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.

7 Facts We Learned In School That Are No Longer True

Everything we taught as children is a lie. Well, maybe not everything, but at least these eight things.

If you hold your face like that, it’ll get stuck that way.

At least, that’s what your elementary school teacher probably told you. (Also, why were you pulling so many goofy faces when you were supposed to be focusing on the math lesson?)

As an adult, of course, you see how ridiculous that claim turned out to be—unless you’re one of the few people whose faces did stay that way, in which case we are sorry, and recommend medical attention…. Continue reading

Compare the Goals of English Classes in 1912 to Today’s if You Want to Understand Why Literacy Is Plummeting

We understood, more than 100 years ago, how to teach children so that they would become successful, well educated adults. Did we forget how to teach, or was a decision made to change curriculum to deliberately degrade the educational system? Take over your school boards. Change the curriculum back to what has been proven to work. These people are your employees. Demand results. To save America we must save one child at a time. ~ Rosemary Stein, MD

I recently spent an evening with a group of college students. Like most young people their age, they were engaged in their studies and eager to share about semesters spent abroad and future plans.

But then the topic changed. Instead of talking about pop culture or other common subjects, these young people started discussing… their favorite Shakespeare plays. And not just Romeo and Juliet, either. We’re talking lesser-known ones like Henry IV (part one and two) Julius Caesar, and others. Clearly, these students had received a well-rounded education, not only in college, but in high school as well. Continue reading

Music

You can cut the arts all you want, sooner or later these kids won’t have anything to read or write about.” ~ Richard Dreyfuss (Mr. Holland’s Opus)

Most schools are letting out for the summer, and it’s the time that many decide to make budget cuts for the upcoming year. Hopefully music does not get cut in your area, as learning music teaches so much more than just notes on a page!!

I cry a little every time I hear about a school cutting arts.

Many Factors Drive the Rise in Homeschooling

The long list includes mass shootings, sexual indoctrination, and poor academic performance.

In 2010, Patriot Post columnist Burt Prelutsky said of our underperforming public school systems, “It’s not a school system, it’s a penal colony with report cards.” At the time, it seemed humorously hyperbolic. Today, it seems depressingly understated.

Perhaps that’s why, as The Washington Times recently reported, there has been a surge in parents turning to homeschooling. Continue reading

Jacques Barzun Observations on Culture and Decline

“Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition.” ~ Jacques Barzun

Reflections from one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century.

Jacques Barzun (1907-2012) was one of the preeminent historians of the 20th century. Valedictorian of the 1920 class at Columbia, where he also received his Ph.D., Barzun wrote extensively on culture and education while serving in professorial and leadership roles at Cambridge and Columbia. His magnum opus, From Dawn to Decadence (2000), which traces the history of Western culture from 1500 to 2000, is required reading for anyone serious about understanding Western history. Continue reading

Frederick Douglass Finally Gets His University Degree

Frederick Douglas ~ American

It is long overdue, but one of America’s greatest writers, orators, and voices of freedom has finally received a degree from his hometown university, the University of Rochester. It is an honorary degree, as he was denied an opportunity for a normal education when he was young. While he was not able to attend himself, his great-great-great grandson, Kenneth B. Morris, Jr., accepted the award on his behalf. Frederick Douglass died in 1895, but his name remains familiar today with all who know American history. We are a better nation for his presence.

Douglass was born a slave, most likely in 1818, on a plantation in Maryland. He was taken from his mother at a very early age, lived with his grandmother until separated from her at age 6, and was passed around to his master’s brother and then hired out to a man who beat him. For a while, his master’s wife taught him the alphabet and basics of reading, but stopped when his master expressed the view that learning to read would encourage the slave to seek freedom. Still, Douglass managed to gain access to reading material, and some assistance from white children. He became a voracious, if clandestine, reader. Denied a formal education, he taught himself. Continue reading

Worried About Risky Teenage Behavior? Make School Tougher

Research shows a correlation between greater academic demands and a reduction in drinking, smoking and drug use.

A math camp at Murry Bergtraum High School in New York. Studies have shown that increased high school math graduation requirements have been linked to higher future earnings.CreditAlex Wroblewski/The New York Times

Like all parents of teenagers, I worry that my children will engage in risky behavior, including drinking, smoking and drug use. The more time they spend doing healthier extracurricular activities — soccer, piano, cleaning their rooms (ha!) — the better.

But it turns out that what they do in school can also affect their choices outside the classroom. Continue reading

Graduates: Here’s an Honor Code for Life

Amid a national epidemic of dishonesty, acting with integrity is more important than ever.

The following is an adaptation of an address to Rice University’s class of 2018.

George Washington

When I was deciding what I wanted to say today, I kept thinking about a Rice tradition that’s an incredibly important part of student life here: I’m talking about the honor code.

