Shock Study: As public school funding increased student SAT scores decreased

Long-term trends in academic performance and spending are valuable tools for evaluating past education policies and informing current ones. But such data have been scarce at the state level, where the most important education policy decisions are made. State spending data exist reaching back to the 1960s, but the figures have been scattered across many different publications. State-level academic performance data are either nonexistent prior to 1990 or, as in the case of the SAT, are unrepresentative of statewide student populations.

Using a time-series regression approach described in a separate publication, this CATO Institute paper adjusts state SAT score averages for factors such as participation rate and student demographics, which are known to affect outcomes, then validates the results against recent state-level National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test scores.

This CATO study produces continuous, state-representative estimated SAT score trends reaching back to 1972.

The CATO Institute presents paper charts of these trends against both inflation-adjusted per pupil spending and the raw, unadjusted SAT results, providing an unprecedented perspective on American education inputs and outcomes over the past 40 years.

The CATO study found:

In general, the findings are not encouraging.

Adjusted state SAT scores have declined by an average of 3 percent. This echoes the picture of stagnating achievement among American 17-year-olds painted by the Long Term Trends portion of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a series of tests administered to a nationally representative sample of students since 1970. That disappointing record comes despite a more-than-doubling in inflation-adjusted per pupil public-school spending over the same period (the average state spending increase was 120 percent).

Consistent with those patterns, there has been essentially no correlation between what states have spent on education and their measured academic outcomes. In other words, America’s educational productivity appears to have collapsed, at least as measured by the NAEP and the SAT.

That is remarkably unusual. In virtually every other field, productivity has risen over this period thanks to the adoption of countless technological
advances—advances that, in many cases, would seem ideally suited to facilitating learning. And yet, surrounded by this torrent of progress, education has remained anchored to the riverbed, watching the rest of the world rush past it.

Not only have dramatic spending increases been unaccompanied by improvements in performance, the same is true of the occasional spending declines experienced by some states. At one time or another over the past four decades, Alaska, California, Florida, and New York all experienced multi-year periods over which real spending fell substantially (20 percent or more of their 1972 expenditure levels). And yet, none of these states experienced noticeable declines in adjusted SAT scores—either contemporaneously or lagged by a few years. Indeed, their score trends seem entirely disconnected from their rising and falling levels of spending. [Emphasis added]

Following are the state charts for Florida:

florida education trends cato 1

florida sat trends cato

To view the results for your state go to State Education Trends

RELATED STORY: More Bad News from Government-Run Education: The Corrosive Centralization of Common Core

cato school scores

For a larger view click on the chart. Courtesy of CATO Institute.

A very queer music festival in Sarasota, Florida

I use the word queer not as a pejorative but rather as the best description of how the Harvey Milk Festival in Sarasota, Florida is being billed.

K. Barnes from Sarasota Day reports:

“Now in its fifth year, the annual Harvey Milk Festival (HMF) is fast upon us. Most Sarasota folk know the event as a big, badass all-day music festival that takes place downtown at Five Points Park and hosts some of our hardest working local talent alongside big name out-of-town and national acts… But let’s get some perspective: it’s not a Pride festival, it’s a music festival. You probably won’t find leather daddies in rainbow thongs at HMF. I mean, you might – there aren’t any guidelines on who can and cannot attend the festival or restrictions on what to wear, and the climate is such that an appearance by an oiled up stud with a bright pink riding crop would only add to the day’s lighthearted tone of acceptance – but just as much as the festival promises to “foster emerging talent in musicians and artists who support diversity and reject discrimination,” it is also an increasingly family-centered event. So instead you’ll probably find Sarasotans under the age of 60 attending with their kids, and maybe even their grandkids, too.” [Emphasis added]

If this is not a gay pride festival then what is it?

If you go to the Harvey Milk Festival website it states, “The Harvey Milk Festival supports the mission of ALSO Out Youth to end all forms of violence, harassment and discrimination based on real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. ALSO Out Youth’s mission is to enhance self-esteem, promote healthy dialogue, and increase awareness of sexual minority issues. For more information, visit www.ALSOYouth.org.”

HARVEY MILK FESTIVAL MISSION STATEMENT:

The mission of the Harvey Milk Festival is to honor the life of Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay Americans elected to public office, by fostering emerging talent in musicians and artists who support diversity and reject discrimination, and to promote equality for LGBTQ people through supporting equal rights legislation.

The 2014 festival is sponsored by among others: The Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Planned Parenthood, the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-ManateeStarbucks and Sarasota Day.

Who and what is ALSO Youth?

ALSO Youth is affiliated with the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN). GLSEN was founded by Kevin Jennings. GLSEN is a national homosexual organization that targets children in the public schools, and has formed “gay straight alliance” clubs in schools across the country. ALSO Youth is the gay straight alliance club in Sarasota County. In 1995 Jennings gave a speech titled “Winning the Culture War“. Jennings stated:

“If the Radical Right can succeed in portraying us as preying on children, we will lose. Their language — “promoting homosexuality” is one example — is laced with subtle and not-so- subtle innuendo that we are “after their kids.” We must learn from the abortion struggle, where the clever claiming of the term “pro-life” allowed those who opposed abortion on demand to frame the issue to their advantage, to make sure that we do not allow ourselves to be painted into a corner before the debate even begins.

“In Massachusetts the effective reframing of this issue was the key to the success of the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth. We immediately seized upon the opponent’s calling card–safety–and explained how homophobia represents a threat to students’ safety by creating a climate where violence, name-calling, health problems, and suicide are common. Titling our report ‘Making Schools Safe for Gay and Lesbian Youth,’ we automatically threw our opponents onto the defensive and stole their best line of attack. This framing short-circuited their arguments and left them back-pedaling from day one. [Emphasis added]

That is the true story behind those involved and supporting the Harvey Milk festival in Sarasota. This is all about re-framing the issue of homosexuality and bringing in grand kids to a seemly innocuous concert to mix and mingle with those who are most interested in little boys – older homosexual men.

In both Sarasota County and Florida 70% of known HIV/AIDS cases are due to men having sex with men and boys. The FloridaHeath.gov reports:

Florida has been heavily impacted by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The state continues to rank third in the nation in the cumulative number of AIDS cases (126,581 in 2012) and second in the nation in the cumulative number of HIV cases (49,058 in 2012). The Florida Department of Health estimates that approximately 130,000 individuals are living with HIV disease in Florida. Of those persons living with HIV disease, 49% are black, 29% are white and 20% are Hispanic. Men represent 70% of the cases. Persons over the age of 45 years represent 60%. More information on Florida data.

This event is happening as Hollywood is rocked by a scandal involving men raping under aged boys. Among the notables named so far is Bryan Singer, director of X-men. CBS reported on what the victim Michael Egan III, now 31, faced as a boy actor in Hollywood. CBS states, “At a press conference last week, Egan said men in the sex ring plied young teens with alcohol and drugs and promised them work in TV and movies. He likened the alleged behavior as being treated like ‘a piece of meat.’ He also said he was threatened with physical violence to keep quiet.”

Perhaps Sarasotans need to understand what is really happening to our youth. Perhaps it is time to tell the truth about the agenda of homosexual organizations like GLSEN and ALSO Youth. Perhaps it is time to push back against this not so subtle taking of the innocence of our most vulnerable – little boys?

RELATED LINKS:

‘X-Men’ Director Bryan Singer Accused Of Sex Abuse
Hawaii: Teachers Paid $410 to Learn How to Make Teens Gay-Friendly
Gay lobby pushing Radical Anti-bullying law in Massachusetts
Beverly Hills Hotel Boycotted by LGBT Group Over Sultan of Brunei Ownership (Report) – The Hollywood Reporter
Muslim drivers at Cleveland airport refuse to drive cabs with Gay Games advertising
Florida: Muslim who sought underage child incest fantasy jailed for 10 years
CDC: 62 Percent Of HIV-Positive Men Have Unprotected Sex- CBS Atlanta
‘Genderqueer’ rising: Colleges welcome kids who identify as neither male nor female – Washington Times
Croatians overwhelmingly vote against same-sex marriage in a referendum
Blogging ‘gays’ urge murder, castration of Christians
Prosecutor: Carl Philip Herold, charged with using son to make child porn, ‘a special kind of threat’ (updated) (photos) | AL.com
Ugandan newspaper names 200 ‘homos’ after anti-gay law signed – Yahoo News
Pro-Sin US Combats Worldwide Anti-Homosexual Sin Movement

Video: ‘X-Men’ Director Bryan Singer Accused Of Sexual Abuse, Participating In Hollywood Sex Ring Involving Boys

Christianity in Troubled Times

The vast ignorance of American history by far too many Americans is perhaps demonstrated in the failure to understand that it was the free practice of their interpretation of Christianity by the pilgrims that led to the creation of America. Plymouth colony, established in 1620, put the Atlantic Ocean between them and hostilities they had encountered in England.

