if an excuse could be made for the initial creation of some government schools, their ongoing existence is proof of their ongoing failure to educate people to handle their own (or their childrens’) educations without government schools. The Post And Courier newspaper in Charleston reports the high school is one of the largest in the state with 2,760 students. It has an academic reputation as one of the Low country’s best. But that doesn’t show from the subservient comments of the students and parents. The media reported that “the commando-style raid has parents questioning the wisdom of police tactics.” Sadly, no media reported that the raid has parents questioning the wisdom of government schools. And that is more proof that government schools are dangerous and must end.

One media outlet reported that a parent said, “I was just upset knowing they had guns put to their head and a K9 was barking at them and about to bite somebody. It was awful.” Only through years of government schooling can a parent actually make such a statement and not announce that she is withdrawing her student from government schools. She did not even question the constitutionality of government schools per se.

As if that weren’t bad enough, the media reports state that parents and students are already aware, and have done nothing about, the fact that the school maintains constant video surveillance available to police. The paper quoted a law enforcement officer as saying that he watched school surveillance tapes from four days that showed students congregating under various cameras, allegedly to avoid being filmed. “They know where the cameras are. If they stand directly under them, the camera’s don’t look directly down,” the law enforcement officer told a paper.

The 4th amendment states “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Police didn’t find any criminals in the armed sweep nor any drugs. Goose Creek police and school administrators defended the draconian measures as necessary for crime prevention.


Testing defended in Britain

The new Children, Schools and Families Secretary set himself on a collision course with the teaching establishment yesterday by pledging that national testing and school league tables were here to stay. Despite growing pressure from the Government's own examinations regulator and the majority of the teaching profession about overtesting in schools, Ed Balls said that "testing and the publication of results" were the only way to ensure accountability. "It enables us to be able to see as policymakers what is working, who is not performing well and, in the extremes, being able to tackle poor performance," he told The Times. It was necessary also, he said, to help parents to judge the performance of their child's school.

Mr Balls's comments will disappoint the main teaching unions, as well as the professional body, the General Teaching Council. All complain that, far from raising standards, overtesting encourages a narrow curriculum, alienating students from learning and increasing their anxiety.

Children in England typically sit 70 tests and exams in their school careers and are the most tested in the world. Despite this, Britain is near the bottom of international league tables for the number of students leaving school with valuable qualifications.

Critics of testing include Ken Boston, head of the examinations regulator, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, who has argued that national tests for children aged 7, 11 and 14 should be replaced by the random testing of a sample of pupils and teacher assessments.

Mr Balls's opposition to this approach will also distance the Government from the Conservative Party, which has promised "fewer but tougher" tests and the dropping of Key Stage 3 tests at 14. In his first newspaper interview since he was appointed three weeks ago, Mr Balls also attacked Tory support for more streaming and the promise made by the Conservative leader, David Cameron, for a "grammar stream" in every comprehensive.

Mr Balls stopped short of banning streaming, which involves separating children into groups according to overall ability and teaching them in the same class for all subjects, arguing that individual head teachers know what works best in their own schools. But he emphasised that it was "backward-looking and divisive", imposing an arbitrary judgment on children's intelligence and ignoring individual talents. He said that he would rather see a greater use of setting, where children are separated into ability groups for individual subjects. "I do not find anybody sensible advocating streaming in schools. As somebody who went through streaming myself through secondary school I saw how deeply socially divisive it was," he said.

Mr Balls said that he would be making a series of impromptu visits to schools to spend time with teachers and pupils, who would not be informed who he was. He made his first such visit on Monday, when he spent the day at Banbury School in Oxfordshire, having informed only the head, the deputy and two senior staff members of his intention to visit. He arrived on foot, having asked his driver to drop him some distance from the school and was introduced to teachers and pupils as "a visitor".

He said that there was an old-fashioned view that you either focused on the welfare of the child or drove up standards in the classroom. His visit to Banbury had shown him that this was a false choice. "You can only drive up standards if you are actually focusing on the whole child, tracking their learning on an individual basis, but also knowing that if they aren't ready to learn because they are not sleeping or have difficulties at home, it's not possible for them to do well," he said.

He was determined to tackle the "achievement gap" in society, emphasising the importance of closer cooperation between education, health and social care services for children. "There are children in the same borough, on the same streets sometimes, and even going to the same schools, who have radically different experiences, shaped by family income and family environment, by poor health. The scandal is not England v Sweden, but Blackbird Leys v Headington. It's Harehills v Roundhay. It is North Kensington v South Kensington," he said.

Mr Balls said that more than 400 city academies could be set up, but insisted that they should become part of the "mainstream" and work more closely with nearby schools. The man who has spent most of his political life advising or working for Gordon Brown admitted that he felt "a bit liberated" at being outside the Treasury at last and declared himself ready to argue hard with his former colleagues for cash. Acknowledging that plans for a more flexible national curriculum would place a heavy burden on teachers and head teachers, he said that he would welcome the appointment of head teachers from outside the teaching profession.



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"

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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