Students in California public schools may not be leading the nation in their knowledge of the “three R’s,” but they are well on their way to being experts in deviant lifestyles. Under a law signed last year by Gov. Jerry Brown (D), all public schools in the state are now required to promote homosexuality, bisexuality, transsexuality, and same-sex “marriage” at every grade level, including kindergarten — and to do so without parental consent or even notification.
“Put down that sausage, pepperoni, and extra cheese, son, and no one will get hurt.” Words to that effect were spoken to 10-year-old Nicholas Taylor, a student at David Youree Elementary School in Smyrna, Tennessee, when he committed the unpardonable offense of pretending that a half-eaten slice of pizza was a gun and, in the words of school district spokesman James Evans, “threatening” other students with it.
A religious liberty case involving candy canes, pens, and pencils with Christian messages — which has been dragging on for eight long years — has finally made its way to the highest court in the land. The conservative legal advocacy group Liberty Institute is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hold school districts accountable that violate the free speech rights of students who wish to express their religious faith in school.
Arizona's Administrative Law Judge Lewis Kowal determined on December 27 that the Tucson Public School District’s Mexican-American Studies Program violated state law. In his opinion, the judge stated that a fair presentation of historical and cultural materials was permissible, but that what this program represented was different: “Teaching oppression objectively is quite different than actively presenting material in a biased, political and emotionally charged manner,” he pointed out.
The Los Angeles Unified School District embraced First Lady Michelle Obama’s "war on obesity" campaign earlier this year when school officials launched a program to phase out junk food and offer a "trail-blazing" new menu of black-bean burgers, quinoa salad, and a catalog of other "healthy" foods. But according to an article published by the Los Angeles Times, L.A. Unified’s efforts to purge its school cafeterias of cheeseburgers and fries has in fact spawned an underground ring of junk food bootlegging.
A conservative legal advocacy group has filed suit against a Michigan school district and teacher for their actions against a student who was removed from class and threatened with suspension for expressing his opposition to homosexuality during a classroom discussion. The Thomas More Law Center said that it filed the federal lawsuit against the Howell, Michigan, school district and one of its teachers, Johnson “Jay” McDowell, “for punishment and humiliation” they exhibited toward high school student Daniel Glowacki after he expressed his Christian beliefs regarding homosexuality in response to McDowell’s prompting.
Nearly half of America’s public schools failed to meet federal standards under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law in school year 2010-2011. The Center on Education Policy (CEP) issued a report showing that more than 43,000 schools, or 48 percent, did not make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) this year, tallying an 11-percent increase over the 39 percent of schools that did not make AYP in 2010 and the sharpest drop in educational achievement since the law took effect a decade ago.
Despite the excitement and anticipation for the Christmas season that pervades the nation every year, the religious element of the holiday continues to be a point of contention for some and a source of great controversy. In Paragould, Arkansas, for example, the Greene County School Board forced the removal of a Nativity scene that was displayed at one of its elementary schools, adhering to local atheists who articulated the tired maxim of “separation of church and state.” After some persistent protest and displays of heroism by the elementary counselor, Kay Williams, however, the school board gave in and permitted the Nativity scene to be put up once again.
After being asked about the walkout of a few of his students from his Economics 10 class on November 2, Harvard professor Greg Mankiw (left) responded with an open letter in the New York Times. The walkout involved only about 30 or 40 of the 750 students who usually attend, he noted. In addition, some other students entered his class as a “counter protest,” and at least one of the original protesters returned to his class because he didn’t want to miss his lecture.
In the ongoing effort by concerned parents and disillusioned educators to find ways of improving education for today’s youngsters, there’s a new kid on the block. And, from all appearances, one that is already making a mark on the learning landscape.
I entered graduate school to study English literature in the late 1980s, eventually receiving a Ph.D. in Renaissance literature, and have been a professional academic ever since. I have reached that point in life where I am sufficiently wizened — and sufficiently jaded — to be allowed the luxury of griping about how much tougher it was growing up for my generation. As a life-long teacher, I might also be granted indulgence if I grumble about how little my college students actually know compared to what I learned. And although there is as much justice as exaggeration in these observations, the thing that never ceases to amaze me is how morally stunted and ethically underdeveloped our students are, how utterly unable to make even obvious moral distinctions, and how completely uninterested in differentiating between virtue and vice.