Ad Council still running ‘Embrace Refugees’ ad to indoctrinate Christian children

A reader alerted us to an ad (from the Ad Council) running repeatedly on their children’s TV programming, specifically Veggie Tales a show created to convey “Christian moral themes and [teach] Biblical values and lessons.”

We looked for more information on the ad directing viewers to something called Embrace Refugees and found that the public service ad was a joint venture between the Ad Council and the US State Department released on World Refugee Day 2016.

Readers may recall that during this period, Obama was headed toward his big refugee pow-wow in the UN scheduled for September of 2016 and was setting the groundwork for Hillary to step in and continue a refugee flood to America.

See this news report at something called The Ralph Retort when the ad was released.

The ad directs viewers to Embrace Refugees  making it appear to be just one more private project by good-hearted charities instead of a U.S. State Department engineered project.

Screenshot (819)

Many of the usual cast of characters are here.  Six federal refugee contractors are involved. Interestingly 3 Christian ones are absent from the Embrace campaign: US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services and World Relief.

See how much of your money is redistributed to these contractors.

This is the sort of project taxpayers should question and frankly someone with investigative skills should attempt to follow the money and figure out how much of our money (I bet all of it is our money) was used to produce and distribute the propaganda.

You gotta hand it to the Left, they are working every day to change America by getting to your kids (and using your money to do it)!

Here is the ad:

A reader suggested I give you the White House contact page every day.  Ask the President why this Obama ad is still running!

Your Son is Not as Safe as You Think at College by Pernas Juntos

Fall’s arrival brings students — America’s future — streaming into the hallowed halls of higher education.

For those of you directly engaged in funding one of these institutions, much of your thought is focused on classes, dorms, books, computers, software and trying to remove that stunned look from your face brought about by today’s tuition and dorm price tags. But there is undoubtedly some fear for the safety of your daughters, who will be exposed to binge parties, sexual peer pressure and some wild fraternities.

You should expand that to your sons as well.

Sexual assault on our campuses have greatly increased. Even the elite liberal-leaning Chronicle of Higher Education states, “The number of reported forcible sex crimes on campus increased from 2,200 in 2001 to 5,000 in 2013 (a 126 percent increase).”

I have worked with administration in higher education for more than 27 years. Campus sexual assaults have long been a fixture in campus life. Universities are never thrilled to talk about it, for good reason. They compete viciously for your son or daughter’s enrollment. Colleges and universities do their level best to lower the numbers of sexual assaults on their campuses. Both by encouraging reporting…and by hiding it.

College administrators play with the numbers

For example, many will consider any attack that takes place outside their strict ‘campus’ perimeters as not a campus assault. Even if it is one of their students walking back from classes to their dorm. Some fraternities and sororities are also placed off campus to lower on-campus sexual assault numbers. A perpetrator committing a crime on campus may even be passively allowed to walk off campus to make the arrest off campus.

And as we have seen with some of the more publicized sports figure arrests, institutions have many standards and protocols for different students accused of crimes — despite supposed ‘zero tolerance’ policies on sexual assault. They all do it to some degree. The argument is, if they didn’t, their campus would seem less safe than those who report student sexual assaults in a more selective way. All of this is hardly new, and we could make a great case that sexual assault awareness and reporting on campus is higher than it ever has been.

However, some groups — men, including gay men — seem to be discouraged from reporting.

Liberal/progressive ideology has taken over most administrations of higher education. Contrary to what many people believe, the real ideological power broker isn’t that gray-haired, pony-tailed, sandal-wearing professor. It’s an administration that holds the purse-strings and sets curriculum. With that ideology has come many changes in sexual behavior and identification on campus.

LGBT centers have sprung up on nearly every campus, bathrooms are sometimes open to both biological genders to cater to transgender persons, and students are openly encouraged to question their sexual identification. Women’s Gender Studies classes do a fantastic job of vilifying men, and in many cases encouraging alternative sexual identification and experimentation. Fresh off their successes activating students around gay marriage, sex on campus in all its different forms can seem not an issue, but rather the issue.

Young people have never been as sexualized as they are today on campuses. That brings issues of its own.

Tilting justice against white men

Liberalism/progressivism thrive on the collectivist notion of an oppressor and an oppressed. That view seems to be binary and set in stone, the oppressed can never be the oppressor and vice versa.

Your male son, especially your white male son, is viewed as the oppressor in every circumstance when the issue is against an ‘oppressed female’. His word simply does not carry the equal weight of his female counterparts. Any accusation against him by a female will almost certainly be treated as the truth.

That accusation can be a real problem for your son’s future. A quick look through Michigan State University’s Sexual Assault Program, for one example, shows not a single male staff member. However, this is the norm on sites I checked and not unique to MSU. A search of your Alma Mater will most likely show the same thing.

Imagine a large city police force that only has male sexual assault on-site councilors. Probably wouldn’t go over well. While campuses would argue that women are assaulted far more than men, that shouldn’t deny men from getting the help they need and deserve. That help should include the right to counsel with someone of your own gender. Yet many campuses view that as a non-issue.

We are a nation that should provide equal justice to any sexual assault victim. Especially on campus. But we don’t.

This issue has also manifests itself in a way that may not immediately jump to mind: the LGBT community itself.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 46.4% lesbians, 74.9% bisexual women and 43.3% heterosexual women reported sexual violence other than rape during their lifetimes. On the flip side, 40.2% gay men, 47.4% bisexual men and 20.8% heterosexual men reported sexual violence other than rape during their lifetimes. That means that if your gay son, who has a more than 4 in 10 chances of being sexually assaulted in his life needs help, he must confide in a woman….or not report. Many do not.

On top of that, because he is a man in a center staffed by women advocates, he will most likely be viewed as the perpetrator in his time of trauma, at least until he establishes his case. He’s assumed guilty — as the victim. Even the liberal Huffington Post has posted opinion columns by gay advocates demanding more men, particularly gay men, to be on the staff of the sexual assault crisis centers.

Yet for now, that seems to fall on deaf ears. Students will continue to be oversexualized to promote agendas. Men, especially white men, will continue to be viewed as the default perpetrator on liberal campuses — which is most campuses. Gay people reporting sexual assaults doesn’t fit the agenda and reporting is not as encouraged as it should be.

Interracial couple assaults are also something that they do not want ‘over reported’. Those groups are to be portrayed in their group identity as better than the normal population and not as suffering the plagues of the rest of us. Statistics be damned. Sexual crisis centers are viewed by the administration, as being for women. Almost exclusively. Sadly, that leaves many victims in the cold.

Many of your sons are one accusation away from having their lives ruined. Many gay men will not receive the justice and counseling they deserve. Your son, gay or straight, is not as safe as you may think in a liberal institution. Something to think about when a university is courting your child.

