The folks at the far-left Nation Magazine have finally figured out the problem that continues to plague the American education system: it's dominated by right-wingers!
A spokesman for the Nation whined to the Daily Caller's Chris Moody about a supposed "tendency for classes to exclude progressive ideas and viewpoints." Most people who have ever set foot in a classroom are now scratching their heads in confusion.
"The real idea behind it is to bring the left perspective to issues to make sure students have both left and right available to them," the Nation's Vice President of Circulation Art Stupar told TheDC. "This is an opportunity for students to view what the progressive left thinks about a particular issue."
Dylan Ratigan's "Daily Rant" segment was a treasure trove of controversial statements today. You be the judge of which statement rates higher on the controversy-meter:
Ratigan's claim that the "default position" in the USA is to incarcerate black men rather than educate them; or
Blogger Keli Goff's suggestion that to end the cycle of poverty among African-Americans, and to avoid burdening taxpayers, kids should be taught in school that not everyone should have children.
Ratigan's rather-imprison-than-educate African-Americans accusation is refuted by the facts, starting with the fact that the school district that spends more per pupil than any other in the USA is . . . that of the federally-funded District of Columbia, whose students are predominantly African-American.
As for the suggestion from Keli Goff [a youthful veteran of various Dem political campaigns], can you imagine the outrage and the accusations of eugenics if a conservative blogger, particularly one of pallor, proposed that kids be taught not to have children as a solution, among other things, for reducing the burden of African-Americans on taxpayers?
Well, it didn't take to much digging to find people who think that the $578 million cost of the new Taj Mahal complex known as the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools in Los Angeles (pictured at right; noted last night at NewsBusters and BizzyBlog) isn't that big of a deal.
What I found makes me wonder why it took so long for waste of this magnitude to become a national story.
On July 9, at LA's Daily News, Connie Llanos chronicled much of the story behind how costs spiraled out of control. Readers will have to go to the link to get that detail. In terms of the project's final cost, Llanos found plenty of people willing to say that spending over $135,000 per seat is okey-dokey (bolds are mine):
RFK is LAUSD's most costly campus – and it needs more cash
... District officials say the cost of the Robert F. Kennedy complex is more than justified if you consider its urban location, historical significance and expected community role.
The Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools in Los Angeles, apparently opening soon, will serve roughly 4,200 students in grades K-12. Its cost is coming in at $578 million, or almost $140,000 per student ($2.75 million per 20-student classroom).
This is the LA Unified District's most flagrant example of its Taj Mahal obsession, and it is far from the only one. Also, as the Associated Press's Christina Hoag reported early Sunday evening, LA is not the only place where the Taj Mahal complex is in vogue:
The K-12 complex to house 4,200 students has raised eyebrows across the country as the creme de la creme of "Taj Mahal" schools, $100 million-plus campuses boasting both architectural panache and deluxe amenities.
"There's no more of the old, windowless cinderblock schools of the '70s where kids felt, 'Oh, back to jail,'" said Joe Agron, editor-in-chief of American School & University, a school construction journal. "Districts want a showpiece for the community, a really impressive environment for learning."
On the heels of a new College Board report that the United States is struggling to compete with other countries when it comes to college completion rates, Vanity Fair's resident straight talker, Henry Rollins, has figured out the problem. The education system isn't struggling because of possible factors contained within the report, such as:
Inadequate funding of preschool programs
Poor college counseling programs for middle and high school aged children
High school dropout rates
A lack of international standardization for curriculum
Skyrocketing costs of education
No, Henry has stumbled onto the real, super secret reason why students are failing to finish their college work: Sarah Palin and George Bush.
To be accurate, it's not so much the direct fault of Palin and Bush - rather, it is those of you who support them, their stupid comments, and their intellectually uninterested ways. Their fans see them as real people and because of that, they feel comfort in an unchallenging environment.
Rollins explains why ‘America doesn't seem to value a college education the way it used to':
Ali Velshi continued CNN's endorsement of the homosexual agenda on Thursday's Newsroom with a commentary where he endorsed legislation that would "require school districts to have policies recognizing sexual orientation and gender identity." Velshi highlighted the case of a Mississippi teen lesbian who, with the ACLU's help, won $35,000 in damages against her school district, who had barred her from taking another young woman to the prom.
The CNN anchor gave a one-line preview of his regular "XYZ" segment 57 minutes into the 2 pm Eastern hour: "Okay- a prom is for everyone, no matter who your date is. I'm going to tell you more about it in my 'XYZ,' coming up." After a commercial break, Velshi launched into his commentary:
On his July 20 afternoon program, Dylan Ratigan shouted down the Washington Examiner's J.P. Freire for challenging the MSNBC host's liberal orthodoxy and accusing him of giving more air time to the liberal panelist appearing opposite him.
