Let’s get down to brass tacks: the American public education system has hit rock-bottom. Exorbitant amounts of money are being funneled into public schools, and yet the students aren’t getting any better. In fact, you could say they’re actually getting worse. America’s public schools are tumbling downwards with little hope of recovery, and if you don’t believe me then consider the following:
When compared with other countries in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the United States has abysmal scores. This cross-national survey gauges the knowledge and skills of 15-year old students in the country, and going by the most recent results from 2015, they’re lagging behind their foreign counterparts. Out of 71 countries, the U.S. ranked 38th place in math and 24th place in science. Continue reading
Whenever you let federal bureaucrats get their hands on anything they are probably going to ruin it. During the Obama administration, the Department of Education spearheaded a transformation of American education that was absolutely breathtaking. Over a period of about five years, Common Core standards were implemented in almost every state in the entire nation. Unfortunately, this has resulted in a huge step backward for public education in this country. Common Core has been called “state-sponsored child abuse”, and it is a big reason why U.S. students are scoring so poorly on standardized tests compared to much of the rest of the world.
According to Wikipedia, at one point 46 states had adopted Common Core, but now some states are having second thoughts… Continue reading
As I previously noted, it was not until we moved to Indiana that I grasped why most evangelical folks would not object to nor protest what went on in government schools.
In Indiana we found and attended an evangelical Presbyterian church because it was the only Reformed church we could find in the immediate area. We found a Christian school for our son to enter. Our daughter would not be ready for school for another year yet. Our son had previously been in a Baptist school in West Virginia. The new school in Indiana wasn’t everything we could have hoped for but it was still better than a government school. At least we felt that way–many of the folks in the church we attended were not quite sure of that. Just about all the families that attended this church had their kids in government schools, which they were quite satisfied with. And they thought our kids would be much better off in a government school than in a Christian school. I hope, at this point, no one tries to tell me the Christian faith in this country hasn’t been tampered with. Continue reading
The reactions to our decision to home school our kids were fairly quick and followed certain patterns. A couple of folks decided that, as long as we were going to do this, they could help us out by giving us lists of books we should get and make sure our kids read. I recall two such lists, if I remember correctly. I did look over the lists to see what they had.
Interestingly enough, one of the books near the top of both lists was Catcher in the Rye. When I had worked at a college back in the East, many of the kids I knew there had that one as required reading, so I had a chance back then to browse through it on several occasions. Now maybe it’s just that I am old fashioned, but my first reaction to seeing that on both lists was “I don’t want our kids reading that!” Maybe some of you all have read that one and don’t think it was as questionable as I did. There were several other offerings on both lists that I frowned at. There wasn’t an awful lot on either list that I wanted our kids messing with. Now our kids were both readers and we bought them books when we could afford to and they read and reread many of them until the covers literally fell off them. We bought them C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series and they read those until they were literally falling apart. I realize some folks disagree with some of Lewis’ materials, but it was a lot better than some of what was out there. Anyway, the book lists were a flop. Continue reading
Here is a great lesson here that the students at Little Rock High School will never forget. I would presume also that most students would never have given this a thought.
In September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a History teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock , did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with the permission of the school superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, she removed all of the desks in her classroom.
When the first period kids entered the room they discovered that there were no desks.
‘Ms. Cothren, where are our desks?’
She replied, ‘You can’t have a desk until you tell me how you earn the right to sit at a desk.’ Continue reading
Regarding the situation in Kanawha County, West Virginia from 1974-76, I have several observations that were clinchers for my wife and I as to why our kids would never cross the threshold of a government school building.
While in West Virginia, my brother and I attended quite a few school board meetings for Kanawha County, which were held in Charleston. Any time we were able to go, the school board meetings always ended up being “standing room only” affairs. If you wanted a seat you got there early. People, once the textbook protest started, showed up for school board meetings because they felt it was a chance to express their frustration at what the school system was trying for force on their kids. Little did they realize at the time, to paraphrase a saying used during the global warming scam, “the agenda is already settled.” And some of the school board members that spoke at these meetings were, shall we say, slightly less than candid. You always got straight, honest answers from Alice Moore. From some of the others it was a toss-up. Continue reading
You can’t put wonder in your lesson plan any more than you could plan for a sunny sky. But, while the weather is totally beyond our control, you can put out solar panels to catch the sun when it shines and teachers and parents can, similarly, prepare to catch wonder when it happens.
We can create habits in our classes so they know instinctively when we have pulled back to allow them to express their fascination. We can give unplanned time for student questions when they arise, can listen for the turn of conversation or the moment on a field trip where a child stops and looks with wide-eyed awe. Parents too can postpone bed time or mowing the lawn when they notice that one of those moments is arriving unexpectedly.
