Friday, November 30, 2007

What's Wrong With Outcome-Based Education?

May 1993 Phyllis Schlafly Report

Outcome-Based Education (OBE) is sweeping the country in the name of school "restructuring." OBE calls for a complete change in the way children are taught, graded and graduated, kindergarten through 12th grade. Since the American people seem ready to accept drastic surgery on our failed public schools, state departments of education are seizing this opportunity to force acceptance of OBE as the cure. But OBE has parents even more agitated than they are about explicit sex education. Crowds of a thousand or more parents are known to have gathered in Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and Ohio.

Here is a summary of the ten major objections that parents have raised against OBE.

1. OBE is packaged in a deceptive language that appears to be mischievously chosen to mislead parents. Public school administrators have an obligation to present their "reform" plans in plain English so that parents can easily understand the objectives, the methods, the content, and exactly how OBE is different from traditional schooling.

OBE advocates continually use double-entendre expressions that parents assume mean one thing but really mean something different in the OBE context. When they talk about "new basics," for example, they are not talking about academics such as reading, writing and arithmetic, but OBE attitudes and outcomes. When they talk about "higher order thinking skills" or "critical thinking," they mean a relativistic process of questioning traditional moral values.

The following statement from OBE literature is typical: "OBE schools are expected to become `success based' rather than `selection oriented' by establishing the instructional management procedures and delivery conditions which enable all students to learn and demonstrate those skills necessary for continued success." OBE salespersons don't tell parents that "success" for all children means "success" in demonstrating only the dumbed-down outcomes that the slowest learners in the class can attain. OBE means "success" in mediocrity rather than excellence.

2. OBE uses students as guinea pigs in a vast social experiment. OBE advocates are not able to produce any replicable research or pilot studies to show that it works. OBE is being forced on entire state school systems without any evidence that it has been tried anywhere and found effective.

The best test of an OBE-type system was Chicago's experiment in the 1970s with Professor Benjamin Bloom's Mastery Learning (ML), which is essentially the same as OBE. ML was a colossal failure and was abandoned in disgrace in 1982. The test scores proved to be appallingly low and the illiteracy rate became a national scandal. Bloom, the father of ML, is well known for his statement that "the purpose of education is to change the thoughts, feelings and actions of students." (All Our Children Learning, page 180.)

Dr. Bill Spady, sociologist and director of the International Center on Outcome-Based Restructuring, defined the connection between OBE and Mastery Learning in an article entitled "On Outcome Based Education: A Conversation with Bill Spady" (Educational Leadership, Dec. 1992-Jan. 1993): "In January of 1980 we convened a meeting of 42 people to form the Network for Outcome-Based Schools. Most of the people who were there — Jim Block, John Champlin — had a strong background in Mastery Learning, since it was what OBE was called at the time. But I pleaded with the group not to use the name `mastery learning' in the network's new name because the word `mastery' had already been destroyed through poor implementation."

The major OBE/ML experiment, which took place in Utah in 1984-86, shows how federal funding enabled OBE to spread nationwide. A letter applying for the federal grant, written by Utah State Superintendent of Public Instruction G. Leland Burningham to then U.S. Secretary of Education T. H. Bell (July 27, 1984), stated: "This [project] will make it possible to put Outcome-Based Education in place, not only in Utah but in all schools of the nation." Spady's Far West Regional Laboratory received the federal grant and he was made director of this pilot project, which is now implementing OBE/ML nationwide.

3. OBE offers no method of accountability to students, parents, teachers, or taxpayers. Since OBE includes no objective standards of achievement that are measurable, it will be years and millions of tax dollars into the future before we know whether schoolchildren are learning anything important or are wasting their time. Educators admit that OBE is very expensive since each student works at his own pace at mastering every outcome/skill/behaviour until he succeeds. Perhaps this is what they mean by "lifelong learning."

For as long as most of us can remember, secondary schools have been structured on a measurable grid called the "Carnegie units." The traditional high school curriculum includes four units of English; three units each of mathematics, science and social studies; two units each of arts and humanities; a unit of health and physical education; and several electives. After you complete enough units (usually 21), you receive a high school diploma and colleges will admit you.

Outcome-Based Education tosses these traditional units out the window and replaces them with vague and subjective "learning outcomes" that cannot be measured objectively by standardized tests and for which there is no accountability to parents and taxpayers. OBE will make it virtually impossible to conduct any kind of tests that allow comparisons with students in other schools, other states, or prior years. Under OBE, grades have no relation to academic achievement and knowledge. Colleges will have no criteria by which to judge whether students are ready for admission.

In the elementary grades, OBE does not teach children essential reading, writing, and arithmetic skills (such as addition, subtraction and multiplication tables), but pretends to teach them "higher order thinking skills" instead. OBE ignores the obvious fact that one can't engage in "higher order thinking" until one has some facts to think about. For example, an Iowa State OBE assessment test for the 11th grade shows no requirement of math skills beyond the fundamental computations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

4. OBE is a dumbed-down egalitarian scheme that stifles individual potential for excellence and achievement by holding the entire class to the level of learning attainable by every child. To accomplish this, children are placed in Politically Correct groups (race, ethnicity, gender, class) for "cooperative learning" and may be given a group grade instead of individual grades.

Cooperative learning researchers admit that the purpose of this strategy is to eliminate grading and competition in the classroom. This is the essence of OBE and explains why all measurable criteria — standardized tests, the Carnegie units, traditional subject-matter, and report cards — must be eliminated.

OBE is based on the unrealistic notion that every child in a group can learn to the designated level and must demonstrate mastery of a specific outcome before the group can move on. The faster learners are not allowed to progress, but are given busy work called "horizontal enrichment" or told to do "peer tutoring" to help the slower learners, who are recycled through the material until the pre-determined behaviour is exhibited.

Cooperative learning researcher Robert Slavin said in "Mastery Learning Reconsidered" (funded by the U.S. Department of Education in 1987): "If some students take much longer than others to learn a particular objective, then . . . either corrective instruction must be given outside of regular class time, or students who achieve mastery early on will have to waste considerable amounts of time waiting for their classmates to catch up." If OBE were applied to basketball, the basket would have to be lowered so all could score equally.

In order to master all outcomes, children with a particular talent are required to forfeit time in their area of strength. Because no child moves ahead until all demonstrate mastery, the inevitable happens: the faster learners quickly learn to slow their pace in order to avoid extra work, and they just give the answers to the slower learners so the group can move forward. Incentive and motivation are reduced, and boredom and resentment increased. The result is that all students demonstrate "mastery" of mediocrity, and none can aspire to excellence. Every child loses under this system.

5. In an OBE system, academic and factual subject matter is replaced by vague and subjective learning outcomes. According to OBE guru Bill Spady, "the traditional subject-based curriculum disappears" from OBE. New OBE report cards substitute check marks for grades, focusing on general skills, attitudes, and behaviours instead of individual subjects.

A look at the outcomes that have so far been made public show that they are heavily layered with such "Politically Correct" notions as training for world citizenship and government (instead of patriotism), population control, radical environmentalism, and government "solutions" for every problem. (See typical examples below in "OBE in Washington State.")

6. A high percentage of OBE "outcomes" concern values, attitudes, opinions and relationships rather than objective information. A large number of OBE's goals are affective (concerned with emotions and feelings) rather than academic (concerned with knowledge and skills). OBE requires students to meet vague psychological objectives relating to self-esteem, ethical judgment, and adaptability to change. Moving from one level to the next, and even graduation, is dependent on meeting behaviour-change requirements and government-mandated attitudes. (For a sampling of vague and affective outcomes, see below under "OBE in Pennsylvania.")

OBE thus involves a major change in the school's avowed mission. Henceforth, its mission is to conform student beliefs, attitudes and behaviour to prescribed school-mandated social norms, rather than to provide an academic education. Parents are concerned about what methods will be used to change behaviours that are deemed incorrect.

"Self-esteem" is a major attitudinal outcome demanded by OBE. Many of the techniques used to change a child's self-esteem or his adaptability to change are psychotherapeutic. This amounts to practising psychology without a license as well as engaging in unprofessional group therapy. Arizona recently made an attempt to protect its school personnel by providing them with civil and criminal immunity.

Parents who are trying to rear their children with strong religious values are concerned that willingness to go along with the crowd is taught by OBE as a positive rather than a negative attitude. Since "tolerance" is a major attitudinal outcome demanded by OBE, parents are concerned that this includes "tolerance" for extra-marital lifestyles of all kinds. The non-directive, "decision-making" classroom technique leads children to believe they are mature enough to make decisions about sex and drugs that parents believe are unhealthy and may even be illegal.

The public school establishment is highly secretive about the OBE tests, but tests that have come to light include many questions of attitude and opinion for which there are no right or wrong answers. What is the correct answer, for example, to questions about whether the student "understands others" or "applies good consumer behaviour"? Nevertheless, the student is required to conform to the government-mandated outcomes, whatever they are.

