It's amazing that most of the presidential candidates manage to find time to run for president when they're so busy running for national superintendent of schools. Republican candidates typically tell us in one breath they want to get the federal government out of education and in the next that they have some really swell ideas for educational reform they'd like to implement (impose?) once they're in charge of the federal government.

Take Mitt Romney, if you can. (I know, he can be pretty hard to take at times.) At Thursday night's (more of less) debate in Orlando, Mitt was his usual glib and sure-footed self as he danced around the question of what to do about Washington's reach into classrooms all across this great land of ours. The question, presented in a video clip, came from a teacher in Atlanta who offered the following observation and question:

I see administrators more focused on satisfying federal mandates, retaining funding, trying not to get sued, while the teachers are jumping through hoops trying to serve up a one-size-fits-all education for their students. What as president would you seriously do about what I consider a massive overreach of big government into the classroom?

Texas Governor Rick Perry defended his policy of allowing illegal immigrants to obtain in-state tuition for Texas state colleges in the Fox News/Google debate September 22.

Perry faced withering criticism from former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who said of the Perry-backed Texas policy of granting in-state tuition to illegal immigrants:

It's an argument I just can't follow. I've got be honest with you, I don't see how it is that a state like Texas — to go to the University of Texas, if you're an illegal alien, you get an in-state tuition discount. You know how much that is? That's $22,000 a year. Four years of college, almost $100,000 discount if you are an illegal alien go to the University of Texas. If you are a United States citizen from any one of the other 49 states, you have to pay $100,000 more. That doesn't make sense to me. That kind of magnet draws people into this country to get that education, to get the $100,000 break. It makes no sense.... We have to turn off the magnet of extraordinary government benefits like a $100,000 tax credit — or, excuse me, discount for going to the University of Texas. That shouldn't be allowed. It makes no sense at all.

An honors student at a Fort Worth, Texas, high school was sent to the principal’s office after he told a fellow student that he thought homosexuality is wrong. Fourteen-year-old Dakota Ary was in his German class “when the conversation shifted to religion and homosexuality in Germany,” reported Fox News. “At some point during the conversation, he turned to a friend and said that he was a Christian and ‘being a homosexual is wrong.’”

A short time later Dakota’s mother, Holly Pope, received a call from an assistant principal at Fort Worth’s Western Hills High School informing her that her son would be serving an “in-school suspension,” along with a two-day full suspension, for his offense. “Dakota is a very well-grounded 14-year-old,” Pope told Fox News, adding that her son is not only an honors student, but plays on the school’s football team and is involved in his church’s youth group. “He’s been in church his whole life and he’s been taught to stand up for what he believes,” she added.

It’s time to originate a new joke: “What do you call 10,000 statists at the bottom of the sea?  A good start.”
What prompts me to quip about this watery solution is the latest bit of lunacy from the Tolerance and Diversity Nazis: Wisconsin education officials have ordered Berlin High School near Milwaukee to change its nickname from the “Indians.” The problem, found the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), is that the name is race-based.

The first reaction should be, “So what?” But more on that in a moment.

The Chicago Tribune reports that this move was instigated by a complaint from a Berlin HS alumnus.

That’s right, one complaint.

Talk about the squeaky (and one-screw-loose) wheel getting the grease.

The British Department of Education labeled at least 50,000 school children in Britain as racists and homphobes, the Daily Mail has reported in two stories since January.  At least 20,000 three- and four-year-old racists, the government apparently believes, are a major threat on the sceptr’d isle.

The newspaper stories detail the contents of two reports from the Manifesto Club, a group that has twice gathered information from the British Department of Education, which keeps an Orwellian watch on children and what they say to each other.

Indeed, the law in England requires schools to track every possible negative utterance that comes out of a child's mouth.

2010 Data

The data fro 2010, the Mail reported, shows that the schools have labeled nearly 35,000 children 11 years old and younger as intolerant bigots. And their names are on file.

