Public schools — un-educating Americans, one student at a time

School suppliesI was livid this morning. One of my children asked me to quiz her about rhetorical fallacies, which she was studying for a test. The teacher had put the examples together himself and they included such gems as saying it’s a logical fallacy to argue that guns are tools in the same way hammers are tools. Another example was that it’s a logical fallacy to argue against gay marriage. To give students an insight into good arguments against logical fallacies, he directed the students to Jon Stewart’s hyper-partisan The Daily Show. Indoctrination much?

When I complained to my resident Leftist, all I got was bewilderment. Guns are evil, gay marriage should be accepted by all, and Jon Stewart was the smartest, most informative man in television — so why am I fussing? The fact that all of those represent partisan views and the principle that they therefore should not be introduced on the taxpayers’ dime completely eluded him. School, after all, is there to teach students how to “think.”

School indoctrination is a sore subject with me, since it’s endemic in Marin, as it is in any school district that has a teacher’s union. Math is tainted both by Common Core and the fuzzy math approach that’s meant to give a pass to women and minorities who apparently struggle with actual math (you know, the kind where the results are correct).

As someone who’s bad at math (Common Core’s crazy complications are familiar to me because that’s the way they were teaching back in the San Francisco public schools’ 1960s/1970s experimental phase), I recognize the advantage of being able to reach roughly correct answers for such inconsequential things as calculating tips, measuring something that doesn’t need precise dimensions, or keeping vague track of a family budget. I also recognize what a weak reed this fuzzy math is. When the situation demands precision, I struggle.

English as taught in America’s public schools is a joke. I’ve already shared here my fury at the way an English teacher in Sandy Hook’s wake, handed out to the students strong gun-control articles. I politely protested (because my child, after all, was a hostage to grades in his class, but got nowhere). While the students get Leftist politics and lots of sex in their English classrooms, the students emerge without fundamentals such as grammar, spelling, structure, and narrative. Eileen Toplansky describes in heartbreaking detail trying to teach under-educated American youngsters  when they reach college.

As the recently AP U.S. History fight showed, history is taught through a purely Marxist, anti-American lens. The books subtly and not-so-subtly tell those pliant young minds that America is the root of all evil and that the purifying answer to our nation’s wrongs is top down collectivism.

It doesn’t seem to occur to these geniuses that the things about which they complain — whether slavery, Indian relocations, Jim Crow laws, etc. — were only able to happen because of government power. The corollary is that diffusing government power dilutes a nation’s ability to do things that bug Leftists.

Typically, each Leftist cadre assumes that, when it acquires unlimited power, it will get it right. That’s why Bernie, who shrilly screams for a government that uses its guns to confiscate individual wealth, is looked upon as some type of savior, rather than the power-hungry, crazed madman he really is.

Lastly, there’s the wreckage of science in America’s public schools. The kids still get taught useful basic stuff, such as chemistry and biology, but the higher up they go, the more tainted it gets.

I have in front of me the textbook used in our local school’s AP Environmental Science class. Published by Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning, G. Tyler Miller’s and Scott E.Spoolman’s 14th edition of Environmental Science purports to be a comprehensive textbook, teaching children everything they need to know about the natural world that surrounds us.

In the introduction to teachers (p. xiii), we learn that the book is all about “sustainability — the integrating theme of this book.” This theme leads to the boast that, in the new edition,

Climate change is emphasized with new coverage on the warming of the world’s lakes, climate change tipping points, and innovative [and, no doubt, prohibitively expensive] efforts to reduce methane and soot emissions.

I’m all for sustainability. Speculations about Mars’ potential habitability notwithstanding, we only have one planet that’s a sure thing for human survival, and it behooves us to treat it well. Treating it well, however, does not mean either falsifying science or destroying human kind. The environmentalists’ shtick to the contrary, we are a part of the planet’s diverse life forms, rather than an alien being that must be destroyed.

What got my knickers in a twist about the book was the random happenstance that, as I was moving it off the kitchen table, I dropped it and it opened to this page, which introduces the chapter on “Sustaining Biodiversity : The Species Approach”:

Brooks Cole Environmental Science

[Click on image for full size page.]

