The best reason not to home-school your children

After conducting a multi-center, phase-3, double-blind, placebo controlled, independently reviewed study, encompassing 39 countries, various undersea kingdoms, and the moon, I’ve concluded that the best reason parents shouldn’t home-school their children is:

They can’t.

They can’t, because the public education they received was so wan and thin and bereft of substance, they’re unfit to teach.

For those parents who did receive a decent education, and who can handle the schedule, home schooling is a rational decision.

At minimum, it removes them and their kids from a system designed to impart values, values that should be taught at home.

Sex. Politics. Mental health. Vaccination. Gender. Contraception. Abortion. Diversity. These are a few issues schools now consider “public.” Schools become society’s parents. It takes a village. Their kind of village. They run it. They own it. “For the children.” Continue reading

Teacher Resignation Letters Show Why Public School Teachers (Myself Included) Quit

I became a conservative after a year teaching 4th grade at a public school in the inner city. Before that, I probably would have said I was a liberal. I wasn’t really interested in politics, but all my friends were liberals, so I figured I must be one too.

When I got my teacher’s license, the first thing I did was go looking for the most challenging teaching situation I could find. I had just completed a two-year Masters program at a prestigious teaching school in New York City and was filled with idealism, determination, and a cocky conviction that I would succeed where so many others had failed. (Think Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds.) Continue reading

“Bad Schools” Will Just Not Die

If a prize were awarded for the worst policy idea, one that would waste billions in some futile quest for the impossible, the indisputable winner would be uplifting the academic bottom by fixing their “bad schools.” It is a seductive idea that never seems to die despite repeated failures; it even seduces free-market conservatives infatuated with school choice remedies. What can possibly explain such stupidity?

Let’s start with the underlying “logic” of this doomed quest—the belief that low-IQ, academically unmotivated youngsters prone to classroom disorder attending schools disinclined to impose discipline can achieve reading and mathematical proficiency by tinkering with school environments. Moreover, that these troubled youngsters already attend well-financed schools with perfectly adequate facilities, small classes, state-certified teachers, ample pedagogical specialists and everything else that physically defines a “good school” is hardly acknowledged. Nor is there any past evidence that this fix-the-environment approach, everything from unscrewing chairs from the floor to cutting-edge technology, has ever moved the academic proficiency needle.

But hope springs eternal and the fantasy’s latest installment was President Obama’s $7 billion dollar failed School Improvement Grants Program whose aim, according to Arne Duncan Obama’s Secretary of Education from 2009 to 2016, was to “turn around” 1000 schools per year over five years (according to the DOE rhetoric, this initiative was to “…implement innovative, effective, ambitious, comprehensive, and locally driven strategies”). Alas, whether calibrated by test scores, graduation rates or college enrollment, nothing helped. And keep in mind that the multi-billion dollar nostrum has been around since the George W. Bush era though the Obama administration significantly increased funding.
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And You Thought They Only Vandalized Confederate Monuments and Graves (so you didn’t say anything)

What has transpired over the past year since Al Benson Jr. wrote the following piece, is appalling – as it should be – to ALL Americans. We have taken the liberty to open with a modified rendering of the writings by the great Martin Niemöller. We find it more fitting today than one year ago. ~ J.B.

First the came for the Media in order to control the minds of the people, and I did not speak out — because I was not a newspaperman or writer

Then they came for the cemeteries up North, and I did not speak out — because I was not from the North.

Then they came for the Confederate Memorials and cemeteries, and I did not speak out —
because I was not from the South.

Then they came for the Memorials and Statues and papers of our founding, and I did not speak out — because I cared not for the nations’ past.

Then they came for America and there was no one left to speak for her.

You can tell that the history destroyers had a busy couple weeks during the end of May, and it didn’t all happen in Dixie.

I read three separate articles June 1st about vandalism in cemeteries–all in the North. In Dixie we have grown used to this sort of thing. There are ugly people down here that, in some twisted way, seem to think they are doing humanity a service if they vandalize and destroy anything they remotely perceive as being “Confederate.” They remind me of those that Jesus spoke of in Scripture when he talked about those that would kill Christians and think they were doing God a service. Such is their “contribution” to humanity–it’s all they really know how to do. Should they somehow end up holding an intelligent position on anything they really can’t debate it with any genuine opposition, so they destroy what they hate because they can’t legitimately defend what they love–which in many cases, is indefensible.
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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

Williams: Rewriting American History

The job of tyrants and busybodies is never done. When they accomplish one goal, they move their agenda to something else. If we Americans give them an inch, they’ll take a yard. So I say, don’t give them an inch in the first place.” ~ Walter Williams

Walter Williams, Economist

George Orwell said, “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” In the former USSR, censorship, rewriting of history and eliminating undesirable people became part of Soviets’ effort to ensure that the correct ideological and political spin was put on their history. Deviation from official propaganda was punished by confinement in labor camps and execution.

