Time for Darwin to Retire

Since Darwin, evolutionists have had faith that the evidence to support their theory would sooner or later be found, either in the rocks or in experiments. The crux of the evolutionary argument is that life began spontaneously and randomly through a chance combination of chemicals that then gave rise to every species on the planet. The idea stretches credulity, so imagine the excitement among the faithful in 1953 when the Miller-Urey experiment managed to get a some amino acids to form in a test tube. While a few amino acids are a far cry from a living cell, textbooks ever since have used the study to suggest that scientists are hot on the trail to the definitive explanation of the origin of life.

But something else happened in 1953. Watson and Crick described the structure of DNA. Their discovery paved the way for an explosion of knowledge about the cell and its workings. As our understanding of the cell’s wondrous complexity has increased, so the likelihood of the spontaneous generation of life has diminished to the vanishing point. Life requires 20 different amino acids, but it also requires hundreds of different proteins, and each of those proteins contains on average over 300 amino acid links in specific correct sequences. The only way to do that is by reference to a genetic code supplied by DNA. To make even one protein, a DNA molecule has to be around 18,000 code bits long and each of those bits, or “letters” has to be in exactly the right sequence. It is impossible for these and other necessary components to have formed spontaneously, let alone all together in a single organism. The odds have been estimated less than 1 in 10 to the 40,000th power. That’s a 1 followed by 40,000 zeros. By comparison, the number of seconds in the alleged 30 billion year history of the universe is only 10 to the 18th power!

This is where LUCA (Last Universal Common Ancestor) comes in. LUCA was proposed, not as the first life form, but the first one to have all the components necessary for cell metabolism and reproduction and whose descendants survived to make you and me. LUCA is a dodge, allowing evolutionists to gloss over the impossibility of spontaneous generation and skip right to a fully functional life form as the root of their evolutionary tree. In essence, they are conceding, but don’t want you to know, that life can only come from other life.

Life is miraculous and mysterious. Despite the 19th century notion that science is the answer to everything, life cannot be reduced to a bleak materialistic naturalism, and neither can you.

Demand that schools give your children ALL the facts in regard to the failed theory of evolution.

The Rest of the Common Core Story

The Rest of the Common Core Story
by Dr. Randall Lund

There is so much focus on the Common Core standards and their enforcement through tightly correlated performance tests (SAGE tests in Utah) that people may not realize that Common Core is also linked to standards for preservice teaching training and standards for the evaluation of inservice teachers. So there are standards for students (Common Core), standards for teachers, and standards for the teacher training colleges, and they are all aligned.

In other words, the backers of Common Core are now able to force colleges to teach their view of education. If colleges do not adopt the Common-Core-aligned teacher education standards and prove through an onerous data collection system that their program is compliant, their accreditation can be withdrawn. If accreditation is withdrawn from a college, their graduates may not be licensed by the states.

It used to be the case that colleges could choose which accrediting agency they wanted to work with—the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) or the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). These agencies differed in their approaches and requirements. It should be no surprise that at about the same time Common Core was being developed and implemented, the two accrediting agencies merged into one national agency, the Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (CAEP). Their web page is http://caepnet.org .

CAEP rolled out their teacher training standards in August, 2013. See them at http://caepnet.org/standards/standards/. These standards include the following requirement:

“1.4  Providers ensure that completers demonstrate skills and commitment that afford all P-12 students access to rigorous college- and career-ready standards (e.g., Next Generation Science Standards, National Career Readiness Certificate, Common Core State Standards) . . . ” (CAEP, p. 4)

Not only are teachers to be informed about Common Core, they are to be trained to teach to those standards:

“These experiences integrate applications of theory from pedagogical courses or modules in P-12 or community settings and are aligned with the school-based curriculum (e.g., Next Generation Science Standards, college- and career-ready standards, Common Core State Standards).” (CAEP, p. 8)

Another link in the Common Core chain of control are the standards for the teachers’ own education at the colleges. These standards are known as InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards. These standards are used to evaluate both preservice teachers (in college) and inservice teachers working in the schools. Teachers who fail to comply can be denied licensure (at graduation) or (if already teaching) disciplined or terminated. The CAEP, InTASC, and Common Core standards are all aligned:

“The Commission’s development of this standard and its components was influenced especially by the InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards, the Common Core State Standards Initiative  . . .”   (CAEP, p. 6)

Now more about the InTASC standards for teachers. They can be found at  http://www.ccsso.org/Resources/Programs/Interstate_Teacher_Assessment_Consortium_(InTASC).html .

They are promulgated by the same people who developed Common Core: The Consortium of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). These are the people who own the copyright on the Utah reprinting of Common Core under the title Utah Core. The InTASC standards for teacher evaluation are explicitly linked with Common Core:

“Specifically, this document has been reviewed to ensure compatibility with the recently-released Common Core State Standards for students in mathematics and English language arts . . .” (InTASC, p. 6)

An especially pernicious aspect of the CAEP and InTASC commitment to Common Core is that every standard for teachers includes the aspect of critical dispositions, in addition to performance skills and knowledge. In other words, preservice and inservice teachers not only have to act as required by Common Core, they are expected to show that they believe in Common Core as demonstrated by observable attitudes and values. A typical disposition requirement states:

“The teacher realizes that content knowledge is not a fixed body of facts but is complex, culturally situated, and ever evolving.” (InTASC, p. 24)

Other typical disposition words are value, realize, is committed, understands. Now, there are many positive dispositions a teacher should have. The problem with the InTASC dispositions is they incorporate also attitudes related to Common Core. In other words, teacher educators, if so inclined, now have permission to require that teaching candidates prove that their indoctrination to Common Core has been successful:

“The [college teacher education] provider ensures that . . . candidates develop the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions necessary [emphasis added] . . . ” (CAEP, p. 6)

In summary, the Common Core backers now have in place all the mechanisms needed to transform education: the standards for students, the tests of student learning, and, as I have explained here, the standards for training new teachers and evaluating current teachers, as well as standards for the college schools of education. It is true that Common Core is the lynchpin of the whole apparatus, but it will not be enough to get Common Core out of schools if the next generation of teachers is committed through their college training to the Common Core approach to education.

