Sunday, October 09, 2011

Abolish the Department of Education

U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) has produced a masterful 626-page document dissecting federal spending and recommending cuts of about $9 trillion. Called “Back in Black,” it was released in July and, unfortunately, has been largely under the radar. Let’s hope the six senators and six representatives on the Special Joint Committee charged with federal deficit reduction will give it careful scrutiny.

Coburn’s template for identifying areas to cut, generally speaking, was functionality--whether the federal program is accomplishing what was intended by the legislation creating it.

But here’s another thought: How about using whether the federal government had the constitutional power to enact the federal program in the first place? If that power is not in the Constitution, a program should be abolished.

Take the Department of Education, for example. The time is right to abolish it as unconstitutional.

Nothing in the U.S. Constitution authorizes the federal government to fund education. The federal government tried to justify it to the U.S. Supreme Court indirectly under the Commerce Clause in 1995, by saying young people with high-quality educations foster interstate commerce, but the Court rejected that argument. The Court said the government can lawfully regulate only “commercial” activities under that Clause. Commercial activities may sometimes affect local public education, but education itself is not commercial and thus not subject to federal regulation.

President George W. Bush, of course, famously ignored that holding when he advocated and signed “No Child Left Behind.” Its goal was to improve the educational performance of American students in return for more federal funding. With NCLB an abject failure, now the Obama administration is offering the states “waivers” from its student-testing based standards in return for promises of increased student and teacher performance--and accepting the administration’s preferred mandates. NCLB’s legality is questionable under the Constitution, but Congress has passed it, so it is also legally questionable whether the Obama administration can repeal it by administrative fiat and impose new and different conditions from those in the NCLB law.

Nobody likes NCLB. Congress can’t agree on a reauthorization. Obama wants to write a new law he thinks is better. What’s best, though, is to just get rid of it and get the federal government out of education entirely.

Coburn suggests reducing federal elementary and high school funding and turning it into block grants. But abolishing federal funding, or at least phasing it out over time, isn’t unthinkable. Though federal funding of local public education has more than doubled since 1970, in 2007–08 it comprised just 8.2 percent of per-pupil school spending. Since then, outcomes not only have not improved--they have gotten worse.

“Back in Black” states, “While some policymakers have been successful in creating the message that increased funding and additional programs can serve as an elixir to the significant shortcomings in our education system, our nation’s students have been cheated by both an ineffective federal bureaucracy and an uncertain future of burdensome debt. If the answer were simply to provide more funding, the results from the enormous financial contributions we have made to date would be evident.”

In 2012, Coburn’s report says, about $200 billion in federal funds will by spent by the Department of Education to administer 230 programs. The list is mindboggling. It includes: Early Reading First, Striving Readers, Reading First, Reading Is Fundamental, Even Start, Head Start, Early Head Start, Homeless Education, Native Hawaiian Education, Alaska Native Education, Rural Education, Indian Education, Historic Whaling and Trading Partners etc. ...

And the kids still can’t read.

Getting the federal government out of local schools can only make schools better by returning them to local control and saving them from costly federal mandates.

Early in our nation’s history, state constitutions included provisions for state publicly funded education. The nation’s founders could have included such a provision in our Constitution. They did not, and there was good reason why.

School boards are elected locally. They set curriculum and hire teachers and administrators. If students are not being adequately educated, parents and the community have recourse at the polls. Local control is why the founders stayed away from education as a federal responsibility. It’s time for people to take back that power.


CAIR Spreads Islamic Propaganda in Florida Approved English Textbook

The war for the “Heart” of America (our children) in accordance with the objectives of the Muslim Brotherhood has taken another bold step forward, one which has apparently gone undetected by the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) and other education officials.

While Islamic Indoctrination in America’s public school textbooks has been detailed in reports by groups like ACT for America, American Textbook Council, and most recently a report by Citizens For National Security (CFNS) which cites over 200 false or misleading excerpts in (27) twenty seven of Florida’s approved History and Social Studies textbooks, this is the first time to our knowledge of Islamic propaganda being reported in an English textbook.

The textbook “Elements in Literature” fourth course by Holt, Rinehart and Winston (ISBN 10:0-03-099302-4) is currently being used by Hilliard Middle-High School in Nassau County, a state of Florida approved textbook.

The lesson is based on an article “Islam in America” by Patricia Smith of the New York Times. A concerned school employee, who requested anonymity, brought this textbook to the local ACT! for America – Jacksonville Chapter for review. What immediately caught our eye was Ihsan Bagby, the Professor of Islamic Studies referenced in the article.

