Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Census Data Shows Inequality Linked to Education, Not Taxes

Much of President Obama's rhetoric and proposed policies have focused on eliminating what leftwing analysts have labeled a burgeoning income gap.  However, the researchers and analysts that inform this stance and advocate its resulting policies often fail to account for the causes of that inequality, says Scott A. Hodge, president of the Tax Foundation.

Specifically, the role of education in increasing incomes for the more-educated and lowering incomes for the less-educated is substantial.

 *   Just 8 percent of those at the lowest income level have a college degree while 78 percent of those earning $250,000 or more have a college degree or advanced degree.

*   At the other end of the income scale, 69 percent of low-income people have a high school degree or less, while just 9 percent of those earning over $250,000 have just a high school degree.

This data informs a conclusion that most are already familiar with: those with more education tend to make more money.  Yet, this conclusion also explains much of the ostensibly runaway income gap.  Americans are increasingly enrolling in higher levels of education, and this is raising their earning potential while they become wealthier than those who did not seek higher education.

 *   Last year, Census data showed that for the first time ever that more than 30 percent of U.S. adults age 25 and older had at least a bachelor's degree.
*  As recently as 1998, fewer than 25 percent of people this age had this level of education.

*    In 2010, there were 5.6 million more Americans with bachelor's degrees than in 1998 and nearly 3.5 million more with master's degrees.

This increased prevalence of education explains a large portion of the growing income gap.

*    Census data shows that in 2010, income for high school degree holders averaged $50,561.

*   A person with a bachelor's degree, meanwhile, made an average of $94,207 -- 86 percent more.

*    Someone with a master's degree made an average of $111,149 -- roughly 120 percent more.

Tax policies that seek to tax the rich in order to level the playing field fail to recognize that income inequality is the natural result of government policies that send more people to college.

Source: Scott A. Hodge, "Census Data Shows Inequality Linked to Education, Not Taxes," Tax Foundation, March 16, 2012.


Islamic Indoctrination in Textbooks

    Phyllis Schlafly

Political correctness has a double standard when it comes to teaching about religion in public schools. Drop Christianity down the memory hole but give extensive and mostly favorable coverage to Islam.

Even the mainstream media have provided extensive coverage of the steady stream of court cases and threatening letters from the American Civil Liberties Union aimed at removing all signs of Judeo-Christianity from public schools. Not only must prayer be prohibited, a cross and the Ten Commandments removed or covered up, a valedictorian banned from thanking God for his help, a football coach prohibited from bowing his head during a student-led pre-game prayer, singing of Christmas carols banned, and school calendars required to recognize winter holiday instead of Christmas, but there is also the complete omission of the history of the Founding Fathers' public recognition of Christianity.

An organization called ACT for America conducted an analysis of 38 textbooks used in the sixth- through 12th-grades in public schools, and found that since the 1990s, discussions of Islam are taking up more and more pages, while the space devoted to Judaism and Christianity has simultaneously decreased. In 2011, the National Assessment of Educational Progress reported that American 12th graders scored lower in history than in any other subject, even lower than in science, math and economics.

Most of these students are too young to remember 9/11, so current textbook descriptions about 9/11 is all they will learn. In one textbook example of pro-Islamic revisionism, 9/11 is portrayed as "a horrible act of terrorism, or violence to further a cause," without any mention that the attackers were Muslims or that the "cause" was Islamic jihad.

The textbooks generally give a false description of women's rights under Islam. The books don't reveal that women are subject to polygamy, a husband's legal right to beat her, genital mutilation, and the scandalous practice misnamed "honor killings," which allows a man to murder a daughter who dares to date a Christian.

Slavery is usually a favorite topic for the liberals, but historical revisionism is particularly evident in the failure to mention the Islamic slave trade. It began nearly eight centuries before the European-operated Atlantic slave trade and continues in some Muslim areas even today.

Other examples of historical revisionism in currently used textbooks include the omission of the doctrine of jihad or failure to accurately define it. Discussions of Muhammad's life and character are often contrary to accepted historical facts.

Muslim conquests and imperialism are usually omitted or downplayed, and a completely false narrative about the Crusades is given. The books often falsely claim that Islam is tolerant of Jews and Christians.

Another technique is to describe Christian and Jewish religious traditions as mere stories attributable to some human source, whereas Islamic traditions are presented as indisputable historic facts. In one textbook, you can read that Moses "claimed" to receive the Ten Commandments from God but that Muhammad simply "received" the Koran from God.

ACT for America is sending its report to all U.S. school board members nationwide. We hope they read it and tell the publishers the schools won't buy books that contain such errors and biases because that may be parents' only remedy for this indoctrination.

In the year of 9/11, a big controversy erupted at Excelsior public school in Byron, Calif., where seventh graders were being taught a three-week course about the Islamic religion. This course required the kids to learn 25 Islamic terms, 20 proverbs, Islam's Five Pillars of Faith, 10 key Islamic prophets and disciples, recite from the Koran, wear a robe during class, adopt a Muslim name, and stage their own "holy war" in a dice game.

Excelsior was using one of the textbooks that omit information about Islam's wars, massacres, and cruelties against Christians and Jews. Christianity was mentioned only briefly and negatively, linked to the Inquisition and to Salem witch hunts.

