How ‘Education’ Sets the Stage for Socialism
Why are so many young people falling prey to the Socialist set of lies? Some of it can be traced to the fact that many haven’t been taught history, civics, or political science. Many students are unable to read well enough to figure out the truth on their own, to self-educate, when schools fail them.
Common Core mandates have forced students to read only short passages of literature, not full works that would give them an appreciation for things such as free will, liberty, personal responsibility, and the set of character traits that the Western canon of literature demonstrates.
When this happens, not only do students fail to fall in love with reading and storytelling, they don’t appreciate the full circle of character development, redemption, or the other complexities of literary works and life.
Why the Kids Vote Socialist
Bernie Sanders was viewed as a hero to many young people in the last presidential election. His Democratic Socialist moniker and leftist leanings at one time seemed extreme in the Democrat Party, but the new crop of 2020 presidential hopefuls may eclipse his leftism. The education establishment and federal interference in local control brought about since the No Child Left Behind education law, the more recent Common Core standards fiasco, and now the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), has created a mess of federal interventions and policy blunders gone horribly wrong.
Teachers unions with their leftist, social-justice warrior influence are certainly part of the problem, as are schools of education that teach teachers.
Some young people show extreme resistance to free speech, due to their being too delicate to hear ideas with which they disagree. This attitude helps fuel the hopes of some Democrats that these young people will vote for them and their wealth redistribution and anti-capitalist policies. And some candidates are of the generation that has felt the impact of education policy faux pas.
A Big Hissy Fit
An entire political party has thrown a temper tantrum because Hillary Clinton didn’t win. Alexander Markovsky is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research at King’s College in New York City. He is the author of Liberal Bolshevism: America Did Not Defeat Communism, She Adopted It. Markovsy explains the hissy fit well when he says:
From the Democrats’ perspective, President Donald J. Trump is a disrupter of what had been a smooth transition to the bright socialist future. In a concerted effort to denigrate the President and paralyze executive authority, they are branding him a racist and blatantly subvert every program on his agenda. To render him ineffective, they actively support a collective mania for ever more sweeping investigations of dubious claims, rumors, unsubstantiated allegations and innuendos that has descended over the President, his family, his associates, and nominees. People who cannot even spell ‘impeachment’ demand one without any substantiation. They act as if their fiat is turning the country into chaos, or as Lenin called it, ‘revolutionary environment.’
Markovsky says, “It seems that socialism is like an infectious disease that everyone has to get ill of to develop immunity.” He says socialism “regained vitality to become a living lion within the Democratic Party.”
Markovsky writes in an essay titled “America: The new Socialist frontier”: The 2018 Democratic victory in the midterms brought new Marxist arrivals to the House of Representatives who are interpreting the elections as an endorsement of socialist policies. They dropped all the pretenses — no liberals, no progressives — they are proud Marxist-Leninists driven by the ideology and committed to converting this country into the United Socialist States of America. This militant crowd is comprised of uninformed and misinformed people looking at themselves as unfortunate, underpaid, underappreciated victims of capitalism, overwhelmed with jealousy that there are people who are everything they are not. According to Markovsky, “The economic redistribution, open borders, repeal of the Second Amendment, the abolition of the Electoral College, the election of a president by popular vote, voting rights, and free health care to illegal aliens are just part of the comprehensive strategy of putting the harness of socialism around the necks of the American people.” He says “that unlike the Russian people who understood the perils of socialism and fought the Bolsheviks in a bloody three-year civil war that by some estimates took fifteen million lives, the freedom-loving Americans keep voting themselves into socialism.”
Markovsky says: “Neither education, nor upbringing, nor life experience prepares Americans for grasping the veracity of the socialist assault on the American way of life.” He continues, “Thanks to the fatuity of the American public, there has not been any effective comprehension of the totality of the assault nor its enervating effect upon national vigilance.” (TheHill.com, 1-18-19)
The definition of fatuity includes complacent stupidity or foolishness. Most who have been intently watching education realize that the foolishness leading young people to believe in socialist principles is anything but accidental. Many believe there has been an intentional, deliberate, well-orchestrated assault lodged against family structure, the Bible, personal responsibility, character, reading comprehension, classic literature, and every important component of the very education that schools were supposed to provide in order to guarantee that students would understand the need to protect America from just the sort of assault the nation is now facing.
