Category Archives: American Journey

And this is what it has been – a Journey – from before Plymouth Rock until today and into the future, but how can we ignore the past – our heritage? The public school system would rather we not know. We provide you the pathway on this journey – it is now up to the teachers and educators of today and tomorrow to take their charges back… back to our future.

Education a la Carte: Choosing the Best Schooling Options for Your Child – eBook

Every parent wants the best possible education for their child–one that fits their child’s unique needs, challenges them to grow, and equips them to succeed. But there are so many options–public, private, and charter schools, plus homeschooling and online schooling–that it’s easy for parents to feel overwhelmed and, well, undereducated about the choices. What’s more, while one schooling option may be right for one child, it may be challenging for another. And sometimes the same child will thrive in one environment in elementary school but falter in that same environment in middle school.

What’s a parent to do?
Parenting expert and longtime educator Dr. Kevin Leman can help. In this practical book, he clearly explains the pros and cons of various schooling options so that parents can make an informed choice about the kind of education that will help their child thrive. He shows parents how to stay involved and engaged with their child’s education every step of the way, knowing that the choices they make about school now will reverberate long into that child’s future. Order NOW

Horatio Seymour: Libertarian Democrat

When New York Produced Giants for Liberty

“The idea pervades the bill that severe penalties will secure enforcement; but all experience shows that undue severity of laws defeats their execution … [N]o law can be sustained which goes beyond public feeling and sentiment. All experience shows that temperance, like other virtues, is not produced by lawmakers, but by the influences of education, morality and religion. Men may be persuaded — they cannot be compelled — to adopt habits of temperance.” ~ Horatio Seymour, 1854

This essay is about a long-forgotten New Yorker who served in his state’s legislature and twice as governor, then nearly became President of the United States. Much respected, even beloved by many in his day, his name was Horatio Seymour. He deserves to be dusted off and appreciated now, almost 130 years since his death. But first, some context.

The Democratic Party in the state of New York these days is about as “liberal” (in the twentieth-century, American sense of the term) as it gets. On economic issues in particular, it is reliably statist, meaning it rarely deviates from the “more government is the answer” mentality, no matter how strongly logic or evidence point elsewhere. But not so long ago, New York’s Democrats were largely of the opposite persuasion. They were often what we now would call “classical liberals,” ardent skeptics of the concentration of power. Classical liberals really believed in liberty; today’s liberals really don’t. Continue reading

Panel Releases Proposal to Set U.S. Education Standards

AAAAw, Jeez – here we go again! How dumb can we go? Every time we touch the system – it goes further downhill – even though they promise it will make things better. The following post is from the archives of Kettle Moraine, Ltd – originally published on the Federal Observer, March 10, 2010. Tell me – what has changed? (Ed.)

A panel of educators convened by the nation’s governors and state school superintendents proposed a uniform set of academic standards on Wednesday, laying out their vision for what all the nation’s public school children should learn in math and English, year by year, from kindergarten to high school graduation.

The new proposals could transform American education, replacing the patchwork of standards ranging from mediocre to world-class that have been written by local educators in every state.

Under the proposed standards for English, for example, fifth graders would be expected to explain the differences between drama and prose, and to identify elements of drama like characters, dialogue and stage directions. Seventh graders would study, among other math concepts, proportional relationships, operations with rational numbers and solving linear equations.
Continue reading

Can you please talk, not text?

Parenting the Instagram generation

Can kids be encouraged to let go of the virtual world – occasionally – and engage in the real one? Can they stop posting selfies long enough to think of someone else? The answer is yes. But there are bound to be some anxious moments for parents along the way.

Jake Lee, a tanned California teenager in baggy shorts and a T-shirt, is lounging on the floor of his parents’ midcentury home. They live in a suburban Silicon Valley enclave of tech workers, cyber-savvy kids, and the occasional Google self-driving car that whirs past along pristine, eucalyptus-lined streets. He flicks through his iPhone, his fingers moving with the speed and dexterity of a jazz pianist, as he answers the sporadic text message.

I’m on social media every waking moment of my life,” he says, with no particular pride. “I could be, like, Snapchatting and Instagram messaging the same person at the same time.” Continue reading

What crisis? Fatherhood is alive and well!

It would seem that this might not be the proper web-site to post the following commentary, however in my opinion – it exactly the correct place to post this thought provoking piece. After all – Father’s are equally as necessary in the education and upbringing as are Mothers. It’s called family. ~ J.B.

As an active and involved dad, a parent advocate, and author of 12 parenting books, I appreciate that every third Sunday in June is reserved to celebrate fatherhood. However, it frustrates me to watch how, in the succeeding 364 days, conversations about fatherhood revert to misrepresenting fatherhood as well as devaluing a dad’s role as a parent.

Ironically, leading the campaign of how dads fall short of their responsibilities are organizations such as the National Fatherhood Initiative and the National Center for Fathering, both of which debuted in the early 1990s. Continue reading

Does Education Work?