Pernas Juntos, a pseudonym meaning “think together” in Spanish, has spent nearly three decades working in the administration of a major American university.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act. The featured image is a Stock Photo: Dreamstime.

Grandfathered Salary Suit Filed Against Miami-Dade Schools

Last week, the Grandfathered Salary lawsuit was served upon Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

Read the redacted complaint filed in federal court in Miami (redacted due to federal law per personal information of plaintiffs).

In the fall of 2015, M-DCPS and the United Teachers of Dade together unlawfully changed a legislatively designated “grandfathered salary schedule.”

Thus, a group of teachers incorporated as “The Grandfathered Inc.” decided to take action and challenge M-DCPS’ and UTD’s unlawful collusion in court and to set the record straight.

Sadly, the United Teachers of Dade sided with M-DCPS in PERC and is opposed to this lawsuit.

Why would 19,000 teachers sue the School Board of Miami Dade Public Schools for $60 million in lost salaries?

Because a law passed by the Florida Legislature in 2011 required that as of July 1, 2014, whatever salary schedule was in place would thence forth be frozen in time, or, as the statute phrased it, grandfathered.  But the school district just didn’t do it.

The current law (Fla. Stat. §1012.22) was intended to prevent further annual increases to district salary schedules for teachers hired before July 1, 2014.  Teachers hired after that date would receive performance pay, which would be calculated or derived from the greatest increment between levels of the grandfathered schedule, depending upon a teacher’s effectiveness.  In theory, performance pay would quickly out-pace the frozen schedule forcing veteran teachers to relinquish their tenure to join the new comers.

However, M-DCPS just kept on bargaining new schedules to attack the higher end salary steps for teachers approaching retirement.  And not incidentally, for two years, the District did not award any performance pay whatsoever.   The damage to teacher salaries is estimated at $20 million per year.

A few points of the lawsuit explained:

  1. The statutes (both of them) are easy to read:

Grandfathered Salary Schedule — The District school board shall adopt a salary schedule or salary schedules to be used as the basis for paying all school employees hired before July 1, 2014.

Florida Statute § 1012.22 (1) (c) 4. a. (emphasis added).

Grandfathered salary schedule means the salary schedule or schedules adopted by a district school board before July 1, 2014, pursuant to subparagraph 4. (Cited immediately above).

Florida Statute § 1012.22 (1) (c) 1. b. (emphasis added).

  1. How about an example of grandfathering?

Many cellular phone carriers including AT&T and Verizon had an unlimited data plan in the past, but these plans were discontinued. However, customers who already had subscribed to unlimited data plans could continue them for as long as they kept the same service. They were grandfathered.  But not new subscribers.  For them, the unlimited plan was no longer available, and they had to select from a limited plan.

  1. Some examples of 2015-16 salary schedule deviations from the grandfathered salary schedule:

Step

17             48,425             Down $1,875.00 from the grandfathered schedule.
19             51,900             Down $1,200.00 from the grandfathered schedule.
21             57,350             Down $1,000.00 from the grandfathered schedule.
22             60,775             Down $3,539.00 from the grandfathered schedule.
23             66,575             Down $3,750.00 from the grandfathered schedule.

  1. The District tried to justify it by saying that the grandfathered salary schedule would be any schedule they “designated as such.”

The below video highlights a large part of the problem, which is M-DCPS seemingly diverting money meant for teacher salaries into capital projects.  From the video, you can view teacher Shawn Beightol putting Superintendent Carvalho on the spot at a public forum on this issue and view a PERC transcript with talking points that debunk District explanations.

The progress of the lawsuit can be followed on the  Grandfathered Salary Suit Facebook page.

If you are a M-DCPS teacher and desire to collect damages and regain your steps, sign a retainer.

Please note the lawyers will be paid out of the settlement, so you, the teacher, will not be billed lawyer fees, and legal costs are being covered by donations.

College: What Are You Paying For?

Randall Smith on the explosion of college tuition costs. Education is very expensive, and it’s important for parents and students to know exactly what they’re paying for.

It’s late August, and young adults across the country are headed to college, and parents across the country are writing large tuition checks.

Americans worry incessantly about the inflation in medical costs – and with good reason. But over the past fifteen years, the inflation in college and university costs has been even greater.  Colleges and universities across the country have been raising tuition at a rate four times faster than the overall inflation rate.

What does that money pay for? A little thought experiment may help. Let’s imagine, for a moment, educational institutions in which the buildings are modest and fully financed so that, not only are the costs of their construction paid off, but their financing has been sufficient to cover depreciation and maintenance. Since such financing is rarely included in the costs of new buildings. When they are opened (to great fanfare and praise for administrators), what should be an asset becomes a liability, and a further drain on general operating expenses.

But let’s say the buildings are fully financed and that the endowment has been developed sufficiently to cover operating expenses. What, then, on our little ideally financed campus, would the basic costs of instruction be? Let’s say we set the salary for faculty at $75,000 per year, which is near the current average. To that rather generous salary, we’ll add another 20 percent to pay for benefits – also generous, but this is what private contractors are required by the government to put aside. The total would be $90,000 dollars per year. Let’s say that we asked our professors to teach three classes per semester, with an average of twenty students per class (a low number for many college classes). In that case, faculty members would be teaching roughly 120 students per year.

Here’s where it gets interesting. To make the $90,000 we need to pay our faculty – and remember, we’ve got the lights and electricity and all the rest taken care of – we would only need to charge each student $750 per course. If each student took five courses per semester, tuition per student would be $3,750 per semester or $7,500 per year. That’s it.

Now if you’re paying more than $7,500 per year in tuition – and everyone is – what, you might wonder, is all the rest of the money being used for? I teach at a university, and I don’t know. Nor do any of my colleagues. We regularly ask to inspect the budget figures, but they are not forthcoming.

Click here to read the rest of Professor Smith’s column . . .

 

America Undermines Its National Security By Educating Its Adversaries

For decades the United States has professed to have an official policy of preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons technology.

In the 1950’s the Rosenbergs were executed for spying and passing nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union.

Nevertheless, today more than 500,000 foreign students are enrolled in universities in the United States to study the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) curricula.

While not all of these students are studying disciplines that have a direct nexus to nuclear technology, many disciplines do intersect with aerospace and nuclear technology.

Foreign students are permitted to engage in Optional Practical Training to put their education to use and learn how to apply what they have learned in the classrooms and university laboratories in the “real world.”
Sometimes these students work for companies that engage in military-related work.

Not long ago I wrote an article that focused on how our policies had the effect of Educating ‘Engineers of Jihad’ At US Universities.

Today we should be as concerned that China’s acquisition of U.S. technology through its students in the United States poses an increasing threat to our nation.

On May 19, 2016 Reuters reported, “U.S. charges six Chinese nationals with economic espionage.”

The U.S. Navy’s underwater drones seem to have drawn particular interest by China’s military that has constructed an artificial island in the South China Sea.  On April 22, 2016 Newsweek reported, “Chines Spy in Florida Sent Drone Parts to China for Military.”

