Eagle Forum Agenda | August - September 2004

SPECIAL REPORT ON EDUCATION

Contents:

Political Activism Takes Center Stage for NEA

Students for Academic Freedom

Children’s Internet Protection Act Becomes Law

How to Porn Proof Your Public Libraries

I-884 The $1 Billion Education Initiative

Just How Much Is Enough?

Conveying Values to a New Generation

Students Failing to Pass WASL—2002-03


Political Activism Takes Center Stage for NEA
By Phyllis Schlafly

To no one's surprise, delegates to the annual National Education Association convention voted 7,390 to 1,153 to endorse U. S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., for president.

NEA President Reg Weaver opened the annual convention in July in Washington, D.C., with a call for public school teachers and employees to mobilize to defeat President Bush on Nov. 2. Weaver said the union's political activism "takes center stage" and predicted "our 2.7 million members can be the X factor in this election."

For the 2004 political campaign, the NEA will "partner" with left-wing organizations such as MoveOn.org, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now and the pro-Democratic Campaign for America's Future in order to achieve "the largest mobilization for education ever." Through a nationwide political strategy called "house parties" to be held Sept. 22, these activist will plan political rallies, register voters, meet with congressional candidates and organize a get-out-the-vote program to cover teachers and parents.

Kerry was to have been the convention's headline speaker, but he stood them up, choosing that day to announce his choice of Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., as his running mate. The delegates were more than pleased with his replacement, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., who was introduced as "one of our closest allies; she's so close, in fact, that she needs no further introduction."

The former first lady brought the delegates to their feet with what the NEA's official newspaper called her "sharp wit" such as, "We are one day closer to the end of the Bush-Cheney administration." Actually, she was just a warm up for a showing of Michael Moore's anti-Bush movie, "Fahrenheit 9/11," right after her speech.

The NEA's lobbying goals in 2005 for Congress include federal funding for public school child care, early childhood programs that are school based, before– and after-school programs, big spending for school counselors and school-based health care for children.

The NEA's foreign policy goals include ratification of the United Nations' treaties on the Rights of the Child.

The NEA's feminist lobbying goals include "reproductive freedom without governmental intervention (but, of course, with tax funding), affirmative action, assigning women to military combat and passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. The NEA's gay goals include income tax benefits for domestic partners and hate crimes legislation.

The NEA opposes all varieties of school choice, tuition tax credits, vouchers, parental option or "choice" in education programs and any possible action that might impinge on "separation of church and state.

The most controversial vote at the NEA convention turned out to concern one word in the anti-homeschool resolution. B-69 as introduced read: "The Association also believes that unfunded homeschool students should not participate in any extracurricular activities in the public schools."

The word "unfunded" precipitated a lively debate. Some schools provide funding for home-schoolers to participate in after-school activities such as sports. The amendment to remove the word "unfunded" was designed to put the NEA on record as opposed to letting homeschoolers darken the door of public schools regardless of whether there is money to finance their participation.

In the end the majority of delegates voted to delete "unfunded." Whether or not the participation of home-schoolers is funded, the NEA wants to prohibit them from competing in any way with public school students who are "with us all day."

The NEA thus made its animosity against home-schoolers loud and clear. The only thing this powerful and wealthy union fears is homeschooling.

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Students for Academic Freedom
Confronting the College Campus Leftist

David Horowitz, former leftwing campus activist in the 1960’s now turned conservative, thinks that anybody who cares about the future of America should confront the fact that U. S. colleges and universities are the fountainhead of financing for the radical movement in America.

These hard-core leftists have no shame about using the classroom podium for political speechmaking. They may be teaching a course in biology or Shakespeare, but that doesn’t inhibit them from launching into tirades against American policies or in favor of the Communist in El Salvador, or assigning students to write a paper on why George W. Bush is a war criminal.

These radical lefts have redefined the mission of universities. Instead of the pursuit of knowledge and truth, universities today see themselves as agencies for social change. Horowitz says the change they seek is fundamentally anti-American.

Many people have decried the bias of universities, but David Horowitz has a plan of action to turn it around. First, expose how bad the situation is, and second, challenge them directly by using the liberals’ credo of diversity against them by calling for intellectual diversity.

