Category archives: Education

Tragedy on College Campuses

by Christopher Beach

May 4, 2010

In less than two weeks from today I will graduate from Patrick Henry College and finish four years of my undergraduate. Looking back, I can remember a lot of the typical college experiences late night studying, spring break road trips, and nights out with your friends. Im fortunate to say that I was never involved or associated in one particular college trend in all of my four years violence or murder.

Having personally known one of the girls shot at Virginia Tech on April 16th, 2007, my heart breaks every time I hear of college-related violence and the pointless death of innocent students.

Today, my heart goes out to the family of Yeardley Love, a 22-year-old lacrosse player and student at the University of Virginia, murdered this week by her on-and-off 22-year-old boyfriend.

The thought of such a tragedy makes me wonder why my experience at college has been so different from a majority of the campuses across America. In four years, my school has not had a single murder, suicide, or violent crime.

Considering that the USA Today calculated 857 college student deaths from 2000 to 2005, how does one school manage to escape unscathed? Its certainly not chance or luck. For Patrick Henry College, its in our Christian culture.

Critics mock us for our strict rules like no dancing or drinking on campus, no members of the opposite sex permitted in your dorm room, nightly curfew hours and the lack of a social atmosphere it creates. We have been the subject of books (Gods Harvard), television shows, op-eds, and countless blogs who rant against our brand of overbearing right-wing Christianity that poisons societys freedom.

Yet, what is the cost of students being able to express themselves? Is that freedom worth the cost of drunk driving deaths, drug related violence, and love affairs turned fatal?

Im certainly not saying that Christians are not capable of committing the same, if not worse crimes. But the culture of Christianity and the rules we hold ourselves to at Patrick Henry lay substantial roadblocks to violent or illegal behavior.

Granted, our entire school population would be one or two classes at UVA, but the fact remains that Patrick Henry College has its own recipe for student safety that is active and working. Ill be the first to admit that Ive broken the colleges rules, but as I look back, I realize that in many ways those same laws saved me from myself.

Non-Christians who are reading this right now are sure to be shaking their heads at me. How can you use one unfortunate crime to wave your rules over our heads and try to enforce your agenda on us? I understand that many people are turned off by Christianity and its giant rulebook. But as the number of college related attacks and crimes rise, and as more campuses are scarred with senseless deaths, I hope universities will consider the facts before them and realize that there is a way to prevent future heartbreaks commit to enforcing tough, moral laws and foster a community of students who want to uphold those laws.

Christopher Beach is Associate Producer of Bill Bennett’s nationally syndicated radio show, Morning In America, and a senior at Patrick Henry College. He blogs at Beach Notes.

Local High School to House Clinic Promoting Family Planning for Youth 12-19

by Family Research Council

March 2, 2010

* Note: Alexandria City Schools School Board Meeting tonight!

As a taxpaying citizen of Alexandria, VA, a former educator, and a person who values our young people and wants them to have the best options available, I am outraged that the public school system in Alexandria is funding a local teen health center, with a primary focus on family planning. Moreover, I strongly disagree with the planned move of the center from its current location in a trailer outside a nearby shopping center, directly into T.C. Williams High School so that center workers will have unlimited access to students.

Not only do I not want my hard-earned tax dollars supporting this endeavor, but more importantly, I am convinced that this move undermines parental authority, is costly to our city, and most importantly does a huge disservice to young people.

The center provides services for youth aged 12-19 years old, dispenses contraception and refers for abortion without parental permission. The teen center also provides other services, interestingly, all which require parental permission, such as routine physical exams, vaccinations, treatment of minor illnesses. However the primary focus of the center is family planning, STD treatment and abortion referral.

Given that research continually supports the fact that sexual involvement at a young age is not good for adolescents, especially girls, why would T.C. Williams and Alexandria City Schools consider this a good decision for our young peoples health?

A study released less than two weeks ago again showed that abstinent teens report better psychological well-being and higher educational attainment than those who are sexually active. Another recent study stated that sexual abstinence is typically associated with better physical and psychological health among American adolescents, including less problems with depression, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), infertility later in life, addiction to drugs and alcohol, and academic achievement. This same study indicated that girls are significantly more likely to suffer from depression when they are sexually active than adolescent boys.

