Tag Archives: education

The Tides Turn on the Occupy Movement

A funny thing happened on the way to releasing The Story of Broke, a film designed to indoctrinate and attract youth to the Occupy mentality and shown in many schools, it… the Occupy movement… became a hot potato.

Since writing Reaping What We Sow and The Puppeteers exposing Annie Leonard’s series of leftist propaganda films, the crime wave associated with the Occupy movement has turned off mainstream Americans. After a barrage of reports exposing Occupy encampment sex attacks, pedophilia, public masturbation, hate, riots, vandalism, theft, drug use, violent crimes and murder, the only thing most Americans would like to see “occupied” by these miscreant deadbeats are jail cells. And finally, traditional news media outlets are reporting on the Occupy mayhem:

An association with the Occupy movement has now become a liability. So Green Communist, pied piper Annie Leonard and her like-minded backers at the Tides Foundation couldn’t afford to risk any unpleasant backlash. Never mind the fact over the past couple of years her Story of Stuff series of films have been brainwashing youngsters into a bitter, anti-American belief system while urging them to take to the streets… exploiting their ignorance.

Mob "throws" politician from office... inciting violence?

When the preview for The Story of Broke appeared, it actually showed an angry mob protesting on Wall Street, complete with signs saying “Occupy” and “We are the 99%”. Scenes of little stick figure protesters thrusting clenched fists into the air, throwing a boot at a politician’s face and physically throwing him out of office suggest a support for physical violence against elected officials. A logical person might even draw the conclusion they were inciting riots.

But when the film was actually released last week, after it became evident the tide of public opinion was strengthening against the Occupy movement and it’s violence, these scenes were scrubbed from the film and replaced with a suggestion to just vote them out of office. Interesting.

Ms. Leonard’s newest film, The Story of Broke, is premised on the false belief we really aren’t. According to Leonard, our government has plenty of money but is spending most of it on the military and corporate welfare for greedy companies bent on poisoning our environment and the people, too. She claims if the U.S. Government stopped funding the military, subsidizing big agriculture and giving “hundreds of billions to prop up the dinosaur economy” there would be plenty of money to pay for all the goodies the me-generation wants.

Obviously, she ignores our $15 trillion national debt.

Before I continue, I must say there is one point I do agree with and that’s government subsidies. The government has no Constitutional authority in using tax dollars to prop up any business. Let them sink or swim in the free market economy on their own merit. Consumers should decide, not the government. But that’s where I’m back in disagreement with Ms. Leonard because actually, it turns out, she isn’t against government subsidies if they are used to prop up the kind of industries which meet with her approval:  education, health care and the green economy. Hypocritical, to say the least.

The fantasy of a so-called green economy is a boondoggle. Solar panels and wind turbines, for instance, are poor investments because the amount of time it takes to gain enough savings to justify their cost is far longer than the product’s expected life. In The Story of Broke Leonard wants the federal government to play Santa Clause and pay for residential solar panels.

The United States already spends more on education than any other country except for Switzerland. Yet, our students rank mediocre in global comparisons. PISA international rankings of 15-year old students are embarrassingly dismal for the United States. In mathematics, South Korea and Finland and ranked top honors, while our students placed 25th – behind Luxembourg and Hungary. We fared somewhat better in science, at 17th, behind Hungary, Belgium and Iceland while Finland, Japan and South Korea topped the category. US students ranked 14th in reading, as South Korea, Finland and Canada rated top of the class. Clearly, more money is not the answer as it does not equate to better educated students.

According to Leonard, “taxes are how we invest in great schools, healthy environment, clean energy and good jobs,” and so, she’s happy to pay her “fair share”. After all, she believes in income redistribution.

In The Story of Broke, the message is:  people need to force the government to fund schools, college education, health care and the “green” economy… solar, wind and recycling industries – and the Occupy movement is key in accomplishing the goal.

The leftists are biting at the bit to push our country over the edge into the abyss of Communism. Those orchestrating riots and chaos across the country ought to be arrested and charged with sedition. The Occupiers, most of whom cannot voice a coherent sentence explaining any goals or objectives for their protests, are little more than useful idiots. Although you won’t hear the “C” word in any of The Story of… films, Leonard’s foolhardy utopian transformation of our country is, without a doubt, a form of Communism.

“For us in Russia, communism is a dead dog, while, for many people in the West, it is still a living lion.”–Alekksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008) Russian historian and 1970 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

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Reaping What We Sow

Seeds of a pro-Communist world view and an anti-Capitalist, anti-American bias have been sowed in public school classrooms for decades. The weeds of globalism, multiculturalism, and communitarianism have flourished unchecked, choking out an understanding of our nation’s founders, the founding documents, the fact we are a Republic – not a Democracy, and how liberty and freedom are based on the God-given rights of the individual.

During the 1960s, it was the rare mother of a fellow classmate who worked outside of the home. As the 20th century drew to a close, that pendulum swung in the opposite direction as the new issue of “latchkey children” spawned “after school programs”, which extended the influence of public schools on children’s lives – from school breakfast programs right up to suppertime. Parents quickly grew to rely on the public school to provide almost everything from preschool and child care to feeding their children, dispensing medications and helping them with their homework. Schools have assumed an ever larger role in students’ lives as they advise them on career choices and accompany students on visits to perspective colleges. They’re intricately involved in nearly every aspect of children’s lives far beyond serving as a role model or mentor to becoming confidants.

Reaping what we sow... or weeds?

It wasn’t that long ago when these were strictly the personal responsibility and duty of parents. Now, because parents have come to rely on so much assistance from public schools… the government… many have come to view them more in a partnership role, than as an institution whose purpose should be limited strictly to provide an education. It is this blurring of the line which has caused many parents to be lulled into a blind sense of trust of schools, as they are able to direct more of their attention to work, leisure or other interests – and less to their own children.

Progressive educators have taken full advantage of this opportunity.

The anti-establishment theology being spoon-fed to our children was spawned from the counterculture: the hippies, yippies, flower children, rebels, rioters and bra-burners of the 1960s… many of whom entered the field of education after putting away their bellbottoms and psychedelic tie-dyed shirts.

One means by which some are working to villainize American exceptionalism is by exposing students to a video entitled The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard. The engaging, cartoonish, short film is an outrageous, in-your-face, anti-capitalist, anti-consumer sermon that is staunchly biased and full of disinformation. Clearly, it advocates Socialism through fear mongering and hysterics. Employing propaganda, the film heaps guilt on children as a vehicle to indoctrinate them into believing what is being sold as a democratic economic system is “good” while American Capitalism and the free market economy is “evil”. This new democratic economic system is a wolf in sheep’s clothing: Communism.

Students are being conditioned to view Communism, or a “control economy” in a favorable light and preferable to our Constitutional Republic form of government and free market economy in some history or social studies textbooks. Why? Because in a “control economy” the government takes care of people’s needs.

The film maker and those who funded the project obviously hold a deep sense of contempt for the American way of life. They want to replace the ideals of working hard to advance oneself in their chosen career; individuality, ingenuity and invention; success; the concept of risk and reward… with collectivism, economic egalitarianism and an acceptance of poverty. The Story of Stuff brazenly promotes Green Communism.

One of the most disturbing and dangerous aspects is its demonization of the manufacturing sector – claiming companies are greedy, they deliberately poison the environment as well as their products, and those who work in factories are exposed to toxins that result in cancer, especially for women. The Story of Stuff openly denigrates Apple Computers, Radio Shack and WalMart through thinly disguised attacks on their businesses.

The Story of Stuff pushes the “economic justice” agenda, meaning they envision a day when there will no longer be corporations that own businesses, but all businesses will be owned by a one world government where the workers will all have an equal share in the decisions and profits. This is an unrealistic, foolhardy utopian notion cleverly designed to appeal to our youth… the audience of The Story of Stuff.

Some of the outrageous lies in this film include:

“50% of our tax dollars goes to the military” Official sources identify the total spending budget for the U.S. Government during fiscal year 2009 as $6,434 billion dollars. Of that, just 13.4% went to defense. (2009 is the year this film was released.)

“40% of our waterways are undrinkable” This is a ridiculous attempt at a scare tactic. People don’t drink directly from waterways. Even hikers in the backcountry cannot drink directly from the most pristine source of natural water without risking natural bacterial contamination or infestation by parasites, so must rely on purification measures. Drinking from waterways has always posed a health risk due to fecal contamination. Most households drink well water or water from municipal sources that has been tested and deemed safe. Ms Leonard’s claim is pure hysteria.

These are just a couple of examples of the inaccuracies this film uses to propagandize children.

Unfortunately, The Story of Stuff has expanded into an ongoing series. More recent titles include The Story of Cap & Trade, The Story of Citizens United v. FEC and the soon to be released, The Story of Broke.

Communications Coordinator at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Lee Doren, has put together critique films of some of these titles, doing a commendable job of pointing out and correcting Annie Leonard’s disinformation.

I recommend viewing Lee Doren Critiques:

The Story of Stuff…  part 1 ; part 2 ; part 3 ; part 4 and Story of Cap & Trade

The Story of Citizens United v. FEC promotes the complete restoration of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, also known as the McCain-Feingold law. In it, Ms. Leonard identifies several corporations by using fat stick people with company logos emblazoned on their chests:  Exxon, Shell Oil, Toyota, BP, WalMart, Pfizer, Cigna, GE, Bank of America and Wall Street … criticizing their success because they are profitable and demonizing them for donating money to fund political advertisements. Never mind the fact these companies provide employment for millions of Americans, directly or indirectly. Not to mention the products, health, financial services and oil or gasoline necessary to heat homes and fuel the rest of our economy.

But, of course, as we learned from viewing her earlier attack, The Story of Stuff, she actually would much rather see American’s standard of living fall to that of a third world nation. If her misguided utopian view of society were to become a reality, we would see wealth redistribution, economic destruction, mass poverty, famine and an end to freedom and prosperity.

As Ms. Leonard states: “corporations can decide to spend unlimited dollars from their huge corporate coffers to influence an election, without consulting its shareholders”. She goes on to say Washington DC politicians are ready to promote a new Constitutional Amendment because “1st Amendment isn’t meant for ‘for profit corporations’”. This leaves no doubt there is some major political clout behind her quirky little stick people films.

How interesting and revealing it is that the planned Constitutional Amendment would only apply to “for profit” corporations but not non-profits or unions. Especially when considering most of the campaign advertising I saw or received in 2010 and during the 2011 Wisconsin recall election originated with unions or non-profit front groups for the Democrat Party.

Ms. Leonard claims to be all for “free speech”, but in reality, she and those who wrote and support the McCain-Feingold law, as well as this planned Constitutional Amendment do not. What they’re saying and doing are two different things because it is evident by their actions they only support “free speech” if it agrees with their own position… their own warped views and advancement of their Communist utopia.

If you watch this film closely, you’ll notice how the little stick people take to the streets in protest. Acting as a mob, they are depicted as physically throwing politicians out of office. Hmmm…

And the protest theme continues in her newest film, The Story of Broke, due to be released on November 8th. Clearly, the little stick people are now part of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The premise of this piece of propaganda is we really aren’t broke. The US Government has plenty of money. Instead of giving it to their fat cat cronies and crooked Wall Street bankers, “the people” need to force the government to spend it, instead, on creating a Green Economy… so we can all live happily ever after. Cue the Kumbaya music.

How curious a small budget, stick people film most adults have never heard of could have coincidentally sermonized the same themes over the past couple of years as are now unfolding before our eyes. It makes a person wonder if there may be a direct cause and effect?

Annie Leonard has every right to live her life in a hut denying herself modern conveniences, if she so chooses. But she has no right to impose or force her beliefs and choices on anyone else. That is a big part of the problem with teachers showing these propaganda films to their students. These films are not factually accurate and do not present a balanced view of any issues. They simply do not belong in public school classrooms – but are often shown on Earth Day and at other times, as well. As parents and taxpayers, we have a right and a responsibility to ensure children are educated and not propagandized.

OK… so, who is behind The Story of Stuff? Stay tuned…

Boil the Frog Slowly: Staking Claims on the Next Generation

It’s said you can boil a frog alive by simply putting it in a pot of water, then slowly turn the heat up. Incrementalism is a tactic employed to fundamentally transform our nation… our communities… our schools… and even our families, right before our eyes.

The public education industry – from most teacher colleges to teacher unions to the state departments of education to the federal Department of Education – is, without a doubt, predominantly Leftist in philosophy. Instead of teaching students to become self-sufficient, creative and competent individuals, they adhere to John Dewey’s anti-American ideal of schools instructing pupils into a “collective and cooperative mentality”, as was the educational model in Soviet Russia. John Dewey was a self-described Socialist, co-author of the Humanist Manifesto and credited as the father of Progressive Education.

Incrementalism has been employed within our public schools for several decades as a means to advance the progressive agenda of social change. Schools believe they know what’s best for children and since they are the enlightened experts parents must be conditioned to bend to their will. As schools have incrementally claimed more authority over our children, parents, for the most part, have taken the back seat… voluntarily, cooperatively and unaware of the shift.

Boil the frog slowly.

Gradually, over a span of decades, schools have consumed an ever-increasing portion of children’s lives under the guise of benevolence, socialization and well-being:  school lunch and breakfast programs, before and after school programs, preschool programs, SAGE, Lighted Schoolhouse, a wide array of extra-curricular activities, summer school, guidance counseling, sex-ed, school-based health clinics… the list goes on and on. Once a new program has a foothold, it becomes nearly impossible to get rid of it without a well-orchestrated outcry of protest arising from parents, after all, letting the school provide their children with free meals… or daycare… or advice on child-rearing… or… well, you fill-in-the-blank makes life easier for parents, so why not let the school district help out, after all, it’s for the children… right?… and it’s free, so why not take advantage of it?

Well, it’s not free. There is a price to pay:  the taxpayers pay for it… but so do the parents… and ultimately, the children… and society as a whole.

It may not, mind you, necessarily be “bad” to have some of these programs, but the ever-expanding reach of the public schools has trespassed far beyond it’s primary purpose of educating children to read and write and do arithmetic – which many schools are failing to do – and has become outright meddling and intruding upon the sacred domain of the family, where they are infringing on parental rights. We have a problem of great magnitude. Parental rights are under attack not only locally, but also from state and federal governments, by special interest groups and even internationally through efforts spearheaded by the United Nations.

And most parents are completely oblivious to this fact.

Boil the frog slowly.

A Virginia-based non-profit, PARENTALRIGHTS.org has a goal of Protecting Children by Empowering Parents. They are diligently working to achieve the addition of a Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The proposed text is as follows:

The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children is a fundamental right.

Neither the United States nor any state shall infringe upon this right without demonstrating that its governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest order and not otherwise served.

No treaty may be adopted nor shall any source of international law be employed to supersede, modify, interpret, or apply to the rights guaranteed by this article.

The reference to international law is an effort to prevent the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) treaty from ever over-riding our Constitution and U.S. or state laws. Under this treaty:

  1.  Children would have the ability to choose their own religion while parents would only have the authority to give their children advice about religion.
  2. The best interest of the child would give the government the ability to override every decision made by every parent if a government worker disagreed with the parent’s decision.
  3. A child’s “right to be heard” would allow him (or her) to seek governmental review of every parental decision with which the child disagreed.
  4. According to existing interpretation, it would be illegal for a nation to spend more on national defense than it does on children’s welfare.
  5. Children would acquire a legally enforceable right to leisure.
  6. Christian schools that refuse to teach “alternative worldviews” and teach that Christianity is the only true religion “fly in the face of article 29” of the treaty.
  7. Allowing parents to opt their children out of sex education has been held to be out of compliance with the CRC.
  8. Children would have the right to reproductive health information and services, including abortions, without parental knowledge or consent.
  9. Parents would no longer be able to administer reasonable spankings to their children.
  10. A murderer aged 17 years and 11 months and 29 days at the time of his crime could no longer be sentenced to life in prison.

How can we help protect parental rights? We can all help by raising awareness on the issue and by contacting our U.S. Representatives and Senators, asking them to support the Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Wisconsin Family Action supports this effort and can be contacted on this or any family, life or liberty issue here, in Wisconsin.

Parental rights are also at stake each time your local school board agrees to participate in a state or federal program because when they vote to sign the contract, they are, in effect, exchanging an additional measure of control over decision making and pupil privacy for dollars. Too often, the “carrot” is enough for administrators and school boards to eagerly hop on board – without understanding the consequences or even reading the documents. In reality, the money offered is rarely enough to actually cover the costs, so taxpayers pay more. And so, we often hear school boards and administrators complain about “unfunded mandates”.

As President Ronald Reagan so brilliantly described it:

“We developed at the local school district level probably the best public school system in the world. Or it was until the Federal government added Federal interference to Federal financial aid and eroded educational quality in the process.”

A case in point is the federal “Race to the Top” program, most recent in a litany of government initiated so-called “education reforms”, where states compete against each other to be awarded funding in exchange for contracts granting the federal government more control over local school operational decisions.

To most school boards and administrators – as well as state legislators and governors, eager to increase district funding and who are easily swayed by the hype, the carrot on the stick was enough to get them to sign on the dotted line. The terms of the binding MOU were vague and did not explain exactly what would be required of school districts, nor did it contain a specified end date. In effect, school boards and administrators were signing a blank contract.

Through my research, it became apparent the money being offered would not begin to cover the costs – and far worse, was the loss of privacy and control inherent with the program.

One of the mandates under Race to the Top, demands each student and teacher be “profiled”. Tell me, why is it OK to profile our children and teachers – but not terrorists?

Fortunately, Wisconsin did not make the cut last year in the “Race to the Top”. However, it’s expected  there will be another round beginning soon, this time targeted at our very youngest children. Pray we may be so lucky as to dodge the bullet again and that Congress will finally take a stand and stop the insane spending.

Many efforts to erode parental authority are not accompanied with the fanfare of a federal program promising the pot-of-gold at the end of the rainbow. They occur quietly, where you least suspect it. This is why it is vitally important for parents to be involved with their children’s education.

How often, do parents of children attending public schools, relinquish their rights to teachers, school administrators, school psychologists or guidance counselors because they are viewed as the “experts”? Maybe, just maybe the parent lacks the self-confidence to challenge them? Or, perhaps, parents simply trust them to do the right thing and it never occurs to them to suspect otherwise? Ask yourself, are you so sure the school agrees with your personal set of values and morals? Sometimes, parents are afraid to speak up because they don’t want to rock the boat… they feel intimidated… they don’t want to be singled out – or risk their child suffering some sort of repercussion – whether it originates from the school itself or peers? If so, that’s a cop out. Regardless of the reasoning or situation, often, when parents allow schools to call the shots, it is without even being aware they are sacrificing their own children to the system.

Even though a parent may have objections or reservations, if they do not speak up, they are, by default, allowing the school to seize more decision-making power and little by little assume a defacto parental role in the child’s life as they marginalize parents.

Boil the frog slowly.

To the parents, consider this carefully:  Are you a passive or proactive parent?

Before signing any document, do you take the time to actually read it and make sure you understand what it is you may be granting permission? Don’t be afraid to call the school and ask, if you are not sure. And by all means, don’t be afraid to say “No”.

My advice to parents? Listen to that voice inside. Trust your gut instincts. After all, you are the expert when it comes to YOUR child, not the school, and, most importantly, your child depends on you to stand up for them by making decisions which are in their best interest while reflecting your own family values and moral beliefs.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions or lodge complaints, if necessary. If there’s a problem, discuss it with the teacher. If the issue is not resolved, take it up the chain of command:  to the principal… then the superintendent… and your school board. After all, you elect them to represent you. It’s part of the job.

I’m here to tell parents be empowered. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your child, your family values, because it’s your duty… your responsibility… your right as a parent. Don’t let anyone discourage or prevent you from exercising good judgement and your God-given parental authority… ever.

In closing, I’d like to quote wise words from President Ronald Reagan:

“There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.”