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.

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June 3, 2011

He’s Gone, But Not Forgotten

By Dr. Karen Gushta

When homosexual activist Kevin Jennings quietly left his post as “safe schools czar” at the Department of Education, the news barely made a ripple. Although pro-family advocates can rejoice, they should not underestimate Jennings’ ability to influence America’s children in his new post as CEO of non-profit group, Be the Change, Inc. The organization works closely with AmeriCorps, the government agency that funds community works and public sector programs in education, health, public safety, and the environment.

When Jennings was appointed by President Obama, Jim Hoft correctly noted at Gateway Pundit that his appointment was primarily due to the fact that he had founded the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in 1990.  By 2007, Jennings was pulling down a salary of more than $270,000 as GLSEN’s executive director. But his goal was more than personal enrichment. His homosexual activist organization led the way in getting government schools to introduce programs intended to promote acceptance of homosexuality through anti-bullying curricula that teach tolerance of homosexual students.  

One of GLSEN’s tools is a “recommended reading list.” As Hoft reported, “GLSEN maintains a recommended reading list of books that it claims ‘furthers our mission to ensure safe schools for all students.’” The books are hardly ones that “all students” should read, however.

Purportedly the books help “gay kids” by raising their self-esteem, and “straight kids” who read them are supposed to become more aware and tolerant of homosexual kids and stop bullying them. In fact, these books expose young people to homosexual behaviors and lifestyles in a graphic and sexually explicit way.

According to Hoft, “Book after book after book contained stories and anecdotes that weren’t merely X-rated and pornographic, but which featured explicit descriptions of sex acts between pre-schoolers; stories that seemed to promote and recommend child-adult sexual relationships; stories of public masturbation, anal sex in restrooms, affairs between students and teachers, five-year-olds playing sex games, semen flying through the air.”

In his book, Radical Rulers, Robert Knight notes that while Jennings was the leader of GLSEN, it established “gay/straight” alliances in schools, developed a “heterosexism questionnaire” that encouraged kids to question their sexuality, and established events such as “Day of Silence,” and “No Name-Calling Week.” According to Knight, these events are promoted “under the guise of discouraging bullying,” but in reality, “kids are taught to promote homosexuality and accuse anyone who thinks it is immoral of being a bigot and hater.”

While he was safe schools czar, Kevin Jennings met several times with the executive director of Christian Educators Association International, Finn Laursen. Nevertheless, in the past he has been vocal in dismissing the views of Christians.  

Robert Knight wrote that Jennings spoke to a conference at a church in 2000 where he called Moral Majority and Liberty University founder Jerry Falwell a “terrorist,” and said, “We have to quit being afraid of the religious right. We also have to quit—I’m trying to find a way to say this—I’m trying not to say, ‘[F—] ‘em!’ which is what I want to say, because I don’t care what they think! [audience laughter] Drop dead!”

So given his track record, is it time to breathe a sigh of relief that children in America’s schools are now safe from Kevin Jennings’ influence?

That might be premature.

Given Jennings’ track record and his avowed dedication to the cause of normalizing homosexuality in America, it might be wiser to assume that Jennings’ move to Be the Change is based on his belief that it will give him a wider platform to promote the causes that are near and dear to him.

Founded by Alan Khazei in 2008, Be the Change states that its goal is to create “national issue-based campaigns by organizing coalitions of non-profits, social entrepreneurs, policymakers, private sector and civic leaders, academics, and citizens.” The first campaign it launched was ServiceNation, a lobbying effort that gathered over 270 organizations in support of the Kennedy Serve America Act, touted as “the greatest expansion of national service in our country in 60 years.”

Addressing the Service Nation Summit, Khazei said, “We believe that the idea of America is ennobled and the future of America is strengthened when Americans come together to serve our country.”

Perhaps Jennings hopes he can have a hand in shaping the direction of that service. He’s taking charge at a very propitious time. In 2011 the second campaign, Opportunity Nation, was launched as the website proclaimed that children in America have less of a chance for improving their economic situation than those born into low-income households in the United Kingdom, France, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Canada, or Germany.

How Jennings will shape this effort remains to be seen. After 20 years leading the homosexual cause, it seems safe to say that he will find ways to infuse the goals of the homosexual agenda into the new campaign.

Be the Change, Inc. is not alone in its efforts to rally America’s citizens to bring change to their communities. Samaritan’s Purse is training tens of thousands of volunteers to bring relief and assistance in the name of Christ to those whose lives have been ravaged by the recent floods and tornadoes. Glenn Beck is encouraging people to seek “Enlightenment, Education, Empowerment and Entrepreneurship” so our nation will be prepared for the impending world crisis that radical Islamists and Leftists are fomenting in the Middle East.  

America is at a crossroads. And there are many options for those who want to be “part of the solution and not part of the problem.” Coral Ridge Ministries is now offering a new option in its ongoing effort to inspire believers in their daily lives with the power of a biblical worldview. Community in Action is a new grassroots outreach that equips and encourages believers to find God’s call on their lives and connect their passions and abilities to that call in order to transform the culture and their communities for Christ.

