Schools Aren’t Teaching the Fundamentals ~ and It Shows

Republican lawmakers in Indiana are taking steps to ensure that kids who can’t read well don’t advance prematurely to the next grade.

The state’s literacy rates have been on the decline since the 2014-15 school year, with a six-point fall between the 2018-19 and 2020-21 school years. Micah Clark, director of the American Family Association in Indiana, says the COVID crisis “really highlighted how kids have fallen behind.” Continue reading

Considering History: The 1933 Business Plot to Overthrow America

In 1933, a group on businessmen conspired to unseat President Roosevelt and overthrow the government. One man stopped them…

Still from Universal newsreel footage of Smedley Butler describing his 1934 congressional committee testimony (Wikimedia Commons)

Toward the climax of director and screenwriter David O. Russell’s new historical drama Amsterdam (2022), Dr. Burt Berendsen (Christian Bale) narrates a line that is not only central to the film’s plot and themes, but also one of the most telling quotes in recent American film history. Burt and his friends have begun to uncover the shadowy and sinister plan at the film’s center, a plan by powerful moneyed figures to overthrow the president of the United States and replace him with an unelected dictator. And Burt asks both himself and the audience, in the voiceover narration to which the film returns frequently, “What’s more un-American than a dictatorship built by American business?”
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Benson: Folks, it just ain’t that long ago

Most young folks today think that everything that happened before they were born is ancient history, and therefore, totally irrelevant. Hopefully, as they grow in age and maturity they will shed this truncated worldview and grasp the fact that the past has a large influence on the future. I have noted, over the years, that if our view of the past is faulty, then our vision for the future will be also, Most historians today give our young people a faulty view of the past because it is one they were taught themselves. Continue reading

What a 1945 High School Civics Exam Prep Book Shows Us About Today’s Students

Several days ago, I was handed a pile of old schoolwork and curriculum found in paperwork and memorabilia from my grandmother. Sifting through the stack, I soon pulled out several booklets labeled “Minnesota State Board Questions Certified.” Yellowed with age and somewhat dog-eared, they appear to be workbooks with which students could prepare for their yearly school exams.

I grabbed the one labeled “Introduction to Social Science” from 1945, the year my grandma was 17 and likely a senior in high school, and paged through it. Judging from the cover, it appears she was a scribbler like me, doodling by writing her name and some shorthand. Judging from the inside, students like her had to know their lessons well in order to pass their exams… Continue reading

Thousands of Public Schools at Risk of Closing as Enrollment Declines

Maybe it is about TIME!

In a trend that began with the pandemic, data shows ongoing school enrollment issues, and thousands of public schools nationwide are at risk of closing. According to the Department of Education , in 2023, 1.8 million fewer students enrolled in public schools nationwide compared to 2019.

Less students means less funding for schools, and with federal relief funding dwindling, schools are closing.

Jackson, Mississippi, has seen 11 schools close their doors, some of which have experienced a 30% drop in enrollment since 2018. That trend is not exclusive to Mississippi. Continue reading

Meet Joe Black ~ ‘Ambassador for the game and life’

~ Foreword ~

                        Joe Black – when I knew him. ~ J.B.

I hadn’t seen Joe for about two and a half months and wondered why. Now I know the answer as to why.

I acquired my private mail box on Shea Boulevard in 1996 and while most of the folks remained private for one reason or another, I was soon introduced to Joe Black – for the second time in my life.

The first was in 1955, when I was seven years old and was just learning about the national pastime. I spent summers in Eagle, Wisconsin – I was a Milwaukee Braves fan – County Stadium was my ‘home away from home’. Joe Black left the Brooklyn Dodgers that year and signed on with the Cincinnati Red Legs – and brought with him quite a legacy – the first black pitcher to bring his team a pennant. Joe spent the rest of his life bringing the winning pennant home to whatever endeavor he tackled.

I never broke bread with the man – but we broke the silence of two people with little in common – and I never asked him for his autograph. May you rest in peace sweet man.

Without Apology I am,

‘Ambassador for the Game and Life’

Legendary Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Joe Black died of prostate cancer Friday morning at the age of 78, passing away at an aftercare facility in Scottsdale.

“At moments like this, when we’re worrying about other things within the game, it really doesn’t mean too much,” Commissioner Bud Selig said. “I’ve known Joe Black a long time. He loved the game and was so willing to always be helpful. He was one of those rare individuals who was willing to give of himself unconditionally. You just don’t find people like that, especially in professional sports.” Continue reading

The First Legal Slave Owner in America Was a Black Man?

Here’s something you won’t read about in the US history books. The first legal slave owner in America was black and he owned white slaves.

Anthony Johnson (BC 1600 – 1670) was an Angolan who achieved freedom in the early 17th century Colony of Virginia.

Johnson was captured in his native Angola by an enemy tribe and sold to Arab (Muslim) slave traders. He was eventually sold as an indentured servant to a merchant working for the Virginia Company.