My book, A Gift of Wonder, A True Story About School As It Should Be is about those moments. You can pre-order your copy through by clicking HERE and choosing the secret perk at the top of the page. This is a special offer for readers of the Growing Children blog. Continue reading
In the main filing cabinet in my office I have three bulging folders of material collected over the years from the early 1970s until now. These three folders contain all manner of material I have collected or people have sent me about the ongoing aberrations that take place in what all thinking people realize is our government school system. It’s not a “public” school system; it’s a government school system. This material comes from all over the country. Some of this stuff would really singe your eyeballs, and if you are like me, you can’t read more than a little of it at a time without getting really ticked off. What some government school systems do to our kids is nothing short of criminal.
I have come to the conclusion, after over forty years of keeping tabs on this kind of thing, that these aberrations are what government education in this country is really all about. When I say that I am not indicting everyone who has ever taught in a government school. We have a niece in Illinois that teaches in one. She’d much rather teach in a Christian school, but she can’t find one in her area that pays a living wage so she does what she has to to survive. Continue reading
One thing that almost everyone can agree upon is that our system of public education is broken. We spend far more money on public education than anyone else in the world, and yet the results are depressing to say the least. Considering how much we are putting into education, we should be producing the best students on the entire planet, but it just isn’t happening. Personally, I attended public schools from kindergarten all the way up through law school, and the quality of education that I received was extremely poor. Even on the collegiate level, most of the courses were so “dumbed down” that even the family dog could have passed them. And of course millions of other people all over the country would say the same sorts of things about their own educations. Many refer to what is happening to our society as “the dumbing down of America”, and if we don’t get things fixed the United States is on course to become a second class nation.
If you believe that I am exaggerating, I would like you to consider the following numbers. The following are 14 facts that prove that America’s absolutely pathetic system of education deserves an “F” grade… Continue reading
As parents around the country celebrate graduation, everyone relives the good, bad, and funny moments of high school. But what are the benefits of attending public schools? There are more than you might think.
My son recently graduated from public school. The graduation ceremony brought tears to our eyes. We were proud of his accomplishments. Graduation is a milestone moment in the lives of parents and children. We remember when they were born and marvel about how they have grown. But what are the benefits of attending public schools, especially when there are so many viable educational choices? Continue reading
There is a reason that people have learned reading, writing and arithmetic in generally the same way over the years, and that’s because the tried-and-true traditional methods work. That’s why many people wondered what the real agenda of the Common Core national standards were when the Obama administration started pushing for it so relentlessly. This ridiculous set of educational standards has left many students and parents baffled and frustrated, and it’s believed to be a key reason that American kids are lagging behind other nations in academic performance. What would happen if we got rid of it entirely? If the results gained by one Florida school are any indication, we would likely all be much better off.
Mason Classical Academy, a charter school in Naples, Florida, prides itself on providing a classical education, which it believes brings about “superior educational results” – and leading the county in English Language Arts is proof they’re on the right track. Continue reading
The key issue in the entire discussion is simply this: shall the parent or the State be the overseer of the child?
An essential feature of human life is that, for many years, the child is relatively helpless, that his powers of providing for himself mature late. Until these powers are fully developed he cannot act completely for himself as a responsible individual. He must be under tutelage. This tutelage is a complex and difficult task. From an infancy of complete dependence and subjection to adults, the child must grow up gradually to the status of an independent adult. The question is under whose guidance, and virtual “ownership” the child should be: his parents’ or the State’s? There is no third, or middle, ground in this issue. Some party must control, and no one suggests that some individual third party have authority to seize the child and rear it. Continue reading
All across America, preparations are underway for high school graduation. It’s a glorious time, representing both a milestone and a gateway to adulthood.
But missing from this year’s ceremonies are more than one million kids who dropped out and will not be attending graduation day.
The future those high school dropouts face is chilling. They will have a much harder time getting a job and will earn much less than those who did graduate. They’re also more likely to commit a crime and more likely to be the victim of one.
In short, many of them face a life that will be so much more difficult—all because they could not or chose not to finish high school.
The consequences of this crisis are especially evident in my community. Today, more than half of all African-American students in many large U.S. cities don’t graduate from high school. Think about that.
And those kids aren’t just dropping out—they’re escaping.
According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, schools that serve majority-minority communities have the worst performance, the highest crime rates, and the largest achievement gaps. More than half of all African-American students in many large U.S. cities do not graduate from high school. Continue reading
New data compiled by a Boston-based a public policy group reveals that homeschooling has gained in popularity and reach in recent decades.