In other words, he states Muslims can’t be loyal American Citizens. Then consider CAIR was designated a Muslim Brotherhood front group and the Palestine Committee (HAMAS) by a federal judge in largest terrorism funding trial in U.S. history (U.S. vs HLF). CAIR members were sentenced up to 65 Years in Prison as a result.

While the message is subtle, the author starts by portraying Sana Haq, a 17 year old Muslim girl as all-American, and then explains as an observant Muslim she prays five times per day, which makes her different. Detailing how shopping for jeans could take a week to find a pair which meets her definition of “decent” and although she is not allowed to date, she has male friends. Sana goes on to tell how Islam affects every aspect of her life, “If you ask me to describe myself in one word, that word would be Muslim”… “Not American, not Pakistani, not a teenager. Muslim. It’s the most important thing to me.”

The next paragraph informs the students that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the U.S., and estimates Muslim demographics in America between 1.5 and 9 million.

It is interesting how the author or anyone could determine Islam as the fastest growing religion with such a wide guestimate in regard to Muslim demographics? Reflecting on this and the images chosen, the author knowingly or not promotes one Muslim Brotherhood agenda of exaggerating the size and political clout of the Islamic community in America. More accurate estimates actually place the Muslim population in the U.S between 2.5 and 3.5 Million.

Some American Muslims are in fact secular, just as there are secular Jews and Christians. However, after a quick review of this text, those knowledgeable in Islamic Doctrine quickly realizes Sana by all appearances is Sharia compliant. This is reinforced by her statement “I am Muslim” and “not American, not Pakistani, but Muslim”. Sana is portrayed as a devout Muslim, as such; her allegiance must be to the Ummah (Islamic community/nation) and the supremacy of Islamic law and not the Constitution or man-made law in accordance with Sharia. Ihsan Bagby and Sana Haq seem to share this allegiance.

In contrast, students are given the impression Sana, is just like any other American, with the exception that as a Muslim, she is more “Modest” and “Decent” then most of her western friends, and she dresses this way by her own volition and not as a religious requirement.

The next section titled “Contrast with Europe” opens by praising the cultural advances Muslims have made in America, their high voting record, and successful integration as opposed to their European counterparts who remain on the economic and political fringes, briefly mentioning that Muslims rioted in many French cities in 2005.

The author uses Dearborn, Michigan, (a city with one of the largest concentrations of Muslims in America) as her shining example of integration, and another human interest piece about a senior high football player giving a glowing detail about his requirement to fast during Ramadan. Hassan ends with the statement “When you start your day off fasting…..At the end of the day you know you’ve work hard, you know you’ve been faithful….. After fasting all day, you feel like a warrior.”

Surely Patricia Smith is wishing she had looked into her crystal ball or consulted a medium prior to using Dearborn as an example of Islamic “integration” in America. Many controversies emanating from Dearborn have come to light in recent years, to include at each of the past three “Arab Fest” in 2009, 2010, and 2011 respectively. The City of Dearborn was recently embarrassed for a second time, when it lost a lawsuit as a result of unconstitutional actions taken by Dearborn police at Arab Fest to silence Christian citizens. The incidents were caught on video with “integrated” Arab crowds cheering this First Amendment violation in the background.

It is becoming increasing clear the Islamic community in Dearborn, is much more aligned with their European counter parts who dwell in many of the 750 huddles/No-go zones in France, as well as those in other European cities occupied by Muslims who refuse to “Integrate”. Muslims who are demanding Sharia law become the law of the land. This may or may not be representative of the mindset of the majority of American Muslims; however the reality of the situation in Dearborn combined with those Muslims with influence in the American mainstream is quite disturbing.

The final and most offensive Section “Impact of 9/11” – is a tired restatement of Muslim victimhood following 9/11 with absolutely no mention of the nearly 3,000 lives lost that day at the hands of Muslims, and no condemnation, and no mention of tens of thousands of attacks in the name of Allah since that day.

Bagby states on one hand “September 11 exposed American Muslims for the first time to a large degree of hostility”, “that many young Muslims spend a lot of time correcting common “Misperceptions” about Islam: that it condones terrorism (it doesn’t); and that it denies women equal rights (it doesn’t though many majority-Muslim cultures and countries do)”.

Professor Bagby uses truth, partial truth (Islamic doctrine of Kitman), and deception (Islamic doctrine of Taqiyya/holy deception) to lead the child to the conclusion that Muslims in America are greatly persecuted and misunderstood by Americans.

Now the facts: While it is true there was an increase in hate crimes in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, American’s as a whole were cautious not to offend Islam or Muslims, as demonstrated in speeches by President Bush and other leaders, yet there is no discussion of this?

According to FBI statistics, hate crimes against Muslims and Christians are almost equivalent, ranging between 4-9%, quite insignificant in comparison to Jews, the real victims with stats ranging between 66-71.8% each year since 9/11. Yet Children are left with the impression that Muslims are a victim class, despite the fact Jews, lesbians, gays, and Caucasian males have higher rates of hate crimes perpetrated against them each year.

In the lesson Professor Bagby, then tells our children Muslims do not condone terrorism. While he is doctrinally correct, this statement is deceptive and misleading. Terrorism as defined under authoritative Islam is the UNJUST killing of a MUSLIM only, so while his statement is technically correct, it does not apply to non-Muslims killed on 9/11. Killing Innocent Human Beings is also condemned under Islamic Law, however non-Muslims are excluded because they are guilty in the eyes of Islam, merely for the fact they are not Muslim.

Bagby’s inference that Islam offers women equality is completely counterfactual. Islam recognizes no equality between religion, gender, nor Muslim and non-Muslim.

Regarding women: The inheritance of a female Muslim is ½ that of a male, her testimony in court is ½ that of a male, a husband may divorce her by simply saying “I divorce you” three times and he keeps all property and any children, women must petition the court for a divorce which is seldom granted, a husband my take his wife by force if she refuses to submit, a husband may beat his wife, and more in accordance with Sharia law derived from the Noble Koran and Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad. Yet, again none of this is discussed in the lesson.

Islamic outreach has been a one way street, one which has made America a very dangerous place. Consider Shabbir Mansouri, Founder and Director of the Council on Islamic Education (CIE), which is virtually responsible for all textbook content regarding Islam who said “I am waging a Bloodless Revolution in America’s Public Schools” . Incidentally, the CIE changed its name to the Institute on Religion and Civic Values (IRCV) to help camouflage its true nature.

Then consider an English lesson which allows a CAIR/HAMAS leader to twist and influence the impressionable minds of our children, unwittingly or not, reinforced by the very people we entrusted to educate them.


Times Higher university rankings: Britain has better universities than the government realises

Britain has better universities than the government realises, the editor of Times Higher Education has said following the publication of its World University Rankings.

Ann Mroz, Editor of Times Higher Education, said: “The UK is blessed with some truly brilliant universities – more brilliant than the government understands judging by its hastily concocted higher education reforms, with all the uncertainty they entail.

“While we may be second to the US in terms of the overall number of world-class institutions, given the disparity in funding levels our performance is nothing short of staggering. Put simply, we spend much less on our universities than many of our competitors – less than the OECD average – and yet outperform almost all of them.

“These facts make the massive gamble that we are now taking by all but abolishing public funding for university teaching, and replacing it with tuition fees, all the more questionable. Consultation on the White Paper on the future of higher education has just closed. The government should heed these ranking results, reflect on concerns raised about the speed and extent of its planned reforms and think again. This is a political fix for something that was never broken.”

This year’s rankings show that while the US still continues to dominate higher education, the UK has firmly cemented its place as the second-best higher education system in the world, based on the number of institutions in the top 200.

The UK has 32 universities in the top 200, three more than last year, and seven in the top 50 (two more than last year). However, there was a fall in the number in the top 100, with more universities than before languishing in the bottom half of the table.

Oxford is now officially the country’s top university, inching ahead of Cambridge. Oxford’s success is related in part to a refinement in methodology this year to make Times Higher Education’s rankings the first global league table to reflect subject mix fairly. It also pipped Cambridge on international outlook and scored better on research funding after normalisation. Imperial College is the third British institution in the top 10. With University College London also in the top 20, there is a widening gap in the UK between a super-elite and the rest of Britain’s leading institutions.

The number two position must not be taken for granted, however, in this pivotal time for British universities, said Mroz. Funding is an essential factor in the success of a university. Recent OECD figures (September 2011) have shown that spending on higher education in the UK has fallen from 1.3% of GDP in last year’s report to 1.2% this year, against an average of 1.5%. These latest figures are based on 2008 data, before the financial crisis and current funding reforms started to take hold, so in reality that spend is probably even lower.

While the government is trying to address this through tuition fees there is huge uncertainty as to whether this will work and it could result in a weakening of the UK knowledge economy. One thing is certain: as other countries across Europe and Asia continue to invest heavily in higher education, increased funding – public or private – will be vital if British institutions are to maintain their advantage at the forefront of global higher education.


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