Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Ultimate Conflict of Interest

In public schools, the faculty workspace is a place to plan, grade, and gossip about students.  Teachers share stories about which kids are on drugs, which are pregnant, which are in jail, which ones scare us...  And sometimes one can hear someone say something like, "Really, some people should be made to get a license to spawn." Obviously, the teachers making that last statement think they should be allowed to choose who can and cannot have children.  And the National Education Association supports that position:

"The National Education Association supports family planning, including the right to reproductive freedom. The Association urges the government to give high priority to making available all methods of family planning to women and men unable to take advantage of private facilities. The Association also urges the implementation of community-operated, school-based family planning clinics that will provide intensive counseling by trained personnel." ( states this is part of a 462 page handbook used by the NEA.  Full disclosure:  The NEA website does not register any hits on this language.  It may have been removed from the NEA handbook.)

So there are teachers, 'caring for our children,' while advocating to ensure that there are fewer children in the future.  The recent federal health care legislation has provided more funds for in-school health clinics.  These clinics are allowed to provide a broad range of physical and mental health services.  In the Omaha Public Schools, the enrollment and consent form for use of the health clinics reads in part:

"The Health Center will also provide immunizations, dental services, behavioral health services and make appropriate referrals to other providers. The Health Center will attempt to coordinate care with your child’s primary care provider."

The use of the word 'attempt' is  profound.  If the care provider gets a busy signal, does that qualify as an attempt?  What if the parent is in a meeting, doesn't have a cell phone, or a primary care provider?  Some parents will avoid responding to any kind of contact from the teacher or the school.  This is a fact. There are bad parents.

This simple form gives complete parental health care rights to the school and those who work there. We are all aware of the excuse that abortion is necessary for the purpose of saving the mother's mental health.  We all know that our government and its agencies pay for and promote abortion.  It would be illogical to assume that school-based health clinics would not at least recommend abortion services  to children who have been turned over to their care.  There are documented cases of this happening already. (From about a year ago...)

Further, The school nurses are given a great deal of  leeway in providing students with health services even without a waiver or an in-school clinic:

"Omaha Public School nurses are registered nurses and are professionally educated.  Our mission is to promote the physical and emotional status of students to maximize the educational process.
Optimal learning requires good health.  The school nurse is the best person to provide this service.  Please contact the school nurse whenever you have questions or concerns related to your child's health or safety...

School health services are a significant component in a continuum of care from the family to the community care system. This continuum is necessary to maintain students’ health thereby promoting optimal participation in their educational process."

A pregnancy sure could inhibit "optimal participation" in the classroom. And no, there are no direct links to Planned Parenthood  from any of these websites.  But it would be naive to think that such a referral would not take place.   

I applaud the work of people like Lila Rose, who hits the front lines to expose the lack of health care taking place in "Women's Clinics" and Planned Parenthood facilities.  But by the time our children are there, the damage has been done.  

We also need to focus on who is teaching our children.  We also need to focus on what they are being taught in schools.  We also need to focus on who is providing health care to those students who have uninvolved parents.

I am appalled that a school system would state that a school nurse is the "best person"  to provide physical and emotional health care to students.  Surely, that is the job of parents.  The school nurse should be a default position.

Finally, the existing health clinics in Omaha are in the most impoverished schools.  These schools serve our most recent immigrants, most of the African-American population, the highest English as a Second Language populations, and the highest special needs populations.  The parents of children in these schools are most likely to need free health services, and least likely to understand the implications of abdicating their rights.  That is probably the point.  As Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, once said:

Our failure to segregate morons who are increasing and multiplying
... demonstrates our foolhardy and extravagant sentimentalism ...
(The Pivot of Civilization , 1922. Chapter on "The Cruelty of Charity," pages 116, 122, and 189. Swarthmore College Library edition.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

On Education and How to Get It

I was listening to talk radio this morning with my husband as we drove to a hardware store to pick up replacement parts for our gas grill.  We looked at new grills as well.  We prefer to fix rather than buy new.  Maybe that seems horrendously old-school, but that's the way we roll.

I generally hate using slang phrases like that, but if I'm going to tell you that I'm so anachronistic that I fix an outdoor gas grill 5 times rather than replace it, you should understand that I live with one foot in the 19th and one foot in the 21st centuries.  Whew.  Reading that run-on sentence makes me tired.  But Henry James would have had no problem with it.  Ernest Hemingway would have choked rather than write it.  That's why I skip the 20th century.