Who Can Fix It?
Joseph Bast, co-founder, director, and senior fellow at The Heartland Institute, wrote an article in October of 2018 titled “Why Your Children Are Socialists.” In it, he addresses the hopes of the young that there would be fairness, equality, no poverty, war, or illiteracy— a “utopia.” He explains that problems ensue because such “cannot be accomplished voluntarily.” Bast says, “For every government action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” He also explains, “The unintended consequences of income redistribution efforts illustrate the problem facing all efforts to achieve utopia through government intervention.”
Bast wants readers to know: Because it has a legal monopoly on the use of coercion in a capitalist society, government can always do something to change the outcomes produced by the pure interaction of property rights, markets, and voluntary contracts. In a democratic society, the debate over what government should do will always capture the attention of the public and the leading thinkers of the day.
He continues:Capitalism, by contrast, is a process rather than an institution. It is a series of rules — about property rights, exchange, and the use of force — with no one person or organization designated to speak on its behalf. Capitalism produces an abundance of products desired by willing consumers, but is incapable of uttering a single sentence about the ‘meaning of life’ or the ‘common good.’
Bast says, “Your children live in a world where government is visible and capitalism is invisible, where government is offered as a magical elixir for whatever problems capitalism causes or leaves unsolved. ‘They are unencumbered by much knowledge of the facts of present-day life.’ They don’t hear a contrary view on television, from their teachers, or even from the pulpit of your church.” (Heartland.org, 10-29-18)
In another article, Bast informs us that “a 2018 Gallup poll found more than half of Americans aged 18 to 29 now view socialism positively. Only 45% said they have a positive view of capitalism.” Bast asks, “How is it that the same generation that has benefited more from capitalism than any other in human history is also the generation most willing to destroy it?” He says that a study of more than 8,600 tenure-track professors revealed that “registered Democrats outnumber Republicans at 51 of America’s leading liberal arts colleges by a ratio of 10.4 to one.” But even more shocking is that at “K–12 schools, only 27% of teachers identify as Republicans, according to a national survey by the Education Week Research Center. Not only are K–12 teachers more likely to vote for Democrats and favor left-wing causes, socialist ideas permeate nearly every aspect of government-run schools.”
“From their earliest days, young students are taught by modern state curriculum standards to be cogs in the societal wheel rather than independent thinkers. The educational focus is often placed on performing well on standardized tests and memorizing facts, not learning how to make difficult moral choices or cogent arguments with classmates,” according to Bast. (Heartland.org, 3-14-19)
Bast doesn’t believe that hope is lost. He writes that “America has drifted to the left before — most notably in the progressive era of the early twentieth century — and then subsequently rediscovered its identity.” Bast and the The Heartland Institute believe it is up to conservative individuals and groups to inform young people about the dangers of socialism, communism, and the totalitarianism to which they inevitably lead. This can best be achieved by speaking out and reaching Millennials and children through publications, online, and by sending speakers to schools and college campuses. To this end, a website affiliated with Heartland has been created. It can be found at StoppingSocialism.com.
Not Studying the Bible Dumbs Down Americans
Michael J. Knowles reports at the Daily Wire website, “Three months ago, President Trump endorsed elective Bible literacy classes for public schools.” He continues, “At least six states have proposed laws that would permit such classes.” Knowles says, “Not only is the Bible integral to our society, it constitutes our society’s literary bedrock.”
When Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was burning, the New York Times ran an article that said Father Jean-Marc Fournier rescued the “body of Christ” from the flames. As Michael Knowles reports, the Times’s author thought that was “a statue of Jesus’ rather than the Blessed Sacrament.”
