The results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress revealed that U.S. schoolchildren have made little progress since 2006 in their understanding of key historical themes, including the basic principles of democracy and America's role in the world.
Only 20% of U.S. fourth-graders and 17% of eighth-graders who took the 2010 history exam were "proficient" or "advanced," unchanged since the test was last administered in 2006. Proficient means students have a solid understanding of the material.
The news was even more dire in high school, where 12% of 12th-graders were proficient, unchanged since 2006. More than half of all seniors posted scores at the lowest achievement level, "below basic." While the nation's fourth- and eighth-graders have seen a slight uptick in scores since the exam was first administered in 1994, 12th-graders haven't.
According to the report, there is a silver lining: the performance of black and Hispanic students in fourth and eighth grades has improved.
Some are wondering if these pathetic scores are a result of history being pushed aside in favor of more math and science. I have another theory - just a theory, mind you, based upon my experience as a parent. Both of my daughters went to public school (the youngest is still in high school), and I shook my head when I saw what they were studying in elementary school. Very little emphasis was put on American history and the basics of our government. Instead, their formative years in school focused on studying the history and culture of other nations such as Japan, and in fourth grade they spent an entire year focusing on the American Indian (called "Native Americans" in PC speak).
I'm certainly not saying that American Indians have no part in American history. But it should be part of the whole package.
When I was in fourth grade, I recall studying the American Revolution. I even remember having to write a report on Crispus Attucks (I recall a friend drew the cover illustration for me), a black man who was the first person shot to death during the Boston Massacre in 1770.
Also, when I was in elementary school, I remember learning about the various states and their resources. How many kids today know the basis for their own state's economy, let alone that of other states in the union? They're lucky if they can even fill in a blank US map properly.
And I live in a town that has an excellent school district. It had better, for all the taxes I pay.
IMHO, the liberals who have taken over our school system don't want students to have a firm grasp on American history, and so they avoid it as long as they can get away with it. And yet we continue to question our students' overall abysmal performance in history...
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Public secondary schools in Britain will be told to stop teaching traditional lessons and replace them with "month-long interdisciplinary projects on topics such as global warming." Forget the basics. Let's do projects instead!
This comes on the heels of some British schools dropping Holocaust studies for fear of offending Muslim students.
I shudder to think how prepared for the world British students will be. And I shudder to think that our schools might latch on to this ridiculous trend.
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Actually, we appear to be well ahead of the Mother Country in this matter. Schools seem to be teaching "Global Warming" all year long.posted by Curt at June 25, 2007 09:54 AM
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Well glory be! Not only did my daughter's science teacher show The Great Global Warming Swindle to her class, but he showed it to all of his classes. And, per my daughter, at least five or six kids in her class alone have begun to question the "conventional wisdom" of man's contributions to global warming.
See? It pays to get involved. Perhaps there's some hope in our public schools after all. (Well, just a leetle bit.)
Speaking of the Goracle's movie getting shown in school:
So how did An Inconvenient Truth become required classroom viewing?
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Force the teacher to eat Salt Cured Drowned Polar Bear in the teacher's lounge as punishmentposted by John Ruberry at May 21, 2007 11:50 PM
Good Show! One small step...
The next step is to offer a film downplaying the viability of corn-based ethanol, as a fuel.posted by joe-6-pack at May 23, 2007 11:49 AM
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Apparently my daughter's science class will be watching An Inconvenient Truth either today or tomorrow. Per my request, she asked her teacher if he'd be willing to show The Great Global Warming Swindle, and he said he would if time permitted. So I dug out my copy and gave it to her to bring to school today.
So will they get to see it? Good question. The "time permitted" bit might have just been something he said so he can use it as an excuse later as to why the kids didn't see it. Or maybe time really is tight, and he'll do his best to fit it in. I'll let you know.
Speaking of which, Moonbattery tells us how all students at Roger Williams University have to take Core 101: Science, Technology and Society, where watching the Goracle's movie is required.
Previous: School Indoctrination Time
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This really pisses me off! My boss'daughter is 15 and having similar difficulties in her history/current events class (yes, in CT). Her teacher is to the left of left apparently, and has called her out in front of her classmates for her differing opinions, saying she's just a mouthpiece for her parents (of whom he knows nothing actually, for all he knows the daughter is the polar opposite of her parents).
So her dad decided to "take this on, one sleepover at a time". Went out and bought some coffee mugs with George Bush on them; told his daughter her friends will be drinking out of those mugs ONLY...
But it really is a sad state of things when a student with a differing opinion gets embarrassed and chastised by her HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER. I know, believe me - I was in 8th grade during the Carter/Ford election - my current events teacher was decidedly a Carter fan, I was not. Many verbal battles ensued, with my parents ultimately talking to the school board about his politics and treatment of students with a differing view.posted by at May 11, 2007 10:09 AM
Ooops, that rather long diatribe above is from me...posted by Kris, in New England at May 11, 2007 10:10 AM
You don't know if he's to showing it teach or critique, do you?
Any history or social studies class shouldn't be about content anyway, it should be about getting students to think critically. Teachers should treat all students the same, regardless of the politics, obviously: they should chanllenge them all.posted by paul at May 11, 2007 01:33 PM
Well gosh, May, if her dad controls details down to what she and her friends(!) drink out of, then maybe there's something to that "mouthpiece for her parents" comment.
