Weekly Update:

A Publication of the Michigan Militia Corps

Volume 3, Issue 28

September 19, 1996

Schools Fail Kids

by Rosaline Rush, Editor, Family Voice, Sept. 1996

After living abroad for a number of years, Anne Tyler decided to renew her teaching certification when she returned to the states. Fifteen years before, Anne had taught fifth grade at Stafford Academy - a small private school founded by a group of parents who felt the public schools were shortchanging their children.

For the most part, students were still polite to teachers and each other. Every child knew there were consequences for breaking rules. Anne received real satisfaction from watching the children learn. And for every concept mastered, their esteem jumped up a notch. Language arts (with phonics drills, spelling, writing, and grammar) consumed a large part of every day. Anne disguised math drills as games, so the children had fun learning. The next year they always marched confidently into the sixth grade.

Stafford Academy had closed four years ago due to tack of finances. Its board - concerned about government interference - had refused to accept federal funds. So Anne decided to try the public schools. She had heard that America's schools were troubled, but Anne felt that a good teacher could make a real difference.

Anne's first clue that something was wrong was a look at the textbooks. She noticed that the reading program depended heavily on pictures and guessing. Anne concluded that the children were expected to learn reading through osmosis. Creative writing lessons were designed to help students center in on their feelings. Spelling and grammar were not graded. The math program used manipulatives (counting with beans etc.) instead of multiplication tables. Children used calculators on tests. History was especially disappointing, for every lesson seemed to denigrate democracy, capitalism, and western civilization.

In the classroom, Anne was confronted by sullen, ill-prepared students who challenged everything she taught. Still she plodded ahead - using teaching methods successful in the past. Homework assignments were a joke. In fact students expected to do class assignments together and receive a group grade. Those who wanted to learn became disheartened because no matter how hard they tried, they could not excel. The A they earned had no more value than that of a student who only put forth effort commensurate with his perceived ability. Most students had given up even before entering Anne's Class.

Ann continued to require individual work and refused to inflate grades. The principal called her in periodically. "Mrs. Tyler;" he would say "parents are complaining that their children's grades have dropped drastically since coming into your class. You're too hard on them. Have you thought about the damage you may be causing them emotionally? Children need to feel good about themselves - and it's up to you to build their self-esteem."

After struggling through a year of this, Anne decided to quit teaching for good. The system wasn't working. She saw incompetent teachers kept on payroll by tenure, students promoted merely because of age; students harassing others without being punished, and violence in the halls. Even her teacher's union worked against her. She had been told that the National Education Association (NEA) was promoting a Lesbian and Gay History Month. That was the last straw.

Not every teacher gives up after one year -- not everyone can afford to. Some teachers have been in the system for years. But because of their great love for children and the truth, these teachers have endured humiliation and frustration -- working around the preposterous mandates of public school authorities.

Today, chaos reigns inside the schoolhouse. Old-fashioned morals, respect, discipline, and hard work are alien concepts in many classrooms. Feelings have replaced facts. Academics have fallen by the way-side. Schools seethe with rebellion. Values clarification, sex education, outcome-based education, global education, death education, conflict resolution, multiculturalism, suicide education, and self-esteem lessons have elbowed their way to the head of the class. Intelligent students, force-fed a steady diet of "dumbed down" curricula, are dying from academic anemia. While pretending to give our children tools for forging a future, in reality we are providing them with shovels for digging their own graves.

The shovel we use most often in "dumbing down" education is the current "self-esteem" philosophy. Developing high self-esteem has become a national pastime. Educators are concerned that higher standards and strict discipline will frustrate students and bruise their egos. Low self-esteem, they say, is the root cause of poor academic performance and even violent behavior. Therefore, educators envision a sharp increase in both knowledge and self-control if they build good self-esteem.

Yet after 25 years of research, there is almost no evidence of a tie between a failure to learn and low self-esteem. In fact, the California Task Force on Self-Esteem, after spending $735,000 on research, admitted, "one of the most disappointing aspects is how low the association between self-esteem and its consequences are in research to date."

We gain significance by accomplishing our goals. By teaching children that making an effort is unimportant, teachers (and parents) instruct students in the fine art of laziness. "And with so much emphasis on personal feelings," commented Dr. Beverly LaHaye, "it would be virtually impossible for children not to conclude that every action they take in life revolves around their feelings."

Furthermore, techniques used to boost self-esteem often hurt children more than they help. Conservative educators have concluded that artificially inflated self-esteem creates social, educational, and moral problems:
-Children's feelings provide the ultimate authority.
-Children focus on themselves, rather than on others.
-Children cannot discern right from wrong.
-Self-doubt arises from praise disconnected to specific accomplishments.

In the name of self-esteem, we have watered down, altered, dropped, redefined, and restructured the basics of our school systems. State curricula have elevated the teaching of self-esteem while relegating academic skills to inferior status. Meanwhile, we have undermined our children's ability to think for themselves and to develop emotional and moral self-control.