Knowles also informs us that Associated Press (AP) editors are apparently unfamiliar with the origins or definition of the word “mecca.” An April 17 AP headline stated: “Tourist Mecca Notre Dame Also Revered as Place of Worship.” He says, “Imagine their surprise when they learn the origins of the word ‘mecca.’”
Knowles says, “Such widespread ignorance imperils not merely the future of the faith but the very civilization that Christianity crafted.” He asks:
How can we expect students to appreciate Hamlet if they do not first understand the story of Cain and Abel, Purgatory, or the theological debates at the heart of the Protestant Revolution? How much meaning can the Gettysburg Address convey, with its peculiar diction and repeated references to ‘dedication,’ ‘consecration,’ and ‘devotion,’ without the context of the King James Bible? Why did John Adams warn the Massachusetts militia that ‘our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people’ and that ‘it is wholly inadequate to the government of any other’?
Knowles concludes, “We laugh at the religiously illiterate journalists, but far more foolish were their forebears in the 1960s who imagined they could educate students without teaching them the most important book in the history of the world.” (DailyWire.com, 4-19-19)
Failure to teach the Bible contributes to the prevalent black and white, all- or-nothing thinking that is gripping not only newspapers but those who read the articles — the public at large. The truth is, life is often lived in gray areas. Things aren’t always exactly as they seem. Heroes have flaws. Villains can change and be redeemed. The Bible is the ultimate story of redemption. When students read the Bible in school, they understood more about the values, discernment, and forgiveness it teaches.
A Very Small Reliable College
What is now Gutenberg College in Eugene, Oregon, began in 1979 as a campus ministry serving University of Oregon students. The first students were accepted to Gutenberg College’s Great Books program of study in 1994. Choosing to remain small, there are normally fewer than 20 enrolled students at Gutenberg. The program of study is structured in a manner that is not conducive to transfers, so students are only admitted as freshmen. They come from public, private, and homeschool backgrounds.
The college provides “a broad-based education in an environment respectful of biblical Christianity.” It is not affiliated with any church but would fall under the category of “reformed,” as far as theology. “Gutenberg College has been compared to L’Abri Fellowship, the ministry that the late Dr. Francis Schaefer and his wife, Edith,” established in Switzerland.
Besides the Great Books, science, and other coursework, all students take two years of Greek and two years of German. Freshmen and sophomores take classical Greek in order to read Plato, Aristotle, Sophocles, Thucydides, and the New Testament. The school believes that “German is the most important language of research in most academic disciplines” and its study allows students to read original texts by “great philosophers, theologians, scientists, researchers, archaeologists, and sociologists.”
The one school building dates from 1939 and is a 17,000-square-foot brick structure that was formerly a sorority. Male and female students live in separate quarters and are supervised by the “house managers,” a married couple who graduated from Gutenberg and returned to take on the role.
Gutenberg is accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools and students graduate with a B.A. in Liberal Arts.
The five full-time and two part-time professors are referred to as tutors. Classes are conducted in a “discussion-based” manner.
Many of the problems a small school could face are alleviated by the proximity of and cooperation with the University of Oregon (UO). Gutenberg students have access to UO’s 2.8 million books in six libraries and they have participated in dance, drama, music, and art classes offered on the large campus.
Gutenberg College is not involved with any “government-sponsored financial aid programs,” but the school is determined to find solutions that will not burden students with heavy debt. The workload is such that students are only allowed to work 10 hours a week but they can work during summer breaks. It is not surprising to learn that the college is named after Johannes Gutenberg, inventor of the moveable-type printing press that in the mid-1400s first made the Bible more easily accessible.
Transgender Truth: Children as Young as 8 Given Hormones, 13-year-olds Undergo Mastectomies
A Heritage Foundation panel discussion of medical interventions being performed on children who identify as a different sex than they exhibit biologically informs the public of some very disturbing facts. It has been found that very young children are being treated by physicians using “sex hormones.” Girls as young as eight are being prescribed testosterone in an attempt to help them become male. And “girls as young as 13 and 14 are undergoing double mastectomies.” Males are being given puberty blocking medicines. These drugs “disrupt normal brain and bone development, putting kids at future risk of osteoporosis.”
