Archive for the ‘Rambling Rose’ Category

Thanksgiving—Historical Truth or PC Myth?
By Ramblin’ Rose

The Left seems determined to destroy our country in Congress, the courts and classrooms. Of those venues, they’ve probably made the greatest gains in our educational system through indoctrination. Anti-Americans are convincing our youth that the history books are lies and “they” have the real truth. Of course, that means that “they” must rewrite our history, declaring all white Europeans were villains that came to this hemisphere for pre-meditated massacres of the indigenous peoples to steal their lands. Later, those of “white privilege” also imported black slaves. This storyline promotes the minority ethnic groups are “victims” whom the Left must dominate for the “abusers” to buy forgiveness (reparations) from their ill-gotten wealth. And the Left gets to rewrite history for their gain.

Eighth graders in Portland, Oregon heard this definition of Thanksgiving… “a celebration of the genocide of the Indians by greedy capitalist Europeans.”

Activists do not only attend Ivy League schools or universities in southern California. Students at Macalester College (a Christian college according to a headline) called Thanksgiving an “unethical” holiday, just like Columbus Day and Christmas break. For those students, Thanksgiving is about violence and oppression.

Several of the 2020 Democrat candidates for the presidency have advocated paying reparations for all the misdeeds of those “white” evildoers committed against their “victims.” If liberals consider the Indians so pathetic, why do sports teams claim Indian names? Why are military armaments named after Indians? Yes, the Left is trying to remove those identities as well. Progressives need the downtrodden to depend on them for survival and provide liberal elitists with power and control.

Many parents assume that teachers are educated persons dedicated to imparting knowledge to the next generation. Yes, BUT… The parents are often too busy to examine the curriculum of the schools that their children attend. Liberals have the opportunity to rewrite history texts that are eagerly printed and distributed by ultra-left publishing companies that are also responsible for mentoring states in writing their teacher licensure exams. The Left have written the tests and determined the “right” answers for the current group of modern teachers.

One goal is to unteach the myth of Thanksgiving. Young learners are eager to learn. Young adults are eager to prove themselves smarter than their parents. The harvest field is ripe.

At Salt River Elementary and Puente de Hozho schools in Arizona, students learn of the traditions of the Native Americans, with emphasis on their identity as indigenous people, harvest and giving thanks. They don’t learn about the Pilgrims. The article stresses the liberal bias with this comment: “Teaching the myth of Thanksgiving is not required in the Arizona state standards for history and social studies. It depends on whether the teachers choose to include it in their lesson plans or the schools’ curriculum includes it.” Thanksgiving is only included in the kindergarten and first-grade lessons along with other holidays, not as a part of the history of this great country.

At first blush, the emphasis on identity and traditions of an ethnic group could be considered commendable until one realizes that requests for recognition of holidays and contributions of other immigrant groups who came and enriched our culture are denied. The response usually follows an argument along these lines. “No, those immigrants came long ago and assimilated into this culture. They have no culture in this country. Those from northern Europe did not add to the history of this country.” (paraphrase and summary to me in academic settings by professional educators)

That is offensive. Liberals are quick to point out that this country is a nation built by immigrants but select which immigrant groups are worthy of recognition—certainly not those of “white privilege” from northern Europe. Others, yes. And, now some claim that the Native Americans have always occupied this land. Apparently, they now refute the arrival of immigrants via the Bering Strait centuries ago. The modern version also has all indigenous groups living in perfect harmony with one another and nature. Truth or myth? History lessons or indoctrination?

Just as the Left refuses to acknowledge Christmas or even utter the word, they are also attempting to change Thanksgiving to “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”

History professor and author David J. Silverman wrote an op-ed in the New York Times that summarizes the anti-American view of Thanksgiving.

“Contrary to the Thanksgiving myth, the Pilgrim-Wampanoag encounter was no first-contact meeting. Rather, it followed a string of bloody episodes since 1524 in which European explorers seized coastal Wampanoags to be sold into overseas slavery or to be trained as interpreters and guides.

“In 1616, a European ship conveyed an epidemic disease to the Wampanoags that over the next three years took a staggering toll on their population…

“The challenges are undoubtedly stark. The Native American past and present tend to make white people uncomfortable because they turn patriotic histories and heroes inside out and loosen claims on morality, authority and justice. They threaten to tear down monuments and rename buildings. But confronting the dark history of colonialism in Indian country also promises to shed light, cultivate national humility and, most important, signal to Native people that the country values them.” (an aside: What is the new name for Lake Calhoun in Minnesota?)

In his book, This Land is Their Land, Silverman explains the myth.

“The myth is that friendly Indians, unidentified by tribe, welcome the Pilgrims to America, teach them how to live in this new place, sit down to dinner with them and then disappear. They hand off America to white people so they can create a great nation dedicated to liberty, opportunity and Christianity for the rest of the world to profit. That’s the story—it’s about Native people conceding to colonialism. It’s bloodless and in many ways an extension of the ideology of Manifest Destiny.”

“One is that history doesn’t begin for Native people until Europeans arrive. People had been in the Americas for at least 12,000 years and according to some Native traditions, since the beginning of time.

“In 1769, a group of pilgrim descendants who lived in Plymouth felt like their cultural authority was slipping away as New England became less relevant within the colonies and the early republic and wanted to boost tourism. So, they started to plant the seeds of this idea that the pilgrims were the fathers of America.

“It gained purchase in the late 19th century, when there was an enormous amount of anxiety and agitation over immigration. The white Protestant stock of the United States was widely unhappy about the influx of European Catholics and Jews and wanted to assert its cultural authority over these newcomers. How better to do that than to create this national founding myth around the Pilgrims and the Indians inviting them to take over the land?”

History.com provides a timeline related to celebrating historical events to give thanksgiving. One paragraph contradicts the previous statements.

“Archival evidence is slim, but according to a letter from Plymouth colonist Edward Winslow, dated December 11, 1621, the colonists wanted to celebrate their first good crop of corn and barley grown with generous assistance from the native Wampanoag Indians.”

Edward Winslow, one who had been instrumental in organizing the journey to America and one of the men who signed the Mayflower Compact, wrote his historic account of that celebration in 1621.

“Our corn did prove well, and God be praised, we had a good increase of Indian corn, and our barley indifferent good, but our peas not worth gathering, for we feared they were too late sown. They came up very well, and blossomed, but the sun parched them in the blossom. Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the company almost a week, at which time amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our Governor, and upon the Captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”

Melanie Kirkpatrick, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and the author of “Thanksgiving: The Holiday at the Heart of the American Experience,” also focuses on the positive relationship between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians. But her statements vary dramatically from the previous exposé.

