A 13-year-old boy named Christian attended last week’s Orange County Board of Education meeting and elegantly smacked down the federal takeover of local education standards, telling the board, “You are not educating my generation.”
Instead Christian said, “There needs to be more of us being taught rich, content based curriculum. Being taught how to think, not what to think.”
During the three minutes allotted to him at the board meeting the articulate young man accused the board of “selling us via our information to big data businesses, keeping track of our every mistake.” He also said said the board looks the other way when students and parents are bullied by teachers and administrators. “You are not protecting us.”
David Whitley, a parent who has been at the forefront of the battle against Common Core in Orange County, told PJ Media this week, “Students that opted out [of Common Core tests] in some districts have been treated very badly.” He said some have had senior privileges, like parking, revoked when they’ve opted out, while students who take the tests are rewarded with raffle tickets. “Why are principles punishing or rewarding kids based on the tests?” he asked.
Christian went on to say in the video, “If the Orange County Board of Education — a supposedly conservative board — is not willing to protect the next generation, then who will?”
“The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next,” he said, quoting Abraham Lincoln. “The architects of Common Core know exactly what they’re doing. America is not just another country on the globe. She is and should be proud of being the greatest and the brightest, so people have hope when looking at her.”
“I implore you to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. How about some real social justice? You are supposed to leave us a country better than you received it. This is not what you are doing,” Christian said. “Stand up for us and our country. Too many leaders in this country aren’t leading and are throwing away our future.”
Christian ended with a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
Aaron Dickson, who created “The Best First Date” — a video that’s been viewed over 12 million times — is back with a new creative effort. The name says it all and there’s nothing I can add except, “Grab some tissues — you’re going to need them!”
Be sure to watch all the way to the end. Enjoy!
Just like Rachel Dolezal and
Bruce Caitlyn Jenner, right?
In this case, it wouldn’t be difficult to disabuse Stephen of his distorted self-image. Simply drop him off in the African savannah and allow him to attend a short re-education camp with some real leopards, which can run 30 mph and have been observed taking down elands weighing 2000 lbs. He’ll be quickly reminded of his human frailties.
Of course, I jest.
But I do think this bizarre video demonstrates that our society has not had anything close to a rational discussion about where the lines between self-identification and reality should be drawn.
While we should acknowledge that some individuals do struggle with things like gender confusions and we should show them compassion, does that mean we should all be forced to accept and celebrate any and every self-identity presented to us, contra physical reality? Should it be based purely on physical characteristics like chromosomes or genitalia (or the presence of a leopard tail)? Or should it be merely based on self-perception? How do transracial, transabled, transweight, or transspecies individuals fit into those definitions? And who should be forced to accept which reality? Should the government be the enforcer of these self-perceptions?
The slippery slope of the sexual and moral revolution has turned our once great nation into a parody of tabloid headlines — and we’ve just begun to see the tip of the iceberg. A civil society cannot be organized around a series of blurred lines. At some point it just declines into an amalgamous milieu of postmodern chaos.
After the Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday, Warriors star Andre Iguodala was awarded the MVP trophy. During the postgame interview he was asked about his approach to the game.
“First of all, God is great. God is great,” Iguodala said.
Then he thanked some people who don’t often get recognition around the league. “I want to thank all the chaplains across the NBA for helping us out every single night,” he said. “This is awesome. We talked about about staying strong — stay with it. We modeled the whole playoffs, stay with it. They kept fighting. This is unreal. Unreal.”
In another post game interview Iguodala was asked, “In what way did your sacrifice of coming off the bench embody the sacrifice of this entire group?”
“We got a team full of believers. We all go to chapel before every game. We all believe and we all say God has a way for you — a purpose for you. This is my purpose.”
Also see Warriors star Stephen Curry talking about his Christian faith:
Graduation ceremonies might still be going on if Dublin schools had asked all of its valedictorians to speak.
There were 222 of them.
That means two out of every 10 graduates at Dublin’s three high schools received top honors this year. Dublin Scioto had 44 valedictorians, Dublin Jerome had 82, and Dublin Coffman had 96.
“I can’t say I’ve heard of that many,” said David Hawkins, executive director for educational content and policy with the National Association of College Admissions Counseling. He’s aware of high schools with 20-some valedictorians in a class but not as many as Coffman’s.
In the Dublin school district, valedictorian honors are awarded to all seniors with at least a 4.1 grade-point average, which means that 222 students in the district achieved perfect grades though all four years of high school — plus an extra tenth of a point, likely for an honors class.
It used to be that the valedictorian was the top-performing student in the school. These days — largely because of grade inflation, where a “C” is not average and an “A” does not represent a mark of exceptional effort and achievement — the top of the class is becoming an increasingly crowded field and it’s impossible for a truly excellent student to distinguish himself from the pack.
Fox News contributor Bernard Goldberg told Bill O’Reilly last week that Republicans live in fear of “the organized Christian right.”
