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An Early Look at Curriculum Revisions from the House Education Committee

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While the collection of crackpots, conspiracy theorists and spiritualists placed by the Republican leadership on the House Education Committee will no doubt spend most of their timing writing toothless resolutions agains the UN-written Common Core and defunding public education, they certainly won’t leave curriculum behind.

AlterNet has a look at one program  one that receives the kind of vouchers that House Republicans would like to give religious schools, called Accelerated Christian Education. It’s the ideal kind of program for people who want to destroy critical thinking and actual learning, as the program largely consists of students sitting in cubicles filling out multiple-choice questions about cartoons. Just think how much money the Laszloffy Academy can make with a program like that, and imagine state dollars funding education like this, which argues that the Loch Ness Monster disproves the theory of evolution:

Some scientists speculate that Noah took small or baby dinosaurs on the Ark…. are dinosaurs still alive today? With some recent photographs and testimonies of those who claimed to have seen one, scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence…
Have you heard of the ‘Loch Ness Monster’ in Scotland? ‘Nessie,’ for short, has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur.

Or teaching 14 year old students in simplistic worksheets that the biblical flood of Noah is essential to understanding world history.

When the House Republicans start caterwauling this session about “choice” in education, remember this is the choice they want to foist on Montanan taxpayers: the choice of paying corporations and religious groups to poorly educate our children while we defund our public schools.

 

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we\'d certainly appreciate it.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

30 Comments

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  • It’s ok pogie, you weren’t taught to think critically either, as evidenced by your simplistic chystal ball overview, without evidence to back up what you say.

  • You got me there, you scholar. Although and English teacher would have taught you that sentence contains both a comma splice and a spelling error. You probably would have received an “A” from ACE education, though. Good job!

  • I hope some of the state newspapers make the connection between Laszloffy and her Academy. It seems like a conflict of interest. I’d like more on why that experience committee co-chair was passed over in favor of a 23-year-old home-schooled student. Has she ever had any experience in public education in Montana, the very thing she’s supposed to oversee?

    Why don’t we just have her oversee our nukes as well? I mean, who needs experience with anything?

    • “I’d like more on why that experience committee co-chair was passed over in favor of a 23-year-old home-schooled student.”

      I asked the same question to Steve White, who has long been a champion of homeschooling in Montana. I homeschooled my children for years (they’re now successful public school students), and I do think that homeschooling needs to be an option for families for many reasons.

      I emailed Steve, concerned that having someone so radical and inexperienced would justifiably cast a negative light on homeschooling. He totally sidestepped the issue, deciding to talk about the damage that term limits have done to the legislature and the need to have homeschooling advocates on the House Education Committee because of legislation (SB14) that was coming down.

      He neglected, of course, to acknowledge that it was the GOP that pushed for term limits or the conflict of interest with Laszloffy.

  • I have been trying to warn people about these crazy bastards for the last twenty-five years now and no one would believe me. Well, now maybe they will. I know them well, up close and personal so to speak. I began an intensive study of them a looong time ago when I first encountered them trying to sneak creationism into the curriculum. I was the very first teacher in the state to have to deal with this. True story. Back in ’92 in Chester.

    I have called them christofascsists for a reason, for that is what they are. They have nothing to do with religion and everything to do with control. I lost my copy, but in Irving Stone’s great book on Clarence Darrow, he goes into great detail about the Scopes Monkey Trial. The Fundies scared the hell outta Darrow, for he thought they presented a very real danger to the country with their ignorance. And indeed they now do. He felt that the Scopes trial was the most important one of his entire career. And likewise, Spencer Tracy thought the his movie Inherit the Wind was the most important movie of his career. These two great Americans understood the threat from these ignorant bastards.

    Kinda hard to believe that after the enlightened era of the sixties, we are headed to the hills of Appalachia for inspiration now. I mean, Cracker Jesus, ignorance, and racism have become our new creed. But it’s all by design. Again, if you haven’t read it, please get The Family by Jeff Sharlet and read the historical efforts at work here. It AIN’T your daddy’s America that these inbreds want!

    I guess I blame the mainstream religions the most for the rise of christofascism, for it was their place the challenge all this bullshit and they didn’t. They allowed the inbreds the moral high ground without any dissent, and this was a big mistake. Hell, many Catholics who should know better even buy into this horse shit! And that’s real sad. But fortunately, our current Pope doesn’t. He is willing to fight back.

