Progressive Action Spot

"Cherish, therefore, the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them. If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress, and Assemblies, Judges, and Governors, shall all become wolves." Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Republicans Are Victimizing Our Children

No, this is not another post about Congressman Foley R. FL stalking a 16 year-old page or the GOP cover-up of it. Of course, any victimization and sexual exploitation of a child is an atrocity. The cover-up of this crime for a year, in an attempt to maintain a political majority, is a crime of the most extreme nature.

I am, however, referring to a systematic and coordinated effort to place profits and ideology above the well-being of our children, their education and the future of our Country. This is about the disaster that is our public education system.

Our Founders stressed the importance of education endlessly. It was the Enlightenment Period. It was a time of human evolution where the people believed that reason and knowledge could lead to a new way of living and of approaching government.

“Wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties, and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of the country, and among the different orders of people, it shall be the duty of legislators and magistrates... to cherish the interest of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them.” – John Adams 1776


Our Founders were perhaps the most educated group of leaders that our Country has ever had. Ironically, most were self-taught. They became Enlightened via endless reading and study and discussion. They held real debates through meetings and writing and publishing pamphlets which they discussed in truly Enlightened circles.

Now we learn that our children’s reading curriculum, the very ability that our children have to become more Enlightened themselves, the core of all education and knowledge, has been reduced to another crony profiteering scam.

“Five years later, an accumulating mound of evidence from reports, interviews and program documents suggests that Reading First has had little to do with science or rigor. Instead, the billions have gone to what is effectively a pilot project for untested programs with friends in high places.”


The NCLB Act has been a tremendous disaster for our children. It has been under-funded and is filled with caveats that insure failure and a hidden agenda that mandates schools to release our children’s personal information to military recruiters.

The NCLB Act is nothing more than another example of incompetence and cronyism and profiteering at the expense of our children. What a disgusting, predatory and immoral action. I can think of nothing more telling of the character of this Administration than the preying on our children, their future and the future of our Country to scam more money from the taxpayers.

This Administration also illegally used taxpayer dollars to fund fake news reports about the NCLB Act. In order to gain support for a program that is under-funded, and in some instances un-funded, this Administration needs to resort to propaganda. There is little more proof needed, of the NCLB failure, than this. If this Act was working and truly a benefit to our kids, then the educators themselves would be applauding it. Instead, States have been forced to sue the Federal Government over this Act.

Only three States, thus far, have not yet sued the Federal Government. What an abysmal failure the NCLB Act has been. What a failure that our public education system is as a result.

In addition to NCLB failures, there is also the danger of denying access to real science. The war on science will have significant long-term effects that endanger the US in a global economy and our ability to compete with other Countries.

From a President with little ability to comprehend the contradictions of his own reasoning, and schools that are pushing to teach mythology in our science classrooms, it is more important than ever to learn why our children must be taught truth.

We are raising a generation of children who are stupid. Our public schools are under-funded, class sizes are too large, NCLB Act is doing the exact opposite of what it was sold to us to do, and schools cannot retain good educators.

In addition to the bastardization of science the health of our children is at risk. Abstinence only education gives misleading and inaccurate information to our children.

When politics trump science and loyalties to campaign contributors trump choices over proven curriculum, our entire society is in danger.

The Republicans are victimizing our children. Without education – true education based on facts – we are raising a generation of people who do not know how to think. We have an education system that is struggling to teach our children critical thinking skills when the policy makers have skipped critical thinking and go straight to ideology and financial loyalty. We cannot have an Enlightened generation if they do not understand how to think and how to learn and do not have access to the facts so that they can arm themselves against the myths and ideologies that are directing Federal policies.

We are in dire need of a second coming. Not the mythical second coming that the right believes in (at an alarmingly high 44 percentage) but a new Thomas Jefferson. We need a leader who understands the value of real education. A real statesperson who can speak to us as he did:

“Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.” - Jefferson


And to honor and cherish the value of education:

“To give to every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business; To enable him to calculate for himself, and to express and preserve his ideas, his contracts and accounts, in writing; To improve, by reading, his morals and faculties; To understand his duties to his neighbors and country, and to discharge with competence the functions confided to him by either; To know his rights; to exercise with order and justice those he retains; to choose with discretion the fiduciary of those he delegates; and to notice their conduct with diligence, with candor, and judgment; And, in general, to observe with intelligence and faithfulness all the social relations under which he shall be placed.” - Thomas Jefferson, 1818


I am guilty of not participating in my local school board and lack of involvement in my PTA, but I now see these as necessities. There is so much to do to save our Country, protect it from the disastrous policies of this Administration and Republican controlled Congress – but the children really are our future. How can we expect the future of our Country to thrive if our children are intellectually damaged with false information and no critical thinking skills?

I have a tremendous respect for our educators who continue to do their best in a politically charged environment where ideology trumps reason. I am truly grateful for the fantastic teachers and administrators who I have had the opportunity to work with and who have been involved in my child’s education – they deserve the action of my gratitude through involvement in my local education processes; so do our children deserve the same from all of us.

7 Comments:

  • At 1:12 PM, October 01, 2006, Blogger Anjha said…

    Once again I made the mistake of reading the WAPo this morning leading to a several hour distraction from the other work that I have to do.

    As always, please let me know if there is a broken link.

    I have so much more to say about the desire to keep our children stupid.

    It really is a concerted effort.

    People who are not armed with facts and who cannot think critically are much easier to control. That is precisely what these people wish to do. Control us all through a totalitarian regime.

    This will be easier to do with an uneducated populace.

     
  • At 4:04 PM, October 01, 2006, Blogger Anjha said…

    test

     
  • At 7:26 PM, October 01, 2006, Anonymous Seven of Six said…

  • At 11:45 PM, October 02, 2006, Blogger OffTheFence said…

    I'm sure the smart thing for me to do is to keep my mouth shut on this topic. But then, I've never claimed to be smart have I?

    I don't have the answers to all of these charges about Reading First. I've not seen the evidence but understand that $$$s may have been misused and publishers favored. There is no excuse for it if it occurred. I can say that I have witnessed the positive effects of Reading First. I can say this based on data that I have collected. I've also made recommendations on ways to improve RF programs. That's probably enough identifying info. from me. RF administrators must answer to any of these charges. I'd much rather see the program fixed rather than trashed. It has been a tremendous benefit to improving overall reading skills (including students w/disabilites) in many schools.

    NCLB has been a huge burden for many schools/districts. It doesn't provide necessary funding and has placed unrealistic timelines on univ. and public schools to meet its outlined goals. It includes some donut holes. It has also forced schools, districts, and teachers to educate everyone (or at least made them realize that they will have to do so) regardless of race, socioeconomic background, etc... Again, I'd rather see it fixed than trashed. More funding would be a good start.

    The lack of funding and initiative to support arts, and sciences programs is criminal.

     
  • At 12:03 AM, October 03, 2006, Blogger OffTheFence said…

    has placed unrealistic timelines on univ. and public schools to meet its outlined goals.

    I'm sure I'm making a big faux pas in commenting on my own comment but need to add, "...some students don't have much time left in public schools or little time left before reaching the point of no return. Therefore, there is a great need for the underserved/taught to be on the fast track in getting their "free" (how many of your kids get it free) public school education. There is a need to hurry. There is a need for money from fed gov to fund the laws they impose upon us. There is also a need for districts to spend more time in trying to meet their obligations to all students rather than bitching and whinning and suing to avoid them.

     
  • At 11:57 AM, October 03, 2006, Blogger Anjha said…

    What I know, OTF, is that the testing that is done here (the testing is all administered by private corporations who are profiting at the expense of our children) costs my District millions of dollars.

    The teachers spend endless hours teaching to the test, at the expense of our children.

    The educators need to have the handcuffs removed so that they can educate our children. If they are not allowed to teach outside of the box our children suffer.

    I am not familiar with this particular reading program. But denying funding to Districts unless they purchase the text books of campaign contributors is unacceptable.

    I cannot believe the horror that is this Nation.

     
  • At 3:44 AM, October 06, 2006, Blogger OffTheFence said…

    But denying funding to Districts unless they purchase the text books of campaign contributors is unacceptable.

    No arguments from me there or with any other allegations of wrong doing.

     

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