Incidentally, I had the exact opposite experience in high school, having grown up in an extremely right wing area. I'd get called out and shot down for speaking up about everything from bilingual education to welfare to capital punishment. My point is that I’m totally sympathetic if your daughter gets slapped down by her teacher for her political beliefs – that’s crummy. However, if the teacher is just showing the movie in order to fuel discussion, just have her be ready to call out the factual errors (I’m guessing if you have such a problem with the movie that you’ve seen it and know what is wrong or misleading about it, right?).
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Now that my oldest daughter is in high school, the indoctrination machine has begun to operate in earnest (although I have to say my town is not nearly as bad as others I have heard about). Last night, she told us that in science class today, they'll be watching the Goracle's An Inconvenient Truth. I asked if she knew if the teacher would be showing the opposite side, and she guessed no.
So then I asked if she would be comfortable asking if the teacher would be willing to show BBC's The Great Warming Swindle, which I have on DVD, and she said she would do it. Will the teacher say yes? I'll let you know.
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I wouldn't hold my breath on expecting balance in a public school classroom, but good on ya for trying to squeeze it in there.posted by Reverse_Vampyr at May 4, 2007 11:35 AM
If she doesn't get anywhere, I will contact the teacher myself...and if I get no satisfaction, I will go to the administration, etc. I'm sick of this crap!posted by Pam at May 4, 2007 12:49 PM
So what was the outcome? I've been watching for an update. I'm assuming you got no response from the teacher (that's the norm with our public schools, unless it's about the kids doing something wrong). Any luck with the administration folks?posted by Kyle at May 8, 2007 02:06 PM
They didn't actually watch it last week; my daughter thinks she got the date wrong. They've spent the last few days preparing for a big test slated for tomorrow (May 9). Perhaps they'll watch it later this week or early next week. I will definitely let you know if they do and if the teacher agrees/doesn't agree to show the opposing view.posted by Pam at May 8, 2007 02:12 PM
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Rightwing Prof directed me to this inane commentary in the Western Kentucky University College Heights Herald (free registration required), written by Brandon Wilson, a senior who is a journalism major. Some highlights:
I was in a sociology class not long ago and noticed that an off-duty Bowling Green police officer was in the room. He was in his full uniform, including his utility belt, gun in holster.
Just thinking about it now, I am still in shock. A gun in a classroom! This is by far the dumbest thing I have seen as a Western student. There is no excuse for this. I do not care that he is an officer.
I was discussing this with some of my classmates and I am convinced that there is no logical reasoning for this officer to have his gun.
First of all, lets say he doesn't get out of class until 30 minutes before he is supposed to be at work. I don't care. If he can't find a place to lock his gun up until he is on duty, then he should reschedule his classes so that he gives himself more time.
Someone even argued that if something happened he could provide protection. Well, what if it happened to him? Now there is a gun in the room and anyone has access to it. If it were someone with a knife, then now the situation has become much more dangerous. God forbid it was a person with another gun, because now that person has more ammo.
This is a school. Have we all forgotten about what happens with guns in classrooms? I cannot think of one good thing that has happened with a gun in that environment, but a number of tragedies do come to mind.
The least of my concerns about this is that a gun in a classroom does not create the type of relaxed atmosphere that students desire in the classroom. There is no way that a gun will ever comfort me while I am trying to learn about Karl Marx's views on society.
This is a senior in WKU's journalism program? And we wonder at the state of our MSM today. And no, I'm not just talking about his point of view, but the childish writing style. I'm sure, however, the AP will find a place for him.
Not only does he have an irrational fear of guns, but is opposed to an off-duty police officer having one while taking classes, supposedly to better himself. He suggests that the officer reschedule his classes so he, Wilson, won't have to be subjected to seeing a *gasp* gun as he studies Karl Marx's theories. (Marx, what a surprise.) The same officer who would not hesitate to put his own life in jeopardy in order to save Wilson's thin-skinned, arrogant hide.
Now I know the title of this post says there's hope for college students yet, and so now I come to that point: the comments.
As of this writing, there are 47 comments. Each and every one, without exception, calls Wilson on the carpet either for his disrespect toward the officer, his disrespect for the Constitution, or his sounding like a spoiled child throwing a tantrum because something happened that he didn't like and had no control over. Here's a sampling:
This is the worst thing I have ever read!
Mr. Wilson apparently you don't keep up with the news around the country. Just a couple of weeks ago there was a young man who walked into a mall and started killing people. The first person to respond to the incident was an OFF DUTY POLICE OFFICER!! Not only was he off duty, he was eating dinner with his PREGNANT wife!!!
You have no class Mr.Wilson. And you sure have no business writing for a college news paper!
It sounds like you just have a problem with police in general. I would much rather have an officer in every class in my University than have 1 student carry one in class. The odds are better that the officer will protect you with the gun than get it taken away from him. I'd like to see you try and take the gun away from him without getting yourself killed or seriously hurt.
And I also have to agree with the rest of the posters on here that say you sound like a whiny 12 year old with nothing to do but bitch.
Wow, Hysteria is alive and well on our college campi. You have the right to be uncomfortable. You even have the right to wet yourself at the site of a gun. You however, have no right to impose your beliefs on others.
That officer and other CCW carriers are law abiding people and have no childish sense of firearms as you seem to. They don't have the "Mommy, make them stop or ill hold my breath till I turn blue" mentality. They see the firearm as a tool, neither evil or good. It is used in self defense, in defense of person, property and country. It is a tool. Get over your childish sense of entitlement and please, for the love of god, don't go into journalism. You are far to involved with yourself to be an objective journalist.
