Guarding the Minds and Hearts of Our Children
By Whitne Strain
As parents desiring to find a proper high school education for our 13 year old son, my husband and I have been researching a prep school in Indiana that shares our values of faith, founders and traditional academics. This school employs the services of the SSAT (Secondary School Admissions Test) exam as most prep schools do. To help my son, I voluntarily took the first practice exam which we purchased directly from SSAT.org.
I labored through the reading comprehension portion, shocked and dismayed. Within the nine essays presented were subjects on racism, an anti-Christian sarcastic dig, environmentalism, class warfare, history revision and collectivism. Any follower of current affairs recognizes these issues as tools of manipulation used by those of the “progressive” ideology. Here is one example:
“Approximately 28 percent of all energy used in the United States is devoted to transportation and of that fraction, 40 percent is supplied in the form of gasoline to fuel the nation’s nearly 255 million registered passenger vehicles. Americans use more energy to fuel their cars than they do for any other single purpose. The fuel used by American automobiles and personal trucks would just about fill all the energy needs of Japan, a nation of over 127 million and the world’s largest consumer of energy after the United States and China. In an urgent effort to reduce consumption of an increasingly costly fuel whose chief reserves lie overseas, the government has RIGHTLY [emphasis added] identified the American automobile and current habits of its utilization as prime targets for change.”
My first thoughts were, “Do any of the teachers and administration of these schools ever read these tests? Isn’t it presumptuous on the part of the creators to include politically charged, behaviorally persuasive essays for children in 8th grade?”
This started me on a journey and here is what I found:
The SSAT board consists of 19 participants who mostly come from private schools across the country. I found that the board chair, Kilian Forgus, is a spokesperson for one of their 2014 annual meeting sponsors, inResonance. On the face of it, I see a financial conflict of interest.
More concerning to me, though, is their keynote speaker, Charles Fadel, Founder and Chairman of CENTER FOR CURRICULUM REDESIGN. On Fadel’s website at www. curriculumredesign.org/about/team/#charles, he is presented as a global education thought leader and expert who was the liaison with UNESCO, the World Bank and Change the Equation (STEM) while the Global Education Lead at Cisco Systems. Of the other six speakers, five had backgrounds in global aspects of culture, trade, demographics, marketing and business . Progressive ideology uses the word “global” freely as a euphemism for ”make everyone the same”. One of the speakers, Amy Wilkinson, recently spoke at a National Governor’s Association meeting, the birthplace of the national institution of Common Core.
Can anyone say CONNECTIONS? Are these the types of philosophies that influence the design of that test? After three hours of research, I stopped for the night, but I can tell you that I’m not done.
Ezra Taft Benson, Secretary of Agriculture for President Dwight D. Eisenhower, speaking at a conference on February 28, 1966 in St. Louis, Missouri had this to say,
“To take over our schools, the educational system will first have to be federalized and then prostituted entirely to serving the propaganda needs of the state planners with absolutely no regard for truth or scholarship or tradition.”
Is this happening today? Is the SSAT just one of many means of prostitution and propaganda? Are the SAT and ACT similar? Who is guarding the minds and hearts of our children?
I ask myself whether it’s worth fighting. The machine is so big. I’m just one mom. But I’ve decided to adopt this statement from Secretary Benson’s same speech: “We must be neither fatalists nor pessimists. We must be realists, of high character and deep spirituality.”
If enough of us see this, we can stop it.
Thank you, Whitne Strain! Parents, please research textbooks and other materials found in schools, soon to be found in our children’s minds. I want to back up Whitne’s perspective with my own recent experience (and encourage all parents and teachers to do this.)
Is This Curriculum Politically Neutral?
by Christel Swasey
For the past few months I’ve been tutoring some high school students, part time. The students are enrolled in an online, digital school. I’ve been appalled by the online school’s lack of political neutrality and the emphasis on the same types of things Whitne Strain mentioned above: curriculum that is extremely politically charged, an extreme environmental focus, the assumption that global warming is a settled scientific fact (not just in the “environmental science” class but also in English class) and an emphasis on collectivism –along with a de-emphasis, even in the U.S. history class, on our founding fathers.
For example, I read one test question for an environmental science class that went like this (paraphrasing, from memory):
“Which of the following terms best describes an environmental movement that views the rights of the majority of people as more important than the rights of individual property owners? a) environmental law b) environmental justice c) environmental activist d) other”
The question was not teaching science. It was teaching a one-sided political message. It was teaching that the public (the government) could have the right to infringe on individuals’ property rights –maybe for any reason, but at least for environmental reasons. This may be common speech among extreme left-wing politicians –but in school!?
Schools should teach, and used to teach, that all Americans have constitutional rights, including the right and control of their own property. Now it seems that some are teaching that individual, constitutional rights are subservient to environmental socialism.
Tutoring other high school students in their online English classes this summer, I noticed the same extreme left-wing rhetoric. I didn’t write down the questions but recall –for example– many global warming political cartoons popping up multiple times even within one English test. This didn’t seem to match what English classes are supposed to be teaching.
Test questions in this English class took a one-sided stand, making the assumption, for example, that global warming was a settled scientific fact –and that this message belonged in an English class. I asked the online school to take a look at the controversies and debates among scientists in the news to see that global warming is highly controversial, and far from a settled science. I asked them to consider tossing out these inappropriate questions.
Regardless of parents’ own political ideology, I think most would agree that school is not the place for any type of subtle political indoctrination. Just as schools are forbidden from preaching a particular religion, schools must be forbidden from preaching a particular political doctrine.
Parents and teachers, we can’t move a mountain all at once. But we can start by being more aware. We can notice what is being emphasized and re-emphasized, and also notice what isn’t there and should be.
Tell your local and state school boards that you insist on politically neutral curriculum. Look at the curriculum for yourself. You’ll soon dodge anything from Pearson and Microsoft, for example, which together form the world’s largest and most powerful education sales group partnership and which also happen to be working for the United Nations’ Global Education First Initiative. Ask yourself as you read:
- Is it promoting “social justice” (socialism and collectivism over classic Americanism) while teaching math, English, history or science?
- Is it glorifying the politically controversial United Nations and “global citizenship”? (As I noticed years ago that the widely-used Pearson “Human Geography” textbook does)
- Is it pushing minimizing or degrading the American Constitution and founders?
- Does it push environmentalism into every subject, promoting environmental activism as an appropriate or necessary behavior for students? (To get up to speed on this issue, look at minute 4:00 -6:05 on http://youtu.be/T3ErTaP8rTA –the Pearson Education CEA Summit speech. Pearson CEA Sir Michael Barber said “citizens of the world” including every child, “all 9 billion people who will be alive in 2050″ must have all teachings multiplied by “ethical underpinnings.” Barber explains that “ethical underpinning” is “shared understanding” of earth and “sustainability” that every child in every school around the world will learn. Ethics, to Barber, have nothing to do with the supreme sanctity of human life, individual liberty or the Golden Rule. It’s simply education for the environmental collective.)
So, if you see the typical “learning target” which says something like: “Students will understand current global issues and their rights and responsibilities in the interconnected world,” which is a learning target that I recently saw in my own child’s student disclosure– then speak up.
Say that it troubles you, and say why. Speak from the heart.
I recently explained this to one of my children’s teachers, after receiving the above mentioned “learning target”. I said, “Even though we are of Swedish heritage and speak Swedish at home, I have taught my child to be a deeply rooted American citizen, and to avoid teachings that push global citizenship. I’m opposed to the now-popular concept of “global citizenship” in education, because rights and responsibilities as Americans differ dramatically from those held in other countries or those promoted by the U.N., and I don’t want my child to think of himself/herself as subject to global values, laws, or global governance, which allow for fewer freedoms than those guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.”
If schools do not respect your wishes, take your business (and children) elsewhere: to private schools, to home schools, or to a different public school where the principals and curriculum directors still respect parental research and input.