Dunbar Strikes Again

by

Texas State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, made news last month when she charged that President-elect Barack Obama “truly sympathizes” with enemies out to destroy America. Now guess what Dunbar has to say about the public education system she helps govern.

From a Texas Freedom Network press release today:

In her book, One Nation Under God (Onward, 2008), Dunbar (on p. 100) calls public education a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion.” She charges that the establishment of public schools is unconstitutional and even “tyrannical” because it threatens the authority of families, granted by God through Scripture, to direct the instruction of their children (p. 103) Dunbar, who has home-schooled her children and sent them to private schools, bases that charge on her belief that “the underlying authority for our constitutional form of government stems directly from biblical precedents.” (p. xv)

“Even if you question the accuracy of my constitutional interpretation as proof of the inappropriateness of a state-created, tax-payer supported school system, still the Scriptures bear witness to such an institution’s lack of proper authority in the life of the Christian family,” Dunbar writes (p. 102).

TFN President Kathy Miller questioned why Dunbar didn’t tell voters what she really thought about public schools when she ran for the state board in 2006:

“A fire chief wouldn’t knowingly hire an arsonist in the department. It’s just as hard to imagine many voters knowingly supporting for the State Board of Education an extremist who despises the public schools nearly everybody’s kids except her own attend.”

The press release offers only a taste of the outrageous blather found in Dunbar’s book. In coming days we will post Dunbar’s thoughts on religious freedom, separation of church and state and how America compares to Nazi Germany. (Really.)

Note, by the way, that Dunbar rejected the public school system for her own kids, choosing to home-school and send them to private school instead. So we wonder: Why is an extremist who loathes the public education system serving on a board that manages it?

39 Responses to “Dunbar Strikes Again”

  1. Connie Smith Says:

    Poor, ignorant Ms. Dunbar.

    She imagines the Constitution is based on the Bible — which, by the way — no one is obligated to believe in.

    And if she thinks the Constitution IS biblical, then what is to account for Article VI, which declares “no religious test shall ever be required” for federal office. A president, for example, can be any religion in the world, or no religion at all. Not exactly biblical — eh, Ms. Dunbar?

    And hasn’t she heard? The Scottish minister transplanted to America who pushed for “under God” to be added to the Pledge of Allegiance, just died at age 97. He complained in the 1950’s, accurately, that “God wasn’t in it at all,” and went on a crusade with President Eisenhower to force it in — which, unfortunately, worked — and therefore everyday since then, misleads American children about our history.

    (Then, “In God We Trust” got forced upon dollar bills, as well — once again misleading our citizens since then about American history. What DISHONESTY!)

    “Thou shalt not lie?” Evidently doesn’t mean a thing to the phony moralist, Ms. Dunbar.

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/O/OBIT_DOCHERTY?SITE=FLROC&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

  2. James F Says:

    The chicken coop has far too many foxes in charge….

  3. Stan Yoder Says:

    Dunbar’s expressed views and attitudes toward public education taken with her keenness to serve on the State Board of Education seem to share a moral justification with that of a suicide bomber.

  4. Dick N Says:

    Please help! Is there no way to get rid of this insane member fo the SBOE? Must our children’s educationn be tainted by such as she? HELP!

  5. JJ Says:

    Connie, in the minds of fundies like Dunbar their cause justifies their deceit. Their philosophy is “Some things are more important than the truth”.

    “What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church…a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them.”
    – Martin Luther, father of the Protestant church

    Contrast that attitude with this:

    “The foundation of morality is to have done, once and for all, with lying.”
    – Thomas Henry Huxley, protege of Charles Darwin

  6. Cytocop Says:

    Connie, in support of what JJ says, didn’t Paul say something like this: “To the Jew, I appeared as a Jew, to the Greek a Greek…” and so on? To Christians, the means justifies the end. Do whatever you need to do, say whatever you need to say, appear as whatever you need to appear. In other words, Christians are commanded to deceive.

  7. africangenesis Says:

    Dunbar’s homeschooling experience would seem to make her more qualified to represent the interest of taxpayers and parents than more passively involved parents. She has probably thought more extensively than most about educational philosophy. Did she communicate her educational philosophy during her campaign?

  8. Larry Fafarman Says:

    Dunbar is opposed to the idea of public education and she is also trying to minimize what she perceives as damage caused by public education — I don’t see any inconsistency there.

  9. reality Says:

    She is right. This land is was totally founded on the principals of the bible.

    If the bible were to disappear from USA life, this place would cease to be the power and assistance to other lands that it is.

    and the Muslims that would take over would in fact take out the pagan left FIRST, then the gay mafia, and then the Christians. Be aware that is how they see it.

    Most if not all of you only can open your big mouth because of our ancestors (who had a reverence for the God of the bible) your parents, grandparents.

