Report: Requiring kindergartners to read — as Common Core does — may harm some


The Common Core State Standards call for kindergartners to learn how to read, but a new report by early childhood experts says that forcing some kids to read before they are ready could be harmful. Continue reading

Common Core: Phasing Western Culture Out of Education

This week, left-wing outlets, like NPR’s quiz show, Wait, Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me!and the Huffington Post, as well as the British Telegraph, expressed surprise and concern that the new national Common Core standards will destroy the love of literature.  The leftist outlets focused on favorites like Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird, but couldn’t seem to connect this unconstitutional federalization of education with their favorite presidential candidate.

They should also be concerned about what the recently released test questions reveal about what the feds want: happy workers for the State.

The test questions, which will eventually be given to every single student, are the kind you could expect from a close pal of Bill Ayers, co-founder of the terrorist group Weatherman-turned-“Distinguished Professor of Education.” Ayers’s close colleague, Stanford Education Professor Linda Darling-Hammond, education director of Obama’s presidential transition team, heads content specifications for testing under one of the consortia, Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium which received $176 million in stimulus funds to develop testing under Common Core—now the law of the land, at least in 46 states. (The rest of the $360 million for testing was given to PARCC, Partnership for Assessment Readiness for College and Career.)

SBAC recently released 16 sample test questions.  They reveal that the “transformation” of American education that Darling-Hammond had eagerly anticipated will be fulfilled—toward making students into global citizens, devoid of a sense of cultural heritage, and content with performing quick tasks that require little concentration.

Common Core was sold as delivering more academic rigor, on a more consistent state-to-state basis.  But one of its most controversial aspects for the English/Language Arts portion (the other being math) was the replacement of literary works with “informational texts.” Students are to divide their time equally between literature and informational texts, until high school, when literary works will make up only 30 percent of English/Language Arts instruction.

The recently released sample test questions do indeed test for students’ ability to search out information from both written and audio/video “texts,” and provide short written responses to them, as well as, occasionally, correct punctuation.

The Common Core website attempts to assure us that “the Standards require a certain critical content for all students including classic myths and stories from around the world, America’s Founding Documents, foundational American literature, and Shakespeare.” Yet, at the same time, “they intentionally do not offer a reading list.”  We know, however, that if students are to be tested on reading and writing skills, some content will be necessary.  The content presented in the sample test questions is telling.  None of it is from the “classic myths and stories,” etc., cited above.

Common Core proponents repeatedly refer to the changed “twenty-first century workplace.”  Accordingly, tests are administered by computer and incorporate videos.  Two of the samples ask students to answer questions after watching short videos about weightlessness in space.  Such testing is in line with the increased emphasis on “listening and discussion skills” that I noted in my report for Accuracy in Media.  In Common Core-aligned lessons, high school juniors and seniors were tasked with looking at, and then discussing, photographs and videos.

The trend of late has been to emphasize such “alternative literacies,” but Common Core codifies what are really preliterate skills.

Even the written texts and analytical tasks seem to test only for rudimentary skills: the ability to read a short, simple passage and then pull out the correct information.  Three of the sample questions involve searching out answers and definitions in a simple narrative titled “Grandma Ruth.”

Another question asks the students to provide an ending to a story that consists of two short paragraphs about a character named Jeff and his dog walking by a lake, when a splash is heard.

The question remains: how would the response be graded?  For absence of grammatical errors?  Or according to Darling-Hammond’s criteria spelled out in her 2009 Harvard Educational Review article of “developing creativity, critical thinking skills, and the capacity to innovate”?  She did indicate that new assessments would use “multiple measures of learning and performance.” We can expect some—ahem–“discretion” in grading.

The intent of Common Core is to ensure every student of “college and career readiness.” Are such questions intended to meet the top goal of Darling-Hammond and the Department of Education—that is to “close the achievement gap”?  One suspects so.

The next question too asks the student to complete a writing assignment–arguing for a longer school day.  This time the student is given a schedule of activities.  The assignment is to “revise the paragraph by adding details from the daily schedule that help support the reasons for having a longer school day.” Presumably, this tests for the ability to provide “relevant evidence.”

