Category Archives: Trust

Parental Rights: Yes. But . . . (follow-up to blog post of November 6, 2017)

In my blog of November 6 I told you about an effort to add an amendment to the Constitution of the United States designed to provide parents with explicit rights concerning the upbringing of their children.

The Parental Rights Amendment was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Randy Hultgren (R-IL 14), the lead sponsor of the resolution, and joined by 15 original cosponsors when he submitted the Amendment. The Amendment has been numbered HJ Res. 121. The Senate version, SJ Res. 48, was introduced in August by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). So, impossible as a constitutional amendment seems, it appears to be moving along.

On the surface it seems like a good idea—parents should not be denied rights concerning their children. (Remember this paragraph from my previous post? “The claim is made that ‘Laws in a majority of states limit or entirely deny to parents any ‘right’ to be present on school grounds where their child is in attendance.’ Check out the status of parental rights laws in your state.”)

However, as the title of this blog says, “But . . .”

I read the Amendment, https://parentalrights.org/amendment/ along with the “Dig Deeper” sections, and emailed ParentalRights.org about a concern I had. I wondered if the right to choose your child’s education included sending them to a Muslim school that taught Sharia law. I want to share with you the email back-and-forth that ensued. In “Dig Deeper” under Section 3 it reads:

Whenever discriminating against speech on the basis of its content, the government “must show that its regulation is necessary to serve a compelling state interest and that it is narrowly drawn to achieve that end”), and invidious discrimination against religion (see Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc., v. Hialeah, 508 U.S. 520, 546 (1993): “To satisfy the commands of the First Amendment, a law restrictive of religious practice must advance ‘interests of the highest order’ and must be narrowly tailored in pursuit of those interests.” In all these cases, the government must prove that it has a compelling interest, before the fundamental freedom at stake can be limited.

(If you don’t understand this, you are not alone. Legalese is difficult.)

The answer I received from Maggie McKneely, Director of Administration and Development stated:

Section 3 is actually designed to ensure that the government can still get involved in the case of parents who are abusive. It does not address education. However, the amendment (specifically section 2) would make it so that if a school is promoting a faith that the parent does not want taught to their child, the parent has a right override the school’s curriculum. The education that a child receives will be ultimately up to the parent and not mandated by the government. Let me know if that doesn’t answer your question!

I replied:

Thanks, Maggie, for your quick response. But no, that doesn’t answer my question. Sharia law is in conflict with the laws of our state and federal governments. If it is taught to children in school as the law(s) that should be followed, it is teaching students to act in opposition to the laws of the United States. I don’t think that is a decision that should be left to parents. All children should be taught to conduct their lives in accordance with U.S. and local laws. It should not be a “parent’s right” to educate children in this country to act against our laws. Does your proposed amendment address my concern?

Apparently my question was now above Maggie’s pay-grade as my next response came from Michael Ramey, Deputy Director of ParentalRights.org. He said:

No, the Parental Rights Amendment will not prevent parents from teaching their children laws or teachings that may disagree with the laws of the United States. This freedom of religion is a fundamental freedom that already exists in the Bill of Rights, and we do not have any desire to overthrow this fbasic [sic] American value.

Consider that if the government has the power to prevent Muslim parents from teaching Sharia law (as a theory, knowledge, ideas), it also has the power to prevent Christian parents from teaching the Bible. The law of the land now includes homosexual marriage, yet countless Christians still teach their children that marriage is between one man and one woman. Do we want a Parental Rights Amendment that will prohibit those Christian parents from teaching that because “it is teaching students to act in opposition to the laws of the United States?”

What remains protected in our Amendment, however, is the children who could be harmed by those parts of Sharia law that call for abusive actions against the child. This is because the beliefs are one thing while actions are another. Parents can teach Sharia to their children, but if the child or parent acts in a way contrary to our laws, they can be prosecuted, and this especially applies to child abuse in the name of (any) religion. The Parental Rights Amendment preserves the current role of the State in preventing and prosecuting instances of child abuse or neglect.

I am sorry if this answer disappoints you, but I think if you will look at it from all angles you may come to recognize that this is the only balance that preserves our mutual American ideals.

Remember that what is “in conflict with our state and federal governments” can be changed with a simple majority vote of Congress (or your state legislature) at any time.

