This is the sixth segment in a series on K-12 education. Although John Dewey, the originator of “progressive education,” defied most of the cultural, moral, and economic norms of his era, his message nevertheless somehow mainstreamed its way into K-12 schools nationwide. Dewey characterized himself as a “democratic socialist.” Over the years, his writings increasingly underscored an aversion to the free-market system; an abhorrence of religion, especially Christianity; a distaste for educational basics such as reading and writing; and finally, in 1928, an admiration for Soviet schooling — for the creation of what he called a “collectivistic mentality.” Given the traditionalistic norms of the 1920s and 30s, the likelihood of his affecting a sea change in education seemed about as likely as the United States replacing the Constitution with Shariah law. Then again, strange things happen, and not usually by chance.
Throughout Dewey’s voluminous writings, two themes recur: that education and learning are interactive processes, which had some basis, and that the school itself is a social institution through which social reform can and should take place, which paved the way for political opportunists.
The U.S. Air Force has cancelled a course entitled “Christian Just War Theory” that was required for all nuclear missile launch officers, reported the Associated Press. The course, which has been taught for the past 20 years by military chaplains at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, is being revised following complaints by some participants that Scripture was used by teachers to show that war can be a moral endeavor, explained David Smith, a spokesman for the Air Force Air Education and Training Command. While the Air Force once felt the Bible-based training was necessary “because of the nature of the job” missile officers might be called upon to do, Smith said, it is now considered inappropriate in a society that has become increasingly pluralistic.
According to CNN, the Air Force suspended the ethics class “after 31 missile launch officers reported the religious nature of the briefing to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation,” a secular watchdog group that targets faith in the armed forces. Mikey Weinstein, a spokesman for the organization, said that there were several things the missile officers “found disgusting. The first was the fact that there is actually a slide that makes it clear that they’re trying to teach that, under fundamentalist Christian doctrine, war is a good thing.”
Just three days after the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found the ObamaCare individual mandate unconstitutional, President Barack Obama insisted that the mandate “should not be controversial” — despite having opposed an individual mandate during his run for President.
On Monday, during the first stop of his three-day Midwestern bus tour, Obama took time to explain why he believes “the individual mandate’s important.” Speaking to an audience in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, the President framed the matter thus:
Here’s the problem: If an insurance company has to take you, has to insure you, even if you’re sick, but you don’t have an individual mandate, then what would everybody do? They would wait till they get sick and then you’d buy health insurance, right?
Starbucks Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz has made his disdain for the Obama administration public. As a business leader, his disappointment with the Obama administration does not place him in the minority, but he has made it clear that he is willing to take on this Congress.
According to Bloomberg News, “Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz urged other CEOs to stop donating to U.S. political campaigns to encourage leaders to solve the nation’s growing budget deficit.”
Schultz wrote in an email to business leaders, “I am asking that all of us forego political contributions until the Congress and the President return to Washington and deliver a fiscally disciplined long-term debt and deficit plan to the American.”
The email went out to NYSE Euronext CEO Duncan Niederauer and Bob Greifeld, CEO of Nasdaz OMX Group Inc., who reportedly emailed letters to companies in return.
Controversy over an executive order issued by Rick Perry in 2007 is following the Texas Governor on the presidential campaign trail. In New Hampshire on Saturday and in Iowa on Monday, Perry faced questions about his order to have girls entering the sixth grade in Texas vaccinated against the human papillomavirus, a common sexually transmitted disease and the cause of about 70 percent of all cervical cancer, according to the federal Center for Disease Control.
Girls would be exempt from the order only if a parent or guardian signed an affidavit claiming a "conscientious objection." The order, signed by the Governor on February 2, 2007, became the subject of sharp and widespread criticism and the Legislature promptly passed a law revoking it. According to the ABC News blog, "The Note," Perry was asked about the controversial order during a backyard reception for the candidate at the home of state Rep. Pamela Tucker in Greenland, New Hampshire.
At the White House Rural Economic Forum in Peosta, Iowa, on Tuesday, President Obama unveiled new economic initiatives to help stir job growth and capital investment in rural America. "These are tough times for a lot of Americans — including those who live in our rural communities," the President said in a press release. "That’s why my administration has put a special focus on helping rural families find jobs, grow their businesses and regain a sense of economic security." With firm opposition from Republicans over another federal stimulus package, the White House has been seeking ways to curb the 9 percent unemployment rate without needing congressional approval. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Small Business Administrator Karen Mills alleged that the new economic package will have a meaningful impact on rural jobs — a critical element of U.S. unemployment, they claim, because although 16 percent of Americans live in rural areas, 90 percent of persistent poverty exists there.
Recommended by the White House Rural Council, Obama’s plan offers four economic initiatives:
While many are complaining about the recent debt-ceiling deal, is it really the issue? Sure, statists say that the Republicans steered us toward crisis with their initial unwillingness to compromise, while traditionalists complain that the GOP folded and “let us down again.” Our problems, however, lie not in our politicians but in ourselves.
Just so you know, my solution to our spending woes would be to once again limit the central government to only that which our Constitution dictates it may do, which would cause its budget to immediately shrink by at least two-thirds — and probably far more. Of course, this would involve eliminating bureaucracies such as the Department of Education, Environmental Protection Agency, and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and programs such as Social Security and federally provided food stamps. There would be nothing to fear, either, as there is much duplication here; for example, states have their own environmental and education agencies and other bureaucracies/programs that render the feds’ corresponding ones redundant. And why are we paying for two different levels of government to do the same thing? As for third-rail program Social Security, it could be devolved to the states, whose residents could then decide what its future would be.
The developments that have taken place in the 17 years that have passed since the death of Dr. Russell Kirk (1918-1994) have demonstrated the enduring significance of the writings of one of the pivotal thinkers of 20th century American conservatism. The American body politic seems mortally ill, and many of the current crop of “conservative” writers are utterly incapable of addressing the actual needs of these United States with even a fraction of the wisdom that Kirk readily displayed throughout his long career. The Intercollegiate Institute’s 2006 collection of Kirk’s essays, The Essential Russell Kirk, offered a new generation of conservatives an opportunity to encounter a broad range of his scholarship. Now, a second edition of Charles C. Brown’s Russell Kirk — A Bibliography, will further aid in the study of the writes of the “Sage of Mecosta.” The second edition of Kirk’s bibliography is not a minor update; the first edition was published 30 years ago — long before many of his significant later books had been written. The fundamental structure of Brown’s first edition has been retained, including every aspect of Kirk’s writings (and now expanded to include published interviews). The task undertaken by Brown — who serves as archivist of the Kirk Papers — provides a tremendous resource for a careful examination of various aspects of Kirk’s thought.
A new exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History reveals a bias against two icons of Americans: Christopher Columbus and Thomas Jefferson. The "Race: Are We So Different?" display — developed by the American Anthropological Association — takes what the museum’s website calls “an unprecedented look at race and racism in the United States.”
Visitors to the museum first encounter a five-minute video at the front of the hall, in which a number of controversial assertions are made: for example, that Christopher Columbus “colonized and conquered” the native Indians, and that Thomas Jefferson (as shown in the presentation, left) was merely a racist “slaveholder.”
The narrator of the video asserts:
Race is a powerful idea that was invented by society.