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Posts tagged "Education"

h/t: Mitch Ryals at The Riverfront Times

h/t: Samantha Lachman at HuffPost Politics

h/t: Ian Silverstone at RWW 

h/t: Amanda Marcotte at AlterNet

As the product of a 50’s Catholic education, Bill O’Reilly was taught (as was your humble correspondent) that “dirty” thoughts were a one-way ticket to Satansville and that sex was strictly for reproduction. But somehow Bill strayed off the straight and narrow and onto the road to perdition. According to a sexual harassment suit, filed by his former producer, not only did Bill have dirty thoughts about her; but he was so into sex toys that he urged her to get a vibrator and name it! But kink (not that there’s anything wrong with it) is mainstream - so much so that Lila Rose’s “Live Action” (LOL) sting video crew is using it as a pretext to sting Planned Parenthood in an effort to bring about its defunding. Not surprisingly, anti-choice zealot Bill O’Reilly loves the sweet and virginal Lila who, last night, discussed nasty kink stuff being told to clean teens. O’Reilly was all ears?

Lila Rose, a protege of James O’Keefe, hasn’t gotten any traction on her plethora of attempted stings of Planned Parenthood which is now onto Rose’s modus operandi, one of which involved an actress posing as a 15 year old girl, with a non-existent older boyfriend, who was seeking an abortion. The subsequent video attempted to prove that Planned Parenthood was ignoring cases of sex trafficking, child abuse, or parental notification laws. Despite her best efforts, Planned Parenthood still hasn’t been brought up on either state or federal criminal charges as a result of Lila’s carefully edited, not so shocking exposés.

So now, Lila is off in another direction - one that, due to its prurient subtext, has gotten attention from the sexually skewed right wing and its media mouthpiece Fox News. Her latest tactic is to have that “15 year old” go to a Planned Parenthood and engage the counselor in talk about alternative sexual practices. Last week, she appeared on Hannity to discuss, OMG, her video which purported to show the Colorado Planned Parenthood worker encouraging the teen to engage in “sadistic” practices. Hannity was chagrined and appalled. Last night, she made yet another appearance on The Factor where she and Bill discussed her latest kink based sting at an Oregon Planned Parenthood.

O’Reilly began by citing how Planned Parenthood gets tax money. He described how Live Action “staged an undercover sting operation…and the results are shocking.” O’Reilly was visibly agitated as he described how the video shows a discussion of "controversial sex practices." He issued a “strong viewer warning” because “what we are about to show you is ultra disturbing.” (Don’t want gramps to go into cardiac arrest!)

He showed video of the “15 year old” asking about role play. The counselor merely responded to the “girl’s” questions with accurate information. Included in the talk was the importance of communication and setting limits. While the counselor mentioned “pornos,” she added that the girl was under age. Nothing to see here move along - but that’s because Bill “didn’t run the explicit stuff about bondage and sadomasochistic stuff that the woman there” told the alleged patient.

Lovely Lila talked about how she has lots more videos “showing Planned Parenthood and their very destructive, dangerous sex counseling of who they think are underage girls." (Thank you Fox for showing the counselor who is probably getting "pro-life" death threats as we speak!) Father Bill opined that the conversation "was totally inappropriate." Bill prompted her to talk about how Planned Parenthood is encouraging underage girls to "access" sex shops and how the clinics are promoting "sadomasochism, bondage and discipline, destructive sexual practices, porn sites." She brayed about statutory rape and how Planned Parenthood has been investigated for years (with NO results) because they "don’t take child/adult relationship seriously" and "don’t report sexual abuse.” (they do.)

Both O’Reilly and Rose cited federal and “Obamacare” money going to Planned Parenthood” under, according to Bill, "the guise of education and this is the kind of education they’re giving 15 year old girls." Lila brayed about the taxpayer money going to "killing children in the womb" and worked in one more "destructive sexual practices” reference.  She urged parents to urge schools “to kick Planned Parenthood out.” Bill: “Absolutely.”

So, uh, if a girl has questions about sexual practices, she should be told to STFU and go see her parish priest about her sinful thoughts? Seriously, if a kid is old enough to ask these questions, shouldn’t they get respectful and factually accurate information? Lord knows that Bill O’Reilly’s viewers don’t!