Not only is teen sexual involvement bad for young people, but it is also extraordinarily costly to our economically burdened city. In FY10, employee salaries were frozen due to the financial crisis, yet teen STI, out-of-wedlock childbearing and emotional and psychological harm are expensive social service projects for the City of Alexandria.

Additionally excluding parents from these important decisions removes the strongest support and influence in a young persons life. While it might not always seem to be the case that young people want to talk about the birds and the bees with mom and dad, studies show that in fact teens do want to hear from their parents on these matters, and actually consider them the most influential people in their lives when it comes to sexual decision making. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, a parent most influences a young persons decision to become sexually involved.

According to this poll,

  • 9 out of 10 teens (94%) think that adults should let teens know they should wait to have sex at least until they get out of high school
  • Nearly 9 out of 10 (88%) teens say it would be easier to avoid early sexual activity and teen pregnancy if they were able to have more open, honest conversations about these topics with their parents

What are better options?

In early January, a rigorous study was released that compared abstinence education with contraceptive sex education. The study overwhelmingly supported abstinence education as the most effective in reducing sexual initiation among young teens, to the extent that even detractors of abstinence education admitted this fact.

Parents also strongly prefer the message of abstinence to contraceptive sex education. A recent poll showed that parents prefer abstinence education 2 to 1.

The funding of the clinic and planned move into TC Williams raise a number of questions and concerns. Why would Alexandria City Schools not offer that which is healthiest and most efficacious for young people? And why is the school system undermining the parent/child relationship, especially regarding topics as important as sexual decision-making? In a moment when we are looking to cut the fat out of the budget, why would we spend money on a prevention program that is not good for kids, and will ultimately cost the taxpayers more money?

I strongly encourage you to get the word out about this clinic. Here is the press release from Feb 28th from Alexandria City Schools.

The school board is meeting on tonight, Tuesday, March 2nd. If you would like to speak about this issue at the meeting, contact Rosemary Webb, clerk of the school board, and ask to speak at the meeting. You can contact the school board by clicking here.

Back to School with President Obama

by Tony Perkins

September 6, 2009

In his inaugural speech in 1961 President John F. Kennedy delivered this memorable line

[“Ask not…” clip]

Fast forward nearly 50 years and President Barack Obama was poised to ask the nations elementary school students not what they could do for their country but what they could do for their President.

The White House announced that the President would be speaking live to the nations K-6th graders. The Department of Education had prepared a work sheet to accompany the speech in which the children were instructed to engage in several exercises including writing a letter about how they could help the president.

After a fire storm of opposition erupted the White House changed lesson plans and now the youngsters will be asked to consider how they can help themselves achieve their educational goals. Certainly a more appropriate question, but one that is probably more suited for middle and high school students.

However, parents remain concerned. Some are keeping their kids home from school on the day of the speech. Over 95% of parents who responded to an FRC survey said the President should not be speaking to children during classroom hours.

Some in the media have decried the parental opposition as partisan. But it is really?

Consider that this speech is being made during one of the most controversial public policy debates in years in which the president has been steadily losing public support for his health care plan.

But even if the speech does not interject policy into the class room of 6 & 7 year old children, when parents consider the agenda of this administration as represented by the presidents appointments to the education department parents have a right to be concerned.

The Secretary of the department, Arne Duncan, has promoted some pretty controversial ideas, like special schools for homosexual students when he was head of the Chicago school system. Even more concerning is Kevin Jennings who is supposedly in charge of the Safe and Drug Free School Program for the Department of Education.

Jennings is the founder of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Educational Network, an organization that promotes homosexuality in the public schools, he also wrote the forward to a book entitled Queering Elementary Education.

This Administration has given parents plenty of reason to be concern over what is piped into the classroom. For more visit FRC.org

Spurred on to Service: The Roger Mason Story

by Robert Morrison

September 3, 2009

Heres a story we need to see. Roger Mason, Jr., a star shooting guard for the San Antonio Spurs, is shown in the Washington Times recently giving high fives to a group of boys at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School in Northwest D.C. Mason formerly played for the Washington Wizards, but left to join the Spurs last summer.

Despite moving more than a thousand miles away, Roger Mason has not forgotten his roots. His Roger Mason Foundation is a partner with the local charter school, and Roger is playing a part in the lives of area children. Fifty local students will attend Movie Night with Mase this week. They were selected on the basis of essays they wrote. Many of the kids wrote about Roger Mason and how he is an inspirational figure to them. That means more to me than anything, Mason told The Washington Times sports writer, Tom Knott, thats the cool part. Thats the type of thing thats special to me.