Speakers at the March meeting included physicians and a mother who urge that steps be taken to shut down “medical operations that are harming children.”
Dr. Michael Laidlaw, an endocrinologist from California, says that physicians are taking drastic and irreversible steps to treat young people who think they are the “wrong” sex. He says that “there is no objective test to diagnose this, yet we are giving very harmful therapies on the basis of no objective diagnosis.”
Gender dysphoria is being treated despite the fact that this condition is determined entirely by how a very young child perceives the “core internal sense” of their own sexual identity. There is “no blood test, genetic testing, or brain imaging scans” that are done before surgical or medicinal treatment begins, says Laidlaw.
Transgender Agenda and Activist Docs
Laidlaw showed video clips of two physicians who are “active in the medical transitioning of children” named Ilana Sherer and Johanna Olson-Kennedy. “Sherer explained that puberty blockers are given to children at age eight or nine, when they are in third and fourth grades.” The other physician, Olson-Kennedy, has received a “$5.7 million National Institutes of Health research grant” in order to do a five-year study. From reading her publications, it is clear that “mastectomies have been done on girls as young as 13.”
In the clip Laidlaw showed, Olson-Kennedy is seen “insisting adolescents have the capacity to make life-altering decisions, including to have their breasts removed.”
Using Freedom of Information Act requests regarding Olson-Kennedy’s study at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Laidlaw and his colleagues discovered that “in 2017 they lowered the minimum age for cross-sex hormones from 13 to 8.”
Marian Rutigliano, an internal medicine specialist from Baltimore, said during the panel discussion that those who “have dared to resist these untested gender treatments have been systematically smeared, bullied, and silenced by trans-activists.” Rutigliano “noted how entrenched transgender ideology has become in the upper echelons of professional medical associations.”
Those physicians and psychologists who refuse to go along with the transgender agenda have had their “reputations ruined, their families harassed and doxxed, their research and scholarship misrepresented, and their clinics shut down, among other things.”
An Experiment on Children
The mother of a transgender child who was on the panel said, “It’s not acceptable for doctors to remove healthy limbs from children, so why is it acceptable for doctors to remove healthy reproductive organs from children?” She points out that parents are told they harm their children if they question their “beliefs,” and are even told their children will commit suicide if they don’t support “gender transition.”
She questions whether children are capable of choosing “a lifetime dependence on hormones.” She points out that parents go along because they are told if they don’t, their children are likely to commit suicide. She also says, “Parents are being lied to as their children are harmed and families are torn apart.”
This mother and others have formed The Kelsey Coalition, a group of “apolitical parents who have trans-identifying children that have been harmed by physicians, therapists and clinics throughout the United States.”
Dr. Laidlaw concludes:
This whole thing is an experiment on children. We are ignoring the voices of resisters and people who have come out of this and recognize their sex. And the NIH is allowing unethical research to be conducted on adolescents, in my opinion. (ChristianPost.com, 4-2-19)
The full March 28, 2019 panel discussion titled “The Medical Harms of Hormonal and Surgical Interventions for Gender Dysphoric Children” can be viewed at The Heritage Foundation YouTube channel. At that site, Heritage states:
When it comes to treating young people who believe they are the opposite sex, who either suffer from gender dysphoria or self-identify as transgender, physicians have been instructed by their professional associations to provide ‘affirmative care.’ Transition-affirming therapies are virtually untested and inflict lasting harms: decreased sexual function, increased health risks, and sterility, just to name a few. Instead of providing parents with medical information and evidence-based studies, parents are told that these risky treatments will prevent their child from committing suicide, blurring the line between ‘informed consent’ and ‘coercion.’
FOCUS: Radically Transforming the Nation: Our Politicized Schools of Education
by Jay Schalin
Originally published on February 20, 2019 by the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal. Reprinted with permission.
If somebody wanted to fundamentally transform a society to its roots, where would he or she start?