Common Core-uption

Common Core is now a common topic; who has not heard of it? But it must not be allowed to stand as common practice. In future posts I will detail the origins and designs of Common Core and the people behind it. To get started I want to share the gist of the final message to my education colleagues before my retirement from a teacher training career this month.

For years we had been hounded by the national accreditation agencies to dance to their ever increasing demands for standards that they agree with and data that prove that we are doing their bidding. Believe me, the threat of non-accreditation is a very big stick. It would mean that none of our education graduates could receive teaching credentials. Formerly competing accreditation agencies are now merging into one monopolistic national (common!!) agency that is totally integrated with Common Core. And this Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (CAEP) has an “assessment” plan for monitoring what colleges are doing that completely overreaches the proper professional practice of testing and evaluation.

There is, of course, a reason for the obsession with assessment. It leads to complete control and standardization, to the detriment of learning. All the national educational institutions are now on the same sheet of music. They are putting on the pressure for a fully nationalized approach to education. States, districts, and colleges will have no power to decide our own course, make their own professional decisions, or simply do their best work. They will be nothing but cogs in the machinery. National control exterminates all the good qualities of a professional: judgment, initiative, knowledge, accountability, etc.

This control will lead to a more dangerous end later on: They will begin to change the curriculum in ways that many find antithetical to American values. There are already hints of that direction if you read carefully the CAEP documents and especially the Common Core with which the CAEP has explicitly allied itself. Consider as one example the idea that colleges should purposely recruit teachers of various sexual orientations. More broadly, Common Core moves away from the view that education empowers individuals through explicit knowledge, skills, and thinking ability to the view that education is about shaping society and turning out students who can collaborate, but may not know anything on their own, students who buy into the approved views of how to address local, regional, national, and international problems–students who, to put it bluntly, are indoctrinated in the litany of the left.

Ask yourself: Haven’t we known for years now what good teaching is? What value does Common Core add? Nothing, unless you value control–national control–because (in their thinking) people in the field just can’t be trusted to do it right, we have to force them. And there you have it: Freedom or force, the age-old choice.

In a recent secondary education meeting Common Core was mentioned, and someone remarked, “Well, that’s political.” As if it politics were tabu! Yes, it is politics. It is the politics of whose ideas about education are going to prevail in society. Both parents and educators have a vital stake in the outcome. Shame on us for not putting Common Core front and center in all our dealings with and about schools.

Now, we may not all agree on the role of government and schools in our society–some may be thrilled that the left controls education. I would be thrilled with just some honest, even-handed neutrality.

I close with one example of how the national education industry is quietly achieving its indoctrination purposes. A common  textbook, The Americans, from the national education publisher AMSCO, summarizes the Second and Third Amendments to the Constitution as follows: “grant citizens the right to bear arms as members of a militia of citizen-soldiers and prevent the government from housing troops in private homes in peacetime.”

What is not wrong with this text? Its intent is clearly to link the Second Amendment with an anachronism (when was the last time the government tried to put troops in your home?), such that these amendments have nothing to do with modern society and can easily be done away with. Never mind the most egregious falsehood: The government does not grant us our rights in the first place. They are our own unalienable rights.

If we care about what the next generation is learning about who they are and how they are to live, we cannot allow Common Core to stand. Please get involved. Ask your children what they are learning. Read their textbooks. Look at their homework. Visit the school. Join your PTA and wake it up. Be uncommonly engaged.

Double Talk

Education and politics have at least one thing in common. Both are full of code talk that confuse and mislead the unwary. At the same time they communicate plans and agendas to the initiated and the savvy. In politics words like “social justice” have nothing to do with equal justice before the law (the intent of the Constitution), and a word like “fair” may describe a policy that is just the opposite.

Education has been infected with the same kind of talk. “Democracy” may now mean not equal representation of the people in a republic, but the sharing of power among various approved groups, irrespective of the will of the majority or the rule of law. “Critical thinking” now often means the deliberate undermining of the values and ideals students bring from home. “Multiculturalism” now means exclusively the promotion of any culture other than western civilization.

Partly because of the way words are used and misused, most people have no idea how far the culture has departed from the founding principles and values of the USA. In the same way, most people have no idea that schools have now been rigged to support the transformation of America to something it never was.

This blog is about cutting through the fog of deceiving language, false traditions, and destructive policies in our government, politics, culture, and schools in hope that enough Americans can be awakened to their awful plight.

If you can help me shed light on America’s danger, please contribute. If you disagree, please say so. Maybe you’ll convince me, maybe we’ll convince you. I don’t care, as long as we are all seeking the truth. And remember, you can’t talk truth without civility.

Talking up and speaking out . . .

The time will soon come when many people will wish they had spoken out about many things.

I don’t want to be one of them. I speak out on two related topics.

The first is the question Lincoln asked: Can this republic long endure when so many of us are ignorant of the founding principles of America or willfully despise them?

Second, I will show that American schools have been turned from the role of sustaining liberty to destroying liberty. From the international level down to local school districts, schooling is now controlled by interests hostile to America’s best ideals.

These two topics are inseparably connected. We could win the next election and turn the tide, but our children will fail America just as we baby boomers did if we don’t return schools and colleges to their mission of enculturating the young in the founding principles and preparing them to stand on their own two feet.

Postings are likely to be irregular for a while, but please keep the ball rolling with your own contributions!