Coincidentally, the idea of public schools being “centers of community life” with longer days has been something that the Obama administration has been promoting with daily announcements about “cradle to career” initiatives and efforts to “engage” various “communities.” While he was still head of Chicago schools, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made schools community centers, offering three meals a day, and even eye exams and eyeglasses.  Now he wants to expand the role of schools on a nationwide basis. In Duncan’s vision, schools would be open 12 to 13 hours a day, 7 days a week; they would “meet the social and emotional needs” of students, and provide cultural and academic activities, as well as services for parents, like GED tutoring and healthcare clinics.  To Duncan, such efforts are part of a “battle for social justice.”

So is it a coincidence that one of the test questions concerns a longer school day?

Notice the student is not asked if the school day should be longer. Textbooks, similarly, now ask students to write papers on how “you personally might respond to [President Obama’s] call to remake this world.” The popular Norton Reader does exactly this in one of the topic questions that follows Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech in its pages.

Next in the sample test is a reading passage titled “Planes on the Brain,” by free-lance writer Elisabeth Deffner in a children’s magazine called Faces,published by Carus Publishing, which was acquired by ePals Corporation in 2011.

ePals, which is working with Microsoft, Dell, and IBM, encourages “global collaboration.” One of its “Rich, Multi-Disciplinary Student-Centric Learning Centers” is called Global Citizens. Its website says, “Microsoft and ePals are working together to offer schools and districts interoperable products and tools for building educational communities, delivering high quality content and facilitating collaboration.” The Bill Gates company, Microsoft, is the vehicle of delivery for content.  The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest private funder of Common Core.  To get schools “tech ready” for the online national testing, the Gates Foundation-supported Education Week provides helpful tips and reminders and an encouraging blog post.  Not surprisingly, a test question comes from an article published in an online magazine that partners with Microsoft.

These are close collaborators indeed, for the “Our Approach” page of ePals could have been written by Darling-Hammond herself:

Authentic ePals projects are centered around meaningful content and experiences that require teamwork, digital literacy skills, higher-level thinking and communication. By engaging in authentic learning experiences about relevant issues, students, teachers and mentors learn and work together, strengthening core learning while motivating learners and building self-confidence and skills necessary for future careers.

ePals, also, we are told, helps teachers learn “to use technology effectively in their classrooms, by providing professional development, curriculum, contests and other resources.”  The “Transforming Volunteering” promotional video features a quotation by—surprise–President Obama about “shaping the future.”

In 2010, ePals received broadband stimulus funds and won the contract for New York City.  Partners listed on the video include the World Bank, National Geographic (which just announced a line of Common Core-aligned reading materials), and the Washington Post.  ePals is also partnering with Teaching Matters, which describes itself as “a non-profit organization that partners with educators to ensure that all students can succeed in the digital age.”

Teaching Matters, on October 18, 2011, honored Darling-Hammond as a “Champion of Education and Innovation.” The press release referred to Darling-Hammond as “an authority on school reform, educational equity and teacher quality,” and noted that in 2007, Education Week (the Gates-supported Common Core advocacy newsletter) “named her one of the 10 most influential people in the field of education over the last decade.”

The “Champion of Education and Innovation” promises to influence further with such test questions:

• How was the Tuskegee Airmen program a positive influence? (along with a “highlighting” exercise)  (Nothing wrong with learning about the Tuskegee Airmen—except when such examples are used in isolation to indict the U.S. as a racist/imperialist nation.)

• A writing assignment concerning the use of cell phones in schools with reasons for and against presented in bullet points (must be one of those “relevant” topics).

• A passage, “Diamonds in the Sky,” about astronomy with two multiple choice questions and a short writing response regarding how scientists can use the knowledge to make diamonds.

• A passage about the invasion of kudzu that asks the student to eliminate unnecessary sentences.

• Grammatical corrections to a student essay about watching a hockey game.

There are no references to the “classic myths and stories” or “America’s Founding Documents” that bureaucrats promised.

Are these examples of the “higher order thinking” and “more thoughtful assessments”  that Darling-Hammond touted in her post-award interview by Teaching Matters Executive Director Lynne Guastaferro?

