Indoctrinating the Green religion and its threat of hell on earth 442

There was a time, between the mid 1960s and the collapse of the Evil Empire around 1990, when little children were raised by “progressive” parents to fear that a terrible nuclear war was about to destroy all life on earth, starting at any moment, and all because the Western world was armed with nuclear weapons. The instilling of terror in the poor tots could not start early enough in the passionate opinion of hippie and New Left moms and dads. Ghoulish lullabies were sung to babies about carrion crows sitting on their cradles.

By winning the Cold War, the wicked West – led by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher – put an end to that scam. Though maybe not to the effects of the dread deeply implanted in two or three generations of children.

What is it with the Left that it wants to instill anxiety and fear in their kids? Do they want their nights riven with shrieks as junior wakes hysterical from a nightmare? Seems so.

They’re at it again. This time the bed-time story – and the day time lesson – is that the earth is about to heat red hot, boiling oceans are about to rise and flood the continents, all the cuddly white polar bears will drown (because they cannot swim and have to dwell on ice floes which will melt under them), the tops of the mountains will lose their pretty caps of snow, fish will mutate into Jesus Christ or Charles Darwin, and all because the wicked West won’t stop using aerosol cans, herding flatulent cows, driving motorcars, and breathing out.

This is from Front Page, by Mary Grabar:

Under [Arne Duncan’s] watch the Department of Education has become a propaganda arm used to influence the next generation to accept the idea of catastrophic man-made climate change as per the UN, the Environmental Protection Agency, and such groups as the National Wildlife Federation. 

In a multi-pronged approach, the Department is teaming up with various non-profit and government organizations and curriculum companies to promote “fun” contests and activities for students, while promoting the next phase of Common Core “State Standards” — in science.

For example, the Department’s latest Green Strides newsletter (February 28) announced three contests for K-12 students who display their agreement with the government’s position on climate change.

In that newsletter, the Department of Education announced that another federal agency, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], and its National Environmental Education Foundation, have “launched an exciting video challenge for middle school students called Climate Change in Focus”.  In this contest, middle school students are asked to make a video that “expresses why they care about climate change and what they are doing to reduce emissions or to prepare for its impacts”.  To win loyalty to the EPA, it is announced that winning videos will be highlighted on the EPA website. The effort sounds like the kids’ cereal box promotions of yore: the top three entries will receive “cool prizes like a solar charging backpack”,  winning class projects will receive special recognition for their school, and the first 100 entrants will receive a year’s subscription to National Geographic Kids Magazine.

Another contest, National Wildlife Federation’s Young Reporters for the Environment, invites students “between the ages of 13-21 to report on an environmental issue in their community in an article, photo or photo essay, or short video”. Entries should “reflect firsthand investigation of topics related to the environment and sustainability in the students’ own communities, draw connections between local and global perspectives, and propose solutions”.

Students are also encouraged to make nominations for “Champions of the Earth”, a “UN-sponsored award for environment, Green Economy, and sustainability”. …

Students already get exposed to climate change and sustainability in textbooks which are bought with taxpayer funds, as well as in videos and online materials produced by taxpayer-supported Public Broadcasting. Many students, of course, have had to sit through Al Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. …

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) — the next phase of Common Core — will make the situation worse, however. Students will be even less capable of distinguishing science from propaganda. These standards, like those for math and English Language Arts, were produced by Achieve, a nonprofit education group started by corporate leaders and some governors.

Started by lefties is our guess. Sensible decision to be “non-profit”. Who would buy their product?

As in the standards for English Language Arts and math, the NGSS are intended to be transformative, or as Appendix A states, “to reflect a new vision for American science education”. They call for new “performance expectations” that “focus on understanding and applications as opposed to memorization of facts devoid of context”. 

In plain words, indoctrination – teaching what to think,  instead of education – teaching how to think.

And they can even manage to do this with the teaching of Mathematics. Wow!

