The enemies of these freedoms, as expressed in the First Amendment, have always been at work to narrow and eliminate them.
By Alan Caruba
Monday, May 20, 2013
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the people peacefully to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
The enemies of these freedoms, as expressed in the First Amendment, have always been at work to narrow and eliminate them.
A recent, egregious example of this was the subject of an article by Hans Bader, a former attorney with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. In 2003 he joined the staff of the Competitive Enterprise Institute as CEI’s Counsel for Special Projects after having service as Senior Counsel at the Center for Individual Rights.
On May 10, he wrote an article, “Federal Title IX Enforcers Effectively Define Dating and Sex Education as ‘Sexual Harassment’” based on the views expressed by Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).
As we have seen of late, the federal government has been using the powers of the Internal Revenue Service to harass organizations identifying themselves as “Tea Party” groups, “patriots”, and even pro-Israel. The Department of Justice has come under fire for the way it accessed phone records of Associated Press reporters and editors.
The most fundamental fear of the Founders was a central government grown too large and acquiring powers to itself not delineated or prohibited by the Constitution. That document is devoted to limitations on the federal government and the states at the time it was introduced demanded that a Bill of Rights be included before they would ratify it.
It is a precious legacy for all Americans, but it has also been the target for all manner of individuals and groups that want to impose their own interpretation on it and to expand it in ways that actually undermine it.
“In a shocking affront to the United States Constitution,” said Lukianoff, “the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education have joined together to mandate that virtually every college and university in the United States establish unconstitutional speech codes that violate the First Amendment and decades of legal precedent.”
“In 2011, the Department of Education took a hatchel to due process protection for students accused of sexual misconduct.” Now college students have had speech codes imposed on them that are “so broad that virtually every student will regularly violate them,” said Lukianoff. In essence, the new codes would define as punishable, any expression of sexual topics that offends any person!
In effect this outlaws any expression of opinion regarding sexual activity to include debates about sexual morality, gay marriage, or a classroom lecture on Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita.” It would outlaw any sexually themed joke that anyone might find offensive for any reason. It would criminalize any request for a date or any flirtation that is not welcomed by the recipient, all defined now as “offenses.”
As Lukianoff warns, “There is likely no student on any campus anywhere who is not guilty of at least one of these ‘offenses.’ Any attempt to enforce this rule evenhandedly and comprehensively will be impossible.”
Bader said “No one would believe you if you made this up, but it’s now actually happened.” The definition is found in a May 9 Title IX Letter of Findings and Resolution Agreement involving the University of Montana” but which now applies to all colleges and universities in America.
Bader notes that what makes this especially troubling is that the Supreme Court has already ruled on this behavior, stating that isolated instances of trivially offensive sexual speech are not illegal and are not to be considered “sexual harassment” in even the broadest possible sense.
Silencing free speech on our nation’s campuses is the official policy of the Obama administration. The mandate must be overturned before countless students find themselves expelled from colleges and universities for the flimsiest reasons. It affects what can be taught and discussed on those campuses. It is in direct contempt of the freedom of speech embedded in the First Amendment.
On May 5th in a speech delivered to the graduating class of the Ohio State University, President Obama warned students that “Unfortunately you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warm of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s the root of all our problems; some of these same voices are also doing their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices.”
No, you should not reject these voices. Some come from the Tea Party movement. Others come from organizations such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Foundation for Individual Rights, among the many who keep an eye on what appears to be the most corrupt administration to have ever held power in Washington, D.C.
© Alan Caruba, 2013
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Tue May 21, 2013 12:14 am
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Dear Class of ’13: You’ve been scammed
Commentary: How the College-Industrial Complex drove tuition so high
By Brett Arends
Class of 2013,
No one else is going to tell you this, so I might as well.
You sit here today, $30,000 or $40,000 in debt, as the latest victims of what may well be the biggest conspiracy in U.S. history. It is a conspiracy so big and powerful that Dan Brown won’t even touch it. It’s a conspiracy so insidious that you will rarely hear its name.
The dean of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College says his MBA graduates still aren’t heading into finance jobs in the numbers they did before the financial crisis.
Move over, Illuminati. Stand down, Wall Street. Area 51? Pah. It’s nothing.
The biggest conspiracy of all? The College-Industrial Complex.
Consider this: You have just paid about three times as much for your degree as did someone graduating 30 years ago. That’s in constant dollars — in other words, after accounting for inflation. There is no evidence that you have received a degree three times as good. Some would wonder if you have received a degree even one times as good.
According to the College Board, in 1983 a typical private American university managed to provide a bachelor’s-degree-level education to young people just like you for $11,000 a year in tuition and fees. That’s in 2012 dollars.
Instead, those of you at private colleges paid this year an average of $29,000.
And back then a public college charged in-state students just $2,200 a year in tuition and fees — in today’s dollars. You could get a full four-year degree for $8,800. Today that will get you one year’s tuition, or $8,700.
Notice, please, we are not even counting the cost of all the “extras,” like room and board. This is just the cost of the teaching.
It is, as a result, no surprise that total student loans are now approaching $1 trillion. They have easily overtaken credit-card debts and car loans. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, total student loans have basically tripled since 2004. Fed researcher Lee Donghoon says that in the last eight years the number of borrowers has gone up by about 70%, and the average amount owed has also gone up about 70%.
Sarah Azad, a senior majoring in telecommunications at New York City College of Technology, waits to meet with potential employers at the Big Apple Job and Internship Fair.