    I guarantee that if you were to be places in prison, your pagan left views would cease in an INSTANT.

    Wake up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. africangenesis Says:

    The disparity in the youth vote for Obama from the statistics for the parents indicate that the public schools are transmitting the teachers union’s values and not the values of the parents. The parents should reassert their authority whether biblical or secular. That presumably is what the SBOE was elected to do. I think they are misguided if they assume they won’t ever lose another election. So instead of pushing their agenda through authoritarian means, they should try to destroy the authority of the board, and push control back down to the parents and the local schools where it belongs. Central planning is only reliable in undemocratic one party systems. How did Texas get into this mess? Don’t they realize that any power they accumulate today, may be in someone elses hands tomorrow? I thought only liberals were that dumb.

  11. nunyer Says:

    “The disparity in the youth vote for Obama from the statistics for the parents indicate that the public schools are transmitting the teachers union’s values and not the values of the parents.

    Got evidence? Thought not.

    Considering that many teachers are approaching retirement age, and few are entering, it stands to reason that most teachers have been in the profession for many years preaching what you call the “teacher union’s values.” But only now are the youth getting out to vote; says more about the recent administration’s incompetence than anything else.

    Of course africangenesis wants to isolate science teachers within each district and not give them a backbone of strong state science standards. That makes it easier for africangenesis and his cronies to harass and intimidate teachers into teaching creationism.

  12. africangenesis Says:

    Teachers should get their backbone from mastery of their subject matter, and their own character. If that doesn’t give them backbone, state or national standards won’t. Of course they should defer to the wishes of the parents as much as logisticallly possible, excusing students when objectionable material is covered. The parents are still the parents after all, but there should only be natural consequences for their choices.

    Teachers do need more backbone, they get in those schools systems and they succumb to the peer union culture, money is the solution, vouchers and school choice are the enemy, political correctness and the environmental values must be promulgated, school bonds must be passed, etc.

    If you don’t know the voting patterns of the last election, you haven’t been paying attention. The youth turnout may have been larger, but the teachers have been pushing their values rather than the parents values for years. The parental acquience in this should end.

  13. JJ Says:

    nunyer:

    africagenesis is a phony. A troll.

    Some Christians believe in evolution, and some Christians (creationists and IDers) do not. But for all practical purposes there are no secular humanists who deny the truth of evolution. That disparity is an indication of how lopsided the argument actually is.

    That’s where africangenesis comes in. By pretending to be an atheist who favors creationism, africangenesis fills that void and attempts to make it appear that the playing field is more level than it is.

    Nobody is fooled by this. Very little of what africangenesis writes makes any sense.

  14. John Taratuta Says:

    While I have not read Ms Dunbar’s book, I don’t find the citation from it any more “extremist” than the waves of atheistic dogma washing across the United States aimed at our young people.

    Calling her an “arsonist” as well? Really now. Are we still all in the first grade?

    And as for the allegation of Dunbar’s intent to “promote ideological agendas that are far outside the mainstream,” the fact of the matter is that Dunbar represents the mainstream.

    She didn’t send her kids to a public school? Well I understand twenty to twenty five percent of public school teachers make that same choice. The actual percentage is probably higher as this is shameful to those in public education. Even President Obama insists his children are privately educated. Is he outside the mainstream as well?

    So if Ms Dunbar needs to step down, then lets fire all them public school teachers with kids in privates schools – as well.

    Whatever happened to the need “of tolerance for ambiguity” or “diversity” in education? Or are those just liberal codewords to silence any opposition?

    The fact of the matter is that education in the U.S. is broken. Families are broken and our moral system is broken.

    Completely blocking the “traditional” (and I again say mainstream) point of view does nothing to advance the cause of young people learning to live a better life.

    I applaud Ms Dunbar for having the guts to put children first; not just her own kids – like our liberal elites – but all children.

    Bravo, Ms Dunbar! Keep fighting the good fight.

  15. Jimmy a Patriot, Christian and life long Republican Says:

    As a 49 year old married father of a teenage daughter, staunch Catholic, life long Centrist Moderate Republican, I can not stand by any longer and watch while kooks like Mrs. Dunbar continue to wreck my political party. I have no problem believing in God and supporting Science at the same time. God created everything, including Science. What is the problem people?

    I actually voted for George Bush twice! Boy, was I a dumbass who fell for his bald face lies, absolute studidity and incompetence. I stoodby and apathetically watched him trash the Constitution, plunge us into a needless war in Iraq with no end in sight as well as wreck the economy. I am not switching parties yet, but Bush/Cheney/Perry/Cornyn are sure making it hard for me to stay with their short sightedness,ignorance and private agendas. As a God fearing man, I WANT MY PARTY BACK!

