Education Archives

Unwanted Advances at School

In Florida, evidence of a growing problem with the public schools.

At least 150 Florida teachers have been disciplined in the past three years after being accused of sexual misconduct with students, an Orlando Sentinel review has found.

Some of the most severe cases resulted in arrests and criminal convictions for offenses such as secretly watching a boy change and shower, tricking elementary-school girls into touching a man’s genitals and having sex with minor students. But the Sentinel’s case-by-case review of teacher discipline records from the Florida Department of Education found that a lot of the alleged misconduct did not rise to the criminal level.

Still, parents would be alarmed.


Those 150 cases don’t include the dozens of educators who have been suspended or lost their teaching certificates since 2006 for molesting non-students, downloading porn at school, having sex in public and trying to pick up prostitutes.

There is no research to show whether this is indeed an actual trend or a case of students reporting it more often.  However, there is research, cited later in the article, that shows that students now are very reluctant to report it.

Researchers, however, say far more children are affected by sexual misconduct at school than many people may realize.

The most in-depth study to date, commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education in 2004, showed that nearly 10 percent of the country’s public-school students — 4.5 million children — had received unwanted sexual attention from school employees, including teachers.

Only 11 percent of students who are sexually abused by teachers report it, said Charol Shakeshaft, an education professor at Virginia Commonwealth University who authored the 2004 study and is one of the nation’s top experts on the issue.

If only 11 percent reported it in 2004, we’d have to believe it was in the low-to-mid-single-digits in the decades prior to that.  That’s stretching things rather thin, in my opinion. 

And if only 11 percent are reporting it now, what we’re seeing, in Florida and elsewhere, could be 9 or 10 times worse that it looks. 

Homeschooling keeps looking better all the time.

Back to the Future

This was the title of a post on Redstate by Aaron Gardner, regarding where the Republican Party goes from here.  Gardner started, as his foundation of what the Republicans need to stand for, from the party platform of 1980, when Reagan was swept into the White House with 489 electoral votes.  He made some of his own modifications, but overall the (lengthy) statement stands as a good starting point.

Read the rest of this entry

Marriage: between a man and a woman

In California, among the many state propositions up for a vote, one of the most heated is Proposition 8. In 2000, California voters passed Proposition 22, “which added a section to the California Family Code to formally define marriage in California as being between a man and a woman” (Wikipedia). In May of 2008, the California Supreme Court “ruled that the statute enacted by Proposition 22 and other statutes that limit marriage to a relationship between a man and a woman violated the equal protection clause of the California Constitution. It also held that individuals of the same sex have the right to marry under the California Constitution” (Wikipedia).

Enter Proposition 8. Here is the entire text of Proposition 8, as per the California Voter’s Guide,

This initiative measure is submitted to the people in accordance with the
provisions of Article II, Section 8, of the California Constitution.

This initiative measure expressly amends the California Constitution by
adding a section thereto; therefore, new provisions proposed to be added are
printed in italic type to indicate that they are new.

SECTION 1. Title
This measure shall be known and may be cited as the “California Marriage
Protection Act.”

SECTION 2. Section 7.5 is added to Article I of the California Constitution,
to read:

SEC. 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized
in California.

Note that the California Marriage Protection Act proposes to add a sum total of 14 words to the California Constitution.

Opponents to the proposition claim that the proposition is discriminatory and that it takes away rights. One of the mantras chanted is “Don’t eliminate marriage for anyone.”

Yet, such thinking ignores the fact that the government does not sanction marriage for anyone. Typically, one cannot marry another person if one is already married to someone else. It’s also highly unlikely that a 6 year-old boy and girl would be granted a marriage license by the government. The same could be said for a 20 year-old man and 18 year-old woman, if they were brother and sister. What’s more, it’s highly unlikely that the state government in California would sanction a marriage between two adult men and four adult women. It would seem, therefore, that we already have a form of discrimination, with regards to who can, and cannot, get married. In other words, the government already eliminates marriage for some.

Have you ever stopped to consider just why the government has an interest in sanctioning marriages in the first place? I can tell you one reason that they don’t sanction marriages for… love. Nope. You’d be hard pressed to find any mention of love on an application for a marriage license. Whether or not two people, who wish to get married, love each other is really of no concern to the government.

