On Thursday, February 2nd, the Hilo Tea Party and The Conservative Forum of Hawai’i sponsored the Heritage Foundation to speak at a dinner event in Hilo Hawai’i. The dinner was held at the New Star restaurant in historic downtown Hilo where a packed house audience was in attendance.
Jennifer Marshal of the prestigious Heritage Foundation was speaking on “Hope for Hawaii Education: How We Can Win School Choice”. Ms. Marshall is Director of Domestic Policy Studies for the Heritage Foundation, widely considered one of the world’s most influential public policy research institutes. In 2010, National Journal named her as “one of 12 power players” in Washington, D.C. for her work on school choice and education reform. The following video explains how in Washington D.C., the Charter schools were successful, and how special interest groups sought to eliminate the program.
The history behind D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program: In 2004, President George W. Bush signed into law the D. C. School Choice Incentive Act of 2003. The program provided scholarships to students from low-income families to attend a private school of choice. The program originally targeted about 2,000 students from low-income families in Washington D.C. The program was a success. Graduation rates were up, and the program was scheduled to expand to other locations. But there was a problem.
In 2009, Dick Durbin (D. Ill) placed an amendment in the Omnibus spending bill to effectively end the scholarship program. President Obama signed the bill even though he knew the benefits of the scholarship program to children of low income families. Public Teachers Unions lobbied to end the scholarship program. The Teachers Unions offer to the Democrats was this: We won’t complain about private or parochial schools for your children, provided you don’t help any other kids get the same chance. In effect, sacrificing the children of low income families from getting the same educational opportunities as Obama’s and the Democrat congressional leaders’ children receive. Ironic, because Obama was a graduate of Punahou School, this was a private school he attended. Obama loyalties were to the Public School Unions and not to the children of the Washington D.C. area.
Obama and Democrats would rather condemn children of low income families to the cycle of poverty and failing public education system in exchange for Union Votes!
Outraged by Obama and the democrats insensitivity to the needs of low income families desire to see their children get the same opportunities as the elites that inhabit Washington D.C., the Republicans acted. In 2011, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) introduced the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act. The law restored funding and allowed students to resume participation in the program. The program will need reauthorization in five years. Expect the Marxist Democrats to try and eliminate the program once again to satisfy the corrupt Public Unions. Trading votes for children’s futures!
The Demands of Adults over Children: In Hawai’i, Charter schools are becoming increasingly popular because of the educational success over their public school counterparts. However, the Teacher Unions are very powerful. Hawai’i is also not a Right to Work State. Anyone that wants to be a Teacher in Hawai’i’s public education system must belong to a Union. You have no choice! That’s not true in Charter schools. Even though the quality of education in the public system is woefully low, Charter schools continue to be vastly superior. Yet, the public teachers’ pay scale is much higher than Charter school teachers. Why is that?
What is School Choice? In the video link to the Heritage website, it portrays a “Made Simple” explanation of how school choice works. It all about value, expense and freedom! From the example, in the video you will see how a centralized government controlled system that tends to throw money at the education performance problem, and forces rules on how the money is spent.
Qualifying Teachers credentials: Another issue with the public education system is the teachers and their qualifications to teach. Here in Hawai’i, the majority of teachers are good teachers and do a very good job. However, there are some teachers that are clearly not qualified to teach. Either because of their lack of knowledge in the subject matter, or their political views is injected in the curriculum. More often, it is the latter. For example, a teacher told me in very vehemently ways that she required her students to watch Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”. Why? Because she truly believes in the false message of climate change and that it is manmade. Even though there is no actual physical proof that the world is warming, and that much of the global warming data has been proven to be fraudulent. The teacher also required the parents to view the video or else the students grades would suffer. Is this the kind of curriculum that will help students be successful, or is this political extortion for good grades?
A parent told me that his son’s teacher was using Monty Python’s Holy Grail as a history lesson. At first I thought he was kidding, but it was true! Was that laziness on the teacher’s part, or a deliberate attempt by the teacher to rewrite history? In the public school system, there is either little or no accountability on the teachers’ performance. Not so in the Charter schools where the teachers performance is tied to their salary, and their employment. In the public school system there is no merit system to maintain the quality of any teacher’s performance. Once a teacher makes tenure, then it is next to impossible to remove the teacher.
In the New York City school system, teachers with tenure and discipline problems cannot be fired. Instead, they are placed in what it called “Rubber Rooms” where they spend the school day doing nothing and getting full pay for it.
That let rubber-room granddaddy Roland Pierre make a mockery of the system. He finally retired at age 76 last year — 14 years after he was yanked from PS 138 in Brooklyn and never taught again. Criminal charges in 1997 that he molested a sixth-grade girl were dropped. He got $97,101 a year.
