Toy soldiers run afoul of schools weapons ban

#1
This recent case is yet another indication of the lunacy at work in our government schools. It is no wonder our children are losing ground so fast in terms of the "education" they receive at the hands of our unionist/Progressive "educators" who rigidly and mindlessly apply rules designed to make everyone "equal" without the application of any common sense or judg(e)ment. Of course the same does not apply when it comes to their distortion of history and science to suit their political and social agendas.




http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iMXgWX1my2TrMvxt5JNxRShwyzBwD9GD9RV80
 
#3
That does seem rather ridiculous- so the kids can't just go switch on the TV/XBox and see guns galore?
 
#4
jumpinjarhead said:
This recent case is yet another indication of the lunacy at work in our government schools. It is no wonder our children are losing ground so fast in terms of the "education" they receive at the hands of our unionist/Progressive "educators" who rigidly and mindlessly apply rules designed to make everyone "equal" without the application of any common sense or judg(e)ment. Of course the same does not apply when it comes to their distortion of history and science to suit their political and social agendas.




http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iMXgWX1my2TrMvxt5JNxRShwyzBwD9GD9RV80

You live in Providence Rhode Island?
 
#5
IndianaDel said:
jumpinjarhead said:
This recent case is yet another indication of the lunacy at work in our government schools. It is no wonder our children are losing ground so fast in terms of the "education" they receive at the hands of our unionist/Progressive "educators" who rigidly and mindlessly apply rules designed to make everyone "equal" without the application of any common sense or judg(e)ment. Of course the same does not apply when it comes to their distortion of history and science to suit their political and social agendas.




http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iMXgWX1my2TrMvxt5JNxRShwyzBwD9GD9RV80

You live in Providence Rhode Island?
"Our" refers to American government schools in general. If you do a quick Google you will see this phenomenon is not at all unique to RI.

This is but one article that makes this point, among others:

Hidden Bias in American Education


By Tom Shuford
Columnist EducationNews.org

What does American education need? It needs citizens and political leaders who will tackle bias. Our K-12 funding model is riddled with oppressive biases. The model is biased toward -

* BIG SCHOOLS: We fund systems. We do not fund students. Because all funds flow to systems, we have large schools. Few parents would choose to send a vulnerable 14-year-old to a 1,500-student high school. Because all resources flow to systems, most have no choice. By 1996, 70 percent of all high school students attended schools with an enrollment greater than 1,000. Nearly half were in schools with more than 1,500 students. (1)

School district consolidation also put us on the road to super-size schools. In 1931 there were 120,000 school districts. By 2000 there were less than 15,000. University of Chicago research professor Christopher Berry studied the period of greatest school district consolidation, 1930-1970. Berry found a consistent correlation of .70 between school size and district size - across states. (Note: 1.00 is a perfect correlation; .00 indicates no relationship.) Big districts have big schools .

* BIG KIDS (obesity): To go to and from big consolidated schools - often in a remote site - children wait for and sit in buses - instead of walking or bicycling to a neighborhood school and playing in the schoolyard before and after the bell.

High schoolers are doubly at risk: When they finally arrive at their very large schools, they find that the popular sports are for elite athletes. 16 percent of children are obese today; 5 percent were obese in 1975 - according to the Foundation for Child Development. As schools and districts have grown, so have our children.

* INSIPID TEXTBOOKS, BANAL TESTS: Comically elaborate "bias and sensitivity guidelines" govern textbook and test production. The purpose is to head off protests. Textbook publishers cannot risk offending a pressure group and thus potentially losing a multimillion dollar sale to a big state. The startling scope of this self-censorship is detailed in education historian Diane Ravitch's widely-acclaimed The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn (2003). Below is an excerpt from the review of Jonathan Yardley of the Washington Post :

It's difficult to exaggerate the importance of this book. Whether The Language Police will turn out to be one of those rare books that actually influence the way we live --  Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, Ralph Nader's Unsafe at Any Speed --remains to be seen, but surely one must pray that it does. Meticulously researched and forcefully argued, it makes appallingly plain that the textbooks American schoolchildren read and the tests that measure their academic progress have been corrupted....

Such is the tone of reviews across the political spectrum - from the New York Times (Censorship "is eviscerating the teaching of literature and history.... The Language Police ...is every bit as alarming as it is illuminating") to the Wall Street Journal (Ms. Ravitch, "whistle-blower extraordinaire - fills her book with one outrageous example after another").

