With all due respect to everyone who is sure they have a solution to school shootings, and, really, any other violence, I ask, let’s be real for a minute, let’s look at the root of this “issue.”
REALITY: Schools teach abortion and are progressive propaganda centers (see http://web.archive.org/web/20090423190627/http://www.nea.org/tools/17231.htm). Teachers fill kid’s minds with the teacher’s values and thoughts by opines, often arrived at by policies of their union, using touchy-feely classes, where expression is encouraged after the teacher’s opinions (usually challenging the student’s views learned from family) are made, engrossing the child over their 12 years of public education in – and this is the “mental illness” appearance key here – mental activities that are entirely based on outside stimuli, coreless, without the development of thought that comes from problem solving and wonder.
Empty vessels. Today education is promoting, creating, and entirely immersed in assuring every student is an empty vessel, core-less, own thought mindless, incapable of valuing anything but what opines of others have told them and absolutely void of all thought by one’s own initiative, one’s own, here’s a word we don’t hear often, “volition.”
While these children, these empty vessels who we’re supposed to help become capable, reasonable, and good individuals in our society through helping them develop their own cognitive function and appreciation for life, are sent to institutions we assume will help them learn, they are instead inundated with opinions and otherwise useless information that someone, somewhere, usually a PhD or a dozen of em as a “board of education,” with some study claim “students need to learn.” It is by this that the student’s teacher becomes a parrot of whatever is required to be taught to assure the school’s liability/obligation according to their funding is covered. No one is caring if the student is taught to think for themselves by their own mind, say by showing them a video of something they’d never seen in the subject of science, or a transcript of some genuinely life changing event that they’d never seen or heard before, to then have the student develop their own views, think for themselves, write and discuss their own thoughts. Examples would be a pulsar emitting an energy pulse 60 times the speed of light, or a citation of the Federalist Papers indicating Our Founders tried to end slavery through Article I, Section 9 (Federalist 42 first 3 paragraphs).
But no! No! No! No! Instead schools teach, what it appears Jean Baudrillard referenced in Simulacra & Simulation as “contactotherapy.” The constant is world events, and discussing the teacher’s opinion to teach the student how to express themselves (transferring the parroting method to the student), without even the slightest anything for the student helping them learn how anything actually works, such as a pulsar or the American Constitution limiting government. And of course there has to be the steering Progressive agenda question “….and how do you think what that corporation did negatively impacted society/community/environment?”
The Progressive 44 magnum bullet to destroy America from within is the constant of “babies are just tissue” and, as we were all babies once, by extension: life has no meaning. That’s what every gunman holds inside, why they do not value life, do not question their actions after the first person they injure or kill, after whatever sounds they hear from their victims during the course of their shooting people, seeing the blood spew from the wound they made, which, it appears is because these are all physical attributes only affirming the “we are just tissue” abortion baseline.
And what must be said at all cost: Guns and other arms that we Americans have had the Right to Bear before the United States government even existed is a statement by ownership of ones valuation of their own life, that their life is valuable to them! Does this mean a gunman who doesn’t hold that view, who shoots up a school of the unarmed because they know they will be unarmed has a gun for the same reason the Right to Bear Arms exists? Answer: No. And it is incumbent upon us (another rarely used word of self-responsibility) to recognize this difference and that it is indicative of a failure of our education system and policies, not mental health issues, not that Rights no longer should be respected but that the core of these individuals is being denied sustenance by assuming it doesn’t exist, by assuming “we are just tissue.”
So while folks want to claim someone has mental illness, it is notable that in this recent Santa Fe Texas shooting the shooter had bombs placed around the school and even emulated the Parkland shooting by pulling a fire alarm, both of which are acts of pre-meditation and cognitive capacity. Thus I submit there is no mental-illness involved but instead a lost society bent on keeping life valueless in what is taught to our children, especially in teaching abortion and omission of God from the schools. I submit that if we do not help students and children develop a core that values life, all efforts otherwise are foolish Progressive traps to change the whole society to appease a never to be changed absence of existence of meritorious thought inside the individuals in our society today. Exploiters and those who want to enslave or otherwise treat others inhumane need empty vessels looking for a home, for a place to land. MS-13, Progressives, and anyone else who can promote a communist/family replacement are loving every second of this emptiness of individuals as theirs to exploit to America’s detriment and destruction.
God Bless you and thank you for reading and sharing this
George Everett Day who, from what I can find, appears to have been a POW with Senator John McCain, was a lawyer and brought this case in the FDCNDF, but it appears because he is a Veteran too, his capacity as a lawyer was denied.
Maybe I speak jaded, maybe the notion that our nation has made commitments to soldiers, and even spread that around as a reason to join the military, that you can get free healthcare for life, as was promised to William O. Schism and Robert Reinlie, Plaintiffs, as well as other Veterans before and after these men served 20+ years in the military. But it the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, a twelve judge panel sitting en banc, affirmed the opinion of the FDCNDF.
One would think the United States Supreme Court would hear this case, would want to settle this issue once and for all. Again, Congress, President, and United States Supreme Court are created by the Constitution. Veterans take an Oath to “uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States” just like the members serving in each branch of government. But no! No! No! No! SCOTUS denies certiorari (search “02-1226” or “schism” here), you’ll note a grant of substitution of Schism’s wife noting “plaintiff is deceased” as SCOTUS then denies the writ of certiorari (writ of review). Apparently, there is no immunity by any of the branches of our government to be so elitist as to not hear a case brought by a Veteran where his wife, to keep the case alive and moving forward, thought it important enough to apply for substitution so SCOTUS would review the case.
I am being too hard on the government you say? I mean they did provide Tricare, right? A system that Veterans have to PAY FOR, I mean, what’s more FREE than that right?
But, you see, the problem isn’t that government can’t afford it, or the cost etc. No matter what our budgets, there are 1700 VA hospitals, buildings standing with people inside to give care, and we’re already paying for them before the patient even comes into the building.
No, the problem is that our government has lost the fundamental understanding of the relationship here.
Governments go to war, and when the US Government ends up in war the sons and daughters of the American People are asked to defend their country. They were once drafted, but nonetheless the horrors of war, be they called “shell-shocked” to “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” with or without the physical ails of loss, of limbs or friend(s), the scars are deep, are permanent, build character and/or suicide. The government who may have already asked us to serve will then ask our children, will make a “deal” a commitment to the person who is volunteering or enlisting for their own purposes. But in all cases the recruited to serve is doing the government a favor, is making a sacrifice of themselves, maybe on behalf of the family, or to the cause of their love for others, be they family, friends and/or merely their fellow Americans.
We owe them the bare minimum of free healthcare for life. No, the above paragraph isn’t an “eligibility statement.” It is a statement separate out what it appears the Welfare budget folks since President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s Great Society have mistakenly done, maybe in their zeal of hatred for the Vietnam War, a hatred that appears to persist into the modern day.
Veterans generally aren’t down and out folks looking for a handout (sure some are but maybe it’s because our system pools them together as though they are too, treats them the same or worse than others just looking for a handout). Veterans what was promised to them. Americans, all of us, we need to give them that and more. No matter how hard you’ve worked, nor how long, nor how much you’ve set aside for retirement, nor any of the rest of the plans you have for your life, they have no value whatsoever if America falls. Our Veterans were the soldiers who assured the future, which is the very present you live in right now! These people deserve our utmost gift for they made their utmost gift, their lives, available to our government in service to us!
Agree with the wars or not, our Veterans have secured this nation irrespective of our politicians, irrespective of political parties and ideologies. Our Veterans suffer merely being on Active Duty at any time during the duration of their service, whatever period of time that may be.
You may ask why this is so important to me, well, here’s a quote to a friend of mine who, by no fault of their own, had their “copay” end up in a collection. The quote is from a letter in response to Congressman Gosar of Arizona who my friend went to for help with relief from the United States Treasury collecting on his Veteran’s Administration debt which he had made timely payments on:
“…On November 14, 2017, he contacted us again with demands for refund of the 28% collection fees charged….”
A 28% fee is charged to our Veterans to collect their “copay.” In my friend’s case, the Veterans Administration failed to send a bill which led to him having to contact them and they immediately wanted a payment, which he paid. Nonetheless, his bill went to the US Treasury for this 28% fee, an amount instantly charged!
Congress passes a law effective immediately that all Veterans receive 100% free healthcare for life, period!
Congress amends the tax code and the IRS issues regulations that make a simple checkbox “Veteran” that verified against the 1040 Income Tax Form Filer instantly makes their wife’s income no longer a factor in determining the Veteran’s eligibility for their 100% free healthcare benefits.
Consider how many regulations will be wiped out, and how much intrusion and exploitation of our Veterans by myriad Federal and State government agencies will be wiped out by these two simple acts that should have been done a long time ago.
Consider how this mistreatment of Veterans, assuring them a part of the Welfare Budget, has violated their right to be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve for being available to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Let’s call it the Schism-Day Free Veteran Healthcare Act, in honor of William O. Schism the Plaintiff in the original case, and George Everette Day, the former POW who brought the Schism case.
It’s high time this nation who has given billions, even trillions of dollars throughout the rest of the world takes care of our Veterans who make that possible.
God Bless you and thank you for reading and sharing this. I urge you to do all you can to get this to President Donald J. Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Veterans Administration Head David Shulkin, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for our Veterans.
The Relationship Charade: Walking on Eggshells is not Reconciliation
by Linda Goudsmit
November 28, 2017
Many articles have been written about the growing trend of adult children choosing estrangement in American families. The recent Thanksgiving holiday has highlighted this alarming movement toward the dissolution of family bonds of love and loyalty. What is the source of this dreadful shift? What happened to honor thy father and mother?
Sheri McGregor, M.A. has written an important book titled Done With The Crying that explores the disturbing increase in families with adult children who disown their parents. There are, of course, appropriate conditions for estrangement but the current trend appears baffling to the 9,000 confused and grieving parents surveyed who cannot fathom why the children they have loved for a lifetime are choosing to reject them. Done With The Crying attempts to help devastated parents accept their loss and move on with their lives. McGregor is asking “What now?” I am asking “Why now?”
Generation gaps between parents and their adult children have traditionally been resolved with courtesy, respect, and a sense of humor. Adult children honored their parents even when they disagreed with them and chose a different path for their own lives. A fundamental level of gratitude for the parent’s efforts and dedication allowed the differences to be minimized and the family bonds maximized. What has changed??
The bewildered parents McGregor describes cannot accept the estrangement because they simply do not understand it. She describes the staggering lack of respect, restraint, gratitude, and overarching sense of entitlement in adult children’s demand for parental conformity including restricting their parents’ freedom of speech. In the upside-down world of self-seeking millennials the parent/child role has been reversed. Parents are expected to conform to their adult child’s new norms. If the parent refuses the adult child withdraws himself to a “safe space” seeking protection from the “toxic” ideas of his parents. Toxicity, like hate speech, has been redefined as anything the adult child opposes.
Respondents in McGregor’s book expose the injurious participation of the mental health community which continues to counsel disrespected parents to persevere and strive for reconciliation no matter how cruel and abusive their adult children’s behavior becomes. It is shocking that any mental health professional would advocate unconditional love in adult relationships. Separating an individual from his/her behavior is pathological in adulthood. Any adult with self-respect recognizes the destructiveness of accepting the unacceptable. So why has the mental health community abdicated its responsibility toward growth and maturity and instead embraced the regressive trend toward dependency that demands unconditional love?
The humanities students of the 60s became the social science “experts” who enthusiastically embraced left-wing politics and political correctness. They launched a seismic paradigm shift that steered American society away from adult responsibility toward valuing feelings and happiness above all else. Instead of striving for achievement and merit-based awards parents were told that their children’s self-esteem would suffer in competition. Effort became the criteria for awards, children were told they were all butterflies, and everyone received trophies for “trying.” Here is the problem. Political correctness that values feelings over facts is extremely destructive because the effort to avoid hurt feelings sacrifices objective reality. Effort and achievement are not equivalent. Theoretically education at home and at school prepares children for adulthood because in the adult world of facts it is necessary to achieve – effort is not enough.
Consider the consequences in everyday life when trying is considered equivalent to achieving. Workers try to complete tasks but don’t. Students try to understand concepts but don’t. Mothers try to get meals on the table but don’t. In the real world trying is not the same as accomplishing. The outcome of the politically correct paradigm shift has been catastrophic. It has produced infantilized chronological adults lacking adult work skills, coping skills, with zero frustration tolerance, who are too fragile to listen to anyone who disagrees with them. The outcome of their incompetence is anger and self-loathing.
Even the exceptional millennials who have managed to compartmentalize their brain power, achieving quite remarkable things in academia, business, medicine, et al, remain fixated and angry in their infantilism and dependency modes.
Only in the subjective reality of their politically correct social groups can these underachieving millennials feel good about themselves. It explains why the Left hypocritically tolerates anyone who looks different but cannot tolerate anyone who thinks differently including their parents. The Left, like any orthodoxy, is extremely intolerant and relies on absolute conformity to its tenets of political correctness, moral relativity, and historical revisionism in order to survive and to recruit new members to its ideological identity politics. Those who disagree are maligned, shunned, and rejected – including parents.
Competence is the mother of self-esteem. Accomplishment creates genuine self-esteem and the marvelous sense of satisfaction that proficiency provides. Telling children that they are all butterflies (subjective reality) is dishonest because all children are not the same and they know it. Encouraging a child to accomplish a task is far more supportive of self-esteem than empty compliments because encouragement supports growth, maturity, and the acquisition of skills. The crippling policies that support the paradigm shift toward feelings has yielded a crop of immature, fragile, angry snowflakes. Anger is an extremely powerful emotion that can be exploited for destruction – and that is the underlying goal of the Left.
The cultural revolution fomented by the radical Left demands regression, incites rebellion, and fuels the infantile anger that drives the war on America. Thought precedes behavior. Virtual children who have been indoctrinated toward entitlements, unconditional love, and eternal childhood rage when their dependency needs are unmet. Their anger is then exploited as they are groomed to become the useful idiot soldiers necessary to topple the existing government with promises of cradle-to-grave care from a romanticized socialist government. The estranged child’s loyalty shifts away from of his nuclear family to his new family of choice – he converts – and embraces the new religion of liberalism where his rejection of traditional authority is applauded in an atmosphere of adolescent rebellion.
These disinformed snowflakes are too childish and too angry to examine the reality of life in actual socialist countries. They do not interview citizens of Venezuela or Cuba – instead they just parrot the socialist propaganda. When parents expose the glaring inconsistencies between reality and Leftist ideology these fragile snowflakes choose estrangement rather than risk a personal meltdown. Millennial adult children are far more loyal to the liberal ideology that reinforces them than to their parents who challenge them.
The bewilderment and shock of estrangement for parents is rivaled only by the stunning realization that the Left purposefully foments family estrangement to shatter the bonds of family loyalty and parental authority. Grieving parents cannot accept estrangement until they realize that their adult children are choosing ideology over genealogy. The courtesy, respect, and gratitude that characterized past generations are absent in the millennial generation.
Instead of “honoring thy father and thy mother” the millennial sense of butterfly entitlement has frozen them in an infantile world (subjective reality) where only “self” and self-gratification exist. There is no reconciliation with angry adult children who continue to reject their parents’ objective reality. There is no respectful agreeing to disagree with adult children who demand parents surrender to their “version” of the truth.
The psychology of estrangement is a collision between the objective reality of the parents and the subjective reality of their children. Walking on eggshells with adult children is not reconciliation – it is a relationship charade. Parents have an obligation to stay in objective reality even when their children choose to leave. Parents of adult children who have disowned them are well-advised to walk on – walk beyond the pain of the eggshells and continue walking inside the adult world of objective reality. Your children know where to find you if they decide to walk with you. The choice is theirs.
Roger Stone, having just testified before a closed-door meeting before Congress regarding the DNC security breach on September 26, is claiming that Congressman Schiff and Speier told him at the hearing that the DNC did, in fact, give over its server to the FBI. This contradicts James Comey’s testimony, when he stated that the DNC never handed over the server for investigation.
“The most interesting about the hearing was that, in my statement, I strongly asserted my suspicion that the Russians never hacked the DNC and, of course, one of the central arguments, to that effect, is that the DNC refused to turn over their computer servers to the FBI, instead having it inspected by CrowdStrike, a forensic IT firm controlled directly and paid by the DNC. When I said that, Congresswoman Speier from California corrected me and told me that the DNC servers had been turned over to the FBI, and then Congressman Schiff essentially confirmed that, after which, Trey Gowdy said, ‘wait a minute, James Comey came before this committee, secretary Johnson came before this committee, and testified under oath that the servers were not turned over to the FBI, so what are you talking about?’ Schiff tried to change the subject and said, ‘well, we’ve got a lot of information that we learned during the recess and maybe we should talk about this privately.’ Gowdy seemed furious and stormed out of the hearing, so somebody’s lying.”
The question is, did the DNC turn over its server during the summer recess?
I would like to expand upon Ruth King’s brilliant article posted to her website 8.3.17.
In China The Cultural Revolution, that took place from 1966 until 1976 had a stated goal: to purge capitalism and traditional culture from Chinese society. They instituted brutal labor re-education camps. In America anxious seniors are now worried about SAT scores, interviews and essays that have to demonstrate their passions for justice and human rights and a green planet and diversity. The chief question they ask is not about the price of tuition and room and board or the required courses. They want to know if they will be happy. In late summer of 2018 they will take their trunks with their Che Guevara T shirts, torn designer jeans and grungy sneakers and ingrained ignorance off to campus. And once settled into their cushy dorms, their re-education will commence. Unless they major only in science, they will learn to despise capitalism, national cultural norms, shed all gender pronouns and identity, atone for their privileges by joining all the inviting “anti” groups that rail, riot and demand recognition, avoid reading old white authors, approach every aggression and barbarism with moral relativity, read alt-history, especially about the Middle East and Palestine. They will learn that Mao Zedong of the aforementioned re-education labor camps was a progressive. – Ruth A. King
There is a Cultural Revolution taking place in America today. The stated goal: to purge capitalism and traditional American culture from society. Leftist educational curricula in schools and anti-establishment messaging via television programming (all streaming devices) deliver the dogmatic ideology of the revolution.
The Leftist re-education programming begins long before college. Pre-school educational programs with fanciful characters and talking animals are not benign. Sesame Street creatures are not advocating individual growth, independence, critical thinking skills, excellence, and the merit system which support capitalism and democracy. They are advocating group-think, dependence, passivity, mediocrity, and collectivism which prepare your children for socialism. Students already indoctrinated toward collectivism enter the university re-education programs passive, unaware, and compliant. The re-education curriculum at the university reinforces their passivity and students graduate uninformed, disinformed, and misinformed with degrees in the orthodoxy of liberalism that is tyrannical in its demand for conformity.
The graduates are now credentialed “authorities” in the social sciences who become zealous members of the Leftist echo chamber that reinforces collectivism and dominates television. The left-wing liberal narrative of political correctness, moral relativism, and historical revisionism is reflected in the programming and commercials being streamed into your household and mobile devices twenty-four hours a day. Television programming and television advertising are in the business of social engineering. They are purging capitalism and traditional culture from American society. They are selling socialism.
Their sales strategy pits subjective reality against objective reality. This is how it works.
The Leftist re-education programming presents subjective reality in televised commercials. In the real world of objective reality most families are not intermarried and every play group, luncheon, dinner table, and family picnic does not have one Asian, one white person, one black person, and one Hispanic in attendance. In the real world most couples are not homosexual, white men and women are not all idiots, and black men and women are not all judges, doctors, and lawyers. Why does television programming and commercials portray contrived fabricated scenes and plots of subjective reality instead of factual scenes and plots of objective reality to sell their products? Because they are not selling products they are re-educating America.
The radical left-wing agenda is selling socialism. They are re-educating America on television just like the schools are re-educating America in the classroom. The unreal subjective reality of the programming is intentionally confusing and creates cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is the destabilizing state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially relating to behavioral decisions and attitude changes. Cognitive dissonance creates extreme stress because people seek psychological stability and consistency. The contradictory images being televised do not comport with objective reality so they threaten and destabilize the viewer’s sense of what is real. Cognitive dissonance is the psychological equivalent of physical pain – people will do anything to stop it.
Democracy lives in the adult world of objective reality and facts. It embraces diversity that includes differences of opinion, protects freedom of speech, and insists upon individual personal responsibility. Socialism lives in the childish world of make-believe, subjective reality, diversity that excludes differences of opinion, restricts freedom speech, and rejects personal responsibility. The Left seeks to destroy objective reality and create social chaos. WHY?
Social chaos is the prerequisite for seismic social change and the Leftists seek to destroy American democracy and replace it with socialism. How does it work?
The medium is the message. In 1964 Marshall McLuhan explained that the medium is separate from the message and has a separate social effect upon the recipient. Television is the greatest vehicle for social engineering and mass psychological indoctrination ever invented. The images on the screen become familiar and familiarity brings acceptance. The separate social effect of television (including any screening device) is that the images are accepted as reality. For children talking animals and cartoon characters acquire authority. For older kids, adolescents, and adults the characters in the plots become reality and their fictitious lives no matter how anti-establishment become normative and acceptable. The breakdown of rules, restrictions, and cultural norms appears progressive to an adolescent but is in fact extremely regressive to an adult.
The anti-establishment strategy is to present television commercials and programming that attack established cultural norms of American family, religion, and government with destabilizing images and messages creating cognitive dissonance. By destroying the three pillars of society the Left hopes to advance its agenda of socialism. The Left advertises socialism as the structure that will provide social justice, income equality, and escape from cognitive dissonance. Socialism is advertised as the stabilizing equalizing answer to your problems. Anyone who watches television commercials knows that there is little truth in advertising. Wiping a rag across the shower door does not remove the soap scum.
The truth about Leftist diversity is that it only includes people who LOOK different not people who THINK differently. There are no conservatives invited to the luncheon or sitting at the picnic table. There is no diversity of thought. American democracy is founded on principles of equality, freedom of speech (thought), and individual rights. Socialism is collectivism and values the group over the individual. There is no social justice or income equality in socialism. In the long run socialism never works because as Margaret Thatcher said, “Eventually you run out of other people’s money.”
The re-educated students and television “authorities” indoctrinating America toward collectivism should go back to school and take an actual history lesson. They should read about Che Guevara and how he helped free Cubans from the Batista regime but then enslaved them under the Castro regime. Maybe they will think twice about wearing their Che t-shirts. There is no income equality in socialism – the Castro brothers lived in splendor and the Cuban people still live in poverty. The self-righteous re-educated students should read that socialism is a stepping stone toward globalized one-world government. One-world government is the goal and underlying motive of the elite globalists who are financing the Cultural Revolution in America and fomenting the anti-establishment campaign to re-educate America.
The enthusiastic left-wing liberal lemmings committed to the re-education campaign are too arrogant to understand that they are being used as useful idiots by the globalist elite who have a different end game of their own.
Socialism with its complete government control is the prerequisite social structure for the globalist elite to internationalize sovereign countries, globalize the police force, and impose one-world government upon the world population. One-world government is the new world order that the globalist elite intend to rule themselves. It is unapologetically described in chilling detail by aristocrat Lord Bertrand Russell in his book “The Impact of Science on Society” written 65 years ago. One-world government is a binary socio-political system of masters and slaves. There is no social justice in one-world government, there is no income equality in one-world government, there are no Leftists, environmentalists, humanitarian hucksters, bullying prevention, diversity, contrived television commercials, or political agitators of any kind in one-world government – only a passive, compliant population of slaves ruled by their globalist elite masters.
President Donald Trump was elected because he believes in America first, American democracy, American sovereignty, rejects socialism, rejects globalism, and demands to live in the adult world of objective reality. President Trump’s insistence upon objective reality has made him the existential enemy of the regressive Left who require subjective reality to sell socialism. President Trump’s insistence upon American sovereignty has also made him the existential enemy of the corrupt establishment politicians and greedy never-Trumpers who require subjective reality to sell globalism. Re-education is the strategy that replaces objective reality with subjective reality to sell socialism and globalism to America. Re-education is the medium for the Cultural Revolution.
Don’t look now, but your local school library soon could be getting into the liberal indoctrination racket.
School librarians have taken it upon themselves to teach students how to identify fake news. They say they do this by helping them understand the CRAAP that comes their way.
CRAAP, which stands for Currency (timeliness), Relevance (importance), Authority (source), Accuracy (reliability) and Purpose (reason), “helps students sort through the overwhelming flood of digital information,” according to a recent story in USA TODAY.
“These are the questions we have to introduce these ideas to kids before they think they know everything,” Shannon Walters, identified in the story as the Burlington, Vt., High School librarian, reportedly told the paper.
Kids may know which images to post to Instagram and which to Snapchat, the story says. But it’s up to educators to help them “discern fake from real.”
The CRAAP system has students evaluate the accuracy and validity of content by asking the following questions:
–Who is the author, publisher, source or sponsor?
–Are the author’s credentials or organizational affiliations given?
–What are the author’s credentials or affiliations?
–What are the author’s qualifications to write on the topic?
–Does the URL tell us anything about the author – an .edu would indicate an educator for instance.
Educators say they are stepping up efforts because they were spooked by results of a study at Stanford in 2016 that found students unable to tell the difference between news articles, sponsored content and advertisements.
More than 80 percent thought the sponsored content was real news. Fewer than 20 percent questioned the source of a photo containing a false report of mutated flowers from a nuclear power plant failure.
Sponsored content can be hard for anyone to tell apart … most is written to look like news copy and contains information that can be relied upon as long as the sourcing is indicated. And questioning the source of a photo is a second-level operation for most journalists, let alone middle schoolers.
But this test is being used as a pretext to dramatically expand K-12 teachers’ ability to influence children on how to pick sources, which to rely on, what constitutes authority and which affiliations compromise objectivity.
There are workbooks and programs. There are grants and curricula. The Agency of Education’s 2014 Quality Standards now call for one full-time library media specialist and sufficient staff” to implement such programs.
There’s a new app from Google called Internet Awesome that uses games to “get kids thinking about what makes the best password, how to behave online and how to sort real from fake information.”
It even has a name – media literacy. The people who bring you declining educational results despite increased spending now want to teach our children their version of how to interpret content on the Internet. Given their political predilections, this bears watching.
Especially given that Facebook is thinking along the same lines with its announcement last month that it plans to do more to “filter … fake news from news feeds.”
The world’s most-visited website, now with more than 2 billion users, says it has identified a “tiny group” who share links – sometimes 50 within a 24-hour period – that “tend to include low-quality content such as clickbait, sensationalism and misinformation.”
If you interact with the links, you will still see them, the company said. But if you don’t, they will be deprioritized so Facebook can “improve users’ experiences with more informative and entertaining content,” Adam Mosseri, vice president of product management, wrote in a blog post on the company web site.
It also made it easier to report hoaxes, began labeling some stories as “disputed” and went after “clickbait” headlines that “withhold or exaggerate details.”
First, the beauty of Facebook is the company does not entertain us; it provides a platform through which we entertain each other. Second, who decides what constitutes “clickbait, sensationalism and misinformation?” And on what basis?
It could get complicated. What if one opposes the mighty 97 percent consensus on global warming? Does that trigger “anti-misinformation” sanctions?
A USA TODAY story said Facebook’s decision to go after fake news came in response to heat it took for spreading misinformation online during the presidential campaign. Where did that heat come from? What did those who brought it consider to have been misinformation?
Why is this even a question when we’re talking about a presidential election? Isn’t it up to voters to decide which information is useful?
Besides, according to a study out last week from the Newseum Institute, Americans’ trust in what they read on the Internet is declining anyway. Amazingly, people have begun to realize all on their own that those Nigerian bank scams are not real.
There’s a reason two entities firmly on the left – educators and Facebook – suddenly have decided to help us improve our media literacy. It wants us to learn to discern the truth as they see it.
“We want students to come to conclusions that are not only true but personally meaningful and relevant,” one of the librarians said.
And now they want to guide them to that conclusion. What could go wrong?
Special Report from AIM’s Center for Investigative Journalism
By Arne Steinberg*
Ken Burns is known as a PBS documentary creator, but he is actually a significant cog in the left-wing propaganda machine.
His taxpayer supported PBS documentaries are shown in public schools across the U.S., presented to students as unvarnished fact. But are they?
Burns claims he displays neutrality in his work, but in 2008 he produced the introductory video for Senator Ted Kennedy’s Democratic National Convention speech, described by Politico as presenting Kennedy “as the modern Ulysses bringing his party home to port.” When Burns endorsed Barack Obama for the U.S. presidency he compared Obama to Abraham Lincoln.
Burns sneers at the U.S., mentioning “our spurious sovereignty.” He omits the long racist history of Democrat politicians in his documentary “Congress,” not once identifying a pro-slavery congressman or senator as a Democrat. He omits the anti-abortion views of Susan B. Anthony in his feminism documentary since that did not fit the left-wing ideology he was pushing.
Burns’ productions are riddled with errors. His documentary about boxer Jack Johnson, “Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson” would be more fittingly titled “Unforgivable Lack of Familiarity with his Subject.” His “Baseball” series includes errors such as film of a player supposedly pitching in a World Series who did not play for either team.
In his June, 2016, Stanford University commencement speech attacking candidate Donald Trump, Burns hit all the obligatory left-wing mantras: “As a student of history, I recognize this type…the prospect of women losing authority over their own bodies, African Americans again asked to go to the back of the line, voter suppression gleefully promoted, jingoistic saber rattling.”
Ken Burns: Student of History—or Left-Wing Gasbag?
“More Americans get their history from Ken Burns than any other source,” commented the late historian Stephen Ambrose.
“Burns is not only the greatest documentarian of the day, but also the most influential filmmaker period,” said critic David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun. “That includes feature filmmakers like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. I say that because Burns not only turned millions of persons onto history with his films, he showed us a new way of looking at our collective past and ourselves.”
Burns’ taxpayer-supported PBS documentaries are heavily marketed in public schools across the U.S., presented to students as unvarnished fact. But exactly what kind of “history” is Burns handing out? A careful examination shows his work is both partisan and surprisingly careless with facts.
A Democrat Partisan
Ken Burns claims, “For nearly forty years now, I have diligently practiced and rigorously maintained a conscious neutrality in my work.”
This “neutrality” includes the following: In 2008, the Democratic National Committee chose Burns to produce the introductory video for the late Senator Edward Kennedy’s Democratic National Convention speech, which, according to Politico, presented Kennedy as “the modern Ulysses bringing his party home to port.” When Kennedy died, Burns produced a eulogy video for his funeral.
When Burns endorsed Barack Obama for the U.S. presidency in December 2007, he compared Obama to Abraham Lincoln. In 2012, Burns wrote, “Like FDR, Obama has walked us back from the brink. He averted a depression, ended one war and put us on the path ending the other, rescued the auto industry…Obama has deployed the shrewd combination of speaking softly and using a big stick. Ask Bin Laden.”
In speeches, Burns sneers at the U.S., mentioning “our spurious sovereignty” and “all the distracting jingoistic talk of exceptionalism.”
When a white shooter killed black churchgoers in 2015, Burns said, “As most Americans were, I was stunned, shocked, reduced to tears by what had happened in Charleston and felt like all the old ghosts were all still present with all the force they’ve always had in American life.” But when a Muslim terrorist killed 50 gays in Orlando, Florida, in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, Burns said of Donald Trump’s advocating a temporary halt to Muslim immigration to America: “Do not think that the tragedy in Orlando underscores his points. It does not.”
In an outright falsification, Burns, who is largely dependent on taxpayer-based funding from PBS for bankrolling his work, said he hoped that 2012 GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney “doesn’t get his way, and PBS isn’t eliminated.” However, in the real world Romney never suggested that PBS be eliminated; he merely urged ending its U.S. taxpayer support.
Burns hit all the obligatory left-wing mantras in his June 12, 2016 Stanford University commencement speech, attacking candidate Donald Trump: “As a student of history, I recognize this type…the prospect of women losing authority over their own bodies, African Americans again asked to go to the back of the line, voter suppression gleefully promoted…These are all virulent strains that have at times infected us in the past…Edward R. Murrow would have exposed this naked emperor months ago. He is an insult to our history.”
Playing to the Black Lives Matter Crowd
Often accused of obsession with race, Burns has described himself as “a privileged white man,” and once said, “Like the amputated limb felt long after it has been cut off, I miss Trayvon Martin.”
“I’ve been dealing with the question of race in every subject,” Burns admitted in an interview, and told a National Endowment for the Humanities audience, “Race percolates close to the surface in nearly every project I’ve worked on.”
In his blatantly biased documentary “Central Park Five,” Burns acts as an apologist and promoter for those convicted of the gang rape and beating in the head with a brick of a woman jogger in Central Park, presenting them as “civil rights” heroes. The attack on Trisha Meili left her in a coma for 12 days with loss of 80 per cent of her blood from deep stab wounds. Her skull had been fractured so badly that her left eye hung out of its socket. She was given last rites.
When she didn’t die, the five were sentenced, imprisoned and then eventually released. When Matias Reyes, a serial rapist and killer already serving a life term (Reyes had absolutely nothing to lose by confessing to the rape), suddenly “confessed” to being the jogger’s lone assailant, two doctors who helped save the jogger’s life said her wounds were not consistent with his account of the attack, while one state investigator commented, “The word of a serial rapist killer is not something to be heavily relied upon.”
But Democrat District Attorney Robert Morgenthau quickly went into action, blocking police from questioning Reyes or giving him a polygraph and ordering other inmates not to talk to any police investigators about their conversations with Reyes.
Despite strong objections from the original prosecutor, based on the doubtful new confession, Morgenthau had the New York Supreme Court vacate the convictions of “the Central Park Five,” even though in a legal oddity they never recanted their original confessions, nor did they present additional evidence contradicting the evidence that had gotten them convicted. The New York Times states that the five were “exonerated,” a false statement since they would have to stand trial and be declared not guilty in order to be exonerated. Instead their sentences were simply vacated.
In his heavily slanted “documentary,” Burns never used hours of interviews he filmed with state investigators and others who pointed to extensive evidence that the group was guilty. Burns said his purpose in making the video was to get the five men a financial settlement. According to New York writer Nicholas Stix, Burns “simply airbrushed every fact that incriminates the defendants out of the movie.”
Later, working in tandem with Burns’ campaign for the five, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio handed “the Central Park Five” over $40 million for “wrongful imprisonment.” At the time, businessman Donald Trump bought newspaper ads calling the settlement a “disgrace.” Today Burns’ heavily biased documentary is shown extensively in U.S. public schools, promoting “white guilt” in impressionable students, with PBS promoting it as “a revealing portrait of one of our nation’s most egregious miscarriages of justice.”
Ignoring the legal oddity that the assailants were never proved innocent, Ken Burns tweeted: “Apparently Mr. Trump is unfamiliar with the concept of wrongful conviction.”
“They should be very thankful I wasn’t mayor because they wouldn’t have gotten a dime,” Trump said.
Meanwhile Trisha Meili lives today, making occasional speeches on coping with head trauma.
Living Off Taxpayers
PBS receives taxpayer funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which also gives money to member stations around the country to buy programs such as Burns’ films. Private and corporate donors also support PBS programs. Its executives are well paid, with PBS CEO Paula Kerger, an avid fundraiser, receiving $779,954 in salary in 2012. After the programs are produced, PBS aggressively promotes extensive marketing of its videos.
Although its charter requires strict non-partisan programming, PBS has long been criticized for its liberal slant. For example, PBS repeatedly runs fawning documentaries on Cuban dictator Fidel Castro while refusing to run Cuban-American filmmaker Agustin Blazquez’ documentaries on Castro’s atrocities, causing Cuban-American political commentator Humberto Fontova to comment sarcastically, “Seems that if Agustin Blazquez wants assistance from PBS or the American Film Institute, he’ll first need a glowing reference letter from Fidel Castro.”
In his 14-hour World War II film, “The War,” Burns completely ignored contributions of Hispanic veterans, who have won more Medals of Honor than any other ethnic group in proportion to their numbers involved. When outraged Hispanic groups asked private donors Anheuser-Busch and General Motors Corp. to end their sponsorship of the film, Burns insisted that re-editing the film was out of the question, with PBS defending him in the name of artistic freedom. Eventually some mention of Hispanic soldiers was added.
Author and journalist Raoul Lowery Contreraspoints out that Burns also ignored Hispanics in his special PBS series, “The Civil War,” although two of the very first Civil War Medal of Honor recipients were Hispanic. He similarly ignored Hispanics in “The Roosevelts,” even though Teddy Roosevelt’s favorite company commander, Maximiliano Luna, led the charge of Company A up San Juan Hill.
Sloppy and Careless
In “How Ken Burns Murdered Jazz,” critic Jeffrey St. Clair writes, “Burns doesn’t really like music. In the 19 hours of film, he never lets one song play to completion, anywhere near completion. Yet there is a constant chatter riding on top of the music…In a film supposedly about music, the music itself has been relegated to the background.”
Burns’ “Jazz,” contains a host of shortcomings, including further demonstration of Burns’ apparent lack of affinity for Hispanics with his complete omission of Latin Jazz from the 19-hour film, over-reliance on Louis Armstrong, dismissal of jazz after 1960 and the slighting of Bill Evans, Miles Davis’ influential pianist, possibly due to Burns’ narrator Stanley Crouch’s long history of animosity toward Davis. Alex W. Rodriguezwrites, “Ken Burns’ Jazz ultimately does a disservice to the jazz community because it presents such an inaccurate, flawed, rigid, politically biased framework.”
In his productions, Burns often displays a puzzling carelessness with facts—for example, giving boxer Jack Johnson’s conqueror Jess Willard’s age as 27 and weight as 250—when in reality Willard’s age was 33 and his weight 238 when he dethroned Johnson. These are facts that any student could easily look up. Burns’ “Baseball,” includes errors such as film of a pitcher supposedly pitching in a World Series who did not play for either team. The blog, “So many mistakes in Ken Burns Baseball,” lists many more.
When PBS viewers complained about Burns’ choice of documented plagiarists Mike Barnicle and Doris Kearns Goodwin as narrators for his baseball sequel, “The Tenth Inning,” PBS ombudsman Michael Getler defended Burns’ choice: “We all, of course, make mistakes, and most of us, I think, believe in redemption and second chances.”
Boston writer Mark Leccese didn’t agree: “The ombudsman for PBS nonchalantly classifies plagiarism as a mistake most of us are ready to forgive. Not so fast…Plagiarizing is one of the most immoral things a journalist can do. It involves not only the theft of someone else’s work, but the deliberate deception of readers…I do object ‘loudly’ to the ombudsman for PBS brushing off plagiarism as a mistake we should stand ready to forgive and forget.”
Punched Out and Down for the Count
A typical example would be Burns’ critically acclaimed documentary on heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, “Unforgivable Blackness,” which could be more fittingly titled “Unforgivable Lack of Familiarity with his Subject,” complete with conveniently omitted facts, wrong picture descriptions and a parade of “experts” with little or no background in the subject.
In an amusing display of utter cluelessness, Burns presents Johnson and a sparring partner in a reversed film clip with both fighters working away in “southpaw” stances, each with his right foot and right arm out in front, a laughable mistake obvious at a glance to anyone familiar with the most basic techniques of boxing.
Burns’ narration includes actor Samuel L. Jackson speaking as Johnson, reading from Johnson’s autobiography in a drawn out southern drawl with often excruciatingly lengthened vowels. Apparently ‘historian’ Burns couldn’t be bothered to find Johnson’s real voice, easily available in recordings (1914, 1929, 1944) where Johnson speaks in a strongly articulated, rather educated-sounding and decidedly non-Southern manner with traces of a New York-New Jersey accent, pronouncing the er sound as oi (“say a few woids,” “foity years ago”).
In a special feature, Burns’ expert Randy Roberts demonstrates Johnson’s supposed fighting stance, holding his chin up high with his entire throat and the point of his chin completely exposed, a position no competent boxer of any style would use. Keep your chin down, Randy.
Beating the racial drums, Burns goes into paroxysms over Johnson’s fight with former champion Jim Jeffries including the strange comment, “In the minds of most white Americans this boxing match would decide whose country America really was.” Those familiar with boxing know as a boxing match this bout had little significance, with a long retired, bloated Jeffries who hadn’t fought for six years, losing over 100 pounds in a short period of time and having no warm up fights to see if he could even beat a mediocre fighter. Yet it took Johnson in his prime 15 rounds to beat the shell of Jeffries.
Eager to present Johnson as a black mistreated by white society, Burns avoids the real story of Johnson as a fighter—that he disgraced himself and his heavyweight championship by refusing to fight his most dangerous challenger, fellow black fighter Sam Langford, rated by RING magazine founder Nat Fleischer as one of the 10 best heavyweights in history. Johnson blocked him from his chance at the title.
In a blatant falsehood ignoring Langford’s existence, expert Gerald Early smugly comments, “Johnson was on top of the world athletically after he beat Jim Jeffries. There was no one on the horizon.” Meanwhile, Langford rates only three sentences and not even a still photograph during the 3 hour and 25 minute “documentary.”
Laying his hard sell of Johnson on thick, Burns repeatedly runs films at the wrong speed in order to make other fighters look ridiculous. He conveniently omits anything which would make Johnson look bad, such as his loss to Marvin Hart which disqualified him from a chance at the title earlier in his career. In a childish attempt to denigrate a later champion, Joe Louis, Burns shows two very short clips, first of Louis getting hit with punches by a sparring partner followed by the last seconds of his only loss before winning the title, to Max Schmeling. Of course Burns’ transparent attempt to tear down Louis omits that Louis won 23 of 27 title fights by knockout, and knocked out Schmeling in the first round in their rematch.
Other Burns “experts” are the clownish Bert Sugar, making grotesque faces and stabbing at the camera with his cigar, and actor James Earl Jones, whose qualifications were that he played Johnson in a stage play. Stanley Crouch, Burns’ heavily criticized expert from his Jazz documentary, appears here as a boxing expert and sums up, explaining that the way Johnson wore his hat “was perfect” and that “Johnson is there with people like Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong. These whole main guys. These guys whom you couldn’t figure out.”
This accumulation of errors, bias and twisting of facts does not end with its circulation to PBS viewers. PBS sells the video to schools, complete with a study course where Burns instructs that “Any serious study of American history engages the study of race and the monumental hypocrisy born at our founding.” Teachers are directed to have students write essays “to explore historical influence on American life, including race and racism.”
Ken Burns’ reputation is that of a PBS documentary creator, but as his works show, he is actually a significant cog in the left-wing propaganda machine. His partisan agenda is only matched by his carelessness with the facts.
The new Trump administration should consider pulling the plug on left-wing propaganda and inaccurate programs masquerading as “documentaries.”
*Arne Steinberg is a freelance writer who has written several reports for Accuracy in Media which have received favorable coverage in such publications as Quill, the magazine of the Society of Professional Journalists.
The incoming Trump administration has an opportunity to get the treatment of the seriously mentally ill right—finally.
A smart, well-designed mental-health bill will pass Congress this week as part of the 21st Century Cures Act. But unless President-elect Trump “drains the swamp” at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS)—divisions of the federal Department of Health and Human Services—many of the new law’s useful provisions could be negated or undone by the permanent bureaucracy.
SAMHSA and CMHS are largely responsible for overseeing and implementing federal mental-health policy, and will remain so under the Cures Act. Unfortunately, those agencies are failures, as SAMHSA’s former chief medical officer, Elinore McCance-Katz, revealed, after she left the agency in disgust in 2015. “SAMHSA does not address the treatment needs of the most vulnerable in our society,” she wrote in an op-ed earlier this year. “There is a perceptible hostility toward psychiatric medicine, a resistance to addressing the treatment needs of those with serious mental illness, and a questioning by some at SAMHSA as to whether mental disorders even exist—for example, is psychosis just a ‘different way of thinking for some experiencing stress?’”
SAMHSA and CMHS virtually ignore skyrocketing rates of homelessness, arrest, incarceration, suicide, and hospitalization that occur when the seriously mentally ill are allowed to go untreated. Instead, they wrap the provision of social services in a mental-health narrative and divert funds to unrelated or ineffective programs. These agencies encourage states to spend part of the $500 million that they receive in federal mental-health block-grant funding on people who don’t even have mental illness and on “prevention,” though serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, can’t be prevented. Nonprofit groups that depend on SAMHSA funding have lobbied states to close psychiatric hospitals, thereby making treatment more difficult. Recently, SAMHSA-funded groups convinced New York City to divert $8 million of city funds to Mental Health First Aid, a SAMHSA-promoted educational program that trains people to “better recognize the signs, symptoms and risk factors of mental illness and addiction and more effectively provide support.” The program does nothing to help the mentally ill because no treatment is made available, even when symptoms are identified.
SAMHSA and CMHS are failed agencies that have almost no support from anyone other than those whom they fund. Thanks to the leadership of Pennsylvania Republican congressman Tim Murphy, the mental-health provisions of the Cures Act attempt to refocus SAMHSA and CMHS on the seriously ill—as opposed to the worried well—and to rely on science rather than pop psychology. The Cures Act replaces the SAMHSA administrator with an assistant secretary for mental health and substance-use disorders. The person who fills this important job will be responsible for both SAMHSA and CMHS, and for coordinating mental-health policy with other federal agencies. Trump should appoint someone like McCance-Katz, who is committed to focusing on the seriously ill and ending the funding of nonsense.
Murphy, along with powerful Texas Republican senator John Cornyn, included in the bill many provisions that are designed to force SAMHSA and CMHS to focus on the seriously ill. In the past, however, these agencies have ignored congressional direction, especially as it relates to Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT). Known as “Kendra’s Law” in New York and “Laura’s Law” in California, AOT is court-ordered, out-patient treatment of the most seriously ill, who may be so sick that they are unaware of their own symptoms. AOT is reserved for a tiny group of patients who have historically failed to comply with treatment. By keeping such patients out of jails and hospitals, and ensuring that they take prescribed violence-preventing medications, AOT has improved outcomes and reduced the costs of care.
The Cures Act extends and modestly expands federal AOT funding through 2022. The last time Congress funded AOT, however, CMHS bureaucrats hijacked the grant-funding process, giving preference to states whose AOT teams employed a “peer-support worker.” In other words, the agency required state mental-health agencies to hire people with mental illness. There is no evidence that this improves outcomes, but it clearly increases costs.
SAMHSA-funded groups succeeded in watering down the final bill. Early iterations of the Cures Act contained provisions that would have allowed parents to access medical information about their seriously mentally ill adult children, as well as provisions to increase the number of hospital beds available to the seriously ill and reign in federally funded anti-treatment lawyers. But the bill is still a major step forward. It provides funding for mental-health courts, which can divert nonviolent, seriously mentally ill offenders to mandated treatment instead of jail. It provides funds to train police on how to deescalate interventions with the seriously ill. It provides for the collection and dissemination of data on the number and types of crimes committed by mentally ill individuals, the involvement of mental illness in deadly incidents involving law-enforcement officers, and the costs of imprisoning the seriously ill.
For too long, we have spent too much on trying to improve “mental wellness”—whatever that is—rather than delivering treatments that can reduce homelessness, arrest, incarceration, suicide, and hospitalization among the seriously mentally ill. We’ve sent the least ill to the head of the line and the most-seriously ill into the shadow mental-health system of jail and prison. Bullying and stress have been treated; schizophrenia and bipolar have been ignored. This bill attempts to end that insanity. And if the right person is appointed as assistant secretary, it will likely work.
Donald Trump’s transition team has launched a website and Twitter accounts, promising to keep the country abreast of the incoming administration’s plans.
On the page — whose address is www.greatagain.gov — Trump’s team promises: “The Trump-Pence Transition will provide timely and accurate information about the President Elect and Vice President Elect’s events, public statements, and announcements.”
The Twitter account, “@transition2017”, at time of publication has only one tweet: “Working together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding our nation and renewing the American dream. Join us at http://greatagain.gov “
It is clear to any objective observer that the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has resulted in rapidly rising premiums and deductibles, narrow networks, and health insurance, has not been a success.
A Trump Administration will work with Congress to repeal the ACA and replace it with a solution that includes Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), and returns the historic role in regulating health insurance to the States. The Administration’s goal will be to create a patient-centered healthcare system that promotes choice, quality and affordability with health insurance and healthcare, and take any needed action to alleviate the burdens imposed on American families and businesses by the law.
To maximize choice and create a dynamic market for health insurance, the Administration will work with Congress to enable people to purchase insurance across state lines. The Administration also will work with both Congress and the States to re-establish high-risk pools – a proven approach to ensuring access to health insurance coverage for individuals who have significant medical expenses and who have not maintained continuous coverage.
The Administration recognizes that the problems with the U.S. health care system did not begin with – and will not end with the repeal of – the ACA. With the assistance of Congress and working with the States, as appropriate, the Administration will act to:
Protect individual conscience in healthcare
Protect innocent human life from conception to natural death, including the most defenseless and those Americans with disabilities
Advance research and development in healthcare
Reform the Food and Drug Administration, to put greater focus on the need of patients for new and innovative medical products
Modernize Medicare, so that it will be ready for the challenges with the coming retirement of the Baby Boom generation – and beyond
Maximize flexibility for States in administering Medicaid, to enable States to experiment with innovative methods to deliver healthcare to our low-income citizens
Public school districts across the United States are suffering under a massive unfunded mandate imposed by the federal government: the requirement to educate millions of illegal aliens, the school age children of illegal aliens, refugees and legal immigrant students. FAIR estimates that it currently costs public schools $59.8 billion to serve this burgeoning population. The struggle to fund programs for students with Limited English Proficiency (LEP), sometimes called English Language Learners (ELL), represents a major drain on school budgets. Yet due to political correctness, it is taboo to raise the issue even though scarce resources are redirected away from American citizens to support programs like English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and English as a Second Language (ESL).
The influx of newcomers to the public schools is helping President Barack Obama fulfill the promise he made five days before his election in 2008 to “fundamentally [transform] the United States.” Almost one in every ten students enrolled in public schools is designated as LEP. For kindergartners, the figure is 17.4 percent. In 2013, the Department of Education determined that the United States will require 82,408 new or trained LEP teachers by 2018—if school districts can find enough qualified candidates. Despite the growing LEP population, only 10 percent of teachers are currently certified or trained in ESL.1
Factors Straining Public Schools
A surge of Unaccompanied Alien Minors crossing the border from Mexico, Guatemala,Honduras and El Salvador beginning in 2014
Family units entering the country illegally
People overstaying their visas
Higher-than-average birthrates among families with an illegal head-of-household
Around a million legal immigrants granted permanent resident status every year since 2004
In addition, the spread of “sanctuary” policies across the country—cities, counties and two states (California and Connecticut) that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration agencies—also serves as a magnet for illegal aliens. Almost every school district highlighted in this report operates in an active sanctuary jurisdiction.2
The Scope of the Problem
The federal government provides approximately 8 percent of public school funding. The rest comes from state and local resources split roughly down the middle. Regarding LEP programs, however, Congress contributes just over 1 percent of the cost. With school budgets shrinking across the country since 2008, it will become harder to absorb all the refugees and new immigrants who require LEP services without impacting other students. This year in Chicago, for example, the school system is preparing for “historic” budget cuts exceeding 20 percent that will require laying off teachers, trimming resources and increasing class sizes. In 2016, the average property tax bill in the city mushroomed by 13 percent over the previous year, but some residents of affluent neighborhoods saw their taxes increase as much as 90 percent. “The unfortunate truth is that the pain is not over,” said a local attorney who specializes in real estate taxation. “It is just the beginning.” Chicago and many other municipalities in Illinois tout their status as sanctuary districts, yet by 2018 the state will have to almost triple its current LEP outlay and spend $1.9 billion every year to educate 186,646 English language students.3
In many municipalities, LEP programs are growing faster than the school district’s ability to run or fund them effectively.
Nationwide, public school enrollment is projected to rise 6.3 percent to 53 million students between 2014 and 2024. Schools will require increased funding, but delivering a quality education to every pupil presents a challenge. Between 2008 and 2013, capital spending to upgrade facilities, add space or build new schools dropped 37 percent. And, 297,000 education jobs disappeared from 2008 through 2015 even as enrollment swelled by 804,000. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities determined that at least 31 states “provide less support per student for elementary and secondary schools—in some cases, much less—than before the Great Recession” of 2008. Some states continue to cut even further. Though spending on education is expected to rise 27 percent from 2009 to 2022, when the overall outlay for public education is projected to reach $699 billion per year, the infrastructure is strained. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 31 percent of all public schools have set up temporary trailers and modular spaces to accommodate the student overflow and 53 percent of schools need to “spend money on repairs, renovations and modernizations to put the school’s onsite buildings in good overall condition.”4
Adding to the burden, the number of LEP students in public schools jumped from around 3.5 million in 1998 to 4.93 million in 2013.5 To educate 4.9 million LEP students nationwide, there are 346,776 LEP-certified or trained teachers (as of 2013). These programs come at a substantial cost. Hempstead, New York, for example, specifically dedicates almost 33 percent of all budgeted teacher salaries to ELL-certified educators, not counting benefits, which FAIR estimates to cost just under a third of salaries. In addition to requiring a tremendous amount of money in new teacher hires, or providing existing teachers with ELL training when possible, LEP programs place additional stress on already overworked teachers, hampering their ability to distribute time and resources to as many pupils as possible. At the end of the 2011 school year, for example, 1,817,842 teachers (58.6 percent of the total) taught at least one LEP student, even though as many as 1,471,066 teachers lack the certification or training to teach this population.6
In many municipalities, LEP programs are growing faster than the school district’s ability to run—or fund—them effectively. In Alaska, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and Washington, D. C., 10 percent or more of all students are enrolled in LEP programs. The five states with the highest number of LEP students are California, Texas, Florida, New York and Illinois, respectively, which is unsurprising. It is startling, however, that the next five—Colorado, Washington, Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia, in order —are located far from the southern border and enroll at least 100,000 LEP students each (except for Georgia, which comes close at 98,603). The impact on schools is tangible: one out of every five students in Georgia and 40 percent of students in Denver—a sanctuary city—are enrolled in LEP programs. By contrast, New Jersey, a longstanding destination for immigrants, enrolls 68,396 LEP students.7
The Cost to Taxpayers
LEP students cost taxpayers approximately $59.2 billion annually. Almost the entirety of this cost, 98.9 percent, is borne by taxpayers at the local and state level. This fiscal impact is felt well beyond the southern border states—Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California—where problems related to immigration are typically associated.8 In fact, 11 of the 13 states spending more than $1 billion on LEP programs in 2016 don’t border Mexico: Colorado, Illinois, Washington, Virginia, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Florida, New Jersey, New York and Maryland.
In all but 14 states, the percentage of LEP students swelled between 2003 and 2013. Almost one in every 10 states serves more than 100,000 LEP students and 22 educate 50,000 or more. In urban areas, 14 percent of students are LEP. Though this demographic is the fastest-growing segment of the public school population in many areas, few districts are adequately dealing with this crisis as language programs eat up a growing share of local school budgets. In Boston, a sanctuary city where thousands of high school students walked out of classes in March 2016 to protest budget cuts, around a third of all students are enrolled in LEP programs. In Lexington, Nebraska, a meat-packing town in the western part of the state, the figure is almost 20 percent.9
The situation in Nashville is emblematic of the problem. With the number of ELL students in the city rising from 8,751 in 2011 to 12,329 in 2015, the district plans to boost funding and add 105 new positions to serve this population. In 2015, two new schools opened to accommodate 855 students. Spending on ELL programs represents the second highest percentage increase in the district’s 2016-2017 budget after the rise in the total number of students. To compensate, however, the district is slashing funds for new textbooks and science kits. With city officials eager to accept and accommodate legal and illegal immigrants, local teacher Wendy Wilson wrote about the obvious, insidious “strain” on public education caused by the glut of LEP students, but lamented that raising the issue is forbidden due to fears of being branded a racist or xenophobe.10
In affluent Montgomery County, Maryland—a suburb of Washington, D. C. that champions sanctuary policies and openly welcomes illegal aliens—around 15 percent of all students attend the ESOL program, which has grown 42 percent since 2010. Over the same period, however, ESOL costs increased 53 percent to $462 million, indicating that spending is rising faster than enrollment. In Boston, moreover, LEP expenditures ballooned from $9.1 million in 2014 to $13.6 million despite a drop of 775 students in the program, which suggests that the district cannot properly manage the spiraling costs associated with this needy population. Two headlines, one from 2011, the other from 2015, suggest that Clark County, Nevada schools have been in a “crisis” mode over the LEP issue for years: “we’re all going to sink,” said the president of the state Board of Education in 2015. “This is horrific.” Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, is a sanctuary jurisdiction.11
Though LEP spending is rising in school districts with high numbers of immigrants, overall outlays on education are dropping and the situation is dire. Based in large measure on the 1982 Supreme Court ruling Plyler v. Doe, the Obama administration decreed that school districts must fully accommodate the children of illegal aliens, offering a carrot (supplemental educational support) and a stick (threats of lawsuits). This mandate, along with rising enrollment, creates an acute need for educators who are capable of teaching LEP students and makes it difficult and expensive to keep schools properly staffed.12
The Special Case of Unaccompanied Alien Minors
Driving LEP costs even higher, it takes at least $1.7 billion each year to educate the almost 119,000 UAMs who crossed the border from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. And they are still arriving: UAM numbers are up 78 percent in the first half of FY2016 compared with the first six months of FY2015. There is little indication that this trend will end any time soon. In fact, it appears that in 2016 about the same number of UAMs will arrive in the United States that entered in 2014, a record-shattering year. From January 2014 to June 2016, the federal government placed 118,929 UAMs with sponsors in the United States, typically a relative or acquaintance. This figure does not include UAMs who may have slipped past the Border Patrol. Though teenagers make up the majority of UAMs, the highest increase is with children age 12 and under. Several states balked at receiving UAMs, but the Obama administration squelched all attempts to refuse their resettlement. States that typically absorb large numbers of immigrants top the list of UAM recipients, including New York, California, Texas, Florida, Illinois and New Jersey. However, Maryland and Virginia are the fifth and sixth largest for UAM placement respectively.13
The flood of new immigrants continues to devastate historically disadvantaged African-Americans, many of whom lag academically as resources are lavished on the newcomers, including those here illegally.
These developments illustrate the dramatic demographic transformation taking place in the Washington, D.C. area that is hitting taxpayers in the wallet. In Baltimore, Maryland (a sanctuary city), the school system announced at least 50 layoffs in 2016, including central office staff and school police officers. In 2015, Baltimore schools eliminated 202 positions to help tackle a $63 million budget shortfall, the first layoffs in a decade. Property taxes in Montgomery County, Maryland, will rise almost 9 percent in 2016, the largest spike in eight years. Also in 2016, Calvert County, Maryland, raised property taxes and income taxes for the first time since 1987 and 2004, respectively. As is the case nationally, the flood of new immigrants continues to devastate historically disadvantaged African-Americans, many of whom lag behind academically as resources are lavished on the newcomers, including those here illegally.
After education officials in Prince George’s County, Maryland, proposed building a new school and using a portion of another to accommodate the LEP population, the local NAACP chapter threatened to file a lawsuit. In Fairfax County, Virginia, officials bumped up property taxes by 6 percent in 2016, to help close a $68 million school budget gap.14
Other states with low average annual per pupil expenditures that traditionally attracted few immigrants are now taking in large numbers of UAMs. Thus, the overall cost figure of low-spending states like Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Florida is less than in high-spending states like New York, New Jersey and Maryland. For example, Florida is absorbing the third highest number of UAMs nationwide but will only reach 40 percent of New York’s outlay.15
Many school districts in the heartland are also feeling the pinch, thanks to federally mandated LEP programs and the presence of UAMs. To deal with a $5.4 million school budget deficit in 2016, Omaha’s Westside district plans to cut 18 teaching positions, gut the instrumental music program, replace elementary language teachers with computer software and dip into its reserve fund, among other measures. Despite these reductions, however, officials still plan to hire one additional LEP teacher. Omaha Public Schools, which earmarked $469 million in its 2011 general fund to serve 50,378 students, spent $557 million in 2015 to educate 52,906 pupils, just 2,528 additional students. In other words, the higher than average cost of LEP programs led to a budget increase of 16 percent to accommodate a mere 5 percent rise in the student population. The number of LEP students in Omaha, situated in a sanctuary county, has “steadily increased over the past several years,” rising 397 percent since 2000 to now include more than 17,000 students. Since 2014, Nebraska absorbed 1,027 UAMs at an annual $15 million education price tag.16
Schools in Oklahoma are also experiencing budget shortfalls. Plummeting oil prices play a role, but the expansion of LEP programs contributes to the state’s financial crunch. In May 2016, more than 1,100 Oklahoma City students walked out of their high schools to protest budget cuts of $30 million. One school laid off 20 teachers. “By firing our teachers, it’s making our classes larger and it’s disrupting the learning environment,” said one student. “Sports, teachers . . . the arts program, they’re all being cut here at the school,” said another. How, then, will the state be able to spend $7 million educating 826 UAMs without affecting the rest of the school population?17
Spending More, Getting Less
LEP students are more expensive to educate and the cost of these programs is rising. In a 2010 study, FAIR calculated that LEP costs nationwide totaled $51.2 billion (compared with $59.8 billion in 2016). Yet the underlying tragedy behind this mad dash to accommodate illegal aliens, refugees and legal immigrants is that despite all the money spent, there is little to show for it. LEP students consistently demonstrate dismal progress in all subject areas and the fallout is affecting other students.
Educators measure four categories of achievement: Below Basic, Basic, Proficient and Advanced. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), administered by the U. S. Department of Education, indicates that only 7 percent of fourth grade LEP students performed at the Proficient level and just one percent demonstrated the ability to master Advanced work. That leaves 92 percent performing at Basic or Below Basic levels. In comparison, 40 percent of non-LEP fourth graders achieved the two highest levels, Proficient and Advanced, with one-third displaying Basic skills. The rest, 27 percent, scored Below Basic. Thus, even though non-LEP fourth graders perform better than their LEP counterparts, six of every 10 only manage to accomplish Basic or Below Basic work.18
As students progress through the system, achievement levels plunge. In 2015, eighth grade LEP pupils demonstrated a limited ability to grasp their school work: 71 percent are mired at the Below Basic level, one quarter acquired Basic skills and only 4 percent are Proficient. The percentage of students capable of Advanced work rounds out to zero. Results for 12th grade LEP students in reading are abominable: 76 percent demonstrate Below Basic skills—more than three out of every four test-takers—and just 20 percent are at the Basic level. The failure extends beyond language because math scores are even worse: 79 percent Below Basic, 15 percent Basic. From 1998, when the Department of Education first administered the test, to 2015, the statistics for Advanced work in math and reading for LEP students round to zero.19
LEP student performance is so terrible that educators created a new term. Long Term English Language Learners (LTEL) are pupils who have been enrolled in school for six or more years but are making scant progress learning English. Three out of every five students in California fall into this category and the National Education Association estimates that nationwide, the term applies to anywhere from one quarter to half of all LEP students.20
Also troubling, the performance of non-LEP students is sinking, according to the latest figures. An older study suggested that the presence of immigrants in schools “diminished the educational attainment of native minorities by meaningful amounts.”
The low academic performance of LEP students also results in appalling graduation rates. Only 39 percent of LEP pupils in New York, 24 percent in Nevada and 20 percent in Arizona graduate on time. Of course, taxpayers continue to shell out for students who stay in high school longer than four years. Other states have higher rates, but just because someone graduates, there is no guarantee that schools are holding students to rigorous standards. Across the country, in fact, educators are lowering graduation requirements and making it harder to fail classes. Lexington, Nebraska, dropped graduation thresholds in part to accommodate its LEP population. In New York state, it is easier than ever to graduate from a public high school, but the results are tragic: the City University of New York, which absorbs a large proportion of New York City public school students, requires almost 80 percent of freshmen to take remedial courses that offer “basic skills that should have been taught in high school.” New York City is, of course, a sanctuary city.21
An article in a Nashville newspaper about public schools “straining at the seams” chronicled an ELL student who maintained a B grade point average but lacked the ability to read or write English. In one LEP class, 35 students spoke 16 languages and displayed skills ranging from illiterate to high functioning, which made it “that much harder to tailor lesson plans.” Several graduates of John Overton High School in Nashville returned to tell the principal that “they went out in to the world, only to find they lacked the English skills they should have gotten” in school. The mayor of Lynn, Massachusetts, admitted that adult illegal aliens are enrolled in city high schools, that illegal immigrant students often repeat grades and that an influx of immigrants is straining the school system and other city services.22
Also troubling, the performance of non-LEP students is sinking, according to the latest figures. An older study suggested that the presence of immigrants in schools “diminished the educational attainment of native minorities by meaningful amounts,” a finding that has come to fruition. An unacceptable proportion of non-LEP eighth graders score Proficient or Advanced on the NAEP: just 18 percent in United States history, 27 percent in geography, 27 percent in writing and 33 percent in math. In 2015, only one out of every four high school seniors scored Proficient or above in math—38 percent scored Below Basic. In reading, 37 percent met the Proficient or Advanced benchmarks, meaning that almost two out of every three students display Basic and Below Basic skills. Nationwide, math and reading results for Proficient and Advanced work dipped a percentage point compared to 2013 results and non-LEP African-Americans and Hispanics consistently score worse than average on assessments.23
Expect this downward trajectory to continue. In 2015, one New York City student expressed shock when her public school handed her a diploma that she “didn’t deserve” and pushed her out the door. Schools across the country are adopting lax policies that include accepting late work, allowing students to retake failed tests and doling out inflated grades that reward student effort rather than reflect mastery of the material. As this disconcerting development becomes more prevalent around the country, critics complain that students quickly learn how to game the system to graduate, despite having learned little during their years in school. “Many students have already started to figure out that they don’t have to do very much but they can still pass,” said one teacher in Fairfax County, Virginia.24
In addition to padding graduation statistics, school districts have found another way to gloss over the LEP problem: cheating. Educators in Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. changed answers on tests to boost results. Several teachers and administrators went to prison over the Atlanta scandal (three received seven year sentences). Like many districts across the country, including Montgomery County, Maryland, school officials in El Paso, Texas, manipulated standardized test scores by excluding LEP and learning disabled students, whose poor performance pulls down score averages. Due in part to his role in fudging the numbers, El Paso’s former school superintendent received a 42-month federal prison sentence. And in Nashville, state education officials are investigating charges that some high school administrators pulled “struggling students from classes with End-of-Course exams, allegedly so that those students’ scores would not be counted in scores used to judge the schools.” One teacher testified that as far back as 2010, “immigrant students were pulled from English II—which counted against the scores for the school—and put into English IV, which did not count.” As one bold Nashville teacher put it, government officials and their education lackeys want it all: “a welcome mat rolled out for immigrants, who require numerous supports, and high graduation rates and test scores.”25
Troubling Teacher Trends
One impediment to improvement is that LEP teacher training and certification is uneven across the country. Florida requires all teachers to acquire training in LEP instruction. Other states offer full LEP certification or supplemental training for teachers certified in other subject areas. Also complicating matters, Spanish is spoken by 76.5 percent of LEP students, yet Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese, Hmong, Haitian Creole, Somali, Russian, Korean, Tagalog and Urdu speakers are also prevalent. Despite the hodgepodge of languages spoken in a given LEP classroom, teachers are expected to provide a quality education to all.26
In Portland, Maine, a sanctuary city more than 2,000 miles from the southern border, 27 percent of public school students are enrolled in LEP programs and 36 percent of students speak a primary language other than English at home.
In Nashville, for example, ELL students speak more than 120 languages and LEP students make up 14 percent of the total school population. In Portland, Maine, a sanctuary city more than 2,000 miles from the southern border, 27 percent of public school students are enrolled in LEP programs and 36 percent of students speak a primary language other than English at home. Of the 59 languages spoken, the largest groups are, in order: Somali, Arabic, Spanish, French, Vietnamese, Khmer, Portuguese, Kinyarwanda and Acholi. Like other districts with large LEP programs, student performance is poor, with 30 percent of all high schoolers performing Proficient or above in math and 43 percent performing the same in reading.27
In addition to a growing teacher-student ratio that began during the Great Recession in 2008, along with a decline in annual spending per pupil, adjusted for inflation, another obstacle to delivering a quality education to all students is the high rate of teacher burnout and turnover. Nationwide, 8 percent of all teachers leave the profession each year. In Colorado, “more teachers left the school districts where they work [in 2014] than at any point in the past 15 years.” The state’s turnover rate grew from 13.1 percent in 2009 to 17.1 percent in 2014, but in Denver, the numbers are 14 percent and 22 percent, respectively. A third of all teachers in the Harrison 2 school district of Colorado Springs vacate their jobs every year. Oklahoma teachers also leave at a high rate: 17 percent of first year teachers leave the state and in urban areas, 24 percent of all teachers abandon their schools every year. In Nebraska, moreover, 18 percent of school principals leave their jobs annually. The Georgia Department of Education issued a report in December 2015 titled “Georgia’s Teacher Dropout Crisis: A Look at Why Nearly Half of Georgia Public School Teachers Are Leaving the Profession.”28
Across the country, public schools are grappling with budget shortages and lagging achievement. And, as UAMs and families continue to stream across the southern border, the Obama administration is exacerbating the situation by flying in UAMs from Central America to reunite with family members and shepherding refugees to our shores.29
By any measure, taxpayers are paying more for LEP programs and getting less from their investment. As one student protesting the Oklahoma City school budget cuts put it, “our generation is the future . . . and if children [aren’t] learning to read and write because their classes are overcrowded and there’s not enough teachers, our generation from here on out will become nothing but illiterate and ignorant.”30
As standards drop and student achievement declines across the country, LEP programs are draining resources for all students. Yet educators and politicians, who use political correctness and name-calling to avoid debating the issue’s merits, display a shameful lack of accountability. Only by changing course can the nation avoid a bleak future, but the time to act is now.
Overturn Plyler v. Doe
The Supreme Court’s Plyler decision is currently interpreted to require that states educate illegal aliens and the children of illegal aliens. Since federal money only covers approximately 1 percent of education costs for LEP students, this decision created one of the largest unfunded mandates ever enacted by the U.S. government. Free education is attractive to illegal aliens. Families with an illegal head of household already average a tax deficit of more than $14,000, so the entire cost of this mandate is shouldered by United States taxpayers. One way to challenge the ruling would be for legislatures to pass a law requiring that school districts gather immigration information on their students and attempt to demonstrate that the cost of educating illegal aliens represents a financial burden, one of the requirements mentioned in the majority opinion.31
Amend the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act
Originally designed to protect victims of human trafficking from possibly falling back into the hands of cartel members and smugglers, the 2008 Wilberforce Trafficking Act has since been hijacked as an avenue to resettle UAMs in the United States. This act must be reformed in a manner that allows the United States to process UAMs and reunite them with their families and homes outside the U.S. in an expedited manner while simultaneously protecting victims of human trafficking. FAIR recommends the passage of the Protection of Children Act of 2015, or a bill with similar content, that closes the loopholes in the original act preventing the removal of UAMs.32
Remove Incentives that Attract Families into the U.S. Illegally
As long as the rewards for illegal immigration outweigh the risk, families will continue flooding across the border unlawfully. The ability to find work is the primary draw for illegal immigration, so mandating the use of E-Verify will help stop employers from hiring illegal aliens. Other benefits for illegal aliens also have an impact. Providing incentives like free lunch programs and taxpayer-funded English language classes entice families to immigrate illegally. States that offer drivers’ licenses, like Maryland and California, for example, see a disproportionate number of illegal aliens settle in their state.33
End “Sanctuary” Policies
One of the largest incentives for illegal immigrants to resettle their families in the United States is the existence of more than 300 unconstitutional “sanctuary” cities, which prohibit local and state law enforcement from cooperating with federal authorities regarding an individual’s immigration status. States like California, with broad sanctuary policies in effect statewide, are also the ones where the cost of educating LEP students are highest and place a disproportionately larger tax burden on law-abiding citizens. Eliminating consequences for breaking our immigration laws encourages illegal immigration.34
Limit Overall Immigration
In addition to ending incentives for illegal immigrants, FAIR recommends that legal immigration be capped at 300,000 annually, as opposed to the million or so admitted each year since 2005. Immigration policy should also abolish family chain migration and limit it to spouses and unmarried minor children as opposed to extended family members, which would alleviate the burden placed on schools.
Secure the Borders
With families and UAMs able to cross the border almost at will, schools have to absorb tens of thousands of new illegal aliens every year. Secure borders will also increase the effectiveness of deportations, since the current situation nullifies immigrant enforcement mechanisms. Once the border is secure, we can robustly and uniformly enforce our immigration laws knowing that once someone is deported, he or she cannot simply come back at will.
To determine the approximate number of refugees, legal immigrants and illegal aliens in the public school system, the Pew Research Center40 ratio of students with illegal alien parents during the 2012-2013 school year is applied in contrast to the national number of K-12 students overall, as documented by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This number has changed less than 0.4 percent nationwide since Pew Research released its last ratio of illegal to legal students at the beginning of the 2012 school year. Since 2006, this ratio has fluctuated less than 0.6 overall and there is a lack of data suggesting a change in this ratio except for a surge of UAMs beginning in 2014, which is included in the estimate of 3.6 million illegal alien students.41 The National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA) estimates that just over 4.9 million students are enrolled in LEP programs. Excluding a miniscule number of Native Americans, this population consists entirely of immigrants, legal and illegal, and their children.42
Roughly 10 percent of all children born in the Unites States are the children of illegal aliens.43
The federal government recognizes these children as United States citizens and excludes them in the overall data they release specifically concerning illegal immigrants. This makes it harder to track the overall impact that illegal immigration places on the shoulders of Americans and their exclusion misrepresents the facts, since they would have been born outside the United States had their parents not come here illegally. The vast majority of these minors who are still in school are enrolled in LEP programs. Due to high birthrates, the children of illegal immigrants make up twice the population share of newborns than do their parents. Excluding the four in five children of illegal immigrants born in the United States, therefore, makes the overall negative impact illegal immigration is having on schools appear less severe.44To calculate the national and state-by-state costs of LEP education, the average cost per LEP pupil must be factored in for each state. The NCES reports the average cost-per pupil at $10,763.45 Data drawn from NCELA, Pew Research, FAIR, NCES and an extensive analysis of district budgets across the U.S. place the national average cost to educate an LEP pupil at about 20 percent above the national average cost to educate all students. The brunt of these costs consist of providing salaries, benefits and/or training to hundreds of thousands of LEP teachers and programs, followed by additional funding for tutoring, bilingual textbooks and material, additional administrative tasks and facility enlargement/enhancement needed to incorporate the increased number of students. This percentage is then adjusted proportionally to align with the more or less expensive per pupil costs in each state. The additional cost to educate an LEP student is then added to the base average cost to educate a pupil and multiplied by the number of LEP students in the state, providing the total figure. The amount of federal aid provided is then subtracted and the remaining figure is the total cost borne by individual states and municipalities.
The reaction (or over-reaction) by the Erdogan government to the attempted coup in Turkey is bad news for America’s unemployed school teachers – because there suddenly is a huge supply of newly-fired educators over there who would love to have a chance to work in America.
We have written in the past about how the Gulen cult, with its network of some 160 tax-supported charter schools in the States, has routinely dropped U.S. teachers and used the H-1B program to import fellow Gulenists to teach American teenagers – including in some cases importing people from Turkey to teach English in the U.S.
The needlessly recruited Turkish teachers are usually either graduates of Gulen-affiliated universities in Turkey, or teachers in other Gulen-related educational institutions. Now there will be a lot more of these teachers looking for work because, in the aftermath of the failed coup in that country, the dictatorial president (Recip Erdogan) has lashed out at the supporters of his one-time ally, Fethullah Gulen (not living in Pennsylvania), in that nation’s educational institutions. Erdogan claims Gulen was behind the coup attempt.
…he was granted an immigrant visa in 2001 as a ‘religious worker’ Eighteen months later he applied for permanent residence.
Before his application was adjudicated the government revoked his “religious” visa for undisclosed reasons. Gulen successfully appealed that decision even as he filed, in late 2006, a new permanent residence petition this time as an “educator” under a special program for persons with “extraordinary ability.”
In November 2007, that application was denied. Gulen appealed and was again denied but he had already filed a federal civil suit charging that he had been mistreated.
For more than a year [the Justice Department] fought the case arguing that Gulen who had not attended high school or taught in a classroom was neither an educator nor extraordinary…”
Eventually a federal judge decided in his favor and he has been here ever since.
It is clear that Gulen had initially been granted a nonimmigrant visa for a religious worker; this category includes both immigrant and nonimmigrant visas, which is not well-known. The “special program for persons with ‘extraordinary ability'” referred to in the Post report is the ongoing employment-based first preference (EB-1) category for permanent residence that is rarely mentioned in the press. One of its advantages, for aliens who qualify, is that there is no queue for this visa, as the numerical limits for EB-1 visas are rarely reached.
Reading between the lines, there must have been periods in this multi-year process when Gulen lacked any legal status to remain in the U.S.
That Gulen, after multiple applications and filings was ultimately able to win his case in court is not unusual; well-funded, well-lawyered aliens often win such battles.
The government of Turkey is making a continuing effort to get him deported so that he can stand trial in that nation.
I doubt that they will succeed, but watch out for a flood of H-1B petitions for charter high school teachers.
The Government Accountability Office has just released a report detailing the massive opportunities for fraudulently getting tax credits in Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges. Obamacare sends billions of taxpayers’ dollars to health insurers which operate in these exchanges – $37 billion last year alone. These tax credits are used to discount premiums for plans offered in the exchanges.
During undercover testing, the federal Marketplace approved subsidized coverage under the act for 11 of 12 fictitious GAO phone or online applicants for 2014. The GAO applicants obtained a total of about $30,000 in annual advance premium tax credits, plus eligibility for lower costs at time of service. The fictitious enrollees maintained subsidized coverage throughout 2014, even though GAO sent fictitious documents, or no documents, to resolve application inconsistencies.
11 out of 12: A failure rate of 92 percent. And these were government employees acting as stooges, not hardened fraudsters. I am sure GAO was shocked that so many not only got approved, but continued to receive subsidies through the year.
The report also describes almost half a million actual cases where details that would have disqualified an applicant for tax credits – ranging from mismatched Social Security numbers to incarceration – remained unresolved through the enrolment year.
What is remarkable is that the federal and state government established brand new bureaucracies – so-called exchanges – to manage the applications, not trusting online or in-person insurance agents and brokers to do the job.
Source: Health Policy Blog
Phyllis Schlafly | Eagle Forum
After seven years of rule by decree by President Obama’s Chicago crony Arne Duncan, why are Republicans reauthorizing the federal government’s authority over the nation’s public schools?
And why did the new [mc_name name=”Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)” chamber=”house” mcid=”R000570″ ], rush a 1,059-page bill to a floor vote only two days after the text was released on November 30?
Fourteen years ago, while the nation was distracted by the 9/11 attacks and the start of the war in Afghanistan, President George W. Bush was determined to enact “No Child Left Behind” to fulfill his father’s pledge to be the “education president.” In order to get that bill through a Democrat-controlled Senate, Bush let Senator Ted Kennedy write its most important provisions.
“No Child” expired near the end of Bush’s second term, and Obama has governed the nation’s public schools for seven years without Congressional authority. Now Congress is serving up a new education law that will control public education long after Obama leaves office.
Two provisions in the House version attracted enough conservatives to pass with the minimum of 218 votes in July, but both were stripped from the final bill. One provision would have recognized a parent’s right to opt out of state testing; the other, called “Title I portability,” would have allowed students in failing schools to transfer per-pupil federal funding to another public school.
The bill gives teachers unions what they wanted most: eliminating the link between teacher pay and student performance. No wonder NEA has launched a campaign to “get ESEA done.”
The bill gives liberals and ethnic lobbies what they wanted most: disaggregation of data, which means continuing to collect and report test scores separately for each minority group, with the stated purpose “to close educational achievement gaps” between groups. The inevitable result is that when schools fail to “close the gap,” the apparent solution will be to spend more money on the same failed programs.
All conservatives got in exchange was language that prohibits the federal government from doing what it never had the authority to do anyway, such as requiring states to adopt the Common Core. That’s no compromise, because Common Core is still the easiest way for most states to comply with federal requirements.
The demographics of public school students are changing too fast for any federal role in education, as three statistical trends illustrate. First, the percentage of school-age children who do not speak English at home reached an all-time high of 22% in 2014 and continues to rise with the vast wave of refugees from Muslim countries (not just Syria) and Central America.
Second, the percentage of public school students who qualify for school lunches reached an incredible 51% in the 2012-13 school year, up from 33% in 1994-95. How can students learn about American history, economy and culture if schools operate on the assumption that parents are not even responsible to feed their own children?
Third, the percentage of children under 18 who were living with their own mother and father who are married to each other has fallen to just 64%, while the percentage living with “mother only” rose to 24%. The overwhelming weight of social scientific evidence demonstrates that children of unmarried parents suffer a lifetime of disadvantage which no amount of public investment can overcome.
A prime purpose of public education is to teach children “who we are” as Americans, but the definition of “who we are” has been hijacked by liberals. Obama has used “who we are” to promote everything from Syrian refugees to the Dream Act to closing Guantanamo, and even Speaker Ryan recently said we must increase the number of Muslims allowed into our country because of “who we are.”
In Tennessee, where tens of thousands of Muslim refugees have resettled, state standards for social studies require middle school children to spend three weeks studying the tenets of the Muslim faith. Schools cannot teach anything positive about Christianity, but seventh-grade students were required to write that “Allah is the only God” and “Muhammad is the messenger of God.”
In Georgia, students were given a fill-in-the-blank exercise: “Allah is the (BLANK) worshiped by Jews & Christians.” Students were penalized unless they completed the sentence with “same God” as the correct answer.
The AP U.S. History (APUSH) Standards are guidelines for how public schools are teaching school kids “who we are.” APUSH presents American history as the migration of various people coming into conflict with each other, and treats the English settlers who founded our country as just one group of migrants (white Europeans) who are guilty of oppression against Africans, Indians, and Mexicans.
As Frederick M. Hess pointed out in a recent article, liberals view schooling primarily as a way to combat poverty and racism, undermine traditional family values, and trash American heritage and heroes. If you oppose that liberal agenda, tell your Member of Congress to vote No on any bill to reauthorize federal control of public education.
Arne Has Left the Building
On the last day of 2015 the longest serving member of President Obama’s Cabinet, Arne Duncan, quietly stepped down from his official position as what the Washington Post called “the most powerful education secretary in U.S. history.” The federal government now provides about 10 percent of the money spent on public schools, and Duncan used that money, to an extent never before, to impose his will on local schools.
Arne’s departure is a good time to review what’s wrong with America’s public schools and how the federal government has made them worse. Instead of giving an account of his stewardship, however, Arne Duncan chose to devote his final speech to complaining about Congress’s failure to pass new gun-control laws.
Duncan’s gun-control speech was given in Chicago which, despite the nation’s most restrictive gun laws, nevertheless closed out the year 2015 with more homicides (at least 468) and shootings (over 2,900) than any other American city including New York and Los Angeles. With his call to deprive law-abiding citizens of the means of protecting themselves in their own homes, it’s no wonder that Arne Duncan was rated the most “anti-gun” member of Obama’s Cabinet by the National Rifle Association.
Duncan likes to brag that the high-school graduation rate edged upward to 82 percent during his tenure, but what he doesn’t say is that student achievement has simultaneously declined according to “the nation’s report card,” the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The NAEP test confirms that most of today’s high-school graduates simply haven’t learned what Americans expect high-school students to know, nor have they acquired the basic skills they need to support themselves and their future families.
The value of a high-school diploma, as measured by the earning power of high-school graduates, continues to decline, and the free-trade economy is creating fewer jobs that require no more than a high-school education. Students who graduate from high school today are much worse off economically than high-school graduates of one, two, or three generations ago.
The mantra of “college and career ready” is often used as the measure of what a high-school diploma is supposed to represent. Let’s take math, and especially algebra, mastery of which is necessary for any kind of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) career.
New York State uses the statewide Regents exam for high-school algebra in which a raw score of 30 out of 86 was “scaled” to a passing score of 65 (even though, if you do the math, 30 divided by 86 means that only 35 percent of the questions were answered correctly, not 65 percent). But only 63 percent of high-school seniors managed to achieve that so-called passing score, even after several tries; less than a quarter of the students attained the higher “college ready” score.
Even the term “college ready” is misleading, because it only means ready for a two-year community college with open admissions, not a competitive four-year college. At most community colleges, half the students must take “remediation” courses before they can even begin to do college-level work, and most students who enter remediation never earn a college degree.
The decline of public education explains the rebellion against the Common Core, which was foisted on the nation without public approval. It explains why in the Republican presidential contest, all the governors (Bush, Walker, Kasich, Christie, and Huckabee) remain in single digits while the leading candidates say that Common Core is a disaster and pledge to do away with it.
Common Core produced voluminous standards for reading and math, replacing fiction and literature with instructional texts, and replacing computational shortcuts with useless busy-work. Its minimum standards were set low enough for nearly every student to pass, like Lake Wobegon where “all children are above average.”
Speaking on December 22 at the high-school gym in Keota, Iowa, Hillary Clinton vowed, “I wouldn’t keep any school open that wasn’t doing a better than average job.” Math wasn’t my strongest subject, so I asked my granddaughter, who graduated from college with a math degree and now works as an actuary, to explain how Hillary’s proposal would work.
If Hillary really means to close any school “that wasn’t doing a better than average job,” that would mean closing half the nation’s 90,000 public schools next year, half the remaining schools the following year, and so on until just one school was left open. And then that one school would have to close too, because if there’s only one school, it can’t be “better than average.”
News Takes on Education . . .
Coach Put On Leave For Prayer — The Bremerton School District in Washington state has put assistant football coach Joe Kennedy on administrative leave for praying after high-school football games. Since 2008, Coach Kennedy has briefly prayed at the 50-yard line after shaking hands with the opposing coach. Players, fans, and other coaches have sometimes joined him, but he has never compelled anyone to join him. This post-game prayer was never questioned until the president of the senior class invited members of the local Satanic Temple to protest it. Rather than stand up to the Satanists, the school’s administration gave Coach Kennedy an ultimatum requiring him to move his prayers to a place where no one could see him. The administration also ordered him not to kneel, bow his head, or do anything that could be seen as remotely religious.
At the very next game, along with a large crowd of supporters, Coach Kennedy prayed this prayer: “Lord, I thank you for these kids and the blessing you’ve given me with them. We believe in the game, we believe in competition and we can come into it as rivals and leave as brothers.” Because of this harmless display of goodwill and reverence, Coach Kennedy was put on indefinite administrative leave.
This is just the latest incident in the war on religious freedom that is being waged against American Christians. Liberals want to force Christians such as Coach Kennedy to stop any display of their faith in public. But Kennedy is not backing down. He released a statement saying that “I’m willing to take this as far as it goes to defend our rights under the U.S. Constitution, to the end. If you believe in something, you stand up.”
It’s time for more Americans to take a stand for our basic constitutional right to the free exercise of our faith.
Student Punished For American Flag Shirt — A Texas high school student received an in-school suspension for a very interesting dress code violation. His crime was wearing a shirt that had a picture of the American flag on it. Jaegur is a junior at Seagoville High School who is very passionate about the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, or ROTC program, and hopes that he can use that to get a scholarship and go into the military after college.
However, he was stopped by a school administrator and told to lift up the hoodie that he was wearing, revealing the American flag shirt underneath. He was immediately sent to in-school suspension for the remainder of the day.
The problem is, Jaegur did not actually violate the school dress code. Seagoville High School does not have uniforms but does require that students wear solid color shirts. However, exceptions are made in the case of shirts with school or college logos and shirts supporting the military. In an almost laughable statement, Jaegur’s mother was told that the American flag does not constitute legitimate support for the military.
There is a liberal idea seeping into schools nationwide that expressions of support for anything American is wrong. Liberal educators and administrators teach their students that America is no better than any other country, or that it may be even worse than other countries. They scoff at the idea of American exceptionalism and restrict any expression of support for our great nation or the ideals that our nation was built. Sadly, this means students are not taught about the unique and providential history that made America a beacon of democracy to the world. Students who choose to support our troops with clothing that features an American flag should be praised, not punished.
U.S. History Course Short-Changes Students — Half a million students take the Advanced Placement test for United States History every year, but these students may be short-changed under the new version of the program. The Advanced Placement system has become a fixture in American education since its introduction after World War II, and many colleges and universities award credits based on students’ AP score. For many American students, the AP test takes the place of the required U.S. History course in their college or university. Because this may be the last American history course that many students take, it is very important that the information taught to the students be accurate.
Unfortunately, the new framework put forth by the College Board is a lengthy document that promotes federal control, de-emphasizes content, and gives a false interpretation of American history. It is organized around abstract ideas such as “identity,” “peopling,” and “human geography,” while downplaying essential subjects including the development of America’s ideals and political institutions, especially the Constitution. Important events such as elections, wars, diplomacy, inventions, and discoveries are minimized in favor of so-called identity conflicts. The liberals on the College Board apparently do not want students to hear about America as a dynamic and exceptional nation whose citizens have striven through the years for noble ideals.
The study of history should teach students about American exceptionalism, American identity, and America’s role in the world. These topics are the foundation of a strong and accurate view of American history. The College Board’s new framework for AP U.S. History sadly neglects this essential purpose of education. We have a duty to our children to ensure that they are not taught a watered-down version of our great national heritage.
Opt-Out Of Common Core Gaining Popularity — More parents than ever are opting their children out of Common Core tests. At Nathan Hale High School in Seattle, not a single junior took the Common Core standardized tests last spring. At four other Seattle high schools, district officials said 95 percent of juniors refused to take the tests. Seattle-area juniors boycotted tests because they are not needed in order to graduate from high school. Even the teachers at Nathan Hale High School planned to boycott the exams, but state and district officials quickly put a stop to that.
Washington is not the only state where Common Core is being challenged. The New York Times reported that about 150,000 out of over one million New York students opted out of testing in the spring of 2015, which is more than double the year before. In Idaho, the Madison School District’s board of trustees voted unanimously against giving students Common Core tests. But the superintendent and board reversed that decision after state officials claimed that the refusal to use Common Core tests could cost the state millions of dollars in funding.
Despite the controversy, 40 percent of Madison district parents opted their kids out of Common Core tests. The schools are planning to continue allowing alternative methods of assessment that do not burden the teachers or students with unnecessary tests. Students who opt out of standardized testing will still be allowed to pass on to the next grade level and to graduate. Other school districts and states should follow the example of these districts in Washington, New York, and Idaho. Opposition to Common Core has already benefitted students around the country, but many school districts still need to hear from concerned parents who are willing to stand up for the right of their child to an education that does not use Common Core tests.
The NEA’s Pro-Gay Agenda — If you want to stay on top of what is going on in schools, you should carefully watch the policies adopted by the National Education Association. The NEA’s 3 million members include most of the nation’s public school teachers, and they fund its half-billion dollar budget with their mandatory union dues. At the NEA’s annual convention, resolutions typically recycle every liberal buzzword you can think of, such as diversity, inclusion, sexual orientation, pluralism, stereotypes, reproductive freedom, racism, sexism, homophobia, equity, multiculturalism, undocumented immigrants, and global interdependency. At this year’s convention in Orlando, several propaganda terms appeared for the first time, including marriage equality, gender identity, and institutional racism.
Until this year, the NEA had refrained from explicitly endorsing same-sex marriage, although it was on record in favor of equal benefits for domestic partners, for repealing the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and other tenets of the gay-rights agenda.
This year’s NEA convention targeted this issue more directly by declaring that teachers should tolerate no opposition to so-called marriage equality, even for sincere religious reasons. The teachers union adopted this New Business Item: “The NEA will develop educational materials for its state affiliates and members about the potential dangers of so-called ‘Religious Freedom Restoration Acts,’ which may license individuals and corporations to discriminate on the theory that their religious beliefs require such actions.” It is now more important than ever for parents to find out and become aware of what is being taught to their children in public school.
The NEA is a Left-Wing Social Justice Organization — The Orlando, Florida NEA Assembly removed any doubt this year that the National Education Association is really a leftwing social justice organization. Educating students takes a back seat to the union goals of changing societal values and government regulations to reflect what the NEA thinks they should be. Some of their many goals include promoting the radical gay rights agenda, climate change activism, UN globalism, sex education and abortion rights, unlimited immigration, and a host of other liberal, progressive agenda items.
In her opening speech as NEA union President, Lily Eskelsen Garcia said, “We truly, truly are the NEA. We are the rabble-rousers. We are the activists.” She spoke about her first-time experience as a delegate to the convention, saying “I had this sense: we’re going to do something important. The people in this room are going to come together and something will be better for someone else’s child.” That’s a grand sentiment, but unfortunately most of what the NEA does and believes in doesn’t translate into making anything “better” for our children.
Promoting social justice themes was a major subject at the NEA Convention last July. One resolution says “the NEA will use its communication tools to highlight examples of NEA members who incorporate social justice into their teaching practice or community engagement.”]]>
AHIP chief Marilyn Tavenner blasts drug plans as Hillary Clinton proposal targets price hikes[/caption]
The health insurance industry is undergoing a crisis of consensus on how to respond to the failure of Obamacare. That is the only way to interpret the departure of another large, national carrier, Aetna, from America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). This follows UnitedHealth Group’s departure from the industry’s trade group last June:
Those misgivings manifested most recently during the debate over ObamaCare when the so-called “big five” — UnitedHealthcare, Anthem, Aetna, Humana and Cigna — formed their own informal coalition.
Another healthcare executive, who asked for anonymity in order to speak freely, said that, for some, “there’s a sense that AHIP has become a one-trick pony for the Obama administration,” referring to the goal of advancing ObamaCare.
With the country’s first- and third-largest health insurers gone from its ranks, the insurance group could see problems arise from the divisions between large and small companies.
(Peter Sullivan & Megan R. Wilson, “Aetna departure a major blow for insurers group,” The Hill, January 5, 2016).
Insurers are losing money in Obamacare’s exchanges. The Republican-majority Congress has refused to bail them out of their Obamacare losses. On the other hand, they clearly have influence in the Congress, because a bipartisan majority gave the industry one-year relief from its Obamacare excise tax (which is passed on to consumers and employers anyway) last December.
Congress has just passed a partial repeal of Obamacare, which will be vetoed by the President. How seriously we should take this gesture is to be determined by future events, especially if a Republican president is elected who would sign the bill.
Given these circumstances, it is not surprising the health insurers are in disarray: Will some dig their heels in to defend Obamacare; while some finally accept it needs to be repealed and replaced? How this powerful lobbying force divides will be critical in determining the future of health reform.
Source: Health Policy Blog]]>
The House is voting on a reconciliation bill that would repeal much of Obamacare. It’s expected to pass easily – and be vetoed by President Obama.
Before we discuss what should replace Obamacare it would be a valuable exercise to revisit what needs to be repealed.
The employer mandate has to go. It’s hurting the very people it was designed to help.
The individual mandate has to go. It’s forcing people to buy something they don’t want.
Regulations guaranteeing coverage regardless of health status are not sustainable. Premiums are reaching the stratosphere and there is a perverse incentive to game the system.
Representative Tom Price reports a bill with a proposal to replace Obamacare will soon follow. The following are some of the elements that a new Obamacare replacement bill should include.
The open-ended tax exclusion should be converted to a fixed sum. This could be adjusted for age, health status or some other factor. But the government should subsidize core needs not marginal spending on Cadillac plans.
Community rating needs to be used to create beneficial incentives; not increase cross-subsidies. The right to buy insurance at modified community-rated premiums needs to be conditioned on continuation coverage. Guaranteed renewability would not allow people who spend years without coverage and expect others to subsidize their decisions.
Americans deserve the right to purchase the coverage of their choice; not the coverage Obamacare proponents believe Americans should have. This means affordable coverage with limited benefits, high deductibles or coverage that rewards them for taking care of their health if that’s what consumers want.
Americans should be protected from surprise medical bills – ones where patients cannot ascertain prices in advance or whether the doctor that administers anesthesia is even in their network.
The federal government should grant states the flexibility to design Medicaid programs that meet states’ needs. The federal government should not match state Medicaid funds. Rather, it should negotiate a block grant and a state contribution; and make states pay for all cost overruns. States should have the authority to design innovative Medicaid benefits, where some beneficiaries pay premiums, experience nontrivial cost-sharing, pay a penalty for inappropriate emergency room use and have work requirements. Moreover, states should have the authority to kick beneficiaries off the Medicaid rolls who break eligibility rules.
These are just a few of our ideas. What are your thoughts? Give us your comments and tell me what have we have missed?
Source: Health Policy Blog]]>