The War on Tradition in American Schools

Public schools are expensive day care centers where kids spend each day being indoctrinated rather than educated.  When the kids graduate, they know very little about American tradition, and far too much about fads and pop culture.

History is being revised in the public schools, and elsewhere in our culture.  See Uprooted Traditions and Edited History.



Parents worried about the fate of murals inside closing Chicago school.  Parents and teachers at a Chicago elementary school set to close this year say they're concerned about the fate of two 100-year-old murals.  The murals inside Trumbull Elementary in Andersonville depict Christopher Columbus, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Jesus Portrait Removed From Ohio School.  A Jesus portrait that has hung in a southern Ohio school district's buildings since 1947 has been taken down, because of concerns about the costs of a federal lawsuit.

Pennsylvania Ten Commandments Monument Latest Target of Atheist Group.  The Freedom From Religion Foundation has filed suit against a second Pennsylvania school district in as many weeks over a Ten Commandments monument on school property.

How America dropped the baton.  "Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted," Lenin famously declared.  In the transmission of the baton of culture from one generation to the next, education is everything.  Obviously Lenin understood that. Heck, even the simplest stone-age tribal group understands that.  Every tribe ever encountered in history has held one fact as true — our way of life is the best.  That is the glue that holds individual cultures together.  It is also the guarantor of diversity.  And as soon as a culture begins to doubt the validity, indeed the primacy of its traditions, then that culture has begun to die.

University to Change Policy Defining Religious Discrimination as Oppression by Christians.  The University of California at Davis has backed away from a policy that defined religious discrimination as Christians oppressing non-Christians after more than two dozen Christian students filed a formal complaint.  The definition was listed in a document called, "The Principles of Community."  It defined "Religious/Spiritual Discrimination" as "The loss of power and privilege to those who do not practice the dominant culture's religion.  In the United States, this is institutionalized oppressions toward those who are not Christian."

Jesus And Obama Tie In Recent Poll.  Who are the role models for today's 13-17 year olds?  That's the question recently posed by Barna Group in his annual YouthPoll.  The way youths answer this question has great import.  According to the study, ["]Teenagers' preferences and tastes greatly influence America's cultural identity.  The people teenagers look up to as their role models matter a great deal in determining the shape and substance of the next generation of churchgoers, consumers and citizens.["]  Youth were not permitted to identify their parents as role models.  Yet, family members were still listed as the chief role models by 37% of respondents.
[Italics added.]

The Latest Thievery:  Best Friends.  [Scroll down]  "Parents sometimes say Johnny needs that one special friend," she continued.  "We say he doesn't need a best friend."  As a result of this thinking, best friends are broken up.  Buddies are put on separate teams, assigned different classes, etc.  It's not quite the sort of thing cult leaders and North Korean prison guards do, but in principle it's not too far off either.

Is Christmas a Dirty Word?  When I was a child in the 1950s, the magic of Christmas was promoted in the schools.  We sang Christmas carols in the classroom.  There were cutouts of the Nativity scene on the bulletin board, along with the smiling, chubby face of Santa and Rudolph.  We were all acutely aware that Christmas was more than a season to receive — it was a special time to give as well.  Fast forward a mere 50 years, and Christmas is being eradicated.

Like it or not, public schools define American culture.  Prior to the 1960s, public schools and teachers clearly accepted their role in defining the culture of the youngsters under their supervision.  The public schools, using a McGuffey-Reader-style curriculum, were the mechanism through which U.S. children learned not only the basics but also values such as honesty and patriotism, and immigrant children assimilated by learning our language, laws and customs. … The turning point in public schools came in the 1960s with the vast influence of the Humanist John Dewey and his Columbia Teachers College acolytes, who argued against objective truth, authoritative notions of good and evil, religion and tradition.

Segregation (by gender) wins government approval.
Single-Sex Public Schools OK:  Education Department.  The U.S. Department of Education has given school districts nationwide the power to create single-sex public schools and classes.  The ruling took effect November 24, the first federal rule to address gender in the classroom since Title IX banned sex discrimination in learning institutions more than three decades ago.