The most logical starting point would be education. And if there were one part of the educational system that would produce this transformation most broadly, effectively, and efficiently, it would most likely be at our schools of education that train teachers for the K-12 classroom. That’s where ideas from the rest of academia are inserted into the curriculum for elementary and high school students, and where politically unsophisticated young people are turned into classroom teachers. Control the schools of education, and the education system will eventually be yours to forward your political agenda.
Remarkably, that is just what has happened in this country. Over 100 years ago, when our education schools were just starting up or growing from two-year normal schools to university status, Progressive educators set out to transform the nation into one that was based on social science theories, collectivism, and central planning.
How successful were they? Several years ago, I started an investigation into how politicized education schools have become. Today, the Martin Center is releasing the results of that investigation in a new report, titled “The Politicization of University Schools of Education.”
The report’s main conclusion? That schools of education may very well be radicalized beyond anything imagined by the early Progressives.
The way I came to that conclusion was through two methods. One was an empirical examination of the syllabi of three major education schools, the Universities of Wisconsin, Michigan, and North Carolina. I looked at 290 total syllabi from the three education schools and tabulated the most frequently assigned authors. Rather than basing popularity on the number of times an author’s works were assigned, I used the number of classes in which their works were assigned; counting every time a book or article is assigned can skew the results if a professor assigns multiple works by the same author. I also counted every author for each article.
In the other method, I identified the major strains of radical K-12 education — Progressive, critical pedagogy, and multicultural education — and followed their increasing influence in academia.
The overall results of the main empirical investigation follow in Table 1.
So, who are these authors and what ideas are they promoting?
First of all, they are not fringe players, but key members of the education establishment. Most of them have held prestigious positions in the world of education. The most frequently assigned writer is Gloria Ladson-Billings. She is the associate vice chancellor of academic affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and she formerly served as chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the UW School of Education. She is currently the president of the National Academy of Education and, for 2005-2006, was president of the American Educational Research Association.
The next most assigned author is Stanford professor Linda Darling-Hammond. She was an advisor on education to President Obama before he took office and was just chosen by California governor Gavin Newsom to head the state Board of Education. She was chair of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, past president of the American Educational Research Association, served as director of the RAND Corporation’s education program, and “from 1994–2001, she was executive director of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future.” According to the biography on the website of her own think tank, the Learning Policy Institute, “in 2006, Darling-Hammond was named one of the nation’s ten most influential people affecting educational policy.”
Paolo Freire and John Dewey are household names—perhaps two of the most influential education theorists who ever lived.
Secondly, every person on my Top Ten list is highly political and holds beliefs far to the left of ordinary liberals. Dewey was the leading Progressive educator and an open socialist. He visited the Soviet Union and came back filled with praise for what, at the time, was a genocidal totalitarian state. The Brazilian Freire was openly a Marxist.
According to her National Academy of Education biography, Ladson-Billings is “known for her groundbreaking work in the fields of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and Critical Race Theory.” Ladson-Billings once wrote that “we educators should align our scholarship with the philosophy of Marcus Garvey: race first!” One of her works assigned at UNC is a book chapter titled “From the Achievement Gap to the Education Debt: Understanding Achievement in U.S. Schools,” in which she seems to argue for reparations for historical differences in education between the races.
Former Rutgers and CUNY education professor Jean Anyon is the fourth most-assigned author. She is an unabashed radical activist who participated in the Occupy Wall Street protests. A couple of her best-known works, both assigned at Wisconsin, are Radical Possibilities: Public Policy, Urban Education and a New Social Movement, and Social Class, School Knowledge, and the Hidden Curriculum. Another book, though not assigned at Wisconsin, is Marx and Education, Theory and Educational Research: Toward Critical Social Explanation.
And so it goes for the rest of my list, plus a high percentage of the education writers whose works were less frequently assigned than the top ten.