Today there are efforts to rewrite history in the U.S., albeit the punishment is not so draconian as that in the Soviet Union. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu had a Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee monument removed last month. Former Memphis Mayor A C Wharton wanted the statue of Confederate Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, as well as the graves of Forrest and his wife, removed from the city park. In Richmond, Virginia, there have been calls for the removal of the Monument Avenue statues of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Gens. Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and J.E.B. Stuart. It’s not only Confederate statues that have come under attack. Just by having the name of a Confederate, such as J.E.B. Stuart High School in Falls Church, Virginia, brings up calls for a name change. These history rewriters have enjoyed nearly total success in getting the Confederate flag removed from state capitol grounds and other public places. Continue reading

REDUX: Our Schools, Dumb and Dumber

The following column by Alan Caruba was originally published by Kettle Moraine Publications on August 29, 2010, however it won’t be long before the end of summer, and the victims of the Fed-ucation Holocaust will be returning to the den once more. Alan’s words are as direct and point-on as they were so many years ago. ~ J.B.

The Blood-Sucking Educator

As the nation’s children return to elementary and secondary schools, it is increasingly essential that their parents and communities coast to coast realize how poorly served they are and how their learning environment is increasingly tainted by a socialist agenda.

Our nation’s schools have long been factories of boredom, centers of academic incompetence. High school graduation rates have been in a fairly steady decline. At its peak in 1969, the rate was 77 percent. By 2007 it was 68.8 percent.

In mid-August, The Wall Street Journal reported that “New data show that fewer than 25% of 2010 graduates who took the ACT college-entrance exam possessed the academic skills necessary to pass entry-level courses, despite modest gains in college-readiness among U.S. high school students in the last few years.”

What caught my eye was a quote from Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy, a nonpartisan research organization in Washington, who said that “if our kids aren’t dropping out physically, they are dropping out mentally.” Continue reading

How Education-Funding Formulas Target Poor Kids

Thirty-five states have policies engineered toward sending extra dollars to needy districts. But not all are successful.

Students at Little Fort Elementary School in Waukegan, Illinois. Illinois is one of three states where school funding is regressive overall. (Kamil Krzaczynski / AP)

Districts serving many low-income children in New Jersey receive nearly $5,000 more per pupil from the state government than districts with a fewer poor students. If that same district was located in Montana, it would only receive an extra $18 per student from the state. Despite the fact that the majority of states have education funding formulas meant to target low-income students, the effectiveness of this targeting varies widely around the country. Continue reading

Benson: Socialist Teachers Unions

The NEA – the Ultimate Trojan Horse

The National Education Association meets every year for a big national convention in some city or other and teachers from all over the country show up for this event.

An agenda is usually presented showing all the things nationally that the NEA is either for or against. In the past several years they have presented agendas that Hugo Chavez, Marxist dictator of Venezuela, would love. Many of the issues they choose to address have little or nothing to do with education, but everything to do with their leftist worldview.

While many have heard of the NEA they don’t have any idea of how long it has been around or what it really does, only that many of their kids’ teachers belong to it, and the compliant media, when it reports on NEA conventions, is not about to give out anymore real information than it has to. In all fairness to public school teachers, there are some that are not in favor of what this “teachers union” does, but their opposition is generally ignored or ridiculed. Continue reading

Education Failure Is the New Success

If one compiled a list of massive cultural engineering projects, America’s effort to close race-related academic achievement gaps would be the most ambitious. For over a half century we have spent tens of billions, devised scores of remediation schemes, and pursued legal solutions galore, all to no avail. Even conservatives normally hostile to social engineering have joined the quest.

What makes this enterprise remarkable is that every single putative nostrum entails zero effort by the students themselves as if those targeted lacked any agency for academic uplift. To use bizarre phraseology, this is passivity on steroids. This is not to suggest that if math-challenged junior got religion and buckled down he could master stochastic calculus; rather, in places like Baltimore where schools spend an average of $16,000 per student and barely any can meet minimal English and math standards, room exists for improvement . Continue reading

an American Revolution

And so we begin…

What we begin this day, is the culmination of a nearly 19 year-long project by Kettle Moraine, Ltd. Publications, which includes the intellectual battle which led to the formation of the Law of the Land – our Constitution! In addition, we will be publishing those papers and proclamations which came before, including such works as the Mayflower Compact and The Articles of Confederation, some of which have been previously published in our book, AMERICA the Grand Illusion ~ BOOK I: Orphans of the Storm

You’ll note our first posting below, The Magna Charta (1215), for this is where our American Revolution began. This entirety of this project will be lengthy and arduous – as  there over 700 pages of records to load (to include possible cross-references between both the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers alone) – and hopefully our end result will provide one of the most thorough and complete dissertations of these monumental records ever published on-line – with (planned for) links connecting the ‘Point’ and ‘Counterpoint’ views of the participants and authors. We look forward to the insight and involvement of Neal Ross on this portion of the project.

For teachers and educators – as well as those who just want to expand their historical knowledge – we are proud to bring this project to you… and so we begin.