“…what most consider the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in October 1621 after the pilgrims’ first harvest. The feast lasted for three days and included games and all-around good cheer. It was attended by 90 Wampanoag warriors and 53 Pilgrims, according to Pilgrim Edward Winslow’s account.

“It’s unclear whether the Wampanoag were expected to be there or even invited – although they did bring enough venison to feed the entire party for three days. It’s also likely that this was (at least in the beginning) a tense interaction. The Native Americans were all male warriors. They outnumbered the Pilgrims nearly 2:1, and many of the Pilgrims included women and children, who were not trained for battle.

“Nevertheless, the two groups gathered and gave thanks for the bounty of the harvest, and the rich natural resources of this American continent. There was plenty for which to be thankful. The Pilgrims and Wampanoag had settled on a peace treaty – and the English newcomers had survived the winter largely because the natives had shown them how to plant corn, where to fish, and how to survive in the environment…”

While there was much to be thankful for at that gathering, it was not called “Thanksgiving.”

Although arguments, both historical and liberal, abound, this article highlights some of the salient views of both sides. No, I am not ready to embrace statements about the Englishmen who traveled in a small ship across the Atlantic with their families to exploit the Indians and to teach their women and children how to massacre the savages. I am convinced that those Pilgrims faced an intolerable tyrant in England and were willing to risk all in pursuit of religious freedoms and a better life. I am not convinced that the Indigenous Peoples inhabited North America from the beginning of time and lived in harmony with all other tribes and were committed environmentalists. I believe that there were honorable and courageous Pilgrims and Indians who worked together to live in peaceful harmony—a harmony that was broken by corrupt persons in both societies.

I pray humbly and fervently that stability and unity once again are a reality in this nation blessed by our Almighty Creator.

Happy Thanksgiving—Thanks be to God, to the Pilgrims, to the compassionate Native Americans and for the generations that have worked to make this a great nation.

More Government Control, Less Parental Voice
By Ramblin’ Rose

At a campaign rally at Clark-Atlanta University, a historically black college, the night after the Democrat debate in Atlanta, Georgia, Powerful Parent Network protestors, predominantly black, chanted “Our children, our choice!” Pro-choice at that moment did not advocate abortion, rather school choice. Elizabeth Warren claimed in her speech that she wants good schools for all children and therefore must increase spending for public schools and completely ban for-profit charter schools, nor would she support expansion of charter schools, according to her aide. Warren would also direct the Internal Revenue Service “to investigate nonprofit charters that are run by for-profit entities or operate with the assistance of for-profit service providers.”

But school-choice advocate Sarah Carpenter challenged Warren: “We want the same choice that you had for your kids because I read that your children went to private school.” Warren denied the reports, saying, “No, my children went to public schools.”

Warren’s claim was not completely accurate. While, technically, she was probably not lying, only covering up “the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” her communications director Kristen Orthman clarified the next day that the candidate’s daughter did attend public schools and her son did as well—until 5th grade and then attended an expensive private school—tuition is currently $18,000 a year—Kirby Hall School in Austin, Texas, where the student/teacher ratio is 5:1. Her daughter attended Anderson High School, a public school ranked as one of the best in the country per U.S. News and World Report. Neither school would fit the profile of the schools represented by the attendees of the rally in Atlanta.

Nor does her personal wealth reflect that of middle America—Forbes listed her personal wealth at $12 million. Warren is adamant about giving away other people’s money…and now for schools.

Unfortunately for Warren, the data do not support her plan. The 2019 NAEP Report confirmed claims of failure but also pointed out that enormous amounts of taxpayer money have not closed the achievement gap. In fact, the gap is widening. The Trump administration advocates more parental choice.

Education Secretary DeVos reacted to the October 30, 2019 release of the Nation’s Report Card with these words:

“Every American family needs to open The Nation’s Report Card this year and think about what it means for their child and for our country’s future. The results are, frankly, devastating. This country is in a student achievement crisis, and over the past decade it has continued to worsen, especially for our most vulnerable students.

“Two out of three of our nation’s children aren’t proficient readers. In fact, fourth grade reading declined in 17 states and eighth grade reading declined in 31. The gap between the highest and lowest performing students is widening, despite $1 trillion in Federal spending over 40 years designated specifically to help close it.

“This must be America’s wake-up call. We cannot abide these poor results any longer. We can neither excuse them away nor simply throw more money at the problem.

“This Administration has a transformational plan to help America’s forgotten students escape failing schools. By expanding education freedom, students can break out of the one-size-fits-all system and learn in the ways that will unlock their full potential. They deserve it. Parents demand it. And, it’s the only way to bring about the change our country desperately needs.”

Time to check out the data…at least a part of the problem relates to the number of people in the public schools and who they are. According to the findings of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, the number of administrators in K-12 schools has increased 2.3 times faster than the number of students in the last 20 years. Since 1950, that increase in administrative positions has grown by 700%. In 1970, the student/teacher ratio was 22.3/1 in public schools. In 2015, it had dropped to 16.0/1. So smaller class size has not produced higher test scores. More administrative staff didn’t produce higher test scores, either.

Once again, candidate Warren has been trapped by deceit and lies—her ethnicity, her firing for being pregnant, her children attending public schools.

Even ABC News reported the event as an attempt to pander to black voters—a focus on black issues at a black institution with a DJ playing Drake and DMX songs and introduced by Pressley (one of “the Squad”) who is the first black woman from Massachusetts serving in Congress.

At least at this event, the candidate found opposition to her propensity to fund federal program with other people’s money. This time, the people resisted her push for fewer parental choices for their children in attending schools other than the publicly supported ones dominated with progressive programs of indoctrination.

“Do It for the Kids”
By Ramblin’ Rose

That statement alone triggers such emotional reactions that sensible people often lose all sense of reason, especially in the current panic and mania of youth worldwide. This world is full of conservationists (or “good stewards” in Biblical terms), but their statements are not heard because they do not label themselves environmentalists.

Hundreds of thousands of youth around the world left classes to protest “climate change” on September 20, 2019, and activists, including their acclaimed leader Greta Thunberg from Sweden. Thunberg and some 700 youth activists continued the protest at the United Nations on Saturday, complete with demands for financial commitments and threats against the leaders if their agenda is not met. Komal Karishma Kumar from Fuji told UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, “we will hold you accountable, and if you do not, remember we will mobilize to vote you out.” (Intimidation strategy from indoctrination—learned from adults or inherent in human DNA?)

Let’s try to follow this historically and logically.