    Funny thing. I was watching my favorite movie the other night, A River Runs Through It, and I noted how the father, a Presbyterian minister, was explaining to his boys the age of the earth in terms of billions of years, and how all the rocks were formed. How ironic that NOW, even that concept is considered too liberal and blasphemous for this little ignernt home skuuled girl who heads our state’s education committee!

    I give UP, Montana. You’re gonna have to figure this one out on your own.

    But I will tell you this. This could be a blessing in disguise. For now it’s time. It’s time for all the so called mainstream religious folk to PACK those gawddamned committee hearing rooms and embarrass the hell outta the snake handlin’ holly rollin’ tongue speakin’ inbreds! It’s time to take back religion from the christofascists and put it once again in its proper place in our pluralistic democracy. No more free rides for Cracker Jaysus battalion of cracker jaysus xtian soldiers. That’s about the only thing that’s gonna work. It’s gonna have to be a people’s movement to save our public schools. People who know and understand what a great thing public education is. Let the inbreds have their little cracker jaysus madrassas, but we certainly do NOT have to fund them!

  • Larry, once again global war is part of another problem.

    After WWII European protestants favored congregations that had criticized and resisted the Nationalist Nazi’s and “authority” and “Party.”

    After WWII, looking back in my glitchy old mind,
    seems like more and more USA congregants(not my word)
    have been attending congregations often identified with
    Party, Authority, and USA national brand imperialism.

    Party, authority, imperialism. Currency traders within the Temple.

    • Good point, Bob. I hope that this incoming session lives up to its promise of unbridled wackiness. I think it’s time to get this shit out in the open, bring it to a head, get the conversation started so to speak. MAKE the inbreds defend their Cracker Jaysus beliefs! Their un-American beliefs! Their anti-democratic values! Put them on the spot. Are they Americans or Taliban? I know that they’re Taliban, but now they must defend it! I hope that they can get Pastord Hairass Slimes outta prison in time so that he can hold forth on killin’ homos again! That was a classic bit of cracker jaysus kristeeyanity! I’m sure that ms. home skuuled ms. Laffloopy holds some real treats for us in store too! I can’t wait! I really do enjoy a good inbred show! And my prayer? God grant the inbreds all the crazy-assed bat sh*t they need to make this session a real doozy, and make them look like the fools they are! Can I get an Amen?????……and maybe some tin foil hats with crosses on top!

  • I was trying to broaden discussion!
    Maybe some common USA male logic from reproductive rights,
    to Rights of the Republic,
    and on to Rights of Authorities of the Republic
    to place their kind of people on the Education Committee.

  • They teach critical thinking skills in public schools? Private schools? Religious schools? Home schools? I heard rumors of such things going on in the 1950’s, but not since. I know that every teacher swears up and down they do, but since they have’t a clue what is involved (Pogie), it’s just vapor.

    • You’re a moron. Spent much time in the classroom didja, cupcake? Where? In your local xtian madrassa? Not good enough. You’ve got nuthin’ and it shows. Now, put up or shut up! Where did you teach, cupcake? I’ll be glad to inform you of where I taught. My students did indeed learn critical thinking skills. Just ask them, for now they are doctors, lawyers, artists, musicians, priests, nuns, and teachers. What have YOUR students accomplished, cupcake? I’ll proved names, will you??? I thought not.

      • Oops. Should read “provide” names. I get so angry at bullshit pretenders that I can’t type.

  • I most certainly do hope they write a resolution against the UN Common Core. Nor would it hurt my personal sentiments if they defunded public education. What I’ve seen produced by public education is horrifying. Your depiction of private education materials is heavily biased. Private education and homeschooling curriculums are not monolithic as you have implied for readers here. There are many excellent curriculums out there, with some of them specifically Christian oriented, and others neutral. I’m a homeschooling parent of five. We utilize classical curriculum content that any accredited four year university would be impressed to discover still in use. How many public school children have read books in elementary levels like the works of Aesop, Victor Appleton, Alice Emerson, Horatio Alger Jr, GA Henty, Arthur Conan Doyle, James Fenimore Cooper, Johnathan Swift, or Longfellow? Or in the high school levels, biographies and autobiographies or diaries of the major presidents and key historical figures? How about deconstructing the poetry of Oliver Wendell Holmes or Cicero? Mine have even examined the account of E.H. Shackleton…show me the Common Core educated child who has tackled over 200 classical works of fiction and non-fiction before graduation! How many public school children complete math through Calculus? I can see the answer in a run-a-muck president who claims to be a constitutional scholar and then does end runs around Congress with executive orders upheld as law or color of law beneath the guise of national security policy. What was that about transparency? Let’s see if those pushing Common Core still know the definition of the word! But maybe if the promoters of that miserable excuse for societal engineering had to first pass tests upon the content of McGuffey’s Speller, Harvey’s Elementary Grammar & Composition, let alone the Federalist Papers, Economic Sophisms, Faraday’s Lectures, or Beyond the Mechanical Universe…and just maybe An Essay Concerning Human Understanding vol’s 1 & 2, we would thus be less afflicted with useful-idiot syndrome in America? Now before you go off accusing me of religious fanaticism, perhaps I should mention that some of us non-UN slavering practitioners of academic excellence are not even religious…Oh my! Did you catch a glimpse of a book on classical philosophy in the book list on the table? Like I said those educating children outside of public schools and well beyond common core are not monolithic. And the poison that affects D.C. is not welcome among us.

