Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Worst Organization Ever

The Alliance for the Separation of School and State is one of the dumbest organizations I have ever seen. They don't want schools to be funded by the government and taxpayers, but rather every kid should be home schooled or all schools should be privately run.

These people are a bunch of home schoolers who actually say (with a straight face) that children need an "honest" education that cannot be obtained within the public school system.

"Honest" things they think should be taught in school:

Why am I here? Is there any purpose to my life? Ok this could be in a Humanities class but maybe Socrates and Descartes are a little deep for 2nd graders.

Why is there so much evil in the world? How can I know what is good and what is evil? In which class would this subject be discussed? Math, Science? Again this would fall under Humanities and Philosophy and again I think the Divine Comedy is a bit much for most grade schoolers. Also consider that "evil" is very subjective; I think you would have to define "evil" before you can recognize it and be able to distinguish it from "good". It's hard to measure, test and predict "evil". Math, English, Science, etc. are not subjective and they can prepare you for life, a job and the real world, which is what school is supposed to do. Really, this may be a bit much for even a Humanities class; maybe it's best suited for a Church or your parents, not school.

Is there a Supreme Being? Does he care about us? In case you were wondering, no, and even if there was, he's got a lot more on his mind than what's happening in Fresno. Good thing we got that one settled. Now we can move on.

What is truth? Are there any permanent truths? Ever hear of algebra or economics? What kind of school do they want? There are already schools for these folks. They are called madrasas and you can find them in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. Have fun.

How will this new system of schooling work?

"The top two-thirds of the families will be able to afford tuitions after the $300-billion tax cut, but the poorest third will need financial help. We'll need to raise an additional $20-billion each year for groups like the Children's Scholarship Fund."

You mean all we have to do is cut taxes by 300 billion and raise 20 billion privately for poor children to go to school? Why didn't you just say it was that easy? Yeah, rich people love giving their money to the poor; that's why they continually bitch about paying too much in taxes and supporting welfare moms. Let's not forget that someone would still actually have to teach your kid, so for all you single moms out there, you are just going to have to quit your job and stay home and teach your kids. No, it doesn't matter that you are a high school drop out; only you know how to best teach your kids. How are you going to support your family? Don’t worry, you'll have that tax cut. Oh wait, tax cuts only help people who pay taxes. Sorry, maybe you can get some of that 20 billion dollars rich people are going to decide to give you after they eliminate the estate tax.

Here is what they say about their opposition:

"Who Opposes Separation of School & States the Gateway to Honest Education? Bad People."

Obviously, this is a Christian fundamentalist group that doesn't want science to be taught in schools. They want to replace secular schools with home based fundamentalist madrasas where parents with no teaching degrees, and very often no college degree at all, will teach their own children and grade them fairly. Armed with a Bible and no teaching experience, they think they can better prepare their children for life than a government funded school could.

Another funny thing about their site, and probably one of the reasons they seek "honest" education, is that they have a section documenting all the anti-Christian bias in public school textbooks. The only problem with this section is that there are only two articles. One talking about how a textbook failed to mention that the Pilgrims prayed on Thanksgiving and another one is just a review of a book published in 1986 by some Christian "publishing company" titled Censorship: Evidence of bias in our children's textbooks. It's not even a very good review.

This book exposes the secular liberal media's attempt to exclude religion, "family values", and conservative views from school textbooks. Their review says the author "cites texts that do not feature women as homemakers, lack patriotic spirit, do not promote free enterprise, and ignore movements such as tax revolt." So does this mean our algebra textbooks need to have an American flag on every page, that our history books need to omit evidence that implies America ever did anything wrong, and that they should include an entire chapter on the impact of the female homemakers in the early 20th century? As far as the "tax revolt movement" goes, I would like someone to show me one history book that doesn't talk about the Boston Tea Party and taxation without representation. School isn't supposed to be a propaganda or marketing outlet for capitalism and politics so what is his problem? And would he have the same problem with textbooks that didn't discuss labor unions, the Haymarket Riot, and the inquisition of Communists in the 50s? Why is one part of history ok to leave out and another part not? Is it just because he wants his version of revisionist history taught to young children who were not living during these events and therefore couldn't possibly dispute them?

Why do you think China is upset with Japan for omitting "unpatriotic" events such as the rape of Nanking from their textbooks?

Ok, I admit it, I got off on a tangent and this should have been two separate posts. Sue me!


laurzeilei said...