Priscilla at

In his continued crusade against the Common Core education standards, Glenn Beck encouraged people across the country to boycott tests associated with Common Core, later declaring, “The day we’re all willing to peacefully go to jail like Martin Luther King, we will win.”

In a live broadcast to nearly 700 theaters nationwide, Beck and his fellow anti-Common Core “warriors” joined forces Tuesday night to “make Common Core history" (emphasis original) in a two-hour live movie titled We Will Not Conform. Those “warriors” included conservative commentator and notorious Common Core misinformer Michelle Malkin, hosts Dana Loesch and Pat Gray from Beck’s TheBlaze, “self-proclaimed historian” David Barton, Townhall columnist Terrence MooreJay Spencer of Liberty University (a sponsor of the event), and representatives from state-based groups waging war on Common Core.

The participants also included Matt Kibbe and Ellen Wheeler from FreedomWorks, a group which ”started out as the Koch-funded Citizens for a Sound Economy” and came under scrutiny last year “due to bizarre internal feuding and questions about its finances.” Former FreedomWorks chairman Dick Armey told Media Matters at the time that “the group wasted money by paying Glenn Beck $1 million … to fundraise for the organization.”

This live event is just the latest salvo in Beck’s campaign against the state-based education standards, which were originally adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia. Beck and co-author Kyle Olson released a book in May called Conform, which, in addition to baselessly attacking teachers and public schools for 222 pages, argued that Common Core helps progressives remove parents from their children’s lives. The day before the event, Beck compared Common Core to slavery.

We Will Not Conform was structured around five “working groups,” each tasked with formulating strategies for the different types of tools viewers could use to help defeat Common Core in their states: research and resources, politics, messaging, grassroots organizing, and alternatives to public schools. Many of the right-wingmedia’sfavoritemyths about Common Core were featured in these working groups, including accusations of the standards as a “national program” and “takeover of education,” of being “top-down” and “control-usurping,” and wanting to “cash in on your children.”

Some of the most egregious rhetoric from the evening included:

  • Glenn Beck equating the fight against Common Core to "David versus Goliath," and saying that "The day we’re all willing to peacefully go to jail like Martin Luther King, we will win."
  • Michelle Malkin asserting that Common Core turns kids into experimental “guinea pigs,” and declaring,"We’re locked and loaded."
  • Terrence Moore claiming that "progressive education is trying to take away the great stories" of American education, which is not what “Thomas Jefferson” would have wanted.
  • The Blaze’s Buck Sexton interviewing six parents and their children about their experiences with Common Core, asking the children questions like, "How many of you think Common Core is confusing, for no reason?" and "Big thumbs down for Common Core, huh?"

These attacks come as a few states are pulling out of Common Core. Coincidentally, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (R), “previously a Common Core supporter,” signed legislation ”designed to replace the controversial Common Core academic standards” the same night as Beck’s event. States’ moves to repeal the standards come on the heels of extreme right-wing rhetoric from the likes of Beck, Malkin, and others.

At the end of the night, Beck encouraged viewers to “stand up” and “stay the course” because “our children’s future is at stake” and they “will thank you for it.” He also announced that a post-event action plan to “stop Common Core’s federal takeover of education” would be made available online.

h/t: Hilary Tone at MMFA 


H/T: Brian Tashman at RWW

Arne Duncan should resign. 

h/t: Laura Clawson at Daily Kos Labor


The news: Teaching students that creationism is an evidence-based theory is now banned in all public schools across the United Kingdom, according to new documents from the British government. Here are the new standards, which institute a:

requirement for every academy and free school to provide a broad and balanced curriculum in any case prevents the teaching of creationism as evidence based theory in any academy or free school.

According to io9, this means any “academy or free school” in the U.K. which teaches creationism to students would be breaking its funding agreement with the government. Academies are roughly equivalent to charter schools in the U.S., while “free schools” are nonprofit independent schools funded by taxpayer dollars, which can be organized by parents, teachers, charities and businesses. The new language updates a 2012 rule which required all future free schools that teach the theory of natural selection alone to include academies and all existing free schools.

This means that the U.K. is on track to more or less completely end the practice of teaching creationism in publicly funded schools. However, it does permit creationism and other beliefs about the origin of the Earth and life to be taught in classes on religion, so long as they are not presented as valid alternatives to scientific theory. While there are further reforms needed in other educational sectors across the U.K., it looks like the biggest step toward getting religion out of taxpayer-funded science classes has just been accomplished.