Schools, Pressed to Achieve, Put the Squeeze on Recess.  For many kids today, the recess bell comes too late, for too little time, or even not at all.  Pressure to raise test scores and adhere to state-mandated academic requirements is squeezing recess out of the school day.  In many schools, it's just 10 or 15 minutes, if at all.  In some cases, recess has become structured with organized games — yes, recess is being taught.

Some Schools Are Leaving Recess Behind.  One sure way to get parents exercised is to take away recess, the playful part of the school day when their kids can run wild.  In some places, it no longer exists.  The proportion of schools that don't have recess ranges from 7 percent for first and second grades to 13 percent by sixth grade, new government figures show.

Children banned from playing tag in school playground.  In an age when childhood innocence is under threat from every direction, the traditional game of tag would seem an unlikely offender.  But headmistress Susan Tuck doesn't think so.  She has banned it — along with all other games which involve physical contact — as "inappropriate behaviour".

Classic kids games like kickball deemed unsafe by state.  State bureaucrats have identified a potentially deadly hazard facing our children this summer — freeze tag.  That's right, officials have decided the age-old street game — along with Wiffle Ball, kickball and dodgeball — poses a "significant risk of injury."

Schools Keep Our Kids Safe from Hula-Hoops.  A good friend told me she witnessed her suburban elementary school have its teachers gather their students and explain, as they sat cross-legged on the playground on their first day of school, the dangers of that 1950s icon, the Hula-Hoop.  The teachers dutifully instructed the young children that one must not swing the Hula-Hoop around one's neck as we all did as kids.  Ditto one's arms.  Do not roll the Hula-Hoop, similar to a game our grandparents played known as ... "hoops."  All such things are off-limits.

Australian school bans cartwheels.  A school in northern Australia will review a ban on cartwheels, handstands and other gymnastic tumbles in the playground after a community backlash, the state education department said Wednesday. [8/27/2008]  Belgian Gardens State School in Townsville, Queensland, recently banned all unsupervised gymnastic activities outdoors in what it called an effort to protect students from injury.

All work and no play — makes kids fat and passive.  Remember when recess was the best part of the school day?  Not any more.  In some parts of the country, that carefree half-hour — when kids could run, jump, scream and play tag or other games — is on the endangered list.  Two-fifths of American elementary schools have either eliminated recess or are considering doing so, according to a National Parent Teacher Association survey.  And in many places where recess survives, play has become an intensely overregulated event.

Attleboro elementary school bans tag.  Officials at the Willett Elementary School in Attleboro have banned playground tag, touch football and any other unsupervised chasing games over concerns about the risk of injury and liability for the school.

Disappearing swings:  In addition to liability and safety fears, the Americans with Disabilities Act turns out to play a role in the decline of swing sets at public playgrounds:  it seems the least expensive way to make a swing set safer is to surround it with sand, but sand is considered a non-accessible surface for wheelchairs which makes it suspect under the ADA.

Banned in Scotland:  Ice slides in the school playground.  The age-old schoolyard pastime of fashioning patches of snow and ice into frozen slides to hurl yourself down, ignoring grazed knees and bruised heads, has fallen victim to 21st-century bureaucracy.  Thousands of Scottish children have been banned from making ice slides with the warning that any "enduring slip hazards" will be covered in sand and salt by janitors.  Local authorities have said that they have banned slides because of the risk of children being hurt and the fear of being sued by parents.

Why black sheep are barred and Humpty can't be cracked:  Traditional nursery rhymes are being rewritten at nursery schools to avoid causing offence to children.  Instead of singing "Baa baa, black sheep" as generations of children have learnt to do, toddlers in Oxfordshire are being taught to sing "Baa baa, rainbow sheep".

"Racist" Baa Baa Black Sheep put out to pasture.  Black sheep are on the endangered species list as some children in north Queensland learn to sing Baa Baa Rainbow Sheep.  The English nursery rhyme may have survived for 200-plus years but political correctness could finally put it out to pasture.