The New Yorker published a revealing article A New Kind of Spy How China obtains American technological secrets under the sarcastic heading, “The Department of Espionage”

Furthermore China provides technology to North Korea’s tyrannical and bellicose leader Kim Jong-Un who continues to order his military stockpile nuclear weapons and perfect ICBMs (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles) that could reach the continental United States.
On August 20, 2017 Newsweek reported, North Korea ‘Nuclear War’ Warning Ahead of Joint U.S./South Korea Military Exercises.

According to current statistics provided by the DHS, the greatest number of STEM students are citizens of India (173,258) while the second largest contingent of students are from China (152,002) and the number of Saudi Arabian students (25,125) is the third largest.

On June 23, 2017 DHS issued a news release, SEVP Introduces a Redesigned SEVIS by the Numbers Report that began by noting that the latest SEVIS by the Numbers report, which is presented in an enhanced design, is now available on ICE.gov/SEVP.

For clarification, SEVP is an acronym for Student and Exchange Visitor Program and SEVIS is an acronym for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.

The news release included the following:

According to the latest report, there are 1.18 million F and M students studying in the United States, a two percent increase since May 2016. There are also approximately 194,600 J-1 exchange visitors in the United States.

Of the 1.18 million F and M students attending school in the United States:

  • 76 percent are enrolled in bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral programs.
  • 77 percent are from Asia.
  • 43 percent are pursuing programs of study in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.
  • 35 percent study in California, New York or Texas.

The report also notes that there are currently 8,774 SEVP-certified schools in the United States.

On April 30, 2009 Alan Greenspan, the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, testified before the Senate Immigration Subcommittee at a hearing chaired by Senator Chuck Schumer (one of the “Gang of Eight” that pushed for Comprehensive Immigration Reform).  The topic of the hearing was: “Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2009: Can We Do It and How?

During his prepared testimony Greenspan addressed the supposed “benefit” of importing many more foreign highly skilled workers to drive down their wages by outrageously saying, in part:

“…Greatly expanding our quotas for the highly skilled would lower wage premiums of skilled over lesser skilled. Skill shortages in America exist because we are shielding our skilled labor force from world competition. Quotas have been substituted for the wage pricing mechanism. In the process, we have created privileged elite whose incomes are being supported at noncompetitively high levels by immigration quotas on skilled professionals. Eliminating such restrictions would reduce at least some of our income inequality.”

The notion of flooding America with increasing numbers of foreign high-tech students and foreign high-tech workers is a “Lose/Lose” for America and Americans.

American students must attend those universities to secure their futures and consequently secure America’s future.

RELATED ARTICLE: I’m a University President. Here’s the Change That Must Happen in Higher Ed.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared CAPSWeb.org.

Collier County School Superintendent Patton: Why Do You Propagandize School Test Scores?

On August 21, the Collier County School District published an Assessment Brief regarding its Cambridge advanced testing scores for students (click here).   The Assessment Brief “highlights” those subjects where district students performed well, but fails to mention the low scoring subjects.  In follow-up, Steve Bracci sent the below e-mail to School Superintendent Dr. Kamela Patton:

From: Steve Bracci
Sent: Thursday, August 24, 2017 9:27 AM
To: ‘Kamela Patton’ <patton@collierschools.com>
Cc: ‘Roy Terry’, ‘Erika Donalds’, ‘Kelly Lichter’, ‘Erick Carter’, ‘Stephanie Lucarelli’
Subject: Cambridge test results

Superintendent Patton –

Why do you repeatedly insist on propagandizing the district’s scores?  The Cambridge AICE scores you posted on the website are an example.  You cherry-picked the “highlights” showing the top scoring categories, but overlook the categories where the District does poorly. (25% in Biology, 36% in History, 29% in English literature, 0% in Chemistry, 0% in Math).

In fact, in each of these non-highlighted categories, the district’s test performance dramatically decreased year-over-year in these core subjects:

Biology dropped from 33% to 25%
History dropped from 38% to 36%
English Lit dropped from 56% to 29%
Chemistry dropped from 30% to 0 %
Math dropped from 29% to 0%

By your strategy, it seems you think the public is either (i) too stupid or (ii) too lazy to read the data that follows the highlights.  It also seems you are more interested in “marketing” the school district than real classroom success.  Sad!

Sincerely, Steve Bracci

This is posted not to criticize the performance of students or teachers, but rather, to demonstrate the dysfunctionality of a behemoth school district administration that is so hell-bent on aggrandizing its own image, that it distorts the truth about school-based performance.  If Superintendent Patton feels the need to twist statistics to show constant success, without recognizing areas where there needs to be improvement, then Patton is the problem, not the solution.

Those who support the Superintendent without calling out such falsehoods are engaging in politics of an unhealthy sort, with an agenda of protecting the Superintendent at all costs, at the sake of student performance.

RELATED ARTICLE: Thanks to the Teachers Union, Poorest Students in New York Will Be Taught By Worst Teachers

Some Refreshing Honesty about the Purpose of Mass Schooling in Florida by Kerry McDonald

In case there was any ambiguity over the idea that mass schooling values and rewards conformity and compliance, an elementary school in Florida has made it very clear.

At Deer Park Elementary School in Pasco County, signs appeared this week showing a hierarchy of behaviors from good to bad. “Democracy” was at the top, “Anarchy” was at the bottom. While there are many issues with these posters, beginning with the fact that public schooling is far from democratic, the one causing the most outrage among parents is the desire for children to exhibit “Cooperation/Conformity.”

“Conform! How Orwellian,” one parent wrote on Facebook.

The posters, tied to the school’s “behavior and classroom culture” project modeled after author Marvin Marshall’s Raise Responsibility System of discipline, suggest that a young person who “complies” and “conforms” is a model student. Under relentless pressure from parents and student advocacy organizations, the school indicated they would temporarily remove the posters until they could better communicate their initiative to parents and the public.

These school posters explicitly reveal the troubling reality that mass schooling retains its 19th-century roots as a system of social control. Originally designed to bring order to an increasingly diverse population, the industrial model of mass schooling continues to impose order by encouraging compliance, rewarding conformity and eliminating individuality.

As author and academic, Noam Chomsky, says “the education system is supposed to train people to be obedient, conformist, not think too much, do what you’re told, stay passive…”

In educator John Holt’s bestselling book, How Children Learn, republished this month in honor of its 50th anniversary, Holt writes about the systematic ways schooling destroys children’s natural curiosity and originality:

We like to say that we send children to school to teach them to think. What we do, all too often, is to teach them to think badly, to give up a natural and powerful way of thinking in favor of a method that does not work well for them and that we rarely use ourselves. Worse than that, we convince most of them that, at least in a school setting, or any situation where words or symbols or abstract thought are concerned, they can’t think at all.”