A recent Canadian study has confirmed what has been known for over two decades — much to the chagrin of public school officials: Homeschoolers perform better than public school students in the crucial core academic disciplines of reading and math.

The study, published in the Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, compared the standardized test scores of 37 homeschooled students between the ages of five and 10 to those of 37 public school counterparts, finding that while public school students typically tested at or slightly above their grade level, homeschooled kids performed about a half grade higher in math and 2.2 grades higher in reading.

In explaining the differences in scores, Sandra Martin-Chang, a professor at Concordia University and the study’s lead author, said that the structure of homeschooling “may offer opportunities for academic performance beyond those typically experienced in public schools [including] smaller class sizes, more individualized instruction, or more academic time spent on core subjects such as reading and writing.”

Jerry Buell, the top gun teacher in Florida reassigned because he stated that homosexual behavior is unhealthy and sinful, is back in the classroom after missing the first three days of school.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that Buell, who posted what school officials viewed as “homophobic” comments on his Facebook page, began teaching social studies again in late August at Mount Dora High School in Lake County.

Such was the outrage about the school’s intimidation of Buell that even the leftist American Civil Liberties Union sided with him. A conservative group, Liberty Counsel, also took up his cause.

What He Said

The trouble began for the 2010 Teacher of the Year as he saw on television the news about New York’s legalization of homosexual marriage and posted his thoughts on his Facebook page:

School teacher Isaac Moffett asserts that the Bible is not just a religious document, but a primary source of history. He and his fellow teachers in Nampa, Idaho, relied heavily upon the use of the Bible and other religious texts in class, and as a result, the school was shut down.

Fox News explains: "At issue is the Nampa Classical Academy, a charter school, founded by Moffett in 2009. One year later, Idaho’s Board of Education shut the school down, citing its use of “religious texts” inside classrooms. Moffett says he only used the texts to teach history and is now suing the Board in federal court.

“[The Bible] is so much more,” said Moffett. “It’s a primary source of history. It’s a primary teaching source of actually people who lived during the time period.”

According to Moffett’s lawyer, David Cortman, the Board of Education’s actions are a blatant violation of the U.S. Constitution.
 

On the night of September 14th,  I was watching Piers Morgan interview the great British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Airlines. Branson’s house had burned down, but no life was lost. He and his son, mother, and relatives had been able to escape the flames which burnt this very large house to the ground. Morgan asked Branson if he believed in God. He said only vaguely. He said he also believed in evolution. Morgan then asked Branson if he had ever prayed. Branson admitted that he had prayed when he was facing death in a balloon that was in serious trouble. He simply asked God, “If you exist, please help me.” The fact that his life was saved did not turn him into a born-again Christian. He said he would like to believe, but that he needed something more tangible to prove God’s existence.

To those of us who believe, the very existence of the universe and our own lives are proof enough that God exists. You can’t get something as complex and beautiful as life from nothing. Indeed, a very big book was written by the ancient Hebrews on man’s relationship with God. It is called the Bible. It is not fantasy. It is history. It may be fantasy to the atheist, but it is history to the believer.

For many years, I kept track of the SAT scores for my publication, The Blumenfeld Education Letter, as an indicator of the decline of literacy in America and the continued dumbing down of Americans. And since there has been no implementation of intensive phonics in our schools, I have not expected the SAT verbal scores to improve. And apparently, I’ve been right.

The latest verbal scores for the class of 2011 are the lowest on record. Indeed, the combined reading and math scores have fallen to their lowest level since 1995. No surprise when you consider that No Child Left Behind has just about left every child in the government schools very far behind.

There is actually no better evidence documenting the dumbing-down process than the SAT scores. For example, in 1972, 2,817 students achieved a verbal score of 750 to 800, the highest possible score. In 1987, only 1,363 students achieved that score. In 1994, it was up slightly to 1,438. In other words, over a thousand smarties became dumber.

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