from Toogood Reports
March 6, 2003
When a process is breaking down or experiencing systemic problems, sometimes you need to make repairs and then patiently see if this fixed the problem. The time for that has come and gone with the public education system. Throwing more money at it or slapping Band-Aids on it won't help the hemorrhaging credibility of our current institution. Need proof? Okay, hold onto your hat (and if these examples don't get you riled, then YOU have a problem).
A Pennsylvania school principal recently equated a pro-life T-shirt worn by a student with a swastika. Apparently the education system considers it controversial and disruptive to the learning process to acknowledge that the intentional killing of an innocent human being is murder. What happened to diversity and tolerance?
A Florida teacher recently demonstrated the proper condom application technique with a banana. He also dimmed the lights and played music to simulate an intimate situation. These are apparently considered useful life-skills, essential for success (what kind of success, I'm afraid to ask), by the education establishment. Meanwhile, kids can't read or find their own country on a map.
A school board in Canada recently banned the word "gun" from their spelling tests because some parents found the word "shocking" and traumatic. How long until that happens in the United States? About as long as it takes them to hear about this, or to get the idea on their own, I fear.
In Miami, it took the threat of a lawsuit to get a high school to include a student-led "Choose Life Bible Club" in the yearbook. The school said they could not "support" political or religious clubs, and that the name "Choose Life" might offend students who support abortion. The school apparently had no problems with the Animal Rights club or the Gay-Straight Alliance club, or the fact that intelligent, G-d fearing students might be offended by the nonsense or perversion of those clubs.
In Colorado, a school district allowed a homosexual club but not a Bible club. The district attempts to justify this position by stating the homosexual club is "directly linked to the curricula of health classes." Since when is it considered good health to condone and promote acts which expose school children to STD's including AIDS, and acts resulting in physical injuries because you're doing things with parts of the body that G-d never intended? But to consider a Bible club as having a link to school curricula because of the Bible's historical, literature and philosophy contributions is unthinkable.
Of course, when you consider the contents of some of the nation's textbooks, this might make a twisted sort of sense. How about math books with a 20-day lesson on Edgar Allen Poe? Or the definition of "jihad" in one textbook which calls it "to do one's best to resist temptation and overcome evil." Or a geography book that says the equator runs through Florida, Texas and Arizona. How about a comparison between the heroes of the Trojan War and Indiana Jones? Let's try a middle school science book that confuses Newton with Galileo and says the Statue of Liberty is made bronze, instead of copper. Or maybe an 1896 photo of husband and wife scientists Marie and Pierre Curie and their experiments with radioactivity: the photo was cropped to remove Pierre, who shared the 1903 Nobel Prize with his wife. Another picture from 1915 gets a new caption where it shows men linking hands around the world's most massive tree to illustrate its size: "Conservationists link hands around a tree to stop loggers from cutting it down."
In numerous districts around the country, school boards strenuously grapple with the idea of allowing ideas other than evolution to be taught in the public schools. Most of them cannot even consider that creation might be a viable scientific theory-can't violate the fantasy wall between Church and State, can we? Even the somewhat ambiguous "intelligent design" theory isn't allowed in most of them-frightfully close to that Judeo-Christian creation nonsense. But evolution, which even many atheistic scientists are admitting is untenable, must be promoted to the dogmatic exclusion of all other ideas!
In St. Louis, a school blocked a mother from observing a school-sponsored assembly put on by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. Apparently she has no right to know what her tax dollars are paying for, just as she has no right to know what her children are being taught.
In San Francisco, a federal appeals court upheld the decision by school district officials who ordered a salutatorian to exclude religious references from his graduation speech. Funny how the First Amendment, included in the Constitution to protect religious liberty, is used to violate the very liberty it was intended to preserve. If he had wanted to thank the vile rap singer (?) Eminem for his success, I'm sure this would not have been in controversy.
In Hemet, California, school officials are looking to do away with valedictorians and salutatorians, altogether. Officials say the competition makes for an unhealthy educational environment. "If they are not number one, it could get their feelings hurt if they are self-motivating and high-achieving students," the principal said. Aw, poo wittul tings! We haf to pwotect their feewings! That'll certainly prepare them for the real world! I suppose it's the kind of world that socialists like those school officials would like: a 60's utopia where everyone puts daisy's in their hair and sings Kumbaya, insulated from all the trials and tribulations of life.
A school district in Tennessee wants to assign no grade lower than a 50, because getting a zero might hut their wittul feewings! Apparently homework is to become optional, too, because it will "rarely" be used in computing the student's score. Gee, what happens in a few years when kids get used to getting a 50 for doing no work? That will make them feel bad, too, so we'll have to raise the bar again, so that the lowest score is a 90. Or maybe we should just do away with scores altogether, because no matter what, somebody's going to feel bad about their score. That way, they can all feel good about being dumb as a box of rocks.
The vice president of the board of education in (you'll never guess) San Francisco has stated his support of the peace movement, and has refused to discourage a student walk-out instead of keeping the kids in class and teaching them something useful-like how to read. Or some lessons from history-like how appeasement never works.