Goldberg and O’Reilly were discussing presidential candidate Ted Cruz, who recently asked a local reporter in Texas if the left — including the media — is obsessed with sex, after reporters repeatedly badgered him with questions about gay marriage and homosexuality. Both said that Cruz handled the question well, even though Goldberg admitted, “I’m not a fan of Ted Cruz.” But Goldberg had more to say.
“Ted Cruz could have said, of course, I have no animosity against gay Americans. Next question,” Goldberg said. “But you know why he didn’t? Because every Republican lives in fear of the organized Christian right. There may not be a lot of people in the organized Christian right, but they have a very big megaphone, and [Republicans] live in daily and deathly fear of what they would do…if you even say, ‘Oh, I have no animosity against gays,’ that’s what they’re afraid of.”
He added, “There are more than a few conservative Christians — I’m not saying a majority or anything like that — more than a few who not only are against gay marriage, Bill, but detest gays, period.”
Goldberg offered the hate mail he receives as proof of the Scary Christian Right Wing Monster.
“I know this because when I come on this program and say I’m for gay marriage, I don’t only get e-mails from people who are against it — fair enough. Reasonable people can disagree on that,” he said. “I get e-mails from people who write the most vile things about gays, and they proclaim their Christianity. And I know for a fact that you get the same kind of e-mails.”
Goldberg didn’t say how many of these hateful emails he’s received — five…ten…fifty? But he paints an evocative tale of a breathtakingly powerful Christian group — one that threatens to bring down the entire GOP — fueled by shadowy figures who refuse to evolve on marriage. And they’re all sitting in their parents’ basements in their underpants sending Goldberg emails or something.
Bill O’Reilly, who has 3.3 million viewers on an average night, countered, “I have to say, I don’t get many of those. And the fringe is different. ”
“Wait, wait. Hold on. I’m not willing to accept that it’s a fringe — you don’t know what percent — percentage it is, and I don’t know what percentage it is. I know it’s too many,” and animated Goldberg shot back.
So according to Bernie, it’s not a fringe and it’s “more than a few conservative Christians,” but not “a majority or anything.” So, somewhere between a fringe and the majority, I guess.
Which means he’s willing to entertain the possibility that these “vile” emails are representative of Christianity in the main.
Goldberg didn’t say what criteria he uses to judge these “vile” emails. If a Christian emails him and says she believes the traditional Christian teaching that unrepentant homosexuals (and thieves and liars, et al) are in danger of eternal punishment, does that go onto the “vile” pile on Goldberg’s desk?
What do you remember about the time you spent in kindergarten? For me, it was a magical time of singing, learning to skip, and playing make-believe in the post office our teacher had set up in our classroom (we used those little silver scissors to cut stamps out of construction paper, gluing them onto handmade envelopes with that sweet-smelling white paste). We played with blocks, painted masterpieces with tempera paint — one boy named Tony got paddled for smearing it on the walls — and played foursquare with bouncy red playground balls. And even though it was only half-day kindergarten, Mrs. Liptak made all thirty of us squirmy kids lie down for a short nap time. We were rewarded with a snack afterward and then piled onto the buses to go home. We learned our ABCs and numbers in kindergarten, but were not taught to read or add until first grade. Everything about it was fun and happy and it set the stage for more formal academics in the years to come.
If you have children in school now, you know that things have changed drastically. David Kohn writes at the New York Times:
But increasingly, these activities are being abandoned for the teacher-led, didactic instruction typically used in higher grades. In many schools, formal education now starts at age 4 or 5. Without this early start, the thinking goes, kids risk falling behind in crucial subjects such as reading and math, and may never catch up…
In the United States, more academic early education has spread rapidly in the past decade. Programs like No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top have contributed to more testing and more teacher-directed instruction.
Another reason: the Common Core State Standards, a detailed set of educational guidelines meant to ensure that students reach certain benchmarks between kindergarten and 12th grade. Currently, 43 states and the District of Columbia have adopted both the math and language standards.
But does it work? Do tiny children need serious academic work at a young age in order to succeed later in life? Experts are increasingly saying no. Kohn cites several studies showing that children do worse when structured play is replaced with early didactic teaching. One study of 400,000 15-year-olds in more than 50 counties found that early school entry provided no advantage to students. Another study found that those who started school at age five had lower reading comprehension than those who start school later. A study of children who had attended “academically oriented” preschool classes vs. those who went to schools that encouraged “child initiated learning” discovered that by the end of fourth grade, the student who had received more formalized instruction earned significantly lower grades than children who were encouraged to learn through play, suggesting that the didactic instruction may have slowed their academic progress.
What do you think? Should preschool and kindergarten children be focused more on academics or should children be encouraged to play more and explore the world around them without the structure of formalized education?
Just for fun, I’ve copied and pasted the Common Core English Language Arts Standards below so you can get an idea of what children are now required to learn in kindergarten. You can see why there’s not much time for painting and playtime anymore — and why teachers are insisting they need full-day kindergarten to accomplish all of this in one year.