Absolutely delicious. Read them all if you have a few minutes. Bless the students of WKU who had the sense to see through this nonsense.
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Chief Illiniwek isn't the only one to get the boot from the University of Illinois...Marines who were promised MBA program scholarships were shunted aside. John Ruberry, in the first of a series of postings, has the details at Marthon Pundit.
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I just read a blog by John Rubery at Marathon Pundit. One of the deans at Illinois calls his own faculty high-priced hookers. This is the same guy that shafted the veterans and called them jarheads. U of I has its own Don Imus! I wonder if the politically correct profs in Champaign will like being called hookers by one of their own?
Does anyone know whatever happened to that veteran scholarship program? I can't find it anywhere on U of I web sites. It seems to have disappeared.posted by Jim Bonderman at May 25, 2007 10:10 PM
U OF I LOSES ROUND #1 IN VETERAN SCHOLARSHIP SCANDAL – CASE GOING TO COURT
I got my BA and law degree from U of I and work in Springfield and Chicago. I heard about this veteran scholarship mess at an alumni event from my boss, also a U of I alum, who is working on legislation to fix the Illinois Veteran Grant Program. He asked me to check it out, so I got a copy of the lawsuit filed against U of I and its response at the Court of Claims.
This is sick stuff and a lot deeper than a simple lawsuit.
U of I filed a Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit and lost. The case is going to Court in Chicago a month from now. No matter who wins and loses, it shows a dark side of U of I that disturbs me more than the Chief issue, since this involves veterans who gave years of their life in service to our country. Initially, I was doubtful about the story since I knew most of the principals involved from fundraising and alumni events. Basically, U of I just denied everything through their press people, blamed others and proclaimed their innocence. Blanket denials and blame-shifting are usually good signs that something is wrong. Then I read the lawsuit, the exhibits in the case and U of I’s response. U of I – what in the WORLD were you thinking?
Included in the lawsuit are 20 actual emails, letters and documents authored by senior U of I officials that show intentional discrimination against veterans in favor of non-veterans and a juvenile scheme to renege on a promise. Stories in the Associated Press, Daily Illini and blogs documented events about 90 percent right, but the level of detailed planning that devised the discrimination really surprised me. U of I denies wrongdoing, of course, but it’s going to be hard for them to run away from hard evidence found in their own emails, letters and documents that they put in black and white.
Why U of I documented their scheme in writing is beyond stupid and shows a dark side I didn’t know existed. One of the lawsuit’s exhibits shows an email from College of Business Dean, Avijit Ghosh, in which he argues to cut back the 110 scholarships because of reduced cash flow (reimbursement) from the Illinois Veteran Grant program. Others show Ghosh and others crunching numbers in a scheme to get rid of veterans by shortening admissions deadlines AFTER veterans applied and were admitted. But it gets worse. After kicking the veterans out and telling other veterans that the program was full, they recruited non-veterans to take their place. Rather than take responsibility for their actions, they forged the signature of the guy Ghosh fired, Robert VanderHooning, on a letter written by Associate Dean Larry DeBrock to kick veterans out.
Several exhibits in the lawsuit show a bungled coverup by senior U of I officials, including Associate Dean Larry DeBrock, David Ikenberry, UIC Chancellor Sylvia Manning and, most shocking of all, President Joseph White. How UIC got involved in this mess is hard to understand since VanderHooning worked for the Champaign campus.
Political coverups can be dangerous. My fear for U of I is that eventually the facts of this mess will shine an uncomfortable light on President White, Manning, Ghosh and others and tarnish U of I as an institution. For example, how can President White explain why, after receiving a strongly-worded protest letter from US Congressman Emanuel, he asked UIC Chancellor Sylvia Manning, not UIUC Chancellor Richard Herman, to hear VanderHooning’s ethics complaint? How can White explain why he scheduled a meeting with VanderHooning after Manning’s interview, then cancelled it, but first gave a heads up to his friend Ghosh who not only was VanderHooning’s boss but led the Presidential Hiring Committee that got White his $450,000 job. U of I has a Chief Ethics Officer and a process to investigate ethics problems, but White circumvented the university’s own procedures and tipped off his friend. That’s an odd procedure for an ethics investigation and a conflict of interest if I ever saw one.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff’s lawyer is Michael Shakman, best known as an anti-corruption attorney who took on Daley I and Daley II over patronage hiring practices and won a victory for the politically unconnected. I wonder who Shakman has in his sights now.
Here is some advice for all you knuckleheads at U of I with Ph.D. degrees:
1 – Fire your lawyer. This case should never have seen the light of day. Discrimination against veterans has no upside.
2 – Fire the morons responsible for creating this mess and covering it up. Do it publicly and loud.
3 – Don’t leave paper trails of wrongdoing. Most people disagree with the war but support the troops and the veterans.
4 – Next time you screw up, just apologize, face the music quickly, and promise to do better. People forgive honest mistakes, not fraud and coverups.
5 – Apologize to the veterans and reinstate the scholarship program. If you do insist on screwing veterans again for some insane reason, for god’s sake, do NOT put it in writing.
The documents in this case can be obtained from Court of Claims, 630 S. College Street, Springfield, IL 62704. The case number is 07 CC 1856. If you want to understand the kind of institutional bias and discrimination that veterans face in real life, this is a textbook case. But go read for yourself and make up your own mind.
