Monday, December 12, 2011

Feeding Students With Left-Wing Propaganda

BARSTOW, Calif. - Imagine watching Fox News one night and your high school child walks into the room and proceeds to tell you that “Fox News lies!”

That happened to Nick Benson, a Californian who had two grandchildren enrolled at Barstow High School in San Bernardino County.

“How do you know that?” Benson said he asked the boy. “My teacher told me,” was his grandson’s response.

Sure enough. Benson discovered that his grandson’s “World History” teacher, Jim Duarte, had been feeding his students a steady dose of radical left wing political propaganda, disguised as classroom assignments.
Benson recently provided Education Action Group with several assignments that Duarte handed out last school year, when his grandson was in the class.

The articles and editorial cartoons students were assigned to review were ridiculously slanted to the Big Labor/socialist point of view, as were the leading questions on classroom worksheets.

Either Duarte really believes he’s being paid to brainwash students in his personal political philosophy, or he just doesn’t care.

On one classroom worksheet, students read an article on how Fox News supposedly “pushed” a “falsehood” that government workers make more than their private sector counterparts. The article was based on “facts” provided by Media Matters, a left-wing outfit that quoted information from the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C. think tank largely funded by Big Labor.

We’re willing to bet Duarte never shared that fact with his students.

Propaganda presented as fact

Duarte’s efforts to sell left-wing political ideology to impressionable young students is all-too-familiar. Throughout the nation, we’ve been hearing teachers union leaders openly calling for instructors to preach pro-union and anti-American philosophy to their students, some as young as preschool age.

And many teachers seem to be heeding the call. For example, hundreds of Oakland teachers recently signed a pledge to use precious class time to teach their students about the noble “Occupy” protesters and the evil corporations on Wall Street.

Duarte is certainly doing his best to contribute to the indoctrination effort.

In one lesson, he led his students to believe that U.S. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) wants to sacrifice Medicaid and Medicare in order to prevent tax increases for the rich. Students read an editorial cartoon of Ryan dressed as a witch doctor, with a knife raised above his head, poised to slay Medicare and Medicaid at the altar.

Needless to say, nobody was on hand to defend Ryan or explain his true positions on Medicaid and Medicare.

Students read an article about Utah legislators proposing an increase in the food sales tax while decreasing the sales tax. Students were then expected to submit the following answers on worksheets (underlined): “Lawmakers in Utah are “digging a deeper hole” for the poor by raising the food tax, and this allows the rich to pay less in sales tax on everything else.”

On the very same worksheet, students also read an editorial cartoon of two people labeled “unions” walking a gang plank. Students then are required to provide the following answers (underlined): “Because so many states are now in a recession, caused by corporations (bankers and Wall Street), states controlled by Republicans are going after public sector unions and collective bargaining rights.”

Another worksheet required students to fill in the following answers (underlined): “Republicans have tried to keep young people and minorities from voting, and are trying to weaken the union. ... Millionaires, who could pay more in taxes and not suffer but are paying less, are hurting states and public schools.”

As we’ve stated a million times, there is certainly nothing wrong with public school teachers helping students understand the pertinent issues of the day. But responsible teachers will present various points of view on a particular topic, then allow students to discuss the issue and determine their own points of view.

But Duarte seems to think there’s only one point of view worth sharing with students – his own.

The district responds

When Benson complained to the school about Duarte’s lessons, he received a written reply from the Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services, Teresa Healy, who seemed satisfied that Daurte mixed his anti-conservative tirades with actual world history lessons.

“A review of Lesson Plans for March 2, 2011 shows that the lesson included a handout where students reviewed an article from the Huffington Post regarding misinformation in the media – specifically referring to Fox News - and included a review of World War I ideas and relates these to World War II.”

So it’s okay to feed young students propaganda disguised as fact, as long as the teacher throws in a little history from the two world wars?

Obviously the school administration is too politically naïve – or too politically supportive of Duarte’s efforts – to do anything about him. 

Healy’s written reply also contained a bizarre warning for Benson:

“... [T]he district respectfully requests that you refrain from any publication of this document or any portion thereof. We trust you will appreciate this serious concern and avoid any potential legal ramifications that could result.”

Benson obviously wasn’t scared, because he turned the letter over to us. And why should he be scared?

He asked a public school to investigate the conduct of a public school teacher who is paid with public money, and received an entirely unsatisfactory response. The public has a right to know about the nonsense taking place at this school, funded by tax money.

We emailed Duarte, as well as his building principal and the superintendent of the Barstow Unified School District, offering them the chance to defend themselves, or at least comment on the bizarre classroom practices taking place. None of them responded.

Sick day compensation system under fire in NJ

TRENTON, N.J. 12/29/11 – Take a look inside a typical public employee union contract – including teacher contracts – and you’ll find provisions that give public servants a payout for any unused sick or personal leave time they have banked.
Sometimes the payouts come incrementally, like at the employees’ 10th anniversary. More often they come at retirement. The payments are almost always based on the employees’ current or final salary, rather than the amount they were making when they banked the unused day off.
While these might seem like innocent, well-deserved bonuses, they are, in reality, ticking financial time bombs that threaten to blow a hole in the budgets of schools and other government entities. 

That’s the case in New Jersey, which is on the hook “for an accumulated $825 million in unused sick days,” according to That’s the cumulative amount owed by all levels of state government, including school districts. “This works out to an average of $250 in property taxes per resident,” writes the

Some New Jersey lawmakers want to cap payouts for unused sick leave at $7,500 per public employee. Gov. Chris Christie says that policy would cost taxpayers about $3.25 billion.
Instead, Christie favors ending the practice altogether, saying such payouts are nothing more than “gifts to the public sector unions.”

To illustrate the cost of paying employees for not calling in sick, consider what $825 million could buy for the Garden State.
According to a government website, the median teacher salary in New Jersey is $60,119. With health insurance and pension contributions, it’s safe to assume that the median compensation for a New Jersey teacher is about $100,000. 

By that measurement, the state could use the money it currently owes for unused sick leave to employ 5,500 additional teachers. That’s not too shabby, considering New Jersey has shed well over 33,000 teaching jobs in just the past couple of years.

And if Christie’s $3.25 billion estimate is accurate? That could conceivably pay for 32,500 teachers – a sizeable percentage of the teachers who have been laid off since 2009. It seems that Christie is on the right track.

By Kyle Olson
EAG Communications

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