Conventions of Standard English:
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
Print many upper- and lowercase letters.
Use frequently occurring nouns and verbs.
Form regular plural nouns orally by adding /s/ or /es/ (e.g., dog, dogs; wish, wishes).
Understand and use question words (interrogatives) (e.g., who, what, where, when, why, how).
Use the most frequently occurring prepositions (e.g., to, from, in, out, on, off, for, of, by, with).
Produce and expand complete sentences in shared language activities.
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
Capitalize the first word in a sentence and the pronoun I
Recognize and name end punctuation.
Write a letter or letters for most consonant and short-vowel sounds (phonemes).
Spell simple words phonetically, drawing on knowledge of sound-letter relationships.
Knowledge of Language:
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on kindergarten reading and content.
Identify new meanings for familiar words and apply them accurately (e.g., knowingduck is a bird and learning the verb to duck).
Use the most frequently occurring inflections and affixes (e.g., -ed, -s, re-, un-, pre-, -ful, -less) as a clue to the meaning of an unknown word.
With guidance and support from adults, explore word relationships and nuances in word meanings.
Sort common objects into categories (e.g., shapes, foods) to gain a sense of the concepts the categories represent.
Demonstrate understanding of frequently occurring verbs and adjectives by relating them to their opposites (antonyms).
Identify real-life connections between words and their use (e.g., note places at school that are colorful).
Distinguish shades of meaning among verbs describing the same general action (e.g.,walk, march, strut, prance) by acting out the meanings.
Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts.
What started out as a discussion of the (so-called) gender wage gap evolved into the verbal equivalent of a cage match on Hannity on Thursday when Gavin McInnes, author of The Death of Cool, told Fox News contributor Tamara Holder that part of the reason for the wage gap is that women are less ambitious than men.
“Women do earn less in America because they choose to,” McInnes said. “They would rather go to their daughter’s piano recital than stay all night at work working on a proposal. So they end up — they’re less ambitious. This is God’s way of saying women should be at home with the kids. They’re happier there.”
Holder looked like she had never been exposed to such a radial idea — a view that’s anathema to modern feminists. When McInnes doubled down and said that women often choose to prioritize their families over work, Holder spat, “Having a choice does not mean you’re less ambitious! Your comments are deplorable!”
McInnes’ words should have come with a trigger warning because at that point, Holder lapsed into incoherent mumbling, appealing to host Sean Hannity to stop McInnes’ vile words. “Sean…boy…like…you to — you’re a father with a daughter…”
“If you’re a real feminist, you would support housewives and see those as the heros — and women who work wasting their time,” McInnes continued.
As he often does, McInnes crossed that fine line. He went from provocative opining — making a perfectly valid point — to unhelpful hyperbole.
Seeing that he had activated Holder’s launch sequence — or trigger sequence — McInnes kept going, enjoying her inability to do much more than cover her ears and say, “Stop it!”
“You’d be happier at home with a husband and children.”
“Oh, boy…oh, boy…I’m literally…” the apoplectic Holder said.
“You don’t have a boyfriend,” McInnes said to her. “Look, you’re miserable. You would be so much happier with kids around you tonight. Imagine coming home. Mommy’s home!”
Too much, Gavin, too much.
But he did make an important point — which was probably lost in the drama about Holder’s lack of a husband — about women making different life choices than men. They work fewer hours, choose to stay home with their kids much more often than men, and choose professions that give them more flexibility because their hearts are drawn naturally — biologically and instinctively — to their homes and their families. Of course, there are exceptions, like Holder — women who choose to prioritize their careers over their families. But wouldn’t it be nice if, as McInnes suggested, stay-at-home mothers enjoyed the same respect and support (and tax benefits) in our culture that career women like Holder receive?
For more on this subject, check out the new PJTV series, The War on Men: The Gender Wage Gap Myth and Anti-Male Sexism At Work, where I weigh in on the wage gap myth and the so-called ‘War on Women.’
Andy Murray has continued his incredible run of form since marrying Kim Sears in Dunblane last month, taking his unbeaten streak to nine matches while beating Rafael Nadal to win the Madrid Open in spectacular fashion.
Murray has now secured two consecutive titles on the red dirt since the wedding, having never previously won on the surface, and his comprehensive 6-3 6-2 win over Nadal was as unexpected as it was stunning.
Murray, who punched the air in delight after beating the ‘King of Clay’, proceeded to mark his improbable triumph in Madrid by signing the on-court TV camera, accompanied by the message ‘marriage works’.
“It (marriage) has been nice and a lot of people have spoken about the honeymoon period,” Murray told Sky Sports after the match.
“But we’ve been together a very long time and getting married was the next step,” he said. “I’ve always said if the personal stuff is happy and under control that helps your performance on the court.”
