Florida Middle School students reading child pornography

Jewell DeMarco 2

Jewell DeMarco, language arts teacher Laurel Nokomis Middle School

Parents at Laurel Nokomis Middle School in Sarasota, Florida became outraged when they learned their children were reading the child pornography book Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Speak is about a 13-year old being raped.

One of the parents submitted a complaint to the Sarasota County School Board to have the book removed from the Laurel Nokomis reading list. The book is used in a “gifted language arts class” taught by Jewell DeMarco. It is the language used in the book that the parents object to.

Speak promotes “group rate abortions” on page 30. Other examples of bad behaviors in the book are: “Student steals late passes” (theft) – page 26,  “sleep with the football team on Saturday night and be reincarnated as virginal goddesses on Monday” (promiscuity)- page 29; “slit my throat” (child suicide) – page 32, and “the crowd bumping and grinding the horny Hornet heinies” (group sex) – page 141.

Speak also contains graphic language including: “bitch”- page 20, “Asshole” – page 28, “pissed” – pages 30, 64 and 74, “Bitchy”- page 163. Other words and phrases used throughout the book are too graphic to include in the column.

A parent submitted a written request to have the child pornography book removed to Nancy Dubin, Principal of Laurel Nokomis Middle School. According to a letter to the District Superintendent provided to WDW – FL, “On June 21, 2013 I received a Patron’s Request for Reconsideration of instructional Material from [redacted]. The challenged material is the book, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, an award-winning novel, currently used in our 8th grade gifted language arts class.”

nancy_dubin

Nancy Dubin, Principal Laurel Nokomis Middle School

Dubin convened a curriculum council to review the appropriateness of the book for 8th graders. The council members at the school level were all teachers or administrators at Laurel Nokomis School. A member of the panel was DeMarco, the only teacher in the school using the book. The council reached the conclusion that “the material is appropriate for the end of eighth grade”, stating:

We feel this book should remain as an end of 8th grade book selection, with an alternate selection provided. It provides our students with a guided, approach to think about some of the choices that will face many of them within ten weeks of 8th grade graduation, as they move into high school and are socializing with much older, more mature high school students.

Additional comments:

“Relevant book alerts students to potentially dangerous situations. Best used as a guided novel study at the end of the 8th grade. Theme fits in with LNS anti-bullying program. Book is used throughout the county and the country in middle schools, in 7th or 8th grade. One parent says, ‘Education is key. Censorship is never the answer.”‘ [Emphasis added]

Scott Ferguson,  Communications Specialist Sarasota County Schools, wrote in an email to WDW – FL , “I have heard from five other middle schools, Brookside, McIntosh, Heron Creek and Venice, and Pine View so far. None of these schools is using the book.” At the time WDW – FL posted this column Ferguson has not heard from: Booker Middle,  Sarasota Middle or Woodland Middle.

There is no state or district list of approved novels. As mentioned above, if a teacher wants to use a novel in a class, he or she must get approval from the principal. A list of books that will be used in the classroom is sent to parents at the beginning of the semester. As noted above, a parent can opt to have their child read an alternative selection if he/she objects to their child reading a book that is on the list,” states Ferguson. [Emphasis added]

Ferguson reports, “The challenge has now moved to the district level (see PDF with attached memo) from Principal Nancy Dubin to Superintendent White and related documents from the school-level challenge. Student names have been redacted). For the district challenge, Sue Meckler, our director of Curriculum and Instruction, will determine the committee membership, per School Board Policy 4.3. The committee will not be able to meet until the fall because many of the required members are not on duty during the summer. However, the director will attempt to contact some members to see if they can serve on the committee. If so, they will be asked to read the book before the committee meets in the fall.” [Emphasis added]

Dubin, the principal, approves of the book taught by DeMarco. According to one parent, “The teacher [DeMarco] uses the book to denigrate the male students. She has them stand up and read passages from Speak in class. The teacher is using the book to push an agenda. It is child pornography, nothing more and nothing less. It does not belong in our public schools. We are have our youngest reading child porn sanctioned by a teacher. What message does that send? That is plain wrong!”

RELATED COLUMNS: 

Planned Parenthood Coaches 15-Year-Old Girl to Hide Porn From Her Parents
Seventh-grade boy allegedly raped during gym class at Barack Obama Prep
“Killing Shakespeare” for Common Core but graphic books OK
Federal Judge: Teacher Who Punished Student for Expressing Catholic Belief Against Homosexuality Violated Student’s First Amendment Rights

Rubio to Arne Duncan: Obama can’t force States to comply with Common Core

US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

In a letter to US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Sen. Marco Rubio says cajoling states to adopt Obama administration reforms – including curricula – are unconstitutional.

Kathleen Rae Doan, a Mom Coordinator Region #8 “Sisterhood of Mommy Patriots“, states in an email to WDW -FL, “In a letter to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has expressed his concern about the Obama administration’s use of waivers in exchange for states’ adoption of the administration’s policies. Sen. Rubio contends that not only is the waiver [a] scheme and abuse, but that such a nudge toward adopting federally-backed curriculum is unconstitutional.”

Senator Rubio’s letter to Secretary Duncan is reproduced below.

The Honorable Arne Duncan
Secretary United States Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20202

Dear Secretary Duncan:

As you may know, a rising number of parents, teachers and administrators from across our nation have expressed concerns regarding the Department of Education’s recent announcements relating to the issuance of waivers from No Child Left Behind (NCLB); particularly the stipulations expected to be attached to those waivers.

The issuance of conditional waivers is detrimental to our country’s shared goal of educational success for every student. Our principal concern is that the Executive branch does not possess the authority to force states into compliance with administration-backed reforms instituted through the issuance of waivers.

We acknowledge that NCLB allows the Secretary to grant waivers for existing provisions under the law, but nowhere does the law authorize waivers in exchange for the adoption of administration-preferred policies. This initiative is an overstep of authority that undermines existing law, and violates the constitutional separation of powers. The responsibility for legislating lies with Congress, and forcing policy reforms through NCLB waivers violates this most basic of constitutional structures.

Furthermore, I am concerned that the administration’s requirements for granting a waiver from NCLB would entail states having to adopt a federally-approved “college and career ready” curriculum: either the national Common Core standards, or another federally-approved equivalent. I am also concerned that the U.S. Department of Education has created, through its contractors, national curriculum materials to support these Common Core standards. Such activities are unacceptable; they violate three existing laws: NCLB, the Department of Education Organization Act, and the General Education Provisions Act.

All three laws prohibit the federal government from creating or prescribing national curriculum.

If you believe that conditional waivers tied to content standards do not violate these laws, I invite you to explain the reasoning underlying that belief. Since legislating is a duty reserved for Congress, attaching administration-preferred reforms to NCLB waivers would counteract and inhibit meaningful education reform desperately needed to ensure that our children receive an education that will prepare them for the challenging global economic marketplace.

I respectfully ask that due consideration be given to options that have been advanced through Congress and provide genuine flexibility to states, so that state and local lawmakers – those closest to children and families – can focus on high-quality education policies that will benefit our nation’s children.

Sincerely,

Marco Rubio, U.S. Senator

Kathleen Rae Doan a Mom Coordinator Region #8 “Sisterhood of Mommy Patriots”  quotes Dr. Martin Luther King who wrote, “To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.”

To learn more about Common Core visit Floridians Against Common Core Education.

Florida Parents Against Common Core preparing legislation for 2014 session

Florida Parents Against Common Core (FPACC) are putting together draft legislation to stop the implementation of the program in Florida.

In an email to WDW – FL Laura Zorc, FPACC SE State Coordinator, states, “What is happening in other states is what we are looking to do here in Florida. However, in our bill we will add a third review that would encompass a legal review to determine if violation with  state and federal constitution.  We have team of attorneys  working on establishing the need for review based on their findings.  Our intentions are to have this a back up support for our bill sponsor.”

Fifteen states have filed bills in their state legislatures to stop CCSS.

Below are of examples and actual legislation that addresses issues related to the adoption and implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) by delaying the implementation of the standards or assessments, not funding implementation, or withdrawing completely from using the CCSS.  These vary considerably in the scope of what is addressed.  Links have been provided for the History, Download, and Alternate.  Original bills as introduced are often stronger in nature before being subjected to changes as it is considered during the legislative process in each state.

  • History—link to official state legislative page or other page with bill history and info
  • Download—link to download the legislative bill
  • Alternate—an alternate download link in event official link is broken

Sample Legislation

Comprehensive Legislative Package Opposing the Common Core State Standards  Download

Actual Legislative Bills

2011 Texas HB 2923  An Act relating to the state sovereignty over curriculum standards assessments, and student information.  History   Download   Alternate

2011 New Hampshire HB 164 Requiring legislative approval for the adoption of the common core state standards in New Hampshire.  History   Download   Alternate

2011 South Carolina S. 604  A bill to provide that the common core standards may not be imposed on South Carolina.  History   Download   Alternate

2011 Washington HB 1891 Delaying adoption and implementation of the common core standards.   History   Download   Alternate

2012 Utah S.C.R. 13 Urges the State Board of Education to reconsider the board’s decision to adopt the Common Core standards and, in reconsidering the board’s decision, evaluate the cost, control, and quality of Utah standards and assessments compared to the cost, control, and quality of the Common Core standards and SBAC assessments.  History   Download   Alternate

2013 South Carolina H. 3943 To provide the State Board of Education may not adopt and the Department of Education may not implement the common core standards.   History   Download   Alternate

2013 Georgia SB 167 To declare certain actions void ab initio relating to adoption of certain curricula; to prohibit state education agencies from entering into any commitments relating to the federal Race to the Top program; to require hearings and public input prior to adoption of state-wide competencies and content standards; to limit the compilation and sharing of personal student and teacher data; to prohibit the expenditure of funds for a state-wide longitudinal data system except for administrative needs and federal grant compliance; to provide notice to students or teachers if certain student or teacher data are provided to the United States Department of Education as a condition of receiving a federal education grant; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.   History   Download   Alternate

2013 Alabama SB 190 Relating to education and core curriculum standards; to prohibit the State Board of Education from adopting and the Department of Education from implementing the Common Core State Standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative; to prohibit the State Board of Education, the Department of Education, and other state bodies from compiling or sharing data about students or teachers, except under limited circumstances; to prohibit the State Board of Education from entering into an agreement or joining a consortium that would cede any control to an entity outside the state; and to require notice and public hearings before the State Board of Education adopts or implements any statewide standards.  History   Download   Alternate

2013 Alabama SB 403 Companion to SB 190.  History   Download   Alternate

2013 Alabama HB 565 Relating to curriculum standards; to clarify that the State Board of Education retains the sole authority to develop and adopt curriculum standards independent of the federal government or other agency or entity outside of the state. History   Download   Alternate

2013 Oklahoma HB 1907 An Act relating to schools; creating the Common Core Task Force; providing termination date; stating purpose of the Task Force; providing for membership; providing date for appointments and organizational meeting; providing for selection of officers; stating duties; exempting the Task Force from certain acts; providing for meetings; providing for travel reimbursement and staff assistance; requiring completion of the study by a certain date; providing for non codification; and declaring an emergency. History   Download   Alternate

2013 Kansas HB 2289 No school district, nor the department of education nor the state board of education shall expend any moneys to implement the set of educational curriculum standards for grades kindergarten through established by the common core state standards initiative.   History   Download   Alternate

2013 Indiana SB 0193 Provides that the state board of education may not adopt as standards for the state any common core educational standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Voids any action taken to adopt common core educational standards. History   Download   Alternate

2013 Indiana HB 1427 This is the bill that passed and has been signed by the governor.  It pauses the implementation of the CCSS while a the standards are evaluated and hearings are conducted.   History   Download   Alternate

2013 Missouri SB 210 The state board of education and the department of elementary and secondary education shall not implement the Common Core State Standards.   History   Download   Alternate

2013 Michigan HB 4328 Budget approved.  Sec. 230. Prohibit Funding for Common Core and Smarter Balance – House adds language stating that funds shall not be used to fund the Common Core State Standards Initiative or Smarter Balanced Assessments, and that funds shall not be used to implement programs or assessments created by these organizations.   History   Download   Alternate

2013 Michigan HB 4276 Prohibits implementation of common core standards. History   Download   Alternate

2013 Texas HB 462 Prohibits school districts from using the common core state standards.   History   Download   Alternate

2013 South Dakota HB 1204 An Act to require the Board of Education to obtain legislative approval before adopting any further Common core standards.   History   Download   Alternate

“Stomp Jesus” professor’s contract renewed at Florida Atlantic University

FAU professor Deandre Poole

Scott Travis from the Sun Sentinel reports, “Florida Atlantic University plans to keep Deandre Poole, the instructor whose controversial assignment about Jesus created a national firestorm. Poole, a non-tenured communications instructor, was placed on paid leave in late March after receiving death threats for an assignment that got dubbed ‘stomp on Jesus’ in the national media.”

Heather Coltman, interim dean of the College of Arts and Letters, stated, “We thought it was in the university’s best interest. We need experienced, qualified faculty members, and all things considered, we decided he would be a valuable asset to the college.” [Emphasis added]

During a class assignment on symbolism, Poole required students to write “J-E-S-U-S” on a piece of paper, place it on the floor and then step on it. The assignment angered FAU student Ryan Rotela, who complained to the administration. WDW – FL reported the following from Ryan Rotela’s response to the classroom assignment:

“I’m not going to be sitting in a class having my religious rights desecrated,” said student Ryan Rotela.

The assignment required Rotela and other classmates to write the name of Jesus on a piece of paper, place it on the floor, and then stomp on it.

A synopsis of the lesson plan in question, obtained by Fox News, states:

“Have the students write the name JESUS in big letters on a piece of paper Ask the students to stand up and put the paper on the floor in front of them with the name facing up. Ask the students to think about it for a moment. After a brief period of silence instruct them to step on the paper. Most will hesitate. Ask why they can’t step on the paper. Discuss the importance of symbols in culture.”

Rotela told the instructor, Deandre Poole, that the assignment was insulting and offensive.

FAU initially defended the assignment but once it started receiving criticism in the national media, the school reversed course and apologized. It promised never to use the assignment again. That pledge alarmed faculty, who say administrators don’t make decisions about what coursework is taught. “My intent was not to tell faculty what they could or couldn’t do but to defuse the situation,” former President Mary Jane Saunders said.

Poole said he’s ecstatic to have his job back. He said people mistakenly believed the assignment was anti-Christian. He said he never used the word “stomp” and followed verbatim an assignment in a textbook written by a professor at a Christian college,” notes Travis.

 

 

Second Florida hotel cancels anti-Common Core conference

Laura Zorc, SE State Coordinator for Florida Parents Against Common Core, in an email states that the Rosen Hotel, Orlando has cancelled the contract for an anti-Common Core conference. This comes on the heels of the Ritz Carlton/Marriott cancellation.

Billy Hallowell from TheBlaze reported on June 19th, “The Common Core State Standards Initiative has created a fair bit of angst among critics who view it as a poor — or even dangerous — plan to amend the nation’s educational schema. Considering this dynamic, it’s no surprise that some concerned Florida parents are planning to protest a national Common Core conference that is slated to be hosted later this month by The Center for College & Career Readiness.”

“But when FreedomWorks, a non-profit organization, agreed to help these parents by providing a grassroots training to accompany their protest, the conservative organization charges that a hotel abruptly canceled its reservations. The hotel, the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes, however, is denying these claims, stating that the anti-Common Core initiative’s goals had nothing at all to do with the decision — and that the decision was based on crowd-control concerns,” writes Hallowell.

Whitney Neal, director of grassroots initiatives at FreedomWorks, told TheBlaze that the Ritz, a hotel nearby the venue that is hosting the national Common Core conference (the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes Resort and Spa), cancelled the conservative group’s reservations — and after the group had already paid for and booked the space.”

Both the anti-Common Core training and protest of the National Conference on College and Career Readiness and Common Core State Standards will take place on June 28-29, 2013 as planned according to Zore.

Zore states in an email to supporters, “[This] Protest is a legal protest Thank you to a commissioner from Orange county. We have insurance, permit, and police depart has been notified.   The Ritz cannot stop us from being on public property. Since we are in the spotlight now we really need all the parents we can get to come out for this 2 hour protest [against] this National CC conference.”

HHS Tweet: We are committed to improving the well-being of “LGBT individuals”

The Department of Health and Human Services on June 19, 2013 posted the below on its official Twitter account:

HHS.govVerified account‏@HHSGov

We are committed to improving the health and well-being

of all Americans, including #LGBT individuals. http://go.usa.gov/bymQ 

The Bureau of HIV/AIDS, Florida Department of Health, in 2007 issued a report titled “Man Up: The Crisis of HIV/AIDS Among Florida’s Men“. The report states, “The HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to impact individuals in Florida and throughout the United States. Men, women, young, old, black, white, Hispanic, rich, poor, gay, bisexual, lesbian, or straight — no group is wholly exempt from contracting HIV. In Florida, 1 in 209 white men, compared to 1 in 44 black men and 1 in 117 Hispanic men are living with HIV/AIDS (reported cases). Males account for the majority of HIV/AIDS cases in Florida.” [Emphasis added]

The Bureau of HIV/AIDS in 2012 reports, “At the end of 2010, 95,335 Florida residents were known to be living with HIV/AIDS. In 2010, 5,022 adults and 20 young (age <13) Floridians were newly diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in Florida. Florida ranked second among states in the estimated number of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) cases diagnosed in 2009 (most recent year available for US data). That year, a total of 4,799 (14% of total US) AIDS cases were diagnosed in New York, followed by 4,392 (13%) in Florida and 3,760 (11%) in California. Cumulatively, Florida ranks third behind New York and California.” [Emphasis added]

The 2012-2014 Florida Jurisdictional HIV Prevention Plan reports, “Racial and ethnic minorities in Florida are disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS. Minorities account for 70% of Florida’s HIV epidemic, but only account for 40% of the state’s population. Florida ranked second among states in the estimated number of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) cases diagnosed in 2009 (most recent year available for US data). That year, a total of 4,799 (14% of total US) AIDS cases were diagnosed in New York, followed by 4,392 (13%) in Florida and 3,760 (11%) in California … In 2010, at least one AIDS case was reported in all but eight [of 67 counties] counties. [Emphasis added]

Man Up reports:

Men should begin engaging in frank discussions about the seriousness of HIV/AIDS and include women and adolescents in the discussions.

“All over the world, on average, men have more sex partners than women, which places them and their sex partners at increased risk. HIV is more easily transmitted sexually from men to women than vice versa, which has caused increasing rates of HIV infection among women.

There are sound reasons why men should be fully involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS. As leaders, protectors, providers, husbands, grandfathers, fathers, sons, brothers and friends, men have much to offer. The time is now to start seeing men not as the problem, but as part of the solution. Safer and more responsible behavior should be encouraged. It is time for men to put an end to a disease that is 100% preventable. It is time for men to “man up” and start protecting their wives, significant others, partners, family, friends and communities. Dialogue must begin to occur among men, women and their partners. We must begin to break the silence in our homes, our schools and our places of prayer, work and play.

Perhaps the single most important preventive measure is for people to know their own HIV status. If they are uninfected, this knowledge helps them protect themselves; if they are infected, the information helps them to protect their partners and to seek care and treatment for themselves.

In Florida, the Bureau of HIV/AIDS, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has developed reliable estimates of HIV incidence for the state in 2006. Adult men (13+ years) accounted for 72% (approximately 3,990) of new infections, and women accounted for 28% (1,560) of new infections, for a total of 5,550 new infections in 2006. Nationally, 56,500 new infections occurred in 2006. The HIV incidence rate equals the number of new infections divided by the population. The rate enables direct comparison of the incidence in two or more groups, regardless of population size. In 2006, the HIV incidence rate per 100,000 population was 53.7 among Florida men and 20.0 among Florida women. The rate among men was 2.7 times that of women (53.7 divided by 20.0).” [Emphasis added]

Brian Camenker, founder of MassResistance.org, is concerned the “health and well-being” of LGBT men is getting worse not better. He fears that men are not becoming more responsible and accountable but rather are a growing part of the problem. They are becoming in ever larger numbers “players”.

Camenker writes, “Besides “gay marriage,” a major goal of the homosexual [LGBT] movement is normalizing “transgenderism” throughout society, including changing our basic foundations such as the family structure. Make no mistake: This movement is well organized and focused. We all see it through the intense lobbying to push “non-discrimination” on the basis of “gender identity” through legislatures and court rulings. It’s also pushed hard in schools, large corporations and government bureaucracies. On the federal level, the Obama administration has brought it into most top federal agencies.” [Emphasis added]

Camenker is the author of “What same-sex “marriage’ has done to Massachusetts“.

If the Department of Health and Human Services is truly interested in improving the “health and well-being of LGBT individuals”, perhaps it needs to “man up”?

Florida “Watchdog education organization” calls for special session on Common Core

Sheri Krass, founder of Eye on US Education

Sherri Krass in an email to WDW – FL states, “Eye On US Education (EUSE) a national conservative “Watchdog” education organization, based in the state of Florida, believes in limited government, adherence to our Constitution, and State Sovereignty.”

“EUSE is calling for the Florida legislature to convene a Special Session to consider legislation similar to that proposed in South Carolina. This legislation can be edited to take into account the Florida Constitution. It can be written fairly quickly as it will not be necessary to write it from scratch,” notes Krass.

H 3556 General Bill, By Huggins Summary: Balance of Powers Act

A BILL TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING CHAPTER 36 TO TITLE 1 SO AS TO ENACT THE “SOUTH CAROLINA BALANCE OF POWERS ACT”, TO CLARIFY THE COMPACT ENTERED INTO BETWEEN THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND THE UNITED STATES, TO ASSERT THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE STATE UNDER THE SOUTH CAROLINA CONSTITUTION, TO PROHIBIT THE INFRINGEMENT OF THE CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED RIGHTS OF THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA OR ITS PEOPLE BY MEANS OF ANY FEDERAL STATUTE, MANDATE, EXECUTIVE ORDER, JUDICIAL DECISION, OR OTHER ACT DEEMED BY THIS STATE TO BE UNCONSTITUTIONAL, TO CREATE THE JOINT LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE ON THE NEUTRALIZATION OF FEDERAL LAW, AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE MEMBERSHIP AND DUTIES OF THE COMMITTEE AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES. [Emphasis added]

View full text.

EUSE is calling for a Special Session on the grounds that there is a time-limit before the implementation of both Obamacare and the Common Core Standards. The next regular State of Florida Congressional Session will not meet until March 2014.

“EUSE is sending this to all members of the Florida legislature, to EUSE County Chairs and Conservative/Tea Party/912 organizations throughout the State of Florida,” states Krass.

EUSE is also requesting a meeting with Governor Rick Scott to discuss educational issues and legislation we recommend be enacted concerning these issues.

Florida high school history course equates Islamic terrorism and Christianity

Posted on June 2, 2013 by Creeping Shariah:

Shades of Common Core and CSCOPE. Who’s behind the lesson plans? via Terrorists driven by low self-esteem, Florida high schoolers told

It’s low self-esteem and the need for a “sense of belonging” that drives terrorists to join groups that kill in the name of religion, according to an online lesson plan for Florida high school students.

The world history course on “Invisible Warfare” — offered by the Florida Virtual School, the nation’s first statewide Internet-based public high school — begins by asking students “what comes to mind” when considering the concept of fundamentalism and then prompts them to think of the term in a religious context. It later defines terrorism as the act of using fear or violence to accomplish certain political or religious goals.

“Common traits that psychologists have found in terrorists are that they are often risk-takers and many suffer from low self-esteem,” according to the lesson plan, which was obtained by FoxNews.com. “Sometimes joining a terrorist group provides these individuals with a sense of belonging.”

Earlier in the lesson plan, students are asked to consider how “this type of fundamentalism” has affected Islam and notes that some Islamic fundamentalist groups have reinterpreted the word jihad, which means “struggle” in Arabic, to mean a “holy war” against non-Muslims. Some critics including the Global Dispatch claimed that the transition from Christianity to Islam within the lesson plan “softly could imply Christianity may be affecting (therefore causing) Muslim extremism.”

“For example, some passages in the Bible could be used to justify the slaughter of men, women and children in ways we have difficulty understanding today,” the plan reads. “Would anyone condone this now? How would you react to someone who insisted that holding these beliefs was fundamental to Christianity?”

Representatives at the Florida Virtual School denied those claims, saying the lesson plan does not suggest a link between fundamentalists within Islam and Christianity. Tania Clow, a spokeswoman for the Florida Virtual School, told FoxNews.com in a statement that the purpose of the lesson was to lay foundational knowledge in order for students to understand the more complex issue of global terrorism and the impact religious fundamentalism is having globally.

“Yes, the Bible is referenced, but only as an example of how some passages may no longer be compatible with the modern world, prompting students to think about whether the ideas would be condoned today,” Clow wrote in an email. “The lesson does not suggest that there is a link between Islam and Christianity as fundamentalist groups.”

Two key issues are specifically addressed in the lesson, Clow said, including the impact of religious fundamentalism in the last half of the 20th century and the impact and global response to international terrorism.

State-certified instructors at the online school are not allowed to change the actual lesson text, but are encouraged to engage students in thoughtful debate, Clow said.

Not everyone, however, agrees that the lesson plan as presented is useful for young minds, including Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, who claimed the lesson plan unfairly compared fundamentalists within Christianity and Islam.

“Fundamentalist Christians pray for people, they pray for their own members who convert to another religion,” Donohue told FoxNews.com. “Fundamentalist Muslims will kill you. So, right off the bat, the equation is pernicious.”

Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist and Fox News contributor, said it takes more than low self-esteem to prompt someone to don a suicide vest in the name of religion.

“Much more in the way of psychiatric disorder is required to create a terrorist than just low self-esteem,” Ablow said. “The real key is a failure of empathy, and while it might be true that many terrorists have low self-esteem, there are lots of people with low self-esteem that are either depressed, homeless, or are in relationships with people that abuse them – but not terrorists.”

Robert Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, cited a 2011 study that found that Americans are more willing — by more than a 3-to-1 margin — to separate the violence of self-professed Christians from Christianity than they are to separate violent behavior of self-professed Muslims from Islam.

The poll, entitled “’Pluralism, Immigration and Civic Integration Survey’, found that 44 percent of all Americans believed self-professed Muslims who committed acts of violence in the name of Islam to truly be Muslims, compared to just 13 percent of those committed acts of violence in the name of Christianity to truly be Christians.

What acts of violence in the name of Christianity? Can they provide recent examples where this occurred and the verses the perpetrators quoted from the Bible that justified it? Were the perpetrators holding a decapitated head and shouting “Thou shall not kill”? 

As a whole, younger Americans and college graduates are overwhelmingly more likely to believe that Islam — as practiced by most Muslims — does not promote violence, Jones said.

A 3-1 margin and percentage points are listed above to present Muslims as victims. But Jones provides no statistics for his statement above suggesting a bias by older, uneducated (presumably white, Christian, gun-owning, Constitution-supporting, tax-paying) Americans.

“If you ask that question, Americans are basically divided,” Jones told FoxNews.com. “But education and age is driving a lot of it.”

One aspect may be true. The older you are, the less you have to rely on false narratives of rewritten history books and the political cowardice of media and can rely on real world examples of Muslims waging a relentless jihad of death and destruction. As dictated in the Koran.

It’s 2013. Do you know what your kids are being taught in public schools?

Classical public education coming to Florida: Teaching students how to think

The Classical Academy of Sarasota (TCA) is currently in the application process with the Sarasota County School Board. According to its website, “After approval in the fall of 2013, TCA intends to open its doors in August of 2014. TCA is a tuition-free public charter school that has partnered with Hillsdale College to open a classical K-12 school in Sarasota, Florida.”

Phil Kilgore

Phillip W. Kilgore, Director, Barney Charter School Initiative

TCA is part of the Barney Charter School Initiative. Phillip W. Kilgore, Director of the Barney Charter School Initiative (BCSI) states, “The Barney Charter School Initiative is a project of Hillsdale College devoted to the education of young Americans.  Through this initiative, the College will support the launch of K-12 charter schools.  These schools will train the minds and improve the hearts of young people through a rigorous, classical education in the liberal arts and sciences, with instruction in the principles of moral character and civic virtue.”

“Reform of American public education, to be successful and good, must be built on a foundation of classical liberal arts learning—the kind of learning best suited to a free society and most needed for its preservation.  The Barney Charter School Initiative is an important step in that direction,” notes Kilgore.

TCA will use Core Knowledge curriculum for preschool through Grade 8 developed by E. D. Hirsch, Jr., founder and chairman of the Core Knowledge Foundation and professor emeritus of education and humanities at the University of Virginia. Core Knowledge is not to be confused with Florida’s implementation of Common Core.

What is Classical Education?

According to TCA’s website Classical Education is:

  • Back to Basics

Classical education is a back to basics education with a foundation in history, especially civics, reading, and virtue. All core subjects are taught with the goal of building a foundation of knowledge.   Classical education emphasizes content-rich literature, a deep understanding of constitutional history, fundamental principles in math and science, and a deep appreciation for art and music. Rather than moving quickly through topics and gleaning only the highlights, classical education advocates for the mastery of subjects.

There is a clear focus on direct instruction. Teachers will be up front teaching rather than students placed at centers around the room learning through self discovery. Technology does not take the place of excellent instruction or instructors. Teaching facts and directing students with logical questions are the guiding principles in every classroom.

Reading is the foundation for learning in all subjects and students will be exposed to age appropriate exemplary literature and first source documents. Students should not be taught from textbooks but rather from the writings and documents of the individuals who are the original experts in their field. For example rather then reading a few pages or paragraphs about the Revolutionary War from a textbook, students will understand this struggle through the writings of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and John Adams.

  • Standard of excellence

Classical education emphasizes excellence in everything. Students learn excellence through the example of their teachers and the through the curriculum taught in class. Excellence will be expected in everything from academic work to behavior throughout the school day. An “A” will be given for mastery not for effort. In math, students learn that all the numbers in an equation must be perfectly lined up in order to properly solve the problem. Handwriting is not just an afterthought but is taught with precision and accuracy. Students will dress in a way which reflects this same level of professionalism and excellence. Students will be held to the highest possible of standards. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” Aristotle

  • Rooted in History

History is viewed as a guide when teaching other subjects within classical education. For example, when studying American history and the founding our great nation students will be learning about the artwork and music of that era. They will read great literature and memorize poetry from that time.   They will also learn American geography and how the US changed from the first 13 colonies to the Louisiana Purchase to the complete 50 United States. Classical education teaches that when learning is systematic it makes more sense and students begin to see the connections.

  • Moral Virtue

Classical education maintains that virtue is the foundation upon which a great education is built. A student must understand virtue and practice those virtues in order to become a thoughtful and productive citizen. Virtue is not a program but an integral part of life and is taught in every subject throughout each day. For example when reading Tom Sawyer students will discuss the merits of the comment made by Judge Thatcher when he calls Tom a “noble liar” or when reading Pride and Prejudice students will discuss Mr. Darcy and the idea of being a true gentleman. In math the virtue of wisdom will be discussed when talking of the importance of study for a test.

  • Latin

Classical education holds that a solid understanding of literacy and grammar are critical for a mastery of all subjects. To this end Latin will be taught in all grade levels because it is the foundation upon which the English language is built. Over 60% of the English language is based on Latin and a strong knowledge of Latin advances understanding in both math and science. Latin will be taught informally in elementary and formally in middle and high school.

Florida pours billions into public education with no change in student achievement

The Florida Department of Education (FDOE) released the 2013 FCAT 2.0 test results on Thursday, May 23rd.

According Anastasia Dawson from the  to the Tampa Tribune, “Statewide, only 17 percent of 23,182 students passed the retake of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test’s reading portion, while 21 percent of 8,143 students passed the math portion of the test. In Pinellas, 19 percent of the 781 that took the reading test passed, up from 18 percent last year, and 21 percent of the 216 that took the math test passed, up from 19 percent last year.”

“Students who don’t pass the FCAT retakes will not be eligible to receive their high school diplomas and instead will be given certificates of completion,” notes Dawson.

The statewide FCAT results for 3rd Grade students show no improvement in student reading performance. Only 57% of 3rd Graders achieved a satisfactory level of reading achievement. In 2013 43% of 3rd Graders are not reading at grade level. According to FDOE data 18% of 3rd Graders “demonstrated an inadequate level of success with the challenging content of the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards”. This is no change from reading scores in 2011 and 2012.

The FDOE reported FCAT writing scores, “In 2013, 2 percent of students in grades 4, 8 and 10 were performing at 1.0 on FCAT 2.0 Writing. This is an increase from 1 percent in 2012. In 2013, 82 percent of students in grades 4, 8 and 10 were performing at 3.0 and above on FCAT 2.0 Writing. There is no state required “passing” score for FCAT 2.0 Writing that is used for promotion. However, FCAT 2.0 Writing scores are used in the calculation of school grades.

Dawson reports, “Scores plummeted last year after the state introduced new requirements for the FCAT writing test that were stricter on grammar, spelling and logical arguments. In response, the state decreased the satisfactory score that schools are graded on from a 3.5 to a 3.0 to help cushion the impact. The highest possible score is a six.”

Governor Rick Scott just did a “pay raise victory tour” around the state touting  his support for public school teachers. Perhaps he should have waited until the FCAT 2.0 scores were released?

Florida has transitioned from the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test® (FCAT) to the FCAT 2.0 to align with new academic standards. The FCAT 2.0 measures student achievement of the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards (NGSSS), which specify the challenging content Florida students are expected to know.

During the next two years, Florida will transition to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and mathematics. As part of this transition, Florida will replace the FCAT 2.0 and Florida End-of-Course Assessments currently being administered in writing, reading, and mathematics with new assessments that are aligned to the Common Core State Standards. FCAT 2.0 Reading and FCAT 2.0 Writing will be replaced by one assessment in English Language Arts.

Lower the standards for writing, increase public school teacher pay and get no change in student performance in reading and writing? Doing the same thing and expecting different results?

The Common Core is coming!

To learn more about FCAT 2.0 test results in Florida click here.

U.S. District Court Dismisses Lawsuit to Ban Traditional Ammunition

nssf_logoNEWTOWN, Conn. — The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia today dismissed a lawsuit brought by the anti-hunting Center for Biological Diversity and six other groups demanding the Environmental Protection Agency ban traditional ammunition containing lead components.

Traditional ammunition represents 95 percent of the U.S. market and is the staple ammunition for target shooters, hunters and law enforcement, with more than 10 billion rounds sold annually.

NSSF filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit last August. The court today agreed with NSSF that EPA does not have the authority to regulate traditional ammunition under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

EPA had already twice denied attempts by CBD to have the agency ban traditional ammunition, and the court had dismissed an earlier case brought by CBD seeking the same relief.

“We are gratified that the court has found this second frivolous lawsuit, which is essentially the same as the one dismissed last year, was equally without merit,” said Lawrence G. Keane, senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry. “This was a waste of taxpayers’ dollars and EPA resources spent in having to defend a baseless lawsuit.”

CBD’s serial petitioning of EPA and its repeated lawsuits were designed to cripple the shooting sports in America by banning the ammunition that millions of hunters and target shooters choose to use safely and responsibly.

“There is quite simply no sound science that shows the use of traditional ammunition has harmed wildlife populations or that it presents a health risk to humans who consume game taken with such ammunition,” said Keane. “Banning traditional ammunition would cost tens of thousands of jobs in America and destroy wildlife conservation that is funded in part by an 11 percent excise tax on the sale of ammunition. The protection and management of wildlife is properly handled by the professional biologists in the state fish and game agencies, as it has been for over a hundred years.

In addition to NSSF, the National Rifle Association, Safari Club International and the Association of Battery Recyclers intervened in the case.

Organizations that joined CBD in its lawsuit were the Cascades Raptor Center of Oregon, the Loon Lake Loon Association of Washington, Preserve Our Wildlife of Florida, Tennessee Ornithological Society, Trumpeter Swan Society and Western Nebraska Resources Council.

NSSF was represented by Roger Martella and Christopher Bell from Sidley Austin.

Learn more about traditional ammunition.

ABOUT NSSF

The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 8,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, log on to www.nssf.org.

 

Department of Education to delete terms ‘mother’ and ‘father’

Oliver Darcy from Campus Reform reports:

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has announced it will replace “gender specific terms like ‘mother’ and father’” in the 2014-2015 federal student aid form with neutral language.

The terms “mother” and “father” will no longer be used on the Federal Application for Student Aid.

The new language, “parent one” and “parent two,” is aimed at accommodating students who have grown up in gay households and have either two mothers or two fathers, according to a statement released by the DOE late last month.

“All students should be able to apply for federal student aid within a system that incorporates their unique family dynamics,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in the press release.

The new language will “provide an inclusive form that reflects the diversity of American families,” he added.

According to Duncan, “gender-specific terms also fail to capture income and other information from one parent when a student’s parents are in a same-sex marriage under state law but not federally recognized under the Defense of Marriage Act.”

A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Education did not return calls for comment from Campus Reform.

Read more.

Crystal Wright in her column The Gay Takeover of America states, “What is happening to our country? Gays, who represent less than 3% of our population, are trying to dominate our culture and society. Love whom you want. Love the one you’re with. People don’t really care. This is the message most people want to say but are afraid to because the LBGT (lesbian, bi-sexual, gay and transgender) community will verbally flog anyone who doesn’t agree with them. Between gay marriage, gay adoptions, forcing the Boy Scouts to admit gay scouts and scout masters, and lauding a rich NBA player for announcing he’s gay, the message is clear from gay America to the 97% of the rest of us. You will accept our lifestyle as mainstream. My response: ‘No I won’t’.”

This phenomenon is taking place in the EU as well. Sun News Networks’ Michael Coren interviews Judith Reisman on The Arena. They discuss the recent visit of Judith Reisman and Tim Tate to Croatia in support of Karolina Vidović-Krišto, a respected and successful journalist and TV host, who got suspended after reviewing Tim Tate’s documentary on her public television show. Watch the interview:

New revelations about the High School the Boston Bombers Attended

L to R: Kimberly Parker, Kris Newton, Larry Aaronson, Alice Chen, Ed Byre. Photo credit: Elaine Schear

The column Howard Zinn, the Boston Bombers, and school propaganda notes:

Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev went to a liberal high school in the Boston area called the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, which prided itself on including young people from more than 80 nations among its student body. There the older brother became friends with Larry Aaronson, former chair of the Social Studies Department.  (Though Aaronson retired before the boys attended, the older boy seemed to have spent quite a bit of time chatting, which left a distinct enough impression on Aaronson that he recalls quite a bit of the conversation.)  Among Aaronson’s own students were Matt Damon and his brother.

Aaronson was also a friend of Howard Zinn, the radical anti-American historian (see my review of his famous People’s History of the United States).

Former CIA operatives note that the Tsarnaev brothers were radicalized in part by their parents, especially the mother. It is also clear from text messages and internet links the brothers were influenced by jihadists in Chechnya, Canada and the Middle East.

Cambridge Rindge and Latin School links to the website of Ms. Maggie Daily, a teacher of World History. One of her World History lessons is titled Imperialism Research Project with course materials. Below is the Imperialism Research Outline, which is due on April 22, 2013. Questions on the outline include: Who colonized your country? When was your country colonized? Why was it colonized (i.e. was there a prized resource?):

For a larger view of the full course outline click on the image.

To see the full outline click here. To view the entire Cambridge Rindge and Latin School curricula click here. WDW has requested the course work for the Tsarnaev brothers while they attended Cambridge HS.

Understanding the history of the Caucasus region, this lesson could have reinforced the jihadist world view of the Tsarnaev brothers and reinforced what their family in Chechnya was telling them. According to the Gannett Company’s website MyDesert.com:

This is not your grandmother’s Russia. Islamist Chechen soldiers are joining with al-Qaida all over the Middle East and can be found across vast areas — from civil wars in Northern African to rebel camps in Syria, and now Boston.

A slender bronze statue of Medea, the Greek goddess of rage, holding up Jason’s Golden Fleece was unveiled in the Black Sea city of Batumi. Medea is a fitting patron for the Caucasus region, which has been raging war for centuries. This seaport allowed fighters and supplies to transit into Chechnya, rejecting Russian demands to stop.

The Chechen Republic lies between the Black and the Caspian seas. Russian Czar Nicholas I led a successful invasion into the Caucasus regions. Citizens speak Kakh, not Russian. The clan society is 95 percent Salafi/Shafi Muslim. The national anthem is “Death or Freedom.” During World War II, they were Nazi collaborators. In the 1980s, thousands joined the Mujahideen with Osama Bin Laden. When Russia left Afghanistan, Chechen rebels took all weapons, bombs and chemicals.

Read more.

To view Larry Aaronson’s Facebook page click here. Aaronson’s Facebook page has posts of anti-Christian quotes, references to the Kent State shooting during the Vietnam War and this quote about an Occupy Austin event, “This is what non-violent civil disobedience to improve public education looks like. Only when this happens on a massive scale will the mega-billionaire neo-liberal reformers bend and concede power and control.” Again he was the former teacher and head of the Social Studies Department at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School.

WDW will continue to follow this story.

RELATED COLUMNS:

Mainstream media buries Tsarnaev connection to Muslim Brotherhood-linked Muslim Student Association

Boston jihadi murderer’s wife had al-Qaeda magazine and other jihad material on her computer

Boston jihad bombers considered July 4th attack, jihad/martyrdom suicide attacks

Boston mosque leader disavows Marathon jihadists — then why didn’t he turn them in?

Common Core: Subversive Threat to Education? (+ video)

Karen Bracken ( http://tnacc.weebly.com ) presented Common Core: Subversive Threat to Education on 18 April 2013 at the Chattanooga TEA Party meeting. Introduction is by Mark West, President of the Chattanooga TEA Party.

Bracken states, “Jeb Bush is deeply embedded in this [Common Core] process”.

Karen Bracken with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

ABOUT KAREN BRACKEN:

I am almost 64 years old and the grandmother of 4 almost grown grandchildren.  Gladly I won’t have to worry about Common Core affecting them.  But lord knows the indoctrination of our children has been going on in our public school system for many years.  But at least I won’t have to worry about my grandchildren getting sucked up in to Common Core.  BUT they will have children someday and I just felt I had to do something.  I am already very active in my community.  I have a national Agenda 21 coalition, a Tennessee Legislative Team, speaking engagements on Agenda 21 and Common Core, local and state politics and just day to day life.  My goal is to educate people about what is happening in our country.  What shocks me most is how many people refuse to admit or to see what is taking place.  It is a true indication that our public school system has been failing students for many years.  I learned about Communism in school.  I learned what it was and how it destroys free will, free thinking and freedom in general.   Whether we want to admit it or not Communism is what we are fighting in our country right now.  It might have names like Agenda 21, Sustainable Development, Smart Growth, Biodiversity, Common Core but at the end of the day it is Communism just dressed up in a new wrapping.  They keep changing the names when people start to catch on.  Think about it.  We had Global Warming and when it was exposed for the lie it is they changed the name to Climate Change in order to keep the hoax alive.  I pray ever day that people get their heads out of the sand and stand up for our country because once freedom is lost it can never be regained.  Our children are what they want.  They know that in one generation they can brainwash enough children to finally get what they want.  The total destruction of America and freedom.  Remember “Freedom is never more that one generation away from extinction.”  Ronald Reagan.

To learn more about Karen Bracken visit her website by clicking here.

Who gave the anti-Second Amendment class at a Jacksonville elementary school?

Marsha G. Oliver, MBA, Chief Officer, Public Relations & Marketing for Duval County Public Schools released the following statement:

Duval County Public Schools’ Professional Standards office has completed its investigation into the assertions made by a parent that a Cedar Hills Elementary School teacher conducted an inappropriate lesson in January on constitutional rights. Upon examination of the civics-based lessons and activities, and interviews with students, teachers, and school administrators, officials have found no evidence of indoctrination by the teacher. In fact, the teacher never taught the lessons in question.

The controversy began when the father of a Cedar Hills Elementary 4th-grader became furious after finding the below crayon-written paper in his child’s backpack stating: ‘I Am Willing to Give Up Some of My Constitutional Rights…to Be Safer’.

For a larger view click on the image.

“It is our responsibility to address parent concerns,” said Dr. Nikolai P. Vitti, Superintendent of Duval County Public Schools. “However, there is an equal responsibility that the media and community share in ensuring that persons are not condemned until all of the facts are gathered and analyzed.”

Oliver states, “A statewide program founded in 2006, Justice Teaching [the organization that gave the class] is an association of attorneys and judges who deliver standards-based curriculum on government to students from kindergarten through 12th grade.”

The program and curriculum are approved by the Florida Association of District School Superintendents.

Karen K. Cole, Circuit Judge, Fourth Judicial Circuit

According to the Justice Teaching website volunteers for Duval County Public Schools comes from 4th Judicial Circuit.  The Justice Teaching local point of contact is the Honorable Karen K. Cole, Circuit Judge, Fourth Judicial Circuit, which includes Jacksonville.

According to the City of Jacksonville official website, “Judge Cole graduated from Jacksonville University in 1978 and from the University of Florida College of Law in 1981. She is a past president of the Jacksonville Bar Association. While she was in the private practice of law, Martindale-Hubbell, the recognized lawyer rating service, accorded her its highest rating (AV) rating for her competence and ethics. Judge Cole has served as president of the Chester Bedell American Inn of Court, a Jacksonville chapter of a national organization designed to improve the professionalism, ethics, and competence of trial lawyers. Judge Cole was appointed to the circuit bench in 1994, and since then has presided over civil, criminal, family, and juvenile divisions.”

WDW called Judge Cole’s office and requested the name of the lawyer or judge who taught the class and for a comment on the lesson. Our call has not been returned.

WDW also called and emailed Justice Teaching to request an interview with the lawyer who volunteered to teach at Cedar Hills Elementary. Our calls and email request have not been answered.

If anyone knows the name of the person who gave this class please contact us at florida@watchdogwire.com.

WDW will continue to pursue this story.