To understand the role of religion in America, the First Amendment begins with a prohibition that the states shall make no law “respecting an establishment of religion…” The Founders wanted to make sure that neither the federal, nor state governments designated a particular religion as the only one. We can thank James Madison for that and the other enumerated freedoms.

Religious tolerance, which took some time to become fully established in the colonies and the new nation, has been a significant part of life in America—a nation that has always been predominantly Christian. Easter should remind us of that.

As 2012 came to a close, the Pew Research Religion and Public Life Project offered the following numbers regarding the global population of Christians. They were determined to be approximately 2.2 billion worldwide. That’s about one-in-three (32%).

About half of all Christians are Catholic (50%) while an estimated 37% belong to the Protestant tradition. The Orthodox Communion, including the Greek and Russian Orthodox, make up 12% of Christians while those who belong to other branches such as Mormons, Christian Scientists, and Jehovah Witnesses, make up about 1% of the global population.

Though Christianity took root in the Middle East, less than 1% of Christians are found these days either there or in North Africa. The largest concentration is in Europe (26%), followed closely by Latin American and the Caribbean (24%), and sub-Saharan Africa (24%). Most Christians (87%) live in countries where Christians are in the majority. Of the 232 countries and territories in the Pew study, 157 had majorities, but most had relatively small populations.

What surely has to be a cause for concern in America are the results of a Harris poll released in December 2013. While a strong majority (74%) of U.S. adults said they believe in God, the figure was down from 82% in earlier years. Belief in miracles, heaven, and other religious teachings were all in decline.

For Christians, 68% expressed a belief that Jesus is God or the Son of God, down from 72%. Belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ (65%) was down from 72% ten years earlier.

Ranging across various faith groups and other demographics, absolute certainty that there is a God was expressed by 54%, a decline from 66%.

Only 19% described themselves as “very” religious, while 40% described themselves as “somewhat” religious, a decline from 49% in 2007. Nearly one-fourth of Americans (23%) said they were “not at all” religious, a figure that has nearly doubled since 2007 when it was only 12%.

A campaign against the free practice of religion and respect for individual religious values has been in place since the election of President Obama in 2008. It has been particularly evident in the U.S. military, affecting its chaplains and those to whom they minister. There are nearly a hundred cases in U.S. courts resisting the demands of Obamacare and other actions by the administration and those in various states and cities that affect religious beliefs and values.

The introduction and support of same-sex marriage in the United States is a direct attack on a tradition that pre-dates Christianity, Judaism and other faiths. It is fundamentally anti-religious.

Beyond our shores the slaughter of Christians by Muslims in Middle Eastern and nations like Nigeria continues to pose a threat to them and those of other faiths. Islam is the greatest threat to civilization that has existed since its rise began in 632 A.D.

All Americans owe a debt of gratitude to those early pilgrims and to the Founders who understood the value of religion and its free expression. Those who demand that crosses be removed from public lands or that Christmas carols not be sung in our schools do not understand what America is all about. Christians, in particular, must vocally resist such demands and should be joined by those of other faiths.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

RELATED STORIES:

Obama’s call to close Vatican embassy is ‘slap in the face’ to Roman Catholics – Washington Times
China on course to become ‘world’s most Christian nation’ within 15 years – Telegraph

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo was taken by Andrew A. Shenouda from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

My Easter Post

Today is Easter, the Christian celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Who claimed to be the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament.

George Frideric Handel wrote about Him in the famous musical composition, Messiahfirst performed on Easter Sunday in the Musick Hall in Dublin on April 13, 1742.

I believe Jesus is the Messiah. On September 13, 1981, I made a formal and public declaration of faith in Him. I believe He is faithful to show me how to live in this world, and I believe He will take care of me beyond my death.

I believe Christ loves me profoundly and that my being convinced of His love enables me to love and serve others.

My advocating for public education is inextricable from my faith, for through this blog and through my other involvements on behalf of public education, Christ enables me to contribute productively to my world and to care for people He created and loved enough to die for.

I believe in intelligent design. I am intelligent, and I came from Intelligence.

This month, April 2014, is also special to me in that this time last year, I was diagnosed with “a huge mass” in my abdomen. I wrote about the situation in detail in my Thanksgiving post.

This year, I no longer have that mass. The situation reminded me of the complexity of the human body, of how an issue with my abdomen affected my gall bladder, my nerve sensitivity in my upper chest, water retention in my legs, and pressure to my lungs, my lower back, and particularly my right side.

So much must occur in sync for my body to operate well, and when it operates well, I hardly notice.

When I was in pain from the tumor, and when I was facing the question of whether I might die from this (and particularly whether my mother would outlive me and how she would cope), and as I was having various tests leading up to my surgery, not once did I reach for Darwin’s Origin of Species for guidance or comfort.

I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

I am happy to use my intelligence, my wit, my senses of morality, decency, kindness, and altruism to serve humanity through my writings on this blog.

Happy Easter.

RELATED VIDEO:

EDITORS NOTE:

Matthew 28:6

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. “Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”…

The edited featured photo was taken by Wouter Hagens. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Florida Senate Passes Textbook Review Legislation

Aya Sewell, Sarasota Citizen Activist in 2010 Protests Houghton Mifflin textbook World History: Patterns of Interaction

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Click on image for a larger view.

In Tallahassee, on April 11, 2014, the Republican controlled  Florida Senate passed SB 864 sponsored by Sen. Alan Hays (R-Umatilla) by a narrow vote of 21 to 19. The measure would eliminate State Department of Education control over selection of textbooks returning that role to Florida’s 67 school districts, requiring open public hearing on texts used in courses.  The bill reflected in part concerns of conservative Groups over the Common Core Curriculum State Standards, sponsored by the National Association of Governors and Council of Chief State School Officers  seeking to impose national standards. Despite that criticism the Common Core has been adopted in Forty-four states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA).

However, SB 864 was largely prompted by a different issue; objections of parental groups in several Florida counties in about the treatment of Islam and Muslim culture in world history textbooks on the Florida State Department of Education list of approved texts.  A companion bill (HB 921) is working its way  through the Florida House sponsored by Rep. Matt Gaetz of Fort Walton.  That version would provide a local option to districts to review texts; however, the selections must still meet state standards. Gaetz was quoted in a News Herald editorial saying: “I think there’s an increasing frustration by parents in our state, that they don’t have a lot of say regarding the content and materials their children use in the classroom.”

Local advocates here in Florida drew attention to misrepresentations of Islam in protests in Volusia, Brevard and Sarasota Counties. Our Iconoclast post on the subject, “Sarasota, Florida’s biased Islam textbook problem”,  highlighted the relentless efforts of citizen activist Aya Sewell. Ms. Sewell is of Iraqi Jewish  heritage, members of her family were  subject to a 1941 pogrom against the Jewish population in Baghdad, the Farhud.  Sewell led a campaign against such texts locally in Sarasota, as well as before the Florida Department of Education.  Elsewhere in the US, Tennessee parents have also raised objections to similar course material extolling Palestinian suicide bombers. Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT) in Boston accused the Newton, Massachusetts school board and superintendent for permitting use of texts and course materials that engage in promoting false information regarding both Islam and demonization of Israel.  APT undertook content and bias analysis and promoted their findings that included placing ads in local area media and a petition campaign.

An article in the current edition of Education Week noted the debate over the pending Florida textbook legislation:

[Sen. ]Hays said the legislation was needed so that school board members will be accountable to parents and voters. He said school board members have blamed the state for the textbooks they picked.