Murray’s fans on Twitter agreed:
Muzza writes "Marriage works" on cam. 9-0 after wedding. TWO clay titles in a week. We can't disagree!! pic.twitter.com/ejMtibt40m
— Troll Tennis (@TrollTennis) May 10, 2015
— Indy Sport (@IndySport) May 11, 2015
"Marriage works!" Andy Murray's form since he tied the knot: WWWWWWWWW pic.twitter.com/waPaYWUeV5
— bet365 (@bet365) May 10, 2015
Absolutely brilliant from Dunblane's Andy Murray winning Madrid Open (on clay). 2nd title in succession. Marriage obviously agrees with Andy
— Keith Brown MSP (@KeithBrownMSP) May 10, 2015
Massive congratulations @andy_murray !!!! Great performance and so much more to come. Best advertisement for marriage
— philip wright (@philwrig) May 10, 2015
— Raluca Matei (@Raluca_Murray) May 10, 2015
Seeing what Andy Murray's doing made me think: Anybody up for marriage around here? (maybe after I'm over my food poisoning though)
— Andrea Petkovic (@andreapetkovic) May 10, 2015
— Sky Sports Tennis (@SkySportsTennis) May 11, 2015
In the remote cane fields of South Florida lies the City of Refuge, which provides a home for 120 registered sex offenders in a compound consisting of sixty concrete buildings. There’s a need for such communities, the leaders of Matthew 25 Ministries say, because registered sex offenders are not free to live wherever they choose. By law, they cannot live near children and those who are subject to a lifetime registration requirement are banned from federally subsidised public housing. As a result, many convicted sex offenders end up living on the streets, without the benefit of community support or accountability.
Jay Kirk visited the unusual community and interviewed many of its residents. He writes at GQ:
As everybody now knows, sex offenders have a rough time of it after they get out of prison. Because of the registry. Because the state says they can’t live within a thousand feet of a school or a playground or a bus stop. Because they can’t live anywhere children assemble, etc. So they end up living out of their cars, under highway overpasses, or in the woods, like fearful animals, like homeless lepers. You could say they’re lucky to be here, even if it is four miles from anything resembling a town, not much of a resemblance at that, and the “city” (really more of a village) being just a lonely former barracks built by U.S. Sugar for migrant workers in the ’60s. Sixty-one concrete bungalows on twenty-four acres, with 120 resident offenders at any given time, surrounded by hundreds of thousands of acres of sweet, sugary nothing. A couple of dozen older Jamaicans still live here, too, but the sex offenders arrived six and a half years ago when Pat Powers, an offender himself, came and claimed the place in the name of Jesus Christ. They live in this exile, of course, because there is nothing lower than their kind.
Considering how welcoming they are, however, I’m inclined to resist the urge to assume the worst—and anyway, I don’t particularly want to know the specifics of any of their crimes. Society has already exacted its debt, is my thinking.
But despite Kirk’s best efforts to shed a positive light on this community — painting its residents as mostly victims of an over-zealous criminal justice system — he quickly realizes it’s not all sunshine and roses in the land of convicted sex offenders. He talks to one man, Andy, who lives there with his wife and two small children. Andy tells Kirk that he doesn’t associate with the other residents much because “there’s a good number here who got convicted, went to prison, got out, recommitted, got convicted again, often for multiple victims” and he doesn’t want them around his children.
He also interviews Richard, who served time for molesting his twin step granddaughters:
He says he takes responsibility for what happened, he was the “grown-up,” but after eight years in prison, what really rips him is how offenders get stigmatized when there’s so much worse in the world. Seriously, he says, which was worse? Killing kids or just molesting them? Had he killed any children? No. And which was worse for a parent? To have their kids molested but at least alive and still be able to go to therapy afterward, or to have them be dead?…He thinks this bias comes from the skewed way “society” looks at things. It’s irrational. People are irrational. “Having your child molested becomes a personal thing.”
As if any parent of a victimized child ever gets to make that choice.
Kirk said the conversation with Richard left him “addled.” He admires the experiment that has given “an undeniably over-punished group a voice.” Still, he doesn’t know if stigmatizing sex offenders is “fair.”
“What does nag me, however, is the way they advocate for themselves as if the discrimination they suffer is really no different than that of an oppressed minority group,” Kirk writes. “I’ve heard Pat start in twice now about how he really gets the plight of the Jews in Nazi Germany because he says he’s seen the sheriff’s office show up in the middle of the night and enter people’s homes without much ceremony.”
During Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, a controversy arose about the president allegedly funnelling money through his wife’s law firm for state business. When asked about it by a reporter, Hillary Clinton responded in her trademark caustic style:
I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession which I entered before my husband was in public life.
This was before her handlers realized that Hillary needed to be kept in a protective media-free zone for her own good, because when she speaks her mind, venom often flows out. Hillary likely thought it was virtuous to derisively dismiss stay-at-home mothers — housewives — who were putzing their lives away wiping snotty noses and baking cookies all day instead of participating in some meaningful paid labor.