If the government can legislate all that people can learn, it can legislate what they think. And if it has the power to legislate away Muslim ideas, it has the power to legislate away Christian ideas, or atheist ideas, or pagan ideas, or whatever other ideas are out of favor under a given administration. We do not want our nation to operate that way, and I hope you don’t, either.

I truly appreciate Mr. Ramey’s long and considered answer. This alone creates in me an attitude that they are trying to do what they see as necessary and beneficial in establishing the rights of parents over the various areas of the lives of their children.

But . . .

Mr. Ramey’s comparison to parents’ right to send their children to a Jewish or Christian school where they would be taught principles of that religion is specious. First, how would the government know that Sharia law was taught only as a theory, knowledge, or idea, rather than the law that must be observed by all true Muslims? Sharia is in direct opposition to the laws of our country. They are incompatible. Would children in a Muslim school be taught that?

In comparison, our Constitution is based on Judeo-Christian principles. The Supreme Court ruling he referenced regarding marriage no longer being solely between one man and one woman does not preclude such a marriage, nor does it force marriages to be between other than one man and one woman. While Jews or Christians may not agree with the decision of the Supreme Court, they have the right to try to have it overturned, and they can still live their own lives in accordance with their own religious beliefs. This is far different than would happen if Sharia law were imposed on all people.

And just to clarify Mr. Ramey’s claim that “The law of the land now includes homosexual marriage,” same-sex marriage is not a law written and approved by Congress and signed by a president. As I stated above, it has been declared a fundamental right under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by the Supreme Court. It is a decision that can be reversed by a subsequent Supreme Court. “The law of the land” is a figure-of-speech for a matter that has been given approval by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Heritage Foundation in a report dated January 25, 2013 titled “The Constitutionality of Traditional Marriage” stated:

Because the institution of marriage is the principal manner in which society structures the critically important functions of procreation and the rearing of children, it has long been recognized as “one of the cornerstones of our civilized society.” The Supreme Court itself noted more than a century ago that “the union for life of one man and one woman” is “the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization.”

Keep in mind that the acknowledgement that “the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization” was overturned by only five people (the vote in favor of same-sex marriage was five Justices to four) out of a population of approximately 314 million.

This blog has gone on longer than I intended, but you need to know the background of my concern. Before going to the extreme of a Constitutional Amendment, we should all give the impact of such an action considerable thought. On the surface, it sounds like a really good idea to have parents in control their children’s lives, but the possible “unintended consequences” could be significant and far-reaching. If Muslim children were taught year after year that our country should be ruled by Sharia law (and how would that be known), soon those children who were so indoctrinated would be elected to positions of political power. How many generations would it take to overturn our Judeo-Christian principled laws and put Sharia in their stead?

Basically I believe what is contained in this proposed Amendment is good and helpful. But one overlooked principle could cause tremendous damage. What do you think? Pass this information on to your friends and ask them their opinion. Let me know. The time to investigate this amendment thoroughly, with all its ramifications, is now before the boulder starts its roll downhill and can’t be stopped.

Textbook Reviewers Wanted

Volunteer to read textbooks

It won’t come as a surprise to those of you who have read my book Who’s Got Dibs on Your Kids? or have been followers of my blog, but our kids’ textbooks are in real trouble. Some concerned people have been taking steps to correct this.

In Florida they formed the Florida Citizens’ Alliance, with the stated focus to “Stop Federal Overreach and Restore Our Individual Rights, Guaranteed Under The Constitution.” They were serious. They encouraged all residents of Collier County to attend a school board meeting in June stating: “THIS IS NOT A PARTISAN ISSUE. IT IS ABOUT OUR CHILDREN’S FUTURE, following  FLORIDA LAWS and  adopting FACTUAL, UNBIASED  TEXTBOOKS that are not used to indoctrinate our children. We need a large turnout and your collective voice to adopt ONLY the highest quality textbooks!”

Their efforts were not in vain. They played a big part in getting the Florida legislature to pass SR 989, requiring school districts to allow “a resident of a county to challenge the use or adoption of instructional materials; revising the requirements relating to the district school board process for objecting to or appealing the use or adoption of instructional materials; requiring a school district to discontinue use of materials under certain circumstances; requiring sufficient procedural protections for a public hearing relating to a challenge to the adoption of instructional materials; requiring a school district to provide access to school library materials upon written request” along with other changes in the existing law.

Similar laws are being passed in other states and The Report Card is looking for volunteers to read and review these textbooks. The Report Card has formed a partnership with Truth in Textbooks (TNT) (formerly known as Truth in Texas Textbooks TTT) founded by Lt. Col. Roy White, USAF Ret.

TNT is made up of volunteers, and has had great success conducting the necessary research and lobbying influence at local and state levels in eliminating or correcting many falsehoods found in the US History, World History, U.S. Government, and Geography textbooks. Publishers of textbooks reviewed by TNT include Pearson, Worldview, McGraw Hill, Discovery Education, Houghton Mifflin, Perfection, and Cengage. You’ll find their report on Social Studies Textbooks, Summary of Proclamation 2015 interesting reading. It is a PDF colored chart that gives the publisher, %TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills), their grade, and the criteria used for the evaluation. With only 50 volunteers in 2014, they identified more than 1500 errors in the proposed social studies textbooks. After studying the 469-page report and hearing testimony, the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) eliminated or corrected more than 60% of the errors before the books were accepted for use in the classrooms. “As a result, over 5 million children have more accurate textbooks as a result of the work of Truth in Textbooks and their volunteers.”

Learn more about this program at The Report Card article “History, Social Studies Textbook Reviewers Wanted.” You can make a difference!

Back to School: What to Expect

CAUTION – Tell your kids not to believe everything they’re going to read and hear.

What do your kids, and you, expect as they head back to school? Seeing their friends again? Learning something cool? Are they wondering what their new teacher will be like? Probably all those things.

But are you expecting something more? Perhaps a true representation of our great American history? Truth in their science courses that discuss earth’s origin and climate change? If you do, I applaud your optimism. The chances of those things happening if your kids are attending a public school range from slim to none.

I say that, even though I am a basically optimistic person, because I’ve studied what’s been happening, and is continuing to happen. If you haven’t read my book Who’s Got Dibs on Your Kids? yet (I sometimes call it Dibs), this might be a good time to do that. In my opinion, it is vital for you to prepare your kids ahead of time for what they most likely will be taught in school. Teach them yourself what the truth is.

I’m bringing this up now because I just read a quote of Vladimir Lenin that chilled me to the bone. He wrote:

We must be ready to employ trickery, deceit, law-breaking, withholding and concealing truth. We can and we must write in a language that sows among the masses hatred, scorn, and the like towards those who disagree with us. (Emphasis added.)

Lenin was born in 1870 and died in 1924, but we can see his hateful plans still alive and well in our own country today. Does that sound over the top? Let’s take a look at it.

Don’t believe everything in the textbooks

Trickery and deceit were definitely employed in Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth, which taught our children that our world was doomed if we didn’t drastically reduce our carbon footprint immediately. Add to that the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) which are probably in use in your kid’s school. (See page 45 of Dibs) Those standards require climate change instruction. One of the high school course descriptions reads: “Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.”

Please note this does not ask the student to determine if Earth systems are being modified by human activity, but how.

If you haven’t noticed the acceptance, possibly encouragement, of law-breaking on college campuses, you need to take a little time off from your daily chores. Look at some video clips of students preventing speakers from conveying their ideas with shouting, physical endangerment, and destruction of private property.

I could cite countless examples of schools withholding and concealing the truth, but to keep it simple, let’s look at just one textbook on American history. The Florida Citizens Alliance has done a great job checking textbooks. One portion from their report on (2015) Modern World History, 9th Grade Teacher Edition, covering the Section on the American Revolution reveals that:

  • The debating between the Federalist and the Anti-Federalists is distorted.
  • The Federalist position was entirely misrepresented.

Signing the Constitution

  • There is no mention of the thirteen colonies declaring their independence as thirteen independent Nation states.
  • There is no mention of our Constitution being a legal document that created the federal government.
  • No mention that the Constitution gave only eighteen very well-defined and very limited powers to the federal government.
  • No mention of the extensive debates that led to the Bill of Rights and particularly why we have a 9th and 10th amendment.
  • The textbook states “colonial leaders eventually recognized the need for a strong national government” which is not true. Our Constitution was carefully crafted to limit federal government powers.

The Florida Citizens Alliance rank this section on American History as having 1) Bias 2) Omission of Fact 3) Half-Truth and 4) Factual Error.

This definitely falls into the withholding and concealing the truth category and, as I said before, is only one small example of how our kids are being misled. How can we expect them to realize how truly exceptional our country is if they are not told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

Back to Lenin’s statement—he continues: “sows among the masses hatred, scorn, and the like towards those who disagree with us.” Have you heard the words homophobe, xenophobe, Islamophobe, misogynist, racist, sexist? Can you honestly say those words do not sow “hatred, scorn and the like towards those who disagree with us?” How is our culture today different from that espoused by Lenin? Will your kids experience this in school?

These are but a few examples of how some are trying to lead our kids on paths away from truth, patriotism, and God. As a parent you must prepare your kids for being confronted with these realities. Teach them the truth, and that God’s love that endures all things.

Tell me, Mellon, when did we let evil become stronger than us?

– The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

 

Will the Classroom Climate Change? – Part 2

Strong differing opinions about climate change

I’m continuing here my comments on the National Center for Science Education survey of teachers regarding climate change, and whether human activities are responsible for global warming. In case you see the term “anthropogenic global warming” (sometimes reduced to AGW), that’s what they’re talking about.

A focus of the results of this survey is to understand how and why students are receiving what NCSE calls mixed messages. The mixed messages apparently are 1) not all teachers believe there is global warming, and 2) of those who believe there is, not all of them think we humans are causing it. Therefore, “mixed messages” means not all teachers are teaching what many in politics and science are calling “fact” about climate change.

It doesn’t surprise me that they are concerned that all kids are not being properly indoctrinated. One paragraph in the report makes clear they feel it is their duty to ensure this is accomplished:

Although the mass media, informal education (such as museums and zoos), and advocacy organizations play important roles in promoting scientific literacy, a special responsibility lies with our public schools. Schools reach into all sectors of society and create environments that are better insulated from ideology and rancor than social media or political forums.

I certainly agree that schools reach into all sectors of society, but I need someone to show me that what schools (in general) are teaching today is insulated from ideology. Fortunately, “more than a quarter of teachers ‘give equal time’ to perspectives that raise doubt about the scientific consensus.” NCSE regards this as “managing conflict” rather than objectivity. I suppose if kids want to examine various viewpoints it becomes “conflict.”

Another finding states:

Many teachers’ understanding of the greenhouse effect may be shaky. When asked to prioritize topics for a 2–3 day unit on the greenhouse gases and recent global warming, many teachers selected topics that are not especially relevant.

If you haven’t been following this train of thought, you may not know the claim is that greenhouse gases cause global warming, carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas, therefore CO2 causes global warming. Remember that CO2 is vital to life on earth. It was not considered a greenhouse gas until the EPA declared it so in 2009.

Finally, the last of their findings I’ll comment on is:

Teachers’ awareness of the scientific consensus is linked to their attitudes toward the role of government. The more that teachers question the role of government relative to individual responsibility, the less likely they are to know that most climate scientists believe that human activity is the major cause of global warming.

Teachers may no longer be puppets for “consensus” science

Let’s take a close look at that statement. Look at the earlier paragraph above that claims schools are better insulated from ideology and rancor than social media or political forums. Here they state that the more teachers question the role of government relative to individual responsibility, the less likely they are to know the group-think they are supposed to endorse. So are the schools supposed to separate themselves from “political” sources as they claim to do, or do they promote government/political information?

In Part 1 of this post I mentioned that the survey of 1,500 teachers showed that “Fewer than half of all teachers [responding] had any formal coursework — even one class lecture — on climate change.”

Perhaps the decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Accord will start some of those teachers wondering what’s going on, and they’ll do some research on their own.

To emphasize that scientists have differing opinions, check out this statement by Freeman Dyson quoted in the Cornwall Alliance. Freeman Dyson is one of the world’s top physicists. He replaced Albert Einstein at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He put very simply a basic argument against the notion that CO2-driven global warming is likely to be disastrous:

In humid air, the effect of carbon dioxide on radiation transport is unimportant, because the transport of radiation is already blocked by the much larger greenhouse effect of water vapor. The effect of carbon dioxide is important where the air is dry, and air is usually dry only when it’s cold. Hot desert air may feel dry, but it often contains a lot of water vapor. The warming effect of carbon dioxide is strongest where the air is cold and dry, mainly in the Arctic rather than the tropics, mainly in winter rather than in summer, and mainly at night rather than in daytime. The warming is real, but it is mostly making cold places warmer, rather than making hot places hotter. To represent this local warming by a global average is grossly misleading.

Freeman Dyson also said he rejects environmentalism as anti-humanism. So you see, knowledgeable people can have differing viewpoints.

The title of this and the previous blog post is “Will the Classroom Climate Change?” My question is aimed at what NCSE calls mixed messages. Will those with authority choose to teach students both sides of the global warming debate, or will a heavier hand come down on teachers to teach the view of the global warming proponents and their view only?

I strongly recommend that you go to the NCSE report and read it all for yourself. What our kids are taught, learn and believe may depend on you understanding the problem. Let me know if you agree with me.

 

Will the Classroom Climate Change? – Part 1

National Center for Science Survey

You have undoubtedly heard of the widely diverse opinions on whether or not our climate is changing and, if it is, if it’s because of the terrible things we humans are doing to our earth. I just read about a survey done by the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) that questioned teachers about if and how they taught climate in their classrooms. Of the 3.9 million teachers that are in the Dun and Bradstreet database, the NCSE selected 5,000 to query. Of those 5,000, they had 1,500 responses from teachers in all fifty states, who taught science classes ranging from middle school through high school. So this survey represents approximately 3.85 percent of teachers nationwide.

Although it has become more frequently referred to lately as simply “climate change,” what the scientific community really means is what they formerly called it: global warming. I can’t go into all the results from the survey as the report is forty pages long, but I’ll cover a few of their findings.

The first that grabbed my attention—it truly astonished me—was that “Fewer than half of all teachers [responding] had any formal coursework — even one class lecture — on climate change. Of those who did not study climate change during college, only one in five has obtained continuing education on the topic.” So how, I wonder, (as you might) are they equipped to evaluate the material they are given to teach, and convey the information to the kids?

Climate Change – Not everyone agrees

We can look at the bright side. “Many students are receiving mixed messages. As many as 30% of teachers who teach about climate change are emphasizing that scientists agree that human activities are the primary causes of global warming while simultaneously emphasizing that “many scientists” see natural causes behind recent global warming.” (Emphasis added.) So the kids, at least some of them, are learning that there can be natural causes for global warming. The disturbing part of that finding is the NCSE interprets looking at two opinions on the subject as “receiving mixed messages.” That doesn’t sound like a very scientific attitude to me.

The study found that “Less than half of all science teachers are aware that more than 80% of climate scientists think that global warming is caused primarily by human activities.” It’s an interesting statement all by itself. The Daily Caller reported on a survey by George Mason University (GMU) of more than 4,000 American Meteorological Society (AMS) members found that a third of them don’t agree with the so-called global warming “consensus” that humans are the cause of most recent warming.

Dr. Roy Spencer is a Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and formerly a Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA. He is co-developer of the original satellite method for precise monitoring of global temperatures from Earth-orbiting satellites. He has provided congressional testimony several times on the subject of global warming and has authored several books. His blog post regarding the GMU survey reads:

Fully 33% either believe climate change is not occurring, is mostly natural, or is at most half-natural and half-manmade (I [Roy Spencer] tend toward that last category)…or simply think we “don’t know. For something that is supposed to be “settled science”, I find that rather remarkable.

As they have had no classes at all on climate change/global warming, I cannot fault teachers believing that global temperatures are on the rise. However, let’s give a cheer that “While few teachers doubt that average global temperatures are on the rise, many do not accept scientific
conclusions regarding human energy generation and consumption as the critical cause.” (Emphasis added.)

There is much more in this report that I want to tell you about. I said earlier that I couldn’t cover it all, and I won’t, but there are a few more items you should know about. I try to get to the rest of them in my next post. Let me know what your kids are being taught about global warming.