Thursday, October 16, 2014

Teacher Indoctrination

Students at several Jefferson County, Colorado, high schools walked out to protest the school board's recently proposed curriculum review committee that seeks to promote patriotism, respect for authority, free enterprise, plus the positive aspects of U.S. history.

The teachers union, whose members forced two high schools to close by calling in sick, is against the implementation of performance-based pay. The union has encouraged and applauded student protests against what it's calling academic censorship.

The average parent and taxpayer has little idea of what is being taught to our youngsters. In February 2006, I wrote a column titled "Indoctrination of Our Youth," followed in March with "Youth Indoctrination Update." Both columns focused on rants that a student secretly had recorded of a geography teacher at another Colorado school — Overland High School in Aurora. The teacher was Jay Bennish. He told his students that President George W. Bush's State of the Union address sounded "a lot like the things that Adolf Hitler used to say."

He continued, "Bush is threatening the whole planet." He then asked his students, "Who is probably the single most violent nation on planet Earth?" He shouted the answer, "The United States!" During this class session, Bennish peppered his 10th-grade class with other ridiculous statements, saying the U.S. has engaged in "7,000 terrorist attacks against Cuba" and telling his students capitalism "is at odds with humanity, at odds with caring and compassion ... (and) at odds with human rights."

Bennish reasoned with his class, "If we have the right to fly to Bolivia or Peru and drop chemical weapons (pesticides) on top of farmers' fields because we're afraid they might be growing coca and that could be turned into cocaine and sold to us, well, then don't the Peruvians and the Iranians and the Chinese have the right to invade America and drop chemical weapons over North Carolina to destroy the tobacco plants that are killing millions and millions of people in their countries every year and causing them billions of dollars in health care costs?" This kind of anti-American teaching might help explain why some Americans have joined the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Relevant to our struggle with ISIL is this observation by Bennish, reported by columnist Todd Manzi ( "You have to understand something. When al-Qaida attacked America on Sept. 11, in their view, they're not attacking innocent people. OK? The CIA has an office in the World Trade Center. The Pentagon is a military target. The White House was a military target. Congress is a military target. ... So in the minds of al-Qaida, they are not attacking innocent people; they are attacking legitimate targets."

This kind of teacher indoctrination is by no means restricted to Colorado. Many teachers, at all grades, use their classroom for environmental, anti-war, anti-capitalist and anti-parent propaganda. Some require their students to write letters to political figures to condemn public policy the teachers don't like. Dr. Thomas Sowell's "Inside American Education" (2003) documents numerous ways teachers attack parental authority. Teachers have asked third-graders, "How many of you ever wanted to beat up your parents?" In a high-school health class, students were asked, "How many of you hate your parents?"

We can't tell whether Jefferson County teachers are giving their students the same kind of anti-American indoctrination, because if there is not recorded evidence, they will deny brainwashing. If they are brainwashing students, then it's understandable why they are against the school board's curriculum review demanding that they promote patriotism, respect for authority, free enterprise and the positive aspects of U.S. history.

Parents should become more involved with their children's education. They should look at the textbooks used and examine their children's homework. Parents should show up en masse at PTA and board of education meetings to ensure that teachers confine their lessons to reading, writing and arithmetic and leave indoctrination to parents.

The most promising tool in the fight against teacher indoctrination and classroom misconduct is the microtechnology that enables students to secretly record and expose academic misconduct by teachers.



Where’s the Beef? You Won’t Find Any on ‘Meatless Mondays’ in This School District

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Students attending Sarasota County public schools might be wondering, “Where’s the beef?” The answer won’t be found between two buns, at least not on Mondays.

Sarasota County Schools kicked off a Meatless Monday campaign last week, nixing traditional protein-packed food items for vegetarian substitutes.

The program is part of “a popular international movement … to promote abstaining from meat one day a week for personal health and for the health of the planet,” reads a statement from a school district spokesman.

The program will continue every Monday for the rest of the school year, and vegetarian dishes will be offered alongside meats on other school days.

“In Sarasota County, we strive to provide a variety of food choices and saw this as an opportunity to showcase meals with legumes and other meat-free protein sources with which they may be unfamiliar,” said Karla Dumas, the district’s food and nutrition manager.

Meatless Monday is a project of the nonprofit Monday Campaigns, an initiative associated with Johns Hopkins, Columbia and Syracuse universities. It’s taken root in other parts of the country—mostly New York City and California—and has high-profile endorsements ranging from Michelle Obama to the U.S. Humane Society to vegetarian celebrities. Even Paul McCartney has advocated meat-free Mondays to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Sarasota is the first school district in Florida to partially ban meats from school menus, according to the Meatless Monday website.