The day Hillary made that comment I was at home with a 6-month-old baby. I remember thinking that she was a judgmental elitist who had no idea what I did all day and I was angry that she devalued stay-at-home moms without batting an eye.
When my husband and I got married, we made the decisions that if we were blessed with children, I would stay home with them. We started planning for it from Day One of our marriage — doing our best to live within our means and not become dependent on my income, which we anticipated would disappear once we had children.
It wasn’t easy — there are sacrifices when you choose to live on one income. We drove high-mileage cars (which my husband maintained and repaired), lived in a small, one-bathroom house with a “one butt kitchen,” and shopped for our clothing at yard sales and thrift stores. Things eventually improved as my husband advanced in his career, but there were a lot of Hamburger Helper years in the interim (ground beef was 89 cents a pound back then). I am blessed to have a hardworking husband who joyfully provided for all of our family’s needs over the years and who also made sacrifices so I could be home with our children (the ’68 Mercury Cougar comes to mind).
Of course, this also meant that I gave up having a career of my own. In fact, I was out of the workforce providing unpaid labor as the caretaker of our home and children for 17 years. My husband reminded me recently of a comment I made to him a few years ago as our kids were getting ready to leave home. I told him I was pretty sure I was unemployable after being out of the workforce for so long, but thought perhaps I could get a job as a Walmart greeter. (God is sure full of delicious surprises.)
I’m not here to judge mothers who work outside the home. I am in the “trust parents to make the best decisions for their own families” camp. But I am here to say that I have not — even for one minute — regretted my decision to stay home with my kids. I had the privilege of wiping their snotty noses 24-7 and teaching them to read — spending hours reading to them each day. I taught them to bake cookies, to throw a baseball, and to clean toilets. I homeschooled them and taught them to love learning and be curious about the world around them and to be suspicious of people who sound like they’re selling something. I was blessed to be able to do all of these things at a leisurely pace without having to rush back and forth to daycare or to school while trying to squeeze in all the mothering between dinner and bedtime and on weekends. I had dinner on the table
every most nights when my husband arrived home from work and our family enjoyed leisurely meals together.
Tatiana Guerra, who lost her sight at age 17, was able to “see” her 20-week unborn baby through the miracle of 3D printing. The 30-year-old mother asked, “What does his face look like, doctor?” during a 3D ultrasound and she listened carefully as the doctor described her baby’s features. But then he surprised her by “printing” a 3D image of her baby and handing it to her, wrapped in a tiny blanket.
The video (actually an ad for Huggies diapers) captures her precious, emotional reaction to “seeing” her unborn baby for the first time — with her hands.
Years ago a friend described to me her daughter-in-law’s “noble” decision to abort a child with Down syndrome. “That baby was a monster,” my friend told me in a grave voice, as if a living human child could ever be a “monster.” The words have stuck with me all these years and I am reminded of them every time someone talks about protecting the most vulnerable among us — unborn babies with disabilities.
A study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information and featured in the New York Times found that approximately 92% of unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome are terminated. We worry that children are in danger from guns on the streets, drugs, biking accidents, vaccinations, too much sugar and any number of things that can be harmful. But nothing comes close to this. No child is more at risk in our society than those tiny babies with Down syndrome.
Ohio could be the second state in the nation to pass a law banning abortions on babies diagnosed with Down syndrome if the Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act becomes law. Sponsored by state Representatives Dave Hall and Sarah LaTourette (daughter of former congressman Steve LaTourette), the bill would prohibit a person from “performing, inducing, or attempting to perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman who is seeking the abortion because of a test result indicating Down Syndrome in an unborn child or a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome in an unborn child.” The bill received its first legislative hearing this week before the Ohio House Committee on Community and Family Advancement.
It’s rare to see a child with Down syndrome these days. Compared to their prevalence in our society before abortion on demand became legal, they’ve practically been eradicated as a population. We’ve so devalued the lives of these children that we call them “monsters” and end their lives before they begin — for their own good — and it’s heralded as a noble decision. If the Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act becomes law, Ohio will become a leader in the fight to protect them, saying that unborn children cannot be denied life simply because they have a disability.
A company in Dubai has created an innovative type of flooring that they say “fundamentally changes” the way we will think about what’s beneath our feet. The eye-catching floors, created by Imperial Interiors, are composed of a self-leveling screed which is covered by the 3-D image, followed by a transparent polymer and then finished with a protective lacquer.
Though they were originally used in large spaces like hotels and office buildings, the company says they are ideal for any room size, and in fact, can visually enlarge small spaces.
Here are some examples from the company’s Facebook page and from Talenthouse:
Imagine walking into a room in your home and feeling like you’ve crossed the threshold into some exotic locale — like you’re taking a homecation every time you use the bathroom. (Considering all the time you spend in there, it might not be a bad investment!)
