Monday, June 15, 2009

Dumbest Generation Getting Dumber

Dumbest Generation Getting Dumber
By Dr. Walter E. Williams

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international comparison of 15-year-olds conducted by The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that measures applied learning and problem-solving ability. In 2006, U.S. students ranked 25th of 30 advanced nations in math and 24th in science. McKinsey & Company, in releasing its report "The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in America's Schools" (April 2009) said, "Several other facts paint a worrisome picture. First, the longer American children are in school, the worse they perform compared to their international peers. In recent cross-country comparisons of fourth grade reading, math, and science, US students scored in the top quarter or top half of advanced nations. By age 15 these rankings drop to the bottom half. In other words, American students are farthest behind just as they are about to enter higher education or the workforce." That's a sobering thought. The longer kids are in school and the more money we spend on them, the further behind they get.

While the academic performance of white students is grossly inferior, that of black and Latino students is a national disgrace. The McKinsey report says, "On average, black and Latino students are roughly two to three years of learning behind white students of the same age. This racial gap exists regardless of how it is measured, including both achievement (e.g., test score) and attainment (e.g., graduation rate) measures. Taking the average National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores for math and reading across the fourth and eighth grades, for example, 48 percent of blacks and 43 percent of Latinos are 'below basic,' while only 17 percent of whites are, and this gap exists in every state. A more pronounced racial achievement gap exists in most large urban school districts." Below basic is the category the NAEP uses for students unable to display even partial mastery of knowledge and skills fundamental for proficient work at their grade level.

The teaching establishment and politicians have hoodwinked taxpayers into believing that more money is needed to improve education. The Washington, D.C., school budget is about the nation's costliest, spending about $15,000 per pupil. Its student/teacher ratio, at 15.2 to 1, is lower than the nation's average. Yet student achievement is just about the lowest in the nation. What's so callous about the Washington situation is about 1,700 children in kindergarten through 12th grade receive the $7,500 annual scholarships in order to escape rotten D.C. public schools, and four times as many apply for the scholarships, yet Congress, beholden to the education establishment, will end funding the school voucher program.

Any long-term solution to our education problems requires the decentralization that can come from competition. Centralization has been massive. In 1930, there were 119,000 school districts across the U.S; today, there are less than 15,000. Control has moved from local communities to the school district, to the state, and to the federal government. Public education has become a highly centralized government-backed monopoly and we shouldn't be surprised by the results. It's a no-brainer that the areas of our lives with the greatest innovation, tailoring of services to individual wants and falling prices are the areas where there is ruthless competition such as computers, food, telephone and clothing industries, and delivery companies such as UPS, Federal Express and electronic bill payments that have begun to undermine the postal monopoly in first-class mail.

At a Washington press conference launching the McKinsey report, Al Sharpton called school reform the civil rights challenge of our time. He said that the enemy of opportunity for blacks in the U.S. was once Jim Crow; today, in a slap at the educational establishment, he said it was "Professor James Crow." Sharpton is only partly correct. School reform is not solely a racial issue; it's a vital issue for the entire nation.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Twenty-one ways "public schools" harm your children by R.C. Hoiles c. 1957

Now, what are the things that government schools dare not teach?

  1. They dare not teach the spirit of the Constitution as set forth in the first official document of the United States, the Declaration of Independence. They dare not teach it because it says that all men, not just the majority, are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    A man isn't free to pursue happiness when the majority in any school district, state or nation can coerce him to pay for a school that he believes violates the principles upon which this government was formed.

    The school teachers dare not emphasize this part of the Declaration of Independence. They dare not explain the true meaning of this statement. If they were successful in explaining and teaching the true meaning of these ideologies, there would be no gun-run schools.
  2. Again, they dare not teach that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just power from the consent of the governed. They have to completely repudiate the ideas of the American way of life. They have to teach the old-world philosophy of the divine right of governments, only now they call it the divine right of the majority rather than the divine right of kings.
  3. They dare not teach in government schools the meaning of liberty. It is doubtful whether any teacher in gun-run schools dares define the kind of liberty the Founding Fathers mutually pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to support. If the government schools successfully taught the meaning of the liberty our Founding Fathers had in mind, there would be no government schools that starve the intellects of our children.
  4. The government schools dare not teach the meaning of the Golden Rule. If they were successful in getting their pupils to understand that they should not force other people to pay for something they did not want, then they could see that it was a violation of the Golden Rule to force others to pay for their schooling.

    They, of course, dare not teach their pupils to believe that if it is wicked and a violation of the Golden Rule for one man to do a thing, it is still wicked and a violation of the Golden Rule if 49 per cent or 99 per cent of the people do the same thing. They, thus, dare not teach the youth that the ideal government, the only kind of government that can be of value to mankind, is one that is limited to the use of defensive force and never has a right, under any circumstances, to initiate force.

I want to continue suggesting things that tax-run schools dare not teach.

  1. They dare not teach the First Commandment: "Thou shalt have no other Gods before me" because they are bowing down and worshipping the will of the majority rather than the eternal laws of God that no man made and no man can unmake.
  2. They dare not teach "Thou shalt not covet," because they are violating the Coveting Commandment.

    They believe they do not need to teach well enough that people will voluntarily pay their salaries. They get their pay by violence rather than by rendering service well enough so that those who pay them believe they are benefited by their employment.
  3. They dare not teach discipline and self-reliance because they are not disciplining themselves enough to render such service that they can be paid voluntarily. The teachers take the shortcut and use a police club to get their money. That certainly is not discipline, nor is it self-reliance.
  4. They dare not teach thrift and the harm that comes from getting into debt. They dare not do this because the government burdens every child and every person in the United States with a monstrous debt.
  5. They dare not teach respect for individual initiative because government schools are based on lack of respect for other people's initiative. They are based on the theory that "We've got the power and the individual is helpless and we're going to make him pay for anything our agents think is education."
  6. They dare not teach humility and meekness because the means used by government schools are the exact opposite of humility and meekness. Are believers in tax-run schools so sure they are right that they are willing to initiate force to make people support their ideas of education? They see themselves as so exalted that they have lost all humility and meekness. And remember, "He who exalts himself shall become abased."
  7. They dare not teach children to reason. They have to teach them not to recognize a contradiction or a dilemma. If the pupils were taught to reason, they would recognize the tyranny that is bound to follow making people pay for things and ideas they abhor.
  8. They dare not teach the harm that follows socialism, communism, collectivism and fascism for to do so would let pupils realize that aggressive force is part of socialism, communism, collectivism and fascism.

    "Hitherto the plans of the educationalists have achieved very little of what they attempted, and indeed we may well thank the beneficent obstinacy of real mothers, real nurses, and (above all) real children for preserving the human race in such sanity as it still posses."

    C.S. Lewis

  9. They dare not teach that what man wants must be obtained on a voluntary basis. They dare not teach this because they get what they want on an involuntary basis.
  10. They dare not teach the difference between socialism and private ownership of property. They dare not explain that under socialism the only way a man can benefit is by injuring another, as in the case in compelling people to pay for schools they think will destroy the country.
  11. They dare not explain that in free enterprise, including free enterprise in education, the gain of one is the gain of all.
  12. Tax-run schools dare not teach love and charity because they are using aggressive force. They seem to think that aggressive force is better than persuasion by love and charity.
  13. They cannot teach patience because they are so impatient about getting what they seem to believe is an education that they dare not wait to persuade those who should employ them to pay their salaries.
  14. They cannot teach peace and goodwill because they are an example of the opposite of peace and goodwill. They are an example of initiating force, of threatening to get from others by aggressive force what they think they should get.
  15. They cannot teach that the government is a servant of individuals because they believe it should be supported by giving it a monopoly to use aggressive force to make people pay. They can only teach that it is a master of the individual.
  16. They cannot teach justice because their method of supporting the schools is based on injustice — arbitrary, initiated force.
  17. They cannot teach that each man is responsible for his own life because they deny that by using force to take part of man's energy against his will, and man cannot be responsible for his life unless he has the right to choose.

There is nothing more important for parents than their duty to see that their children are treated fairly and have an opportunity to learn from schools that can teach these great moral principles and axioms. It is not the money we're wasting in our tax-run schools that is so important, but it is that our children are not being taught the moral laws that tax-less schools can teach.

It is because children can be taught what is right in tax-less schools and they cannot be so taught in tax-run schools that I am obliged to do what little I can to get parents to see that they are not doing their duty to their children by sending them to tax-run schools.

What we need above everything else is more people devoting more time to seeing that the youth of the land are instilled with belief in the great moral laws, the Golden Rule, and the Declaration of Independence. Government schools cannot teach successfully the will to learn. The best way to teach anything is by example. But the superintendent and managers of the schools themselves are not enough interested in the will to learn to be willing to answer questions as they would before a court to determine whether what they are doing is in harmony with what they profess to believe. If there is anything a man of integrity should want to learn, it is whether what he is doing is in harmony and consistent with what he says.

Friday, June 5, 2009

America's Failing Public School System

by Ashley Anderson, 16 years old
September 16, 2003

It's back to school time! This is for all the parents and their children who attend public school. I attended public school all my life, until September 2002 when I began attending a private, Christian school. The differences are incredible!

Reading, writing, and arithmetic used to be what a child learned in school. Is this what you think your child is getting in school?

Throughout most of my time spent in public school, the kids in my classes only read one or two books throughout the whole year. I was identified as being smart/dumb enough to go to "Gifted and Talented a.k.a. Advanced Placement classes. The Advanced Placement courses have now been replaced with IB classes, which are part of the International Baccalaureate Organization, UNESCO, United Nations. In this class, we were assigned numerous short stories to read, mostly about the myths of other countries, and about their religions. This class bragged it was a higher-level class, in which advanced students could "maximize" their learning capacity. I was busy learning about the religions and cultures of other countries, but never knowing such authors as Henry van Dyke, Washington Irving, O. Henry, or even Henry Wadsworth Longfellow until I attended private school. These authors and others like Mark Twain and Emily Dickinson are purely American, and the basis for all literary writings in America to date. Why were they never taught to me? Even in the so-called advanced classes we never read "Rip van Winkle." Instead, we were assigned books like "The Giver" by Lois Lowry, which gave the details of killing babies and living in a world where no one was special and a person's worth was based on his/her ability to conform to the group. Was I being conditioned?

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