School May Shed Association With A U.S. President.  If the majority of parents, teachers, and students of Jefferson Elementary School in Berkeley, Calif., has its way, the school will soon shed its name and its association with the nation's third president, who they say is not worthy of being honored because of the hundreds of slaves he owned at his Monticello plantation.

Renaming Vote Stirs School.  Activists in Berkeley, Calif. are angling to change the name of Jefferson Elementary school because the signer of the Declaration of Independence owned slaves during his lifetime, reports the Berkeley Daily Planet.  Should Jefferson go, he would be the latest in a steady stream of dead white males given the heave-ho from Berkeley schools.  Shortly after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., James Garfield Middle School was renamed in his honor.  Abraham Lincoln Elementary became Malcolm X under a groundswell of community support, and just four years ago Christopher Columbus Elementary was rebuilt and renamed after Rosa Parks.

Traditions Endangered!  Every year there will be episodes of the political correctors trying their best to stop student led prayers at high school football games.  No matter that these prayers are long in history and heritage, no matter that the students and players wish to pray.  The political correctors oppose traditions like prayer at games because they oppose America and any tradition, which honors our roots and culture.

Revisionist History Sullies the Reputations of National Heroes, Author Says:  A patriotic author says many public school students are no longer being taught about the true heroes of American history.  He says, for example, that many students in northern, western, and eastern states no longer have admiration for famous Civil War generals.

West Virginia 4H Drops "Offensive" Club Traditions:  Traditions that offend American Indians are out at 4H summer camps in West Virginia.  Children will stop painting their faces, wearing feather headdresses, chanting a tribal cheer, and using "stereotypical motions and dances" next year.

Blame Giving:  During the Clinton years, the Department of Education paid for a study, "Teaching Young Children about Native Americans," which urged teachers to "[c]ritique a Thanksgiving poster depicting the traditional, stereotyped Pilgrim and Indian figure." The hostility of some folks to Thanksgiving is based upon their conviction that Indian culture, as they idealize it, was a socialist utopia, lacking only national health insurance.

It Takes a Whole Village to Destroy a Child.  In danger of extinction are the happy children who once were excited about the social life offered by their school experience — the basketball games and the Valentines dances.  Fading from view are the students who busily worked at the blackboard solving geometry problems under the teacher's watchful eye.  Gone is the challenge to achieve academically.  Soon to follow in the dustbin of memories will be the diplomas that stood as symbols of academic success.

Washington's Patriotic Portrait Brushed Aside:  A New Jersey man's plan to put George Washington's portrait back in the classroom has been chopped down by politicians who didn't find his Yankee Doodle plan so dandy.  "It's absolutely astounding what's going on in our schools," said businessman William Sanders, who created the Portraits of Patriots project in 1998 to reverse what he saw as the decline of American history's place in the classroom.

Can We Reclaim Our Heritage?  Over the past three decades, our Founding Fathers have fallen on rough times.  Disparaged by liberals and slandered by post-modernists and cultural Marxists, their portraits have been removed from public buildings and their presence stricken from textbooks.  It is possible today for American students to pass through elementary school and high school, and obtain a university degree, without gaining any appreciation for the men who founded their country.

Schools need to go back to basics.  Apparently believing more than 200 years ago that an idle mind can be the devil's playground, William Wordsworth and his classmates spent 11 hours a day in school, five days a week, and half a day on Saturday.  They didn't study sex education, or the environment, or any of today's trendy subjects that masquerade as a real education.

Edutalk:  Orwellian Jargon in the Classroom.  At many schools, 6-year-olds don't compare books anymore — they make "text-to-text connections."  Misbehaving students face not detention but the "alternative instruction room," or "reinforcement room," or "reflection room."  Children who once read now practice "SSR," or "sustained silent reading."

Beyond Belief:  A group of first graders in Skokie, Ill. had their annual Thanksgiving celebration quashed by a principal who said their cardboard Indian headdresses might offend American Indians, reports the Chicago Tribune. [Registration required.]