But I’m not so sure about this next one. There’s no way I’d want these guys peering up at me every time I’m having my “quiet time” (as we euphemistically refer to it at our house). It’s just a bridge too far for me.
Same with this one:
It’s a shame we have to go all the way to Dubai for these. Hopefully we’ll see them in the U.S. soon.
The head of a British exam board has said that students should be allowed Internet access – including the ability to carry out Google searches – during exams. The head of the OCR school examinations board Mark Dawe told the BBC’s Today program that this would accurately reflect the way they would work after leaving school.
“It is more about understanding what results you’re seeing rather than keeping all of that knowledge in your head, because that’s not how the modern world works,” said Dawe.
He compared the idea to the debate about whether to have books available during a test, saying: “In reality you didn’t have too much time [to consult the book] and you had to learn it anyway.”
The Oxford, Cambridge & RSA board’s chief said that while permitting Internet access during exams would not happen in the next weeks or months, it was “inevitable” at some stage
So, what exactly would they be testing? The ability to effectively conduct Google searches? We’ve come a long way from those blue paper essay books, haven’t we? While there’s nothing wrong with teaching kids to find information on the internet — in fact it’s an essential skill in this day and age — shouldn’t we be teaching kids some actual content and expecting students to retain some knowledge of the subjects they’ve been taught? What’s the point of having teachers if Google has all the answers? Or are we heading into some brave new world where we’ll wipe our mental hard drives clean and rely on the cloud to do all of our thinking for us?
What do you think? Should students be allowed to conduct Google searches during exams? And how about those open-book tests that have become so popular in recent years?
Lawmakers in a dozen states have drafted legislation that would require students to pass the same test new citizens take when going through the naturalization process. Arizona and North Dakota have already made the test a requirement for high school graduation. Students must answer 100 factual questions about our government and our nation’s history, including these:
- What is the supreme law of the land?
- The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words?
- What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?
- What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful?
- Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?
- During the Cold War, what was the main concern of the United States?
If you graduated from high school before the 1990s you can probably recite the answers to these questions without much effort because they were drilled into your head in your history and government classes (or by Schoolhouse Rock! videos). Everyone back then agreed that students should know — and memorize — facts like these as a way to promote good citizenship.
But some education experts believe this is a terrible idea. Forcing students to “regurgitate facts” is an antiquated education method, they say, one that will stunt students’ learning and inhibit their ability to solve community problems when they’re out in the real world.
Joseph Kahne, a professor of education at Mills College in Oakland, California, recently wrote in Education Week:
We need young citizens who are committed to helping make their communities better and who can assess policy proposals, not merely youths who know how many voting members of the U.S. House of Representatives there are. Google provides the answer to any question on the naturalization test in seconds.
He said students learn more when they discuss current events and “are asked to form and justify their own opinions on controversial issues.” He also thinks that when young people have opportunities to volunteer in their communities and “reflect on the experience,” they are more likely to volunteer in their communities in the future.
This is typical of the Progressive educational philosophy: short on historical facts and propositional truths, long on discussion, finding meaning in experience, and validating everyone’s opinions — whether or not they’re right.
While it’s great to sit around in rap sessions discussing the Founders’ motives for including “We the people” in the Preamble of the Constitution (and I enthusiastically encourage everyone to do so), the words are such a foundational concept upon which our entire form of government is built that if you have to google the answer to such a simple question, I would suggest you haven’t been intellectually equipped for the hard work of self-government. Check out the video above, where only one of fifteen “born and bred” Americans who were interviewed on the streets of Miami were able to pass the citizenship tests, with most unable to answer simple questions about the name of the vice president and who wrote the Constitution.
Kahne goes on to say that “democracy thrives when citizens think critically and deeply about civic and political issues, when they consider the needs and priorities of others, and when they engage in informed action—not when they memorize a few facts.”
Students don’t need to be community organized and made to participate in “informed action” (whatever that means) in order to be prepared to exercise their rights and responsibilities as citizens. Instead, they need to be imbued with knowledge, facts, and truth. If more students could answer the 100 questions on the citizenship test, we’d at least know we’re sending the electorate to the polls with a basic knowledge of our history and the way our government functions (or at least how it was designed to function).
In a video that went viral this week, we saw Baltimore mom Toya Graham smacking her 16-year-old son upside the head when she caught him participating in the mayhem and rioting. She’s been almost universally hailed as a paragon of great parenting — even Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts praised Graham, saying: “I wish I had more parents who took charge of their kids tonight. Take control of your kids.” There’s a Twitter hashtag calling her #MomOfTheYear.
In the video we see the single mother of six grabbing her teenage son by the neck and smacking him several times in the head. He escapes her grasp momentarily, but she comes right back at him, collars him again and hits him. He shakes her loose and tries to walk away, but Toya follows him, screaming, “Get the f*** over here! Did you hear what I said?”
Folks, this is not #MomOfTheYear material.