Ask almost any teacher, and he or she will tell you there is a high correlation between low self-esteem and violence, both in and out of the classroom. Yet a new study contradicts that belief. Roy F. Baumeister and Joseph M. Boden, Case Western Reserve University, and Laura Smart, University of Virginia, reported their findings in the Psychological Review, 1996, Vol. 103. The trio defines self-esteem as "a favorable global evaluation of oneself." They point out that its synonyms have mixed connotations -- "pride, egotism, arrogance, honor, conceitedness, narcissism, and a sense of superiority."

People who perceive themselves as "superior" may feel it is their "right" to take what be longs to someone else -- or attack an "inferior" person "without remorse." The researchers propose that the major cause of violence then "is high self-esteem combined with an ego threat. Favorable views of self that are unwarranted, exaggerated, or ill-founded would be especially prone."

Their research also revealed that gang members often possess inflated egos, causing them to react violently when someone "disrespects" them. Could schools be encouraging such behavior by artificially elevating children's self-esteem?

In the rush to please our children, we have failed to teach them. And the foundational skill of reading has suffered most. In a speech earlier this year, Education Secretary Richard Riley stated, "Too many of our young people are going through school without having mastered the most essential and basic skill [reading]."

Why can't America's children read? The Dept. of Education blames a lack of funds, overcrowded classrooms, poverty, and prejudice. But the root cause is the way we teach reading. Whole language -- taught in our classrooms for three-quarters of this century -- was implemented to rid reading of drill and repetition. Educators believed that children would learn to read by sophisticated guessing - using pictures, memory, and even the "shape" of words. Moreover, children could use "inventive" spelling that could only be deciphered by the person who wrote it. But this destructive philosophy actually prevents reading and causes learning problems.

Research has confirmed that explicit, systematic phonics provides a solid base for reading.

Second only to literacy, a command of English is an important indicator of future success. In 1992, English teachers, parents and employers pushed for national standards. So the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the International Reading Association (IRA) developed guidelines. When the standards came out this spring, Ann Chin, president of NCTE, hailed them as furthering "our vision of what literacy means."

However, in reading through this vague report, teachers can find no guidelines, no recommendations, and no standards. "Written in impenetrable jargon, the English standards are an embarrassment to the profession," writes educator Diane Ravitch. "They do not describe what students need to know to speak, write, and read English well." In striving to remain inoffensive, developers have produced innocuous statements such as: Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative and critical members of a variety of literacy communities. What -- in plain English - does this mean? Can you believe that it took almost four years -- funded by the U.S. Dept. of Education -- to produce this? At present, the U.S. spends $120 billion for 760 federal programs that fund education. Yet we will continue to throw good money away until we disable, disarm, and dismantle the Department of Education.

Another program consuming our tax dollars is bilingual education. For all practical purposes, most bilingual classes are turning out functionally illiterate children. Why are we doing this? Since the founding of our country, immigrants have blended into our culture by first learning the language.

While the "system" is undermining opportunities for students to learn English, it is also stealing their past. James Madison, chief architect of our Constitution wrote: "We have staked the whole of our political institutions on the capacity of men to govern themselves according to the Ten Commandments of God." Yet the Constitution was not mentioned in the 31 history standards of 1994. Instead, the authors chose to reflect the multiculturalist mentality of Goals 2000 -- ignoring the contributions of conservatives, and Christians.

Outraged citizens and reputable historians protested. Finally, in early 1995, the Senate voted (99-1) to denounce the standards -- underwritten by a $2.3 million grant. However, proponents salvaged the project with more revisions. New history guidelines appeared in April, 1996, but the debate continues. Parents should continue to search for truth in textbooks -- remembering that no matter how it is packaged, "politically correct" history is built on sinking sand.

Nowhere will you find more shifting sand than in sex education. This wasteland consists of condom distribution, "safe-sex" practices, abortion referrals, homosexual promotion, and "how-to" lessons in everything from masturbation to sodomy and is taught under the guise of "family life" education.

Our school systems need reform. And they need it now! Subjected daily to lurid sex education, revisionist history, whole language, and creative math, our children are prisoners of the U.S. educational system. It's time for us to lose the chains of government control and break down the bars of false teaching. Get informed and get involved!

Aid to Brown Scolded for Conduct

A federal judge on Aug. 7 sanctioned a Justice Department lawyer for helping thwart disclosure of Commerce Department documents that might tie official U.S. trade missions to Democratic fund raising.

U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth scolded Bruce R. Hegy for "totally improper conduct" by walking out of a court-ordered deposition March 27. At that deposition, the public-interest group, Judicial Watch, was to question a former top aide to Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown about documents the judge ordered produced under the Freedom of Information Act.

The judge ordered the government to pay legal fees and expenses to Judicial Watch and said he will issue a discovery order this week to allow the group to interrogate Commerce Department employees believed to be involved in a cover-up.

In court on Aug. 5, Judicial Watch Chairman Larry Klayman detailed the department's two-year effort to prevent disclosure of records tying Clinton administration trade missions to a Democratic National Committee offer to provide seats on the secretary's plane to promote executives who gave $100,000 to the DNC.

Mr. Kiayman accused the department of "bad faith misconduct from the start." He said the department has produced "no correspondence from the DNC" among 30,000 pages of documents, and he cited news reports that Mr. Brown's secretaries shredded documents in his office April 3, the day the secretary died in a plane crash in Croatia.