“This bill imposes on the local school board members the responsibility and accountability to their citizens,” Hays said.

Opponents complained it would cost districts money to review textbooks. Sen. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, said she was worried that some districts would wind up censoring some books, while other senators raised questions about whether districts would pick textbooks aligned to the state’s current standards.

Even Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart questioned Hays’ bill.

“From a practical standpoint it lifts a burden from us,” Stewart said. “But we heard loud and clear from districts that they rely on (the state review). They need that. They don’t have the resources to be able to do that.”

Following the Florida Senate vote on SB 864, CAIR-Florida unleashed an ad hominem campaign against Sen. Hays.  CAIR  undertook  an Action Campaign sending  Florida  Legislators an inflammatory Daily Beast  opinion column by Dean Obeidallah, that headlined, “Islamophobic Florida Republican Would Legalize Textbook Censorship”. Obeidallah  (which  means “little servant of God in Arabic”) is a former  lawyer,  self-styled Arab American stand up comic,  son of a Palestinian father and mother of Sicilian ancestry who grew up in Paramus, New Jersey.  Self proclaimed Muslim Obeidallah has been involved in several controversial issues including an apology to the Romney family.  CAIR, a Muslim Brotherhood front group, was listed as one of several unindicted co-conspirators in the 2008 Federal Dallas Holy Land Foundation Trial involving funneling tens of millions to Hamas, an MB affiliate.

This latest action by CAIR-Florida  followed earlier criticism of  SB 386, also sponsored by Sen. Hays,  on the acceptance of foreign laws in certain cases by Florida’ s court system as “bullying  legislation against Muslims and other minorities”.  Both  SB 386  and companion house  version (HB903) are currently pending floor votes in both the Senate and  House prior to the end of the 2014 Legislative session on May 2nd in Tallahassee.

To illustrate the concerns of  Floridians that prompted  Sen. Hays  and Rep. Gaetz  to sponsor SB 864 and HB 921, we  investigated  an assessment  performed  by  Jacksonville-based Verity Educate  (VE) of  one the texts on the approved list of the Florida State Department of Education. It was  Houghton Mifflin  Harcourt, Holt McDougal high school  text book called World History: Patterns of Interaction.  VE is a non-partisan, independent organization that uses scholars to examine and provide thorough reports on content accuracy and objectivity in textbooks and curricular material.   VE has performed such assessments at the request of parental groups in Massachusetts, Tennessee and Texas.

A letter we requested from the executive director of VE, Dr. Ellen R. Wald, noted the scope of their investigation of the Houghton Mifflin high school textbook:

Verify Educate examined the 2012 Tennessee edition of  World History: Patterns of Interaction. Verify Educate’s analysis concerned only the sections of the book dealing with the Middle East and Central Asia, as well as other related topics, including certain events in India, Spain, the United States, and the region around the Black Sea. This was done at the request of parents who specifically felt that their backgrounds were insufficient to examine these topics.

VE’s findings from its analysis  are:

The reviewed sections of this textbook exhibit regular flaws of factual inaccuracy, dishonesty, and bias. The primary concern with this textbook is the desire to make arguments and instill opinions in the students. These arguments come at the expense of instilling a fluency in the material (a knowledge of the language and facts). An additional effect of the focus on arguments is the lost opportunity for students to practice and develop critical thinking skills.

The most prevalent flaws in this textbook include the following:

  • The text presents religious texts and tradition as historical evidence even absent independent corroboration. The text regularly uses the Koran and other religious writings to relate events as history and fails to mention when no independent corroboration from sources outside the religion exists. In most cases the text fails to differentiate between history and religious tradition.
  • The text portrays religion as the defining characteristic of the Middle East and Central Asia throughout history, such that essentially all accomplishments and events are based on religion. Among the detrimental effects of this argument are lost opportunities for students to engage in critical thinking, distorted views of history, and the denigration of the inhabitants of this region. Limiting the basis for the history of the Middle East and Central Asia to a narrow focus on religion disparages and demeans the people, politics, geography, and historical events that occurred, particularly when religion is not highlighted in other regions.
  • The text repeatedly asserts that the religion of Islam dictates “tolerance” of non Muslims and that Muslim rulers have historically practiced “tolerance” towards the non-Muslim populations under their rule. This argument is promoted at the expense of examining historical facts honestly and fostering critical thinking. Students are presented with a conclusion and historical facts are often manipulated or stripped of nuance to convince students, even in cases when this conclusion is false. The focus on religious “tolerance” is unique to the sections of the text discussing Islam, and it  borders on obsession and bias.
  • The text depicts the depth and breadth of “Muslim contributions” as unique in history and as the result of Islam. In this regard, the text consistently attributes the successes of diverse societies to religion alone, even when these societies are geographically dispersed and chronologically distant. For example, the text connects the mathematical advances of a 9th century Spanish mathematician to the architectural exploits of a 17th century Mughal emperor in India based solely on their religion. The diverse Muslim populations over a 1500-year period do not constitute one society. In addition, the attention devoted to “Muslim contributions” far surpasses the attention given to any other society’s accomplishments.

That leads to the question of who wrote such misleading entries about Islam that the VE analysis  uncovered in the Houghton Mifflin publication.

One of those groups relied on by major textbook publishers is the Council on Islamic Education  known as the Institute on Religious and Civic Values (IRCV). Its founder, Shabbir Mansuri, is listed as an academic reviewer on a textbook used in Brevard County.

In 2001 the OC Weekly newspaper in California interviewed Mansuri about comments Lynne Cheney made lamenting the amount of time schools were spending teaching cultures that were not American. Mansuri took her comments as a personal attack.

“For the past 11 years, Mansuri has waged what he calls a ‘bloodless’ revolution: promoting an increased emphasis on world cultures and faiths – including Islam – inside American junior high and high school campuses,” the newspaper reported.

The IRCV had Saudi funding to pay Muslim scholars writing those chapters in the Prentice Hall, Pearson, Houghton Mifflin and other world history text  books.

Back in 2002,  this writer  ran interference for the American Jewish Committee chapter in Connecticut in an episode involving federal funding of a Da’wa program on Islam run with Muslim instructors as a summer program for public high school teachers at a state university.   During that episode we made the acquaintance of Stanley Kurtz  of the Hoover Institute at the time on this issue. Kurtz wrote a series of investigative articles for the NRO about the Title VI USDOE Higher Education Act grants for Middle East Studies programs dominated by Islam and Palestinian apologists. Universities, as Kurtz pointed out who benefitted from US Higher Education Act Title VI grants were engaged in preparation of work books for teachers in K-12 that engaged in role playing for fourth graders costumed as Arabs.

That effort led us to the forensic reviews –Islam in the Classroom – conducted by Dr. Gilbert T. Sewall of the American Textbook Council (ATC) on world history texts produced by the four major US textbook publishers.  Sewall  found those treatments biased   and in some cases prepared by the Saudi-financed and California based  IRVC. We later found out that effort had begun in the “image studies” funded by American oil partners of ARAMCO  in the early 1970’s objected to in the mid 1980’s  by a  study conducted by a school district in Tucson, Arizona.   The latest edition of the continuing ATC review of  Islam in the Classroom What the Texts Tell us by Dr. Sewall  was published in 2008.  Its conclusions corroborate the findings  of  Dr. Wald’s analysis in the VE report. To wit:

  • Many political and religious groups try to use the textbook process to their advantage, but the deficiencies in Islam-related lessons are uniquely disturbing. History textbooks present an incomplete and conflicted view of Islam that misrepresents its foundations and challenges to international security.
  • Misinformation about Islam is more pronounced in junior high school textbooks than high school textbooks.
  • Outright textbook errors about Islam are not the main problem. The more serious failure is the presence of disputed definitions and claims that are presented as established facts.
  • Deficiencies about Islam in textbooks copyrighted before 2001 persist and in some cases have grown  worse. Instead of making corrections or adjusting contested facts, publishers and editors defend misinformation and content evasions against the record. Biases persist. Silences are profound and intentional.
  • Islamic activists use multiculturalism and ready-made American political movements, especially  those on  campus,  to  advance and  justify  the makeover of Islam-related textbook content.
  • Particular fault  rests  with  the publishing  corporations,  boards  of  directors,  and executives who decide what editorial policies their companies will pursue.