OBE raises the fundamental question of who should decide what values, attitudes, and beliefs a child should be taught. Should it be the parents or the U.S. Department of Education, which funded OBE? Should the public schools be allowed to teach values that may be controversial and sometimes even contradictory to values taught to children by their parents?

Behaviour modification is fundamental to achieving OBE-type results. OBE uses a "stimulus-response-stimulus" pattern, a rewards-and-punishment process based on Ivan Pavlov's and B.F. Skinner's programmed learning/behaviour modification techniques. Under OBE, students are recycled through the process until they meet the mandated outcomes.

Educators see computer-assisted instruction (CAI) as a powerful programmed-learning tool to change children's values. Here are some samples of their thinking. "The computer is ideally suited to the role of facilitator in values education. It inherently possesses the Rogerian qualities of genuineness and congruence. . . . Values clarification and values analysis are aptly suited to being used as a basis for software development." ("Can Computers Teach Values?", Educational Leadership, April 1982.)

"will work on the principle that students' attitudes can be changed effectively by using the Socratic method of asking an appropriate series of leading questions logically designed to right the balance between appropriate attitudes and those deemed less acceptable."
(Donald Bushnell, "The Role of the Computer in Future Instructional Systems," AV Communication Review, 1963.)
7. OBE sets up a computer file on each child to track the child's efforts to master the learning outcomes. These "electronic portfolios" will take the place of traditional assessments and test results and will become the basis for the school's efforts to remediate whatever attitudes and behaviours the school deems unacceptable. The portfolios will include all school, psychological and medical records, and are to be available to prospective employers after graduation.

The computer portfolio on each child plays an essential role in the tracking of individual students. The computer records how the child responds to behaviour modification, what is his threshold of resistance to remediation, and whether he develops positive attitudes toward the mandated outcomes.

Parents are concerned about who will have access to these files and what will become of the data compiled on each student. Professional journals describe the goals like this:

"The computer's vast storage capacity permits access to a much broader base of data than just one classroom. In fact, the responses of the entire population of a school system could easily be compiled, stored and shared."
(Educational Leadership, April 1982.)
Student privacy is tossed out the window. Will the child be able to get a job if he has not demonstrated the OBE values and Politically Correct attitudes? Some have suggested that state law should forbid employers to hire anyone who does not have a certificate showing mastery of the government-mandated outcomes.

8. OBE is a method for concealing and perpetuating the number-one crime of the public school system — the failure to teach first graders how to read. OBE is wholly committed to the "whole language," word-guessing method rather than the phonics method. This ensures that children will learn only to memorize a few words that are massively repeated. Teachers are cautioned not to correct spelling and syntax errors because that could be damaging to the student's self esteem and creativity. (For specific OBE reading methods, see below under "OBE in Oklahoma.")

The education elitists who are promoting OBE are perfectly content to have the schools turn out quotas of semi-literate workers who can be trained to perform menial tasks under supervision in order to serve the demands of the global economy. OBE graduates will never be able to aspire to enjoy the great literature in the English language.

The rationale was explained by well-known reading researcher Thomas Sticht, who said in 1987,
"Many companies have moved operations to places with cheap, relatively poorly educated labor. What may be crucial, they say, is the dependability of a labor force and how well it can be managed and trained — not its general educational level, although a small cadre of highly educated creative people is essential to innovation and growth. Ending discrimination and changing values are probably more important than reading in moving low-income families into the middle class."
(Washington Post, Aug. 17, 1987.)
The U.S. Department of Labor is a big player in the OBE movement. OBE will aid in managing and training the work force by tracking all students beginning in the 4th grade and routing them through vocational education tracks as needed. Functional literacy competencies are defined as an ability to read a map and a bus schedule. Sticht is also a member of the Secretary of Labor's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) and, as Associate Director for Basic Skills at the National Institute of Education, promoted similar techniques called "competency education" and "mastery teaching." (Washington Post, Aug. 17, 1977.).

9. OBE, of course, involves high costs for administration and the retraining of teachers in an entirely new system, which will be reflected in higher school taxes. The computer portfolio system is reported to be five times as expensive as traditional assessment tests. Putting computers into the hands of first-graders to give the facade of moving into modern technology is a gross waste of funds. Computers may actually be a detriment to learning elementary writing and arithmetic skills, but they may be very useful in changing values, as noted above.

10. OBE involves tightened state control at the expense of local control. Although OBE salespersons claim otherwise, the new system tightens the grip of state education officials and federal education laboratories because they write the required outcomes, develop the curriculum, train the teachers, and judge the performance of the students (all of whom must conform to National Goals).

Even though local school districts may be told to develop their own plan for achieving the designated outcomes, the plans must be approved by the state departments of education. Texas Commissioner of Education Lionel Meno gave his definition of local control (Texas Lone Star, June 1991): The state sets the goals, the local districts choose how they will comply.

Teachers will not be able to get around the OBE system, and teach the basics anyway, because the teachers are graded on how their class meets the outcomes. Teachers who do not conform will be phased out, and the schools will be taken over by the state, as is mandated in Kentucky.

OBE in Pennsylvania. When the Pennsylvania State Department of Education first proposed converting to Outcome-Based Education in 1992, it listed 545 outcomes that students would have to meet before graduation. The outcomes were later condensed to 55. Many of the goals are affective, which means that they concern attitudes, values, feelings and emotions rather than academic achievement. A look at some of these outcomes makes clear that they cannot possibly measure students' performance objectively. Here are some examples.

"All students develop interpersonal communication, decision making, coping, and evaluation skills and apply them to personal, family, and community living." "All students understand and appreciate their worth as unique and capable individuals, and exhibit self-esteem." "All students relate in writing, speech or other media, the history and nature of various forms of prejudice to current problems facing communities and nations, including the United States." "All students relate basic human development theories to care giving and child care strategies." "All students apply the fundamentals of consumer behaviour to managing available resources to provide for personal and family needs." "All students make environmentally sound decisions in their personal and civic lives."
OBE in Washington State. Washington State's Performance-Based Education Act of 1993 calls for a new performance-based assessment system to "replace the current state standardized achievement tests." The goals are extremely vague. For instance:

Under Goal 1 - students are to "communicate effectively and responsibly in a variety of ways and settings." No indication is given of what is meant by "responsibly."

Under Goal 2 - students know and apply the core concepts and principles, among other things, of "healthful living." What constitutes healthful living is not disclosed.

Under Goal 3 - students are to "think critically and creatively, and integrate experience and knowledge to form reasoned judgments and solve problems."

It is unclear whether or not "knowledge" includes the kind of specific fact-oriented knowledge that most of us consider an essential part of education.

Goal 4 - instructs students to "function as caring and responsible individuals and contributing members of families, work groups, and communities."

"Responsible" and "caring" are undefined. The outcomes also include "honest and ethical behaviour," which suggests a moral code of some sort, though presumably not a Judeo-Christian ethic.

Another outcome is "citizenship," which is redefined from its traditional sense to include "a multicultural and world view."

OBE in Oklahoma. In 1992, the Oklahoma State Department of Education published five volumes of "Learner Outcomes" for Grades One through Twelve. The Foreword in each volume makes clear that the changes in the school system do not mean teaching the basics (usually defined as reading, writing and arithmetic). The Foreword states: "Oklahoma has joined a national movement in education — not a `back to basics' approach, but an effort to focus and organize all of the school's educational programs and instructional efforts around the clearly defined outcomes we want all students to demonstrate when they leave school."

The Oklahoma Learner Outcomes dictate total subservience to the discredited "word-guessing" method of teaching reading to first graders, and do not allow the use of the proven phonics method. Instead of teaching children to read by learning the sounds and syllables of the English language so that the child can sound out words, the child is taught by endless repetition to memorize a few dozen "sight" words, to guess at new words by looking at the pictures on the page, to "predict" the text instead of reading it, and to skip over words they can't read. The teacher is instructed not to have the child focus on reading actual words, but to let the child substitute any words that seem to fit.

The ability to read a simple story that a child has never seen before is not on the list of Oklahoma "outcomes." Predicting is not reading, nor is asking a friend, nor is guessing at the meaning from the illustrations.

Here are some direct quotations from the official "Oklahoma State Competencies, Grade One," pages 15-22, which confirm that first-graders will reach their "Reading Learner Outcomes" by guessing rather than by reading: "The student attend[s] to the meaning of what is read rather than focusing on figuring out words. . . . Uses context, pictures, syntax, and structural analysis clues to predict meanings of unknown words. Develops a sight vocabulary of high frequency words. . . . Predict[s] unknown words. . . . Uses predictions in order to read pattern books (stories with a repetitive element). . . . Uses fix-it strategies (predicts, uses pictorial cues, asks a friend, skips the word, substitutes another meaningful word). . . . The student will interpret a story from illustrations."

The "Oklahoma State Competencies, Grade Two" reinforce the guessing game rather than teaching the child to read. Here are some additional quotations (pages 7-15): "Use context clues and nonverbal clues to aid comprehension (pictures, type faces, word placement, illustrations). . . . Predict outcomes. . . . Makes, verifies, and/or revises predictions while reading."