Donghoon calculates that about 17% of those with student loans are more than 90 days’ delinquent on their interest payments. Yet he also calculates that 44% haven’t even entered the repayment period at all.
If you turn to the pages of any newspaper, you will read a lot of hand-wringing about this. You will hear attacks on “predatory” student-loan companies and “predatory … for-profit colleges.” You will hear about cutbacks in Pell Grants and federal aid and proposals to lower the interest rate on subsidized federal loans. But all of these comments ignore one basic problem.
It’s the cost, stupid.
U.S. colleges are a rip-off. Two decades ago I spent six years at Cambridge and Oxford universities, and it didn’t cost me a nickel. Admittedly, one reason was social policy: The taxpayers paid the bill (and a very good return they earned too, given the British taxes I paid once I graduated and started work). But the second reason was that these universities did not charge an arm, leg and other appendage for the act of teaching.
My undergraduate course at Cambridge largely consisted of one hour a week with a tutor, a weekly essay question and research list, and a library card. This teaching model hadn’t changed much, really, since the days of Aristotle. Student, teacher, discussion. See you same time next week.
How on earth do colleges today ramp up costs to $40,000 a year?
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Fri May 17, 2013 10:15 am
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ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A KOREAN?
Posted on 11th May 2013 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues
Asians smart, Koreans cheating on SAT
This is not shocking news to me. It is a well known fact that Asian students pay thousands of dollars to have others write their essays to get into the top flight U.S. Universities. It is also a well known fact among some people that even at the best business schools in the world, Asian students pay American students to write their papers for them. I guess Asians are just as dishonest, corrupt and underhanded as Americans. That is heart warming to know. We’ve now found two things they’re not good at.
For the First Time, SAT Test Gets Canceled in an Entire Country
By Kayla Webley
Some 1,500 South Korean students who dream of attending elite American colleges are scrambling after the U.S.-based administrator of the SAT cancelled the scheduled May 4 session of the exam due to allegations of widespread cheating. It’s the first time the SAT test has been called off in an entire country.
Officials decided to cancel the exam after discovering test questions circulating in test-prep centers in the country, according to the Wall Street Journal. The College Board, which administers the SAT in the U.S., and the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the non-profit organization that develops, publishes and scores the tests, issued a statement, saying they had made the “difficult, but necessary” decision to cancel the exam. “This action is being taken in response to information provided to ETS—the College Board’s vendor for global test administration and security—by the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office regarding tutoring companies in the Republic of Korea that are alleged to have illegally obtained SAT and SAT Subject Test materials for their own commercial benefit.”
The details are scarce, but a CNN report says the prosecutors’ office confirmed it had raided several testing centers for evidence and the WSJ story notes that at least 10 staff members of test centers have been barred from leaving the country while the prosecutors’ office investigates.
Test center managers told the WSJ that the problem is widespread and that official test booklets can be purchased from brokers for about $4,575—a relatively small price to pay for families fighting to gain admittance to Harvard, Stanford and other prestigious American schools no matter the cost. According to the Institute of International Education’s most recent annual report, South Korea sent 72,295 students to study in the U.S. in the 2011-12 school year, making the country the third largest provider of foreign students to U.S. colleges after China and India. Worldwide, international student enrollment at U.S. colleges has soared in recent years with a record 764,495 foreign students attending American universities in 2011-12.
This is not the first incident of SAT cheating in South Korea. In 2007, some 900 students who took the exam in January of that year had their scores canceled after an investigation found an unknown number of students had seen at least part of the exam before the test was given. The latest incident, plus a string of scandals in the country over the past year that saw at least seven lawmakers accused of academic plagiarism, caused a South Korean national newspaper to question whether its citizens are unusual in their willingness to cheat.
But South Korea is hardly alone—the high stakes nature of the exam has fueled cheating elsewhere, although on a smaller scale. Of the nearly three million SAT exams taken worldwide each year, at least a few thousand are canceled because of suspected cheating. Several hundred other potential test takers are turned away at the door each year because of questionable identification. In 2011, 20 students in Long Island, New York were charged with cheating on the SAT—five were accused of taking the test for others and 15 were accused of paying them $500 to $3,600 to take the exams.
The College Board and ETS say they expects to be able to offer the SAT in South Korea in June, but in the meantime, and out of fear of additional problems, there have been reports of students flying to Japan and Hong Kong to take the test there in order to get their scores in time to apply for college in the U.S. this summer.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Sun May 12, 2013 2:18 am
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Feds block UMass from releasing alleged bomber’s records
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
John Zaremba, Chris Cassidy and Joe Dwinell
Federal education officials today slammed the door shut on UMass Dartmouth’s appeal to release academic and financial records of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, according to a letter received by the Herald.
"From the limited information you provided, it appears that the academic and financial records that have been requested would be protected by FERPA, and that the University may not release them without the consent of the student," wrote Dale King, director of the Family Policy Compliance Office for the U.S. Department of Education. (See full text of letter at right.)
UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman had asked for a waiver of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to share Tsarnaev’s UMass history with the public, on grounds that the bombing case was an exception to the rule.
The Herald and other media outlets have repeatedly requested records of Tsarnaev’s financial aid and GPA from the university — including details of the $20,000 he reportedly still owes UMass.
In the letter dated today, King writes the law has "several exceptions" that allow for disclosure without consent, but in the alleged 19-year-old bomber’s case "it does not appear that any of these exceptions would be applicable." King did say the university can release "directory information" … such as "name, address, major field of study, dates of attendance, and degrees, honors and awards received."
Tsarnaev was a sophomore at UMass Dartmouth where he had failed some courses, the Herald has learned. He is charged with using a weapon of mass destruction in the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing that killed three and injured more than 260, maiming many.
Three of Tsarnaev’s buddies from UMass Dartmouth — Dias Kadyrbayev, Azamat Tazhayakov and Robel Phillipos — have also been charged in the case. They face conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges.
As previously reported by the Herald, the Tsarnaev family, including slain bombing mastermind Tamerlan Tsarnaev, received more than $100,000 in welfare aid from Massachusetts until November of 2012. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was also awarded a $2,500 scholarship for college from the City of Cambridge.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is now being held in the Devens Federal Medical Center in Ayer.
UPDATE: The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth just released the following statement: "The U.S. Department of Education, in response to a request by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth to release the student records of those connected to the Boston Marathon arrests, has informed us that such a release would be a violation of federal law. The DOE letter states that according to federal law, the ‘University may not release them [records] without the consent of the student.’
"UMass Dartmouth has provided all information requested to law enforcement officials and will continue to work closely with investigators. In addition, we will continue to be transparent with the public while complying with federal and state law."
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Wed May 08, 2013 1:19 pm
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Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. "Chip" Knappenberger
Over at Capital Weather Gang, the always-perceptive Jason Samenow details a recent Twitterspat between Dot Earth’s (aka The New York Times’) Andrew Revkin and Penn State’s Michael Mann over attributing extreme weather events to anthropogenic climate change—tornadoes, in particular.
Revkin tweeted to ask whether the folks who were alluding to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions being behind the major (and deadly) tornado outbreak during the spring of 2011 were willing to attribute the record lack of tornado occurrences during the past 12 months to the same cause.
Revkin could have very well asked this same question about all kinds of bad weather—blizzards, hurricanes, droughts, floods, record heat, record cold, summer in Washington, winter in Chicago, etc.
Used to be, when the weather was bad, folks would logically cite Mark Twain’s “if you don’t like the weather in New England now, just wait a few minutes.” Now, someone will show up on TV who is quick to point out that this sort of thing “is consistent with” expectations of global warming. These same folks tend nap when the weather is hunky-dory, and to go into hibernation when the extreme weather category of their previous pronouncement has a hiatus.
Since the bang-up year of 2011, the number of tornadoes has dropped off the table, with the last 12 months showing the fewest since systematic observations began in the 1950s.
And like tornados, major hurricane strikes have also become scarce, in fact, they are so in remission that someone might soon announce they have been cured. It has currently been more than 7 years since a Category 3 made landfall in the U.S., the longest time in more than 100 years—and all this when overall hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin has been elevated. Maybe there is something to research that finds that while anthropogenic climate change may increase the frequency of major hurricanes in the Atlantic, it changes the circulation patterns such that they are more likely to remain offshore (see page 30-32 of our comments on the draft National Assessment Report)
But we digress…
Apparently the folks who rally around the anthropogenic climate change/extreme weather linkage don’t like being awoken when all is calm.
In his response tweet, Michael Mann accused Revkin of “concern trolling”—which Samenow kindly defined for us as, in this case, “manufacturing a question to score points with climate change skeptics.”
Mann followed up with “Perhaps Andy ?@Revkin is claiming that the background state of the atmosphere has NOT changed? Is that what he is arguing?”
We are sure that is not what Revkin is arguing at all.
It is true, and Revkin knows this, that human-activity in all its forms exerts some influence on the base state of the atmosphere. So, what?
This does not mean that such an influence is noticeable or even detectable, much less that every time the weather is bad, human activities are to blame.
In fact, in virtually all cases, the magnitude of natural variability is still much larger than the magnitude of the human influence. Nor is the specific impact of the human influence on any weather event ever clear. For example, see our comments about “superstorm” Sandy.
What this does smack of, is pseudoscience—an explanation of things that is not refutable by any conceivable event. Karl Popper famously drew this distinction in his 1957 essay (republished in 1963) Science: Conjectures and Refutations.
If the explanation is that bad weather events serve as evidence that humans have altered the atmospheric base state in such a way as to perceptively influence (make worse) extreme weather events, but that the absence of such events does not serve as counter evidence, then we have a situation where the theory is untestable. Pseudoscience.
Before we should even start to consider taking seriously claims about global warming making things worse, we need to start seeing some predictions about individual events.
Next time there is a discussion about a potential tornado outbreak somewhere in the U.S., we want to see a priori discussions of how anthropogenic climate change will influence the event. For instance, will it lead to 25 tornadoes instead of 23? Will the storms stay on the ground for 15 minutes instead of 14? Will their path length be 12 miles instead of 11? Will they hit the Lazy Acres Trailer park or just skirt by? Will they occur when kids are gathered in the school cafeteria or just after lunch lets out? All these factors, and many orders of magnitude more, collectively determine the impact of the event. And this completely leaves out the confounding influence that there are now more people, with more stuff in potential harm’s way.
Now, you might rightly point out that such predictions are impossible—the atmosphere is too chaotic and our models too coarse to pin down events with such detail.
But until such forecasts are issued—it is also impossible to assess whether the event acted in a manner expected by the global warming alarmists.
Despite this lack of predictive ability, there is no shortage of ex post facto postmortems. Until that changes, no autopsies please!
True science offers up expectations in advance (i.e. “hypotheses,” which, in the weather/climate business are called “forecasts”), and then uses observations to verify (or reject) those hypotheses. Pseudoscience accepts all observations as support of its theories.
Isn’t it time we take a greater interest in the science of climate change?
Karl Popper: Conjectures and Refutations, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1963, reprinted 2008, pp 43-86.
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May 7, 2013
The Soul Abstracted from Life
By Daren Jonescu
Modern civilization willingly consigns almost all of its children to the living hell of forced retardation. Everyone knows the educational establishment is beset with problems, corruptions, and the downward ratchet of lowest common denominator standards. And yet parents continue to send their children to government schools, hoping, perhaps even half-believing, that this will not significantly harm the children’s adult lives. They are dead wrong. What follows is an anatomical diagram of mankind’s greatest shame.
The primary purpose of all government-controlled education — regardless of how this is expressed by particular defenders of the enterprise — is to produce the kind of citizens the government sees as best suited to its established form of governance. By "the government," I mean those people and factions within the political infrastructure who are in a position to determine the long-term structure and interests of the community as a whole. Since public education, in the modern sense of government-run schools employing government-trained teachers, is a project that would likely only be undertaken in the first place by people who believe government can manage people’s private interests better than they can do for themselves, it is all but inevitable that the kind of citizen such a system will be designed to produce will be one who believes implicitly in the necessity of government as a direct social and moral regulator, and for whom the superior understanding of government in determining the proper course of an individual’s life is generally presumed.
Thus far, I am assuming a relatively benign government, with semi-reasonable, if presumptuous, goals. What happens, however, when the political community is infiltrated by men with less noble intentions? — amoral manipulators who crave more authority than their predecessors considered acceptable, and who seek to establish laws, attitudes and customs designed to expand and perpetuate their control over the power centers of the community: wealth and material production, the permanent regulatory bureaucracy, and the levers of legislative authority. In a community that retained any semblance of its dignity, its moral substance, and its thirst for self-determination, these manipulators would be recognized immediately, and rejected outright, whether by vote or by violence — unless they conducted their civilizational ambush under the protective cover of rationalizing theory.
Fortunately for Satan, modernity has produced plenty of self-styled "education theorists," men and women of the intellectual class whose minds have become unmoored from what they dismissively label "traditional morality," and who are certain they could design the perfectly ordered community, if only they had the means to universal social control. These education theorists are our real life mad scientists, disregarding all moral and rational limits in pursuit of that self-vindicating, immortalizing moment when they can see their artificial creature in motion and exclaim, "It’s alive!"
These pseudo-scientists are the perfect tools of the corrupt ruling class, as their goals are mutually complementary. The wealthy, manipulative power-brokers seek a veneer of "new methods" and "social progress" to mask and justify their urge to control the mind and machinery of society for their own advantage; the intellectuals would happily sell their souls for a chance to see their grand schemes put into practice. This symbiotic relationship is enhanced by the two factions’ awareness of a common enemy: the thoughtful, self-reliant man of character. Such an individual is a threat to the power-brokers because he will recognize what is behind their mask, and refuse to submit to their social manipulations. He is a threat to the mad scientists, because their need to be right has overwhelmed their interest in the truth, and hence their greatest fear is the appearance of living counterexamples, whose presence would refute their life’s work. Hence, the undermining of such thoughtful, self-reliant men is a central goal of both the power-brokers and their intellectual lapdogs.
What becomes of the always dubious project of government-controlled education in the hands of such ignobly-motivated men? First of all, these men will need to alter the social aspects of the school environment, using every child’s most natural learning methods — imitation and checking for approval — to inculcate a new mentality, one both useful to, and accepting of, the state’s gradual encroachments into the territory previously fenced off for human freedom, privacy, and moral choice. Ethical individualism and intellectual independence are the natural enemies of this system, and must therefore be discouraged in every way.
At the political level, this means government schooling must be compulsory, so that no family’s children may escape its influence, and it must tend towards ever-increasing standardization of methods and outcomes, to mitigate the effect of any stray free-thinkers or plain decent human beings who may find their way into the teaching profession, in spite of the various hoops and obstacles set in place to prevent such good people from infiltrating the classroom. At the theoretical level, the goal is to weed out and crush the impulse to individualism, independent thought, and self-reliance from the earliest stages of child development, and to reinforce the child’s bondage to the collective, and dependence upon authority, through methods of rearing and schooling so contrary to the true needs of human nature that the entire system would be immediately recognizable as pure evil — had that system not also raised every person in the community to doubt the ultimate reality of such old-fashioned notions as good, evil, nature, and truth.
But "weed out" and "crush" are mere metaphors. How exactly does the compulsory mass education project of the mad scientists and their political puppet-masters undo individualism, intellectual curiosity, and independence? Adhering to the ancient wisdom of the true philosophers of education, the modern theorists know that the key lies not in verbal rules, lessons, or memorized slogans; those will be spoon-fed later, as reinforcement for the well-laid foundations. Rather, one must begin by educating the feelings — fostering, or in this case stifling, the natural emotional states that drive children to seek understanding and mastery over themselves and their circumstances.
Children must be taken from the home as early as possible, in order to prevent families from instilling habits of curiosity and enthusiasm for knowledge that would be difficult for the state to undo. (Hence today’s constant push for "universal pre-school.") They must spend the bulk of their waking hours throughout their young lives within the government’s educational environment, in order to minimize countervailing influences. This environment, the primary influence in every publicly educated child’s life — whatever fairytales parents may wish to believe — is calibrated on every level to undermine the development of the child’s understanding of himself as a separate entity capable of knowing his surroundings, projecting his imagination into the future, and contriving means of applying his growing knowledge to his environment to achieve the goals he has projected.
Where nature gives the child a basic need to begin recognizing the distinction between himself and his surroundings, in order to clarify his sense of being an individual living thing with a mind of its own, the mad scientists of public education lock him in a room full of children, with a teacher whose primary job is to make sure the children move as one, play as one, and study as one. Separating oneself from the group is discouraged. On the contrary, the conditions are designed to foster a desire for "belonging" — a most apt word, as it plainly designates the child’s proper status within the progressive world: he "belongs" to his social group, which, in adult terms, means he is property of the collective. The primacy of the yearning to "belong," so essential to popular progressive psychology, runs counter to every earlier ideal of humanity: the brave hero, the adventurer, the explorer, the theoretical man, the innovative artist, the man of intransigent faith. Against all such archetypes, public education asks the child, "Why risk getting thrown in with the lions, when you could be part of the cheering crowd?"
Where his whole being cries out for mature exemplars of human behavior and understanding, for older children and especially for adults — in short, for evidence and models of his natural completion — public school gives him "peers," children his own age, as incomplete and ignorant as he is. Worse yet, the universality of this arrangement and its coercive social dynamic force-feed him the sense that this is as it should be, and that there is something wrong with children wanting to be with adults who behave as adults — as opposed to public school teachers, who are trained to play to the child’s sensibility, as though the purpose of childhood education were to learn how to be a child, rather than how to be an adult. ("Let kids be kids.")
Where nature gives him practical needs, concrete interests arising from his surroundings, and the urge to develop the knowledge required to meet those needs and pursue those interests, the progressive controllers knowingly drag him away from his real world by force, trapping him for years in an abstract world of "preparing" for reality, an artificial realm of learning for real life, rather than from real life. This abstraction from everyday life, lost in the stultifying maze of public school Pretend Land, kills his natural impulse to seek knowledge, by removing him from any normal sense of a practical need to know. That is why children learn less and less, while spending more and more years in public school. This is no paradox, but a simple matter of cause and effect: the further the mind is removed from individual experience of practical needs and "idle curiosities," the less inclined it becomes to try to grasp things. ("Grasping" is one of our most penetrating metaphors for learning; it emphasizes the essential role of active will, of rationally directed desire.) Ignorance, dependency, lack of intellectual initiative, and a dearth of simple human curiosity are the necessary results of raising children in abstraction from the world of natural needs and enthusiasms for their entire lives up to voting age. Is it any wonder that the products of such forced abstraction, if they are allowed to vote, consistently choose the candidates (of whichever party) who promise to take care of them and protect them from the daunting world of personal responsibility? They have rarely seen that world, and hence perceive it only as a threat to their comfort.
Where nature, to use Aristotelian language, fills the potential being with a craving for actuality, i.e., for the fully developed soul of a rational and moral agent, public education deliberately dulls that craving, and ultimately smothers it, diverting him into blind alleys with collectivist social pressures, interminable boredom, and a hundred distractions and amusements intended to heighten the most tyrannical of his emotional drives in detachment from any rational goals or moral considerations. After spending at least the first quarter of his natural life — the years of his greatest intellectual growth potential and largest reserves of emotional fuel — in this thought-killing, character-thwarting environment, the normal child emerges exactly as he was intended to emerge: dependent upon the collective, incapable of complex reasoning about concrete human concerns (politics, morality), dismissive and cynical regarding fundamental theoretical questions (God, freedom, immortality), ignorant of all previous human eras, ideas, and art, and incapable of conceiving of any principle or plan of living broader than this moment, or nobler than his ruling desires for physical gratification and an infant’s notion of "security."
The great mad scientists, such as Lenin and Dewey, and their acolytes, such as Bill Ayers, have demonstrated that this forced retardation machine may be realized with such a degree of comprehensiveness that only through an unusual combination of natural drives, lucky circumstances, and years of suffering as a fringe-dweller in the public school social apparatus, may a young person have any chance of withstanding the deadening effects of progressive schooling with much of his spirit intact. As for whether anyone may survive this spiritual thresher completely unscathed, my answer — based on experience, reflection, study, and close observation of hundreds of children from vastly different backgrounds, including those I have taught myself — is a firm and unequivocal No.
One of the great successes of modern public education is that, being universal and compulsory, it virtually obliterates nature’s counterexamples, thereby creating vastly reduced expectations and standards in even the most reasonable parents. It is now, remarkably, a project of theoretical speculation and historical research to discover what a normal human child, having been raised in the real world by his own family, and having learned how to function as a self-reliant person by being one, might look like. That bizarre fact is the measure of our catastrophe, of the triumph of the totalitarian impulse over modern liberty, and of mankind’s greatest shame.
It is customary, at this point, for a certain number people to scoff, "This is all well and good, but you don’t tell us what to do about it." I, for one, am tired of this response. If you do not know what to do at this point, you do not want to know. For everyone else, it is time to act while you are still legally permitted to do so.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Tue May 07, 2013 11:48 am
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April 27, 2013
The College Board Trolls for Home-Schoolers
The College Board, which already grabs much information about a student’s family from the questionnaire which the student must answer in order to take the SAT, is now trolling for homeschooled students to take the Advanced Placement (AP) tests, which are offered on myriad subjects.
Perhaps the AP web page dedicated to homeschoolers is a sign of the times. Perhaps we home-school parents should tell ourselves that we’ve come a long way, baby.
Or perhaps not.
Parents, beware! Either a homeschooling parent will have taught any given subject with such a different focus that the student will have difficulty in taking the test, or the parent will find herself "teaching to the test" and depriving her child of the balanced information that is one of the hallmarks of a home-school education.
A review of a suggested AP Art History curriculum and accompanying sample test provide a subtle example by which the gentle reader may ease into this shocking discovery. The Art History curriculum is finite, and yet it provides much emphasis on non-Western art — including Islamic art, which is beautiful, but which might not be an appropriate area of focus for the average American homeschooler.
A sample question which deals with Western art asks the student to fill in the end of the following sentence: "Mary Cassatt demonstrated a keen interest in (A) landscapes of Italy, (B) animal paintings, (C) Hudson River scenes, or (D) Japanese prints."
Now, Mary Cassatt focused on the lives of women; she painted gorgeous portraits of mothers and their children. Sometimes there were pets in the pictures — so is the answer B? Cassatt lived for years in France, which is near Italy, so is the answer A? Cassatt came from Pennsylvania, which neighbors New York, so is the answer C? No, the answer is D, because more than halfway through her life, she saw a Japanese art exhibit which moved her to imitate somewhat the techniques used in Japan.
Yes, the inspiration is visible in a number of her works. Yet, by the AP question, Cassatt, an American feminist in the best sense of the word, is reduced to an artistic dilettante.
The AP US Government and Politics web page shows how a student’s grade is determined. Five to 15% of the test refers to the "Constitutional Underpinnings" of the U.S. government. For the other 85%-95%, "public opinion" becomes a recurrent theme.
The AP European History test sample appears sophisticated almost to the point of being esoteric. However, one of the more comprehensible questions shares a quotation from Thomas Malthus, an early population control theorist.
A pleasant surprise is a review of the AP English Language and Composition sample exams. Students read short texts and then answer questions regarding the texts. Here is a portion of a quoted essay by social critic Neil Postman: "What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one." Still, the test might not share the subject and author emphases which a home-school parent might have for her child.
Rather than preparing to take an AP test, taking a community college course for dual high school and college credit might be a more satisfying option for the average home-school student.
Marianna Trzeciak skipped a year of college because of high AP scores, but she does not recommend the AP tests to her own children.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:37 am
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Stonehenge archaeologists reveal new theory of why monument was built
Stonehenge may have been built on a site occupied by hunters for roughly 5,000 prior to its
A site near Stonehenge has revealed archaeological evidence that hunters lived just a mile from Stonehenge roughly 5,000 years prior to the construction of the first stones, new research suggests.
What’s more, the site, which was occupied continuously for 3,000 years, had evidence of burning, thousands of flint tool fragments and bones of wild aurochs , a type of extinct giant cow. That suggests the area near Stonehenge may have been an auroch migration route that became an ancient feasting site, drawing people together from across different cultures in the region, wrote lead researcher David Jacques of the Open University in the United Kingdeom, in an email.
"We may have found the cradle of Stonehenge, the reason why it is where it is," Jacques wrote. [In Photos: A Walk Through Stonehenge]
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The new discovery may also identify the people who first erected structures at Stonehenge. A few gigantic pine posts, possibly totem poles, were raised at Stonehenge between 8,500 and 10,000 years ago, but until now there was scant evidence of occupation in the area that long ago. The new research suggests those ancient structures may perhaps have been raised to honor a sacred hunting ground.
For decades, people have wondered at the enigmatic stone structures erected roughly 5,000 years ago in the plains of Wiltshire, England. No one knows why ancient people built the structure: some believe it was a place of ancient worship or a sun calendar, whereas still others think it was a symbol of unity or even that Stonehenge was inspired by a sound illusion.
The large megaliths, known as sarsens, are up to 30 feet tall and weigh up to 25 tons, while the smaller bluestones weigh up to 4 tons. Researchers think the giant boulders came from a quarry near Marlborough Downs, just 20 miles (32 kilometers) from the iconic site, while the bluestones likely came from Preseli Hills in Wales, nearly 156 miles (250 km) away from Stonehenge.
Jacques was looking through archival photographs of the region surrounding Stonehenge when he spotted a site known as Vespasian’s Camp, just a mile from Stonehenge in nearby Amesbury.
Realizing that it hadn’t been fully surveyed, Jacques began to investigate the area, which harbored a freshwater spring.
Because animals like to stop and drink at such watering holes, Jacques wondered whether ancient man may have settled nearby as well.
The team uncovered roughly 350 animal bones and 12,500 flint tools or fragments, as well as lots of evidence of burning. Carbon dating suggested the area was occupied by humans from 7500 B.C. to 4700 B.C. — roughly 5,000 years prior to the erection of the first stones at Stonehenge. [See Photos of the Stonehenge Hunting Ground ]
"The spring may have originally attracted large animals to it, which would have aided hunting and may have led to associations that the area was a sacred hunting ground," Jacques wrote.
In addition, the researchers found tools made from stone from one region of England, but fashioned in the style of another region (for instance, a stone tool made from Welsh or Cornwall slate, but made in a style typical of Sussex). That suggests the people from different regions were coming together at the site, Jacques wrote.
The findings could help researchers pinpoint why the ancient builders of Stonehenge chose the place they did, Jacques said.
"We have found a bridge from which transmission of cultural memory about the ‘specialness’ of the place where the stones were later being put up was possible," Jacques wrote. "We are getting closer to understanding their reasons for putting it up — it is all to do with ancestors, but those ancestors go much further back than has previously been realised."
The findings show "there was a substantial interest in the Stonehenge landscape well before the stones were hauled there and erected," said Timothy Darvill, an archaeologist at Bournemouth University in the U.K., who was not involved in the study.
Excavations dating to 2008 at Stonehenge also confirm earlier use at the megalithic site, Darvill wrote. However, what makes the Amesbury discovery special is the large trove of auroch bones found in the area, which suggests the spring was on a natural migration route for the wild aurochs, he said.
A program about the Amesbury site will air on BBC 4 on April 29.
Follow Tia Ghose on Twitter @tiaghose. Follow LiveScience @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on LiveScience.com.
5 Strange Theories About Stonehenge
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New Stonehenge theory: Stonehenge was built over a graveyard
Stonehenge built as a symbol of peace and unity, British researchers suggest
Statistics: Posted by DIGGER DAN — Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:01 pm
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Homeschooling: The Future of Liberty
by Ron Paul – Daily Paul
Published : April 08th, 2013
A common feature of authoritarian regimes is the criminalization of alternatives to government-controlled education. Dictators recognize the danger that free thought poses to their rule, and few things promote the thinking of "unapproved" thoughts like an education controlled by parents instead of the state. That is why the National Socialist (Nazi) government of Germany outlawed homeschooling in 1938.
Sadly, these Nazi-era restrictions on parental rights remain the law in Germany, leaving parents who wish greater control over their children’s education without options. That is why in 2006 Uwe and Hannalore Romeike, a German couple who wanted to homeschool their three children for religious reasons, sought asylum in the United States. Immigration judge Lawrence Burman upheld their application for asylum, recognizing that the freedom of parents to homeschool was a "basic human right."
Unfortunately, the current US administration does not see it that way, and has announced that it is appealing Judge Burman’s decision. If the administration is successful, the Romeikes could be sent back to Germany where they will be forced to send their children to schools whose teaching violates their religious beliefs. If they refuse, they face huge fines, jail time, or even the loss of custody of their children!
The Administration’s appeal claims that the federal government has the constitutional authority to ban homeschooling in all fifty states. The truth is, the Constitution gives the federal government no power to control any aspect of education. Furthermore, parents who, like the Romeikes, have a religious motivation for homeschooling should be protected by the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.
The federal government’s hostility to homeschooling is shared by officials at all levels of government. Despite the movement’s success in legalizing homeschooling in every state, many families are still subjected to harassment by local officials. The harassment ranges from "home visits" by child protective agencies to criminal prosecution for violating truancy laws.
Every American who values liberty should support the homeschoolers’ cause. If the government can usurp parental authority over something as fundamental as the education of their children, there is almost no area of parenthood off limits to government interference.
Homeschooling has proven to be an effective means of education. We are all familiar with the remarkable academic achievements, including in national spelling bees and other competitions, by homeshcooled children. In addition, homeschooled students generally fare better than their public school educated peers on all measures of academic performance.
It makes sense that children do better when their education is controlled by those who know their unique needs best, rather than by a federal bureaucrat. A strong homeschooling movement may also improve other forms of education. If competition improves goods and services in other areas of life, why wouldn’t competition improve education? A large and growing homeschooling movement could inspire public and private schools to innovate and improve.
When the government interferes with a parent’s ability to choose the type of education that is best for their child, it is acting immorally and in manner inconsistent with a free society. A government that infringes on the rights of homeschooling will eventually infringe on the rights of all parents. Homeschooled children are more likely to embrace the philosophy of freedom, and to join the efforts to restore liberty. In fact, I would not be surprised if the future leaders of the liberty movement where homeschooled.
I believe so strongly in the homeschooling movement that I have just announced my own curriculum for homeschooling families. Please visit this revolutionary new project at http://www.ronpaulcurriculum.com.
Statistics: Posted by DIGGER DAN — Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:29 am
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Department of Education
Common Core and CSCOPE Education
- Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh
Monday, April 1, 2013
In the late seventies, Americans were very proud and fiercely protective of their freedoms granted by the Constitution, of the United States, and of their standing in the world as a capitalist nation. Just the mere notion that someone came from a communist country raised eyebrows and pointed questions about one’s allegiance.
Then on October 17, 1979, President Jimmy Carter signed into law the Department of Education Organization Act, the U.S. Department of Education began operating on May 4, 1980, and things started to change.
People’s patriotic behavior and protectiveness of their culture, of their language, of the capitalist system in general that made them the most prosperous nation on earth, began to erode more and more overtly. Among the culprits were teachers who advanced personal socialist agendas to impressionable youth who believed every word they said.
In 1979 the Office of Education had 3,000 employees and an annual budget of $12 billion. In 2013 the Department of Education (DOE), with a cabinet level position, has 5,000 employees and a budget of $69.8 billion.
The House of Representatives in 1979 voted 210-206 in favor of the passage of the Department of Education Organization Act. Republicans opposed the elevation of the DOE to cabinet level status as unconstitutional, an unnecessary intrusion into state and local governments by the feds (they were right, see Common Core Standards and No Child Left Behind) and the creation of another huge bureaucracy (they were also right). The American Federation of Teachers opposed the law.
Liberals and Democrats thought the DOE constitutional under the Commerce Clause and the appropriation of funds legal under the Taxing and Spending Clause. The National Education Association with 1.8 million members supported the law. Amendments were proposed by those supporting the bill to curb school busing, to prohibit use of racial and gender quotas for admission to college, and to encourage school prayer.
Busing, racial and gender quotas are firmly in place today. School prayer or references to God are definitely gone in most schools and crosses are covered – we don’t want to upset the atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, or Islam. Politically correct liberals who stifle free speech like to explain, it is separation of church and state, yet they promote endless accommodations for other religions and cultures. Asking students to step on the word Jesus or to stomp on the American flag is an “enlightened” classroom activity approved by progressive academia.
As I wrote in my first book, “Echoes of Communism,” I found education, the curriculum, and its certification rules quite strange. I did not understand how a person with a doctorate in Arts in Sciences could not teach at any level in the public school system unless certified by the Department of Education but could teach university students.
I did not understand the stronghold the teacher’s union, NEA, had on employment and how it created standards for the Department of Education, wrote textbooks, and determined the curriculum, a curriculum that zealously promoted socialist/communist ideas and ideals in Social Studies, Economics, Earth Sciences, English, and Foreign Languages.
At first I attributed my basic clash with other teachers’ educational views to my assimilation problems. Teachers would tell me, this is how we do things in this country and, if you don’t like it, you can go back where you came from. That I did not want to do because that is exactly why I left – education, how people thought, lived, behaved, and what they learned was dictated and entirely regulated by the Communist Party in the classroom.
I began to realize quickly that most of these teachers were hard-core liberals who were acting and behaving just like our former communist apparatchiks. When I became a teacher, as a conservative, I was one of the “rara avis” (rare bird) in education, having completed most of my schooling in an Arts and Science environment, save for a few College of Education classes which did not help me at all to become a better teacher.
I did not fully comprehend how brainwashed my college students were by previous teachers until I tried to tell them what life and education were like under communism and none of them believed me, they were laughing! I stopped telling any stories about communism, it was an exercise in futility. The damage to these young people’s minds was so profound, not even direct contact with someone who actually lived under communism persuaded them. Why not?
Children were very impressionable and looked up to their elementary, middle, and high school teachers so much that once they got to college, they were already exposed to a heavy dose of “socialism, social justice, equity are grand” indoctrination. Most parents had no idea what their teachers inculcated into their children’s sponge-like brains. They were too busy making a living to care, some of them were ignorant themselves, even those with college degrees, or the teachers cleverly disguised what they were doing in the classroom.
The most glaring example is the CSCOPE curriculum in Texas, designed by a private corporation as “instructional material,” and not curriculum, thus escaping any scrutiny. Lessons are written by CSCOPE staff and former teachers and are not disseminated or accessed to parents. CSCOPE Review, an independent vigilant group, discovered a lesson plan which compared the Boston Tea Party to “an act of terrorism.” In another example, students were asked “to design the flag for a new socialist nation.” Glenn Beck interviewed teachers, David Barton, Pat Gray, Mary Bowen, Stan Hartzler, and Texas Senator Dan Patrick about CSCOPE.
On February 27, 2012, I wrote an article, “Common Core and Universal Design for Learning,” that received little attention. As usual, Americans were preoccupied with the latest manufactured crisis, and the American media purposefully ignored the implications of such federal cookie cutter education. I did not think it was a good idea. Emphasizing “collective” work, Arne Duncan described Common Core Standards as a one-size fits all curriculum in which all children can learn to “high achievement standards,” ignoring the facts that we are born with different IQs, different talents, and different interests that cannot be molded by government fiat.
Apparently, standardized tests “fail to produce a valid and reliable measurement of what significant minorities of students actually know, especially students with disabilities, English language learners or those from varied cultural backgrounds. Without accurate measurement, accountability systems are not only ineffective, they are unethical.”(Core Standards)
Education must be “collective” (code word for communism). If students are not equal, self-esteem is hurt. Grades and diplomas should be equal for unequal work in order to achieve social justice in education. Individualism is discouraged yet it is rugged individualism that has made this country great.
Common Core is much worse than I had envisioned. The American Principles Project (conservative think-tank) found that Common Core is one variable in the larger plan to track children from birth to work.
Michelle Malkin discovered that the 2009 stimulus package contained a “State Fiscal Stabilization Fund” offered to states for a “longitudinal data system (LDS) to collect data on public-school students” such as health, family income, religion, and homework.
Glenn Beck’s The Blaze described a 44-page DOE report which indicated the possibility of implementing through Common Core monitoring techniques such as “functional MRIs” (scanning and mapping a child’s brain function), “using cameras to judge facial expressions, electronic seats that determine posture, pressure-sensitive computer mouse, and a biometric wrist wrap.”
It will be a fascistic world if every person will be forced into a government-dictated and enforced, dumbed-down mold, where everybody is equally intelligent, equally capable, equally trained, equally able, and equally educated with a diploma on the wall that is not worth the paper with the fancy intaglio printing on it.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:34 pm
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