Publishers have developed new world and U.S. history textbooks at three different grade levels. Errors about Islam that occurred in older textbooks have not been corrected but reiterated. Publishers have learned of contested facts and have had the time to correct imbalances. But instead of making changes, they have sustained errors or, in deliberate acts of self censorship, have removed controversial material.

In an interview, Dr. Wald of VE analyzed the effects of  Florida Senate Bill SB 864 :

While SB 864 leaves all of the Florida state standards intact, and even highlights further standards to ensure fairness to all ethnic, religious, and diversity groups, the bill provides for parents and communities to have a greater say in the local education system.  Given that the standards are maintained, I can’t see how this bill could engender any more censorship than would come out of the current state review process.  In fact, the bill has the potential to severely decrease censorship.  Whereas now the state board can reject material for the entire state, under this bill, each community would make its own decision, and a rejection would only impact that community.

We commend Florida Sen. Alan Hays and Rep. Matt Gaetz for their sponsorship of  SB 864 and HB 921. Given the analyses of Drs. Wald of Verity Educate and Dr. Sewall of American Textbook Council  Florida may lead the nation to reign in the misleading depiction of Islam in World History texts. By devolving reviews of leading publishers to local school districts in the Sunshine State that may allow concerned parents  to sponsors such studies forcing publishers to finally correct  errors of both omission and commission.

We look forward to the reconciliation of the Senate and House versions leading to passage and ultimate enactment into law.

RELATED STORY: Canada: Criticism of Islam forbidden by Toronto District School Board

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

Lest We Forget: April 20, 1889 Alois Schicklgruber, Jr. was born

Adolf Hitler, KinderbildApril 20, 1889 is when Alois Schicklgruber, Jr. was born. You may know him better by another name – Adolf Hitler. As the world knows, to its great sorrow, he went on to become one of the most murderous tyrants in human history until his suicide in 1945.

Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889 in the town of Braunau am Inn, Austria to Alois and Klara Hitler. Adolf was the fourth of six children born to Alois and Klara, but only one of two to survive childhood. Adolf’s father, Alois, was nearing his 52nd birthday when Adolf was born, but was only celebrating his 13th year as a Hitler. Alois (Adolf’s father) was actually born as Alois Schicklgruber on June 7, 1837 to Maria Anna Schicklgruber. At the time of Alois’ birth, Maria was not yet married. Five years later (May 10, 1842), Maria Anna Schicklgruber married Johann Georg Hiedler (later Hitler).

Although Hitler was a left-wing extremist (the very name of his movement, Nazi, is a contraction for “national socialism”) somehow today’s media have managed to turn the word into a pejorative against the conservative right. Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf, “By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise. Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”

If I had a buck for every time my colleagues and I have been called Nazis or fascists, why… I’d buy a lot more gold or Bitcoins.

144px-George_Santayana (1)

George Santayana – “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Take time today to call all your Republican and Democrat members of Congress and the media to remind them of this notable day. If they express outrage, respond with deep surprise:

Hitler, the founder of the National Socialist Party, was a role model for socialists. Hitler enacted big government control of everything in Germany; loved furry animals; hated smoking; was a vegetarian, murdered the innocent on an industrial scale; was inspired by the American Eugenics movement; thought Germany needed to get beyond restrictive Judeo-Christian morality; was pro-Muslim; he divided the citizenry according to race; he didn’t tolerate dissent from his political opponents; etc.

It is fitting to remember that even more than 100 years after Hitler’s birth, his legacy lives on. Two demented high school students in Littleton, Colorado, chose the anniversary of their hero’s birth to conduct the Columbine High School massacre and at the beginning of Holy week Frazier Glenn Cross, a white supremacist and member of the KKK, killed three innocent people in Kansas.

Perhaps on this April 20th, Easter Sunday, it is fitting and proper to remember the immortal words of George Santayana.

Bad Hair Days

In the new mini-documentary Locked Out, Sean Malone shares the stories of microentrepreneurs fighting against artificial barriers to entry.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/gvPdgXX27Gw[/youtube]

 

Whenever you hear someone claim the benefits of government regulation, think about sharing this post. So very often the issue is not one of public health or the public interest, but of industry cartels colluding with bureaucrats in an effort to thwart honest competition.

RELATED STORIES:

Occupational Licensure Under Attack APRIL 01, 1975 by MELVIN D. BARGER

The Legal Trenches of Economic Freedom Onerous Occupational Licensure in Texas MARCH 01, 2014 by THE FREEMAN

Urban Design and Social Complexity by SANDY IKEDA

Urban planning always risks draining the life out of what it tries to control.

This week’s column is drawn from a lecture I gave earlier this year at the University of Southern California on the occasion of the retirement of urban economist Peter Gordon.

One of my heroes is the urbanist Jane Jacobs, who taught me to appreciate the importance for entrepreneurial development of how public spaces—places where you expect to encounter strangers—are designed. And I learned from her that the more precise and comprehensive your image of a city is, the less likely that the place you’re imagining really is a city.

Jacobs grasped as well as any Austrian economist that complex social orders such as cities aren’t deliberately created and that they can’t be. They arise largely unplanned from the interaction of many people and many minds. In much the same way that Ludwig von Mises and F. A. Hayek understood the limits of government planning and design in the macroeconomy, Jacobs understood the limits of government planning and the design of public spaces for a living city, and that if governments ignore those limits, bad consequences will follow.

Planning As Taxidermy

Austrians use the term “spontaneous order” to describe the complex patterns of social interaction that arise unplanned when many minds interact. Examples of spontaneous order include markets, money, language, culture, and living cities great and small. In her The Economy of Cities, Jacobs defines a living city as “a settlement that generates its economic growth from its own local economy.” Living cities are hotbeds of creativity and they drive economic development.

There is a phrase she uses in her great work, The Life and Death of Great American Cities, that captures her attitude: “A city cannot be a work of art.” As she goes on to explain:

Artists, whatever their medium, make selections from the abounding materials of life, and organize these selections into works that are under the control of the artist . . . the essence of the process is disciplined, highly discriminatory selectivity from life. In relation to the inclusiveness and the literally endless intricacy of life, art is arbitrary, symbolic and abstracted. . . . To approach a city, or even a city neighborhood, as if it were a larger architectural problem, capable of being given order by converting it into a disciplined work of art, is to make the mistake of attempting to substitute art for life. The results of such profound confusion between art and life are neither art nor life. They are taxidermy.

So the problem confronting an urban planner, and indeed government planning of any sort, is how to avoid draining the life out of the thing you’re trying to control.

The Trade-Off Between Planning and Complexity

Viewing cities as spontaneous orders and not as works of art helps to explain the trade-off between scale and order. In general, I believe the larger the scale of a project, the fewer the discoveries and subtle connections the people who use that space will be able to make.

Placing an apartment building in a commercial block will change the character of that block in unpredictable ways, but the surrounding urban environment can usually absorb the repercussions and the problems are relatively small. A block-sized mall, however, constrains much further how people can use that space and has a disproportionately larger impact on the neighborhood. And a mega-project that takes up many blocks severely limits the diversity and range of the social connections, as it challenges the planner to substitute her genius for the genius of many ordinary people using their own local knowledge to solve problems only they may be aware of. Making something bigger increasingly limits what people can do and whom they can bump into in the space that it occupies. Scaling up narrows the range of the informal contacts that drive creativity and discovery.

And for a given size or scale of a project, the more the planner tries to predetermine the kind of activities the people who use it can do in it, the less likely that her design will complement the spontaneous contact that generates and diffuses new ideas. That’s what made a lot of traditional downtowns so important. Over time the combination of diverse uses of public space (in the sense I mean here) brought people with different skills and tastes together in large numbers. Design can of course complement that informal contact to a point, but beyond a fairly low level, human design begins to substitute for it.

Of course, small is not always beautiful, and big is sometimes unavoidable. But that makes it even more important that planners appreciate how ramping up scale and intensifying design influences a complex social order.