Even in the 12th grade, the child is still told that he need not "focus on figuring out words." However, he must nevertheless demonstrate "a positive attitude toward self as a reader." (Grades 9 through 12, page 21.)

The Oklahoma Learner Outcomes for Mathematics, Grade One (pages 25-27) make clear that the child will not learn ordinary arithmetic skills (that will eventually enable him to make change at the grocery store), but will instead be given a mish-mash of "higher order thinking skills and facility in applying technology."

The instructions state: "The longstanding preoccupation with computation and emphasis on rote activities must change to a focus on fostering mathematical insight, reasoning, and problem solving both individually and in collaborative groups." In other words, first-graders must sit around in a group and collaborate on their "insight" without ever learning the sums of 2+2 and 3+3. Learning the multiplication tables is not an outcome specified in any grade.

OBE's behaviour modification techniques are evident from the first-grade "Comprehensive Health Learner Outcomes." They include (page 60): "The student will identify different types of family structures, so that no single type is seen as the only possible one. . . . The student will describe ways family members resolve problems and conflicts."

Throughout the Oklahoma OBE curriculum, many "outcomes" are listed that pertain to feelings, rather than academic achievement. For example (Grade 4, page 70): "The student will enjoy feelings resulting from involvement in physical activity." Here are some of the Oklahoma outcomes that pertain to sex. "The student will identify appropriate expression of sexual feelings." (Grades 6-8, page 195.) "The student will develop communication skills, including being able to talk with one's actual or potential partner about sexual behaviour." (Grades 9-12, page 202.)

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the famous Russian author and former political prisoner in Soviet Gulags, said in a speech in the mid-1970s:

"Coexistence on this tightly knit earth should be viewed as an existence not only without wars . . . but also without [government] telling us how to live, what to say, what to think, what to know, and what not to know."
Unfortunately, that's what Outcome-Based Education is — a process for government telling our children how to live, what to say, what to think, what to know, and what not to know. What the children say, think and know must conform to the liberal Politically Correct ideology, attitudes and behaviour. What they do not know will be everything else. And because they won't know the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic, they won't be able to find out. OBE is converting the three R's to the three D's: Deliberately Dumbed Down.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Socialism and You

From the August 2001 Idaho Observer:

Why Our Schools Teach Socialism

By Joe Larson

Congratulations America: Today there are over 10,000 openly marxist professors and thousands of humanist professors contolling the universities and colleges that produce America's teachers and other professionals. Varying forms of marxist-humanism are the predominant philosophies of the educational establishment; yet we repeatedly send our most precious gift (our children) off to them for “education” (indoctrination).

Today's schools are filled with sex education, political correctness, environmental extremism, global unity, diversity training (pro-homosexuality) and higher order thinking skills [HOTS]; which boldly claim that to become a higher order thinker one must first believe the fact that there are no absolutes, absolutely! “The Greatest Story Ever Told” based on the greatest book ever written, “The Holy Bible,” about the greatest teacher who ever lived, Jesus, is not allowed, let alone used, in the schools of America. The Bible was America's first textbook; yet today it is referred to as a book of fables.

Our schools are filled with violence, murder, extortion, rape, unwanted pregnancy, drug use, disrespect, foul language, declining test scores and children who cannot read. While the pontificators wonder why, God doesn't; He knows - Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. I will also reject thee seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God; I will also forget thy children.” Verse 7 says, “As they were increased, so they sinned against Me: Therefore, will I change their glory into shame.”

The problem with America's educational system began with the birth of socialism and given impetus by federal government involvement. Lenin, one of the world's leading experts on socialism, tells us - “Communism is socialism in a hurry.” Socialism, therefore, is communism by gradualism rather than by revolution. The socialist “Fabian Society,” the forerunner of most socialist groups in America, had as their motto “Make Haste Slowly.” “Democratic Socialism” became the battle cry to socialize the United States of America. The socialists' goal was to “permeate and penetrate,” then control this nation from deep within. Their first target in America was our children through public instruction.

In the U.S. their followers would use language as their first line of attack and deceit. They would wear no badge nor socialist label, but were to call themselves “liberal,” “progressive” and even “moderate.” Words were the weapon of choice for this new war. By changing and shifting word meanings the socialists could cover their true purpose. Everything would be done under the banners of “reform” and “social justice,” suggesting all was for the public good, for humanitarian reasons, for true democracy -- and finally -- for the children. The buzzwords of socialism were then, and are today, “social” and “democracy” (i.e. social science, social studies and socialization of the child). Robert Conquest observed, “a communist never does anything under his own name that he can do under someone else's.”

In the early 1900's, because of unrest in Europe, thousands of socialists flocked to America for safety. Large numbers held degrees in the fields of psychology, sociology and psychiatry (behavioral sciences, dealing with behavior and [social] change). Many went on to become college and university professors.

Norman Thomas, socialist and member of the Civil Liberties Union, boldly told the world, “The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism, but under the name of liberalism, they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation without ever knowing how it happened.”

The story of how the socialists took over the American educational establishment would fill a book; so let us just listen to their own words.

John Dewey, called “the father of modern education,” was an avowed socialist, the co-author of the 'Humanist Manifesto' and cited as belonging to fifteen Marxist-front organizations by the Committee on Un-American Activities. Do the words (the father of modern education) now take on new meaning? Remember, Dewey taught the professors who would train America's teachers. He was obsessed with “the group.” In his own words, “You can't make socialists out of individualists. Children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society which is coming, where everyone is interdependent.”

Rosalie Gordon, writing on Dewey's progressive (socialist) education in her book “What's Happened To Our Schools,” said, “The progressive system has reached all the way down to the lowest grades to prepare the children of America for their role as the collectivists of the future.

The group -- not the individual child -- is the quintessence of progressivism. The child must always be made to feel part of the group. He must indulge in group thinking and group activity.”

After visiting the Soviet Union, Dewey wrote six articles on the “wonders” of Soviet education. The School-To-Work system in our public schools (all 50 states) is modeled after the Soviet poly-technical system.

In 1936, the National Education Association stated its position, from which they have never wavered; “We stand for socializing the individual.”

The NEA in its “Policy For American Education” stated, “The major problem of education in our times arises out of the fact that we live in a period of fundamental social change. In the new democracy [we were a Republic] education must share in the responsibility of giving purpose and direction to social change.. The major function of the school is the social orientation of the individual . Education must operate according to a well-formulated social policy.”

Paul Haubner, specialist for the NEA, tells us, “The schools cannot allow parents to influence the kind of values-education their children receive in school; . that is what is wrong with those who say there is a universal system of values. [Christians?] Our (humanistic) goals are incompatible with theirs. We must change their values.”

Professor Chester M. Pierce, M.D., Professor of Education and Psychiatry at Harvard, has this to say, “Every child in America entering school at the age of five is mentally ill because he comes to school with certain allegiances to our Founding Fathers, toward our elected officials, toward his parents, toward a belief in a supernatural being, and toward the sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity. It's up to you as teachers to make all these sick children well -- by creating the international child of the future.”

Some politicians agree. Listen to former Senator Paul Hoagland of Nebraska: “The fundamentalist parents have no right to indoctrinate their children in their beliefs. We are preparing their children for the year 2000 and life in a global one-world society and those children will not fit in.”

In the Humanist Review magazine it was observed that, “Education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism. What can a theistic Sunday school's meeting for an hour once a week and teaching only a fraction of the children do to stem the tide of the five-day program of humanistic teaching?”

P. Blanchard, in 'The Humanist” 1983, continues: “I think that the most important factor moving us toward a secular society has been the educational factor. Our schools may not teach Johnny how to read properly, but the fact that Johnny is in school until he is 16 tends toward the elimination of religious superstition. The average American child now acquires a high school education, and this militates against Adam and Eve and all other myths of alleged history.”

John J. Dunphy wrote in the Jan/Feb 1983 edition of The Humanist, “The battle for mankind's future must be waged and won in the public school classroom . The classroom must and will become the arena of conflict between the old and the new . the rotting corpse of Christianity and the new faith of humanism.”

Our bureaucrats, politicians and educators are constantly on television blaming either parents or lack of funds for our schools' dilemmas. The answer is always more money and more government control. For well over 50 years the American voter has believed this line of crap. Victor Gollancz, a famous socialist publisher tells us why he believed that socialism would take over America; “Christians are not exactly bright, so it will be easy for socialism to lead them down the garden path through their ideals of brotherly love and 'social justice.'”

It's (past) time that Christian men stand up for their families and their faith and put God back in charge of this nation and it's schools.

Joe Larson is the director of Restoring America, a nationwide association of individuals and organizations, including The Idaho Observer, that are dedicated to networking their information, activities and resources to further the effort of a peaceful restoration of our Constitutional Republic.


Is this what you want?

Because if it is, all you need do is - well, nothing. Just sit back, watch the Idiot Box, and the socialists will continue to devastate everything our forefathers fought and died for.