Why is that?

It’s really very simple. The government recognizes, as just about every civilization since humans began, that the covenant of marriage is the foundation and basis for the family unit. The family unit, it turns out, is the basis for a well functioning society. And a well functioning society is something that the government is very interested in. When a male and female commit to each other, the natural and general result is a family (i.e., children). This is a process that has been the cornerstone of virtually every civilized society. This family unit by marriage commitment, it should be noted, is something that a same-sex couple is incapable of attaining by natural means. Note that as a rule, by nature, and by design (HT: Greg Koukl at Stand to Reason), marriage between a man and a woman provides the family unit which the government has an interest in regulating.

One last point to be noted is that the only “right” which same-sex proponents claim will be eliminated by Proposition 8 is the sanctioning of the government, and as I’ve shown above, this is not an inherent right. No other “rights” will be eliminated. Same-sex couples already have access to domestic partner health benefits, they already have the protection of employment discrimination laws, they can freely practice their lifestyle, etc.

So, why is there the need for Proposition 8? That, too, is simple. It’s because those that advocate same-sex marriage want not the right (which they already have) but the blessing of the government. By getting the blessing of the government, they wish to impose their behavior, as normalized, upon the rest of society – including those that would consider their behavior as wrong.

Advocates of same-sex marriage would have you believe that the issue is about intolerance. In that, they are correct, for the position they take is intolerant of any position that does not accept their behavior as normal.

Further Ref:

Jennifer Roback Morse

Stand to Reason blog

Abuse Not Worthy of News Coverage

When sexual abuse in the Catholic church was uncovered, the national mainstream media was all over the story, as it should have been.  But when it’s a public school system that is involved in the same thing — including sending known offenders back in to work with kids, and trying to minimized the issue — their silence betrays their bias.  Then, there was outrage and daily reports on the evening news.  Now, local reporting but not much else.

Dave Pierre of NewsBusters chronicles the issue here (back in May) and here (last week).  The national media ignores a government program but wallops Christians over the same issue.  Yeah, no bias there, right?

A Touchy Subject

The media has seemed to take Obama’s side in McCain’s ad accusing the Democrat of signing a bill that would bring “comprehensive sex education” to children as young as kindergarten.  The Obama camp called this a lie, that it was mostly about inappropriate touching at the young ages, and the media have played it that way.

Except that, as Byron York notes, when you actually read the bill and speak to its cosponsors (well, the one he could ever contact about it), that’s not necessarily the case.  Now, Obama may have had his own reasons for voting for the bill, but as York summarizes:

But we do know that the bill itself was much more than that. The fact is, the bill’s intention was to mandate that issues like contraception and the prevention of sexually-transmitted diseases be included in sex-education classes for children before the sixth grade, and as early as kindergarten.  Obama’s defenders may howl, but the bill is what it is.

Read the whole thing(tm).

Schools: Out of the Box

In conversations about ethnic or sub-community and varying access to education, I suggested a while back that the necessity of a “good” education for everyone is over-rated. The minimal education needed to get by in our culture and civilization is literacy, some arithmetic competency, and an understanding of how to manipulate or survive the attentions of various bureaucracies. In a good schooling environment this is achievable by about the 2nd grade, in the less good likely the 4th or 6th. It might be said that the only other purpose that public schools get us for the dollar spent is to provide relatively poor moral and public ethics education and to act as baby-sitting service for our kids for 6-7 hours a day on the weekdays of about 2/3rds of the year.

There is as well a public interest in locating and identifying few those in our midst who are touched by genius. The Mozarts or Ramanujans hiding in the weeds, who if found and nurtured can likely blossom and refine their talents to greater levels than they otherwise could if left undiscovered. Our country (and the world) would benefits greatly from the another Fermi or Kelly Johnson. It doesn’t need 5,000 more mediocre literature majors in selling cars.  Read the rest of this entry

On the love of reading

Having children that love to read is a joy for many a homeschool parent (although the phenomenon is certainly not limited to homeschooled children).

On a recent trip to California’s Central Coast we had a serendipitous, if not ultimately heartbreaking, homeschool moment with our youngest child. One of our favorite places to hang out, while touring the area, used to be Leon’s Used Bookstore, in San Luis Obispo. Imagine the look on our child’s face, however, as we walked up to the storefront, only to find the premises empty of its rows of bookshelves, with construction work being done inside. Alas, we soon found out that Leon’s Used Bookstore is no more, the victim of the costs of doing earthquake retrofitting for older, unreinforced masonry buildings.

Our youngest was on the verge of tears.

Imagine… a 21st century child, upset because her favorite used bookstore had to shut down? While it was a painful lesson in reality for her, my wife and I simply smiled at each other, content in the knowledge that our child has a sincere love of reading.

Why Federal Education Programs Fail

The answer lies in the concluding paragraphs of this column by Joel Belz on recent proposals to extend federal education oversight into preschool and daycare programs from the current issue of World Magazine (subscription required):

I’ve said before in this space, and it needs to be said during just about every presidential campaign, that there is something much more potentially terrifying than to watch the government continue to fail in its efforts to prop up education in this country. Much worse than such a continuing failure would be to watch the government succeed.

Shaping the minds and the value system of our children is simply not the proper function of government—almost certainly not at any level, but especially at the distant federal level. (Emphasis added)

If your child’s school chooses never to mention what Jesus calls “the first and great commandment of life”—to love the Lord our God with all we have—all the rest of that school’s education will be as hollow as it is shallow. And even worse will be the effort, so often attempted (and sincerely so), to address some expression of the second great commandment—”loving your neighbor as yourself”—without having dealt seriously with the first one. The first provides both skeleton and heart for the second; the second is impossible without the first.

Society needs to understand, and so do evangelical Christians, that the real problem with state education today (and even with much private education) has nothing to do with teachers’ salaries or funding levels or phonics or curriculum or how many months of the year or hours of the day children go to school. All those things have their significance and are worth discussing at the right time.

But the right time for that is always after settling what education is really about. Until educators get that straight, they’re not going to get anywhere with “education reform.” And they have no business talking about stretching the federal government’s reach into preschool and daycare—where the best they will ever do is to compound their present clumsiness.

Well said.

When Is a Boy Not a Boy?

When he simply doesn’t want to be.  Dealing with people who have it in their heads that they really should’ve been the other gender is becoming less shocking in our culture these days.  The next step, however, is being taken in Philadelphia.

For school officials in Haverford Township, the challenge was daunting: What do you do when a 9-year-old student, with the full support of his parents, decides that he is no longer a boy and instead is a girl?

I’m wondering how many other life-altering decisions these parents have allowed this third-grader to make.

The government schools are more than willing to be codependent in this matter.

Parents of a third-grade student at Chatham Park Elementary School approached the administration on April 16 to ask for help in making a "social transition" for their child.

The Haverford School District consulted experts on transgender children, then sent letters to parents advising them that the guidance counselor would meet with the school’s 100 third-grade students to explain why their classmate would now wear girls’ clothes and be called by a girl’s name.

Some parents are, as one might expect, upset that the school is requiring that everybody else’s third graders now will receive this specific kind of sexuality training at this young age.  And they sprung this information on the parents at the very last minute.

"Why is the school introducing this subject to 8- and 9-year-olds?" wrote the parent who started the blog thread, which had been viewed more than 3,000 times as of yesterday. "Why were we not notified sooner. We received the letter today, the discussion at school is tomorrow."

This is not going to be very politically correct of me, but the group most in need of counseling at this point is the boy and his parents, not the rest of the 3rd grade.  This is not like complaining that you think your hair’s too curly or your nose is crooked.  This is indeed life altering, and allowing a 9-year-old to make this change seems like a huge mistake.  Fortunately, surgery is not involved, but changing fundamental identities at this point does not sound wise.

This also says something about our culture, that younger and younger children are, somehow, coming up with this idea and getting their parents to go along with it, whether those parents come along easily or kicking and screaming.  Something tells me that the Dr. Spock generation is less likely to put up a fight.

[tags]transgender,Philadelphia,Haverford School District,sexuality[/tags]

Who’s First Amendment Is It, Anyway?

The purpose of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution has been eroded and molded to fit 21st century liberal sensibilities; that is to say, to take it as much out of the public square as possible.  When Thomas Jefferson responded to the Danbury Baptists, he was responding to a specific question — government interfering with or establishing a religion — and he gave a specific answer.

Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

Basically, the government will not try to take away man’s natural right of conscience.  It’s the coercion factor that was at issue.  An established religion would require allegiance to the state church for all public servants. 

But no matter how much you want to mangle this straightforward concept, did it really mean to abolish this?

East Brunswick High School football coach Marcus Borden, who said he is fighting for his peers nationwide, is expected to petition the U.S. Supreme Court for a review of Tuesday’s federal appeals court ruling that prohibits him from participating in team prayer.

The U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia unanimously reversed a July 2006 lower-court ruling that permitted Borden, through his lawsuit against the East Brunswick Board of Education, to silently bow his head or "take a knee" with players as a sign of secular respect for student-led team prayer.

The plaintiffs, represented by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, say respect is indeed the issue.

"The ruling underscores that school district employees, including football coaches, have to obey the establishment clause and have to respect the religious rights of students," said Richard B. Katskee, assistant legal director for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, which represented the school board in its appeal of U.S. District Judge Dennis Cavanaugh’s ruling.

Respecting the fact that they were praying, then, is somehow a disrespect of their religious rights?  And what of the rights of the coach?  Does he have to check them at the locker room door?  Note that we’re not talking about him bringing a Bible or leading the prayers; he’s just in the room when the students pray and takes the same position as they do. 

The judges opinions in this case are just as tortured as the logic used to misread the First Amendment. 

Read the rest of this entry

On Children

A gift from God.

3 Sons are a heritage from the LORD,
children a reward from him.

4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one’s youth.

5 Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.

Well, unless they’re not planned or wanted. Then they’re a punishment, right Senator?


[tags]children,Barack Obama,Psalms,abortion,sex education[/tags]

Another Sign of the Times

And another reason homeschooling looks better all the time (and why those folks in California need a re-hearing on that homeschooling case).

It’s an increasingly familiar scenario: An educator or coach, someone in a position of great trust, is accused of sexual misconduct with one or more students.

In Chicago, former Walter Payton College Prep basketball coach George Turner, 45, was charged recently with the criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse of two 15-year-old female students.

While it’s "increasingly familiar", a study in 2004 makes one wonder how bad it must be now.

In 2004, Congress released the results of a report it had commissioned on teacher sexual misconduct. Compiled by Hofstra University Professor Charol Shakeshaft, it concluded that an estimated 4.5 million of 50 million students in American public schools "are subject to sexual misconduct by an employee of a school sometime between kindergarten and 12th grade."

It’s still a very underground sort of thing, as it mostly goes unreported.

"These cases tend to slip under the rug," said Terri Miller, president of the national organization Stop Educator Sexual Abuse, Misconduct and Exploitation. "They let teachers quietly resign and move on."

That’s possible in part, she said, because state boards aren’t required to report incidents to the U.S. Department of Education.

"One of the big problems is that you’re in a situation where the acts by themselves are very private," said Chicago personal injury attorney Joe Klest, who has represented victims of sexual abuse by teachers and coaches.

"And even though they’re involving minors, and minors can’t legally consent, they are often groomed into consenting. So you’ve got two people — one saying it happened, one saying it didn’t — and there’s very rarely any extrinsic physical evidence."

I’ve covered this before, but it bears repeating.  What I’m waiting for is a public outcry like that which followed the same issue among Catholic priests.  The cynic in me wonders how much of this goes unreported so that the public school system doesn’t look bad, which would put privatization and homeschooling in a much better light.  The Teacher’s Union should be taking the point on this, but other than issuing statements tut-tutting each incident, not much changes. 

[tags]education,homeschooling,sexual abuse,George Turner,Charol Shakeshaft,Terri Miller,Stop Educator Sexual Abuse Misconduct and Exploitation,[/tags]

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