You know you’re in for it whenever you see anything about polar bears and climate change.  The entire page is a sustained sob about the poor declining Arctic polar bears.

Those pathetic bears, trapped forever on teeny little ice floes that carry them out to sea, where they die a bitter, lonely death.  Indeed, according to the book:

Scientific measurements reveal that the earth’s atmosphere is getting warmer and that this warming is occurring twice as fast in the Arctic as in the rest of the world.  Thus, the arctic ice is melting faster and the average annual area of floating sea ice in the Arctic during the summer is decreasing.  The floating winter ice is also breaking up earlier each year, shortening the polar bears’ hunting season.  And much of the remaining ice is getting too thin to support the weight of a polar bear.

That’s so affecting.  The only problem is that, unsurprisingly given the continuously dynamic nature of planet earth, none of that is true:

After the shortest melt season on record, and the most rapid growth on record, Arctic sea ice extent is the largest in a decade.

Arctic sea ice

Ocean and Ice Services | Danmarks Meteorologiske Institut

Arctic sea ice 2

Not only is extent increasing, but Arctic sea ice thickness has also increased by 40% over the last five years.

Arctic sea ice 3

Bpiomas_plot_daily_heff.2sst.png (2488×1960)

Steve Goddard, who wrote the above post and generally provides invaluable actual climate facts at Real Science, concluded by saying “None of this will be reported by the criminals at US government agencies or in the press.”  I’ll add that none of this will appear in school books either, which are completely invested in the pathetic polar bear scenario.

Goddard also caught the fact that the climate changistas have had to scale down their dire predictions about the declining polar bear population.  The textbook indoctrinating. . . . er, “teaching” our children insists that

According to a 2006 study by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the world’s total polar bear population is likely to decline by 30-35% by 2050.  By the end of this century, polar bears might be found only in zoos.

I’m dubious about anything the purports to predict with exactitude what will be going on in the natural world in 35 years, let alone 85 years.  Right off the bat, that confidence about a future that will be affected by data we can’t even begin to imagine suggests a con.  And indeed, with the con collapsing, these vague “scientist” collectives have abandoned the line that those polar bears on itty-bitty icebergs are dying now and, instead, are saying, “It’s still going to happen, we promise, but not for another ten years.”

Polar Bear Science is a useful site that looks at actual, you know, facts and data, rather than loosey-goosey futurist predictions. For example, the Western Hudson bears, one of the more studied bears, have shown population stability for eleven years now, no doubt explaining the new claim “scientific” announcement, above, that climate change won’t affect them for another decade. Indeed, if you scroll through the Polar Bear Science site, which relies solely on field study data, you come away comforted to know that the polar bears are doing fine, thank you very much.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (“IUCN”), which authored the 2006 study that the book cites with such elan, probably isn’t the best source for information in any event.  You see, it’s guessing:

The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group admits its global population estimate is simply a qualified guess with a large potential error.  So perhaps it’s time to acknowledge that for the purpose of comparing polar bears to other species of concern, the upper limit for polar bear numbers worldwide could be more than 30,000?

In subsequent updates to the above post, it appears that the polar bear population is a stable 26,000 or more and holding steady.  (For more facts, not guesses, about polar bear population trends, check out these links.)

And here’s one other interesting thing about the IUCN: It’s an old organization, formed shortly after the UN, and seems to have the UN’s same impulse toward’s tyrannical insanity.  Wikipedia isn’t always the best source for this information, but it offers an interesting criticism about the IUCN:

It has been claimed that IUCN put the needs of nature above those of humans, disregarding economic considerations and the interests of indigenous peoples and other traditional users of the land. Until the 1980s IUCN favored the “Yellowstone Model’ of conservation which called for the removal of humans from protected areas. The expulsion of the Maasai people from Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is perhaps the best known example of this approach.

But back to that textbook, which is preaching to the best and brightest kids throughout America’s high schools.  It shares IUCN’s anti-human slant:

Many biologists consider the rapid loss of the earth’s vital biodiversity — largely resulting from human activities — to be one of the most serious and long-lasting environmental problem [sic] that the world faces.

