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Old 08-23-2007, 03:30 PM  
Jenson71 Jenson71 is offline
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Radicalism is no longer taught only in college...

The American Legion Magazine
September, 2007

Failing Grades

Radicalism is no longer taught only in college; many younger students are getting a head start.

Schools traditionally emphasized the “three Rs” – reading, ’riting and ’rithmetic. Recently a “fourth R” seems to have entered the American schoolhouse: radicalism.

“When you go into a class where you’re supposed to learn about government or geography,” high-school junior Sean Allen says, “you expect to learn what the truth is.” He found out last year that some teachers don’t share his expectation. An Accelerated World Geography class at Overland High School in suburban Denver featured diatribes against the United States, capitalism and President Bush. His frustration over anti-American classroom rhetoric thrust him into a national debate over the limits of academic freedom.

“Sean had told me the teacher was pretty radical,” his father, Jeff Allen, recalls.

How radical? The teacher, Jay Bennish, used a geography class to declare capitalism “an economic system at odds with humanity.” He called the United States “the most violent nation on earth.” He said Bush’s 2006 State of the Union address “sounds a lot like the things that Adolf Hitler used to say.”

Remember, these comments came in a geography class for 10th graders.

Sean’s dad couldn’t believe what his son was reporting. Sean started recording lectures to help in note-taking. When he played Bennish’s rant for his father, the elder Allen called the school principal to let her know what was going on in the classroom.

Almost a week later, still awaiting a response, Allen sent syndicated columnist Walter Williams an e?mail detailing the situation. “I didn’t think, unless I had the backing of someone like a Walter Williams, that the school would take any action,” Allen says.

Williams wrote a column on the brewing controversy. Then a local radio station aired the recording and interviewed Sean, as did Fox News Channel. Along the way, Bennish was suspended but was later reinstated. “The intent was not to bust the teacher,” Allen explains. “The intent was to get the teacher to teach what he was hired to teach.”

Indeed, children are the very definition of impressionable. That’s one reason why so many people choose education as a vocation, and thank goodness they do. It’s a hard, often thankless job that literally cultivates our most precious resource. But as Sara Dogan of Parents and Students for Academic Freedom (PSAF) observes, “Many teachers take advantage of their positions of authority. Their role is to educate, not indoctrinate.”

Sean says 90 percent of the student body supported him, but he did receive threats and felt compelled to enroll in a different school. He also received hundreds of e-mails from all across the country – even from soldiers in Iraq. “Sean has gotten a lot of support from our troops,” his father says. “One soldier even sent him a flag and a letter of appreciation. That makes it all worth it.”

Sean, who later returned to Overland, hopes his ordeal shows parents and students that the biased brand of education common at U.S. universities and colleges is making its way into the earlier grades. “It’s a huge problem in high school,” Sean says. “By the time you’re in college, you’re sort of numb to it, or you just go along with it.”

The New Math. David Horowitz, one of the founders of the so-called New Left that helped radicalize college campuses in the 1960s, agrees. “The kids are already brainwashed by the time they get to college,” he says. Horowitz is now one of the most ardent critics of the far left, credited with launching a family of organizations that promote academic freedom and serve as watchdogs against political indoctrination in the classroom. One of those organizations is Parents and Students for Academic Freedom. “It is much, much worse at the K-12 level because the kids are so young,” Horowitz says. “It’s unbelievable what they are allowed to do at K-12 schools.”

He points to the Bennish case and also to what he observed firsthand at Pacific Palisades High School in 2005. Working with antiwar groups, the school’s English department planned what Horowitz calls “an indoctrination session for 14- to 18-year-olds.” Those attending the program, which took place during school hours, were treated to vitriolic lessons like: Iraq was a war for oil; the war on terror was caused by America’s support for Israel; and U.S. troops have killed 100,000 innocent Iraqis. Horowitz also attended, due to a mistake by the organizers. He provided balance, and facts, to the program. He also listened to students, who reported that some teachers intimidated them and kicked them out of class when they mentioned Saddam Hussein’s brutal record.

Those who dismiss episodes like these as isolated cases “are completely wrong,” Horowitz says. He cites the trend within schools of education – the places that teach teachers – to promote the “social-justice movement,” which in his view is “a movement to indoctrinate students in our K-12 schools.”

As evidence, PSAF has put together a survey of the most prominent texts used in U.S. schools of education. One openly concludes that teachers “cannot hide behind notions of neutrality or objectivity.” Another, geared to grade-school math teachers, includes a lesson plan condemning U.S. military action against the Taliban.

A Bill Too Far? PSAF is helping parents and policymakers expose and reverse such “politicization in the American school system” by promoting a student bill of rights. The Arizona legislature, for example, has considered a controversial bill to protect students and prohibit “any instructor in a public K-12 or postsecondary institution while in the instructor’s official capacity from endorsing, supporting or opposing any political candidate or office, legislation, litigation or court action or advocating one side of a social, political or cultural issue that is a matter of partisan controversy.” The bill’s proposed penalties include revocation of teaching certification and up to a $500 fine.

Horowitz opposes the bill’s college-related elements. “I have never advocated legislation that would monitor or restrict what university instructors say in their classrooms,” he recently wrote. But he supports the K-12 elements.

The distinction makes sense. Most K-12 students, as Dogan observes, “don’t have the maturity of college students to protest what is happening or even to tell their parents.”

Arizona lawmakers aren’t the only ones wading into controversial education issues. Early this year, New Jersey lawmakers passed a measure that would have allowed schools to stop observing and/or teaching about Veterans Day and Memorial Day. New Jersey Legionnaires and other veterans groups called on Gov. Jon Corzine to veto the bill, which he did. “Given the past sacrifices of our veterans and the sacrifices now being made by those serving in the armed forces, especially the sacrifices of those who gave their lives in service to their country,” Corzine said in his veto message, “it is imperative that New Jersey schoolchildren be reminded of those valiant men and women who have demonstrated their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.”

It would appear that teachers and administrators are the ones who need to be reminded about patriotism, sacrifice and service. One former teacher reports that many public schools in Los Angeles have given up on the Pledge of Allegiance. “Teachers openly opposed reciting the pledge,” says Ari Kaufman, who taught in Los Angeles public schools from 2001 to 2005. “I even recall elementary-school teachers having kids make ‘No War in Iraq’ posters.” Kaufman ultimately lost the energy to keep teaching. “I got along with the parents and loved the kids. But the radicalized teachers and teachers unions disenchanted me.”

In San Francisco, the board of education voted to end the Junior ROTC program in late 2006. Even though the program is completely voluntary, promotes community service and keeps some 1,600 kids off the streets, it will be phased out. Likewise, the JROTC program at Los Angeles’ Roosevelt High is under assault from an alliance of students and agenda-minded teachers, contributing to a 43-percent drop in the number of cadets. The Los Angeles Times reports that some teachers “are openly hostile toward JROTC.”

The San Mateo Union High School District in California has been mulling ways to limit military-recruiter access to students. The Madison Metropolitan School District in Wisconsin has already done so. The Garfield High School PTA in Seattle started the anti-recruiting trend in 2005, when it declared that “public schools are not a place for military recruiters.” But the law says otherwise. The No Child Left Behind Act, which passed Congress with broad bipartisan support in 2002, directs high schools to “provide military recruiters the same access to secondary school students as is provided ... to post-secondary educational institutions or to prospective employers.”

Teachers at Frank Allis Elementary School in Madison, Wis., gave their third-graders an assignment to write antiwar letters to the president, members of Congress and other students. At La Escuela Fratney, a bilingual public school in Milwaukee, fifth-grade teacher Bob Peterson touted the benefits of leading his students in “The Pledge of Resistance” and using antiwar folk songs in the classroom. “Wake up! The children are dying, the children of Iraq!” are in the lyrics of one song. Among the other titles he recommends: “Bombs over Baghdad,” “The Price of Oil” and “Bomb Da World.” It is a class for 10-year-olds.

A group calling itself “Educators to Stop the War” convenes conferences where teachers conduct workshops on topics such as “Art to Stop the War,” “Blood for Oil? Teaching about Economics-Based War, Grades 7-12” and “Creating a Student Antiwar Movement.” One conference in New York City hosted 750 kindergarten-to-college educators.

Standing Up. Teachers aren’t the only ones pushing agendas in the classroom. This year at Tucson Accelerated High School, a public charter school, the student council voted to end the daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. In response, junior Sam Lucero and his younger brother, Robert, led a protest. “We took flags to school and sang the National Anthem and said the Pledge of Allegiance,” Sam explains. “Most of the kids said it was a waste of time. But I’m an American, and there are people fighting for that flag. The least we can do is stand up and say the pledge.”

Two of his siblings are deployed in Iraq. His oldest brother, Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua Lucero, was killed in 2004 in Iraq. “He didn’t die for nothing,” Sam says. “He fought for the flag. It symbolizes hope and freedom.”

Sam plans to follow in his brother’s footsteps and enlist in the Marines after graduation. “I want to fight for our country,” he says with pride, having won his battle for the flag. The student council reversed its decision. Lawyers from the Alliance Defense Fund reminded the school that “prohibiting the recitation of the pledge violates both Arizona statutory law and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

Students like Sam Lucero and Sean Allen, who unafraid to speak out, have successfully spun the flipside of academic freedom – the freedom for a young person to receive a fair and balanced education in an American classroom taught from daily lesson plans rather than political agendas.

Alan W. Dowd, a senior fellow at the Sagamore Institute, is a contributing editor to The American Legion Magazine.

http://www.legion.org/?section=publi...ag_grades_0907
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Old 08-24-2007, 12:17 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by Chief Faithful
Not the case in Atlanta. Most of the private schools, of which there are many, have higher quality teachers (higher credentials and tougher performance standards) and they do get paid better than their public counterpart. And it is true that there is greater parental support, income, and family stability. Finally, it is also true that tuition is equal or more than many state colleges.

Some of these private schools seem to exist because of prestige, some because of religious affiliation, and some because they meet needs that cannot be meet in public schools. It is all about individual choice. What ever the reasons these schools exist private schooling and home schooling are not evil and I dread the type of communistic thinking that says governments are better at deciding what is best for the individual child instead of the parent.
If you've read what I've written, you'll note that I began by endorsing the notion of vouchers and choice.

The problem I have with this discussion is, there is a persistent belief and attitude that private schools, generally, are "better" than public schools--and have better teachers. Simply put, it's not true.

In places like KC, Atlanta, NY, Detroit, Houston, and Chicago--that may be the case....but there are many places in smaller and more suburban areas of the country, where public schools have superior faculties AND offer better educational opportunites than are locally available in the private schools of the area. And that fact is often ignored in such discussions.
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Old 08-24-2007, 12:20 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by Chief Faithful
One of the things that was very successful when I lived in Chicago was the home school co-ops. There are relatively few private schools in Chicago compared to Atlanta, but what they did was pool the degrees and talents of the parents. For example, if the parent had a degree in Math they taught all the math subjects.

My kids went to public schools in Chicago. Because of the village structures it was easy to find and live in a community that had excellent public schools. In Atlanta everything is controlled at the county and state level, which does not work well.
They have those here too. But what you said in the post just above this happened to my older sister whose kids were labelled in the public system...and they had a LOT of money. She sent to a school to remediate them around age 10 and it cost $25k per year for each of two for a couple of years. Amazing job....mostly just different methods from my observation.

I think there's a lot of overlabelling and I thinks some of those symptons are due to the methods.
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Old 08-24-2007, 12:25 PM   #48
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Home school scares me.
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Old 08-24-2007, 12:28 PM   #49
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Home school scares me.
Then don't use it.
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Old 08-24-2007, 12:39 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by Mr. Kotter
If you've read what I've written, you'll note that I began by endorsing the notion of vouchers and choice.

The problem I have with this discussion is, there is a persistent belief and attitude that private schools, generally, are "better" than public schools--and have better teachers. Simply put, it's not true.

In places like KC, Atlanta, NY, Detroit, Houston, and Chicago--that may be the case....but there are many places in smaller and more suburban areas of the country, where public schools have superior faculties AND offer better educational opportunites than are locally available in the private schools of the area. And that fact is often ignored in such discussions.
I agree that in the rural areas it is a different equation, but it is also true in the rural areas the community has more say. Before Chicago I lived in the farm lands of Adams county, IL. so I am familar with the dynamics.
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Old 08-24-2007, 12:40 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by HonestChieffan
Home school scares me.
For some people it should scare them.
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Old 08-24-2007, 12:44 PM   #52
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If individuals in the market lack perfect information; then neither does a govt system because it doesn't exist. I would argue it's even more imperfect for the govt as it's committee-think that makes decisions for individuals. And no group can know what is best for each individual.

My kid goes to a private school that accepts EVERYBODY in the early years (true of her previous K school too). They don't accept the later years because as they claim they are already too "ruined" work with. The programs are individually tailored more than a public school as much as possibly can be done. If any child, has a difficulty that can't be handled within that set-up they don't send them to get pills, they have a conference with the parent with recommendations for handling that child one-on-one, which is what is usually needed. They refer tutors they trust. Then the kid can come back.

One problem with public school, is that not all children or people, do well with one type learning method or system. In fact many of our genious who made scientific breakthroughs had an unconventional education. Isaac Newton dropped out.
Isaac Newton dropped out because of the plague. He left Cambridge to the country and did come up with Theory of Gravity.
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Old 08-24-2007, 12:48 PM   #53
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Bad enough some people can have babies. Now they want to home school
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Old 08-24-2007, 01:10 PM   #54
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Isaac Newton dropped out because of the plague. He left Cambridge to the country and did come up with Theory of Gravity.
That's not what I read. I heard he was a poor student and didn't like it.
Later around age 10 or 12 it was a particular tutor who got him excited about learning and I believe science as well. But Newton is but one example.
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Old 08-24-2007, 02:52 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Kotter
If you've read what I've written, you'll note that I began by endorsing the notion of vouchers and choice.

The problem I have with this discussion is, there is a persistent belief and attitude that private schools, generally, are "better" than public schools--and have better teachers. Simply put, it's not true.

In places like KC, Atlanta, NY, Detroit, Houston, and Chicago--that may be the case....but there are many places in smaller and more suburban areas of the country, where public schools have superior faculties AND offer better educational opportunites than are locally available in the private schools of the area. And that fact is often ignored in such discussions.

I'll tell you why I ignore that fact: because parents of private schooled children are choosing to send their kids to the private schools.
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Old 08-24-2007, 04:01 PM   #56
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I don't know and I honestly don't care; they come to me regardless. I can tell you that most of the private school administrators et al. don't want "vouchers." Currently, the private schools don't have to play by NCLB rules. If they accept vouchers, they do. Also, as Kotter noted, it changes their demographics (and, likely, achievement scores), and usually not in a way that they prefer. Private schools, for the most part, are fine with the current system.
It changes their demographics and their achievement scores? Not if they refuse to enroll students who will change their demographics and their achievement scores.
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