My findings were strongly corroborated by the two other studies I found that explore the same topic. Both were conducted by political moderates: Frederick
Hess, who is the lead educational expert at the American Enterprise Institute, and David Steiner, the director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy (hardly a hotbed of conservatism). Steiner summarized his findings:
In the domain of foundations of education, the books most often required by the programs we reviewed were authored by Anita Woolfolk, Jonathan Kozol, Henry Giroux, Paulo Freire, Joel Spring, Howard Gardner, and John Dewey . . . The rest are well-known works that embrace a constructivist and/or progressive standpoint. Conspicuously absent from almost all such syllabi were works that took a very different approach to teaching, such as those by E. D. Hirsch or Diane Ravitch. Woolfolk is an educational psychologist, but everybody else mentioned by Steiner as influential are (or were) proponents of one radical theory or another. While Freire and Dewey were the only ones to make my top ten list, Kozol, Gardner, Giroux, and Spring were also frequently assigned at the three schools I examined.
Besides exploring the education school syllabi and the philosophical underpinnings of education schools’ radicalization, I took a look at the UNC-Chapel Hill education school faculty from a couple of different angles. First, I found on the UNC website the voter registrations of tenure and tenure track faculty. Of the 52 such education school faculty members, 30 are registered as Democrats, 10 as unaffiliated, two as
Republicans, and 10 were not registered. The two Republicans are both in their sixties, so they will likely retire in a few years, whereas younger professors are solidly in the Democratic camp.
The UNC education school website also listed professors’ research interests. Just over half — 27 of 52 — of professors expressed a research interest in at least one topic that indicated some degree of politicization. And just like with voting registrations, the assistant professors whose current characteristics predict the future were more frequently radical than their older counterparts: 8 of 12 expressed an interest in politicized topics.
Here are a couple of examples of who is teaching in the education school at Chapel Hill:
Brian Gibbs, an assistant professor, quotes from Angela Davis—“Radical simply means grasping things at the root”—to start his personal department page. His research interests include: Critical Pedagogy, Social Justice and Democratic Education, Teacher Disposition, Positionality and Ideology, Teacher Education, Justice Oriented School Leadership, and School Transformation.
Eileen Parsons, a full professor, has research and teaching interests that include: Socio-cultural dimensions of science learning, Broadening participation in STEM, STEM Education policy, African American education, Cultural relevance and cultural responsiveness in science education, Racial equity, and Critical Race Theory.
Take special note of Parsons’s connection of culture to science education — she is teaching that science is dependent upon the background of the learner rather than universal. The idea is absurd, undermining scientific methodologies with proven accuracy and utility.
Some of the other ideas commonly espoused in education schools today include: race and gender are social constructs; meritocracy is unfair; knowledge of dates, events, and great personages are unnecessary for the study of history; all social knowledge is suspect due to racism and sexism being embedded in the language and culture; and to be white is to be unfairly privileged and must be atoned for.
This is not to say that all education schools are nothing more than hotbeds of indoctrination and that all recent graduates are hardcore social justice warriors. The education school curriculum grows more intensely radical in graduate programs; undergraduates may not always get the full blast.
And uncovering all the effects of the politicization of education is beyond the scope of my report. But it is highly probable that many — perhaps most — recent education school graduates have swallowed at least part of the radical agenda. Consider the generational shift in opinions about socialism in the following Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2011:
Certainly, correlation is not causation, and there are many other non-education factors at play that could influence the political leanings of the young. But it is not a stretch too far to wonder whether, given the influence radicals have in our education schools, that education has at least some part in the dramatic generational shift to the left. For, if education has no influence on the young, why would we waste so much time and so many resources on education?
Sadly, one question that I could not find an answer for is how we can restore our schools of education. Two of the three — UNC and Wisconsin — seem too entrenched in radical ideology to ever purge the poisonous politics voluntarily. And Michigan may not be too far behind.
And while the usual conservative solution is to create alternate institutions, such as homeschooling or private schools that hire outside of mainstream education schools, it is unlikely that the great mass of people will eschew public schools for these alternatives any time soon.
But if there is any hope for renewal, it starts with awareness. It is time our policymakers stopped ignoring the disastrous trend to politicize education.