Blogmester, the Dean at U of I who cut back the veterans scholarship is the same one that counted GMAT test scores for people that applied but didn’t attend U of I in order to inflate his program’s reputation. He is a very strange person and conflicted on several levels. Cheating appears to be one of his strengths.
U of I has told so many different stories to their own University newspaper, the Daily Illini, Associated Press and ABC News it’s just hard to keep up. I just read on another blog that U of I wrote the Lt. Governor a different story yet. Wonder how that letter went public!
Ghosh is on unpaid leave from University of Illinois now. They guy he fired took him to court and is trying to get the vet scholarship program restored and get his job back. There are interesting implications since the U of I scholarship program was funded in large part by the Illinois Veteran Grant, an entitlement program funded by taxpayers, just like U of I is funded by taxpayers. HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH? Greedy dastards, I say.
There are accusations of changing admissions standards after vets applied, kicking vets out and putting civilians in their place, forged signatures, a coverup by the new President (a friend of Ghosh who helped get him hired a year ago) and a whole bucket of sh*t that usually happens in coverups.
I went to U of I and 2 of my kids did too. I just hope there’s no truth to any of this mess or somebody’s going to have some explaining to do because mistreating vets ain’t right.
For anyone interested this case about the jarheads is being heard at the James Thompson Center Wednesday, September 12, 10 AM in Room 10-400. It will last an hour.
It will be interesting to see if Rod backs the vets or not since the judges are appointed by him.posted by Jeff Restin at September 8, 2007 05:58 PM
This needs to get the attention of the Attorney General investigating this mess or the court hearing the veteran’s case.
Great recent post by Marathon Pundit on the U of I vet scholarship scam - marathonpundit.blogspot.com/2007_10_01_archive.html#3779337378901194631
How does Avijit Ghosh – disgraced, discredited and interviewing for a job at Western Michigan University – get a job for $339,000 working for U of I as a Vice President of Technology when his degree is in GEOGRAPHY? He led the Committee that got Joe White his job. Maybe Ghosh is a distant relative of Todd Stroger or Gov. Rod? I can’t believe it - $339,000! Plus benefits. Great job for a crook and a con man.
MP did a piece on David Ikenberry a while back. He is the son of former U of I President Stan Ikenberry. He got promoted, too. Now he’s the Associate Dean for Executive Education in charge of the very program he helped discriminate against vets. Love one of the quotes in MP’s reporting on this from an email Ikenberry wrote.
... one bullet I would add is to look at the cases in the "civilian pipeline" and break them down into various categories from hot prospects (because of...) to new, undeveloped prospects… The logic here is to 1) give us a better appreciation for what the civilian challenge really is at this point in order to produce a class of 60.... This analysis of civilians in the pipeline clearly takes a backseat to solving the immediate issue of how to shrink down the number of quick admits (i.e., veterans).
Of course Ikenberry denied he knew anything about the scam. I hope this scam artist gets his BALCO moment of truth soon.
What a scam. Hope these morons get a perp walk straight to jail. This blatant discrimination should not be perpetrated on veterans that served our country.posted by Dave Kantor at November 17, 2007 06:14 PM
Lt. Governor Pat Quinn just blasted the University of Illinois over the veteran scholarship scam in Champaign. See the Associated Press’ article, “Illinois Lt. Governor Quinn Wants Count of Veterans Scholarships at University of Illinois (http://www.nwherald.com/articles/2007/11/28/news/state/doc474d003a95028280427544.txt). Quinn’s letter is addressed to U of I President Joseph White, Chancellor Richard Herman and the Board of Trustees.
Quinn is right. U of I promised 110 full-ride scholarships last year to vets and active duty soldiers returning from the war. Last year, U of I delivered 35-40 after getting caught by Quinn and US Congressman Rahm Emanuel cutting it to 15. This year, not a surprise, the number went down further to 15 veterans. Illinois Office of Executive Inspector General has been investigating U of I for over a year.
One of the internal documents uncovered an email Dean Avijit Ghosh explaining his reason for the cutback: “we need to make sure that we will have some additional cash flow from the additional students so we need to think about how the veterans scholarship will affect our cash flow. You cannot necessarily count on IVG (Illinois Veteran Grant) money at the same rate as last year.”
The ugly inside story is how U of I schemed to discriminate against veterans and soldiers. They shortened admissions deadlines retroactively for vets already accepted to kick them out. U of I looked at the admissions database, forged an employee’s signature on a “Dear Jarhead” letter and blamed veterans for not finishing letters of recommendation, transcripts and paying a deposit on time. The creepy part is how U of I promised the vets they could still apply for a spot in the class, but did not mention that 90 students were already accepted for a class size reduced to 60. The new rules only applied to vets, not civilians without vet benefit funding, and U of I recruited more civilians for six weeks after telling vets the class was full.
Not Champaign’s finest hour.
If you have to resort to forging someone’s signature on a letter that discriminates against people due to their military status, then that pretty much sums up the mindset at University of Illinois College of Business. The fact that everybody knew but nobody did anything – Joe White, Richard Herman or the Board of Trustees – raises serious ethical questions about University of Illinois. I bet this is happening in undergraduate admissions as well.posted by Terrence at December 14, 2007 01:22 PM
University of Illinois gets a steroid asterisk for cheating in my book.
What a shocking reminder of the trickle-down effect of corruption, coverup and political kickbacks in our state. Call soldiers jarheads and faculty high-priced hookers. Falsify admissions records, forge signatures on letters and lie to a US Congressman and Lt. Governor about it. I wonder who won’t have a chair when the music stops after the Inspector General and Lt. Gov. Quinn finish their investigation.