Private Planning Is Much More Limited in Scale

And I’m not just talking about government projects. Private projects could, in principle, have the same “taxidermic” impact on urban vitality. But as long as a planner’s design is small compared to the surrounding space, the loss of complexity and intricacy isn’t severe. It’s usually when government somehow subsidizes private projects, softening up the budget constraint, that the scale becomes massive and the downside very steep. An example of this can be found about a mile from where I live in New York. Barclays Center, the new home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, grew to an enormous size once the local and state governments offered eminent domain and other large subsidies. Building on a massive scale in an already dense urban environment is typically too expensive, even for a wealthy private developer, without such legal privileges.

A planner can’t build an entire city (or neighborhood even) because she can’t begin to design and construct the necessary diversity and social intricacy that happens spontaneously in a living city. And I don’t think she should even try to because it can irreparably damage, even kill, the living flesh of a city. What can government do? In the ordinary course of its activities a government can perhaps at best refrain from doing the things that would thwart the emergence of the invisible social infrastructure that gives rise to that diversity, development, and genuine liveliness.

The rest is mostly taxidermy.

ABOUT SANDY IKEDA

Sandy Ikeda is an associate professor of economics at Purchase College, SUNY, and the author of The Dynamics of the Mixed Economy: Toward a Theory of Interventionism. He will be speaking at the FEE summer seminars “People Aren’t Pawns” and “Are Markets Just?

Governor Rick Scott fully supports in-state tuition for illegal aliens

Governor Rick Scott, Governor Jeb Bush and Governor Bob Martinez called on the Florida Senate to lower tuition for all Florida students and their support SB 1400. This means Governor Scott has caved into pressure to provide illegal aliens in-state tuition. All Florida students means illegal aliens at the expense of legal resident students.

According to a press release Scott, Bush and Bob Martinez are advocating for lowering tuition by advancing SB 1400, which would allow all Florida students, regardless of their background (illegals), to qualify for the in-state tuition rate.

Floridians for Immigration Enforcement (FLIMEN) notes that, “When immigration is viewed only racially and culturally, limits and legality will never be imposed.  The debate must focus on limitations and lawfulness, otherwise open borders will make the United States a marketplace and not a country.”

FILMEN states, “The bottom line nationally is that illegal immigration continues to hurt American families, take away jobs and depress wages of fathers and mothers who desperately want to support their children without going on welfare. The bottom line here in Florida is HB851/SB1400 will cause an unknown number of legal students to be displaced from college by illegal alien students. There is absolutely no estimate of the fiscal cost of college tuition subsidy for illegal aliens.”

Governor Scott said, “Students who have spent their childhood here in Florida deserve to qualify for the same in-state tuition rate at universities their peers and classmates do. We want our students to stay here in Florida when they go to college and when they choose a career, and that means we must make college more affordable for all those students who call Florida home. The Florida Senate should take immediate action to move SB 1400 forward.”

Forget the US and Florida Constitution. If you come to Florida you are now “entitled” to in state tuition.

Governor Bush, supporter of Common Core and potential presidential candidate in 2016, said, “We must keep and capitalize on the talent of all Florida students who want to attend our exceptional colleges and universities.  Punishing some children for their parents’ acts by creating obstacles to a college degree isn’t in their interests, or ours.  I urge the Florida Senate to do the right thing for our state and pass SB 1400.”

Governor Martinez said, “For Florida to continue to be a land of opportunity and a beacon of freedom to people from all backgrounds, we must ensure our future generations are prepared for success. As a university trustee, I know this often starts with having access to a great higher education. I hope the Florida Senate and the full Florida Legislature support SB 1400 as a critical measure to continue to move our state forward.”

Nice sounding words but lackluster in defending resident and legal student slots in Florida universities and colleges.

RELATED STORY: Latest Trick for Illegal Immigrants: Granting Amnesty in Return for Military Service

Common Core Is Losing. Pass It on!

In “Pushback Continues: States Grow Increasingly Wary of Common Core” Brittany Corona writes, “Common Core is on the ropes. More and more states are pulling back from the national standards as the 2014–15 school year implementation deadline looms near. In Louisiana, Governor Bobby Jindal (R)—formerly a Common Core supporter—is now encouraging the legislature to remove the state from the Common Core aligned Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers (PARCC) test. And if they don’t act, he will.”

Corona notes that Jindal’s new stance comes after eight members of the Louisiana State House of Representatives sent him a letter, informing him of his prerogative to opt out of the standards and encouraging him to do so. As the New Orleans Advocate reported:

Gov. Bobby Jindal said Monday that a gubernatorial order for the state to drop controversial Common Core tests is a ‘very viable option’ if state lawmakers fail to act. Jindal made the comment in response to a letter from eight House members who said the governor can opt the state out of the exams and should do that… ‘We believe you have the authority, as governor, under the 2010 PARCC memorandum of understanding, to opt out of the consortium,’ state Rep. Brett Geymann, (R–Lake Charles), and seven other legislators wrote.

In a statement released on Monday Jindal said,

We share the concerns of these [anti-Common Core] legislators and also of parents across Louisiana. We’re hopeful that legislation will move through the process this session that will address the concerns of parents or delay implementation until these concerns can be addressed. We think this course of action outlined in the legislators’ letter remains a very viable option if the Legislature does not act.

But as The Times-Picayune reports,

On a practical level, there is some question as to whether Jindal can unilaterally tear Louisiana away from the PARCC consortium, in which 16 states plus Washington D.C. participate. [Louisiana Superintendent] John White and Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education [BESE] president Chas Roemer said their permission is also required to leave the consortium, and both White and Roemer—who also avidly supports Common Core—are unwilling to do so.

Meanwhile, this week in South Carolina, State Superintendent Mick Zais officially withdrew his state from the Common Core aligned Smarter Balanced (SBAC) tests.

In a letter to the State Board of Education, Zais wrote:

I want to have a high quality assessment that meets the specific needs of South Carolina, at a competitive price. If we continue to focus only on Smarter Balanced, we lose any opportunity to consider alternatives….

In consideration of the foregoing, and the discovery that I have the authority to withdraw South Carolina from its status as a governing state of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, and after full consultation with the Governor’s Office and appropriate members of the General Assembly, I am informing you that I am exercising that authority.

Oklahoma, too, is currently in a battle over Common Core. The state senate passed a bill earlier this month downgrading the state’s involvement with the national standards, although there is some difference of opinion as to whether it would fully remove Oklahoma from the standards, or merely change the name of the standards.

Governor Mary Fallin (R), a supporter of Common Core and chair of the National Governor’s Association which helped develop the standards, said in a statement that she “support[s] passing legislation that increases classroom rigor and accountability while guaranteeing that Oklahoma public education is protected from federal interference…”

Meanwhile, the Missouri House of Representatives passed their bill to find a Common Core replacement.

“We’re going to create the process to have Missouri standards and Missouri assessments,” State Rep. Kurt Bahr (R), who introduced the measure, stated. The proposal requires that by October 1, 2014 the state board must develop new academic standards by the following October 2015, in place of the Common Core, and adopt and implement these standards by the 2016-17 school year.

Fifteen states have now made strides in halting or downgrading their involvement in the standards. Last month, Indiana became the first state to exit Common Core. This is promising momentum in the effort of states to reclaim their educational decision-making authority,” notes Corona.

RELATED VIDEO: Bill Gates on Common Core

[youtube]http://youtu.be/Zrp-Bu2SLp8[/youtube]

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is by Sara Caldwell/The Augusta Chronicle/ZUMAPRESS.com and Heritage Foundation.

Confronting Boston’s sex-change insurance proposal

The Boston City Council is proposing to require city employee health insurance to pay for sex-change operations and other “transgender” treatments.

On Wednesday, April 16, two members of the Boston City Council introduced an ordinance to require that health insurance for city employees cover “transgender” sex-change procedures, including hormone treatments and “gender reassignment” surgery. This is the latest demand of the homosexual / transgender movement in many cities across the country.

Who would have ever imagined something like this even a decade ago?

It was introduced by City Councilors Michelle Wu and Ayanna Pressley, two of the most liberal on an already left-wing Boston City Council. They worked closely with local homosexual activists, according to press reports. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, an aggressive pro-homosexual advocate, told the press that he is “wholeheartedly in support” of it.

