The following is a transcript from the Pro America Report.
Welcome. Welcome, welcome! Ed Martin here on the Pro America Report. Great to be with you today. I have an interesting story I want to tell you about, about over the weekend. Something happened, and the results were extraordinary. Something happened all the way across the other side of, well, I guess up north from San Diego where our show originates, up in San Francisco. An incident happened, an article was written, and it bounced around throughout Missouri. We’ll talk about that in a moment.
We will have later this week David Horowitz, the great David Horowitz as a guest. He’s been on my show probably six or seven times in the last 18 months. He’s an amazing dude, amazing writer, amazing written work over the past 30 or 40 years. So I’m looking forward to that. I think it will be well, it’ll be later this week. I don’t know have it nailed down. So we’ll talk with him, and in just a few moments, we will talk both with two people.
I’m interested to hear from Rebecca Friedrichs, who is a school teacher for almost three decades, she was a school teacher, and she went on to found a program focused on students and kids. And she’s got a great perspective on who’s at fault in our education system. I’ll give you a hint. It’s the schoolteachers unions that have been the biggest block to progress. And we’ll talk with her in a few moments.
And then A.J. Rice. A.J. Rice, it’s funny, A.J. Rice is a publicist, he runs a publicist company, a publicity company for conservatives, and he’s very good at it. A lot of guests I get, a lot of ideas I get, I get from him. He’s also a writer. No surprise. And I’ll tell you, no surprise why, in a moment, we’ll talk with A.J. Rice about his new book. It’s called The Woking Dead: How Society’s Vogue Virus Destroys Our Culture. It’s a book of his columns, and it’s excellent. Okay, now, how do I tie those two together? And they’re both important. And they’re both important for this reason.
As you know, for many years I worked for the late Phyllis Schlafly. Phyllis Schlafly was an incredible leader. She had a famous phrase that we often quote. She said, I had it all, just not all at once. I had it all, just not all at once. That’s what Phyllis used to say. And by that she meant that she had gone to Harvard. She’d become a lawyer in her 50s. She had been famous on TV and radio. She’d written best selling books. She’s been in politics and been one of the people who helped pick Ronald Reagan, lift him up, make him work, make it work out. She picked Trump early. She had a great husband who was about a decade older than her and was a great accomplished lawyer himself. They became a great dynamic duo.
And then she had six children and almost 20 grandchildren. I think by the time she died, maybe her 18th and 19th grandchildren were born. After after that, I can’t be sure. But anyway, grandchildren, great life. Great life. But she had it all, just not all at once.
But she had details in that life that were extraordinary. One of them was that when she was 14, she had a teacher in the public schools who assigned her to write every day a paragraph. And from that point on in her life, she never stopped writing. She was writing her last day on this earth. I shouldn’t say that on the last weekend, she died on a Monday, on Saturday, and a little bit on Sunday, but Saturday for sure is what I know. She was working on her last column. Her last column ran on Tuesday, the day after she died. So she was a writer.
She wrote a column for decades and decades. She wrote a monthly report. The Phyllis Schlafly Report. For 50 years, she wrote 30 plus books. She had essays, all kinds of things. She was a writer. A.J. Rice, our guest later on this show, he himself is a professional. He’s got a business. He does all sorts of things, but he writes. And you look at his book, I don’t know, it’s 400 pages and two or three pages each are his essays, one after another. Essay, essay, essay. It’s a great habit. He does a great job. It’s interesting.
But also that ties me in to our other guest, Rebecca Friedrichs, who has talked in the past about the importance of reading for kids.
