Monday, April 21, 2008

Education Ain't What It Should Be (Part 1)

Stupefying America
The education system of America has been deliberately fashioned to create a docile, easily controlled population
By Alan Caruba Saturday, May 30, 2009
If you have a suspicion that many of your fellow Americans are too stupid to trust with the great affairs of this nation, you might just be right, but you might not know why.
Take a look at the choices television offers. Do you ever wonder why shows featuring stupid people or animated characters are so popular? I cite The Simpsons, Family Guy, Two and a Half Men, My Name is Earl, et al. Why do we enjoy laughing at stupid people? Does it make us feel smarter?
Does the shallowness of so much that passes for entertainment or even passing itself off as educational actually reflect the lives of those watching? The answer is probably yes and they didn’t get that way by accident. The education system of America has been deliberately fashioned to create a docile, easily controlled population. And that means YOU.
There is a book available that explains why “Every single school day in America, 7,000 students drop out, some confused, some angry, but all are brave…What does it say to us that a million and a quarter young people a year don’t want to be in classrooms, don’t want to be there so much they’re willing to endure scorn, insult, and constant discrimination as the price of escape?”
The book is John Taylor Gatto’s “Weapons of Mass Instruction: A School Teacher’s Journey through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling.” ($24.95, New Society Publishers).
“The rigid stupidities of forced schooling, its linear logics, its bell curves, its buzzers and tests and multiple humiliations, its resort to magical spells, fills me with rage these days as an old man,” wrote Gatto, a former acclaimed teacher of the year.
Today’s (and for several generations yesterday’s) schools are factories of boredom. They don’t exist to educate, but to produce students who will obey rules, dutifully move from class to class when the bell rings, and accept nonsense like “fuzzy math” and “global warming.” The No Child Left Behind Act of 2009 includes $500 million for the teaching of ‘Environmental Literacy’ when real literacy rates—the ability to read—have been dropping like a stone in water for decades. They are a national disgrace.
Why can’t our schools teach reading or arithmetic skills when even pre-school toddlers can learn these things if given the opportunity? Why are we spending $10,000 per student, per year, to produce such poor results? Why would anyone willingly spend their youth cooped up in classrooms when they could be out in the “real world” learning real skills of their own choosing, learning from open sources of information?
And why wouldn’t they flee schools where life is dangerous? Since last September, 20 Chicago Public School students have been killed, 18 by gunfire. Last year, 24 of the more than 30 students killed were shot to death. Nationally, homicide is the second leading cause of death for young people ages 10 to 24 in 2004. Elsewhere in the nation bullying is widespread. School in America is too often a very unpleasant experience dominated by boredom.
The American school system as we know it today was imported from Germany in the 1850s. As America’s industrial base boomed in the years following the end of the Civil War, the need was for millions of immigrants to do the often difficult manual work involved in making steel, building railroads, and manufacturing the first automobiles and countless other inventions that burst on the scene. Industrialists, men like Rockefeller and Carnegie, decided that compulsory education was the best way to produce not just a functional work force, but people conditioned to purchase the bounty of new goods.
The bible of the compulsory educational system was Benjamin Bloom’s two-volume “Taxonomy of Educational Objectives.” Gatto describes him as “an academic madman” in whose system “children would be forced to learn ‘proper’ thoughts, feelings, and actions, while ‘improper’ attitudes from home were ‘remediated.’” In other words, schools were to be laboratories of social change designed to serve business and industry.
This has led to schools where students are literally drugged if they show any vitality or curiosity. The more docile are simply on a treadmill, so much human sausage to be processed. Indeed, why should we wonder why drug addiction is such a massive social problem in an America filled with people who were either trained to be cogs in some faceless corporation or told early in life they were failures?
Since you no doubt passed through this process, it may in retrospect become more clear why schools as often fail to educate the students entrusted to them, than not. The excuses for this are many, but the most popular is that less privileged students in urban centers are virtually doomed to failure from birth. This is not true. Given the opportunity to learn in charter or parochial schools, they do as well or better.
The best of our students today are home-schooled. They win the spelling and geography bees. Some of the nation’s great leaders of the past never attended school. They include George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. They self-schooled themselves with great success and they did it early in life, often before they reached their teens.
In modern times, the secrets of the Human Genome Map were cracked by a surfer named Craig Venter and a born-again Christian home-schooler named Frances Collins. Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Airlines and other ventures dropped out of high school. The examples of those who self-schooled themselves to success are numerous and put the lie to the jails, often with on-site police, that we call modern schools.
Our nation’s schools have been failing generations of Americans, particularly since around the 1960s and, despite no mention in the Constitution, education is now totally controlled by the federal government and by the powerful teachers union, the American Education Association.
It is truly no laughing matter when Jay Leno asks simple questions of people in the streets to reveal time and again how little actual knowledge they possess. They are the products of our school system.
The United States is falling behind many other nations in educating its citizens.
Tellingly, China takes schooling and learning seriously. Its students all learn English, knowing they may become part of their nation’s international legion, likely to be the next great world power. While China builds coal-fired plants for energy and locks in deals for oil, our government calls coal “dirty” and refuses to permit exploration of our vast offshore continental shelf for oil and natural gas.
It takes a special kind of stupidity to deny one’s own nation the energy it requires to grow, to force corporations to move overseas, to take control of industries such as banking and automobile manufacturing without having the slightest idea how to run them.
It’s the stupidity that is the result of a nationwide school system that prolongs childhood while making learning an unpleasant chore.
Constitution, Schmonstitution — What Gov’t Wants it Takes Law or NoOur system of miseducation has created an America that simply doesn’t understand the ConstitutionBy Warner Todd Huston
Thursday, March 26, 2009
I propose that “Dueling Banjos” replace our current national anthem. Remember the 1972 movie Deliverance with Burt Reynolds? OK, recall that scene of the goofy looking kid plucking out “Dueling Banjos” on the porch? That kid was supposed to represent a backwards, inbred, and half sentient hillbilly if you’ll recall. Well, that is officially the United States of America today.
No, I am not saying that the country is like a slack-jawed southerner, but is instead like an inbred, uneducated fool. I am not talking about genetic inbreeding here, either. I am saying this country has become like a dumbed-down, socially and historically illiterate, inbred, incurious, fool, one that understands one thing and one thing only: entertainment. We can thank our putrefying “education” establishment for this as well as the coarsening culture about us.
The reason I am drawn to this sad conclusion is the complete ignorance of the people of this country to the rule of law. Not just the ignorance evinced by the self-empowering politicians and the activist judges, but the bulk of the population. The Constitution has at last become a document that has no meaning to the largest number of Americans.
There are many culprits that have brought about this sordid state of affairs. Starting at the very least with the nation’s first education destroyer, John Dewey, and his contemporary Charles Beard, a villain from the field of American historiography, and proceeding through FDR’s socialist revolution, the Warren Court, and LBJ’s “Great Society,” and up to today’s Obamanation. From among these touch stones in time we have seen several generations now of citizens that have no regard for anything in the document that serves as the supreme law of the land.
We’ve seen Eminent Domain warped until it serves as an excuse for theft by any government that so declares its use, unparalleled use of police powers, such abuse of taxing privileges that is startles the mind, and a complete elimination of capitalism. We’ve seen abuse after abuse of our founding principles that has for decades accosted the average citizen. And what have we done as a polity about all this? We’ve continued to elect, over and over again, those that have made no bones about their contempt for our national character and laws.
And why have we done this as a nation? Why have we turned a blind eye to the essentially anti-American political ideals espoused by our judges, our representatives, our educators and media personnel? Why have we stood idly by as the Constitution has been torn up in tiny little pieces and casually thrown to the four winds? That we think we are getting “free stuff” from them is one reason. But another reason is because the bulk of us have no idea that it’s even happening. Most Americans have such little knowledge of the Constitution, its meaning and our traditions and history that they are entirely ignorant at what is being lost.
Sure many “feel” that something isn’t quite right. Many decry the state of things and have a vague feeling, maybe even a certain feeling, that things are off track. But few have the slightest idea why.