Talk about hitting a nerve. My sister and I stopped talking for an entire year (or more) after getting into a very heated debate over this very topic. She has home schooled her children for more than 10 years. Mine have always attended (gasp and double egads!) public schools. How dare I? I guess I could home school in order to control what my children learn and when they learn it, but what good does that do me or them? Sorry...this won't equip them for the real world and everyday adulthood where they will actually be faced with others points of view. I guess if they are going to live in a bubble their entire lifetime with other home schooled children who share similar values, background, religious beliefs and social class it would be quite dandy. WHATEVER.

Never mind. I shouldn't even go there because quite frankly, my blood is pretty even-keeled this morning and does not need to brew...not just yet anyway. I basically wanted to just say great post. Enjoyed reading it. Oh, and just so you know...there IS a Supreme Being. He is sitting in the proverbial upstairs...on a gold-plated throne eating smores, watching YOU, Toad. Out of the six billion people on the planet, he chose you. Now doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

George W. Bush, Jr. said...

What are yuo sayin' hear? I wuz homeskooled at my housse and I became a greet leeder of the frei world. I thunk yuor just jeelous of those who are mooore fortunat than yuo. God rocks!!

Grant said...

Finally, you post something about which I can take a contrary position. "Math, English, Science...can prepare you for life, a job and the real world, which is what school is supposed to do."

Yeah, right. When was the last time you were asked to find the area under a curve, or conjugate a verbe en francais, or recite Hamlet's soliloquy? In the various cubicle positions I've held, I've never needed math beyond basic arithmatic, I've found no practical use for any of the science I learned, you can forget about injecting some philosophy into the workplace. One of my many bosses, the product of Catholic school and an MBA, had such atrocious writing that we used to play a game to see if people could guess if the e-mail came from her or one of our foreign contacts. If school is meant to prepare us for real life, it fails miserably. School prepares you for college which gives you a degree which means you've joined the right club and can be allowed to work a white collar position for a company that won't consider non-college graduates even though you only need the IQ of an artichoke to perform their mindless tasks.

Of course school does get you used to sitting in rows performing monotonous exercises until the bell rings and you can go home, so I guess there is some job training there after all.

Otherwise, I agree with you.

Thrasher said...

May I suggest that we all read James Taylor Gatto's "The Seven-Lesson Schoolteacher?" A simple Yahoo or Google search will yield the proper results.

Toad734 said...


And how often do you use the information obtained from Noah's flood at the office?

And your point about the Catholic School graduate is sort of what I am talking about; maybe they spent too much time learning Jesus and not enough learning how to write a complete sentence.

Some people don't use the math and science at the office but the engineers and scientist do. Also I find that our general lack of knowledge about the world and its history is why we have so many people here in blogosphere that have no idea what they are talking about. Us excluded of course.

NewsBlog 5000 said...

I was just watching a news report about two home schooled girls last night:

Many people will use religion every day in the office, if the boss is an evangelical, and they want a promotion, or if they are a priest.

As far as what Mr Gatto writes, it seems that he thinks children should not have to learn the discipline and structure that it takes to work with a group. For a teacher of 30 years, he seems to have become obsessed with the overhead of running a school, which he thinks is more prominent than the education provided. Maybe I went to some sort of magical wonder school, but I did not constantly feel "panic or anger" he describes, except when I was publicly coerced into proclaiming fealty to God and Country every morning.

Gatto seems to think that public schools are a 1984-esq prison experience, where structure and loyalty are praised more than learning and people learn to be corporate automatons. If it is, then Gatto is the worst or prison guards, one that has too much empathy for the inmates. Gatto has been convinced by his students that they are oppressed. No wonder he won teacher of the year.

I went ahead and read another of Mr. Gatto's pieces where he again praises technical instruction over classical education. A technical education is great for those who lack the ability and discipline to train their minds to be thinkers, but they are the ones who become machines. I live in a city with one of the largest technical schools in the country. We have plenty of people here who know how to weld, or change oil, or write COBOL, but what their education does not give them is respect for logic and the ability to think for themselves. Their lives consist of eating, sleeping, welding/changing oil/writing COBOL, and drinking.

Toad734 said...

Ahh, the Nazi chicks who can't sing. What childhood is complete without ring around the swastika?

Thus my point about the problem with home schooling; they can teach them that the moon is green and that the ocean is pink if they wanted to.

