|Anti-Parent Policies in Public Schools
|The NEA Moves Farther Left
Parents who wonder why the public schools teach so many things parents don’t approve of need look no further than the official policies of the nation’s largest teachers union, the National Education Association (NEA). Meeting in Orlando this year in annual convention over the Fourth of July weekend, the NEA adopted a long series of left-liberal resolutions.
Word leaked out several weeks ahead of time that the convention was ready to take the plunge and endorse same-sex marriage. That would be no surprise, since the NEA usually passes at least a dozen resolutions promoting the gay rights agenda. Apparently the advance negative publicity had a salutary effect and, although already circulated, the same-sex resolution did not come to the floor for action.
A compromise resolution, however, was easily adopted as part of resolution B-10 on Racism, Sexism, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identification Discrimination. It reads as follows: “The Association also believes that these factors should not affect the legal rights and obligations of the partners in a legally recognized domestic partnership, civil union, or marriage in regard to matters involving the other partner, such as medical decisions, taxes, inheritance, adoption, and immigration.” “Factors” refers to “race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identification, disability, ethnicity, immigration status, occupation, and religion.”
Other NEA resolutions promote the gay rights agenda in public school curricula by demanding funds to alleviate “sexual orientation discrimination,” to use multicultural education to reduce “homophobia,” and even to put “diversity-based curricula” and “bias-free screening devices in early childhood education.” Another resolution demands that schools hire “a diverse teaching staff.” The NEA adopted New Business Item 52 which calls on the NEA to “use and promote ‘acceptance’ and/or ‘respect’ instead of ‘tolerance’ where appropriate when referring to how one should relate to race, religious, sexual orientation, and other differences.”
But the NEA certainly doesn’t believe in diversity or acceptance or respect when it comes to other-than-public-schools! The NEA is positively paranoid about any kind of competition, passing resolutions against voucher plans, tuition tax credits, parental option or choice plans, sectarian schools, for-profit schools, distance learning, and homeschooling.
The NEA beefed up its anti-homeschool resolutions this year by demanding that homeschooled students “meet all state curricular requirements,” and that they not be permitted to participate in any public school extra-curricular activities. The NEA even opposes renting or selling empty public school buildings to any non-public school.
NEA resolutions again endorse the principal goals of the feminist agenda, including abortion, the Equal Rights Amendment, Comparable Worth, nonsexist language, and a federally funded women’s commission to pursue feminist goals at taxpayers’ expense. The NEA also supports “community-operated, school-based family planning clinics that will provide intensive counseling,” which is a thinly veiled welcome to Planned Parenthood to put its clinics in the schools.
The NEA Women’s Caucus is taking on a battle to oppose the Bush Administration’s modest change in the enforcement of Title IX, which allows colleges to survey women about their interest in sports. The NEA feminists don’t want surveys because they know that surveys will confirm that fewer women are interested in playing competitive college sports than men, and the survey results would interfere with their ruthless abolition of hundreds of men’s athletic teams.
The NEA is determined to get control of children at the earliest possible age. One resolution calls for public school programs for children “from birth through age eight,” another calls for pre-kindergarten for “all three- and four-year-old children,” and still another demands “mandatory kindergarten with compulsory attendance.”
The anti-parent animus of the NEA is apparent in its insistence that the public schools be in the driver’s seat about the teaching of sex. Claiming that every child has the right to “freely available information and knowledge about sexuality,” the NEA demands the right to teach children about diversity of sexual orientation and gender identification, incest, and homophobia.
The NEA is a big supporter of every sort of globalism and international commitment. NEA resolutions endorse global education, multicultural education, the United Nations, the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, the globalist version of environmental education, and opposition to English as our official language.
Other NEA resolutions that have nothing to do with education include calling for national health care and statehood for the District of Columbia. To nobody’s surprise, the NEA opposes any requirement that a school schedule a moment of silence.
Courts Promote Gay Agenda in Schools
Earlier this year, federal district court Judge David L. Bunning ordered a Kentucky school district to allow a gay club in its high school. Judge Bunning also imposed a consent decree that required mandatory staff and student diversity training, “a significant portion of which would be devoted to issues of sexual orientation and gender harassment.”
A lawsuit was then filed by students who objected to being forced to watch a politically correct, pro-homosexual video (of course, unrelated to academics). Included in the mandatory one-hour video were dogmatic claims that homosexuality is somehow immutable and that it is wrong to object to the gay lifestyle. The students’ suit asserted that the mandatory video “effectively forces students to speak in agreement with the School District’s view that homosexuality is a safe and healthy lifestyle that cannot be changed.” But the students lost; federal Judge Bunning, in Morrison v. Board of Education of Boyd County, sided with the school and upheld the mandatory video.
It is puzzling why the public schools are so eager to spend scarce resources on an issue so unrelated to reading, writing and arithmetic. And since when did our country begin acting like a totalitarian state in forcing people to watch videos against their moral beliefs?