The elementary school posters in Florida are an overt reminder that schooling and learning are strikingly different. Children, especially those young elementary schoolers, have an incredible capacity for creativity, an inherent zest for exploration and discovery, and an insatiable appetite for learning about the world around them. Then they go to school where tactics that encourage conformity and compliance crush their natural learning instincts. At least these posters tell the truth.

Reprinted from Intellectual Takeout.

FLORIDA: Define ‘Free Public Schools’ and Limit School Board ‘Home Rule’ Authority

Every 20 years, Florida convenes a Constitutional Review Commission to consider possible changes to Florida’s Constitution, and to then place those proposed revisions on the ballot.  The Constitutional Review Commission convened this year, in anticipation of the November 2018 ballot.

Preamble to the Florida Constitution of 1865.

Many of us have observed first-hand the overreach of our local school boards beyond classroom “reading, writing and arithmetic” into collectivist “collaborative partnerships” with various non-government community organizations. This is classic “mission drift” that surely goes beyond our state’s constitutional framers when they drafted Art. IX, Section 4(b) which provides that the School Boards shall operate the “free public schools.”

The problem is, “free public schools” has never been defined, and to this day the Florida Attorney General and Florida courts struggle to understand the outer limits of that term.

Adding to this problem, in 1983 the Florida Legislature gave school boards “home rule power,” telling them in essence that they can do whatever they want — without any check from other branches of government — unless the Legislature has “expressly prohibited” the school board from acting on that subject.  Here is an excerpt from an  Florida Attorney General advisory opinion drafted shortly after the 1983 legislative change:

Section 230.03(2), F.S. [now 1001.32(2), F.S.], currently provides: “SCHOOL BOARD.–In accordance with the provisions of s. 4(b) of Art. IX of the State Constitution, district school boards shall operate, control, and supervise all free public schools in their respective districts and may exercise any power except as expressly prohibited by the State Constitution or general law.” (e.s.) Section 7 of Ch. 83-324, Laws of Florida, deleted the language contained in s. 230.03(2), F.S. 1981, which stated that district school boards may exercise any power “for educational purposes except as otherwise provided by the State Constitution or law” and added the language “except as expressly prohibited by the State Constitution or general law.” (e.s.) Since the issuance of AGO 83-72, it has been the position of this office that the 1983 amendment conferred on school boards a variant of “home-rule power,” and that a district school board may exercise any power for school purposes in the operation, control, and supervision of the free public schools in its district except as expressly prohibited by the State Constitution or general lawSee also AGO’s 84-95, 84-58.

Most people will agree that local control of schools is a good thing, and thus the concept of “home rule power” is also a good thing.  But most people would also agree that our public school system should focus on education in the classroom, plus traditional extracurricular activities such as athletics, music, academic clubs, etc.  Schools go beyond their mission when they delve into (i) instructing parents on how to be better parents; (ii) providing welfare to students; (iii) providing affordable housing; and (iv) “collectively collaborating” with local non-profits on pet projects such as “Future Ready Collier” and NCH’s self-serving special interest “Blue Zones Project.”  These all take the eye off of the ball of teaching in the classroom; they are expensive; and they create a bloated school district administration that becomes an out-of-control behemoth.

As Joe Whitehead analogized on his 8/19/2017 radio show, the behemoth bureaucratic administration becomes like “Hal 9000,” the computer in 2001: a Space Odyssey, which takes on a life of its own and serves itself rather than the people it was originally designed to serve.

So here’s a simple proposed solution to this mission drift:

1. Constitutionally define “free public schools” under Art. IX, Section 4(b) of the Florida Constitution.  Limit it to teaching students within the four corners of the school district campus, with focus on reading, writing, arithmetic, science, fact-based American history, and traditional extracurriculars.

2. Legislatively amend Fla. Stat. Section 1001.32(2) to allow school board home rule authority only within the constitutional definition of “free public schools.”  The amended statute might read as:

(2) DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD.—In accordance with the provisions of s. 4(b) of Art. IX of the State Constitution, district school boards shall operate, control, and supervise all free public schools, as constitutionally defined, in their respective districts and may exercise any power except as expressly prohibited by the State Constitution or general law.  For actions or matters beyond the scope of free public schools, district school boards may not exercise any power except as expressly authorized by the Legislature.

(changes in bold).

3.  Legislatively define the statutory terms “educational purposes” and “school purposes” in alignment with the new definition of “free public schools.”

4.  Constitutionally (or at least legislatively) prohibit school boards from engaging in “for profit” activities such as after-school child care, or affordable housing.  All school board programs should be “revenue neutral,” with the school board required to provide studies containing sufficient data to demonstrate fiscal neutrality.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION BASED ON THE PREMISE THAT SCHOOL DISTRICTS HAVE BECOME TOO BIG, BUDGETS TOO LARGE AND DIFFICULT TO TRACK, AND SUPERINTENDENTS HAVE TOO MUCH ABILITY TO CONSOLIDATE POWER, NOT JUST WITHIN THE SCHOOL SYSTEM, BUT IN THE COMMUNITY:

5.  Amend Fla. Const. Art. IX, Sect. 4(a) to define a “school district” as something smaller than the region of each county.  That may have been appropriate a century ago when Florida’s population was smaller and more spread out, but it now consolidates too much power in a centralized school district administration.  (Take, for instance Collier’s  annual budget which now for the first time exceeds $1 billion).  Alternatively, keep the “county” geographical limits for a school district, but break it into elementary, middle and high school subdistricts, each with a separate superintendent and budget.  Some may counter that this will lead to fiscal inefficiencies in areas such as busing, athletic fields, etc., but this can be resolved legislatively by allowing inter-district sharing of such resources and services.

6.  Change F.S. 1010.33 to state that each School Board “shall” (not just “are authorized to”) have its own independent certified public accountant to perform its own annual financial and performance audit.  In other words, take this out of the control of the superintendents, who may otherwise too easily control these audits. 

6.  Provide term limits for superintendents.  They have too much ability to “roll up” individual power by their connections within the community, serving themselves more than the students.  Also provide a prohibition on superintendents lobbying school boards once they depart.

7.  Recognize that individual school board members were elected by the people as their policy-making representatives.  Enact legislation authorizing any school board member to add a policy item to the school board agenda, so that the rights of the “minority” board group may be heard and not subverted by all-powerful superintendents and the “majority” board members they all-too-often control.

Constitutional Review Commission member / Collier School Board member Erika Donalds.

