Tag Archives: Dr. Martin Luther King

CONSERVATIVE IDEAS HAVE NO VOICE IN EDUCATION

Image courtesy of Phiatoon / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Phiatoon / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This is a guest post by Dana R. Casey.

Across this country, conservatives are being silenced, especially in our schools and universities.

Condoleezza Rice recently had her invitation to speak at a Rutgers commencement ceremony challenged by over 100 faculty members who signed a petition stating their objections. On May 3rd, Ms. Rice withdrew from the ceremonies releasing a statement saying that “she did not want to detract from the day’s festivities.”

A student organization created for “the exposition and promotion of conservative principles and ideas” at the University of Miami was denied approval four times from the Committee on Student Organizations and ultimately had to enlist help from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) before they were officially recognized.

Veteran CBS investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson resigned after a two decades long relationship with the network for being repeatedly restricted from reporting negatively about the Obama administration.

Individuals are silenced too. Admitting to being a Republican or a conservative or even a Christian elicits responses of “bigot”, “racist”, “homophobe”, or “Islamaphobe”. Decades old friends think you’ve lost your mind and stop inviting you to gatherings.

Education is one frontline of the battle between liberal and conservative. Here, conservative ideas have as much power as prisoners of war. Conservative ideas have been locked out of the battle. I am personally fighting the battle from behind the front lines and in enemy territory against liberal indoctrination being forced into my classroom through revised curriculum and polices. I always try to present multiple perspectives in the classroom and I never tell students what to think. I challenge them HOW to think, to question, and to investigate, never WHAT to think.

I am also fighting the same battle with the education being provided to my teen daughters, both of whom go to public schools. My girls get a political education from me at home just from hearing my husband and I discuss the issues, so they often see through the liberal indoctrination presented by their teachers as “facts”. Unfortunately, their fellow students don’t realize that they are receiving biased information. There is no one to present other perspectives to them. My daughters do not feel comfortable bringing up alternative perspectives to the liberal ideology presented, because they fear being bullied by their fellow students or of having the teacher fail them because of their family’s political beliefs.

My daughters come home week after week with tales of liberal indoctrination, viewings of An Inconvenient Truth, or the lie that Republicans were really Democrats of the past (i.e. racist, KKK members, anti-civil rights) and the Democrats have become the Republicans of the past (abolitionists, civil rights supporters, Abe Lincoln, Frederick Douglas, and Martin Luther King’s party). According to my daughters’ teachers the two parties just magically switched names one mysterious undocumented night.

During the 2012 elections, I asked a few of my students this simple question, “What do Democrats stand for?” I received essentially this same answer from student after student, but here is one direct quote, “Democrats love blacks and poor people.” I then asked what Republicans stand for? The answer I got was, “Republicans are old white men who hate blacks and poor people.” My students then asked me for whom was I voting. I responded, “I do not discuss my personal political beliefs with students. It is not appropriate.” One student then responded (and I am not kidding), “You want to take my food stamps. My mama needs her food stamps!” Note that I never stated for whom I was voting, but her assumption was that if I did not immediately say “Obama of course!” that I must be one of those who hate blacks and poor people. These urban students are given exactly this narrative at home, at school, and through the media day after day. It is relentless.

Those on our college campuses are further indoctrinated. In February, Swarthmore University’s Institute for the Liberal Arts hosted Robert George and Cornel West in a campus-wide discussion on the meaning of discourse at Swarthmore. The Princeton professors, friends with strongly opposing viewpoints, discussed questions like “What does it mean to communicate across differences regarding what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong?’” Many students felt that conservative Robert George should not have been invited to the discussion at all.

One member of the class of 2016, Erin Ching, clearly demonstrated her lack of understanding of the word “diversity” when interviewed about the discussion. Instead, because she sees conservatism as naturally evil, it must be excluded not included in conversations about diverse ideas. This is what she had to say:

“What really bothered me is… the whole idea is that at a liberal arts college, we need to be hearing a diversity of opinion. I don’t think we should be tolerating conservative views because that dominant culture embeds these deep inequalities in our society. We should not be conceding to the dominant culture by saying that the so-called “progressive left” is marginalizing the conservative, (daily.swarthmore.edu)

So for Erin, “diversity” means exclusion of conservative ideas in any discussion that is considered “diverse”; thereby, making all worthy diverse conversations limited to only those with whom they already agree. This is exactly the opposite of diversity. It is also the exact opposite meaning of the term liberal arts. A true liberal arts education is the process of truth seeking through examination of all opposing arguments.

The liberals have stolen control of the narrative, especially in education. It is time to take it back.

Dana R. Casey is a veteran high school English teacher of more than two decades in an East-coast urban system.  She is a life-long student of theology, philosophy, and politics, dedicated to the true Liberalism of the Enlightenment, as defined by our Founders and enshrined in our Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights.