Eschewing any sense of balanced reporting, Ratigan thundered: "I said I'm in charge of the show. I decide who I'll talk to. I might spend the entire time talking to Jonathan Capehart and not talk to you at all. And then you can choose never to come on my show again."
"I'm sorry, Jonathan was taking up a lot of my time earlier in the segment," explained Freire. "Look at the amount of time he's been talking and the amount of time I was talking."
The children eager to attend Harlem Success Academies don’t care about partisan politics or ideological turf wars. They just want the best education possible. “The Lottery,” a new documentary by Madeleine Sackler, showcases families desperate for an alternative to the New York Public School system.
The film, playing an exclusive engagement through July 15 at the Starz FilmCenter in Denver, follows four such families who enter a lottery system so their children can attend a prestigious charter school. Strip away the interpersonal dynamics and you’ll find a full-throated argument on behalf of charter schools. And those who think only Republicans support school choice measures will be surprised to see a large number of Democrats eager to give charter schools a try.
On Tuesday's Rick's List, CNN's Jessica Yellin harkened back to her college days at Harvard as she defended Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan against charges by conservatives that she is anti-military: "When I was at Harvard, a full decade before she was dean of the law school, there was already institutional opposition to 'don't ask, don't tell'....it steeps the whole university."
Yellin, actually, was a key left-wing student agitator during her time at the university, as revealed in several interviews with The Crimson, the student newspaper at Harvard. She was labeled a "prominent feminist activist in her own right" in a June 10, 1993 profile of Sheila Allen, her first-year roommate and self-proclaimed "dyke of the Class of '93." The then-student certainly earned this label, as she helped resurrect Harvard-Radcliffe Students for Choice after a "relatively inactive period," was a women's studies major, and, in an April 10, 1992 interview, bemoaned how Harvard was apparently opposed to her feminist agenda: "For people interested in women's issues or gender studies, this is an overtly hostile environment."
In a May 1, 1992 article, Yellin expressed how the acquittal of the four police officers involved in the controversial Rodney King arrest was "the most blatant evidence of the indelible racism... in this country."
On Monday's Campbell Brown program, CNN's Soledad O'Brien presented a one-sided report about a lesbian teenager in Mississippi whose senior portrait was left out of her school's yearbook because she chose to have it taken in a tux, defying the school's rules. O'Brien commiserated with the teen, asking her at one point, "I want people to understand because other people will say- oh, for God's sake, it's just a picture. So explain to us, what does it feel like to not be where you're supposed to be?"
Anchor John Roberts introduced the special correspondent's near the end of the 8 pm Eastern hour by trying to make a tenuous connection between the report and the continuing major news of the Gulf oil leak: "All eyes are on Gulfport, Mississippi this morning as the President arrived for the first leg of his three-state tour, but about 150 miles north of the Gulf, in a small town called Wesson, the big news this season was all about the high school yearbook. It was here that a teenager's senior picture triggered an unexpected backlash, and sparked outrage throughout the state."
O'Brien sympathized with Ceara Sturgis, the teen from Wesson, Mississippi, from the start of her report: "For 18-year-old senior Ceara Sturgis, her high school yearbook is more than a collection of memories. It's about her struggle to be who she is in tiny Wesson, Mississippi, population about 2,000." After asking the lesbian to describe herself ("18 years old and I'm gay. I don't like people to push me around, especially when I have the right, and I don't give up."), the correspondent continued that "what she didn't give up on was her fight to get this picture in her yearbook, a picture she took wearing a tuxedo instead of the traditional dress, called a drape."
A speaker leads students in a creepy chant of "I am an Obama Scholar!" at Lincoln Bassett Middle School in New Haven, Connecticut. The chant is part of an educational program called the "Obama Initiative."
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) is "missing the target when it comes to whose interests he's really looking out for" but "then again, that's nothing new for us, is it," MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan complained in the "Busted" segment of today's program.
Ratigan lamented that McDonnell stripped out the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) as an alternative organization that Old Dominion educators could select for gun safety instruction for elementary school students. As it stands now, the National Rifle Association's "Eddie Eagle" program is the only option public school teachers have under state law.
Perhaps Ratigan is unaware that the Eddie Eagle program "neither offers nor asks for any value judgment concerning firearms," it merely instructs children in four simple steps about what to do should they come across a gun: "Stop. Don't touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult."