We in Collier County are fortunate to have one of our school board members, Erika Donalds, serving on the Constitutional Review Commission.  In fact, Ms. Donalds chairs the “local government” panel and serves on the “education” panel , which includes Article IX of the Constitution which needs amending as mentioned herein.  Ms. Donalds would do well to consider the foregoing constitutional proposals, with local state representatives Byron Donalds and Bob Rommel leading on the legislative issues.**

** (Particularly Mr. Donalds, who now serves on various k-12 legislative subcommittees.)

Florida Atlantic University Professor Dr. Alhalabi Fears Defending Islamic Law

Bassem Alhalabi, Ph.D.
FAU Associate Professor
Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

On August 17, 2017 Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Professor and President of the Islamic Society of Boca Raton, FL, Bassem Alhalabi,  agreed to publicly defend the Shariah Islamiyya (Islamic Law) but ran away in shame from the venue minutes before the programs starting time.

The title of the meeting was, “Interfaith Cafe: Sharia Law and U.S. Law Nothing To Fear.” Dr. Alhalabi was to defend Islamic law, making the case that we non-Muslims have nothing to fear from Shariah.

Deep down Dr. Alhalabi knows the facts are not on his side. I suspect what Dr. Alhalabi fears most are Americans who are educated on Islamic Law and use Islamic sources with consensus/Ijma to distinguish his lies from truth.

When those knowledgeable people from The United West showed up to film, Dr. Alhalabi   ran out of the venue faster than you can say chop chop adios.  Dr. Alhalabi left his audience and event organizers dumbfounded.  I suspect this video might  be the reason why.

Dr. Alhalabi remembers on May 23,  2016 he was a participant on a Muslim Student Association panel discussion on Islamophobia, at FAU, that haunts him to this day.  Dr. Alhalabi made the case that chopping off the hands of thieves is good for society, as per the Shariah.

Professor ‘Chop Chop’ Alhalabi, as he’s affectionately known in South Florida, didn’t realize members of The United West caught  the  entire exchange on tape. Yes, this story is quite fantastic so, click on this link, watch the video here and you will be outraged if you are not a follower of Islam.  I say that because on the panel was Wilfredo Ruiz, legal counsel for, The Council On American Islamic Relations CAIR Florida,  who said nothing.

Except for Rabbi Barry Silver, nobody on that Islamophobia panel was outraged.  There was no outrage from the followers of Islam on the panel because Dr. Bassem ‘Chop Chop’ Alhalabi said nothing that contradicted Islamic Law/Sharia.

Sadly for the Delray Beach Interfaith Cafe Community, their other speaker in the discussion, Dr. Mark Schneider, Professor Emeritus from Southern Illinois University said, “Non-Muslims have nothing to worry about, since Mohammed, and/or the Qur’an, never commanded Muslims to Kill.”  Audience member, Roger Gangitano informed Dr. Schneider that Qur’an Verse 4:89 states, “Those who reject Islam seize them and slay them wherever you find them.”   Dr. Schneider replied, “That is a lie” and ended that uncomfortable moment without any personal reflection or honesty.

In the Islamic culture Dr. Dumitrescu states,

The most cherished cultural value is honor. No effort and care is spared in order to avoid shame. For a Muslim, life consists of the intricate dynamics that take place between honor and shame.”

Dr. Bassem Alhalabi has lost face in the South Florida Islamic and interfaith communities.  I suspect the cumulative effect of Dr. Alhalabi’s running away from a scheduled speaking engagement for no good reason, defending the chopping off of thieves hands, his arrest for assault, and illegally selling thermal imaging equipment to Syria should render him toxic in American lexicon and without honor in the Islamic culture.

Ladies and Gentleman Florida Atlantic University Professor Dr. Bassem Alhalabi has left the building in shame and dishonor.

Homeschoolers: The Enemy of Forced Schooling by Kerry McDonald

I was born in 1977, the year John Holt launched the first-ever newsletter for homeschooling families, Growing Without Schooling. At that time, Holt became the unofficial leader of the nascent homeschooling movement, supporting parents in the process of removing their children from school even before the practice was fully legalized in all states by 1993. Today, his writing remains an inspiration for many of us who homeschool our children.

Mass schooling is, by its nature, compulsory and coercive.

Holt believed strongly in the self-educative capacity of all people, including young people. As a classroom teacher in private schools in both Colorado and Massachusetts, he witnessed first-hand the ways in which institutional schooling inhibits the natural process of learning.

Holt was especially concerned about the myriad of ways that schooling suppresses a child’s natural learning instincts by forcing the child to learn what the teacher wants him to know. Holt believed that parents and educators should support a child’s natural learning, not control it. He wrote in his 1976 book, Instead of Education:

“My concern is not to improve ‘education’ but to do away with it, to end the ugly and anti-human business of people-shaping and to allow and help people to shape themselves.”

Self-Determined Learning

Holt observed through his years of teaching, and recorded in his many books, that the deepest, most meaningful, most enduring learning is the kind of learning that is self-determined.

As “the enemy,” we homeschoolers reject the increasing grip of mass schooling.

One of his most influential books, originally published in 1967, is How Children Learn. This month, it was re-published in honor of its 50th anniversary, with a new Foreword by progressive educator and author, Deborah Meier. In her early days as an educator, Meier says, she was influenced by Holt’s work and was particularly drawn to his revelation that even supposedly “good schools” failed children through their coercive tactics. Meier writes in the Foreword:

“While following Holt’s deep exploration of how children learn I therefore wasn’t surprised to discover Holt had joined ‘the enemy’—homeschoolers. His little magazine, Growing Without Schooling, was the most useful guide a teacher could ever read. As time passed I began to change my views of homeschooling. I’m still first and foremost working to preserve public education but homeschoolers can be our allies in devising what truly powerful schooling could be like. If we saw the child as an insatiable nonstop learner, we would create schools that made it as easy and natural to do so as it was for most of us before we first entered the schoolroom.”

Compulsory Education is Always Coercive

The trouble with Meier’s line of reasoning is that it presumes this is something schools can do. Mass schooling is, by its nature, compulsory and coercive. Supporting “an insatiable nonstop learner” within such a vast system of social control is nearly impossible.

Holt said so himself. In his later books, as he moved away from observations of conventional classrooms and toward “the enemy” of homeschoolers, Holt acknowledged that the compulsory nature of schooling prevented the type of natural learning he advocated. He writes in his popular 1981 book, Teach Your Own:

“At first I did not question the compulsory nature of schooling. But by 1968 or so I had come to feel strongly that the kinds of changes I wanted to see in schools, above all in the ways teachers related to students, could not happen as long as schools were compulsory

Holt continues:

“From many such experiences I began to see, in the early ‘70s, slowly and reluctantly, but ever more surely, that the movement for school reform was mostly a fad and an illusion. Very few people, inside the schools or out, were willing to support or even tolerate giving more freedom, choice, and self-direction to children….In short, it was becoming clear to me that the great majority of boring, regimented schools were doing exactly what they had always done and what most people wanted them to do. Teach children about Reality. Teach them that Life Is No Picnic. Teach them to Shut Up and Do What You’re Told.”