Mr. Hegyi denied the shredding reports, but Judge Lamberth expressed repeated impatience with the lawyer's explanations to justify the department's failure to produce relevant records.

"The search was either inadequate or documents were destroyed. That's the only conclusion," the judge said.

Judge Lamberth, who ordered Mr. Brown's deposition before his death, also questioned the "curious wording" in a Brown affidavit. In the affidavit, Mr. Brown denied having any records or communications between his office and the DNC regarding trade missions or political fund raising.

Mr. Brown's affidavit, read in court said the secretary did not personally "maintain documents responsive to the Freedom of Information Act requests."

"He didn't say there were no such documents. He said he didn't maintain them," Judge Lamberth said. "The curious wording of that document raises more questions. If he had lived, he would have been deposed."

The Washington Times, Aug. 18, 1996

Destroying Jobs to Save the Ozone

The Clinton presidency has spawned a jumble of entertainments, including the parlor game exercise of trying to identify Bill Clinton's real, true soul. Is the man a subterranean liberal or a misunderstood New Democrat?

The administration whispered the answer two weeks ago at a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. Timothy Wirth, undersecretary of state for global affairs, committed the United States to an agreement that probably will require the U.S. economy to generate 10% less carbon dioxide in 2010 than it did in 1990, even though the nation's population will have grown 25%. Mr. Wirth said the deal set the stage for "the most complicated scientific, environmental, economic and political challenge in history." A future president would have the invigorating duty of forcing hundreds of millions of Americans to accept changes that will crimp their lives and cripple their futures -- all because Bill Clinton cut a deal that made environmentalists happy during the 1990 election season.

Consider some key features of the treaty. The United States, virtually alone among major economic powers, would accept binding limits on emissions from fossil fuels -- the source of 85% of our energy.

Our European competitors would not suffer similar restraints. They merely would have to achieve such reductions as a Continent. And developing economies, including Korea and China, wouldn't have to change their behavior at all. The document doesn't apply to them.

The agreement would raise the price of everything -- instantly. A DRI/McGraw Hill study estimates the government would have to impose a tax of 5O cents per gallon just to hold carbon emissions at 1990 levels and would have to slap a 50% price increase on heating oil. If the administration accepts the proposal to reduce pollution 10%, the price increases could double.

Businesses either would have to pay gigantic fees or move to places that impose no such levies. That would be a no-brainer for manufacturers. Heavy industries would head for places such as India and China, which have large, low-wage labor pools and would not have to abide by the anti-pollution pact. Ironically, such a change simply would shift jobs and pollution from one part of the planet to another.

The government has another option, of course. It could resist the temptation to tax and create a rationing system, instead. If you wanted to use energy, you'd have to pay for a permit. This would give the government life-or-death power over 6/7 of the economy -- a sure recipe for mega corruption. If we can't fund a food-stamp program without extensive fraud, can you imagine what would happen with a system that would bring energy under Washington's ambit?

This agreement, quietly negotiated far away from the turmoil of presidential politics, ensures recession and oppression -- without the benefit of representation. Congress and the White House haggled for a decade over the provisions of the Clean Air Act extension of 1992. This time around, the Clinton cadres avoided unpleasantness by misleading key players on Capitol Hill.

Deputy Undersecretary of State, Rafe Pomerance assured jittery lawmakers on June 19 that the administration would not accept any emissions limits during the Geneva deliberations. Mr. Wirth, Mr. Pomerance's boss, broke that pledge less than four weeks later.

What would be the long-term outcome of this deal? America's heavy industries and energy-dependent industries would go down the drain. Consad Research Corp. estimates the changes would kill off 1.6 million jobs over the next nine years and put another 3.5 million or so "at risk." Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana and Michigan would take the hardest hits.

Even the White House admits the change will hurt people. As Mr. Wirth noted coyly in Switzerland, "In a world of change, everybody doesn't remain advantaged."

The agreement also would set off geopolitical chaos. If today's globe features "haves" and "have-nots," this writ would create a world of "cans" and "cannots" -- and American entrepreneurs would find themselves on the enemies list. And as manufacturing moved East, economic warfare would erupt.

This kind of thing makes ClintonCare look awesomely tame. With health care, the president wanted to mess up 1/7 of the economy. In this case, he wants to gut 6/7, without the consent of the people, while placing everybody under the suzerainty of Boutros Boutros-Ghali or some other UN potentate.

In order to fend off what may be a fabricated fear of global warming, Bill Clinton has just committed the next generation of Americans to an economic ice age. Is it any wonder the markets (and workers) feel uneasy?

Tony Snow
The Washington Times, Aug. 11, 1996

"It has long...been my opinion, and I have never shrunk from it's expression, that the germ of dissolution of our federal government is in the constitution of our federal judiciary: an irresponsible body (for impeachment is scarcely a scarecrow), working by gravity by night and day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless footstep like a thief over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped from the states, and the government of all be consolidated into one." -Thomas Jefferson
"We are a Republican Government. Real liberty is never found in despotism or in the extremes of Democracy." -Alexander Hamilton
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