Monday, April 22, 2013

Oklahoma Elementary Students Study Ramadan?

Years ago, this was the inside of a typical American Classroom.

This is today's typical American Classroom -





And now, though we are already allowing America's classrooms to function as little more than propaganda machines in the war against well-rounded education, we have this:




This is one page from a 13 page booklet given to first grade students at Clegern Elementary School in Edmond, Oklahoma this 2013 school year.  You can view the packet in its entirety if you so wish, just as it came home (accidentally) with a student, just as I scanned it into my computer.

This is troubling.

First; elementary students should be going to school to have their heads packed with math facts, English grammar facts, basic American history facts and science facts.  The younger the child, the more easily facts are absorbed.  No one can think critically without an ability to memorize facts and have them on hand.  Critical thinking skills amount to nothing if there is no foundation upon which to think.

Second; because of their rapidly growing brains, young (elementary) children are much more susceptible to influences outside the sphere of education - those that belong in the category of ideology.  I wrote a blog about this specific issue and how it effected one of my own children.  

Last; while I believe World Religions to be an important topic of study, it should not be introduced until 11th or 12th grade - or college - in deference to the first two reasons.  A study of World Religions allows the student to assimilate their world view and the knowledge base imparted them by their parents into a larger framework.  Younger students have not enough world view to master this ability, nor to place the information studied in any real context, therefore, studying world religions merely creates an opportunity for introduction of ideology. 

Though secularists and atheists will disagree, the religion upon which American public schooling was based (Judeo-Christian; see any McGuffey reader) is the only religion for which I would make opposite argument.

History shows without a doubt, this country was colonized by Christians for the, "advancement of the Christian faith."  Though there will be arguments again and again by secularists (none that are born out by even a mere cursory study of the art found in our nation's capitol), the Founders of this country at least established America as a nation in which the religion of its citizenry would never be prescribed by its government not as a nation in which religion and government were to be separated.  America was not established as a secular nation.  The facts that over 75% of Americans self-identify as Christian and, of all the countries in the world America still ranks as the country containing the most self-identified Christians, should dispense with the notion that America is not a Christian nation first and foremost.

Judeo-Christian prayer was removed from schools in 1962 as consequence of a lawsuit by New York parents.  Bible reading was prohibited in schools in 1965 due to a lawsuit filed by Madeline Murray O'Hair.  Neither of these incidents mirrored the religious makeup of the citizenry of America, just the amount of judicial activism allowed within the Supreme Court.

The beauty of America is that everyone living here has the opportunity to worship as he or she desires -  even to educate others about their religion.  In addition, any member of any religious group in America has the ultimate right to express their religion by creating a private school in which to instruct their youth - including those religions of atheism and Islam.  The study of Islam, however, is simply not appropriate for K-10 public education and certainly not in light of the context of American public schools.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Oklahoma History Standards and the Southern Poverty Law Center...Huh?



I am still studying (off and on as time allows) Oklahoma's new "Social Studies" standards. Imagine how upset I was this morning when I found that The Southern Poverty Law Center was cited in their "Resources Referenced and Used" section (page 96, Southern Poverty Law Center. Teaching the Movement: The
State of Civil Rights Education in the United States 2011. 2011.  Southern Poverty Law Center. Teaching the Movement: The State Standards We Deserve. March 2012.)


If you are unfamiliar with why this would be nearly the worst thing in the world to find anywhere in your state's history standards, please just perform a cursory internet search for the Southern Poverty Law center to find out what other people say about them.  Here's an interesting article that covers an issue centering around emails to and from the SPLC and the Justice Department under Eric Holder.  Basically, the SPLC is a radical group that likes to call out any persons or organizations that consider Christianity and/or a love of the Constitution (among other things) as a 'hate group'.  This organization has NO business being even CITED in a document prescribing history standards for Oklahoma children. 

I don't care how 'well rounded' you are trying to make standards, you DON'T include information from one of the most far radically left-leaning organization in the US today. That's insanity! But then again, we live in a Constitutional Democracy according to these same standards as well (page 11) - an interesting tidbit we wrote about in our blog "A Republic Ma'am If you Can Keep It".

I've also found that Oklahoma has subverted some standards that could be used for more US government (look at the graduation requirements for social studies at the bottom to see how bare little we invest in the study of our own country and its government!) for PSYCHOLOGY! What? Now remember, these are the new C3 standards (page 11 combined Common Core and Oklahoma Social Studies standards). Why in the heck are we including PSYCHOLOGY in Social Studies? My brain could go all over the map with that one. Consequently, one of the other resources Oklahoma uses is the American Psychological Association - another organization that has produced at least questionable information over the years.  One quote in this article is especially eye-opening,

While mental health professionals are trained to believe in the political neutrality of prevailing psychological theories, these theories are not politically neutral. 
I am certain there are some good things in these standards. I am also certain they do NOT provide the framework necessary for students to understand AND appreciate their REPUBLIC!

