The Engage Family Blog

Official Blog of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia

Posts Tagged ‘education

StopJennings.org

with 7 comments

The czar leading the Department of Safe and Drug-Free Schools under the US Department of Education is one Kevin Jennings who, in his memoirs, said:

What had [God] done for me, other than make me feel shame and guilt? Squat.  [Sr*w] you, buddy – I don’t need you around anymore.

Read more at www.stopjennings.com.

Advertisements

Written by Jeremy Dys

September 29, 2009 at 9:02 am

US Department of Education Really GLSEN’s

leave a comment »

The man tapped by the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, to lead the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, Kevin Jennings, has quite the interesting past, according to www.stopjennings.com.  As another “czar” in the Obama administration who is not subject to confirmation by any elected official and serves merely at the pleasure of the Secretary of Education and the President, Mr. Jennings comes to the DOE after starting the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network or GLSEN (pronounced, “glisten”).

Charged with keeping schools drug free and safe, Mr. Jennings has an eye-opening worldview.  You can (and should) read more at stopjennings.com, but here’s a quote from Jennings – the head of DRUG-FREE schools:

I got stoned more often and went out to the beach at Bellows, . . . spending hours watching the planes take off and land at the airport, which is actually quite fascinating when you are drunk and stoned.

Wow.  Read more here.

Written by Jeremy Dys

September 28, 2009 at 1:47 pm

President to Students: Stay in Schools I Never Attended

with 2 comments

Today, President Obama is to address the students of America’s schools.  A few private schools will likely tune into the address, but mostly public schools will be the ones carrying the address live across the country.  It is an address that has been met with not a little controversy.

Critics of the President cite the original “proposed lesson plans” and attendant “I Pledge” video that asked students to make a “pledge” to President Obama as attempts to indoctrinate our children in neo-socialism.  The White House has since, commendably, backed away from the controversial lesson plans.

Now, the President will simply offer a relatively benign speech, one that is commendable of any President who would dare his nation to dream bigger and do more.    (For more on this point, see Al Mohler’s insightfully balanced piece on the subject.)

Still, I have mixed feelings about this address.  It is laudable that President Obama is offering a challenge to the students of America to set goals, dream big, achieve what others say is impossible, etc.  And, I don’t have a problem with a President addressing students; in fact, I find such a speech a good lesson in civics for our students.

Yet, at the same time, I can’t help but feel a bit of an Orewellian tone to the President’s speech.  It’s also unfortunate that I see very little regard given to the parent’s role in education within his remarks.

My frustration over the President’s remarks today are not out of an irrational fear of indoctrination; if I’m concerned at all, it is over the expansion of paternalism.  Mostly, I’m entertained by the irony of the speech.  In the end, like many others, I’m left wanting something more.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jeremy Dys

September 8, 2009 at 8:00 am

Abstinence: A Guaranteed Way To Avoid Pregnancy and STD’s

with one comment

By Nathan A. Cherry

 The liberal left, Planned Parenthood, and other proponents of contraceptive-based sex-education will try to tell us that such education is the only way to reduce teen pregnancy and STD’s; despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

 Recently the CDC reported that teen pregnancy and STD rates are at all-time highs, and continuing to climb. (Click here for the CDC report)

 Then there is a recent report found at Citizenlink.org showing research results from many major research institutions on a variety of teen related topics. This report shows the link between teen depression/suicide and sexual activity, and the positive effects of parent-teen homework assignments designed to reinforce communication between parents and teens.

 But quite strikingly is the findings related to abstinence education on the rate of sexual initiation and sexual activity among teens. Here are several conclusions from the report:

                “Researchers examined the impact of a school-based abstinence education program on the initiation of sexual intercourse by virgin adolescents. They also sought to determine the program’s impact on adolescent social cognitive factors linked to adolescent sexual initiation. The researchers concluded that the program achieved its goal of reducing the rate at which adolescents initiated sexual intercourse. Adolescent virgins who participated in the program were approximately one-half as likely as non-participants to initiate sexual activity after one year.”