It is precisely such short shrift to knowledge (dismissively referred to as “memorization”) to which science professors Lawrence S. Lerner and Paul Gross object. The standards bypass essential math skills in favor of “process”, they asserted last fall at the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation blog. [They said that] Common Core standards, in all disciplines, are written with a lot of fluff to conceal their emptiness. …

Lerner and Gross condemn the “slighting of mathematics”,  which does “increasing mischief as grade level rises, especially in the physical sciences”. Physics is “effectively absent” at the high school level. … [They] attack the “practices” strategy, as an extension of the “inquiry learning” of the early 1990s, which had “no notable effect on the (mediocre) performance of American students in national and international science assessments”. 

With some sarcasm, they write, “It is charming to say ‘students learn science effectively when they actively engage in the practices of science’.” However, … beginners don’t and can’t “practice” [science]  as do experts. The practices of experts exploit prior experience and extensive build-up in long-term memory of scaffolding: facts, procedures, technical know-how, solutions to standard problems in the field, vocabularies — of knowledge in short.

Not only do the Next Generation Science Standards shirk the necessary foundations in math and science knowledge, but they explicitly call for including ideological lessons, such as “Human impacts on Earth systems”.

For grades K-2, students are to understand, “Things people do can affect the environment but they can make choices to reduce their impact.” In grades 3 through 5, students will learn “Societal activities have had major effects on the land, ocean, atmosphere, and even outer space. Societal activities can also help protect Earth’s resources and environments.” …

The objective, of course, is not teaching legitimate science, but indoctrination.

Amazingly, ten states have already voluntarily adopted the Standards.

Such efforts, coordinated by the Department of Education, threaten the future of science itself.

When will this lunacy pass? We venture to state our secret conviction, hoping the all-powerful EPA Gestapo is not listening:

The planet we live on is not under any existential threat. And if it were, there’s not a thing anyone could do about it. 

So sleep well, children. Happy dreams.

The chief indoctrinator’s common core 4

More on the Common Core (see yesterday’s post, Tear down this red wall) by Michael Schaus at Townhall – where the picture of two American Stakhanovite students also comes from:

Obama’s Education Secretary recently said that opponents to the Administration’s “Common Core” Standards are merely “white suburban moms” who are, all of a sudden, learning that their kids aren’t real bright. Arne Duncan (wow. . . Perfect name for a 1970’s sitcom) made the degrading remarks to a group of state school superintendents on Friday. According to the Washington Post:

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told a group of state schools superintendents Friday that he found it “fascinating” that some of the opposition to the Common Core State Standards has come from “white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought it was.”

First of all, Arne, what does race have to do with anything? For that matter what does the socio-economic status of parents have to do with anything? (How would such a comment have been received if it was regarding single black mothers with less-than-brilliant kids?) Arne’s complete dismissal of opponents to the Federal Government’s takeover of education is typical of the Washington Statists who have been running things for the last several years. It’s as if he meant to say, “Opponents can’t be taken seriously. . . After all, they don’t agree with me.”

The insinuation that parents are raising concerns over the federal education standards because they would rather their kids have their ego’s artificially inflated, is both insulting and indicative of his overwhelming sense of self-righteousness. Perhaps we should just be happy Arne didn’t employee the typical MSNBC argument that his opponents are merely redneck-racists who despise the color of our President’s skin.

Forgetting for a minute about the horror stories regarding Common-Core-approved teaching material (promoting communism and downplaying wrong answers as two examples) there are still plenty of reasons to harbor sincere reservations about the federal intrusion on local education efforts.

At heart of Common Core is the liberal’s statist notion that only they are capable of running our lives.Arne, and his central-planning buddies in the nation’s Capital, think parents, school boards, and classroom teachers are incapable of providing children with adequate education standards. …

According to people like Arne Duncan, only the folks who brought us can bring some degree of competency into our American education system. (Stop laughing. That really is what he’s suggesting.) In the real world, however, the Federal government’s incompetence has managed to raise red flags among a bipartisan swath of the American public – including the Administration’s staunchest allies. That official “white suburban mom” activist group, known as the American Federation of Teachers, even raised an eyebrow at the failure of Common Core implementation. Randi Weingarten, the head of this radical tea-party group (sarcasm) even said that if you thought Obamacare’s implementation was bad, then just wait, “the implementation of the Common Core is far worse.