On Mondays, as many as 42,000 students eating in the county’s 52 school cafeterias will choose between hummus, vegetable subs, veggie pasta bakes, spaghetti marinara and fiesta taco salads, along with other approved items.

The initiative was brought to Sarasota County Schools by Kristie Middleton, according to Middleton is a San Francisco-based manager of corporate policy and supply chain strategy at the Humane Society of the United States, according to her LinkedIn page.

“Participating in Meatless Monday, now a popular international movement, is a simple and effective way to help animals, go green, and become healthier,” says the U.S. Humane Society, a Washington D.C.-based advocacy group.

In Texas, Agricultural Commissioner Todd Staples called the program an “activist movement” and said in an editorial last month, “restricting children’s meal choice to not include meat is irresponsible.”


London School of Economics caught in sexism row after freshers' week leaflets brand women slags, trollops and mingers and ban 'homosexual debauchery'

London School of Economics, one of the world's top universities, is investigating its men's rugby club after members branded women slags, trollops and mingers and joked about banning 'homosexual debauchery' from their initiation.

The club's leaflets prompted a storm when they were dished out at the freshers' fair for the historically liberal university, where past students included John F Kennedy and David Attenborough.

LSE's leaders and the students' union are both investigating and may take disciplinary action against the team, whose seven-page leaflet was boasting about rugby players' social lives.

Today the rugby club apologised and revealed all members will attend a diversity 'workshop'.

It comes just weeks after a survey claimed a third of female students have suffered at the hands of 'lad culture', as the National Union of Students accused universities of not doing enough to stop it.

Scattered throughout the printed leaflets were demeaning references to 'Poly' students, from supposedly inferior former Polytechnics which have since become other universities.

They also described women as 'tasty', 'beast-like' and 'mingers', suggesting they only wanted to play sport so they could go drinking with men.

Initiations, the booklets suggested, would not tolerate 'Poly activities that involve faeces, genitalia, and outright homosexual debauchery'.

Another section suggested a committee member embodied everything the club holds dear - 'debauchery, hedonism and misogyny'.

Members of the club were encouraged to bring two bottles of wine each to a Friday night social, or three if they are 'Russian'.

The leaflet also boasted about the club's 'disgraceful' boozy Christmas Club dinner as 'similar to Oxford's infamous Bullingdon Club, but we don't pay for the damage afterwards!'.

And it mentioned a drunken 2005 incident which caused £30,000 damage to King's College London as a 'shameful orgy of destruction (or a blaze of glory depending on which way you look at it)'.

The leaflets were confiscated after a backlash on Twitter, where many of those who read them were 18-year-old students in their first week away from home.

They spread the leaflet using hashtags such as #homophobia and #everydaysexism and one postgraduate student, Michelle Warbis, called for 'immediate and drastic action to set precedent and underline that this behaviour is absolutely intolerable'.

One international relations student wrote: 'Disgusted with leaflets that LSE rugby club were handing out at freshers fair. Can't believe I study with such sexist, homophobic, snobs.'

History and philosophy student Nicola Sugden added: 'It seems LSE Men's Rugby couldn't even get beyond fresher's week without being sexist, homophobic, moronic and offensive. Way to go, guys.'

LSE's officer for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students Alex Leung added: 'Some people might see it as a joke but I think the leaflet has crossed the line.  'I am disappointed with Men's Rugby team. Everyone can play sports including rugby no matter what your sexual orientation.'

The captain of LSE's women's rugby club Julia Ryland said the team was 'outraged' by the leaflet.

She said: 'The Women’s Rugby team is one of the most successful teams in the LSE Athletic’s Union both due to its achievements in the university leagues, and in encouraging what is a minority sport to flourish.  'This is evident in its increasing numbers, from 20 members in 2012, to 70 in 2014.'

She added: 'We feel massively disappointed that this incident has occurred but also feel frustrated that the LSE rugby club has been portrayed in such a light when the Women’s team has worked so hard to combat this image.'

A spokesman for the LSE students' union said it 'immediately confiscated all materials and launched an investigation'.
The leaflet is the most overt, outrageous example of rape culture, and hopefully it'll help us rectify the problem

'This investigation will be thorough,' the spokesman added. 'It will hear from both individuals that complained and the Club itself. This will allow us to determine any appropriate action.

'We are also working with the School as they have received a wide number of complaints.

'We are committed to our equal opportunities policy and safeguarding our members.'

A university spokesman added: 'LSE has received complaints that a group of students has been distributing offensive leaflets which include unacceptable misogynistic and homophobic slurs. This incident is being investigated as a matter of priority.

'The School values its culture of diversity and tolerance; and seeks to uphold the highest possible standards of openness and respect.

'Should the behaviour of any individuals or groups be found to have fallen short of those standards, disciplinary action will be taken.'

