Rarely does a government official call for himself — and his entire department — to be canned. But that is, in effect, what Secretary of Education Arne Duncan did in a recent webcast, according to a video and partial transcript posted at CNSNews.com.
During the course of the webcast, in which Duncan answered questions submitted via Twitter, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was raised. NCLB is the 2001 version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) signed into law by President George W. Bush that imposes national standards on schools and measures schools’ success in meeting those standards primarily via standardized testing. Its emphasis on testing and its lack of flexibility have caused consternation in state capitals and school districts across the country, especially since failure to meet the standards could mean a loss of federal money.
I am surprised by how many famous people who have achieved great success in their chosen careers have also revealed that they are dyslexic and can’t read functionally. Among them are actors Tom Cruise, Henry Winkler, and Cher; millionaires Nelson, Laurence, and David Rockefeller; Charles Schwab, Richard Branson, and others. In the case of the Rockefeller brothers, they all attended the experimental Lincoln School, endowed by their father, where they were taught to read by the whole-word method, which caused their dyslexia. And probably the others acquired their dyslexia in public and private schools much in the same way. But what is even more disconcerting is that none of these famous people have been, or were, cured of their dyslexia.
School reading lists have radically transformed in the last few decades. While students from a generation ago may have spent their summer vacations dipping into such classics as A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, the present crop of students is being assigned dark, graphic, and edgy reading such as Norwegian Wood and Tweak: Growing up on Methamphetamine — novels which feature homosexual orgies and lesbian sex.
Written by Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood is described by one reviewer as “a poignant story of one college student’s romantic coming of age.” A synopsis of the book explains:
A 2010 “Teacher of the Year” in Mount Dora, Florida has been suspended for comments he made on his Facebook page that were critical of homosexual marriage. Jerry Buell, who has taught social studies and history in the Lake County school District for two decades and has, by the district’s own admission, a spotless record, was removed from his teaching duties while officials investigate allegations that his comments were biased against homosexuals.
Buell told FOX News that he was stunned by the allegations against him. “It was my own personal comment on my own personal time on my own personal computer in my own personal house, exercising what I believed as a social studies teacher to be my First Amendment rights,” he said.
But Chris Patton, a spokesman for the district said school officials “took the allegations seriously.
On May 31, 2011, I reached the age of 85. In other words I’ve lived through 85 summers, 85 winters, 85 springs. It may seem like a lot, but it’s not. 85 is not much of anything. What can you buy for 85 cents? What can you buy for 85 dollars? What is 85 compared to a national debt in the trillions? As the well-known saying goes, “Life is short.” Short, indeed. We should be living for hundreds of years, because it takes more than 85 years to become truly wise. But the good Lord decided that this short life is long enough, even though the Bible speaks of persons living hundreds of years.
What happened to shorten our lives? Maybe it was God’s observation that it doesn’t take long for a human being to make a mess of things. Look at the mess in Washington, all made mostly by people under 60 years of age. Some are just in their 30s and 40s. Maybe God decided that the longer people live, the more stupid and evil they get, and the more damage they can do. People are supposed to mellow with age — but that doesn’t seem to apply to politicians or dictators.
School officials in Lake County, Florida, have reassigned a teacher for posting his religious beliefs on Facebook. Jerry Buell, last year’s teacher of the year at Mount Dora High School, landed in hot water with school authorities because he wrote that “same-sex marriage” is a sin.
Buell quoted the Bible to support his words; however, the school system is suggesting he is not entitled to express certain opinions, even on his own time at his own Facebook page.
On July 25, news accounts say, Buell saw a story on television about New York’s approval of homosexual “marriage,” which the Governor, with the help of Republicans, pushed into law. Homosexuals everywhere celebrated with abandon.
But not Jerry Buell. According to Todd Starnes, writing at the Fox News radio website, Buell posted the following comments:
A federal appeals court has ruled that the founders of an Idaho charter school may not sue state officials who banned the school from using the Bible and other Christian texts in the classroom. The Associated Press reported that a panel of judges from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling of a lower court against the Nampa Classical Academy (NCA, emblem at left), which the Idaho Public Charter School Commission closed last year, citing financial concerns. According to the Idaho Reporter, the school’s charter “was yanked by the commission because panel members weren’t confident in the financial soundness of the school. NCA parents and officials say that the commission unfairly singled out their school because of its desire to use religious texts, like the Bible, in the classroom.”
As reported by the AP:
The founders of the charter school tangled with Idaho officials over the use of the Bible and other religious texts shortly after opening in August 2009 with more than 500 students in southwestern Idaho. The academy filed a federal lawsuit against Idaho officials in September 2009.
The Air Force appears to be on an intense crusade to sanitize religious content from its training courses. As reported by The New American, in late July the Air Force suspended a course entitled “Christian Just War Theory” after a group of missile launch officers complained to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation that the ethics course included the Bible and other Christian-themed material. Barely three weeks after the original incident, another Air Force instructor forwarded Power Point slides from a second class to the secularist watchdog group, complaining about that course’s Christian content.
CNN reported that in a lesson “designed to teach the Air Force’s core values to ROTC cadets, Christian beliefs such as the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, and the Golden Rule are used as examples of ethical values....” According to CNN, an ROTC instructor brought his complaint to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation after seeing a report on the original complaint brought by the missile officers. “I felt extremely uncomfortable briefing some of these slides, deleted them, and added what I felt were more relevant examples,” the anonymous ROTC instructor wrote in an e-mail to the secularist group.
Starting this year, all children in Detroit’s public schools, from kindergarten through 12th grade, will receive free breakfast, lunch, and snacks, the school system has announced.
Nearly 100,000 schoolchildren will receive the free meals regardless of income, thanks to a program administered by the federal Department of Agriculture. Detroit schools are participating, they say, to eliminate the stigma associated with coming from a low-income household that requires such assistance.
The city school system says “the effort is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Option Program, which will be piloted starting with the 2011-2012 school year.” It adds, "Michigan was one of three states selected to participate in the pilot program. Schools and Districts in Michigan may participate if at least 40 percent of their students are entitled to public assistance."
While unemployment nationwide remains above nine percent in the United States, the State Department continues to bring in foreign exchange students to work for American employers. And at least some of the students aren't happy about it when they get here.
More than 100 student workers walked off the job for the second straight day yesterday and gathered in front of the Hershey Story Museum in downtown Hershey, Pennsylvania, for a protest demonstration over pay and working conditions at the candy maker's Eastern Distribution Center III in nearby Palmyra. About 400 exchange students from as far away as China, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Turkey, and Romania are employed for the summer at the plant, at wages ranging from $7.25 to $8.35 an hour. But several of the protestors said lifting heavy boxes in a warehouse all day is not what they expected and that the payroll deductions, including rent for the mandatory company housing, leaves them with barely enough to live on.
"I pick up boxes that are 40 pounds — I weigh 95 pounds," Yana Bzengney, a 19-year-old student from Ukraine, told the Patriot-News of Harrisburg. She paid $3,500 for the chance to come to the United States and to see the country and its people and maybe visit New York and Washington, D.C, she said. Instead, she has seen little more than the inside of the warehouse.