If it's not what you want, you better stand up and begin to fight back.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving Day

George Washington:
Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1789

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and

Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness":

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the Beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our national government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York,

the 3d day of October, AD 1789

George Washington

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wealthy Elites Rule


North American Union 'a couple years away'
Bilderberg author who 1st exposed plot in 1996 sees EU replication as imminen

Posted: November 19, 2007

© 2007

WASHINGTON – The next giant step toward world government will be integration of the U.S., Canada and Mexico in European Union-style merger in the next few years, says the author of a best-selling book on the power of shadowy international organizations promoting the move.

"I would say [it's just] a couple of years away," reports Daniel Estulin, author of "The True Story of the Bilderberg Group."

Estulin, a Canadian now living in Europe, says the original plans for a North American Union involved the U.S. and Canada as the prime participants. It was motivated primarily by the desire to harvest Canada's abundant natural resources.

In his new book, Estulin reveals the first efforts in this plan date back to 1996 when the elite Bilderberg Group first discussed plans for the dismantlement of Canada as an independent nation and proposed its merger – minus Quebec – with the United States into a Greater North America.

"Actually, the North American Union, or rather a Canada-U.S. merger, was initially discussed shortly after the Reagan-Bush candidacy won the White House," he says in an interview with WND. "Upon taking over the reins of the country, George Bush and Ronald Reagan called in the presidents of the key trans-national companies and asked them for the real picture. The money people told them that if the United States were a corporation it would have to be shut down immediately. It was bankrupt."

The solution proposed then, according to Estulin, was merger between the U.S. and Canada.

"Canada is virgin country with a multitude of natural resources, water, mines, oil, gas, etc.," he explains. "They decided that it was going to take 14 or 15 years to put the whole project together. In the interval, the economies, social programs and laws of the two countries would be quietly harmonized as much as possible."

Back then, part of that harmonization plan involved the separation of Quebec as an independent state, he says.

"Actually, when all is said and done, it all comes down to money," Estulin says. "Money makes its own rules. If your goal is to make the most money possible using Canada's natural resources, what would you ask for? Number one, give me control over the sun. Number two, give me control over the air. Number three, give me control over water. Now, we know we cannot control the sun, nor can we control the air. But we can control water. Water, after all, is the most important element that can be controlled."

But the plot for a North American Union, as exposed in detail in Jerome Corsi's new bestselling book, "The Late Great USA," is but a prelude, Estulin says, to the ultimate merger – one-world government.

"Everything is in place," he says. "Europe is now one country, one currency and one constitution. North America is about to become one. The African Union has had its working model going for over a decade. Asia is openly discussing the near-future Asian Union, being sold to us as an economic inevitability beneficial to all its citizens."

Estulin sees the current focus in the U.S. on the presidential election of 2008 as something of a farce in light of this trend.

"Does it really matter who wins?" he asks. "As I make very clear in 'The True Story of the Bilderberg Group,' every politician of note and promise belongs to the Bilderbergers, CFR (Council on Foreign Relations) or the Trilateral Commission. Unless you are one of them, you can hardly hope to win the presidency. If we vote for the lesser evil, forced upon us by the secret oligarchies and the powerful men behind the curtain, we end up playing the game imposed upon us by them. Democracy, I guess what I really want to say, is a fallacy, an unattainable dream, a useless label trotted out and dusted off by the rulers every four years for the benefit of the great unwashed – us. There are two sides in this equation – the powerful elite who control the world's wealth and the rest of humanity."

Estulin "guarantees" today's Republican front-runner Rudy Giuliani will not get the nomination of his party. With less certitude, he speculates the current mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, could still be positioned to head the GOP ticket.

"Bloomberg, according to my sources within Bilderberg, will emerge as a credible candidate of consensus for the discredited American political establishment, your virtual "People's Choice" candidate," he says.

What is the agenda behind these groups, which Estulin says are comprised of "self-interested elitists protecting their wealth and the investments of multinational banks and corporations in the growing world economy at the expense of developing nations and Third World countries"?

"The policies they develop," he writes, "benefit them as well as move us towards a one-world government."

Those questioning Estulin's conclusion as mere speculation need only recall organizational financer David Rockefeller's own words as recorded in his "Memoirs."

"Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as 'internationalists' and conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure – one world, if you will," he wrote. "If that's the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it."
Estulin's book, first written in 2005 in Spain, has been translated into 24 languages, most recently this English edition. He has covered the Bilderberg Group as a journalist for more than 15 years.

Why does he singularly devote so much attention to exposing their activities?
"They cannot survive the light, and they know it," he says. "This is why the powerful people have long insulated themselves from that possibility. You see, the greatest form of control is when you think you are free while you are being manipulated and dictated to. People have been disarmed through the greatest hypnotist the world has ever known – the oblong box almost everyone has in the corner of their living rooms known as the television. By persuading ordinary people that what they can see with their eyes is what is there to see, the men behind the curtain have ensured their own survival, because people will laugh in your face when you explain to them that there is a bigger picture they are not seeing."
What is his personal prescription for fighting back? He offers a five-point program:

1. Understanding that governments do not represent the people nor have their best interests at heart.

2. Understanding that corporate media's main job is to hide the transgressions of the most powerful people in the world not shine the light of truth on it.

3. Understanding that the corporate media forms part of the world's elite societies such as the Bilderbergers, the CFR and the Trilateral Commission.

4. Understanding how money works and how through intelligent use of money we can destroy the Bilderbergers of this world.

5. Getting out of debt now.

(emphasis added throughout)


It is the role of all governments today to package and deliver up these treasonous moves in a way that de-emphasizes the global intent. Here's one of the many, many ways they are doing it:



Glenn Beck Interviews Dr. Jerome Corsi:

Friday, November 16, 2007

Colorado Ranchers Put Their Money On the Line

Ranchers donate cattle to fight Army’s Pinon plans
Auction steers money toward limiting expansion.


LA JUNTA - The fight against the Army's proposed expansion of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site has invaded the dusty environs of the Winter Livestock Auction sale barn.

Calves and cows donated by ranchers across Southern Colorado were auctioned off Monday to raise funds for landowners who are fighting the planned 414,000-acre expansion.

The battle has been an intense one, pitting the Army's need to train soldiers against ranch families who have been on their land for several generations.

"We are here to sell our cattle to help with the opposition of this expansion. This is something important to all of us here," said Stan White, a rancher from Aguilar who donated a steer to be auctioned Monday.

White and his wife, Dee, also are donating a steer to be auctioned across U.S. 50 at La Junta Livestock on Wednesday.

White, who helped organize the auction, said he and others wanted to give people a new way to help stop the expansion.

"Everyone involved donated something here. Ranchers from all over donated cattle and the two sale barns have donated their time," White said.

La Junta is home to two high-volume livestock auction companies, making it one of the nation’s largest regional cattle markets. Both companies, Winter Livestock and La Junta Livestock, are selling the cattle at no cost.

Approximately 20 head of cattle were sold Monday. Proceeds will go to the Pinon Canyon Expansion Opposition Coalition.

Jerry Winford of Branson said many people also have offered to donate cash in lieu of an animal to help make it possible to continue the fight to save the land.

Kenny Gyurman of Model said he donated money because he didn't have cattle to sell.

"This is a big fight we have ahead of us and we need all the help we can get," Gyurman said.

Winford, who brought seven cattle to be auctioned Monday and Wednesday, said the auctions will help ensure the coalition’s continued success.

"It's absolutely critical that we get this (expansion) stopped. It doesn't only affect landowners out here, it affects the whole state of Colorado, especially Southeastern Colorado. If the Army gets what it wants, this sale barn won't be here in the next 15 years," Winford said.

"If we stop them now, then we hope to stop them for good," Gyurman said.


Maybe so. The ranchers understand that the longer this thing gets dragged out, the less chance of the opposition coalition prevailing. They also understand the Army has deep pockets, and few scruples.

That's why the one-year moratorium is a dangerous proposition, unless the land-owner's opposition coalition presses hard, desperately hard on all fronts. And they need a strategy, with time-line goals and objectives - which need to involve the whole of Colorado. Petition for legislative stumbling blocks to imminent domain. Keep the pressure up on Gov Ritter, Rep Salazar and Senator Salazar, who opened this can of worms in the first place. A mole in the DOD wouldn't hurt either - the Army's real strategy must be uncovered, exposed.

Make full use of the Freedom of Information Act. Had the ranchers known the full extent of the Army's intentions 25 years ago, perhaps they would not have let themselves be bullied into giving up their land. Count on the continuing obfuscation by the DOD, which has no qualms playing hard-ball.

Finally, don't let anyone succeed in making this an environmental issue. It's not an environmental issue. It might be tempting to throw down as many obstacles as possible, but an environmental stand-off will wind up in the courts. Human lives and destiny trump dead animal's remains. The environmental issue is a red herring - a ruse they'll use to break down opposition, by coming up with "an environmental-friendly plan" to "preserve the integrity of the dinosaur tracks", blah, blah.