What Horowitz’s campaign has achieved is to highlight the hypocrisy of university professors and administrators who do a lot of talking about “intellectual” and “diversity” but almost never combine the two words into “intellectual diversity.”

David Horowitz’s new organization, Students for Academic Freedom, has attracted students on about 90 campuses with the goal of demanding a more balanced point of view among faculty and in campus lecture series. They are promoting an Academic Bill of Rights as a policy statement for colleges to adopt so the students can enjoy intellectual diversity with fairness for conservative viewpoints.

It is refreshing that many conservative students are joining Horowitz’s campaign to fight back against academic intolerance.

If you know of, or are a conservative college student and are interested in joining Horowitz’s campaign for academic freedom check it out at: www.StudentsForAcademicFreedom.org

April 2004 Phyllis Schlafly Report

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Children’s Internet Protection Act Becomes Law

As of July 1 public libraries and schools across the nation became safer for children. That is the date that the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) became law. This law requires that all libraries wishing to receive federal funds to install filters that will prevent not only children, but adults, from downloading pornography. The law includes schools which stand to lose $2.25 billion worth of discounts on technology if they don’t comply.

Most libraries, loathe to lose the money, were scrambling to put filters in place, if they didn't already use them, by the deadline. However, in Whatcom County the Library Board of Trustees, on April 16, 2002, voted unanimously to forego the federal dollars and not comply with the filter law rather than ensure a safer environment for the counties’ children, patrons and their own employees. Parents can request filter’s be in place for their minors, but that does not protect them from viewing pornography that others may be downloading or protect them from sexual predators who may be using the libraries public funded computers to fuel their desires. Child sexual abuse expert, Dr. Carla VanDam reports that rather than using pornography to release sexual desires, most molesters use it to “rehearse” their sexual desires and therefore pornography becomes the vehicle that drives sexual predators to acting out those desires.

Those who have an overwhelming desire to molest children know how to get next to kids. Pornography and children in the same place is an accommodating environment for a pedophile. Grandparents and parents beware, your public libraries and schools might not be as safe for your children as you think.

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How to Porn Proof Your Public Libraries

  • Visit: www.sl.universalservice.org/Funding/default.asp which catalogues libraries and school districts receiving federal Internet grants nationwide.
  • If your library is federally funded, request a copy of the library’s Internet Safety Policy, which CIPA requires all grantees to file. Then check the library’s computers to make sure that policy is enforced. If not . . .
  • Report noncompliant libraries by calling (888) 203-8100, ext. 9, or filing an online complaint at www.sl.universalservice.org/reference/whistle.asp
  • If your library chose not to comply with CIPA let them know they’re vulnerable to sexual-harassment lawsuits under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Last year, the Minneapolis Public Library paid $435,000 in a court settlement to 12 librarians who were exposed to online obscenity.
  • Advocate a statewide CIPA. For more information call 513-521-6227 or visit www.nationalcoalition.org

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I-884 The $1 Billion Education Initiative

One of the initiatives on this fall’s ballot will be Initiative-884. If it passes, this measure will increase Washington State’s sales tax and add an extra $1 billion into public education’s coffers.
Recently the Washington Policy Center released an in-depth study, A Citizen’s Guide to the $1 Billion Education Initiative, examining the initiative. This is what they report:

Did you know . . . .

  • I-884 would increase the state sales tax by 15%, raising the tax rate from 6.5% to 7.5%?
  • The state sales tax in Washington would become the highest in the nation, and would total almost 10% in many cities when combined with local sales taxes?
  • Economic modeling shows I-884 could decrease the number of jobs in Washington state by approximately 10,000 mostly in the retail sector?
  • That spending on K-12 education and higher education in Washington almost doubled in real terms between 1980 and 2000?
  • After adjusting for inflation, state and local spending on K-12 education increased 94% and spending on higher education increased by 98% in the last two decades?
  • During this same time, the number of K-12 public students increased by only 32% and higher education students increased by a mere 2.6%?

Interestingly, the Seattle Times reports that in the month of June Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates gave $150,000 to the I-884 campaign.