It’s clear that activists like Kevin Jennings are not going to stop their efforts to transform the culture according to a vision that distorts God’s design for sexuality and human relationships.

The question is—will Christians take up the challenge to work with the same degree of zeal?

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 24, 2011

Four Steps to Downsize Public Education and Balance State Budgets

 

By Dr. Karen Gushta

These days, there are few of us who have not experienced budget belt tightening, either at home or at work or both. Families and businesses across the country are cutting back on spending by downsizing and instituting austerity measures. Nevertheless, teachers’ unions and school districts are finding it hard to adjust to this new reality.

 

In Wisconsin, the teachers union shut down schools to protest Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to reduce a state budget deficit of $137 million. Teachers called in sick after Walker proposed that state workers contribute 5.8 percent of their paychecks to their pensions and another 12.6 percent (half the national average) to their health insurance.

 

Although the governor’s plan would avoid laying-off teachers, it was immediately opposed by the union. “This is a case of big government at its worst,” said AFT-Wisconsin President Bryan Kennedy in a statement, as teachers carried placards outside the state capitol comparing Gov. Walker to Hitler and Egypt’s deposed president Hosni Mubarak.

 

Reports were confirmed that some schools had closed, and school children were taken to Madison to join the protestors. Such actions are hardly in the interest of Wisconsin students. Sixty-six percent of public-school eighth graders rated below “proficient” in reading. They should be getting more instructional time, not less.

 

Wisconsin is not alone in facing budget deficits. Many states, like Wisconsin, are dealing with the problem by cutting education funding. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 34 states and the District of Columbia have made cuts in K-12 education funding due to budget deficits.

Education is the largest component of state budgets, with around 45 percent of expenditures going to elementary, secondary, and higher education combined. To help balance their budgets, many states are simply cutting their funding formulas so school districts receive fewer dollars per student. For example, Florida and Maine are giving districts $140 less per pupil for the current year, and South Carolina’s districts will receive $95 less. Georgia’s governor has proposed cutting per pupil spending for the current budget year by $115 and $189 for the coming fiscal year.

 

With cuts like these, school districts will have to look carefully at spending—and in some cases that is long overdue. In Broward County, Florida, a district that has been plagued by corruption for a number of years, a grand jury recently released a scathing report critical of district school superintendent Jim Notter and school board members, charging them with “gross mismanagement” and “apparent ineptitude.”

 

The Miami Herald said, “The report criticizes the district for incomplete and inadequate construction records, untrained inspectors, and wasteful spending. It cites the board’s decision to spend billions over the last 10 years, leaving taxpayers with $2 billion in long term debt.”

 

Broward County has the sixth largest school district in the nation. With over 250,000 students, more than 17,000 teachers, over 290 schools, and an annual budget of more than $5 billion, it would be a challenge for any school board to oversee. Managing a district this size requires the training and expertise of a corporate CEO, something few school superintendents acquire as they work their way up through the ranks to higher levels of administration.

 

Although the Broward County School District’s woes may in part be attributed to its size, a lack of financial transparency may also be to blame. Across the nation, school district spending figures are notoriously difficult for the public to obtain—a situation that only encourages corruption and cronyism. Adam Schaeffer, in a report for the Cato Institute called “The Real Cost of Public Schools,” says that most people, including public school parents, don’t know how much their local school district is spending. When surveyed, only seven percent of Florida residents came close to the figure reported by the National Center for Education Statistics.

But Floridians can’t be faulted for their ignorance. It’s difficult to find out the true numbers. Not only is NCES data three to four years out of date, districts typically don’t report real costs in their budgets. They hide the true costs by excluding categories such as capital costs, debt service, employee benefits such as health insurance and retirement funds, and even transportation.

So what should states faced with falling revenues do to address the challenges of reduced per-pupil funding? First, large unmanageable districts such as Broward County should be broken into smaller units where accountability and transparency can be the norm. Across the nation, the ratio of staff to students is a staggering 1:1. Charter schools and private schools already demonstrate that smaller administrative units can be more efficient than large centralized systems. And it’s a well-known fact that private school students consistently outperform their public school peers on SATs.

 

Second, accounting and reporting requirements should be put in place to ensure that district budgets provide a true picture of where state funds are being spent.

 

Third, balanced budget requirements should be mandatory, so that taxpayers are not left with long-term debt in their school districts.

 

Finally, there is one more suggestion that invariably gets dismissed out of hand. As states face budget deficits, it’s time to consider “downsizing” the government education establishment. Giving parents more school choice would effectively do this. Tuition tax credits or vouchers would enable more parents to send their kids to private schools. Removing excessive bureaucratic regulation of homeschooling would open up this option to many more families.

 

As it stands, some states have draconian regulations that effectively keep parents from homeschooling, and almost all the states are notoriously reluctant to give parents tuition tax credits—much less vouchers. Where teacher unions control the governor and the state legislature, fear mongering wins the day. Unions argue that such measures would destroy the public schools. Judging from what’s happening in Madison, Wisconsin, and Broward County, Florida, it looks like the teacher unions and school boards are already doing so.

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.

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