“Progressive polices have done more to exacerbate poverty than to alleviate it. They tear apart families and create a generational cycle of dependency. They do not fulfill the Gospel imperative to care for the poor. We must do better.” – Fr. Johannes Jacobse
Here’s an Orthodox effort that is trying to heal the effects of that Progressive policies are largely responsible for: [Read more…]
by Lucia Rafanelli –
“Back to school” may soon mean something more like “back to political education camp” if liberal regulators have their way.
If your child is looking to get a high school diploma in Maryland, reading, writing, and arithmetic may no longer be enough. Students may soon have to be able to “[e]xplain that differences in the behavior of individuals arise from the interaction of culture and experience” in order to graduate.
Despite it sounding more like the stuff of sociology than hard environmental science, that line is taken from a draft of the state’s new “Environmental Literacy Curriculum.” The draft, according to William Reinhard of the Maryland State Department of Education, is meant to “help guide local [school] systems as they develop their own plans” to integrate environmental literacy into their curricula. [Read more…]
“It is an outrage that Governor Jerry Brown has opened the classroom door for homosexual activists to indoctrinate the minds of California’s youth, since no factual materials would be allowed to be presented,” said Rev. Louis Sheldon, chairman and founder of Traditional Values Coalition (TVC). “By signing SB 48 today, California’s classrooms, textbooks and instructional materials will all become pro-homosexual promotion tools. If parents don’t already have their children out of public schools, this should cause them to remove them.”
Senate Bill 48, authored by homosexual State Senator Mark Leno, Democrat of San Francisco, is being called the “Fair, Accountable, Inclusive, and Respectful Education Act” or FAIR Act. But there is nothing fair, accountable, inclusive or respectful about it. This bill is so far-reaching into the structure of California’s education system that it is possible its harmful effects could be never-ending.
SB 48 would amend current Education Code sections to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender to the list of categories to be covered in all textbooks and instructional materials. These new textbooks and instructional materials would apply to ALL subjects in curriculum and to ALL grades K-12. [Read more…]
Teachers’ unions will never willingly give up their power, says Terry Moe.
by Marcus A. Winters –
Last fall, I took my wife—a well-informed, intelligent professional who unintentionally married into the contentious world of education reform—to see Davis Guggenheim’s documentary about the plight of America’s public schools, Waiting for Superman. She left the theater convinced that our schools face clear problems that have some clear solutions. But she was puzzled about why reforming the system was so difficult. She knew that the teachers’ unions had something to do with what was wrong with the schools, but just how they wielded so much power baffled her. How is it that the unions manage to protect preposterous arrangements like lifetime job security and seniority-based layoffs while forcing students to attend schools that everyone knows are failing? I’d guess that many people emerge from Guggenheim’s film asking similar questions.
In his new book, Special Interest: Teachers Unions and America’s Public Schools, Stanford University political scientist Terry Moe provides the answers. Moe traces the sources of the unions’ power and explains why they behave as they do. In the process, he blows apart several pervasive myths that have been used for far too long to let teachers and their unions off the hook. [Read more…]
by John T. Bennett –
Our educational system is self-destructing because of a fraud known as the “achievement gap.” One result of that fraud is that public school bureaucrats are taking away opportunities from good students in a misguided effort to help underperforming students.
When the mainstream media reports on progressive social policies, the results can be astonishing. A recent Washington Post “Metro” section featured a stunning educational policy: a school policy that ruins opportunities for bright students in order to help the less bright students (“Dumping honors classes for AP,” May 22). The Post reports that honors classes are being abolished from the curriculum in Fairfax, VA, and many schools across the country. The purpose of abolishing the honors courses: to help “underrepresented minority students.” With that article, the Post unwittingly exhibited the core of the problem with education in this country: The flawed system and students’ low culture. Each factor combines in a downward spiral to give us the bad educational results we have today. [Read more…]
They’re still the best hope for poor, inner-city kids.
Who can doubt that the fortunes of charter schools are on the rise? Philanthropists both liberal and conservative have been showering money on charters, viewing them as a promising alternative to traditional public schools because of their relative freedom from union contracts and education bureaucracies. The number of charter schools across the country has soared. Charters have even inspired movies, including the 2010 documentary Waiting for “Superman,” which tells the story of several successful charter school networks in Harlem—where black and Hispanic parents, desperate to avoid the awful public schools, enter their children in lotteries to try to secure seats in the charters.
What’s missing from this narrative, however, is an alarming fact: for every charter school recently opened in Harlem, two Catholic schools have had to close because of financial trouble. The same holds for New York City as a whole. Since inner-city Catholic schools have historically provided lifesaving educational choices for minorities and the poor, the result has been a net loss of good schools for Gotham. [Read more…]
by Chuck Rogér
It is the job of educators to “change the thoughts, feelings, and actions of students.” So proclaimed psychologist Benjamin Bloom, originator of Outcome-Based Education. The U.S. Department of Education was created in 1979, setting the stage for Bloom’s decree only two years later. In the 1980s, the already ugly transformation of America’s schools gained momentum.
Many of today’s K-12 and university classrooms serve as laboratories in which instructors breed minds poor in knowledge and logic but rich in political correctness. Morally bankrupt values like “tolerance” and “diversity” are recurring themes. Such conditioning often aims to create “citizens of the world,” despite there being no planet-wide entity of which people can become citizens. But educators wedded to utopian visions have no time for such mundane reality. Time is precious. Students must be conditioned to join the “global community.” [Read more…]
As turbulent as the late 1960s were when my children were in school, I’m almost glad I don’t have to raise kids today. Yes, the sexual revolution, questioning authority, rolling around in the mud at Woodstock — all the hallmarks of ’60s culture — were bad enough. But they were just the seeds of a sad harvest our culture is reaping right now. I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that many of today’s political, academic, and media elites are products of the ’60s and that they are in the vanguard of the assault on traditional marriage, traditional morality, and the traditional family.
