One year after Pearl Harbor Day, Americans were launching battleships, writes Mike Antonucci of Education Intelligence Agency, responding to the National Education Association's Sept. 11 lesson plans and plans for candlelight vigils, bell ringing, free long-distance phone calls (huh?), etc.

Annual formal memorials came after the war was over...How should we honor the victims of September 11 and their families? By locating all those who support, direct and harbor terrorists, and destroying them. When they are utterly defeated, then we can put up the shrines, develop lesson plans and argue endlessly over what really happened.

Antonucci notes that the academic who wrote the don't-blame-anyone material for the NEA is listed as an expert in biological rhythms, hypnosis, sports psychology and youth baseball. Today, Little League. Tomorrow, the world.

Cultural Suicide

Mark Steyn thinks we're losing the war against multiculturalist self-hatred. He writes:

I don’t think the teachers’ union are ‘Hate America’ types. Very few Americans are. But, rather, they’re in thrall to something far craftier than straightforward anti-Americanism -- a kind of enervating cult of tolerance in which you demonstrate your sensitivity to other cultures by being almost totally insensitive to your own.

Our cultural leaders are unwilling to say that our culture -- rights for women and minorities, rule of law, etc. -- is worth fighting for, or even talking for, Steyn argues.

George W. Bush had a rare opportunity after [Sept. 11]. He could have attempted to reverse the most toxic tide in the Western world: the sappy multiculturalism that insists all cultures are equally valid, even as they’re trying to kill us. He could have argued that Western self-loathing is a psychosis we can no longer afford. He could have told the teachers’ unions that there was more to the second world war than the internment of Japanese-Americans, and it’s time they started teaching it to our children.

I'm more optimistic than Steyn because I think Americans simply don't follow cultural leaders who can't tell the difference between murder and self-defense or between burkas and halter tops. They're not leading anyone, except for each other.

Seeing Ugly

Toby Keith's Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue/The Angry American is a song popular with ugly Americans, says John Sutherland in the Guardian.

Outside the metropolitan areas, two kinds of programme dominate: the God channels and "C&W." Bible-bashers threatening hellfire and fat guys with silly hats, twanging geetars, fu-manchus and pony tails, serenading purty gals, Chevy Tahoes, bars duskily lit by Budweiser neon, and the "real" values of red neck and blue collar.

Umm...He can hear all that -- obesity, hat, mustache, ponytail -- on his car radio? Those Brits are sensitive.

Sutherland believes liberals are "enraged" by Angry American's ass-kicking. His enraged liberal is "Paul" Jennings of ABC, who "is from that distinguished generation of newscasters who dragged middle America back from the Vietnam madness." He means Peter Jennings, of course. I don't know what he means about the dragging part. The soldiers came back on airplanes.

Jennings, by the way, claims he likes the song but dropped it from his musical Fourth of July special because he didn't think it should go first, as required by Keith's busy schedule.

McHunger

Bloggers are jeering at a Norwegian charity that objects to the McAfrika -- allegedly inspired by African cuisine, though it looks a lot like a cheeseburger to me, only with fancy bread. Apparently it's "insensitive" to imply that Africans eat food not donated by worthy Europeans.

Scott Ott of Scrappleface reports that McDonald's is opening a protest-oriented restaurant.

"We looked at the demographics and it just made sense," according to the news release. "Protestors are everywhere and they're very vocal about what they like and what they don't. In essence, they're the ultimate target market. If our regular customers stood in the streets shouting about their personal preferences, we'd be out there with tape recorders. These protestors have really opened our eyes to opportunity.

The new restaurants will not serve piping hot coffee, nor anything with fat, nor products containing monosodium glutamate (MSG), nor anything that might have come from a mad cow, nor the new McAfrika sandwich.

But what will they serve? I have the solution: Cater to hunger fasters. Serve nothing.

McNothing without Grilled Bun and Special Sauce: $4.75

McNothing without Bun, Sauce and without Medium Water: $5.75

Supersized McNothing without Large Water: $6.75

Crispy McNothing Fingers without Flies: $5.25

McNothing Happy Meal (comes with nothing -- not recommended for children under 18): $4.75

Teacher For a Year

With an emergency credential, two weeks of training and some borrowed supplies, Larry Slonaker taught seventh grade "language arts" at a Gilroy, Calif., middle school. Slonaker, a San Jose Mercury News writer who took a year's leave of absence, writes on what he learned as a teacher. First lesson: It takes superhuman patience.

Slonaker spent the first week on commonly misspelled words, including "its" and "it's." For homework, he assigned students to write a sentence for each of 10 spelling words. When he collected the homework, he discovered most students still used "its" as a contraction.

