Sunday, June 19, 2016

Orlando Massacre Shows We Must Stop Teaching Children to Hate America

Despite signs everywhere that the Orlando massacre has failed to bring the country together, there seems to be a growing consensus on at least one point—considering a return to E Pluribus Unum.

This is a national debate that conservatives have long demanded and should relish having.

Sure, some are recalling the motto only to rebuke Donald Trump’s call for a suspension of immigration from Muslim nations. But that shouldn’t matter to conservatives, who should concentrate now on forcing the reopening of this discussion.

So, when Hillary Clinton says, “E Pluribus Unum, One—Out of Many, One—has seen us through the darkest chapters of our history,” as she did at her first major speech after Orlando, conservatives should say, “Bring it on.”

Yes, let’s by all means return to that goal. Why did we ever abandon it in the first place?

Let’s debate how an American like Omar Mateen, born in Queens, New York, and raised in Fort Pierce, Florida, can turn into a terrorist bent on executing his compatriots. How does he grow up cheering the 9/11 attack in high school, thinking that women ought not to drive, and swearing allegiance to the Islamic State?

Everybody, but especially young men, needs to feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves, a sense that we’re all in this together. If we as a society fail to give citizens national pride, we can be sure that some outside force will come along and do it.

The founders knew that the constitutional republic they were crafting required a single nation with one national identity smelted out of different ethnicities. Right away, in 1776 in fact, they came up with the concept of E Pluribus Unum.

To instill the new creed into the immigrants already flocking to America, they set an educational system that would create a nation with one national identity.

Starting in the early 1800s with the Common Schools and continuing later through the Ellis Island period, American schools Americanized new comers. As historian Mark Edward DeForrest put it, the Common Schools had,

a large role in assimilating and educating the offspring of the immigrants then moving into the United States from Europe. The schools did not simply educate students in the basics of the English language or the Three Rs. Rather, the schools were actively involved in promoting the values and beliefs that were considered part and parcel of the American experience.

Schools taught that being an American required a belief in individual liberty and that rights are granted to us by virtue of our existence, not through government action. These principles united all people who came to this country in deeply rooted patriotism.

For the past three decades, for reasons that will also require analysis (though at a later date), we have been doing exactly the opposite. The new model, exemplified by the bestselling historian Howard Zinn, is to present America as a spectacular experiment in oppression.

Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” set the stage for the grievance mongering that passes for history classes today, and is still widely used. It has sold over 2 million copies since it was first published in 1980 and continues to sell over 100,000 copies a year because it is required reading at many of our high schools and colleges. That’s a lot of young minds.

This is how Zinn described the founding:

"Around 1776, certain important people in the English colonies made a discovery that would prove enormously useful for the next two hundred years. They found that by creating a nation, a symbol, a legal unity called the United States, they could take over land, profits, and political power from favorites of the British Empire. In the process, they could hold back a number of potential rebellions and create a consensus of popular support for the rule of a new, privileged leadership"

And our educational authorities are doubling down today—even in the face of danger. The College Board’s leftist curriculum framework for Advanced Placement U.S. History—the courses that our best students take in high school—denigrates the founders’ assimilationist ethos and presses students “to think beyond national histories” and patriotic attachments.

The just released A.P. European History curriculum is no better. It presents religion only as an instrument of power, minimizes the evil of communism, and omits the importance of liberty.

As for the K-12 curriculum on the verge of being approved in the largest state in the Union, California, it is a blue print for redrawing America further still along multicultural lines. The assimilation required to attain E Pluribus Unum is “questionable by today’s standards that generally embrace having a plurality of experiences in the country.”

Assimilation, it adds, was the product of a mixture of “Social Darwinism, laissez-faire economics, as well as the religious reformism associated with the ideal of the Social Gospel.”

This is what is being taught to students, like Mateen once was, every day in our schools. So, yes, by all means, let’s have a discussion on why we should indoctrinate young minds in a way no society has ever done, why we should teach our young to “unlike” America.

