Thursday, February 16, 2006


In the news recently: Nebraska ranks 49th in the percentage of high-school students who take Advanced Placement exams . . . President Bush proposes a 73% increase in funding for AP and International Baccalaureate programs for low-income and minority students . . . and complaints circulate in the ongoing Omaha-area school consolidation controversy that the Omaha Public Schools doesn’t have the “cutting-edge” program, International Baccalaureate, offered only at Millard North High School so far across the state:

Balderdash on all three counts.

Advanced Placement tests are nothing more than window dressing for a nationalized curriculum controlled by the federal government. The dumbing down of the AP tests to get more schools and kids signed up has been well documented, with the quality of the higher-level courses in many American high schools now compromised.

The big push in recent years to get all kinds of kids signed up in AP courses has nothing to do with improving their educations, and everything to do with “spinning” their attitudes, values, beliefs and behaviors toward the standardized specifications of the educrats.

You don’t believe me, do you? Consider this item from November 1997 from Eagle Forum,

How tests can be used for political indoctrination is further illustrated by the latest College Board Advanced Placement Examination in United States History. It requires the student to spend 45 minutes writing an essay based on six reading selections, two pictures and two cartoons, all of which toe the feminist line about how badly American women were allegedly treated from 1890 to 1925.

One of the cartoons shows a woman on the ground chained to a large ball labeled "Unwanted Babies." The other cartoon depicts a bunch of cigar-smoking, pot-bellied men saying, as they point to a group of women going to church, "Let 'em sing an' pray -- we got th' votes and make th' laws."

The test booklet makes it clear that "high scores" will depend on the student citing what the instructions call the "evidence from the documents." It is obvious than any student so foolhardy as to advance an opinion contrary to this so-called "evidence" would not receive a good score.

Now, the hard sciences and math AP tests aren’t as politicized. But just you wait: the fix is on to replace AP programs nationwide with the much-scarier International Baccalaureate program, which is even more like Socialism 101.

The IB program (
www.ibo.org) is supposed to be world-class, high-octane learning that can position a student to be competitive with the brightest kids from around the world. It’s supposedly the knockout punch for getting in to a top college. At least, that’s what parents and school boards think when they undertake to add the program, which can cost an additional $200,000 over the regular education program, more than twice as costly as an AP program, according to PABBIS (Parents Against Bad Books in Schools).

But also according to
www.PABBIS.org, the multicultural literature selections in IB programs can be downright disgusting. Examples: a 9-year-old girl encounters her teenage counsin’s genitalia and is propositioned by him for oral sex (Cracking India) . . . a 12-year-old Japanese boy spies into his widowed mother’s bedroom and sees her having sex with her sailor boyfriend, then talks with his friends about how much they hate “fathers,” torture a kitten, and are getting ready to murder the sailor as the book ends (The Sailor Who Fell From Grace). . . .

And according to
www.EdWatch.org, IB programs push world government, relativism and socialism over an alignment to key American principles such as national sovereignty, individual liberty, and Judeo-Christian values such as inalienable rights. IB fits in with the United Nations educational model from UNESCO and gives minimal attention to, or actually contains content hostile to, the United States.

Now, those familiar with the curriculum say it doesn’t come right out and say communism is best or to ignore the values of past generations. The approach is much more subtle; you can tell what it’s all about much more by what is NOT in the curriculum, than by what IS included. But by the time parents figure that out, their children are out of the two-year program in most American high schools and literally don’t know what they missed.

You know, Ben Franklin said that half the truth is often a great lie. That’s what’s wrong. The curriculum and assessment decisions are out of the hands of local parents and teachers, and given over to foreign officials who know or care relatively little about American principles.

Time on task is also different. IB may seem more challenging and time-consuming, but the knowledge gain per student is actually less than with a traditional college-prep course of action. IB requires a huge amount of community service by the students, for example, and long, subjectively-graded essays rather than easily-scored, objective, fact-based tests.

IB also usually pushes out the AP courses, because schools can’t afford both. But the IB has much less focus on advanced math and science, and pushes much more of the social-engineering type, politicized, global education concepts such as sustainable development, population control, global warming and other left-wing, New World Order type fare.

IB courses result in no college credits. And worst of all, according to EdWatch, IB tests are sent to Geneva, Switzerland, for scoring. That raises huge red flags about the personal, values-laden data on each student that comes along with test answers, and now is being collected and stored in a foreign database.

AP? IB? Nooooooo. EW!!!!!!!

Ponca Could Learn From Aurora, Elkhorn

Besides Tuesday’s $250 million school bond OK in Lincoln and the $10 million turn-down in Ponca, voters in Aurora passed a $6 million bond issue to provide new construction at all three building levels and significant remodeling of the middle school and high school. The margin was nearly 75%, with a 44% voter turnout.

Community involvement in the planning every step of the way is the reason given for the “landslide” victory, according to an article in the Aurora News-Register (
www.auroranewsregister.com/215News4.html). Three previous bond issues had failed, but apparently the more inclusive, unified approach with a more modest pricetag convinced the voters at last.

Here’s hoping the folks in Ponca could learn from that. According to articles on the grassroots website,
www.abcscommittee.org, there have been some rather nasty doin’s and difficult politickin’ surrounding that community’s three tries and three turn-downs at a school bond in recent years.

But there’s hope: the leader of the “no” group, Michael Brannon, indicated that better communication between school officials and the public on a more realistic scale of a project would provide the missing link for Ponca just as it did in Aurora.

Brannon said, “We are, of course, pleased with the vote and the high voter turnout. We now hope that the school board will look at new options in light of the voters rejecting essentially the same plan THREE times. Victory will not be achieved until a consensus is built within the six-member school board that a sizable majority of the district voters can support.”

There are two models the Ponca people might want to consider:

-- Float a more modest bond issue to repair and remodel the existing school instead of building a whole new one, and since recreational facilities, especially gyms, are deemed to be needed, why not put together a package with tax incentives for a private developer to build a recreational facility that could be used by all ages for a user’s fee, with priority scheduling for school teams. District expense for what would amount to a rental fee would be a minute fraction of the cost of building such a recreational facility and making taxpayers incur 30 years of debt service to pay for it.

-- Or do what Elkhorn did: form an interlocal agreement between the school board and the city government of Ponca, or other nearby governmental entities with taxing power, for that matter, to build the recreational facility together. It would be an intergenerational community recreational center, with retirees and working people using it during school hours, and youth sports of all kinds playing official school games and youth leagues in basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer . . . the sky’s the limit. It would charge user’s fees, and pay back the bonds through a combination of user’s fees and property taxes. Elkhorn now has a gorgeous competitive swimming pool, two basketball courts, an indoor track, and all the bells and whistles, for a $4.5 million bond issue through the City of Elkhorn, and $2.9 million through school district taxpayers. Ponca’s wouldn’t have to be as grandiose – perhaps skipping the indoor pool -- since Ponca doesn’t have the population base that Elkhorn does. But it’s grist for the problem-solving mill. For more, see:

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