Saturday, July 23, 2005


By Ted Baiamonte

When Osama Bin Laden read his morning paper on March 15th and saw that St. Petersburg (Fla.) police officers had handcuffed and detained an unruly 5-year-old girl, after she acted up in her kindergarten class, he must have been very happy to see a new recruit in the making. What happened in Florida is that a 5 year old little girl realized that she could be as violent as she wanted to be and the liberal teachers would not do anything to stop her. She yelled, cried, hit, threw things, and even walked on desks kicking papers everywhere. The liberal teachers, fully supported by their liberal unions, which by the way have made our schools some of the worst in the industrialized world, had anticipated this eventuality though. So when this five year old girl attacked on that fateful morning they were fully prepared to liberally respond: they did nothing. Doing something would have meant physically restraining; some would say violently restraining, this poor little child, and that is just not the liberal thing to do.

But, being liberal that day did present an obvious problem. How could liberal teachers teach the kids, something they still acknowledge as their responsibility, if the kids were busy commandeering the school? The answer came to them in a flash: when liberalism fails, call the conservative police to do your job. That way you can maintain your utterly meretricious liberalism.

Florida is surely a place in William Blake's world where you can see the world in a grain of sand. When I went to school I recall that there came a day in 7th grade when John Johnson decided to test the waters ever so slightly. He bravely, or perhaps unconsciously, elected to continue talking to a friend when the bell rang to signify that eighth period math class had promptly begun. What he didn't elect to do was notice where Mr. Leden was with his 3" wide, 1/4 inch thick, yard stick. It turned out that he was perfectly positioned, having anticipated an impending rebellion, to administer a fierce blow across John Johnson's backside. The stinging sound ricochetted perfectly down the metal, locker lined walls of the third floor for everyone to hear. By the end of school that day every student within 100 miles had learned what they already knew was true, namely, such an audacious act of depraved rebellion would illicit an immediate, fearsome, and humiliating response . I still hear, feel , and see it to this day. In fact I can still see the painfully contorted expression on John Johnson's face as he held his ass and struggled back to his desk.

But today we don't do that. We call the Republican police, but only after we have taught our kids to run wild on the streets and in the schools. The result is plain to see, we have over 2 million kids in jail, and gangs control large sections of American cities. On an absolute and per capita basis we lead the world by far in freedom and prisons, despite being the richest nation on earth. Does anyone doubt that virtually all prisoners would be model citizens had they been subject to Mr. Leden's yard stick for 8 hours a day over 15 years, instead of the scourge of liberalism that has so infected and destroyed so many lives since the liberals took over in the 1960's?

Osama Bin Laden has said that we are soft and weak and liberal. He knows that he, and a 5 year old, can terrorized us, and that we will bend over backwards so as not to disturb our pacific, contented liberalisn. He beleives he can outlast us on the battlefield. Before the bombings in London the Mayor, appeasingly, had tea with a violent Muslim Cleric. After the bombings, Tony Blair said he was proud of Britain's Muslims; yesterday a GITMO commander was reprimanded when it turned out that a terrorist who had been arrested in Orlando airport, at roughly the same time Mohammed Atta (a 9/11 terrorist) came through that airport, was forced to wear women's underwear and dance with another man at GITMO.

Osama knows we are liberal, just as that 5 year year old knew it. He knows we will not spank that little girl or bomb his sacred mosques in Mecca and Medina as we randomly bombed Dresden and Tokyo in WW2. He knows that decades of peace and wealth have softened our brains, pacified our spirits, and tricked us into believing that our peaceful little lives will not ever be disturbed. He knows that liberal Democrats are now in charge, at least until he has killed too many of us. For him the trick is to kill just enough of us to properly terrorize us but not enough of us to make us call the police.

More Than 100 Teachers May Be Fired In Wake Of Scandal

Teachers Accused Of Paying For Bogus Credits They Didn't Earn

MIAMI -- A grand jury has recommended the firing of more than 100 teachers, who are accused of buying college credits they did not earn. The grand jury's recommendation follows the arrest of William McCoggle, a long-time teacher at Palmetto Senior High School. Investigators said McCoggle partnered with Eastern Oklahoma State College to provide credits for fellow teachers without class time.

Investigators said the courses that were arranged with EOSC were shams and often did not involve class time. The transcripts of the course work were so vague that teachers were able to use non-credited course work to maintain and receive certification because it appeared legitimate, according to investigators. Some teachers also used the credits for new subject area certification -- including some driver's education teachers, according to the report. Others were paid higher salaries because of bogus credits, according to investigators. According to the grand jury report, McCoggle used a program called Move On Toward Education and Training, or MOTET, to give 189 people more than 1,600 credits between December 2002 and December 2003.

Now, Local 10 has learned that even before 2002 McCoggle used another college -- Otterbein College near Columbus, Ohio to issue credits to 629 teachers from 1999 to 2002. Teacher Bennet Packman said that his complaints to Miami-Dade Schools Inspector General led to the investigation, eventually assisted by the FBI in Oklahoma. "I've been notifying members of the Miami Dade school system since September 2003," Packman said.