First, what is the difference between weather and climate? According to the NASA:
“The difference between weather and climate is a measure of time. Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere “behaves” over relatively long periods of time.
“Weather is basically the way the atmosphere is behaving, mainly with respect to its effects upon life and human activities. The difference between weather and climate is that weather consists of the short-term (minutes to months) changes in the atmosphere. Most people think of weather in terms of temperature, humidity, precipitation, cloudiness, brightness, visibility, wind, and atmospheric pressure, as in high and low pressure.
“In short, climate is the description of the long-term pattern of weather in a particular area.” [Editorial question: If climate relates to a long-term pattern of weather in a particular area, how can the environmentalists call it global?]
“Some scientists define climate as the average weather for a particular region and time period, usually taken over 30-years. It’s really an average pattern of weather for a particular region.” [Another question: Did the study of climate change only begin in 1989?]

NO!! NASA attributes interest in the topic to Thomas Jefferson in the late 1700s.

In mid-September, Breitbart published a chronology of the sensational predictions about ice ages, global warming, climate change. Please remember the definitions above—a particular area for a period of 30 years:

  1. 1967: Dire Famine Forecast By 1975.
  2. 1969: Everyone Will Disappear in a Cloud of Blue Steam By 1989 (1969)
  3. 1970: Ice Age By 2000
  4. 1970: America Subject to Water Rationing By 1974 and Food Rationing By 1980
  5. 1971: New Ice Age Coming By 2020 or 2030
  6. 1972: New Ice Age By 2070
  7. 1974: Space Satellites Show New Ice Age Coming Fast
  8. 1974: Another Ice Age?
  9. 1974: Ozone Depletion a ‘Great Peril to Life
  10. 1976: Scientific Consensus Planet Cooling, Famines imminent
  11. 1980: Acid Rain Kills Life in Lakes
  12. 1978: No End in Sight to 30-Year Cooling Trend
  13. 1988: Regional Droughts (that never happened) in 1990s
  14. 1988: Temperatures in DC Will Hit Record Highs
  15. 1988: Maldives Islands will Be Underwater by 2018 (they’re not)
  16. 1989: Rising Sea Levels Will Obliterate Nations if Nothing Done by 2000
  17. 1989: New York City’s West Side Highway Underwater by 2019 (it’s not)
  18. 2000: Children Won’t Know What Snow Is
  19. 2002: Famine In 10 Years If We Don’t Give Up Eating Fish, Meat, and Dairy
  20. 2004: Britain will Be Siberia by 2024
  21. 2008: Arctic will Be Ice Free by 2018
  22. 2008: Climate Genius Al Gore Predicts Ice-Free Arctic by 2013
  23. 2009: Climate Genius Prince Charles Says we Have 96 Months to Save World
  24. 2009: UK Prime Minister Says 50 Days to ‘Save The Planet from Catastrophe’
  25. 2009: Climate Genius Al Gore Moves 2013 Prediction of Ice-Free Arctic to 2014
  26. 2013: Arctic Ice-Free by 2015
  27. 2014: Only 500 Days Before ‘Climate Chaos’
  28. 1968: Overpopulation Will Spread Worldwide
  29. 1970: World Will Use Up All its Natural Resources
  30. 1966: Oil Gone in Ten Years
  31. 1972: Oil Depleted in 20 Years
  32. 1977: Department of Energy Says Oil Will Peak in 90s
  33. 1980: Peak Oil In 2000
  34. 1996: Peak Oil in 2020
  35. 2002: Peak Oil in 2010
  36. 2006: Super Hurricanes!
  37. 2005: Manhattan Underwater by 2015
  38. 1970: Urban Citizens Will Require Gas Masks by 1985
  39. 1970: Nitrogen buildup Will Make All Land Unusable
  40. 1970: Decaying Pollution Will Kill all the Fish
  41. 1970s: Killer Bees!”

It appears that the dates listed cover more than 30 years and no particular area is listed in all 41 articles. Hmmm.

This link provides photocopies of many of the predictions when published, all filled with doom and gloom and not a single prediction came to fruition. There is certainly a divide between the environmentalists and the skeptics. Both sides agree that it is probably driven by financial greed and politicians seeking fame, fortune and power at a global level. However, the guilty parties are distinct for each side.

On the “green” side, we read: “Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, or IPBES, which contends nature “is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely.”

While on the other side that notes the lengthy list of failed predictions, we read:

“Scientist Art Robinson’s The Petition Project gathered the signatures of 31,487 scientists who agree that there is ‘no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.'”

Al Gore still maintains that 99%+ of the scientists agree with him about the urgency of dealing with “an ice age,” and later it was “global warming” that transformed itself into “climate change.” [the power of linguists to transform scientific issues to fit the current set of selected data]

Many of the 2020 presidential candidates on the extreme left have embraced some very radical solutions to addressing this issue: having no children (and the birth rate is drastically lower across the world—and then abortion lowers the numbers even more), cannibalism, elimination of all fossil fuels. How do those politicians expect to travel or transport goods? Or will they have an exemption for personal travel in private jets? How will the environmentalists deal with the toxic/hazardous wastes in solar panels as they fail/break/deteriorate/age? How can the environmentalists justify solar panels that create 300 times more waste per energy unit than nuclear energy?

After the recent hurricane Dorian and the massive devastation that it caused, how did it rank among the deadliest hurricanes in US history?
These are the five deadliest hurricanes in American history:

  1. The Great Galveston Storm (1900) The deadliest storm in American history, the Galveston hurricane killed 8,000 to 12,000 people.
  2. Hurricane Maria (2017)
  3. The Okeechobee Hurricane (1928)
  4. Hurricane Katrina (2005)
  5. The Chenière Caminada Hurricane (1893)

Dorian did not make the list. Notice that only two occurred within the last 30 years. That magic 30-year window for climate change was not met with historical data and the scientific guidelines. However, the media acted as if Dorian was the ultimate proof positive of climate change caused by humans, portending the apocalypse of the world. Hurricanes have ravaged the USA long before fossil fuels were ever used for transportation or industry.

A similar claim could be made to refute the alarms and panic about the eruptions of volcanoes. They are not a novelty after the globalists claims of the last 60 years. What about some of the startling predictions?

In early May of this year, an IPBES from the UN predicted the potential loss of 1 million species since the extinction rate has accelerated in the last 10 million years. This is not the first prediction for the loss of species. In fact, in 1970, S. Dillon Ripley of the Smithsonian Institution predicted a loss of 75%-80% of all animal species before 1995. It did not happen. In 1979, Norman Myers, a biologist at Oxford University, predicted a loss of 25% of all species by 2000. It did not happen.

Some people are holding funerals for the glaciers that are disappearing. Swiss dressed in mourning black held a funeral complete with speeches and a wreath-laying ceremony for The Pizol in the Glarus Alps of northeastern Switzerland. Ironically, according to Matthias Huss, a glaciologist, since 1850, more than 500 glaciers have disappeared in Switzerland. Iceland also held a funeral for a lost glacier in August, 2019.