Children!  You’re murderers!  Every last one of you.  And just ignore the fact that this publishing company is responsible for printing up gazillions of copies of this 500-or-so page book, with its nice laminated covers, and shiny ink-coated pages.  The problems of the world are due to you, not to us.  We’re just trying to profit off of the destruction you wreak.

When it comes to socialism, Lefties are just like little children.  You can tell them forever that freebies are never free, and can come with a dangerously high price (whether it’s a child being kidnapped and killed by a predator offering “free” candy or puppies, or a nation having its economy and individual liberties by socialists offering “free” benefits). No matter the proof about freebies carrying risks, and no matter how often you dun that information into their heads, Lefties are no more capable of resisting temptation than is a five-year-old child.

If anything, Lefties regress even further mentally when it comes to climate science.  Have you ever played peek-a-boo with a baby.  It’s so cute.  You cover your face, and the baby thinks you’re gone.  And when the baby covers his own face, everything vanishes.  What a fun game.  Now you see it, now you don’t.  And when you don’t see, not only doesn’t it exist, it never existed.  It’s baby magic!!!

Scientists have been monitoring the environment somewhat closely for the past, say, 50 or 60 years.  Because of the Victorian passion for record keeping, we’re able to access some data going back as far as 150 years.  Hard science, such as core samples or clues (fossils, bones, etc.) found in sediment, rounds out that data.  And that’s what we’ve got.  But anthropocentric scientists are convinced that all the knowledge they’ve acquired now — and some of it’s pretty darn patchy — constitutes the sum total of all human knowledge, from which everything can be extrapolated.  The fact is, species have been going extinct forever — since earth was first formed.

Examining earth trends starting with the dinosaurs, we can readily identify things that cause local or mass die-outs.  Sometimes the earth’s climate changes.  Sometimes an earthquake, volcano, or catastrophic flood rejiggers the landscape in a certain region.  Sometimes a meteor wipes out life.  Sometimes the meeting between two species results in one getting destroyed.  Humans definitely did in the dodo and the mammoth.

As an aside, it’s likely that the Lefties’ beloved Native Americans, who are invariably presented to children as hippie types who would never dream of committing violence against the earth, had they populated North America in greater numbers probably would have destroyed the buffalo.  After all, one of the Comanches’ hunting techniques was to drive a whole herd off a cliff.  The Comanches would then take what they could carry (not much), and leave the rest of the herd to die slowly and painfully, and then to rot in mangled heaps at the bottom of the cliff.  The Aztecs almost certainly turned to human sacrifice because they’d destroyed all animal food sources — i.e., protein and iron sources — in their region.

But here’s the deal:  Because modern scientists, baby-like, uncovered their eyes to view Western interactions with nature only a few decades ago, they’re pretty clear that none of the previous occurrences existed or mattered.  Like a baby revealing the world to itself, today’s scientists consider only what they see before them when they see it.  Everything else is pushed aside and ignored.

I remember many years ago spending a vacation day in Cartagena, Columbia.  It was one of the most depressing places I’ve ever seen.  The encroaching jungle bore down hard on that city, and the city seemed inclined to give up the fight.  It was obvious that, if the city stopped for even a while to keep the jungle at bay, the city would vanish.  Nature is powerful.  Nature is merciless.  Nature is adaptable.  Nature, by its nature, is change.

Modern science’s fear of change and rejection of Nature’s powerful adaptability means that the scientists are driven to irrational, rather than rational, analysis.  Worse, once locked in the grip of this irrationality, our modern ideological science is driven to two dangerous paths:  ignoring the data and indoctrinating the young.

Medicine taught us that scientific rigidity is terribly dangerous.  Just look at germ theory, which scientists at first couldn’t recognize, but then wouldn’t recognize.  Even when knowledge was available, ideologically driven men of “science” continued to kill patients.  But maybe that’s what the scientists want in the end:  a lot of children who have been trained to a suicidal mindset they’re told is absolutely necessary to save a natural order that needs their stewardship, rather than their disappearance.

We’ve raised the “sheeple generation,” because today’s kids wouldn’t dream of questioning authority

SheepleI was a little girl when the phrase “Question Authority” became the mantra for teens and young adults. To give that generation credit, even as they stopped bathing and warped their brains with drugs, they really did make an effort to challenge the shibboleths that the academic establishment and the media sent their way. Unfortunately, all of their ultimate conclusions were absolutely wrong, but at least they tried.

These wrong conclusions have now become the academic, political, and media shibboleths of the 21st century. War is bad; the current “science” emanating from the liberal establishment cannot be questioned; Israel is an evil, apartheid state; whites created a corrupt America so that they and their misbegotten creation must be destroyed; illegal immigrants are all victims of white hegemony and need to be welcomed with open arms; Muslim terrorists are merely disappointed job seekers; etc.

What’s terribly sad about the current generation of teens and young adults is that they wouldn’t dream of questioning these authoritative pronouncements — and this is true despite the fact that they are the first generation to have at their fingertips a powerful tool that gives them all the information they need to ask questions and, perhaps, come up with different answers.

[Read more…]

Indoctrination at schools focuses on fantasy ills, while simultaneously denying reality

GaslandAmerica’s educational institutions aren’t taking antisemitism seriously — despite the mount of proof (often from the killers themselves) showing that tens of millions have died from antisemitism over the centuries.

Meanwhile, as antisemitism surges unchecked on America’s campuses, schools are taking very seriously fracking, even in the absence of any proof that it’s killed any one, ever.

It’s possible that schools aren’t taking antisemitism seriously because, at least in some schools, denying it is part of their curriculum: Witness the now-infamous Common Core assignment in the Rialto Unified School District directing all 8th graders to read Holocaust denial literature and than write essays denying the Holocaust.

And here’s an interesting tidbit: this Common Core assignment took place on the watch of an Interim Superintendent named Mohammad Z. Islam. The District’s story is that Islam knew nothing about the assignment and was appropriately shocked when he learned what had happened. There’s no reason at this point to disbelieve that assertion.

Islam, 57, grew up in Bangladash, where he saw the damage done by denying people access to education. He’s a finance guy, and worked as the CFO in the San Bernardino school district. He was then invited to step into the Rialto district after the former superintendent “retired” following the district accountant’s arrest for embezzling $1.8 million. Islam was seen as the antidote to chaos and corruption. Islam could well be a stand-up kind of guy. In that case, it’s very unfortunate that he has a name that many people consider consistent with a belief system that denies that the Holocaust happened.

What’s quite obvious is that more and more American public schools are abandoning classical education — when that looks to facts and analysis — in favor of a Leftist hodge podge of propaganda on everything from climate to the Holocaust.

Education for the brainwashed generation

I know I’m just grumpy, but this promotional mailing from Ithaca College rubbed me the wrong way:

Ithaca flier

Ready to write environmental wrongs.  Ithaca College will turn your academic passions into unforgettable experiences — and make you ready for the adventure of your life.

I know that the first sentence is meant to be a clever pun, but it’s not.  At first glance, I thought it was a typo or blatant grammatical error.  On second reading, I thought Ithaca was promising to teach students how to plan to create environmental wrongs.  On third reading, I realized that Ithaca is offering to teach students how to “list” environmental wrongs, although I suspect there’ll be a fair dollop of creative writing (i.e., anthropogenic climate change) thrown in.

The whole thing — with the smug girl and the promise that documenting, or making up, environmental wrong is the “adventure of your life” — made me queasy.

Am I overreacting?  I probably am.  But as Kurt Schlichter said about Lena Dunham’s and HBO’s vile, nihilistic show Girls, we need to know what’s out there, because it is out there, and it’s aimed at our children.

The horrors of a Leftist English teacher

The other day, Zombie put up a post that resonated with me on more levels than you can imagine.  It turns out that Zombie deciding to drop in on a lecture at UC Berkeley (my alma mater) to hear a lecture by an English as a Second Language, or ESL, professor (my father’s job), which was given in execrable English (my complaint about my children’s English teachers), and had as its point the moral necessity of using education to advance Leftist causes (my bête noire as a parent, a Berkeley grad, and a conservative in America).

You have to read Zombie’s post to believe it and, even after reading it, you might find it hard to believe. I’ll just say that my father, who worshiped the beauty of the English language and who believed that his job was to have his students speaking English, is probably rolling in his grave right about now.

Why America’s cultural divide is a gaping chasm, not a shallow ditch

It’s already old news to you that statistical data shows that Obama is the most polarizing president ever.  Much as I’d like to blame Obama, it seems that, rather than causing the polarization, he reflects it:

One Gallup chart ranks presidents from Eisenhower to Obama on polarization during their third year in office. Obama is at the very top, with a 68-point “party gap.” The three least polarized presidents were Jimmy Carter in 1979, Lyndon Johnson in 1965 and Ike in 1955. Carter was very unpopular (24% approval among Republicans, 46% among Democrats), Ike was very popular (91% and 57%), and LBJ’s popularity was middling (34% and 68%).

In a polarized electorate, then, partisans not only are more likely to disapprove of a president of the other party but also to approve of one from their own party. Cilizza and Blake note that “out of the ten most partisan years in terms of presidential job approval in Gallup data, seven–yes, seven–have come since 2004. [George W.] Bush had a run between 2004 and 2007 in which the partisan disparity of his job approval was at 70 points or higher.” What they don’t note is that polarization declined significantly in 2008 (to a 61-point gap), when even Republicans had started to turn against Bush.

Obama’s fault, then, lies in promising during his campaign to end this great divide and then in violating that promise by using his executive office to perpetuate it.

If you’re wondering how this chasm happened, a reader send me some information that might give us a clue:

I supervise a USC School of Social Work intern. I was filling out my evaluation for her today.

Here are two of the categories that I had to “grade” her on.

“Recognize the extent to which a culture’s structure and values may oppress, marginalize, alienate, or create or enhance privilege and power in shaping life experiences.”

“Identifies the forms, mechanisms and interconnections of oppression and discrimination and is knowledgeable about theories of justice and strategies to promote human and civil rights.”

Our very expensive educational institutions are fomenting class warfare.  This young woman, when she gets her degree and goes out into the world, will disseminate this Marxist view of social issues.  She won’t be a bad person.  She’ll be a dangerously indoctrinated useful idiot in a position to do a lot of damage to the fabric of our culture.

Another example of how liberals teach our children — even when they’re unclear on the concepts themselves

Readers of my blog know that one of my personal bête noires is liberal indoctrination in public schools.  I blog about it frequently.  My last outing on that subject was here, and I’ll get back to that in a little bit.  First, though, I’d like you to see how one public school teacher saw fit to educate American children about America’s involvement in WWII, as well as the response of one politely appalled man who was actually involved in the historic moment at issue.

Not only is this kind of indoctrination par for the course, it’s produced at least one generation of people who can throw out conclusions to their heart’s content, but are incapable of backing them up with common sense or actual knowledge.  And that’s how we wrap around to that post of mine that I mentioned earlier.  If you link over to it, you’ll see that I spoke with my daughter about a teacher’s facile and ill-educated assertion that “all civilized countries” have socialized medicine.

I carefully led my daughter through a few fairly uncomplicated facts.  A lot of uncivilized countries (North Korea, Cuba, the former Soviet Union) have socialized medicine.  I also pointed out what is undoubtedly true, which is that those countries with socialized medicine cannot maintain them.  They work well initially when a big chunk of taxpayer money is poured into them, but that they then go downhill:  they don’t generate revenue themselves and, since they suck up wealth, they leave the taxpayer pool less wealthy and therefore less able to pay for them.  This isn’t rocket science and, more importantly, it’s not ivory tower theory — it’s actual real world fact, as proven by real world, actual events.

What’s interesting is what happened with my post when it got picked up on a liberal thread at (the thread is entitled “libertarian” but it’s clearly not, as the tenor of the comments indicates).  The liberals are very angry at what I wrote, but they don’t have substance to back up their anger.  Lots of insults, lots of conclusions, but no facts and no coherent, sustained argument.  Here are a few comments, plus my replies:

Wow, there is actually book that describes why the mother is an idiot, it is called Economics 101 – look in to it.  [Insult, conclusion; no argument.]

Also, dear mother: You do realize you already pay for the uninsured, right? You just pay 20 times as much as you should. Why is this not considered a tax?  [Boy is s/he unclear on free market concepts.  If the market wasn’t stultified by thousands of government regulations, not to mention the perverse incentives of mass buying by employers, there shouldn’t be uninsured.  Also, I don’t think I should be for the 30% of uninsured who are illegal aliens under any circumstances.]


Unfortunately, this kind of overly simplistic thinking is exactly why the tea party has no credibility. As cutesy as the exchange is, “Momma” didn’t address the fact that universal health care is working in many countries in Europe (not that it’s sustainable, but that’s not that point).  [I’m delighted this person thinks I’m cute, but the fact is that if universal health care is unsustainable, it’s not working in Europe, no matter how much you wish it was.  As it sucks money out of the economy, the initial benefit vanishes, with the health care system in Britain the perfect example.   You don’t need a Harvard PhD to figure that one out.]

Not only that, but the link that was posted at the end about the girl getting the abortion:

a) has absolutely nothing to do with the exchange about health care. b) I don’t see why the girl should be forced to tell her parents…we should be expanding the rights of the youth, not restricting them.  [Had the person read my post, s/he would have realized that it was relevant, as I explained, because it goes to the way in which public high schools indoctrinate students, right to the point where they bypass parents entirely when it comes to political hot topics such as abortion.]

tl;dr? As a hardcore libertarian, I think this article reeks of sensationalist neocon.  [Uh, I don’t read hardcore libertarian here.  I read Progressive troll.]


That was a lot of stupid in one place. Too bad the teacher did not point out that the CBO said that the bill saves money, not costs money. [Where to begin.  Here, perhaps.  The person also doesn’t understand that the CBO was forced to work with the numbers that Congress used as predicates for the bill, rather than actual real world costs.  Even with that, as Paul Ryan carefully explained, the bill is affordable only because of accounting jiggery-pokery and because of deferred costs.] Perhaps they are wrong, but that mom had better go over the figures and say where they are wrong. Then the teacher could point out how the bill helps small businesses get health care for employees. Then there was that deep dishonesty that North Korea having universal health care, both false and distracting from Europe and Canada and all that.  [All communist countries have universal health care because they have no private enterprise.  To the extent there is any health care, it comes from the government.  Of course, perhaps what this person meant is that North Korea has no health care at all, because the government has run out of money and the people are eating dirt.]

Insults, conclusions, false facts, ignorance — what are they teaching young people nowadays?

UPDATE:  If you’ve come this far in the post, you’ll know that the history teacher who put a unique spin on WWII history had edited the iconic Iwo Jima photograph to turn the flag into a McDonald’s arch with Arabic writing.  Perhaps that teacher was educated at the same schools as our president who managed, in his Easter message, to edit Jesus Christ out entirely, including the part in which he quoted from a WWII pastor.  (See also Flopping Aces, which tipped me off to this one, and which adds some more information.)

I understand that the president of a multicultural United States must be careful not to speak in such overtly religious terms that he sounds more as if he’s giving a sermon, than a speech.  One cannot avoid, however, the fact that Easter is a Christ centered religion.  (Unless, of course, Obama is actually celebrating the Pagan rite of spring which involved fertility goddesses and suchlike.)  For Obama, who professes to be a Christian to edit Christ out entirely from a message that should, in theory, resonate personally with Obama, is somewhat surprising.

The new brownshirts *UPDATED*

One of the most horrific things about both the Nazis and the Communists was the way in which they indoctrinated children.  Children were encouraged to place the State — and especially the state’s leader, whether Hitler or Stalin — above the family, and to give their loyalty to the former, not the latter.  Unhappy parents discovered that the state’s spy network extended to their own home, with their children, having been completely reprogrammed by the state, turning them in for whatever the average 9 year old deemed to be a treasonous infraction.

Thank of that as you view this video, which Kim Priestap found and posted at Wizbang.  Kim doubts that this is what it pretends to be — a grassroots moment where hyper aware kids discover the beauty of the Obamessiah and suddenly burst into song.  I agree with her, but I find it even more disturbing as a harbinger of our children being co-opted to the state:

UPDATETrust Confederate Yankee to discover just how polished this allegedly grass roots effort really is.

UPDATE IIThe Anchoress adds her two cents about the Orwellian nature of that creepy video.