By contrast, the NCPC has ideologically-colored aims in some of its gun safety materials for grade schoolers. Take this lesson plan for fourth and fifth graders, for example (emphasis mine), which uses the assassinations of Lincoln, Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr. as tokens to advance a loathing of guns themselves:
In Wednesday's "Bill Puts Scrutiny on Detainees' Lawyers," New York Times legal reporter Charlie Savage sank his teeth into a Republican proposal that would crack down on lawyers for Guantanamo Bay detainees suspected of taking actions to harm the military.
A provision tucked into a defense bill before Congress would direct the Pentagon's inspector general to investigate any suspected misconduct by lawyers for Guantánamo Bay detainees, opening a new chapter in a recurrent political controversy over legal ethics and the representation of terrorism suspects. .... The provision would require the Pentagon inspector general to investigate instances in which there was "reasonable suspicion" that lawyers for detainees violated a Pentagon policy, generated "any material risk" to a member of the armed forces, violated a law under the inspector general's exclusive jurisdiction, or otherwise "interfered with the operations" of the military prison at Guantánamo. .... In introducing the proposal last week, Representative Jeff Miller, Republican of Florida, focused on the John Adams Project, a joint enterprise of the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. It provides research and legal assistance to the uniformed lawyers defending detainees who are facing prosecution before a military commission.
Mr. Miller characterized the John Adams Project as a "treacherous enterprise," referring to accusations that its researchers took pictures of interrogators and gave them to military defense lawyers, who in turn showed them to detainees.
The lawyers have defended the legality and propriety of their efforts. They contend that the detainees were illegally tortured in the custody of the Central Intelligence Agency, and they want to raise that issue at trial. To do so, they need to identify potential witnesses to the interrogation sessions.
So far unobjectionable, though we could have learned more about those photographs: Were researchers trying to make targets out of interrogators?
But Savage went off the rails in the last two paragraphs:
On Tuesday’s Joy Behar Show, HLN host Behar again suggested that an activity by the state of Arizona could be compared to Nazi Germany, as she discussed plans by the state’s education department to stiffen English-speaking requirements for teachers. Introducing the subject with comedians Mo Rocca and Colin Quinn, after taking a shot at former President Bush’s speaking skills, she asked does the requirement "remind you of any country, 1940ish?" Behar:
The Arizona Department of Education is cracking down on teachers with thick accents or who make grammatical errors when speaking. Well, there goes Snooki`s shot at teaching Algebra in Phoenix. Okay, and what about George Bush and his grammatical errors all those years? They are getting rid of teachers because they have accents in Arizona. Remind you of any country, 1940ish?
Over the past several weeks, during debates over Arizona’s attempt to enforce laws similar to federal immigration laws, Behar has repeatedly made direct and indirect references to Nazi Germany both on the Joy Behar Show and on ABC’s The View to disparage the Arizona law.
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Tuesday, May 25, Joy Behar Show on HLN:
MSNBC's Chuck Todd on Tuesday attacked new standards being adopted for history textbooks in Texas as "odd" and mocked that the state would now be teaching "education by Wikipedia." Evan Smith of the Texas Tribune appeared as a guest and fretted that the school board includes "a conservative, arch conservative bloc."
Todd recounted the changes being made to the curriculum, including "the idea that our Founding Fathers may not have intended a separation of church and state...how government taxation and regulation can serve as restrictions to private enterprise."
Todd derided the story, saying, "...The more you look into it, the odder it gets." He noted that the rise of the conservatism in the '80s would be highlighted and later marveled, "So, is this, essentially, education by Wikipedia? I mean, because, Wikipedia is...when a majority, it seems, accept what the version of a story that might have happened?" [Audio available here.]
CNN did its part to perpetuate the liberal talking point about Arizona's supposedly racist campaign against illegal immigrants by airing a report three times on Monday that spun the state's standards for English teachers as an "accent ban" or "crackdown." Anchor Kyra Phillips even opined that it was "just wrong to judge a teacher by his or her accent as to judge on their hair or skin color."
The network's American Morning program first aired correspondent Thelma Gutierrez's report 27 minutes into the 6 am Eastern hour. Three minutes earlier, anchor John Roberts previewed the upcoming segment by noting that "some schools in Arizona [are] cracking down on English teachers who have accents." Roberts then introduced Gutierrez's report, stating that "state education officials want immigrant teachers with heavy accents removed from classes for students who are still learning English. They say they're simply following federal guidelines that were set up by the Bush administration back in 2002. But critics are calling it an ethnic witch hunt."
