Common Core Must Go
by JBS President John F. McManus
High School teacher Stacie Starr was never ordinary. So good was she as an instructor of ninth grade students at Elyria High in Ohio that she was named as the “top teacher” by ABC’s “LIVE! With Kelly and Michael.” Less than a year after appearing on the nationally viewed program, she spoke at an Ohio education forum and stunned the parents in attendance by announcing that she was quitting her job at the end of the current school year.
According to a report compiled by World Net Daily, Ms. Starr told her stunned audience that she could no longer deal with the federally imposed Common Core system all teachers have to employ. “Each and every day, I have to look into my students’ eyes and tell them I can’t help them,” she tearfully stated. She can’t do what she always thought a teacher is supposed to do because the Common Core standards are in the way.
Common Core is the latest education program forced on schools by the federal government. In the 1990s, Goals 2000 preceded Outcome-Based Education. Both failed to reverse the downward slide in student performance. President Barack Obama introduced Race to the Top in 2009 and federal funding for that program went to states willing to accept Common Core. As has always been certain, what the federal government finances, it will control.
Several years back when the Common Core standards were compiled, a prestigious Validation Committee was handed the task of judging the program’s merits. But only two members of that committee, one a teacher of English (Dr. Sandra Stotsky) and the other a Mathematics instructor (Dr. James Milgram), were actual classroom instructors and both of them turned thumbs down on the program. The other committee members, all professional educationists, had no background in anything but educational processes and it was they who approved Common Core.
David Coleman, the primary author of Common Core, has now moved on to leadership of the College Board, the creator of the SAT exams. Students expecting to gain admission to a favored college or university must do well with the SAT challenge. Therefore, they will have to be familiar with the Common Core program that many educators have already deemed deficient. All of which means that Common Core must be adopted, not only by public schools, but also by the nation’s religious and homeschool programs.
Only several years ago, a prestigious international group measured the educational performance of high schools students nation by nation. Among the top industrialized nations, America’s teens were ranked 31st in math, 24th in science, and 21st in reading. According to numerous teachers and parents, those scores are sure to sink even farther because Common Core doesn’t focus on subject matter, only on educational processes.
After Stacie Starr announced her plan to quit teaching, Ohio third-grade teacher Jackie Conrad made a similar announcement. In New York, veteran sixth-grade teacher Jennifer Rickert asked for reassignment because of her objections to Common Core. In Georgia, Hall County teacher Meg Norris left her teaching job because of the disastrous results to her students due to Common Core.
The answer to all of this is to get the federal government out of education. Let the states compete against each other. Competition always brings excellence. Common Core, the latest monopolistic federal program, is now showing that the results are the very opposite. Learn more about Common Core from FreedomProject Education.
God Grants Men Their Rights
by JBS President John F. McManus
The history of mankind is the history of struggles to be free. Freedom to speak, publish, worship, assemble, and more are the rights most Americans take for granted. But these are the very freedoms most of the world’s population, even today, do not enjoy. How it is that we, in America, do benefit from such freedoms? The answer is very clear, although it is something that surprisingly few Americans currently understand.
It would be hard for me to provide a number for the many times I personally have spoken of the “thunderous assertion” in the Declaration of Independence, our nation’s birth certificate. Again and again, I have referred to the portion very near the part stating as a “self-evident” truth that “Men … are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.”
I have always insisted everyone should stop right there because that short excerpt is more fundamentally a part of America’s identity as can be found anywhere. Rights come from God, not from government. And they don’t come from a monarch or some other source. It follows that, if God grants rights, no one but God can take them away. On this was built the whole system of government in the “land of the free and home of the brave.” Take it away and be prepared for some form of tyranny.
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo either never learned this basic truth or he has deliberately cast it aside. On February 13th, during an on-air verbal sparring match over same-sex marriage with Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, the judge calmly stated, “Our rights, contained in the Bill of Rights, do not come from the Constitution. They come from God. That’s clearly stated in the Declaration of Independence.”