Apparently “twenty-first century skills” and “higher order thinking” don’t call for lengthy works of literature, like Shakespeare’s plays, Little House on the Prairie, or even favorite novels of liberals.  More likely, students will be given a short passage and asked how a sod house affects the ecosystem.  The wallpaper for the Teaching Matters website features a bulletin board with projects on biodiversity.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is advancing the use of their materials regarding environmental regulations for Common Core. California’s Invasive Plant Inventory is on the recommended informational reading list, as is EPA Executive Order 13423.

Do “twenty-first century”  students no longer need to read poems by John Donne about love so strong that separations are like “like gold to aery thinness beat”?  Or do they need to learn how to make diamonds?  Are we really going to inspire the next great American novelist by asking him to insert a few sentences on a computer screen about what happens when a splash is heard?

For sure, for decades now, educators have been moving in the direction of Common Core, with the replacement of classic imaginative works by texts that address “relevant” leftist political issues.  Since at least the 1980s those like E.D. Hirsch have been decrying the loss of cultural cohesion through an unraveling curriculum and lowering of standards.

Many gave up on the public school system and sent their children to private schools or home-schooled them.  But critics warn that national tests will make these curricula moot.  They are right.  Education Week recently reported that already many Catholic and other private schools are jumping ahead and adopting Common Core in preparation for college-entrance exams that will line up with Common Core criteria.

Literary works promote an American cultural identity, pass on Western Judeo-Christian values, inspire independent thought, and develop the imagination.  Their elimination is likely to produce citizens incapable of understanding the proper–and limited–role of the state.  It’s too bad that the liberal lovers of literature failed to see the dictatorial move of a president through the Department of Education in his first term. Now they whine about students not reading To Kill a Mockingbird. They themselves need to read Dr. Zhivago.

Dad Furious After Finding This Crayon-Written Paper in Florida 4th-Grader’s Backpack: ‘I Am Willing.

The words are written in crayon, in the haphazard bumpiness of a child’s scrawl.

“I am willing to give up some of my constitutional rights in order to be safer or more secure.”

They’re the words that Florida father Aaron Harvey was stunned to find his fourth-grade son had written, after a lesson in school about the Constitution.

Florida 4th Grader Brings Home Paper That Says, I Am Willing to Give Up Some of My Constitutional Rights in Order to Be Safer...

Harvey’s son attends Cedar Hills Elementary in Jacksonville, Fla. Back in January, a local attorney came in to teach the students about the Bill of Rights. But after the attorney left, fourth-grade teacher Cheryl Sabb dictated the sentence to part of the class and had them copy it down, he said.

The paper sat unnoticed in Harvey’s son’s backpack for several months until last week, when his son’s mother almost threw it away. The words caught her eye in the trash, and she showed it to Harvey, who said he was at a loss for words. He asked his son, who said Sabb had spoken the sentence out loud and told them to write it down. Harvey said he asked some of his son’s classmates and got a similar answer.

“Everybody has their opinions,” Harvey told TheBlaze. “I am strongly for proper education, for the freedom of thought so you can form your own opinion and have your own free speech in the future… [but] the education is, ‘when was the Constitution drafted, when was it ratified, why did this happen, why did we choose to do this…all these things, why did they particular choose those specific rights to be in our Bill of Rights.’”

Kandra Albury, a spokeswoman for Duvall County Public Schools, which includes Cedar Hills, told TheBlaze she didn’t know what prompted Sabb to have students write the sentence.

She said the principal had fielded one parent’s concern about the lesson in January, but it wasn’t Harvey. She said Thursday the district and principal were “checking into” what had happened.

Harvey, rather than asking the school for answers when he found the paper, wrote his concerns in an email, which was then forwarded to TheBlaze. He said he did it that way because he wasn’t sure he would have gotten a straightforward answer if he asked the school directly.

He said he just wants to see a “proper, unbiased education” system and doesn’t want any kind of religion or politics brought into the classroom.

“I believe in our Constitution. I am a veteran, I served for six-and-a-half years proudly and I served to protect our rights,” he said. “Now whenever I have someone coming in and trying to pollute my child’s mind with biased opinions…there’s no education in that.”

​Update, 11:36 a.m.:​ Harvey told TheBlaze he received a call from the school Friday morning that featured the principal, guidance counselor and Sabb. He was told the sentence came during the lesson with the lawyer, that Sabb had nothing to do with it, and that Harvey’s son “wrote it on his own free will.”