    • I’m going to go ahead and put aside the nonsense about Obama and the “poison” from D.C. and and deal with your central claim, although I do wonder how someone as educated in the classics as you claim to be would undermine her ethos with such nonsensical, unrelated claims.

      Let’s deal with the matter of education. While your claims about the efficacy of your homeschool program certainly can’t be verified, the threat posed by people like the Montana Family Foundation is that there will be no standards for the educational programs put in place by their proposed vouchers and/or privatization schemes. Could it be a classical education program? Sure. Could it be worksheets that teach about Noah’s relationship to the Sumerians? Sure. The last bill they proposed had no restrictions, no evaluations, and no indications that actual learning would have to take place.

      So even if your educational approach at home was even better than what you claim, it has no relationship to the reality that will exist if the Montana Family Foundation and its new legislators get their way.

      Texas, as is usually the case, provides an instructive example of unregulated home schooling, too, by the way.(https://themontanapost.com/2013/07/30/home-schools-need-regulation-and-evaluation/)

    • The education you have provided your children is admirable and beyond. However, it is probably not typical of homeschooling. You are right that it is not typical of public education either. You say homeschooling is not monolithic. Well, neither are public schools. The common core actually demands that teachers encourage critical thinking. I am a science teacher and I love it when students ask questions that require in-depth thinking. I don’t always know the answers but I try to steer them into thinking about how they might find the answer for themselves.

    • Sorry, hown skuul mom, but no more free passes. Here’s what you said: “What I’ve seen produced by public education is horrifying.” Yes, that’s your claim. Now, care to back that up with some facts? For I simply think that you’re makin’ stuff up here. Some call it lying! (maybe the old condom on a hotdog was what traumatized you!)

      You have greatly disadvantaged your kids by you being their only “teacher”. And that’s just real sad. I consider that to be child abuse! It’s the height of arrogance to think that you and you alone are qualified enough to be your children’s only teacher, regardless of WHAT nonsensical curriculum you followed. Didja teach’em a lot of German, Spanish, French, ASL, computer science, physics, biology, auto shop, art, etc.? I’m sure your qualified in ALL areas of study, right? Too funny. Yes, it’s quite sad what you’ve done to your kids. I hope they forgive some day for robbing them of something very precious that they could and should have had! For education is much more than mommy indoctrinating little jonny and Susie in the merits of the John Birch Society and racism! Oh yeah, and that brings up another point. Did you introduce your kids to all the big bad diversity out there in the real world that they’re gonna encounter some day? Were the major colleges all clamoring to get your kids to attend their institutes of higher learning? Or was it just the Liberty Institute? They toot alright!

      For those who don’t know, the REAL lesson of home schooling is this. I know, for I taught for a looong time in the outback of Podunk, Mt. Here’s the deal. Mom tries her best to home school. Along about jr. high, she realizes that she’s in WAY over her head, and ships the kids off to public school to finish the job. Sometimes public schools can make up the difference and the lost years, and sometimes they can’t. I’ve seen both scenarios. And it’s not the kids’ fault. The love being in public school and around their friends. They don’t miss home school at all. And they turn out to be good kids most of the time. Of course, some are already so handicapped by mom’s efforts that they never recover. But that’s the TRVTH. Take it from me, for I’ve been there. This howm skuul mom has not.

      Stop bashing public ed, lady, for I won’t let you get away with it. I will make you defend your baloney. They say that passing legislation is kinda like making sausage. Well, home skuuling is definitely a lot like baloney! Any questions??? Anyone?? Anyone??