Cuomo, an attorney, abruptly interrupted Justice Moore and argued, “Our rights do not come from God…. That’s your faith. … They come from man…. Our laws come from collective agreement and compromise.” There could hardly be a sharper difference between Judge Moore’s reality and Chris Cuomo’s myth. The problem is that myth has risen steadily in the U.S. and it now virtually dominates the thinking of a huge segment of the American people.
If government is the dispenser of rights then, ipso facto, government can change its mind and cancel them. There haven’t been many such instances in other countries where government engaged in such treachery because there haven’t been many occasions when a nation began as did the United States.
Shame on Chris Cuomo! We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he never learned the basic underpinning of our nation in the first place. Evidently, he wasn’t taught it by any of his teachers or by his father (former NY governor) and older brother (current NY governor). Nowhere in Chris Cuomo’s schooling did this monumentally important, and self-evident, truth get to him.
Sadly, CNN’s Cuomo is not alone. Because of Supreme Court rulings outlawing any semblance of religious instruction in schools and elsewhere, the most important passage in the Declaration of Independence isn’t being taught. Religious ideas are banned because of the “separation of church and state” portion of the Constitution which, amazingly, no one can find in that document. But it’s not partisan religious belief that resulted in the Declaration of Independence; it’s common sense. Our nation is being taken away from its remarkable roots in many ways. But losing the truth that rights are granted by God and, therefore, no one but He has power to cancel or suspend them amounts to banning the core of Americanism’s greatness.
Maybe we can thank Chris Cuomo for displaying deficient understanding of his country’s roots. As a result of his ignorance, many Americans have been reminded of this seminally important bit of American history. Let’s hope they never forget it.
Will Hillary Be Hurt by Williams Episode?
by JBS President John F. McManus
NBC’s Brian Williams has been suspended without pay for six months for making up a story about his 2003 coverage of U.S. military operations in Iraq. He said the helicopter in which he was being transported took a hit from a rocket propelled grenade, and he and his crew had to be rescued by alert U.S. military personnel. He recently repeated that version of the event. Trouble for Williams followed swiftly because it never happened. He was forced to admit he had told a lie while lamely claiming he “misremembered.”
Brian Williams aside, the incident reminded us of a somewhat similar claim made by Hillary Clinton in 2008. Attempting to build her own foreign policy experience back in 1996, the then-First Lady journeyed to Bosnia, a headline-grabbing hotspot at the time. Later in 2008, now a U.S. Senator and the potential nominee of the Democratic Party for President, she recalled for an audience at George Washington University the harrowing ordeal she claimed to have experienced when the plane arrived in Bosnia. “I remember landing under sniper fire,” she stated. “There was supposed to be some kind of greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.”
That tale was a complete fabrication. Videotape footage of her arrival at Bosnia’s Tuzla Air Base showed her calmly walking from the plane with daughter Chelsea. With her head held high and in no danger, she spent several minutes talking with a group of U.S. officials who had brought along an 8-year-old Bosnian girl to present a poem to America’s First Lady. No sniper fire. No hurried exit from the plane. Eventually, the truth emerged when Sinbad, a fellow passenger on the plane who made the trip to Bosnia to entertain U.S. troops, told of the uneventful landing.
Asked later about this apparent falsification, Hillary said she “misspoke.” (Brian Williams said he “misremembered.”) Her attempt to downplay her fabrication followed: “So I made a mistake. That happens. It shows I’m human, which for some people is a revelation.” But the fairy tale about Bosnia wasn’t her lone misstatement. Years before, she claimed she had been named for Edmund Hillary, the first man who made it all the way to the top of Mount Everest. How interesting! Except that Edmund Hillary’s feat hadn’t yet occurred and not many people even knew he existed when she was born.
Then there’s her fanciful recounting of daughter Chelsea’s stroll on the streets of New York just prior to planes crashing into New York’s Twin Towers. Supposedly, Chelsea was fortunate to have avoided that area but she could easily have died under the rubble of those buildings, said Hillary. Luckily, friends were told, Chelsea got away from the danger zone in time. That whopper was shown to be just as false as others by Chelsea herself who happened to write in her own book that she was at a friend’s apartment that day – far away from the World Trade Center.