Supporting her constituency.Michelle Wu, co-sponsor of transgender insurance ordinance, marches in Boston Gay Pride Parade in 2013.
[MassResistance photo]

It was applauded by the usual crowd. “This ordinance is a pivotal step toward ensuring that transgender city workers have access to comprehensive healthcare coverage just like all other city workers,” Kara Coredini, Executive Director of the LGBT lobbying group MassEquality told the press.

MassResistance reaction in the press

MassResistance gave its reaction — which was covered in the Boston Globe andChannel 5 TV. And we didn’t hold back for the liberal media.

Boston Globe coverage of ordinance featured MassResistance’s uncompromising reaction.

As the Boston Globe reported on April 14:

Not everyone sees the proposed ordinance as positive, or agrees that hormones and surgery are proper treatment for those who identify as transgender. The leader of MassResistance, a nonprofit conservative advocacy group in Waltham, called the proposed ordinance “a sad example of science fiction over science.”

“The medical community has always considered ‘gender identity’ confusion as a mental health issue,” said Brian Camenker, executive director of MassResistance. “Attempting to ‘treat’ someone with sex hormones or body mutilating surgery may please the political activists but only makes things much worse for the individual.”

That evening, Boston’s WCVB Channel 5 also did a report also featuring MassResistance:

Ch. 5 TV News:“Giving people hormones and body mutilation surgery only makes it worse. This is being done to please a political agenda,” Brian Camenker of MassResistance told Channel 5 News.

In other words: What other mental health issue is treated by amputating parts of the body?

Movement’s goal: Sex-change insurance coverage mandatory nationwide!

According to a number of sources, this is part of an overall strategy to eventually make coverage of transgender hormone treatments and sex-change surgery mandatory for all health insurance nationwide. The national groups “Human Rights Campaign” and “Lambda Legal” are providing ammunition for this push.

The tactics are similar to those the homosexual movement used pushing “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” non-discrimination laws throughout America. In both cases, they started with private corporations, then some small cities and towns, then bigger cities in liberal areas, and eventually capturing entire states. In this case, they sometimes start with “lower level” mandates, such as hormone treatment, and then later push for full sex-change surgery coverage.

Mandating insurance support for sex “transitioning” is being seen across the country. As the Globe reported in its article:

Transgender city workers are guaranteed medical treatment by statutes in San Francisco; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Washington, D.C.; and other US cities, according to Andrew Cray, a policy analyst at the Center for American Progress, an independent nonpartisan educational institute in Washington, D.C . . . [R]egulators in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Oregon, and Vermont have mandated that private insurance plans in those states cover transgender health services for residents.

Trying to keep Boston’s “100% pro-LGBT” rating intact

As part of that push, the national radical LGBT group Human Rights Campaign now requires cities to include sex-change operations to get their coveted 100-percent pro-LGBT rating, similar to the rating they give large corporations. And the local radical lobby will not settle for anything less, and clearly has the power to enforce that.

As the Globe reported:

An attorney for the Human Rights Campaign, a national civil rights organization, said the group this year will begin to include transgender treatment coverage for city employees as a criterion in its Municipal Equality Index, which rates cities on their inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender residents and visitors.

Last year, Boston scored a perfect 100 on the scale, but it could not do so again in 2014 without mandating that coverage, said Cathryn Oakley, the organization’s legislative council for state and municipal advocacy.

Among other things, this policy would certainly attract some very disturbed people to work for the City of Boston. Is this really what the citizens want?

Is this the future?Men with hormone-induced breasts and women with hormone-induced beards march in downtown Northampton, Mass. in 2008.
[MassResistance photo]

Text of ordinance: false and misleading statements as justification

As usual for these kinds of political efforts by the sexual radical movement, the text of the ordinance includes as justification a number of statements presented as “fact” which are either grossly misleading or outright false — cleverly woven together to give the sense of serious medical data. It is Orwellian in its inversion of truth. For example:

1. It uses the weak term “gender dysphoria.” The older term, “gender identity disorder,” was previously the standard medical description until the LGBT movement pressured the medical community to water it down to a “dysphoria”.

2. It uses the transgender organization World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) as if it were a legitimate medical resource, but in fact it is a group of radical transgender activists and medical professionals who intimidate other medical associations into accepting their “findings” (in order to be seen as non-discriminatory).

3. It lists several prominent national professional associations (American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, etc.) that they say have “consensus” that hormones and body-mutilating surgeries are “appropriate” and “effective”. But none of these groups’ statements point to any legitimate studies. Instead, they just commit to non-discrimination in “treating” transgender patients. But themanner of treatment is left undefined.

4. It claims that the surgery and other treatment is “the only safe and effective medical treatment option” for some people. But is it? The phenomenon of hormone injections and surgeries is so new — only done in the last few decades — that it is virtually impossible to claim long-term positive health outcomes. In fact, the AMA and APA admit that transgender health care is still a “controversial” area.

5. It claims that not providing these treatments brings higher risk of suicide. Where are the studies confirming that? Some research suggests the opposite. In 2010 the Journal of Homosexuality reportedon a review of studies that suggest that people having “gender reassignment surgery” commit suicide at alarmingly higher rates than average. There is no question that people with gender identity disorders have a much higher suicide rate (as much as nine times higher) than the general population. Common sense would suggest that the best treatment is a mental health counseling approach, not a physical body change approach.

6. What it doesn’t tell you: Over a decade ago, Johns Hopkins University Hospital completely disbanded its “sex-change” program. The program’s director, Prof. Paul McHugh, wrote, “I have witnessed a great deal of damage from sex-reassignment . . . We have wasted scientific and technical resources and damaged our professional credibility by collaborating with madness rather than trying to study, cure, and ultimately prevent it.” We couldn’t agree more.

But will anyone in the Boston City Council challenge any of this nonsense? We don’t think so.

The huge need to tell the truth

How do you fight this? As we have shown, there is at least one thing that everyone can do that makes a difference: Tell the truth without backing down.

This ordinance is an example of how the Left’s world is built on lies and intimidation. They depend on the silence and fear of regular people to push their agenda. Any textbook on confronting a totalitarian environment always begins with the requirement of telling the truth without any compromise. If you just do that, you’re having a positive effect! And not doing so gives their side a tighter grip on the public’s perceived definition of reality.

There is a disturbing trend by pro-family groups around the country to be moderate and inoffensive when dealing with this issue, so as not to antagonize the LGBT movement and the media. They either (1) avoid the subject entirely; or (2) concede major points but quibble with a minor part of it, such as saying that transsexuals may “need” surgery but it ought not be paid for by the taxpayer; or (3) simply say that the whole thing is something they “disagree with” because of “religious freedom” or similar non-threatening reasoning. Thus, handing a victory for the other side.

Even in seemingly overwhelming circumstances like this, it is necessary to continue fighting harder than ever. We are convinced that in the long run it’s worth it.

Potential (or current?) City of Boston employees marching in the Gay Pride Parade (left) and attending a transgender bill public hearing at the State House (right).
[MassResistance photos]

Whitewashing Republican Support of Civil Rights

One of the best kept secrets over the past 50 years is that, proportionately, Republicans in Congress supported passage of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act by a much wider margin than Democrats.

As CNN.com reported, “The Guardian’s Harry J. Enten broke down the vote, showing that more than 80% of Republicans in both houses voted in favor of the bill, compared with more than 60% of Democrats. When you account for geography, according to Enten’s article, 90% of lawmakers from states that were in the union during the Civil War supported the bill compared with less than 10% of lawmakers from states that were in the Confederacy.”

This is from a report from CNN, not FOX, the network despised by liberals.

There was another interesting tidbit in the CNN report:

“Ohio’s Republican Rep. William McCulloch had a conservative track record – he opposed foreign and federal education aid and supported gun rights and school prayer. His district (the same one now represented by House Speaker John Boehner) had a small African-American population. So he had little to gain politically by supporting the Civil Rights Act.”

“Yet he became a critical leader in getting the bill passed.

