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Posts Tagged ‘Education’

Religious Liberty–“the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

In Uncategorized on April 27, 2015 at 10:13 am

sunshine patriotsBy Caitlin Woolbert

 “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” (The Crisis by Thomas Paine)

These famous words were composed in a moment of inspiration by the famous Thomas Paine. These words were read to General Washington’s men on Christmas day as his troops prepared to cross the Delaware River to launch a surprise attack on Great Britain, the greatest military power on the face of the earth.

“Washington’s troops prepared to make the crossing to Trenton, New Jersey, in the dead of night. It was dark; it was freezing; and many of his troops were shoeless – leaving a track of blood that stained their journey. The Continental Army was also plagued with low morale. Though the war had been going on for only a few months, the patriots suffered defeat after defeat. The dream of American independence was dying, and the idea was quickly becoming a silly fantasy. However, when those encouraging words were proclaimed to the troops in the theatrical, booming voice of General Henry Knox on that cold Christmas night, the men were filled with a sense of hope and the “sacred fire of liberty” was rekindled once again.”(Being George Washington)

The words of Thomas Paine still ring true today. Every time I read them I too am filled with a sense of hope and the “sacred fire of liberty.” If this lesson from history can stir your heart and motivate you to action as much as it does me, I am confident that we can fight this battle together.

Thomas Paine warned against the troops becoming “summer soldiers and sunshine patriots.” In other words, he urged his fellow patriots not to become fair-weathered fans of liberty, soldiers that only fight for the cause when their side is winning. This resonated with those under Washington’s command. It would have been easy to leave the Revolution behind, to desert their fellow soldiers, and to return to their families. Yet, they did not quit; they did not give up.

We face similar challenges today. No, we are not fighting against the largest military power in the world. We are not shoeless, weaponless farmers. But we are on the verge of losing the very freedom for which our ancestors fought and died for.

Religious freedom and same-sex marriage is an ongoing battle all around the world today. The odds are stacked against us winning the battle. This week, April 28, the Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments on same-sex marriage. Should the Court redefine marriage, our religious liberty, the foundation for all of our freedoms, is at risk. We can take courage from history. General Washington’s men were small in number, but they worked together and had several small victories that won them the war. In the words of Thomas Paine, “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered.”

We the people are the only true stewards of freedom. By becoming educating ourselves and speaking/writing with educated voices, we can promote our cause and win others to our side. We can take a lesson from history and stand up for the cause. We can work to protect the freedoms our Founding Fathers worked so hard to preserve. Remember, “the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

Resources

Beck, G. (2011). Being George Washington (pp. 21-25). New York, New York: Simon and Schuster.

December 23, 1776. (n.d.). Retrieved April 1, 2015, from http://www.ushistory.org/paine/crisis/c-01.htm

Do Your Children Belong to the Community?

In Education, Parenting on April 10, 2013 at 9:42 pm

CommunityDiane Robertson

Babies are born needing to belong. Children born to a mother or father who do not want them, neglect them, abuse them, or do not attach to them, often suffer from attachment disorder causing problems throughout their lives. Given this fact, it shouldn’t be surprising that some people feel alarmed when a MSNBC news anchor, Melissa Harris-Perry declared:

We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had a private notion of children; your kid is yours and totally your responsibility. We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children.

So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.

MSNBC, one of the largest corporations in America, has clearly gone along with the idea. The wording is deceitful enough for a lot of people to believe the idea refers solely to education. Even if the reference is just about educational decisions being made solely by the community/government, I would think teachers would be more alarmed rather than on board with the idea. The most frequent complaint heard from educators is that parents aren’t involved enough in their children’s education. Do they really want the community/government to be the sole decision makers in education? Most teachers would tell you that parents matter. They matter a lot. The better students are the ones that have the most support from their parents.

Can the “community” really make ideal individual decisions for children better than the parents can?

Imagine a society in which parents believed their children and the responsibility of raising their children did not belong to them. You should be imagining a community full of individuals with attachment disorder. Children belong to their parents and their families. Children have an innate need to belong to their parents. When attachment and sense of belonging is broken, the children cannot function appropriately in society.

MSNBC should consider the societal affects before promoting an idea that would detach parents from children and children from parents. One-size-fits-all decisions from community/government are not better for the education of children than individual caring decisions made by people who love their children. To educators and other government employees, children are primarily a paycheck. To parents and family children are integral part of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

“Common Core” and Government-Controlled “feeding of minds”

In Child Development, Education, Parenting on March 28, 2013 at 9:57 am

School Cafeteria

Marlene Hinton

I suppose in the not-too-distant future the government will take over feeding our bodies just as they are taking over feeding our minds.  Here’s what to expect:

What you order from the menu –  Generous serving of prime, grade A top sirloin grilled to perfection, accompanied by a delightful selection of nutrition straight from the garden, picked at the height of freshness, along with a delicately flavored soup that is sure to please the most picky palate.

What you get – a small patty of pink slime served alongside the stringy, stinky canned spinach we all remember from the school (government) cafeteria, and a bowl of Seaweed Slop.

Currently, a plethora of restaurants offer an immense variety of foods prepared in distinct ways that entice diners according to price, taste, and motivation.  Menus further cater to personal preferences.  Every restaurant competes with the others in a variety of themes, selections, and cost.  It’s all about choice and individuality.

When the government takes over ALL of the food industry – not just what is served in schools – the only competition will be which chain lobbies hardest (i.e., donates the greatest amount to the “liberal,” “progressive” party) to be the provider that meets the Common Food State Standards.

Which will, of course, change the flavor.  Fats, sugars, salt, and carbonation will likely be replaced with things like nutritious dandelions, tofu, and soy products presented in a variety of artificial, imitation, dairy-like product substitutes.  The food will also of necessity be gluten-free and nut-free so as not to offend the allergic.  What it won’t be is affordable.

Excessive heat will become merely a memory both to prevent unfortunate accidents like burning oneself with coffee and to save energy.  Due to Green Energy State Standards, sporadic electricity that green energy can provide will be in short supply and raise the cost astronomically.

You think I’m kidding?

We already have government-controlled food-for-thought.  Only four states  rejected the nationalized brain nutrition program referred to at the Common Core State Standards.  That’s the federal mental cafeteria.  The current “standards” are the product of private groups with taxpayer subsidies but without general input from states, school districts, or parents.

Just as the elevated platitudes that make up the Common Core State Standards SOUND good, only the profoundly ignorant accept them as meaningful.  Implementation – dependent on the teacher and the agenda (i.e., curriculum) – is everything.  And everything, all 100% of it, must be ingested or injected but not inspected.  That’s right.  Who knows what the recipe for Seaweed Slop really includes?

W. Stephen Wilson, math professor at Johns Hopkins and on the feedback committee for the math standards, says that the CCSS in math are not as high as those for the District of Columbia, which has the lowest graduation rate in the nation.  Standards do not guarantee results.

Dr. Sandra Stotsky (also on the feedback committee) and math consultant Ze’ev Wurman evaluate the Common Core fare thus:  “Although Common Core’s standards represent a laudable effort to shape a national curriculum, the draft-writers chose to navigate an uncharted path and subject the entire country to a large scale experimental curriculum rather than build on the strengths that can be documented in Massachusetts or California. Consequently, by grade 8 their mathematics standards are a year or two behind the National Mathematics Advisory Panel’s recommendations, leading states, and our international competitors.

No media discussion took place after several experts on the Validation Committee refused to sign off on Common Core’s standards, and the public has been left with the incorrect impression that English scholars, mathematicians, and high school English and mathematics teachers are unified in support of its ELA [English Language Arts] and mathematics standards. Common Core’s mathematics standards miss chunks of content recommended by the National Mathematics Advisory Panel for K-8 and inexplicably leave large holes in mathematics content currently in the high school curriculum.”

They recommend deleting phrases like “college and career readiness standards” from CCSS, claiming instead that CCSS “may lead to fewer high school students prepared for authentic college-level work.”

What the federal government is dishing up is heaping portions of control over children’s minds, parents’ money, and personal freedom.  DON’T SWALLOW IT!!  It is poisonous to liberty, toxic to intelligence, and caustic for families.

Lesson learned: Government can’t replace the family

In Child Development, motherhood, Schools on January 18, 2013 at 2:45 pm

preschoolersAnn Bailey

Emma surprised me with her comment.  “I think the lesson learned is government can’t replace the family.”  Not something I would have expected from a high-level public school educator.  I had sent her an article about the latest study showing that the 50-year-old Head Start Program has been, for all intents and purposes, a dismal failure.  As a proponent and defender of most “progressive” educational ideas and programs, I expected her to give a fierce rebuttal and to tell me that somehow the researchers had gotten it wrong.  But this time my friend recognized the uncomfortable reality.

Head Start is a federal preschool program designed to improve the kindergarten readiness of low-income children. More than 20 million children, over the last 50 years, have been enrolled.  It has cost the U.S. taxpayer $180 billion – almost $9,000 per pre-school child!  Someone has evidently been benefiting from that kind of government spending, but it certainly hasn’t been the children enrolled.

Back in 2010, Health and Human Services (HHS) released finds of the Head Start Impact Study which looked at the progress of three and four-year-olds through kindergarten and first grade.  The results?  The program had little to no positive effects for children enrolled.  Now two years later, HHS has finally given us a look at these same students’ performance through the end of third grade. Head Start once again had little to no effect on social-emotional, cognitive, health or parenting outcomes of participating children.  In some parameters looked at, there were negative consequences.

The Heritage Foundation lists some of the highlights of both the 2010 Head Start Impact Study and the recently released Third-Grade Follow-Up Study:

  • Access to Head Start for each group had no statistically measurable effects on all measures of cognitive ability, including numerous measures of reading, language, and math ability.[
  • Access to Head Start for the three-year-old group actually had a harmful effect on the teacher-assessed math ability of these children once they entered kindergarten. Teachers reported that non-participating children were more prepared in math skills than those children who participated in Head Start.
  • For the four-year-old group, access to Head Start failed to have an effect for 69 out of 71 socio-emotional, health, and parenting outcomes.
  • Access to Head Start had no statistically measurable effect on all five health measures for each cohort, including receipt of dental care, health insurance coverage, and overall child health status being excellent or good.  (Please visit The Heritage Foundation to see more specifics on the two studies.)

Taxpayers have just received an expensive lesson on the obvious:  young children do best when they spend their early years close to and under the tutelage of their parents.  However, well-intentioned “Government can’t replace the family.”

 

 

 

Reader Poll: “Have you considered home schooling?”

In Parenting, Schools, Values on December 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Here’s the question we asked UFI readers:

“In an effort to thwart the negative educational & cultural influences assaulting your children, how seriously have you considered homeschooling?”

Here’s how our readers responded:

17 percent       Won’t be considering it

33 percent       Starting to contemplating it

33 percent       Watching closely and will probably start

17 percent       Already homeschooling

 

 

 

Indoctrination of Children? Here’s Some Evidence

In Education, Homosexuality, Parenting on November 26, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Diane Robertson

In 2011, Daniel Villarrea, a writer for The Queerity, a top online LGBT magazine wrote an article entitled, Can We Please Just Start Admitting That We Do Actually Want To Indoctrinate Kids?. (Just a warning that the language is very lewd and offensive in this link.) In it he says, “Why would we push anti-bullying programs or social studies classes that teach kids about the historical contributions of famous queers unless we wanted to deliberately educate children to accept queer sexuality as normal?”