Contrast that to the U.S.: In the U.S., some $1 billion in taxpayer funding across 14 states goes to private schools. Earlier this year, Politico reported that those private schools included “hundreds of religious schools that teach Earth is less than 10,000 years old, Adam and Eve strolled the garden with dinosaurs and much of modern biology, geology and cosmology is a web of lies.”

In the U.S., just the states of Louisiana and Tennessee currently permit creationism and its offshoot, intelligent design, to be taught as alternatives to evolution in public schools. But across much of the South and Midwest, private schools that teach creationism are able to accept millions of dollars in public funding. Slate has a relatively up-to-date, comprehensive map of such schools here. There really are hundreds of them.


Map of schools teaching creationism. Image Credit: Slate

From Politico’s report:

… many of these faith-based schools go beyond teaching the biblical story of the six days of creation as literal fact. Their course materials nurture disdain of the secularworld, distrust of momentous discoveries and hostility toward mainstream scientists. They often distort basic facts about the scientific method — teaching, for instance, that theories such as evolution are by definition highly speculative because they haven’t been elevated to the status of “scientific law.”

One set of books popular in Christian schools calls evolution “a wicked and vain philosophy.” Another derides “modern math theorists” who fail to view mathematics as absolute laws ordained by God. The publisher notes that its textbooks shun “modern” breakthroughs — even those, like set theory, developed back in the 19th century.

In the U.S., the settled science of evolution is still pretty touchy. Missouri, for example, is considering a bill that would "alert" parents to any discussion of natural evolution in schools. And a 2013 Pew poll found that just 6 in 10 Americans believe that life evolved over time (including via the guidance of a supreme being), compared to 87% of scientists.

Why you should care: Pew found that Americans widely disagree with scientists on a variety of issues, including embryonic stem cell research, the use of animals in laboratory testing, nuclear power, childhood vaccinations and the causes and scale of global warming. At a time when the economy increasingly values education in highly technical STEM fields and large-scale scientific projects are more important than ever before, it would be nice if taxpayer dollars funded secular, scientific education instead of religious dogma.

Source: Tom McKay for Policy Mic

Notorious misinformer Glenn Beck appeared on Fox News to push various myths about the Common Core education standards while promoting his upcoming live movie We Will Not Conform.

On June 12, Fox’s Sean Hannity hosted Beck, a former Fox host and founder of The Blaze network, to discuss the Common Core State Standards, which were adopted in 2010 by 45 states and the District of Columbia. “Political turbulence” surrounding the standards, however, has led a few states to opt out of Common Core, following months-long smear campaigns from right-wing media figures, including Beck andFox. Beck even wrote an “angry and ignorant" book titled Conform, which spent 222 pages lobbing ridiculous attacks against the standards and public education in general.

On Hannity, Beck plugged his July 22 live movie, which will also feature fellow Common Core misinformer and conservative columnist Michelle Malkin. After Hannity explained that Beck was “going to show in this movie how to defeat Common Core,” Beck claimed that Common Core opponents are “winning on this.” He then propagated a series of myths about the standards, including that Common Core is about “control, manipulation, [and] propaganda” and that it takes away freedom from teachers, despite polls showing that teachers support it. Beck even likened Common Core to education in China because it “use[s] propaganda in the classroom” to “shape these minds to get them to be good little boys and girls for the state.”

Given that he launched his campaign against Common Core by stating, “We will not save our country unless we save it first from this attack,” Beck’s live movie promises to be yet another absurd ruse in his constant, fact-free crusade again Common Core.

h/t: Hilary Tone at MMFA 



South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) on Monday learned the perils of automatically cross-posting messages from one social media account to another when this botched tweet went out into the world:

No, the state isn’t shuttering all its schools. Rather, the sentence was an unfortunately clipped version of a longer message posted to Haley’s Instagram that said the state would “no longer educate children based on where they are born.”

Below is the full message from Instagram:

South Carolina made history this year by passing education reform. We will no longer educate children based on where they are born. Through reading coaches, technology investments, and expanding charter schools we just confirmed that we want our children to be the future workforce for our growing high tech jobs! #ItIsAGreatDayInSC

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

HB 5707, a bill aimed at curbing school bullying in the state, is now waiting for Gov. Pat Quinn’s signature.