But, in 2016, a NASA study reported that 90% of the world’s glaciers are growing. The Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) reported that since 2010, the sea ice areas of the Arctic have been growing. Despite the evidence of greater ice masses, since 2017, at least six polar research ships have had to abandon their expeditions at both poles due to thick ice impeding their travel. Some call this stupidity—repeating the same practice with different results expected. Others would call it Karma.

Apparently, the data have not been able to provide a definitive answer for scientists and glaciologists. Lunacy does seem to be an apropos term to describe the manifestations of 21st century alarmists. Let’s concern a couple of examples.

In mid-September of this year, an allegedly Christian seminary, the Union Theological Seminary, held a chapel service for Christians to confess their climate sins to plants. The hysteria of paganism and syncretism has entered religious institutions, calling traditional Christian theology “deplorable.” Even Pope Francis instructed the masses to “obey the United Nations.” The UN’s adherence to the climate change agenda is celebrated in late September in New York.

At Creation, God (Genesis 1:28) directed mankind to dominate the world and all that He created. “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Good stewards believe that God created everything for good and as elements for mankind to employ in daily life. That would also include fossil fuels. Recently, the alarmists held a protest in Washington, D.C. While the protestors may consider their event successful, just consider how ridiculous it was to cause gridlock and increased carbon emissions.

Another progressive environmentalist solution is to “Don’t eat cows; Eat the Rich!” Yes, cannibalism is part of the green deal’s remedy for climate change. Yet, at the Iowa Polk County Steak Fry in mid-September, 17 Democrat presidential candidates grilled 10,500 steaks/burgers and 1000 vegan burgers.

At the UN, Greta Thunberg and 15 kids filed a lawsuit against 5 countries (Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey) for excessive carbon emissions. They did not include China in the lawsuit even though China is responsible for approximately a third of the carbon emissions in the world. These young people are telling the world leaders that they are more informed than scientists and world leaders and that they will hold the world leaders accountable for their future. It is more likely that they have been indoctrinated more than educated about nature.

I agree. “Instead of frightening young people with alarmist hyperbole that the world is ending, it would be better to offer them something truly constructive, such as an education.” If their interest in the future is genuine, then an informed mentor and classroom teacher could provide the accurate information—even from both extremes—and allow these kids to study and investigate and search for a real answer for becoming good stewards of the world instead of making unfounded claims and outrageous threats for actions that do not fit into their prescription for curing all the ills of the world through taxation and restriction of thought.

If the concerns were really about climate change and pollution, the countries under attack would be China, Mongolia, Botswana, Russia, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Pakistan, Iran, Kuwait, and the UAE because they are the nations that are producing the man-made pollution. However, the activists are attacking the USA. The goal is to destroy this civilization and turn all control over to the globalists. The real story is about politics, power, control, social engineering, lies and deceit.

God help us all!

God help the young to learn and to not fall as innocent victims to the lies of those who seek to destroy those who seek to follow God’s commands to care for His Creation and know that they will be accountable to Him alone at the End of Time.

Indoctrination’s Impact on Schools
By Ramblin’ Rose

How long has it been since this country had the best educational system in the world as measured by instruments recognized internationally? How long has it been since Minnesota was a leader in education?

The test results for 2018 became public a few weeks ago. On August 29th, the Times reported “The North Star system, introduced last year, focuses less on assigning punitive labels for schools based on how students scored on one single test — the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments — and more on the nuances of education to create more equitable and well-rounded learning opportunities for all students across the state.”

A punitive label? A single test? Students take multiple tests annually in MN schools—even 5 times a year in Kindergarten and the test is delivered via a computer—those victims are 5 or 6 years old. But the computer testing is a part of the Common Core (CC) that supposedly died. It seems alive and punitive.
(an aside: Did you know that parents have the right to opt out of the mandated tests in MN? Just visit the Department of Education website for the forms and the warnings of possible consequences for the child’s future with such a decision.)

So how did students do in central Minnesota?

The words from Marsha Baisch, assistant superintendeAnt of elementary education at St. Cloud school district, set a tone of gloom: “The first blush doesn’t always tell the whole story.” She continued with five factors to evaluate “the whole child.” The test scores are only one facet of the new (one year old) reporting system.

As one continued to read the article, the tone was gloomy and seemed to celebrate mediocrity—as long as others also have lowered scores, it must be interpreted as “OK.”

“The patterns of our scores mirror the state,” said Sylvia Huff, executive director of research, assessments and enrollment for St. Cloud school district. “So both the state as well as our district saw a slight drop in math proficiency and in reading, it was basically relatively unchanged.”

The data found on the MN Department of Education website shows that MN students do score at a level “slightly” higher than national average. That is still far from the #1 status that many stakeholders espouse.

Back to central MN…

In St. Cloud schools in math proficiency, students dropped from 40% proficient (i.e., meeting or exceeding the standards) in 2018 to 37% in 2019. The statewide average was 54%, also a decline of 2.4% points. In reading, the drop was less—46% proficient to 45% proficient. Across MN, the score was 59% proficient or above.

Other area schools also reported declines.

Sartell-St. Stephen school district:
Math—77% to 75%
Reading—76% to 72%
Sauk Rapids-Rice school district
Math—54% to 52%
Reading—58% to 56%
ROCORI school district
Math—64% to 62%
Reading—66% to 65%
STRIDE Academy
Math—49% to 48%
Reading—49% to 48%
St. Cloud Math and Science Academy – increased scores noted
Math—13% to 21%
Reading—22% to 27%
Athlos Academy – increased scores noted
Math—25% to 31%
Reading—36% to 40%

And the international comparison is a little more dubious. The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) was first administered in 2000 but only to 15-year-old students in 70 countries. Thus, the results do not correlate to the MN results. However, the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Assessment (TIMSS) dates from 1995 in the areas of math and science and tests fourth and eighth graders in approximately 60 countries. In the latest reported data, American fourth graders in math tied for 13th place behind 10 systems, statistically indistinguishable from 9 systems and higher than 34 countries.

In any case, the USA does not score as the leading country in education even though it claims to want to have a leading role on the international scene, as do I. However, unless students have greater academic achievements, they will be followers and not leaders in discussions and decisions based upon information, facts and logic.

It seems that the right answers do count when it comes to international assessments. Maybe the politicians should try to sell Common Core to the educational institutions in order to regain their assumed leadership position.

So, what do parents do in order to attempt to enroll their children in the best schools? They often vote with their feet and the ascribed tuition dollars.

Three obvious alternatives for families are private schools (costly tuition and fees) and charter schools and open enrollments with neighboring districts. We know that Sauk Rapids froze that option recently.

