Sunday, May 05, 2013

What Students Won’t Learn During California’s Labor History Month

California lawmakers don’t simply like labor unions. They love them.  So much, in fact, that they recently eliminated Labor History Week from the state law books and replaced it with Labor History Month, with the first scheduled for this May.

That means starting tomorrow, Californians (particularly school children) will be getting a steady diet of pro-labor propaganda, displaying the history of the union movement in only the most flattering light.

That’s where EAGnews comes in. We believe it’s necessary to balance that stream of happy history with the rest of the story.

So starting Wednesday (which ironically is the socialist rallying day of May 1), will launch a daily installment of “The Other Labor History: What Kids Won’t Learn.”

All month long – including the weekends because there are just so many rich examples – we’ll highlight a significant moment in Big Labor history that isn’t likely to be mentioned much during California’s Labor History Month.

We’ll share just a few of the many true tales of embezzlement, intimidation, physical violence and many, many other questionable moments in labor’s checkered past.

There are two sides to every story, and we won’t rest until the ugly side of Big Labor history is given equal billing.

Gov. Jerry Brown comes through for Big Labor

The Sacramento Bee reports, “Gov. Jerry Brown, like the Democratic-controlled California Legislature, wants schoolchildren to learn about labor unions, preferably when they are in school and aren't too busy with other matters.”

You know, like learning to read and multiply and think for themselves about various issues, like the true impact of organized labor on the American economy in recent decades.

A website called “Speaker’s Commission on Labor Education,” sponsored by California Speaker of the Assembly John Perez echoed Brown’s sentiments:

“Labor History Month offers an opportunity to give all students something precious: knowledge of where their rights came from, and how to preserve them today.”

And we always thought our rights derived from the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution. Silly us.

Can California teachers be expected to cooperate with this indoctrination effort? Consider the following from the California Teachers Association’s labor history page:

“As we honor our workers every day - and particularly those who hold our children's futures in their hands, our educators - we also need to pull together and do the right thing to help return the economy to a healthier state.

“It's time to strengthen our resolve and to reinvigorate the Union Movement. Working for a common goal - with everyone paying their fair share - will propel us to the more prosperous time of the recent past, a time when (we) weren't stripping education budgets and other vital services, but enhancing them.”

Surely the schools will be using material from various sources, like the Chamber of Commerce, National Right to Work Committee or other business-friendly groups, just to present students with a fair and balanced picture of labor history.

Right?  Unfortunately we found no suggested Labor History Month materials that do anything but shine a steady ray of artificial sunshine on the topic. As if there’s nothing sordid, illegal or downright disgusting in Big Labor’s past that’s even worth mentioning.

The California recipe seems simple enough. Start with a dollop of Democratic politicians passing labor history bills with hugs and kisses, sprinkle in a heavy dose of politically liberal teachers presenting their personal views in classrooms, and voila, the unholy alliance has an instant indoctrination program ready to go, all funded with tax dollars paid by people who may or may not be progressives.

What won’t kids learn?

Do you think California students will learn about the Washington Teachers’ Union’s former president Barbara Bullock? In testifying against two of her colleagues, she admitted to embezzling a handsome $5 million from the union to buy such things as a $50,000 silver set in New Orleans and a $40,000 custom-made fur coat.

She and the two others “milked the union bank accounts to buy anything their hearts desired,” the Washington Post reported.

Will they hear the story of Neshaminy, Pennsylvania teacher David Ferrera? Last year he publicly accused his union of employing “terror and fear tactics” to keep teachers in line during a labor dispute with the school board.

Will they be told the story of Pennsylvania teachers union leaders vowing to “confront or shun” individuals who do not conform to the union’s agenda? The union was so serious about maintaining forced “solidarity” it produced a 31-page PowerPoint presentation on the subject.

How about a lesson about the Detroit Federation of Teachers? Putting its thirst to maintain revenue above teacher quality, the union demanded the firing of 70 teachers for non-payment of dues. What if one of those educators was the Teacher of the Year who provided wonderful service to thousands of school children? Too bad. This is what solidarity looks like.

Students would have a great time trying to figure out what happened to legendary Teamsters President James Hoffa, Sr. Now there’s a juicy tale of how Big Labor sometimes handles its internal disagreements and power disputes. And they didn’t even bother with a funeral.

This is just a sampling of the version of labor history we’ll be offering for the next month. We hope you will check out the daily entries and share them with others. There’s a lot more to be learned than the classroom activists in California would lead you to believe.


Florida Teen Girl Charged With Felony After Science Experiment Goes Bad

Kiera Wilmot got good grades and had a perfect behavior record. She wasn't the kind of kid you'd expect to find hauled away in handcuffs and expelled from school, but that's exactly what happened after an attempt at a science project went horribly wrong.

On 7 a.m. on Monday, the 16 year-old mixed some common household chemicals in a small 8 oz water bottle on the grounds of Bartow High School in Bartow, Florida. The reaction caused a small explosion that caused the top to pop up and produced some smoke. No one was hurt and no damage was caused.

According to WTSP, Wilmot told police that she was merely conducting a science experiment. Though her teachers knew nothing of the specific project, her principal seems to agree.

"She made a bad choice. Honestly, I don't think she meant to ever hurt anyone," principal Ron Pritchard told the station. "She wanted to see what would happen [when the chemicals mixed] and was shocked by what it did. Her mother is shocked, too."

After the explosion Wilmot was taken into custody by a school resources officer and charged with possession/discharge of a weapon on school grounds and discharging a destructive device. She will be tried as an adult.

She was then taken to a juvenile assessment center. She was also expelled from school and will be forced to complete her diploma through an expulsion program.

Polk County School released the following statement:

"Anytime a student makes a bad choice it is disappointing to us. Unfortunately, the incident that occurred at Bartow High School yesterday was a serious breach of conduct. In order to maintain a safe and orderly learning environment, we simply must uphold our code of conduct rules. We urge our parents to join us in conveying the message that there are consequences to actions. We will not compromise the safety and security of our students and staff."
So, sorry kids. Don't try any extracurricular science projects on school grounds, especially if they could result in anything resembling an explosion."

Update: Riptide spoke to the Polk County School District about why they felt expulsion was a fair punishment for Wilmot. Their response: kids should learn that "there are consequences to their actions."


'We're just average folks': The family sending all ten of their home-schooled children to college by the age of 12

A mother who home-schools her ten children in Montgomery, Alabama, has opened up about how six of them began their college degrees by the age of 12.

Those of the Harding siblings who have already graduated from college have gone on to become a doctor, an architect, a spacecraft designer and a master's student. Another two - 12 and 14-years-old - are still finishing up their degrees.

But despite the Hardings' incredible achievements at such young ages, their parents - Mona Lisa and Kip - insist they are a family of 'average folks' who simply find and cultivate their children's passions early on.

Hannah was the first to take her college entrance exams - at the young age of 12. 'I didn't expect to pass,' the 24-yead-old told 'So I started crying, because I was thinking, "Now what?"'

She passed the exam and, at just 17, became Auburn University Montgomery's youngest ever graduate, obtaining a BS in mathematics.

The other Harding siblings, spurred on by their parents' encouragement and their older sister's success, were quick to follow suit.

Seth, 12, is the latest to begin at college. At seven, he announced that he wanted to be a military archaeologist. He is now a freshman at Faulkner University, where he studies the Middle Ages.

Just down the hall is Seth's 14-year-old brother Keith, a college senior with a passion for music who is studying finite mathematics.

His ambitious younger sister Katrinnah, ten, plans on taking her college exams next year.

Still, despite the exceptional talents of her brood, Mona Lisa - who studied to become a nurse before staying at home to educate her kids - said: 'I don't have any brilliant children. I'm not brilliant.'

The mother-of-ten also explained that her husband, who flew helicopters in the army and didn't graduate college until 25, is not brilliant either. 'We're just average folks,' she insists.

People who know them, however, would beg to differ.

Seth's assistant professor Grover Plunkett, for instance, said of the 12-year-old, who lives at home rather than in a dorm: 'He's got the highest average in the class.'

But the Harding children insist they are not geniuses. Instead, they credit their achievements to home-schooling, as well as a concentrated focus on their passions, which their parents taught them to hone in on from an early age.

'By the time you get down to number five, number six, they just think learning seems normal,' Mona Lisa said of her children.   'They're taking college classes, but socially, they are just teenagers'

'We find out what their passions are, what they really like to study, and we accelerate them gradually.'

For Serenneh, that passion was medicine. The 22-year-old is currently on her way to becoming a Navy doctor - which will make her one of the youngest physicians in American history.

Younger sister Rosannah, now 20, became a fully-fledged architect at the age of 18.

And Heath, who graduated from Huntingdon College at 15, will have completed his master's in computer science just after his 17th birthday.

'It makes you wonder,' Wesley Jimmerson, Seth's college friend, mused. 'Are they advanced, or are we just really behind?'

In fact, Mona Lisa and Kip are convinced that all children have the capacity to learn at the rate theirs have.

The couple have written a book to illustrate their teaching method and launched a website detailing their unique approach.

The book, called College By 12, is said to feature 'lots of tips of how you can simplify your homeschooling', as well as 'testimonies of how God has worked in our lives'.

College may sound like too much pressure for the pre-teens to handle, but the Harding parents insist their kids are thriving, not suffering.  'All our children would have to tells us is, "You know, this isn't fun any more,"' says Mona Lisa says. 'And we'd do something about that.'

Kip agrees with his wife: 'The expectation is that you're going to have a fun day,' he said as he watched his children play in the backyard. 'Not that you're going to come home with A's.'

Indeed, the couple insists that despite their accelerated eduction, the children have led normal lives.

Their remaining children are seven-year-old Mariannah, Lorennah, five, and Thunder James, three, all of whom are being home-schooled, too.


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