The legislation, sponsored by lesbian state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, passed the Senate May 29 with 37 votes in favor after being amended, and proceeded to pass the house with 75 votes in favor of concurrence.

"Bullying in our schools has dramatic impacts on the victims and disrupts the educational process as a whole" Cassidy said in a statement. "The effects are devastating and well documented: victims have reduced academic achievement, lower involvement and are often forced out of school. Our schools must be safe and welcoming for all students, and this bill is a significant step towards that goal."

The bill lays out a clear bullying policy for schools as well as responsive measures. It also directs that schools compile and report data on bullying incidents.

"What I hear from [families of bullied children] so often, when they speak with schools or police, is that they are often told, ‘You are the first ones this has happened to’—that opens the door to blaming the victim," Cassidy told Windy City Times shortly after the bill passed out of committee in March. "With this, you can go back and verify that something else happened on a particular date."

An anti-bullying measure failed in the Senate in 2012 by just one vote. Cassidy has said the new measure is stronger and includes some facets that had to be deleted before.

"A comprehensive approach is needed to solve this issue," Cassidy said in the May 29 statement. "By giving school districts the tools to combat bullying, with an emphasis on restorative practices and accountability through data, we can help ensure a safe and healthy learning environment for children and schools."

h/t: Matt Simonette at Windy City Times

Glenn Beck released a new book last week on everything that is supposedly wrong with education in America. The title, Conform: Exposing the Truth about Common Core and Public Education, gives most of it away.

Most people know Glenn Beck from his previous stint on Fox News or from the various media outlets associated with Conform Book Coverhis networkThe Blaze. His co-author Kyle Olson, on the other hand, appears to be up-and-coming in the right-wing media sphere. Currently, he is the publisher, founder, and CEO of, a “news service dedicated to education reform and school spending research, reporting, analysis and commentary.” He is also a contributor to Townhall, and just last week launched a new conservative website called Progressives Today with “Dumbest Man on the Internet” Jim Hoft.

In Conform, Beck and Olson take on everything from teachers unions’ to the Common Core State Standards to school lunches to abortion in a book characterized by anecdotal evidence, sweeping generalizations, and quotes from anonymous bloggers. The focus of their ire is what they call the “controllists,” defined as “the teachers’ unions and their progressive friends in the media and the state legislatures.” In 222 pages, Beck and Olson lob a number of outlandish attacks against the various evils they perceive in public education, relying on such conservative actors as Michelle Malkin, the Heritage FoundationNational ReviewThe Wall Street Journal, and the Heartland Institute to do so.

Here are the eight most ridiculous attacks from Conform:

1. Longer School Days Help Teachers Encourage “Teen Sexual Activity.”

Beck and Olson seem convinced that teachers are not only “promot[ing] sexual activity among children,” but would use longer school days to “encourage teen sexual activity,” among other radical ideas (emphasis added):

Educators back then knew that some parents were too shy or awkward to broach the subject, so schools made sure kids would have basic knowledge to build on as they grew and developed their own points of view.

Today the trend seems to be to promote sexual activity among children, rather than gradually preparing kids for the facts of adult life.


There’s also the issue of what our kids would learn with even more hours at school. Many of these educators would relish the opportunity to spend more time feeding students a steady stream of radical, anti-American political ideas, encouraging teen sexual activity, and deemphasizing the importance of traditional values and religion. [Conform, pgs. 126 & 138]

2. “Most Teachers Get A Raise For Not Dying Over The Summer.”