Harvey said he had spoken to a girl in the class who specifically said Sabb handpicked students to write the sentence.

“All the children are pointing at the teacher,” Harvey said Friday. “They [the school] told me that my son wrote that on his own free will — there’s now way he knew how to write that on his own free will. He likes to use some big words to flourish — [but] if he was going to put together a sentence that political I’m sure it would be more jumbled than a nice sentence like that.”

​Editor’s note: TheBlaze has withheld the name of the child at the father’s request.

The Textbooks Have Eyes: Now E-Books Can Track If You Do Your Homework

( to the future of education where your textbook—and therefore your teacher—knows exactly how much of your homework you did, how, and when. The idea is that this data will improve outcomes, helping teachers better understand their students habits. And with CourseSmart teachers can do just that, as The New York Times‘ David Streitfeld explains today. Through what is called “the engagement index” a professor can track the a student’s study habits, by looking at what pages of the book were opened, when, and how they took notes. “It’s Big Brother, sort of, but with a good intent,” says Tracy Hurley, the dean of Texas A&M’s school of business, which has started testing the technology along with eight other schools.

While helping professors understand why certain students are struggling is a good thing, as we’ve learned repeatedly, it’s difficult to predict how people will use data. Take this example of how the CourseSmart data lead to suspicion of a student who had good grades:

Adrian Guardia, a Texas A&M instructor in management, took notice the other day of a student who was apparently doing well. His quiz grades were solid, and so was what CourseSmart calls his “engagement index.” But Mr. Guardia also saw something else: that the student had opened his textbook only once.

Guardia told Streitfeld this was a cause for concern: “Are you really learning if you only open the book the night before the test? I knew I had to reach out to him to discuss his studying habits.” Of course, students, especially at or above college level, don’t all learn the exact same way. By the traditional outcome measurements (i.e. grades) and even the newfangled CourseSmart “engagement index” (an example of which you can see here), this student was doing fine, but the new granular data allowed a teacher to be skeptical about that student’s work.

The introduction of new subjective judgments already, understandably, has students worried. Hillary Torres with good grades, but “low engagement” scores, told Streitfeld: “If he looks and sees, ‘Hillary is not really reading as much as I thought,’ does that give him a negative image of me? His opinion really matters. Maybe I need to change my study habits.” But unless instructors want to change how they evaluate students, why should she change the methods that are working for her?

Even worse, another good student had to sit down with her professor to fit her study habits to some Silicon Valley company’s textbook. In the Times comments, Charlotte writes: “I never studied the way the program thought I should. I took notes on paper, read only what I thought was important, and used outside resources to study.” All of these would not be captured by the CourseSmart metrics. “By studying the way I thought was best for me I did well in the class, and finished with an A. I ended up with a very low engagement score which prompted my professor to set up multiple meetings with me over the semester about my supposedly poor study habits, and how he could help me. I didn’t need help. It was all a complete waste of time.”

These aren’t the best case scenarios of course. In an ideal world, the aggregate data would help textbook authors to create better learning materials and give educators insight into how much these very expensive supplemental materials are actually helping the learning experience. But since when has data ever been used just for good?

Yes, we can close schools: Rahm Emanuel’s cash crisis in Chicago



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Maria Llanos watches on as her daughter hugs a friend at the soon-to-close Lafayette School in Chicago
(Independent) -More than 10 per cent of Chicago’s elementary schools are facing closure under plans to tackle the city’s $1bn education budget deficit – the largest mass shutdown of public schools in the United States in recent memory.

School officials have announced plans to close 53 elementary schools and a high school. In all, 61 school buildings will be shut down by the beginning of the next academic year in August, the country’s third-largest public school district has said.

The announcement sparked national horror yesterday as the sorry state of the city’s finances, which are well known locally, was highlighted to the country. Chicago isn’t alone. Other cities, including Detroit, which is now facing the possibility of what could be the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history, and Philadelphia, have resorted to shutting undersubscribed schools to save money. Chicago has closed scores of school buildings over the past decade.