“This paper discusses 21 studies of abstinence education. Fifteen studies examined abstinence programs that were intended primarily to teach abstinence. Of these 15 studies, 11 reported positive findings. The other six studies analyzed virginity pledges, and of these six studies, five reported positive findings. Overall, 16 of the 21 studies reported statistically significant positive results, such as delayed sexual initiation and reduced levels of early sexual activity, among youths who have received abstinence education. Five studies did not report any significant positive results.”

“The authors analyzed data from interviews with 3,750 men and 3,620 women, conducted for the National Longitudinal Study of Youth (1979 to 2000). They found that women who were virgins at age 18 were, by middle adulthood (between ages 36 and 43), more likely than their peers to be debt-free and less likely to have used welfare benefits or to have experienced health problems. Both men and women who were virgins at age 18 attained more education than their peers and were half as likely to become divorced by middle adulthood. These findings held true when the authors controlled for ethnicity and measures of previous educational or economic disadvantage.”

What should be immediately apparent is the obvious and positive role that abstinence education plays in the lives of teens. This is not partisan politics we are talking about here; this is the health and well-being of our children. Anyone who denies the positive results of abstinence education is quite simply foolish. If the ultimate goal is to see our children stay healthy then abstinence is the only guaranteed way to achieve that objective. How can a girl get pregnant if she doesn’t have sex? How can a young man contract an STD if he does not have sex? It is practically impossible. Anyone who says otherwise is deceiving themselves.

And yet, our government would like to further push a failing program of contraceptive education. And why? Because there is a mentality that says kids are going to have sex anyways, so let’s just show them the right way to do it. Well, kids are going to drink illegally, should we show them how to do that “properly” as well? Maybe we should lower the drinking age to make it easier on everyone. That is the mentality behind the ludicrous idea of teaching grade-school children about sex. Hey, Uncle Sam, that is mom and dad’s job. Hey, mom and dad, that is your job.

The fact that contraceptive education is failing is a growing fact among social analysts. Moira Gaul, Director of Women’s and Reproductive Health at the Family Research Council, says,

After 30 years of implementation and evaluation, there is no compelling evidence of contraceptive distribution and instruction programs having had a sustained and meaningful effect on “protective” behaviors-that is, “consistent and correct condom use” in classroom-type settings. As a public health intervention method, contraceptive programs have simply failed American youth: An STD epidemic currently exists amongst young people. One in four teenage girls nationwide has an STD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the U.S. continues to have the highest teen pregnancy rate in the industrialized world; and the toll from the negative psychological [effects] associated with adolescent sex is having an impact on mental health and the pursuit of life-goals.”

Not only are contraception programs failing, they are helping contribute to single parent homes in poverty, substance abuse, lower academic achievement, and school drop-out rates according to Gaul. And yet our government wants to continue pushing these programs. Something tells me they are not concerned at all for the health and well-being of our children, but rather the pockets of their financial donors.

There will never be such a thing as a 100% successful public sex-education program. But evidence for success is overwhelmingly on the side of abstinence education over contraception education when it comes to the overall short and long-term health and well-being of children. That should be enough for any person, republican, democrat or otherwise to support such education.

Further Food for Thought: “Abstinence Education is the Key,” by Moira Gaul
“Abstinence Education: A Selection of Research,” by Linda Klepacki

Enjoy this post?  Get more like them by subscribing to the Family Voice, the official blog of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia

Who’s Indoctrinating Who? The Fight for Fair and Balanced Science Education in Texas

with 10 comments

A bitter battle is brewing in the Lone Star state of Texas. Just last week the Texas State Board of Education began hearing testimony for and against its proposed standards for teaching science, according to a story in the Dallas Morning News.

 

The battle is regarding how evolution should be taught. Evolution supporters want language that suggests Darwin’s theory of evolution has weaknesses removed from the teaching curriculum. While opponents of evolution who support Intelligent Design, Creationism, or just fair and balanced science education say that the current guidelines have been working and should be left alone.