I am especially grateful to Tom Knott for giving us this wonderful story. Too often, the media highlight the lurid, the weird, the criminal. But Roger Mason is not just quiet, steady, dependable Mason, the guy behind the guy but ever capable. Roger is a star.

Roger Mason was a classmate of my children. He graduated from Calvary Lutheran School in Silver Spring, Maryland in the ‘90s. He was a standout athleteeven in fourth grade! And he was quiet, modest and ever capable, even then.

Calvary Lutheran did beautiful things. All 123 children in that school read on grade level.

That is something few schools can boast. Teachers at Calvary had to teach for twenty-three years before they earned as much as an entry-level teacher in Montgomery County Public Schools. The amazing thing is that we had four teachers who were at that level.

I sometimes get ribbed by liberal friends about sending my children to Christian schools.

Oh, joining the white flight, eh? Well, we did join the whiteand blackflight to Calvary, where 85 percent of the students were minority students. But we didnt pay attention to that back then. Instead, we were drawn to those words engraved in stone above the entrance to Calvary: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

I thank God for Calvary Lutheran School, what it has meant to my family, and what it meant to Roger Mason. He continues to bless this community, San Antonio, and any other community that is fortunate enough to know him. Oh, and E.L. Haynes Public Charter School? Its right down the street from Calvary.

Save School Choice in Washington, D.C.

by Krystle Gabele

May 7, 2009

Today, I had the opportunity to attend the “Save Our D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Rally” at Freedom Plaza. Students from several Charter and private schools were in attendance chanting, “Put Kids First,” as well as parents, who were very concerned about the loss of funding for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarships, which allow students to attend private schools, instead of lower performing public schools throughout the District.

The crowd heard from many speakers, including Former Mayor Anthony Williams, Council member Marion Barry, School Choice advocate, Virginia Walden Ford, and many others, who were concerned about the education system in Washington, D.C. While there were many parents who spoke on behalf of the scholarships, the real impact came from two young men who talked about the education that they are able to achieve at the private schools where they are attending, compared to the public schools they used to attend. Both of these young men are brilliant, and there is no doubt that they will be able to achieve whatever career path they choose to pursue. Here is the video of their speech:

Why President Obama would want to end their dreams by eliminating these scholarships is puzzling. Obama was a product of a quality private education, and he has chosen the same education for his daughters, Sasha and Malia. Why would he deny the same opportunity for students in the District?

Who’s the Real Bully?

by Robert Morrison

March 18, 2009

President Obama’s omnibus spending bill contains many odd line items. Here’s one: $1.2 billion for what the bill calls “anti-bullying” curricula. One may wonder when it became the federal government’s responsibility to protect our children from the schoolyard bullies. In my long ago high school, the Boys’ Leaders Club stopped bullies from even getting started. And if they didn’t succeed, there was always Mr. Martinell’s “board of education,” firmly applied to the seat of the pants.

Ever since the horror of Columbine High School in 1999, and the mass murders on campus at Virginia Tech several years ago, worried parents have been trying to find answers to why some students “snap” and attack their classmates with murderous violence.

 

In some cases, it may be because they’ve been taunted, teased, bullied. But what has been a perennial parental concern about schoolyard violence has now been hijacked by the gay lobby. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the huge Washington, D.C.-based gay lobbying outfit has initiated a campaign to have our public schools declare themselves Welcoming Schools. In the pursuit of this warm welcome, HRC wants all schools in America to affirm the gay lifestyle.

Part of the “anti-bullying” curriculum HRC is touting nationwide has been the assignment of such books as “Sissy Duckling” and “King and King.” “Sissy Duckling” is described as a book whose “characters challenge gender norms.” “King and King” features one young prince charming who fails to find an eligible princess and pledges his troth instead to another man.

A column by Katherine Kersten in The Minneapolis Star-Tribune exposes the real agenda behind these so-called anti-bullying curricula. Mrs. Kersten points out that the Welcoming Schools program hardly addresses the traditional targets of schoolyard bullies-kids of a different race or ethnicity, kids who are undersized, overfed, and that staple of child antagonism, kids who wear glasses. Instead, the curriculum is heavily weighted on the subjects of anti-gay, anti-lesbian stereotypes

There should not even be a bullying problem in Minneapolis. Don’t these kids listen to Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion? Whatever became of “Minnesota Nice?”

Mrs. Kersten quotes a parent from Minneapolis’ Hale (elementary) School. Arbuc Flomo is with the Coalition for Parents’ Rights. Mr. Flomo says the curriculum is “a direct slap in parents’ faces.” Flomo cites examples of the curriculum’s typical style of instruction: “I used to think, but now I know…” Every “now I know” statement rejects what parents teach and affirms the new politically correct lessons. Mr. Flomo sees the curriculum as an assault on the parents’ moral code.

In one rigged “exercise,” first graders are instructed to put together a puzzle to form families. Except they can’t form traditional units of Mom, Dad, and children. They are forced to form families with same-sex adults and their children. “Students will find that they must create some families with adults of the same gender.”

Notice the must. This is not education. It’s heavy-handed indoctrination. The Hale School principal, Bob Brancale, said the Welcoming Schools curriculum would be implemented “regardless of the personal issues of parents or staff.” Remember when we learned that principal was spelled with an “a” because the school principal was your pal? Whatever became of school administrators as public servants?

These impressionable little children are supposed to repeat the received wisdom from their anti-bullying instructors. And what if they resist? Is there a better definition of bullying than this? Here we see paid agents of the state forcing kids to regurgitate the approved liberal line on homosexuality. The kids are in that classroom by force of law. Mandatory attendance laws govern their presence in those classrooms unless their parents can afford private schools or unless they have the courage, determination, and the time to home school.

Barack and Michelle Obama have just placed their darling girls in Sidwell Friends, a very tony private school in Washington, D.C. At the same time he sends his girls to school in a 10-car caravan with Secret Service protection, the President is allowing Congress to cut the D.C. Opportunity Scholarships-vouchers—that have allowed some 1,700 Washington poor kids to attend private schools in the nation’s capital. But don’t worry, when two of those poor kids have to leave Sidwell Friends, they’ll have a nice, welcoming, gay-indoctrinating public school to attend instead. And if they still have to worry about real schoolyard bullies, maybe the Obamas will invite their children’s former classmates over to play on the new White House playground.

Abstinence Day on the Hill

by Krystle Gabele

March 13, 2009

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Yesterday, nearly 500 students from across the country visited the U.S. Capitol to lobby their legislators on retaining abstinence funding. Many of these students have directly been impacted by abstinence education programs and come from areas that have extremely high teenage pregnancy rates. These eager and enthusiastic teens listened to FRC’s own David Christensen and Valerie Huber, Executive Director of the National Abstinence Education Assocation. Rep. Lee Terry of Nebraska also stopped by the event and added his own remarks. He urged the students to enjoy their time in Washington, D.C. and briefed them about the impact that they are making by visiting their legislators to discuss retaining abstinence funding.

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Jihad in the Classroom

by Robert Morrison

March 11, 2009

Islam is very much in the news these days. Even before 9/11, Americans had become aware of a powerful presence that had never really gone away. The 45-year Cold War between the U.S. and the USSR seemed to submerge Islamic identity in an East-West struggle. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, however, a resurgent Islam often intruded into the headlines of Western newspapers. Even before the terror attacks on New York and Washington, Americans had been targeted by Islamist radicals for murder -at the World Trade Center in 1993, Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, the U.S. Embassies in East Africa in 1998, and aboard the USS Cole in 2000. Then, however, we seemed to be in a decade-long “holiday from history.”

It’s normal to expect that American history and world history textbooks would take a few years to catch up with world events. Textbook production is not an overnight process. The headlines, however, don’t wait. And the headlines all have some lessons to teach us about those regions where Islam predominates.

Here’s lesson one: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met recently at Sharm-el-Sheikh, the Egyptian resort, with dozens of Arab leaders. She pledged U.S. monies to rebuild structures damaged in the recent Israeli incursion into Gaza. American taxpayers will be required to fork over $900 million to restore the homes and schools where local residents danced and handed out sweets to children to celebrate the attacks of 9/11. Mrs. Clinton assures us that the UN will carefully monitor where the funds go, to make sure that none of these monies get “into the wrong hands.” For many of us who remember the UN’s “Oil for Food” scandal, the UN’s hands are the wrong hands. In this case, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has already designated a Syrian-based bank as a receiver of funds. Problem: the U.S.government has identified that Syrian bank as a money launderer for Hamas, the Gaza terrorist organization.

Lesson two: In The Washington Post, we recently read of a seven-year-old Kurdish girl 100 miles north of Baghdad whimpering as village women approach her. They hold her legs apart as a midwife uses a razor blade to cut off part of the little child’s genitals. “I do this in the name of Allah,” the midwife cries. The screaming little girl is hustled away to her home. “We don’t know why we do it, but we will never stop because Islam and our elders require it,” says the girl’s mother. Tens of thousands of little girls are routinely so mutilated, The Post reports.

Lesson three: An Iranian freighter approaches the Chesapeake Bay, outside U.S. territorial waters. It launches a Shahab 3 missile with a nuclear warhead that explodes 300 miles above Des Moines, Iowa. The ship’s crew of jihadist “martyrs” blows the ship up, leaving no trace of attackers. But the Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) created by the single nuclear weapon “fries” all the electronic circuits in North America, blacking out our communications, neutralizing our emergency response units, shutting down power grids, and throwing 300 million Americans back to the dawn of the industrial era. This is not a headline-yet. But it’s what the Claremont Institute’s Brian Kennedy writes could happen. It may be what Iran’s Ahmadinejad means when he says he can foresee a world without the United States. It is to this man that our new President extends his open hand.

None of these lessons-continued U.S. subsidies to America-hating Palestinians, genital mutilation of tens of thousands of Muslim girls, or the threat of an attack from a nuclear Iran—are in our kids’ textbooks. But the issues they describe have been with us for decades.

In a recent report by the American Textbook Council, educator Gil Sewall notes that textbook publishers have caved in to noisy lobbies that howl whenever painful facts are taught. Sewall’s group says these Islamic organizations are succeeding in “adjusting the definitions of jihad and sharia or remove these words from lessons to avoid inconvenient truths that the editors fear activists will contest.” In a public school system increasingly hostile to teaching about Christianity, the Teacher’s Curriculum Institute of California includes this Muslim prayer from the Koran:

Recite-in the name of thy Lord!
Who created man from blood coagulated.
Recite! Thy Lord is wondrous kind,
Who by the pen has taught mankind things they knew not.

The Council’s report on textbooks currently in classroom use charges that “the editorial caution that marks coverage of Christian and Jewish beliefs vanishes in presenting Islam’s foundations.” A Holt textbook extols Islam in glowing terms: “Helping and caring for others is important in Islam.” Muhammed “taught equality,” the text goes on.

Islam in the 700s does not conquer with fire and sword, according to these texts. Instead, it simply “sweeps” out of Arabia. With brooms?

More than 20 years ago, I was the liaison officer at the U.S. Department of Education for Dr. Paul Vitz. Dr. Vitz was an NYU psychologist whose careful study of basal readers and elementary social studies books showed that references to God and religion were being systematically “swept” away by American textbook publishers.

At the press conference at which Dr. Vitz presented his findings, many educators and reporters were skeptical of this study. But the curriculum coordinator for Montgomery County, Maryland Public Schools stood to say he agreed with Dr. Vitz’ findings. And to counter that trend, his very liberal school district would make sure that all students had a chance to see the real impact of religion in our world: The youngsters would see the traveling exhibit of Suleiman the Magnificent. Suleiman was the Sultan, or emperor, of the Ottoman Turks! He was a Muslim ruler.

I thought of that day when I read about John Walker Lindh. He was captured in the opening days of the Afghanistan War in 2001. Lindh is serving a prison sentence as “the American Taliban.”

In the mid-80s, Lindh would likely have been one of those elementary school children introduced to Suleiman’s magnificence by his very politically correct Montgomery County educators. His family then lived in a trendy Washington suburb that local wags call “the People’s Republic of Takoma Park.”

We cannot prove that his public schooling made John Walker Lindh a jihadist, but fair questions should be asked: Based solely on what he learned in school, would this young man or any others learn why America should be loved? Why she deserves our loyalty? Why she deserves to be defended? Would they learn to question the truth claims of Islamists?

Once this was a particular problem for ultra-liberal enclaves like Montgomery County and California’s “Marvelous Marin,” but these textbooks show that the problem is nationwide. We are all indebted to Gil Sewall and the American Textbook Council for their courage and their commitment to the truth.

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