Two Minutes J said...

Evil is in the eye of the beholder. It is arbitrary to the one who is distinguishing it. Nietsche said something to the effect that if you stare at evil for too long, eventually it starts staring back at you. You can take that however you want.

Also, yes. The Rich are getting Richer and will continue to bitch about having to lose a couple of dollars. This wouldn't be so bad if in fact the poor weren't getting poorer. But they are. The Rich get Richer, The Poor get Poorer. But it's all part of the plan...In time we will see the end effect, probably in our lifetime. That is, unless a Revolution is enacted. I'd be the first to support it. I would be willing to die to fight for what I believe in. Recognize....

Boiled Owl said...

Revolution is always "in the works", TTM. Stay ready.

Thrasher said...


You claim you felt no panic or anger, and you may be right, but you failed to respond to the second part of that sentence:

"Fortunately the children have no words to define the panic and anger they feel at constant violations of natural order and sequence fobbed off on them as quality in education."

Shouldn't the incoherent jumble of facts one finds himself being taught in a public school qualify as that "technical instruction" you rail against? Not that I disagree with you; I feel that a classical education is essential to produce well-adjusted individuals. My point, however, is that Gatto was not advocating technical instruction; he was satirizing it. He even points out in Part III of his essay:

"Look again at the seven lessons of schoolteaching: confusion, class position, indifference, emotional and intellectual dependency, conditional self-esteem, surveillance -- all of these things are prime training for permanent underclasses, people deprived forever of finding the center of their own special genius."

Obviously, he's not encouraging "technical instruction"; rather, he's trying to show how it has permeated the public school system, to the point that classical education has been left behind.


"Thus my point about the problem with home schooling; they can teach them that the moon is green and that the ocean is pink if they wanted to."

Oh murder! And Sweden could invade the US too, but it just doesn't seem that likely... So be careful what you try to nuke.

Erudite Redneck said...

Toad, Re, "In case you were wondering, no, and even if there was, he's got a lot more on his mind than what's happening in Fresno. Good thing we got that one settled. Now we can move on."

This is why no Christian has any business getting into an argument with ya, dude. That is a premise that most of us reject in the first place. So, why bother?

Don't misunderstand me. The fact that we differ on something so fundamental doesn't mean you and I don't share common ground on other things. Political things. Because we do. But to keep that going, we need to avoid the other stuff. I'm just saying.


One thing I do not share with my right-wing brethren is any pretense of personal anguish over your immortal soul. Especially with all the information and knowledge you have at your disposal, and the capacity for caring that you demonstrate sometimes, that is entirely up to you. Well, and God. But you don't believe in Him. So, it's up to you. :-)



Two Minutes J said...

I'm ready when you are Boiled Owl.

Oh Toad, actually our history books DO omit that America did anything wrong. They are extremely ethno-centric and are written through the eyes of white europeans. I suggest you read 'A Peoples History of the United States' by Howard Zinn, or 'Lies my Teacher told me', I forget the author of that one. But both books tell how history REALLY happened.

Boiled Owl said...

Rock on TTM, where do we sign up?

Actually, what's been happening lately – which I fully support, and is the reaon why I'm here– is non-violent revolution. The action looks exactly like what you, Toad, others, and I are doing right now, right here on this blog. Keep up the good work, brothers and sisters!

"People get ready, there's a train a comin'.... you don't need no baggage, you jus' get on board."
– Curtis Mayfield

Toad734 said...


This post has nothing to do with the existence of God. What I am pointing out is that there are people who are "educating" their kids anyway they see fit. I could very easily home school my kids (if I had any) to learn that Christians are evil and crazy and that anyone believes in God is evil. Now do you really think that is something that should be taught in school? No, neither do I. That is what makes the above organization bullshit. That seems to be all they care about and I am merely citing the dangers of having untrained people with an agenda teaching children who are our future.

This is not a debate about if God exists; I am just saying that when your main points of education are based on faith, or something no one has ever proved even exists it takes a lot of scary leaps of logic. As I pointed out; only in humanities type classes are those questions even appropriate for any class; certainly not a science class because faith is not scientific. I don’t remember taking any humanities type classes until High School.

Feel free to put in your 2 cents on whether or not you think this organization has any credibility or if you think that parents should teach their kids anything they want as a part of their primary education. I am not saying you can't teach your kids these things outside of school or in a church.

