STOP the War on Children

June 12, 2011

June, No Longer the Month of Brides?

Dr. Karen Gushta

The month of June used to be associated with brides and weddings. Now President Obama has proclaimed it “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.”

 

Obama is not the first president to make such a proclamation. In 1999 and 2000, President Clinton marked June as “Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.” Ten years later, more categories of “proud” gender types have been added.   

President George W. Bush declined to bow to pressure from homosexual activists to make similar declarations. His Justice Department also barred a group of federal employees from celebrating the month with this appellation.

Why designate June as “LGBT Pride Month?” As The Daily Caller points out, “June was chosen in honor of the 1969 Greenwich Village riots at the Stonewall Inn where gay rights advocates clashed with New York City police over alleged discrimination.”

It was more than a “clash.” At one point police barricaded themselves inside the bar while the angry mob outside tried to set the bar on fire and used a parking meter as a battering ram in an effort to break down the door to get at the policemen inside.

 

The event, which took place in the early hours of June 28, 1969, is marked as the beginning of the “gay rights” movement. Soon after, the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) was formed. The GLF was short-lived, but it introduced the term “gay” to Americans, most of whom would not imagine calling the homosexual lifestyle “gay.”

For 20 years, homosexual activists made modest impact on American culture at large. Then, in 1989, two Harvard homosexual intellectuals, Hunter Madsen and Marshall Kirk, teamed up to write After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90’s.   

 

Jonathan Kirsch wrote at the time in The Los Angeles Times that “the essential message of the book is an urgent demand for a fundamental change in the very nature of gay activism. The gay community, Kirk and Madsen argue, has resorted to the wrong arguments, the wrong symbols, and the wrong acts of protest. And the authors of ‘After the Ball’ think that they have a better idea.”

Their “better idea” was to exchange the tools of violent protests and barricades exemplified by the Stonewall Riots for “the story boards and 30-second spots of Madison Avenue, a kind of sanitized upscale media radicalism that finds mass demonstrations to be ‘ghastly freak shows’ and prefers highway billboards that ‘earnestly propound appealing truisms, the safer and more platitudinous, the better.’”

Kirk and Madsen said it themselves, “We’re talking about propaganda.”

Rather than protesting with “all the screamers, stompers, gender-benders, sadomasochists, and pederasts, and confirm America’s worst fears and hates” Kirk and Madsen advocated a “continuous flood of gay-related advertising.” Such advertising would depict gays “in the least offensive fashion possible.” And, more significantly, it would make “homo-hating beliefs and actions look so nasty that average Americans will want to dissociate themselves from them.”

As Kirsch observes, “This is pure propaganda, of course, but it is propaganda on the highest levels of insight and calculation.”

It is also propaganda that in a large part succeeded during the 1990s in changing the thinking of many Americans. In his June 1999 proclamation, President Clinton claimed that “gay and lesbian Americans” were serving “openly and proudly” in the federal government. In his 2000 proclamation, he bragged that “more openly gay and lesbian individuals serve in senior posts throughout the Federal Government than during any other Administration.”

President Obama’s proclamation tried to best Clinton’s record by listing all of his administration’s activities, such as the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy and the appointment of openly homosexual individuals to executive branch and judicial positions.  

 

According to one commentator, efforts like these could qualify President Obama to be called “the first gay president.” Writing in TheVoiceMagazine.com, Brian Burke observed that in this administration we’re seeing more being done “to promote the gay agenda than in any other American presidency in the history of the United States of America.”  

 

Burke concludes, “Christians should never forget that homosexuality is sinful behavior …. it doesn’t matter what law is passed or what proclamation is made, sin can’t be legalized either, no matter how many people agree. Throughout the Bible Scripture is clear that homosexuality will always be a sin. The President … is wrong to celebrate the lifestyle as if that’s OK.”

 

Nevertheless, celebration of the homosexual lifestyle was part of the U.S. Department of Education’s first LGBT Youth Summit held in Washington D.C. on June 6 and 7.  Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius addressed the group, telling them that they have a “strong voice” and the Obama administration is hearing it. “I want to tell you, you have a friend in this administration who will stand beside you each and every step along the way,” Sebelius said.