The curious antagonism of the lower federal courts to parents’ rights in public schools is apparently shared even by some judges appointed by Republican presidents. Judge Bunning, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, is the son of conservative U.S. Senator Jim Bunning, who went to Congress after a successful career in major league baseball.
What rights do students have in public schools? The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently answered this question in a way that many parents would find highly objectionable. The issue was raised by a student named Tyler Harper at the Poway High School near San Diego who wore a T-shirt inscribed with the words “i will not accept what god condemned,” and on another day wore a T-shirt with the words “be ashamed, our school embraced what god has condemned.” On the back of his T-shirts was handwritten the words “homosexuality is shameful, romans 1:27.”
The school administrators asked Tyler Harper to change his shirt. He refused and spent the rest of the day in the school’s front office as punishment. The student then sued the school, charging breach of his First Amendment, Equal Protection, and Due Process rights. Tyler Harper argued that since the school had endorsed the “Day of Silence” sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (known as GLSEN), that meant the school had promoted and encouraged homosexual activity, and therefore he had a right to respond.
The judges on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the student in Harper v. Poway Unified School District. They asserted that the First Amendment does not protect students expressing views opposing homosexuality. The dissenting opinion, written by Judge Alexander Kozinski, makes much more sense. He pointed out that student Tyler Harper didn’t initiate the dispute but simply “was responding to public statements made by others.” Judge Kozinski pointed out the hypocrisy of the majority who claimed they were promoting “acceptance and tolerance for minority points of view,” but actually “demonstrated intolerance for a viewpoint that was not consistent with their own.”
The bottom line is, don’t count on the courts to protect public school students from being subjected to the promotion of homosexuality.
When a New Jersey mother was horrified to learn that her daughter and classmates had been asked how many times they tried to kill themselves, she filed suit to protect the rights of parents and pupils. She won on the first appeal to the Third Circuit in C.N. v. Ridgewood Board of Education, but the school was relentless in litigation to assert its primary authority and the judges finally ruled in favor of the school.
At issue was a 156-question survey called “Profiles of Student Life: Attitudes and Behaviors,” which probed students about their personal lives and activities. The survey included questions about sex, drugs, suicide, incriminating behavior, spirituality, tolerance, and other personal matters. Questions 92-93 in this survey given to Ridgewood children demanded to know “how many times, if any” they “had used cocaine” in their lives, or during the last 12 months, and the answer choices were 0, 1, 2, 3-5, 6-9, 10-19, 20-39, and 40+. This gave students the false impression that casual use of cocaine is common and acceptable.
Misleading questions can have a powerful effect. Our legal system recognizes this by providing dozens of reasons for lawyers to object to questions in court in order to protect their witnesses from having to answer improper questions. Children lack the maturity to tell the difference between questions they should or should not answer. Children are trained in school that they must answer the teacher’s questions or face discipline or a poor grade.
But judges who routinely uphold lawyers’ objections to improper questions in court think it is okay to ask offensive questions of children in school. In the Ridgewood decision, the court agreed with the parents that the students’ participation in the survey may have been mandatory, and conceded that the leading questions could be suggestive to students, but nevertheless ruled that parents’ and pupils’ rights were not violated.
The Ninth Circuit went even further, marking the school door as the line where parents’ rights end and the “village” takes over. In Fields v. Palmdale School District last November, the court ruled that parents’ fundamental right to control the upbringing of their children “does not extend beyond the threshold of the school door,” and that a public school has the right to provide its students with “whatever information it wishes to provide, sexual or otherwise.”
In the same 30 days as the Ridgewood and Palmdale cases, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review another parental rights case, Crowley v. McKinney, in which the Seventh Circuit had ruled against the parent, saying that the school has a constitutional right of “the autonomy of educational institutions.” It hasn’t grabbed the attention of the Supreme Court that the Third, Seventh and Ninth Circuits have ignored what we all thought was the “settled law” of Pierce v. Society of Sisters, which in 1925 recognized the constitutional right of parents to control the education of their own children.
Parents’ rights cases are seldom accepted by the Supreme Court. That’s why it is important to be vigilant that only constitutionalist judges are appointed to lower federal court life-tenured positions. This year, rather than hear a single case about parents’ rights to raise their own children, the Supreme Court spent its time on a slew of cases about prisoners’ rights, including the appeal of Osama bin Laden’s driver and a case about the alleged right of prisoners to read pornographic magazines.
All polls show that the vast majority of Americans reject the theory of evolution, as have great scientists such as Lord Kelvin and Louis Pasteur. But that does not stop an intolerant minority from trying to impose a belief in the ape-to-man theory on everyone else.
In a much publicized case late last year, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, Judge John E. Jones III issued a 139-page rant against anyone who objects to the public schools force-feeding children with the theory of evolution. He accused parents and school board members of “breathtaking inanity” for wanting their children to learn that “Intelligent Design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin’s view.”