That may be an exaggeration, but we’re glad he said it.

The primary objection to more federal government involvement in education has been a usurpation of local school board decisions, and a politically driven curriculum for education. Which only makes sense given the political nature of everything that comes out of DC. Isn’t it amazing how we are all told that DC is run by lobbyists and special interests? But then we are expected to hand over something as valuable and precious as our child’s education to those very narrow minded con-artists?

The standards themselves were the first casualty of DC politicization. They were not, despite what Duncan would like you to believe, written by teachers, school boards, or even elected representatives. They were not approved or written by the states that adopted them, or by the education professionals who will be implementing them. . . They were written (I know this will be shocking) by bureaucrats.

But let’s not let these little concerns get in the way of calling Common Core opponents “white moms” with dumb kids. Such insults are nothing new to Duncan. According to the Washington Post, he told a convention of newspaper editors in June that Common Core critics were “misinformed at best and laboring under paranoid delusions at worst.”

Well. . . It’s easy to start wearing tin-foil hats when Florida schools begin scanning student’s retinas and kids are being taught that private enterprise is unfair and discriminatory.

Then again, maybe Arne is speaking from personal experience. . . His mother, after all, might be a white suburban mom who believes her son is much brighter than he actually is.

Posted under Commentary, education, Race, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, November 19, 2013

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A sentimental education 70

The Left is the side of the emotions. Leftism is the politics of feeling. Is there anything collectivists dread so much as reason? Anything they avoid so frantically, so acrobatically, as fact?

These are extracts from an article in Canada Free Press, by the excellent Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh, on the Left’s campaign to keep rising generations uncontaminated by knowledge, and safe from the vice of reasoning. (Our only significant difference of opinion with her is over religion. We think, unlike the author, that education should not include religion – except as history and literature – so among the passages we omit are some where she touches on that issue.)

Few parents actually know what Common Core Education is. Teachers who are finding out do not seem to care, let the state fight it out. For teachers, it is a means to an end; the end translates into keeping their jobs and a paycheck coming in this tough economy which the current administration celebrates as a “recovery” from a self-induced coma.

Although touted as a means to improve education standards, the Brookings Institution said, “The empirical evidence suggests that the Common Core will have little effect on American students’ achievement. The nation will have to look elsewhere for ways to improve its schools.” …

The Department of Education at the federal and state levels had developed many experimental programs that promised to be breakthroughs in education but were discarded later as giant wastes of time and taxpayer dollars while the achievement levels had continuously declined.

Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education, described Core Standards as an important tool for international competitiveness, access to high quality education, and a way to prepare “all students for college, work and citizenship. These standards are an important foundation for our collective work.” I emphasized “collective” because that is what Common Core is about, indoctrination into the “collective” mindset.

In spite of the fact that we have different brains, IQs, learning styles, and  …  talents, Common Core standards insist that “all children can and should learn to high achievement standards based on a “universal design for learning.”

This would be achieved by having different sets of standards based on race, ethnic background, socio-economic background, and disability, a type of “separate and unequal” education.

All students will receive the same diploma but for “unequal” work in mathematics and reading and for “unequal” achievement.

Furthermore, a video surfaced that shows that wrong answers in math are acceptable under Common Core standards as long as students can explain how they got the wrong answer and feel good about it.

We had to read that sentence twice before we could stop saying “Incredible!” and say instead, “Absurd enough to be true of this administration!”

The states who adopted the Common Core Standards were excused from the detested No Child Left Behind Act which set the standards too high for low achievers and low motivators who are not really interested in education. It is criminal and sad to see semi-literate individuals receive diplomas when they cannot actually read or write, cursive or otherwise, very well and are glorified by the MSM for speaking Ebonics.

“Beginning this fall, Alabama public schools will be under a new state-created academic accountability system that sets different goals for students in math and reading, based on their race, economic status, ability to speak English and disabilities.”

The English Arts Curriculum textbooks used in Utah, called Voices, Literature and Writing, emphasize the Democracy Plan, preparing students for community organizing. …

The Utahans Against Common Core has mounted an opposition. A short video shows the first grade textbook, Voices, Literature, and Writing, that teaches nothing about literature or writing. Instead, “In the Voices of Democracy theme, students use their voices to advocate solutions to social problems that they care deeply about. They are engaged in learning the following theme-related social knowledge and skills: social role models, social advocacy, and respect for each other. They learn to develop a Democracy Plan in which they develop ways to help people in need.” …

This [the Democracy Plan] is community organizing; this is communism, not literature and writing.

Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh has lived under communism in Romania, so she has no trouble recognizing it.

In the same series of books, educators are directed to teach first graders about emotional words of anger and fear in order to accomplish their social justice goals. The workbook gives the following example, “My mom_____ (tells) (nags) me to clean my room.” Students are supposed to choose “nags” because it is an emotional word of anger. If a student chooses “tells” the answer is incorrect.

Students are taught about feelings instead of logical thinking and parents are marginalized as some annoying individuals who nag their children. Would the collectivist village take over the rearing of our children?

Homework activities include practicing being upset and angry because “feelings cause people to act”. Is there any wonder that we have the Occupy Wall Street mobs, angry mobs, flash mobs, and people talking over each other? Liberals are taught to be ruled by feelings and not by logic.

Are these curriculum materials limited to first grade? No, all grades have the same theme, the Democracy Plan. By third grade teachers must “measure attitudes, beliefs, and dispositions,” making specific notes on the Student Observation Form whether “growth and change in individual student’s behavior and attitudes is observed”. One rubric asks, “Does the student use the plural ‘we’ and ‘our’ to advocate ways to solve social problems?” In other words, I and my, individualism, are frowned upon. …

Is this what we are trying to do with Common Core standards? Force every student into a government-dictated and enforced mold, dumbing down the curriculum so much that everyone appears equally intelligent, equally capable, equally trained, equally able?

The focus will no longer be education, the classics, language, government, mathematics, science, history, chemistry and individual achievement in those fields but social justice, activism, and community organizing for the socialist collective?

Yes. Because a childishly emotional population, living in a state of primitive dread, unable to reason and armed neither with guns nor education will be easy for a tyrannous government to control.

Filling a niche 91

We suspect that Obama would have liked to appoint his long-time friend and some-time colleague William Ayers, the Commie terrorist, as education secretary, but hasn’t got that much audacity. Next worst choice, the one he made, is Arne Duncan, for reasons touched on politely by Investor’s Business Daily.

Note the ‘reform’ idea of Duncan’s to educate homosexuals separately

Duncan’s record has been unimpressive. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), Chicago Public Schools have remained below the national average during Duncan’s term.

Under Duncan, Chicago schools’ average reading scores rose just one point on average from 2002 to 2007, to 250 out of 500. The national average in 2007 was 263, and 75% of Chicago students scored less.

In math, scores rose from 254 in 2003 to 260 in 2007. But the national average that year was 280. Again, 75% of Chicago students scored below the national average. In writing, the story was the same, with about half falling below the national average.

One notable reform proposal of Duncan’s — a separate-but-equal high school for gay, lesbian and transgendered students. "If you look at national studies, you can see gay and lesbian students with high dropout rates … I think there is a niche there we need to fill," the Chicago Tribune quoted Duncan as saying in October.

Duncan also had ties to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, founded and financed through the efforts of ex-Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers [and Barack Obama]. Ayers saw the CAC as a chance to radicalize Chicago public school teachers and students.

In a recent Education Week article, Ken Rolling, the executive director of the CAC and a former associate director of the Woods Fund, which Ayers was also involved with [as was Obama], said Duncan relied on the CAC to build the Chicago Public Schools agenda.

Like most efforts to improve the government monopoly by throwing money at it, the CAC was a failure, and a costly one at that. The CAC ultimately threw $160 million at the problem.

A report on that effort said "the Challenge had little impact on student outcomes." The report added on page 15: "There were no statistically significant differences between Annenberg schools and non-Annenberg schools in rates of achievement gain."

But in rates of indoctrination ‘gain’? Betcha! 


Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Thursday, December 18, 2008

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