Tuesday, July 31, 2012

America's Socialist School Teachers

By Warner Todd Huston

I am beginning to feel that there is no hope for many of our school teachers. They’ve become so infused with leftism that any semblance of Americanism is beyond their grasp. Even history is viewed from within a socialist prism as a recent editorial from a teacher from Pennsylvania proves.

In his editorial, teacher Robert J. Fisher of Upper Saucon Township sought to debunk what he called the “extreme right-wing elements” of today’s America. He did this by claiming that nearly every conflict in our history is some sort of example of Marxist class warfare.

For teacher Fisher, all of American history is one giant example of Marxist principles proven right. It doesn’t matter that the ideas of class as Marx described them really didn’t exist during all of American history, of course.

Fisher claims that “primitive Native Americans” and “subsistent frontiersmen from the Piedmont” were all engaged in class warfare with the “wealthier urban merchants and plantation owners.”

He goes on to claim that the Regulators in 1771 North Carolina, Shay’s rebellion (1787), and the earlier Bacon’s rebellion (1675) were all “class warfare.”

Then he says that the “powerful federal government” that Washington and his compatriots created was an attempt to “deal more effectively with such class-based rebellions.” His proof? The 1791 Whiskey Rebellion.

Fisher bounced to the Jacksonian era, saying that President Andrew Jackson’s goal was “reform” America to allow “the common man” to become vested in the system then touted the Civil War as the biggest “class struggle” of them all.

And who else was a hero? Of course it was the rise of the labor union coupled with Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” policies. These, he claims “helped create a vibrant middle class.”

All of this is skewed nonsense. The history of the United States cannot be so simplistically distilled as one of mere class warfare and it’s sad that this person who has been allowed to influence the minds of our children is so blinded by his Marxist theology that this is all he can see.

In fact, in nearly every case Fisher cites the Americans involved were not trying to tear down another class in order to “equalize” society. They did not consider themselves class warriors but people that aimed to advance to a better life themselves.

This is 100 percent opposite of Fisher’s Marxist theology. Marxism wants to tear down society and “the evil rich” and replace it all with an authoritarian, top-down, oppressive central government that allows no one to better themselves. This is as far from American history as can be.

And that whole business that the labor movement created some sort of heaven on earth? Hardly. In fact, the labor unions held America back with the costs and limits on innovation they imposed. It wasn’t unions that brought America that middle class, it was far more the fact that the USA was the one world power untouched physically by the ravages of WWII leaving us in the perfect position to rebuild the world and reap the untold benefits from that lucky stroke. That combined with our American capitalist system, our Yankee work ethic, and our American culture — the very one Fisher disparages as a series of class wars — that allowed us to take advantage of that post world war atmosphere.

But Fisher has inculcated his appreciation of Marxism from his years of indoctrination in our system of higher learning and unfortunately he’s teaching this garbage to our children.

Worse, he’s not alone.


Fleeing Public Schools in America

Sharply declining enrollment in half the nation's largest public school districts spells bad news for the union-dominated monopoly of government-run public schools.

School districts in longtime economically stagnant cities like Detroit and Cleveland hemorrhaged the most students, losing 32.1 percent and 17.7 percent, respectively. However, economic stagnation is but one of many reasons for declining student enrollment; factors that also include the collapse of the housing market, declining birthrates, migration from the cities, and increased school violence.

In that latter case, for example, Philadelphia, which saw a 10.2 percent drop in enrollment, reported that over the past five years in Philadelphia's 268 public schools, 4,000 students, teachers, or other staff members were "beaten, robbed, sexually assaulted, or victims of other violent crimes."

In Chicago Public Schools, twenty-four students were fatally shot during the 2011-12 school year, with the overall shooting toll at 319, the highest in four years and a nearly 22 percent increase from the previous school year.

Yet, for some school districts, the most compelling reason for student flight was increased competition from charter and private schools. That conclusion was drawn by Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), which saw the third largest student decline of 11.1 percent.

MPS assigned its troubles to Milwaukee's Parental Choice Program, a school voucher program for poor and middle-income students that has allowed more than 23,000 students to enroll in private schools in and around Milwaukee.

If MPS is disturbed by this trend, the American public at large surely does not share the district's unease. "We have record-low confidence in our public schools," observed Kevin Johnson, the mayor of Sacramento. Indeed, Gallup's annual "Confidence in American Institutions" poll, conducted just last month, revealed that just 29 percent of Americans have confidence in American public schools. This trend is undoubtedly bolstered by the fact that decades of record amounts of money being fed into public school systems have only managed to produce mediocre-to-poor academic results.

Specifically, despite increasing real spending per student on public K-12 education by 23.5 percent over the past decade and by 49 percent over the past 20 years, academic achievement standards, such as reading proficiency and graduation rates, have only marginally improved.

Those meager results have come despite American public school districts nationwide now spending $604.9 billion a year, with an average of $10,499 being spent per student and a pupil/teacher ratio of 15.4, compared to 1970 when the per-pupil expenditures were $4,060 and the pupil/teacher ratio was 22.3.

Yet, in many cities where spending per student exceeds $10,000 per year, graduation rates are horrifyingly well below the national average of 74 percent, such as in Detroit, which spends $11,100 per year, per student, but only 25 percent of its students graduate.

Sadly, that seems like a bargain when compared to the District of Columbia, whose public schools spend nearly $30,000 per pupil yet in return receive a student graduation rate of 60 percent and a student body that has some of the nation's lowest math and reading scores.

Still, it should be noted that many factors can determine academic performance; in particular, the type of family a child comes from, including those families where an ethos of education, discipline, hard work and other such values are regularly instilled.

However, public school advocates, in particular those in teachers unions, have long insisted, despite evidence to the contrary, that spending is the best predictor of educational performance. Of course, this is not unrelated to the fact that an ever increasing amount of the funding winds up in the pocketbooks of teachers and administrators.

For starters, the average salary for full-time public school teachers in 2010-11 was $56,069, but an analysis done by the Heritage Foundation found the typical public school teacher makes about $1.52 for every dollar made by a private-sector employee with similar skills.

Moreover, the generous fringe benefits offered to teachers - which include government-funded pension and health benefits - raise teacher compensation 52 percent above the going market rate, "making it the equivalent of a $120 billion overpayment charged to taxpayers each year," the Heritage study found.

Yet, for cash-strapped state and local governments plagued by a harsh recession, dwindling property taxes and gaping budget deficits, teacher unions and their allies in the Democratic Party have vigorously fought any reform efforts offered to rein in public employee benefit plans, however modest they may be.

New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie, for example, was pilloried by the New Jersey Education Association, the state's largest teachers union, for having the temerity to ask teachers to accept a pay freeze and increase their contribution to their healthcare plans from 0 percent to 1.5 percent.

In Wisconsin, Republican Governor Scott Walker staved off a recall effort for asking public-sector employees (including teachers) to increase their contribution to their pension plans from 0 percent to 5.8 percent and pay 12 percent of their health care benefits.

In Chicago, where student reading proficiency is just 15 percent, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has threatened to strike if not given a 30 percent pay raise in exchange for extending the school year an extra ten days, even though that demand would reportedly force property taxes up 150 percent and require classrooms of 55 students.

Yet, while teachers have fought vigorously to protect their monetary benefits, they have also railed against calls to eliminate teacher tenure, have teachers measured against student performance, or provide parents an alternative choice of schools in which to educate their children.


Teachers are treated like 'NHS staff on a Saturday night: British Head teacher's fury as he is attacked by father who claimed his son was being BULLIED

A headmaster today attacked the culture of parents treating teachers like 'NHS staff on a Saturday night' after he was beaten up a father angry his son was being bullied at school.

Kieran Heakin, 60, was grabbed around the throat after being confronted in his study by the father who had gone to the school to claim his son was being bullied by fellow pupils.

As another teacher tried to intervene, the father also tried to 'knee' and headbutt Mr Heakin, shouting: 'Now I am really going to hurt you'

Mr Heakin, headmaster of St John the Baptist Roman Catholic school in Burnley, Lancashire, was left sore and bruised after the distressing incident and the father, 45, was subsequently arrested.

The head teacher hit out at the lack of respect shown to teachers by parents after the unnamed father who attacked him escaped jail after he was found guilty of assault.  He said: 'We are just like NHS staff on a Saturday night where people come into a hospital accident and emergency department and do not have any respect for those people who are trying to help.

'Teaching today is very different to what it used to be like. You have to be really on top of your game and each day you just do not know what is going to happen that day and it could be that a trivial incident turns into a major incident.

'Parents are going through hard times to and there are a lot more broken families and children today can sometimes suffer and these days are brought up having their tea in front of the TV.

'I have forgiven this person but you do get the small minority of parents who have no respect for anybody.

'Other teachers and heads can get depressed about it and when speaking to fellow head teachers I have found that they can get very irate and not want to carry on with the profession.

'But I see it as a character building experience and life is full of experiences.'

The attack occurred last November after father - who cannot be named to protect the identity of the child - stormed into the school to talk about taking his son out of classes.  He blocked the door of the study to prevent Mr Heakin from leaving his office and then assaulted him.  Mr Heakin added: 'I had visions of him beating me up and finishing me off. I did fear for my life.

'He then started to strangle me as I tried banging. I managed to get free but then he punched me twice in the arms and in my ribs. He was a well-built man and so the blows were hard.  'Then he came right up so that his nose was touching mine and said ‘now I am really going to hurt you’ and kneed me twice in the groin area.

'It was a savage attack. I was concerned for my own safety so I grabbed him by both wrists and held him very strongly for about two minutes while we got help.'

The dad was found guilty of two counts of assault at Burnley magistrates' court yesterday and was given 16 weeks in prison, suspended for a year, with 12 months' supervision and a 12-week 7pm to 7am curfew.  He was also ordered to pay £100 compensation and £200 costs.

Sentencing, the magistrates told the father: 'Head teachers and all teachers deserve the protection of the courts to be able to carry out their jobs, in often very difficult circumstances.'


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