“His ancestors opposed slavery even before the Civil War, and he’d made a deal with President Kennedy to see the bill through to passage.”
The article noted, “’The Constitution doesn’t say that whites alone shall have our most basic rights, but that we all shall have them,’ McCulloch would say to fellow legislators.”

But you would not know any of this if you relied on the official ceremonies at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library last week marking the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights. The three-day summit at the University of Texas featured President Obama and former presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Other speakers included Black Democrats such as Julian Bond, the former NAACP chairman; Congressman John Lewis of Atlanta, and former UN Ambassador Andy Young, among others. (To see a full list of speakers, go to: http://www.civilrightssummit.org/program/.)

How can you have a discussion of Civil Rights and not have one Black Republican? How could you not have Robert J. Brown, top aide to President Nixon and one of Dr. King’s closest confidants?

What about former Eighth District Court of Appeals Judge Sara J. Harper? Last year, she was inducted into the Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame. She was also the first Black to graduate from Case Western Reserve University’s Law School. Is it really that easy to overlook the first Black National Security Adviser and Secretary of State, Colin Powell? Really?

They even had my good friend, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour as one of their speakers (a White southern male). So, they had White Republicans, but no Black Republicans. WOW!

As George Orwell wrote his book, 1984, “He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future.”

If the summit were your sole source of information, you would think no Black Republicans were involved in the Civil Rights Movement. Arthur Fletcher is known as “the father of affirmative action.” Though he is deceased, his work lives on – and should have been recognized.

Former Secretary of Transportation Bill Coleman was a proud Black Republican but just as proud of his support for civil rights. And so was former Senator Ed Brooke of Massachusetts. The list goes on and on – except at the LBJ ceremonies in Austin.

Am I the only one that noticed this intentional rewriting of history?

As usual, the media has been woefully and willfully negligent in not covering this angle. These supposedly bastions of journalistic integrity such as The Root and The Grio have caught a bad case of laryngitis. Melissa Perry and Joy Reid on MSNBC have suddenly forgotten how to speak English.

The LBJ library and Democrats should be ashamed of themselves for prostituting the real bi-partisan history of the Civil Rights Movement. This should have been one event that was truly reflective of the real history of America – the good and the bad.

Slavery and racism are still the biggest blemishes on American history; but because we are Americans and showed resolve, we also have one helluva story of redemption to tell. We have come a long way from the days of slavery and Jim Crow. We have Blacks making millions of dollars in sports, music, business, science, and education. Blacks have been to the moon and back. We even have a Black president.

In the very moment when we should have been celebrating the journey America has taken, we have been forced to reflect upon the willful deceit propagated upon the true history of our nation.

America’s Deadly Loves: Booze and Pot

In 1919 the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution prohibited the manufacture, sale or transportation of “intoxicating liquors” in the United States and by 1933 the era of prohibition was over when the Twenty-First Amendment rescinded it. Alcohol consumption was and is a social problem, but sometimes the government is not the right vehicle for dealing with them.

The United States is a huge market for what are deemed illegal drugs and, for many years, marijuana has been among them. That prohibition is now going the way of the earlier effort to make alcohol consumption illegal. Questions remain as to whether this is a good thing or not.

A study by the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health whose results were released in February examined automobile deaths resulting from marijuana use while driving. The data was gathered from six states that perform toxicology tests on drivers involved in fatal accidents. It found that drugs played an increasing role in such accidents, accounting for more than 28% in 2010, 16% more than in 1999 and marijuana was the main drug involved in the increase, contributing to 12%, compared to only 4% in 1999.

“Currently, one of nine drivers involved in fatal crashes would test positive for marijuana,” said Dr. Guohua Le, director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia. “If a driver is under the influence of alcohol, their risk of a fatal crash is 13 times higher than the risk of a driver who is not, but the driver under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana then increased to 24 times that of a sober person.”

Those numbers will rise in the years ahead because two states, Colorado and Washington, have legalized recreational use of marijuana and twenty states allow medical use. Observers of the trend predict that a dozen more states are expected to legalize marijuana in some form over the next several years. One study has projected a $10 billion legal marijuana industry by 2018.

More than a dozen members of Congress have sponsored legislation aimed at reforming federal marijuana laws and the federal government allowed Colorado’s and Washington’s laws to take effect last year. Medical use has gained public acceptance and the Federal Drug Administration recently gave the green light to a clinical study in its efficacy in children with severe epilepsy. The Department of Health and Human Services has approved a study that will examine its effect on veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

President Obama recently signed a Farm Bill that legalized “industrialized hemp production” for research purposes in the twelve states that permit it after a decades-long war on cannabis that is clearly winding down.

The use of marijuana took off in a big way in the 1960s, a decade famed for many liberal causes and a generation of young people that rejected opposition to it. In many ways, legalizing marijuana has been a liberal cause.

In early April, the Washington Times reported that “Billionaire philanthropist George Soros hopes the U.S. is going to pot, and he is using his money to drive it there. With a cadre of like-minded, wealthy donors, Mr. Soros is dominating the pro-legalization side of the marijuana debate by funding grassroots initiatives that began in New York City and end up affecting local politics elsewhere. Through a network of nonprofit groups, Mr. Soros has spent at least $80 million on the legalization effort since 1994.” The American Civil Liberties Union has been a leading advocate of marijuana legalization efforts.

The legalization can be seen as a liberal versus conservative political issue, but I think it is more an issue of public opinion regarding the use of marijuana, particularly as regards the fines and jail terms that have been imposed. We do this for those who abuse alcohol and logic suggests such laws will be applied to pot users as well, reducing the more aggressive fines and jail terms.

A new Time magazine polls found that 75% of Americans believe that the sale of marijuana will eventually become legal across the nation whether they supported legalization or not. The Pew Research Center conducted the polls in mid-February among 1,821 adults, finding that the number of people in favor of legalizing pot continues to grow. Four years ago 52% percent said they thought marijuana use should not be legal, but now 54% are in favor of legalization.

Most believe that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol. While 69% believe that alcohol was more harmful to society, a large majority, 76%, believe that people convicted of possession of small amounts of pot should not have to serve jail time. I concur with that. I also support its use for medical purposes.

For better or worse, all societies evolve and change. The Prohibition era gave rise to organized crime to provide the booze Americans wanted to drink and the efforts to decriminalize marijuana now reflect a growing acceptance of its use for either medical or recreational use.

More drivers will die as a result, either from its use or from being in fatal accidents with those who do. Its use in the work environment will cause accidents that range from minor to fatal. It is extraordinarily curious that, while Americans have been subjected to a huge campaign to restrict smoking, the restrictions on marijuana use are being eliminated. I am not sure I see any difference here.

Americans love booze and love pot. What the long term effects on our society will be are unknown, but there will be effects.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

RELATED STORIES:

Mom, 44, shot dead ‘in front of kids by husband who was hallucinating after eating a marijuana cookie
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Teen narrowly escapes death after smoking synthetic marijuana – CNN
Marijuana Abuse Signs, Symptoms and Addiction Treatment

EDITORS NOTE: The features photo “Booze Cruise at The Pink Palace in Greece” was taken by Keith Parker. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Was Pope Francis Calling Out Common Core When Criticizing “Guinea Pig” Education Programs?

I just received an email from one of the leading pioneers and advocates against the “Curse of Common Core”, Dr. Karen Effrem, MD. I have yet to meet her. I am not even sure where Karen lives. I think somewhere near the Tampa area…Don’t know her age, religion or how many children she has. All I know is that I read every single thing she has ever put out via e-mail about the ever-controversial, government-led fiasco of Common Core. Karen knows her stuff. She is President of Education Liberty Watch and also happens to be the Executive Director of the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition, Inc. Karen is bold about her stance against this “socialist disease” and maybe one day – when we finally “reverse the curse” and put Common Core to rest – I may have to track her down and give her a big hug and one of my popular Christian on a Mission pens!!

Her latest Education Liberty Watch Newsletter article is titled “Was Pope Francis Calling Out Common Core When Criticizing “Guinea Pig” Education Programs? I believe it is her first article in regards to the Catholic schools, Pope Francis and how Common Core fits in…or, should I say, “does not fit in”? I was so happy to see her write about Pope Francis’ comments about education, especially with his famous “Guinea Pig Education” comment. Not only has Pope Francis come out strong the past two weeks with his fearless stance against abortion – but, now, the pope has also begun focusing on health & human rights issues, as well as EDUCATION. And, I am talking about education in the United States.