This situation has been created on purpose by our schools, of course. Our system of miseducation has created an America that simply doesn’t understand why we should be so upset by the abrogation of this Constitution thingie?
Take a look at Illinois, for instance. In a case perhaps headed to the Supreme Court (no reliable observer of the Constitution itself) a casino owner is suing the State of Illinois for “taking” its property — in tax money levied — for redistribution to another business.
What happened under the estimable Governor Rod Blagojevich is essentially this: Blagojevich, who received large contributions from the horse racing lobby in the state, took thousands of dollars from Illinois casinos via state tax law so that he could give that money to horse racing tracks to prop up the struggling horse racing industry there.
The traditional definition of a “taking” would be that of a government confiscating land from private individuals or companies to redistribute to other individuals. Money has not been considered in the same way as confiscation of land in the past as a definition of a “taking.” But what is the difference in this day and age, really? Especially in an era when money is often a larger segment of a person or company’s holdings than land is? And how is it not like a bill of attainder when a particular industry is taxed for the support of another one?
Now, imagine the new world that will be opened up if the State of Illinois is upheld in its theft of the casino industry’s money to be used as a prop for some other more politically favored industry? Imagine the power that the state will have to steal the earnings of any person or industry or business it doesn’t like to give away to a person or business it does like? Imagine the new level of corruption that will be invented if politicians can levy confiscatory taxes on one specific business so that said taxes will benefit the business of a campaign contributor? Imagine the newest power government will have to destroy any business it doesn’t like from this point forward?
By rights, the people should fear this untrammeled government power. This sort of un-Constitutional, anti-capitalist, statist power would traditionally have been the stuff of tarring and feathering of politicians and state employees. This sort of thing would have seen tax collectors being driven out of their homes by “mysterious” fires and social ostracizing. Barring that sort of traditional outrage, these sort of politicians should at the very least find themselves out of office at the public’s earliest opportunity. But who in Illinois even knows this is going on? A sad few, for sure.
Unfortunately, Americans are completely unconcerned by the 100-year assault on the Constitution. In fact, few are even aware it is going on.
So strike up a chorus of “Dueling Banjos” so that we can all smile blankly into the distance as we are destroyed from within. Let’s enjoy the tune while it lasts because as soon as it’s over, we will trail off into a haze of a self-induced stupor, drooling onto our bib overalls as our nation is allowed to rot around us.
Ding a’ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding….
Twin Crises: Immigration and Education in AmericaBy Frosty Wooldridge
March 26, 2009
Since I started teaching school in 1973, educational excellence and academic standards dropped like a brick falling from an airplane!
I taught two years in the inner city where I discovered that children learn self-loathing, violence, drug use, tattoos and incest as well as verbal and emotional abuse beyond most Middle-Americans’ comprehension. Within two years, my idealism turned to acid. In order to save myself from a form of emotional insanity, I fled the inner city. I taught at a reasonable, middle class school with great success.
However, the principal urged teachers to advance all students whether they passed their tests or not. At the time, I called it ‘affirmative action grading’. Soon, those kids discovered they could get something for nothing. Later, they enjoyed ‘affirmative action’ high school diplomas. That led to ‘affirmative action jobs’ whereby they spent eight hours ‘working’ doing pretty much nothing. The government hired millions of marginally educated graduates. Those jobs included security guards, answering the phone jobs, cab drivers and fast food cashiers.
Later, many attended colleges where they majored in ‘African-American Studies’ and a dozen other non-descript majors that failed to prepare students for a viable job within the American workforce.
From the 70s to the 90s, the US added 100 million people, mostly by immigration. They arrived with little to no education. Today, they arrive in such overwhelming numbers, educational systems falter across the United States. Brian Williams reported in June 2008 that 76 percent of students failed to graduate in Detroit, Michigan high schools. Over 60 percent, mostly immigrants, failed to graduate in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Miami and other major school systems. In my own city of Denver, Colorado, we suffered a 67 percent flunk out/drop out rate two years ago. We tolerate 85 languages and students from over 50 countries.
While we drop our educational standards, our own American children must suffer degraded academics, so much so, over one-third of students that attend college, must take remedial course work to upgrade their minds to college level performance.
Meanwhile, a whole new, functionally illiterate sub-class expands across America. That sub-class cannot read, write or work simple math. They lack critical thinking. They live at the bottom rung of the economic ladder. For example, 31.1 million Americans live on food stamps as of March 2009.
In a sweeping report, Edwin S. Rubenstein, economist, wrote a sobering expose’ of America’s accelerating infrastructure crisis brought on by unending population growth.
“The Twin Crises: Immigration and Infrastructure” by, Volume XIX, No.2, pages 53-57, Winter 2009, by Edwin S. Rubenstein—addresses public school systems.
“More than 49 million elementary and secondary students are educated in 97,000 public schools,” Rubenstein said. “Enrollments are growing, but neither quantity and quality of the school infrastructure has kept pace. The U.S. Department of Education reports that 18 percent of all schools are overcrowded and 37 percent are forced to make do with trailers and other portable classrooms structures. The average age of our country’s school buildings is now more than 40 years; they were built to accommodate teaching practices and the community needs of earlier generations.”
By adding 3.1 million people to this country annually, school systems cannot keep up with added student populations.
“In fiscal years 1990 to 2002, inflation adjusted spending to acquire or construct public school facilities increased from $19.5 billion to $43 billion, a 121 percent increase,” Rubenstein said. “Unfortunately, even after adjusting for inflation, more money does not mean more infrastructure.”
What drives our educational crisis?
“Children of immigrants account for such a large share of the school-age population because a higher proportion of immigrant women are in their child-bearing years,” Rubenstein said. “There are 10.8 million children of immigrants in the school-age population. The fertility rate of foreign-born women is 37 percent higher than the fertility rate of native women. The future offers no demographic relief, as evidenced by the even larger share of immigrants in the preschool populations of most states.”
States with higher legal and illegal migrant populations illustrate this national educational crisis. “Nevada’s school enrollment grew a whopping 54 percent between 1995 and 2004—more than that of any other state and over five times the U.S. average,” Rubenstein said. “Clark county schools are so crowded that students complain that they cannot find available restrooms between classes. Some student-to-teacher ratios stand at 40 to 1.”
California leads the nation in educational chaos. “California schools are the most crowded in the nation, classes often exceed 35 students per teacher, (18 is considered ideal),” Rubenstein said. “The state adds 100,000 new students annually.”
According to in California, that state adds 1,700 legal and illegal migrants daily, net gain. That equals over 600,000 added population annually.
Florida: “In Miami-Dade Country, 41 percent of schools are at least 150 percent over capacity,” Rubenstein said. “In Manatee County, lunch lines are sometimes so long that students do not have time to eat unless they miss class. Pasco County has opened six new schools in the last three years, has three more scheduled to open in the upcoming months. No affordable land is available for further school construction.”
Miami-Dade school superintendent roger Cuevas said, “Our anticipated gains in the number of foreign students alone will require us to build one elementary school a month to keep up.”
New York: “In 2008, a report by the city Comptroller’s office stated that there are too many neighborhoods with overcrowded schools, elementary schools in particular, and no relief for years to come,” Rubenstein said.
What action could the U.S. Congress and President Obama institute to alleviate our horrendous educational crisis?
The simplest, most sane and reasonable action must be engaged immediately:
A Ten Year Moratorium on All Immigration: This would allow our country to regain its collective breath. It would allow us to regain our schools, language, medical facilities, financial balance, ecological viability and order, which is necessary for a first world country to operate for all its citizens.
We must employ a linkage strategy. In other words, we must create a paradigm shift that employs all the following actions to reap a plausible future for humans in America. A former congressman said, “The challenge is enormous and you have to talk about a moratorium. You can’t talk about anything short of a moratorium because, frankly, anything less will never get you one step closer to population stabilization.”
After the 10 year immigration moratorium, a maximum of 100,000 immigrants—with needed skills to our benefit—that speak the English language before they arrive—will be considered for the United States.
We could entertain a farm guest worker program only if it stipulates that male workers enjoy an entry date for three months to a maximum of six months and an exit date. No female or family members allowed. Additionally, no ‘anchor babies’ or ‘instant citizenship’ allowed for foreign nationals’ babies born on U.S. soil.