    These kind of Republicans ,were part of the Lunatic fringe in the 60’s,70’s and early 80’s before they began crawling back into the party. Slowly but surely, through lies, distortions, fear mongering and lots of money they began taking control of the party. Well I’ve got news for them, I just woke up this last election(Thank you Mr. Bush), Myself and a lot of other fellow common sense Moderate Republicans have seen the light and we have begun to fight back. Anybody who has ever studied American History or Political Science knows that most Americans dont like radicalism, whether that is Right or Left. the overwelming majority are in the center.

    Get these pseudo science religous theories out of science education. My church and I will teach my kids religion. I implore schools to stop dumbing down education but instead make it more challenging and tougher so they can compete on a world stage.

    Again, I would like to thank Mrs Dunbar and also Mr. McElroy(board chairman) for actually inspiring me to fight your kind tooth and nail. Ok, now, I’ll just take a deep breath and calm myself down. I can’t believe I wrote a response this long, I apologize. Where did I put my check book so I can make a fat donation to the Fredom Network?

  16. James F Says:

    Amen, Jimmy, amen. I urge you to read what George Will, Charles Krauthammer, John Derbyshire and other conservatives have said about pseudoscience in science classrooms, you will find similar opinions. And pick up Ken Miller’s Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul for the well-reasoned views of a Catholic biologist (I have a signed copy).

  17. africangenesis Says:

    JJ, I am a staunch Darwinist of the Dawkins, Dennett and Pinker ilk, and I don’t favor creationism. What else might you be wrong about in addition to using invalid ad hominem arguments? You are right however, that by most of the usual definitions of God I am an atheist, although by other definitions I might be an agnostic. I don’t have strong feelings on the matter, but am willing to evaluate whether some gods appear logically or empirically possible, and can or can’t be ruled out.

    Jimmy the Republican, You’ve got your history wrong. The social conservatives in the Rep party were not part of the lunatic fringe, they were brought in from the Democratic party by Nixon’s southern strategy, and then supplemented by Reagan’s wooing of evangelical Christians. What you call fringe, managed to take over the South Baptist Convention which you should know is one of the establishment religions of the south, although the Texas Convention to its credit was able to protect many of its assets from takeover.

    I’ve never seen evidence that Bush lied, do you have any? Please recall that a lie requires knowledge that what one is saying is untrue. You should see his war time measures in historical perspective. His civil rights record stands up favorably when compared to that of LBJ, FDR, Wilson and Lincoln. The Iraq strategy was misguided for awhile, but the end is currently in sight. Bush’s policies would probably have strengthened the economy if they were implemented. He wanted to drill for more energy independence, and he wanted to eliminate the double taxes on both dividends and capital gains, which ended the misguided Democratic strategy of taxes that favor debit and risky leverage instead of equity. If you really are a Republican you know that. Democratic class warfare excuses for opposing tax reform leave the economy highly leveraged and prone to much deeper recessions, that hurt the very blue collar constituency they claim to favor.

  18. JJ Says:

    John Taratuta wrote: “the fact of the matter is that Dunbar represents the mainstream.”

    It’s been stated repeatedly, but apparently it needs to be stated again: you’re entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts.

    “I understand twenty to twenty five percent of public school teachers make that same choice.”

    It’s been stated repeatedly, but apparently it needs to be stated again: you’re entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts.

    “The actual percentage is probably higher as this is shameful to those in public education.”

    Then you move from made-up data to exaggerations based on it? The most accurate thing in your statement is the use of the word “shameful”.

    “…are those just liberal codewords…”

    Ah, the bias that leads to the exaggeration. Surprising, isn’t it.

    “The fact of the matter is that education in the U.S. is broken. Families are broken and our moral system is broken.”

    It’s been stated repeatedly, but apparently it needs to be stated again: you’re entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts.

    I swear, this is gonna sink in eventually. Even Taratuta’s trainable. After all, he’s a Christian, isn’t he?

    “…our liberal elites…”

    Try an experiment. Ask the people who are “hard at work” putting in long hours smoking cigars at the nearest golf course what their party affiliation and ideological perspective is. Bet you those “elites” have a nearly-uniform answer, and it won’t be one that supports your thesis. Won’t be convenient at all.

  19. africangenesis Says:

    “A fire chief wouldn’t knowingly hire an arsonist in the department. It’s just as hard to imagine many voters knowingly supporting for the State Board of Education an extremist who despises the public schools nearly everybody’s kids except her own attend.”