Let’s use one large diverse district as the example of what is undoubtedly reflected in other districts. In the Minneapolis district, there were 45,443 students in a local school and 4,669 attending a school outside the district in 2003. In 2018, the students in a local school numbered 35,141 while those in non-district schools jumped to 18, 044. In this district, 80% of the students leaving the failing district for a chance at a better education were students of color.

The same exodus is occurring across the state. The demographics may vary, but the percentages are probably quite similar. Parents are hoping for better than the government-funded and government-driven schools with the government-dictated curriculum.

Political does not refer to the party of the President; it refers to the ideology of those who control the indoctrination of the system; those committed to the conversion of free thinkers into obedient lemmings who follow their mandates.

Do our schools teach to the strengths of each individual (meet the students where they are and challenge them to do better), or do they embrace CC that mandates teaching to the “lowest common denominator?”

Editor’s note: This is part of LFR’s special focusing on the difference between education and indoctrination. Without further adieu, here’s Ramblin’ Rose’s first in the series:

Schools’ Imprint on Society
By Ramblin’ Rose

Under the guise of “education,” students are facing “indoctrination.” What is the difference? Education opens the mind to ideas and knowledge of the world and encourages learners to evaluate the information and form their own opinions based upon facts and logic. Indoctrination discourages thought, and through repeated exposure to someone else’s view, learners are guided to accept another’s belief as truth without even thinking.

Before we consider current trends in the field of education, let’s take a look at history. (Yes, leftists are attempting to rewrite history to fit their own agendas…why is that possible? In a bit…)

Homeschooling is not a new concept. The first colonists in this nation taught their own children at home. In the 17th century before the American Revolution as the communities grew larger, the Puritans established schools to teach the essential basic academic skills and to reinforce their core moral values. Almost always, the textbook was the Bible.

After becoming a free and independent country, Thomas Jefferson was a strong advocate for public education because he believed that “no other sure foundation can be devised for the preservation of freedom and happiness.” To him, it was the means to guarantee that the individual would understand duties and rights in the new nation. He also feared that without education for all, the result would be to “leave the people in ignorance.” He even suggested that the system be funded with tax dollars.

While Jefferson held that resources would come from the taxpayers, the supervision of each school would be directed by the parents. That is still the belief of many citizens, but unfortunately not the reality. Our continued freedom depends upon quality education of the “next generation.”

The title of the “father of public education” in our country, sadly, goes to Horace Mann, who established the first state board of education in Massachusetts and advanced a school system based on the Prussian school system of the early 19th century. Instead of a curriculum based upon Biblical teachings and the moral standards of God’s Word, educational reform moved to obey the dictates of the state, mandatory attendance, taxpayer funding, and a state curriculum taught by teachers who had training from the state and certification from the state. Mann convinced the Massachusetts legislature in 1852 to adopt this model that became the archetype for public schools across the land.

That might be the point at which education moved to indoctrination for many learners. The government, not parents, directed the curriculum, and the curriculum became the program for the teachers to “follow” in classroom instruction. While some have tried to teach facts and solid information from history and research, others have used the classroom as the platform from which to advance a political agenda that they embrace.

In the 1960’s God was driven from the classroom; many parents, as flower children themselves, sought to “feel good” and abandoned their moral compass; welfare benefits became more abundant and easily accessible for more citizens (and even non-citizens). Mothers could abort babies; fathers abandoned families and their responsibilities. Everything was “free.”

The children suffered -— neglect, abuse, abandonment. Naturally, the school became the “family figure” for many. Parents became passive and relinquished “education” to others. Some parents viewed the schools and teachers as the “experts” to be followed and not challenged; others were relieved that they were not responsible for “those bothersome kids” any longer.

One of the more recent bandwagons was the program known as Common Core that was developed without input from classroom teachers. With Common Core (CC), students do not learn to think because an acquired skill outweighs the content knowledge, the process counts more than the product, and relative standards carry more value than absolute ones. Some celebrated it as the salvation from the incessant testing of No Child Left Behind. Many teachers cheered because the textbooks came complete with the transcript of the lesson plan for each day of the year—no one could violate and deviate the lesson or the schedule.

Some claim that CC was defeated with the passage of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December, 2015.

No, it was just transferred to the states, where the governors assigned it to the commissioner/director of education in each state. It is alive and well in the schools. So is testing—multiple times per year in all grade levels. What is tested? Dogma…students must respond to fit the curriculum that has been set by politicians and not parents.

While many contend that the new curriculum teaches students how to learn and rewards the process, the reality is that countless learners are completely frustrated; there is no right answer. They are unable to evaluate their progress; their parents don’t know the material and can’t help. The learners give up in frustration. They become willing sponges for whatever the teachers say. They have not learned metacognition—they have learned submission.

Auguste Meyrat, an English teacher in the Dallas area and contributor to The Federalist, summarized the impact of CC on modern society in an essay published in October last year:

“In such a system, thinking is only the articulation of opinion; it has no bearing on truth. This means that people don’t really need to think critically and understand why they believe what they do. They just need to have the right viewpoint and force others to conform like they’ve been forced to conform. They engage in arguments where the loudest voice wins because no one’s points are better than another. They pressure instead of persuade.”

Some parents have sought an alternative for their children with charter schools, private schools, open-enrollment options, and homeschooling. Yes, that is an avenue, but there is a potentially large boulder in the road for higher education. The authors and proponents of CC are also the authors and evaluators on the college entrance exams where regurgitation of dogma earns points (without attention to argumentation, clarity of expression, spelling or grammar). So what do the parents tell their young people who want to attend institutions beyond high school: “Do your best, stay true to your values and fail” or “Lie so that you may go to college”?

Auguste Meyrat continues, writing:

“This, in turn, leads to tribalism—groups of people united in feeling and opinion, but not in reason and truth. The lack of thought makes all these groups vulnerable to mass media and prevents any organized resistance to an encroaching state or lawless ideologue in power. Indoctrination is complete when perception (i.e., whatever is on the screen, whatever an “expert” says, whatever is popular) really does become reality for most people because they’re too stupid or apathetic to respond rationally.”

Tribalism? Yes, think Antifa, Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, and any other number of movements advocated by the media and acted out by young people. Yet this month, students are being encouraged to leave classes in droves to “save the planet” because apparently adults have not embraced the rhetoric from the environmentalists as readily as the sponges in the classrooms around the globe.

That does reflect the news media and the topics addressed via social media, digital media and print media. All coverage pits one group against another, one belief against another. There is no discussion, no exchange of ideas logically debated. Rather, one group is right and their ideas MUST be embraced. Others are all labeled in derogatory terms for whatever ideas they have and values they hold.