Renaming Vote Stirs School.  Activists in Berkeley, Calif. are angling to change the name of Jefferson Elementary school because the signer of the Declaration of Independence owned slaves during his lifetime, reports the Berkeley Daily Planet.  Should Jefferson go, he would be the latest in a steady stream of dead white males given the heave-ho from Berkeley schools.  Shortly after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., James Garfield Middle School was renamed in his honor.  Abraham Lincoln Elementary became Malcolm X under a groundswell of community support, and just four years ago Christopher Columbus Elementary was rebuilt and renamed after Rosa Parks.

Deconstructing Public Education:  Public education in America is a mess.  No amount of money or fixing is going to turn it around.  Humanists, cultural Marxists, the psychologically oriented social engineers and gurus are in charge.  Those who seek to deconstruct America, its values, its institutions and its history, as well as its future as a sovereign state, are running the show called American public education.

What we teach in history and social studies will affect the course of our liberal democracy.  In studying world cultures, we will have to decide how much emphasis to place on Western civilization and on non-Western societies.  In history and government, we will have to decide how much emphasis to place on our common American heritage rather than the separate histories of different groups.

History Itself Is About to Become History:  This is the precarious position that the once-invaluable subject is in today.  At universities across the country professors are telling their students that history is nothing but someone's interpretation of the past and that anyone's interpretation is as good as anyone else's.

Education needs academics, civics:  At a minimum, well-educated citizens should have the skills needed to engage in civil society:  basic knowledge of history and government; speaking, debating, and writing skills; respect for others; and the ability to understand and promote the interests of society as a whole.

The Civic Education America Needs:  All countries seek to inculcate their youth with values that reflect and enhance their national culture — sometimes with horrific results, such as the goose-stepping Hitler Youth or head-nodding madrassas in the Middle East.

The Book Burners Against Mark Twain:  Mark Twain once observed that "We all do no end of feeling, and we mistake it for thinking."  That's precisely why the muddle-headed movement to ban Twain and his greatest work, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," persists like gangrene.

Parents Tell Schools:  Teach American Values First:  Although there is much debate among teachers and academics about whether the mostly white, mostly male, and mostly European heroes involved in stories of the nation's founding can have meaning for students whose backgrounds and origins are different, among the parents of these students there is virtually no debate.  According to a study released just before Thanksgiving by the nonpartisan, nonprofit group Public Agenda, parents firmly believe that schools should teach their children the traditional ideals and stories of what it means to be an American.

The Math Wars:  A person who is learning to cook follows recipes with a to-the-milliliter precision at which savvy cooks scoff.  The recipe is a rote procedure that the novice does not understand but that produces the desired result.  Imagine a perfect novice trying to learn to cook without recipes.

Twisted history:  One of the reasons our children do not measure up academically to children in other countries is that so much time is spent in American classrooms twisting our history for ideological purposes.

Once-Proud Public Education System Under Attack:  We are now better than half-way through the most radical reform of America's schools this country has ever seen.  Unlike the health-care reform attempted early in the Clinton Administration, this one has been kept underground so well that few parents are even aware of it.  And yet very few school districts or classrooms have remained untouched by it.  The "reform" is more properly seen as the emasculation of the American education system.  The rigor, discipline, dedication, and persistence associated through the centuries with real learning are fast disappearing.

Schoolboy Kicked Unconscious Over Confederate Book:  A 13-year-old Houston boy who had checked out a book about Robert E. Lee was kicked in the head and sent unconscious to the hospital, a Southern heritage organization reported.  The boy's mother and lawyer believe the actions of government school officials set the stage for the attack.

[This would obviously be considered a racially motivated "hate crime" except for the fact that the victim was white.]

P.C. Schools Snub Founding Fathers:  New Orleans is stripping the names of Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson from its government schools.

Alan Keyes Extols "Founding of America" Bill:  Alan Keyes, chairman of the Washington, DC-based Declaration Foundation, voiced his support of the "Founding of America" bill, which would revise Ohio law and require that all high school students study the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights before graduation.


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