So here’s what I get full circle. Over the weekend, there was a column written, a news report written. I think it originated on The Daily Wire, and when it originated on the Daily Wire, it spoke about the need for reading, the need for reading, and how important it was that people learn to read. Yeah, here it is. I’m looking at the story. It is a story that ran on dailywire.com about Oakland teachers finding out how the social justice model of reading is a disaster. And so it’s by Tim Meads. Inside the story and back to Phyllis
Schlafly is a description of how she decided that she couldn’t trust the readers. Excuse me. She couldn’t trust the education system to teach her kids to read, so she kept them home and taught them. But then she realized that she had to do something about it, and she went and created the First Reader, it was called. She basically wrote a book to teach people to read using phonics. And she was so proud of this. She went to all the effort. She looked backwards, at the key books on this. There’s a book called Why Johnny Can’t Read, which was published in the late 40s or early fifties, and described how the education system had skewed away from phonics and been tied up by all this gobblygook and was doing sight reading and other things. And she basically created the First Reader.
So back to this point, she did an interview in 1995, which was linked on the website of the Daily Wire by this essay. And lo and behold, over the weekend, we had first ten, then 20, then 30, then 40 purchases on our website of the First Reader, Phyllis’s book that’s been in print since the early 1990s. And it hasn’t been, she did it herself. She published it herself, by the way. She self published it. She didn’t have some hotshot book company do it. And then we had 100 and 120, 130, 140, 155, 160, all these additions being asked, people going online and buying them. By the time the weekend was done, we’d sold over 200 copies of this book, the First Reader from The Daily Wire story. And my point here is, first of all, back to Phyllis Schlafly.
She had it all, just not all at once. She did everything. She even wrote a book on reading. She taught her kids to read. But here’s the thing. This she thought was so important.
And when you read the Oakland teachers realizing that social justice version of reading isn’t working, when you hear that the teachers unions in another essay by Rebecca Friedrich referenced it, it wasn’t by her, but it referenced the fact that if the New York Yankees had the highest payroll every year and 100% of the time they failed, you’d have a problem.
Well, it’s not quite 100%, but a lot of school districts get a lot of money, and they’re asking for more money, and they keep failing. They keep failing.
And my point here is reading is fundamental, and our school system is far too often failing our kids. I’ll tell you another exercise that stunned me. About a decade ago, I went to the St. Louis Community College. I forget why I was there. It’s right off of the highway, right next to SLU High. You can see it from the highway if you’re from St. Louis. If you’re driving through St. Louis on highway 40, you see it St. Louis Community College. And I was there for some reason. I don’t know whether it was there for a meeting or what it was, but I went and I took the course guide, the course book that has all the courses that are available. And community college is awesome, by the way. I love community college. I took courses there when I was in law school. I took a course at St. Louis Community College when I was in high school. I took courses at the local college. I love the idea. I took typing as a boy in high school at the community college near my home, at home in New Jersey. There’s a lot of things that are great there, and a lot of kids and a lot of young people need to start there. But if you go right now and you look at the community college near you, you will find something that’s happened in the last 25 years, and it’s accelerated in the last 15, I’d say. And that is this.
They teach remedial English. Remedial English and remedial math. And they don’t just teach one course, they teach dozens of courses, meaning there’s people, kids, that are graduating high school and they’re getting into community college, and they can’t read well enough, and they can’t do math well enough, and they’re doing remedial. And let me be clear.
They’re getting federal grants, funding to take on more debt, to go and take classes that should have been done when they were younger, right? If you can’t read, you shouldn’t graduate. I mean, it’s not fair. It’s not a kid’s fault. Well, the kids aren’t at fault, except that they should demand better. And so reading is so fundamental, it’s so important, and Phyllis Schlafly knew it. So does Rebecca Friedrich. When you see, hear someone like A.J. Rice, a few moments, we’ll talk to him. We read his book. He’s a writer. He’s a writer. And you can’t write if you can’t read. You got to get both. So my thought today is, what you need to know is we need readers in this country. We need our young people to be reading. Not social justice, just reading, not social justice version, but reading. And if we get that, we’re going to succeed. Part of it. We’ve got a lot of other things to do, but you’ve got to be able to read. And the disservice of not teaching kids to read is so mean. Our school system is mean to do that to kids, learn to read. And if you need to, go to PhyllisSchlafly.com and get Phyllis’s First Reader, and you can learn that way.
All right, we’ll take a break. We’ll be right back. That’s what you need to know. Ed Martin, Pro America Report. Back in a moment.