That was the day I first felt an inkling of how much patience I would need. The feeling was distilled in one simple sentence that came from a happy-go-lucky student in sixth period.

After several preliminary missteps ("Were are my shoes at?" and -- optimistically -- "Their is not eny homework for today"), he submitted this for sentence No. 8:

"Its a plauser to meat you Mr. Slonaker."

For several moments I stared at this -- particularly at the words "its" and "meat." I began to picture my body passing through a hamburger grinder, with the student hospitably turning the crank.

Then there was the time the janitor found a crumpled piece of paper with "kill Slonaker" written on it 17 times. At least "kill" and "Slonaker" were both spelled correctly.

In part two, Slonaker deals with classroom management. What do you do when your students shoot staples at each other with rubber bands? Hide the stapler. It's easier to deal with missiles made of paper wads. Or, as one student wrote: "I trove a think to my freend."

Why School-School Is Better

Scrappleface posts Ten Reasons To Criminalize Homeschooling, including:

Most parents were educated in the underfunded public school system, and so are not smart enough to homeschool their own children.

Letters

Ruth K. Ivey of Alabama:

Thank you for reporting on the controversy in California regarding non-credentialed parents teaching their children at home.

As a formerly homeschooled student, and now as a homeschool parent, it has always amazed me the degree to which the National Education Association and many states' boards of education desire to stomp homeschooling into the dirt. The statistics are well-known regarding the high level of quality education received by students from their non-credentialed parents at home. Statistics also show that there is almost no real difference in the quality of education received from credentialed vs. non-credentialed parents. Educational quality isn't the issue here.

Loss of per student funds for the public schools shouldn't factor into the discussion of whether homeschooling is a viable alternative to a public school education. If a child can be taught at least as well, if not better, at home, then that is all that matters.

Bear in mind that parents who homeschool care so much about the quality of education that their children receive, they are willing to pay for that education twice: once in the form of taxes to the state and federal governments for public school education and a second time when they purchase books and other teaching supplies for their homeschool.

Vicki Campbell, Santa Cruz, Calif.:

Homeschooled kids are kickin' major butt in test scoring and spelling bees all over the country because they're being REQUIRED to learn by a teacher who gives a darn about their future, namely, their parent. When are we gonna flush the Department of Education, both at the State and Federal levels? It's nuts.

Ruthie Carpenter, Wisconsin:

Does anyone really think the liberals are going to allow all those independent, free-thinking, intelligent kids out there? Kids they can't control through the school system? They could have Christian ideas, or even conservative ideas! I can especially see this in California where liberal thought is always "correct" and anything different is not tolerated. Regulations on homeschooling is always and only a control issue.

When people state that there should be more regulations, oversight by government and testing, my response is: "When the state can successfully educate 100 percent of their kids, they can look at mine. But until that time, they have enough to do."

Scott Olsen:

Someone needs to inform the State of California that the Supreme Court ruled in 1925 that parents can homeschool.

In Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 1076 (1925) the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an Oregon law which required all children to attend public school. 

The Court declared: "The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations." 

The Court emphasized that "the liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control" is guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.

Ralph Bone, Virginia Beach, Va.:

Thank you so much for creatively and humorously expressing our sullen, impotent rage at the stupid-assed public school bureaucracy. 

We are the parents, one a teacher, of two men who received a combination of home school, private school, and a small amount of public school. One of them is a combat veteran and the other a recent university graduate. Their opinions on life originated with us and not with the public school system. It took strength to make this happen.

Lori Funderburk:

Thank you for bringing out the NEA's stupidity on "tolerance" and Sept. 11, and making public their VERY CLEAR agenda to brainwash the American youth. Between the union and the bureaucrats, we teachers have our hands tied.

There are many more of us sensible-minded teachers out there than there are of those mush-brains that will roll over and do whatever they are told. The NEA would have you believe that all teachers have the same political, moral, religious and social views, and that those views are somehow superior to all of you "non-education" people out there. 

It's enough to make me want to homeschool my children.

Frank McClure, Tennessee:

Thank you for cornering the tolerance caveat. If we are to respect every other culture's ideologies as equal to our own and tolerate them, then we have to accept that the elders of a small Pakistani town can rape an 18-year old girl because her 11-year old brother was seen walking with a woman.

By the way, we live in Tennessee and we home school.


Joanne Jacobs used to have a paying job as a Knight-Ridder columnist and San Jose Mercury News editorial writer. Now she blogs for tips at ReadJacobs.com while writing a book, Start-Up High, about a San Jose charter school. She's never gotten a dime from Enron. 

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