And by the way, with what you are saying does that also mean that it is impossible to for me to debate a Christian, not because I have already made up my mind, but because they have already made up their mind and are unwilling to listen to another point of view? Who are the ones that are truly intolerant of other ideas? Would that be the people who are open to all empirical evidence or the ones who don’t need and evidence to form their conclusions? I don’t say for sure that God doesn’t exist and I have proof; if he floats down right now and turns water into wine and walks on the water besides a sand bar in a salty shallow sea I’ll ask him what church he would like me to start attending. If aliens came down today with video proof that they created us when they spliced their DNA with apes, and the evidence was conclusive, how many Christians would believe them?

BRUISER said...

Newsflash: Diebold says Astro's win the first two games of the 2005 World Series ...Bush Family agrees with results and say something about a mandate...

Erudite Redneck said...

Dude, I agree with you about the righty home schoolers. I think home-schooling is bad, period, for a lot of reasons. That is per your request.

I originally commented on the specific part of the post that I copied-and-pasted. That's a pretty standard way of narrowing the scope of a comment. If I had wanted to weigh in on the post as a whole in the first place, I would've.

Now, I never said YOU shouldn't try to debate anyone about anything. I said it might not be in the interest of someone who DOES believe in God to debate finer points of their faith with you.

I suppose the same could be said either way.

My main concern remains: When I argue with Christians, I argue as a fellow Christian (although many on the right wouldn't consider me a Christian at all.) By your own declaration, unless I've totally misread you, do very deliberately are not a Christian.

So, what's the point of you and I, for example, arguing, say, whether infant baptism or immersion is preferable. What do you care? Likewise, what's the point of us arguing the finer points of agnostism? Because I don't have a dog in the agnostic hunt.

You and I might argue general points about what agnostism means and where it fits on the spectrum of spiritual thinking, or we could argue whether Jesus really said what the Bible says he said, and we could argue about what various stripes of Christianity believe or do not believe about the Bible, etc., etc.

But for me to argue that YOUR personal opinion is wrong, or for you to argue that MY personal opinion is wrong, is a waste of time.

Sorry if I am still unclear, and I apologize if -- and when -- I come across as a jerk. It's easy to get into heated rows over at Mark's joint.


Toad734 said...

Obviously arguing over personal opinions of faith is a waste of time. I don't ever say anyone is wrong for being a Christian I say they are wrong when they take it out of context and when they think everyone in the US should live according to their version Christian views. That is something that is very easy to debate and it should be debated.

That being said I feel I know more about the Bible than most Christians and that is why I say they have it wrong and I feel I have a duty to point these facts out to them. When you step away from the "all infallible word of God" theory of the Bible you realize that there are a lot of holes in there and that indeed Jesus never once says fags are going to hell, contrary to the belief of many Christians. Some other points that are often ignored by Christians is that if you follow the Old Testament you are a Jew; if you follow the New Testament you are a Christian. Jews don't borrow laws from the New Testament so Christians need to realize that the 10 commandments, and Levitical law was for Jews who lived 4000 years ago, not Christians today. Every Christian should know that the prophecy that Jesus fulfilled nullifies the Old Law, yet people like Falwell and Phelps use Old Testament eye for eye teachings as Jesus' law which it is not. We all know Jesus' laws were much different that Moses'. How they can confuse turn the other cheek with eye for an eye is beyond me but I have made it my job to inform them of their erroneous ways.

BRUISER said...

you two should just kiss...with tongue...and make up...that would throw the balance of the righties Universe off its axis for a few seconds..

Thrasher said...

"Every Christian should know that the prophecy that Jesus fulfilled nullifies the Old Law."

This, of course, depends how you're using the word "nullifies." What was a sin under the Old Law did not cease to be a sin under the New Law, but forgiveness and grace became easier to come by as a result of the "ultimate sacrifice."

Matthew 5:17-18 "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."


Fat Albert took the Day off so All you get is one Hey….