Contrary to most media coverage, the Dover case was not about whether the theory of evolution or Intelligent Design (ID) is correct or should be taught. The Dover school board did not propose to say ID is scientific or valid, or even to decrease its teaching of evolution. Students were merely to be read a brief statement asserting that “gaps in the Theory exist for which there is no evidence,” and that ID provides an explanation for the origin of life that could be further explored by consulting a book in the school library. The evolutionists would not have made such a big case out of this innocuous language ordered by the Dover school board unless they were pursuing an ideological cause. They converted the trial into a grand inquisition of religious beliefs instead of addressing science or the statement to be read to students.
Judge Jones nevertheless permanently enjoined the school board “from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution” and from saying that the theory has gaps.
Judge Jones said that ninth-graders were referred to (although not assigned) a book called Of Pandas and People published by the Foundation for Thought and Ethics, “a religious, Christian organization.” Using guilt-by-association reasoning, he implied that books published by religious groups, or by persons motivated by religious convictions, can and should be banned from public school. He denigrated several officials because they “staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public.” He approved an astronomical award of about $2 million in attorney’s fees to the pro-evolution lawyers.
Even in an era of judicial supremacy, Judge Jones’ biased and religiously bigoted decision is over the top. His decision will ultimately hurt the evolutionist cause because it shows that the evolutionists cannot defend their beliefs on the merits; they can only survive by censoring alternate views.
For decades, the Darwinians have propped up their dominance in the classroom by the persistent use of frauds and flacks. The fraudulent pro-evolution embryo drawings of Ernst Haeckel littered schoolbooks for a hundred years, and it took specific action by the Texas Board of Education to keep them out of current textbooks even after the New York Times exposed Haeckel’s deception.
Many textbooks feature pictures of giraffes stretching their necks to feed high off of trees, but genetics and observed feeding habits disprove that as a basis for evolution of their long necks. Moreover, the striking beauty of the colored pattern on the giraffes illustrates that design, not merely usefulness, animates our world.
Continued censorship of criticism invites additional fraud, so evolution has suffered more embarrassments than any other scientific theory. The Piltdown Man was a lie taught to schoolchildren for decades, even featured in the Scopes trial textbook. Less than seven years ago a dinosaur-bird fossil hoax was presented as true on the glossy pages of National Geographic.
If Darwinians want to teach that whales, which are mammals, evolved from black bears swimming with their mouths open, as Darwin proposed, we should surely be entitled to criticize that. Yet school libraries have refused to accept books critical of evolution, even when written by college professors.
Responding to the majority of their constituents, Georgia’s Cobb County authorized a textbook disclaimer saying “Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.” The trial court threw out this disclaimer, but the Court of Appeals in Selman v. Cobb County School District reversed that decision and ordered the trial court to reconsider.
In December 2004, a world-famous champion of atheism, Antony Flew, announced his conversion to acceptance of intelligent design underlying our world. The Dallas Morning News observed, “If the scientific data are compelling enough to cause an atheist academic of Antony Flew’s reputation to recant most of his life’s work, why shouldn’t Texas schoolchildren be taught the controversy?”
Darwinians know they cannot persuade skeptical adults, so they try to capture impressionable schoolchildren. At our expense and against our wishes, children are taught that the world exists only for what is useful, not by design.
To typical schoolchildren full of wonder, we live in a world best described as a marvelous work of art. The snowflakes that grace us at Christmastime typify the artistic beauty that bestows joy on all ages but, like an acid, evolution corrodes this inborn appreciation of beauty and falsely trains children to view themselves as mere animals no more worthy than dogs or cats.
There is a strong correlation between belief in evolution and liberal views on government control, pornography, prayer in schools, abortion, gun control, economic freedom, and even animal rights. For the most part, the schools in the blue Kerry states are strongly pro-evolution, while the red Bush states allow debate and dissent.
It should surprise no one that the United States, land of the free and home of the brave, has the lowest percentage of evolution believers in the world. The highest percentage lived in Communist East Germany.
The Tom Daschle Senate quietly slipped a provision into the No Child Left Behind Act that requires, by the 2007-2008 school year, science testing by grade 5. Unless changed, that language will give the censors the authority to force ten-year-olds to believe and defend evolution.
It is long overdue for parents to realize they have the right and duty to protect our children from censorship about evolution. Hooray for the courageous school boards – from Georgia to Pennsylvania to Alabama to Ohio to Wisconsin to Kansas – that are finally rejecting censorship and allowing debate.
Dewey espoused the notion that the real goal of education is to socialize students to conform to society’s goals, not educate them to reach their individual potential. A prominent signer of the Humanist Manifesto in 1933, Dewey taught that belief in objective truth and authoritative notions of good and evil are harmful to students.
Dewey’s legacy can be seen in the fads called Values Clarification that swept the public schools in the 1970s and 1980s, and Outcome-Based Education that dominated the schools in the 1990s, and in the courses in Critical Thinking, which some people call “How to criticize your parents and what they believe in.”