In science, it was a “new ice age,” “global warming,” “climate change,” “green new deal” and any other terms that seek to alter life and living out of fear. The NOAA has not documented any evidence of warming since 2005, but that is not the indoctrination being promoted by the radicals. Of course, there is still Darwinian ideas taught as truth. Creationists are driven from education if they do not espouse evolution or the big bang theory.

In literature, it means removing the classics for any number of reasons and the substitution of popular media selected by the “progressives.” Often reading and analysis is sacrificed to the viewing of a film or a video clip.

In reading, it means inviting drag queens (performers from adult clubs) to read to children during library time. In an elementary class in Virginia, kindergarteners learn about transgender rights as the teacher reads them a book.

In biology, it means that anyone of any age may select his/her/its own identity. It is a mandatory program in Oak Park, California. Even after the Trump administration reversed the Obama-era of open bathrooms and locker rooms, schools enforce the “open door” policy.

In religion, it means that each may choose their own deity. There is no morality…free love, abortion (even after birth), legalization of any and all drugs, legalized suicide and assisted-suicide—even for youth, as noted in the Netherlands. How many students, besides those in Virginia and Tennessee, have been forced to bow, pray and write a conversion prayer to Allah?

In sex education, it means the implementation of a K-12 curriculum recommended by Planned Parenthood. In Minnesota, it was passed by the liberal majority in the House and stopped in the Senate but it is promised to be addressed again next session. Parents have described the program as “pornographic” and certainly not appropriate for the ages or the topics. Additionally, four states (California, New Jersey, and Colorado, and Illinois) require the inclusion of LGBT(Q) history. I propose that those courses start with their history dating from Sodom and Gomorrah (circa 2070 B.C.)

In economics, it means students do not understand why the United States, Great Britain, Germany and Japan are wealthy and stable because they embraced capitalism and constitutional governments while Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela, Central America, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia suffer under socialism and communism.

In history, it means that not only Hitler was a monster but also Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong, Che Guevara and the Castros killed millions of their own citizens in the name of communism. In CC, the new textbooks indicate that the Pilgrims came to America with families to kill the Indians and to teach their children how to do it. In CC, one paragraph explains the atrocities of World War II—the bombing of Japan by the USA.

In politics, it means sanctuary cities, counties, states, churches. Illegals “deserve” rights that are designated for citizens according to our laws and the Constitution. How many teachers cried in their classes when Trump won? Were there any consequences when teachers have promoted violence, even death to our President?

In school discipline, it means the implementation of “restorative justice,” as embraced by local school districts and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

There are certainly other fields that I have not mentioned…but this indicates how indoctrination and socialist/atheist agendas have established a giant hold (strangle hold) on education.

Parents must become aware of what their children are facing/learning in school, support good teachers and challenge those indoctrinate and abandon core values of this nation. Parents must become active learners with their children. Parents must challenge politicians who do not embrace the Constitution and/or who refuse to honor their own Oath of Office.

Meyrat seems more optimistic than I. I hope that he is right:

At some point, indoctrination will always collapse on itself and leave mediocrity in it[s] wake. Teaching, by contrast, is what will sustain our culture and bring out its virtues. It fosters the presence of active thought––not uniform thought––and it is what will ultimately mend and civilize our sorely divided country.” [emphasis added]

Free Speech: A real option or a pipe dream?
By Ramblin’ Rose

The South Dakota legislature passed HB 1087 this session, and last week, the Board of Regents approved three free speech policies for its campuses.

According to the National Review, “The bill, S.D. 1087, requires public institutions of higher education in the state to ‘maintain a commitment to the principles of free expression’ and to foster civil, intellectually diverse environments. It protects student organizations from viewpoint discrimination, requires an annual report to the legislature on campus intellectual diversity and speech suppression, and safeguards the use of outdoor spaces as forums for free speech.”

The bill was not supported by the educational system, including leaders of student government. The governor signed the bill into law in March, 2019.

The modifications approved by the Board of Regents on August 8 and 9, 2019, require:

  1. Funding for student organizations be made in a “nondiscriminatory manner.”
  2. Public universities will provide a report to the executive director of the Board of Regents about the ways in which the institutions are working to “promote and ensure intellectual diversity.”
  3. That report must also include any campus events that “impeded intellectual diversity and the free exchange of ideas.”

Some recent events that precipitated this legislation include:

  1. USD prohibited in 2015 of the viewing of a film on the “honor killing” of women in Islamic cultures as anti-Muslim bigotry.
  2. In 2018, university officials removed an American flag that a SDSU student had hung in his dorm to commemorate family friends who had died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
  3. Last February, USD administrators “urged” a change of name for a campus “Hawaiian Day” observance because they determined it was insensitive to indigenous Hawaiians.

Political fights continue around this issue. More than two dozen states have introduced “free speech” legislation (including Minnesota); more than a dozen of those have those bills signed into law (not Minnesota).

As a skeptic, I wonder about the impact that these laws will have on campuses. Since the majority of faculty members and administrators are left-leaning liberals, will they implement the laws? Will they hire conservative faculty? Liberal professors outnumber conservatives across the nation by five to one; in the humanities and social sciences, the disparity is even greater. That affects the research that is approved/allowed and the ideologies presented as “truth” in classes. I know that students must respond as the professors want or their grades are affected. Walking the halls of institutions of higher learning, one hears the left-wing lies presented as valid facts. Students must accept and regurgitate those views or fail the courses. Young minds are susceptible, and many are quickly converted. Brave souls are dismissed or rebuked—students and faculty.

Heterodox Academy, a non-partisan collaborative of more than 2,500 professors, administrators, and graduate students, espouses that “Intellectual diversity (or viewpoint diversity) occurs when members of a community approach problems and questions from a range of perspectives. An open expressive climate exists when members of a community, regardless of their beliefs, perspectives, or other prior commitments, feel equally able to ask questions, share ideas, and otherwise participate in learning and knowledge production without risk of censure.”

I question if legislation can accomplish that when liberalism is so engrained in all levels of education and solidly in control of higher education in every state. Will the First Amendment be honored in education, or will PC dogma continue to dominate?

God help education, learners and teachers express the truth and debate differing points of view with civility.

First Amendment or Indoctrination
By Ramblin’ Rose

“Actions speak louder than words.” We have all heard, and probably said, that adage many times. Yet on college campuses, where information is to be exchanged and knowledge acquired, that is not always the case. The news media frequently reports on the cancellation of visit by a conservative or Christian speaker due to protests by “enlightened” leftists. If they do attempt to make their speech, they are frequently attacked, physically and verbally.

Many universities announce comfort toys, therapy dogs, massages in de-stressing spaces for students facing final exams. It seems that Snowflakes do melt. Are these young adults who are learning to develop their own informed decisions or sponges ready to follow the indoctrination of left-wing progressive educators?

In March, 2019, South Dakota’s Republican governor Kristi Noem signed HB 1087. Upon signing the bill into law (effective July 1, 2019) she stated, “Our university campuses should be places where students leave their comfort zones and learn about competing ideas and perspectives…I hope this bill lets the nation know that, in South Dakota, we are teaching our next generation to debate important issues, work together to solve problems, and think independently.”

Diversity? It’s a buzzword that has become a part of the PC vocabulary and had its meaning warped by the Left to be a tool to limit free speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment. It now symbolizes ‘inclusivity’ as long as the Left determines who is to be included and which ideologies MUST BE embraced by their exclusive definition of ‘tolerance.’ Anyone who tries to express, or worse, practice conservative and/or Christian values MUST BE silenced. This left-wing ideology emanates from diversity offices housed on almost all postsecondary campuses, promoting social justice causes and requiring students, faculty and staff to attend safe space training, suppression of white-identify workshops, drag shows and a plethora of other perverse topics.

In South Dakota, lawmakers estimate that diversity offices cost about $6 million annually and employ 31 people…without improved results for minority/diverse students.

Native Americans comprise the largest minority in South Dakota. Yet they are still struggling to graduate. What are those diversity programs doing for them? One of the bill’s sponsors, Representative Sue Peterson, asked that question. In her review of report from the state’s diversity office reports, she noted references to safe zone training, social justice training and oversight of university hiring projects. She did not report on assistance to Native American students.

The executive director of the Board of Regents claims that “the role of diversity offices is to prepare students to work among other cultures. Businesses that recruit students want employees who can be sent anywhere in the world and adjust to different cultures.”

Representative Peterson, whom I have not met, and I agree that the director’s statement is hollow, at best, and maybe just closer to a lie.

Doing a search for the characteristics that employers want in their employees, communication is still number one. So why not invest in teaching students the language of the company/country where they hope to work. Then they could communicate with the employer, co-workers (#7 on the list of the top 10 quality and skills sought by employers in prospective employees), and the host community.

If the language program is solid, the professors will use the professional standards of ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages). All will use the target language (the one being learned) in order to gain the ability to communicate in the language…not in English. The company will not have to hire interpreters for the employee. (US-based company…Do you want your employees depending on local interpreters who may not have the best interests of your company in mind as they interpret…maybe to the benefit of the host-country administrators?)

Those professional standards also include ‘culture.’ Culture, properly taught, includes “products, practices and perspectives.” Traditionally, only products have been named and the practices of a few holidays mentioned. Rarely were the differing perspectives included. They MUST BE if there is to be transparent communication and deep understanding. (Culture classes are also taught in the target language so that English perspectives does not influence the interpretation.)

Let’s consider two examples.

In March, 2001, China downed a US military plane. They had to apologize but would not. However, someone who knew both the language and the culture (all 3 Ps) offered a face-saving resolution. In Chinese, there is a way to say you are sorry without saying that you are sorry. That was not found in a dictionary or on Google Translator. It came from a thorough understanding of the language and culture.

Not all who speak the same language (standard language, dialects and slang excluded) have the same culture. An international student from Peru told me that she had assumed that all Spanish-speaking peoples, at least in Latin America, shared the same perspectives. She was exposed to differences in a US university. She returned home with a better appreciation of the breadth of her own culture.

The insights to be successful as a tourist or professional in another country will not be attained through the programs offered by the diversity offices on US campuses. The executive director is wrong.

South Dakota is one of 17 states that passed legislation, signed by the governor, to protect the First Amendment. The media has not shared this as news. They reacted (negatively) to President Trump’s Executive Order 13864, signed on March 21, 2019. It decrees it to be federal policy to “…foster environments that promote open, intellectually engaging, and diverse debate.” It also directs this nation’s colleges and universities to protect free speech on campus or lose federal research funding.

The Board of Regents met in late June to determine how to operationalize the new law on July 1. We’re still waiting for a report. Their Facebook page provided a short report related to student organizations but nothing about this policy. Hmmmm.

But our neighbor has taken a brave step.

“Supporters are optimistic that the new South Dakota law will help to foster true intellectual diversity, as opposed to what they decry as the left-wing multiculturalist version of diversity that treats all cultures as equal and pressures students to conform.

The new law, known as HB 1087, prevents colleges from creating so-called free speech zones that limit free speech to a specific area on campus and requires the South Dakota Board of Regents, which administers the state’s six public universities, to file with the governor and state lawmakers a report each year identifying “events or occurrences” that “hinder intellectual diversity.”

Written by Rambling Rose

Do people in the USA really know what they want? What they believe? “Save the children!” Really?

Media sources applaud states, politicians, celebrities, left-wing feminists that have moved from the 1973 Roe v. Wade legalized abortion decision to legalized (or just practiced by some healthcare workers who turn their backs on a child born from a botched abortion) infanticide. I don’t need to provide the list here—you all have read the news releases and heard the cheers from the streets about women’s rights (the blob in the womb is not a person so it has no rights) to decide what happens in their body.

Incessantly, there are protests about the alleged mistreatment by the Trump administration of the children entering this country illegally; multiple times as they are “rented” to form families, then returned to Mexico to be “rented” again in a different family, not biological families, only families to break even more of the immigration laws of this land. Where is the outcry about the financial, physical, mental and psychological abuse to those children? Or, is the need greater to grow the number of illegal persons to depend upon the government and vote for those who promise much just to buy their votes of the poor to continue to live in DC, breed corruption and promote their hatred of the USA?

Yet several times a night on over-the-air TV broadcasting (I can’t write about cable broadcasts; I don’t have or want cable/direct TV/dish), the ads abound to “save the children.” The ads are for the malnourished, sick, disabled and dying, primarily in Africa. Naturally, my heart breaks as I view these young children who are only about half the size of a healthy child of the same age. Naturally, I hope that all the organizations requesting donations are honorable and in fact, making the donations of food and medical care available to those in need. I pray that ethical charities are “saving the children.”

Similarly, there are nightly pleas for donations to numerous organizations in this country to provide for the children afflicted by various cancers and the resultant agony of their families. Again, the skeptic hopes that the donations actually provide for the children and their families in the various challenges that face them. Young children should not have to fight just to live. Their families gave them life; they did not abort them and toss them into the trash. Why are not the ‘compassionate’ progressives marching for them? Organizing fundraisers to pay for their care?

Even more numerous, laughable and disgusting are the ads for financial gifts for the “humane” treatment of animals. Wait a minute. Humane implies that the four-legged creature is a human. I do not oppose pets; neither do I object if owners (not parents) choose to pamper their pets (that are not their biological offspring) as long as they also meet the needs of their children.