Local 10 has learned that 15 driver's education teachers who used the illegitimate credits have been reassigned. Officials said other teachers who paid for credits issued in English and other subjects may also be reassigned. Miami-Dade school spokesman Joe Garcia admits there were cracks in the school system's oversight. "In cases where we actually saw recertification documentation, we need to be more careful in how we review transcripts, which is something we already took steps to take care of," Garcia said. The ultimate approval on the phony credits came from the state Department of Education, according to investigators.

In any case, officials say procedural changes are likely. School administrators said they are waiting to learn the names of the teachers involved. They have not yet determines if those involved will face only administrative punishment of if their actions were actually criminal.


The usual Leftist intolerance: "A New York woman claims that she was forced from her teaching post by an elementary school principal who objected to her Republican activism and last year ordered the removal of a portrait of President George W. Bush from the educator's Long Island classroom. In a federal discrimination lawsuit, Jillian Caruso, 26, claims that she was improperly forced to resign her job by Birch Lane Elementary School principal Joyce Becker-Seddio, the wife of state Assemblyman Frank Seddio, a Brooklyn Democrat. In her U.S. District Court complaint, a copy of which you'll find below, Caruso contends that she was retaliated against by Becker-Seddio because of her political work, which has included volunteering at last year's GOP convention and membership in the Republican National Committee. Caruso, who taught first and third graders at Birch Lane, also claims that when the principal spotted the Bush portrait late last year--it was hanging among photos of other U.S. presidents--she "became outraged and insisted that the picture be removed." Caruso, who complied with that order, has named the Massapequa Union Free School District as the sole defendant in her action, which seeks unspecified monetary damages and a reappointment to her prior teaching post"


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

Comments? Email me here. For times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here


Friday, July 22, 2005

No lessons left behind

This is an anonymous editorial from "USA TODAY" that makes some good points

Oddly, you heard the sound of one hand clapping last week as the Education Department released national data showing dramatic narrowing of racial learning gaps among elementary and middle school students. The news deserved ringing applause. Rarely can education trends, good or bad, be described as "dramatic" because they tend to play out at glacial speeds. But the progress 9-year-olds are making in the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the nation's premier sampling of student achievement, qualified as dramatic:

* Long-standing achievement gaps between white students and black and Hispanic students fell to the lowest levels ever. Plus, the gains didn't come as a result of white students falling behind. Everybody won.

* The news was nearly as good for 13-year-olds. Black and Latino students showed big gains in math.

Loudly cheering were Democrats and Republicans who championed the No Child Left Behind law that set out with a mission of closing racial learning gaps. No cheers, however, came from the National Education Association, the nation's largest teachers' union, which has filed suit to cripple No Child Left Behind. Also silent was the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University. Earlier this month, the group issued a report essentially accusing the federal law of being racially discriminatory because its accountability net caught too many poor and minority school districts. Huh?

For years, poor and minority students have suffered from attending schools that have failed them. Holding those schools accountable is the law's bedrock. Considering that No Child Left Behind has been in effect for only three years, it probably played a supporting role. The primary credit belongs to decade-old state reforms that the federal law was modeled on. They have pushed up education standards for all students, using standardized tests that teachers tend to dislike as the measuring stick.

The bad news in the report is that high school students are making little progress. That's not surprising. Education reformers focused first on early grades. High schools, with older students whose habits are formed, promise to be tougher - particularly if people who can help continue denying the obvious: Accountability works.

Promising news:

Closing racial learning gaps begins with understanding the problem. If a disproportionate number of poor and minority students are dropping out of school, the public needs to know. And yet for decades states have hidden, ignored and twisted dropout data. They've preferred hiding the problem to solving it. New Mexico, for example, claims a 90% graduation rate. But the state counts only the percentage of seniors who end up graduating, ignoring students who dropped out in earlier grades, according to a report by the reform group Education Trust. North Carolina reports a 97% graduation rate but counts only those who get diplomas within four years. Those who drop out and never return don't get counted.

Now comes this promising news: Sunday, governors from 45 states accepted a common formula for calculating graduation rates. The formula would start in 9th grade and track students who transfer in and out. Final approval from governors would mean closing one more loophole that allows thousands of students to slip out of sight.

Wrong news:

Most people would agree that teachers, who earn significantly less than similarly educated nurses and accountants, are underpaid. And they would agree that higher salaries would attract the better teachers. So a new proposal to pay beginning teachers a minimum of $40,000 a year should make sense. Only it doesn't. The proposal comes from Reg Weaver, president of the 2.7-million member National Education Association. On average, teachers' salaries start about $30,000 a year. That's low, but beginning salaries play a relatively minor role in attracting bright college students into the profession. As evidence, look at the astounding response the private group Teach for America gets from the graduates of elite colleges. This year, 17,000 applicants applied for its 2,000 slots to teach in needy communities. The applicants include 12% of Yale's graduating class.

Even so, many of these talented teachers will leave, and salary is part of the reason. Whether you're a crackerjack teacher or a slacker, you face the same future: The average teacher's annual salary is $46,752. Though many governors favor raising teachers' salaries - and surveys say parents favor the same - there's no sentiment for pay increases without accountability. If Weaver wants more money for teachers, he should look at what's politically viable. In Minnesota, for example, two districts are paying teachers based on their skills and how much students learn. In California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants salaries based on performance, not tenure. Linking pay to performance is how unions could help teachers earn more, particularly if the money is spent retaining teachers at the top of the pay scale, not the bottom.

Teaching might be the only profession in which a job well-done results in little more than an end-of-the-year Starbucks gift certificate from a parent. If Weaver is willing to break a bit with tradition, he could help make change that.


Massachusetts: Public schools embrace competition: "Even as they are competing against charter schools and other options, Massachusetts school districts are increasingly embracing another form of choice. Now, 149 of the state's 328 school systems open their doors to students from other cities and towns. They woo the students with promises of safer schools, full-day kindergarten, and perhaps a better shot at making the basketball team. Only 32 school districts participated in 1991, after a law passed that allowed the transfers. For years, systems refused to take advantage of the law because they were full, or because they didn't want to compete with one another. Now, many say they have no choice because of tight budgets and dwindling enrollment. The law's aim was to improve education by forcing competition, and to appease those pushing for more freedom to choose schools."


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

Comments? Email me here. For times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here


Thursday, July 21, 2005


Today’s college freshmen are ready to use computers, they look forward to an active social life in college, most have participated in community service and several extracurricular activities, and they have taken the new SAT with its writing test. How ready are they for the academic demands of their college classes? In Massachusetts, which is usually mentioned as among those having the highest graduation standards, 34% of freshmen at state 4-year colleges and 65% of freshmen at state 2-year colleges are enrolled in remedial classes, according to The Boston Globe, and they will not be able to engage in regular college classes until they finish the remedial ones.

Of course we want our high school students to be athletic, social, popular, and involved in their communities, but this spring the Indiana University Study of High School Student Engagement surveyed 90,000 students and found that more than half (55%) spend three hours a week or less on homework, and a Kaiser Foundation study this spring reported that the average high school student spends more than 6 hours a day with electronic entertainment media of one kind or another.

Naturally we want our teenagers to be free to deploy their $billions in discretionary spending as they wish, and we need their support, as consumers, for MTV, Electronic Arts, Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, etc., but in the meantime, are they doing enough hard academic work in high school to get themselves ready for college?

A study done for The Concord Review in 2002 found that the majority (62%) of our high school students no longer write a single 12-page research paper in school, and it seems likely that a majority, at least of public high school students, may no longer be assigned a single nonfiction book while they are in high school.

Laura Arandes, a 2005 Harvard graduate, recently wrote that when she got to college, “I had never written more than five paragraphs for any essay or paper in my entire academic career prior to entering university...Modern (U.S.) public high schools have an obligation not to simply pump out graduates at the end of the year, but also to prepare their students for the intellectual rigors of college.”

Nicole Lefebvre, a 2005 graduate of Mount Holyoke College, wrote: “High school taught me how to get into college, but it did not teach me how to succeed once I got there. Just a few weeks into my first semester, I realized that while I was fit to compete on a college track team, I was grossly out of shape for the classroom. Even worse, I didn’t have any concept of what academic fitness was! And I had been an A student in high school—what happened!?”

Perhaps there is good and growing reason to be concerned about the academic competitiveness of students in Singapore, Taiwan, Finland and Ireland, not to mention China and India, and we could decide to re-consider our high school academic culture, which celebrates athletics wholeheartedly, yet allows for 3 hours a week of homework and 44 hours a week for video games, etc.

As it stands, our high school students are going to college, ready or not, and the benefits they can derive from that expensive experience depend a lot on the level of academic preparation they bring with them from high school. It will be argued that most students eventually make an adjustment, even if it means some dumbing down of their courses by the professors to accommodate them, but it must be understood that because so many arrive unready, they cannot hit the academic ground running, and whatever benefits they may achieve will have been sadly delayed by their lack of academic readiness. Do we care enough to compete with Grand Theft Auto, the last version of which sold 1,000,000 copies in the first week at $50 each, in order to give our high school students the background in nonfiction reading and in academic writing they need to arrive at college ready to go?



"By their fruits ye shall know them" may be an ancient adage but results take a back seat to dogma when it comes to the education establishment. That is why there has been so little to show for all the additional billions of dollars poured into American education during the past three decades. ..... there was another report issued recently, this one giving results of opinion polls among professors of education, the people who train our public school teachers. It is also very revealing as to what has been so wrong for so long in our schools.

Take something as basic as what teachers should be doing in the classroom. Should teachers be "conveyors of knowledge who enlighten their students with what they know"? Or should teachers "see themselves as facilitators of learning who enable their students to learn on their own"?

Ninety two percent of the professors of education said that teachers should be "facilitators" rather than engaging in what is today called "directed instruction" -- and what used to be called just plain teaching. The fashionable phrase among educators today is that the teacher should not be "a sage on the stage" but "a guide on the side."

Is the 92 percent vote for the guide over the sage based on any hard evidence, any actual results? No. It has remained the prevailing dogma in schools of education during all the years when our test scores stagnated and American children have been repeatedly outperformed in international tests by children from other countries. Our children have been particularly outperformed in math, with American children usually ending up at or near the bottom in international math tests. But this has not made a dent in our education establishment's dogmas about the way to teach math.

What is more important in math, that children "know the right answers to the questions" or that they "struggle with the process" of trying to find the right answers? Among professors of education, 86 percent choose "struggling" over knowing. This is all part of a larger vision in which children "discover" their own knowledge rather than have teachers pass on to them the knowledge of what others have already discovered. The idea that children will "discover" knowledge that took scholars and geniuses decades, or even generations, to produce is truly a faith which passeth all understanding.

What about discipline problems in our schools? Fewer than half of the professors of education considered discipline "absolutely essential" to the educational process. As one professor of education put it, "When you have students engaged and not vessels to receive information, you tend to have fewer discipline problems." All the evidence points in the opposite direction. But what is mere evidence compared to education dogmas? We need more "teaching to the test" so that dogmas can be subjected to evidence.

More here


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

Comments? Email me here. For times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Ex-cons guarding schools in D.C.

Set a thief to catch a thief?

The Metropolitan Police Department has licensed private security officers in the D.C. public school system despite past arrests on charges of assault, cocaine possession and passing counterfeit money, according to a draft report by the D.C. inspector general. "There are contracted security personnel working in [public schools] who may pose a risk to the secure environment of students and staff," the draft document states. "There is no assurance that all contracted school security personnel possess the requisite skills to ensure the safety and security of ... students and faculty," according to the report, which has not yet been finalized.

The Washington Times has obtained a copy of the draft. The Inspector General's Office refused to comment on the audit yesterday, saying its policy does not permit officials to discuss draft reports. "When we issue a draft, it is only for the limited purpose for the recipients to respond to us, and we cannot comment on the report until responses are received and the final report is issued," interim Inspector General Austin A. Andersen said.

Lt. Jon Shelton, who heads the police department's security-officer management branch, said yesterday that the recent transfer of oversight of the security contract from schools to police has resulted in more scrutiny of officers hired to work in the schools. "Nobody goes into the school unless I know they're going into the schools," he said.

D.C. school officials yesterday referred all questions to the police department. Because it is a draft report, the audit contains conclusions that could change based on responses from the D.C. public school system and the Metropolitan Police Department. But preliminary findings have exposed a breakdown in communications among police and school and security company officials.

More here


Mayor Bloomberg wants to hold back struggling seventh graders if they can't make the grade. The mayor announced his plan to extend his policy of ending social promotion - which already applies to third and fifth graders who fail their citywide math and reading tests.

REPORTER: In a speech at Teachers College, Bloomberg said he's targeting seventh graders because Middle School scores are stagnant showing students need additional help.

BLOOMBERG: The truth of the matter is if they get to the next class and can't do the work they are going to start to get more and more frustrated, then they start to become a disruption in the classroom and they not only are hurting themselves they're hurting the other students.

REPORTER: The mayor says struggling seventh graders will get extra Saturday classes and they'll be encouraged to go to summer school. The policy would start next year for students who score the lowest level on their English Language Arts exams; math scores would be considered the following year.



For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

Comments? Email me here. For times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here


Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Low as American public school standards are, they are still a huge challenge for black youth. There are more black males in prison than in college

As program coordinator at the Indiana OIC State Council, Tawnya McCrary has worked with dozens of black male dropouts from Indianapolis Public Schools. But she didn't realize suburban township schools also were mired in a black male dropout crisis until she and her husband moved their son out of Northwest High to Pike High School. By the time Michael Harrison left Pike after his junior year, he was still 21 credits shy of graduation. He witnessed almost a fight a day at the school. His own class-clown antics hurt his academic progress. He and his mother also objected to faculty members' attitudes toward black students. Although Harrison thought "it would be almost impossible" to stay in school, he did eventually graduate, after transferring to North Central High School in Washington Township.

Hundreds of other black males in township high schools, however, are dropping out. An analysis of graduation data by Johns Hopkins researcher Robert Balfanz for The Star Editorial Board reveals that high schools in four Marion County township districts are as much dropout factories -- graduating less than 50 percent of black males -- as those in IPS.

* Just 31 percent, or one of every three, black males who entered Perry Township's Southport and Perry Meridian high schools as freshmen in 1998 graduated four years later. Only IPS, with one in four black males in its original class of 2002 earning a diploma, performed worse.

* Only 61 of the 143 black males who entered Warren Central High School in 1998 graduated in 2002. Six of every 10 black male freshmen dropped out.

