How Public Schools Assault Parents' ValuesWritten by Joel Turtel
Is there anything wrong with lying, cheating, stealing, shop-lifting, taking drugs, premarital sex, insulting your parents, pornography, irresponsibility, or getting pregnant in junior high school? Not according to values taught to children in many public schools today.
From earliest times in America, teachers have believed that schools should teach moral values. What good is a child who knows when Columbus discovered America but can't tell right from wrong? The most popular reading instruction books in nineteenth century were "McGuffy Readers," which taught children to read through stories of increasing complexity.
Each story also taught children a moral lesson about values such as honesty, hard work, integrity, perseverance, compassion, obedience to parents, respect for others’ rights, and indi-vidual responsibility. Up to 1930s, most schools in America reinforced Judeo-Christian values most parents taught their children at home.
Today, many school authorities seem to have contempt for religion and traditional moral values. They force children to endure years of “values clarification” classes, which teach children that all moral values are subjective and meaningless. Many teacher-facilitators, as some now prefer to call themselves, teach kids that whatever feels good at moment or whatever group considers acceptable is a “good” value.
Most parents, when asked in surveys, say they want schools to teach their children such traditional Western values as honesty, hard work, integrity, justice, self control, responsibility, respect for parents, and fidelity in marriage. Unfortunately, those values are not what most public schools teach.
Values-clarification programs often pretend to teach children real values to pacify parents, but textbooks used in values-clarification classes often censor or distort traditional family and religious values.
Dr. Paul Vitz did a study on these textbooks, funded by National Institute of Education.Vitz discovered that traditional family and Judeo-Christian values had been eliminated from children’s textbooks. He studied forty social studies textbooks used by first to fourth-grade public-school students and found no mention of words “marriage,” “wedding,” “husband,” or “wife.” These textbooks commonly defined a “family” simply as a group of people.
Values clarification (sometimes now called "character education" or other names, depending on public school)differs radically from traditional moral codes because it claims that children do not need established values to make moral choices. Values clarification teachers don’t care which values children choose because in their view all values are subjective. The right value, they assert, depends on situation and individual -- a value is good if it “works” for a particular child at a particular time.
To many values clarification teacher-facilitators, cheating, lying, stealing, or having casual sex with other students are not bad acts in themselves. Such actions are just unfortunate choices that students make, depending on circumstances and personality traits, out of many alternative moral choices. Abiding by Ten Commandments is merely one such option.
Public Schools Can Cripple Your Children's Ability To ReadWritten by Joel Turtel
For many adults, reading a book or newspaper seems effortless. Yet reading effortlessly comes from constant use of basic skills learned at an early age. Once children learn these basic skills, they can eventually read complex books like War and Peace.
What are these skills? To read, one must recognize thousands of words. Since all English words are built from only twenty-six letters, huge task of recognizing letters and their sounds and putting them together to form words becomes greatly simplified. An English-speaking child only has to sound out letters and then put sounds together to read word.
I do not wish to over-simplify complexity of our rich English language, however. Like other western languages, English has its peculiarities. For example, many vowels have more than one sound, and many sounds can be spelled more than one way. However, even with these complexities, English is far easier to learn than Chinese, where children have to memorize thousands of word pictures, rather than twenty-six letters and their sounds.
Reading is difficult at first, but, once learned, process becomes automatic and unconscious. When we can read quickly without sounding out every letter of every word, all knowledge of world opens to us. However, like learning to drive a car, if we don’t learn basic skills, we don’t learn to read, or we read poorly.
Enter public-school education theorists who think otherwise. Don't adults read without sounding out every letter of every word, they ask? So why teach children phonics? Why put children through alleged boredom, drudgery, and hard work of learning letter-sounds? How can reading be joyful if literature becomes drills? If children memorize whole words instead of putting together letter sounds, all this pain will be gone. Rather than teaching kids alphabet and how to sound out M-O-T-H-E-R, teach them to recognize MOTHER and other whole words in a book, like Chinese word-pictures or ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Have child read simple books that repeat each word over and over, so that they come to recognize word. Do this for each word, they claim, and child will learn to read. This is called "whole-language" reading instruction.
The only problem is that whole-language doesn't work. It is a disaster. Most young children are only able to "memorize" a few hundred relatively simple words. Even an adult's mind can only memorize at most, a few thousand words. That's limit of human mind's capacity to memorize abstract symbols.
In contrast, children who learn to sound out letters of words with phonics can read tens of thousands of words, and eventually read ANY word, because they can sound out each letter in word and put sounds together.