While progressive educators like Meier may have the best intentions and believe strongly that compulsory schools can be less coercive, the reality is quite different. Over the past half-century, mass schooling has become more restrictive and more consuming of a child’s day and year, beginning at ever-earlier ages. High-stakes testing and zero tolerance discipline policies heighten coercion, and taxpayer-funded after-school programming and universal pre-k classes often mean that children spend much of their childhood at school.

Compulsory schooling cannot nurture non-coercive, self-directed learning.

As “the enemy,” we homeschoolers reject the increasing grip of mass schooling and acknowledge what Holt came to realize: compulsory schooling cannot nurture non-coercive, self-directed learning. Holt writes in Teach Your Own: “Why do people take or keep their children out of school? Mostly for three reasons: they think that raising their children is their business not the government’s; they enjoy being with their children and watching and helping them learn, and don’t want to give that up to others; they want to keep them from being hurt, mentally, physically, and spiritually.” Today, those same reasons ring true for many homeschoolers.

It’s worth grabbing the anniversary copy of John Holt’s How Children Learn. His observations on the ways children naturally learn, and the ways most schools impede this learning, are timeless and insightful. But it is also worth remembering that Holt’s legacy is tied to the homeschooling movement and to supporting parents in moving away from a coercive model of schooling toward a self-directed model of learning. After all, Holt reminds us in Teach Your Own:

“What is most important and valuable about the home as a base for children’s growth in the world is not that it is a better school than the schools but that it isn’t a school at all.”

Kerry McDonald

Kerry McDonald

Kerry McDonald has a B.A. in Economics from Bowdoin and an M.Ed. in education policy from Harvard. She lives in Cambridge, Mass. with her husband and four never-been-schooled children. Follow her writing at Whole Family Learning.

The Illusion of School Choice by Antony Davies and R. Harrigan

In private schools, as in private enterprise in general, poor performance drives funding away by driving paying customers away. Yet in public schools, poor performance is used as an excuse for increased funding. With incentives like these, is it any wonder that public schools are failing our children so badly? Isn’t it time to inject some competition into the system?

Education for all is a worthy wish. So is food for all. But we don’t force poor people to eat state-produced food. Even food stamp recipients get to choose where to shop. Why shouldn’t beneficiaries of public education spending get to choose where to send their kids?

Two economically inquiring minds want to know…

Words and Numbers is now available as a podcast! Subscribe via iTunes.

Articles

White, wealthy communities are forming their own school districts | www.pbs.org

Public High Schools Are Not Doing Their Jobs

Just the teacher facts | triblive.com

Data

Education Spending Per Student by State | www.governing.com

NAEP – 2015 Mathematics & Reading Assessments | www.nationsreportcard.gov

Average Private School Tuition Cost (2016-2017) | PrivateSchoolReview.com

Fast Facts | nces.ed.gov

Antony Davies

Antony Davies

Antony Davies is associate professor of economics at Duquesne University and Chief Academic Officer at FreedomTrust.

He is a member of the FEE Faculty Network.

James R. Harrigan

James R. Harrigan

James R. Harrigan is CEO of FreedomTrust.

RELATED VIDEO: Are Charter Schools Better Than Public Schools?

How Politicians use Journalists to ‘Target’ their Enemies

There has been much written about fake news, the fakestream media and what some have called the “Enemedia.” There have been hundreds if not thousands of articles exposing false news stories designed to target political figures by other political figures using the media as the preferred “weapon of choice.”

Fake news kills. It kills careers. It kills peoples lives. It can ultimately kill our Constitutional Republic.

Sometimes journalists unwittingly become part of a conspiracy to take down public figures. Such was the case of Jilda Unruh, former investigative reporter for WPLG ABC Channel 10 News in Miami. The “target” was Herbert Cousins the former Inspector General for Miami-Dade Public Schools.

Francisco Alvarado in an August 2007 Miami New Times article wrote:

For more than two decades, Herbert Cousins headed field offices and trained undercover FBI agents. In 1990 he led a group that arrested Miami cult leader Yahweh ben Yahweh and 15 disciples of his sect on racketeering and capital murder charges. “I risked my life on a number of occasions to get the job done,” Cousins explains.

So in 2003, he was an easy choice for a group of lawmen tasked to recommend a candidate to become the Miami-Dade school board’s first inspector general. In May of that year the board unanimously awarded Cousins, who is also a former teacher and principal, a $140,000 annual salary and the power to weed out waste and fraud.

Unfortunately Cousins no longer holds the title, thanks in part to Rudy Crew.

[ … ]

In a civil lawsuit filed March 6, Cousins alleges Crew conspired with several others to plant unflattering stories in the press that eventually forced him out. He is among four former high-ranking school district employees who have sued the Miami-Dade superintendent in the past two years.

Crew wanted Cousins out, Cousins claims, because “I refused to allow him to interfere or control my office’s investigations.” [Emphasis added]

So how did Jilda Unruh, an Emmy Award winning investigative journalist, get involved in the Herbert Cousins case?

In the March 21, 2006 Sworn Statement of Michael Hoover Lawson is the following conversation concerning Ms. Unruh and Mr. Cousins:

Q. What did she [Unruh] have to say?

A. She said that Joe Garcia from the school board had called her while she was on vacation with her nieces and nephews. She was shocked over that. He wanted her back immediately to run a story on Herbert Cousins, and from what I can remember, the story involved Herbert Cousins, supposedly a business he was running while working for the school board. She felt Joe Garcia felt something needed to be done to the point of Herbert Cousins and that everyone needed to be aware of it.

Q. So Garcia was asking her to come back from vacation to run this story attacking Herbert Cousins?

A.That’s correct.

Q. And that’s what she told you?

A. That is what she told me. He [Garcia] wanted her to come back in town and get this thing done. [Emphasis added]

The following is the Sworn Statement of Ana Rivas Logan, former Miami-Dade School Board member, concerning Ms. Unruh and Mr. Cousins:

Q. Now, shortly before the issue of renewing his [Cousins] contract came up for a vote by the Board, in early August of 2005, were you approached by Jilda Unduh, of Channel 10?

A. Absolutely.

Q. And did she [Unruh] tell you certain things regarding Mr. Cousins’ effectiveness, and make accusations of corruption, related to Mr. Cousins?

A. Yes, she did.

Q. Could you describe those for us?

A. We were at a meeting, Board Members have to meet in the Sunshine. We were having a meeting to discuss — I don’t remember the exact matter of the meeting. But she [Unruh] walked into the meeting, which the media — the media — it’s open to the public. She walked into the meeting and came right for me, with a binder in her hand. The binder had tabs. And she asked me, you know, was I aware that Mr. Cousins was basically — in effect she was stating the number of cases he had closed, which was a very normal number. And then she also asked me if I knew that he had, had a company, and was using School Board employees to run this company, the School Board time. So the implication there was he was not doing his job, as refers to working for the Board, he was using resources to carry on his private business that he had at the time. And so she kept pointing to the binders, as a source of information, or corroborating paperwork. And I asked her, “Can I please see that?” And she immediately turned around and went on to ask another Board member information. But, you know, it was suspicious, she wouldn’t give me the binder, if it was fact.

Q. And she did this right before the vote on the extension of the [Cousins] contract: correct?

A. Yes, absolutely.

Q. Now, would it be fair to summarize her discussion against Mr. Cousins as being he was highly ineffective and he was engaged in corruption, by using School Board employees for a personal business?

A. Yes.

Q. And were those discussions — did you — presented to you in that fashion — did you change your vote, regarding the extension of his contract?

A. I absolutely changed my decision regarding Mr. Cousin’s contract. I found her accusations and what I thought was, you know, was research: was investigative reporting.

Q. And have you come to be — have you become aware subsequently that certain of the accusations that she made were completely false?

A. I have since become aware of that. And I became aware that while I was a Board Member, that the accusations were totally inaccurate.

Q. Now, we’re talking about the accusations made by Jilda Unruh?

A. Yes, the accusations make by Jilda Unruh. [Emphasis added]

Politically motivated character assassination is nothing to be shrugged off as not real. It happens at every level. Whether politicians on the Miami-Dade School Board, to members of Congress against the President of the United States. Fake news kills careers, destroys lives and can lead to even worse.

Fake news is real, it is dangerous and it discredits the media and undermines our political system. 

Texas Professor Trades Geography for Drama to Protest Campus Carry in the Lone Star State

According to a recent poll by the Pew Research Center, more than 1 in 3 Americans believe that colleges and universities exert a negative effect on the country. When respondents are grouped by political party, that response is as high as 58%.  While the poll doesn’t explain the basis for these feelings, we suspect that many view academia as the haven of ideologically-driven zealots, rather than sober-minded professionals. Take, for example, Professor Charles K. Smith from San Antonio College, who recently managed to get his name in the newspapers for teaching his geography class in protective combat gear to protest the lawful carrying of concealed handguns by students.

An article on mySanAntonio.com indicates that Smith was hoping to make a point about Texas’s 2015 campus carry law. The law took effect on community colleges, including the institution where Smith teaches, on Aug. 1. “I was just saying I don’t feel safe,” Smith told a reporter. He continued, “My assumption is that you will have more people carrying guns, that well [sic] lead to problems. It always has.”

One would hope that a man of letters like Prof. Smith would base his views on the evidence, rather than on irrational fears or personal prejudices. Yet Texas data consistently show that concealed carry licensees are far more law-abiding than the general population.

Meanwhile, four-year institutions in Texas were a year ahead of community colleges in implementing the 2015 law and did so without the parade of horribles Smith and likeminded academics feared. The Texas Tribune noted that “administrators overwhelmingly say the change to the campus climate has been minimal,” with exactly zero reported incidents of academic debate or disappointment over grades escalating into armed conflict. Academic officials interviewed by the Tribune said the law’s rollout was handled “very smoothly and without incident,” had “[v]irtually no impact at all,” and was “[a]mazingly quiet.”

Meanwhile, the Dallas News reported that the actual cost to public colleges and universities of implementing the law was more than 15 times less than estimates these institutions had provided to the state legislature.

Economist John Lott also makes the point that with well over one million concealed carry licensees throughout Texas, it’s highly probable that the professors who are so resistant to allowing concealed handguns on campus are already unwittingly encountering them in a host of other places.

Yet these facts, if even known to Prof. Smith, apparently haven’t influenced his thinking. Rather, his statements to mySanAntonio.com seem to indicate a belief that students have been gunning for him his entire career but simply have never had the tools at hand to carry out their lethal desires. “Used to, when they got mad at me, they had to go home to get the gun and had time to cool off,” he stated, “now they will have it with them.”

For what it’s worth, publicly available reviews of Prof. Smith by his students don’t indicate any murderous impulses, rather a consistent view of his classes as “boring” but “easy.” One student’s assessment was particularly pointed:

He makes mildly boring subject matter into a painful classroom experience. His sleep inducing political rants and disagreeable classroom demeanor and behavior make his lectures unbearable. He should make some effort and inject some enthusiasm into teaching geography rather than wasting students’ time with political commentary about current events.

Another faulted him for excessive talks “about his vacations,” while still another noted that Smith “inputted his very Liberal political views into just about every lecture.”

Smith did tell the reporter that he warned police and administrators about the plan for his stunt, which after all could have reasonably caused concern among students and bystanders about his intentions or plans. “Some of them were okay and some of them weren’t, but it’s freedom of speech,” Smith insisted.

That may be, but the message Smith actually conveyed may have simply raised questions about his own ability to interact respectfully with people whose opinions and ideology diverge from his own. Whether or not Prof. Smith succeeded in making himself bulletproof, it’s pretty clear that no facts or contrary opinions can penetrate his ironclad anti-gun ideology.

Supreme Court asked to Overturn State Agreements Adopting Common Core

ANN ARBOR, MI – Continuing its legal battle to stop the federal government from taking control over our nation’s elementary and secondary public schools, the Thomas More Law Center (“TMLC”), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, last week, filed a petition in the U.S. Supreme Court asking the Court to review a South Dakota Supreme Court decision which upheld South Dakota’s participation in a consortium of states that advance the Common Core curriculum.

The petition for review involves a lawsuit by 2 South Dakota mothers, Shelli Grinager and Amber Mauricio, who filed the lawsuit in state court challenging the constitutionality of their state’s implementation of Common Core through its participation in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.  TMLC and local counsel, Robert J. Rohl, filed the lawsuit on their behalf on November 10, 2015, alleging a violation of the Compact Clause of the United States Constitution art. I, § 3, which provides that, “No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, . . . enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State . . .”

Kate Oliveri, the TMLC staff attorney who argued the case before the South Dakota Supreme Court and the principle author of the Petition, commented, “This case could have a significant impact in curtailing our behemoth executive branch and diverting the power back where it belongs—to the States and to the people. South Dakota has lost control over the education of its children. We want to give that control back.”

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were developed under the supervision of the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to ensure that education and educational outcomes were consistent across the United States. The CCSS provides a set of standards they claim are “essential, rigorous, clear and specific, coherent, and internationally benchmarked.”

Most state governments, enticed by millions of dollars in federal grants, voluntarily acquiesced to federal control of their public schools, imposing untested educational standards and the curriculum designed to meet those standards on children and their parents.  However, the CCSS have been under heavy fire since the beginning for a variety of grievances including: incomprehensible, political and inappropriate assignments; costly ties to big corporations; in-test advertising; the elimination of locally tailored and appropriate standards; and the emphasis placed on standardized testing.

TMLC’s Petition makes the argument that Common Core undermines the sovereignty of member states and nonmember states, and undermines the authority of Congress.

For a good understanding of TMLC’s positon, you can read the 23-page Petition here.

Richard Thompson, TMLC’s President and Chief Counsel: “The Federal government employs an insidious bureaucratic system, through which it directs what and how American students learn, and effectively eliminates the fundamental rights of parents to control the education of their children.”

Religious and private school educators have also criticized Common Core. In a statement, the Cardinal Newman Society, an organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of faithful Catholic education, said, “This school reform effort is nothing short of a revolution in how education is provided, relying on a technocratic, top-down approach to setting national standards that, despite claims to the contrary, will drive curricula, teaching texts, and the content of standardized tests.  At its heart, the Common Core is a woefully inadequate set of standards in that it limits the understanding of education to a utilitarian ‘readiness for work’ mentality.”

Political Commentators Glenn Beck and Michelle Malkin repeatedly reported on the dangers of Common Core, with Malkin saying, “It’s about control, control and more control.”

Moreover, with the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, whose educational value has not been demonstrated, also comes an alarming explosion of data mining within the classroom.  Student data are stored in databases designed to follow students from their entry into schools in pre-Kindergarten up through their entry into the workforce. These databases, through a complicated network of contracts and agreements, can then be shared with the federal government, contractors, researchers and other outside agencies. Testing corporations can analyze the test data, produce recommendations for how to “remediate” student weaknesses, and then sell that information back to states and school districts.

Are Miami-Dade Schools a Hunting Ground and Refuge for Sexual Predators?

As Florida’s public school students are heading back to school, parents should be aware that Miami-Dade County Public Schools have been plagued by numerous sexual assault cases by teachers and administrators over the past five years, the most recent being the “Jason’s Girls” episode.

According to a legal complaint filed in federal court in Miami, Jason Meyers had molested numerous girls since 2004. When his principal at the time was told of a particular offense in 2008, the complaint alleges, he was transferred to another school. The complaint reads in part:

This action concerns the repeated sexual abuse and harassment of Plaintiff by her English and Creative Writing teacher, Jason Edward Meyers (“Meyers”), during Plaintiff’s junior and senior years at Miami Palmetto Senior High School (“Palmetto High School”), while she was 16 and 17 years old. Plaintiff is one of many underage female students that Meyers recruited, groomed, and exploited in a systematic fashion during his near decade-long tenure as a known sexual predator employed by Defendant. [Emphasis added]

A look at other recent related incidents is alarming:

  • Juan Cecchinelli, a school police officer at Miami Jackson Senior High School, resigned after sexually harassing a 15-year-old girl in early 2013; he was never charged. The victim sued Miami-Dade County Public Schools and a local news station for allegedly releasing internal documents that led to her identity being known.
  • Javier Cuenca, a former basketball coach at Hialeah Gardens Senior High School, was arrested in November 2014 on multiple sexual abuse charges; the article details offenses on school grounds.
  • Bresnniel Jansen Mones, a former teacher at South Dade Senior High School, was arrested for sexual battery, statutory rape and other related charges in January 2014. Per the article, Mones took the student’s virginity on his desk in his classroom. A resulting civil suit alleged that M-DCPS knew of a similar incident five years prior at the same school but took no action.
  • Don Clippenger, an assistant principal at Fienberg-Fisher K-8 Center in Miami Beach, was arrested in late January for downloading child pornography.
  • Bernardo Osorio, a teacher at Cutler Bay Senior High School, was arrested last February for engaging in sexual acts with a teenage boy between November 2015 through April 2016. Two of the offenses took place at school, the other in his car.
  • Napoleon Joseph, a former teacher and head football coach at Miami Edison High School, was arrested in March for having inappropriate relations with a 17-year-old girl. Per the article, the girl performed oral sex on him during two different occasions in his classroom in late 2016.
  • Darryl Ward, a security guard and athletic coach at Coral Reef Senior High School, and Alex Osuna, a marine science teacher and athletic coach at Palmetto Senior High School, were both fired in May for inappropriate relationships with students. As the students were legal adults, no criminal charges were filed.
  • Claudia Leary, who had been working with Miami-Dade County Public Schools for 23 years as an Education Support Specialist, attempted suicide in a vehicle with her ex-husband Dale Leary; she lived, he died. It is not clear what her role was. Dale Leary’s second wife, Marta San Jose, was an exchange student from Spain that both Dale and Claudia Leary sponsored when she was 16; upon becoming 18, Mr. Leary divorced Claudia and married Marta San Jose. The couple were charged with various sex offenses pertaining to San Jose’s 14-year-old sister- also a foreign exchange student.

Similar stories have happened across the country such as a case The New York Post reported on of “teacher of the year” Jared Anderson, a former Texas high school teacher, who hosted sex parties for teenage boys, including a “bros night” that featured a front-door sign urging them to get naked. Anderson has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

But there appears to be an unusual concentration in South Florida, particularly Miami-Dade County. Is this a by-product of an underlying culture within Miami-Dade County Public Schools?

Three years ago, I published a story about Christine Kirchner who was a language arts teacher and union steward at Coral Reef Senior High School, the same school that Darryl Ward worked at.  To note, though her actions were disturbing, they were not criminal as were those of the aforementioned people.

According to the April 4, 2014, Education Practices Commission of the State of Florida report:

  1. During the 2012-2013 school year, Respondent [Kirchner] discussed inappropriate topics, such as sex, virginity and masturbation, with her language arts class. The conversations made several students feel uncomfortable or embarrassed.
  2. During the 2012-2013 school year, during a lesson with her language arts class, Respondent [Kirchner] simulated having an orgasm. The simulation made several students feel uncomfortable or embarrassed.
  3. During the 2012-2013 school year, Respondent [Kirchner] gave massages to students of her language arts class. The massages made several students feel uncomfortable or embarrassed.

Kirchner was found guilty of “gross immorality or an act involving moral turpitude” and that she violated “the Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession.” Kirchner was found to have violated Florida State Statute 1012.795, paragraphs (1)(d) and (1)(j), respectively.

What was the punishment given Kirchner?

The Florida Department of Education accepted a “Settlement Agreement”. The settlement agreement consisted of a letter of reprimand and placed Kirchner on two years’ probation. Kirchner accepted the Settlement Agreement.

Kirchner was returned to her classroom at Coral Reef Senior High School and retained her position on the Executive Board of the UTD.

What is Miami-Dade County Public Schools and the Florida Department of Education doing to prevent these incidents and to keep students safe?

Will it be business as usual at M-DCPS or will there be real change, such as foster working conditions and providing adequate compensation to attract high quality teachers as opposed to bad working conditions with low morale among teachers that attract sexual deviants?

When schools reward evil behaviors it only encourages others to commit evil acts against the most innocent, our public school children.

Which begs the question: Why are Florida’s public schools a hunting ground and refuge for sexual predators?