Friday, October 22, 2004


To finish this week’s series on alternatives to public school, let’s take a look at three news events taking place in public schools from coast to coast. Ask yourself whether these sorts of things are happening in Nebraska public schools . . . or what might keep them from happening here.

Think about the impact these events would have on students, teachers, parents and taxpayers you know. Could it be that those Nebraskans who already have their children in private schools or homeschools know something we don’t?

More than that . . . what are we going to DO about this stuff?

1. ‘’Students Disciplined for Displaying American Flag’’
Tuesday, Oct. 19

Two Sonoma Valley (Calif.) High School students were suspended for refusing to surrender American flags they displayed during a class photo session. The week before, students had been told not to bring flags ‘’or other props’’ to the photo shoot. The students said the flag is not a prop. Nearly 30 of them cut class for a pro-American demonstration outside school. Officials said they were trying to keep out inappropriate items from the school picture, so they felt they had to keep out appropriate items, too. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is among those who came to the students’ defense.

2. Superintendent Receives Severance Package of $510,562; headline in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram: “Tocco to End Service With Vacation’’
Friday, Oct. 22

The local public-school superintendent was “reassigned” after a billing scandal caused the district to lose nearly $16 million. He will be paid $196,350 in unused leave time on top of his annual salary of $314,212 for a total severance package that exceeds a half-million dollars. Meanwhile, one of the nation’s best-known teacher advocates, Donna Garner of nearly Waco, says in a private email that Go Big Ed receives that she retired in the year 2000 after 27 years in the classroom and now receives $1,398.16 a month in retirement pay, after $295 a month is taken out for health insurance. She writes, “With the stress placed upon classroom teachers because of increased accountability, discipline problems, litigation, and at-risk students, it is hard for classroom teachers to understand why there is such a broad discrepancy between administrative and teacher salaries.’’

3. “Muslim Re-Education’’
Wednesday, Oct. 20

Children in third, fourth and fifth grades in a public school in Herndon, Va., will play-act being Muslim alongside kids from a local Muslim school under the direction of a “multicultural trainer.’’ The trainer will explain the religious rituals of Ramadan, including fasting, how to imitate sacred Muslim prayer postures, and will lead students in praying aloud sacred Muslim words that confess a belief in Allah. It should be noted that voicing a belief in Allah, even if the person doesn’t understand what the words mean, is considered an irrevocable conversion in Islam. Among the 14,000 other things wrong with this picture, note that, to later confess belief in some other God -- such as the God of the Bible -- would require that child to be killed under Islamic law.

SCHOOL DAZE . . . ?!?!? . . . no kidding!

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