Sometime after 1635, Antonio and Mary gained their freedom from indenture. Antonio changed his name to Anthony Johnson. Continue reading

Why Rome’s Best Emperor Shunned Government Schools

Marcus Aurelius is widely regarded as Rome’s finest emperor. It’s a good bet that were he with us today, he would be an advocate for school choice.

The great classical scholar Edith Hamilton noted that the ancient Greeks frowned upon their Roman counterparts in regards to education. The former adopted public (government) schooling while the Romans left education to the family in the home. The snooty Greeks thought Romans were backward and unsophisticated. The Romans, of course, conquered the Greeks.

For most of the five centuries of the Republic, Romans were schooled at home where virtues of honor, character, and citizenship were emphasized. Not until the Republic’s last century or so did anything resembling government schooling emerge. Moreover, it was never so centralized, universal, and mandatory as it is in our society today. The English academic and cleric Teresa Morgan, in a 2020 paper titled “Assessment in Roman Education,” writes, “In no stage of its history did Rome ever legally require its people to be educated on any level.” Continue reading

Cursive Makes a Comeback — by Law — in Public Schools

A child practices cursive writing exercises at home. After nearly dying out, cursive is making a comeback in public schools, with more than 20 states requiring it so far. (Wilfredo Lee/The Associated Press)

In 2016, California Democratic state Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva sat with then-California Gov. Jerry Brown at an event where he signed baseball-type cards featuring the image of his dog, Colusa.

But many of the recipients of the cards couldn’t read his cursive signature, Quirk-Silva recalled, much to the Democratic governor’s dismay. “The governor asked me what I did” before becoming a legislator, she remembered. “I said I was a teacher, and he said, ‘You have to bring back cursive writing.’”

After seven years of trying, she finally succeeded. Continue reading

Teacher Asked for Backpacks Full of School Supplies Instead of Flowers at Her Funeral, and They Delivered

“This was just the kind of teacher she was, and this is a reflection of her heart. She was a teacher first, all the way.” ~ The teacher’s cousin, a fellow educator.

A Georgia teacher’s funeral saw all her loved ones turn up with backpacks filled with school supplies. It was Tammy Waddell’s final wish that those who come to pay their respects to her bring school supplies for needy students. The incredibly moving gesture has gone viral on the internet. Waddell died on June 9, 2018, succumbing to stomach cancer. Continue reading

Parents Baffled by Homework Question About Apples and Paint Aimed at Six-Year-Olds

A parent posted their six-year-old’s maths question online concerning apples and paint and it was so baffling that one person labelled it a ‘weird sphinx riddle’ – can you solve it?

How well do you remember your school maths? (Getty Images)

For some people, school brings back blissful memories while for others it conjures up painful visions of obscure homework questions night after night. The good news is that those days are over – unless you now have children yourself who want help with their latest homework assignment, of course. Continue reading

December 23, 1783: “More Extraordinary Than Any Military Feat During the War

The Baltimore Washington Monument. Emblazoned on the sides are important dates in the Revolutionary War, including December 23, 1783. At the top, Washington resigns his commission.

In Baltimore, Maryland stands one of the first monuments erected to the memory of George Washington. The 180-foot monument was finished in 1829, before the Washington Monument in D.C. was even begun. The impressive stone pillar is topped with a large statue of the General. Unlike most other statues of George Washington, the statue in Baltimore does not depict the Revolutionary War hero on horseback with his sword drawn, or as the First President of the United States. Instead it shows Washington, in his military uniform, simply extending a hand holding a piece of paper. Despite the simplicity of the scene, it is representative of one of the most important moments in the founding of the American nation: Washington resigning his military commission.

On November 1, 1783, Washington learned that the Treaty of Paris had been signed and the Revolutionary War was over. Continue reading

Why homeschooling is growing

Photo by Jessica Lewison – Unsplash

In recent years, homeschooling has witnessed a remarkable surge in popularity worldwide. In fact, it’s now the fasted growing form of education according to The Washington Post. During covid restrictions, there was a sharp increase in homeschooling, with some states jumping over 108% homeschool enrollment since 2017-2018. There are an estimated 1.9 million to 2.7 million homeschooled students in America today. Continue reading

Washington’s Parental Rights Bill Gets One Step Closer to Becoming State Law!

In a significant development, Let’s Go Washington, a citizen’s action group, has successfully gathered the required signatures for Initiative 2081, aiming to establish Washington state’s first Parental Bill of Rights.

This move has sparked discussions about the potential impact of parental involvement in education and child welfare.

Let’s delve into the key aspects of this initiative. Continue reading

Mathematics, reading skills in unprecedented DECLINE in teenagers

I love Paris in the Springtime, I love Paris in the Fall, I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles, I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles…” – but their education system is failing –  as well! ~ Editor

Teenagers’ mathematics and reading skills are in an unprecedented decline across dozens of countries and COVID school closures are only partly to be blamed, the OECD said on Tuesday in its latest survey of global learning standards. Continue reading