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Constitutional Thinking: Thoughts on schools today

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Next Monday, Aug. 23 is a big day for most of the school age children in Ellis County and many other places across America. It’s Back to School day! I asked a local high school sophomore today if he was excited about it, and he mumbled, "Not really."

Actually, from an educational standpoint, there is little to really get excited about. Last week we learned charter (public) schools may be an improvement over traditional (public) schools, but that the ship U.S.S. Public Educational, like the Titanic, has hit an iceberg and is heading for the bottom. The only unknown is how long it will stay afloat.

President Obama has called for an overhaul of Bush’s No Child Left Behind law. He believes we should de-emphasize being proficient in reading and math and instead prepare graduates for college or a career.

Education Secretary Duncan and a bipartisan group of senior lawmakers in both chambers of congress have been working on a new law. That’s scary.

The No Child law encourages dumbing down standards as teachers focus on test preparation rather than on encouraging class work. What Duncan doesn’t admit to is the standards have been steadily lowered since the 1960s. Now we are developing in America a Europeanized system of education focusing on school to work.

The model for the U.S. may well be something like the three-year Maine Youth Apprenticeship Program started in 1992. It has an International Advisory Board of Governors, researches apprenticeship programs around the world, sets standards for apprenticeship occupations, and examines how they are applied and adapted worldwide.

Students in the 9th and 10th grades would learn about career opportunities, and then start their apprenticeship in the 11thand 12th grade with 20 weeks at school and 30 weeks at work. Year 13 would be 16 weeks at technical college and 34 weeks working from the employer. Graduates could move on to Associate, Bachelors or Advanced degrees.

Duncan’s proposals, according to the top Republican on the House education committee, John Kline (MN), are "looking at a heavier federal hand than many of us wish to see." Of course, Bush’s Secretary of Education, Texan Margaret Spellings, generally praises Obama’s new approach of accountability. Where are the Republicans that want to get rid of the U.S. Department of Education?

There is another little secret in the education world you may not be familiar with – the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) school program. Its aim is to create a "better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect." This program is very expensive, but if adopted in your district, you get to pay for it. Bastrop, Texas just managed to block adoption of the program in their district.

With a heavy socialist globalist perspective, this educational philosophy, like much in public schools today, is a direct assault on our Constitution and Judeo-Christian values.

The UN recommended sex-ed program used by the IBO sounds very similar to the one Helena, MT is trying to implement. Parents are upset.

According to the Missoulian, it would teach fifth-graders about different ways to have intercourse, and first-graders about gay love. In the past, if we had educators like this, we would call them perverts and throw them in jail. Of course, Obama is all for it.

My suggestion is that if you have children in public schools or even private, check up on them. I don’t mean checking to see who won the last football game. Talk with your children and know what is going on the classroom and school overall. Check up on the school board and talk with its members.

They are supposed to work for you. Go to a board meeting. Don’t like what’s going on? Fire them and the superintendent.

Check out your children’s books for content, especially in areas like health, history, civics, etc. Since much of the material will no doubt lack needed content, do what a dad told me he did for his son this summer – encouraged him to read supplemental books on history/government coming from a constitutional standpoint. That’s smart. Be careful and have a good year in school.

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