Jay Schalin is director of policy analysis at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal. He has a B.S. in computer science from Richard Stockton College in New Jersey and an M.A. in economics from the University of Delaware. Schalin has worked as a freelance journalist and a software engineer. He joined the Martin Center in 2007. His articles have appeared in Forbes, the Washington Times, U.S. News and World Report, Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, American Thinker, and more. Schalin is a member of the National Association of Scholars and is on the Board of Directors for the Academy of Philosophy and Letters.
The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal is named in honor of the former North Carolina governor. It was formerly called The Pope Center for Higher Education Policy and is based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Visit the website at www.jamesgmartin.center.
Education News Briefs
Twitter has dropped the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a “trust and safety partner,” and it will no longer be among those that help the social media site determine what is and is not deemed hate speech. Aside from the appalling realization that Twitter is in such a powerful position, at least it is a positive turn of events that SPLC is finally being exposed. The SPLC is embroiled in multiple scandals including “inappropriate conduct” and questionable offshore bank accounts, and faces possible lawsuits from as many as 60 conservative groups that have been attacked by the organization. (TheDailyCaller. com, 4-15-19) The National Education Association (NEA) teachers union awarded SPLC founder Morris Dees its Human and Civil Rights President’s Award in 2016. As Education Reporter previously wrote, “The fact that the NEA regards an organization that labels American institutions as hate groups is disturbing because such labels are dangerous when misapplied.” PJ Media reports, “According to The Progressive’s John Egerton, SPLC cofounder Morris Dees ‘viewed civil rights work mainly as a marketing tool for bilking gullible Northern liberals.’” (PJMedia.com, 4-10-19)
Texas will resurrect cursive hand-writing, joining Virginia, California, Florida, and a few other states that realize Common Core’s mandate to drop teaching students how to write properly and teach only keyboarding was wrong. By autumn, Texas students will again learn to master handwriting, which has been shown to have connections to brain development and retention of material. (Austin American-Statesman, 4-9-2019)
At the University of Kansas, Christopher Forth will teach a course on “the rise of the ‘angry white male’ in America and Britain since the 1950s, exploring the deeper sources of this emotional state while evaluating recent manifestations of male anger.” Forth is a white male professor of humanities and history. (Fox News, 4-8-19)
Book of the Month
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, Cal Newport, Grand Central Publishing, 2016, $28
Cal Newport is a Georgetown University computer science professor. He says that in the “new economy,” those who will do best are able to “quickly master hard things” and “produce at an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed.” Being distracted stops students from obtaining those sorts of skills. Newport offers ways for individuals to arm and protect themselves from a world increasingly full of distractions.
Gone are the days when after homework was finished and dinnertime was over, families joined together to watch The Andy Griffith Show, musing about what it would be like to live in Mayberry.
Today many children not only have televisions in their bedrooms, they retreat there with their gaming consoles, as well as cell phones with a variety of social media applications.
Those who spend time on the internet, and particularly on social media sites, notice that they often feel distracted and are unable to concentrate. Information overload and jumping from one thing to another has a profound effect on the ability to concentrate and to do the sort deep thinking required to achieve excellent results.
This books offers reasons why it is important to take time to think with all electronic devices shut off, as well as practical ways to avoid overload when connected. Contrary to popular belief, being “constantly connected” is an unnecessary trap into which we allow ourselves to fall.
Parents and youngsters must reject what Newport calls the “any-benefit approach.” To illustrate this, he walks readers through the decision-making process a farmer used to determine which equipment best suits his needs. In the book’s section titled “The Craftsman Approach to Tool Selection,” he says, “Whereas the any-benefit mindset identifies any potential positive impact as justification for using a tool, the craftsman variant requires that these positive impacts affect factors at the core of what’s important to you and that they outweigh the negatives.”
Just because it’s “interesting” to see what friends post on Facebook doesn’t justify jumping from one post to another. Choices must be made according to the priorities one has for how time is spent. The negatives found on social media sites, which often invite and include comparison, envy, and even bullying, do not outweigh the perceived benefits in many cases.
Fewer distractions allow time for bigger and better thinking. It is a parental duty to teach online discretion to children and to learn it themselves. This book can help.