Monday, December 19, 2016

Gov't to Parents: We Need Your Kids Earlier

Universal pre-K at age 3? Try eight weeks.

When Philadelphia’s Democrat Mayor Jim Kenney took office earlier this year, he made universal pre-K one of his policy priorities. Now, children as young as three can begin their government indoctrination in the City of Brotherly Love.

But, oh Mr. Mayor. How far behind the times you are. Three years old? To truly get ahold of our kids and mold them into tiny state subjects, government must start much earlier.

Not surprisingly, that’s exactly what some are suggesting.

As The Federalist’s Joy Pullman reports, a new research paper co-authored by Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman suggests eight weeks old is about the right age to hand children from low-income households or born to unmarried parents over to the government. Eight weeks. It turns out that shipping four-year-olds off to the state for pre-K isn’t quite doing the trick.

Heckman blames the failure on the fact that by the time kids hit pre-K, it’s already too late to affect their language development. This is a predictable cop-out for the abject failure of pre-K programs to deliver the educational utopia promised. In fact, Pullman notes that “the most recent research shows mass early childhood programs have even made more kids hate learning and commit more crimes.”

Even more, the push toward infant indoctrination is a predictable shift in strategy to achieve the true goal of government education: Advancing the philosophy of the state to produce global citizens who fully embrace a humanist ideology devoid of objective truth.

Those who scream “alarmist” at this claim have their heads stuck in the sand or in another bodily crevice. Just consider the move toward “social emotional learning” (SEL) standards, already in use in several districts across the country, including Atlanta, Austin and Chicago. As if Common Core weren’t disastrous enough, SEL standards measure kids from kindergarten (or one might say as early as eight weeks old if “experts” like Heckman get their way) through high school on “non-cognitive” factors, including self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.

Yes, government now wants to psychoanalyze our children and, of course, store this analysis in government databases. What could go wrong?

A lot, say American Principles Project’s Jane Robbins and pediatrician Dr. Karen Effrem. “Who might want to get their hands on that data? Would a college or employer be interested in whether a particular applicant shows curiosity or ‘grit’? Would a prosecutor like to know if a young suspect lacked ‘relationship skills’ in high school?” In no universe is it sane to invite the government into a child’s psychological development.

Beyond tracking children’s mindsets, SEL gives the government greater ability to shape kids' views on issues ranging from climate change to gender and sexuality. Robbins and Effrem note, for example, that one of SEL’s major financial backers is the NoVo Foundation, whose mission includes “changing social attitudes, relationships, and institutions that perpetuate injustice.” Last year, NoVo launched a five-year initiative with the Arcus Foundation to “improve the lives of transgender people.”

Now, consider that NoVo hopes SEL will “play a significant role in shifting our culture of systemic inequality and violence toward a new ethos.” Did you catch that? NoVo wants SEL to help change cultural views. It’s hardly a stretch to realize this includes views on so-called “LGBT” issues. As Robbins and Effrem write, “[M]ight a student’s ‘relationship skills’ be deemed deficient if, in keeping with the influence of his family and faith, he rejects the LGBT agenda such as same-sex marriage and normalization of gender dysphoria?” Indeed, one sample lesson given by an SEL partner urges students to “take action toward transgender equity.”

Where are the parents in all this? Not interfering, if the government has its way.

Parents may think school standards are purely academic, but they would be dead wrong. Communist Dictator Vladimir Lenin wasn’t kidding when he said, “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.”

Leftists want your kids from Day One to plant their seeds. And far too many parents are handing their children over without a second thought.


Colorado School District to Allow Teachers to Arm Themselves

A rural Colorado school district decided to allow its teachers and other school staff to carry guns on campus to protect students.

The Hanover School District 28 board voted 3-2 Wednesday night to allow school employees to volunteer to be armed on the job after undergoing training.

The district's two schools serve about 270 students about 30 miles southeast of Colorado Springs, and it takes law enforcement an average of 20 minutes to get there. The district currently shares an armed school resource officer with four other school districts.

Board member Michael Lawson backed the idea not only as way to protect students from a mass shooting, but also as protection against possible violence connected with nearby marijuana grows, which he believes are connected with foreign cartels, the Gazette of Colorado Springs reported ( ).

He said it will take months to work out the details and to train employees.

School board President Mark McPherson said a survey showed the community was split on the issue. While staffers would get some training, the retired Army officer said he didn't think it would be enough to help them respond effectively to an active shooter. He worries what would happen if they fired and missed in a classroom.

"Our rooms are supposed to be locked and secure. We have cameras. We have a very vigilant staff," he said. "We are authorizing teachers to pull a weapon and kill a human being, and I cannot support that."

He said he is only aware of one marijuana growing operation within about 5 miles of the schools, and he thinks comments about cartel involvement in the area are just rumors at this point.

Some other school districts in Colorado as well as in Texas, Oklahoma and California have also backed allowing teachers to carry weapons following the attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012.

An undisclosed number of teachers and other employees at a one-school district in Colorado's sparsely populated Eastern Plains are currently being trained after the school board approved the move in July largely out of concern for how long it would take law enforcement to respond.

All had concealed weapons permits and volunteered for the duty, Fleming School superintendent Steve McCracken said. They all must undergo an initial 46 hours of training, including live fire training, plus yearly training and undergo a psychological examination. The firearm training costs a total of $3,000, and the district will also have to spend an unknown amount of money to buy firearms and ammunition. But McCracken said that it still makes more financial sense than trying to hire an outside security officer to protect the school.

The latest Colorado vote came on the fourth anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre. McPherson said the proposal has been in the works since June and the timing of the final vote was coincidental.


Australia: Pro-homosexual "Safe Schools" program to be overhauled and Marxist founder Roz Ward removed

The Andrews Government will overhaul the Safe Schools program and cut ties with its controversial founder Roz Ward amid a public backlash that was set to intensify ahead of the Victorian election.

In a bid to protect the anti-bullying initiative, the education department will be in charge of delivering Safe Schools from next year, ensuring that the government is solely responsibility for rolling it out to every state secondary school by 2018.

Safe Schools co-founder and academic returns to work at La Trobe University after being suspended over comments made on a private social media account.

The move is a significant shift for a program that was co-founded by Ms Ward almost seven years ago and has been delivered through her employer, La Trobe University, ever since.

But in recent months, Safe Schools has come under sustained attack by critics who claim it promotes "radical gender theory" or believe Ms Ward's history as a hardline Marxist is too extreme.

"I think the campaign against Safe Schools has been quite disgraceful from people who should know better and do know better, but are using it as a political tool," said Victorian Education Minister James Merlino, who wrote to La Trobe on Friday to inform the university its contract would be terminated six months early.

"But Safe Schools has always been about more than just one person; it's about stopping the bullying and harassment of young people who are same-sex attracted and gender diverse. We know that it works – and we know that it saves lives."

The Safe Schools Coalition began as a trial under the Brumby Government in 2010, after teachers asked for a specific set of resources to help them support students who were "coming out" as same-sex attracted or gender diverse.

Since then, about 60 per cent of schools in Victoria have signed up, but the government is keen to significantly scale up the program with minimal controversy over the next two years in order to fulfil its election commitment.

Under the new structure, teachers will continue to have access to the same lesson plans to support LGBTI students, but the department will have the scope to review and enhance the material if required in future. "This is about making it better and stronger," Mr Merlino said.

Despite receiving bipartisan support, Safe Schools ran into controversy earlier this year when Malcolm Turnbull initiated a review at the behest of conservative forces within his ranks.

Ms Ward – an active member of the Socialist Alternative – has also repeatedly come under the spotlight over her politics and private antics. In June, for instance, the university educator almost lost her job at Latrobe after describing the Australian flag as racist on Facebook. And last month, she made headlines once again by being photographed trying to remove the cap from a Donald Trump supporter during an anti-Trump rally in Melbourne, while holding copies of the Marxist newspaper, Red Flag.

But on Friday - after hearing the news during an end-of-year lunch with her team - she said she was "shattered" by the government's decision, insisting that the bringing the program "in-house" would do little to end the attacks by critics such as the Australian Christian Lobby or the Murdoch press.

"I don't think backing down helps, it's like giving a drop of blood to a bunch of sharks," Ms Ward said.

"Four people are losing their full time jobs. They have been told they are getting sacked a week before Christmas. We've spent the last six years building relationships with schools in Victoria. We've worked with 280 schools, and with families that rely on and value the trust we had with them, and we don't think that can be replicated."

Equality Minister Martin Foley said making the education department responsible for Safe Schools would strengthen the program in the long term, ensuring that more same sex-attracted and gender diverse students could get access to much needed support.

But opposition education spokesman Nick Wakeling said the Premier should have scrapped the program altogether.

An LGBTI reference group co-chaired by Gender and Sexuality Commissioner Rowena Allen and education parliamentary secretary Judith Graley will also be expanded to include principals, students, parents and anti-bullying experts. The reference group would, in turn, support the education department to deliver the program.

La Trobe vice chancellor Professor John Dewar said in a memo to staff that the university was disappointed by the government's decision but was committed to ensuring a smooth transition "to reduce any negative impact on young people in schools."


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