Jeffrey Bennett, Publisher Continue reading

The Magna Charta (1215)

“The democratic aspiration is no mere recent phase in human history… It was written in Magna Carta.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1941 Inaugural address

June 15, 1215 – In a field at Runnymede, King John affixed his seal to Magna Carta. Confronted by 40 rebellious barons, he consented to their demands in order to avert civil war. Just 10 weeks later, Pope Innocent III nullified the agreement, and England plunged into internal war.

Although Magna Carta failed to resolve the conflict between King John and his barons, it was reissued several times after his death.

Magna Carta was written by a group of 13th-century barons to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king. It is concerned with many practical matters and specific grievances relevant to the feudal system under which they lived. The interests of the common man were hardly apparent in the minds of the men who brokered the agreement. But there are two principles expressed in Magna Carta that resonate to this day:

“No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will We proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers and by the law of the land.”

“To no one will We sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice.”

During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. The colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen, rights guaranteed in Magna Carta. They embedded those rights into the laws of their states and later into the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The Fifth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution (“no person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”) is a direct descendent of Magna Carta’s guarantee of proceedings according to the “law of the land.” Continue reading

Introduction to ‘Words’

“Your adversaries are composed of wretches who laugh at the rights of humanity, who turn religion into derision, and would, for higher wages, direct their swords against their leaders of their country. WE have no other choice than independence.” ~ Samuel Adams, 1776

In the 1940 MGM movie, Northwest Passage, starring Spencer Tracy (as Major Robert Rogers), and Robert Young (as fictional cartographer, Harvard graduate, Langdon Towne), there were several instances where Rogers and his master map-maker would be separated for one reason or another, whether for hours or longer, and each time they parted, Roger’s would say to Towne, “I’ll see you at sun-down!” It is a line of dialog I have never forgotten.

As I write, it is past one o’clock on the morning of February 5, 2017, and as I ponder on my nearly seven decades on this earth – I wonder what my grandchildren will face when they reach my age.

During these years, I have watched and witnessed the decline and fall of this once great Republic which my ancestors had fought for; those who came to these shores shortly after the Mayflower and settled in Boston in 1633 (David Sellack, né Sellick); those who fought for freedom and liberty during the war for our Independence; those who forged westward to settle in what was then known as the West (Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin) and those who chose to fight for what they believed in during the War of Northern aggression (Uncle Sam Cole of Harvard, Illinois). Continue reading

New Social Justice Math Class Will Teach Your Kids About “Inequity, Poverty, and Privilege

There’s a good reason why some college departments are riddled with social justice ideologues, and others are not. It’s because these beliefs are completely illogical, so they can only thrive in subjects that are open to interpretation. So if you went to college and took a class for liberal arts, gender studies, or sociology, you’re far more likely to run into politically correct nonsense than if you took a class in say, astrophysics. It’s hard to insert emotionally charged drivel into a subject that is relatively cut and dry. Continue reading

Why the Colonies’ Most Galvanizing Patriot Never Became a Founding Father

James Otis, Jr. used his words to whip anti-British sentiment into a frenzy—so why isn’t he better remembered now?

Portrait of James Otis (1725-1783)

As John Adams told it, the American Revolution didn’t start in Philadelphia, or at Lexington and Concord. Instead, the second president traced the nation’s birth to February 24, 1761, when James Otis, Jr., rose in Boston’s Massachusetts Town House to defend American liberty.

That day, as five red-robed judges—and a rapt, 25-year-old Adams—listened, Otis delivered a five-hour oration against the Writs of Assistance, sweeping warrants that allowed British customs officials to search any place, anytime, for evidence of smuggling.

“It appears to me the worst instrument of arbitrary power,” argued Otis, “the most destructive of English liberty…that was ever found in an English law-book.” Until this case, the 36-year-old lawyer had been Massachusetts’ advocate general. But he resigned rather than defend the writs, then agreed to provide pro bono representation to the merchants fighting against them. Inside the courtroom, Otis denounced the British king, parliament, and nation as oppressors of the American colonies—electrifying spectators. Continue reading

75% of black California boys don’t meet state reading standards

Across ethnicities and economic status, girls outperform boys on English in standardized tests

Three of four African-American boys in California classrooms failed to meet reading and writing standards on the most recent round of testing, according to data obtained from the state Department of Education and analyzed by CALmatters.

More than half of black boys scored in the lowest category on the English portion of the test, trailing their female counterparts. The disparity reflects a stubbornly persistent gender gap in reading and writing scores that stretches across ethnic groups. Continue reading

How Common Core’s ‘One Easy Trick‘ Philosophy Fails Children

There is a scene in one of Heinlein’s books [Starship Troopers] in which the teacher asks the student if he’d be happy just getting the medal for a race he didn’t win. The student is rightly outraged and thinks it makes a mockery of the proceedings.

It wasn’t until last week when I found myself caught in a Facebook thread on Common Core started by my friend and colleague Larry Correia that I realized this scene must be utterly baffling to the left.

You see, my husband posted some examples of Common Core math problems.

He’s a mathematician and it exasperates him when people praise Common Core for “teaching children to think.” Continue reading