Is this the approach we want to have, especially at a time when a force like the Islamic State will only be too glad to fill the patriotic vacuum, or should we teach again that America is an exceptionally free and prosperous nation that requires love and affection and constant attention?

The author Sebastian Junger, speaking at The Heritage Foundation this week about his new book, “Tribe,” reminded his audience that as bad as the Nazi Blitz on London was, its survivors missed afterward the sense of national pride they had felt while pitching in together.

The fact that the Orlando massacre has failed miserably to be a bond for national unity, but has only exposed our fissures, should be a mighty sign of how divided we are. This debate is well overdue.


Study Suggests Zero Tolerance Makes Zero Sense

Zero tolerance policies, in theory, are designed to compel good behavior in schools by coming down harshly on the first instance a student brings a weapon to school, or is caught with drugs. According to a new study, those zero-tolerance policies may increase suspension and expulsions but do little to improve students' overall behavior. The policies have allegedly increased the amount of discipline school administrators impose on black and Hispanic students (in one instance three times the amount of white students), which starts a vicious cycle of more discipline, affecting academic performance and dropout rates. It’s another example of Leftist policies that often have racist results.

“Taken as a whole, the results of this study suggest that zero tolerance laws on the part of states are not an effective mechanism for improving schools,” wrote author of the study F. Chris Curran, who published his findings in the journal Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis. Instead of order, zero tolerance has resulted in administrators cracking down on Star Wars T-shirts and games of tag on the playground. This also has a takeaway for broader society: Governing a community with harsh laws does not ensure order.


Kansas to Obama: We Are Ignoring Your Bathroom Decree

The Kansas State Board of Education voted unanimously on Tuesday to ignore a directive from President Obama's administration that public schools allow transgender students to use restrooms matching their gender identity, and instead the board left decisions up to school districts.

What remains unclear is whether the 10-0 vote will endanger over $479 million in federal aid, or about 10 percent of the state's education budget.

Scott Gordon, general counsel for the state's education department, said that the threat of loss of federal funding is not sweeping. The entire state would not lose federal education funding if one school is found out of compliance with the anti-discrimination law. Gordon told The Associated Press that he didn't think the board's statement would jeopardize federal aid.

He noted that only one transgender student had filed a complaint for alleged discrimination with the Office of Civil Rights in 2015, which board members cited as proof that districts already have adequate regulations in place.

"We must continue to provide our schools the flexibility needed to work with their students, families and communities to effectively address the needs of the students they serve," the state board said in their statement.

Tuesday's board meeting follows one last month in which members denounced the federal decree but voted against issuing a public statement rebuking it. Members said at the time that they needed more time to discuss the matter with attorneys and to review school districts' policies.

The board has general supervision of schools and can set academic standards and requirements to remain accredited. It has the power to enforce a statewide policy.

State GOP leaders have called the decree an encroachment on local control, and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced earlier this month that the state will sue the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education, which issued the decree. The Republican-led Senate also issued a nonbinding resolution condemning the federal mandate.

Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp sent letters to school leaders in Western and Central Kansas on Friday urging them to ignore the guidelines, despite the threat of losing federal funding.

"Neither our girls or boys should be forced to undress in the presence of individuals who are of the opposite biological sex," Huelskamp said in the letter. "Our children should also not be subjected to a greater risk of threats from predators who seek to do them harm."

Under the state board's statement, school districts will be allowed to continue practicing regulations that mirror the federal directive. Lawrence and Topeka Public Schools allows students to use the facilities that match their gender identity, but some gender neutral bathrooms are also available for students who want increased privacy.

Transgender activist Stephanie Mott said that students whose gender is "invalidated" are at an increased risk of harassment and suicide attempts.

"I think it's necessary for us to make sure that all children have a safe place to go to school, including LGBT kids and transgender kids," Mott said. "When there are states and schools that are refusing to do that, then I think it's appropriate for us to do what we need to do to protect our kids."

