Category: Education

Indoctrination vs. Education: The Legacy of American Public Schools

“The philosophy of the classroom in this generation will be the philosophy of politics, government and life in the next.” – Abraham Lincoln

There is a battle raging today upon which the future of America as a free and self-governing republic hinges.  At its center is the struggle of who is responsible for the education and upbringing of children—parents or government.  The answer to this question goes far beyond education and touches all aspects of life. 

Education involves developing knowledgeable, well-rounded Americans who can think critically, process information, make good decisions, support themselves and serve the needs of society.  In other words, real education produces productive members of society.

What passes as government education in America today is nearly the opposite of real education.  We are spending more money and committing more resources to public education than at any time in our history.  We have more federal bureaucrats, technocrats, instructional foundations, and corporate sponsors focused on improving education than ever before. 

Nonetheless, American public school students are doing worse overall in standard core subjects.  Our children remain ignorant concerning our history, are far less literate as readers, and are becoming more math deficient with every passing year.

However, it’s not the fault of the students. Rather, modern public school education is dominated by a statist, leftist agenda to reshape the core beliefs of American students and impose a form of cultural Marxism that precludes free thought, prohibits individual freedom and places democratic processes at risk. 

This deliberate plan confuses, politicizes, sexualizes, and indoctrinates our children into a worldview that contravenes the founding principles of our republic. 

Driving God out of government schools was necessary to this agenda.  The Declaration of Independence affirms that inalienable rights come from the Creator and government exists to protect those God-given rights. 

The Founders did not view this principle as a religious issue but as a “self-evident” truth.  However, under “the wall of separation between church and state,” this self-evident truth was gradually forced out of public schools, in addition to prayer and the Bible.

From a historical perspective, the move towards government control over education in the mid-19th Century was met with initial opposition.  In 1840, a legislative committee in Massachusetts found: “The right to mold the political, moral, and religious opinions of … children is a right exclusively and jealously reserved by our laws to every parent; and for the government to attempt, directly or indirectly, as to these matters, to stand in the parent’s place, is an undertaking of very questionable policy.”

Later, in the early-20th Century, the scope of government control was litigated through our federal courts.  In 1922, Oregon passed a compulsory public schooling law which made it illegal for students to attend nongovernment-run schools. In Pierce v. Society of Sisters, the United States Supreme Court struck down the Oregon law as unconstitutional.

Delivering the opinion of the Court, Justice McReynolds wrote:  “…the Act of 1922 unreasonably interferes with the liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control … The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the State to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only.”

“The child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.” 

In Pierce, the Supreme Court acknowledged the important role of parents in the upbringing of their children and demonstrated that government does not have unfettered control over education. 

The problem is that real education is far down the list of priorities for our government co-opted public schools.  The leftist agenda has nothing to do with teaching children how to think and everything to do with teaching them what to think, or to think in politically correct terms according to the leftists’ own predetermined standards. 

For parents who do not agree with this leftist agenda, but are concerned about providing a quality education for their children, they should commit to education reform that builds an education system on a new foundation based on proper reading, proper writing and real knowledge, not indoctrination.

One idea to reform education is to eliminate government-controlled public schools altogether.  That is, transition to one of the many school choice options that put parents back in charge of their children’s education. 

As a fundamental matter, putting government in a position to answer the core educational question—what is most worth a child knowing—is a dangerous proposition and a violation of parents’ right to control the education of their children.

Calling for a mass exodus of children from government schools may be considered a radical proposal by some.  However, many parents are making personal and financial sacrifices to homeschool their children and the movement is growing. 

For other parents, homeschooling or private schools are not realistic financial options.  If government is going to provide education, then parents need to embrace alternative forms of public education, including vouchers and charter schools, to empower students with genuine knowledge and the skills they need to succeed in life.

Other ideas for public education reform include teaching the nation’s founding principles and the meaning of such phrases as “certain inalienable rights” and “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  Further, make the virtues of honesty, respect and fair play a focus of the public school curriculum and recognize students who model these habits of good character.

But the only effective, long-term solution to indoctrination is good teaching.  Good teachers, which includes parents, need to train students in methods of thought, how to properly evaluate an argument, find actual solutions to problems, and determine what is true or false. 

Sooner or later, indoctrination will breakdown.  By contrast, good teaching will sustain our society by fostering the presence of active thought and repairing the walls that deeply divide our country.

The battle over education is about more than just how children should be educated.  If a majority of students in government-controlled public schools in America are sufficiently indoctrinated by the leftist dogma, there is no future in our country for freedom and self-government.  As a result, education may have just become the single most important political issue we face in America today.

On Constitution Day: We the People Still Rule

“To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.” – Calvin Coolidge

On September 17th Americans commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of the United States, one of the greatest political documents conceived by the mind of man.

On “Constitution Day,” we will remember the birth of a nation dedicated to the preservation of personal liberty, political freedom, economic opportunity, and the natural rights with which we are all endowed. 

The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Empowered with the sovereign authority of the people and the consent of the legislatures of the states, it is the source of all government powers, and provides important limitations on government that protect fundamental rights of citizens.

The Constitution creates the structure of our federal government and the rules for its operation consistent with the statement of human liberty proclaimed in Thomas Jefferson’s revolutionary document, the Declaration of Independence. In 1776, as today, the Declaration establishes a new basis of political legitimacy: the sovereignty of “We the People.”

Jefferson said the Declaration was intended to be an expression of the American mind. The rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” are essential to live as free people. These rights are found in eternal “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”

The Declaration provides the philosophical basis for a government that exercises legitimate power by consent of the governed, and it defines the conditions of a free people, whose rights and liberty are derived from their Creator.

The Preamble to the Constitution contains what may be the most important three words in our nation’s history: “We the People.” These three words are often considered the strongest link between the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

The Preamble incorporates the Founders’ vision that the rights and freedoms bestowed by the Constitution belong to all citizens and confirms its purpose to protect the nation’s rights to liberty, justice, and freedom from tyrannical government.

The Constitution limits the power of the government by establishing a system of checks and balances. The first ten amendments to the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights, and subsequent amendments, either impose restrictions on government interference with certain enumerated rights, or grant new liberties and individual freedoms to each American.

By dispersing power horizontally among the three separate branches of the national government and vertically between the national government and states, the Framers devised a structure of government strong enough to ensure the nation’s future prosperity but without sufficient power to threaten the people’s liberty.

Although it was adopted more than two centuries ago, the Constitution is just as important today because it places the government’s power in the hands of its citizens, setting forth matters decided by the federal government and matters left to the states.

Our Constitution also enshrines the principle that government exists to protect the rights of all Americans, and has no legitimate power to deprive any citizen of their rights without due process of law.

In a country as large as the United States, it is impossible for any government official or agency to know all that is necessary to ensure the safety and happiness of the people. Our Constitution recognizes this certain limitation and guarantees the principles of individual liberty, limited government, and federalism.

The principles of individual liberty and limited government mean that there are certain areas of human activity that belong to individuals which government should leave alone because no just government should have power over those areas or government could not effectively make those decisions.

The principle of federalism says that the people in the states should govern themselves, but our national government should have the power to do things that states could not do on their own like provide a common defense, regulate a national currency, and facilitate commerce between the states.

Over the last several decades, our country has moved away from the founding principles. The ever-expanding federal government is intervening into more and more aspects of our lives and is reducing our personal freedoms in the process.

Government at all levels is engaged in activities that were once left to private individuals and groups, and the federal government is exercising authority over matters that were once the province of state and local governments where there is greater accountability to the public. 

Because of these incursions, our country stands at a dangerous crossroads, the likes of which were feared by our Founders. One road follows the path of liberty set by the Framers of the Constitution and the other one diverges from that path and leads down the road to tyranny.

In our country today, we have a class of dedicated leftist elites committed to destroying the Constitution and building a government so big that eventually “We the People” will be unable to fight back against the loss of freedom.

This group of leftists is made up of politicians who recognize no limits to their power, and their activist allies in the media, Hollywood, the judiciary, and academia, who have been working to undermine our constitutional order.

They welcome a tyranny of elites who govern as they see fit without being checked by what they view as an anachronistic document. This same group of leftists uses identity politics to divide Americans and expand the power of government.

Fortunately, there is a growing movement throughout America to reinvigorate the tree of liberty. There is a revival among American patriots, people who recognize the importance of preserving the Constitution as it was intended, to protect our God-given rights, and to prevent our government from becoming tyrannical.

Ronald Reagan once said: “Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and lost it have never known it again.”

Reagan had it right. Intrinsic to the story of our Constitution is the premise that the freedom of a nation can only be secured by citizens with firm conviction who understand their rights and liberties and will actively defend them. The preservation of our freedom is a daily battle, something the Founders understood.

The process of scaling back the size of government and returning it to its proper constitutional restraints will be a long haul. But, since the federal government is supposed to be our servant and not our master, citizens should not shirk from this important endeavor.

On Constitution Day, as American patriots, let us rededicate ourselves to secure the blessings of liberty by working to defend, protect, and preserve our Constitution.

Educational Principles

Douglas County Republicans
* Educational Principles *

Goal of Education

The goal of education is to effectively prepare students to become lifelong learners, productive contributors to society, critical thinkers, independent and responsible citizens who respect diverse points of view, and understand and promote the foundational principles of freedom and individual responsibility.

Roles and Responsibilities of:

Students
Students are responsible for coming to class ready to learn and taking responsibility for fulfilling the requirements of their coursework. Students should have the freedom to express their point of view and have a mutual respect for points of view that may differ from their own. Engagement in civil discourse and debate are the hallmarks of a vibrant educational community that fosters individual development and personal growth. We believe that all students, regardless of socioeconomic background, ethnicity, or special needs have the ability to learn given appropriate instruction and resources to fulfill their potential.

Parents
Parents are the first teachers of their children. As such, they are responsible for preparing their children to be ready to learn and provide them with the necessary foundation and tools to be successful in a learning environment. Parents play an active role in the lives of their children by working with and supporting teachers and administrators in the educational system. Parents should also have the freedom and ability to choose what kind of learning environment would best fit the needs of their child whether it be through home schooling, public/charter schools, or private schools.

Teachers
Next to the parents, teachers play an important role in the education of students. Teachers should be knowledgeable about cutting edge research in their field and also cognizant of the mental, social, and emotional needs of students at different stages of their development. Teachers should be recognized and rewarded, through bonuses and pay raises, for increasing their expertise in their discipline and proven effectiveness in the classroom. This can be accomplished through advanced graduate degrees, certificates, participating in quality professional development, and observations and evaluations by their peers and administrators. Teachers are also aware of different learning styles and recognize the importance of providing different teaching techniques to address the different learning styles of students. Teachers are able to cultivate a caring and supportive learning environment that fosters critical thinking and an openness and respect for diverse points of view as well as academic and “real world” experiences that effectively prepare students for the 21st century.

Curriculum
Curriculum that is state of the art, unbiased, research based, age appropriate, free of stereotypes and fosters open discussion and debate should be reviewed prior to adoption by a committee consisting of parents, teachers, and administrators. For example, in a social studies or history class, special emphasis should be given to developing an appreciation and respect for the founding principles of our country and how our Constitutional Republic differs from other political and economic systems in the world. Practical connections to current events, field trips, internships, mentoring programs, and experiential learning helps students to recognize that knowledge is not stagnant but is dynamic and on-going and has applications to the real world. As new curriculum programs are adopted, appropriate and high quality professional development should be provided to teachers to effectively integrate curriculum materials into their classroom.

Administrators
Effective administrators provide a collaborative open partnership among parents, teachers, students, and the community to foster a safe and enriching learning environment for all of its students. Responsive to the needs of the students, teachers, parents, and the community, administrators communicate an “open door” policy where all viewpoints and perspectives are respected and valued. Fiscal responsibility, transparency, effective communication, and developing public/private partnerships with the community ensures that all the key stakeholders are actively involved in the education of our students.

Board of Education
As elected officials, members of the School Board of Education represent the interests, concerns, and needs of all of its constituents. School Board representatives are responsible and accountable to the public for the safety, security, fiscal and academic oversight of the Douglas County School District. Openness to public opinion and civil debate, rather than censorship of ideas, is the hallmark of a free and open society. Modeling that behavior is critical to developing trust between the School Board and the community it serves.

Community
There are a wealth of resources that exist in the community that can be effectively tapped into and utilized. With the rise of teen suicide, drugs, alcohol, and school violence, school-community partnerships can be developed with mental health agencies, police agencies, and other profit and non-profit organizations. For example, community mental health agencies are responsible to provide outreach to the communities they serve. At no additional cost to the school, a partnership can be developed where a psychologist can be assigned to a school to provide information, resources, training, and counseling to students and teachers. Additional partnerships can include internships, mentoring, and experiential learning opportunities with the surrounding businesses, technical trades, and the community. Application to federal, state, and county grants that are compatible with the mission of the Douglas County School District is fiscally responsible and provides additional financial resources without an additional tax burden on its citizens.

Written by Aleta You – 2019

Civics – First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

FREEDOM OF RELIGION
The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion in two clauses:

The “establishment” clause, which prohibits the government from establishing an official church,
The “free exercise” clause that allows people to worship as they please.

FREEDOMS OF SPEECH AND THE PRESS

What is free speech? The definition is not easy, and the courts have identified three types of free speech, each protected at a different level:

  • Pure speech is the verbal expression of thoughts and opinions before a voluntary audience. The courts have generally provided strong protection of pure speech from government regulation.
  • Speech-plus involves actions, such as demonstrating or protesting, as well as words. Speech-plus is not generally protected as strictly as is pure speech, because actions can be physically dangerous. The courts have ruled that demonstrators may not obstruct traffic, endanger public safety, or trespass illegally.
  • Symbolic speech technically involves no speech at all, but it involves symbols that the courts have judged to be forms of free expression. Symbolic actions such as wearing black armbands in school and draft-card burning fit this category. Symbolic speech is highly controversial, and as a rule, the courts have sometimes considered it to be beyond the limits of free speech. However, the Supreme Court did uphold the right of an individual to burn an American flag in the 1989 Texas vs. Johnson decision.

Many of the same principles that apply to freedom of speech apply to the press, but one with special meaning for the press is prior restraint. The courts have ruled that the government may not censor information before it is written and published, except in the most extreme cases of national security.
The “clear and present danger” test is a basic principle for deciding the limits of free speech. It was set by the famous Schenck v. the United States case from World War I. Antiwar activist Charles Schenck was arrested for sending leaflets to prospective army draftees encouraging them to ignore their draft notices. The United States claimed that Schenck threatened national security, and the justices agreed. The principle was established that free speech would not be protected if an individual were a “clear and present danger” to United States security.
US History.org /gov

FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY AND PETITION

Freedom of assembly and petition are closely related to freedom of speech, and have been protected in similar ways. Former Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes wrote, “Peaceable assembly for lawful discussion cannot be made a crime.” Generally, that point of view has prevailed. Freedom of assembly has to be balanced with other people’s rights if it disrupts public order, traffic flow, freedom to go about normal business or peace and quiet. Usually, a group must apply for a permit, but a government must grant a permit provided that officials have the means to prevent major disruptions.
US History.org /gov

Learn More:
Newseum Institutes First Amendment Center

The First Amendment Doesn’t Guarantee You the Rights You think It Does

Ducksters US Government for Kids

US Courts

 

The Origin of Identity Politics –

Speakeasy Ideas Tom Krannawitter explains in this 10 minute YouTube video, the Origin of Identity Politics.


Thomas Krannawitter, Ph.D.

Description: Cutting edge, progressive social scientists a hundred years ago rejected the idea that all human beings possess the same, equal natural rights to their own person, property, and individual freedom. Instead, progressive academics borrowed from 19th Century European philosophy and held that different groups and races of people evolve at different rates, and therefore have different kinds of rights at different points in evolutionary time, depending on the political “capacity” they had demonstrated. This is the basis of what we call “identity politics” today, the view that different groups of people deserve different kinds of rights. It is the opposite of the idea that equal laws should offer equal protection for equal rights. That is why all free people should reject all laws that divide citizens into groups and offer certain perks and benefits to some at the expense of others. ~Thomas Krannawitter, Ph.D.