The "guidelines...set up by the Bush administration" line by Roberts was actually a reference to the No Child Left Behind law which passed with bipartisan support in Congress in 2001, and signed into law by then-President Bush in January 2002. Gutierrez mentioned this during her report as she introduced the Arizona state education official defending his state's guidelines: "State School Superintendent Tom Horne says, as part of No Child Left Behind, he's been monitoring ELL teachers for bad grammar and mispronounced words for the past eight years." But instead of mentioning this detail, the CNN anchor labeled it as being from the Bush administration.
Probably no more than Janet Napolitano or Eric Holder has read the new Arizona SB1070. Ann Althouse has described the Washington Post's dereliction of duty in its description of the Texas curriculum. The AP articles are no better.
In twoarticles over the last two weeks, the AP has written the following (sometimes more than once) about the new Texas curriculum:
A far-right faction of the Texas State Board of Education gained a giant step forward Friday in injecting conservative ideals into social studies, history and economics lessons that will be taught to millions of students for the next decade. (Emphasis added. Nothing like setting the tone up front.)
Teachers in Texas will probably be required to cover the Judeo-Christian influences of the nation's Founding Fathers — but not highlight the philosophical rationale for the separation of church and state.
Curriculum standards also will describe the U.S. government as a "constitutional republic," rather than as "democratic."
The Texas state school board gave final approval Friday to controversial social studies standards that minimize the separation of church and state and say that America is not a democracy but a "constitutional republic."
Really? The second point is ludicrous to describe as "controversial." The U.S. system of government is not direct democracy but a representative republic regulated by a constitution, hence a "constitutional republic." As to the first allegation in Birnbaum's lead paragraph, this writer did some homework and found the actual text of the newly-approved standard in question, which applies to government courses:
Examine the reasons the Founding Fathers protected religious freedom in America and guaranteed its free exercise by saying that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, and compare and contrast this to the phrase “separation of church and state.”
The notion that that standard "minimize[s]" the notion of "separation of church and state" must be read into the text of the actual newly-approved standard, it certainly isn't logically concluded from it.
Later in the article, Birnbaum insisted that "the new standards... draw an equivalency between Jefferson Davis's and Abraham Lincoln's inaugural addresses." Here's the actual language of the newly devised standard:
ABC and NBC rushed to get stories onto the air Friday night delivering left-wing talking points against the new social studies curriculum guidelines passed by the Texas State Board of Education, as both portrayed conservative Christians as the enemies of accurate history. Reality wasn’t good enough for ABC, which framed its lead story around “Rewriting History?” and saw no liberals in the “big controversy,” yet also tried to discredit the conservatives by highlighting “some of the things the conservatives tried and failed to do.”
ABC’s Dan Harris fretted “the new standards require that textbooks mention pillars of the conservative movement, like the Moral Majority the National Rifle Association, and the Contract with America with no liberal counter balance.” Harris, acting as more of a prosecutor than a journalist, then ran archived clips of him demanding from board chairman Don McLeroy:
- What do you say to people who say that you are, in essence, imposing your political and religious views on school children?
- If the Founding Fathers really wanted this to be a Christian nation, why is there no mention of Christianity or Jesus in the Constitution?
Instead of citing any other examples of awful new guidelines, Harris went to ones not added: “Here are some of the things the conservatives tried and failed to do: Have the President called by his full name, Barack Hussein Obama, which some called an attempt to raise questions about his faith, and even rename the slave trade as the Atlantic Triangular Trade.”
It would not surprise me if the Associated Press's April Castro has spent the last 10 weeks gritting her teeth non-stop.
In March (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), she was clearly peeved at the Texas State Board of Education. In a supposedly objective news story entitled "Texas ed board vote reflects far-right influences," she decried a "faction" (actually a nearly two-thirds majority) of Board members for "injecting conservative ideals into social studies, history and economics lessons."
I will take that as an admission that such ideals have previously been absent or barely present.
Friday, non-appreciative April was tasked with covering the Board's final adoption vote that ratified proposed curriculum changes. If we are to believe her (I know, that's dangerous), improvements (my word, certainly not hers) in the meantime appear to have been strengthened the reality basis, if you will, of the curriculum.
Here are the first five paragraphs of Ms. Castro's report (link is dynamic and subject to change). There are lots of errors in those paragraphs alone; readers are invited to see if they can catch the big cahuna:
In Missouri, a high school student was assigned Michael Moore's documentary "Sicko" to analyze for 50% of her grade in her senior Literature and Composition class. Perhaps more shocking is that the teacher who assigned the movie also denounced the same student in front of the class as a "teabagger".
A California middle school and state university both apparently find extreme environmentalist indoctrination to be worthy of expending taxpayer dollars. Jehue Middle School and California State University at San Bernardio were both involved in the making and promotion of a video called "Environmental Police Agency" which features middle schoolers going around tackling and arresting "non-environmentalists" for crimes like having a refrigerator, leaving computer screens on, and throwing away a soda can. At the end they caution that drastic times call for drastic measures so we should institute this kind of green police state to save the world.
On Wednesday's Newsroom, CNN's Kyra Phillips hinted that racists only come in a shade of white when she highlighted how "there's still racism in this country- KKK members, white supremacists, and less radical racists." Phillips, commenting on the controversy over a recent blacks-only field trip at a Michigan school, later expressed her approval that the segregated field trip program was being suspended.
The CNN anchor gave a commentary on the controversy after playing a report from the network's Michigan affiliate on the issue 52 minutes into the 9 am Eastern hour. Phillips emphasized that "white kids need black role models, too. Why? Because, let's face it, there's still racism in this country- KKK members, white supremacists, and less radical racists raising kids, and the Internet with all kinds of racist poison out there. Kids might believe that stuff unless they're challenged not to- see it debunked right before their eyes." She continued that "role models come in all colors, all genders- all professions. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. So I'm glad to hear that now that the school program in Michigan is being suspended, so school officials can tweak it and make it more inclusive. Good thing, because the segregated field trip might have violated Michigan law."
Just a week after the last time a California school told its students that the American flag was somehow racist, another California school repeated the lesson. This time a middle school student was taught that drawing an American flag was wrong. However, drawing a picture of President Obama was apparently praise worthy:
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
A recent article from CBS Healthwatch contributor Kelli Stacy revealed new findings from a study done by University of Kentucky researchers indicating that less than 20 percent of young adults believe "Oral contract with partner's genitals" constitutes "sex."
In 1991 a similar survey found that approximately 40 percent of young adults considered oral sex as "sex," Stacy noted. Researchers attribute the shift in sex-conceptualization to the Monica Lewinsky affair.
"Researchers point to former President Clinton's infamous statement, ‘I did not have sexual relations with that woman,' as the pivotal turning point in society's changing views about oral sex," Stacy said. "The attitude shift has been dubbed the ‘Clinton-Lewinsky' effect."
Jesse Jackson, the civil rights leader, has moved on from the health care debate and found a new oppressed, downtrodden minority: student loan recipients. And naturally, the Huffington Post was happy to afford "the Reverend" a platform for his activism.
"A plan to earn debt forgiveness retroactively must be instituted at once as an acknowledgment that an entire generation is mired in tens of thousands of dollars in student debt," Jackson wrote. "Not every one of them will be able to write a blockbuster memoir to pay off student loans."
Although the federal government's latest takeover in student loans by "cutting out the middleman" pleased Jackson, he called on the Obama administration to take more drastic steps in today's "Second Great Depression."
"Students need more than good intentions," Jackson said. "They need a guarantee that the savings realized by cutting out the banks and Sallie Mae go mostly to them. There are lots of hands out for the income that direct student lending will generate. Some of it will go to subsidize universal access to health care. But most of it should go to students themselves," Jackson opined.
Burdened under a mountain of student debt? CNN has the answer - dedicate ten or so of your prime years to social work. Better yet, join the AmeriCorps.
Doing her best to channel Obama's inspiring Notre Dame address about shunning immoral endeavors in the private sector for virtuous and selfless community endeavors, Stephanie Elam sounded more like a Public Works Czar than a CNN correspondent on April 6.
"This is really about helping those people out, getting them ready as far as the choice for best course of study for the financial future," Elam said on CNN "Newsroom." "So you may consider the possibility of enlisting in public service. Demand is really high right now for government jobs ... and any remaining debt on federal student loans will be forgiven after you work full-time in public service for ten years."
The student newspaper of Katie Couric's alma mater was silent today about an incident of vandalism Thursday night or early Friday morning against a local Republican Party office, even though the same paper devoted a front-page story on Friday to a severed propane line believed to have been an act of vandalism targeting the Democratic congressman who represents Charlottesville, Va.
April Castro and the headline writers at the supposedly "objective" Associated Press are obviously not pleased with changes the Texas State Board of Education made to the Lone Star State's social studies curriculum.
Castro's report (HT to an NB e-mailer) makes almost no attempt to hide her clear disdain. She includes references to a "far-right faction" (a "faction" that happened to constitute a two-thirds majority!) and "ultraconservatives," while uniformly describing leftists as mere Democrats, and generally comes across as a sore loser in solidarity with the poor, outvoted libs.
You'll also see in the excerpt that follows that the story's headline is disgracefully over the top: