Governor Ricketts announced the Developing Youth Talent Initiative “…to develop a youth talent pipeline.” The Nebraska Department of Economic Development will provide up to $125,000 each, to two businesses per year to partner with schools for training. (Don Walton, Lincoln Journal Star 7/10/15)
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a new rule on 7/8/15, for those communities who receive federal funds, to integrate neighborhoods. (Laura Kusisto, Wall Street Journal 7/9/15)
To promote “social justice”, the National Education Association (NEA) executive director John Stocks (white male, annual salary $412,398) believes we must first understand the insidious entitlements of white privilege in America. (Jason Hart, Watchdog.org 7/8/15 link)
Liberty is the freedom to make one’s own choices in school, career, location and living arrangements. Individual independence and freedom are only possible when a people are educated well to exercise their liberty. Reading is the first stepping stone on Liberty’s path. In 2013, 37% of all Nebraska fourth grade students and just 16% of Blacks scored at grade level or above in reading. (National Assessment of Educational Progress link) The United States Department of Education National Assessment of Adult Literacy 2003 found that just 31% of American college graduates tested at the proficient level in reading. In 1992, 40% had tested proficient. (Sam Dillon, New York Times 12/16/2005)
Ultimately, what is taught in teacher education colleges defines our educational priorities. Teacher preparation in Nebraska scored an overall grade of D-, according to key findings of the National Council on Teacher Quality 2014 State Teacher Policy Yearbook. (link)
The following is an excerpt from a course syllabus Nebraska education majors are required to complete: Student Learning Outcome # 8. School and Society, an education college course in social constructivism theory of learning, fulfills the requirement. “Big ideas of this theory” include:
- Learning is an active, social process
- Learning can feel risky and uncomfortable
- Learning can be exciting when we revisit old ideas and familiar questions in a new light
The course framework includes:
- Social Class & Schooling-How do schools produce and reproduce social inequality?
- Race, ethnicity and education-What does school teach us about “Whiteness”?
- Sexual Orientation and School-How do GLBT youth experience marginalization in schools?
Compare the above education college priorities with the real world of learning and abilities:
- IQ is increasing 3 points every 10 years. The range in IQ is consistent throughout the population regardless of race, ethnicity or socio- economic level. (The Rise in IQ, Neisser 1997) At the same time, curriculum is being dumbed down one grade level every 10 years. (National Excellence, A Case for Developing America’s Talent, U.S. Dept of Education 1993)
- Research conducted at poor, minority Public School 149/207 in Harlem, New York City (NYC) (ranked 617th out of 625 NYC public elementary schools), identified children with the potential for “academic giftedness without quotation marks or qualifiers.” (Project Synergy 1994)
- Incarcerated youth are the exception to “consistent throughout the population”. Among the juvenile delinquent population in the Arapahoe County Courts near Denver, 15% of the youth scored in the top 3% on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, 5 times the number that should have been there by chance. (Dr. Linda Silverman, 2000)
- Voices for Children in Nebraska expressed concern about the effects of punishment on youth detained in Geneva and Kearney treatment centers: children placed in solitary confinement, seclusion, isolation or room confinement. (JoAnne Young, Lincoln Journal Star 7/8/15)
- History reveals a startling youth demographic sentenced to Kearney. Each year, from 1991-1994 a juvenile with an IQ over 140 was sent to the Youth Development Center in Kearney, Nebraska. (Betty Wadewitz, former Deputy County Attorney 1996) The incidence of IQ over 140 in the general population is rare. The Stanford-Binet test considers IQ 140 and above, genius.
Earlier columns here examined Lincoln Public Schools marinating children as young as preschool in gender-identity issues. A concerned citizen/volunteer questioned the effect transgender information would have on preschoolers. (link) An Oregon policy enacted January 2015 may address those concerns. Oregon children as young as 15, absent parental notification or consent, are allowed to get a sex-change operation paid for by the Oregon Health Plan. The body responsible for the new policy, Oregon Health Evidence Review Commission (appointed by the governor and paid by the state) passed the new policy without discussion about teenagers’ new access to sex change surgery. (Dan Springer, FoxNews.com 7/9/15 link) (link to earlier column on Oregon and Nebraska Working to Institutionalize Sex Education)
Technology accelerates the expansion, complexity and control of government, society and business. In this environment, citizens are pressured to accelerate decision-making. The majority of Americans, not taught to read well, are excluded from the means to gather independent, factual information. Nebraska teacher preparation programs continue to disregard (link) scientifically based methods of reading instruction:
- Phonemic awareness
- Guided oral fluency
- Reading Comprehension
Reading in the Brain, Dehaene 2009 provides the brain research details.
Our failure to teach children how to read well quickly impedes their ability to earn a living sufficient to choose where and how they will live as well as independently researching health questions. Whether it is Nebraska awarding hundreds of thousands of dollars to businesses to assist failing schools, the federal government determining where people live or your functionally illiterate child being introduced to the possibility of a sex change, we furnish the means and the silent approval which make it all possible.
Servile, slavish, self-interested cowards may be cruel, but never brave. In that same speech at the annual NEA meeting July 4, 2015, executive director, John Stocks told the crowd “I know what movement moments look like. …to create the future we know our students need and deserve.”
Absolutely, now is the time. Bravely contact your state senator if you think you could do a better job with public education dollars to create that future for our children.
“Values are expressed in behavior, not in the things we’ll put on the wall. What we stand for in many ways is defined by what we’ll put up with.” Rick Eigenbrod, Cupertino, California