VIDEO: Pope Francis talked about the right of children to a mother and a father, and the right of parents to determine their children’s moral education:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/6tNN1Dnp7zo[/youtube]

 

Now, this is the best news that I have heard since I began my personal fight against Common Core almost 10 months ago. Only because way back in October, myself and a group of adamant advocates against the “Curse of Common Core” from all over the country, wrote a powerful letter to each and every single Archbishop & Bishop in the United States, stating to them in a most prayerful & professional manner that “Common Core had no place in our Catholic schools because it was unconstitutional, unethical, unnecessary and unGODLY”… We also included that powerful letter from the “132 Catholic Scholars” who echoed our sentiments and truly laid it on the line. I honestly believe that those two things have made a huge difference in the way the Catholic schools are now questioning Common Core. The Holy Spirit is now working full-time and with Pentecost Sunday (my all-time favorite Feast Day), only “55” days away – we know that something powerful is bound to happen between now and June 8th…

We know for a fact that many of these Bishops who received our letter were probably caught by surprise at what they learned from us. In all honesty, I believe that the good majority of them had no idea that Common Core was part of the intrinsic evils that attack our society daily in a fierce manner – embracing abortion, same sex marriage and all sorts of liberal, sexual & political views. And, it still behooves me how the most powerful institution in the world decided to implement this corrupt and unproven, government-instituted education standards without even knowing what Common Core is. Across the board, all Catholic schools decided to implement Common Core into their school curriculums without knowing what the future consequences are going to be. They simply put the buggy before the horse – and that horse is bucking something awful right now…

Friends: I went to every single Catholic source in our country to get to the bottom of this – from the top (the USCCB in D.C. to the FCCB in Tallahassee to our local Dioceses in Florida) – and as GOD as my witness on this Holiest of all weeks in the Catholic calendar – way back on August 15th, 2013 – to my recollection, nobody at any of these levels really knew what is truly behind Common Core. They only knew a tiny bit about it. Only the tip of the iceberg, with no idea what lurked below. A Titanic mistake. Not one of them was aware of the face, funding and foundation of it all – as in the “Pro-Abortion” Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the “abortion giant”, Planned Parenthood; the ever-radical United Nations; the sneaky agenda of Agenda 21; and GOD only knows how many crooked politicians and school leaders who were involved in “sneaking this socialist disease” into our beloved schools. A stealth operation, with the patient not ever knowing what the surgeon was doing behind his back.

It all started way back in January of 2002 with President George W. Bush signing on to “No Child Left Behind”. Seven years later, it evolved into “Race to the Top” with the ever-exuberant President Obama and Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, signing on the dotted line on July 24th, 2009. And, as of June 1st of this year, all monies from these grants will be depleted – so every state will be on their own. Needless to say, these 45 states are stuck with the “Curse of Common Core”. A magic trick right before our very own eyes by a “magician in the White House who cannot get booed or impeached, no matter how bad or evil his tricks are”. Folks, this was NOT “Voluntary”. Those 45 states that “inherited” Common Core did NOT sign up for Common Core! Let’s get that straight right now. They signed up for these two other now-defunct programs. What they got was this fiasco of Common Core – which is the “sloppy seconds” of these two programs. I would go as far as betting my life today that if each and every one of those 45 states was asked if they would “voluntarily” sign up for Common Core today – that at least “40” of them would tell Common Core to take a hike…They would want no part of it! The cat is out of the bag and I just pray that it does not have “9 lives”. Let’s finally put this educational fiasco to rest.

Bottom Line: Over the past 10 months, we caring & devout activists have literally educated our own educators. These prominent educators may have the degrees, but we know the water temperature better. And, there is nothing wrong with sharing the Truth. As long as there is education & communication going on – we must put our pride and egos away and do what’s best for our schools, our churches, our communities, our country and our beloved children. We have kept this all in prayer from Day I as I cannot tell you how many rosaries we have prayed at our “America’s Finest Hour” every Tuesday evening since August 1st at the Cathedral of St. Ignatius for our school leaders, superintendents, church leaders and Bishops. Countless prayers for every single Archbishop & Bishop in our country.

So, let’s all finally come to our senses; put our differences away; keep it all in prayer; and see what Pope Francis is going to come up with between now and Pentecost Sunday, since he is now focusing more on “education across the board”. He has made it a point to look into this “experimenting with our beloved children” educational approach much closer that pretty much spells out Common Core, as that is essentially what Common Core is – an unproven experiment. I have a strong feeling that although he may not know exactly what Common Core is and he may not use that term – our Holy Father knows what good education is. And, better yet, he knows what GOD education is. Now, it’s up to our Catholic school leaders to follow his courageous lead and follow the Catholic Church teachings, and focus on the Almighty Father as opposed to the Almighty Dollar – and “reverse the curse” as soon as possible.

As I have said from day one – we are all in this struggle “Twogether” not only for the greater good – but, for the GREATER GOD…And, Father knows best…He’s our best teacher.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photograph of Pope Francis was produced by Agência Brasil, a public Brazilian news agency.

Western Washington University Wants Fewer Whites — Fears “Mediocrity”

If you thought the “educator” who saw “racist” intent behind offering someone a peanut-butter sandwich was a loon, consider Western Washington University (WWU) president Bruce Shepard. Always on the lookout for ways to improve his institution’s academic integrity, he recently circulated a school-wide questionnaire and asked, “How do we make sure that in future years ‘we are not as white as we are today?’”

Apparently, Shepard has been gnashing his teeth over this problem for quite a while. As Kaitlyn Schallhorn at Campus Reform reports, el presidente said in a 2012 speech, “Every year, from this stage and at this time, you have heard me say that, if in decades ahead, we are as white as we are today, we will have failed as university.”

Hey, forget the old measures of academic success, such as if students know what’s in the Constitution, have a grasp of basic history and civics, can perform rudimentary mathematical calculations and properly use the language (for Shep’s benefit, I refer to English). It’s now all about melanin content.

And if you disagree with this thesis, then hope you’re just an ignorant rube. Because the alternative, according to el presidente, is far worse. As he wrote in a January blog post, if you disagree, you “have not thought through the implications of what is ahead for us or, more perniciously, assume we can continue unchanged.” Lions and tigers and pernicious! Oh, my! For graduates of WWU, in calling those who’ve thought things through but nonetheless cling to their misbegotten notions “pernicious,” Shep is accusing them of being “ruinous; injurious; hurtful.” Well, off to the re-education camp with you.

And WWU’s got that covered: Campus Reform also tells us that el presidente has already junked “standard performance reviews” in favor of “sensitivity training and hosts workshops” to better serve illegal aliens. Hey, doubleplusgood for you, Shep.

But Shep is just looking to the future. He also warned on his blog, “In the decades ahead, should we be as white as we are today, we will be relentlessly driven toward mediocrity; or, become a sad shadow of our current self.” Would that be a White Shadow?

But I’m hip. We certainly wouldn’t want to be mediocre like the white guys who forged Western civilization, founded the US, created the modern world and gave us most of what makes our lives better.

Now, given that WWU was founded in 1886 and originally called the Northwest Normal School, I have a feeling it’s already a shadow of its former self. But, question: if WWU became what it is today while being intolerably white, how could remaining so make it a shadow of its current self? I know, I know, our strength lies in our diversity, our smartness lies in our stupidity, and academics lie constantly.

But I have a couple more questions. Does Shep still want the mediocre white alumni’s money? And since WWU has printed information on how to more effectively “recruit and retain faculty and staff of color,” will the colorless Shepard lead by example and give his presidency to a member of the color replete? Or is this where, as with Elizabeth Fauxcahontas Warren, we suddenly learn that Shep is really a Cherokee named Peddling Bull.

Anyway, it’s not hard to figure out how to reduce the number of whites at WWU: just eliminate the affirmative action for whites.

Oh, wait….

Alas, mediocrity may not remain restricted to WWU’s presidency after all.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwynDuke.com