And for Pete's sake, keep this out of the courts, if that's at all possible. The courts are known to have a very government-friendly attitude regarding the question of imminent domain.

The ranchers need to know who is on their side, and that means digging into information via the FOIA, both at the federal level - (see) Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and at state levels - (see) Open Government Guide.

If the ranchers of Colorado, and by proxy, the whole of Colorado, expect a good outcome, they had better be prepared to kick the Army's butt in the legislature. They will also need to hold the brothers Salazar's feet to the fire. They are, after all, politicians.

It's obvious where Senator Allard is getting his bread buttered. Maybe it's time to remind him he serves at the pleasure of the people of Colorado.

I'm sure the opposition coalition knows all this - I just feel a need to say it.

Oh, and when the Army minions start with the, "Where's your patriotism?" - just remember, when an opponent feels he is losing the argument on sound, rational grounds, he will often drag out the argumentum ad hominem ploy, rather than address the substance of the argument.

These ranchers and farmers are sovereign citizens of the United States of America and are entitled to own their land, with no apologies.

When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.

- Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Jihad and the American Left

The American Thinker
November 07, 2007
Jihad and the American Left
By J.R. Dunn

A few weeks ago a meeting occurred between Iranian mullahs and assorted international left-wing figures in hopes of generating some sort of "revolutionary solidarity". The guests of honor were the children of Che Guevera, Aleida and Camilo. The attempt ended in unintentional comedy when one of the mullahs present began to praise Che for his hatred for the Soviet Union, his loathing of socialism and communism, and his "godliness".

When Aleida Guevara protested, the Iranians threw both her and her brother out, and the affair fell apart.

This isn't the first time the Iranians have attempted a hookup with the international left. Ahmadenijad has been visited recently by both Hugo Chavez and Daniel Ortega. The results were not all that more impressive than those of the conference, Chavez being a clown and Danny Ortega's glory days long behind him, despite his recent presidential victory. But it does clearly show how seriously the Iranians take the Western left, and how much they would value a relationship.

No Americans were present at the conference, no doubt due to ingrained Iranian hostility. But the question naturally arises: how open would the American left be to an alliance with the Iranian mullahs, and beyond them, the movement in which they play such a large role, Islamofascism?

At first glance, it might appear unlikely, the Jihadis being noted for such non-progressive activities as oppression of women, persecution of minorities, and the execution of homosexuals. But that kind of thing has never stopped the left before - their sole criterion has always been whether or not the other party is useful. It can safely be assumed that the mullahs feel the same way.

Up until now, the left has satisfied itself in responding to the War on Terror by attacking government actions, employing the Vietnam myth, and inciting as much domestic paranoia as humanly possible. But they're getting more frantic. Time has passed, and they have failed to generate anything like a mass movement, while recent successes in guarantee they never will. There's plenty of precedent for left-wing support of Islamic radicals, scattered and sporadic, but undeniable all the same. Recall Michael Moore's characterization of Al-Queda in Iraq as "Minutemen." Consider the left's defense of John Walker Lindh. Consider the self-styled "human shields" who raced to protect Saddam Hussein.

Or the effort that has been put into undermining U.S. programs to combat the terrorist threat, such as rendition, wiretapping, and profiling.

How large a step does it take to get from where the left is now to where the Jihadis would like them to be? And would they dare take that step?

The Ugly History of Leftist Betrayal

They've certainly shown no hesitation in the past. Left-wing collaboration with movements hostile to the U.S. goes back to the early days of the Communist Party. In the 1930s, party members and sympathizers were often recruited by either the NKVD (ancestor to the KGB) or the GRU, Soviet military intelligence, who encouraged them to break overt ties with the party and establish themselves in positions of intelligence value.

Alger Hiss joined the State Department, Harry Dexter White and Lauchlin Currie joined the Treasury Department, Owen Lattimore served in a number of positions where his Far Eastern expertise proved useful.

Hundreds of others joined them at all levels of the government, searching out valuable intelligence and influencing government policy vis-a-vis the Soviet Union. They were at length exposed by Walter Krivitsky (assassinated by Soviet agents in a Washington hotel in 1940), Igor Gouzenko, and Whittaker Chambers, among others. Those revelations were confirmed by the Venona decrypts, in which the U.S. Army obtained a Soviet code book and used it to decrypt thousands of coded messages going back to the 30s. Though American leftists succeeded in obscuring the issue for generations, release of the decrypts in the early 90s demonstrated that cooperation between American communists and the Soviets was both broad and deep.

Most disturbing was the period of the pact. In late August 1939, Hitler and Stalin signed a Nonaggression Pact, clearing the way for Hitler to move into Poland. Stalin, for his part, got eastern Poland and the Baltic states. International communism, for years oriented toward resistance to fascism, made an instantaneous 180-degree turn. For two years, while Hitler chewed up Europe, threatened Britain, and made preparations for the Holocaust, communists across the world, including the U.S., offered direct support to the Third Reich. Not until Hitler turned against his late partner on June 22, 1941 did the left resume its anti-Nazi stance. It would be interesting to hear an explanation for these events in terms of the left's much-vaunted decency, humanity, and moral superiority, but echo answereth not.

The "New Left"

The New Left, born at Port Huron, Michigan in 1962, was supposed to be something totally different from the old communists. An American left, addressing American concerns, in no way beholden to foreign influences. While that may have been the plan, the record shows otherwise.

During the Vietnam War the New Left acted in direct support of North Vietnam, a nation engaged in open hostilities with the United States. Tom Hayden, Mary McGrory, Joan Baez, and, most notoriously, Jane Fonda, traveled to North Vietnam to offer assistance to the communists while lacerating their own country. But it went deeper than that. Evidence exists that the New Leftists coordinated their activities -- demonstrations, speeches, student strikes -- with the North Vietnamese communists through contacts in Hanoi, Moscow, and, during the peace talks, in Paris.

They may have even stooped lower. POWs from the infamous Hanoi Hilton tell of hearing American voices discussing their answers during interrogations. Men may well have died under communist boots and truncheons because of the actions of these people. As it stands today, we are unlikely ever to know for sure.

During the early 80s (for some unfathomable reason, events of this type seem to recur at two-decade intervals) the last major Cold War crisis centered on Europe. The Soviets had emplaced a new generation of nuclear missiles, the SS-20. The U.S. needed to replace its own weapons, designs twenty years old or more. The Pershing II and a new class of terrain-hugging cruise missile the Soviets could not match were due to be deployed by the mid-80s.

As these plans were being completed, a large-scale public movement arose "spontaneously" in both Europe and the U.S. -- the Nuclear Freeze, demanding that the number of weapons on all sides and in all regions be frozen at the current level as a first step toward disarmament. This was, needless to say, no coincidence.

The entire campaign was a KGB operation, directed from the Washington embassy, the New York consulate, and their equivalents across Europe. This was understood by many at the time, and widely published, including a major story in no less than the pre-Pinch New York Times.

It made no difference; literally hundred s of thousands marched and protested, chanting slogans carefully drawn up by KGB propagandists.

But the protestors ran smack into an immoveable object -- more than one, as a matter of fact. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher refused to back down. They persuaded the NATO allies to hold true to their commitments. The missiles went in. The Soviets were caught in their owntrap, confronting a NATO even stronger than before they began their machinations. (Along with the Strategic Defense Initiative, a missile-defense proposal artfully designed to undercut not only the USSR, but the protestors themselves.) They never did work their way out. By the end of the decade, the Soviet Union was one with the Romanovs.

There's no lack of other examples. The Venceremos Brigade was made up of Americans who annually traveled to Castro's Cuba to assist in the sugar cane harvest and other revolutionary chores. None ever ventured to the Isle of Pines, the largest concentration camp in the Western hemisphere, holding over 10,000 "enemies of the people". The "Sandalistas" went to communist Nicaragua "to assist the revolution". Some of them fulfilled this promise by carrying Kalashnikovs with Sandinista patrols. Whether they assisted their hosts with various massacres against villages sympathetic to the Contras or the English-speaking Miskito Indians is unknown.

The record is clear, and can be read only one way. At almost every opportunity, the American hard left has sided with the men of blood. It's as if that was the only criteria, as if everything else, aims, beliefs, methods, or principles, was utterly beside the point. Dig up a mass ideological killer, and the Yankee rojo will be there to sign on that dotted line.

Can Leftists Cozy Up with Jihadis?

It will happen again. They will find their way. Hatred of women, the tormenting of homosexuals, the violation of all known human rights and everyday degradation of the human spirit -- none of that matters. It has never mattered before.

(Leftist persecution of homosexuals -- offered such wide-ranging leftist support in this country -- deserves a chapter of its own. In the mid-1930s Andre Gide, Nobel-winning novelist and one of the first homosexuals to live completely "out", was invited to the USSR, assured by his hosts that homosexuality was perfectly acceptable in the worker's paradise. A few conversations with others of his inclination revealed the horrifying truth, which included brutality, arrests, and disappearances into the Gulag. Gide returned to France and wrote a scathing polemic Le Retour de l' URSS, condemning the entire Soviet experiment.