I’m a huge fan of disciplining your kids — and even an advocate of spanking younger children if it’s not done in anger. In fact, the Bible teaches that if you don’t discipline your kids, you don’t really love them. The biblical concept of the word involves teaching and instruction, and while it certainly can involve punishment or chastisement, it should always be expressed in a calm, loving manner. One of the goals of discipline is to model for the child — or young adult — how to appropriately express feelings like anger, disappointment, or frustration. Screaming and wildly flailing your hands at your child’s head accomplishes none of these goals. Rather than teaching self-control and discipline, it teaches reactionary and impulsive behavior which will not serve children well later in life.
Don’t get me wrong. Children need discipline — and my children will attest to the fact that we were no slackers in this area. And they’ll also tell you that there were times that we failed miserably. I’m ashamed to say that there were times I totally lost it and looked way too much like Baltimore Mom. Good gravy, I’m thankful there were no cameras on me at the time! I’m ashamed of those moments and I’d be horrified if someone called me “Mom of the Year” for the times I lost my cool. Those were my worst parenting moments, the times I failed my kids and had to apologize to them and ask their forgiveness — certainly not anything I’m proud of.
When children are consistently disciplined in a compassionate, controlled manner and given consistent boundaries and appropriate consequences, those qualities spill over into their lives and as adults, they’ll find they’ve been given the tools to be self-disciplined, self-controlled, and compassionate to their own children and others around them. Moreover, they’ll get a glimpse of God’s compassion for us:
My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:5-11)
I realize that families are under siege in cities like Baltimore and there are few things harder than being a single mother raising a teenage boy in the inner city. Good parenting doesn’t come naturally and parents who didn’t have good role models growing up have few tools at their disposal. I suspect Toya Graham is doing the best she can in a really tough situation and she was probably terrified to see her son out in the street, knowing all too well what might happen to him. Her reaction is perfectly understandable. I’m not passing judgment on her — I haven’t walked in her shoes and I don’t know anything about her life save for a minute-long YouTube video. I’m just saying we shouldn’t be celebrating a parent losing her cool with her kid and the incident most certainly shouldn’t be propped up as the model of great parenting.
More from Michael Walsh:
From the Associated Press:
Two sisters from Oklahoma and Nebraska said Saturday that they survived in a remote part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on love for their family, melted snow and the little food they had in their snow-crippled SUV.
A day after being spotted by a police helicopter in Luce County, Leslie Roy, 52, and Lee Marie Wright, 56, offered thanks to their rescuers and others involved in the nearly two-week search after they disappeared earlier this month…
…State police Detective Sgt. Jeff Marker told The Associated Press that Roy and Wright wore layers of clothing to stay warm, melted snow to drink and ate Girl Scout cookies and a bag of cheese puffs.
And the important part, “The sisters were examined Friday at an area hospital and released.”
Since they’re in season now, this might be a good time to add some Girl Scout cookies to your bug-out bag. After all, we now practically have scientific proof that they’re a bonafide ‘survival food.’ Throw in a few cheese puffs while you’re at it, just in case.
Here’s something all Americans — regardless of race, creed, color, national origin, or political orientation — should be able to agree on. This must not be allowed to become a trend at NBA games!
This guy was spotted at the New Orleans Pelicans-Golden State Warriors game Thursday night in all his glory in a sea full of red Pelicans t-shirts that were handed out to fans at the gate.
The ‘unibra’ (as it’s being called) is a nod to Pelicans player Anthony Davis, who trademarked phrases tied to his ‘famous’ unibrow when he was drafted in 2012.
If the NBA can ban smoking and guns in their venues, surely they can – they must — ban this public display of painted chest hair, right? For the children!
— SB Nation (@SBNation) April 24, 2015
The pint-sized subject of this note is clearly headed for a life of crime. The neighbor charged that the small child was:
- Running free in his backyard
- Carrying on without end
My advice to this neighbor: Get out and get some fresh air — maybe even engage in a little “carrying on” yourself. I bet your dogs will thank you for it!
How would you respond to the busybody neighbor?
A bunch of moms in a garage band in Massachusetts have recorded a new version of the Beatles song “Revolution” to give voice to their opposition to Common Core. Dressed in jeans, anti-Common Core t-shirts, and tri-cornered hats, The Revolution Band sings that “politicians fear no retribution” and that “control and money’s is what it’s about.” They belt out, “Well, we have to tell the Feds, it’s not alright…” The third verse gets to the heart of the problem:
You’d have to change the Constitution
Well you know, you just spit on it instead
Teachers have no say in education
Well you know, schools should be state led
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher used to say, ”First, you win the argument, then you win the vote.”
These moms — and hundreds of thousands of others across the nation — are winning the argument that we need local control of education instead of the top-down, federally influenced behemoth that Common Core has become. They are making this argument in their local communities, in their state capitols, and in every nook and cranny of the internet. And their arguments are translating into votes and political influence — nearly every potential Republican presidential candidate has come out against Common Core (Governors Kasich and Bush being the stubborn holdouts).