One Room Schoolhouse

Just about everyone from left to right believes in the power of more education for more Americans, that more education for all will open up opportunity, raise standards of living, and reduce economic inequality. Some scholars, however, are skeptical.

They have at least three related arguments. One is that the content of education–perhaps beyond basic literacy and skills– does not matter for individuals’ economic attainment, that what matters is the person’s relative level of education. When few people have graduated high school, doing so will make a big difference, but when most people have a high school diploma, then real success then requires going to college. Employers just up their requirements as educational attainment spreads, so what is important is being ahead of the pack. Continue reading

Where it Begins: The Art of Teaching the Youngest Students

A Denver child-care provider hopes an in-house training initiative will better prepare educators for a uniquely difficult field.

Photo: Adrees Latif – Reuters

Scattered around a meeting room in groups of three or four, 13 women bent over laptop computers and smartphones, squinting at Colorado’s hundreds of child-care regulations.

They were child-care and preschool employees from all over Denver on a scavenger hunt of sorts, searching for answers to worksheet questions such as how quickly child-care workers must be trained on child-abuse reporting and which eight kinds of toys and equipment classrooms are required to have. Continue reading

Dorothy Sayers: The Lost Tools of Learning

In this essay, Miss Sayers suggests that we presently teach our children everything but how to learn. She proposes that we adopt a suitably modified version of the medieval scholastic curriculum for methodological reasons.

Dorothy Leigh Sayers

That I, whose experience of teaching is extremely limited, should presume to discuss education is a matter, surely, that calls for no apology. It is a kind of behavior to which the present climate of opinion is wholly favorable. Bishops air their opinions about economics; biologists, about metaphysics; inorganic chemists, about theology; the most irrelevant people are appointed to highly technical ministries; and plain, blunt men write to the papers to say that Epstein and Picasso do not know how to draw. Up to a certain point, and provided the criticisms are made with a reasonable modesty, these activities are commendable. Too much specialization is not a good thing. There is also one excellent reason why the veriest amateur may feel entitled to have an opinion about education. For if we are not all professional teachers, we have all, at some time or another, been taught. Even if we learnt nothing – perhaps in particular if we learnt nothing – our contribution to the discussion may have a potential value. Continue reading

12 Things You Just Don’t See In Schools Anymore…

Does the posting of this have any benefit in today’s Fed-ucation world? I don’t know – but it’s fun to look back. How many of you participated in these activities? Ooh yes – I had my turn writing on the blackboard – and it wasn’t because I was a good boy. Yes – we carried books to and from school – not a pad or cell-phone nor a laptop.

We learned at an early age how to use card files to research and locate books – which we READ! Prayer? The pledge? Absoutely and so much more.

Every era has a different feel and smell. In our school days, the smells of chalk dust and library books were a real part of our education. Classrooms today have changed so much since we were in school. A few things we wouldn’t miss, but others are a part of our memories in big ways, even the little things! Here a few of the things we did in school that simply aren’t a part of most children’s days now.  Continue reading

How an American Indian Became Rich and Famous…

Sometimes not fighting the system, but rather, keeping a low profile and having a good cover story works out better for some…

The following story was told to me many years ago by my downstairs neighbor John Moon. I was a young child then. Johnny’s principles of survival and success have always stayed with me and formed a vital part of my own personality. I would like to share them with you. Hopefully you can use these ideas to prosper.

As a little kid, around the time of World War Two, I lived with my grandma in an apartment building inhabited by many entertainers. There was the family headed by a gypsy violinist, a famous magician, and a whole bunch of radio script writers. Everyone in our building what we then called ‘show business personalities.’ There were Vaudeville act families who used to do one night stands on stages throughout the English speaking world, radio announcers, and some strip tease “artists.” Continue reading

The Theology of Secession

At the very deepest level there is a central truth about the War Between the States which is now, even by the best of Southerners, almost never mentioned, although their forefathers had once spoken of its importance continuously. Indeed, they put emphasis upon it long after the War was over. From 1850 until 1912, this explanatory assumption was a commonplace component of one understanding of the meaning of that great conflict. And to most Southerners, it seemed almost as self-evident as did the equivalent formulations to their Northern counterparts—especially in the years of Antebellum dispute over the morality of slaveholding and other distinctions of “character” separating the two original versions of American civilization. When Confederate Southerners stood ready to face death in the place where the battle was joined or when they came to write apologia for their conduct, they saw themselves as part of a struggle between “powers and principalities,” alternative conceptions of the human enterprise—not merely as adjuncts to competing schemes for gathering political power. Southerners, of course, fought to defend themselves and their view of the Constitution. They fought out of a loyalty to “hearth and rooftree,” and to what had been achieved by Americans in general between 1774 and 1791. Further, they were animated by a sense of personal honor and were therefore unwilling to continue association with their detractors within the federal bond once condemned by their erstwhile countrymen to live under the insufferable burden of high-handedness and effrontery. But that is not all of the story concerning their reasons for secession—not even the most interesting part. Continue reading

