Blacks losing faith in government’s role in their lives?

The Gallup poll on college admissions contains a few interesting results.

Gallup reports, “Two-thirds of Americans believe college applicants should be admitted solely based on merit, even if that results in few minorities being admitted, while 28% believe an applicant’s racial and ethnic background should be taken into account to promote diversity on college campuses. Three-quarters of whites and 59% of Hispanics believe applicants should be judged only on merit, while blacks are divided in their views.”

The term “affirmative action” was first used in the United States in Executive Order 10925 and was signed by President John F. Kennedy on 6 March 1961; it was used to promote actions that achieve non-discrimination. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson enacted Executive Order 11246 which required government employers to take “affirmative action” to hire without regard to race, religion and national origin. In 1967, gender was added to the anti-discrimination list.

Affirmative action has been the subject of numerous court cases, and has been questioned upon its constitutional legitimacy (see, Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 US 244 – Supreme Court 2003). Gallup notes, “The Supreme Court has heard cases that challenged affirmative action programs in college admissions in recent years. In 2003, it declared unconstitutional the University of Michigan’s undergraduate admissions process that automatically awarded minority applicants extra “points” in its admissions formula, but upheld the university’s law school admissions process that took race into account more generally when evaluating each individual applicant. This year, it vacated and remanded a lower-court ruling on a challenge to the University of Texas’ admissions program from a white applicant denied admission.”

“There are large partisan differences in support for affirmative action — Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans to favor affirmative action programs. Republicans are one of only a few groups that show majority opposition. Whereas there were significant differences by education with regard to college admissions, there are only minor differences with regard to affirmative action programs in general,” states Gallup.

Florida: Islamic bias found in high school history textbook

Creeping  Shariah reports:

Two Brevard School Board members are reviewing a world history textbook used in ninth grade Advance Placement classes amid concerns that it is biased in favor of Islam — at the expense of Christianity and Judaism.

House Representative Ritch Workman and individuals from two citizens groups spoke against the textbook, Prentice Hall World History, at the Brevard School Board meeting Tuesday, citing examples of phrases and passages they believe show bias.

“Our children deserve facts and accuracy, not history being revised for our own failure or desire to not offend one culture or another,” said Workman, a Republican from Melbourne.

The textbook, which has been used in Brevard for the past three years, devotes a chapter to Islam, with sections including the rise of Islam and the building of the Muslim empire. Conversely, Christianity and Judaism do not have their own chapters and instead are referenced in paragraphs embedded in other sections.

Workman also expressed concern about how historic events are portrayed and what phrases are used. For example, he said the textbook reads Jesus proclaims himself to be the Messiah but declares Muhammad becomes a prophet.

School board members Amy Kneessy and Andy Ziegler promised to review the textbook, which is published by Pearson, a well-known printer of educational textbooks.

“No matter what the subject is, whether it’s math, English, science or world history, students need to have accurate, unbiased information,” Kneessy said. “If textbooks are unbiased or incomplete, it’s our job to fix that.”

Pearson Spokeswoman Susan Aspey said the company and its authors adhere to “the highest editorial standards when creating course materials, which undergo a rigorous review process.”

“The textbook referenced was approved by the state of Florida and meets all requirements for the High School World History Course,” she wrote in an email. “A review of the book shows there is balanced attention given to the beliefs of Islam, Judaism and Christianity.”

Ziegler said the underlining issue is accuracy and fairness — and should be investigated.

Read more.

Related video from an event featuring Brigitte Gabriel, founder of ACT for America,  in Jacksonville, FL:

FL Commissioner of Education talks out of both sides of his mouth

In January Tony Bennett, Florida Commissioner of Education, stated on his blog, “In my opinion, our students are best served in education when parents, educators, and communities communicate on issues facing our classrooms. That is why I will not use a top-down approach to Florida’s education reform … In my new position as Florida’s Commissioner of Education, I will keep the [student achievement] scoreboard up as a constant reminder to me and my colleagues of the importance of accountability in measuring teacher and student success. Parents should feel confident that when their child graduates from high school he or she will be ready for today’s competitive environment.”

One method of holding schools accountable is grading public schools based upon accountability measures such as the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT).

According to Jeffrey S. Solochek, Tampa Bay Times staff writer, “Florida school grades are due by late July, but their validity will be in serious doubt this year. A divided state Board of Education voted Tuesday [July 16, 2013] to prevent the grades from dropping more than one letter at any school, marking the second straight year the board padded grades.”

The State Board of Education may have been influenced by a letter from Bennet which states, “I recommend the continuation of the transition safety net provision that prevents schools from dropping more than one letter grade in a given year. The continuation of this safety net provision was the primary recommendation of the advisory task force. The department understands the superintendents’ concern that multiple changes to performance expectations, grade calculations and other variables within the calculation on a short timeline may have contributed to a reduction in clarity of the system. However, similar issues will likely be in play in 2015-2016 with a revamped accountability model and higher performance expectations of CCSS [Common Core State Standards].”

So which is it Secretary Bennett the “importance of accountability” or the “continuation of a safety net”?

Sally Bradshaw, Florida Board of Education member.

Solocheck notes, “Of the 262 schools slated to earn an F this year, just 108 will get that grade now, board member Sally Bradshaw said.” Bradshaw does not believe true accountability on educational standard are being met. Bradshaw stated, “I don’t understand when it became acceptable to disguise and manipulate the truth simply because the truth is uncomfortable.”

Could there be a political twist to this decision?

Solochek writes, “The [school] grades quickly became prominent in school vernacular. School board members and elected superintendents touted them in campaigns. Residents used them when buying and selling homes. Mayors gave out awards based on school grades.”

Governor Scott is up for reelection in 2014. Secretary Bennet is signaling this safety net will be extended due to the implementation of Common Core in Florida. That would take the heat off Scott as schools are failing at a higher rate due to new higher standards.

Can you say double standard in our public schools? Who does this decision harm most?

EDITORS NOTE: Commissioner Bennet was resigned from his position August 1, 2013 due to a cheating scandal in his previous job.

Leading Geneticist: Human Intelligence is slowly declining

 from Natural Society reports, “Would you be surprised to hear that the human race is slowly becoming dumber, and dumber? Despite our advancements over the last tens or even hundreds of years, some ‘experts’ believe that humans are losing cognitive capabilities and becoming more emotionally unstable. One Stanford University researcher and geneticist, Dr. Gerald Crabtree, believes that our intellectual decline as a race has much to do with adverse genetic mutations. But human intelligence is suffering for other reasons as well.”

“According to Crabtree, our cognitive and emotional capabilities are fueled and determined by the combined effort of thousands of genes. If a mutation occurred in any of of these genes, which is quite likely, then intelligence or emotional stability can be negatively impacted … Darwin’s theory of ‘survival of the fittest’ is less applicable in today’s society, therefore those with better genes will not necessarily dominate in society as they would have in the past”, writes Barrett.

This is not new and was covered in detail nearly two decades ago in the seminal study, “The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life” by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray. Herrnstein and Murray broke new ground and old taboos, and foretold a story of America’s society in transformation.

Herrnstein and Murray’s research findings are important to today’s key public policy issues, such as:

Immigration:

Herrnstein and Murray wrote, “It should be among the goals of public policy to shift the flow of immigrants away from those admitted under the nepotistic rules (which broadly encourages the reunification of relatives) and toward those admitted under competency rules, already established in immigration law–not to the total exclusion of nepotistic and humanitarian criteria but a shift.”

Food stamps and Medicaid:

“Of all the uncomfortable topics we have explored, a pair of the most uncomfortable ones are that a society with a higher mean IQ is also likely to be a society with fewer social ills and brighter economic prospects, and that the most efficient way to raise the IG of a society is for smarter women to have higher birth rates. If the United States did as much to encourage high-IQ women to have babies as it now does to encourage low-IQ women, it would be rightly described as engaging an aggressive manipulation of fertility. The technically precise description of America’s fertility policy is that it subsidizes birth among poor women, who are also disproportionately at the low end of the intelligence distribution. We urge generally that these policies, represented by the extensive network of cash and services for low-income women who have babies, be ended,” stated Herrnstein and Murray.

Wealth redistribution:

“The question is how to redistribute in ways that increase the chances of people at the bottom of society to take control of their lives, to be engaged meaningfully in their communities, and to find valued places for themselves. Cash supplements need not compete with that goal, whereas the social welfare system that the nation developed in the Twentieth Century most definitely does. We should be looking for ways to replace the latter with the former,” Herrnstein and Murray found.

Perhaps it is time to move away from bigger government to a system where people at the bottom of society take control and responsibility for their own lives? Being poor should not be a permanent condition. However, for politicians and government bureaucrats keeping people poor ensures job security.

IG Report: Florida state college presidents living like kings

Governor Rick Scott requested the Office of the Inspector General to review the compensation for Florida’s twenty-eight (28) State College Presidents. What the IG found in its Report #2013-12 is enlightening given the rising cost of higher education and growing student loan debt to pay for a college degree.

The IG report found:

  •  The total compensation reported for the twenty-eight (28) state college presidents in FY 2012-2013 ranged from $143,866 to $630,157 for a reported total of
    $9,811,292 paid from state appropriated funds, student fees, auxiliary funds, direct support organizations’ funds, grants and other non-state college funds.
  • State college presidents’ reported compensation included some or all of the following:  salary,  annuities,  deferred  compensation,  vehicle  provisions,  housing allowances, major medical insurance premiums, leave, incentives, and other compensation/benefits including annual physical exams, cell phones, internet access, relocation expenses, and memberships/dues.
  • Some college presidents receive post-employment perquisites including but not limited to the transfer of ownership of the vehicle provided by the colleges to the president, computer equipment, one year sabbatical with full pay and benefits, or health insurance for life after employment with the college ends.

The IG reported, “One statute limiting the amount that can be paid for the presidents’ salaries from state appropriated funds. We also noted that each of the twenty-eight (28) state colleges reported compliance with this statute to the Division as required. However, we found that: 1) there were no standardized parameters for boards of trustees to use to determine the reasonableness of the total compensation for the state college presidents or the factors upon which the total compensation is based; and, 2) the forms and amounts of compensation varied across colleges.”

The IG noted, “Instances where the total value of the presidents’ compensation was not readily transparent in that many of the contract terms did not contain assigned values. Some contract terms contained benefits payable to the presidents for life or benefits not yet earned making it difficult to ascertain the full financial obligation on the colleges from these  contracts.”

Concerning severance pay, the IG noted:

The twenty-eight (28) state college presidents’ contracts were reviewed for compliance with Section 215.425, F.S., and we noted that the contract language for severance pay varied across colleges. For example, some of the state colleges have presidential contracts that contain severance pay language if the president separates from the college “without cause”; some contracts address severance pay if the president separates from the college “for cause”; some contracts were silent about the conditions when severance pay was paid; and, some contracts, as written, were contrary to statute because the amount exceeded the limits outlined in statute.

Finally the IG found, “Only eight (8) of the twenty-eight (28) colleges tied the presidents’ contracts to performance.”

Sounds like Florida’s state college presidents are living like kings.

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.