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Monday, March 28, 2011

A Tale of Two Public Schools

"The state is the great fiction by which everybody seeks to live at the expense of everybody else." — Frederic Bastiat

This is the tale of schools over a thousand miles apart. One is in Massachusetts and the other in Texas. Both are supported with taxpayer money and are supposedly responsible to the community. One believes in education while the other prefers indoctrination. You can decide which one you would want your children to attended

According to a report in the AP Texas News there is a grade school in Victoria, Texas that teaches fifth graders lessons of like by actually allowing them to experience them. “There's no money in education these days, Aloe Elementary teacher Kelly Lorance will say, unless you're a fifth-grader in her class.”

On any given day, there are hordes of cash spilling from students' fingers or waded into desks for safekeeping. One student has $500 saved, and Garrett Weber, scarcely taller than a doorknob, is already a landlord with multiple tenants.”

Lorance's students practice economics every day in their self-created society by earning fake cash, buying and selling everything from pencils to $2 rubber duckies. “It teaches them everyday life skills that you can't really teach to them in a lesson," Lorance said. "I can't really teach them how to be organized by pulling up a lesson plan. It's got to be hands on to show them what our society is."

The concept is simple: Students get paid for earning good grades or odd tasks and use it to pay obligations like desk rent or fees for missed assignments. They can even save their money and buy up other student's desks, like Garrett does.

He's a slight, blond-headed boy who wears glasses and quickly interrupts his fellow students as he explains how he's come to be a landlord. "It feels like you're gaining power over someone," he said.

Garrett bought three of his classmates' desks, lowered the monthly rent, but still nets $60 at the end of every month. His goal is to have the most money in the room and continue growing his business. "I want to buy the whole room," he said.

Every bit of the approach is student driven, Lorance said. Students set the prices for job salaries — a janitor earns $15 while a tutor earns $20 — and so on. Students also set their grading pay scale and can earn up to $3 for an "A" or owe up to $5 for missed work.

The approach comes at an ideal age and in a perfect way, said youth financial literacy expert Lori Mackey. "Employers reward sales people with commission, and so on, and when you reward a child with money, you're just teaching them how money works," she said.

Grade school is an ideal time to start simple financial concepts like compounded interest and how to buy and sell things because teachers have students in one classroom the entire day, unlike upper grades. If students grasp the concepts early, it can prevent them from financial woes later in life. "The less educated you are with money, the more it costs you," Mackey said.

With the economic climate deteriorating, Mackey believes financial literacy must start with children now more than ever. "Our states are falling apart because they can't manage money. So we, as parents and states and educators, have got to teach financial literacy," she said. "The only way we can do that is teaching our children to work with money."

But the love of money also ushers another concept — greed. When Lorance's students drop money on the floor, it quickly becomes a free-for-all.

"It's gotten wilder. Way too wild," said Destiny Rios, 11, who's seen her share of money dives. "Sometimes there are at least four people bumping heads getting money," Garrett said.

The money grab is part of the class rules to keep kids vigilant, and if cash is touching the floor, it's anybody's dollar. "If they lose their money, too bad. So sad," Lorance said. "I'm not replacing it. It's just like the real world." So far, it seems to work. "Once you drop it, you're never going to drop it again," Destiny said.

Lorance even planned for counterfeiting by buying the last and only brand of cash at a sports store. Overall, the process seems effective though it requires extra effort to manage the 27 students.

Grades are rising, and Garrett is anxious to spend his savings. "It's burning a hole in my pocket," he said.

Some of you may think this is bit severe for fifth graders, but I believe it allows them to learn responsibility, entrepreneurship and financial management, something lacking in our schools today where the trend is towards communal living and wealth sharing.

Chuck Rogér writes in American Thinker Preschools Are Using a Marxist's Theories to Manufacture Collectivists

He states: “The obsession with social versus equal justice parallels a learning theory called constructivism. A devotee to the theory, Vygotsky viewed knowledge as each person's individual "construct." The notion, contemptuous of reality, led the man to conceive methods that trap children in progressivism's central struggle: the rejection of said reality. Preschools, which use Vygotsky's creative play to relieve the tension between pretend and real worlds, implant fairy-tale realities in children. The progressive K-12 system then supercharges the Pollyannaish programming.”

“As one researcher notes, Lev Vygotsky theorized that by changing "the tools of thinking available to a child, his mind will have a radically different structure." At Metropolitan State College of Denver, the "Tools of the Mind" organization develops Vygotskyian curricula and trains teachers to wire radically different thinking into the brains of children in 18,000 preschool and kindergarten classrooms throughout America. And the number is growing.”

This teacher in Victoria, Texas is taking a different approach, more in the vein Socrates and Plato than the communist Vygotsky. She is allowing her students to learn about freedom, choices and consequences, values this Republic was funded upon.

The second school is Brookline High School, Brookline, Massachusetts. On April 30, 2005, with the help of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Boston Public Health Commission a book titled "The Little Black Book - Queer in the 21st century"” was distributed to middle school and high school age students, sans parental approval, by the Boston-based AIDS Action Committee. The event that day was designed for children and their teachers across Massachusetts, organized by the "Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network" (GLSEN). This is the group that runs "Gay-Straight Alliance" clubs in public schools across the country.(Note the link above for the Little Black Book shows extremely gross and disgusting images and text)

This book was given to schoolchildren in a public school and written with public money. On May 17, 2005 then Governor Mitt Romney said; “This is not a state-funded publication. Graphic pornographic material on the gay lifestyle has no place in any school. While I agree that medically accurate information is essential in AIDS prevention efforts, this particular publication is grossly inappropriate and should never find its way into the hands of school-aged children.” But what did he do about it — nothing. This man wants to be President of the United States and he could not bring criminal charges against the GLSEN for distributing obviously pornographic material to children.

There is not much more I can write about this publication that is fit for public consumption. I will let the “book” and the actions of the GLSEN and Governor Romney speak for themselves. However, the one thing I can say is that I would much rather send my children to school in Victoria, Texas than in Massachusetts.

There is one more report I want to add to this blog and concerns Abercrombie & Fitch. CNN Reports that U.S. retailer Abercrombie & Fitch has come under fire for offering a push-up bikini top to young girls.

Its "Ashley" bikini -- described as "padded" and a "push-up" — was posted on the Abercrombie Kids website earlier this week. The company declined to comment Saturday but noted it has since updated the description of its bikini online. The product is now being offered as a padded, "striped triangle." Bottoms are sold separately.

Los Angeles-based psychologist, Dr. Nancy Irwin, said wearing a chest-boosting bikini top at such a young age can pave the way for sexual promiscuity. “Wearing a padded bra at that age when unnecessary is encouraging sexual precociousness, a dangerous muscle to flex for the girl as well as for peers and predators,” she explained.

Human Behavior expert Patrick Wanis PhD concurred that the padded tops are both disturbing and dangerous. "Playing at sexy is an inevitable and important part of growing up. But there's a difference between exploring these ideas on your own and having them sold to you in a children's catalog," she wrote.

Gail Dines, a sociology professor at Wheelock College in Boston, similarly slammed the top, saying it would encourage girls to think about themselves in a sexual way before they are ready.

The first example exemplifies a school teaching traditional values of responsibility, entrepreneurship and financial management while the second two illustrate liberal, progressive motivated decline in our nation, akin to the moral decline that destroyed the once great Roman Empire.

So where does all of this promotion of teen and pre-teen sexuality led us to? It leads to an eleven year old girl being gang raped by one adult and six juveniles near a mall in the Moreno Valley, a community a few minutes away from where my eleven year old granddaughter lives.

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