This is an example where the teachers’ unions have so totally taken over the school system that it only benefits the adults, and the children are left to the mercy of an uncaring system. Granted this is not the norm across the nations’ public school system, but it highlights how the system doesn’t work.
What is in the text books? Even more startling is what’s in the textbooks that students are using to learn. Equally important, is where these textbooks are coming from. A recent report concerning history books that contained inaccuracies and in other cases, religious hate indoctrination.
In 2005, Abdurrahman Wahid, the then-president, wrote about the danger of the Saudis’ exported ideology, saying it was fueling a “well-financed, multifaceted global movement that operates like a juggernaut in much of the developing world, and even among immigrant Muslim communities in the West.”
It is disturbing that history books are being littered with omissions and outright distortions of American history. The review process of these history books is either ineptly done or deliberate. Public schools tend to remove any parental direction and guidance that reflect the parent’s values. Instead, the course materials, and the teacher’s overt liberalism, often take a revision of world history.
The creation of many of these materials is made possible by Title VI of the Higher Education Act, under which select universities receive federal funding and prestigious designation as National Resource Centers (NRCs) for the study of places and languages which the government considers to be of vital importance. Eighteen of these centers — based at such institutions as Harvard, Georgetown, Ohio State, UC Berkeley, and the Universities of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington — focus on the study of the Middle East. As part of the federal mandate, each center assigns an outreach coordinator to extend its expertise to the community at large and to school-age children in kindergarten through 12th grade. Outreach usually includes workshops, guest speakers, books, pamphlets, and complete syllabuses broken down into teaching modules – with instruction booklets (and sometimes visual aids) for teachers.
If parents are not involved in their child’s learning and reviewing the textbooks, then what the child learns will carry them into their life’s values. History can be distorted into a reality where the victim is at fault and the perpetrator is the innocent. This is true when listening to Ron Paul’s political rants against the United States. He is a perfect example of the “Blame America First” crowd. When you look at his followers, they repeat his talking points like a broken Rolodex. When challenging them on the accuracy of their claims, they quickly change the subject to deflect any cogent reasoning.
For example the 911 attacks on America:
A decade after the 9/11 attacks, Blame America-ism still permeates classrooms and the culture. A special 9/11 curriculum distributed in New Jersey schools advises teachers to “avoid graphic details or dramatizing the destruction” wrought by the 9/11 hijackers, and instead focus elementary school students’ attention on broadly defined “intolerance” and “hurtful words.”
Middle-schoolers are directed to “analyze diversity and prejudice in U.S. history.” And high-school students are taught “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” — pop-psychology claptrap used to excuse jihadists’ behavior based on their purported low self-esteem and oppressed status caused by “European colonialism.”
In Virginia some history books were so filled in inaccuracies it was breathtaking. For example:
In the version of history being taught in some Virginia classrooms, New Orleans began the 1800s as a bustling U.S. harbor (instead of as a Spanish colonial one). The Confederacy included 12 states (instead of 11). And the United States entered World War I in 1916 (instead of in 1917).
The review began after The Washington Post reported in October that “Our Virginia” included a sentence saying that thousands of black soldiers fought for the South. The claim is one often made by Confederate heritage groups but rejected by most mainstream historians. The book’s author, Joy Masoff, said at the time that she found references to it during research on the Internet. Five Ponds Press later apologized.
But that’s not all; in the Educational Research Analysis November 2002 Newsletter reported 249 overlooked factual errors in United States history, including the United States Constitution.
“The Judiciary Act of 1789 provided for a Supreme Court ….”
“Judiciary Act of 1789 a law that established … the Supreme Court ….”
– The Americans: Reconstruction to the 21st Century (McDougal, 2003), p. 74, par. 5, lines 2-3; and p. R59, col. 2
When in fact:
The 1789 Judiciary Act did not “provide for” or “establish” the Supreme Court. Article 3, Section 1 of the Constitution did that. The text itself admits this on p. 93, top right margin, “More About … Federal Courts,” lines 1-2. The Act did set the number of associate Supreme Court justices at 5.
In researching this article, I’ve tried to search out those egregious errors that I’ve either read in published newspapers, or in video documentaries that are apart of investigated reporting into education material. I have fact checked my links to the best of my ability, and I have tried to expand to the reader the scope of the problem in educational material and the problem with inaccuracies. With the wealth of information, both real and fiction, it can be challenging to provide an objective viewpoint. So, I welcome any critique of this post.
My question to Ms. Marshal after her presentation was: “What do you suppose is the single reason for the decline in Public education today?” I asked that question knowingly what the answer was, and I was correct. Unions! Adult needs over the children’s! That’s all I needed to know.
Ka Wā Mahope – Future
What’s For Dinner?
Roast Chicken with Stuffing Mashed Potatoes and Steamed Green Beans