 

The administration’s friendship was affirmed by a reporter for the homosexual activist Human Rights Campaign who wrote that “In addition to Assistant Deputy Secretary Kevin Jennings and many of his DOE staff members, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Department of Justice, and other federal agencies were well represented.  Many of the federal agency representatives ‘came out’ as LGBT while speaking at the two-day meeting.”

 

But how is the example of government employees “coming out” going to help homosexual youth who, according to conference presenters, “are more prone to exhibit high-risk behaviors such as substance abuse, sexual risk-taking, and running away from home?”

 

Conferences sponsored by the Education Department and proclamations that encourage “pride” in their homosexual lifestyles will not help these youth. Christians must “graciously yet urgently speak the truth in love to young people who are hurting themselves with the ‘LGBT’ lifestyle,” as a recent Family Research Council prayer letter urged.

 

Those who believe in the power of Jesus Christ to forgive, heal, and restore must determine to stand together in opposition to our government’s efforts to promote harmful and sinful sexual practices among our youth. Let our proclamation be of Jesus Christ and His willingness to receive all who would come to Him.

 

And then, maybe we can get back to June as the month of brides.

 

~~

Dr. Karen Gushta is research coordinator at Coral Ridge Ministries and author of The War on Children: How Pop Culture and Public Schools Put Our Kids at Risk. Dr. Gushta is a career educator who has taught at all levels, from kindergarten to graduate level teacher education, in both public and Christian schools in America and overseas. Dr. Gushta served as the first international director of Kid’s Evangelism Explosion. She has a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Education from Indiana University and Masters degrees in Elementary Education from the University of New Mexico and in Christianity and Culture from Knox Theological Seminary.

June 2, 2011

Think Your Child’s School is OK? Think Again!

By Dr. Karen Gushta

 

When will parents wake up to the fact that the public schools their children attend are not teaching the values that they and the majority in their community hold?

 

While history books give scant attention to the impact of Christianity on Western Civilization, Islam is presented in a favorable light. Capitalists are portrayed as evil and mercenary, but the murder of millions by the Communist regimes of Stalin and Mao Tse-Tung is glossed over. Environmentalism is taught with evangelistic fervor, but not a whiff of the concept of “American Exceptionalism” can be detected in the majority of schools across America.  

 

In spite of these “oversights” and distortions in the curricula, the majority of public school parents believe that their kids’ school is fine. The 2010 PDK poll of public school parents showed that 77% of parents gave their own child’s school a grade of A or B. This was the highest percentage since PDK started polling parents in 1975. One can only conclude that the majority of parents have no idea what’s going on in their own kids’ schools. All the key indicators are showing that public schools across the country have not improved since 1975; achievement scores have remained flat and schools have become more violent.

 

The problems, however, goes deeper than poor reading and math scores or even the distorted view of American history most students are getting. There is a “hidden curriculum” being taught through sex education classes and “anti-bullying” curriculum. This curriculum is intended to break loose students’ ties to Christian morality and their family. 

 

According to Frank York and Jan LaRue, authors of Protecting Your Child in an X-Rated World, sex education classes contain materials that are designed to “desensitize” children and youth to sex talk. “Much of the teaching done in sex ed classes is designed to break down the natural inhibitions of children toward sexual matters,” write York and LaRue.

 

Groups such as Planned Parenthood and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (aka SIECUS) are behind this. Both these organizations are rooted in the warped thinking of the so-called sex researcher Alfred Kinsey. Kinsey’s materials are the foundation for sex education programs that promote a radical agenda of “anything goes” in the realm of sexual experiences.  

 

Through the influence of GLSEN (the Gay Lesbian Straight Educational Network) and other pro-homosexual groups, pro-homosexual indoctrination is now well-entrenched as a part of the hidden curriculum in public schools. Where the 10 Commandments once hung, schools now have rainbow displays supporting Gay Pride and homosexual marriage. In many high schools students participate in “Days of Silence” to show their support of homosexual students.