I work for a multi-million dollar company. I have mice droppings on my desk. I did not see them. The cleaning ladies found them. Not that I could see them in the piles of notes, schedules, calendars, etc. strewn throughout my area of work.
I resort to using high-liters for everyday addendums due to budget cuts. I hear about them. The efficiency experts who lack efficiency. The devil is in the details for what it’s worth.
Today in the media present kids acting out in a Goth Fashion against the established morality of this here ‘MERICA. Its just so Witch trials. Fuck who just turned me into a newt?
Vanilla Ice one said ”Will I ever stop? Yo I don’t know.” Most of us wished he did…I think except for young republican fraternity’s across ‘MERICA. I chalk up these lines to the moral elite’s tacid phenom as just another way of fixating on a book jacket instead of the content of said book.
Now don’t get me wrong metal is evil. At least the good stuff. For the most part those in the “Goth Culture” tend to lean more towards a synth and bass with a little Bauhaus. So you could just say a keytar and apathetic song selection that could depress even Morrissey.
I just think that no emphasis could be put on the “Goth Culture” as to these random inane murders done by those who dig Nu-Metal. Yes Nu-Metal folks.
I believe Nu-Metal like Pat Robertson will be the downfall of this here ‘MERICA. Now quit bashing kids in Black clothes and fix the gas prices, the corruption of our government, and those dying in Iraq. The power of Frist compels you!

NewsBlog 5000 said...


I did not find the "constant violations of natural order and sequence fobbed off on them as quality in education" made me paniced or angry. To this day, I sometimes even manage to read two different newspaper stories, about different subjects, on the same day. I don't know if there is a "natural order" to the presentation of information unless it is the method used by that James Burke guy.

Actually, Gatto shows his admiration for technical schools in one of his other papers.

Toad734 said...


So what is the old law? It's the 10 commandments. So I guess since Jesus didn't nullify those laws I'll be seeing you in church this Saturday.

indygirl said...

In response to Grant: Engineers and physicists certainly caluculate the area under curves. Also, knowing a foreign language is extremely useful if you ever want the freedom to get out of this awful place or conduct any sort of international business. This is the kind of comment that pisses me the fuck off. Sure, we need our middle-management HR recruiters and no-brainer shit like that, but we also need to develop thinking skills for the more useful and challenging occupations (not that I have one).

Also, how many kids actually grow up to be what their parents wish for them? Trust me, it would have sucked if my mother would have been able to taylor my education to suit my future life as a doctor-slash-nun.

Erudite Redneck said...

Toadster, you are on a logical track, but you're missing something, and I confess I don't know what it is. It's like tasting a recipe and knowing something's missing but not knowing what.

The old law, by the time of Jesus, had grown into much, much more than the Big 10. That's one of the thing He is said to have given the lawyers shit about.

Nullify is not the same as fulfill, no matter how you slice it.

I think that sometimes in your rush to attack, you shortchange yourself even, wrecking your own arguments.

Simmer down. (Said ribbingly but kindly.)


Toad734 said...

So either Jesus wants you to follow the 10 commandments, or the "old laws" or he doesn't. I don't recall any part of the Bible where he laundry lists which ones are good and which ones are no good. That being said, who is the one that is qualified to say which ones go and which ones stay. I think you should all start going to church on Saturdays and stoning your kids when they talk back to you.

NewsBlog 5000 said...

They aren't really commandments so much as guidelines. You are supposed to pick and choose what is convenient for you at the moment. I can overlook the occasional lie or adultery if you can overlook me occasionally worshipping a stray god. Maybe in the future, you can kill my wife and I'll kill your mother. Criss Cross Criss Cross.

Erudite Redneck said...

Re, "I think you should all start going to church on Saturdays and stoning your kids when they talk back to you."

Now you're just being a smart-ass. Forget it. I think the righty-rights are right about one thing. You're just a jerk, and you don't want to discuss or debate. So, carry on. You have a mirror image of Mark Maness' right-wing amen corner over here -- it's just as mean-spirited but coming from the anarcho-left. I'm done with ya.


thepresscanbebought said...

Anarcho left... this site is far from that.
Your a jerk and resort to name calling...uh yeah...I said it. I'm going to go out a CIA officer I will be back in minute...


Toad734 said...


Ok so I take things to the extreme to make examples but what have you left me to believe? Does Jesus specifically say which old commandments to follow? Not from my recollection. There is a reason Christians don't go to church on Saturdays, why they don't eat kosher, why they don't stone their kids when they talk back, why they don't take an eye for an eye literally, ok I take that back, actually a lot do take eye for an eye literally, but that's a bad example. Are you saying I don't have a valid point? If you have information to the contrary I would like to see it.

indygirl said...

Why are there so many ERs in here?

Toad734 said...

eeer... I dont know