* Only 41 percent of black male freshmen entering Franklin Central High School in 1998 graduated in four years.

* Pike Township's black male graduation rate was 49 percent in 2002.

Black males fare better in districts such as Washington Township, until recently run by new IPS Superintendent Eugene White. Yet, even there gaps persist. Three of every 10 black males entering North Central High School in 1998 eventually dropped out. Just one in 10 white males failed to graduate on time.

Franklin Central Principal Kevin Koers can rattle off all he has done to improve the school's black male promotion power rating (an index developed by John Hopkins researchers to track students' progression) of 52 percent. The school has offered cultural sensitivity training for teachers; kept students who didn't finish homework after school to complete it; and encouraged black males to become leaders in community service activities such as a charity basketball tournament. Yet former students such as Chris Carter say teachers "just try to teach what their lesson books say and get out of there." [Who can blame them? Standing up in front of an unruly mob every day must be very draining] Which is one reason Carter says he decided to quit school this year.

The suburban problem in graduating black males is reflective of overall national and state achievement gaps. A mere 38 percent of black males graduated from Indiana's high schools in 2002; just 42 percent of America's black males in the class of 2002 earned diplomas. Boys of all races tend to graduate at lower rates than girls. Yet black males bear the heaviest toll for dropping out. About 37 percent of black male dropouts will likely land in prison, according to Princeton University Professor Bruce Western; it's one reason why only 603,000 black males were attending college while nearly 800,000 were serving prison time in 2000.

The woes of urban districts have attracted considerable attention from researchers, political leaders and the news media. But Schott Foundation researcher Michael Holzman, whose report on black male graduation rates identified IPS as the fifth-worst in the nation, has found that suburban schools nationwide are "not doing much better by and large."

One reason is poverty. Perry Township Superintendent H. Douglas Williams notes that the district pulls students from the same poor Southside neighborhoods as IPS' Manual High, the worst-performing high school in the state. Many of Perry's black students come from Martindale-Brightwood, one of the city's most poverty-stricken areas.

Cultural differences also keep students and educators from connecting, a problem Marion County schools have been wrangling with ever since the 1971 court-ordered desegregation plan brought more blacks into suburbia starting in 1981. Ten years ago, the Indianapolis Commission on African-American Males found that suspensions of black males in township districts -- a contributor to dropping out -- were disproportionately higher than for other groups, according to Director Lyman Rhodes.

Population growth in the suburbs is continuing to bring more diversity. Franklin Central's enrollment has increased 45 percent -- from 1,450 to 2,100 -- since Koers took over the school five years ago. The district was once almost exclusively rural and white. Now, blacks make up 14 percent of Franklin Central's enrollment.

Suburban schools can begin to find solutions to the black male dropout crisis in the work of the Cheltenham School District near Philadelphia. Cheltenham Superintendent Christopher McGinley says districts tend to "work around the edges" of the achievement gap. But a complete overall is needed. Cheltenham, which is 38 percent black, began transforming itself four years ago. One step involved better communicating to black parents what courses students need to take to get into college. A sign of progress: The number of black students in Advanced Placement classes has doubled in the past three years.

Help also can come from the grass roots. In Minneapolis, hospital administrator Gary Cunningham and others increased community involvement in the schools and raised awareness about the black male achievement gap. Parents also must be involved. McCrary helped put her son back on the path to graduation by making sure he took night and online classes, along with his normal courses at North Central, to regain lost ground. The tragedy of black men dropping out of school -- and into prison and poverty -- carries a high price for all Hoosiers, whether they live in the suburbs, on farms or in cities. Confronting that tragedy is essential to preserving Indianapolis' -- and Indiana's -- economic destiny.



A coalition of far-Left organizations that includes avowed "revolutionary communists," Islamists, marriage-abolitionists, and cop-killer advocates has launched a crusade against the U.S. military - and San Francisco school children could get caught in the crossfire. An organization known as "College Not Combat" seeks to place a resolution before Bay City voters on the November ballot, declaring "that the people of San Francisco oppose U.S. military recruiters using public school, college and university facilities to recruit young people into the armed forces." The non-binding measure would encourage the city's high schools to deny military recruiters access to their student directories, from which recruiters attempt to find new volunteers. Such an action, undertaken in the name of "the children," would constitute a violation of section 9528 of the "No Child Left Behind" Act and could end up denying the offending schools access to government funds.

The group submitted petitions containing more than15,000 signatures to the Department of Elections on Monday, nearly 5,000 more than needed. If enough signatures are validated, the measure will be placed before voters. In part, the draft declares:

"a de facto "economic draft" forces tens of thousands of low and middle-income students to join the military in order to get money to go to college or get job or technical training. the Federal government shows no sign of ending the occupation of Iraq or bringing the troops safely home and, in fact, is threatening military action against other nations... San Francisco should oppose the military's "economic draft" by investigating means by which to fund and grant scholarships for college and job training to low-income students so they are not economically compelled to join the military!