Yes, we must work with Americans marrying foreign spouses and a few other visa considerations, but we must hold to our limited carrying capacity.
Obama’s Zero to Five Plan Doesn’t Add Upby J. Michael Smith, HSLDA President
To no one’s surprise, President Obama plans to ask Congress to spend billions of dollars on public education. As he stated in his presidential agenda on education, the country cannot afford four more years of neglect and indifference. This neglect and indifference, according to the president, occurred despite the fact that in the last four years, the federal government and the states have spent more money on public education than at any other time in the history of our nation.
What is surprising about Mr. Obama’s education initiative is his priority on early childhood education. His “Zero to Five Plan” targets early care, beginning with infants. States will be given grants to begin moving toward universal preschool.
The presumption by Mr. Obama is that the earlier children start formal education, the better chance they have of being successful in life and being competitive in the global market. Sounds good, but is this policy backed by evidence that government involvement in child rearing from birth actually works?
The answer is “No!” In a 2005 Stanford University/University of California study that focused on children attending preschool, it was confirmed that attendance in preschool centers, even for short periods of time each week, hindered the rate at which young children developed social skills. These findings refuted the assertion by many that for children to develop socially, they must be involved in a classroom setting at a very early age.
The Southwest Policy Institute concluded: “Contrary to common belief, early institutional schooling can harm children emotionally, intellectually and socially, and may later lead to greater peer dependency.”
Child psychologist and author David Elkind, who has researched early childhood education, wrote: “When we instruct children in academic subjects … at too early an age, we miseducate them; we put them at risk for a short-term stress and long-term personality damage. … There is no evidence that such early instruction has lasting benefits, and considerable evidence that it can do lasting harm.”
If the government schools can’t successfully educate children in 10 years (some states’ compulsory attendance laws end at 16, although many states require attendance until age 17), then why do we believe they would be any more successful if we add four or five years?
One group that has seen the benefits of spending more time together as a family is homeschoolers. Most homeschool families have firsthand experience that the research studies are right. The Zero to Five Plan will encourage less parental involvement and much more government involvement, especially if states provide a free preschool experience for every child. Some may say, “But it is not mandatory. Parents that don’t want their children attending preschool don’t have to.” Unfortunately, when the government becomes involved in a voluntary program, too many times it ends up being mandatory.
The proper place for this issue to be discussed and decided is within the state legislatures. When Congress became involved in funding public education, the assumption was that the states were not competent to figure out how to provide an education system for the people in their states. However, since Congress became involved in funding public schools, the quality of education has declined.
Focusing the federal government on its constitutional responsibilities and removing it from education policymaking would do two things. First, it would save taxpayers billions by eliminating the federal education bureaucracy. Second, it would help Congress and the president focus on their constitutionally mandated responsibilities.
Funding the Zero to Five Plan is simply more wasteful spending the country can ill afford.
Judge orders homeschoolers into public district classrooms
Decides children need more 'focus' despite testing above grade levelsPosted: March 11, 2009
By Bob Unruh© 2009 WorldNetDaily
A North Carolina judge has ordered three children to attend public schools this fall because the homeschooling their mother has provided over the last four years needs to be "challenged."
The children, however, have tested above their grade levels – by as much as two years.
The decision is raising eyebrows among homeschooling families, and one friend of the mother has launched a website to publicize the issue.
The ruling was made by Judge Ned Mangum of Wake County, who was handling a divorce proceeding for Thomas and Venessa Mills.
A statement released by a publicist working for the mother, whose children now are 10, 11 and 12, said Mangum stripped her of her right to decide what is best for her children's education.
The judge, when contacted by WND, explained his goal in ordering the children to register and attend a public school was to make sure they have a "more well-rounded education."
"I thought Ms. Mills had done a good job [in homeschooling]," he said. "It was great for them to have that access, and [I had] no problems with homeschooling. I said public schooling would be a good complement."
The judge said the husband has not been supportive of his wife's homeschooling, and "it accomplished its purposes. It now was appropriate to have them back in public school."
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Mangum said he made the determination on his guiding principle, "What's in the best interest of the minor children," and conceded it was putting his judgment in place of the mother's.
And he said that while he expressed his opinion from the bench in the court hearing, the final written order had not yet been signed.
However, the practice of a judge replacing a parent's judgment with his own regarding homeschooling was argued recently when a court panel in California ruled that a family would no longer be allowed to homeschool their own children.
WND reported extensively when the ruling was released in February 2008, alarming homeschool advocates nationwide because of its potential ramifications.
Ultimately, the 2nd Appellate District Court in Los Angeles reversed its own order, affirming the rights of California parents to homeschool their children if they choose.
The court, which earlier had opined that only credentialed teachers could properly educate children, was faced with a flood of friend-of-the-court briefs representing individuals and groups, including Congress members.
The conclusion ultimately was that parents, not the state, would decide where children are educated.
The California opinion said state law permits homeschooling "as a species of private school education" but that statutory permission for parents to teach their own children could be "overridden in order to protect the safety of a child who has been declared dependent."
In the North Carolina case, Adam Cothes, a spokesman for the mother, said the children routinely had been testing at up to two years above their grade level, were involved in swim team and other activities and events outside their home and had taken leadership roles in history club events.
On her website, family friend Robyn Williams said Mangum stated his decision was not ideologically or religiously motivated but that ordering the children into public schools would "challenge the ideas you've taught them."
Williams, a homeschool mother of four herself, said, "I have never seen such injustice and such a direct attack against homeschool."
"This judge clearly took personal issue with Venessa's stance on education and faith, even though her children are doing great. If her right to homeschool can be taken away so easily, what will this mean for homeschoolers state wide, or even nationally?" Williams asked.
Williams said she's trying to rally homeschoolers across the nation to defend their rights as Americans and parents to educate their own children.
Williams told WND the public school order was the worst possible outcome for Ms. Mills, who had made it clear she felt it was important to her children that she continue homeschooling.
According to Williams' website, the judge also ordered a mental health evaluation for the mother – but not the father – as part of the divorce proceedings, in what Williams described as an attack on the "mother's conservative Christian beliefs."
According to a proposed but as-yet unsigned order submitted by the father's lawyer to Mangum, "The children have thrived in homeschool for the past four years, but need the broader focus and socialization available to them in public school. The Court finds that it is in the children's best interest to continue their homeschooling through the end of the current school year, but to begin attending public school at the beginning of the 2009-2010 instructional year."
The order proposed by the father's lawyer also conceded the reason for the divorce was the father's "adultery," but it specifically said the father would not pay for homeschooling expenses for his children.
The order also stated, "Defendant believes that plaintiff is a nurturing mother who loves the children. Defendant believes that plaintiff has done a good job with the homeschooling of the children, although he does not believe that continued homeschooling is in the best interest of the children."
The website said the judge also said public school would "prepare these kids for the real world and college" and allow them "socialization."
Williams said the mother originally moved into a homeschool schedule because the children were not doing as well as she hoped at the local public schools.
In last year's dispute in California, the ruling that eventually was released was praised by pro-family organizations.
"We're pleased the appeals court recognized the rights of parents to provide education for their children," said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice. "This decision reaffirms the constitutional right that's afforded to parents in directing the education of their children. It's an important victory for families who cherish the freedom to ensure that their children receive a high quality education that is inherent in homeschooling."
"Parents have a constitutional right to make educational choices for their children," said Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Gary McCaleb. "Thousands of California families have educated their children successfully through homeschooling. We're pleased with the court's decision, which protects the rights of families and protects an avenue of education that has proven to benefit children time and time again.
The North Carolina ruling also resembles a number of rulings handed down against homeschool parents in Germany, where such instruction has been banned since the years of Adolf Hitler's rule.
As WND reported, Wolfgang Drautz, consul general for the Federal Republic of Germany, has commented previously on the issue, contending the government "has a legitimate interest in countering the rise of parallel societies that are based on religion."
