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June 15, 2011

American Students Shaky on US History Basics

From the Wall Street Journal (via Hot Air):

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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Posted by Pam Meister at 11:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Education

June 25, 2007

British Schools to Dump Traditional Lessons

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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Posted by Pam Meister at 08:53 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Education

May 21, 2007

School Indoctrination Time: Update II

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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Posted by Pam Meister at 03:08 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Education

May 10, 2007

School Indoctrination Time: UPDATE

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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Posted by Pam Meister at 11:28 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Education

May 04, 2007

School Indoctrination Time

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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Posted by Pam Meister at 08:30 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Education

March 06, 2007

Hope For College Students Yet

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!
Grow Up!


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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Posted by Pam Meister at 09:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Education

February 27, 2007

Jarheads Get Shaft at University of Illinois

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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Posted by Pam Meister at 10:29 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0) | Education

May 22, 2006

Veterans Dissed by Stamford Schools

From Michelle Malkin, we learn that schools in Stamford, CT may no longer be observing the Veteran's Day holiday:

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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Posted by Pam Meister at 01:02 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Education

April 24, 2006

Rewriting American History

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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Posted by Pam Meister at 12:49 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Education

March 06, 2006

Camille Paglia on Harvard After Summers

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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Posted by Pam Meister at 09:31 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Education

March 02, 2006

Student Complains of Teacher's Left Wing Rants


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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Posted by Pam Meister at 09:39 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (3) | Education

March 01, 2006

The State of Higher Education

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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Posted by Pam Meister at 08:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Education

March 14, 2005

Harvard's Latest Boycott

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 letters@thecrimson.com.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 12:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Education

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