    • That’s it?! Half a quote? Too funny. What does that indicate, half a brain? Not sure. But for the record, the entire quote is, “A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once”, Julius Caesar. Makes a lot more sense now, doesn’t it? Did you really intend only half the quote? Why? I suspect that you didn’t know what you were doing. Are you really a Shakespearian scholar, or just a flunky?

      Here’s another one I like: “Shall I be frighted when a mad man stares”?, from the same play. That one always comes to mind when I’m conversing with rightwing wackos. MUCH more apropos than your failed attempt to quote, doncha think? Think. Sorry for asking that.

      But for the record, your handle is really funny to folks who speak more than one language, for you have just titled yourself the King of the Anons! Yup. True story. The word kralj means king in Serbo/Croat. Pretty lofty title you have given yourself. King of the cowards! I like that.

  • Hey, hown skuul mommy, did you show the kiddies THIS?! I thought not, for the TRVHT is just a wee bit too liberal for buybull thumpen kockbred lumpen! I’ll make good agnostic commies outta the little buggers yet, if you just let’em read me!

    • Hey, howm skuul mommy, who is the rightwing jaysus jumpin’ buybull thumpin’ lumpen equivalent of Clarrence Darrow? I really, really, REALLY want to know! And while you’re at it, WHO are the great American inbred rightwing artists, writers, musicians, etc.?! They don’t exist! Did you inform your kiddies of that lil’ fact? The inbred Mark Twain? John Steinbeck?? Ernest Hemmingway? ANY inbred rise to their level of artistic achievement??? (Anyus Rant maybe? hee hee!) I rest my case now. You lose. Better hide the computer before the kiddies see you get your ass handed to you by an agnostic! It ain’t pretty!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5q1CqHsSY40

      And yes, I can’t WAIT to appear before ms. laffloopy’s committee hearings on education! I hope that the inbred Fart Fetish is there too! I want’a meet this dude!

      • And HS mommy, did you show the kiddies THIS little video? And explain to them that J. Edgar tutu wearing gay boy Hoover did everything he could to destroy this great American icon? Didja?? Didja??? Didja??? I thought not. For you see, mommy, you’re a horribly frightened little human being who simply can’t understand all the changes taking place in the world around you. Hence, you must go back to the Holy Buybull, a book written by savage reprobate middle eastern perverts from long ago! Well, the said reality is that this wandering tribe or murderous heathens has NOTHING to offer an enlightened people! But for the record, WHERE is the great inbred Charlie Chaplin?!! Oh, I forgot. You had the real thing. Adolfo!!!!

        http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=charlie+chaplin+the+great+dictator+speech&FORM=HDRSC3#view=detail&mid=65DA14458DB590C8033965DA14458DB590C80339

  • Can we please take it easy on the homeschool bashing? I homeschooled for several years, and my kids had an amazing experience. While not all homeschoolers are the same, neither are public school kids.

    Studies have shown repeatedly that homeschooled children outscore public school children not only on academic standards, but also on psychological tests. That means that as adults, they’re successful *and* happier with their lives. For a detailed, exceptionally articulate on this assertion, I would recommend Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense by David Guterson. http://www.powells.com/biblio/7-9780156300001-2

    Here is the truth: Public school fails some children and homeschooling fails some children. Public school teachers generally see the children whose parents didn’t do a great job homeschooling them, so drawing conclusions from that pool isn’t entirely accurate.

    What we can agree on is that taxpayer dollars *should not* be funneled to private schools where there is no accountability and a possibly a focus on religion.

    P.S. Larry–I homeschooled my children so we could talk about things like economics, racism, hypocrisy in government and all the rest quite openly. They went to school with their eyes wide open, even as one history teacher prattled on about Amazon.com being a shining example of capitalism and that Steve Daines was the only reasonable candidate to vote for. My previously homeschooled child and I had a wonderful discussion about it and he learned to take this teacher’s info with a grain of salt. It was a fantastic lesson in discernment.

    • Yes but………….I’m glad to hear that you gave your home school experience a shining grade. But again, I think you did a disservice to your kids in the sense that you failed to allow the real experts in their respective fields to influence your kids. You see, teachers are amazing people. Most of them that I know are passionate about kids and passionate about the subjects they teach. And that passion is what makes them great teachers. And they come from wide and varied backgrounds. ALL of that gets incorporated into the classroom as well. I’m old. I’ve had many teachers. All my high school teachers were WWII vets. These teachers were an incredible inspiration to us kids, for they had accomplished in life bee FORE going into to teaching things that the rest of us could only imagine! And you have not allowed your kids to meet and be inspired by some truly remarkable people. And I think that’s real sad. Teachers continue to this day to be some very, very interesting people with some amazing successes in life outside the classrooms. And they can connect with kids, and then, influence their lives. And that is what home school kids miss out on the most.

      You see, I’ve known teachers who are accomplished artists, academics, musicians, business people, athletes, and basically all walks of life. Why not let these folks have a shot at your kids? It just might be what your kid needs. Good ol’ mom is just good ol’ mom. But what if your teacher is a great athlete or great artist? (I’ve known many here in Montana.)

      I’m sure that you did your best, but it’s simply impossible to be an expert in all the fields of study AND the most effective teaching methods out there. For the truth be told, experience is a huge deal in education. No one is a great teacher their first few years. It takes a whole lot of experience as a teacher to become a truly great teacher, or a master teacher. I have had the privilege of watching many master teachers in action here in Montana, people who after many years have reached the top of the profession through many years of effort, and they are truly the best educators out there, bar none. Home school can never reach this level of expertise, period. AND, here’s the kicker. It’s all free for the taking! Any kid with a desire can get themselves a top notch education for free! And that’s pretty incredible. Can you even imagine what that’s worth in dollars?

      Do you get my point? Education is best left to the real experts, the teachers. They do a fantastic job, and should be honored for their work like they are in the rest of the world, not criticized by the peanut gallery of rightwing jaysus jumpin’ howm skuulers like this Laffloopy girl. It’s was simply a slap in the face to public ed to put here in such a position. But that is the hostility of the rightwing in general to public ed. And let’s face it. For MOST people in Montana, public education is our only option! Those that would seek to destroy it will always get my scorn.

      Hope you understand what I’m getting at. Home schooling is simply a pathetic attempt to avoid REAL places of academic learning, public schools. Nothing against you personally, but that’s just the way it is.

      BTW, why did you home school? And for how long? You mentioned that your kids are now in public ed. And don’t take my remarks personally, for they are not directed at you personally. But the facts are what they are. Public school is the best and ONLY option for Montana. And it’s a very good one that must be fully funded and supported.

      • p.s. I’m still waiting for cyrellsg to back up this claim:

        “What I’ve seen produced by public education is horrifying.”

        For you see, THAT is a common claim among the jaysus jumpin’ Lafloopy crowd. But it’s pura mierda. And this is what we can expect from the Lafloopy crowd of kristyeeans this session, pure wackiness and endless attacks on public education. And this we can’t abide. ALL Montanans who value public ed must show up and be heard on this one.

      • Larry, I’m not going to reply in detail to your rambling, condescending lecture. Let me just say this:

        My mother is a retired public school teacher and administrator. I went to public schools until college. My children are now going to public schools. I believe that teachers should be paid a living wage and public schools should be thoroughly funded.

        I completely understand the benefits of public school from all sides and I absolutely know that choosing homeschooling was exactly right for my family at the time.

        It’s clear that you don’t know much about homeschooling, so please don’t begin to try to convince me that your projections trump my experience.

        I think we’d do best to stay on the topic at hand, which is the insanity of the Montana House Education Committee.

        • Rambling??? Really?? Sorry, but I don’t think that I rambled at all. I pretty much explained the situation as is. Sorry that you thought that was condescending, for I didn’t intend it to be. Just ask your mom. NO ONE is a great teacher until they have some real experience under their belts. That’s just life. HEY, I didn’t invent life, so don’t blame me! No one is a good teacher right outta college. It takes years of experience to become a master teacher. Thus, a howm skuul mom will never be a great teacher, period! Just doesn’t work that way. But HEY, glad to hear that you realized your shortcomings and got your kids in public school in time. They might be salvageable! Ya never know.

          And really, teachers should be paid a “living wage”??? WTF? They are professionals, and should be paid a professional wage! Walmart workers should be paid a living wage, but teachers should be compensated for the college educated professionals they are!

          And no, it isn’t clear that I don’t know anything about homeschooling. I know exactly what it is, a pathetic excuse in a pathetic attempt to avoid public education from expert teachers! That’s about it. Have a nice day! Your kids will thank you for getting them into public ed some day.

          Oh sure, there are options. Catholic ed is still fantastic, but then, you gotta put up with all the Catholic bullshit to attend! Maybe the new Pope will straighten all that out! But the Xtian madrassas that I’ve seen are simply Taliban with a little John Birch Society thrown in for good measure! And this is Ms. Laffloopy’s background!

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