"The minister of education does not share your attitudes toward so-called homeschooling," said a government letter in response. "... You complain about the forced school escort of primary school children by the responsible local police officers. ... In order to avoid this in future, the education authority is in conversation with the affected family in order to look for possibilities to bring the religious convictions of the family into line with the unalterable school attendance requirement."
WND also reported recently when a German appeals court tossed out three-month jail terms issued to a mother and father who homeschool their children. But the court also ordered new trials that could leave the parents with similar penalties, according to the Home School Legal Defense Association.
The case involves Juergen and Rosemarie Dudek of Archfeldt, Germany, who last summer received formal notices of their three-month sentences.
The 90-day sentences came about when Hesse State Prosecutor Herwig Muller appealed a lower court's determination of fines for the family. The ruling had imposed fines of about 900 euros, or $1,200, for not sending their children to school
Muller, however, told the parents they shouldn't worry about any fines, since he would "send them to jail," the HSLDA reported.
HSLDA spokesman Michael Donnelly warned the homeschooling battle is far from over in Germany.
"There continue to be signs that the German government is cracking down on homeschooling families," he reported. "A recent letter from one family in southern Germany contained threats from local school authorities that unless the family enrolled their children in school, they would seek fines in excess of 50,000 euros (nearly $70,000), jail time and the removal of custody of the children."
HSLDA officials estimate there are some 400 homeschool families in Germany, virtually all of them either forced into hiding or facing court actions.
America the Illiterate
By Chris Hedges

"Truthdig" -- - We live in two Americas. One America, now the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world. It can cope with complexity and has the intellectual tools to separate illusion from truth. The other America, which constitutes the majority, exists in a non-reality-based belief system. This America, dependent on skillfully manipulated images for information, has severed itself from the literate, print-based culture. It cannot differentiate between lies and truth. It is informed by simplistic, childish narratives and clichés. It is thrown into confusion by ambiguity, nuance and self-reflection. This divide, more than race, class or gender, more than rural or urban, believer or nonbeliever, red state or blue state, has split the country into radically distinct, unbridgeable and antagonistic entities.
There are over 42 million American adults, 20 percent of whom hold high school diplomas, who cannot read, as well as the 50 million who read at a fourth- or fifth-grade level. Nearly a third of the nation’s population is illiterate or barely literate. And their numbers are growing by an estimated 2 million a year. But even those who are supposedly literate retreat in huge numbers into this image-based existence. A third of high school graduates, along with 42 percent of college graduates, never read a book after they finish school. Eighty percent of the families in the United States last year did not buy a book.
The illiterate rarely vote, and when they do vote they do so without the ability to make decisions based on textual information. American political campaigns, which have learned to speak in the comforting epistemology of images, eschew real ideas and policy for cheap slogans and reassuring personal narratives. Political propaganda now masquerades as ideology. Political campaigns have become an experience. They do not require cognitive or self-critical skills. They are designed to ignite pseudo-religious feelings of euphoria, empowerment and collective salvation. Campaigns that succeed are carefully constructed psychological instruments that manipulate fickle public moods, emotions and impulses, many of which are subliminal. They create a public ecstasy that annuls individuality and fosters a state of mindlessness. They thrust us into an eternal present. They cater to a nation that now lives in a state of permanent amnesia. It is style and story, not content or history or reality, which inform our politics and our lives. We prefer happy illusions. And it works because so much of the American electorate, including those who should know better, blindly cast ballots for slogans, smiles, the cheerful family tableaux, narratives and the perceived sincerity and the attractiveness of candidates. We confuse how we feel with knowledge.
The illiterate and semi-literate, once the campaigns are over, remain powerless. They still cannot protect their children from dysfunctional public schools. They still cannot understand predatory loan deals, the intricacies of mortgage papers, credit card agreements and equity lines of credit that drive them into foreclosures and bankruptcies. They still struggle with the most basic chores of daily life from reading instructions on medicine bottles to filling out bank forms, car loan documents and unemployment benefit and insurance papers. They watch helplessly and without comprehension as hundreds of thousands of jobs are shed. They are hostages to brands. Brands come with images and slogans. Images and slogans are all they understand. Many eat at fast food restaurants not only because it is cheap but because they can order from pictures rather than menus. And those who serve them, also semi-literate or illiterate, punch in orders on cash registers whose keys are marked with symbols and pictures. This is our brave new world.
Political leaders in our post-literate society no longer need to be competent, sincere or honest. They only need to appear to have these qualities. Most of all they need a story, a narrative. The reality of the narrative is irrelevant. It can be completely at odds with the facts. The consistency and emotional appeal of the story are paramount. The most essential skill in political theater and the consumer culture is artifice. Those who are best at artifice succeed. Those who have not mastered the art of artifice fail. In an age of images and entertainment, in an age of instant emotional gratification, we do not seek or want honesty. We ask to be indulged and entertained by clichés, stereotypes and mythic narratives that tell us we can be whomever we want to be, that we live in the greatest country on Earth, that we are endowed with superior moral and physical qualities and that our glorious future is preordained, either because of our attributes as Americans or because we are blessed by God or both.
The ability to magnify these simple and childish lies, to repeat them and have surrogates repeat them in endless loops of news cycles, gives these lies the aura of an uncontested truth. We are repeatedly fed words or phrases like yes we can, maverick, change, pro-life, hope or war on terror. It feels good not to think. All we have to do is visualize what we want, believe in ourselves and summon those hidden inner resources, whether divine or national, that make the world conform to our desires. Reality is never an impediment to our advancement.
The Princeton Review analyzed the transcripts of the Gore-Bush debates, the Clinton-Bush-Perot debates of 1992, the Kennedy-Nixon debates of 1960 and the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858. It reviewed these transcripts using a standard vocabulary test that indicates the minimum educational standard needed for a reader to grasp the text. During the 2000 debates, George W. Bush spoke at a sixth-grade level (6.7) and Al Gore at a seventh-grade level (7.6). In the 1992 debates, Bill Clinton spoke at a seventh-grade level (7.6), while George H.W. Bush spoke at a sixth-grade level (6.8), as did H. Ross Perot (6.3). In the debates between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, the candidates spoke in language used by 10th-graders. In the debates of Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas the scores were respectively 11.2 and 12.0. In short, today’s political rhetoric is designed to be comprehensible to a 10-year-old child or an adult with a sixth-grade reading level. It is fitted to this level of comprehension because most Americans speak, think and are entertained at this level. This is why serious film and theater and other serious artistic expression, as well as newspapers and books, are being pushed to the margins of American society. Voltaire was the most famous man of the 18th century.
Today the most famous “person” is Mickey Mouse.
In our post-literate world, because ideas are inaccessible, there is a need for constant stimulus. News, political debate, theater, art and books are judged not on the power of their ideas but on their ability to entertain. Cultural products that force us to examine ourselves and our society are condemned as elitist and impenetrable. Hannah Arendt warned that the marketization of culture leads to its degradation, that this marketization creates a new celebrity class of intellectuals who, although well read and informed themselves, see their role in society as persuading the masses that “Hamlet” can be as entertaining as “The Lion King” and perhaps as educational. “Culture,” she wrote, “is being destroyed in order to yield entertainment.”
“There are many great authors of the past who have survived centuries of oblivion and neglect,” Arendt wrote, “but it is still an open question whether they will be able to survive an entertaining version of what they have to say.”
The change from a print-based to an image-based society has transformed our nation. Huge segments of our population, especially those who live in the embrace of the Christian right and the consumer culture, are completely unmoored from reality. They lack the capacity to search for truth and cope rationally with our mounting social and economic ills. They seek clarity, entertainment and order. They are willing to use force to impose this clarity on others, especially those who do not speak as they speak and think as they think. All the traditional tools of democracies, including dispassionate scientific and historical truth, facts, news and rational debate, are useless instruments in a world that lacks the capacity to use them.
As we descend into a devastating economic crisis, one that Barack Obama cannot halt, there will be tens of millions of Americans who will be ruthlessly thrust aside. As their houses are foreclosed, as their jobs are lost, as they are forced to declare bankruptcy and watch their communities collapse, they will retreat even further into irrational fantasy. They will be led toward glittering and self-destructive illusions by our modern Pied Pipers—our corporate advertisers, our charlatan preachers, our television news celebrities, our self-help gurus, our entertainment industry and our political demagogues—who will offer increasingly absurd forms of escapism.
The core values of our open society, the ability to think for oneself, to draw independent conclusions, to express dissent when judgment and common sense indicate something is wrong, to be self-critical, to challenge authority, to understand historical facts, to separate truth from lies, to advocate for change and to acknowledge that there are other views, different ways of being, that are morally and socially acceptable, are dying. Obama used hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign funds to appeal to and manipulate this illiteracy and irrationalism to his advantage, but these forces will prove to be his most deadly nemesis once they collide with the awful reality that awaits us.
Illiterate America
44 million American men and women are functionally illiterate
By Shashi Tharoor
Newsweek International
September 30, 2002
The young man thrust a paper at me, squinting into the sun. “Hey, man, can you tell me where this is?” I was a visitor to Detroit myself, but one glance at the scribbled address told me the answer to his question. I pointed at the street sign barely 15 feet away. “It’s right there,” I said. “Can’t you see the sign?”
HE LOOKED SHEEPISHLY at me, pulled the paper back and headed toward the corner. And then it hit me. The reason he had had to ask me, a stranger, was not because he hadn’t seen the sign. It was because he couldn’t read it.
He was not alone. An astonishing 47 percent of Detroiters, nearly one out of two adults in this predominantly black city, are functionally illiterate. (By way of comparison, the figure for Vietnam is 6.7 percent and 1.7 percent for Croatia.) Functional illiteracy relates to the inability of an individual to use reading, writing and computational skills in everyday life: filling out a job application, reading traffic signs, figuring out an election ballot, reading a newspaper, understanding a bus schedule or a product label—or an address on a sheet of paper. In the richest country on earth, 23 percent of adult Americans—44 million men and women—cannot do these things.
If anything, the situation is worse than those statistics suggest, because 50 million more Americans cannot read or comprehend above an eighth-grade level. To appreciate what that means: you need ninth-grade comprehension to understand the instructions for an antidote on an ordinary can of cockroach poison in your kitchen, 10th grade to follow a federal income-tax return, 12th-grade competence to read a life-insurance form. All told, a staggering percentage of America’s adults are, in effect, unequipped for life in a modern society.
It’s startling enough for foreigners to realize there is such a thing as American illiteracy. More poignant is that, unlike in the developing world, where illiteracy is predominantly a rural problem, in the United States it occurs overwhelmingly in the inner cities, with a heavy concentration among the poor and those dependent on welfare. I was in Detroit to address a conference on the crisis in America’s cities, and I had stepped out onto the street to get some fresh air and use my cell phone. In the young man in front of me I saw the problem firsthand. Nearly half of Detroit’s citizens between the ages of 16 and 60, I was told, are jobless and not seeking work. Why? It’s a fair guess that most of them do not have the required literacy skills to apply for available jobs, or even to be trained for them.
Kevin, an outspoken civic worker I met, told me that illiteracy and unemployment go hand in hand: 70 percent of functionally illiterate adults have no job or only a part-time job. Those who are employed have it tough. Illiterate adults work an average of 19 weeks a year, compared with 44 weeks a year for literates. Workers without a high-school degree earn four times less than those with a college degree. And they often can’t cope at work. Business losses attributable to literacy deficiencies cost the United States tens of billions of dollars every year in low productivity, industrial accidents, lawsuits and poor product quality.
What’s worse, the standards and requirements for literacy have increased in recent years, as computerization has taken over the world. “You’ve got mail” may be the defining slogan of our age, but it excludes those who can’t decipher their mail, electronic or otherwise. In a world where you can tell the rich from the poor by their Internet connections, the poverty line trips over the high-speed-digital line. The portal to the computer age is the keyboard—but too many Americans literally cannot read the keys.
The cost in terms of lost human potential is devastating. Consider crime. Sixty percent of all juvenile offenders have illiteracy problems; seven out of 10 adult prisoners have low literacy levels, and the current prison population of 2 million represents a dramatic concentration of illiterate Americans. As for that young man in Detroit, he will always have to rely on others for vital information to lead his life; he will always be vulnerable to abuse and exploitation by those who wield that one vital skill he doesn’t have. And this in the world’s oldest and most powerful democracy, whose citizenry make (or acquiesce in) decisions that affect the rest of the world.
I ran after the young man and caught up with him at the light. “Here, let me help,” I said, taking the paper from him and reading the address aloud. “That should be that building over there,” I said, pointing at a building half a block away, its name visible in large lettering above the entrance. He looked at me in gratitude, but I just felt helpless. I wished I had a leaflet on me for an adult remedial-education program, but he wouldn’t be able to read that either. “Thanks, man,” he said, a delighted look in his eyes. He headed off—this time, at least, in the right direction.
Illiterate AmericaBy Alan Caruba
February 5, 2001
In October of last year, my friend Jack O'Dwyer ran an article on his website, O'Dwyer's PR Daily, concerning the problems public relations agencies were having with the college graduates they were hiring to begin their careers in that profession.
"About 40 per cent of college grads take no courses in English or American literature and nearly 31 per cent have never taken a math course. More than 56 per cent can't calculate the change from $3 after buying a bowl of soup for 60 cents and a sandwich for $1.95. Many cannot read and understand a simple set of directions." The article referenced "Beer and Circus", a book by English professor Murray Sperber of Indiana University. The book contends that "college kids are being fed a junk diet of alcohol, spectator sports and partying."
Even worse news is that the college school year has shrunk from 210 days to about 160. With parents paying an average $20,000 a year and more to send their children to college, that's an average of $125 a day!
The bottom line is that both the public relations profession and journalism are filled with young people, beginning their professional careers, who haven't a clue about what is newsworthy. They are so ignorant, it is frightening. This does not bode well for the ultimate consumers of news, the public.
This situation reaches into all aspects of life in America and particularly hits small businesses as well as big corporations who hire these college graduates. The small business operators find themselves hiring and firing in a desperate effort to find someone-anyone--who is willing to learn how their company functions and willing to actually do the work. The greatest concerns of today's new hires are about vacation and sick time, plus whatever other perks are being offered.
Training employees is a fulltime process for companies large and small. What makes this difficult is the level of illiteracy among both high school and college graduates (the ability to read, understand, and apply what they have read), coupled with their belief that an employer doesn't really deserve their best efforts.
Literacy is absolutely essential for the success of any society. In America, however, one in five high school graduates cannot read his or her diploma. Fully 85 per cent of unwed mothers are illiterate and 70 per cent of Americans who get arrested are illiterate. An estimated 21 million Americans simply cannot read and the costs of illiteracy are estimated to be $225 billion a year in lost productivity.
According to Empower America, our 12th graders rank 19th out of 21 industrialized countries in mathematics achievement and 16th out of 21 nations in science. Since 1983, more than 10 million Americans have reached the 12th grade without being about to read at a basic level. Over 20 million have reached their senior year unable to do basic math. Almost 25 million have reached 12th grade without knowing the essentials of U.S. history. (And you wonder why 100 million Americans did not bother to vote in the last election or couldn't figure out how to cast a vote?) By almost any measurement you can name, we have been turning out students at the elementary, middle, high school and college levels who are manifestly unfit to function effectively in society.
If you wanted to sabotage America, you could not find a better way than to have degraded our education system as effectively as the programs promulgated by teachers union in league with those who have been in charge of the federal government's education programs since the 1970's. Across this country, the rising costs for education have driven up the property taxes of millions of Americans with little to show for the investment.
There will be much discussion of the Bush administration initiatives. Serious conservatives have serious reservations about them because, despite President's Bush talk of returning power to the state and local level, they will increase the federal government's control over the curriculums of every school in America.
That does not, however, mitigate the need to produce high school and college graduates who are literate, have a knowledge of U.S. history, have basic arithmetic skills, and an understanding of fundamental science. This is critical to the future of this nation.
We cannot keep importing foreigners who are, quite simply, better educated than our fellow citizens. There aren't enough low-level jobs to employ this growing army of illiterate, ignorant, and ill-prepared American graduates.