3 Units or Sets of Competencies Social Studies
1 United States History,
1/2 to 1 United States Government,
1/2 Oklahoma History, and
1/2 to 1 which may include, but are not limited to the following courses: World History, Geography, Economics, Anthropology, or other social studies courses with content and/or rigor equal to or above United States History, United States Government, and Oklahoma History.



We must continue to stay on top of this issue.  After much study on this topic as an organization early on in our formation, ROPE truly believes the lack of and/or leftist-version-teaching of American government to be the main reason behind the death spiral of our Republican form of government today. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Ultimate in Educational Stupification - Global Warming

As if it isn't hysterical that a man who lived in a multimillion dollar mansion in Tennessee that used more power than a small African country has created a cult to bully others into living a 'green' lifestyle, it's even MORE hysterical that in the face of ClimateGate, our backward, roundabout federally funded Common Core State Standards initiative would make Global Warming the centerpiece of their Science Standards!

And so it is that Achieve, The National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science released their version of Science the way they want school children all across the country to learn it, this week to a flurry of comment:
New Teaching Standards Delve More Deeply Into Climate Change
Next Generation Science Standards Go All In With Climate Change
New Science Standards Put Global Warming At Core of Curriculum

Several things have caught my attention.

First, when one visits the Oklahoma Department of Education website to find our Science standards, our DOE would have you believe that ALL the Common Core State Standards (Language Arts, Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Math) were released in their final form on June 2, 2010.  Actually, English Language Arts and Math only were released in a final version of sorts on June 2, 2010 (after the Oklahoma legislature had voted to make them law in our state through SB2033) and it doesn't appear through any research I've been able to dig up on the internet that those were the final ELA and Math standards (the Common Core website and a site called Education Northwest were the only ones I was able to track any information on standards release dates and both those sites give incomplete information).  Social studies standards are not really social studies standards but ELA standards that include History Literacy - specific social studies standards have yet to be developed.  In fact, Oklahoma's Social Studies Standards indicate just this exact situation.  You can read them for yourself here.  Notice that you'll see Common Core ELA standards referenced for reading and writing assignments in addition to previously developed state Social Studies standards.  These are the ones that we wrote about in the blog, "A Republic Ma'am, If You Can Keep It".  Obviously, the Common Core Science standards are just NOW being released for public comment.  A bit disingenuous, don't you think?

At any rate, back to the Science standards.  EdWeek reports,
"Observers say the treatment of evolution and climate change, two politically thorny issues, may complicate decisions in some states."
Goodness yes in Oklahoma those would be thorny issues!  They also go on to report,
"With biological evolution, for instance, the standards make clear that the concept is a fundamental underpinning of the life sciences. And with climate change, the document calls human activities “major factors.”
Wow.  Yea, those aren't going to play well in the Bible belt I'm afraid.

Now look, I'm often criticized because I have a Master's Degree in Biology and I don't want Evolution taught in schools.  I don't want ANY untested THEORY taught in school as a fact.  I maintain that if you want to teach THEORIES, then teach competing THEORIES - Evolution and Intelligent Design for example - but don't begin to tell children that it's one way or the other factually.  If you do, you have completely invalidated the scientific process as neither THEORY can be observed and/or recorded in order to be disproven (or proved).  Obviously, I have faith in Intelligent Design, but as a scientist that's all I can impart to a student as I go on to also explain the THEORY of Evolution (in which I hold no belief at the macro level).

So, where did all this theoretical nonsense come from?  Well, I did a bit of internet digging tonight after looking at Oklahoma's Science Standards.

I taught 7th grade science in the late 1990's early 2000's using the Core Knowledge standards and the Oklahoma PASS.  I spent a LOT of my year talking about chemistry.  Guess what?  There is no chemistry in Oklahoma's Science standards until HIGH SCHOOL!  Well, there you go!  We don't want to overdo our scientific knowledge - we don't want standards "a mile wide and an inch deep" we want them "a mile deep and an inch wide".  Certainly, it will be easy for kids to pick up the language of Chemistry by high school (snark).  Interestingly, in the above-cited articles this notion is mentioned.  It was felt that these standards needed to be more earth science focused, so apparently, chemistry got the short shrift!  It is interesting to me then, that without a proper study of Chemistry to understand the breakdown of ozone and methane, you could buy the whole global warming thing hook line and sinker!

I also found this,
The science standards in this document were developed based on the National Science Education Standards by the National Research Council (NRC), the Benchmarks for Scientific Literacy by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the Science Frameworks by the National Association for Educational Progress (NAEP). The United States has established a goal for all students to achieve scientific literacy. These national publications, developed by science and education experts, will enable the nation and the state of Oklahoma to meet this goal. (page 1,2)
Okay, let's assess this.  Here is the NRC - which houses the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and Institute of Medicine.  What do you see when you click the link?  NOTHING BUT STUFF ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING!  Oh yes, there's really nothing else on the page.  In fact, the NRC's home page has the banner, "Climate Change at the National Academies".  Very non-partisan, right?  Very scientific!  It's no wonder the standards are all about Climate Change and chemistry has been taken out in favor of 'earth' science.