    This analogy isn’t quite correct is it? Because Dunbar obviously believes in educating children which is the alleged goal of public schools, would it be fairer for the analogy to be to someone else that wants to put out fires rather than to an arsonist? In order for you analogy to be helpful rather than inflammatory (pardon the pun), it should capture the relevant elements. I happen to live in an area that was well served by a volunteer fire department staffed by neighbors who intimately know my house plan and which rooms my children would be sleeping in. This was replaced by a “professional” department staffed by people who commute and that I have to wonder if they could find my rural address. Isn’t Dunbar more akin to electing one of those former volunteer fire fighters to represent neighborhood interests and values in running the fire depeartment?

  20. shrdlu Says:

    “africangenesis” writes: “I am a staunch Darwinist of the Dawkins, Dennett and Pinker ilk …”

    You just blew it right there, buddy. Nobody who accepts the fact of evolution refers to it as “Darwinism.” They refer to it as science.

    Troll begone!

  21. africangenesis Says:

    shrdlu, Do you have something of substance to say? If you really think your statement is true, then I am the exception. Darwinist rolls off the tongue better than evolutionist or dawkinist (as distinguished from a gouldian). I’m willing to own the term instead of running from it. I see just about every aspect of life from an evolutionary perspective, but that doesn’t mean I agree with evolution, it has made some poor choices. I wish it had opted for a little more longevity, but given the tough going our ancesters faced, fecundity was probably the local optimum. Are you doing your part of out reproduce the Christians and the muslims?

  22. Jimmy the Republican Says:

    africangenesis,

    You can start by reading the books, ” Confronting the new Conservatism, the Rise of the Right in America” by Michael J. Thompson. this is basically a compilation of essays by some of the preiminent Right , Left and Moderate scholars of our time. I believe you will be surprised by who some of the authors are. Its a book full of epiphanies.

    Also, read Ariana Huffington’s book ” The Right is Wrong” for more well documented facts about George W’s better stunts he has pulled this last 8 years as well as the ones he tried to do.

    Also, don’t ever refer to evolution as Darwinism to a right winger, or else they will say ,you just confirmed, it is just a theory not a science with any factual proof, which there is plenty of.

  23. africangenesis Says:

    shrdlu, On second thought, perhaps you are right, I don’t accept “the fact of evolution”, you see, I’m not afraid of the word “theory” either. Here is how I have tried to explain evolution to ID and creation proponents elsewhere:

    Evolution is the process by which one or a few ancestral life forms became the diversity we see today and in the fossil record. Life’s robustness in maintaining it’s internal state and reproducing in the face of genetic mutation and external environmental change give it the property of evolvability.

    “Robustness” subsumes the concepts of redundancy and overlapping function, homeostasis, developmental homeostasis, canalization and niche reduction. Robustness enables evolvability.

    The robustness mechanism that I think I had not appreciated before was niche reduction. The most exemplary of this is parental care. Think of all the mutations which are developmentally deleterious, yet can be tolerated because of parental care, and are advantageous to the adult. Think of all the mutations that made the human baby this slow, defenseless, sniveling, noisey predator attracting, relatively instinctless, large brained, empty headed little beast. Yet parental care allows that helpless large brain to develop into the most robust adaptation that evolution has yet devised. This was done through niche reduction. Mutations don’t have to be developmentally stable in any niche other than that formed by the womb and parental care.

    Robustness to mutation, and to the breaking of seemingly irreducable complexity appear to be the concepts that the ID adherants aren’t familiar with, and which answers most of the issues they raise.

    AND ALSO THIS:

    My impression from the literature is that genomics and proteinomics is that it is all very structural and mechanical. From machines for crawling along, transcribing and repairing DNA to machines for folding proteins, to machines for turning on the expressions of gene networks in response to environmental stimuli, to machines for silencing genes, etc.

    The ID and creationist folk are fond of parroting “How can random mutations create information?” Of course, they are right, they can’t, but natural selection can. Mutations expressed in germ cell lines that don’t prevent successful fertilization have now passed one level of selection, mutations that don’t cause failure during embryological development have passed another, onto mutations that don’t prevent successful survival and reproduction have passed another. Of course, genes that enhance any of these or produce some neutral variation that may someday be of value are a bonus. TANSTAAFL, energy was expended along the way, there were no physical laws violated including the laws of thermodynamics, but information was created. As to the accelerating pace of information creation, well it didn’t happen overnight. Life was simple single cells for much of its existence. The development of robust gene networks and higher level adaptations for evolvability such as niche reduction through parental care took time.

    SO YOU SEE, I also confront those with a creationist or ID perspective. I don’t run from them or fear their concepts in the classroom. I’m not afraid to evaluate anyone’s idea of a weakness of evolution or to have evolution called a theory, even in front of impressionable college bound high school sophmores. I am definitely glad these folks are on the Texas board however, because I think they are a force for school choice and to break the teachers union. Do you really want to defend the peer culture dominated, age segregated, factory model schools?

    It doesn’t bother me that people have religions, enjoy music or art, or spectator sports or other useless things until they resort to force or tax subsidies. To me is just the messiness of human nature. You have evolution to blame.

  24. Stan Yoder Says:

    africangenesis: The analogy is spot on. An arsonist has goals that are directly opposite of the fire department’s. Ms. Dunbar has views directly counter to public education. Ms. Dunbar, serving on the board that regulates public schools, writes that public schools are unconstitutional and should have no authority on the Christian family.

    I have long suspected that the ultimate goal of the fundamentalists is to wreck public education because it doesn’t kowtow to fundamentalist religious mandates. Ms. Dunbar is yet another example of their Trojan-horse tactics.

    We need State Board of Education members who truly care about nonsectarian, secular learning for the children of Texas. What is the procedure for impeaching board members?

  25. Larry Fafarman Says:

    You folks have blown this Dunbar thing way out of proportion. Serving on the state board of education while being opposed to the idea of public education is just a “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” kind of thing.

  26. Stan Yoder Says:

    Blown out of proportion? If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em? Hmmmm.

    Would you support having atheists on your church governing board?

    Would you want Democrats running the GOP?

    Would you willingly accept pacifists in charge of the armed forces?

    I wonder, if the shoe were on the other foot, if your blasé attitude would prevail.

  27. JJ Says:

    shrdlu wrote: “africangenesis” writes: “I am a staunch Darwinist of the Dawkins, Dennett and Pinker ilk …”

    You just blew it right there, buddy. Nobody who accepts the fact of evolution refers to it as “Darwinism.”
    _______________

    Precisely, shrdlu.

    “Darwinism” is a term coined by the religious right in yet another attempt to twist things around 180 degrees, this time to stigmatize evolution as being the religion. As if it’s scientists who start with the conclusion and work backwards, and not them. As if it’s they who start with evidence and logic and have enough faith (!) to follow to whatever conclusions leads, and not scientists. As if it’s scientists who sing a hymn titled “I Have Decided To Follow Darwin”. As if scientists attempt to motivate people to agree with them by offering rewards, to say nothing of eternal ones, for “believing” them. As if it’s scientists who offer nothing but words, and no predictive validation.

    It’s sick.

    And while anyone with half a brain can intuit this origin and use of the word, africangenesis is not only a “Darwinist”, but a “staunch” one at that. Not only here, but on other boards as well.
    _______________

    africangenesis wrote: shrdlu, Do you have something of substance to say? If you really think your statement is true, then I am the exception. Darwinist rolls off the tongue better than evolutionist or dawkinist (as distinguished from a gouldian). I’m willing to own the term instead of running from it.

    Nice try, spinmeister. You can come out of your closet now.

  28. africangenesis Says:

    Stan Yoder, Not only is the analogy blown out of proportion, it is an attempt to achieve by hyperbole what could not be achieved by argument from the evidence.

    BTW, I have voted to have a pacifist as commander in chief of the armed forces.

    If an atheist was forced to be a church supporter and forced to tythe, perhaps he should be able to get on the board as well.

    Given the tax payer funded support for their primary election processes, I think having democrats on the GOP executive board and vice versa could be justified. The two party stranglehold on the system should be broken as well.

    Ronald Reagan was elected, but failed to eliminate the department of education as he promised, so yes a similar situation has happened before. He bargained away that goal with Congress to achieve other goals. GW ran as the “education president”, and thanx to he and Teddy we now have “No child left behind”. Do you really think central planning improves things? You probably assume you will win the elections. Dunbar was elected by the people and she should remember the principles and values she ran upon and not cave in to the criticism and daemonization.

    The electorate has spoken and I take no comfort in it, because the electorate is fickle. The power of the SBOE should not be exploited by a temporary electorial success. Instead the SBOE should exercise its power to delegate authority to the local level and render itself impotent. The current system is broken, government licensing of teachers has unnecessarily restricted access to the profession, raising costs. 4 year college grads don’t seem to be achieving greater literacy than the 1 room teachers (often just teenagers) of the past.

    Unfortunately, if fire department was like the current education establishment, it would be more concerned about putting volunteer fire departments out of business than about putting out fires. It would insist on getting more compensation even if that meant less capacity to fight fires, and it would daemonize people who put out fires themselves. It would expect more funding, even if more funding had produced less results in the past.

  29. Stan Yoder Says:

    africangenesis, thanks for your attempt to allay my fears. However, your attempt has not only failed to allay my fears, it has confirmed them.

    Pronouncing the educational system broken does not mean it must be scuttled from within. A reasonable person might assume someone who runs for the SBOE has a desire to HELP the educational system, not poison it.

    Ms. Dunbar has no business, given her views, anywhere close to the halls where public education’s direction is decided.

  30. JJ Says:

    The article said that Dunbar “charged that President-elect Barack Obama ‘truly sympathizes’ with enemies out to destroy America.” It further said that Dunbar “calls public education a ‘subtly deceptive tool of perversion'” and that she “charges that the establishment of public schools is unconstitutional”.

    After this people respond that her views are “mainstream”, and that it’s “just a ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’ kind of thing.”

    And the evidence that talk radio has achieved its intended consequence keeps mounting.

  31. africangenesis Says:

    JJ, the “mainstream” is in the context of Texas, where independent evangelical megachurches and the Southern Baptists are part of the eastablishment. Yes, the southern Methodists and growing Catholic populations are more moderate, and they are mainstream too, but align with the others often enough to account for the election results.

    Education might be argued to be unconstitutional at the Federal level, but I know of no argument at the state level. Evidently Dunbar was relying upon scripture for her constitutional insights? Federal involvement at the federal level passes constitutional muster by exerting control via purse strings.

    “Perversion” has moralistic overtones, and probably refers to the teaching of values such as political correctness and to the peer culture that dominates these age segregated factory model schools and is pressuring sexual activity at ever younger ages. The parents interests and values probably are better served by keeping homosexuality socially unacceptable, since that phenotype may reduce the likelyhood of tranmitting genes to another generation. Early sexual activity would seem to be a plus, but these young teens and preteens are probably not considered ready to make the level of parental investment that increases the odds of success, and the mate choices may not be of the highest quality at this young age. While our society’s prolonged adolescence may be unnatural, and mating generally occurred at younger ages over most of our evolution (unless maturation was delayed by nutritional issues), in those societies there was often more mature parental input into the choice of mates.

  32. JJ Says:

    ag wrote: “…the ‘mainstream’ is in the context of Texas…”

    We’re talking about education. The dissemination of knowledge and the skills that go along with it. When it comes to education, should there be different “mainstreams” for Texas and the rest of the nation, if not the world? Is knowledge a regional thing?

    Knowledge is universal. A fact in Barbados or anywhere else is the same fact in Texas. We need to align with a wider mainstream than just the one that plays in our own back yard.

    “Education might be argued to be unconstitutional at the Federal level..”

    Tell that to this guy: http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/jeff1370.htm

    And you say you home-schooled your children?

  33. africangenesis Says:

    It is not a question of “should” there be different mainstreams, there are.

    Hopefully knowledge is about more than facts, it is also about how to learn and critically analyze facts.

    Yes, I did homeschool my children. My philosophy was to take advantage of and encourage the interests of the child, and to emphasize depth of understanding over breadth, trusting that the child with the skills to master one subject will be able to master others. I avoided the “jack of all trades and master of none” type of education. Over the years, since their curiosity was turned not off by having things they weren’t interested in shoved down their throats, they did achieve some breadth.

    Jefferson didn’t address whether federal funding or control of education was constitutional. If you read his quotes, he favored funding and control at the local level. He usually referred to “counties”. He opposed central control:

    “If twelve or fifteen hundred schools are to be placed under one general administration, an attention so divided will amount to a dereliction of them to themselves. It is surely better, then, to place each school at once under the care of those most interested in its conduct.” –Thomas Jefferson: Plan for Elementary Schools, 1817. ME 17:417

    He also opposed compulsory education:

    “It is better to tolerate the rare instance of a parent refusing to let his child be educated, than to shock the common feelings and ideas by the forcible asportation and education of the infant against the will of the father… What is proposed… is to remove the objection of expense…”

    Some of his quotes that seemed to apply at the federal rather than his just speaking in generalities about what he thought best or a good idea, involved land grants. I wonder if this was the origin of our land grant institutions. Although the Federal government is give given any authority over education by the constitution, and powers not granted to it are reserved for the states and the people, something like the power to make land grants, might just follow from property rights. The legal decisions surrounding the founding of the land grant institutions and the strings that were probably attached to the grants, will probably shed light on the issues.

    Since, you have an opinion on the constitutionality issue, please share your analysis, or do you just think that if you want it, it couldn’t be unconstitutional?

    In my reading of history and anthropology, I’ve come to appreciate how intelligent so-called “uneducated” and “uncivilized” peoples are. All humans are descended from a long line of winners, who got their genes to the next generation. If you study Archimedes or appreciate how many different societies were able to predict eclipses, determine the equinoxes, etc, if you look at the genius required to create writing and number systems, to master bronze or iron smelting technology, to tan leather, to figure out what herbs to eat and which have medicinal value, etc, you come to appreciate that these minds of ours are not new, and it is hubris to think we are smarter than the peoples of the past. The had our minds and applied them. Taking the children from the parents and sending them to “Indian schools” to civilize them was an atrocity. A Hank Williams has as much to offer society as a biology teacher, whether Hank was familiar with evolution or not. We should have room for all this diversity. Yes, some cultures, such as wahabism are virulent and if allowed to survive, must be put on reservations or something. People should be free to leave or escape their cultures, and by corrollary, they shouldn’t be allowed to shove their cultures down other peoples throats. I don’t see how you get from “Knowledge is universal” to shoving it down other peoples throats. Jefferson was in favor of opportunity not conformity.

    Did I tell you I homeschooled my children?

  34. africangenesis Says:

    I’m a little confused, I just read the “Our Story” link and found out TFN opposes school vouchers. So TFN doesn’t want the christian right to control the schools, yet by opposing vouchers they don’t want them to escape it, they just want them to fund it and to be subject to it. How is that “freedom”? Who is it freedom for? It begins to look like the Christian fundies only chance to escape it is to control it. Poor suckers. They better not make George Bush’s mistake and let the daemonization go unanswered, and they had better become more media savvy.

    TFN’s explanation is that vouchers drain money from the school system, but I’ve never seen a plan where the per student voucher was greater than per student funding in the schools, it is always less . Since the funding comes from the same pot, it isn’t likely that those benefit from the vouchers will vote against the funding It looks like the only thing threated by the funding of vouchers , is that ultimately fewer teachers may be needed in the public school sector, even though it has much more funding available per student. So even though the only constituency negatively impacted by the voucher system is the teachers union, they have still managed to defeat it?

  35. Stan Yoder Says:

    ag says, “Hopefully knowledge is about more than facts, it is also about how to learn and critically analyze facts.”

    On this, ag, we agree. However, discounting or dismissing facts that are a bit inconvenient to a particular religious stance should not be part of a state board of education’s agenda, as it seems to be with this one, especially including Ms. Dunbar.

    Whether or not public-financed education is constitutional or not, do you not find it odd that someone who, on a religious basis, believes it is unconstitutional wants to direct its mandates? In America Ms. Dunbar is guaranteed the freedom to believe whatever she likes, but she is not guaranteed to be taken as anything but a wacko religious crackpot if she thinks her peculiar version of religion must prevail in America, and by extension, in Texas and on the Texas SBoE.

    “Uneducated” peoples certainly can contribute to civilization. Native intelligence is not in question; education is. I don’t want Hank Williams, however much he may have to offer society in your opinion, teaching biology instead of someone educated in biology.

    Knowledge has an annoyingly obstinate way of appearing and reappearing no matter how much zealots want to squash it in favor of their pet beliefs. Gravity doesn’t care what religion you hold. Does gravity “shove itself down the throats” of the religious anti-science crowd? Darn the luck!

  36. africangenesis Says:

    “do you not find it odd that someone who, on a religious basis, believes it is unconstitutional wants to direct its mandates? ”

    No I don’t. I think it is a form of self defense. Not every religious fundy can afford private school or the premium parental investment of homeschooling. It is not suprising at all that they elect someone like Dunbar. She seems more than willing to serve, even though she homeschools, her children have to live with the products of the public education. I suspect they would be very happy to give up control in exchange for vouchers and school choice. They would be well advised to do it, because they may not win the next election, or they may be doomed to battle constantly to protect their minority views. Freedom is the best option.

  37. africangenesis Says:

    “You just blew it right there, buddy. Nobody who accepts the fact of evolution refers to it as “Darwinism.” ”

    I was just looking through my Amazon.com wishlist for something I could use to qualify for supersaver shipping, and lo and behold, there was:

    Darwinizing Culture: The Status of Memetics as a Science (Hardcover) by Robert Aunger

    I’ve usually seen the talks on BookTV, and add those to my wishlist to await the coming of the paperback version. Would it have been more appropriate to call it “Dawkinizing” culture? Memetics is a great thought experiment that has captured the imagination of the culture and stimulated much productive research. I found it stimulating, but I’m a skeptic, who finds it difficult to avoid seeing memes at work everywhere.

    “Darwinism”, “theory” and “weaknesses” — must the usual meanings of these words be abandoned in this process? They are not tainted because fundmentalists have used them, if you keep your wits about you, you can keep the words and still make distinctions relevent to the discussion. Why is there social pressure to run from using them in the humanist/freethinker/atheist subculture? You get personally attacked if you are willing to use them.

    I don’t think the book is going to make it to paperback, at over $60, I’ve got 4 other things on my list that I can get for that.

  38. John Taratuta Says:

    Need I ever post a reply to vindictive Blog Bandits?

    No, however, the stats on public teachers with their own children attending private schools are well known. According to the Heartland Institute and the report “Where Do Public School Teachers Send Their Kids to School?” issued by the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation:

    “While just 12.2 percent of U.S. families send their children to private schools, that figure rises to 17.5 percent among urban families in general and to 21.5 percent among urban public school teachers, almost twice the national average.”

    In the urban (inner city) schools the figures are much higher:

    Los Angeles – 24.5%
    New York City area, 32.5%

    And most in Chicago, where the proposed U.S. Secretary of Education runs the district, 38.7 percent of public school teachers, versus 22.6 percent of the general public, send their children to private schools.

    In Washington D.C., the Heartland Institute further points out: “One of the revelations that helped pass the DC voucher legislation was the disclosure in the news media that the politicians opposing school choice in that city did not enroll their own children in District of Columbia public schools.”

    Does anyone really believe in U.S. public education anymore? Perhaps only the well meaning Liberals who want to send your kids there (but not their own).

    We can, however, give a big thank you to President Bush for not only keeping the U.S. safe, but leaving office with a better educational system.

  39. Larry Fafarman Says:

    John Taratuta said (December 18, 2008 at 1:58 pm) —
    –“While just 12.2 percent of U.S. families send their children to private schools, that figure rises to 17.5 percent among urban families in general and to 21.5 percent among urban public school teachers, almost twice the national average.”–

    In other words, 87.8 percent of U.S. families send their children to private schools v. 78.5 percent for urban public school teachers. Not much difference there, is there? Remember the optimists’ creed:

    As you go through life, my friend,
    whatever may be your goal,
    keep your eye upon the donut,
    and not upon the hole.

    Besides, you are comparing apples and oranges — all US families v. urban public-school teachers. What about suburban and rural public-school school teachers?

    Figures don’t lie but liars figure.

    –In the urban (inner city) schools the figures are much higher:
    Los Angeles – 24.5%
    New York City area, 32.5%–

    Are these the figures for the entire metro areas, or just the figures for the inner cities? A lot of the Los Angeles metro area is suburban. Also, though inner-city public schools tend to be inferior, inner-city residents tend to have lower incomes and are less able to afford private schools, so I am surprised that these figures are so high. However, with “gentrification,” some inner cities tend to have high-income residents — this is particularly true of the borough of Manhattan in New York City. There are so many factors that affect these figures that these figures are essentially meaningless.

    –And most in Chicago, where the proposed U.S. Secretary of Education runs the district, 38.7 percent of public school teachers, versus 22.6 percent of the general public, send their children to private schools. —

    So in Chicago, 77.4 percent of the general public uses the public schools v. 61.3 percent of the public school teachers. The difference doesn’t look so great now, does it? Again, I am surprised at the high figures for public school teachers – I would think that in Chicago, even inner-city school teachers would tend to live in the suburbs, where schools tend to be better and safer.

    –In Washington D.C., the Heartland Institute further points out: “One of the revelations that helped pass the DC voucher legislation was the disclosure in the news media that the politicians opposing school choice in that city did not enroll their own children in District of Columbia public schools.”–

    That doesn’t seem to make sense — these politicians would benefit personally from vouchers because they already send their kids to private schools, but these politicians may be so rich that this potential personal benefit doesn’t matter to them. Where they send their own kids should not have been an issue.

    Also, private schools are not cheap:

    –“According to the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the median tuition for their member private day schools in 2005-2006 in the United States was close to $14,000 for grades 1 to 3, $15,000 for grades 6 to 8 and $16,600 for grades 9 to 12. The median tuition for their member boarding schools was close to $29,000 for grades 1 to 3, $32,000 for grades 6 to 12. Note that of the 28,384 private schools in the United States, about 1,058 are affiliated with NAIS. The Digest of Education Statistics 2005 from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that for the 1999-2000 school year, the average private school tuition was about $4,700.

    Parochial schools generally charge less. According to the National Catholic Educational Association, in their annual statistical report in 2005-2006, the average elementary school tuition for Catholic schools (in 2005) was $2,607; the average freshman tuition (for 2002-2003) was $5,870. Catholic Schools enroll more students (49%) than any other segment of private schools. “–
    — from http://www.greatschools.net/cgi-bin/showarticle/ca/197

    The cost of that tuition would pay for a lot of private tutoring and extra-curricular educational enrichment (special summer camps, private music lessons, etc.).

    However, maybe these tuition figures don’t tell the whole story because some private-school students may be getting scholarships or grants.

    Furthermore, K-12 tuition (with some exceptions) is generally not tax-deductible (college tuition is tax-deductible).

    I wonder how often the quality of the local public schools enters into the decision to attend private schools. It seems that those families that can afford private tuition can also afford to live in the better neighborhoods where the public schools tend to be better and safer. It seems that only very wealthy families would be likely to choose a private school over a good public school.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: