Friday, November 01, 2013

Socialist history curriculum strides toward Philadelphia schools

City council members in Philadelphia have given the go-ahead to a resolution to allow a socialist historian’s view of America, via his “A People’s History of the United States,” to be part of the public high school curriculum.

The book, by Howard Zinn, looks at American history through the lens of the working people, and of women and minorities, and tracks the various social movements — including the advent of labor unions — that have shaped government reform and policy.

The resolution passed by the local governing body stipulates that the book “emphasizes” the role of these segments of society, “not simply the version retold by those powerful enough to ensure history remembers their actions in a positive light, regardless of the truth,” The Daily Caller reported.

The resolution still needs the approval of the superintendent and school board for the curriculum to be adopted.

The resolution also states: “Council does hereby recognize the need for students to be taught an unvarnished, honest version of U.S. history that empowers students to differentiate between moments that have truly made our country great versus those that established systemic inequality, privilege, and prejudice which continue to reinforce modern society’s most difficult issues.”

The book is controversial among conservative circles. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, for instance, spoke openly of his disdain for its content, arguing that the book did not belong in public school classrooms, The Daily Caller said. Mr. Daniels said of the book: “We must not falsely teach American history in our schools. Howard Zinn, by his own admission a biased writer, purposely falsified American history.”


Common Core Teaches Second Graders to be Good Union Comrades

Aside from the obvious objections to allowing the creators of to get more involved in the education of America’s youth, a new reason to resist the creepily altruistic “Common Core” curriculum has surfaced. New Common Core teaching materials instruct second graders that land owners are intrinsically evil, that business owners are inherently greedy, and Saul Alinsky radicals are the saviors of the everyman. (Besides – and I know this should seem pretty obvious – do you really want the architects of a 17 trillion dollar debt teaching our kids things like basic math?)

According to Fox news, a textbook company contracted to produce materials under Common Core State Standards is trying to teach students as young as second grade about economic fairness by praising unions, protests and labor leader Cesar Chavez, according to an education watchdog group.

Cesar Chavez is one of the liberal movement’s most recent heroes to be considered “in vogue”; as was evidenced by Google’s decision to honor the Labor activist instead of Jesus last Easter Sunday. Chavez’s Saul-Alinsky-inspired-radicalism should put him firmly on the fringe of mainstream Americanism. (A great read on Chavez can be found here.) But, believe it or not, the textbook’s mention of Chavez is only a minor portion of the indoctrination “lesson” plan.

In addition to reading a glowing biography of the Marxist labor leader, students will be asked to evaluate the “scales of fairness” between wealthy landowners, and lowly [non-union] workers.

“Fairness and equality exist when the scales are balanced,” teachers are prompted to instruct the students. They are then supposed to ask the students whether both sides, as presented in the plan, are equal, providing a correct answer of “no” in the teachers’ guide.

See? According to Common Core standards, the fact that wealthy business owners have more than the people they hire, is “unfair.” (Although, in all fairness, second grade might be the right age group for liberals to share their ideas. This could be an honest attempt to keep the left engaged with a demographic that has an equal grasp of market forces and economic theory.)

Although I have not flipped through the comprehensive list of teaching materials tied to this disturbingly Leninist interpretation of economic “fairness”, I can make a safe assumption that the impressionable second grade economists will not be taught about the prosperity generated by business owner’s wealth; or the natural fairness of private ownership and free market.

After all, it’s kinda tough to get a job from a poor farm worker who rents his property.

Economic theories, wealth creation, John Smith’s concept of private property, market forces, and Chavez’s radicalism aside. . . There is still a pretty big question regarding why second graders would need to wrap their young brains around the concept of labor unions and so called “scales of fairness.” Quite frankly, putting any organized bureaucratic government agency in charge of disseminating such information to young children is chilling. And given the government’s tendency to view wealth creators merely as untapped tax-revenue sources, it’s unlikely that such lesson plans would be presented without anti-capitalistic bias.