Washington voters protect your pocket books and local economies and vote NO on I-884!

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Just How Much Is Enough?

Do we need to spend more money on education in Washington state? Is money even the answer to our state’s education woes? Or is it the education machine that is broken and outdated? Here are some simple facts about education spending and performance in our state for the 2002-03 school year.

  1. Basic facts: Washington state has a student/teacher ratio of 17 to one. When you include the full-time-equivalent (FTE) staff our state has a student/FTE staff ratio of 10.2 to one. If you include the total number of people working in the K-12 system the student/all staff ratio is 6.7 to one.
  2. Teacher Salaries: The average teacher salary in Washington state is $45,265. Factoring in benefits and supplemental contracts puts the average total compensation at $61,620.
  3. Spending per pupil: The most recent data from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) reports that the state spends $9,454 per pupil. The most recent estimates from the NEA put the figure as high as $10,127 in our state.
  4. Use of dollars: Less than half (42.5%) of the dollars spent on education are used for what the Superintendent of Public instruction defines as “basic instruction.”
    5. High school graduation rates: Only 56 to 68% of the students who enter 9th grade in our state graduate. At best that means one in three never make it. Drop out rates are worse for minority students. Two out of three African-American students fail to make the grade.
  5. Students unprepared for college: Of the students who do graduate and go to community college in our state, more than half must take remedial courses in reading, writing and math to prepare them for college-level work. (See this article for number of student who failed 2002-03 WASL.)

Facts compiled by Marsha Richards of Evergreen Freedom Foundation

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Conveying Values to a New Generation

Southern Baptists recently made headlines when some of their members submitted a Christian Education Resolution calling for Southern Baptist to remove their children from public school and either homeschool or place their children in private Christian schools. The resolution failed, but it did reignite the debate about the role religious parents should play in their children’s education by posing several questions. Among them: Should religious parents take the lead in teaching their children or allow the public school to present an alternate view seven hours a day, five days a week? What would public schools look like if the majority of committed religious parents decided to give their children a private religious education?

Almost no one argues that government schooling teaches children from a Biblical perspective. Decisions over the past 40 years removing prayer from public schools, refusing to teach creationism alongside evolution, banning Bible readings—and generally disparaging objective truth—has left many religious parents convinced that the public school system is hostile to their way of viewing the world. But maintaining a religious or a Christian worldview is not the only reason parents make the choice to home-school.

The majority of parents cite drugs, crime and negative peer pressure as well as believing they can provide a better education than the public school system as the main reason they chose to homeschool.

Religious parents, who would like their children to continue their beliefs and traditions, should be intrigued by the following finding: A recent study by the National Home Education Research Institute, a survey of more than 7,000 homeschool graduates, discovered 59% “strongly agreed” and 35% “agreed” with the statement, “My religious beliefs are basically the same as my parents.” This is in contrast to a study, commissioned within the Southern Baptist church and reported two years ago in the Baptist Press, which found that 88% of Southern Baptist children left the church, never to return, by the age of 18. Even if the 88% figure is too high, it’s generally accepted that many children of religious parents do not keep their faith into adulthood. In the case of Southern Baptists, where 85% attend public school, it follows that many children abandoned their parents’ faith during their time in public school.

There’s no escaping the fact that the conditions in the overwhelming majority of today’s public school suggest that homeschooling, or another form of faith-based education, become the default position of religious parents. Parents have been entrusted with the children in their care and are therefore obligated to make wise decisions about how they’ll raise their children to become healthy, mature and productive citizens.

Washington Times Op-Ed by J. Michael Smith, HSLDA President

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Students Failing to Pass WASL—2002-03
Source: Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

Subject
4th Grade
7th Grade
10th Grade
Reading 33.3% 52.1% 40.0%
Writing 46.4% 45.3% 39.5%
Math 44.8% 63.2% 60.6%

“As the facts show, more money does not necessarily mean higher academic achievement. Instead of focusing on input (more money, more teachers), we should focus on output (student achievement, results). Discussions about money are only meaningful when we know what we must buy to best help students learn.”
Marsh Richards, Education Reform Director
Evergreen Freedom Foundation

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