The city’s problems – though less severe than elsewhere in the US – have similar root causes to those in places such as Detroit: burdensome pension liabilities accumulated in the boom times and falling birth rates have become too much to bear in the post-financial crisis world. With the national and regional economy still struggling, the money coming in to city coffers cannot keep up with Chicago’s commitments.

But the size of the closures announced have sparked concern, particularly as the institutions in question are primarily attended by African-American and Hispanic students, and are situated in low-income neighbourhoods. Officials led by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, however, say there are too many vacant seats in the city’s public school system.

The Chicago Teachers Union thinks otherwise, with its President Karen Lewis labelling the closures an “abomination.”

“This is cowardly and it is the ultimate bullying job. Our mayor should be ashamed of himself,” she told the Associated Press.

The closures will mean that many children will have to venture into neighbourhoods other than their own to attend classes, which is causing concern among parents given the high frequency of violent crime in certain parts of the city. Irene Robinson, 48, said six of her grandchildren attend the soon-to-be-closed Anthony Overton Elementary in the Bronzeville area. She said news of shutdown was “like a death in the family.”

“It’s that sad,” she told the Chicago Tribune. “What’s gonna happen to these kids? Kids are being killed right now. They [sic] innocent. Why put them in harm’s way? It’s sad. It’s scary. It’s outrageous.”

The head of the school district, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, defended the move, saying the system as its currently organised is not in the best interests of students.

“Every child in every neighbourhood in Chicago deserves access to a high quality education that prepares them to succeed in life, but for too long children in certain parts of Chicago have been cheated out of the resources they need to succeed because they are in under utilised, under-resourced schools,” she said. “As a former teacher and a principal, I’ve lived through school closings and I know that this will not be easy, but I also know that in the end this will benefit our children.”

On the slide: Mayor goes skiing

Much of the public anger at the school closures was today directed at Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a former chief of staff for President Barack Obama, who was on a skiing holiday with his family when the announcement was made.

“I find it extremely cowardly for the mayor’s administration to announce these actions while he is vacationing out of town,” Karen Lewis, the President of the Chicago Teachers Union, said. “They are also making this announcement days before… spring break.”

Mr Emanuel came to power in 2011 on a wave of support from black communities, but recent opinion polls have indicated that the issue of school closures – which affects mainly black and Hispanic pupils – has contributed to his sliding approval ratings – and because his children attend private school.

Chicago lawyer and education activist Matter Farmer joked on Twitter: “Asked, while skiing in Utah, about closing 50 CPS schools, Mayor Emanuel said he is offering thousands of kids the chance to head downhill.”


On Wednesday, the Montpelier Exempted Village Schools Board of Education voted 5-0 to put guns on campus.

( Their move will allow custodians to undertake training and carry handguns on the K-12 school grounds in Williams county.

It will be a show of force and a real life defense against criminals like Adam Lanza.

School board president Larry Martin said the crime at Sandy Hook Elementary forced his hand: “Our main goal is to offer safety for our students while they are in our classrooms and in the building. We have to do something and this seems like the most logical, reasonable course to go with.”

Superintendent Jamie Grime echoed Martin’s sentiment: “There is a need for schools to beef up their security measures… guns in the hands of the right people are not a hindrance. They are a means to protect.”

Teachers in Ohio, Texas flock to free gun training classes


CLEVELAND/SAN ANTONIO, Jan 8 (Reuters) – School teachers in Texas and Ohio are flocking to free firearms classes in the wake of the Connecticut elementary school massacre, some vowing to protect their students with guns even at the risk of losing their jobs.

In Ohio, more than 900 teachers, administrators and school employees asked to take part in the Buckeye Firearms Association’s newly created, three-day gun training program, the association said. In Texas, an $85 Concealed Handgun License (CHL) course offered at no cost to teachers filled 400 spots immediately, forcing the school to offer another class, one instructor said.

“Any teacher who is licensed and chooses to be armed should be able to be armed,” said Gerald Valentino, co-founder of the Buckeye Firearms Association. “It should be every teacher’s choice.”

The Dec. 14 tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, sparked a national debateabout whether to arm teachers, prompting passionate arguments on both sides.

The deaths of 6- and 7-year-old school children led President Barack Obama to promise “meaningful action” to curtail gun violence, while the National Rifle Association has advocated arming teachers and placing trained guards in each of the country’s 100,000 schools.

Ohio and Texas are not the first to offer no-cost arms training to teachers. Just days after the Connecticut mass murder, some 200 teachers in Utah underwent free instruction from gun activists.

Critics ridicule arming teachers as a foolhardy idea promoted by overzealous gun enthusiasts, saying it would only add danger to the classroom while distracting teachers from their job of educating children.

Supporters say an armed teacher could have stopped the massacre at Sandy Hook, where a 20-year-old man armed with a military-style assault rifle killed 20 children and six adults before killing himself.

“What we know is that these spree killers are looking for the highest death toll possible. They look for no-gun zones like schools,” Valentino said. “It doesn’t make sense that we guard our gold with guns and we guard our kids with hope.”

The Buckeye Firearms Association, which successfully lobbied for 2004 legislation in Texas allowing people to carry concealed handguns, is offering all eligible state educators free admission to what it calls “an intensive three-day class where you will learn many of the same skills and tactics used by first responders.”

Of the more than 900 applicants so far, 73 percent were teachers and 10 percent were kindergarten teachers, Valentino said. Sixty percent were male and 51 percent worked in high schools, he said.



Ohio law does not expressly prohibit guns in schools and leaves it to each individual school board to set policy. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine referred to teachers as “first responders” after the Connecticut shootings and announced his office would expand safety training for Ohio school employees.

Texas state law allows teachers who have concealed handgun permits to carry weapons into public school classrooms as long as they have permission from the district superintendent.

Measures introduced in the Texas legislature since the Sandy Hook shooting would make it easier to carry firearms onto college campuses and into schools and other public places where weapons are now banned.

Josh Felker, who teaches the firearms classes in suburban San Antonio, said many of the teachers have told him they plan to carry weapons into their classrooms, even at risk of losing their jobs.

“They are upset at what happened, and no one is going to hurt their kids,” said Felker, who offered the class to teachers for free over the holiday break. “One teacher said flat out, ‘I don’t care if the law changes or not, I’m going to take it to school.’ Most of them just want to protect their kids.”

On Thursday, the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy will offer its first “Active Shooter Training Response for Educators Course,” which up to now has been reserved for police officers.

One Texas superintendent who since 2008 has given permission to teachers with handgun licenses to carry a gun in school is David Thweatt, who heads the rural Harrold Independent School District, about 175 miles (280 km) northwest of Dallas.

“First they have to have a concealed handgun license, they have to be approved to carry on our campus, they have to undergo additional training, and they are limited to ammunition which breaks apart when it hits a hard object,” Thweatt said.

He said he decided to allow teachers to carry weapons in class because in his rural district “law enforcement would never make it here on time” in case of an emergency.

Although the names of teachers who carry weapons were meant to remain confidential, their identities were widely known in town, Thweatt said.

Valentino was adamant that Ohio’s armed teachers remain anonymous, citing concerns that local media might reveal who was taking the course.

“The idea is for no one to know what teachers might be carrying. It would be very dangerous to identify these teachers. We don’t want to put a target on them,” Valentino said.

Texas Republican State Representative Debbie Riddle has introduced a measure to require school boards and superintendents to give permission to teachers who have completed the concealed handgun licensing course to carry weapons into the classroom.

“It would have a chilling effect on any copycats who wanted to replicate what was done at Sandy Hook,” Riddle said.

In California, Lobbyists and Lawmakers Travel the World Together

(Liberty Blitzkrieg) -Crony capitalist sightseeing tours. Nothing like being a corrupt political oligarch in today’s America! Great story here from the Sacramento Bee:

It’s mid-November. The election is over, and the new legislative session has not yet begun. Perfect time for a lawmaker to take vacation – or go on an “educational” trip with some of the Capitol’s most powerful interest groups.

Destinations for the talks? Hawaii, Brazil, China, Australia and New Zealand.

He said the cost of the trip – not yet determined – will be reported as a gift to the lawmakers attending: Republican state Sens. Anthony Cannella of Ceres, Bill Emmerson of Hemet and Mimi Walters of Laguna Niguel, as well as Democratic Sen. Michael Rubio of East Bakersfield and Democratic Assemblyman Steven Bradford of Gardena, who chairs the utilities and commerce committee.

“They who pay for the education have a way to decide what the legislators are going to be educated on,” said Dan Jacobson, a lobbyist for Environment California, which is not a member of CFEE. “It’s not a full education – it’s a partial education and will end up being a (biased) education trip.”

Sharing hotels, meals and exciting experiences with interest groups creates an imbalance for legislators, Jacobson said, where moneyed interests are favored over everyday constituents.


Another roughly 20 California lawmakers are hopping planes for Maui, where two back-to-back policy conferences are taking place this month.

“There’s something about being here that makes for a better degree of cooperation,” said event organizer Dan Howle. “You get people who are polar opposites talking here, and some of that carries over into Sacramento – and it doesn’t happen in California.”

“I defend it. I think that they are important and worthy,” he said. “I think it is appropriate and important for elected officials to see what and how other countries are addressing similar problems to the problems that we face.”

Well if you guys have learned so much from these trips, then why is California in the mess that it’s in? That’s what I thought…

My favorite line above is from this clown Dan Howle: “There’s something about being here that makes for a better degree of cooperation.” Yes Dan, that something is called bribery. How any of this stuff is legal is beyond my comprehension.

College student wants to start a “white history,” course.

Twenty-one-year-old student Matthew Heimbach (R) hands out leaflets against the construction of a mosque on the campus of Towson University, near Baltimore. Photo via AFP.

(RawStory) -An American university student is working to create the country’s first white student union, triggering debate over the limits of free speech.

“White culture is dying,” Matthew Heimbach, 21, lamented as he distributed flyers on campus denouncing the building of a mosque near Towson University, where he is in his last year.

“Every other single group has a union — Jewish, black. Why don’t white students get equal treatment?” said the tall, slightly heavy history major wearing a khaki jacket and a “sons of liberty” T-shirt.

Towson University, where two out of three students are white, is located just outside the east coast city of Baltimore, where most of the population is black.

Yet, “we live on a campus where there is discrimination against whites,” Heimbach asserted, referring to the school’s affirmative action programs.

“Whites and Asians might actually score higher on tests but be denied access to university because we want diversity,” he said, referring to the school administration.

Affirmative action, a policy aimed at correcting historical imbalances in education by favoring US minorities in public university admissions, hiring and other situations, is facing a lawsuit in the US Supreme Court.

The court’s ruling next year on the case — brought by a white woman who argues she didn’t get a spot in a Texas university because of her skin color — could affect how universities across the United States take race into account in their admissions procedures.

For his part, Heimbach is president of the “White Student Union,” which, though not officially recognized by the university, he said has around 30 members.

To earn official status the group needs an advisor — a teacher or a university staff member — which has proven elusive so far.

It’s a struggle Heimbach is familiar with: last year, he founded the “Youth for Western Civilization,” but that group’s advisor eventually quit.

The group’s activities had “a supremacist kind of agenda,” said Victor Collins, the university’s assistant vice president of student affairs for diversity.

It’s “no problem to celebrate their own heritage. I do have a problem with white supremacy,” he said.

“If your position is that your race should be over — and is much better than — all the races, that flies in the face of what we are about in this university or in most universities for that matter,” he added.

And Heimbach “used to invite Jared Taylor, who is a well-known supremacist, to preach that message,” Collins said.

Heimbach, who denied being racist, does, however, rail against what he calls the dangers of Marxism and a multicultural society, and warns of a coming “genocide” when minority groups overtake whites in the US population.

His positions — and his new group’s bid for university recognition — have raised protests at Towson. More than a thousand students signed a petition to denounce his White Student Union.

“I’m thinking beginning a ‘White Student Whatever Movement’ or association would make it a racist thing,” said Adi, a black student studying Instructional Technology.

However, the university said it was not clear it could prevent the group from gaining official status — provided, of course, it managed to fulfill all the administrative requirements.

The First Amendment to the US constitution, which protects freedom of expression, “is almost sacred in this country,” said Collins.

“The university is very invested in protecting all rights for all students regardless how negative” the expression is, he said.

“We don’t agree with his position, but we tolerate it,” Collins said.