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The U.S. Department of Education has created the largest computerized database of personal information on American students ever gathered by any government in history. The exact personal and intimate facts in this database are outlined in the Student Data Handbook for Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education (NCES 94-303), released in 1994. Comprised of 228 pages plus about 100 pages of appendices, this handbook can be obtained from the U.S. Dept. of Education. Send for your own copy and prepare to be appalled. Or just read this article and find out what to do.

Angry that his children's private school closed because most parents couldn't justify paying the government for public school and then paying again to send their children to private school, libertarian activist and attorney James Ostrowski responded to the closure by publishing a book Government Schools Are Bad for Your Kids: What You Need to Know, in which he gives the history of public education in America and the negative side-effects of such schooling.

In 1955, the most significant book about American education, Why Johnny Can't Read, by Rudolf Flesch, was published and caused quite a stir, rankling the entire education establishment. Now under the auspices of the federal government's Department of Education, education is no more better then it was back in 1955 — in fact it has worsened with students garnering lower test scores and the dumbing down of the curriculum, distorting truth and omitting key history.

Next to morality, The John Birch Society believes that education is the most important element of a free society. It is imperative that we see to it that the voice of parents in their children's education remains free and unabridged by government usurping, if liberty is to prosper. For it is only through education can there be a well-informed populous. With the help of God, education is the key to a better world. As Robert Welch, Founder of the John Birch Society, noted, "Education is our total strategy and truth is our only weapon."

constitution day

This article first appeared as "An Excellent Project for All" by John F. McManus in the JBS Bulletin, July 2010.

In 2004, Congress enacted legislation requiring all publicly funded educational institutions to provide students with instruction about the U.S. Constitution. The law (Public Law 108-447) specified that it should be given on September 17, the date of the completion of the Constitution in 1787.

Kent University RiotsThis week (week of July 26, 2010) Glenn Beck is featuring on his TV Show the radical manifesto from June 1969, "You Don't Need A Weatherman To Know Which Way The Wind Blows." Here is an article from American Opinion, The John Birch Society's magazine from 1959 to 1985, "Who is Paying for the Student Revolutionary Movement" by Gary Allen, published in the November 1970 issue. This article is must reading for those following Beck's revelations about the Weathermen this week. It shows just how much financial support for the student radicals in the 1960s and 70s came from the American establishment, and how the revolutionary strategy then as now was "pressure from above, pressure from below."

International Baccalaurrette or educationBack in the 1950s, international private academies, such as those in Washington, DC and New York City featured the International Baccalaureate (“IB” for short) because it was the choice of diplomats and others of European extraction. Sometimes parents there merely had a tour of duty in the U.S., but because their kids were expected to go home and take the International Baccalaureate test, their youngsters’ future prospects for college and career depended upon a rigorous scholastic regimen, which surpassed anything in American K-12 programs at that time. Many students flunked the test first time around. They got two more shots. Then it was either off to university, to trade school or something far less appealing.

Graduates are given big-government liberal speeches at commencementEvery year about this time, big-government liberals stand up in front of college commencement crowds across the country and urge the graduates to do the noblest thing possible — become big-government liberals.

That isn't how they phrase it, of course. Commencement speakers express great reverence for "public service," as distinguished from narrow private "greed." There is usually not the slightest sign of embarrassment at this self-serving celebration of the kinds of careers they have chosen — over and above the careers of others who merely provide us with the food we eat, the homes we live in, the clothes we wear and the medical care that saves our health and our lives.   

Students and the education systemDespite efforts in some states to counter the now-admitted failures of education policy at the state and federal levels, overall it has been a daunting, brutal and thankless task.

Ting-Yi Oei, a Northern Virginia high school teacher/administrator who dared to try to maintain discipline (and decency) among students at Freedom High in Loudoun County, Maryland, (“My Students. My Cellphone. My Ordeal,” The Washington Post), found himself defending his principles in court, with no real support from either of the teachers unions while simultaneously being in the throes of an emergency at home, his wife having been diagnosed with a cancerous tumor. (Now there’s “compassion” for you!)

Education and how teaching methods need to change due to student failureSeveral states have begun exercising their prerogatives lately in a decision to face up, finally, to K-12 education failures. For example, according to a report by Deborah Simmons in the May 24th issue of the Washington Times, DC school Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee is working to do away with seniority-based lay-off methods and has begun tying both teacher retention and tenure to pupil performance. So are a number of other states — among them, New York, Colorado, Connecticut and Arizona.

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