Let's try the AAAS.  I'll bet they're more scientific and less partisan...Oh goodness.  On the front page of their website at the top, they have this article,
"A Mosaic of Human and Ape [11 April 2013] New findings in Science shed light on the anatomy and likely habits of Australopithecus sediba, a possible human ancestor discovered in South Africa in 2008.
A quick trip over to the "programs" tab finds this,
International Office
Sustainable Development
International Cooperation
Women's Collaboration
Science Diplomacy
Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program
As one who wears the epithet of "Conspiracy Theorist" with a smile, I'm not comfortable with any of that.  Are you?

Now the Next Generation Science Standards says,
States have previously used the National Science Education Standards from the National Research Council (NRC) and Benchmarks for Science Literacy from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to guide the development of their current state science standards. While these two documents have proven to be both durable and of high quality, they are around 15 years old. In addition, major advances have since taken place in the world of science and in our understanding of how students learn science effectively. Explore the timeline below to read some of the recent foundational science education research and reports on which the Next Generation Science Standards will be based.
Unfortunately, when you scroll down the list of NGSS supporting documents, they come from, yes, you guessed it, the AAAS and the NRC.  I guess the NEW stuff is the Global Warming hysteria.

People will ask, it's inevitable, but NO, the NGSS are apparently NOT under the direct title of the Common Core State Standards - they are called, College and Career Ready Standards.  As I posted in the first paragraph, there is definite confusion on the exact differences between the Common Core and College and Career Ready Standards, but I can tell you this, just like with the Common Core, all the same players are involved - mainly Achieve.  This is important because earlier tonight, my friend and co-worker Danna sent me a copy of Oklahoma's State Longitudinal Grant Application.  I am working on a story on this document alone, but Danna pointed out and it struck me quite hard, that this document included the CV of Oklahoma's Executive Director of Student Information, John Kraman (page 97).  Among other things, it says,



 
 

This guy was in on the ground floor of the Common Core State Standards - which CAME OUT OF WASHINGTON, D.C. where he worked with Achieve. So, I guess you can say that no matter whose name is on the standards, it's all the same names and all the same people - it's just the regular people that are getting nothing out of the whole takeover dealio but stupification of our kids and a tax burden!

In closing, just like with the Common Core, this writer, bemoans the following about his frustration with all the climate change nonsense,
These reports only rarely contain blatant lies. Instead, we are fed a mélange of half-truths, incomplete statements, and misquoted citations.  Who really expects reviewers to dig so deep as to uncover all of these?
Climate data has been proven to be fudged, tampered with, contrived, and yet the National Science Foundation (NSF) continues to take our money to fund global warming studies.  How can you even wrap your brain around using public funding to perpetuate a myth?


Well, if you can bully and scare school children with this silly concept, you drive wedges between parent and child.  As I wrote in a blog some years ago, "The Zombies Are Coming, The Zombies Are Coming",
My daughter brought home yet another piece of fabulous homework (PROPAGANDA) from my Blue Ribbon winning elementary school, Quail Creek Elementary. This one was called, "Shifting Shape; The earth is changing shape because of GLOBAL WARMING!"

Yes, according to the worksheet, "For more than 200 years, Earth has been getting warmer. Lately it seems to be happening more quickly....."

I tell my daughter after she makes me aware that she is stumped and doesn't know how to complete this worksheet, "I forbid you to do that and turn that in." And so goes our conversation:

"I forbid you to do that and turn it in! It's a lie. You're perpetuating a lie!"

Betty: "But MOOOOOOOOOM, You're the ONLY parent who ever gets upset at this kind of thing! You're embarrassing me!"

"It's about more than being embarrassed child, it's about doing something that promotes "junk science" - science that isn't true and hasn't been proven!"

Betty: "But I don't care! I don't want to get a bad grade for NOT doing it and my teacher will be mad!"

"I don't care if you get a bad grade! This isn't important to your base of knowledge in any way mainly because it ISN'T TRUE - it's completely unfounded science that even the man who runs the Weather Channel - among others - says isn't true either. It's not just your MOOOOOOOM, you know. What would you say if they started teaching that God was a lie, or Faith was a lie?"

Betty: "They don't do that mom and I don't care. I don't want to get a bad grade and have my teacher be mad at me." 
There's no way to beat this.  I mean, kids tend to think their parents are just three bricks shy of a load anyway.  When you get someone at school in a trusted position pushing political garbage that has no business being in a public school, your child is going to be hard pressed - especially in the younger grades - to stand up to that teacher and tell them how the cow ate the cabbage.  That's basically the definition of indoctrination and you don't have to have to be wearing a tin foil hat to see that - even though Reynold's Wrap tends to make the gray in my hair shine!