Texas is leading an 11-state lawsuit that accuses the federal government of turning schools into "laboratories for a massive social experiment" with the directive. At the time Schmidt announced Kansas would challenge the law, he said he had not yet decided whether to join that lawsuit or sue separately.


School bullying: Australian schoolgirl’s mother to deliver petition to Qld. Education Minister

Where were the teachers when the bullying was going on?  Sucking tea in the staffroom, no doubt.  There is clearly a need for more teachers on playground duty

HER schoolbag slung over her arm, the central Queensland student at the centre of a bullying scandal says she had an “OK” day yesterday.

“Nobody bullied me or anything,” she added.

Just days ago, in a desperate bid for help, the art-loving brown-haired girl, who is soon to turn 13, drew up a petition with her mum, declaring her life had become a “living hell” at the hands of bullies.

The girl’s petition now has more than 60,000 signatures.

Her plight prompted a groundswell of support, attracting a flood of messages of encouragement and more than 60,000 signatures to the petition by 5pm yesterday.

“I just want bullying to stop,” she said.

The high school student’s mother warned the “environment” in schools needed to change, saying current anti-bullying messages were not getting through to students.

“Why is there this mass suffering?” she said. “Engage kids. Their approach, the ‘bullying no way’ (campaign), is not working.”

The mother plans to deliver the petition to Education Minister Kate Jones.

The girl had been home schooled, but was enrolled this year. Initially starting with “just a few kids picking on her,” the mother said her daughter’s bullying escalated to the point where some were throwing rubbish and rocks at the girl while videoing her.

“She ran away and rang me on the phone and said ‘Mum, they said they are going to put it up on Facebook’. She said ‘If the whole internet sees me crying, I don’t want to live’.”

The girl was taunted with names like “freak” and “weirdo”. Desperate for action, the pair launched an online petition on Monday, saying the actions were “killing” the girl and notified the school she wouldn’t attend on Wednesday as a “protest strike”.

On Thursday, the family met with school representatives who said the girl could spend breaks in an isolation room where she could draw and read.

Buoyed by the outpouring of support, the woman said a “huge weight” had been lifted from the shoulders of her daughter.

Another student came forward yesterday, detailing her bullying ordeal at the same high school.

The Year 12 student said she, too, was forced to sit in an “isolation” room due to concerns for her safety.

“I had girls threatening to punch me if they were going to see me at school,” she said.

“It got to the point where I got physically pushed during a heated argument. And when I read what was happening to (the girl in the petition), I felt so sick to my stomach.

“I was utterly disgusted in the school. I told a teacher ... but I’ve seen the way the school dealt with my issue and nothing was done.”

School bullying the main reason kids are calling for help

MORE than 700 distressed Queensland youngsters contacted Kids Helpline last year because they were struggling to cope with bullying.

The latest statistics show the overwhelming majority – 559 of these teens and pre-teens – experienced bullying at school, or at the hands of people linked to their school.

Kids Helpline manager Tony Fitzgerald said bullying remained a serious problem for teens and tweens, with the service receiving thousands of calls and emails from youngsters each year, specifically relating to bullying.

“It can be very distressing for them, the types of contacts we get. They don’t know what to do. They don’t know where to turn,” he said.

“At the serious end it can lead to serious mental health issues. Some of the people who are contacting us are self-harming.”

In Queensland, significantly more young people are turning to Kids Helpline for support dealing with bullies than for help with body image concerns, coming to terms with their sexual orientation or drug issues.

Mr Fitzgerald said part of the problem with bullying was that many victims were not often willing to seek help.

“A lot of young people think the bullying is their fault, and that stops them from speaking up about it,” he said.

He said schools and communities had to sustain the anti-bullying message.

As one of its election policies, federal Labor will today announce a new anti-bullying strategy, targeting the bullying of students with disabilities.

“No one deserves to be bullied and to miss out on educational opportunities because they are different,” Labor’s education spokeswoman Kate Ellis said. “Students with disability are up to three times more likely to be bullied than their peers.


No comments: