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Issues and Action in Education

June 18, 2004

"Issues and Action in Education" is an e-letter produced by EdWatch, a nonprofit organization at http://www.edwatch.org.


See and order our bumper stickers. "EdWatch.org Education for a Free Nation http://www.edwatch.org/ab_feature.html.


Articles that feature Minnesota:

"Anti-American Professors Not so Rare Anymore" by Sharon Hughes

"Book Review of FedEd: The New Federal Curriculum and How It's Enforced."


Why don't the national and state standards teach students to love America's founding principles of freedom? This book review in "National Review" magazine, May 31st issue, alerts us to a new book by Samuel Huntington that tells the story. Huntington is the most prominent political scientist of our day.

Who Are We?: The Challenges of America's National Identity
by Samuel Huntington

Book Review by John Fonte, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.

"In the 1990s, his [Huntington] detailed analysis of the new global fault lines in The Clash of Civilizations alerted a complaisant pre-9/11 world to the dangers ahead. Who Are We?: The Challenges to America's National Identity is Huntington doing what he does best. It is a classic -- perhaps the definitive -- overview of the future of the American nation-state.

"Huntington argues that American identity today is based on both ideology and a common culture. The ideology -- the 'American Creed,' a belief in liberty, democracy, individual rights, and the like -- is a 'product of the distinct Anglo-Protestant culture' brought to North America by the mostly British settlers in the 17th and 18th centuries. Universalist Enlightenment concepts also played a part. These ideas proved especially fruitful because they found 'receptive ground in the Anglo-Protestant culture that had already existed in America for over a century.' This culture includes the English language; British traditions of law, rights, and limited government; the values of dissenting Protestantism (especially its moralism and anti-hierarchical spirit, which made it different from European Protestantism); the work ethic, economic opportunity, individualism, and Christianity."

"He describes how, since the 1960s, powerful forces among American elites have launched a sustained effort -- one that is, 'quite possibly, without precedent in human history' -- to 'deconstruct' American national identity. This 'deconstruction coalition' operates like the 'imperial and colonial' regimes of old, which promoted subnational identities in order to 'enhance the government's ability to divide and conquer.' Besides support for the subnational, the 'denationalized elites' embrace the transnational -- and denigrate affection for and loyalty to the American nation. He quotes the declaration of Amy Gutmann, the new president of the University of Pennsylvania, that it is 'repugnant' for American students to learn that they are 'above all citizens of the United States' (as opposed to having 'primary allegiance' to 'democratic humanism')."


Michael Chapman of EdWatch featured in July at national conference:

5th Annual Freedom 21 National Conference

July 21-24, 2004
John Ascuaga's Nugget Hotel
Reno, Nevada

Partial list of Speakers:

Congressman Ron Paul, the nation's number one defender of the Constitution in the House of Representatives
Helen Chenoweth-Hage, a former Congresswoman from Idaho who steadfastly upheld the principles of freedom
Judge Roy Moore. former Chief Justice of Alabama
Dr. Michael Coffman, a nationally recognized expert on environmental issues and the United Nations
G.B. Oliver, III, Executive Director of the Paragon Foundation
Henry Lamb, the founding Executive Vice President of the Environmental Conservation Organization, Chairman of Sovereignty International, and publisher of eco-logic, and eco-logic on-line.
Larry Pratt, the Executive Director of Gun Owners of America
Michael Chapman, a member of the Board of Directors of EdWatch, the premier "Education Watchdog" in America, and founder of American Heritage Research
Michael Shaw, a founder of Freedom 21 Santa Cruz, and a participant in the first Local Agenda 21 initiative in Santa Cruz, California

Register now!


Find and Read some of your own state standards. Link to key federal laws. Network with others in your state -- http://www.edwatch.org/US_Network.htm.


The War Against Excellence: The Rising Tide of Mediocrity in America's Middle Schools
Cheri Pierson Yecke

"...but by the late 1980s, some voices representing the modern middle school movement began a drive to reduce academic expectations.

"Ability grouping was discouraged as elitist, and in many places was replaced with “cooperative learning,” where a few students did all the work and everyone shared the grade. High ability students were often not allowed to work at their own pace, but instead were held to the pace of the rest of the class and required to tutor others--resulting in a loss to their own intellectual growth. Based on misinterpretations of scientific theories addressing brain development, a number of schools watered-down the middle school curriculum out of fear that pre-adolescent brains could not be expected to handle rigorous learning. And in some cases, academic competition was discouraged. These policies and practices resulted in some middle school environments that actively encouraged a culture that looked down upon high academic achievement."


CD: Prescriptions for Parents
A Physicians' Guide to Adolescence and Sex


This interactive CD turns your home computer into a parenting resource center. Narration, video, animation and text combine to form an easy-to-understand yet powerful educational tool that provides medically-accurate information on adolescent development and sexual health.

This interactive resource designed for parents and health educators covers the topics of Communication, Character, Puberty, Reproduction, Sexuality and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. It is appropriate for parents of adolescents ages 9-16 and is also "adolescent friendly."

Dr. Karen Effrem, member of EdWatch Board of Directors, is also a member of the National Physicians Center for Family Resources. EdWatch will receive a profit if you mention our name when you purchase the CD.


Or, What's Missing in the "Phonemic Awareness" Programs Taught in Minnesota Schools

By Myrna McCulloch, Director, The Riggs Institute
(a self supporting non-profit agency since 1979)

English is a phonetic language. This means it is based on a system of 42-46 "elementary" sounds (those which cannot be further divided) and approximately 75 commonly used letters and letter combinations to put the words made with those sounds on paper accurately (spelling). Six-year-olds, from English speaking homes speak, listen to, and understand from 4,000 to 24,000 of the one million+ English words as they enter first grade (Chall, Flesch, Seashore). Teaching them to write and read these same words requires these phoneme/grapheme relationships as quickly as possible to accommodate their vocabulary and interest levels. The phonics system needed is called the "alphabetic principle" -- set by the early 1860's Webster-Oxford collaboration to "standardize" spelling. See www.riggsinst.org/assess.htm for in-depth details (pg. 2).

In the 21st century, why is it important to understand the structure of our language? In these past 140+ years, spelling patterns have remained reasonably stable, whereas speech sounds, in all the dialects of English spoken worldwide, have grown to over 250 "nuances" of sounds and as many diacritical markings. So, why do we now have a worldwide and seemingly exclusive "fixation," especially from the "reading establishment" and America's mega publishers, on the illusive and ever-changing phoneme rather than the reasonably consistent grapheme. Yes, we do need to teach both phonemes and graphemes, but see www.riggsinst.org/ehrirese.htm for one researcher's findings on a proper balance. How did this complete phonics information along with some 70 English rules of spelling, plurals, syllabication, use of apostrophes, capitalization and syntax, disappear from colleges of education in this country in the early 1930's? After the 1920's, why are these "easily measurable" and "historically true" facts not included in English language arts state "standards" anywhere in this country?

Learn the answers to these timely questions, PLUS how to:

What: 3-Day Training Seminar, The Writing & Spelling Road to Reading & Thinking - an Orton-based complete language arts method, for K -3 or any remedial levels
Where: DULUTH, MN, Holiday Inn, Downtown, 200 W. First St.
When: Aug 9, 10, 11 (8 AM - 4:30 PM)
Tuition: $170.00
Options: 3 SEMS. GRAD/UNDER-GRAD CREDIT: Applications at seminar
Register & Order Materials: PHONE 1-800-200-4840 OR FAX TO 503-644-5191
In-depth Information: www.riggsinst.org

Fonte is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.


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Free Grammar Packets
From: Mrs. Donna Garner
236 Cross Country Drive
Hewitt, TX 76643

I have written the grammar packets for students of various ages, Grades 6 through adults.

The packets have been designed to be taught in the order in which they are listed at the bottom of this letter. Students should learn every single part of each packet because the exercises continually build on past skills. Each student should have his own individual packet so that he can write directly on his packet. The extra spacing in the packets is particularly beneficial for learning disabled students who learn better if their materials are not too congested.

For my own students, I use a testing program which has been aligned to the packets. In order to keep my tests secure, I cannot share my testing program; but because the packets are so explicit, teachers should have no problems designing their own testing program.

I have copyrighted the packets, but please feel free to duplicate as many copies as you desire so long as you are using them for educational purposes.

It has taken me over twenty-six years to write and revise these packets, and they have been piloted among my students in many different school districts. Through the use of the packets, I have seen hundreds of students improve their grammar, punctuation, and capitalization skills.


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