 

Chicago journalist and talk-show host Sandy Rios reported in a Townhall.com article that a high school in Deerfield, Illinois, required its freshmen to attend an orientation which featured gay, straight, lesbian, and bi-sexual students describing the practices of homosexual sex. The freshmen were then instructed not to tell their parents about this event.

 

In Helena, Montana, the school district was going to require teachers to teach first graders that they can have sex with anyone in any combination until parents filed a lawsuit and the school board withdrew the curriculum.

 

Many schools are aggressively introducing compulsory LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) curricula through anti-bullying programs promoted by the Obama administration. Until he resigned as the “Safe Schools Czar,” avowed homosexual activist and former head of GLSEN, Kevin Jennings, was in charge of seeing that schools implement such programs.  

 

As the recent film, The Agenda: Grinding America Down, shows, the hidden curriculum in America’s schools is not there by accident. It is all a part of the plan of the radical Left to break down the family structure and Christian morality in our nation. In Ten Truths About Socialism, (available at www.coralridge.org), I noted that Karl Marx considered the church and the family to be the greatest obstacles to the destruction of capitalism. Therefore, he taught that the younger generation must be loosened from its moorings in Christian morality and family loyalty.

 

David Horowitz, a former communist who is now dedicated to exposing the radical Left’s agenda, explains that “cultural Marxism” was brought into universities by the radical activists of the 60s.  Since universities train journalists, lawyers, judges, and future political candidates, they identified universities as the “fulcrum” to bring about a “radical transformation” of society.  

The hallmark of cultural Marxism is the politics of race, class, and gender. Multicultural curricula and political correctness are effective tools in schools and universities to promote this ideology. But the result is anything but benign. As Elizabeth Powers wrote in The Weekly Standard, “Multiculturalism is the smiley face of totalitarianism.” The Tucson students who chained themselves to chairs at a scheduled school board meeting are evidence of it. The students shut down the meeting, shouting “fight back” for hours in protest of the governing board’s proposed plan to make a course that teaches history from a Mexican-American perspective optional rather than mandatory in Tucson schools.

In reality, it’s time for parents to fight back. It’s time for parents to find out what’s really happening inside their children’s schools. It’s time for parents to take control away from the “educationists”—bureaucrats, administrators, academics, and heads of teacher unions—who now control their children’s schools.

After all, whose children are they?

 

 

 

Dr. Karen Gushta is research coordinator at Coral Ridge Ministries and author of The War on Children: How Pop Culture and Public Schools Put Our Kids at Risk. Dr. Gushta is a career educator who has taught at all levels, from kindergarten to graduate level teacher education, in both public and Christian schools in America and overseas. Dr. Gushta served as the first international director of Kid’s Evangelism Explosion. She has a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Education from Indiana University and Masters degrees in Elementary Education from the University of New Mexico and in Christianity and Culture from Knox Theological Seminary.

February 21, 2011

The End Goal of Obama’s “Race to Educate Our Kids”

By Dr. Karen Gushta
President Obama devoted a thousand words to education in his State of the Union Speech on January 25. “Maintaining our leadership in research and technology is crucial to America’s success,” he claimed. “But,” he added, “if we want to win the future—if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas—then we also have to win the race to educate our kids.”
Winning the education race, according to President Obama, also means that by 2020 America should “once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.” He challenged Americans “as citizens, and as parents,” to ask ourselves whether we “are willing to do what’s necessary to give every child a chance to succeed.”
“That responsibility,” the President said, “begins not in our classrooms, but in our homes and communities. It’s family that first instills the love of learning in a child. Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done.  We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair; that success is not a function of fame or PR, but of hard work and discipline.”
There are few who would dispute the President on these points. Many of us might even have applauded him. All of the above statements are truisms—like stating that we should have clean water and the airlines should run on time.
What’s the problem, then, with the President’s remarks on education?
In my view, it was the context. In connecting America’s economic success to “giving every child a chance to succeed,” President Obama is following in the steps of the past three presidents, each of whom tried to shape America’s education system to further their economic goals for America. The President’s Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, explains the connection this way: “We have to educate our way to a better economy.”
George Leef, Director of Research at the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, disagrees. “Just like the notion that federal deficit spending will revive the economy, the idea that getting more young Americans through college will make the country more competitive and prosperous is utterly mistaken.” Leef points out that since 1971, we have been “graduating many young people from college who learn little and will wind up in jobs that most high school kids could do.”
President Ronald Reagan once said, “Education is not the means of showing people how to get what they want. Education is an exercise by means of which enough men, it is
hoped, will learn to want what is worth having.”
As I note in my book, The War on Children, the idea of educating for virtue, which entails learning “what is worth having,” has been replaced by the view that schools should be producing “workers for the world.”
Interestingly, both those who believe in American exceptionalism and those who don’t tend to support this view. “Exceptionalists” want education to maintain America’s current status as the number one economy in the world by providing highly trained workers. “Transnationalists” want to transform America’s role among the nations by training our children to think globally and work for world peace and social justice.
What’s missing, however, in both these views is the idea, as expressed by President Reagan, that education should introduce youth to “what is worth having”—that is, the highest ideals of civilization. Such was the goal of traditional “liberal education,” which taught the classics: English literature, the humanities, and moral virtues. Liberal education, (drawing from the Latin root liber—meaning “free, independent, unrestrained”) was intended to free students from the shackles of ignorance and provincialism by introducing them to the great minds, great ideas, and the great books of civilization—primarily Western Civilization rooted in the Judeo-Christian worldview and ethic. 

In the mid-twentieth century, this view of education went into a free fall decline in colleges and universities across America. The emphasis shifted to professional education, and radical professors inserted courses rooted in the ideology of race, class, and gender.  General education requirements, which provided students with a broad perspective on the academic disciplines, were dropped. As Judge Robert Bork wrote, students learned “information about narrow corners of subjects, but no conception of the larger context that alone can give the niches meaning.” Rather than being “freed from provincialism,” students are now being indoctrinated into political correctness.
Most secular colleges and universities have abandoned the idea that there is a central body of knowledge that all educated persons should have, which is the central premise of the liberal education curriculum. According to one source, as of 2009, only four percent of students in the United States attend the eight percent of colleges that still provide a liberal education.
What with the high cost of college, the real possibility of being underemployed upon graduation, and the likelihood that all they’ll gain is knowledge of “narrow corners of subjects,” high school students should not assume that college is the best route to finding God’s vocational calling on their lives.
As Dr. Del Tackett, educator and host of Coral Ridge Ministries’ Cross Examine television program, has suggested, young people should ask themselves, “Do I want to write my own story, or would I rather be part of the story of an all-wise and loving God?”
Then, whether it’s a liberal education, a professional one, or an alternative route to Christian service  or vocation, they can be sure of God’s direction—and, “Where His finger points, His hand will make a way.”

Dr. Karen Gushta is research coordinator at Coral Ridge Ministries and author of The War on Children: How Pop Culture and Public Schools Put Our Kids at Risk. Dr. Gushta is a career educator who has taught at all levels, from kindergarten to graduate level teacher education, in both public and Christian schools in America and overseas. Dr. Gushta served as the first international director of Kid’s Evangelism Explosion. She has a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Education from Indiana University and Masters degrees in Elementary Education from the University of New Mexico and in Christianity and Culture from Knox Theological Seminary.

January 6, 2011

The High Cost of College: Is It Worth It?

Americans now owe more on their student loans than on their credit cards. A recent CNBC special, The Price of Admission: America’s College Debt Crisis, stated that college debt is approaching $1 trillion. Two-thirds of America’s college students who will toss their mortarboards into the air at graduation will be leaving college at least $24,000 in debt.

It may not be a wise investment. These days a college degree doesn’t guarantee the kind of income that is required to pay off big student loans in a reasonable amount of time. According to a new report from the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, the greater percentage of today’s college grads end up underemployed. Twenty million students graduated from college between 1992 and 2008. During this same period, 12 million college grads took jobs that didn’t require a college education. This amounts to 60 percent of these grads being underemployed.