If You Want Great Schools, First Work With Parents to Create ‘Actionable Demand’

“We are investing something like 98 percent of our national philanthropy in supply, and at best 2%  in demand, and we’re not seeing equity-focused systems change happen quickly enough.” ~ John King, president and CEO of Education Trust, past U.S. secretary of education

“My mother says if you’re not part of the huddle, you’re not in the game. Parents are not in the game. We’re on the sidelines and we want to know how to get in.” ~ Dawn Foye, parent leader, Boston

Over the past three decades, philanthropy has been catalytic in funding scalable innovations that demonstrate all students can achieve academically. But we have also learned that the supply of these innovations cannot reach their full potential without “actionable demand” that removes the political and policy barriers preventing innovations from being embraced broadly by school systems.

We deliberately use the term “actionable demand” because there is widespread “latent demand” for great schools in all communities, regardless of socioeconomic makeup. All communities care equally about the education and future of their children. But caring is not the same as power. Continue reading

The Terrible Truth About Abraham Lincoln and the Confederate War

President Lincoln has been all but deified in America, with a god-like giant statue at a Parthenon-like memorial in Washington. Generations of school children have been indoctrinated with the story that “Honest Abe” Lincoln is a national hero who saved the Union and fought a noble war to end slavery, and that the “evil” Southern states seceded from the Union to protect slavery. This is the Yankee myth of history, written and promulgated by Northerners, and it is a complete falsity. It was produced and entrenched in the culture in large part to gloss over the terrible war crimes committed by Union soldiers in the War Between the States, as well as Lincoln’s violations of the law, his shredding of the Constitution, and other reprehensible acts. It has been very effective in keeping the average American ignorant of the real causes of the war, and the real nature, character and record of Lincoln. Let us look at some unpleasant facts. Continue reading

Experts discover ‘Christopher Columbus’ anchor at Caribbean shipwreck site

Experts have used a “space treasure map” to make a remarkable discovery in the Caribbean — a centuries-old anchor believed to be from one of Christopher Columbus’ ships.

Analysis of the anchor, which was found off the Turks and Caicos islands, reveals that it dates to between 1492 and 1550. The overall size of the anchor and its estimated weight of between 1,200 and 1,500 pounds indicates that it was a “bower” anchor from a 300-ton vessel, the typical size of a Columbus-era ship. Continue reading

The Need for Civic Education

~ Forewords ~
I have complained about the total LACK of the public schools to teach CIVICS to high schoolers. Learned tonight that it stopped in the 1970’s. I took Civics when I was in the 9th grade and that helped to add to the classes I had in the 8th grade -studying the Constitution – another long forgotten class in today’s schools. It is no wonder we have snowflakes that only understand how to PROTEST and DESTROY Property of others.

They expect everyone to provide for them as being self supporting via a productive job is something they have never been taught…. or know how to do. ~ Jackie Juntti
Continue reading

Rediscovering wisdom of Founding Fathers

A growing number of states are realizing the importance of teaching high school students the nation’s founding documents after schools have ignored them for years.

Kentucky and Arkansas have become the latest of more than a dozen states requiring high school social studies curricula to include material covered by the 100 questions asked on the naturalization exam, which includes questions about U.S. history, civics, and government.

“I hope this is a wake-up call,” says attorney John Whitehead, president of Rutherford Institute. “I talk to people who graduate from law school in my summer intern program, and they can’t even give me the five freedoms in the First Amendment.Continue reading

US History Gone Missing at Colleges

During the War Between the States, for example, trigger warnings had an entirely different meaning

For years, we have watched American history disappear in academe. It turns out that we’re not the only ones who have noticed.

“I think in some ways I knew more American history when I finished grade school than many college students know today,” best-selling historian David McCullough said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “And that’s not their fault—that’s our fault.” Continue reading

The Future of Education should Evolve Back into our Past

With our new administration it is obvious our schools are going to change. I don’t believe it will be a change for the better but rather changes back to our past. I’m not saying this is a good or bad thing because as elders of our society we didn’t turn out weak or poor. Can our new standards produce the same results?

As a retired schoolteacher and now substitute teacher I approach the school year with hope and enthusiasm. Yet a new teacher, even a substitute, can be a traumatic thing. Just last week I noticed a particular young man, sitting in the front row, who looked absolutely terrified. A small, clean cut young fellow in a crisp white shirt and neatly pressed black pants I guessed he was the apple of his mother’s eye. Hoping to put him at his ease I asked him if there was any particular problem that was bothering him on his first day in my class. Continue reading

There Are No Qualifiers In The Bill of Rights

Language is the tool by which human beings communicate with each other. Without language all music would be instrumental pieces. Without language all films would be silent movies. Without language we wouldn’t have amazing literary pieces to read. Without language history would be lost to the ages.

But language is more than just words; it is grammar too. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best when it comes to the usage of grammar, but I have gotten better over the course of nearly two decades of writing these commentaries of mine. Continue reading