Well done, ladies (and you too, drummer dad!). This is how you effectively “do” resistance in 2015.
Two baby gorillas made their first public appearance at the Bronx Zoo on Wednesday and they are unbelievably adorable. The furry infants, whose gender is yet to be determined, were born 48 hours apart in January and were introduced to the zoo’s Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit this week.
The Bronx Zoo is part of the Wildlife Conservation Society and participates in a captive breeding program to preserve the genetic diversity of the critically endangered mammals. The zoo’s exhibit features the largest captive group on the continent and includes Ernie, the group’s 31-year-old alpha male, and more than 20 females, which mimics the typical living conditions in the wild.
Ernie is the father of both of the new babies, who were born to different mothers – Layla and Kumi, both 16 years old. Layla and Kumi will carry their babies everywhere until they’re around four months old (which is why the zoo doesn’t yet know their genders) and they will continue to nurse them until they are around 4 years- old.
This problem from the Singapore Math series was posted on Facebook by Singapore TV personality Kenneth Kong. He wrote, “This question causes a debate with my wife …. and its a P5 question.” The Singapore Math curriculum is used by the country of Singapore with enormous success (their students are usually ranked at or near the top in international rankings). P5 is roughly the equivalent of 5th grade math in the U.S., but this question is actually from the recent Singapore and Asian Schools Math Olympiad, which is given to the top 40% of students in the country.
So, are you smarter than a 5th grade Singapore Math Olympiad student? (You can find the answer here.)
From WNEW in Washington:
The Montgomery County parents who let their children walk around their Silver Spring neighborhood alone are being investigated again after authorities found the two kids at a park on Sunday.
Police say officers responded to a call to check on children without an adult at a Silver Spring park Sunday afternoon and took the children to Child Protective Services.
Meanwhile, the children’s mother, Danielle Meitiv, says they began searching for her 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, who were expected home at 6 p.m. She says they didn’t learn where the children were until 8 p.m.
The children were eventually returned to their parents, but not until 10:30 p.m. that night. Their mother wrote this on her Facebook page:
The police coerced our children into the back of a patrol car, telling them they would drive them home. They kept the kids trapped there for three hours, without notifying us, before dropping them at the Crisis Center, and holding them there without dinner for another two and a half hours. We finally got home at 11pm and the kids slept in our room because we were all exhausted and terrified.
Despite the fact that violent crime — including crime against children — has been declining for decades, hysterical, sensationalized media coverage in the 24-hour news cycle makes it seem like every community is a crime-infested ghetto with hundreds of predators roaming the streets looking for unsupervised children to rape, kidnap, and murder. Parents who reject the false “danger everywhere!” narrative and allow their children to walk down the street or play in the park without a parent hovering nearby are judged as neglectful. What used to be considered normal parenting — letting kids play outside without supervision — is now cause for removal of children from the home.
Here’s the problem: Parents like the Meitivs, who reject helicopter parenting and allow their children a little more freedom, are taking a different kind of risk. While statistically their children are going to return home from the park unmolested by murderers and rapists, nothing can protect them from the busybodies who call the police to report an unaccompanied child and the resulting interactions with police and county social workers who are going to be looking for reasons to teach these parents a lesson about their “free-range” parenting style.
When we were homeschooling, we were advised to never let the “authorities” into our home without a warrant. If the police or social workers ever showed up at our door (say as the result of a bogus complaint from a busybody neighbor) we should allow them to have a glimpse of the kids so they could see that they were alive and not in any obvious distress, but unless the authorities had a warrant, they should not be permitted to come into our home and should never, ever be allowed to talk to our children. While it may sound a little extreme and possibly paranoid, the advice came at a time when homeschooling was still viewed as a fringe movement and parents were being dragged into court on truancy charges — or worse — because they chose to remove their children from public school. Part of the advice was to always be polite and never confrontational. We were warned that county social workers had a great deal of power and could destroy a family that didn’t cooperate with their edicts. “You don’t want to go there,” we were told.
The thought that social workers can pluck a child out of his home for not attending government schools or that police can grab a child off the street for the crime of playing in a park without a parent is truly astounding — and terrifying. Once a child falls down that rabbit hole of the child welfare system, his life will never be the same. It could be days, weeks — even months — before he returns home and in the meantime, he will be subjected to terrifying interviews, rides in police cars, and being moved around from place to place while the authorities investigate every nook and cranny of his parents’ lives to determine whether they’re more qualified to raise their own child than the state.
Parents need to think long and hard before they challenge government authority with their children. You may be able to hire a good lawyer and prevail in the end — and you may be absolutely, completely morally right in your parental decisions — but at what cost? It’s a backwards system where the “authorities” have all the power at the front end. The children are held as little hostages until the parents agree to attend state-approved parenting classes or they promise to be helicopter parents who never again let their little darlings out of their sight.
It’s an ingenious way to keep you in line, isn’t it?