This picture is not deterring President Obama from his goal to have “a higher share of [college] graduates than any other nation on earth” by 2020. As Education Secretary Arne Duncan stated for the CNBC audience, “We have to educate our way to a better economy.” George Leef, Director of Research at the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, calls this agenda “absurd.” “Just like the notion that federal deficit spending will revive the economy, the idea that getting more young Americans through college will make the country more competitive and prosperous is utterly mistaken.”

Leef points out that since 1971, we have been “graduating many young people from college who learn little and will wind up in jobs that most high school kids could do. Why should we want more of them?”

The plan may be absurd. One could also call it immoral. According to CNBC, many universities, especially those classified as “for profit,” encourage students to take out student loans regardless of their need, and then give them debit cards to make it easy for them to spend as they wish. During the past decade, enrollment in these colleges has ballooned by 300 percent—ten times the rate of all other post-secondary programs. Although for-profit schools are private businesses, much of their revenues come from tax dollars by way of federal student aid. The largest among them, the University of Phoenix, receives 90 percent of its revenue from federal loans and grants.

Often such institutions cater to “non-traditional” students who want to take evening classes or courses online. Enrollments are not limited and admission standards are lower. Operating on a “pay to play” system, they make it easy for students to get student loans. Students may take on tens of thousands of dollars of debt with the hope that their college degree will be their ticket to a well-paying job.  Such was my experience teaching at a school that offered accelerated teacher education courses to non-traditional students.  Many of these students were working as low-paid teacher aides and had families to support. Usually they would graduate about $35,000 in debt with no guarantee they would be able to pass the state competency exam required to obtain a teaching certificate. If they didn’t pass the teacher certification exam, they were stuck in their low-paying jobs.

Today’s graduates are competing against a higher number of unemployed who have more skills and experience. Even those with degrees in business or other seemingly marketable areas find it hard to land their first “real job” in today’s economy. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 20 percent of those making less than $20,000 a year have a bachelor or masters degree.

Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t believe that the purpose of higher education is strictly vocational. Far from it. I agree with Victor Davis Hanson that a liberal education should teach one “to write, think and argue inductively, while drawing upon evidence from a shared body of knowledge.” As he explains, however, this is not the kind of higher education students now find at most universities that are controlled either by the “therapeutic academic Left,” which views subjects through the lens of oppressed people groups, or the “utilitarian Right” that has put business and finance courses in the curriculum core. And even if a university is not an ivory tower of Babel or a diploma mill, its students are often more serious about “beer and circus” than they are about receiving an education that broadens their mental horizons and introduces them to the greatest thinkers of the ages.

Finding one’s true Christian vocation may involve getting a college degree, but not necessarily. If students are academically unprepared for college or have no clear career goals, I seriously question whether it is ethical to encourage young people to take on huge debt in order to attend college or a university.

Nevertheless, there is one way to cut down the time it will take to pay off your huge college debt. Go to work for the government. The government can garnish your wages if you’re working in the private sector and you stop paying on your student loans. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, however, allows those who work in the public sector—that includes those represented by teachers’ unions and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)—to default on their federal student loan after making payments for 10 years. Since the federal government is now the sole provider of college loans, taxpayers will be paying the bill as people start “taking advantage” of this program, which was instituted in 2007.

Today’s Christian youth need to consider their vocational calling prayerfully and with care. There is much at stake—not only for them personally in the near-term, but for the future of the nation as well. If they are burdened with debt and tempted to work for the government or take a high paying job just to pay off their loans, they may side-line God’s vocational calling. Then, although they may be financially secure, the church and their communities will be the poorer for it.

Dr. Karen Gushta is research coordinator at Coral Ridge Ministries and author of The War on Children: How Pop Culture and Public Schools Put Our Kids at Risk. She is a career educator who has taught at all levels, from kindergarten to graduate level teacher education, in both public and Christian schools in America and overseas. Karen served as the first international director of Kid’s Evangelism Explosion. She has a PhD. in Philosophy of Education from Indiana University and Masters degrees in Elementary Education from the University of New Mexico and in Christianity and Culture from Knox Theological Seminary.

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