In China, the Red Guards amused themselves by hunting down homosexuals and beating them to death. Romania attempted to annihilate its homosexual population through death by forced labor. On the Isle of Pines, Castro constructed special facilities in which homosexuals were subject to biological experimentation. The noted Cuban cinematographer, Nestor Almendros, filmed a documentary, Improper Conduct, which dealt in detail with these abuses. Though widely shown in the 80s, it is today utterly forgotten. If any left-wing protest against these crimes was ever made, no record of it exists. So much for leftist sympathy for gays.)

The sole possible drawback to a left-jihadi alliance would be, as occurred at the Tehran conference, friction between ideology and religion.

Jihadis are religious fanatics. By definition, their ideology is bound up in their distorted interpretation of Islam. But leftist ideology is infinitely malleable. It can adapt to just about anything, as it adapted, for a short time, to the dogma it has always insisted was its polar opposite, German Nazism. As Arkady Schevchenko wrote in his memoirs Breaking With Moscow, "The dialectic can be used to justify any evil."

What form would such support take? The mind shies away from the possibility that leftists may adapt an active role, that they may choose to aid the Jihadis in carrying out actual terrorist actions. But we need only consider Lindh, or the "American Al-Queda", Adam Gadahn, to realize that the possibility exists. The left has always preyed on the disaffected, the alienated, and the disturbed. It takes little effort to turn such people against their own neighbors, as the record of the Communist Party, the new Left, and the Sandalistas clearly reveals.

Eventually, the Jihadis will realize -- if they haven't already -- that this reservoir exists and is ready for exploitation. When this occurs, we will have to deal with it. We'll have to do a more effective job than previously. The red scare scraped up far more in the way of dilettantes and damaged personalities than it did acting communists. (Most of them had been bagged already.) During the New Left period, next to nothing was done and the Yippies ran riot. Serious social damage resulted in both cases. We need a method of isolating the threat without dragging in bystanders and plain fools. This is more sophisticated epoch than even forty years ago. We can do better.

One thing we can be sure of. If the left does line up with the Jihadis, as they did with Castro and the Viet Cong, it will be the end. Leftism survived the purges, the Hitler-Stalin pact, the Freeze, it even survived the final collapse of the Soviet Union. It won't survive this.

Victory in the War on Terror may not only bring the end of Islamic medievalism, but the last of ideological leftism. That'll be something worth seeing.

Note: A curious historical precedent exists for a left/Jiahdi axis: the Anglo-Arabs, Britons of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who were so enamored of the Arabs and their way of life that they abandoned Britain to live among them. These include of course, Lawrence of Arabia, Gertrude Bell, who acted as trusted diplomat to the Arab sheiks, and John Glubb Pasha, father of the Jordanian Army, but also St. John Philby, the leading Arabist of his day and the father of Kim Philby, probably the most effective traitor ever employed by the KGB.

J.R. Dunn is consulting editor of American Thinker.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The ADHD Hoax Comes Unravelled

Hyperactive children catch up with peers, study finds

ADHD may be temporary, at least for some. A three-year developmental lag is found.

By Denise Gellene,
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 13, 2007

The brains of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder develop more slowly than those of other children but eventually catch up, according to a government study published Monday that suggests ADHD may be a transient condition, at least for some.

Using advanced imaging techniques, scientists found that the cortices of children with ADHD reach peak thickness an average of three years later than children without the disorder.

The cortex is involved in decision-making and supports the ability to focus attention, remember things moment to moment and suppress inappropriate actions -- functions often deficient in children with ADHD.

Dr. Philip Shaw of the National Institute of Mental Health, lead author of the report, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said the results might help explain why many children with ADHD appear to grow out of the disorder and become less impulsive and fidgety as they mature.

Shaw said that although brain development was slower among those with ADHD, it followed a normal pattern, which should reassure parents.

"There has been a debate about whether ADHD is a delay or deviance from normal brain development," he said. "This study comes down strongly in favor of delay."

About 4.4 million school-age children in the U.S. have ADHD, which can lead to poor school performance and behavior problems. Half of children diagnosed with the disorder are treated with stimulants, such as Ritalin, or other medicines.

Researchers used magnetic resonance imaging equipment to scan the brains of 223 children and adolescents with ADHD and 223 youngsters without the disorder. The scans were repeated two, three or four or more times at three-year intervals.

Scientists focused on the cortex, which becomes thicker as the brain builds new connections to process all the things children are learning -- a key milestone in brain development.

They measured cortical thickness at 40,000 points on each scan, creating a detailed map of brain development in the two groups.

In general, they found that the parts of the cortex involved in sensory and motor processing reached peak thickness earlier than the areas responsible for decision-making and other higher-order functions.

In children with ADHD, developmental lags were most pronounced in the prefrontal cortex, which supports attention and working memory, among other things. Half of the cortical points in ADHD children reached peak thickness at an average age of 10.5, contrasted with age 7.5 in children without the disorder.

The primary motor cortex reached peak thickness at age 7.4 in children with ADHD, about five months earlier than in normal children, researchers found. Shaw said it was possible that the early maturation of the primary motor cortex contributed to the fidgety behavior characteristic of ADHD.

Dr. F. Xavier Castellanos of New York University said the research helps explain why children with ADHD often choose younger playmates, and it should reassure parents who are worried about their children fitting in.

"They may be 11 but their brain is 8. They can't act their chronological age," he said. "This lets parents know that having younger playmates is OK and to be expected," said Castellanos, a former National Institute of Mental Health researcher involved in the early stages of the study.

The study, which focused on one aspect of brain development, did not explain why some people continue to experience ADHD symptoms as adults.

Dr. Bradley S. Peterson of Columbia University, who was not connected to the study, said that although the brains of children with ADHD reached the appropriate thickness, there was no way of knowing from the study whether individual cells were normal.

"Billions of cells make up brain tissue, and we cannot measure all the cells and all the connections between the cells," he said. "Subtle deficits could easily remain."

In addition, he said, the study did not examine the process of cortical thinning that takes place in late adolescence -- a second developmental milestone in which unneeded connections are pruned to shape the adult brain.

Government researchers plan to continue tracking some study participants through adulthood, Shaw said.

"We have not captured this later transition," he said. "It is possible some people never quite get there and that is what accounts for the persistent" ADHD.


Kids who are hyper-active are a problem when you have one-size-fits-all solution in the schools. And that's the tragedy for these kids. "Oh, but my kid is much better, now that we fill him full of Ritalin every day and night." Better for whom?

ADHD is not a "condition". It has never been a "condition". It is a lie, perpetuated by the pill-pushin' Drug companies, and the mental health nazis. Your kid is "over-active?" (meaning we can't keep him still in class, where he probably shouldn't be in the first place.) No problem, give him Ritalin morning and night, and he won't give you any more trouble. Now he will shut up and sit still, which is all they want, anyway.

Our schools do not know how to educate, and are not interested in educating our children. We are in the middle of a vast social experiment, designed to produce men and women who are dependent, non-confrontational, socialistic drones. "Hold still, kid! We can't get this funnel inserted into the top of your head."

So eat your Wonder Bread Ritalin/Amphetamine, kids - and help the rest of your classmates sop up this hog-wash they're dishin' up today!

**A word to the wise: NEVER let anyone examine or test your child without your knowledge. And you have to let school officials know you will have their heads on a platter, if they dare. Never consent to allowing a "psychological consult" for your child, unless you are present.

If school officials drive your child out of school because you refuse to allow such testing and "consulting", consider yourself lucky - and find another way to educate your child. It's your job, anyway.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Court Takes No Action On Gun Case

h/t The War On Guns


Tuesday, November 13th, 2007 10:02 am
Lyle Denniston

Update 10:44 a.m.

Update 10:21 a.m.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday announced no action on a new case testing the meaning of the Second Amendment — an issue the Court has not considered in 68 years. The Orders List contained no mention of either the District of Columbia’s appeal (07-290) or a cross-petition by
challengers to the city’s flat ban on private possession of handguns (07-335). The next date for possible action on these cases is likely to be Nov. 26, following a pre-Thanksgiving Conference of the Justices set for Tuesday, Nov. 20.

The Court, of course, does not explain inaction. But among the possible reasons for delaying the case are these: one or more Justices simply asked for more time to consider the two cases; the Court may be rewriting the question or questions it will be willing to review — especially in view of the disagreement between the two sides on what should be at issue; the Court may have voted initially to deny review of one or both cases and one or more Justices are writing a dissent from the denial. The appeal in 07-290 (District of Columbia v. Heller) raises the key issue about the Second Amendment’s meaning — that is, whether it guarantees an individual right to have a handgun for private use, at least in one’s home — and the appeal in 07-335 (Parker v. District of Columbia) poses a question about who may bring lawsuits to challenge laws before they are actively enforced. Together, the cases thus present a somewhat complex mix for the Court, and it perhaps was not much of a surprise that no order issued on Tuesday. At no point is there likely to be an answer as to what happened to bring about the delay. Both cases are expected to be re-listed for the Nov. 20 Conference.