It’s one thing for student to cheat. You don’t expect grown up administrators running a university to cheat. Guess a PhD doesn’t make you honest or smart. It will be very interesting to see when the Inspector General and Quinn report come out who knew about the discrimination scheme, when they knew and why they did nothing about it.
This military scholarship program was yanked. It's history. Now the top "scholarship" is only 40% - and thats with IVG which is supposed to pay everything.
Hey these crooks steal TV in the daylight. They are pretty brazen about their bait and switch.
Actually its kind of funny to see how a world class school really operates in the real world.posted by Dan at January 12, 2008 04:16 PM
Wow this is interesting. All of University of Illinois’ internal files on the military scholarship fraud are available on the internet now that show exactly what happened in their own words before the mess went public. I heard this came from someone at the Alumni Association in Champaign.
There are about 150 documents, letters and emails from U of I to U of I that show how Avijit Ghosh and henchmen Larry DeBrock and David Ikenberry tried to slither out of a scholarship commitment to veterans by changing admissions standards AFTER veterans applied. They even forged the signature of the guy they fired to take the fall for them.
Everything is shown through U of I’s own emails, letters, pictures and documents in University of Illinois’ own words.
The top PR person at University of Illinois got caught lying with her own emails to the Daily Illini. She blasted the Daily Illini for bad reporting, but now her own emails show what a blowhard she is.
What a bad lesson to students who are told to play by the rules.
Worst of all the Board of Trustees knew about it and did absolutely nothing. Who is the Board protecting? This should be required reading for any college ethics class. Maybe the veterans in this state will get fair treatment after all is said and done. Wouldn’t that be just sweet as pie? These are the files I downloaded.
http://uploadline.com/files/1617608/Vets_Education_and_U_of_I.pdf.html - dossier 80 pages as a pdf file
http://uploadline.com/files/4750433/veterans_lawsuit_30_exhibits.pdf.html - vet lawsuit (includes actual documents from U of I)
http://uploadline.com/files/9239834/u_of_i_lawsuit_response.pdf.html - u of I lawsuit response (read if you can’t sleep)
http://uploadline.com/files/4330813/Quinn_letter_Nov_20_2007.jpg.html - protest letter from Lt. Governor (read if you are still looking for corroboration of what went wrong)
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The school board voted 8 to 1 Feb. 28 in favor of opening on Friday, Nov. 10, to cut one day off the end of the year in June. Friday is the holiday this year because Veterans Day falls on a Saturday.
School board President Susan Nabel said students should get a lesson in civics and history instead of a day off.
"We all felt the real meaning of Veterans Day has been lost for students for quite a few years," she said.
Board members also felt it was more productive to have an extra school day in November rather than June, she said.
According to the board, seveal veterans' groups were apprised of, and supported, the change.
Schools in Connecticut aren't required to take the day off. There are other districts that don't observe the Veterans' Day holiday either. And, part of me can see the sense in actually learning about wars our veterans served in and the sacrifices they made on a day when kids would otherwise be either at home goofing off or on an extended weekend getaway with their families.
However, here's another way of looking at it:
If learning about a holiday is a better way to celebrate than taking a day off, veterans say school should be in session on all holidays, including Labor Day, Columbus Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
"How can you have that one school holiday stricken from the school calendar and not the others?" said Rubino, who will have two sons at Toquam Magnet Elementary School in the fall. "You could imagine the outrage if they tried to remove Martin Luther King Day and say, 'We are going to come to school and talk about who Martin Luther King was.' "
Indeed. Ask Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton what they would think of that one! At my daughter's school, they learn about Veterans' Day in the weeks preceding the holiday. So really, how much is being accomplished by abolishing the observance?
Veterans' Day: A waste of time?
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Well, leftists love teach-ins, so perhaps each school system that drops Veteran's Day could get veterans (courtesy of the local American Legion Posts) to teach that day and just give the teachers and administators the day off.posted by joe-6-pack at May 22, 2006 01:46 PM
Years ago school systems tried to eliminate Veterans Day as a school holiday. Veterans were up in arms, protesting, lobbying, etc. As a result, Veterans Day remained a school holiday. Veterans Day is one of only two days set aside to honor those who fought bravely and died courageously for us...yes you and me. Too many vital things fall to the wayside because of money and greed and disrespect. Anyone who condones this idea is anti-American and needs to do some community service work at a military hospital or veterans home. Perhaps some of them should be sent overseas to witness the courage and selflessness of our troops who deserve any recognition and honor possible. Without them we might all be living under a dictatorship.posted by Claudia Doodick at May 23, 2006 07:34 AM
How awful of me not to have included our living veterans in my previous post. Veterans Day is the day to honor those who bravely fought for us. Many of them came home with body parts missing, severe emotional trauma, and incurable illnesses. Yet, most of them are still very proud of their sevice and would do it again if they could. Talk about selflessness!posted by Claudia at May 23, 2006 09:05 PM
wow, that took a surprisingly long time, i thought the demagogues would appear sooner. claudia, you fail to realize that eliminating a day off would allow schools to devote a day solely to teaching the triumphs of american history, the sacrifice and service of our veterans and the proud military tradition of the united states of america.posted by steve at May 23, 2006 10:30 PM
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I was away over the weekend. My husband and I went to Long Island (or, as we from Connecticut like to call it, Connecticut's Hurricane Barrier ;-)) for a bar mitzvah. We ate so much food I felt ill when we got home last night. But my gluttony is not the subject of this post.