* THE STATUS QUO, AGAINST INNOVATION: Innovation is not possible. ALL incentives are aligned to preserve the status quo, stifling talented teachers and administrators. Joel Klein, chancellor of New York City schools, led the Clinton Justice Department's antitrust case against Microsoft. In "Unions vs. Kids" ( New York Post , Oct 23, 2003) Klein explains one part of the innovation problem:

No organization that has its incentives wholly misaligned can succeed. Take, for example, the three pillars of the teachers-union contract: de facto life tenure, lockstep pay and seniority-based assignments. Collectively, these provisions mean there is no employee accountability in the system, no meritocracy and no incentive to take risks or innovate. If the very best and very worst teacher - the one who works hardest and the one who simply punches a clock - get paid based on length-of-service, the system will inevitably drift toward mediocrity....

It is tempting to think that the answer is merit pay. Merit pay, however, is unworkable in a tightly-regulated institutional environment. The environment invites - demands - unions (one reason unions protect the status quo).

Even if merit pay were politically viable, the innovation problem runs deeper. A certainty about rare break-the-mold schools and teachers that periodically make the news is that no additional resources flow to the schools or staff. Resources flow according to preset formulas based on state and federal mandates, enrollment, students on free or reduced lunch, etc. Merit pay, if enacted, would be similarly constrained and formulaic, missing much. Â

Islands of rare educational excellence can never be more than curiosities. The press like them. They make for interesting reading, maybe even a movie - example: Stand and Deliver about barrio calculus teacher Jaime Escalante. Islands of rare excellence are momentarily inspiring, but they have no enduring impact. Our funding model cannot detect them.

*HIRING AND COMPENSATION BASED ON SEAT TIME IN COLLEGES OF EDUCATION, NOT PASSION FOR SUBJECT MATTER : This bias is built into colleges of education's grip on the training of teachers and administrators. The effects extend beyond teacher quality to standards and - as illustrated above - to textbooks chosen by state and local textbook adoption committees.

According to a recent study by Arthur Levine, president of Columbia Teachers College, administrator selection is biased in favor of candidates taught an "irrelevant curriculum" by a "weak faculty" at colleges of education that accept almost any warm body: "Standardized test scores [of education leadership candidates] are not only among the lowest in education-related fields but are among the lowest in all academe." ( "A Race to the Bottom," by Arthur Levine, President, Teachers College, Columbia University)

* COLLECTIVIST/PROGRESSIVE TEACHING:

The school system, custodian of print culture, has no place for the rugged individual. It is, indeed, the homogenizing hopper into which we toss our integral tots for processing.  Marshall McLuhan (1962)

Education is a protected monopoly of state and local governments. Instruction naturally favors collective - as opposed to - free, individual enterprise. One example: "[History] Textbooks like Democratic presidents," writes Ravitch, Clinton appointee to the National Assessment Governing Board. "Textbooks don't like Republican presidents."

There are many - often unconscious - curricular manifestations of a collectivist/progressive tilt. This would not be a bad thing if there were choices. Is grammar training in the elementary years a waste of time? Or does it build a foundation for later complex writing and for studying languages? Families should have a choice among teachers with conflicting views on grammar instruction and on a range of curricular issues. It's today's lack of choices that make a collectivist/progressive bias dangerous.

The Framers of the First Amendment took care that there should be no establishment of religion by the national government. There were too recent memories of government involvement with religion. Had the Framers our memory of government establishment of giant bureaucratic education systems, there might have been an additional amendment.

Rationalizing the Irrational

Any one of these biases - towards big impersonal schools, immobile pre-diabetic children, dull distorted textbooks, ill-educated educators, an ossified status quo, progressivist instruction - any one harms children. In combination they so weaken the young as to threaten social collapse.

Enrollment growth intensifies negative effects of these built-in biases. Our school funding model, inherited from the 19th century, met the needs of 120,000+ tiny districts in a mostly rural America. The model is far too inflexible and unresponsive to meet today's challenges.

A letter in the Wall Street Journal - addressing hopes invested in the reform du jour, No Child Left Behind - explains our predicament, and what we must do to save our children:

No Child Left Behind is a valiant effort to rationalize the fundamentally irrational, centrally-planned system that is our public school monolith. Like the Soviets, we can...tweak and adjust 'proficiency standards' and 'adequate yearly progress' forever to get the NCLB's heart ticking smoothly. None of it will matter. The system is flawed and...will wind up on the ash heap of history....only fundamental reform that establishes a market-based system using educational vouchers to allocate resources through consumer choice will work. (Karl Borden, Professor of Finance, University of Nebraska, April 22, 2005)

As a means of allocating resources for education, the current funding model is a teetering wreck. We can limp along with it for a few more years while it continues to cause immense harm and loss of opportunities. But why should we do this to ourselves and to our children?

Notes

1) "How Schools Went From Small to Supersized," by Diane Ravitch, Washington Post , November 29, 2005.

http://www.ednews.org/articles/hidden-bias-in-american-education-.html
 
#6
Well we all know that the best way to deal with a problem is to pretend that it doesn't exist rather than to confront it. I eagerly await the nosedive in the number of Americans killed by firearms as a result of such enlightened policies. :x
 

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