When you first arrived on campus, you attended a presentation on the honor code. And your very first quiz tested your knowledge of the code. And so today, I thought it would be fitting for you as graduates to end your time here the same way you began it: by hearing a few words about the meaning of honor.

Don’t worry: There won’t be a quiz. But there will be a test when you leave this campus — one that will last for the rest of your life. And that’s what I want to explain today — and it actually starts with the opposite of honor.

As a New Yorker, I was surprised to learn that an act of dishonor in my hometown almost blocked Rice from coming into existence. William Marsh Rice was murdered at his home in Manhattan by two schemers who tried to re-write his will… Continue reading

Bitcoins, Beer and the Student Loan Disaster

How much of this should the American taxpayer subsidize?

A large percentage of the $1.48 trillion student loan debt accumulated by Americans was never spent on tuition at all. Instead, much of that money went towards everything from beer, Bitcoin, spring break shenanigans and exotic reptiles.

More than one in five; or 21.2% of college students, surveyed by The Student Loan Report admitted to spending student loan money on cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC). That speculation is risky because Bitcoins lost almost 65% of their value between December 2017 and April 2018. A Bitcoin was trading at $19,205.11 on December 17, 2017, and $6,701.40 on April 5, 2018, data from Coinbase indicates. (Read complete column)

It’s Really Not Fair!

Rutgers Student Calls Out School for Aiding Illegal Immigrants

Look closely at the name at the bottom of the image. – Ed.

A Rutgers University student is calling out his school for “privileging” illegal immigrants over American citizens and legal immigrants.

In February, Rutgers students started a petition opposing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) appearing at a career fair, arguing it would alienate undocumented students. The agency voluntarily withdrew from the career fair after talks with administrators.
Continue reading

Why are Teachers ‘Raising the Children’?

The average American is inundated with hundreds of voices every day. Politicians. Talking heads. Entertainment stars. Teachers. Students. The list could go on.

But while there are multiple voices, many of the big ones seem to give a similar message concerning politics, culture, and education. Especially education.

Just what is this education message? It often includes suggestions of more money, more hours in a school day, and the incorporation of children into the school system at ever earlier ages, largely through Pre-K education. Continue reading

Another Take: The Teacher Strikes Aren’t About Pay…

They’re About Mobilizing Democrats

Democrats and their allies among the teacher activists are following the playbook outlined by Saul Alinsky in ‘Rules for Radicals.’

Teachers all over the country are going on strike. They say they want higher salaries and education funding and the tax increases necessary to pay for them. But there’s a bigger motivation underlying the strikes — mobilizing Democrats.

The strikes began in West Virginia on Feb. 22 when teachers walked off the job. They demanded higher salaries and relief from increasing health insurance costs. The teachers stayed off the job until March 7. The legislature approved a 5 percent pay increase for all state employees. West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice appointed a task force to lower healthcare costs… Continue reading

Three Education Stories Show Why We Are (Still) Doomed

I’m having a fire sale on education stories this week. Also a parallel fire sale on quotes from my 2009 book We Are Doomed, because the education chapter of that book was the most fun to write and it’s pertinent to this week’s stories. Here’s a sort of keynote quote from that chapter:

The whole topic of education is a glorious feast for pessimists of all kinds.

Education story #1: PS , an elementary school, kindergarten through fifth grade, on West 70th Street in Manhattan. That’s a tony neighborhood. A two-bedroom apartment on West 70th will currently cost you around two million dollars.

I wrote about PS 199 in the education chapter of We Are Doomed. A kerfuffle had broken broke out in November 2008, when an apartment up there only cost one million dollars: Continue reading

Juntti: Can your children read CURSIVE???

I had a very restless night of sleep last night due to finding out that one of my great grand kids can’t read cursive. He will be 13 in October!!! How did I learn this bit of information?

I bought four of my great grandkids their first bible and wrote a personal note to each of them on the inside page. The 12 year old came over to thank me for it and I asked him if he read my note to him. He looked at me and said he can’t read ‘cursive,’ as if it is a foreign language or such. He had to have his mom read it to him and said she had trouble too. I have always had compliments on my handwriting so it isn’t that my handwriting is bad. I began learning to write in cursive in the third grade. Continue reading

It’s time for all Teachers to be able to afford a great day

Tribute to the Teachers; Alexandra Nechita

Teachers across the country can no longer survive on the salaries they are offered to do the most important job of all. This is teaching our children the tools and honing their talents in order to have them do well in what is a very complicated world. Teachers are paid on a yearly contract that runs around 185 days. There are many professions that do contracted work. If the contract is for 365 days or 100 days it makes no difference. The important thing is to get the job done and done well. Some believe in the concept of those who do, do and those who can’t teach. I do get a kick out of this statement because those who can do because they were taught how too.

Teaching has always been equated with the success of its students. The profession has never been defined by money even though the ability to live and teach at the same time has always been difficult. I can define teaching because I am a retired teacher. I wrote the following 25 years ago about one of my days teaching. Continue reading