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Filed under College Education, College Related, Guest Post

Common Core Is An Insult to Everything Dr. King and President Lincoln Ever Taught

by C.E. White

This past week, President Obama was sworn into office as the 45th President of the United States of America. As a history teacher, I was elated to learn he would be placing his hand on two Bibles, one belonging to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the other belonging to President Abraham Lincoln, when he takes the oath of office to lead our great nation. Dr. King and President Lincoln helped define civil rights for America…historical heroes who transformed the idea of justice and equality.

As jubilant as I am that President Obama is symbolically using the bibles of two of the greatest Americans in our nation’s history, I am saddened that this administration seems to have forgotten what Dr. King and President Lincoln promoted regarding education.

In Dr. King’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail,” he stated “the goal of America is freedom.” As a teacher, it is such an honor to teach America’s children about freedom and patriotism. However, over the past few years, I began to learn about a new education reform initiative called Common Core Standards. A few years ago, when I first heard of Common Core, I began doing my own research. My students represent the future of the United States of America, and what they learn is of utmost importance to me. I care about their future, and the future of our country.

My research of Common Core Standards kept me awake at night, because what I discovered was so shocking. I discovered that Common Core Standards is about so much more than educational standards. I wanted so badly to believe these changes would be good for our children. How can “common” standards be a bad thing? After all, isn’t it nice to have students learning the same exceptional standards from Alabama to Alaska, from Minnesota to Massachusetts?

As a teacher, I began to spend nights, weekends, summers, even Christmas Day researching Common Core, because these reforms were so massive and were happening so quickly, it was hard to keep up with how American education was being transformed. I quickly began to realize that the American education system under Common Core goes against everything great Americans like Dr. King and President Lincoln ever taught. The very freedoms we celebrate and hold dear are in question when I think of what Common Core means for the United States.

One of my favorite writings about education from Dr. King is a paper entitled “The Purpose of Education.” In it, he wrote “To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.”

When I sit in faculty meetings about Common Core, I hear “curriculum specialists” tell me that Common Core is here to stay and I must “embrace change.” I am forced to drink the kool-aid. These specialists don’t tell us to search for facts about Common Core on our own, they simply tell us what the people paid to promote Common Core want us to know. Didn’t Dr. King want us to separate facts from fiction? Why are we only given information from sources paid to say Common Core is a good thing? Isn’t that the exact same type of propaganda Dr. King discussed in his writings about education? Shouldn’t we discuss why thousands of Americans are calling for a repeal of the standards?

I am told that I must embrace Common Core and I infer that resisting the changes associated with Common Core will label me “resistant to change.” As a teacher, I definitely believe our classrooms are changing with the times and I am not afraid of change. Teachers across America are hearing similar stories about how they should “feel” about Common Core. This is a brainwashing bully tactic. It reminds me of my 8th graders’ lesson on bullying, when I teach them to have an opinion of their own. Just because “everyone’s doing it,” doesn’t make it right. In regards to Common Core, I am not afraid of change. I am just not going to sell-out my students’ education so that Pearson, the Gates Foundation, David Coleman, Sir Michael Barber, Marc Tucker and others can experiment on our children.

I agree with Dr. King, which is why I am so saddened at how propaganda from an elite few is literally changing the face of America’s future with nothing more than a grand experiment called Common Core Standards. Our children deserve more. Our teachers deserve more. Our country deserves more. Education reform is the civil rights issue of our generation, and sadly, parents, teachers, and students have been left out of the process.

President Lincoln once said “the philosophy of the classroom today, will be the philosophy of government tomorrow.” With Common Core, new standardized tests have inundated classrooms with problems of their own. Teachers find themselves “teaching to the test” more and more. These tests violate our states’ rights. I wonder if parents realized that all states aren’t created equal in Common Core tests? Shouldn’t all states, under “common” standards for everyone have everyone’s equal input on how students are tested?

What about privacy under Common Core? Why didn’t local boards of education tell parents about the changes to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act? Do parents realize their child’s data, including bio-metric data such as fingerprints and retinal scans, is being placed in a state longitudinal data system and shared with others?

If our philosophy of the classroom is to violate states’ rights, use children and teachers as guinea pigs, and hide from parents the fact that their child’s data is no longer private, it can only be inferred that the philosophy of government tomorrow will do the same. What is America becoming?

As I watched President Obama place his hand on the bibles of Dr. King and President Lincoln, the history teacher in me was overjoyed to watch such a patriotic moment in U.S. history. And yet, I was crushed at the realization that if we do not stop Common Core and preserve the United States educational system, the philosophy of our government tomorrow will not be the America we know and love.

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Filed under National Standards (Common Core)