A report issued this week by The Pioneer Institute, a Boston-based a public policy think tank, sheds light on the rapid growth and diversity of the U.S. homeschooling population.
Co-authored by William Heuer and William Donovan, the comprehensive white paper explains that despite a paucity of support from government officials–and outright opposition by the nation’s largest teachers’ union–homeschooling has gained in both popularity and reach over the past several decades. Continue reading
Did battle, and US future, hang on thread of fate?
Originally Published on the 150th anniversary of the Battle at Antietam Creek.
SHARPSBURG, Md. – From as far away as Minnesota, Colorado and Ohio they came, more than 30 members of the Bloss and Mitchell families who converged on the hallowed Civil War fighting grounds of rural Maryland.
John McKnight Bloss, now 81, had just parked his RV at a campground when he tried to sum up what this gathering of his clan was about. He’s been researching his namesake great-grandfather, who was wounded four times during Civil War battles, including the epic fight along meandering Antietam Creek 150 years ago – and he wanted the younger generation to “understand the sacrifices that were made.”
Robert Mitchell Menuet spoke proudly of Barton Mitchell, his ancestor who served alongside John Bloss in the 27th Indiana Volunteer Infantry and suffered a life-shortening wound at Antietam – one of the 23,000 casualties that made the battle on Sept. 17, 1862, the single bloodiest day in U.S. history.
But something more particular drew the descendants to Maryland. Continue reading
The Pilgrim’s Mayflower Compact is signed
CAPE COD, 1620 ~ A group of fundamentalist religious immigrants from Europe joined together today on a tiny ship called the Mayflower harbored in Cape Cod. Their purpose was to sign an agreement before establishing a religious settlement in the area to be called Massachusetts. According to inside sources, the manifesto declares their intentions to use the settlement as a base for increasing their religious sect in the New World.
The band of 103 immigrants left Holland a few months ago, and endured treacherous storms during their travels. They came to North America for freedom to practice their religion.
The religious group’s radical leader, William Brewster, led the group in signing the agreement with each other. Another leader, William Bradford, inside sources say, may be drafted to run for mayor of the fundamentalist Christian settlement. Continue reading
“Dreams are extremely important. You can’t do it unless you can imagine it.” ~ George Lucas
Let’s dream about public schools of the future where children are motivated by wonder, curiosity and compassion rather than the wish to do well on tests. My book, A Gift of Wonder, A True Story Showing School As It Should Be, is both a true story about a school that works and a window into the future of education.
(Click here to order your copy of A Gift of Wonder)
Kim Allsup ~ June 14, 2017
A note from the publisher of Metropolis Café.
The short two paragraphs which you are about to read – I sincerely hope that you will make a commitment – for your children, your grandchildren and for the future direction of the Republic in which we live. What Kim Allsup presents – IS the ANSWER to the problems which we all share in this nation. As one who served our Nation in the military both in Europe and Viet Nam, and one who has continued to serve for nearly two decades on-the-air – I implore you to make a pledge and contribution to this amazingly worthwhile project. I will be doing so as well.
Thank you for your consideration in assisting Kim Allsup with this important project.
~ Jeffrey Bennett
The following is a news account of the unveiling of the Confederate Monument in Lumberton, North Carolina in 1907, a scene replicated across the South in similar ceremonies which honored the service and sacrifice of Southern men who left their homes and families to defend their State and country. It is important to note that these monuments were left to the custody of public authorities who were expected to provide perpetual care and faithfully honor the men who gave their lives for political freedom and liberty. ~ Bernhard Thuersam
Robeson County Confederate Monument Unveiling, Friday, 10 May, 1907
“The most notable day in the history of Robeson county was the unveiling of the Confederate monument on Friday, the Tenth of May. This occasion had long been looked forward to, and by daybreak people were gathering from every direction. Carriages, buggies, wagons, carts, automobiles, wheels and every kind of vehicle was put in use on that day to bring the people interested.
By ten ‘clock it was with difficulty that one could make his way along the streets. Never before has such an immense crowd been assembled in Robeson county. No drinking, no misbehavior of any kind was witnessed that day. A matter of much comment was the splendid appearance of those present. Robeson well has a right to feel proud of her citizenship.
The streets and public buildings of the town were elaborately and beautifully decorated in national colors, and suspended across Main Street, banners were hung with the word “Welcome” on them in letters to catch the eye of every passerby. On the corner of Fifth and Main Streets, a booth was beautifully decorated, and here the badges of the day were bestowed upon the Veterans. Continue reading