In Chapter 3, which purports to counter the myth that “Public Schools Are Underfunded,” Beck and Olson take issue with teacher compensation:

In most school districts across the nation, all teachers are given automatic, annual raises every year based on years of service and number of graduate classes completed. To put it bluntly, most teachers get a raise for not dying over the summer— their classroom performance, or lack thereof, has nothing to do with it. [Conform, pg. 15]

3.  Teachers Don’t Need Tenure Because “Parents Will Hold [Principals] Accountable.”

Chapter 6 asserts that teachers don’t need tenure because if a good teacher is fired, parents will take care of that:

What should protect teachers is what protects anyone who must continually justify their job: success. Good teachers continue working, bad ones go away. And if a good teacher is fired without cause or because of some political grudge or ideological difference with a principal, you can be sure that parents will hold that principal accountable. [Conform, pg. 34]

4. Teachers’ Colleges Are "Not Very Hard" To Get Into And Are "Marxist Brainwashing Factories."

Beck and Olson have numerous thoughts on teaching colleges in Chapter 8, among them that teaching colleges are “not very hard at all to get accepted into,” and that they are “Marxist brainwashing factories” (emphasis added):

On the flip side, it’s not very hard at all to get accepted into our nation’s teaching collegesOnce you’re in, you don’t have to do extremely well to graduate and gain certification to teach in a K- 12 school. As the Wall Street Journal put it, “entrance requirements to most colleges of education are too lax, and the requirements for graduation are too low.”


Newly minted teachers emerge from college with few English skills, little respect for the discipline, and heads filled with ideas about the fundamental unfairness of America and how capitalism and individualism are terrible things.


Meanwhile, reformers keep pushing for the expansion of alternate teaching certification so that at least some prospective educators can find jobs and help kids learn without having to first be processed through Marxist brainwashing factories. [Conform, pgs. 49, 50, 52, & 56]

5. “Radical Educators” Use Civil Rights To “Further Their Marxist Agenda.”

Continuing on the “Marxism” train, Chapter 9 opens with the allegation that “America’s historic civil rights movement is being hijacked by radical educators” who use “racial inequities” “to further their Marxist agenda” (emphasis added):

America’s historic civil rights movement is being hijacked by radical educators.

It’s all part of their effort to take control over what our children learn and think with the hope that future generations will be more accommodating to efforts to dismantle our nation’s capitalistic economic system and impose state control and socialism.

Radical educators are very clever to use civil rights, and the racial inequities that have plagued our society for centuries, as a tool to further their Marxist agenda.That’s because few Americans disagree with the fundamental arguments of the original civil rights movement— that barriers needed to be removed so that people of all races can have an equal chance to achieve the American dream. [Conform, pgs. 59 & 60]

6. Common Core Helps Progressives Remove Parents From Their Children’s Lives.

Beck doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to Common Core. Indeed, he has been one of the most vocal right-wing media figures leading the charge against the state-led, voluntary education standards.Conform, however, makes the new, bizarre assertion that the Common Core State Standards somehow lead to a removal of parents from their children’s lives (emphasis added):

Since most parents don’t understand the Common Core techniques, students are becoming more dependent on their schools and teachers for their education, and less on help from their parents. This is like a dream come true for progressives who hope to continue to minimize the role of parents in the lives of their children.


Do these really sound like “rigorous” changes to you? Or does it sound more like a systematic approach to dumb down our kids and further remove parents from the process so that students will be easier to indoctrinate and control? [Conform, pgs. 93 & 95]

7. “Controllists” Want To Serve School Meals So That Kids Will Be In School More And To Teach Kids That Everything Is Free.

In one of their odder arguments, Beck and Olson claim that “controllists” use the school meals program to “make the case that kids must be in school more” and that school meals will teach kids “the concept of ‘free’ public handouts”:

By serving one or two meals a day to students, schools and controllists can begin to make the case that kids must be in school more so that they can eat properly.


All this fits perfectly with the controllists’ strategy of teaching children that all good things originate with the state. Once kids learn that their parents are not responsible for providing any meals because the government covers that cost for everyone, it’s not hard to take the next step and teach them the concept of “free” public handouts for everything, including education, health care, and housing. [Conform, pg. 136]

8. Former President George W. Bush and Governor Chris Christie Are “Progressives.”

Amidst their criticism of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act and the idea of kids staying at school later in the day, Beck and Olson assert that former President George W. Bush and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) are “progressives”:

NCLB was the brainchild of George W. Bush and Ted Kennedy, both big-government progressives.


Some progressives are seeing the opportunity this gives them and are pushing this concept beyond school hours. In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christies [sic] has started a pilot program to provide free “after school dinner” for kids in six Camden schools. [Conform, pgs. 75 & 136]

Researcher Connor Land contributed to this review.

h/t: Hilary Tone at MMFA

h/t: Conor P. Williams at TPM