And so it continues. In Utah, parent Tina Weber with help from the ACLU is suing the Davis County school district alleging that her children’s First Amendment rights were violated by a school committee’s decision to require parent permission to check out a book about lesbian mothers, In Our Mothers’ House, by Patricia Polacco, from elementary school libraries. Weber states, “As a parent, I believe that it’s my role to help them understand certain issues and explain to them our particular values and stances on things. I don’t believe it’s for anybody else to tell me how to raise my family. I would just hope to see the book get back on the shelf so all children have access to it.” Of course, she doesn’t want anyone to tell her how to raise her children, but she feels strongly enough about telling other parents how to raise their children she is filing a lawsuit against a school district. The school district acted in the best interest of the parents. If parents want their children reading about a family of “two mothers” then all they have to do is send a note to school with their child. If parents do not want their children reading about that, they do not need to worry. This decision of the school district perfectly fits the rights of the parents.

In Austin Texas, second-graders at Lee Elementary School were taken to a play called, And Then Came Tango, written by a University of Texas graduate student, Emily Freeman. The play was based on a real life story about the two male penguins in a New York City zoo that were given a fertilized egg and together raised the hatchling. The zoo officials named the hatchling, Tango. The Austin school district cancelled ten other scheduled performances stating age appropriateness,  “The subject matter communicated in the play is a topic that the [Austin Independent School District] believes should be examined by parents/guardians who will discuss with their elementary school age children at a time deemed appropriate by the parents/guardians.”

If anyone has questions about whether or not this is a play about nature or a play to indoctrinate children about gay marriage, just ask Freeman. She said, “Family is an entire colony of penguins, a young girl and her single mom, a zookeeper and the animals he tends, and two male penguins and their adopted egg. As these family structures are threatened in the play, we learn the power of voicing your opinions and standing up for your beliefs, no matter how old you are.”

In 2005, gay couple, Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, made this penguin story into a picture book, and Tango Makes Three.  If anyone questions whether this book was written to promote gay marriage to children, well, again, just ask the authors. They said, “Many feel it’s inappropriate to talk about homosexuality because they think they’re talking about sex. This book is specifically not about sex. A 4-year-old doesn’t have the same associations between homosexuality and sex. They take things very literally. You can just tell them sometimes a man falls in love with another man and they start a family.”

Nathan Cherry, pro-family blogger for Engage Family Blog says:

Sex is a serious subject, not to be taken lightly; as the inherent responsibilities and consequences demand mature treatment. Sexuality is an even broader, far more serious subject. One would think sexuality would be reserved for, perhaps high-school students; and even then treated with delicacy and maturity. The idea of implementing explicit sexuality into the classroom before high school seems reckless at best.  But the idea of introducing homosexual indoctrination intended to make classes “gay friendly” for preschoolers is moral negligence at its worst.

In Britain, pre-school parents were asked about their sex lives in a survey because The Platform Charity is providing workshops and performances for under-fives groups. The aim of the Platform charity’s questionnaire, was to help “monitor the degree to which our programmes are gay-friendly”. And that is for children under 5!

And finally, to top off all of the recent homosexual indoctrination of school children, middle school students in Gorham, Maine were told about homosexual foreplay and homosexual safe sex at a diversity assembly. The day ended with Principal, Robert Riley bumbling out an apology to parents, “There is no excuse for what happened… It happened, and it happened quickly in response to an honest student question. The results of which we are all very aware. We will be more vigilant in the future to make sure this does not happen again, but the idea of Diversity Day program is still very important to us as a Middle School.”

Parents need to be aware that the homosexual lobby intends to indoctrinate their children—yes, indoctrinate. The homosexual lobby is aggressively trying to convince children that homosexual behavior should be accepted and embraced.   They clearly want homosexuality to be introduced before these children are old enough to understand the nature of human intimacy. They have no qualms about inviting children to experiment with sex and with homosexual sex in particular. This is not about education or being nice, inclusive, and tolerant.

Parents need to know and understand what is being taught in schools, particularly be wary of assemblies, programs, and courses with labels like “anti-bully” or “diversity”. This war is real. Our values, our religion, and the future of our children are being fought over every day.

Poll Question: “Is it appropriate for a college professor to breastfeed her baby during a class lecture?”

In Breastfeeding, Families, motherhood, Parenting on October 6, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Here’s the question we asked our readers:

“Is it appropriate for a college professor to breastfeed her baby during a class lecture?”

Here’s how readers responded:

18 Percent           Yes, what’s the big deal

9 Percent             Only if there’s no other option

73 Percent           No

0 Percent             Can’t decide

 We came to ask this question because of the news story about the controversy swirling around a college professor who breastfed her baby during a lecture.  Breastfeeding is exceptionally beneficial for babies and their mothers.   We at United Families International are definitely “pro” breastfeeding.  However, we wonder about the wisdom (and the propriety) of breastfeeding a baby while delivering a lecture.  It would seem that both students and the baby deserve better.

When an individual is hired to teach a class, or for that matter to perform any job, that person needs to give their full attention to the job at hand.  Unless it is agreed to in advance by the employer, a child should not be such a prominent feature in a work environment.  To say the child, in this situation, is an unwarranted distraction seems to be understatement.  The college professor had a professional obligation to make other arrangements for her child or to find a substitute.

Anyone else want to weigh in?

 

Reader Poll : “In the current cultural and moral environment, is it more challenging and difficult to raise boys or to raise girls?”

In father, Feminism, Parenting, Polls on August 17, 2012 at 9:43 am

Here’s the question we asked UFI readers:

 “In the current cultural and moral environment, is it more challenging and difficult to raise boys or to raise girls?”

Here’s how readers responded:

46 Percent                           Boys

54 Percent                           Girls

Perhaps you, too, have heard this question tossed around by parents struggling through some challenging period with one of their children.  After putting the question up on our website, we started asking the question around to friends and family.   It was interesting to note that usually men said that girls were harder to raise and women said “boys.”   Although we have no way of knowing what percentage of men vs. women responded to this poll, it would seem that the numbers are fairly representative of a 50/50 split in opinion.  Obviously, slightly more people did seem to think girls are more challenging.

This is contrary to the message put forth by last week’s lead WEEKLY NEWS article:  “Sacrificing Boys to Promote Girls” where Janice Crouse discusses how contemporary culture – and even the education system – works against young men.

It seems in our haste to ensure “equality” we have let the pendulum swing too far to the other side and our boys are paying a high price because of it.   Correcting that imbalance creates a huge parenting challenge.

Be sure to read the article: CROUSE: Sacrificing boys to promote girls – Washington Times

 

Myth Buster Monday: Is pre-school necessary?

In Child Development, motherhood, Myth Buster, Schools on March 7, 2011 at 8:24 pm

While enrollment of children in pre-schools and kindergarten is for the most part optional, “early learning” advocates and the daycare lobbyists continue in their efforts to make preschool mandatory.  These folks insist that pre-k programs promote “school readiness” and if you want your child to have the greatest opportunity for success in school– you must start them early!  But are they right?  While research is on-going, to date there is not much evidence to support an “early-childhood education” position.

There is one program that is often cited as a success story – the Carolina Abecedarian Project – where “at-risk” children were enrolled at age 6 months in a costly all-day, five-day-a-week, 12 months a year – four and a half year program.  The benefit to the participants is still the subject of research and the cost of such a program renders it entirely unfeasible.

Darcy Olsen, researcher at Goldwater Institute, has noted that the huge expansion of early childhood education since 1965 did not yield improved outcome for elementary school students.  Back in 1965, just five percent of three-year-olds and 14 percent of four-year olds were enrolled in pre-K programs.  Today, those figures are 39 percent and 66 percent respectively.  Yet according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth-grade scores in reading, science and math have stagnated since the early 1970s and in fact, scores have fallen (even as the nation tripled spending in education).  Interestingly, American fourth-graders outperform their peers in countries that do have universal pre-K programs (Italy, France, and Germany).

The existing research on the benefits of early childhood education show that there is only a short-term positive effect for “at-risk” students and there is “fade out” by grade three.  Yet there are adverse effects for “mainstream” children.

There is no evidence to warrant the expense or the potential fallout of removing children prematurely from home to be part of a pre-school/ pre-K program.

As Darcy Olsen cautions:

“At heart is the question of in whose hands the responsibility for young children should rest. On that question, plans to entrench the state further into early education cannot be squared with a free society that cherishes the primacy of the family over the state.”

Studies on pre-school and pre-k programs:

Pre-kindergarten students are expelled from their programs at rates more than three times as high as those for students attending kindergarten through twelfth-grade classes.  Drawing into focus the question:  “How early should children be started in school?” Yale University Office of Public Affairs, “Pre-K Students Expelled at More Than Three Times the Rate of K-12 Students,” Yale Medical News (May 2005):  1-2.

On average, the earlier children enter preschool, the slower their pace of social development, while cognitive skills are stronger when children are first enrolled between the ages of two and three.  Moderate exposure to preschool helps youngsters develop their cognitive abilities in pre-reading and math. But extended absence from their parents (more than six hours a day) also appears to heighten behavioral problems, such as a lack of cooperation, sharing and engagement in classroom tasks, most notably among kids from more affluent families.  Loeb, Susanna, Margaret Bridges, Daphna Bassok, Bruce Fuller and Russell W. Rumbergerd. “How much is too much? The influence of preschool centers on children’s social and cognitive development.” Economics of Education Review 26, 1 (February 2007): 52-66.  http://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/11812.html

During kindergarten, whatever advantages daycare or preschool children may enjoy in math and reading become statistically insignificant in tests with and without background controls. During the first grade, the daycare/ preschool children have significantly lower math scores. In both grades, these children scored significantly lower in the “approaches to learning” measure, which measured teacher perception of student attentiveness and persistence, a reversal of what was found in the cross-sectional test. Lisa N. Hickman, “Who Should Care for Our Children? The Effects of Home versus Center Care on Child Cognition and Social Adjustment,” Journal of Family Issues 27 (May 2006): 652-684.

Any positive effect from early-learning programs disappears by 3rd grade and you are left with aggression and other behavioral problems.  Children in U.S. (lower grades) out do children in European Ed system which offers universal pre-K programs.  Formal early education at best yields only short-term effects with at-risk students, effects of which “fade out” by grade three, and at worst yields adverse effects with mainstream children. Darcy Olsen and Jennifer Martin, “Assessing Proposals for Preschool and Kindergarten:  Essential Information for Parents, Taxpayers, and Policymakers,” Policy Report No. 201, February 8, 2005, Goldwater Institute, Phoenix, Arizona.

Daycare/ preschool children exhibit poorer social skills throughout kindergarten. Such children have worse self-control, have worse interpersonal skills, and externalize problems more than their peers under parental care. The only social measure (internalizing problem behaviors) where these children outperformed their parental-care peers in the first model is now insignificant.  Lisa N. Hickman, “Who Should Care for Our Children? The Effects of Home versus Center Care on Child Cognition and Social Adjustment,” Journal of Family Issues 27 (May 2006): 652-684.

An HHS study 5,000 of three and four years olds enrolled in the “Head Start” program showed that in language skills, literacy, math skills and school performance there was no improvement. Head Start Impact Study, Final Report, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation.  January 2010. http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/hs/impact_study/reports/impact_study/hs_impact_study_final.pdf

How do you want your child educated?

In Parental Rights on January 25, 2011 at 2:58 pm

One of the most important rights of parents is the ability to choose where and how their children will be educated.  That parental right becomes even more crucial as we watch the problems in society and culture spiral downward and the quality of education has diminished.  The last decade has seen major strides in providing options for parents in K-12 education as the “school choice” movement has begun to blossom.   January is the month for numerous pro-life and pro-family commemorations and celebrations and this week has been deemed “National School Choice Week.”

We encourage you to consider the quality of your child’s education.  Are you content?  Is your child learning and flourishing?  Did you know that you have options?  For example, the State of Arizona just recently released a new website arizonaschoolchoice.com to aid their citizens.  You can go here to learn what options might be available to you in other areas of the country and to join the effort to promote school choice.

There is no right or wrong answer as to where your child should be educated; but it is definitely important that as a parent you have the right to make that decision.  There are some parents who don’t.  Watch the video below.

 

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