They Want to be in MoviesBy Betty Freauf
April 20, 2008
As young children watch the glamorous lifestyles of Hollywood movie stars, it is a rare child indeed who does not secretly wish they could become part of the rich and famous crowd someday. Even with all the negativity that surrounds most of these stars, which most young people prefer to ignore and believe that couldn’t happen to them, they are still enamored with the glitz.
Reality based television programs give many of them an opportunity to show off their talents -- from roughing it in some remote area in some Survivor series to American Idol. But with the advent of cell phone capability to take pictures and put them instantaneously on the Internet, other factors have entered into this equation, i.e. privacy and self-glorification.
Just within the last few days, as I've been drafting this article, we’ve seen teen-on-teen video violence in Florida where six teenage girls brutally attacked another girl while the boys recorded the incident. In Arizona an 8th grader is hit on the head with a chair. In Texas a 16 year old is beaten unconscious and two teens in Massachusetts beat a 15 year old with pipes -- and all of these incidents were captured on film and quickly ended up on the Internet. And this was just about teenagers!
In fact, the violence has become so acute that my local newspaper has a page devoted to “Violence in America.” In one day it highlighted how two were hurt by gunfire along a Virginia highway. The shots brought back memories of the Beltway snipers. Then there was a mother in Kentucky who killed her children and waved a gun at college. The woman was in custody facing two counts of murder. A third article told about a shooting at a hospital in Columbus, Georgia, that killed one and the police wounded another gunman.
Two students were hurt in a dorm shooting in Tyler, Texas and it was a year ago that we had the Virginia Tech massacre. The articles always seem to stop short of the reasons this violence is taking place, but in my personal opinion there seems to be a correlation between the doctors prescribing antidepressant drugs to stressed out and depressed people and all these killings. I heard on the radio on 4/17/08 about a father who killed his five week old twins. Authorities found their beaten bodies under his bed. Seldom do we hear or read about this admission, but it was noted he was on “behavioral medicine.” Check out for pages upon pages of people from all ages and all walks of life who have either been on these drugs or got off them cold turkey and then killed.
What is alarming to most people is the lack of sympathy these young onlookers have for the victims -- and people scratch their heads and wring their hands and ask, “What on earth is happening to these young people?" Perhaps an April 9, 1992 article in the Racine Journal by John Rosemond, a family psychologist in private practice in North Carolina in which he referred to a Newsweek article called “Self Esteem,” (a concept that has been heavily promoted in our culture since the 1960s), as a curse. Dr. Rosemond's article said the curse bullied its way into America’s schools, where the goal of making children feel good about themselves all but replaced the goal of educating them. The curse helped breed the now ubiquitous cult of the victim, wormed its way into our legal system, where criminals argue they shouldn’t be held responsible for their crimes because "low self-esteem made ‘em do it," and spawned book after tedious book on how to become more self-absorbed… By the early '70s, the “experts” had succeeded in convincing America’s parents that installing self-esteem in their children was their ultimate responsibility. This was accomplished, they said, by heaping attention and praise upon the child. The more “warm fuzzies” heaped, the more emotionally healthy the child supposedly became. But many of us should ask these “experts,” how has this been working for us?
Charles Sykes in “Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can’t Read, Write or Add” tells about a 1991 teacher training session in the Houston area that taught the evils of red ink and told teachers to pick another color. Red supposedly had a negative impact because red is so symbolic of wrong answers. Duh! Pat Greene, a teacher since 1982, also said grammar and spelling errors should be overlooked so students wouldn’t be discouraged from writing. Don’t damage Junior’s self-esteem -- so we are now graduating illiterates with honors. Kids that get straight A’s all their lives need Kleenex when they get to college and find their skills are lacking. Now we find that people with inflated self-esteem or self-confidence tend to exaggerate their own positive qualities. Bullies and sociopaths often score very high on self-esteem tests and claim they are very happy. And the authors of the book, One Nation Under Therapy [1] write that a growing body of research suggests there is, in fact, no connection between high self-esteem and achievement, kindness, or good personal relationships. On the other hand, unmerited self-esteem is known to be associated with anti-social behavior – even criminality.
Anyone with actual experience in life, or just plain common sense, knows that self-esteem can only come from accomplishment. That means that a child can be told over and over that (s)he is doing a great job, but unless they KNOW it is true, it does not build true self-confidence. If a young student cannot read at grade level and continues to get acceptable grades, (s)he knows it's all a sham. This student will most likely act out his/her frustrations in other ways. Possibly become a liar, after all, the facts have been manipulated by the adults...or possibly become the class clown to divert attention away from his/her actual schoolwork. Some girls will use their bodies for attention, not being able to gain the needed respect and love through their schoolwork/accomplishments. Many will drop out of school, too frustrated and bored to continue the sham; and inevitably, a percentage of those will turn to crime. If a young person doesn't have the ability (self-esteem?) to fill out an application for employment at the local hardware store, let alone feel confident that (s)he can do the job, why not deal drugs in the neighborhood? Why not have a child and receive a monthly check from the givement? Money is money, after all.
The Newsweek articles goes on to say, by contrast, previous generations of American parents concentrated on making sure children developed respect, responsibility and resourcefulness. These “Three R’s of Childrearing” were seen as necessary to both good citizenship as well as the pursuit of happiness – Jefferson’s third inalienable right. The child’s participation in his or her own upbringing was acknowledged and affirmed. Parents were responsible to a conservative point, after which children were held completely accountable for their behavior, school performance, and finding creative ways of occupying their time. Parents were to take interest in what their children did, but not get involved unless absolutely necessary; supervise, but not participate; know where their children were, but rarely be there with them. Children, furthermore, were to pay parents more attention than parents paid them. How, otherwise, could parents set good examples (or, in contemporary terms, be positive role models)? But today some parents send their rebellious teens to Brat Boot Camp or end up on Dr. Phil’s show where he makes all types of resources available to try to turn them around or The Nanny comes in to some homes to show the parents what they are doing wrong with the younger children. They all want to be on television.
In my article, “Would More Woodsheds Reduce Juvenile Delinquency” I write about the lack of work now required of our children in our homes because of all the new technology and how silly labor laws prevented the young people from learning a responsible work ethic. Spankings were replaced by The Nanny’s time-out naughty chair and because parents are being taxed into oblivion and mothers are finding they must work and are encouraged by the radical feminist movement to drop their babies off at an early age at daycare, some children are no longer bonding to their parents as they once did.
A local attorney and former legislator is circulating initiatives for an upcoming vote to put more less-violent young criminals in prison. Because our local newspaper no longer accepts my letters, my husband wrote a letter suggesting that humiliation of the early childhood/teen criminals by putting them in stocks in the public square would be far more effective than putting them in prison with seasoned criminals who could teach them even more tricks of the trade. His letter got published because the newspaper thought it was a foolish idea and would hurt the child’s self-esteem but letter(s) endorsing his idea were ignored. Only one admiring the plebiscite-writing attorney and praising his overall contribution to Oregon over the years was published. The writer said criminals won’t change until they are ready and then he wants “professionals” in the wings to be able to help them change. Maybe these young folks could call on Barack Obama and he can change them – after all there is always hope! This useful idiot letter writer is another bleeding-heart liberal who hasn’t figured out that we are all born with a sinful nature and are capable of doing the most heinous of things if we aren’t trained properly by our parents. But if the parents don’t do it, then he thinks the government has an answer to all our woes and it sure does keep those employed in the sociology field in gainful employment reminiscent of the “child abuse industry.” The more young people who need “counseling” and in some program, the more money is required by taxpayers to try to “change” them. In my article mentioned above about the woodsheds, I ended with “We need more Grandpas” willing to take Junior to the woodshed. But even grandpas today are afraid to discipline the grandchildren for fear of being accused of some wrongdoing – some ridiculous standard established by the bleeding-heart liberals. Two generations ago there were no juvenile courts and what passed as juvenile delinquency was settled out of court!!! The media today won’t even mention the juvenile’s name if he or she is under 18 unless they will be charged as adults..
Didn’t President Richard Nixon have a highly publicized campaign promising a “war on crime”? It had all the explosive effect of a pop gun because we continued pushing for coddling criminals in our prisons, in the courts, and everywhere else and we face the same dilemma today because Humanism, which rejects a belief in God is a religion being taught in our public schools, thinks everyone is “basically good.” The professionals threw God out and allowed the devil in and now they wonder why we are having so much crime? One does not need a college degree with a bunch of initials behind his or her name to understand what is going on and who is truly to blame.
The Newsweek article continued by saying those parents who paid their children the most attention, doled out the most praise, and spent the most time were supposedly the best parents. This, of course, is usually the mother. So if a child misbehaved, performed poorly in school, had difficulty getting along with peers, or seemed depressed, were suffering from “low self-esteem,” and it was assumed the “primary caregiver” – the mother - had failed in her responsibilities. A time bomb of anxiety and guilt was thus set to explode in the psyches of American women. And explode it has, creating havoc in families, disabling the emotional liberation of both women and children, and scattering the shrapnel of co-dependency throughout our culture. Many young children are on Ritalin and other drugs while many mothers are on anti-depressants. It has been proven that some young children on these prescription drugs later move to the hard drugs.
In conclusion, the article says all this happened because we made the mistake of believing that people who went to graduate school knew more about raising children than did grandma. The curse is the price of our error.
Destroying Public Education in Americaby Stephen Lendman
Global Research, April 7, 2008
Diogenes called education "the foundation of every state." Education reformer and "father of American education" Horace Mann went even further. He said: "The common school (meaning public ones) is the greatest discovery ever made by man." He called it the "great equalizer" that was "common" to all, and as Massachusetts Secretary of Education founded the first board of education and teacher training college in the state where the first (1635) public school was established. Throughout the country today, privatization schemes target them and threaten to end a 373 year tradition.
It's part of Chicago's Renaissance 2010 Turnaround strategy for 100 new "high-performing" elementary and high schools in the city by that date. Under five year contracts, they'll "be held create innovative learning environments" under one of three "governance structures:"
charter schools under the 1996 Illinois Charter Schools Law; they're called
"public schools of choice, selected by students and take
responsible risks and create new, innovative and more flexible ways of educating
children within the public school system;" in 1997, the Illinois General
Assembly approved 60 state charter schools; Chicago was authorized 30, the
suburbs 15 more, and 15 others downstate. The city bends the rules by operating
about 53 charter "campuses" and lots more are planned.
Charter schools aren't magnet ones that require students in some cases to have special skills or pass admissions tests. However, they have specific organizing themes and educational philosophies and may target certain learning problems, development needs, or educational possibilities. In all states, they're legislatively authorized; near-autonomous in their operations; free to choose their students and exclude unwanted ones; and up to now are quasi-public with no religious affiliation. Administration and corporate schemes assure they won't stay that way because that's the sinister plan. More on that below.
George Bush praised these schools last April when he declared April 29 through May 5 National Charter Schools Week. He said they provide more "choice," are a "valuable educational alternative," and he thanked "educational entrepreneurs for supporting" these schools around the country.
Here's what the president praised. Lisa Delpit is executive director of the Center for Urban Education & Innovation. In her capacity, she studies charter school performance and cited evidence from a 2005 Department of Education report. Her conclusion: "charter schools....are less likely than public schools to meet state education goals." Case study examples in five states showed they underperform, and are "less likely than traditional public (ones) to employ teachers meeting state certification standards."
Other underperformance evidence came from an unexpected source - an October 1994 Money magazine report on 70 public and private schools. It concluded that "students who attend the best public schools outperform most private school students, that the best public schools offer a more challenging curriculum than most private schools, and that the private school advantage in test scores is due to their selective admission policies."
Clearly a failing grade on what's spreading across the country en route to total privatization and the triumph of the market over educating the nation's youths.
In 1991, Minnesota passed the first charter school law. California followed in 1992, and it's been off to the races since. By 1995 19 states had them, and in 2007 there were over 4000 charter schools in 40 states and the District of Columbia with more than one million students in them and growing.
Chicago's two other "governance structures" are:
(1) contract (privatized) schools run by "independent nonprofit organizations;"
they operate under a Performance Agreement between the "organization" and the
Board of Education; and
(2) performance schools under Chicago Public Schools
(CPS) management "with freedom and flexibility on many district initiatives and
policies;" unmentioned is the Democrat mayor's close ties to the Bush
administration and their preference for marketplace education; the idea isn't
new, but it accelerated rapidly in recent years.
Another part of the scheme is in play as well, in Chicago and throughout the country. Inner city schools are being closed, remaining ones are neglected and decrepit, classroom sizes are increasing, and children and parents are being sacrificed on the alter of marketplace triumphalism.
Consider recent events under Mayor Richard Daley in Chicago. On February 27, the city's Board of Education unanimously and without discussion voted to close, relocate or otherwise target 19 public schools, fire teachers, and leave students out in the cold. Thousands of parents protested, were ignored and denied access to the Board of Ed meeting where the decision came down pro forma and quick. And it wasn't the first time. For years under the current mayor, Chicago has closed or privatized more schools than anywhere else in the country, and the trend is accelerating. Since July 2001, the city closed 59 elementary and secondary schools and replaced many of them with charter or contract ones.
Parents, 54 Unique Benefits of Homeschooling
By Joel Turtel
April 22, 2008
Parents, is homeschooling the right choice for you and your children? Maybe you think you don’t have the time to homeschool because you work. Perhaps you don’t have confidence in your ability to teach your kids because you never took “teaching” courses.
But consider the alternative. Public schools can destroy your children’s self-esteem, destroy their ability to read, strangle their love of learning, put them in physical and moral danger, and wreck their future.
In contrast, here’s 54 unique benefits homeschooling can give you and your kids, as written and explained by Laura B., a smart, wonderful wife, mother of three, homeschooler, and business owner who works from home and still focuses on her family!
Homeschooling (or low-cost internet private schools), can have the following extraordinary benefits for you and your children:
1. Be with Your Family
2. Set Your Own Schedule
3. Vacation When You Want
4. Choose curriculum that best suits the needs of your child
5. Be totally aware of the state and progress of your child's education
6. Keep your child away from un-necessary peer pressure
7. Keep your child away from the bad influence of other children
8. Love, nurture, and teach your child the character and morals you value most
9. Make learning fun
10. Make learning as "experiential" as you want
11. Don't have to get up at the crack of dawn to get your child dressed and fed and off to school where their so tired they don't learn well anyway.
12. Break up the day however you want to fit your child's learning attention span
13. Teach your child without any "assumed limitations". Teach multiple languages, develop one skill or subject--the sky's the limit
14. What you teach an older child naturally filters down to the younger child(ren) making learning must easier and faster for siblings
15. Teach at the pace and developmental stage appropriate for your child
16. Avoid educational "labeling"
17. Keep you child as far away from drugs as possible
18. Never have to worry about bomb scares or mass shootings
19. Allow your child to do think, discuss, and explore in ways not possible in a classroom setting
20. Constant positive reinforcement and gentle correction. No abusive words or actions that scar your child's psyche
21. Don't use the school system as a babysitter. You only need a few hours for learning--the rest of the day is filled with unnecessary "busy work"
22. Develop life skills such as cooking, cleaning, and organizing that are easily learned with the additional time spent at home
23. Spend as much time outdoors as you want to enjoy nature and the world around us
24. Teach the value of responsibility by providing daily jobs
25. To make money management as natural as breathing by allowing even small children to do tasks, earn money, save it, and spend it in an appropriate manner.
26. Never have your child beat up by a bully. Teach self-defense skills that will enable him to deal with any situation but not until he is mature enough to handle the emotional aspects of confrontation
27. No pressure or set "expectations" from teachers on a younger sibling that follows an older sibling in the same school
28. Be around when your child needs to talk
29. Take a break when your child needs a break
30. Bond as a family through family group activities
31. Pass on your religious beliefs and morals to your children and stay away from the "indoctrination" of other school systems
32. Teach sex education when you and how you want
33. Develop your child's imagination and teach diverse problem solving skills instead of one institutionalized method of thinking
34. Unlimited possibilities for extra curricular activities that interest your child having to live up to the expectations or skills of others.
35. Develop the individualism of your child
36. Avoid traditional school "group activities" that may leave one student doing all the work or ruining it for everyone else.
37. Never have your child feel the failure, embarrassment, or teasing from "failing" a grade
38. To keep your children out of the care, custody, and control or people you don't know and who naturally teach their philosophy of life whether they realize it or not
39. No opportunity for your child to "sluff off", "snow-blow", or "just get by" with academics
40. To have your child learn initiative naturally as there's no peer pressure or fear of embarrassing himself
41. Allow your child to have input and say in subject matter and style
42. Allow your child to focus on growth and development--not following the latest fad or being in a certain group
43. So your child will only be surrounded by people who love him, encourage him, and want the best for him.
44. Make sure your child doesn't end up graduating without knowing how to read or knowing other basic skills due to educational failings of your local schools.
45. Keep your child out of private schools that have peer pressure, teacher criticism, durgs, sex, and alcohol that your child never needs to be around
46. Avoid grading scales and testing that gives no positive benefit to your child
47. Not to give the state or federal government control of your child that they assume is theirs
48. To easily pass on your unique heritage or language to your child
49. So your child is not limited by "age" or "grade" to advance or explore academics in which they are interested or gifted
50. To teach your children to enjoy life
51. To allow your children to go to work with Mom or Dad when you all want--not just on the one "go to work with a parent holiday"
52. As many field trips as you want, to places that interest your child
53. To just take a day off when everyone feels like it
54. Flexibility to switch or experiment with different curriculum
Parents, if you are disgusted with public schools and want your children to have the great education they deserve, why not consider homeschooling? Millions of parents now homeschool their kids, and many of these parents are only high-school graduates.

Joel Turtel
How Children are Sexually Corrupted in Public SchoolsBy Joel Turtel
September 7, 2008
One of parents’ most important duties is to protect their children from harmful sexual values and behaviors. Yet many public schools force potentially harmful, sometimes shockingly explicit sex education on their students. Most of the time, parents have no control over the content of these classes. Occasionally, a group of parents finds out about a particularly obnoxious sex education class and protests to the principal or local school board. The class may be dropped, only to be replaced by another class that teaches equally objectionable material, again without parent’s consent. School authorities’ attitude towards parents on this issue shows their anti-parent bias, and their contempt for parent’s rights to control the values their children are taught.
Many school authorities insist that children need comprehensive sex education from kindergarten through high school. They believe parents can't be trusted because they have shameful feelings about sex or have “outdated” moral or sexual values. School authorities, claiming that they know best regarding sex education, usurp parents’ role, allegedly for the “good of the children.” In doing so, they show contempt for parents’ rights, values, and common sense.
Many sex education classes indoctrinate children with sexual values that can cause them irreparable harm. According to Christopher J. Klicka, author of “The Right Choice, Home Schooling,” sex education textbooks used in public schools throughout the country teach that any kind of sex is acceptable, including adultery, homosexuality, masturbation, and premarital sex. In effect, the textbooks preach that it’s OK for kids to engage in any kind of sex that they feel “comfortable” with.
Horror stories about sex education classes and flagrant violations of parents’ rights confront us from around the country. Here are just a few of those stories:
• On March 19, 1996, a public school in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania made 59 sixth-grade girls submit to a genital examination as part of a routine physical. The school did not ask for parental consent. During the exam, school officials blocked the exit doors and refused to let the crying and pleading young girls call their parents.
• In Stephens County, Georgia, parents were shocked to discover that their fourteen and fifteen year old daughters had been driven to a birth control clinic by a public school staff member without their knowledge. The county clinic administered AIDS tests and Pap smears to the girls and gave them birth control pills and condoms. The school denied parents access to the test results and defended its actions on the grounds that the counselor believed that she was doing what was best for the girls.
• The Pacific Justice Institute filed a lawsuit on behalf of parents against the Novato [California] Unified School District for authorizing pro homosexual presentations without any prior notice or consent. According to the Pacific Justice Institute Press Release, “The presentations entitled “Cootie Shots,” exposed elementary school children as young as seven years old with skits containing gay and lesbian overtures. The presentations were followed by question and answer sessions about what constitutes ‘normal’ families and acceptance of those who choose the homosexual lifestyle.”
• Carol (last name withheld for privacy), a schoolteacher, couldn’t believe what she was being asked to teach in her sex education class. The curriculum forced her to show second-graders pictures of nude boys and girls and ask them to name body parts. School authorities told Carol and her fellow elementary school teachers that there were no absolute moral rules, so she shouldn’t be concerned about what she had to teach the children.
• In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, parents became furious about a comprehensive survey given to elementary school children in the Gateway School District. The five-to-ten-year-old students were asked questions regarding “forced sex, the torture of animals, the use of guns, and setting fires.” Many of the children were so upset by these questions that they became physically ill, started bed wetting, or began having nightmares. By the time these problems were brought to light, the survey had already been given to over 1,500 children in the Pittsburgh area.
• A Massachusetts Department of Education employee described the pleasures of homosexual sex to a group of high school students at a state sponsored workshop on March 25, [2000] at Tufts [University], this way: “Fisting [forcing one's entire hand into another person's rectum or vagina] often gets a bad rap. . . . [It's] an experience of letting somebody into your body that you want to be that close and intimate with . . . [and] to put you into an exploratory mode.”
• “On March 25, [2000] the Massachusetts Department of Education, the Governor's Commission For Gay and Lesbian Youth, and GLSEN [Gay and Lesbian and Straight Education Network] co sponsored a statewide conference at Tufts University called ‘Teach Out.’ Among the goals were to build more GSAs [Gay/Straight Alliance clubs] in Massachusetts and expand homosexual teaching into the lower grades. Scores of gay friendly teachers and administrators attended. They received state ‘professional development credits.’ Teenagers and children as young as twelve were encouraged to come from around the state, and many were bused [sic] in from their home districts. Homosexual activists from across the country were also there.”
• A mother was shocked and outraged when she discovered that her son had to read a novel about teenage gay pornography for his English class. The woman had enrolled her son in Newton South High School’s summer program to help prepare him for the English portion of the Massachusetts State Standardized Test. Little did she know that her son's teacher had recently bragged in a Boston Globe newspaper article how he was quietly introducing ‘gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender’ subjects into his academic high school classes. “In this class, the teacher passed out a copy of The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky to each child as the class’s required reading assignment, with instructions to write an essay on the book when they finished it.” “The book is aimed at teenagers, and is told from a teenage boy's perspective. The book contains explicit references and discussion regarding: Sexual acts between teenagers, male masturbation, oral-genital sex, a great deal of profanity, male homosexual acts between teenage boys, including kissing, seduction, ‘having a crush,’ and anal sex, illegal drug use, homosexual acts between men and boys, sex between a boy and a dog, female masturbation using an object.”11
• In Newton, Massachusetts, the school forced ninth-grade girls in the health classes to go to a drug store and buy condoms and practice putting them on a banana.When parents who find out about such classes vehemently object, school authorities often arrogantly dismiss parents’ complaints. A Michigan state Senate committee studying the problem of parental consent in public schools, found:
“The treatment of parents with the temerity to object to sex education curricula also reflects a more general attitude toward the role of parents in public education today. “There is a pervasive attitude among many administrators and health educators,” the Michigan Senate committee found, “that they know best what children need. They communicate to parents that they are the professionals and the parents are unschooled amateurs.” Too often, the committee found that parents were treated as if they were an “incidental biological appendage in the raising of their children.”
I apologize to the reader for the long list of graphic horror stories. Unfortunately, the examples I listed barely touch what goes on in sex education classes throughout the country. Parents should exert their rights and make sure their local public schools are not exposing their children to such shocking sex education classes.
Better yet, because arrogant government (public) schools have utter contempt for parents’ rights and routinely disregard parents’ complaints about sex education classes, parents should consider a better alternative for their children’s sake. They should seriously consider taking their children out of public school, permanently, and finding low-cost education alternatives such as Internet private schools, as I describe in my book “Public Schools, Public Menace.”