Brian Williams violated the trust of his listeners. But all who watch TV news had the opportunity to switch to another station. After her falsehood about snipers in Bosnia, Hillary Clinton won a seat in the U.S. Senate and then, as Secretary of State claimed (along with Barack Obama) that a two-bit video in Los Angeles led to the attack in Benghazi that cost the lives of four Americans including our nation’s ambassador. More falsehood. She now wants to be President. Williams got suspended for six months and will probably never be a news anchor again. TV news anchors have to be believable. But shouldn’t the same standards apply for someone who wants to be President? The American people can’t switch to another channel to get a different president.
Disappointed Americans in great numbers see no reason to sweep the Williams mendacity under a rug. It remains to be seen how many will be willing to skip over lies told by Hillary Clinton.
It’s Way Past Time to Audit the Fed
by JBS President John F. McManus
Born in 1913, the Federal Reserve is now more than 100 years old. In its century of existence, it has presided over the loss of the dollar’s purchasing power from 100 cents to two cents. It has also bailed out banks and industries here in America and in foreign lands. But it has never been subjected to a real audit. So, members of both Houses of Congress have introduced legislation to have the Fed open its books and submit to a thorough scrutiny conducted by the Comptroller General of the United States.
Fed officials contend that such an examination will impair its independence, as if the management of the nation’s economic life and its currency should be free of inspection by the people’s representatives. And, of course, no Fed official wants the public to know that “The Communist Manifesto” called for what the Fed truly is – a key step among the ten listed by Marx to take control of any nation. Marx wrote in 1848 of the need for: “Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.” That’s what the Fed is, with the exception that it is not in the hands of the State, it is privately owned, a step beyond what Marx called for.
In 2012 and 2014, members of the U.S. House voted overwhelmingly (more than 300 each time) to have an audit conducted. But the Senate, in the hands of then-Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), whose office gave him power to refuse consideration of what he did not want, never voted on a similar measure because Reid blocked it. Past attempts to have an audit conducted died courtesy of Reid. But the new Senate Majority Leader is Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and he is one of 30 senators who have already co-sponsored S. 264, a measure calling for the audit.
The House is again expected to pass the call for an audit as proposed in H. R. 24. Senators should be contacted to persuade them to add their names to the list of co-sponsors for S. 264, the companion measure in the Senate. If both Houses agree that an audit should be conducted, the measure will go to the president who is expected to veto it. Then it goes back to both Houses of Congress where two-thirds approval in each House can override the presidential veto.
As evidenced by Fed Chairman Janet Yellen’s recent action, Fed officials are fearful of any audit. She took the unusual step of travelling to the Senate to urge friendly senators to block passage of S. 264. As usual, she insisted that the Fed should remain independent of scrutiny. Let us hope that enough senators see through that absurdity and cast their vote accordingly.
Americans can expect to see prominent economists speak out against the needed audit. Many PhDs in this field are already on the Fed’s payroll, either as full employees or consultants. The amount of money doled out to them should also become known in order to show that their favoring of the Fed’s vaunted “independence” has been bought.
An honest audit of the Fed could lead to its eventual demise and the return in America to real money backed by a commodity, not paper money backed by nothing. And that would signal the beginning for America of economic vitality and strengthened independence.
Interested readers should contact their state’s two senators and request passage of S. 264.
Egypt’s Leader Pinpoints a Real Enemy of Peace
by JBS President John F. McManus
In July 2013, Egypt’s military chieftain, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, ousted President Mohammed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood-backed leader who had recently been elected President of the country. Egypt has experienced an escalating rocky period ever since that change in the country’s leadership.
Late in January, President Sisi blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for bombings in northern Egypt that killed as many as 30 people. A Muslim himself, Sisi described the Muslim Brotherhood as “the strongest secret organization of the last two centuries.” Some analysts of Muslim-dominated countries claim that the various militant Islamic factions – al Qaeda, ISIS, and others – are ultimately in league with the Brotherhood.
As the dawn of the new year of 2015 arrived, President Sisi courageously appeared at Egypt’s Al-Azhar University where he told a gathering of Islamic clerics of a need for a “revolution” within Islam. He called on them to assist in altering the world’s reputation of Islam as the cause of worldwide violence. The clerics listened but issued no comment.
Sisi then went to St. Mark’s Cathedral where he told the Coptic Christian congregation that “Egypt has brought a humanistic and civilizing message to the world for millennia, and we are here today to confirm that we are capable of doing so again.” The Coptic minority received that message with jubilation because it has experienced numerous attacks over recent years from militant Islamists.
Writing at World Net Daily, Middle Eastern reporter F. Michael Maloof claimed that Sisi’s condemnation of the Muslim Brotherhood has received the backing of Saudi Arabia but a rebuff from Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Turkish leader has offered leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas “safe haven” in Turkey’s capital city and even shown support for ISIS.
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi deserves admiration for attempting to reverse the gathering storm presented by militant Islamists. His call for moderation extends beyond his own nation. But the cool reception he received from Muslim leaders within Egypt does not indicate success. And it may indicate the possibility of trouble ahead, even personal retaliation aimed at the man himself. Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood is working to repair its image while planning new steps to restore its power.
Jerusalem Post contributor Dr. Martin Sherman noted that Sisi’s speech at Al-Azhar University was delivered at the very location where, in 2009, President Obama delivered a speech to the clerics. Unlike the current Egyptian president who chided Islamic extremism, the U.S. President, in effect, boosted the Muslim Brotherhood and its ambitions. Dr. Sherman feels that Obama’s message in 2009 even “insisted on places of honor within the government for senior Brother representatives.”
The so-called “Arab Spring” that has brought misery to Libya, Iraq, Egypt, and elsewhere has, in fact, spurred the rise of Islamic extremism. President Sisi hopes to reverse this trend and people of goodwill worldwide wish him well.
Alabama Chief Justice Defiant Over Same-Sex Rulings
by JBS President John F. McManus
For many years, a monument depicting the Ten Commandments was prominently situated in Alabama’s main judicial building. In 2000, the state’s chief justice, Judge Roy Moore, balked at being told by federal officials that its presence in such a public place violated the U.S. Constitution and had to go. Moore fought that demand and lost. He was then removed from his post and the monument came down.
In 2006, with threats against the institution of marriage developing throughout the nation, Alabama’s voters overwhelmingly (more that 80 percent) chose to amend their state’s constitution in order to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Then in 2012, voters put Moore back into the post he previously held.
The truly popular chief justice is back in the news. Moore just sent a letter to Governor Robert Bentley urging defiance of “judicial tyranny.” He specifically asked the governor and other state officials to ignore a recent ruling by U.S. District Judge Callie Grenade stating that the definition of marriage in Alabama had to conform to recent federal rulings recognizing same-sex marriage. Moore stated in his letter to Bentley, “As you know, nothing in the United States Constitution grants the federal government the authority to redefine the institution of marriage.” He further pointed out that the people of Alabama had only recently amended the state’s constitution stating that marriage is a “sacred covenant, solemnized between a man and a woman.”
Moore’s letter even cited an 1825 opinion registered by Thomas Jefferson regarding nullification of unconstitutional federal mandates, a stand he will stand by. States, said Jefferson, could refuse to comply with unjust and unconstitutional federal dictates. Moore also pointed to the Tenth Amendment and its clear affirmation that “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution” remain with the states and the people – and no such delegation of power had ever been made. Governor Bentley issued a statement supporting Judge Moore’s call for defiance.
Defenders of traditional marriage may indeed salute Judge Moore. But the attack on the institution of marriage continues. Federal courts have already sanctioned same-sex marriage in 21 states and pressure from the homosexual lobby continues to grow. In no other state has Moore’s style of resistance been adopted. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling on the matter this year. Judge Moore’s expression of defiance may well be tested again.