At our hotel, hubby was flipping through the TV channels, looking for something suitable to watch while we killed time (we settled on Shrek 2...great flick). While he was flipping, we caught a portion of an "educational cartoon" which depicted the swearing-in of George Washington as our first president.
Normally I would think such an effort worthy (despite the cheesy animation). Kids today aren't learning enough about our country's history. This time, I was appalled.
I don't know what the channel was. I don't know what the cartoon was called. But what I do know is that the creators of the cartoon are trying to rewrite history. How do I know this, despite only watching about one minute of it?
In the crowd of folks watching Washington be sworn into office were various black people. Not slaves, mind you, but well-dressed "free folk" black people. In fact, there was a well-dressed black man on the balcony with Washington, among those who I am guessing were part of Washington's inner circle.
(One wonders why other ethnicities were not included in the crowd. No Asians? No Hispanics? What gives here?)
By sanitizing our history, the cartoon makers are doing everyone involved a terrible disservice. Yes, there were black people in America at the time of Washington's inauguration...but very few of them were freemen. The majority were slaves. Washington himself owned them, and they weren't freed until his death. That is the ugly truth of it, and it's one our nation eventually faced and did something about. It is very unlikely that, at Washington's inauguration, well-dressed blacks would be standing about unmolested, watching the event with smiles just like everyone else.
Making historical events look multicultural when they were not is not a road we should go down. Sugarcoating history, either to whitewash the ugly parts or to give it a fake balance, gives impressionable students the wrong information. Good intentions mean nothing when the facts are misrepresented.
(If any of my readers know anything about this cartoon, please leave a comment with some more information. In hindsight, I wish I had continued to watch so I could get more information about the creators, but as I was away from home for an enjoyable event, I wasn't in the mood for anything but mindless entertainment.)
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We used to call Pitney Bowes "New" Headquarters Building the Stamford Hurricane Barrier.
I used to work in the old Headquarters on Wheeler Dr. back in the 80s, and I rode out Hurricane Gloria in Hamden.posted by PCD at April 25, 2006 07:13 AM
I dunno, Pam. It's always been my understanding that there were plenty of free blacks in the north back then. One of the men who died in the Boston Massacre was black.
Slavery was brought to this continent by the British, and many free black men served in the Continental Army during the Revolution, and they weren't in segregated units as they were later. There were many black soldiers fighting in the Battle of New Orleans, for instance.
That there would be blacks witnessing the inauguration, in New York City, of the revered General Washington as our first President seems perfectly reasonable to me.
Even though the new Constitution didn't abolish slavery in the south, it was hoped that the spirit of liberty that flowed from independence would accomplish that soon enough.
Of course, it took another 80 years and a much bloodier war to do it.posted by Tuning Spork at April 25, 2006 03:41 PM
As I was the one who noted this in the morning cartoon I feel obligated to reply.
You are right on that - it is believed that 15% of the population of New York was of African origin. And it is equally true that it wasn't as absolutely segregated as it would later become upon the hardening of Southern sensibilities.
"New York once had a slave population second only to that of Charleston, South Carolina, and that Africans, free and enslaved, have played a significant part in New York's history since Manhattan was first settled in the seventeenth century" http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/cityhall/
I guess my concern was the context. Somehow I found it hard to believe that 30% of the audience, including someone up on the podium would be black and obviously on absolutely equal stature at that time. That just isn't correct.
But you are correct that the crowd at Washington's inauguration wouldn't have been a bunch of dead white men.posted by husband-dude at April 25, 2006 05:24 PM
I agree. Yes there were free blacks (as noted in my post), but as husband-dude pointed out, it is unlikely that they would have been on equal stature with whites at the time...especially the one on the podium in similar attire to Washington.posted by Pam at April 25, 2006 06:59 PM
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Camille Paglia has written an informative and incisive editorial for the New York Times today (yes, the New York Times...sometimes they can put out something worthwhile) regarding the state of higher education and its ability to regulate itself. Specifically, she discusses Harvard after the resignation of President Larry Summers.
IT now remains to be seen whether Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences is capable of self-critique. Will its members acknowledge their own insularity and excesses, or will they continue down the path of smug self-congratulation and vanity? Harvard's reputation for disinterested scholarship has been severely gored by the shadowy manipulations of the self-serving cabal who forced Mr. Summers's premature resignation. That so few of the ostensibly aggrieved faculty members deigned to speak on the record to The Crimson, the student newspaper, illustrates the cagey hypocrisy that permeates fashionable campus leftism, which worships diversity in all things except diversity of thought.
Read it all. (Free registration required.)
Hat tip: My co-blogger at Lifelike Pundits, Aaron.
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Larry Summers was a grade-A jerk, very much in the tradition of John Bolton.
If you really want more conservatives at Ivy League schools you're going to have to fluff up those frontal lobes. Or have Lynne Cheney and Newt re-cast the SAT questions to favor your bumpkin base.posted by skip at March 6, 2006 12:51 PM
Skip: It's difficult to take your point seriously as you are engaging in an ad hominem attack. If you would direct your comments to a specific part of Camille Paglia's article and refute it with some kind of well-thought reasoning or evidence, then perhaps your response would carry more weight.