Another reason I skip the 20th century is that it was during that time that school attendance (Note: not education.) became compulsory.  And, even more dangerous, during the Carter administration, our country created the Department of Education.  And that's what the talk radio guy was talking about today.  He said we should abolish the Department of Education, and I agree with him.

One of the first reasons is that the Department of Education was created to provide best-practices information to struggling districts.  Maybe they haven't noticed, but there's this thing called the internet.  It allows people everywhere to share information at a speed unheard of in the 1970's.  I can tell you that you can find for FREE every kind of lesson plan, from pre-school to post graduate work on the internet.  Teachers just have to look.  Why do we need a bunch of government bureaucrats to devise lesson plans for teachers in Wahoo, Nebraska?  (I taught junior and senior high there in the early 1990's.)

The second reason for abolishing the Department of Education is that it is filled with people who think the only purpose of grammar schools and high schools is to fill colleges.  I teach at the college level.  I love my colleagues, but most of them are there to get government grants to do research.  They are not particularly good teachers.  They don't care about how to teach.  Nor do they care about who they are teaching.

A professor once told me, years ago, that he was surprised that I thought the purpose of communication was to express the truth.  He said language was generally used to hide one's true motives, thoughts, and feelings.  Really?  Do we want that kind of person teaching our children?  Or teaching those who teach our children?

The  final reason for abolishing the behemoth that is the Department of Education is that the teacher unions have taken over education, and they need to be broken.  I belonged to the National Education Association when I taught in public schools.  My college courses in education revolved around two issues:  How to develop lesson plans, and how to be a good member of the union.

I actually quit teaching in public schools a few months after being awarded tenure.  Yes, tenure is an award.  It is a way for the government to say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."  But if hearing that from a union and from the government doesn't give you the heebie-jeebies, then you haven't read this far without spewing pea soup at your computer screen.  Or maybe you actually have taught in schools long enough to want to see your students explode... (

The only person I want to approve of my teaching is God.  Have I raised a good and faithful servant?  He's only 10, and I have my doubts.  But I still have time, and I will not turn my son's education and development over to the wage slaves of the union.  For that reason, I pay attention to the words of old, wise, white (?) men:
"Many fathers go to such lengths in the way of fondness for their money, and want of fondness for their children, that, to avoid paying a larger fee, they choose utterly worthless persons to educate their sons, their object being an expensive ignorance.

"This reminds one of Aristippus and his neat and witty repartee to a foolish father.  Questioned as to what fee he asked for educating the child, he replied, "Forty pounds."

"Good heavens!" said the father: "What an extravagant demand!  For forty pounds I can buy a slave."

"Very well," was the answer: "Then you will have two slaves--- your son and the one you buy."

 -- Plutarch, from  On Bringing Up a Boy

Friday, February 4, 2011


Tolerance Believe in it. Bumper Sticker

I find the liberal/progressive mantra for tolerance to lack any genuine concern for others.  It seems to me that tolerance is a very low hanging fruit in terms of virtue.  My disbelief in tolerance as a virtue comes from life experience.  I didn't need to see this video  (  to suspect that calls for tolerance lack the kind of concern for one's neighbor that could be considered Christ-like.

I just had to think about the times I've heard the word 'tolerate' used in actual life.  Below I will list the kinds of sentences I've heard when people use the word tolerate or tolerance.  Feel free to leave your recollections of their use in the comments section below:

We need to change the dog's food.  I can't tolerate the smell anymore.
I will not tolerate that kind of language in my house.
I can tolerate that music for only so long.
You really shouldn't tolerate that kind of behavior among your students.
If you tolerate that kind of behavior too long, it will only get worse.
I tolerate it because I have to or I will lose my job.
I won't tolerate your friends doing that in our house.
You really shouldn't have to tolerate being treated that way.
I'm tolerating it for now, hoping it will change.
My family has been very tolerant of my short comings.

There are also some ways that I have never heard someone use tolerance or tolerate:

I really tolerate ice cream.
I tolerate my family so much.
I have so much tolerance to give, I wish I had someone to tolerate with.
Tolerance is a gift from God.
Tolerance makes the world go round.
Make tolerance not war.

Now it is your turn.  Have fun.