EDUCATION FOR A FREE NATION
105 Peavey Rd, Suite 116, Chaska, MN 55318
November 20, 2006
Elections, News and
1. Election Notes
2. TeenScreen & the Kenosha Parents Union
4. More on math Wars
5. Order EdWatch Conference DVDs
1. Election Notes
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) comes up for reauthorization under
new Democratic leadership in 2007. Proponents are gearing up to expand
its authority over families, expand its push for universal early
childhood, expand federal funding for universal mental health testing,
and more. Stay tuned. If you want to be part of stopping NCLB, let us
Minnesota's Michele Bachmann won her race for 6th District
Congress. Bachmann was a Republican state
Senator who entered
politics as a grass roots activist against the federal education
mandates. She begins with an keen understanding of the problems with
NCLB, mental health testing, School-to-Work and more. A strong candidate
speaking the truth is a winning combination.
Joe Enge of Nevada, founder of
EdWatch Nevada and the teacher
who became famous for his fight to teach early American History in his
high school class (see "Under fire for teaching history") beat
an incumbent overwhelmingly for the Carson City, Nevada school board. A
strong candidate speaking the truth is a winning combination.
2. TeenScreen & the Kenosha Parents Union
The Kenosha< Wisconsin Parents Union is taking up the fight
against universal psychological testing of their 8th graders.
KENOSHA NEWS rips parents for forming union
Sunday, 19 November 2006
The KENOSHA NEWS today features an article by Bill Guida ripping the
formation of the Kenosha Parents Union and supporting the mass mental
health screening program intended for all 8th graders in Kenosha. While
criticizing the hundred or so parents for trying to take part in the
school district, the article supports the district's inclusion of local
church representatives as experts on mental health and able to make
decisions within the district to determine which 8th graders are mentally
ill. The Kenosha Parents Union was formed by parents who feel that
parents are largely left out of the loop on significant KUSD issues, and
some KUSD board members and administrators agree. Pam Stevens,
vice-president of the KUSD Board and Gilbert Ostman, Board member, have
both signed on with the union and have consistently invited parent
involvement in the decision-making processes.
The controversy surrounding the mass mental health screening of all 8th
graders is an issue that has supporters and detractors on both sides. The
supporters of mental health screening insist that if they can find even
one child at risk and save that child, then the program will have
succeeded. Detractors see it differently. "Almost all of the
suicides and school shootings for the past ten years are committed by
kids who had been put on psychiatric drugs just prior to them killing
themselves or others." They have the data to back them up which
includes several hundred child suicides or murders, the drugs that the
children were prescribed and taking, and how long they were taking them
before committing their deadly acts.
Both sides of the mass mental health screening issue in Kenosha agree on
one thing: Teen suicide in Kenosha must be dealt with. Its how to deal
with it that concerns the Parents Union. "Don't be fooled by
so-called experts," one parent union member said, "the FDA
itself says there is zero evidence that mental health screening prevents
suicide and that it can actually contribute to suicide ideation in
Some commentary on Thanksgiving, schools, and history:
Governor William Bradford's Thanksgiving Proclamation
Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamations
Thanks to Thanksgiving [A sample of what kids are
Time to up
Thanksgiving & the
Re-Writing of History
4. Math Wars
New York Times
November 14, 2006
As Math Scores Lag, a New Push for the Basics
SEATTLE For the second time in a generation, education officials are
rethinking the teaching of math in American schools.
The changes are being driven by students lagging performance on
international tests and mathematicians warnings that more than a decade
of so-called reform math critics call it fuzzy math has crippled
students with its de-emphasizing of basic drills and memorization in
favor of allowing children to find their own ways to solve problems.
At the same time, parental unease has prompted ever more families to pay
for tutoring, even for young children. Shalimar Backman, who put pressure
on officials here by starting a parents group called Wheres the Math?,
remembers the moment she became concerned.
When my oldest child, an A-plus stellar student, was in sixth grade, I
realized he had no idea, no idea at all, how to do long division, Ms.
Backman said, so I went to school and talked to the teacher, who said,
We dont teach long division; it stifles their creativity.
Across the nation, the reconsideration of what should be taught and how
has been accelerated by a report in September by the National Council of
Teachers of Mathematics, the nations leading group of math
It was a report from this same group in 1989 that influenced a generation
of teachers to let children explore their own solutions to problems,
write and draw pictures about math, and use tools like the calculator at
the same time they learn algorithms.
But this fall, the group changed course, recommending a tighter focus on
basic math skills and an end to mile wide, inch deep state standards
that force schools to teach dozens of math topics in each grade. In
fourth grade, for example, the report recommends that the curriculum
should center on the quick recall of multiplication and division, the
area of two-dimensional shapes and an understanding of decimals.
The Bush administration, too, has created a panel to study research on
teaching math. It is expected to issue recommendations early next
To the Editor:
Thank you for publishing your article on the countrys lagging math
I wrote a letter to the superintendent of my suburban Seattle school
district when I was a junior in high school being poorly prepared for the
SAT. I pointed out precisely the same problems with reform math that
your article outlined.
I am now a sophomore in college and still paying the price for the poorly
developed methods of Integrated Mathematics. You can be sure I will be
forwarding a copy of this article to the superintendent, as well as
updating her on my progress in remedial algebra. Ill get the basics this
time around; unfortunately, my parents are now paying $40,000 for them.
Portland, Ore., Nov. 14, 2006
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