Thanks for stopping by.posted by Pam at March 6, 2006 02:58 PM
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Woo hoo! Someone give this kid a medal:
AURORA - A 16-year-old boy at Overland High School doesn't want to hear what he calls his teacher's left-wing political rants.
Sean Allen frequently recorded his teachers to back up his notes. Allen recorded Jay Bennish, his 10th grade World Geography teacher, making comments about President Bush's State of the Union Address.
Allen's father claims the comments made in the recording are biased and inappropriate for a geography class.
"I'm not saying Bush and Hitler are exactly the same, obviously they're not. OK? But there are some eerie similarities to the tones that they use," says Bennish in his critique of U.S. economic and foreign policy.
Towards the end of the class, Bennish goes on to say, "I'm not in anyway implying that you should agree with me, I don't even know if I'm necessarily taking a position. But what I'm trying to get you to do is to think about these issues more in depth and not to just take things from the surface."
The Cherry Creek School District is conducting a thorough investigation of the complaint from the Overland High School parent and student concerning comments.
The school district says at first glance it does appear the teacher acted inappropriately at the very least.
A spokesperson for the Cherry Creek School District said they have placed Bennish on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. This is not a disciplinary action; the school district wants to remove him while they sort through the rest of the investigation.
The Cherry Creek School District expects to finish the investigation by the end of the week. (all bold emphasis mine)
One guess which state this happened in.
And kudos to the Cherry Creek School District for taking his complaint seriously and not dismissing it out of hand.
Had the class been political science or current affairs, that might have been different. Even so, to compare our president, even ever so slightly, to Hitler in a classroom is plainly over the top. I don't care who is sitting in the Oval Office, Republican or Democrat. There are some things that you just shouldn't do.
Michelle Malkin has more. In fact, she prints the entire offensive portion of the tape. Note how the article I link above (and that's the whole article) leaves out some of the juicier bits? There's a lot more there than just the "Bush is Hitler's twin" type commentary. Stuff like "Who is probably the single most violent nation on the face of planet Earth?!" Guess who?
What media bias? Well, I suppose I should be happy it's being reported on at all...
UPDATE (6 pm): I just listened to the audio (located here), and the guy sounds like a typical angry leftwinger. Holy cow! The student who taped the segment was the only one asking pointed questions about what the teacher was saying, but Bennish didn't make much of an attempt to answer them. Listen for yourself to see what I mean. Had Bennish's concerns taken the form of point-counterpoint, not many could complain. But he was on a roll, and only one student had the sense enough to question him. What does that tell you about the state of our education system today?
UPDATE II (6:45 pm): According to Stop the ACLU, Bennish has hired an ACLU lawyer -- David Lane. Does the name sound familiar? It should. He's the same guy retained by none other than American Indian fraud Ward Churchill. Not much of a surprise there...
UPDATE III (3/3/06, 10:35 am): Here's the teacher's photo (I presume from a yearbook). Yep...looks the part to me!
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I listened to the audio of TEACHER CAUGHT IN BUSH RANT, with great interest. Also, with sadness.
My name is Michael Class. I live in the Seattle area with my wife and two children. I am a retired "dot-com" executive turned author, photographer, and publisher.
I was appalled at how some teachers presented American history to my children. My son and daughter learned that Thomas Jefferson had slavesâ€”before they learned that he wrote the document articulating our rights and duties as free people. European settlers killed Native Americans with blankets infected with smallpox, they found out. That allegation upstaged the stories of courage, perseverance, and curiosity that defined the pioneers. My children knew that more than a hundred thousand people died when the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan, but they were not made to understand the moral context and the enormous scale of the conflict called World War II in which the atomic bomb story fit.
With a curriculum seemingly designed to instill guilt and shame, I wondered, how will my kids ever discover the lessons of history that inspire greatness and noble aspirations? Will they ever believe that they can make a difference? Will they have any heroes left at all? Then, I wondered: What would the heroes of Americaâ€™s past say to the children of today?
I wrote, photographed, and published a book designed to set the record straight, to properly prepare our children for the future. My book is called Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame.
If anyone knows where I can reach 10th-grader Sean Allen, I will gladly send him a FREE copy of my book. He did the right thing.
My book specifically rebuts the positions taken by teacher Jay Bennish - because I have heard his arguments so many times before. My book tells the truth about capitalism, the War on Terror, and places them in historical perspective.
In the book, my real-life son, twelve-year-old Anthony, time-travels into the great events of the 20th century. Digital photographic â€śmagicâ€ť places Anthony in the cockpit of the Spirit of St. Louis with Charles Lindbergh, on the moon with Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, in the laboratories of Thomas Edison and Jonas Salk, and on Normandy beach on D-Day. It looks as though Anthony really did meet Thomas Edison, Jonas Salk, FDR, Lou Gehrig, Charles Lindbergh, and Audie Murphy. And itâ€™s all historically accurate: Even Anthonyâ€™s conversations with Americaâ€™s heroes are based on things they really said.
While writing and photographing the book, I spoke with relatives of famous scientists and inventors, Holocaust survivors, award-winning biographers, and others who could help me ensure that the facts of the book were both accurate and vivid.
But the book goes beyond a simple recitation of historical facts: the book presents the moral lessons of American history. The chapter about Lindberghâ€™s flight is really about choosing oneâ€™s destiny. The story of Lou Gehrig is one of a virtuous life. The chapter about Thomas Edison is really about business. The story of Apollo 11 is about wonder, taking risks, and courage. The story of Dr. Jonas Salk and the cure for polio is really about dedicating oneâ€™s life to a higher purpose. When Anthony â€śmeetsâ€ť his immigrant great-grandfather at Ellis Island in 1907, itâ€™s really a story about what it means to be an American. Anthonyâ€™s observation of D-Day and the liberation of the death camps during the Holocaust is a testament to the reality of evil and the need to fight it.