Once again the common core standards illustrate a decidedly creepy intrusion of politics into education from the highest levels. While education has been largely consumed by leftist philosophies for some time, the danger of Common Core is that this absorption of political activism in the classroom will now be pushed from the Federal level. . . A painfully intense infringement on local control will await any districts that decide to adopt the Fed’s centrally planned concept of “education”.

While Karl Marx is not yet required reading under the Common Core curriculum, this latest example of the Fed’s ideological intrusion into education should set off some alarm bells. Aside from the laughable notion that a greater Federal influence in local schools will benefit the system, it makes the perversions of our kids’ worldview that much easier.

And this, comrades, concludes today’s lesson on Common Core radicalism.


Is College Worth The Cost?

Young Voices is a new project which exists to achieve greater media representation for promising college students and young professionals. Every week a different Advocate will comment on the stories which impact their lives.

The average college graduate holds at least $35,200 of debt and has spent four years out of the workforce, where he or she would be otherwise gaining experience. All this for a piece of paper that by no means guarantees a job. The question that potential and current college students need to ask is: Do the financial costs, opportunity costs, and other factors justify the cost of college? For a select few, the answer may be yes. For a surprising number of people, it will be no.

Does the financial cost justify going to college? It depends on what you want to do in life. If you want to go into medicine (average debt of $170,000, average salary $150,000-$200,000+), law (average debt of $100,433 , average salary $113,310), or engineering (average debt of $52,596 , average salary $91,810) the answer will be yes. This is for two reasons. First, today you cannot work in those fields without a college degree. Second, the average income of those professions quickly pays off debt (assuming you can get the job).

But what about individuals who want to go into art, business, music, humanities, languages, or other fields? The answer will most likely be no. There are alternative options that can prove to be far more useful and financially wiser.

Business students who want to start their own businesses would be far better off leaving the theory back in the classroom and diving in head-first into real-life experience. Most of what an entrepreneur needs to learn can be learned from reading books, taking advantage of free online educational resources like Khan Academy and TED talks, and joining college alternative programs like Praxis. I’ve opened two businesses and I learn more from the few months of work I put into them than all the “professional” education I’ve received from my business classes combined.

Real life is the best teacher there is. The average cost of a specialized music school (one most likely to get students a job) can be $81,000. The average salaries of their graduates is around $29,222. Instead getting of a music degree (and tons of debt along with it), students passionate in music should make their own music and post it on YouTube and sell their music on iTunes or other sites. People like Christina Grimmie and Lindsey Stirling have proven the model works, without college.

For learning music, a personal tutor or teaching yourself by using online tools can be just as effective as paying for a college degree. Instead of spending tens of thousands for a degree in philosophy, history or political science, go to and buy a dozen books for a hundred or so dollars and join an online book club to discuss what you read and learn. Or, write a blog or join a forum site to have conversations with other interested individuals. Go other sites like iTunes U if you want to hear lectures from experts for free!

There are cheap and free alternatives to learning the same things you would earn if you went to college and spent tens of thousands on and went into debt for. And this way you can pick exactly what you want to study, study at your own pace and not waste time on pointless projects.

What about the other benefits of going to college, the networking, the friends, the “college experience” and getting a degree to get a job? This may be the best justification for going to college, but it’s still not that strong. Most people who graduate from college get a job not because they have a degree, but because they met someone who was able to get them in the door at a company for an interview. But you can meet people at networking events that are held all over the country!

Go to trade shows or industry conferences and network with people there to get a job. Employers are dying for employees with real life experience (I know I am for my businesses). If you can prove that you can do the real life work, they will over look the absent piece of paper. Most people end up working in fields they don’t major in. This is because employers don’t care about your major, but care about what you can do.

If you feel “the college experience” is worth massive debt, go for it. If you want to save money, go further in your profession, and start your life early, then rethink going to college. There are so many alternatives that are offered thanks to the freedom of the internet it’s a shame not to take advantage of them. Degrees don’t make you standout anymore, experience does. Get out of the classroom and get started on your real life.


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