In Maine, some teachers are telling the children of recently activated National Guardsmen that their parents are immoral for taking part in a war against Iraq. I think it's a safe bet that these same teachers have no problem at all with homosexual parents, drug-using parents, alcoholic parents, nude-dancing parents, unmarried parents shacking up, or unmarried parents not even parenting together. But patriotic Americans who defend their countries and their families against evil are themselves so morally abhorrent to these teachers that they must be condemned to their children.
In Connecticut, the teacher's union filed a grievance because coffee and donuts weren't provided during a teacher training day. Poow wittul tings, didn't get no donuts! Okay, everybody together now: Awwwwww!
When San Francisco teen-agers were asked to identify the country from which America won its independence, these were some of the replies: "Japan or something, China. Somewhere out there on the other side of the world." "It wouldn't be Canada, would it?" "I don't know; I don't even, like, have a clue." "I want to say Korea. I'm tripping."
In Madison, Wisconsin, the school board has outlawed the Pledge of Allegiance, stating that some people might consider the "one nation under G-d" line to be "repugnant." I guess it doesn't matter that some people might find the exclusion of G-d "repugnant."
An award-winning teacher in California sued her state for making her take what she claimed was a racially discriminating math competency test, because she couldn't pass it. At her deposition she was unable to answer the question, "What percent of 80 is 8?" I guess it's a good thing they didn't further discriminate against her by asking her to spell the word "incompetent."
A Harlem principal was arrested recently for driving while intoxicated and urinating in the street-while she should have been at work! The principal had stopped for a bladder-break at a red light at 2:40 pm on a Tuesday when the police saw her squatting beside the open door of her 2003 Mercedes-Benz (they apparently pay principals quite well in New York for drinking and driving and exposing themselves publicly on school time). The school secretary was with her at the time and attempted to prevent the police from arresting the drunken principal; the secretary was subsequently arrested on obstruction charges. This school principal had been arrested in 1982 for marijuana use and in 1990 for shoplifting. In case she's thinking of exercising the Bill Clinton Excuse (my job performance is perceived as being okay, so you should overlook my behavior), she may be out of luck on that angle: last year, only 26% of her students could read well enough to pass city and state exams.
I realize that not all schools are as bad as these examples. In fact, they're pretty good in my area. But as an American, I'm not just concerned about my own back yard, but my nation as a whole. Some of these kids who are products of such a fouled-up system will undoubtedly go on to become business and government leaders, whether it's through buying their way, charm, butt-smooching or blind luck (Bill Clinton is proof that even poor white trash can float to the top). I don't want me or my children to have to suffer under the ignorance of those who manage to float to the top.
We have to do something radical to fix our education system in America. I'm not the first to say it, but if a foreign enemy had done this kind of damage to our educational system, we would be up in arms. But since those enemies are domestic (the Democrats, garden-variety liberals, the NEA, etc), we sigh and do nothing.
Well, people, it's time to get off our duffs and so something. It's time everyone pulled their kids out of the public schools and took responsibility for teaching them ourselves. And we need to demand vouchers of our elected officials. Now, I know not everyone could or would remove their children from public schools. But if enough of us did, the institutions of indifference would have to shake off their lethargy and take notice. We owe it to our own children, if not for all those stuck in the public education system with no choice.
The teachers unions and other liberals are scared silly of vouchers, because they're afraid that if enough people get them, children will leave the public schools in droves. That is exactly what would happen, and what should happen. And it is the only thing that can correct the problems of the public school system. Mark my words: if we don't fix this problem, the United States is on a fast track to becoming a third-rate, third-world country.
Contrary to what academia and the media would have you think, home schooling parents aren't a bunch of redneck, flat-earth, drooling fundamentalists. Of U.S. parents who home school, 81% have post high school education, compared with 63% of parents nationwide. My wife has a master's degree in education and is home schooling our children. My daughter is 5 and she reads, writes, adds and subtracts, and can tell you a whole lot of science facts about bugs. How many public school kindergartners can do that?
But higher education on the part of parents does not have to be a barrier to home education. My wife and I know a number of home schooling parents who don't have a college education, yet their children's academic ability matches or exceeds that of their public school counterparts.
In the U.S. home school children have average scores between the 82nd and 92nd percentile in reading, and the 85th percentile in math; overall test scores place them between the 75th and 85th percentile. Meanwhile, public school students scored at the 50th percentile. Home schooled children also surpass the national averages on the ACT and SAT tests.
According to Department of Education statistics, the average per-student cost of education is about $7,000 a year. Compare that to an average of $300 to $1,000 per year for home schoolers, and you quickly see where you get the most bang for your buck.
Even a public school graduate ought to be able to figure that out.
contributor and "Best of the Web" award-winning writer Bob Ellis is a
Constitutional conservative, a Christian and a great American who writes
for us from Rapid City, South Dakota. He served his country in the U.S.
Air Force for 10 years, during the Cold War, the Persian Gulf War, and
the "Doing More With Less War" under Bill Clinton. Bob is a teacher of
Sunday School for adults and has authored several Bible study courses for
his church. He is also webmaster for the Black Hills Creation Science
You may email Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © by Toogood Reports. All rights reserved.
6 mar 2002