The students were given Muslim names and told to recite Muslim prayers in class. They were required to give up things for a day to recognize the Islamic practice of Ramadan, and the teacher gave extra credit for fasting at lunch.

For the final exam, the students had to write an essay about Islamic culture. The essay assignment warned students in these words: "Be careful here; if you do not have something positive to say, don't say anything!!!"

Parents naively thought they could appeal to the courts to uphold their right to reject this class for their children, which was really not education but behavior modification. They didn't realize that federal court decisions have ruled consistently against parents' rights and in favor of the authority of public schools to teach whatever they want.

The parents lost in court. And on Oct. 2, 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider the parents' appeal from the lower court decision against them.


'Please Sir, we'd like some more': Teachers claim pupils are served 'very small' dinners by cost cutting British schools

Children are going hungry at school as cost-cutting canteens serve up tiny portions despite the price of meals rising, teachers have warned.

In echoes of the era of Dickens' Oliver Twist, portions in some schools are 'very small' and staple dishes run out quickly, a survey of staff revealed.

Yet the cost of school meals is rising, with parents likely to be paying an extra £95 this year compared with 2010/11.

Teachers surveyed by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers complained that youngsters are too often given limited choice and unhealthy, carb-heavy meals of chips, pasta or rice.

Some canteens are skimping on portion sizes, prompting suspicions that firms providing school meals are putting profits before children's nutritional needs.

More than a third of staff surveyed believed school meals offered poor value for money, while nearly a fifth said the meals were not healthy.

The revelation came as figures showed how the number of children eligible to receive school meals free-of-charge is rising due to the recession.

The number of children who qualify for free meals edged up from 1,012,000 in 2009/10 and 1,055,00 last year as growing numbers of parents are made redundant.

Discussing the survey findings, Dr Mary Bousted, ATL's general secretary, said: 'It's absolutely the case that children are going in hungry in school and we all know what hunger does to your ability to learn.

'Teachers do raise issues about the quantity of food that children get, and about choice.  'Some teachers are saying that children don't get enough food.  'Some parents say their children may be eating food that is against their religion because the choice has gone, the other option has run out.

'In an age of austerity, in rising child poverty... free school meals become increasingly important as a major source of nutrition for children and young people.

More than two-fifths of primary school children and a third of secondary school pupils are now opting for school meals, according to the latest official figures.

Take-up has been growing since the school meals revolution was kick-started six years ago.

'If they are rising in importance in that way, we need to make sure they are nutritional, they are adequate in terms of quality and there is choice so children can exercise choice in what they want to eat.'

The survey of school dinners, covering 500 teachers and classroom assistants in primaries and secondaries, found that 62 per cent of respondents said the price of meals had gone up in their school this year.

Most said the price had risen by up to 50p per day, leading to an additional cost to parents of £95 a year.  But 34 per cent said meals failed to represent good value for money and 19 per cent said meals were not healthy.

A primary school teacher said: 'The food provided for our school varies in quality. Some meals are delicious, others are far from it.

'The portions served to the children are very poor, and there seems to be no regular inspection of the food, kitchens or portion size by the local authority provider.'

Another primary teacher said: 'There are times that meals are good but others when they are most unappetising. There are occasions when the portion size is very small and there have been times when portions have run out.'

A third added: 'The young children often get very small portions and very limited choice. Children who come with packed lunches eat a lot more at lunchtime.'

Meanwhile, a reception class teacher said: 'The younger children pay the same price but get much less than the older ones. Also they do not get the choice as this is saved for the older ones.'

Overall, staff felt meals were healthy but one secondary teacher said: 'There seems to be a lot of carbohydrates on offer each day.   'There are usually chips, pasta and rice available, while vegetables and salad don't seem to be on offer.

'As the meals are cooked in-house, the choice is limited to what our cook is able to make in large quantities.'

Commenting on the findings, Dr Bousted added: 'One respondent said we could do with more inspection of the standard of the meals.

'If it's not inspected, then there is a danger that private market forces can just take over and you're getting as much profit as you can out of feeding the nation's children.

'If, as is usual they have been provided by an outsourced company, by a private company, the size of the portion and the quality of the food will impact directly on the extent of the profits.'

The findings were published as ATL members debated a motion on free school meals at their annual conference in Manchester.

Delegates passed a resolution recognising that a rise in child poverty will further increase the importance of school dinners and cooking skills for the health of children and young people.

It calls on the Government to introduce a universal credit system to make sure that qualifying for free school meals becomes the accurate indicator of child poverty.

Clare Kellett, a teacher at West Somerset Community College, said some pupils came to school having had no breakfast, while some also failed to eat lunch.

'They don't really need to read Pope and Dickens, they don't really need to read Dickens and write essays about it to find out about child poverty, neglect, hunger,' she told delegates.  'They don't need to read it because they live it, in 2012.'

A School Food Trust spokesman said: 'Every child's appetite is different so portion sizes aren't set nationally - but cooks do get to know their pupils, and should make sure they are getting a portion that's appropriate for them.

'If parents or teachers are ever concerned that children aren't getting enough to eat, we always advise that they talk to their cooks in the first instance.'

She added: 'School meals need to be affordable for families. Our research proves that school food is particularly sensitive to changes in price and in these tough financial times, access to decent food at school for children has never been so important.

'Schools need support to build their market, run their catering efficiently and to deal with rising costs


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