The incident has sparked the latest in a string of concerns about the pressures of 'lad culture' at British universities.

Last month a survey claimed a third of women had suffered inappropriate behaviour.

The study was commissioned by the National Union of Students, which accused university authorities of not doing enough to tackle the issue.

The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge have even introduced a lecture for first-year students explaining the difference between consensual and non-consensual sex.

Cambridge was set to include the 30-minute workshops in its freshers' week itinerary in a bid to get newcomers talking about how to prevent rape and sexual assault.

Oxford is also holding classes in 20 of its colleges - and at the end of the sessions, an official will read out a statement which describes consent as 'active and willing'.


UK: Damning report into schools at centre of Trojan Horse plot finds boys and girls are still segregated, RE pupils have to teach themselves topics other than Islam and others went on secret trip to Saudi Arabia

Five Birmingham schools declared failing by inspectors in the wake of the alleged 'Trojan Horse' takeover plot by hardline Muslims have still not improved, Ofsted has warned.

In the first update following inspections earlier this year, the watchdog's chief Sir Michael Wilshaw said that 'too much poor practice remained unchallenged during the summer term'.

Ofsted also found it has taken too much time to appoint new governors and senior leaders at these schools, meaning that 'very little action' has been taken to address the serious concerns raised.

Ofsted said that the segregation of boys and girls at Park View Academy has not been tackled.  In one case, at Park View Academy, 'little had been done' to tackle segregation between the sexes, and encourage boys and girls to sit together in lessons and share ideas, inspectors warned.

At another school, Golden Hillock, teenagers studying for a GCSE in RE 'have to teach themselves for options other than Islam', Ofsted said, leaving students at a 'significant disadvantage'.

And at another school, Oldknow Academy in Small Heath, trustees were kept in the dark about a controversial trip to Saudi Arabia involving pupils.

Ofsted said: 'Worryingly, trustees were not aware that a visit to Saudi Arabia had taken place this year for pupils and staff, despite a similar trip last year receiving criticism from inspectors at the previous inspection due to failures in safeguarding.  'Indeed, they had been told by senior leaders that the visit had been cancelled.'

Oldknow came under fire in June after banning 'un-Islamic' tombolas and raffles at a fete and has now seen parents withdrawing their children from acts of collective worship, the new report found.

Responding to the latest report, shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt said: 'It is utterly incomprehensible that, six months after these serious concerns became public, David Cameron's Government has still not taken action, putting children at risk from radical, hardline agendas and damaging school standards. 'It is gross negligence from the Prime Minister and his Tory-led Government and they must urgently explain their inaction.'

In June, Ofsted issued a damning verdict on the running of a number of Birmingham's schools and declared five failing, placing them into special measures.

These schools were Golden Hillock School, Nansen Primary School and Park View Academy - all run by the Park View Educational Trust (PVET), as well as Oldknow Academy and Saltley School.

Four separate probes were conducted into the allegations in Birmingham, which were originally sparked by the 'Trojan Horse' letter - now widely believed to be a hoax - that referred to an alleged plot by hardline Muslims to seize control of a number of school governing boards in the city.

Following the publication of the investigations into the Trojan Horse scandal, ministers announced that in future, all schools will be required to 'actively promote' British values such as democracy, tolerance, mutual respect, the rule of law and individual liberty.

While plans have been drawn up to revamp the curriculum at each of the five schools inspected, these often lack the detail needed to ensure that action will be taken to actively promote these values and tolerance of different faiths, Ofsted said.

Inspectors conducted unannounced follow-up visits to the five schools, four of which are academies and the fifth run by the local council, during a week last month.

The findings also showed that staff at the schools had 'some optimism' that there would be changes, but they also raised concerns about equality and fairness.

Some staff said some people at their school hold jobs that they do not have the experience or qualifications for, the advice note said.

It also criticised Birmingham Council for failing to show Ofsted the plan it has drawn up in response to the findings of the investigations into the alleged Trojan Horse plot.

Sir Michael called on the Department for Education (DfE) to look at how it can take more rapid action to change the trustees and governors of an academy school when there are serious concerns about how it is being run.

In a statement issued to pupils' parents, the trustees and executive principal of the Park View Educational Trust said it had already addressed many of the issues raised by Ofsted.

'In the period of a month since the monitoring visits, the Trust's new transition plan has led to significant progress and this was highlighted by the Department for Education during their recent visits to our academies at the beginning of October,' the statement said.

'We remain realistic about the challenges ahead but are focused and determined to maintain rapid and sustained progress ahead of the next monitoring visits, which will provide a more authentic insight into the new leadership and governance arrangements.

'Students at our academies no longer face segregation in classes and several new opportunities are being welcomed.'


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