The book is meant to challenge the young reader. Many adults will find the book challenging, too. Anthony COMPARES the people and events of the past with the people and events of his own time. Anthony discusses the nature of good and evil, right and wrong, war and peace, what it means to be an American, honor and discipline, success and achievement, courage and destiny, marriage and family, God and purpose. Anthonyâ€™s observations prompt serious discussion of timeless moral questions. Anthony challenges the reader to think critically - to see the modern world in the light of the lessons of the past.
We can't afford to raise a generation of Americans who do not value their country, their heritage, and their place in the world. As Abraham Lincoln said: America is the "last best hope of earth."
Michael S. Class
Author / Photographer / Publisher
Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame: An American History Book for Right-Thinking Parents and Their Children
Web site: www.MagicPictureFrame.com
Of course he's going to run to the ACLU. His civil rights were violated . . . because he got caught spewing this disgusting pablum.posted by Wyatt Earp at March 3, 2006 12:49 AM
There is a funny post about this over at HoT:
I don't like the vauge comparison. If he had provided a concrete example, fine.
Human geography is similar in many ways to political science, and I'm not one to second guess teachers. He did seem emphasize his opinions were just that.
I don't see why he should be disciplined, but he should refine his thinking. Even I don't compare Bush to Hitler, and I hate Bush with a passion.posted by paul at March 3, 2006 03:20 PM
Come on ya'll, cut the poor guy a break. He is a blonde after all!posted by joe-6-pack at March 4, 2006 09:25 PM
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Right Wing Prof of Right Wing Nation is back in school and having to grit his teeth. He has the excruciatingly painful duty of dealing with the leftwing students -- some are fresh out of high school. Check this out:
It was the beginning of the semester, and we were talking about distributions. My aha! experience went something like this:
"Why do you call it a normal distribution? That's a value judgment."
I'm rarely speechless, but I was then. What do you say to something that breathtakingly stupid? But then, another student chimed in:
"You're saying some distributions are more normal than others, and that's offensive."
And as if that weren't enough, a third student said:
"I agree. Can we call it something else?"
These were freshmen, and it was the fall semester. Had they just taken freshman comp or some wackjob "disadvantaged studies" class, that would have explained where they picked up this stupidity. But these kids were right out of high school, less than three months out of high school. (The good news is that most of the other students were at least curling their lips, if not out and out snickering.)
I'm afraid I was rather unyielding. No, it's not a value judgment, and no, we can't call it something else, because it's a normal distribution, period, the end, that's all folks, moving right along. The three students weren't happy that I hadn't caved to their PC braindeath, but they got over it.
That same, first student also objected to "deviation" in "standard deviation," and for the same reason (though nobody seemed to mind "standard"). She also objected to "error" (as in "standard error"), and said "it's just different, not in error."
Freshmen. Three months out of high school.
The PC culture has been so ingrained in today's students in their public school days that they can't even deal with accepted business phrases such as "normal distribution" and "[standard] deviation." They are quick to see insult in even the most benign of phrases, courtesy of your leftist-dominated school systems.
The Prof himself sums it up nicely:
Liberals are fond of talking about power, and in one thing they are correct: We do hold power over students. This is precisely why leftist indoctrination passing itself off as education is an abuse of that power, and should be strenuously punished.
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Harvard University has been in the news quite a bit of late. First, university president Larry Summers has been raked over the coals for not playing nice with the politically correct crowd regarding his comments on why men and women might be different regarding math and science aptitude.
The latest brouhaha stems from a student's efforts to earn some honest money. Sophomore Michael Kopko has launched a business called Dormaid, a service for dormitory students who would rather party than clean up after themselves.
It's not the faculty doing the protesting this time...the student newspaper Harvard Crimson is behind the boycotting efforts. An editorial states, "By creating yet another differential between the haves and have-nots on campus, Dormaid threatens our student unity."
Kopka is frustrated and confused regarding the Crimson's stance on his fledgling business. "In a free economy it's all about choice, and the Crimson is trying to take choice away from people," he said in an interview.
The problem is, Ivy League schools such as Harvard are as far away from the real world as you can get. Students, both wealthy and not-so-wealthy, go straight from the arms of mommy and daddy into the arms of their Leftist professors...who themselves have been coddled and insulated from the real world in their scholastic cocoons. And that's how you end up with silly boycotts of legal, honest enterprises. The faculty may not be doing this outright, but it has their stamp all over it.
Do those students who plan to boycott plan on giving all money they earn when they enter professional life to people who are less fortunate than they are?
I can't afford to have someone clean my home, but I know people who can and do. Is that fair? The question of fairness shouldn't come into it. People who don't like to clean and can afford to hire someone may be lazy, but they are also giving someone else a chance to earn money honestly through hard work. Is cleaning someone else's home degrading? It depends on your point of view. I know I would rather earn my living by cleaning up after some other slob than by standing in line at the welfare office to accept a check from bloated bureaucrats who don't really care about helping me in the long-term.
Once again, Harvard University is trying to force the unwilling into goosestepping lockstep.
I, for one, hope Kopka's business thrives. If you want to let the Crimson know what you think, e-mail them at email@example.com.
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