The measure's wording reflects its constituents' radical socialist orientation. The organizations that have endorsed this proposition represent a veritable Who's Who of the Unholy Alliance.....

Joining this motley crew of leftist extremists are two chapters of the American Federation of Teachers: AFT Local 61 and AFT Local 2121. What is a coalition of educators doing joining hands with radicals whose advice would lead to the firing of several of its members? Why would any organization that puts the interests of its students first support a measure that would deny them funding and the right to an adequate public education? The San Francisco Unified School District shut military recruiters out of its schools for years before the "No Child Left Behind" Act deprived federal funds to schools that do so - a troubling sign that these teachers place political activism before education. It is their children who may pay up if their activism pays off.

The movement to oppose military recruitment is nothing new, even at the high school level. Earlier this year, the Parent Teacher Student Association at Seattle's Garfield High School passed a resolution calling on the school district to block recruiters. PTSA president and University of Washington professor Amy Hagopian explained, "We can't physically stop [military recruiters], and we can't legally stop them, but we can stand at the doors and explain that they're not welcome." (Remember, one must never question the fact that the Left supports the troops.)

However, the "counter-recruitment" movement has had its greatest success on college campuses -often earned through violence and physical intimidation. On March 9, some 20 protestors, barred from holding a rally at the City College of New York (part of CUNY), entered a job fair under false pretenses and began shouting at military recruiters. Three students and a CCNY secretary then attempted to brutalize the college's guards. CCNY President Gregory Williams, who is assuredly no conservative, classified their actions as "physical assault." After the university suspended the quartet, the International Socialist Organization, United for Peace and Justice, the NY chapter of the ACLU, and Professional Staff Congress (CUNY's far-Left professional union) protested on their behalf - many of the same organizations spearheading the San Francisco measure.

At Chicago's Northeastern Illinois University, protestors physically prevented the military from speaking to interested students. Protestors have harried recruiters out of Seattle Central Community College and San Francisco State University, Southern Connecticut State University, and numerous other institutions.

In the Ivy League, physical disruption has sometimes given way to politically correct legal maneuvers. Yale Law School successfully sued Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to bar military recruiters from campus, because the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy violates the Ivy League school's "non-discrimination" policy. A U.S. District Court ruled in favor of Yale, despite the fact that the Solomon Amendment cuts off federal funding to any college that closes its doors to the U.S. Armed Forces.

More here


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

Comments? Email me here. For times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here


Monday, July 18, 2005


The U.S. education system is governed by the political process. Public elections and lobbying work to establish where schools will be built, what will be taught, and which teachers will be hired. As a result, our elementary and secondary education system contains all of the inefficiency and stagnation symptomatic of government bureaucracies. Low quality, high costs, a lack of innovation, and perverse incentive structures plague the U.S. education system.

Thousands of reforms and billions of dollars worth of tinkering with the system have failed to improve the lot of students. Based on the track record of past federal reforms, the No Child Left Behind Act is unlikely to yield any encouraging results.

Incremental reforms in America's school system will do nothing -- or worse than nothing -- unless reformers attack the problem at the root, which is the bureaucratic and political control of schools. The solution is to open the schools up to consumer choice and competition with private schools, allowing parents to choose the schools that they think are best for their children.

Some states have enacted reforms intended to boost consumer choice and apply the power of the market to education. Unfortunately, all of the reforms to date have been limited in scope and too tightly regulated to serve as models of what a true education market would produce.

A true market system would allow educators to start new schools just like people start new businesses. Customer preferences would determine how much schools charge for their services, what services they would provide, and what curriculum would be used. Schools would be free to specialize and parents would be free to shop around for the type of school they feel is best for their children. Even the best school choice programs today don't provide these options.

Milwaukee's choice program, the oldest, largest, and most generous in the country, provides vouchers of up to $5,882 for children to attend the private school of their parents' choice. But only low-income families can participate and total participation is capped at 15 percent of public school enrollment. These restrictions dilute the benefits that would result from a truly universal education market.

School choice will attract new start-up schools only if enough parents have the purchasing power to leave the public school system. A large pool of paying customers would attract newcomers who would imitate and improve popular schooling practices and insure against long-term shortages that otherwise produce waiting lists. Since waiting lists signal that there are many consumers without other options, waiting lists tempt existing schools to save money by letting product quality deteriorate. In a true education market, school entrepreneurs would form new schools to capture the opportunity reflected by students on waiting lists.

The whole purpose of school choice is to allow students to select schools that offer something different. Unfortunately, too many school choice programs restrict which schools students can select. Some choice programs require private schools to administer state tests, even when those tests are inferior to those the school is already using. Some choice programs require private schools to accept all students that apply, limiting that school's ability to specialize in a particular type of curriculum or focus on students with special needs or interests. Choice programs in Maine and Vermont prohibit students from using vouchers at religious schools, barring participation by the overwhelming majority of easily affordable private schools.

A new publication by the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation, which rated the nation's 13 existing school choice programs, concluded that even the least restrictive programs are hampered by regulations and caps on which and how many students can participate. Although helpful, these limited school choice programs are too restrictive to become the engine of reform for American education. If we want to see real change and improvement in our schools, we should seek full-fledged, universal school choice for all.



The National Education Association recently concluded its annual meeting in Los Angeles - and you might be surprised what the largest teachers' union in America talked about and decided. I mean, let's face it. The state of public education in American today is not exactly state of the art. You might think falling test scores, higher drop-out rates, and functional illiteracy of graduates - despite ever increasing taxpayer commitments - would be causes for concern and debate at a forum like this. You would be wrong.

Here are some resolutions adopted by the representative assembly of the professional association responsible for educating your kids:

* To participate in a national boycott of Wal-Mart (Two resolutions);
* To fight efforts to privatize Social Security (nine separate resolutions);
* To add the words "other" and "multi-ethnic" in addition to "unknown" in the category of ethnicity on all forms;
* To commemorate the "historic merger of the National Education Association and the American Teachers Association, which occurred in 1966";
* To expose health problems associated with "fragrance chemicals"; (I assume this means perfumes. Another resolution called for designating areas of NEA meetings as "fragrance-free zones.");
* To fight indoor air pollution (two resolutions);
* To make health care an organizational priority;
* To expand efforts to elect pro-public education candidates to Congress in 2006;
* To promote the designation of April as National Donate Month to promote organ and tissue donation;
* To push for a commemorative stamp honoring public education;
* To push for more collective bargaining;
* To study the feasibility of a boycott of Gallo wine (A separate resolution banned the serving of Gallo wine at any NEA functions.);
* To develop a strategic program to help NEA Republican members advance a pro-public education agenda with the party;
* To defend affirmative action and oppose the Michigan Civil Rights Amendment;
* To oppose the annual observance of "Take Your Child to Work Day" during the regular school year;
* To oppose all forms of privatization;
* To investigate the establishment of affordable housing programs for members;
* To respond aggressively to any inappropriate use of the words "retarded" or "gay" in the media;
* To fight the "regressive taxation practices of the federal government";
* To support education programs for prisoners and former prisoners;
* To support research on women and heart disease;
* To push for an "exit strategy to end the U.S. military occupation of Iraq";
* To oppose the Central American Free Trade Agreement;
* To push for debt cancellation in underdeveloped countries;
* To teach children about the "significant history of labor unions";
* To develop a comprehensive strategy of support for homosexuality;
* To educate the public and members about identity theft;
* To explore alternatives to using latex balloons and gloves at NEA functions.

That's a fair synopsis of the actions taken by the largest "education" association in America - the only union and lobby group that is actually tax-exempt by an act of Congress.

What is peculiar about this list? Well, nothing if you are familiar with this thoroughly destructive organization. But, most people are not. Most Americans probably still think the National Education Association has something to do with education. It does not. It is a thoroughly politicized agit-prop group with a radical agenda. Of the nearly 70 resolutions acted upon affirmatively by the group, no more than a half-dozen had anything remotely to do with classroom education. The first 14 resolutions voted on had nothing whatsoever to do with education in the traditional sense.

However, one NEA resolution adopted this year did perform a real service to the public. It's the one requiring the organization to make its resolutions more accessible to the public on its website. Check it out for yourself. Do I exaggerate? Is it time to review this activist organization's tax-exempt status? Is it time to start paying attention to the kind of indoctrination to which its members submit your children?



For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

Comments? Email me here. For times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here


Sunday, July 17, 2005


With child abuse accusations being what they are, I think men who go into teaching should be given a medal for heroism

When she interviews teaching candidates, principal Laurel Telfer favors the ones who show they have a heart for children, not just solid instructional skills. And if the best applicant happens to be a man? That's such a plus that Telfer says she does a "little happy dance." Only two of the 35 teachers at her school, Rossmoor Elementary in Los Alamitos, California, are men. "If you're looking at what's best for the students, it's important for them to interact with the two sexes," Telfer said. "The way men work with kids, there's a difference in style and approach. I think students really benefit from having that mix, because as they get to middle school, they're going to have a whole variety of classes. Men help bridge that."

As a new academic year approaches, school districts, education groups and universities are exploring ways to get more men into a field long dominated by women. Their goal is to provide more male role models in class and to diversify the labor pool of dedicated teachers. The proportion of men in teaching today is at its lowest level in 40 years, according to the National Education Association, the country's largest teachers union. Only 21 percent of teachers in U.S. public schools are men. In early grades, the gender ratio is even more imbalanced -- just 9 percent of elementary school teachers are men. [No mystery why. That's where accusations are most likely]

"It's not just that it would be nice to have more guys. It goes deeper than that," said Bryan Nelson, founding director of MenTeach, a nonprofit that recruits men into teaching. Getting more men into classrooms, Nelson said, would help show children that society as a whole places a deep value on education and would add balance to their school life. His group aims to provide prospective male teachers with mentors, training and stipends. Men often must overcome concerns about their salaries, a perception that teaching isn't masculine, and even public fears that they pose a danger to kids, Nelson said. So he appeals to their pride: "I tell them, 'Can you imagine what you're doing for these kids? You're a pioneer. You're teaching kids how to read. You're setting up their future."'

In most cases, however, school districts are limited in how they can recruit men because federal anti-discrimination law prevents them from hiring based on gender. "Your applicant pool is going to be tainted by your recruiting techniques if there's a gender bias," said Lisa Soronen, a staff attorney for the National School Boards Association. "The real way to get teaching to be a more attractive profession is to change the societal norms and structure of the profession. But no individual principal can do that."

Telfer tries, though. She takes steps to make men feel more comfortable, such as asking female teachers to rein in their lunchroom chatter about intimate matters. And she lets male teachers serve on the committees that interest them, she said. One of Telfer's two male teachers, fifth-grade instructor Stacey De Salvo, got into the field because he enjoys working with children and discovering knowledge along with them. In some years, he's been the only male teacher in his school, which took an adjustment. "You just feel like things are out of balance when you're the only guy," De Salvo said. "You get a solitary feeling. ... Elementary school is seen as a woman's domain, and when I came in, I felt kind of isolated."

More here


Because blacks mature earlier, a narrower intellectual gap between whites and blacks during childhood is normal. The gap widens when whites reach their (later) maturity, however, and that is also what the results below show. Black IQ "peaks" earlier and at a much lower level. The same is true of other primates. A one-year old chimpanzee (for instance) is much brighter than a one-year old human child but the chimp peaks much sooner and at a much lower level. Sorry to mention it, but those are the facts. The results below may however indicate that the school system is helping blacks to achieve closer to their genetic potential than it once did

Black and Hispanic students are catching up with their white counterparts in reading and math at the elementary-school level, but there has been little closing of that achievement gap in higher grades, according to a study released yesterday. The Bush administration cited the data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) as evidence that its educational revisions are working. But the independent body that administers the tests urged caution, saying that many of the gains could have come from changes made before the 2002 passage of the No Child Left Behind Act.

The NAEP study of long-term educational trends showed a significant improvement among white, black and Hispanic 9-year-olds in the 2003-2004 school year in math and reading, compared with results from five years earlier. But blacks and Hispanics made greater gains than whites in both subjects. "There is a lot of good news here," said Darvin Winick, chairman of the National Assessment Governing Board. "While the differences are still too large, we are happy to see that there has been some narrowing" between whites and minorities, he said.

Modest gains were registered by 13-year-olds, particularly in math, but the performance of 17-year-olds remained flat, bolstering the widespread belief that high schools are the weakest link in the American education system. NAEP, which dubs itself the "nation's report card," has been using the same standardized tests since 1971 to illuminate long-term educational trends. In that period, the achievement gap between black and white 9-year-olds narrowed from 44 points, on a 500-point scale, to 26 points. The gap narrowed by nine points in the most recent five-year period.

The study suggested that at least some of the gains can be attributed to a greater emphasis on reading, particularly in the early grades, going back to the mid-1990s. One in four 9- and 13-year-olds said they read more than 20 pages per day in school and for homework in 2004, compared with 19 percent in 1999 and 13 percent in 1984. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings hailed the report as evidence that No Child Left Behind is working, and that the achievement gap "that persisted for decades in the younger years between minorities and whites has shrunk to its smallest size in history."

Winick, by contrast, urged caution about attributing progress to No Child Left Behind and said the narrowing of the achievement gap can be traced back to at least 1999, before President Bush took office. Other analysts noted that the NAEP study was conducted during the 2003-2004 school year, in the early stages of the implementation of No Child Left Behind.

Poor performance by black and Hispanic students, as measured by standardized tests, was one of the principal inspirations for the bipartisan law, which aims to make all students in the country proficient in reading and math by 2014. But the law's main idea -- holding schools and teachers accountable for the progress of groups of students -- was being implemented at state level before 2002.

Education advocacy groups described the NAEP data as an encouraging sign of progress in elementary schools, as well as a challenge to do much better at the secondary-school level. The Education Trust, a D.C.-based group that lobbied in favor of No Child Left Behind, noted that the reading skills of black and Hispanic 17-year-olds were "nearly identical" to those of white 13-year-olds. "It's not surprising that we're making the biggest gains in elementary schools -- that's where reformers have focused the lion's share of energy and resources," said Kati Haycock, director of the Education Trust. "It's time to bring that same focus, that same sense of purpose, to our high schools."

Critics of No Child Left Behind argued that the lackluster results in the higher grades cast doubt on claims by some states, such as Texas and Florida, of dramatic gains in high school exit exams. Robert Schaeffer, education director for the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest), which opposes high-stakes testing, said that scores on state exams were frequently inflated by practices such as "drilling test questions, narrowing the curriculum [and] pushing low scorers out of school." The NAEP study was based on a representative sample of approximately 14,000 students in public and private schools nationwide.

More here


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

Comments? Email me here. For times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here