I have no confidence in the Supreme Court to decide in favor of gun ownership. They will announce their intentions on Nov 20. If they decide to hear the appeal, I pray that Justices Kennedy and Scalia side with individual right of gun ownership. I don't believe many people are taking bets on which way this will fall out. Of course, the anti-gun gnomes have nothing to lose by forcing the issue, if now now, then most certainly in the near future.

Personally, I think the Brady Bunch have an uphill battle, however the court rules. There's just too many folks, like myself, who will insist on having guns to protect themselves, their families, and their property - whatever the government may think about it.

Other Sites To Visit: Crime Scene KC -
The War On Guns
Amendment 11
Armed Females of America
Right of Defense

Monday, November 12, 2007

Why Schools Don't Educate

"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education" - Mark Twain

- This article is the text of a speech by John Taylor Gatto accepting the New York City Teacher of the Year Award on January 31, 1990.

Why Schools Don't Educate

by John Taylor Gatto

I accept this award on behalf of all the fine teachers I've known over the years who've struggled to make their transactions with children honorable ones, men and women who are never complacent, always questioning, always wrestling to define and redefine endlessly what the word "education" should mean. A Teacher of the Year is not the best teacher around, those people are too quiet to be easily uncovered, but he is a standard-bearer, symbolic of these private people who spend their lives gladly in the service of children. This is their award as well as mine.

We live in a time of great school crisis. Our children rank at the bottom of nineteen industrial nations in reading, writing and arithmetic. At the very bottom. The world's narcotic economy is based upon our own consumption of the commodity, if we didn't buy so many powdered dreams the business would collapse - and schools are an important sales outlet. Our teenage suicide rate is the highest in the world and suicidal kids are rich kids for the most part, not the poor. In Manhattan fifty per cent of all new marriages last less than five years. So something is wrong for sure.

Our school crisis is a reflection of this greater social crisis. We seem to have lost our identity. Children and old people are penned up and locked away from the business of the world to a degree without precedent - nobody talks to them anymore and without children and old people mixing in daily life a community has no future and no past, only a continuous present. In fact, the name "community" hardly applies to the way we interact with each other. We live in networks, not communities, and everyone I know is lonely because of that. In some strange way school is a major actor in this tragedy just as it is a major actor in the widening guilt among social classes. Using school as a sorting mechanism we appear to be on the way to creating a caste system, complete with untouchables who wander through subway trains begging and sleep on the streets.

I've noticed a fascinating phenomenon in my twenty-five years of teaching - that schools and schooling are increasingly irrelevant to the great enterprises of the planet. No one believes anymore that scientists are trained in science classes or politicians in civics classes or poets in English classes. The truth is that schools don't really teach anything except how to obey orders. This is a great mystery to me because thousands of humane, caring people work in schools as teachers and aides and administrators but the abstract logic of the institution overwhelms their individual contributions. Although teachers do care and do work very hard, the institution is psychopathic - it has no conscience. It rings a bell and the young man in the middle of writing a poem must close his notebook and move to different cell where he must memorize that man and monkeys derive from a common ancestor.

Our form of compulsory schooling is an invention of the state of Massachusetts around 1850. It was resisted - sometimes with guns - by an estimated eighty per cent of the Massachusetts population, the last outpost in Barnstable on Cape Cod not surrendering its children until the 1880's when the area was seized by militia and children marched to school under guard.

Now here is a curious idea to ponder. Senator Ted Kennedy's office released a paper not too long ago claiming that prior to compulsory education the state literacy rate was 98% and after it the figure never again reached above 91% where it stands in 1990. I hope that interests you.

Here is another curiosity to think about. The homeschooling movement has quietly grown to a size where one and a half million young people are being educated entirely by their own parents. Last month the education press reported the amazing news that children schooled at home seem to be five or even ten years ahead of their formally trained peers in their ability to think.

I don't think we'll get rid of schools anytime soon, certainly not in my lifetime, but if we're going to change what is rapidly becoming a disaster of ignorance, we need to realize that the school institution "schools" very well, but it does not "educate" - that's inherent in the design of the thing. It's not the fault of bad teachers or too little money spent, it's just impossible for education and schooling ever to be the same thing.

Schools were designed by Horace Mann and Barnard Sears and Harper of the University of Chicago and Thorndyke of Columbia Teachers College and some other men to be instruments of the scientific management of a mass population. Schools are intended to produce through the application of formulae, formulaic human beings whose behavior can be predicted and controlled.

To a very great extent, schools succeed in doing this. But our society is disintegrating, and in such a society, the only successful people are self-reliant, confident, and individualistic - because the community life which protects the dependent and the weak is dead. The products of schooling are, as I've said, irrelevant. Well-schooled people are irrelevant. They can sell film and razor blades, push paper and talk on the telephones, or sit mindlessly before a flickering computer terminal but as human beings they are useless. Useless to others and useless to themselves.

The daily misery around us is, I think, in large measure caused by the fact that - as Paul Goodman put it thirty years ago - we force children to grow up absurd. Any reform in schooling has to deal with its absurdities.

It is absurd and anti-life to be part of a system that compels you to sit in confinement with people of exactly the same age and social class. That system effectively cuts you off from the immense diversity of life and the synergy of variety, indeed it cuts you off from your own part and future, scaling you to a continuous present much the same way television does.

It is absurd and anti-life to be part of a system that compels you to listen to a stranger reading poetry when you want to learn to construct buildings, or to sit with a stranger discussing the construction of buildings when you want to read poetry.

It is absurd and anti-life to move from cell to cell at the sound of a gong for every day of your natural youth in an institution that allows you no privacy and even follows you into the sanctuary of your home demanding that you do its "homework".

"How will they learn to read?" you say and my answer is "Remember the lessons of Massachusetts." When children are given whole lives instead of age-graded ones in cellblocks they learn to read, write, and do arithmetic with ease if those things make sense in the kind of life that unfolds around them.

But keep in mind that in the United States almost nobody who reads, writes or does arithmetic gets much respect. We are a land of talkers, we pay talkers the most and admire talkers the most, and so our children talk constantly, following the public models of television and schoolteachers. It is very difficult to teach the "basics" anymore because they really aren't basic to the society we've made.

Two institutions at present control our children's lives - television and schooling, in that order. Both of these reduce the real world of wisdom, fortitude, temperance, and justice to a never-ending, non-stopping abstraction. In centuries past the time of a child and adolescent would be occupied in real work, real charity, real adventures, and the realistic search for mentors who might teach what you really wanted to learn. A great deal of time was spent in community pursuits, practicing affection, meeting and studying every level of the community, learning how to make a home, and dozens of other tasks necessary to become a whole man or woman.

But here is the calculus of time the children I teach must deal with:

Out of the 168 hours in each week, my children sleep 56. That leaves them 112 hours a week out of which to fashion a self.

My children watch 55 hours of television a week according to recent reports. That leaves them 57 hours a week in which to grow up.

My children attend school 30 hours a week, use about 6 hours getting ready, going and coming home, and spend an average of 7 hours a week in homework - a total of 45 hours. During that time, they are under constant surveillance, have no private time or private space, and are disciplined if they try to assert individuality in the use of time or space. That leaves 12 hours a week out of which to create a unique consciousness. Of course, my kids eat, and that takes some time - not much, because they've lost the tradition of family dining, but if we allot 3 hours a week to evening meals, we arrive at a net amount of private time for each child of 9 hours.

It's not enough. It's not enough, is it? The richer the kid, or course, the less television he watches but the rich kid's time is just as narrowly proscribed by a somewhat broader catalog of commercial entertainments and his inevitable assignment to a series of private lessons in areas seldom of his actual choice.

And these things are oddly enough just a more cosmetic way to create dependent human beings, unable to fill their own hours, unable to initiate lines of meaning to give substance and pleasure to their existence. It's a national disease, this dependency and aimlessness, and I think schooling and television and lessons - the entire Chautauqua idea - has a lot to do with it.

Think of the things that are killing us as a nation - narcotic drugs, brainless competition, recreational sex, the pornography of violence, gambling, alcohol, and the worst pornography of all - lives devoted to buying things, accumulation as a philosophy - all of them are addictions of dependent personalities, and that is what our brand of schooling must inevitably produce.

I want to tell you what the effect is on children of taking all their time from them - time they need to grow up - and forcing them to spend it on abstractions. You need to hear this, because no reform that doesn't attack these specific pathologies will be anything more than a facade.

1. The children I teach are indifferent to the adult world. This defies the experience of thousands of years. A close study of what big people were up to was always the most exciting occupation of youth, but nobody wants to grow up these days and who can blame them? Toys are us.

2. The children I teach have almost no curiosity and what they do have is transitory; they cannot concentrate for very long, even on things they choose to do. Can you see a connection between the bells ringing again and again to change classes and this phenomenon of evanescent attention?