 

“College professors, science teachers and pro-evolution groups urged the board to drop a rule that requires the strengths and weaknesses of Darwin’s theory to be taught in science courses, while conservative groups aligned with a sizable bloc of board members said the rule has worked well and hasn’t forced religion into those classes as critics charge…” (Check the Texas Education Agency website for further details).

 

But opponents, such as the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Executive Director for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU) disagree with the current standards that allow teaching “strengths and weaknesses.”

 

“Public school should educate, not indoctrinate. The Religious Right is exploiting Texas public schools to push a narrow viewpoint and in the process is doing a great disservice to its students, not to mention undermining the mandates of our Constitution. Let’s just hope members of the Texas school board recognize the ‘strengths and weaknesses’ language for what it is. If they don’t, they could be inviting public school districts to face some costly litigation.” (Click here for full article.)

 

The above sentiments by Mr. Lynn are, in my opinion, hypocritical, oxy-moronic, and well, perhaps just plain moronic. To say that teaching views other than evolution is a “narrow viewpoint” is just ridiculous. How can it be narrow to include other viable possibilities to the earth’s creation? Is it not extremely narrow to demand that only one view be taught in schools and that all other possibilities be excluded? That seems awfully narrow to me.

 

And don’t get me wrong here. I am not pushing for one side or the other. I am simply making the argument that what seems in the best interest of students is to present them with ALL the arguments and viewpoints and then to allow them to make their own decision. I know, the idea of letting students think for themselves and make up their own minds is scary to some, such as Mr. Lynn. Why does Mr. Lynn and so many others have such a blinding desire to make sure that every student hears only about evolution and then to accept that particular “theory”?

 

Could it be that Mr. Lynn and so many others are afraid that if alternative views are taught that students just might believe one of them and throw Darwin’s theory aside; as so many scientists have already done? (Click Here for a list of scientists who have accepted the Creation account of the Bible). It seems to me that if you believe something is concrete and irrefutable that there is nothing to worry about, and if you believed in said view that was concrete and irrefutable that you would not need to worry about other alternative teachings because after all the facts and evidence is examined your particular view would come out on top.

 

So why does it seem that those who hold to the ‘theory of evolution’ are so voracious in its defense and dead set against the teaching of any other view? The only answer I can conclude is that their ‘theory’ is not quite as stable as they would like and they are afraid of all the holes that other views could possibly poke in it; views such as Intelligent Design or Creationism. (Click here for an article on Intelligent Design, or Here for an article on Creationism.)

 

What I find most interesting is the continued claim that views such as Intelligent Design and Creationism are “unscientific,” and “religious.” Consider for a moment:

 

Any belief regarding the creation and establishment of the world can, in some way, be linked to a religious viewpoint. Certainly Intelligent Design and Creationism can be linked to Christianity and other religious views. But Evolution can be linked to Atheist and Agnostic beliefs, both of which have been established, by their own proponents, as religious views.

 

To claim that one view of the universes origin is scientific and another is not is just plain ludicrous. One of science’s most fundamental principles is that of observation. So who exactly has observed the “evolution” of anything? Just as no one today was present at the creation of the earth. So the conclusion of the matter is that it is not fair to call one science without calling the others science, because, they are, as much as evolution is, just as scientific.

 

When something is called a “theory,” as evolution is, it means that it is an option, one of several. Because, if it was the only possibly explanation it would not be called a theory it would be called a fact. But the only fact here is that scientists cannot call evolution a fact, just a theory. Therefore, it cannot be said that it is concrete, perfect, and the only viable option. It is, like every theory, full of inexplicable questions and holes, far short of being called “scientific.”

I am a firm believer in Creation. Much of this has to do with my Christian background, as I am sure many others would claim. But much of it also has to do with my own study and research on the subject. For me Evolution has far too many holes in it. And in fact, in my opinion, it takes much greater faith to believe this particular theory than it does to believe that a great and mighty God created everything through His own spoken word.

 

Call me childish, call me ignorant, call me what you like. I will not try to indoctrinate anyone with my belief. I believe that when stacked against one another that creation will come out on top every time. The facts and evidence simply outweighs that of evolution.

 

But one thing is for sure. To deprive students of the scientific data available to them for any and all theories relating to the origin of the universe is truly a crime. This is, without a doubt the very essence of indoctrination. So Mr. Lynn and his pals at the AU need to stop pointing fingers at people who would like to give students a chance for a fair and balanced science education and let schools do what they were meant to do: teach.

 

The greatest thing any teacher can hope for his students is to teach them all the facts, teach them to think critically, and then allow them to make up their own mind. If a school tells students what to believe and what to say then they have not taught anyone anything. They have simply indoctrinated them and produced masters of rhetoric.

  

Further Food for Thought:

 

Atheist turned Christian Lee Strobel investigates Creationism from a skeptical, journalistic standpoint: Click Here.

 

Articles by one of the world’s foremost apologists William Lane Craig: Click here.

 

Enjoy this post?  Get more like them by subscribing to the Family Voice, the official blog of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia

 

Written by Nathan Cherry

November 25, 2008 at 2:46 pm

From Tolerance to Intolerance: How the Normalization of Homosexuality and Same-Sex Marriage Will Lead to the Suppression of Freedom

with 26 comments

Recently popular talk show host and comedian Ellen Degeneres commented upon the position of Sarah Palin’s support of amending the Federal Constitution to define marriage between one man and one woman.  In response to Palin’s comments on Christian Broadcasting Network, Ellen said:

So if you’re wondering…how I fell about this…I don’t like it.  I don’t agree.  Maybe it’s because I’m gay that I think we should all be equal.  But I feel that we’re all equal…I don’t know what people are scared of.  Maybe they think that their children will be influenced…People are gonna be who they’re gonna be…And we need to learn to love them for who they are, and let them love who they want to love (US Magazine.Com)

I do not disagree with Ellen in that all of us have been created in the image of God and there are certain unalienable rights that we possess as human beings.   I also agree with Ellen in that we have the freedom of choice and the freedom to choose whom we give our love and affection to.  However, once our actions move beyond the realm of our own lives to the realm of impacting others health, safety, and/or convenience, then our ability to “freely choose” should be diminished (seeWe Too Are Prochoice). 

From Homosexuality is Not a Civil Right, Daniel Garcia and Robert Regier observed:

When protecting one’s inalienable and civil rights, the government must discern between liberty and license.  This requires that rights attach to persons because of their humanity, not because of their behaviors, and certainly not those behaviors that Western legal and moral tradition has regarded as inimical to the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” as stated in the Declaration (bold mine).

A person’s civil rights are not dictated by their behavior, but rather by their humanity, something that is immutable and unchangeable.  However, celebrities such as Ellen are striving to have homosexuality and same-sex marriage receive special legal protection from the government to the detriment and suppression of freedom among individuals, parents, families, church, and community organizations.   

Massachusetts and Connecticut have already succumb to this political battle, while California hangs in the balance.  California’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jack O’Connell, recently commented upon the affects of same-sex marriage on the states public education curricula:

I’ve seen the spots on the TV, and (legalized gay marriage) just isn’ going to require any kind of teaching of personal relationships or lifestyles…That’s just not an accurate statement or portrayal (AP, Public Schools Become Focus of Gay Marriage Ban).

Not only has Mr. O’Connell level such an affirmation, but Laura Schulkind who serves as the representative lawyer for school districts across California said:

The education code already has a high expectation that school districts are going to create an environment where respect for human dignity and acceptance of differences, including sexual orientation, are promoted…I don’t see how the legalization of gay marriage or the passage of Prop. 8 changes that obligation (ibid.)

Is this the case?  Will the endorsement of same-sex marriage have no bearing upon the curricula of state schools?  What will ensure that school districts of CA, or any state for that matter, will not require their schools to normalize homosexuality or same-sex marriage?  

What we will briefly observe is that the special legal protection of homosexuality and the allowance of same-sex marriage will inevitably lead to it’s normalization in state schools; therefore, directly affecting state school curricula.  Moreover, this normalization of homosexuality and same-sex marriage will lead to the suppression of freedom of individuals, private religious and civic organizations. Read the rest of this entry »