Why are the unborn babies killed if children in other countries are to be saved? Why are animals held in higher esteem than children who are conceived and then called “inconvenient”?

Fortunately, the children do have a Savior.

“But Jesus said, suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14)

Written by Rambling Rose

What is truth?

Christians know that Jesus Christ is the Truth. But they and He are rejected in the post-truth world of today. So readers, researchers and journalists (term used loosely) quickly turn to electronic sites to arbitrate “the truth.”

But every day we learn more of the bias coming from the Silicon Valley and the agencies that are engaged more with indoctrination than with information. That bias has earned the name “Speech Code Cartel,” including Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Apple and Amazon.

Why is this a concern? In the second quarter, the Soros Fund Management based in New York City and owned by ultra-liberal billionaire George Soros purchased 159,200 shares in Facebook (valued at $31 million), 250,000 shares in Twitter (valued at $11 million), and 54,500 shares in Apple (valued at $10 million). Soros has ties to more than 30 mainstream news outlets, including The New York Times, Washington Post, the Associated Press, NBC and ABC, according to Media Research Center. He is known to be an ultra-leftist that aspires to influence the future of this country and the world.

Some of that influence is manifested when conservative posts are censored and deleted from social media. Some people are even banned. Just last month, that included blogger Elizabeth Johnston, also known as “The Activist Mommy,” PragerU, and Dr. Robert A.J. Gagnon of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Johnston summarized the basis for the attacks and censorship in these words: “The truth is, Facebook is owned and run by radical leftists who intentionally keep the community guidelines very subjective and vague, which gives them unlimited power to silence and marginalize anyone whose voice they want to shut down. The Left fears our voices because we are effectively persuading and dismantling their lies about abortion, homosexuality, Islam, radical feminism, and a host of other issues that are an all-out assault on our Christian values.”

Various polls have confirmed a great deal of skepticism and distrust among the citizens about the media. 72% believe that the media distort the news with a liberal bias.

What about checking the facts? Yes, like Snopes. Well, that is another facet of the bias.

On September 11, 2018, Joseph Farah, author, journalist and editor-in-chief of the WorldNetDaily, wrote about Facebook’s official “fact-checker.” In his words: “Welcome to the thoroughly unprofessional, politically biased, widely discredited and scandal-plagued world of Snopes.com – now one of the premier gatekeepers in the wacky and warped world of “truth detection…” Farah coined the phrase “Speech Code Cartel” to portray the function of Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Apple and Amazon as determined by their founders/owners/shareholders.

Farah outlined the founding in 1995 and growth of Snopes into a recognized source for checking out myths and rumors on the internet. In order to get answers for their questions, David Mikkelson and his then-wife, Barbara, posed as the leaders of “San Fernando Valley Folklore Society.” The group did not exist but afforded the Mikkelsons a façade, probably not illegal but reveals that Snopes started on a questionable foundation. Mikkelson admitted to the Los Angeles Times in 1997: “When I sent letters out to companies, I found I got a much better response with an official-looking organization’s stationery.”

Initially, the research was done by the duo using primarily secondhand internet sources.

The marriage ended in a nasty divorce in 2015, and legal disputes continue yet today. Barbara charged David with embezzlement and infidelity. The business apparently had prospered since David asked that his salary be increased from $240,000 to $360,000, noting that his work merited compensation of $720,000. The settlement involved millions.

David hired Elyssa Young as an administrative assistant and married her in 2016. In 2004, Young ran for Congress in Hawaii but garnered only 3% of the vote. While employed as an administrative assistant, she identifies as a courtesan.

Some have questioned Snopes lack of any “standardized procedure” in fact-checking. Mikkelson defends his system of fact-checking in this way: “[It] involves multiple stages of editorial oversight, so no output is the result of a single person’s discretion.”

Another legal dispute grew out a business relationship with Proper Media from August 2015 through March 2017. Mikkelson terminated the advertising agreement in hopes of regaining control of Snopes. When Proper Media stopped payments, Mikkelson opened a GoFundMe page that initially generated $665,000, but contributions have dwindled although appeals for funds continue on the SaveSnopes.com website.

Many question if Snopes can be fair, balanced and unbiased. Snopes defends some of its findings for not getting the right answer because they did not get the right question.

Even Mikkelson agrees that “bias is in the eye of the beholder.” He notes that it is often conservatives that detect bias in the Snopes reports.

And yet, Snopes is the official fact-checker for Facebook and many reporters. That may add credence to the belief that much news is “fake,” “controlled,” or at least “distorted.”

The First Amendment? Censorship? PC? Truth? Let the citizens beware.

Follow the money—again!!
Written by Rambling Rose

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the investment (current years/dollars as reported) in K-12 education with state and federal tax dollars:

Total expenditures for public elementary and secondary schools in the United States in 2013–14 amounted to $634 billion, or $12,509 per public school student enrolled in the fall (in constant 2015–16 dollars).

One would expect good returns on such investments, but the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as The Nation’s Report Card, released earlier in April, gives the nation’s schools a failing grade. Only 37% of the high school seniors tested as proficient or better in reading, and only 25% in math. Among the black students, the results were even lower: 17% proficient or better in reading, 7% ‘at least proficient’ in math.

It gets worse. Nationally, the graduation rate is over 80%. That means that the high school diploma has lost its meaning. With the high school diploma in hand, 63% of the graduates are declared proficient in reading at the 12th grade level when the test scores reveal the opposite. Likewise, 75% of high school graduates are deemed proficient in math skills when they are not. For black students, the numbers are even lower as noted by the test scores in the previous paragraph.

What does that diploma certify? Attendance? Are those young people ready to continue their postsecondary education?

Apparently. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that “70 percent of white high school graduates in 2016 enrolled in college, and 58 percent of black high school graduates enrolled in college.” Studies report that two-thirds of community college students enroll in at least one remedial course as do 40% of those in a four-year institution. Many universities hire special tutors to assist their athletes, many who read at the fourth- to eighth-grade levels.

College professors admit that they have had to “dumb down their classes” in order to teach their inadequately-prepared students. Others have removed the analytical components of the programs. Majors have become “studies” with the emphasis on social issues. Sadly, the cycle continues. Many of the least prepared enter education, as revealed by their intended majors reported by SAT scores—26th of 38 options.

The executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, the organization that represents every state’s top education official, Carissa Moffat Miller, stated “Today’s release of The Nation’s Report Card confirms that there is still much work to be done to close achievement gaps and ensure that our young people are ready for success in college, careers and life.”

Yes, there is much work to be done—by teachers, administrators, politicians, students and PARENTS. Parental involvement and schools with a focus on academics and not ‘justice’ issues would be a start.

It appears that dollars alone are not the answer.