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.
The ACLU is targeting a Virginia school district for displaying the Ten Commandments in one of its high schools. “The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia filed the lawsuit [September 13th] against Giles County School Board in U.S. District Court in Roanoke on behalf of an unidentified Narrows High School student and the student’s parent,” reported the Washington Post. “The lawsuit says the display unconstitutionally promotes a specific religious faith and serves no secular purpose.”
The ACLU is demanding that the Ten Commandments be removed from school walls and that the court impose a ban on any further biblical displays. According to CBN News, “School board members voted in June to re-hang the biblical texts as part of a display that included other U.S. historical documents. More than 50 students had walked out of class in protest over the commandments removal earlier in the year.”
Governor Rick Scott of Florida signed SB 736 into law in March. The new law requires merit pay for teachers and it ends tenure for newly hired school teachers. The Florida Education Association has sued Florida alleging that the new law denies teachers their right to collective bargaining and is unconstitutional.
Cory Williams, one of the teachers who are included in the lawsuit, said: “The provisions of SB 736 radically transform the teaching profession — and not for the better. The expertise and knowledge of teachers have been ignored throughout this process and our constitutional rights have been trampled.”
Although other states have passed laws that weakened tenure and adopted new methods of evaluating teachers, no other state has made teacher merit for pay raises contingent upon how well students do on tests. Michelle Exstrom of the National Conference of State Legislatures observed: “Florida has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to the merit pay issue. They’ve just struggled to do it in a way that’s most effective for students and their teachers. You know what, it’s not clear cut how to make this work.”
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled September 13th that a California teacher’s First Amendment guarantees were not violated when the principal at the school where he worked ordered him to remove classroom banners that connected America’s heritage of freedom to faith in God. The decision overturned a lower court’s ruling that the Poway Unified School District had violated the free speech rights of Bradley Johnson, a mathematics teacher in the district.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Johnson “had displayed banners in his classrooms for two decades that he saw as celebrating the religious heritage of America, including ‘In God We Trust,’ ‘God Bless America,’ and ‘God Shed His Grace on Thee.’ ”
But when Johnson transferred to a another school in the district in 2007, his new principal, Dawn Kastner, ordered him to remove the banners, some over seven feet wide, saying that their size made them “a promotion of a particular viewpoint,” as Kastner was quoted in the court’s 40-page opinion.
One of the purposes of No Child Left Behind, the education reform program promoted by President George W. Bush and Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, was to set high standards for American public schools so that American students would excel in their studies. Testing was to be used as the means to see if the schools were meeting those new standards.
The theory was that if you set higher academic standards, the schools would have to revise their curricula and teach subject matter and academic skills that would help the students achieve academic success. But how was this to be done since the curricula had been deliberately devised to dumb-down the students? Were the professors of education and curriculum developers willing to give up their progressive goals to turn the students into little academically challenged socialists?
If the schools could not show academic improvement, they would lose federal funds. So the schools did what they considered to be the only way to meet the federal standards: cheat. Phyllis Schlafly writes in her August 2011 report:
Too much of anything is just as much a misallocation of resources as it is too little, and that applies to higher education just as it applies to everything else.
A recent study from The Center for College Affordability and Productivity titled "From Wall Street to Wal-Mart," by Richard Vedder, Christopher Denhart, Matthew Denhart, Christopher Matgouranis and Jonathan Robe, explains that college education for many is a waste of time and money. More than one-third of currently working college graduates are in jobs that do not require a degree. An essay by Vedder that complements the CCAP study reports that there are "one-third of a million waiters and waitresses with college degrees." The study says Vedder — distinguished professor of economics at Ohio University, an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and director of CCAP — "was startled a year ago when the person he hired to cut down a tree had a master's degree in history, the fellow who fixed his furnace was a mathematics graduate, and, more recently, a TSA airport inspector (whose job it was to ensure that we took our shoes off while going through security) was a recent college graduate."
According to a new behavioral study, Spongebob SquarePants may cause short-term attention and learning problems in 4-year olds. The study indicates that watching a mere nine minutes of the program can have such an effect.
Fox News reports:
The problems were seen in a study of 60 children randomly assigned to either watch SpongeBob, or the slower-paced PBS cartoon Caillou or assigned to draw pictures. Immediately after these nine-minute assignments, the kids took mental function tests; those who had watched SpongeBob did measurably worse than the others.
Those who watched SpongeBob SquarePants scored an average of 12 points lower than the other groups. The children who watched Calliou and drew pictures scored nearly the exact same. Another test administered to the three groups was how long the children were able to wait before eating snacks presented to them when the researcher left the room. Those who watched Calliou or drew illustrations waited approximately four minutes, as opposed to those children who watched Spongebob, who waited just two and a half minutes on average.
I received a very interesting comment on my recent article, "The Great Brain Robbery," in which I tried to convey the damage that is being done daily in our elementary schools by teachers who have been so badly miseducated that they have no idea that the teaching methods they are using can cause untold damage to a child’s ability to use his or her mind effectively for the rest of his or her life.
The reader wrote:
As an aspiring teacher with a year left in attaining my Master's of Education online at this site: http://www.cu-portland.edu/ I am extremely averse to the idea of favoring one teaching method over another. Why is phonics-based teaching any better or worse than visual-based learning? Every child is different, and that includes their learning style. You should be careful [not] to endorse a one-size fits all reading curriculum....
Obviously, this aspiring teacher has not yet taught anyone anything, but feels compelled to advise this veteran of the reading wars, that I should be careful not to endorse a “one-size fits all reading curriculum.”