3. The children I teach have a poor sense of the future, of how tomorrow is inextricably linked to today. As I said before, they have a continuous present, the exact moment they are at is the boundary of their consciousness.

4. The children I teach are ahistorical, they have no sense of how past has predestined their own present, limiting their choices, shaping their values and lives.

5. The children I teach are cruel to each other, they lack compassion for misfortune, they laugh at weakness, and they have contempt for people whose need for help shows too plainly.

6. The children I teach are uneasy with intimacy or candor. My guess is that they are like many adopted people I've known in this respect - they cannot deal with genuine intimacy because of a lifelong habit of preserving a secret inner self inside a larger outer personality made up of artificial bits and pieces of behavior borrowed from television or acquired to manipulate teachers. Because they are not who they represent themselves to be the disguise wears thin in the presence of intimacy so intimate relationships have to be avoided.

7. The children I teach are materialistic, following the lead of schoolteachers who materialistically "grade" everything - and television mentors who offer everything in the world for free.

8. The children I teach are dependent, passive, and timid in the presence of new challenges. This is frequently masked by surface bravado, or by anger or aggressiveness but underneath is a vacuum without fortitude.

I could name a few other conditions that school reform would have to tackle if our national decline is to be arrested, but by now you will have grasped my thesis, whether you agree with it or not. Either schools have caused these pathologies, or television, or both. It's a simple matter of arithmetic, between schooling and television all the time the children have is eaten away. That's what has destroyed the American family, it is no longer a factor in the education of its own children. Television and schooling, in those things the fault must lie.

What can be done? First we need a ferocious national debate that doesn't quit, day after day, year after year. We need to scream and argue about this school thing until it is fixed or broken beyond repair, one or the other. If we can fix it, fine; if we cannot, then the success of homeschooling shows a different road to take that has great promise. Pouring the money we now pour into family education might kill two birds with one stone, repairing families as it repairs children.

Genuine reform is possible but it shouldn't cost anything. We need to rethink the fundamental premises of schooling and decide what it is we want all children to learn and why. For 140 years this nation has tried to impose objectives downward from the lofty command center made up of "experts", a central elite of social engineers. It hasn't worked. It won't work. And it is a gross betrayal of the democratic promise that once made this nation a noble experiment. The Russian attempt to create Plato's republic in Eastern Europe has exploded before [our] eyes, our own attempt to impose the same sort of central orthodoxy using the schools as an instrument is also coming apart at the seams, albeit more slowly and painfully. It doesn't work because its fundamental premises are mechanical, anti-human, and hostile to family life. Lives can be controlled by machine education but they will always fight back with weapons of social pathology - drugs, violence, self-destruction, indifference, and the symptoms I see in the children I teach.

It's high time we looked backwards to regain an educational philosophy that works. One I like particularly well has been a favorite of the ruling classes of Europe for thousands of years. I use as much of it as I can manage in my own teaching, as much, that is, as I can get away with given the present institution of compulsory schooling. I think it works just as well for poor children as for rich ones.

At the core of this elite system of education is the belief that self-knowledge is the only basis of true knowledge. Everywhere in this system, at every age, you will find arrangements to place the child alone in an unguided setting with a problem to solve. Sometimes the problem is fraught with great risks, such as the problem of galloping a horse or making it jump, but that, of course, is a problem successfully solved by thousands of elite children before the age of ten. Can you imagine anyone who had mastered such a challenge ever lacking confidence in his ability to do anything? Sometimes the problem is the problem of mastering solitude, as Thoreau did at Walden Pond, or Einstein did in the Swiss customs house.

One of my former students, Roland Legiardi-Lura, though both his parents were dead and he had no inheritance, took a bicycle across the United States alone when he was hardly out of boyhood. Is it any wonder then that in manhood when he decided to make a film about Nicaragua, although he had no money and no prior experience with film-making, that it was an international award-winner - even though his regular work was as a carpenter.

Right now we are taking all the time from our children that they need to develop self-knowledge. That has to stop. We have to invent school experiences that give a lot of that time back, we need to trust children from a very early age with independent study, perhaps arranged in school but which takes place away from the institutional setting. We need to invent curriculum where each kid has a chance to develop private uniqueness and self-reliance.

A short time ago I took seventy dollars and sent a twelve-year-old girl from my class with her non-English speaking mother on a bus down the New Jersey coast to take the police chief of Sea Bright to lunch and apologize for polluting [his] beach with a discarded Gatorade bottle. In exchange for this public apology I had arranged with the police chief for the girl to have a one-day apprenticeship in a small town police procedures. A few days later, two more of my twelve-year-old kids traveled alone to West First Street from Harlem where they began an apprenticeship with a newspaper editor, next week three of my kids will find themselves in the middle of the Jersey swamps at 6 A.M., studying the mind of a trucking company president as he dispatches 18-wheelers to Dallas, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Are these "special" children in a "special" program? Well, in one sense, yes, but nobody knows about this program but the kids and myself. They're just nice kids from Central Harlem, bright and alert, but so badly schooled when they came to me that most of them can't add or subtract with any fluency. And not a single one knew the population of New York City or how far it is from New York to California.

Does that worry me? Of course, but I am confident that as they gain self-knowledge they'll also become self-teachers - and only self-teaching has any lasting value.

We've got to give kids independent time right away because that is the key to self-knowledge, and we must re-involve them with the real world as fast as possible so that the independent time can be spent on something other than more abstraction. This is an emergency, it requires drastic action to correct - our children are dying like flies in schooling, good schooling or bad schooling, it's all the same. Irrelevant.

What else does a restructured school system need? It needs to stop being a parasite on the working community. Of all the pages in the human ledger, only our tortured entry has warehoused children and asked nothing of them in service to the general good. For a while I think we need to make community service a required part of schooling. Besides the experience in acting unselfishly that will teach, it is the quickest way to give young children real responsibility in the mainstream of life.

For five years I ran a guerilla program where I had every kid, rich and poor, smart and dipsy, give 320 hours a year of hard community service. Dozens of those kids came back to me years later, grown up, and told me that one experience of helping someone else changed their lives. It taught them to see in new ways, to rethink goals and values. It happened when they were thirteen, in my Lab School program - only made possible because my rich school district was in chaos. When "stability" returned the Lab was closed. It was too successful with a wildly mixed group of kids, at too small of a cost, to be allowed to continue. We made the expensive elite programs look bad.

There is no shortage of real problems in the city. Kids can be asked to help solve them in exchange for the respect and attention of the total adult world. Good for kids, good for all the rest of us. That's curriculum that teaches Justice, one of the four cardinal virtues in every system of elite education. What's sauce for the rich and powerful is surely sauce for the rest of us - what is more, the idea is absolutely free as are all other genuine reform ideas in education. Extra money and extra people put into this sick institution will only make it sicker.

Independent study, community service, adventures in experience, large doses of privacy and solitude, a thousand different apprenticeships, the one day variety or longer - these are all powerful, cheap and effective ways to start a real reform of schooling. But no large-scale reform is ever going to work to repair our damaged children and our damaged society until we force the idea of "school" open - to include family as the main engine of education. The Swedes realized that in 1976 when they effectively abandoned the system of adopting unwanted children and instead spent national time and treasure on reinforcing the original family so that children born to Swedes were wanted. They didn't succeed completely but they did succeed in reducing the number of unwanted Swedish children from 6000 in l976 to 15 in 1986. So it can be done. The Swedes just got tired of paying for the social wreckage caused by children not raised by their natural parents so they did something about it. We can, too.

Family is the main engine of education. If we use schooling to break children away from parents - and make no mistake, that has been the central function of schools since John Cotton announced it as the purpose of the Bay Colony schools in 1650 and Horace Mann announced it as the purpose of Massachusetts schools in 1850 - we're going to continue to have the horror show we have right now. The curriculum of family is at the heart of any good life, we've gotten away from that curriculum, time to return to it. The way to sanity in education is for our schools to take the lead in releasing the stranglehold of institutions on family life, to promote during school time confluences of parent and child that will strengthen family bonds. That was my real purpose in sending the girl and her mother down the Jersey coast to meet the police chief. I have many ideas to make a family curriculum and my guess is that a lot of you will have many ideas, too, once you begin to think about it. Our greatest problem in getting the kind of grass-roots thinking going that could reform schooling is that we have large vested interests pre-emptying all the air time and profiting from schooling just exactly as it is despite rhetoric to the contrary. We have to demand that new voices and new ideas get a hearing, my ideas and yours. We've all had a bellyful of authorized voices mediated by television and the press - a decade long free-for-all debate is what is called for now, not any more "expert" opinions. Experts in education have never been right, their "solutions" are expensive, self-serving, and always involve further centralization. Enough. Time for a return to Democracy, Individuality, and family. I've said my piece. Thank you.

Now, fast-forward to the present, where there are a number of parents who, having opted-out of the insanity of public education, now home-school their own children. Ragamuffin Studies, where one such home-school mom, who also happens to be a gifted teacher, takes on the challenge. Go read her current post for an enlightened view on "socialization skills", or the lack thereof in today's public school system.