Look around you. The courts are now routinely overturning the will of the people concerning marriage. The Administration refuses to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court — and for specious reasons. And schools are constantly bombarding our kids with moral relativism and pro-gay propaganda. Students are now being taught that all like choices are equal, so you simply decide which one you choose, how you want to live any way you want. It’s madness! [Read more…]
by Terence P. Jeffrey –
Two-thirds of the eighth graders in Wisconsin public schools cannot read proficiently according to the U.S. Department of Education, despite the fact that Wisconsin spends more per pupil in its public schools than any other state in the Midwest.
In the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests administered by the U.S. Department of Education in 2009—the latest year available—only 32% of Wisconsin public-school eighth graders earned a “proficient” rating while another 2% earned an “advanced” rating. The other 66% of Wisconsin public-school eighth graders earned ratings below “proficient,” including 44% who earned a rating of “basic” and 22 percent who earned a rating of “below basic.” [Read more…]
Recently my wife and I stepped into a new wine shop in a town near where we live. The shop was very small and we were the only patrons. The young lady minding the store was friendly and talkative. We chatted about various wines and about the fact that in our state people tend to favor beverages with names like Bud and Coors over Merlot and Chardonnay. As the conversation drifted away from wine, the young lady, Kate was her name, told us that her fiancé owned the shop but he was occupied that day with his primary job. Her summers were free because she taught at a local elementary school. My wife then mentioned that we homeschool our three boys.
I’m always interested to watch the reaction of people when they learn this fact. Quite often the response is enthusiastic. Once my neighbor sadly shook his head and told me that my wife and I were lucky that we were educated enough to teach our kids at home and keep them out of the local schools. Kate, for her part, smiled and nodded and then she asked the question that I sometimes think has been put to rest but for some reason lingers on as one of the central criticisms of homeschooling: “What about their socialization?” [Read more…]
11/19/2010 – Karen Karacsony –
For the first two hundred years of America’s history, there was little in the way of public education. Thus, from the middle of the 17th century to the middle of the 19th century, education was most often a family affair (though churches, literary societies, and apprenticeships also contributed to the education of early America’s youth).
As youngsters, our Founding Fathers were educated like most other children of early America. Of the six Founding Fathers, three were homeschooled: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. Two were self-taught: Alexander Hamilton, and Benjamin Franklin (though Franklin did attend primary school for two years). And one, John Adams, was both homeschooled and privately taught (at a very small school). [Read more…]
11/15/2010 – Deacon Douglas McManaman – The word ‘human’ comes from the Latin ‘humus’, which means ‘dirt’ or ‘soil’. Man is from the earth.
I often tell my students that what they learn in the course of a semester, in their math class, for example, or in their chemistry classes, or physics, etc., took centuries for the most brilliant human beings to uncover. Once it has been uncovered, however, it appears to be so simple. Why did it take so long? This is true especially for philosophy. It takes years and years to dispose the intellect to learn such abstract truths, and from these truths it is possible to go on to demonstrate, through reason alone, the existence of God, and it is also possible, through reason alone, to show that God is one, eternal, the source of all that is good and beautiful, that He is Beauty Itself, Goodness Itself, and Truth Itself. And when we finally come to see it, we inevitably think: “This is so clear and simple; why did it take years to get this?”
The reason is that human beings, by nature, are slow. We are the highest beings on the hierarchy of material beings, but we are the lowest beings on the hierarchy of God’s intellectual creatures. [Read more…]
10/6/2010 – Chuck Rogér –
Humans have angered Mother Nature. Our species must stop multiplying, give up our addiction to huge-screen HDTVs, stop eating so many steer, and travel on twenty-pound electric tricycles forty miles at a time between charging stations. Otherwise, we are doomed.
This is a story about the ruling class promoting ruling class interests. Every year, scientists for sale compete for government grants to perform “research” that advances the human-caused global warming hoax. In order to keep the hoax alive, politicians must generate a steady supply of believers to conduct “research” as well as vote for said politicians, who keep the grants flowing. [Read more…]
I have a burning passion—it’s the first item on my prayer list every day— and that’s to see a movement of Christians raised up from the churches to defend truth in the marketplace of ideas and to live out the gospel. Nothing less than this kind of an awakening can possibly save our quickly deteriorating culture.
That’s why I’m now spending all of my time working at BreakPoint and the Colson Center. One of my major projects is developing Christian leaders who can understand and defend a biblical view of all of life.
We call this the Centurions program. For the past six years we have brought 100 of the best and brightest into this year-long teaching effort, to study under some of the best minds in the Christian world. It’s demanding; we read books together, view movies and critique them; do a lot of teaching on line; and have three residencies during the year in Lansdowne, Virginia near our offices. [Read more…]
9/8/2010 – Robert Weissberg –
Judged by all the billions of dollars now flowing into “education reform,” it appears that Washington, and especially the Obama administration, is obsessed with improving academic achievement (see, for example, here). The billions are certainly real enough, but the intent is just the opposite. Rhetoric aside, the Obama administration, like Bush II’s before it, is profoundly opposed to brainpower. Our “commitment” to academic excellence is a cruel joke — we love stupidity and hate smart kids. Tellingly, not even “conservatives” who bemoan America’s educational decline will admit this awkward reality — they, too, are passengers on this reform gravy train heading to the bottom. [Read more…]